« ForrigeFortsæt »
sophy in less than two or three years; and facts were apprehended, not in their substance and details, by means of living, and, as it were, personal documents, but in dead abstracts and tables. Such were the declamations to which the new logic gave occasion.
These, however, are lesser matters; we have a graver quarrel with Abelard than that of his undervaluing the classics. . . Wisdom, says the inspired writer, is desursum, is pudica, is pacifica,-" from above, chaste, peaceable." We have already seen enough of Abelard's career to understand that his wisdom, instead of being pacifica, was ambitious and contentious. An Apostle speaks of the tongue both as a blessing and as a curse. may be the beginning of a fire; he says, a "Universitas iniquitatis;" and, alas! such it became in the mouth of the gifted Abelard. His eloquence was wonderful; he dazzled his contemporaries, says Fulco, "by the brilliancy of his genius, the sweetness of his eloquence; the ready flow of his language, and the subtlety of his knowledge." People came to him from all quarters;-from Rome, in spite of mountains and robbers; from England, in spite of the sea; from Flanders and Germany; from Normandy, and the remote districts of France; from Angers and Poitiers; from Navarre by the Pyrenees, and from Spain, besides the students of Paris itself; and among those who sought his instructions, now or afterwards, were the great luminaries of the schools in the next generation. Such were Peter of Poitiers, Peter Lombard, John of Salisbury, Arnold of Brescia, Ivo and Geoffrey of Auxerre. It was too much for a weak head and heart; weak in spite of intellectual power; for vanity will possess the head, and worldliness the heart, of the man, however gifted, whose wisdom is not an effluence of the Eternal Light.
True wisdom is not only "pacifica," it is also "pudica;"
chaste as well as peaceable. Alas for Abelard! a second disgrace, deeper than ambition, is his portion now. The strong man,-the Samson of the schools in the wildness. of his course, the Solomon in the fascination of his genius, shivers and falls before the temptation which overcame that mighty pair, the most excelling in body and in mind.
Desire of wine, and all delicious drinks,
In a time when Colleges were unknown, and the young scholar was thrown upon the dubious hospitality of a great city, Abelard might even be thought careful of his honour that he went to lodge with an old ecclesiastic, had not his host's niece, Eloisa, lived with him. A more subtle snare was laid for him than beset the heroic champion, or the all-accomplished monarch of Israel; for sensuality came upon him, under the guise of intellect, and it was the high mental endowments of Eloisa, who became his pupil, speaking in her eyes, and thrilling on her tongue, which were the intoxication and the delirium of Abelard. . . He is judged: he is punished: but he is not reclaimed. True wisdom is not only "pacifica," not only "pudica," it is “desursum” too. It is a revelation from above; it knows heresy as little as it knows strife or licence. But Abelard, who had run the career of earthly wisdom in two of its
phases, now is destined to represent its third. It is at the famous Abbey of St. Denis that we find him languidly rising from his dream of sin, and the suffering that followed. The bad dream is cleared away; clerks come to him, and the Abbot, begging him to lecture still, for love now, as for gain before. Once more his school is thronged by the curious and the studious; but at length the rumour spreads that Abelard is exploring the way to some novel view on the subject of the Most Holy Trinity. Wherefore is hardly clear, but about the same time the monks drive him away from the place of refuge he had gained. He betakes himself to a cell, and thither his pupils follow him. "I betook myself to a certain cell," he says, "wishing to give myself to the schools, as was my custom. Thither so great a multitude of scholars flocked, that there was neither room to house them, nor fruits of the earth to feed them." Such was the enthusiasm of the student, such the attraction of the teacher, when knowledge was advertised freely, and its market opened.
Next he is in Champagne, in a delightful solitude near Nogent, in the diocese of Troyes. Here the same phenomenon presents itself which is so frequent in his history. "When the scholars knew it," he says, "they began to crowd thither from all parts; and leaving other cities and strongholds, they were content to dwell in the wilderness. For spacious houses, they framed for themselves small tabernacles, and for delicate food they put up with wild herbs. Secretly did they whisper among themselves : 'Behold the whole world is gone out after him!' When, however, my Oratory could not hold even a moderate portion of them, then they were forced to enlarge it, and to build it up with wood and stone." He called the place his "Paraclete," because it had been his consolation.
I do not know why I need follow his life further. I have said enough to illustrate the course of one who may be called the founder, or at least the first great name of the Parisian schools. After the events I have mentioned, he is found in Lower Britanny then, being about forty years of age, in the Abbey of St. Gildas; then with St. Geneviève again. He had to sustain the fiery eloquence of a Saint, directed against his novelties; he had to present himself before two Councils; he had to burn the book which had given offence to pious ears. His last two years were spent at Clugni, on his way to Rome. The home of the weary, the school of the erring, the tribunal of the penitent, is the city of St. Peter. He did not reach it; but he is said to have retracted what had given scandal in his writings, and to have made an edifying end. He died at the age of sixty-two, in the year of grace 1142.
In reviewing his career, the career of so great an intellect so miserably thrown away, we are reminded of the famous words of the dying scholar and jurist, which are a lesson to us all: "Heu, vitam perdidi, operosè nihil agendo." A happier lot be ours! ("Hist. Sketches," vol. III. p. 195.)
WHEN Arianism broke out, it was Athanasius and the Egyptians who were "faithful found among the faithless ;" even the Infallible See.. [was] not happy in the man who filled it. Liberius . . anathematized Athanasius on a point on which Athanasius was right and Liberius was
wrong. [But] it is astonishing to me how any one can fancy that Liberius, in subscribing the Arian confessions, promulgated them ex cathedrâ, considering he was not his own master when he signed them, and that they were not his drawing up. Who would say that it would be a judgment of the Queen's Bench, or a judicial act of any kind, if ribbon-men in Ireland seized on one of her Majesty's Judges, hurried him into the wilds of Connemara, and there made him, under terror of his life, sign a document in the very teeth of an award which he had lately made in Court in a question of property. Surely for an ex cathedra decision of the Pope is required his formal initiation of it, his authorship of its wording, and his utterance amid his Court, with solemnities parallel to those of an Ecumenical Council. It is not a transaction that can be done in his travelling dress, in some hedge-side inn, or town tavern, or imperial servant's-hall. Liberius' subscription can only claim a Nag's Head's sort of infallibility. ("Hist. Sketches," vol. II. p. 340.)
DEATH OF ST. GREGORY VII.
ON the 25th of May, 1085, he peacefully closed his earthly career; just rallying strength, amid the exhaustion of his powers, to utter with his departing breath the words, "I have loved justice and hated iniquity, and therefore I die in exile."
"In exile!" said a prelate who stood by his bed, . . "in exile thou can'st not die! Vicar of Christ and His Apostles, thou hast received the nations for thine inheri