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rice, envy, luxury, gluttony, sloth, and anger, are the winds which fight in the great sea.
But the more the world was disturbed, the greater only was the contrast presented in these communities. St. Peter of Alcantara said to his friars, “ My children, imitate the fish of the sea. When it is agitated, so that the tempest drives its waves with impetuosity, far from rising to escape from it, they descend lower to the depths of the war. So you, when engaged in tumult, and when the noisy waves of the world swell round you, plunge deeper into God by contemplation ; and if the demon presses you to go out of yourself, have recourse to the wounds of the holy humanity of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which are always open for our salvation, in which you will be hid securely, and sheltered from all the storms that the demon can excite against you*.”
This contrast of the world and the cloister in regard to peace is presented by an old historian in a picturesque manner, where he describes that bloody battle at Evesham, on Tuesday, the 2nd of August, in which, as he relates, so many nobles, with Simon de Montford, in the short interval between prime and tierce, fell. “ The same hour,” he says, “ through divers places of the kingdom, there was such thunder, and during half an hour such a dense obscurity, that the minds of all were filled with terror at so sudden and wonderful a mutation of the air. In some monasteries the religious brethren, singing their office in the choir, were in such darkness that scarcely could one monk distinguish the brother that stood next him, or see the writing in the books before them f." What a different scene was this from that presented on the field of Evesham at the same moment ! In general, the monastery formed an asylum that contending armies were agreed to spare. When Owen Glendour took and burnt Cardiff, he excepted from the flames the street wherein the Friar Minors dwelt, which, with their convent, he left standing for the love of the said friars. He seized the castle and destroyed it, carrying off a rich booty; but when the friars petitioned for their books and chalices which they had lodged in the castle, he replied, “Why did you put your goods in the castle ? If
you had kept them in your convent they would have been safe I.” An historian of the Benedictines remarks that even the Moors in Spain used to spare monasteries through regard for their pacific character. “ 'l'he Moors,” says Antonio de Yepes, “ when they ravaged Portugal, did not destroy the monastery of Lorban, of which the monks led a poor and most holy life, and the Moors even loved them for their innocence. The Moorish ruler of Coimbra is said to have first discovered the place while
• Marchese, lib. iii. c. 25. + Chronicon Will. de Rishanger, 47. # Collectanea Anglo-Minoritica, 187.
hunting. After losing his company and wandering through the woods and mountains, suddenly coming in sight of the monastery, he hastened thither, where the abbot received him with such hospitality that he contracted an affection for him, and came often there in his hunting parties, which he directed towards that point purposely. He gave them also their liberty and remitted all tributes, while all the other Christians were grievously oppressed *.”
Ambrosius Morales says, that under the dominion of the Moors in Spain many monasteries of both men and women were permitted by them to exist according to the strictness of their
Cordova, the seat of their empire and the residence of their kings, possessed some religious' houses with perfect observance. Similarly at Coimbra there were monasteries ; though oppression and martyrdom were the work of the cruel king Abderrumen. In all these Benedictin houses the Catholic faith was kept in all its purity and fervour, and thus was it preserved in the rich Gothic foundations through Gallicia, Asturia, Old Castille, Arragon, and Catalonia ; though in Valentia and Andalusia, and all along the Mediterranean shore, no vestige of the monasteries was left; for in these parts, the sole convents being Augustinians who lived by alms, the supplies were cut off, and the constant presence of the Moors destroyed them ; but the Benedictines elsewhere living in deserts were spared on condition of paying tribute from the lands which they cultivated ; for the Moors, fearing no hostile movement from these monks, permitted them to remain. Thus were saved the monasteries of St. Peter de Cardonna in Castille, of St. Peter della Laura, and of our Lady of Valuanera, and that of `Pampliega, as also that of Sahagun and that of Dumiens in Gallicia f. To observe still more fully the character of peace which in times of violence, and when private men were for taking justice into their own hands, was attached to monasteries, we should remember that most of them enjoyed also the right of sanctuary, regulated from the earliest times, not by the ecclesiastical con. stitutions, or obtained by the monastic or any clerical influence, but by the imperial constitutions I. Go thou to sanctuary, and good thoughts possess thee.” Many heard such words addressed to themselves. Let countries be invaded, private houses ransacked, the very woods dispeopled, yet here could be a calm. Many persecuted victims were enabled to escape thus, and find time for deliverance from their oppressors. Must it not have been a solemn moment, and full of holy influences to
* Collectanea Anglo-Minoritica, i. 26.
