Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

I do not wish to be tedious on this point, but I am irresistibly tempted, first of all, just to allude to the conflagration of the monastery of Teano, near Monte Casino, which was burned, as Leo Marsicanus says, cum omnibus operibus suis,” in the year 892, because among those opera it is said that the original copy of the Rule of St. Benedict perished, and then to give one or two anecdotes respecting what may be called accidental burning of monasteries, as contra-distinguished from those which took place in the wars. I give them not as proofs that such things happened, for that is naturally to be supposed, and is sufficiently attested by history, but as stories illustrative both of one particular point and of one general subject.

Thieto, who was Abbot of St. Gall, in the year 937, was a strict disciplinarian; and this was very sensibly felt, not only by the monks, but by the school-boys. St. Mark's day being a holiday, some of the latter had got into mischief (quædam errata commiserant) which the monitors (censores scholarum quos circatores vocabant) reported to the masters. Sentence having been passed on the guilty, one of them was sent to the upper part of the building to fetch rods. By way of anticipatory revenge for his flogging, or as a desperate resource to avoid one, the boy took a brand from a fire and placed it under the dry wood which was next to the roof. This quickly took fire, and the flames, driven by the wind, soon seized the tower of the church. The monastery was almost entirely burned, and many books were lost (multi libri amissi) though they were in time to save the church bells and furniture. The writer who relates the story, adds, “ that from this mischief, the monks of St. Gall took a great dislike to the scholars, and some thought that the school ought to be entirely given up, but he suggests that the loss which the monastery sustained by this occurrence was more than counterbalanced by the credit which it had gained through the scholars whom it had sent forth." +

If it had not happened in the same year, I should not have mentioned the burning of the famous monastery of Fulda, because I do not know how it happened, and cannot prove that the library was burned; and where there are cases enough of positive evidence, it is not in general worth while to notice that which is merely presumptive, however strong it may be; and of this monastery and its library I hope to find a fitter occasion to speak.

“ Towards the evening of that day,” says the historian of the monastery of Lawresheim or Lorsch, a few miles east of Worms) speaking of the 21st of March, in the year 1090, “ after that, following the example of the carnal Israel, the people had sat down to eat and to drink, and risen up to play, it happened that, among other games, a disc, set on fire at the edge in the usual way, was whirled in the air by a soldier. $ Being driven round with great force, and present

• Mab. Ann., tom. iii. p. 263.

+ Mab. iii. Ann, 407. Inter cætera ludorum exercitia discus in extrema marginis ora (ut solet) accensus, militari manu per aera vibrabatur;" qui aeriori impulsu circumactus, orbicularem ftammæ speciem reddens, tam ostentui virium quam oculis mirantium, spe. VOL. IX.--May, 1836.

3 s

ing the appearance of a circle of fire, it forms a spectacle which pleases, not only the eye by its appearance, but as an exhibition of strength. This being whirled by some one who did not keep sufficiently fast hold, it flew, by his unintentional cast, on the top of the church. Sticking fast there, between the wooden tiles and the old beams, it set fire to the place. What need of many words ? In the first place, the flame seized on the tower, which was made with admirable wood-work,* and in which were the bells, and their ropes being burned they could not be used to give the alarm. It then seized all the upper part of the building, the towers, and the porches. At length the dropping of the melted lead, with which all the roof was covered, rendered it utterly impossible to go in or get anything out. Then was the face of things miserable-so many excellent buildings, of the church as well as of the whole monastery-so many fine ornaments devoured by the sudden ravages of the flames, a few only saved with great exertion and risk, either snatched with the hand or broken away with the axe or hatchet from the very midst of the fire." +

I hope to give the reader another story somewhat similar, and more graphic; but, though I am not apprehensive of his thinking it tedious, it would extend this paper to an unreasonable length; and therefore, in the meantime, and before I proceed to speak of some other causes, I take the opportunity of briefly adverting to a point what cannot be fairly passed over. It is somewhat anticipating to say so, but the fact is, that there are so many manuscripts of some sorts in existence, that it has been very warmly contended by some learned men that a great part at least must be forgeries, because it is impossible that so many should have survived the perils to which such things have been exposed. On such an occasion as this, I must only just glance at what have been called the bella diplomatica, and my sole reason for referring to them at present is, to shew that those causes of destruction which I have already specified have been considered by learned men as sufficient to account for (indeed, I may say, to require) a greater scarcity of manuscripts than actually exists. “ They say," says

claculi gratiam exbibet." I do not quite understand this, but I suppose it must have been some kind of circular board or frame, spun on an axis, and presenting some such appearance as a Catherine wheel.

