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Creator's power, but they throw discredit on more sound the loud hymn of praise. When the Almighty's wisdom, and do not declare the mind has its views enlarged and corhis goodness. But how emphatically do rected; when science reveals the fact that they proclaim his glory, when, thought of as these globes are perfectly fitted for the occucovered with verdure, filled with all that is pation of sensible and intelligent creaturesrequisite to the welfare of living creatures, that there is nothing known which would and peopled by intelligent beings, indued prevent them being inhabited; and when it with life, with thinking powers, with pas- finds that the testimony of that Book, to per sions and affections.
which its whole confidence is given, is di- 1 How delightful is the belief in a plurality rectly in favour of a plurality of worlds, its peda of worlds we need not say. When we see belief becomes stronger, and what was a bel the bright stars beaming in the boundless loved theory becomes a received fact. azure of the firmament, we rejoice to believe In everything on this globe we see the that they are peopled by beings possessed of power, the wisdom, and the goodness of its intelligence, who, in their turn, observe the Maker unmistakably manifested. We have brilliant wonders of the universe with an been accustomed to see the like in the med admiring and an astonished eye. The soul stars. But now, a few bold men step forlongs to leave its tabernacle of clay, and ward, endeavouring to take this from us, to wing its ardent flight to those far-off realms. throw a veil over the Divine character, by It longs to learn who are the denizens of making some of his dealings inconsistent those bright globes; to discover the wishes with others, and to cover, as with a cloud of it of their hearts, their doubts and fears, their doubt, that which before was brightness and hopes and aspirations. It yearns to know glory. their capabilities, the depths of their philo- The view held by our opponents cannot sophy, the flights of their imaginations, their be held long. Its upholders are few, nor can science, and the objects of their knowledge; they defend their position; the facts of scibut, more than all, to know what are the ence are against them, and we expect, as relations they sustain to their Maker, whe- science advances, as new discoveries are ther they know him, love and serve him, or made, our position will be the more strongly are living in rebellion against him? When fortified; and she will prove herself in this, the soul of man is lifted up in humble ado- as she must in all things, the ally of Reveration of God; when it raises its hymn of lation, which so plainly intimates—There thankfulness and praise to the Author of its are more worlds than one. being, it rejoices to imagine that myriads
HAS MONACHISM BEEN BENEFICIAL TO EUROPEAN SOCIETY ?
AFFIRMATIVE ARTICLE.-I. In advocating the beneficial results of men; some to live more free from the cares Monachism upon European society, I do not of a worldly life ; some from love of retirewish my reader to infer that all who be- ment; some to weep over a misspent life; longed to the monastic institutions were some to have more time to spend in the good and virtuous; no, far from it, many services of God; some from the love of were corrupt individually and collectively. learning; some in hopes of becoming instruThe church has had to regret that Monach- mental in the salvation of their fellow men; ism has had its Judases. Nor is this to be some were even confined in them as in wondered at, when we consider the numbers prisons through the power of rulers, &c. In that belonged to the monastic orders, and fine, various were the causes that influenced the different motives that must have in-them to select or adopt a monastic life. fluenced them in joining those institutions. Those I have stated were the chief. I shall Some fled to them from fear of their fellow now remind my reader that it mattered not
what was the motive which influenced them of our countrymen scarcely remember the in joining monastic institutions. The great names of those admirable men who went object the church had in view by the estab- forth from England, and became the apostles lishment and encouragement of Monachism of the North. Tinian and Juan Fernandez
was, in the 1st place, That the members are not more beautiful spots on the ocean * would endeavour to make their calling and than Malmesbury, Jarrow, and Lindisfarne
election more sure by living virtuously, and were in the ages of our heptarchy. A comin the exercise of prayer, penance, &c. 2ndly, / munity of pious men, devoted to literature That they might contribute to the salvation and to the useful arts, as well as to religion, of their fellow beings, by their teaching, seems, in those days, like a great oasis in the preaching, and other good offices. The desert. Like stars on a moonless night, they examination of the rules of any religious shine upon us with a tranquil ray. If ever order now in existence, or of any that has there was a man who could truly be called ceased to exist, will clearly demonstrate Venerable, it was he to whom the appellation those two grand objects. Now, this being is constantly fixed-Bede, whose life was the case, this the great object of Monach- passed in instructing his own generation, ism, and this its result, what can be clearer, and preparing records for posterity. In than that Monachism was in principle and those days the church offered the only asylum practice beneficial to European society. I from the evils to which every country was deny, and I lay great stress upon this denial, exposed-amidst continual wars the