« AnteriorContinuar »
revenues of his cathedral to a confiderable degree : and some • little time before his death, being much africted with the gout,
he ordered himself to be carried in a horse-litter about « his diocele, and preached from thence unto the people.'
Towards the end of the seventh century, the Church began to incorporate with the State ; the laws of Princes took
Religion under their care and protection; and made provi. fion for the support and honour of the Clergy, and for the
reverence due to churches and holy things.' Among other laws made by King Ina, and mentioned by our Author, there is one, by which it appears, that according to the piety, and understanding of shat age, a Bishop, and a King, were, in
fome fort, esteemed equal. Let the law explain itself what . I mean.
One hundred and twenty fhillings fhall be the pea nalty of one breaking the peace, in a town of the King, or
Bishop; and fourscore fhillings in the town of a Senator.-" I shall make no other observation on these laws of Ina, than • that killing and murder, and much less theft, among the an
cient English, were never punished with death, but with a ' fine of money; so tender they were of blood: whereas, in
our days, the life of a man is become of so little estimation, " that the lofs of it is made a legal satisfaction for the merest • trifle in the world; even for pilfering any thing above a shil
ling value. As much light and knowlege as we have to « boaft of superior to those ages, I am afraid that this is a • custom neither warranted from Scripture, nor from Reason ; ' in which, therefore, we fall fhort of the goodness and wil• dom of our Saxon ancestors.
• Monasteries, at this time, were the only nurseries of disci
pline, and the chief schools of learning; and, therefore, • when a Bishopric was erected in this age, a monastery was
usually founded near the seat of it; as well for the habitation and support of the Bishop, as of those who were to attend religious offices in the cathedral, or to preach the Gofpel in the neighbouring countries. These bodies, properly speaking, were colleges of priests; who in after-ages were distinguished by the name of Secular Canons, and were under no vow of perpetual celebacy. Nor was this the case
of those only who were settled in cathedral monasteries, but • those also known by the name of Monks and Nuns, were • allowed to marry when they saw fit.-As for the rule of Be-' o nedict, it was not known in England, till towards the latter < end of this century.'
In the beginning of the eighth century, ' Adhelinus, nephew to King Ina, and who was the firit Englithman who Рp 3
« wrote in Latin, was made Bishop of Sherborn in the coun. • ty of Dorset.'--Now also Wilfrid, of whom we have made mention, died, who,' according to our Author,' was a
Prelate, who with abilities enough to be a great man, and with devotion and virtue enough to be a good man, was yet « so carried away by his ruling passion of pride and arrogance, that he can be scarcely said to have been either.' From an odd and amazing opinion of the merit and holi
ness of Pilgrimages to Rome; the English people of all • ranks and degrees, of every age and sex, laid such a stress on it, as tho' it would attone for the neglect of
Chris, stian virtue. To this humour it was owing, that the English
Nuns, about this time, run in great focks to Rome; but
to this it was likewise owing, that there were few cities, in ..Lombardy, France, or Gaul, in the middle of this century, in which there were not to be found some, lewd women of the English nation, as Boniface writes to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
« Our parish churches began to be erected about this time, <fome by the sole munificence of particular Lords, for the be• nefit and convenience of their tenants; others by the united • charities, or separate donations of several persons.
“ The kingdom of Northumberland,” says Bede, having “ had peace established in it, both the Nobility and cominon “ people laying aside the exercise of their arms, betook them“ selves to Monasteries ; and persuaded their children to ac- : çc cept the tonsure, and retire thither too."-Wherefore Bede, truly venerable, in a patriot disposition, expresses himself thus, · in his epistle to Egbert, Archbishop of York : “ It is your “ duty, therefore, together with the King, to inake such re« gulation of these focieties, as might be most for the honour
of God, and the good of the country; left, by the increase “ of them, the force of the kingdom ihouid be so weakened, " that there should not be sufficient strength to secure it from «the invasion of enemies."---But what would this venerable Patriot say, were he alive in these our times, and beheld, not Northumberland only, but the whole island of Great Britain, in a disarmed condition, and flying to foreign aid against invafions, tho' there is neither a Monk, nor a Nun in the land!
· Boniface takes notice, not only of a prevailing debauchery in the English nation in general, but gives a great share of it to the Religious; he not only says, that the Nuns were commonly debauched, by the Princes and Nobility, but that the Nuns themselves, by the luxury of their attire, and the wantonness of their behaviour, invited their own shame,
s'and made use of arts to prepare the way to their own difho
nour. – Here we see how it came to pass, that the monafterries were generally protected by married men, when the
controversy arose about the celebacy of the Clergy : here we < fee that the Parochial Clergy were yet unfettled, and the " reason why those inftitutions went on so slowly: and it may « be here too we have a key to the retirement of so many Kings and Princesses."
Our Author thus speaks of Bede, in the encomium with which he fo justly adorns him, when he comes to take notice of his death. The Pope, it is said, gave him the name of ( venerable, for his uncommon skill in the Greek and Latin
languages, and for his piety and modesty. The first en
titled him to the highest dignities and offices in the Church; " and the last kept him all his life in the lowest.'