* « Castellum mirabili dolatura fabrefactum.” I do not undertake to decide the precise meaning of dolatura in this place, and therefore translate by general terms only; but I suppose that we may in fact understand it to refer to those small, neat, wooden tiles (if I may use the expression, as I have done above, in translating tegulas, because the historian tells us that all the roof was covered with lead) which, in some parts of Europe, may still be seen forming the roofs or fronts of houses. I have seen a church made entirely of wood—that is to say, there was glass in the windows, and there might be iron nails, though I am far from being certain of that ; but the body of the church, the upper part, which I know not whether to call turrets, or how to describe, and in fact everything, as far as I could see without entering it, were purely wooden. The upper parts of these turrets were capped with something like cupolas of these little oaken tiles. Some wind-mills, with a kind of domes, tiled with these small circular pieces of oak, with sails, and I believe everything of the same material, were the most picturesque buildings of the kind that I have ever seen.

[The church alluded to in the note forms the illustration to the present Number.- Ed.]

+ Chron. Laur. ap. Frcher. p. 81. Edit. 1600.

Ludewig, “ that since all the kingdoms of Europe have carried on so many wars, and Germany in particular has been subject to such intestine commotion, no doubt all ancient documents have thereby perished, which led to the forging of new and suppositious ones. But, as nobody doubts respecting the construction of manuscripts through these causes, so there were also means by which they might escape. For soldiers, intent on gold, and silver, and other things which they could turn to account, were, as they are now, careless about writings, especially considering the ignorance and contempt of letters which then prevailed among them. To this we may add, that even amidst the outrages of war, the soldiers were restrained by superstition from laying hands on the literary treasures of the bishoprics.” He goes on afterwards to speak of fire, and represents his opponents as saying that there is scarcely to be found a city, a monastery, or a habitation of any confraternity of any kind which has not been more than once the subject of a conflagration, in which all its documents have perished. This, also," he replies, “is most true; for my own part, I declare that I have never been in any archives in Germany, though I have visited them without number, where the keepers have not attributed their deficiencies to fires which had destroyed those very documents which were most important. (He adds in a note, “ The keeper at Mayence told the same story in 1705. When I inquired for their documents of ealier date than the period of Frederic I., he answered, that they had all perished when the castle and the court, which were of wood, were burned.'] But,” he goes on to say, even in the most tremendous fires, the first care is commonly to preserve the public archives from destruction ; nor do I hesitate to commend the prudence of the celebrated Maskowsky, Chancellor of Darmstadt, who, when the castle and principal palace were on fire, proposed and paid a reward to those who, at the risque of their lives, went into the lowest story, which was well arched, and brought the written documents out of the archives, which were thus saved like brands plucked from the burning. The same thing we may reasonably suppose to have been done in older times by prudent keepers."*

I did not like to pass over this point without some notice; but the reader will at once perceive that there is an important difference between the case of which I am speaking and that to which Ludewig refers. Indeed, so far as our subject is concerned, I really have the suffrage of both parties in this diplomatic war in my favour. Those who contend that wars and fires must have destroyed the diplomas, charters, deeds, and other comparatively small and portable manuscripts of the dark ages, will readily grant that books were not likely to escape; and those who reply, as Ludewig justly does, that such documents would be kept with peculiar care, and saved first, and at all hazards, in case of danger, would not think of extending their argument to such manuscripts as we are concerned with.

* Relig. Manuscript. Prof. p. 81, 85.

496

ST. ANNE SHANDON CHAPEL OF EASE. (Omitted for want of space in the last Number, where a Plate of the Chapel was given.] This edifice, which is now nearly completed, is from designs by James and George R. Pain, architects to the province of Cashel. It is in the form of a Greek cross, of the internal dimensions of 70 feet by 35, and is finished by a tower and spire 110 feet in height. The expenses of the building, amounting to 2,4001., are to be defrayed by private subscriptions, aided by a grant from the late Board of First Fruits. A considerable sum is still required.

