« PreviousContinue »
VIII. The general character of the secular Clergy. The spirit of the Church respecting their duties .
124 IX. Of Hermits and the Monastic Orders. Of Princes and Knights who retired from the world. The poetic interest attached to them. The confidence and love which they inspired. The customs and discipline of a monastery. The learning of the Monks. Their sanctity. General remarks on the Clergy
153 X. The charity and benevolence of ancient manners. Exercised also towards the dead. Examples
215 XI. The forgiveness of injuries required by the spirit of Chivalry. Examples. The duty of knighthood to appease enmities. Examples
238 XII. Chivalry reposed a humble hope in Divine aid
246 XIII. Religion requiring a hardy life, much abstinence, and simplicity, harmonised with the views of Chivalry. Examples 249
XIV. The profound and solemn spirit of Knights. The pilgrim. Dark views entertained of war. The wonderful penance of the king Don Rodrigo. The custom of holding vigils in a church. Further examples of solemn devotion, in the avoidance of oaths, in the observance of the festivals
252 XV. The religious graces which became the ornament of women. Examples
XVI. General remarks on the religion of these ages. On the unity which prevailed. The influence of the Holy See. How religion harmonised with all forms of civil government
293 XVII. On the exaltation and the doctrine of the Cross. How religion was guarded from fanaticism and immorality .
300 XVIII. On the humanity and spirituality of men in these ages. 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 addition to what God had revealed ; encouraged learning. That there are difficulties in religion no cause of offence. That motives were the cri. terion of men's actions. The advantage to be derived from the philosophy of the ancients
306 XIX. The doctrine of the holy Angels. On the Sacraments, and the great characteristics of the Christian religion
XX. 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 .
343 XXI. How every thing bore a devotional aspect. Chivalrous imagery employed to denote celestial objects
. 362 XXII. How the beauty of nature was made a source of divine contemplation and of future hope. The excellence of this ancient theology
367 XXIII. 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
373 XXIV. 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 .
377 XXV. The present times less unfavourable to truth than the last three centuries. Still truth meets with great difficulties. The conclusion, giving a melancholy view of what is to be expected in the next Book
“Quæ vera esse perspexeris, tene, et Ecclesiæ Catholicæ tribue ; quæ falsa, respue, et mihi, qui homo sum, 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 babit 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 depart 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 hermitlife 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