Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[graphic]

the Unity which prevailed. The Influence of the Holy SeeHow Religion harmonized with all Forms of Civil Government.—XVII. p. 303. On the Exaltation and the Doctrine of the Cross-How Religion was guarded from Fanaticism and Immorality.-XVIII.p.310. On the Humanity and Spirituality of Men in these Āges Example of St. Bernard How men adhered to the Simplicity and Wisdom of Nature ; hence the picturesque form of every thing under their control --Perfection lay in Charity-Examples of Spiritual Wisdom in the Interpretation and Use of the Scriptures - The deep Sense which was entertained of their Value. That temporal Men possessed a high degree of this Wisdom The Church taught no regular System of Philosophy, and made no Addi-. tion to what God had revealed ; encouraged Learning--That there are Difficulties in Religion no cause of Offence. That Motives were the Criterion of Men's Actions The Advantage to be derived from the Philosophy of the Ancients.ob XIX. p. 340, The Doctrine of the Holy Angels 2-on the Sacraments, and the great Characteristics of the Christian Religion. --XX. p. 348. On the Love which Men had for the Ceremonies and Offices of the Church_Examples-On their solemn Beauty --How they displayed the Wisdom of the Church, and how they followed of necessity from the whole Scheme of Revelation, and even from a Law of Nature - How they consoled the miserable-"A Practice of Devotion for every Hour of the Day Instances of Abuse, and the Horror it excited in Knights.-XXI. p. 367. How every thing bore a devotional Aspect-Chivalrous Imagery employed to denote Celestial Objects.—XXII. p. 372. How the Beauty of Nature was made a Source of Divine Contemplation and of future Hope- The Excellence of this ancient Theology.-XXIII. p. 378. A Return to the Original Subject, shewing that Piety is inseparable from the true bent of Honour The Piety of the Brave in ancient Times. XXIV. p. 382. A Review of the Excellence of what has been seen, and a Concession that Despondency and Suspicions may succeed_-The Unreasonableness of such Fears - That there must ever be Abuses; still that the Middle Ages were Ages of great Virtue-How the '. Church condemned Superstition.-XXV. p. 391. The present Times less unfavourable to Truth than the last three Centre ries_Still Truth meets with great Difficulties - The Conclu- . sion, giving a melancholy View of what is to be expected in the next Book

[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic][merged small]

“ Quæ vera esse perspexeris, tene, et Ecclesiæ Catholicae tribue ; quæ falsa, respue, et mihi qui homo suma ignosce."

ST. AUGUST. DE MORIBUS Eccles. CATHOL 20.

We were five in company, on an evening in August, leaving the little town of Egeri, upon the lake of the same name in Switzerland. We had travelled far through a sultry day, and the sweet refreshing air which had now sprung up invited us to pursue our course to the convent of Einsedelin, which we hoped to reach that night. Our way was over a wild barren mountain ; and we had hardly risen above the town, when the sky exhibited no dubious signs of an approaching storm, which was gathering in deep purple volumes over the high range of the Bern Alps. However, the present was all enjoyment, and we scorned the counsel of our Nestor, (for among five there is always one to fill this character,) who sagely advised us to proceed no farther. On reaching the summit we found a chapel, with a little bell to ring to mass; and before the altar there knelt a hermit, “un sainct preud'homme hermite," who seemed unconscious of our presence, so absorbed was he in meditation. The thunder was now distinctly heard. It is related of St. Chad, Bishop of Lichfield, that, as often as it thundered, he went into the church and prayed prostrate as long as the storm continued, in remembrance of the dreadful day in which Christ will come to judge the world. But we were impatient, and we wanted some water to drink; and we knew, instinctively as it were, what was the charity of these holy men, whose obedience is before their sacrifice. He arose quickly and went to his little cell which stood before the chapel, and having procured a vessel, he soon presented us with some delicious water from a spring which gushed out close to his door. He was a tall fine-looking man, with a long black beard, and a keen searching eye; he wore a dark habit with a cowl, and his waist was bound by a cord, from which hung his beads and crucifix. When he went for the vessel I was following him to the door, but he waved his hand, and intimated that I must not enter. Much I wondered to observe how well he had guarded his poor dwelling, every aperture being furnished with a strong bar. I even heard the door bolted within when he entered, though he was to rejoin me in a moment. In the Palmerin of England, indeed, the young knight of the savage man was treated in this way by the hermit, who, shocked at his loose discourse, went into his cell, and fastened the door after him, just as if the giant Bracolan, his old enemy, had been alive again, and was following him: but I was no giant, and had said nothing. One might have remembered how the noble hermit, William Earl of Warwick, recommended Tirante the White to de. part immediately, adding as a motive, that it was late, and the road hard to find, and never offering to give him lodging, though he had been generous enough to give him a book : but this was no time for recollections. Afterwards the mystery was explained. One of his predecessors, the good St. Meinhard, had been murdered on the neighbouring mountain, by two strangers whom he had admitted into his cell. Certain it is, every where holy men had