The chapel, calculated to contain 800 persons, is situated in one of the most extensive and populous parishes in the city of Cork, where the mother church is not capable of accommodating half the protestant population.

It is a gratifying circumstance, that since the accession of the present bishop* to the see of Cork, six additional licensed places have been opened for divine worship, and four new churches have been built, or are in progress of erection. The number would be considerably greater, but for the straitened means of the clergy, and the inability of the ecclesiastical commissioners, from want of funds, to grant the necessary aid.

A. C.

PROTESTANTS CANNOT CONSCIENTIOUSLY BE PRESENT AT THE

CELEBRATION OF MASS.

(Bishop Davenant's Seventh Determination.)

TRACTS AGAINST POPERY, NO. v. BELLARMINE † himself has most justly observed, that if all the other controversies were disposed of, yet protestants and papists could never be reconciled, because the latter hold their mass to be the highest act of divine worship, while we consider it awful idolatry. Our present object, however, is not to lay open the impiety of the mass, but to shew that protestants, who abhor this impiety in their minds, cannot be present, even in body, at the celebration of these

And this argument is directed against those who have the folly to think that no danger nor sin can arise from outward communication with those who are guilty of what we consider idolatry, provided the mind detests their superstition. But, in truth, every one who acts thus violates the integrity of an honest conscience, and sins in more than one respect.

First, he sins against himself, in wounding his own conscience, by an unlawful and impious hypocrisy, and defiling and contaminating his soul. For the mind of a well-informed protestant at once declares, that the mass of the papists is not an expiatory sacrifice for the

masses.

* Formerly Provost of Trinity College, Dublin.
+ Tom. i. de Laic. lib. iii. cap. i. 19.

an

living and the dead, but a sacrilegious violation of the sacrifice once offered through Christ; but the very act of attendance in a popish temple, and of association with those who adore the mass, is, to all public appearance, a declaration, that he hopes for expiation of sins by that mass, and that he approves of it as a lawful act of sacred worship. Besides, the mind of the protestant declares, that the wafer, which is elevated by the officiating priest, is not Christ the incarnate (lit. the God-man, Deáv@pwrov,) Son of the living God; but the act of prostration and adoration proclaims to all there present, that under the illusive * appearance of the bread, God himself is worshipped and acknowledged. I call this discordance of outward actions with the internal sentiments of the mind most rank hypocrisy, and a lie, just as intolerable as if such a man were to testify his approbation of the popish mass in express words; for truth essentially requires that a man should appear, as far as his outward demeanour is concerned, to be what he really is; and it is a violation of this truth, when a man, by outward signs, signifies the contrary to that which he holds in the secret recesses of his mind; and this simulation may be called “ acted lie,(mendacium in factis,) as Thomas Aquinas has justly observed. He, therefore, who in his mind abominates the masses of the papists, and yet retains this external participation in these rites, is so much the more to be condemned, because what he does insincerely he yet does in such a manner, that the people may believe him to be acting with sincerity, as Augustine writes about the philosopher Seneca.

Secondly, if any one of our people attends the masses of the papists, he sins against the brethren, especially the weaker ones; for he puts a stumbling-block in their way, by inviting and alluring them, through his example, to indulge in this practice, by which their consciences must necessarily be defiled. And how great a sin this is, these words of Christ will shew :—“Woe unto that man by whom the offence cometh.(Matt. xviii. 7.) Nor can it be denied, that a scandal is created by such an act, especially to the weaker brethren; for a scandal means only any impropriety of conduct, or of language, which gives an occasion of falling to another. Now this conduct gives a colour to the weaker brother to suppose that the mass is not an impious and idolatrous act, and thus prefaces the way for his apostatizing to the papists. Those, therefore, who assume the liberty of joining themselves to the papists, in the external celebration of the mass, although they may be mentally averse from the superstition of papists, violate that precept of the apostle—“ Abstain from all appearance of evil.(1 Thess. v. 22.) Nor will it avail to excuse them if they aver that they have no intention of testifying, by this act, their approbation of what is done, in celebrating the mass, and, far less, of inducing their weaker brethren to think that the sacrifice of the mass is lawful and agreeable to God;

Sub vacua panis specie, under the empty show of bread. The Roman-catholic doctrine is, that the accidents of the bread remain without its substance. † Aquin. ii. ; 2 Quæst.iii. ; Art. i.

Aug. de Civ. vi. 10.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »