Page images
PDF
EPUB

tholics.

sideration and in their excessive trepidation [*driven in confusion of the alarm- to and fro,"] and afraid even of your own presence. So ing preva- that in this state of uncertainty, some coming, some lence of heresy in Italy, again retiring as they came, they are veering about, and the ex-' backwards and forwards, and are still a prey to fear. cited state Sound then aloud (good) pope, the signal cry, the famiof feeling existing

liar call, of the true Shepherd ; and stand between them among Ca- and the wolves, that they may be divested of their

alarms, and then at length recognise you as their shepherd indeed. For the people that I see (around me here] while supporting many heretics, are yet full of zeal, and are easily thrown into confusion like the affrighted sheep. And from such causes of terror they are but ill secured, seeing that Italy has been so infested with grievous wolves, that the destruction of all their whelps is a thing almost impossible, reared as they have been to such a monstrous growth in their native dens. (*Those dens may God extinguish, with the race of monsters reared in them, and his own flock may he nourish*] (and protect.] May he also put it into your heart to apply yourself with vigilance to your pastoral office, standing upon your watch day and night, [*and to keep a (constant) eye to that hazel rod, the (symbol of your office) that so you may be counted worthy to see it in a future day loaded, [like Aaron's rod) with abundant produce, on the arrival of that harvest time when the true fruits

shall be gathered in.* ] Apostolic

“In order then that you may not lack Apostolic honour, faithfulness preserve the Apostolic Faith; confirm it by your testifoundation

mony; support it with your pen; fortify it by (the de

cision of ] a synod; so that none may be able, on rightful to apostolic grounds, to resist your authority. Slight not this little

word of advice offered by a stranger, from any feeling connected with your consciousness of being the teacher of him who is thus anxious on your behalf. The world is already verging to its close. The chief Shepherd is at

the true

for claims

honour.

xii. 45.

Luke xii. 48.

flock;

hand. Beware lest he find you negligent, and beating S: Luke your fellow-servants with the stripes of a bad example, and eating and drinking with the drunken ; lest you be s. Matt. x. overtaken by the consequences of such carelessness. 33. For he that knoweth not, shall not be known. To be concerned for your own case is not sufficient for you, seeing that you have made yourself responsible for the charge over many. For to whomsoever much is given, of him shall the more be required.

"Be vigilant then I implore thee, O Pope, be vigilant ; Pastors reand again I say be vigilant! For it may be that there sponsible to was a want of proper vigilance on the part of Vigilius, God for conwho is loudly exclaimed against as having been the first vigilance in occasion of scandal, by those who are attaching blame the care of to you. Be vigilant, first in defence of the faith; then Christ's in inculcating the works of faith, and in suppressing vices. For vigilance on your part will prove the salvation of many; as on the other hand, carelessness on your part will bring many to destruction. Let Isaiah send thee forth upon the mountain, O thou that tellest good Isa. xl. 9, tidings to Sion ! Yea, let God, [speaking] by Isaiah, marg. station thee, according to the interpretation of thy name, on the watch-tower of true contemplation, where placed as it were upon an eminence above all 'mankind, and raised near to the inhabitants of heaven, thou mayest lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and tell the people of thy lviii. i. ib. Lord, by Him committed to thy charge, their sins, and to the house of Jacob their iniquities. Be not afraid of incurring the charge of falsehood; for a message thou hast, which it is thy bounden duty to deliver. For, what is a still more serious evil, many souls in these parts have been destroyed through the carelessness of the pastors ; and many have been deluded by the ruinous influences of prosperity and abundance.

and for fre“Since therefore, according to the denunciations of quent the Lord, the blood of the saints is to be required at the preaching

of God's

1

Ezek.

[ocr errors]

The anx

this letter to be attri

hands of the Shepherds, a vigilant watch must be kept ; holy Word. that is, there must be frequent preaching of the Word

of the Lord, namely by the pastors of the Church, its
watchmen and guardians; that no soul may perish
through ignorance. For if any shall perish through

carelessness, his blood shall be reckoned against his own xxxiii. 4, 6. head.

