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RELIGION PREFERABLE TO GOLD.
shall those things be which thou hast provided?" Yes, whose shall they be? Not his. Riches, then, change bands and owners, for "naked came we into the. world, and naked must we depart out of it. "Millions," exclaimed a dying prince, when writhing under the agonies of death and a fearful looking-for of judgment—"miHions for one inch of time;" but millions could not purchase that one inch I The man with bags of gold is too poor to buy one inch of time. When we have tracked our way to the beach where the ocean of eternity rolls, and, drawing nearer step by step, have reached the spot where by divine appointment the plunge is to be made, no wealth can hold us back, or bribe the advancing surges to retreat . We must go, go from all we have, plunge in, and disappear for ever! Gold cannot defy death; ah, no; and there is but one thing which can, and that is piety, religion. "0 death, where is thy sting? 0 grave, where is thy victory f Thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." It is this, an interest in the blood and intercession of Jesus—in other words, religion, which takes from death its sting, and from the grave its victory; and thus enables its possessor to say,— "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me;4by rod and thy staff, they comfort me." It is the sole prerogative of religion to do this, and this makes it of more value than gold. We add that
Gold cannot purchase admission into heaven, religion can.
So far from gold doing this, it is an actual impediment, a formidable obstacle to its being done. "How hardly," is the language of one that knew and was well qualified to speak on this subject—"how hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God I I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." But religion- he who has that, has the kingdom of God already within him; carries in his heart the essential elements of heaven's reward and of heaven's felicity; and a fit recipient for the impression of that spiritual glory with which heaven is filled, will assuredly be transported to the mansions of the celestial. "Blessed;" blessed are whof The prosperous, the opulent, those who have gathered heaps of shining ore ; is this what inspiration says? No :— "blessed are the poor in spirit," "blessed are the pure in heart," "blessed are the dead who die in the Lord." Religion has " promise of the
life which now is, as well as that which ia to come;" has "its fruit unto holiness, and its end is everlasting life." "How much better," then, "is it to get religion than gold I" If religion can procure the favor of God, and gold cannot; if it can procure peace of mind, and gold cannot; if it can sustain the soul under afflictive dispensations, and gold cannot; if it can support in the hour of death, and gold cannot; and procure admission into heaven, while gold cannot; who shall say that it is not worth more than gold, or that it is not better to possess it? And yet how strong the desire for gold, and bow feeble the desire for religion!
It is an affecting exhibition of depravity, that we should be so eager to accumulate earthly treasure, and so heedless of the rewards of heaven.
Mines of gold are discovered in California, and immediately on the fact being known,multitudes are in a blaze of excitement. It is the theme of conversation, papers are filled with it, and thousands upon thousands are going and have gone to that land of promise I And this, though gold cannot satisfy, nor save; though health and life are perilled to obtain it; though the charge from our Creator is, "Take heed and beware of covetousness;" and though we are solemnly told, that " he that hasteth to be rich shall not be innocent,"— and that "they who will be rich, fall into temptations, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition." On the other hand, here is heaven, "a city garnished with all manner of precious stones, a city whose gates are of pearl, and whose veryetreeta are of pure gold," according to the testimony of God himself; and yet how little is it thought of, spoken of, and striven for! How can you account for this f Why, in the judgment, sentiments, and affections of men, does the perishable so predominate over the imperishable, the temporal over the eternal I Alas, alas, we are depraved, deluded creatures 1
Would we be rich? Let us not embark in speculations, but "buy of Christ gold tried in the fire ;" and then we shall be rich indeed; "rich towards God," rich in a portion commensurate to the wants of the soul, heirs to "an inheritance incorruptible, undefined, and which fadeth not away!"
Push not then into the contest for gold, but for a prize of far greater value; the glories and treasures of ah eternal kingdom. Remember, 'too, that while the gulf of perdition yawns under the feet of those "who make gold their hope, and say unto fine gold, Thou art our confidence;"
our Saviour and Judge has put a question which it becometh us well to ponder; "What shall it profit a man, though he gain the whole, world and lose his own soul; or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul I"
THE CRUSADE OF ALBI.
BY HHV. J. T. TUCKER.
But in a land of happy shepherd-homes,
The vine-clad hills and valleys of Provence and Languedoc were the home of French civilization and refinement, while yet the northern provinces of that country were not emerged from barbaric rudeness. With a genial climate and natural scenery whose loveliness and luxuriance have been celebrated in countless lays, the character of the inhabitants possessed a singular sprightliness and exuberance, a glow of sentiment, a buoyancy of intellect, an elegance of taste, which, at that period of mental dulnees And coarseness, was like a grassy fountain amidst desert wastes. Lying near the Mediterranean Sea, communication with the classic countries of the Levant was easy and frequent; and the troubadour, returning from his pilgrimages to Greece, Palestine1, and Italy, brought back many a rare germ of intellectual and social improvement which were not vainly cast into his own rich soil. While wealth was flowing into the country from its active commerce with the East, a literature grew up in the purest spirit of chivalric honor; forming a% it grew a language for itself, which was the very embodiment of graceful, harmonious, tender, impassioned thought. The genius of the people blended the vivacity of their own Gallic stock with the gorgeous imaginativeness of the Saracen, and the Greek love of beauty. Their court was the most brilliant in Europe, where princes and nobles sought no higher renown than to enrol their names as patrons of elegant art and letters. So national was this ambition, that the name Phovensal became interchangeable in common use with that of Poet. Even down to our times it breathes an
odor of delicate, high-souled romance, suggestive of all things lovely in sentiment and social culture. Withal, an early movement in the direction of religious freedom showed itself along with this general mental activity. The gospel found sympathy in this fair land. So soon as the middle of the twelfth century, a purer faith, a simpler worship than Rome taught or tolerated had strongly entrenched themselves among this interesting people; and the heresy ofthe Albigeme* began seriously to attract the notice and alarm the fears of the lords temporal and spiritual of the Papal See.
The ancient city of Toulouse, built on the banks of the Garonne, was the capital of this general division of France. IU population numbered sixty thousand. Here the Counts Raymond held their court, and administered a mild and paternal jurisdiction over the adjacent districts. Though themselves adhering to the Romish Church, they granted a large degree of tolerance to their dissenting subjects, whose superior probity and intelligence shed lustre upon their government, and prosperity over their realm. That the crimes and impieties so commonly alleged against the Albigenses by irresponsible Papal writers, were wholly fictitious and slanderous, is abundantly easy of proof from concessions of such reliable Catholic author ities as Bernard and Thaunus, who, while eombatling their supposed errors of doctrine, have had the manliness to acknowledge their exemplary virtues.
In A.P. 1179, against these inoffensive worshippers of Christ, the successor of St. Peter had fulminated his spiritual thunder after this most anti-petrine fashion: ;'We subject to a curse, both themselves and their defenders and harbore ra; and under a curse we prohibit all persons from admitting them into their houses, or receiving them upon their lands, or cherishing them, or exercising any trade with them. But if they die in their sin, let them not receive Christian burial, under any pretence whatever, and let no offering be made for them." So spake Pope Alexander III. at the third Lateran Council. Following this edict, partial persecutions and martyrdoms were enacted. But these measures not progre ssing withsufficient speed to satiafy the sanguinary temper of the Church, another and more summary method was set on foot to extirpate this annoying disturber of, its iniquitous repose.
The Count of Toulouse, upon whose head this storm of ecclesiastical wrath was about to burst, was Raymond VI., a pacific and beloved prince.
Commanded by the Pope's Legate to undertake the destruction of his subjects, he refused the bloody task; whereupon he was at once excommunicated the Church, and bis realm laid under the ban of Rome. One of his retainers, incensed at the insolence and violence of the Pope's agent, Peter de Castelnau,-*.ew him. This placed the torch to the magazine of Papal vengeance.
A Crusade was proclaimed—a religious war— with all the terrific accompaniments of Romish retaliation, in those ages of her unchecked despotism. From every quarter armies were invoked to blot this plague-spot from the earth. Pardons, indulgences, passports to heaven were promised with lavish liberality to all who should take arms in the quarrel. Their orders were to pursue and slay, without pity or relenting, these enemies of the Church, " with more vigor (said his Holiness) than you would the Saracens themselves."
This appeal of the Pope to the worst passions of human nature was promptly answered. In a few monthe, five hundred thousand armed fanaties poured themselves into Count Raymond's states. Then, midst her glistening streams and sunny glens, the blood of the brave and beautiful of that land of song and romance flowed out like water; while priestly cunning and hireling ferocity hunted the helpless fugitives—maidens and mothers, and fair-haired children—to their most secluded hiding-places, and slaughtered them there with indiscriminate barbarity. The Crusaders threw themselves upon the city of Beziei-es, with the Pope's Legate — another Bediui—at their head; and sixty thousand persons gathered there, including every human being within its walls, perished by sword and conflagration; one bleeding, burning altar of sacrifice.*
A leader was needed to finish this piratical foray, and one was found quite equal to the infamy. Simon de Montford, a cold hearted bigot, an Englishman, and a fair specimen of a race of soldiers, disgracing the name, ever ready to sell their bravery for gold, now took command of the exterminating war. With the pledge of the lordship of the ravaged lands for his hire, he stormed through the heretical provinces, sparing nothing, and turning the face of the most luxuriant of regions into a savage desert Himself killed by what might well be called a judgment of God, the campaign still
• J. C. L. S. dc Sismondi: History of Crusades against the Albigrases. Chapter I.
