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ceremony of exhibiting this won- Santa, or holy house, is the buildderful handkerchief to the people. ing in which it is pretended, that
The cathedral at Milan, whose the Virgin Mary was born, and in noble architecture really merits which she received the Annunciathe admiration of the world, also tion. After the death of our Sashuts up one of these precious de- viour and of the Virgin, it was posits, a real nail of the cross. It taken up by angels, and transportis enclosed with vast splendour in ed to Dalmatia, but not satisfied a vase in this church, and they with the reception thøy met with make an annual procession, at there, they removed it to Italy, which it is exhibited to the peo- where after two or three other ple, and upon which occasion the changes of situation, it was finally archbishop and clergy attend, and fixed on the top of a hill almost high mass is performed. St. inaccessible, in the village of LoCharles Borromeo, a distinguish- retto. When or at what period ed saint, who deposited this sacred of the Christian era, it first benail, and who instituted this sol- came the object of religious reemn festival and procession, has spect, seems to be unsettled, but contrived to multiply this relick it is certain that in process of time, by numerous copies in wood, and popes and literary men all affectpainting, and the devout Catholicks ed to credit the legend, and vast bring their chaplets and other sa- sums have accordingly been excred things, that they may acquire pended by the holy see in rendera new value by being shaken in ing Loretto a superb place, calcuthe same box with the holy nail. lated to excite the awe of the su
Our Lady of Loretto, and the perstitious vulgar. Casa Santa, are not wholly un- The holy house has been sur
These sacred re- rounded modernly by a rich case, Hicks and the church which in.. or coat of the marble of Carrara, closed them, once the objects of the finest in Italy. The style of the devotion of princes, and to architecture of this case is Corinwhich they frequently made pil- thian, and of course elegant ; the grimages, were endowed with a statues and bas reliefs which surmagnificence worthy of these weal- round it are superb. The monks thy
bigots. They were plundered who shew it to you pretend, that by the French during the revolu- originally the marble case was tion, but Bonaparte, since his con- built close to the sacred house, but version from Mahometanism to that, as if conscious of its own Catholicism, having restored the baseness, it has started off, and it image of the Virgin, these relicks certainly stands now at a very reare again the objects of super- spectful distance. stitious veneration. The history The house itself is not more of this Casa Santa, as related by than 30 feet long, 20 feet wide, and these credulous votaries, is indeed as many in height ; the whole is ridiculous, and if I had not bee
a most magnificent an eye-witness of the splendour church, in which all the pomp of with which it is surrounded, and papacy has been displayed. The of the awe aud holy veneration in inside of the holy house is perwhich it is still held, I should have fectly naked and exposed to the withheld my belief of the existence eye, so that you can discover its of such blind credulity. The Casa original construction; it is built of
Vol. IV. No. ? K
known to you.
small stones laid in the form, and thought; and you may rely upon about the size of large bricks. it, that his travels, though exMy guide gravely assured me, tremely witty and entertaining,are that the building had no founda- little better than a pleasant rotion, and to convince me of it, he mance. I would not be thought took out of the wall one of the to undervalue the merit of this exloose stones, which proved, as he cellent work, which will always be thought, that the cdifice was sup- admired, and ought to be considerported wholly by supernatural ed as a model of fine epistolary power. The image of the Virgin, writing, but its excellence does not which the French have lately re- 'consist in the truth of its narration, stored, without the treasure which nor in the correctness of its des. was plundered with it, is said to criptions. Dr. Moore, upon obhave been the workmanship of St. serving in the church which enLuke, whom these honest zealots 'closes the Casa Santa, a beautiful declare was both a painter and bas relief of the Death of Abel, rcsculptor. I confess I do not think arks, that, “ Poor Abel has been this statue any proof of his high always unfortunatem had he been attainments in sculpture. It is placed by the artist a foot higher made, they tell you, of the cedar or lower, he would have been safe, of Lebanon ; but whether from its but coming opposite to the mouths extreme age, or from the natural of the Pilgrims while kneeling, the colour of the wood, I cannot say, poor fellow has been kissed almost but it has now acquired the hue of out of existence, while Cain stands ebony. We were carried into the frowning and fierce as ever.” If Sancta Sanctorum of this building, this was intended as a mere sally and were shewn the very fire-place of the imagination, I confess I canat which the virgin used to sit. not see much wit in it ; but if it I assure you, these things are told was designed to convey to the mind with a zeal and unaffected simplic of the reader the impression of a city which leave no doubts of the fact, I must say that it is wholly sincerity of the relators. It was without foundation. I viewed this with difficulty we could pass along bas relief, in all its beauty, thirty the streets of Loretto, so teazed 'years after Dr. Moore made the and interrupted were we by the remark, and there was no apparent seliers of chaplets and rosaries, difference in the two brothers which, having been carried into Abel was full as perfect as Cain, the holy house are thought to have and they were both wholly unimacquired peculiar value. In Lo- paired. You know enough of retto, as in all the zealous Roman bronze ''s reliefs, to be convinced, catholick towns, you are waylaid that this could not have been reby hosts of beggars, who subsist paired, and of course you will join wholly by mendicity; and I have me in the opinion, that, in il.is inuniformly remarked, that super stance, at least, Moore preferred a stition and misery are twin-sisters réputation for wit, tu one for rea who are never separated.