church that it is in the power of any reader of the enjoyed peace it was regarded as a sacred British Controversialist to produce the rules realm by men who, though they hated one of any of the monastic institutions now in another, believed and feared the same God. existence, or which have been in existence, Abused as it was by the worldly-minded and that had not primarily the sanctification of ambitious, and disgraced by the artifices of its members in view, and, secondly, that of the designing and the follies of the fanatic, their neighbours; and unless such can be it afforded a shelter to those who were better shown to be the case, I think it unfair to than the world in their youth, or weary of make anything like wholesale charges against it in their age. The wise, as well as the Monachism except supported by authority; timid and gentle, fled to this Goshen of God, or, if supported by ignoble, infidel, or bigoted which enjoyed its own light and calm amidst authority. That abuses crept into them darkness and storms." partially, history proves; but that Monach Here is ample testimony to prove the ism, as a whole, has produced benefit upon beneficial results of Monachism. I shall European society, I think no sane man can make no farther comment upon this quotadoubt. I might cite Catholic authority tion than merely to express my dissent from upon this subject, till the reading of this what the writer says respecting St. Dunstan. article would become irksome; but suffice it This I could establish, but I think it out of for the present to quote a few of the many place here. Let me next refer you to what Protestant writers who more or less bear me M. Mallet says, in his “ History of the Swiss," out in the view I take upon this subject. vol. i., page 105. Read Maitland's “ History of the Dark Ages," "The monks softened by their instructions then judge for yourself. Read Cobbett’s “Re- the ferocious manners of the people, and formation,” then perhaps you will have a opposed their credit to the tyranny of the better opinion of the effects of Monacbism nobility, who knew no other occupation than in our own dear isle. Hear what the “Quar- war, and grievously oppressed their neighterly Review” says:
bours. On this account the government of " The world has never been so indebted monks was preferred to theirs. The people to any body of men, as to the illustrious order sought them for judges. It was an usual of Benedictine monks; but historians, in saying, that it was better to be governed by the relating the evil of which they were the bishop's crosier than the monarch's sceptre.” occasion, too frequently forget the good This speaks not a little in favour of MoWhich they produced. Even the commonest pachism. Let me next introduce to your readers are acquainted with the arch miracle- notice a quotation from Drake's “Literary monger St. Dunstan, whilst the most learned Hours.”
“ The monks of Cassins, observes Whar- Let me also refer you to the “ English ton, were distinguished, not only for their Lives of the Saints," written of late years knowledge of sciences, but their attention to by a respectable body of men in the Protestpolite learning, and an acquaintance with ant Church. They begin with the history the classics. Their learned Abbot Desi- of St. Augustine and his forty companion derius collected the best Greek and Roman monks—describe the good they effected, the authors. The fraternity not only composed monasteries they founded, and give several learned treatises on music, logic, astronomy, interesting but short histories of the eminent and Vitrutian architecture, but likewise saints those monasteries produced, and show employed a portion of their time in tran- the good that resulted from those monastic scribing Tacitus, &c. This laudable example institutions. was, in the 11th and 12th centuries, followed Bishop Tanner, of St. Asaph, is very exwith great spirit and emulation by many plicit upon this subject. He says:—“In English monasteries."
every great abbey there was a large room, I shall next transcribe a passage from called the Scriptorium, where several writers Turner's “History of England,” which favours made it their whole business to transcribe my views, though it calls that “ Tyranny,” books for the use of the library. They which in another place in the same sentence sometimes, indeed, wrote the leger books he styles “ the creature of the popular will." of the house, and the missals, and other
“No tyranny was ever established that books used in divine service; but they were was more unequivocally the creature of generally upon other works, viz., the fathers, popular will, nor longer maintained hy popu- classics, histories, &c., &c. John Whetlar support; in no point did personal interest hamsted, Abbot of St. Albans, caused above and public welfare more cordially unite than eighty books to be thus transcribed (there in the encouragement of monasteries.” was then no printing) during his abbacy.
Even Hume admits that they were “ easy | Fifty-eight were transcribed by the care of landlords.” He says:-" The farmers re- one abbot at Glastonbury; and so zealous garded themselves as a species of proprietors, were the monks in general for this work, always taking care to renew their leases that they often got lands given, and churches before they expired.” This was not an appropriated, for the carrying of it on. In ordinary benefit; would to heaven that Ire- all the greater abbeys there were also perland had always had that benefit! The want sons appointed to take notice of the principal of such has perhaps in no place produced occurrences of the kingdom, and at the end so much misery, faction, and bloodshed. of every year to digest them into annals.
