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Britain in the Christian religion. England and Wales were divided into different principalities at that time. Ethelred, king of kent, was among the first proselytes of Augustine, and became an important aid to his purposes. Augustine was a spiritual governor as well as teacher, and he baptized converts, and established chur. ches and ministers from Kent to Northumberland; he also penetrated into Wales, where he found a form of Christianity more simple than the Romish faith. It had been learned in the second century after Christ from the Romans, and was still cherished.
Augustine was destitute of humility, and expected to be acknowledged by all the inhabitants of Britain, as head of the English church under the Pope. The Welsh, not comprehending the authority of the Pope and Saint Austin, thought fit to reject it, and the saint denounced ven. geance upon them. A King of Northumberland took upon himself the accomplishment of this prophecy, and without affording them time for defence, slaughtered about twelve hundred of the Welsh Christians. Fear, as well as confidence, served to establish the Catholic religion, and after the sixth century it was acknowledged in Britain, by the Kings and the people.
From this time large grants and gifts enriched and multiplied monasteries or religious houses, and they continued to increase in power and wealth for nearly a thousand years. The increase of their power, however, received several checks. Reformers at different times lifted up their voices. Wickliffe and Lord Cobham declared for religious liberty, King Henry II. and Edward III. restrained ecclesiastical power, and the scriptures were translated.
At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Pope Leo X. was engaged in building that wonder of modern architecture, St. Peter's church at Rome, and in order to obtain money for the accomplishment of that expensive undertaking, he gave a commission to certain Catholic priests to sell Indulgences, and send the profits to him at Rome. These Indulgences were privileges to commit actions forbidden by the laws and the Gospel, without liability to punishment in this world, or another. The impossibility that any human sovereign could discharge his fellow men from the laws of his Maker, made multitudes of almost all Catholic countries distrust the authority of the Pope who affected to do this, and made tine 'religious establishments less venerable in all the countries which afterwards became Protestant.
Henry VIII. adhered to the ceremonies of Popery all his life, but he was a most powerful enemy to the Pope's authority in Britain. Henry caused himself to be declared by the parliament, the Protector and independent head of the church of England. In virtues of this authority, Henry caused a visitation to be made to all the convents, and a report of their condition to be published. This account, perhaps with too little regard to truth, gave a most detestable character to the monasteries, so that the public mind was easily reconciled to their suppression. Not long after the visitation, three hundred and seventy-six houses were suppressed, and the lands and other property attached to them were confiscated, or applied by the King to public uses,
The new appropriation of the wealth of the Church did not stop here, for the number of religious houses of different kinds that were suppressed has been estimated to be six hundred and forty-three convents, and more than two thousand small establishments for worship, education, and charity. It is impossible that much distress should not have attended such a sweeping remedy of real or supposed abuses, and 'well might Constance give that lively personification of the monarch's anger which led to these illustrations.
The altars quake, the crosier bend. The altars which Catholic superstition has erected shall be shaken. The crosier is a staff surmounted by a cross. It was carried by Catholic bishops as a symbol of ecclesiastical powerthose who bore it might dread the time when it should be Dent in subjection to the reformed religion.
LADY OF THE LAKE. This beautiful tale is a more universal favourite than any by Sir Walter Scott. It is exquisitely descriptive, .and so peculiarly fascinating, that a person who takes it up for the first time is seldom known to leave it till the whole is read. The first Canto of the Lady of the Lake describes a chase. Hunting is a necessary occupation to men in the savage state, and in civilized countries the opulent men of leisure love to excite their spirits by the sports of the field. To hunt the boar, the stag, and the fox, besides many other animals, is considered by some active and adventurous persons, in many civilized countries, as among the most animating pleasures of life.
The Chase in the Lady of the Lake describes a hunt of the King of Scotland, which ended in the loss of the game, and the death of King James's fine horse. After the loss of his horse, the King expects to sleep in the open air; but the state of the country made it dangerous, and he wandered for a short time in quest of a safe place, when he came full in view of Loch Katrine, a beautifully wooded lake embosomed in profound solitude. In the lake lie several islands-one of them is the retreat of an outlaw, Rhoderick Dhu, and also the asylum of Lord Douglas and his daughter Ellen. Lord Douglas was under the displeasure of the King, and had taken refuge with his kinsman. In hope to summon some straggler of his train, the King sounds his bugle: it was heard by Ellen Douglas, who was navigating her fairy frigate on the lake,-and believing she replied to her father or to Malcolm Græme, a welcome visitor to her retreat, she answers the stranger, who soon explains his circumstances. Ellen, in the generous confidence and hospitality of that age, takes him into the shallop. He rows to the island, and is made welcome to the rustic habitation of Dame Margaret, the lady of Clan Alpine, and the mother of Rhoderick. The Douglas and the chieftain are both absent, and the stranger Knight announces himself in the assumed character of James Fitz-James, (Fitz-James,
son of James.) The next morning the Knight leaves the island under safe conduct.
Yelled on the view the opening pack,
With hark and whoop and wild halloo No rest Benvoirlich's echo knew. Far from the tumult fled the roe, Close in the covert cowered the doe, The falcon, from her earn on high, Cast on the rout a wondering eye, Till far beyond her piercing ken The hurricane had swept the glen. Faint, and more faint, its failing din Returned from cavern, cliff and linn, And silence settled wide and still, On the lone wood and mighty hill. Less loud the sounds of sylyan war Disturbed the heights of Uam-Var, And roused the cavern, where 'tis told A giant made his den of old : : For ere that steep ascent was won, High in his path-way hung the sun, And many a gallant, stayed per-force, Was fain to breathe his faltering horse : And of the trackers of the deer, Scarce half the lessening pack was near ; So shrewdly on the mountain side, Had the bold burst their mettle tried.
The noble stag was pausing now Upon the mountain's southern brow, Where broad extended far beneath,
The varied realms of fair Monteith. With anxious eye he wandered o'er Mountain and meadow, moss and moor, And pondered refuge from his toil, By far Lochard or Aberfoyle. But nearer was the copse-wood grey, That waved and wept on Loch Achray, And mingled with the pine trees blue, On the bold cliffs of Ben-venue. Fresh vigor with the hope returned, With flying foot the heath he spurned,