racity. I had a very good opportunity Since our arrival at Rome, we in this place to prove, what I had have made the tour of the city and always before suspected, the pro- have visited several of the modern pensity of Dr. Moore to sacrifice churches ; and we will, if you truth to a good saying or a witty please, pursue the bistory of credulity at this time, that we may which is shewn with great pomp not be obliged to debase our future to the mob, in an annual procesand more noble pursuits, by blend- sion, at which all the dignitaries ing with them these pictures of of the church assist. At the enhuman weakness.
trance of the church of the Scala At Santa Maria Maggiore, one Santa, or Holy Stair-Cast, they of the most magnificent churches have erected a magnificent flight in Rome, they shew you a chapel of marble steps,which they pretend under ground, over the entrance were taken from the house of Ponto which a lamp is perpetually tius Pilate, and were the same burning, and in which they pre which our Saviour ascended when serve what they affirm is the real he went to have his hearing before cradle in which our Saviour was that officer. They allege, that laid while an infant ; and in the he fell three times in ascending same church are preserved like these steps, and the spots where wise some of the hay upon which he faultered are marked with brass he was first placed, and the swad- nails. dling clothes with which he was These steps, about twenty in wrapped at his birth. When we number, the devotees are obliged recollect the persecution and pov- to ascend on their knees; and so erty of Joseph and Mary, their great, has been the concourse of flight into Egypt, to avoid the ven- the faithful, that they had seriously. geance of Herod, and the itinerant impaired the marble, and indeed life which our Saviour was obliged threatened the destruction of this to lead, the improbability of their precious remnant, if the Popes ha? being able to preserve these rel- not prudently ordered them to be icks, even during his life, and the covered with oak planks, which, total unimportance of them if pre- in their turn, are nearly demolishserved, one would suppose, would ed by this holy fervour. We saw be sufficient to convince even the two of these devout believers asmost ignorant and illiterate of the cending Pilate's Stair-Case in this absurdity of such tales; but when painful, but no doubt from the good we add further, the state of the effects they expected to derive early church, fugitive and per- from it, to them pleasurable way. secuted, free from every sort of I cannot say, that white marble superstition, and that it is not pre- is not as plenty in Palestine as in tended that these relicks were pro- Italy, but if not, it must have been cured till after the capture of Je- a very expensive article to Pilate, rusalem by the christians, it is al- for these steps were fifteen feet most impossible to believe even long, of a single block, and the the evidence of one's senses, that transportation must therefore have a church, administered by enlight- been very troublesome. I could ened men, professing the most un- not help remarking, that this mardissembled piety, could, in an age ble very much resembled that of like the present, continue to coun- Italy, and I believe is peculiar to tenance, and even encourage, such that country. You are shewn also opinions.
in this church a picture of our SaAt the church of Santa Croce di viour hy St. Luke, which I think Gerusalemme, or the Holy Cross must be the oldest in christendom ; of Jerusalem, they exbibit a piece and a bronze door, which was taof the real cross of our Saviour, ken down from the palace of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem. By the are gravely told represents the way, can you inform me, what exact height of our Saviour. How were the particular merits of Pilate, this was ascertained, they do not which should render even the inform you, but one marvellous threshold of his door the object of circumstance they never forget, religious veneration ?
