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and intricate passages, sought to keep off too obtrusive friends and neighbours. More inland and on the banks of the large and numerous lakes, roamed herds of reindeer, which were owned by the magnates of the land. It was naturally amongst that portion of the population which was devoted to the more peaceful enterprises of commerce, or to pastoral pursuits, that the Cross would first be planted, and we can form a tolerable idea of the mode of life led by these classes from accounts nearly contemporary. Adam of Bremen says : "Norway, by reason of the ruggedness of its mountains and its exceeding coldness, is the most unfruitful of all countries, and fit only for pasture : as, amongst the Arabs, their flocks and herds run at large. These are the support of the inhabitants. The milk serves them for food, and the wool of their sheep for clothing. It frequently happens," he adds, “in Norway as well as in Sweden, that the most aristocratic persons look after their flocks and herds themselves, after the manner of the patriarchs, and live by the labour of their hands.” But the most graphic sketch of pastoral and commercial life as they existed at this time in Scandinavia, is that given by the Norse traveller, Othere, to our own king Alfred, towards the close of this century, and incorporated in the latter's Anglo-Saxon translation of Orosius. “Othere said," we there read, “ that the country where he lived is called Heligoland. and that nobody is settled to the northward of him. He was a rich man, and had abundance of the possessions in which their wealth consists—to wit, deer. He owned, at the time he conversed with the king, six hundred tame animals, none of which had he bought. These animals are called reindeer. Six of the number were decoy reindeer, which are highly prized by the Fins, for by means of them they catch the wild reindeer. He was one of the first men of the country, although he owned no more than a score cows, a score sheep, and a score swine, and the little patch which he tilled he cultivated by horse labour. But their principal income is derived from the contributions levied on the subject Fins. This tribute consists of skins, eiderdown, whalebone, and ship's tackling, which is manufactured from the skins of whales and sea-dogs. Every subject Fin pays tribute according to his ability. The richest is bound to deliver fifteen martenskins, as well as five reindeer skins, a bear's skin, ten barrels of eiderdown, a smock made of bear's or otter's skin, and two ship’s cables, each sixty ells in length, one made of whale's skin, and the other of sea-dog's skin.” We have here a striking picture of one of those Scandinavian patriarchs, of whom Adam of Bremen speaks, painted by the man himself. We see the Norse squire surrounded by his subject Fins, and living partly on the produce of his herds or his scanty harvests, and partly on the tribute of his serfs. In another passage, train oil and sea-horse teeth are added to the inventory of Norse possessions. “Besides the pleasure of seeing foreign countries,” Alfred continues, " a desire to capture sea-horses prompted Othere to undertake the voyage, in which he sailed round Norway; for their teeth furnish a very valuable sort of bone, and their hides are very good for
making cables of. The sea-horse is smaller than the whale, and is not more than seven ells long. Off Heligoland is found the best whale fishing : they are there from forty-eight to fifty ells in length. Othere told me that with six large ships he had killed sixty of them in two days." The thirst for adventure and for seeing strange lands, of which Othere is a good example, sometimes carried these ancient mariners very far out of the ordinary ocean tracks. According to the very old Icelandic historian, Are, the Norse Viking Gunbjörn was driven by a storm on to the American coast, about A. D. 878, or a few years after Anschar's death, and the reports he brought back led to the formation, within a century or so, of Christian settlements in Greenland, Newfoundland, and Pennsylvania.
It should not be overlooked, as some slight extenuation of the piratical habits of the Norsemen, that the poverty of their country threw them for support on the harvests of the sea, that they regarded their predatory expeditions as war, and that war was sanctioned and hallowed by their religion. That religion, of which the Edda is the most authentic monument, was substantially the same with that of all the families belonging to the great Gothic race; and it is easy to piece out from this extant Bible of pagan Scandinavia the fragmentary accounts, given us by Tacitus, of the faith of the ancient Germans. There are not wanting traces in the Edda, and especially in the Woluspa, that gem of the entire collection, that a lofty ethical spirit originally animated the system, fitting it, to say the least, to be no worse a preparation for Christianity than the mythologies of Greece and Rome.
The oldest Gothic belief was in the Vanes, gentle and kind genii, and in Freyr, named above, a kind of peaceful Poseidon, with his sister Freya, the Gothic Aphrodite. The Odin religion was a later growth, with which, however, the more primitive faith was partially blended. Odin, the great god, created heaven and earth out of his own body, and the first human pair out of the alder and the ash. The first man lived in a paradisaical state, in the fellowship of the gods, in a city built by those divinities the Ases, or Anses, and called after the builders, Asgard. Anschar's own name contains this word, combined with another meaning “lance,” or “spear," and accordingly denotes " the spear of God." But the golden age in Asgard was doomed to end. Lok, who alone had been spared and received amongst the Ases, with Odin at their head, when the giants were overthrown by them, introduced into it vice and evil. This mischief-loving tempter and mocker of gods and men, who, however, is represented as an imp rather than a fiend, occasions the death of Baldur, the noblest and purest of the Ases. With the death of Baldur, crime and calamity gain more and more the upper hand; the monsters of the abyss break loose, the sad “ twilight of the Ases” deepens into utter darkness, gods and men perish in internecine struggles with the giants, and the end of the world draws on. Then suddenly Baldur re-appears, the lord of a better age, to dispense glorious rewards to all who shall meanwhile have shown themselves brave, and condign punishment to cowards.
None but freemen who have died sword in hand are entitled to the delights of Walhalla. For women and slaves, nothing but a shadowy prolongation of their present sad lot is to be looked for beyond the grave. In the hall of Odin the glorified heroes daily fight their battles over again. The Walkyres-their guardian spirits, who chose them out of the slain on the battle-field, gave them immortality, and fondly flew with them to Walhalla— wait upon them still, and hand them huge beakers of mead to quaff. Daily also the great wild boar, Sahrimnar, is roasted for them whole ; and, after being eaten, is renewed every evening. Odin's own portion is thrown by the god to his two wolves, Geri and Freki, who crouch at his feet under the daïs. For he needs no flesh ; wine is to him both meat and drink.
But to return to the missionaries whom Providence had destined to shake this heathen system to its foundations. On their arrival at Hadeby -as we have already said Schleswig was then called-in company with the king, they are said to have met with considerable success, and to have made many converts from the first. This can hardly have been the case, and is doubtless an exaggeration of the monkish chroniclers, who are wont to forget that the gift of tongues has ceased. Though the Danish must have then been far more closely akin to the German dialects than now, yet much time must have been spent by the foreign monks in mastering the idiom of the country. Moreover, when our informants come to specific facts, we find no indications of any extraordinary success in the case. Quite the contrary. So unfavourably disposed towards Christianity were Harald's subjects, that his having embraced it led to his being driven across the frontier within a couple of years from his return; and in A.D. 829 Anschar himself-whose comrade, Autbert, had already, through sickness, been compelled to retreat to Corvey, where he shortly afterwards died-found it necessary to retire for this time. All that he had as yet been able to effect was the establishment of a school of twelve boys, some of whom he had purchased, the rest having been presented to him by Harald. In thus forwarding Anschar's plans for the training of future teachers of his nation, as well as in his holding his crown cheaper than his religion, the king affords pleasing proof that his voyage on board the missionary ship has done him a world of good. On the whole, however, this Danish door has, for the present, been opened but a very little way. A single beam of light has startled the darkness which reigns in that den of pirates, and now it is slammed to again. The Apostle of the North has met with his first repulse, but he still keeps his loving eye upon it; and when called elsewhither, gives strict charge to Brother Gislemar to watch in his stead.
The scene now changes to Sweden. For Providence so ordained that about this very time envoys from Björn, king of that portion of Scandinavia, where by means of Christian captives and the commercial intercourse with the then flourishing port of Dorstede some seeds of the Gospel had been scattered, arrived at the court of the Emperor Ludwig the Pious. These ambassadors, with the view possibly of ingratiating themselves with the Frank ruler, and thus the better attaining their political objects, told him there were many Christians in Sweden, and invited him to send them priests. The emperor proposed this mission to Anschar, who at once declared himself ready to embark in any undertaking likely to glorify the name of Christ. Accordingly, in the summer of A.D. 829, he took a passage for himself and Witmar, a brother monk of Corvey, on board a trading-vessel bound for Sweden, carrying with him many presents with which he had been intrusted by the emperor for King Björn. On the voyage he had practical proof of the sort of people to whom he was taking the Gospel. The ship was attacked by pirates, who stripped them of their all, and then seem to have flung them, to take their chance, on a barren and unknown shore. His companions were for endeavouring to return, but Anschar declared he would not think of doing so, until God should have revealed to him that the time was not yet come for His word to be preached in Sweden. Through woods and across lakes, therefore, they pushed on at his earnest entreaty, and at length reached the town of Birka, on the Lake of Mälarn, then a considerable port near Sigtuna, the ancient capital of the kingdom, and not far from the present metropolis, Stockholm. Björn received the emperor's presents graciously, and readily accorded Anschar permission to preach in his country, and to baptize any of his subjects who might wish to change their religion. Of this liberty the missionaries joyfully availed themselves, and not only strengthened the faith of the Christians whom they found there already, by administering to them, bond and free alike, the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, but induced some of the Pagans also to cast in their lot with them. The most eminent amongst these new converts was the nobleman Herigar, the governor of one of the provinces, who was honoured to erect on his own freehold estate the first Christian church in Sweden. After labouring thus with cheering success for a year and a half, Anschar in A.D. 831 returned to the emperor at Aix to report progress, and to lay the foundation for more extensive and systematic assaults against the strongholds of Scandinavian idolatry.
