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natural dictates of true honour and morality. So that when the poet makes persons advise Cato to consult the oracle, he replies, that his course is already plainly pointed out by the voice of conscience and honour, and albeit, with some foolish sophisms, he rejects their proposal.
“ Scimus, et hoc nobis non altius inseret Ammon.
Hæremus cunctis superis, temploque tacente
Et cælum et virtus ? Superos quid quærimus ultra * ?” XVIII.—Who has not been struck, in the preceding instances, with the humanity which accompanied the spiritual elevation of men in these ages? The sublirne piety of the saints is not more eminent than the tenderness and humanity which they have evinced in the relations of life. I have already alluded to a remarkable sermon by St. Bernard on the death of his brother Girard, who had held a minor office in the monastery of Clairvaux. The saint had been preaching a series of sermons on one book of the Holy Scriptures, and the first part of the discourse, in which he alludes to his brother's death, is a continuation of the subject which had employed him on the preceding day. At length he breaks out, “ How long shall I dis. semble and conceal the interior fire which consumes my sad breast? What is this canticle to me, who am in bit. terness? Quid mihi et cantico huic, qui in amaritudine sum? The power of grief has defeated my intention, and the indignation of the Lord hath wasted my spirit. I have done violence to my soul, and I have hitherto dissem. bled, lest affection should seem to have conquered faith. While others wept, I, as you can testify, followed the sore rowful train with dry eyes; with dry eyes I stood at the grave, until all the solemn rites were fulfilled. Clad in the sacerdotal habits, I recited with my own tongue the accustomed prayers for him; with my hands I threw, as usual, the earth upon his beloved body, which was soon to be earth. They who beheld me wept, and wondered that I did not weep, and they rather lamented me who had
• Lučan, IX. 572.
lost him ; but I only struggled against affection with the strength of faith. Nor had I the same command over my grief as over my tears, but, as it is written, turbatus sum et non sum locutus. But grief suppressed sinks more deeply, and is more intense from not being suffered to have vent. Fateor, victus sum. Exeat necesse est foras quod intus patior ; it must come out to the eyes of sons who, knowing the loss, will hear my complaint with more humanity, and will console me with greater gentleness. You know, my sons, how just is my grief. You observe what a faithful companion bath deserted me on my road, one so awake to care, so active in affairs, so sweet in con. versation. Who so necessary to me? by whom was I so loved ? Frater erat genere, sed religione germanior, I was weak in body, and he bore me; I was faint in heart, and he comforted me: negligent, and he excited me; forgetful, and he reminded me. Whither art thou torn from my hands, man after my own heart? We have loved each other in life, how shall we be separated in death ? Hard condition, but it is my fortune, not his, which is tearful. For you, dear brother, if you have lost those dear to you, it was that you might find those who were still dearer: but what consolation is left to me? I have lost the delights of friendship; you have but changed them. How, I desire to know, what you, who are in the choir of angels, now think of me in the midst of trouble and sorrow! If thou can'st think of the miserable who hast entered that abyss of light, and art absorbed in the ocean of eternal felicity : for, perhaps, although thou hast known me according to the flesh, now thou no longer knowest me, being entered into the power of the Lord, mindful only of his justice, forgetful of us; but, . qui ad. hæret Deo, unus spiritus est,' and is changed into divine affection ; neither can he perceive or understand aught except God, and what God perceives and understands ; but God is charity, and by how much any one is more near to God, by so much is he more filled with charity. Moreover, God is passionless, but not without compassion, whose property is always to have mercy and to forgive. Therefore, of necessity, thou must be merciful who art joined with mercy, although thou mayest not be in the least unhappy; and thou who art without suffering,
must, nevertheless, have compassion. Thy affection is not diminished but unchanged"; nor since thou hast put on God hast thou thrown off the care of us; for he hath care of us. What is weak thou hast thrown off, but not that which is pious : for charity never faileth ; and thou wilt not forget me for ever. Methinks I hear my brother saying, Numquid mater oblivisci poterit filii uteri sui? Etsi illa oblita fuerit, ego tamen non obliviscar tui. Thou knowest where I lie, where thou hast left me. There is no one to stretch out a hand to me. On every occasion I am looking to Girard as I was accustomed, and he is not. Alas! then I lament as one without assistance. Who will carry my burdens? who will shield me from danger? No one would come to me who had not first sought Girard; for he would meet them coming, offering himself, lest they should suddenly incur my anger. O industrious man, faithful friend! Who ever departed from him empty ? if rich, he had advice; if poor, he had alms. Thanks to you, brother, if there be any fruit of my studies in the Lord ; to you I owe it, if I have made any advance. Thou wert occupied, and I kept holiday and gave myself to study; for why should I not feel secure within, while I knew that you were abroad, my right hand, the light of