which is, that no person has yet At St. John in the Lateran, been found, whose size correswhich, an inscription informs you, ponded exactly with this measureis the oldest church in Christen- ment of our Saviour. This tale dom, having been built by Con- is always accompanied with a look stantine, the first Christian empe- of uncommon awe, and an astonror, you will expect to find an ex- ished countenance. In this church traordinary collection of sacred there is also an altar, the history things, and your expectations will of which is equally surprising, and not be disappointed. It has the will go far to make you credit the honour to possess the real head of doctrine of the real presence in the St. Peter. It boasts of having the elements. This altar has a large pillars of the portico of the palace hole through it, the cause of which of Pilate. It undoubtedly has the is affirmed to be, that a priest was happiness to inclose within its walls administering the sacrament over the real Samaritan well, mention- this altar, and held in his hand the ed in John iv. 6, 7, or rather the consecrated bread, but, not believcurb of that well, as they could not ing that it was the real body of our very conveniently transport the Lord, he attempted to cut it, and Well itself; but in order to pre- the blood immediately followed serve the resemblance, they have from the wound. The piece of dug a well in the church yard, and bread fell from his hand, and inplaced the curb over it, and they stantly made its way through the now oblige you to remark the marble altar, which is preserved in channel worn by the rope when perpetual remembrance of the employed in raising the water in miracle. The astonished priest, Samaria. This curb is also of no doubt, was converted at this beautiful white marble, and is unquestionable proof of the truth covered with elegant bas reliefs. of the Catholick doctrine, and you I say nothing of the probability of must be hardened indeed, if you their having so expensive an orna- still refuse your assent to an opinment to a well in a village in Sa- ion so miraculously supported. maria, but I nust remark, that I could go on, and tell you, that marble must have been very abun- I have seen the original oaken tadant in Palestine ; and that the ble, at which our Saviour and his popes have been singularly for- disciples partook of the last suptunate, as well as industrious, in per-and the actual print of our finding all these relicks five hun- Saviour's foot, made upon a piece
dred years after the period of the of marble, when the devil carried • events which had rendered them him into the mountain to tempt interesting.,
him-and a thousand other equally They have also in this church important relicks ; but I think,that a little monument consisting of a enough has been already stated to flat stone on the ground, upon shew, that revolutions have not efwhich four pillars are placed, which faced the impressions of bigotry, support another stone at the height nor annihilated the reign of creduof about six feet, and which you lity in this celebrated country.
· It is indeed to be regretted, that perience teaches us, that men usuthe pure and simple religion of ally go from one extreme to the christianity should be thus debased other, and it is therefore to be fear.. in its practice by the grossested, that these unfortunate people, idolatry, for it deserves no other would proceed, like the French, name :-and it is still more to be from blind credulity to open infilamented, that we can scarcely delity and atheism.. hope for a change, beneficial to
Yours, &c. religion, in this country ; for ex
For the Anthology.
* The best society and conversation is that, in which the heart, has a greater share than the head.'-BRUYERE.
AS most ages have received tion to disparage the judicial desome appellation descriptive of partment of our system, but to their character (for instance the preserve that equipoise between Silver, the Golden, and the Iron,) its parts, essential to harmony. and the one which we adorn has If the head is invited to judge, never been named, I have thought let the heart, too, be permitted to in my wisdom of calling it the feel.—The pulse often throbs Calculating. Why I consider with intelligence, and truth may such an epithet appropriate is, be bewildered in the intricacies of that I have noticed a disposition argument. I am perfectly sensiin society to confer invariably ble that I may be considered by with the head, without consulting some as deficient in what I am the heart ; to derive every thing, aiming to rectify ; but, though. I as it were from the cell, and to wish with my neighbours to stand take nothing from the fibre. Of well with the world, I shall deliver late, no sentiment is adopted, no my mind at the risk of reputation. impression acknowledged, with- The fraternity of Longheads may out separately advising with this suppose if they pleasc, that my wise piece of workmanship ; and wits are disordered by the full of to pretend to be delighted or dis- the moon, but, be those as they gusted at aught without assigning may, I will defend to the utmost its wherefores, is like settling a the cause of the heart,and never arlaw point without justice or autho- vance the cold dictates of reason on rity. Were this propensity for the warm ruins of good feeling and steering by the judgment con- dignified passion. There is somefined to grave studies in science or what so cold about the philosophy art, it would be an affront to Wis- of the head, that it should be laid dom for any to
murmur ; but to warm in the bosom, to be made when subjects of taste, polite lite- pleasant for use. rature, and affairs of the heart I mean not, however, to enare coldly submitted to the tests courage a partiality for the heart, of the brain, one may lose his which some susceptible spirits good nature without ofiending are known to entertain ; who conthat Goddess. It is not my inten- sider the feelings of the moment