Bates, in bis “Rural Philosophy" (p. 322), In these memoirs they particularly preperhaps unwittingly proves the good effects served those of their founders and benefacof Monachism. “ It is to be lamented that, tors, the years and days of their births and while the Papists are industriously planting deaths, their marriages, children, and sucpunneries and other religious societies in cessors, so that recourse was sometimes had this kingdom, some good Protestants are to them for proving persons' ages and not so far excited to imitate their example genealogies, though it is to be feared that as to form establishments for the education some of those pedigrees were drawn up from and protection of young women of serious tradition only, and that in inost of their disposition, or who are otherwise unprovided, accounts they were favourable to their where they might enjoy at least a temporary friends, and severe upon their enemies. The refuge-be instructed in the principles of constitutions of the clergy, in their national religion, and in all such useful and domestic and provincial synods, and, after the conarts as might qualify them who were inclined quest, even acts of parliament, were sent to to return into the world for a pious and the abbeys to be recorded: which leads me laudable discharge of the duties of common to mention the use and advantage of these life. Thus might the comfort and welfare religious houses. For, first, the choicest of many individuals be promoted, to the great records and treasures in the kingdom were benefit of society at large; and the interests preserved in them. An exemplification of of Popery, by improving on its own prin- | the Charter of Liberties, granted by King ciples, be considerably counteracted.” Henry I. (Magna Charta), was sent to some abbey in every county to be pre- of wheat, and all other things in proportion, served. Charters and inquisitions relat- were generally spent every year.--- Fourthly. ing to the county of Cornwall were deposited The nobility and gentry provided not only in the Priory of Bodmin; a great many for their old servants in these houses by rolls were lodged in the Abbey of Leicester corrodies, but for their younger children and and Priory of Kenilworth, till taken from impoverished friends, by making them first thence by King Henry III. King Henry I. monks and nuns, and in time priors and sent to the religious houses to search for his prioresses, and abbots and abbesses.—Fifthly. title to the kingdom of Scotland in their They were of considerable advantage to the legers and chronicles, as the most authentic crown:- 1st, by the profits received from records for proof of his right to that crown. the death of one abbot or prior to the elecWhen his sovereignty was acknowledged in tion, or rather confirmation of another; 2nd, Scotland, he sent letters to have it inserted by great fines paid for the confirmation of in the chronicles of the Abbey of Winchomb their liberties; 3rd, by many corrodies and the Priory of Norwich, and probably of granted to old servants of the crown, and many other such like places. And when he pensions to the King's clerks and chaplains, decided the controversy relating to the till tbey got preferment.-Sixthly. They crown of Scotland between R. Bruce and were likewise of considerable advantage to J. Baliol, he wrote to the Dean and Chapter the places where they had their sites and of St. Paul's, London, requiring them to estates:- 1st, by causing great resort to enter into their chronicles the exemplifi. them, and getting grants of fairs and cation therewith sent of that decision. The markets for them; 2nd, by freeing them learned Mr. Selden had his greatest evi- from the forest laws; 3rd, by letting their dences for the dominion of the narrow seas, lands at easy rates.-Lastly. They were belonging to the King of Great Britain, from great ornaments to the country; many of monastic records. The evidences and money them were really noble buildings; and of private families were oftentimes sent to though not actually so grand and neat. these houses to be preserved. The seals of yet perhaps as much admired in their noblemen were deposited there upon their times as Chelsea and Greenwich hospitals deaths, and even the King's money was are now. Many of the abbey churches sometimes lodged in them.-Secondly. They were equal, if not superior, to our present were schools of learning and education, for cathedrals, and they must have been as much every convent had one or more appointed an ornament to the country, and employed for this purpose; and all the neighbours as many workmen in building and keeping that desired it might have their children them in repair, as noblemen's and gentletaught grammar and church music, without men's seats now do." any expense to them. In the nunneries, Dr. Southey, in his “ History of the also, young women were taught to work, Church” (Protestant), vol. i., asserts that and to read English and sometimes Latin “ by the policy, the steady system of the also, so that not only the lower rank of popes, the admirable zeal of the Benedictines, people, who could not pay for their learning, and by the blessing of God, which crowned but most of the noblemen's and gentlemen's all, the whole of the Scandinavian nations daughters, were educated in those places. were converted about the time of the Norman
- Thirdly. All the monasteries were, in Conquest; and thus an end was put to effect, great hospitals, and were most of those religions which made war their printhem obliged to relieve many poor people ciple, and sanctifying the most atrocious every day. There were likewise houses of and cursed actions, had the misery of manentertainment for alınost all travellers. kind for their end." He further adds:Even the nobility and gentry, when they “ To the servile part of the community, the were upon the road, lodged at one religious gospel was indeed tidings of great joy; house and dined at another, and seldom, or frequently they were emancipated, either in never, went to inns. In short, their hospi- the first fervour of the owner's conversion, tality was such, that in the priory of or as an act of atonement and meritorious Norwich one thousand five hundred quarters charity at death.” Certainly the conversion of inalt, and above eight hundred quarters of nations was no small boon conferred upon
Europe through the instrumentality of the try than any other? But what I have said Benedictine monks.
