« ForrigeFortsæt »
the opposite rock stands the other castle ; a memorial of electoral or priestly hostility, when Baldwin besieged the lords of Elz for many months; and having cut off their access to their stronghold, compelled them to submission and vassalage. A little farther up the same valley is another castle, belonging to Count Bassenheim, and burnt by the Swedes in 1641.
On the Moselle, as we descend, we are again reminded of the spiritual lords of Treves, by the castle of Bischoffstein, its ruined chapel, and donjon tower, built in 1270. The castle of Ehrenburg towers above the tree-tops, two miles from the mouth of the Ehrenbach ; within the valley of which are inclosed the most fertile green meadows, fruitful vineyards, and useful water-mills.
Alken, Gondorf, Cobern, Diebelich, Güls, and Moselweiss, would all invite a visit and a page.
But one word alone will suffice for Diebelich; a famed haunt for witches, where, on a neighbouring mountain, they met for midnight revelry, till about the end of the fifteenth century, when a bishop, who had written a book against witchcraft, carried into effect his denunciations, causing twentyfive of them to be burned for the crime,
The events which I have rehearsed are characteristic of the superstition of the people and church of Rome. The truth is, that those who, as priests, have led the devotions, have taught the people to err from the way; have managed them as if they thought that ignorance is the mother of devotion ; and have themselves acted as if superstition were the spirit of religion. As a consequence, the relics of bones, of blood, of teeth, of hair, of garments, of nails, of wood, and of many other things reputed or feigned as sacred, connected with the person or passion of Christ, are as numerous as there are shrines for their exhibition, or fraternities willing to trade upon the delusion of the multitude. The bones of apostles, martyrs, saints, and apocryphal characters, are as varied and
plentiful as would furnish an army of men, were they brought together; and it has been affirmed there is as much wood of the true cross in the Roman Catholic world as would build a ship of war. It must, indeed, have been a miraculous cross, according to their traditions, which no human being could have carried; and its preservation is as great a wonder as would be the power to carry it to Calvary. Such are the numerous, the extravagant, the exorbitant pretensions, in the exhibitions which the authorities of the indivisible and infallible church of Rome make of relics, that, were they brought together, it would appear the apostle Paul had more than two heads, and others of the apostles had twenty legs. The bones are scattered over the remotest parts of the world, disjointed and separate. In one of the places that I saw, the blood which dropped from the head of Jesus when he wore the thorny crown, is shown upon the steps of marble; and no man is allowed to proceed up these steps but upon
his knees; while it is considered an act of the most sacred worship to render this homage to the Santa Scala, the holy stairs, and to pay for the privilege—the most important part of the ceremony, and that for which the system is upheld.
The holy tunic of Treves, and Ronge, will henceforth unite Treves with Catholic Germany and the German Catholic church; and the associations of Treves, in the minds of multitudes, will hereafter be more mingled with religious excitement and progressive reform, with the overthrow of relic worship and sacerdotal usurpation and delusion, than with the monuments of antiquity. Ronge has done more for Treves than did Helena or Constantine ; and the coat of Treves reversed d'or, may be interwoven with his quarterings by the heraldist of some future age; though a greater honour awaits him than the renown of earthly titles.
Notwithstanding its superstitions, and the relic follies and mummeries of its priesthood, there is a charm about the venerable habitations of that aged city. Every separate building standing as if they were the residences of a native nobility, entitle it, in the view of the stranger, to the dignity of a city of palaces; though of antique fashion and a former era. The streets are wider and cleaner, the buildings more spacious, and invested with the repose and dignity of wealth and title, than any other of the cities around. It had a luxury unparalleled in the cities of the Rhine, which literally tempted to ambulatory enjoyment. I delighted to walk on the streets of Treves. Besides their breadth and cleanliness, they were flagged; the footpath is fitted for pedestrians; and the tourist, wishing to complete his survey as a peripatetic philosopher, is happily exempted from the miseries or penances inflicted most unmercifully in his travels through other cities of the Continent. In my progress here I had not to go along limping at every step, coming into vexatious collision with some uneven stone, and reminded of the corns and bunions, I will not say gout, which Rhenish indulgences, or the cordonnier a-la-mode, and rural excursions, may have formed and matured. In every part of Germany, except in Treves, you must walk sur la pointe du pied, or with broad-soled sabots, and forget your foot's gentility.
I hope that the superstition which prevails will be made to yield to the spread of truth, of pure and undefiled religion. I am sorry to have such a fact to state ; but I would be no propagator of delusion; and I must acknowledge it, that, in all the places which I visited in this district, I did not hear of or find an enlightened, or, as I should deem him, a qualified minister of the gospel. I went to hear the service of the Church of England(two ordained clergymen took part in the duties of the morning, and one of them preached)-I was devoutly solicitous that I might profit from the observances. The sermon was from a text which I thought would surely
A DEFECTIVE SERMON.
suggest evangelical doctrine, and develope the attractions of the cross. I did hope, during the first five or six sentences, the preacher was about to tell his auditory (nearly a hundred and fifty people) the way of salvation : but it proved nothing better than a mere moral essay. not such a sermon as would teach the inquiring sinner the path of life, or give him the knowledge of the only living and true God. The principles on which Christian obligation can be alone effectually and consistently enforced, were not recognised, and, I fear, were not known. All over that country the Protestants are as one to nine Catholics: the people are perishing in ignorance : the formal Protestant, and the nominal Catholic, without a foreign or a native ministry to show unto them the truth as it is in Jesus, or cause them to hear the joyful sound: they have no one caring for their souls.
The cities on the Rhine-Antique remains-Historical associations
-Free trade-Invention of printing-Free thought—Free religion-Reformation.
In the descriptions already given, we have selected the principal towns and scenes till we reach Coblentz, visiting Treves, and returning by the Moselle. Before we proceed farther up the Rhine, you will pardon a momentary delay, for the sake of one or two allusions to incidental matters not unworthy of passing notice, and likely to interest.
A few miles below Coblentz, but on the other side of the river, is a town called NEUWIED, founded and governed on a principle of almost universal religious toleration or equality. Persons of every persuasion in religion may become denizens, and enjoy the privilege of citizenship without invidious disparagement. The prince, whose enlightened policy invited settlers to reside within his infant capital, on terms so liberal, lived one hundred years since; and his principality has continued to prosper. Jews, Moravians, Mennonites, Catholics, and Protestants, to the number of 5,000, live in harmony, inhabiting about 800 houses, and pursuing with industry and success commerce and manufactures. The situation upon the river is attractive, convenient, and picturesque. The edifices of most dignified aspect, with sharp sloping roofs, and white tall buildings, once the residence of the founder's family, belong now to the royal house of Prussia. A beautiful avenue of poplars, from the village of Irlich, extends, about