somewhat to apprehend from similar guests. When St' Evroul and his companions retired into the most remote part of the forest of Ouche, in the diocese of Lisieux, which was only inhabited by wild beasts and robbers, a peasant discovered them, and warned them of their danger. The saint, however, replied, “ We are come hither to bewail our sins: we place our confidence in the mercy of God, and we fear no one." One of the robbers was converted by them, and he persuaded his companions to change their mode of life. Even in the romance of the « Round Table,” Mordrec killed a preud-homme hermit in a forest, to the great horror of Sir Launcelot. In the seventh century, St. Monon of Scotland, who lived a hermit life in the forest of Ardennes, was murdered in his cell by robbers. Now we were strangers, and our dress denoted that we came from beyond the seas; and, in fact, we learned afterwards, that in the forest, on the other side of the mountain, and within half an hour's walk of his cell, there stood a lone house, which was the abode, at intervals, of desperate men who lived by rapine. The good hermit presented us right courteously with his pitcher; and while we were drinking in succession, he talked about the mountain and the wild wood through which we must pass. “That cross," said he," shews the track to Einsedelin; and see there, in the distance below, by yonder lake, is the pass so famous for the · Schlacht of Morgarten: Das ist der Platz wo die Schlacht von Morgarten vorfiel.” But his wild discourse was broken as ever and anon he gazed fearfully upwards on the advancing storm which had now wrapt in thickest darkness the very mountain over which we had lately passed. These were the clouds coming on after a sultry day which Homer so grandly describes as accompanying the retreat of Mars when, wounded by Diomede, he fled, roaring up to heaven *. A strange livid and ghastly light gleamed beyond the mountains, such as might be reflecting the brazen god, while their summits were lost in the blackness of the storm. As we stood to watch the lightning, å forked beam darting across made one of our light companions to laugh with admiration; but a look of humble censure

[ocr errors]

from the hermit was a sermon which I can never forget, as he slırunk his head under his cowl, and bowed down to the earth with a most appalling expression of terror and humility. It was a look for Titian to have caught, though I doubt if his unrivalled pencil could have expressed it. We presented him with some small pieces of money; and as we hurried down the mountain, we heard his blessing and his prayers following us; as if he had no thought for himself, though we left him to await in solitude this night of horror. On entering the forest of Pine, the night had prematurely overtaken us, and the storm was already upon us. It was a night in which the beasts would go into their dens, and remain in cover, and when the knights of old would remember the Pater Noster of St. Julian. The thunder rolled heavily, and the forked lightning darted on every side : the rain began to fall in large drops, which quickly passed into a flood, as though heaven and earth would go together. Heartily did each one of us wish himself back in the hermit's cell, as we hurried on in silence over rough and smooth, wet and hard ; but we had come too far to think of returning. At length, by the glare of the fast-succeeding flashes, we discovered a collection of houses, as we thought, at a small distance in advance ; but on approaching they proved to be nothing but deserted and roofless chalets. A quarter of an hour further we caught a light from some window to the right, across the waste; we ran towards it, and discovered a wretched lone house into which we fled for refuge. It stood at the skirts of the wood, in a flat morass. About ten o'clock the night seemed to clear, and after deliberation, we resolved to proceed ; but being very tired, and having now no wish to arrive at the convent that night, since I knew that the reverend father would not be visible, for whom I was charged with a letter, I reluctantly, and not without forebodings, left the company, and resolved to make my way back to the hermit's cell, and with him to wait till morning. But the interval of calm was deceitful, and the darkness returned with greater horror than ever; the thunder roared, and the lightning flashed, and the rain fell, and the mountain torrents raged along under broken bridges of pine thrown across, till I was knee-deep in soil and water, and my eyes were nearly blind by the bright

« PoprzedniaDalej »