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though 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 selfdevotion 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 least we should confine ourselves to that of Menzel *; and we maintain, that there are even still stronger grounds for chusing a milder and more favourable view .”.
The order having been formally suppressed, it may ap, pear superfluous to enquire 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, how. ever, still venerable, and there will ever be a powerful interest associated with their very name. I asked a very excellent French gentlemen, what opinion he held respect ing their pretended existence. “Sir," said he, “ it is a good forty years ago that I was very intimate with the Intendant 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 con viction 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, chaunting their holy words, and at last came an old man, bending very low as he walked, and muttered 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."
* Geschichte der Deutschen, iv. 145. + Geschichte der Hohenstaufen i. 497.
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 age, 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. Jerom 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 staid 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 expresses 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 century, 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 Sarrassins, saying, that these “were far less barbarous than their conquerors;" if they visit Calvary to
* Epist. XIII. 5.
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 *" if they go but to geologize 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 t." But the defence of a military expedition to invade the country of the infidels, presents another question. In this respect, however, the Crusades are easily justified on every principle of justice and policy. Xenophon relates, that all the world admired the spirit and policy of Agesilaus, in determining to meet the barbarians on their own territory, rather than to wait till they had invaded Greece, when he would have to meet them on the defensive f. Precisely similar was the case of the Crusades. When St. Bernard and the popes called upon the princes of Christendom to take the Cross, it was to save Europe, and to prevent the Crescent from dispossessing the Cross. There is not a point of history more clearly established than this, by the concurrent testimony of all real historians. Hence has the memory of the Crusaders been ever dear to all great men who loved Christianity. Thus Dante sees the Cross placed in the planet Mars, to denote the glory of those who fought in the Crusades g. Raumer even says, that for importance and efficacy nothing can be compared to the victory of Charles Martel, but that of the Greeks of old over the Persians. And it is with justice, indeed, that the first Sunday in October is kept by the western Christians as a festival of perpetual thanksgiving to God for the victory of Lepanto. How grateful should Christians feel to the Roman Pontiffs for their watchful solicitude. That illus
* See " the Modern Traveller” in Palestine.
trious pope, Pius II., had reason, when he said in his celebrated speech in 1463, which was repeatedly interrupted by the tears of the assembly, that the following of the Cross would prove the sincerity of their devotion. “ Now let your faith, your religion, your piety, be brought to the light. If it be a true, and not a feigned charity, follow us. We will set you an example, that you may do what we are about to perform : but we will imitate our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ, the pious and holy Shepherd, who did not fear to lay down his life for his sheep, and we will lay down our life for our flock, since in no other way can we bear assistance to the Christian religion, that it be not trodden down by the Turkish men. We will mount the ship, though old and broken down with sickness. And what can you do in war ? some one will say. "An old man, a priest, oppressed with a thousand maladies, will you go into battle ?'. We will imitate the holy Father Moses, we will stand on the lofty prow, or on the top of some mountain, having the divine Eucharist before our eyes, that is, our Lord Jesus Christ, and we will implore from him salvation and victory for our fighting soldiers: Cor contritum et humiliatum non despiciet Dominus. It cannot be preserved unless we imitate our predecessors who maintained the kingdom of the Church: nor is it enough to be confessors, to preach to the people, to thunder against vices, to exalt virtue to heaven: we must approach to their standard who offered up their bodies for the testament of the Lord. For our God we leave our own seat, and the Roman Church, and we devote to the cause of piety these grey hairs, and this weak body. He will not be unmindful of us; if He will not grant us a return, He will grant an entrance to heaven, and He will preserve his Primal Seat and his reproachless Spouse *"
If, however, this danger and this necessity had not existed, it is certain that the Crusades would have deserved much of the censure that the moderns have been pleased to pass upon them. There is a remarkable chapter in “L'Arbre des Batailles," where the author enquires, whether it be lawful to make war upon the Sarassins, and he