my eyes, my breast and my tongue? But what do I say of his occupation without, as if Girard was destitute of spiritual gifts ? they who are spiritual who knew him, knew how spiritual were his words. How often, when conversing with him, have I learned things which I knew not before, and I, who came to teach, went back more learned! He had no learning, but he had the sense, the creator of learning; he had likewise the spirit which giveth light. Nor was he only great in great things, but also in the least. What escaped the skill of Girard in building, in tillage, in gardening, in irrigation, in all rural arts? He was master of hewing stone, of building, of husbandry, of making shoes, and weaving. When in the judgment of all he was wiser than all, alone in his own eyes he was not wise. I could say more of him, but I forbear, because he is my flesh and my brother ; but this I confidently add, that to me he was useful in all things, and above all ; he was useful in small and great things, in private and public, abroad and within. Justly I depended
on him, who bore the labour, and left me to gain the honour. I was cailed abbot, but he was the first in solicitude. Justly did my spirit rest in him, by whom I was enabled to have delight in the Lord, to preach with more freedom, to pray with more security. Alas! thou art taken away, and all these things are gone! for with thee I have lost my delights and my joy. The hand of the Lord hath touched me. Let him who is holy condescend to me, and him who is spiritual, in the spirit of gentleness, let him bear with my grief. We daily see the dead bewailing their dead, much tears and no fruit: We do not blame the affection, unless when it exceeds moderation. This is of nature, that is vanity and sin; for these bewail the loss of fleshly glory and the sorrow of the present life; and they are to be mourned over who thus mourn ; but my sorrow is not of this world ; for I mourn things which are of God, a faithful helper, a wise adviser ; I mourn for Girard, my brother in the flesh, but one most near to me in spirit. I confess I am not insensible to punishment; I shudder at my death, and at the death of my friends : he was my Girard, mine altogether. Pardon me, my sons; nay, if sons, share with me in grief. Have pity on me, have pity on me, at least you, my friends; but I condemn not the sentence which hath obtained the crown for him, and the punishment for me. Thou art gone before ; thou art gone to those whom, about the middle of thy last night, thou didst invite to praise, when suddenly, with a countenance and voice of exultation, thou didst break forth, to the astonishment of those who were present, with the words, Laudate Dominum de coelis, laudate eum in excelsis. And now, my brother, the day was beginning to dawn to you at the dead of night, and the night did shine as the day: I am sent for to behold that miracle, to behold a man exulting in death, and insulting death. Death, where is thy victory, where is thy sting? There is no sting, but there is jubilation. The man dies singing, and sings in dying. When I arrived, I heard him finishing the psalm with a clear voice: he looked up to heaven, and said, Pater, in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum ; and repeating these words, and frequently sighing, Pater, Pater, turning towards me with a joyful face, he said, what condescension in God, to be the father of men; what glory for men, to be the sons and heirs of God! For if sons, then heirs. Thus did he sing, and thus did he als most turn my sorrow into songs of gladness. Justus es, Domine, et rectum judicium tuum. Thou gavest Girard, thou hast taken him away; and if we mourn for his departure, we do not forget that he was given. I remember, O Lord, my agreement and thy mercy, that thou mayest be the more justified in thy sayings, and that thou mayest conquer when thou art judged. When we were at Viterbo last year, for the affairs of the church, he fell sick; and when he seemed near death, I bitterly lamenting that I should have to leave the companion of my journey in a strange land, and that I should not be able to return him to those who had entrusted him to me, since he was loved by all, and was most worthy of love, I betook myself to prayer, with tears and sighs, and I said, 'wait, O Lord, till we return. Thou didst hear me, O Lord; he recovered ; we fulfilled our object; we returned with joy, and brought back the sheaves of peace. I almost forgot my agreement; but thou didst not forget it. I am ashamed of these sobs which convict me of prevarication. What remains ? Thou hast sought thine own. Tears shall make an end of words. Do thou only, O Lord, prescribe limits and an end to them *."
Now if men like St. Bernard, exalted so far above the level of humanity, and almost absorbed in divine light, were thus sensible to the feelings of nature, we may be sure that knights and temporal men were ignorant of any piety which was not joined with generous and natural affections : men would have learned the duty of cherishing them, from attending even to the prayers of the Church. The Church prayed to God, the Father Almighty, “ that he would cure diseases, drive away famine, open prisons, break chains, grant a safe return to travellers, health to the sick, and a secure haven to such as are at sea." And were knights and temporal men to affect a spirituality above all such considerations ? No, truly. Nothing was too small or trifling not to be decided by the maxims of religion: As its ceremonies formed part of the happiness, so its precepts were applied to all the detail and ordinary trans
• S. Bernardi in Cantica, Sermo XXVI