of this kingdom particularly may, to a more I shall next insert a passage from the or less extent, be said of the different couschief actor in the Reformation. “When I tries of Europe. Monachism had the same lived in my monastery, I punished my body end in view wherever it was established. with watching, fasting, and prayer; I ob- I may in truth say of it what the Times some served my vows of chastity, poverty, and time ago said of Pius IX.-" That he was a obedience. Whatsoever I did, it was with man of benevolent disposition, &c., but that singleness of heart, with good zeal, and for he was the same infallible pope with his the glory of God, &c. I feared grievously predecessors." So with Monachism; wherthe last day, and was from the bottom of ever it was established, the same infallibility, my heart desirous of being saved."-(Ad &c., was attached to it; the same good work Gat., c. i., tom. v.) From this description was wrought by it; the same beneficial of Luther by himself, I think we may results followed from it. logically infer that those he lived with were I shall now conclude, with a very brief of like disposition, and if so, reflected credit outline of the rise and progress of Monaupon monastic institutions. Let us now chism in Europe and its immediate neighturn to the opposite picture he draws of bourhood. himself. "I am burnt with the flames of Before the pagan emperors of Rome had my untamed flesh; I am mad almost with ceased their persecutions of the Christians, the rage of lust, and the desire of .... I, we read of a St. Paul, usually styled the who ought to be fervent in spirit, am fervent first hermit, spending ninety years of his in .... in sloth, &c. Relying on the strong life in a desert. I shall say nothing of the foundation of my learning, I yield not, in numbers that fled to the desert to avoid the pride, either to the emperor, prince, or devil | persecutions that desolated the church, and (yet he did, for he allowed one of them two | shall at once introduce you to St. Antony, wives), no, not to the universe itself.” See contemporary with St. Paul, who distributed Dr. Fletcher's Sermons, vol. ii. Here we his goods amongst the poor, in the third have the character of one drawn by his own century, and fled to the desert, to live freed pen, whom we know despised Monachism, from worldly cares, and to have more time broke its holy ties, and caused others to do to spend in the service of God. In this he the same, so vulgar, so vile, that in decency had many imitators, and who in the course I suppressed some of his filthy expressions, of time preferred living in communities, that that they might not meet the chaste eyes of they might assist and encourage each other. some of the fair readers of the Contro- They chose St. Antony for their superior, versialist. Surely we need not wonder at but soon were obliged to elect other supeLuther's endeavours to subvert the monas- riors, and establish more communities, in teries; their existence was his own self consequence of the increase of their numbers. condemnation. Allow me now to state that In other places similar institutions sprang the authorities I have selected are genuine up. Contemporary with St. Antony was Protestants. They are such as could have | St. Pachomius, who had served in the army no interest in supporting Monachism, as it of Licinius against Maxsiun, and afterwards belongs to a religion quite opposed to their became a monk. St. Athanasius, who visited feelings, faith, and interest. I could have those monasteries, describes them as houses given very many quotations from Cobbett's of prayer, where the day is spent in prayer, “Reformation,” equally strong in support of meditating, watchings, and fasting. St. Pachthe beneficial effects of Monachism upon omius established a similar institution for his European society. But as it is a book of sister and other holy virgins who wished to considerable circulation, I perhaps have done live in solitude and freed from the cares of better by referring the reader to it for facts. a worldly life. St. Hilarion lived contemIt may be said, my remarks upon Monachism porary with the latter, and would to God we chiefly refer to England. This I grant; and, were all able to say as he did when departmay I not ask, what part of Europe should ing this life, “Go forth, my soul, what dost interest us more? Besides, is it not likely thou fear? It is near threescore and ten that one should know more of his own coun- years that thou hast served Christ, and art