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ner, so that no one could leave her without a stronger desire to serve God. She used to insinuate herself into minds with such a grace, that not only it was impossible to feel hurt at what she said, but one felt constrained to enter into her sentiments. When she heard any ladies remark that such and such a sermon. was not fine, ‘Hola!' she used to cry in her agreeable, pleasant way, 'En voyla plus que vous n'en faites ; c'est la parole de Dieu. What she spoke to me most upon was the proper use of afflictions, and how we should despise the things of this world. I remarked that she never uttered a word contrary to charity.” Madame de Longueville says, “ She used to speak to the queen and to the greatest ladies with a certain majesty and authority, and seem as if she had a right to teach them. It was always, however, with the greatest respect that she spoke, and nothing that she said could be taken ill. You might have thought that she had passed all her life at the court, she was so civil. In general she used to enter into other people's sentiments, opening her own heart to them, and by these means she opened their hearts to herself. As for me, I used to tell her my most secret thoughts ; I used never to be tired listening to her, and her advice was always the best. It is incredible what pains she used to take to inspire me with affection for the Blessed Virgin ; but her piety appeared in every thing, and her love of God was beyond all description. When I heard of her death, I wept for her as if she had been my own mother.” The Duchesse d'Epernon says, “She made use of her intimacy with the queen to draw the ladies of the court to virtue and piety ; in fact, she inspires us all with piety.” The Duchesse de Lesdiguières says, “ I used to think it the greatest happiness on earth to be in her company. And I have often heard how she used to exhort the princess, and also the duchesses of Longueville and of Aiguillon, to visit the prisons and hospitals, and to give to poor people, and assist them.” Thus was the society of the world edified by the inhabitants of the cloister. The influence of the retreats, in fact, was so great that some secular courts adopted to a certain extent a mode of life that might be qualified as religious. Montfaucon, in the epistle of dedication to Como III., grand duke of Tuscany, prefixed to his Monumenta Italica, compliments him on the distributions of his charity and the discipline that reigned in his palace. “ Hinc ille ædium tuarum ordo,” he says to him, “disciplinaque vivendi, quas ad coenobiis cujus piam rationem et normam instituisti ; ratus nihili esse has fluxas caducasque opes, fortunas, ditiones, nisi ad perennem illam felicitatem dirigantur.” “In the second half of the seventeenth century,” says the Duc de Noailles,“ the monasteries, in which almost all families had relatives, even in those of the severest orders, were in constant relation with the
world. The laity, in its turn, made retreats in these monasteries; men used to purpose privacy till they had digested some sad thoughts, and reconciled passions that were at war within them. They had correspondents also in these houses ; they received direction from them ; there was a perpetual communication between the world and solitude, between the court and the cloister. In the midst of the world even persons practised in a high degree piety and good works, and those whom passions had for a while misled returned sooner or later to religious sentiments. Whatever might have been the dissipation of life, there was in souls a root of faith which shot forth and flourished again after having been dried up *. It is curious to remark, however, that all that action which St. Francis, as we have just seen, required from his friars on their journeys, exists by means of the same simplicity, more or less, wherever such men are met with even at the present day. Goethe's description, for instance, of the Capuchins at Realp, though written by a stranger, is full of charms. The discourse of the good superior on the subject of his preaching, and generally on the truth of the Catholic religion, cannot be read without interest. He spoke to this stranger in the inn on the rule of faith, on the error of making it founded on the private judgment and on the Scripture ; he spoke on the stability, unity, and certainty of Catholicism, on the peace and happiness of all who receive it, and on their immortal hopes of meeting again in another world. “ We listened to him attentively,” says the philosopher, “ and he seemed to be quite content with our way of receiving his instructions."
But we must not remain longer observing the external action of these religious persons. One secret to explain their influence consists, no doubt, in the fact that they frequently are endowed with those qualities which cannot be recognized without securing love for their possessors. Men talk of thoughts being hidden from the world. Hide the sun and moon !” exclaims a great observer ; “thought is all light, and publishes itself to the uni
It will speak, though you were dumb, by its own miraculous organ ; it will flow out of your actions, your manners, and your face." We might say of each worthy wearer of the hood,
“If ever Heaven's high blessings met in one man,
Misdoubt him not." Their simplicity, too, must conciliate the favour of the low, as well as obtain the respect of the noblest intelligences ; for, as
* Hist. de Mdme de Maintenon.
the same author observes, “ Nothing is more simple than greatness ; indeed, to be simple is to be great." My lord,” says the Benedictin monk to Foscari, in Shirley's play of the Grateful Servant, "the truth is like your coat of arms, richest when plainest.” Such is the monastic character, having nothing to correspond with the quarterings, differences, bends, and pretences of heraldic blazon. The study of men in a religious order seems to be life, not language ; and if they have been practised in its sweet rules, their tongue has learned simplicity and truth. Those who knew them were not prone to suspect their intentions, even when circumstances seemed to justify' fear. “No,” says Juliet, before drinking the mysterious potion prepared for her by Friar Laurence,
It is not what I dread-
I will not entertain so bad a thought.” And when the same friar, being interrogated at the tomb, and circumstantial evidence seeming to exist against him, explains the whole brief tragedy in those clear, brief words that are so characteristic of his order, the prince believes him, and only replies,
“ We still have known thee for a holy man.” That is, for one whose dove-like simplicity, like that of Brother Leo, would have pleased the lover of innocence, St. Francis. Similarly of Father Remigius, a Capuchin friar at Munich in 1527, we are told that “ he was most eminent for candour, innocence, and simplicity, doing nothing by dissimulation, but every thing in a frank, open manner, so that no one could resist the attraction of his discourse ; that he used to speak to persons of every condition in the saine affectionate, fraternal manner ; and that in return he was loved by every human being *" Vasari, relating a circumstance that seemed hardly credible on the testimony of the Padre Guiseppe Mangiuoli, who had been twice general of his order, adds, “a holy person who would not for all that the world could offer assert a thing that was not entirely true.” Such seeins to be the type of the monk in the judgment of our old poets.
