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gain, the money-changer's bench, and the merchant's cargo. They had turned their backs upon the wrangling forum, the political assembly, and the pantechnicon of trades. They had had their last dealings with architect and habitmaker, with butcher and cook; all they wanted, all they desired, was the sweet soothing presence of earth, sky, and sea, the hospitable cave, the bright running stream, the easy gifts which mother earth, "justissima tellus,” yields on very little persuasion. "The monastic institute," says the biographer of St. Maurus, "demands summa quies, the most perfect quietness ;" and where was quietness to be found, if not in reverting to the original condition of man, as far as the changed circumstances of our race admitted; in having no wants, of which the supply was not close at hand; in the nil admirari; in having neither hope nor fear of anything below; in daily prayer, daily bread, and daily work, one day being just like another, except that it was one step nearer than the day before it to that great day, which would swallow up all days, the day of everlasting rest? ("Hist. Sketches," vol. II. p. 372.)
THE DEATH OF ST. BEDE.
HERE the beautiful character in life and death of St. Bede naturally occurs to the mind, who is, in his person and his writings, as truly the pattern of a Benedictine, as is St. Thomas of a Dominican; and with an extract from the letter of Cuthbert to Cuthwin concerning his last hours, which, familiarly as it is known, is always pleasant to read, I break off my subject for the present.
"He was exceedingly oppressed," says Cuthbert of St. Bede, "with shortness of breathing, though without pain, before Easter Day, for about a fortnight; but he rallied, and was full of joy and gladness, and gave thanks to Almighty God day and night, and every hour, up to Ascension Day; and he gave us, his scholars, daily lectures, and passed the rest of the day in singing the Psalms, and the night, too, in joy and thanksgiving, except the scanty time which he gave to sleep. And as soon as he woke he was busy in his customary way, and he never ceased, with uplifted hands, giving thanks to God. I solemnly protest, never have I seen or heard of any one who was so diligent in thanksgiving.
"He sang that sentence of the Blessed Apostle Paul, 'It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God,' and many other passages of Scripture, in which he warned us to shake off the slumber of the soul, by anticipating our last hour. And he sang some verses of his own in English also, to the effect that no one could be too well prepared for his end, viz. in calling to mind, before he departs hence, what good or evil he has done, and how his judgment will lie. And he sang too the antiphons, of which one is, 'O King of glory, Lord of Angels, who this day hast ascended in triumph above all the heavens, leave us not orphans, but send the promise of the Father upon us, the Spirit of Truth. Alleluia.' And when he came to the words, 'leave us not orphans,' he burst into tears, and wept much. He said, too, 'God scourgeth every son whom He receiveth,' and, with St. Ambrose, 'I have not so lived as to be ashamed to have been among you, nor do I fear to die, for we have a good Lord.'
"In those days, besides our lectures and the Psalmody, he was engaged in two works; he was translating into English the Gospel of St. John, as far as the words, ' But
what are those among so many,' and some extracts from the Notæ of Isidore.' On the Tuesday before Ascension Day, he began to suffer still more in his breathing, and his feet were slightly swollen. However, he went through the day, dictating cheerfully, and he kept saying from time to time, 'Take down what I say quickly, for I know not how long I am to last, or whether my Maker will not take me soon.' He seemed to us to be quite aware of the time of his going, and he passed that night in giving of thanks, without sleeping. As soon as morning broke, that is on the Wednesday, he urged us to make haste with the writing which we had begun. We did so till nine o'clock, when we walked in procession with the Relics of the Saints, according to the usage of that day. But one of our party said to him, 'Dearest master, one chapter is still wanting; can you bear our asking you about it?' He answered, ' I can bear it; take your pen and be ready, and write quickly.' At three o'clock he said to me, 'Run fast, and call our priests, that I may divide among them some little gifts, which I have in my box.' When I had done this in much agitation, he spoke to each, urging and entreating them all to make a point of saying masses and prayers for him. Thus he passed the day in joy until the evening, when the above-named youth said to him, 'Dear master, there is yet one sentence not written!' He answered, 'Write quickly.' Presently the youth said, 'Now it is written;' he replied, 'Good, thou hast said the truth, consummatum est; take my head into thy hands, for it is very pleasant to me to sit facing my old praying place, and thus to call upon my Father.' And so, on the floor of his cell, he sang, 'Glory be to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,' and just as he had said, 'Holy Ghost,' he breathed his last, and went to the realms above."
It is remarkable that this flower of the Benedictine school
died on the same day as St. Philip Neri, May 26; Bede on Ascension Day, and Philip on the early morning, after the feast of Corpus Christi. It was fitting that two Saints should go to heaven together, whose mode of going thither was the same; both of them singing, praying, working, and guiding others, in joy and exultation till their very last hour. ("Hist. Sketches," vol. II. p. 428.)
As the inductive method rose in Bacon, so did the logical in the medieval schoolmen, and Aristotle, the most comprehensive intellect of antiquity, as the one who had conceived the sublime idea of mapping the whole field of knowledge, and subjecting all things to one profound analysis, became the presiding master in their lecture halls. It was at the end of the eleventh century that William of Champeaux founded the celebrated Abbey of St. Victor, under the shadow of St. Geneviève. . . Of this William of Champeaux, Abelard was the pupil. He had studied the dialectic art elsewhere, before he offered himself for his instructions, and in the course of two years, when as yet he had only reached the age of twenty-two, he made such progress as to be capable of quarrelling with his master, and setting up a school for himself.
Great things are done by devotion to one idea; there is one class of geniuses who would never be what they are could they grasp a second. The calm philosophical mind, which contemplates parts without denying the whole, and the whole without confusing the parts, is notoriously
indisposed to action; whereas single and simple views arrest the mind, and hurry it on to carry them out. Thus men of one idea and nothing more, whatever their merit, must be, to a certain extent, narrow-minded, and it is not wonderful that Abelard's devotion to the new [scholastic] philosophy made him undervalue the seven arts out of which it had grown. He felt it impossible so to honour what was now to be added, as not to dishonour what existed before. He would not suffer the arts to have their own use, since he had found a new instrument for a new purpose; so he opposed the reading of the classics. The monks had opposed them before him; but this is little to our present purpose. It was the duty of men who abjured the gifts of this world, on the principle of mortification, to deny themselves literature, just as they would deny themselves particular friendships, or figured music. The doctrine which Abelard introduced and represents, was founded on a different basis. He did not recognize in the poets of antiquity any other merit than that of furnishing an assemblage of elegant phrases and figures, and accordingly he asks why they should not be banished from the city of God, since Plato banished them from his commonwealth. The animus of this language is clear when we turn to the pages of John of Salisbury, and Peter of Blois, who were champions of the ancient learning. We find them complaining that the careful "getting up," as we now call it, "of books" was growing out of fashion. Youths once studied critically the text of poets and philosophers; they got them by heart; they analyzed their arguments; they noted down their fallacies; they were closely examined in the matters which had been brought before them in lectures; they composed. But now, another teaching was coming in; students were promised truth in a nut-shell; they intended to get possession of the sum-total of philo