We now come to the fourth book of this entertaining and instructive history, from whence, as in the preceding one, we fhall only extract what appears to us most remarkable; tho' we muft neceffarily omit a thousand other particulars, equally interesting
Part of the character of Alfred, who endeavoured to restore learning to this country, whence it was almost extirpated by the Danes; and who founded the university of Oxford, and died at the close of the ninth century; is thus drawn by our Author.' "The reputation he had acquired in the field • of battle, was to be equalled by few, but it was to be ex
celled by none. He commanded in more engagements than • J. Cæfar; diftinguished himself in all of them with very
uncommon intrepidity; and even fought up to the character 6 of a Hero in romance, In short, it may be faid of Alfred,
that he was a prodigy of goodness, of understanding, and of greatness. To look at him thro' his devotions, one would think he had been all his life in a cloister; to examine the productions of his genius, we should be tempted to
think, that his whole time had been occupied in learning, " and the sciences: and to view him as a General, and a Mo“narch, he appears to have studied nothing but the art of
war, and politics, the conquest of his enemies, and the ease and prosperity of his subjects.-But, as to church-affairs:
« Cardinal Baronius himself acknowleges, that,' in the beginning of the tenth century, the Church of Rome was un
der the government of harlots; who not only created and • advanced Priests and Bishops, suitable to the characters of ' those whose creatures they were, but even filled the chair of • St. Peter with impostors.-To recite the mischief which
the blackest villainies of these men occasioned, from the lat.
ter end of the ninth to the beginning of the eleventh century, 4 thro? a fucceffion of above fifty Popes, does not fall within
my delign: but--I think the Reader will stand amazed at the confidence with which P. Virgil, and some other his. torians, speak of England, as a Fec of the Papacy, and a
tributary kingdom ; in an age, when the wickedness of its « Prelates had rendered the Church of Rome, the pity, or the
contempt of all the nations in Europe.'--Such were the claims founded on Feter Pence! a tribute at this time not amounting to above a mark per diem,
Ata' Council held at Graetly,' in the reign of Athelstan, the grandchild, and one of the warlike fucceflors, of Alfred, the Bloops were obliged, by a canon, to be personally pre
sent, according to the ancient usage of England,' (derived, as we suppose, from the Druids) in the Courts of Justice, to oversee, and direct the conduct of the Judges.
Under King Edgar, and supported by the credit of Dunstan, who was afterwards fainted, began,' about the year 960, the golden reign of Monkery,' or the prevalence of that particular fpecies of it, which, yowing cellebacy, assumed to itself the name of Regular, whilst it gave that of Secular to all the rest.
Edgar, in one of his ecclefiaftical canons, directs the observance of Sunday from three o'clock on Saturday in the (afternoon, till break of day on Monday morning and in his constitutions, relating to the cathedral at Winchester,
the King makes himself General, as we may call it, of the & Monks, and puts the Queen in the same ftation of governs <ment over the Nuns.' In another body of Canons, pub, 4 lished under this Prince, there is one which' enjoins every
priest to learn some employment, in order to get a livelihood in case of indigence and misfortune.'
In the reign of Ethelred, the frequent invasions which the • Danes made on the coast, and the murders, conflagrations,
plundering, and other devastations which they committed, called off the minds of the people from ecclesiastical disputes, to their own miseries ;' and they began to call in question the sanctity of the Monks ; thinking it wholly unaccountable, that men who had obtained from Heaven so
many miracles, on their own private account, could not, ç by their holiness and devotion, secure the kingdom from
s The miseries which the English nation had for a good « while groaned under, had occasioned so general a decay of
• learning, that, at the beginning of the eleventh century, it
was not thought proper the interior cļergy should be trusted
altogether with the instruction of the people. The better " therefore to provide against the dangers which might afise, * from their neglect or insufficiency, courses of homilies, or s sermons, containing an account of such doctrines and duties
as were most neceffary to be believed and practised, were 6 appointed to be publicly read in the church.'
Here we may put a period to the present article, reserving the reft of this volume for future entertainment.
Concluson of the Life of John Buncle, Efq; begun in our laft.
FTER a very dangerous voyage, we have the pleasure
to meet with the ingenious and entertaining Mr. Buncle again, safely landed at Whitehaven; where he remains three weeks, love-locked, and fast-bound, by the mental and perfonal charms of Miss Melmoth, a fellow-passenger from Ireland; and whom our Author, by a remarkable accident, had saved from perishing on board the ship, during the horrors of a dreadful tempest: which tempeft, too, furnishes Mr. Buncle with matter for feveral striking observations, and notable ftories, after his bold and eccentric manner.
This fine young lady, a second Miss Noel *, being however obliged to repair to her friends in Yorkshire, Mr. Buncle efcorts her as far as Brugh under Stanmore; where they part very tenderly, the Author giving his word and honour to visit Miss Melmoth, after the discovery of his friend, Mr. Charles Turner, who had been an intimate university-acquaintance, but now lived somewhere in the north-east extremity of Westmoreland, or Yorkshire; and whom Mr. Buncle determines to find out, if possible, (though he had lost his direction) and to pass some time with him.
Our Adventurer now (June 8, 1725) commences his fearch after his dear friend Turner; and first he begins to rummage the hills and vallies in that part of the wilds of Stanmore which belongs to Westmoreland. Having lost his fair philofopher, it seems as if Mr. Buncle thought he had nothing left to do, but to lose himself also. To this end, he firft gets into a vast valley, enclosed by mountains, whose tops * were above the clouds, and then into a country that is
• Vid. Review, November last, p. 504, feq.