Here is a friar,” says Lidian, in the Lover's Progress, “that came along with me. You shall hear his testimony. Look upon him! such holy men are authors of no fables ; their lives and their opinions, like brightest, purest fames, still burn upwards.” To the monk they would apply the sentence,
Always truth was policy enough for him ;
* Raderus, Bavaria Sancta, iv. 172.
One might repeat, in reference to him, what Bartello says:
“ There is not a greater friend to goodness,
To downright dealing, to faith, and true heart,
Within the Christian confines.” In fact, the cloistral admonitions were ever directed against all indirect, crooked, and deceitful ways; and accordingly your hooded man speaks like Aminta,
O my best sir, take heed,
Must break in glory.” The old hermit of Bassano, on discovering the sanctity and merit of St. Ignatius of Loyola and his companions, whose zeal for others he did not at first understand, said that he had at length learned from heaven that the bark of a tree is very different from its sap ; but the truth is, that often even the exterior of these men speaks for them sufficiently. And we may observe accordingly that the ancient painters and writers represent the monastic countenance as something very different from what it is thought to be in times when it is drawn only from the report of enemies. Vasari, relating that Francesco Monsignori portrayed from the life many of the monks who were dwelling in an abbey where he was occupied in painting, adds, “ All these are heads of extraordinary beauty.” On looking at such figures, one is reminded of what Michel Agnolo said of a statue by Donato, that he had never seen a face looking more like that of a good man. Zurbaran, Murillo, and Le Sueur drew their monastic heads from life; modern engravers, caricaturists, and novelists, from their imaginations. Persons who have embraced this state of life, without wanting in many instances even the beauty of form which is ascribed to Brother Angelo the Franciscan, generally wear to all observers the expression incompatible with ugliness, of being just, laborious, modest, gentle, kind, and charitable. Peter, abbot of St. Remy, writing to the monks of Grandmont, qualifies them as being eminently the just ; for he begins saying, "Scio quia in concilio justorum et congregatione magna opera Domini;" and of the same congregation an ancient inscription thus testifies :
“ Hic antiqua senum probitas, hic semina morum
Turba ducem sequitur, numine tacta Dei.”
prove themselves. Bucchius, speaking of many prelates and cardinals who were, he says, “intending the destruction of our order,” adds, “quorum nomina taceo, quia recenter mortui
Of toleration too, consequently, we find them eloquent, and sometimes, even in times deplorably deficient in that respect, successful advocates. The Franciscans in 1287 were distinguished by their charity to the Jews, who, it must be confessed, have in all ages shown themselves grateful to the religious orders that respected and protected them. An ancient author says, “ Now it appeared how greatly the Minors were esteemed by the king and the peers of England, when, to the great wonder of the whole nation, they procured a revocation of the sentence solemnly passed upon the Jews. It is true,” he adds, “their main argument to obtain a release from the execution of the law was a promise to endeavour to convert that people ; as, in fact, the salvation of their precious souls was their motive in this request t." But it does not follow that this was exclusive of other reasons which we should now esteem more solid. They certainly believed that all constraint in matters of religion was both pernicious and absurd. Mathieu Paris, however, who mentions that on a former occasion the lot of the Jews in Lon. don, when led to prison, was deplored with dry eyes by their rivals, and that seventy-one were delivered out of prison and from death by the intercession of the Franciscans, is content with adding, “ The friars, I believe, notwithstanding what the world says, were guided by the spirit of piety, because as long as man is a wayfarer and in the world he has his free will, and can be saved, and one ought to have hopes ; while for the demons only we can neither hope nor pray I.” “ None of the socalled Spanish Protestants,” says an English author, “ have enumerated the propositions and sentiments that tolerance is a Christian duty, that honesty in matters of belief is of greater moment than the quality of the belief, and that speculative error can never be corrected by civil punishment, none of them,” he says, “express these principles so clearly as the Benedictin Virues, in his treatise against the opinions of Luther and Me. lancthon 9.” If, in fact, instead of reading about them in prejudiced authors, a man will only sit at the side of monks, or take a walk with them through the woods, he will come to the stranger's conclusion, that no two spirits can be more opposed than theirs, and the violent, intolerant, vituperative mind of the Warburtonian school, in which genius and learning are associated with insolence, intolerance, and habitual contumely and outrage. They never attempt to advance the cause of religion by bois
* Lib. Conform. 131. * Ad ann. 1256.
+ Collectanea Anglo-Minoritica, 99. § Stirling's Charles V.