Obrazy na stronie

forming part of the sixth volume of the periodical work, Fundgruben des Orients, published at Vienna in 1818, has been reviewed, and the charges, I do believe, have been refuted, by M. Renouard, in his work, Sur la Condemna

ing their meaning. However, the truncated cross is probably the tau T, a figure of the cross, spoken of in Ezekiel ix. 4, which St. Jerome says, being the last letter in the old Hebrew, prefigured the cross. Hammer holds that the Saint Graal was the cup symbolical of the Gnostic wisdom, and that the round table of twelve knights was symbolical of the twelve senior Templars, who presided over the Saint Graal. He examines seven churches of the Templars—Schoengrale, Waltendorf, Pelendorf in Austria, Deutschaltenburg and Murau in Hungary, one at Prague, and one at Egra in Bohemia ; and he describes the figures of animals with two heads, and some which were obscene. But is it credible that they would thus proclaim their own wickedness? Was it not the taste of the age to have absurd and disgusting figures on all great buildings ? He will not allow that it is the true Eve because the figure is not veiled, “ quæ pudor jubet," a strangely weak argument ! He holds the dragon at the feet of the Templar in the Temple of London, and the dragon of the Visconti at Milan, to be the Gnostic dragon mentioned by St. Epiphanius, which swallows up every one who is not imbued with the Gnostic doctrine, and then spits him out again. As for the figure of a Templar slaying a lion with the help of two dogs, “hic est triumphus Gnoseos seu doctrinæ spiritualis ophiticæ supra religionem Dei Sabaoth,” who with the Gnostics is trampled upon under the figure of a lion and a dragon ; it really seems to me, that the mere statement of his positions is sufficient to convince the reader of the wildness and extravagance of the accusation. He is of opinion, and it is probable, that the order of the Templars, on its suppression, lapsed into that of the Freemasons, and that these latter are much older than the Templars. He finds the same symbols, signs of the sun, moon, and stars, which have been in use from all antiquity. He thinks that there were various stages of the mysteries, and that the last was when men were told " nihil credere et omnia facere licere,” which was the doctrine of the Ishmailites, the Assassins, &c. Now these Assassins at last were tributary to the Templars : why might not the Templars have borrowed their odd figures with innocent intentions ?

He says, of the order of the Assassins and Templars, that both pursued the same object,“ quorum uterque doctrina arcana munitus eodem fere modo imperio mundi potiundo inhiabat. In hoc solummodo diversi, quod Assassini et pugione qua sicarii in inimicos late grassabantur, Templarii autem solummodo gladio contra hostes utebantur. Ceterum uterque ordo amictu albo et insignibus rubris (crux apud Templarios, cingulum apud Assassinos), distinctus plurimis institutionibus miro modo congruebat, præcipue in hoc quod religionem revelatam (quam doctrina arcana penitus subrueret) palam quam severissime exercerent, et quam acerrime defenderent, donec aptam occasionem nacti, tempus advenisse existimarent, ubi Gnosis, throno

tion des Templiers. For my part, I feel disposed to take the high ground upon which Michaud, very properly as I conceive, meets the question. After declaring that he has discovered nothing, either in the eastern or western chronicles, which could at all support the charges, or even give rise to the suspicions which might have suggested them, he proceeds to say, “ How is it possible to believe that a warlike and religious order, which only twenty years before had seen three hundred of its knights suffer themselves to be massacred on the ruins of Japhet, rather than embrace the faith of Mahomet, that this same order, which was almost wholly buried beneath the ruins of Ptolemais, should have contracted an alliance with the infidels, outraged the Christian religion by horrible blasphemies, and have betrayed to the Sarascens the Holy Land, which was filled with their exploits and military glory?" Villani, Bocacio, S. Antonin, Boulain Villiers, Voltaire (if his judgment on an historical question is worth quoting), St. Foix, Arnaud, and Bossuet, have pronounced the Templars innocent. The P. Feijoo, a Spanish Benedictine, and M. Munter the late learned Dane, in consequence of his researches in the Library Corsini at Rome, agree to the justice of this verdict. Finally, Raumer is of the same opinion: “such,'

were the grounds and first establishment of the Christian orders ; and, although at a distance of eight hundred years they may appear unintelligible and strange to some, still the man who is most fond of censure, and of detecting evil, cannot but perceive that in few periods of the world were self-devotion and temperance, religious courage and heroic valour, required and practised to such an extent. Notwithstanding the accusations of Hammer against the Templars, the indisputable testimony of history obliges us to hold fast the opposition between the Christian orders and the atrocious sect of the Assassins. Generally we would avoid adopting the severe view, at

says he,

insidens, leone mactato, ac dracone, seu mundo calcato, omni spirituali ac temporali potestate potiretur.” P. 53. He says, wherever the figure of a dragon fighting with a knight is seen, we may be sure it indicates a Gnostic architect, and that this is only preserved among the Scotch freemasons. How the poor Templars would be astonished if they could hear all this accusation!

i Tom, v. 501.


I asked a very

least we should confine ourselves to that of Menzel ;and we maintain, that there are even still stronger grounds for choosing a milder and more favourable view."