moved onward. Until the year 1226, this accursed havoc continued to desolate the South of France; when, after hundreds of thousands on both sides had perished, and with them the miserable Raymond, broken-hearted for his ruined kingdom, a suspension of hostilities was concluded, his son Raymond VII. purchasing peace with the Church at an enormous price, and ceding a considerable part of his domain to the French monarchy of the North. .Yet even then the thirst of Rome for Albigensian prey was not satisfied, and' to the Inquisition and monks of St. Dominic was left the gleaning of the scattered grapes of the bloody vintage. The mountains of Piedmont sheltered the last remnant of this noble race, burying amid Alpine glaciers the memories and traditions of their age of glorious chivalry, and more glorious religious heroism; and soon the land of their nativity ceased to retain a vestige of their existence. It was the complete expulsion of a people from its ancestral soil; an exode of blood and returnless banishment.
It would be invidious to reproduce from a past day these tragic passages of papal domination, if the spirit which produced them had ever been ingenuously disavowed. What fixes them as a fair index of the current temper of that rule is the never-recalled claim that its controlling animus changes not. In this, Rome is entitled to know her own policy, and to be accredited. It is no uncharitableness to say what she says in the premises. The main effect of the advancing culture of the world upon her spirit has gone.no farther than to sharpen her adroitness in fitting her machinery to surrounding circumstances. Where freedom bounds in every bosom—freedom to be an independent man in thought, word, and art, whether in secular or spiritual concerns—there Papacy, yes, Jesuitism even can wear the bland and smiling and liberal garb of republican simplicity, marching in Fourth of July processions to the strains of democratic music . But there are spots where, even in this late century, she does not trouble herself to put on the thinnest covering of deceit. Innocent as a large proportion of her laity may be of the charge, the true spirit of the papal priesthood, the governing hierarchy, is unchangeably and incurably that of intolerance, persecuting absolutism. Hence, these glimpses into old historic outrages upon humanity are pertinent, in her case, to the trne ascertainment of her existing relation to the well-being, the right progress of mankind. They must not be forgotten.
BY HORACE DEE89ER, ESQ.
I'K lick of love for thee, my native river,
Twelve moons and more it is, how long!
I stole away from city throng—
And how i laid myself along on leaves and flowers,
With canopy of pines o'erhead?
Upon thy green and gladsome hank*.
Elsewhere essayed my sports and pranks:
Beneath the branching sycamore,
'Midst central waves far out from shore.
Would I molest or make afraid,
Unharmed might roam the tangled glade—
And still and slow and measured tread,
And feel not as they fell quite dead.
For then I knew not what I did,
And of snch wrongs my soul lie rid—
And by it regulate my life.
A troth that ends all Moody strife.
And wander up and down thy dales,
And tread once more thy intervales, —
Wherefore I'm sick of love thee.
Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, every season,
With thee once brought some joy to, me.
Along thy zig-zag winding ways: .
Their names start forth to view familiar faces,
That mot me there in other days:
Together with the Button-Woods,
Like Scylin's shelves—Charybdis' floods.
And Shad-Ground only just above,
And with their scenes fell deep in love
The vine all full of clusters hnng,
And Esheols eat old seers once sung.
Beside which flows a bablding brouk—
The Pequod maid there wailed her dusky lover,
Whose corse in shroud of bark or boughs,
And o'er his grave renewed her vows.
Whose wigwam home was on thy marge,
In swift canoe or birchen barge—
Since here were made these Indian Graves ?—
To teach how long have slept these braves.
This mind to sing thy scenes and tales,'—
Of landscapes fair as Tempe's Vales?—
Just as they were long while ago?—
Or rushiag on with quickened flow?—
A HEART GROWN OLD.
BI PARSON QUILL.
Wb sometimes hear of "old beads on young shoulders." The expression, however intended, is one of equivocal eulogy. But it is sadly true that the heart may become old, long before the head is silvered. It is like a field from which a dwarf crop is reaped in early summer, and which lies fallow and barren for long months before winter comes. It is an expanse of stubble—one of the most dry, uninviting, repulsive objects in the world. Whatever life or sensibility it had is gone. Its sympathies are frozen up. It is a wrinkled, shrivelled, decrepit thing. It is a sort of automaton that has survived itself as a human fossil. It is the petrified relic of another generation. It is like a tree in the "sere and yellow leaf," amid the freshness and budding promise of young spring. There are men whose years do not count by scores as yet, whose hearts are more than a hundred years old. Like summer in high northern latitudes, their spring time, by a narrow transition, passed into autumn. They are like the dark sharp limbs of the forests, .stripped of their verdure by "November's surly blasts." The painter who could transfer their hearts to the canvas, would present us a picture of sternest desolation. All the sap of life and living feeling has gone back to the roots. Like the "aged hemlock, dend at the top," the winds of a premature autumn whistle through their branches. They seem to be among men, but not of them; walking sarcophagi in which a dead humanity is embalmed. The mummy may be