the lovers of peace, when some unliappy person, perhaps some queen, had fled through secret subterraneous passages, as at Westminster, to the asylum of which the exterior was guarded by the troops of their enemy to prevent their entrance, and when the great bell of the abbey announced to the baffled tyrant and to the whole city aware of his cruelties that some new fugitive had been registered among the sanctuary men or women to the glory of the Prince of Peace? When Hubert de Bourg had fled to sanctuary, Henry III. violated the privilege by ordering that no provisions should be allowed to be conveyed to him * ; but in general the asylum thus afforded to the weak amidst times of commotion and disorder was preserved in. violate. The charter of the Emperor Lothaire Ill. in 1138 to Monte Cassino is to this effect: “In general to remove all scandal from this church, we decree by our imperial authority that every man, whatever be his nation or condition, passing to the land of the blessed Benedict, shall be free and secure from all disquietude and exaction from all other men whomsoever t." The Emperor Henry VI., in letters granted to the same abbey, confirms the ancient privilege. “It belongs,” he says, “ to the prudence of the imperial elevation to provide with solicitude for the tranquillity of the churches, that what seems to have been granted through veneration for them by ourselves or our predecessors on the throne of the Roman empire, may by no interpretation be subject to variations.” Then after confirming the previous grants of exemption to the monastery from all service on imperial expeditions, he ends thus : “ Since we believe that it will more conduce to the interest of our empire to be assisted by the merits and prayers of religious men there serving, than if they ministered to us and to the empire temporal things like seculars I.” The same emperor in another charter says, decree also that it be lawful to every one of the faithful of Christ, by the divine inspiration, being contrite, to offer himself and his goods to the monastery freely, and without any contradiction from any one ; and that whatever be his nation or condition, on coming to the land of the blessed Benedict he shall be secure and free from all trouble and molestation, be his adversaries who they may 5." These imperial decrees indicate that when the attainment of justice by legal protection became secure, and the right of sanctuary, strictly speaking, had ceased, inonasteries, by the liberty which all men possessed of embracing the pacific life within or even around them, might be observed to form still a kind of privileged region contrasted with the countries which groaned under the despotism of the state. Some monarchs, it is true, like Louis XIV., are said to have had their own projects unfavourable to the monastic orders in this respect, intending to control them and place limits different from what the Church and the ancient common law proposes *; and in recent times the Trappists could only receive such young men as had “ satisfied the law of conscription." But in general the state, in consequence of these institutions, had not the unrestrained or exclusive right of marking men, like trees, indelibly for itself. In France, as soon as a tree is struck with the mallet of the Admiralty, its destination cannot be changed. Every attempt respecting it becomes a legal offence, and the agents of the Admiralty are sure to pursue before the tribunals the least infraction of this law t. The same right seems to have been claimed even in England; for we read of Lord Clarendon's indignation at the Navy Board having marked some trees for cutting in Clarendon Park without his leave. It was not so with men in the forest of life. The state could not go in every where with its brand, and mark out individuals for itself; for the monastic privileges constituted a mode of escape for some who were more strongly influenced by the love of peace ; and no king or political body in the state had power to wrest for their own purposes those who had been previously marked out for the service of the pacific King.
* Mat. Paris, ad ann. 1233.
§ i. 280.
But it was not alone within their estates and sacred inclosures that the peace which emanated from monasteries could be traced. As fountains of peace they sent forth an influence which tended to diminish for the wide external world itself the evils which assailed it. To
pray for the peace of Christendom was a primary object of the monastic profession. In the order of Grandmont a pater and an ave were daily said after matins pro pace conservanda I. Every thing in these asylums denoted this intention. On the great bell of the monastery of St. George at Nuremburg was inscribed “O Rex gloriæ veni cum pace .. And it was not merely with prayers that the monks produced an impression favourable to peace. The Franciscans and Dominicans did signal service to the English nation in Henry III.'s time by making way for the beginning of peace between the king and his peers || ; and, speaking of a similar occasion, it is well to hear the remarks of a great historian. Monks,” says Pierre Mathieu, "are deemed necessary for making peace. La principale action de la vertu est de scavoir et de contempler.
* Le Duc de Noailles, Hist. de Mdme de Maintenon, ii. Appendice. + Boudrillart, de l'Administration forestière. I Levesque, Annales, cent. iii. ad ann. 1289. § Thuringia Sacra, 693.
|| Collect. Angl.- Min. 34.
Les esprits separez du trouble et de la confusion du monde y sont plus propres que les autres qui se laissent emporter à ces violentes passions, qui comme furieux taureaux saultent tousjours sur la barrière de la raison *." That even the old poets were willing to give their testimony as to the effects, may be witnessed in the romancero beginning “Castellanos y Leoneses,” where, speaking of the quarrel between the Count Fernan Gonzalez and the king of Leon, it says, “ Amongst those of the court there was no one who could obtain a truce. But two blessed monks succeeded.” An instinctive participation in the sentiments of the monastic world which he was about to join may not have been wholly unconnected with these words of Charles V. on his abdication : " Although I have been engaged in many wars, into none of them have I gone willingly.” The effect of wars upon the interests that the monks had most at heart were feelingly deplored by the Benedictines of France in the reign of Louis XIV.; and in this respect the correspondence of Mabillon and of Montfaucon with Italy contains curious details. Thus the former, writing to Sergardi in 1690, says,
Oh, how many useful labours are interrupted by this tempest of war! What a destruction to learning and religion will result ! I hear that the French wine has been poured out into the streets of London through rage, and that, vice versa, silk clothes of English fashion have been publicly thrown into the flames in Paris 7." May God compose these differences; may our most holy Lord procure peace for all Europe, and put an end to this conflagration! for nothing would be more worthy of the pontificate of Alexander VIII. I wish I could write of more agreeable things. I wish you deliverance from this monster of war ; sed quæ ferunt tempora, nobis ferenda sunt [.” Again, writing to Magliabechi, he says, I have an eighth volume of the acts of our saints ready for the press, but our booksellers put off the work till the peace comes; but when shall we have it ?” Similarly Dom Michel Germain, writing to Dom Gattula, says, “The wars cause an interruption to all our literary undertakings. We can neither print nor send books. Our poor nuns, even, of Farenses are disappointed in their hopes respecting information from Sicily about their patron, for the Spaniards prevent all intercourse with Sicily ll.” Nor was it only political dangers that were deplored, combated, and even averted by the monastic influence. There are innumerable examples of its success in putting an end to domestic discord, which threatened social peace and the harmony of families.
* Pierre Mathieu, Hist. de Hen. IV. lib. i. 7. of Let. cclvi.
| Let. cclvii. & Let. cclxx.
|| Let. cclxviii.