My reason for insisting so keenly on points long famiious tone of liar to every body I shall assign in what follows. For

these principles (which I am now stating] have an buted to the important relation to the details of the subject sug, influence of gested by me at the outset; the two being connected the solemn together in a mutual dependance upon one another ; admonitions of Holy

which makes it necessary for these principles to be Scripture cleared up in the first instance. For the man who has on the feel- no concern about religion, has no concern about error, ings of the and on this depends the entire controversy, on this point

turns the whole case [at issue.] Here it is that that Heb. iv. 12. two-edged sword, which pierces even to the dividing asun

der of the flesh and spirit, of the joints and marrow, and
which is a discerner of the heart and its intents, must cut
thro’ the nerves even to the bone. For this reason it
is that my language is seasoned with the divine salt, it

being commanded that every sacrifice should be salted with I. 49. salt. For this reason it is that the sparks of that divine

fire which the Lord came to send forth upon the earth, de-
scend from heaven to burn up the wood, hay, stubble, that
are unhappily builded by many upon the foundation. This
is what may well be wondered at, that we Christians
are so often builded upon other foundations than that be-
side which none can lay any; other foundations than that
which is laid, which is Christ Jesus. Alas what fuel for
hell is preparing on every side in these unfortunate
buildings; concerning the burning up of hich has gone
forth that kindling word of the Lord, issuing forth from
the vast pile of those flames which never die ; [and]

[ocr errors]

4

S. Mark

S. Luke xii. 49. 1 Cor. iii. 11, 12.

mage to the

11.

5

saying, Take heed to yourselves, lest haply your hearts be s. Luke overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of xxi. 34, 35. this life, and that day come upon you unawares, for as a snare shall it come upon all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth,

“You see what fearful warnings the Lord makes use of, Boniface's to arouse to vigilance our mischievous indifference and neglect of sluggishness. Therefore [it is that] I have been led to the duties

belonging to cry, Awake to vigilance, good Pope! It is time to arise

his primatial out of sleep. The Lord is at hand! and we are now office, a standing almost in the perilous days at the end [of the source of world.] Lo! the nations are in perplexity, the kingdoms are moved; therefore shall the Most High soon utter his Church. voice, and the earth shall melt away. Observing then, as Rom. xiii. I do, that the host of the enemy has beset us around on

Philip. iv. every side, I feel myself impelled by fear, (for I am no valiant warrior) to endeavour to arouse you, as the 2 Tim. iii. principal one among our leaders, even with importunate ; cries; for on you devolves the responsibility of the dan- Ps. xlvi. 6. ger which now threatens the whole army of the Lord, lying torpid as it is in the field, when it should be engaged in the fight, and in part, what is still more melancholy, making submission to the adversary instead of offering resistance. Every thing is waiting for the signal from you, who are possessed of the legitimate power of regulating all details, arranging the war, arousing the leaders, ordering to arms, marshalling the lines, in fine opening the combat, yourself marching in the van. Alas that we, even we Christians, of this country, should have been so long subject to defeats in this spiritual warfare; first by reason of our carnal vices and proud conversation ; then through the coldness of our wavering faith; the unsteadiness of which, while we perceived it not, has given occasion to our being surrounded by a triple tile of the enemy-an enemy sent against us as a judgment for our luxurious apathy.

of his own

men :

[ocr errors]

a

Columba

“ That such apathy should exist, is to me, I confess, nus con- matter of astonishment; and (to think] that almost trasts the

every one should be subjected to the influence of such apathy ob

a fatal slumber! I cannot conceive what kind of servable among

hearts, of ears, of senses, [are those] that the kindChristians ling words of the Lord Himself have failed to arouse to in Italy vigilance and zeal ever-fervent, to contempt of the ligious zeal world, to (imitation of] the poverty of Christ; as those

words have [already] influenced many nations (elsecountry- where]. For coming, as I do, from the remotest corner

of the world, where I have seen our spiritual leaders
engaged in fighting the battles of the Lord, and hoping
in future to see more able and valiant leaders of this
sacred cenflict;—and [then] finding matters as I do,
[*when I look around me, and contemplate the slain
upon the battle-field, as one who has had a share in the
fight might do, when it is over,"] I feel stupified at the
sight; and turning with pain and alarm to you (you]
only, as the sole surviving hope among the chieftains,
possessing (such] influence (as you do] through the ho-
nour due to the Apostle St. Peter, (to you] I address
my lamentations over the destruction of so great an

army:
after which “But seeing that the frail bark of my intellect has yet
he sets him- been scarcely launched (according to the expression of
self to ap-
proach more

the Lord) into the deep (of this question,] but has rather

been
nearly the so far stationary in one spot; (for a paper (like this]
proper sub- is insufficient to contain all that my mind was anxious,
ject of this for various reasons, to include within the narrow com-
letter;

pass of a letter ; urged as I am by the king to express
in detail to your clement ears the matters which give
occasion to his grief: the trouble which he suffers being
caused by the schism of the people about the queen,
about his son, and perhaps himself too: for the report
abroad is, that a statement was made to this effect, that
if he were to be certain of the truth, he also would him-

« PreviousContinue »