The order having been formally suppressed, it may appear superfluous to inquire whether it be true what is confidently stated by many, that it actually now exists as a secret society. The memory of the Templars is, however, still venerable, and there will ever be a powerful interest associated with their very name. excellent French gentleman what opinion he held respecting their pretended existence. Sir,” said he, “it is a good forty years ago that I was very intimate with the Întendant of the city of Metz. Now it happened that a certain monk, belonging to a monastery of St. Benedict in that city, was accused to him by his superiors of disgracing his order by a bad life, and so the Intendant prepared a lettre de caché, and was about to have cast him into prison, when certain friends of mine requested that I would endeavour to save this poor man, who very probably was not so bad as they would make him out to be. I was a young man then, and well received by fair ladies, and, with all honesty and honour, I had the ear of the wife of the Intendant, a right gentle and virtuous woman, who was soon as eager as I was to perform what we thought would be a good deed, and so she agreed to beg her husband for the poor man. At first, as a matter of course, he would not hear her, and right fell he looked as she demanded grace; but, at last, the beautiful woman must prevail, and so he said, “Well, madame, since you will have it so, and since Monsieur has such a conviction of the man's innocence, I will tear the letter ; but I fear much that you are about to make me commit a sottish folly :' and so he tore the letter. Well, I was vain, and full of haughty spirits, and away I hastened to the convent. It was after dinner. The monks were coming out of the refectory, and going to the chapel. (Many of them, I must say, were excellent, laborious, and learned men.) And so I said to a servant who stood by, Point me out Don when he comes up.' So the monks passed along, chanting their holy words, and at last came an old

I Geschichte der Deutschen, iv. 145.
? Geschichte der Hohenstaufen, i. 497.

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man, bending very low as he walked, and muttering with a low tone. * That is the monk, sir,' said the servant. · Don ;' said I, with a loud voice, and haughtily, that all might hear, and tremble too, 'I must speak with you, on the part of M. the Intendant.'

At that word the poor man stopped, and, stooping and trembling, he gazed upon me, while his hands shook very much, and all the monks stood still, looking wildly, and were confounded ; and I said to him, “Don you are free; the lettre de caché is torn.' Then the poor man came up, and kissed both my hands, and still bowing down and trembling, he would have thanked me with many words, but I waived him back. 'Go on, sir ; they wait for you ; go and thank God.' Then I strode out fiercely. The next day, the monk, with all his relations, his brothers and sisters, and many more, came to thank me as their deliverer. "Sir,' said the monk to me, “I cannot repay you; but I know that you are a great traveller, and very learned and curious in history, and I believe you are not a Freemason.' I bowed assent. “Then, sir, I will tell you one thing, which I ought not to disclose, and yet, for your pleasure, I must reveal it to you, though it were to my loss and injury. Sir, the Masons of the highest rank are the Templars, and the venerable order still exists in that body. The monk told me that; I am afraid, after all, that his superiors and the bishop were right, and that he was a bad man, and of evil habits, and would have been better shut up; but that he told me as a great secret, and with all the expressions of sincerity. The monk has been long dead, and I know no more concerning the Templars.”

I have now given sufficient examples to illustrate the character of the Crusaders. A few general remarks may be required in taking leave of these illustrious heroes, these Heraclidæ of Christendom.

And, first, it will be asked, whether, on any principle, it is possible to justify the Crusades ?

The modern historians and moralists have prepared us for such a question. The pointed sentences of Wharton, Gibbon, Hume, and Robertson, are repeated by all the shallow praters and scribblers who declaim upon this subject, and no one can be presumed so happy as not to have heard them. I shall endeavour, in few words, to set this

question at rest. The desire to visit the Holy Land arose from a reasonable and a religious motive. At the beginning of the second century bishops used to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem ; and St. Gregory Nazianzen, in the fourth


while he condemns the abuse, describes the singular joy which he experienced on beholding the places which were memorials of the mercy of Jesus Christ. St. Jerome mentions, that, though St. Hilarion lived many years in Palestine, he never went up to visit the holy places at Jerusalem but once; and then he stayed only one day, He went once, that he might not seem to despise that devotion; but he did not go oftener, lest he should seem persuaded that God, or his religious worship, was confined to any particular place. Petrarch, in a later age, writing to one who was about to visit Jerusalem from a religious motive, thus presses himself: “I approve of this intention, and I love you the more for having it: nam quid homini pietate prius ? quid antiquius ? aut quæ pietas justior quam ut ei qui pro te gratis sanguinem fudit, animam posuit, vitam dedit, utcunque tanti amoris vitam referas?""!

This feeling cannot be affected by any lapse of time, if the faith of men change not. If, in the nineteenth cen. tury, men of some countries visit the scenes of our Lord's sufferings with other views ; if they go to Jerusalem to lament that the Holy Land was ever rescued from the dominion of the Sarassins, saying, that these “ were far less barbarous than their conquerors ;” if they visit Calvary to jest at the pilgrims, and to argue that the Empress Helena “ had never read her Bible ;" if they ascend the mountain where Christ fasted and was tempted, and this to discover and record the finding of “a very curious and new cimex or bug ;"2 if they go but to geologise on the Mount of Olives, and to estimate the probable advantage of draining the Dead Sea, and of launching steam-boats on the Jordan,—it is not that human nature is changed, or that sound philosophy has shewn the folly of our ancestors, but it is that these men have not the same faith in the religion of Christ; for, as Descartes says, “it is one thing to believe, and another for a man to imagine that he believes.”3

1 Epist. xii. 5.
2 See “ the Modern Traveller” in Palestine.
3 Discours de la Méthode.

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