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great Abbey of Heidenheim, and to this day the oil supposed to flow from her bones is sold at the Nunnery of Eichstatt and used as a cure. Cardinal Newman even believed it to be a credible miracle! Goethe has made us familiar with the Walpurgis-Nacht dance: but very few people are aware of the fact that the dance takes its name from our English Lady, Walpurga. She was canonized at Rome*, on the first of May, the witch-festival, and on that account she was taken as the protectress against magical arts, witches, and all forms of necromancy. The "Hexe-Nacht-Tanz" came by degrees to be called by the
” name of the English protectress of the Germans against evil influence, the “Walpurgis-Nacht dance." Charming little filigree cases in silver with S.W. worked into the filigree, are frequent in these parts now, containing minute flagons with a drop of the oil.
Such customs appear crudely superstitious and are devoid of real spiritual understanding; yet it is supremely interesting to note their origin, and to see that dimly the worshippers of the saint in Germany were struggling after a true idea. Inarticulately they must have felt that the Scripture promise would one day be fulfilled, that the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent's head, and that it would be woman's privilege to so receive divine truth that she would be able to expose and overcome the serpentine workings of witchcraft and all forms of animal magnetism, and establish the goodness and the freedom of Christ's reign upon earth.
*Dr. G. F. Browne in his treatise on Anglo-Saxon Women.
SAINT AUGUSTINE AND THE VENERABLE BEDE
"HE interest pertaining to the influence of women in early Saxon Christianity, has led inquiry somewhat
in advance of a period which cannot be passed over without due notice, namely the settlement of Augustine of Rome at Canterbury in the late 6th century.
We must therefore for a brief space retrace our thoughts.
It is from Bede the Saintly Monk of Jarrow that we glean the history of Augustine's missionary labours and miracles. Everyone is familiar with the story of Augustine's seeing the British captive children at Rome, and being so much struck with the beauty of their fair hair and clear complexions, that he asked where they came from; and on being told that they were Angles how he exclaimed “Not Angles but angels,”—words which the calligraphy of the British schoolboy has not failed to employ interchangeably ever since!
From that time Augustine yearned to bring the light of the gospel to England. Apparently he was ignorant of the fact that Paul had lived in the home of Claudia and Pudens in the British Palace in Rome, on the side of the Mons Sacer, and of the many conversions to Christianity in the British Isles during the first century. Four centuries
. at least had intervened since those days. But Augustine was a sincere and earnest man, and therefore susceptible to the more spiritual soil of the “Isles of the Sea.” They called to him, and although past history was veiled from his sight, he could still feel the divine impulse leading him westward. “Not Angles, but angels:” “Spiritual intuitions
pure and perfect,” is one of the ways this word is defined in Science and Health:and it was an angel-thought surely that inspired him to venture forth with a band of missionaries on this far journey.
In the recent Great War an important trans-channel ferry was built on an unfrequented strip of coast near Dover. This seaside village of Richborough had never been so prominent in history since the landing of Saint Augustine in 597!-close to the spot now known as Cottington Farm. Ethelbert King of Kent gave audience to the foreign Embassy in the open air, for the reason that "if their purpose was to employ any maleficent art to get the better of him, their purpose would not prevail under the clear sky.”
Augustine's message interpreted to the King by a Frankish priest contained this remarkable sentence:
“The tender-hearted Healer redeemed by His own death the sinful dwellers on this earth, and opened a way by which they might fare into the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Bede tells us of this Christian band that “Their spotless life was manifest to all men: that their promises were true; there was the evidence of many miracles.” So that healing with Augustine meant the healing of bodily infirmities as well as those of the soul. Modern divines are somewhat surprised at Bede's childlike faith in miracles, but they are no less obliged to admit that some such power must have been exercised in the church which sprang from this mission of Augustine, since Gregory of Rome clearly accepts as true beyond question, the information he received as to this working of miracles. There is a most valuable letter extant in which Gregory warns Augustine very solemnly, on receiving this news, not to indulge in any feeling of self-satisfaction. He may only rejoice in fear, and fear greatly in rejoicing; and when God works by him external signs, he is always to subject himself to a close and subtle inward inquiry to understand who and what he is, and how great grace there must be in the English people, that for their conversion even the gift of working wonders was bestowed upon him. At such times he must recall to memory any offences he has ever committed by word or deed, and so keep down the rising sense of personal glory; and he must remember that the gift is not given to him, but to those for whose salvation it is exercised. By which letter we may see that Gregory, Bishop of Rome, was doing his best to dampen and crush that spontaneous recognition of the healing Christ and spiritual law, which Augustine had reached and which he, Gregory, evidently had not! Furthermore he was mistaking the very nature of Christian healing, and would contract the phenomena of universal Life and Love into the narrow circumference of a curious personal gift, mystically bestowed as the insignia of a priestly office, and for an isolated purpose.
Nevertheless Augustine healed; and we gather that he looked upon it as a sign that the Gospel was true, and that he really understood the teaching of Jesus; for when he had been made the first Archbishop of Canterbury (and it is interesting to note in this connection that he was ordained by a Bishop in Gaul, not Rome) he was desirous of extending his control beyond Kent into the West, and sent out invitations to the other British bishops to meet at what is now named Augustine's oak. Bishops of the original British church answered the invitation, but were not prepared to change the methods of their own early inheritance. Finally Augustine chose this method of trial. He proposed that some afflicted person should be brought