He so deeply interested the imperial devotee in his important work by these communications, that Ludwig determined to carry out forthwith the plan formerly entertained by his father for the establishment of a missionary metropolitan see at Hamburg, to which Anschar was to be consecrated. The unaspiring monk, however, steadily declined until the consent of the German Church to this new foundation should have been first obtained. This was arranged accordingly, and Anschar, having been raised to the new dignity, was sent to Rome, to procure the Pope's confirmation of the new archbishopric, and to receive the pallium. Since, moreover, the see thus created was rich only in cares, and was exposed to constant inroads from the north, the emperor gave him the abbacy of Thoroult, situated in Flanders, between Bruges and Ypres, for his support. Pope Gregory IV. not only ratified all that had been done, but also further showed his sense of the importance of this scheme for evangelizing the North, by associating with Anschar
in the work the Frank primate, Ebbo of Rheims, who being himself unable personally to embark in the enterprise, forth with ordained as his substitute his nephew Gauzbert to the episcopal superintendence of the rising Swedish mission. Gauzbert entered into Anschar's labours with great zeal, and carried on the work with much success, till in A.D. 845 a storm of heathen reaction burst forth. The bishop was attacked in his own house, plundered of everything, and harried out of the country by the fanatical Pagan mob. For six years, in spite of all Anschar's earnest endeavours, nothing more could be done in that quarter. At length, however, in A.D. 851, he prevailed on a pious recluse, Ardgar, to forsake his hermitage, and to resume the Swedish enterprise. Ardgar was warmly welcomed by Herigar and the rest of the scattered flock, who had been so long destitute of the most precious ordinances and consolations of their adopted religion. Yet even in the interval progress had been made, and the Lord had carried on the work by means of native converts. In one instance, indeed, no other than a heathen priest had helped to spread the growing impression of the power of Christ. One of those maddened pagans who had plundered Bishop Gauzbert's house deposited his booty, amongst which was a church book, in the house of his father. The son and many other relatives of the family died shortly after, and the old man, smitten too by other calamities which befell him at the same time, consulted his priest, who told him he must have offended the God of the Christians. for he was sure so pious a man could have outraged no other of the gods. The man vowed satisfaction to Christ; and, yielding up the Christian volume, tied it to a stake, where it was found by the Christian who told the story to Anschar's scholar and biographer, Rimbert. The curious trophy was handed to Ardgar on his arrival.
Amongst the new converts, the most zealous was Herigar, the stadtholder, who had never lost any opportunity of furthering the good cause. On one occasion, when Birka was threatened by an invading army, and the inhabitants had implored in vain the help of their gods, he had boldly proposed to them to try his own God, whom he declared to be the Almighty. They listened to him, and at his instance actually held a solemn convocation in a large field, and vowed a fast to the Lord Christ, and a distribution of alms in His name. Thus wonderfully was the soil prepared for the good seed of the kingdom. For two years Ardgar scattered it plentifully, after which, upon Herigar's death, he seems to have become discouraged, and retired to his hermitage once more.
We next find Anschar himself re-appearing on this scene of his early triumphs. At first, indeed, he entreated Gauzbert to return to his post ; but the bishop plausibly pleaded his unpopularity, and the bitter hatred evinced towards him when his house had been stormed eight years before, as likely to prove a serious hindrance to the truth. Anschar felt the force of the argument, and prepared to go himself. He was the more disposed to this course on account of a dream he had had, at a time when his spirit was greatly bowed down by his overwhelming