Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

of Sennacherib was cut off by the hand of the angel of the Lord. Still, however, that land devoured its inhabitants, and was never able to remain in a state of quietude, or to retain its people, as being transgressors of the laws of God; thus giving a lesson and an example to those who are aiming at gaining a heavenly Jerusalem, that they cannot possibly attain the same but by the exercise of good works and through many temptations. These events, in fact, might have been already apprehended when Arroaise and other lands passed into the hands of the Pagans, and proper prudence would only have been used if the people who survived had returned to repentance, and by their conversion appeased God, whom by their transgressions they had offended. Nor yet did His wrath come suddenly upon them, but He delayed His vengeance and gave time for repentance. At last, however, He who loses not justice in mercy, has exercised His vengeance in the punishment of the transgressors, and in thus giving a warning to those who wished to be saved. Moreover, we, who amid such great sorrow for that land, ought to give our attention not only to the sins of the inhabitants thereof, but also to our own and to those of the whole people, and to be in dread lest what still remains to us of that land may be lost, and their might may rage to the detriment of other nations as well, as we hear in all parts of dissensions and offences between kings and princes, cities and cities, may well mourn with the Prophet and say: 'There is no truth-nor knowledge of God in the land. By~-lying, and killing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.' 6 Wherefore this is imperative upon all, and is to be thought upon and to be done ; making atonement for our sins by a voluntary chastisement, we ought, through repentance and works of piety, to turn to the Lord our God, and first to amend in ourselves those matters in which we have done amiss, and then to stand prepared for the fierceness and malice of our enemies, and those attacks which they do not fear to make upon God, inasmuch as we ought on no account to hesitate to act in the cause of God. Think, therefore, my sons, how you

have come into this world, and how you are to depart therefrom, how transitory are all things, and how transitory are you yourselves as well; and with thanksgiving receive, so far as in you lies, this opportunity for repenting and doing good, and both offer your possessions, and offer yourselves as well, because you are not of yourselves, nor have you anything of yourselves, who are not able to make so much as a single fly upon the earth. And we do not say, leave behind you,' but rather present beforehand' to the garner of heaven what you possess, and lay it up with Him, with whom neither rust nor moth destroy, nor thieves break through and steal,' labouring for the recovery of that land in which for our salvation the Truth of the earth was born, and did not disdain for us to bear the cross. And devote not your thoughts to lucre or to temporal glory, but to the will of God, who in His own case has taught you to lay down your lives for your brethren, and give unto Him your riches, which, whether wil. lingly or unwillingly, you know not to what heirs you are at last to leave. For indeed it is no new thing that that land is chastised, nor in fact is it unusual that scourgings and chastisements should accompany mercifulness. God indeed by His will alone can save it; but still, we have no right to ask him why He has acted thus: for perhaps He has wished to make trial, and to place this before the notice, of others, if any there are who are of good understanding or who seek for God, and who will with joy embrace the opportunity offered them for repentance, and, laying down their lives for their brethren, will compress and include the deeds of a long life in a small compass. Consider how the Maccabees, influenced with zeal for the Divine law, submitted to every extremity of peril for the purpose of liberating their brethren, and showed how that, for the safety of their brethren not only their substance but also their lives were to be laid down, exhorting one another, and saying, • Arm yourselves, and be valiant men- -For it is better to die in battle than to behold the calamities of our people and of our sanctuary. And yet these were under the control of the law only, whereas you, through the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, being led by the light of truth, and being instructed by many examples of the Saints, ought to act without any hesitation, and not to fear to give your earthly things, few in number, and destined to last for a short time only; you to whom those good things have been promised and reserved, which • Neither eye hath seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man ;'70 and as to which the Apostle says, • The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

69 Hos. iv. 1, 2.

971 Where69 1 Macc. iii. 58, 59. 70 I Cor. ii. 9. 71 Rom. viii. 18.

[ocr errors]

fore, to those who with a contrite heart and humble spirit shall undertake the labour of this expedition, and shall die in repentance for their sins and in the true faith, we do promise plenary indulgence for their offences, and eternal life. And whether they shall survive or whether die, they are to know that they will have, by the mercy of Almighty God and of the authority of the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and of ourselves, remission of penance imposed for all sins of which they shall have made due confession. The property also of such persons, from the time that they shall have assumed the cross, together with their families, are to be under the protection of the Holy Church of Rome, and of the archbishops, bishops, and other prelates of the Church of God, and no person is to make any claim against the property of which, on assuming the cross, they were in quiet possession, until it is known for certain as to their return or death, but their property is to remain in the meantime untouched, and in their quiet possession; they are also not to pay interest to any person, if they have so bound themselves; nor yet are they to go in costly apparel, or with dogs or hawks, which seem rather to minister to ostentation and luxury than to our necessities ; but they ought to be seen with plain apparel and equipments, by which they may appear rather to be acting in penitence than affecting an empty pomp. Given at Ferrara, on the fourth day before the calends of November, in the sixth year of the indiction." The Letter of pope Gregory the Eighth to all the faithful, upon

the same subject. Gregory, the bishop, servant of the servants of God, to all the faithful in Christ, to whom these presents shall come, hcalth and the Apostolic benediction. Never is the wrath of the Supreme Judge more successfully appeased, than when, at His command, carnal desires are extinguished within us. Wherefore, inasmuch as we do not doubt that the disasters of the land of Jerusalem, which have lately happened through the irruption of the Saracens, have been expressly caused by the sins of the inhabitants of the land and of the whole people of Christendom, we, by the common consent of our brethren, and with the approval of many of the bishops, have enacted that all persons shall, for the next five years, on every sixth day of the week, at the very least, fast upon Lenten fare, and that, wherever mass is performed, it shall be chaunted at the ninth

hour: and this we order to be observed from the Advent of our Lord until the Nativity of our Lord. Also, on the fourth day of the week, and on Saturdays, all persons without distinction, who are in good health are, to abstain from eating flesh. We and our brethren do also forbid to ourselves and to our households the use of flesh on the second day of the week as well, anless it shall so happen that illness or some great calamity or other evident cause shall seem to prevent the same; trusting that by so doing God will pardon us and leave His blessing behind Him.72 This therefore we do enact to be observed, and whosoever shall be guilty of transgressing the same, is to be considered as a breaker of the fast in Lent. Given at Ferrara, on the fourth day before the calends of November.”

Upon this, the princes of the earth, hearing the mandates and exhortations of the Supreme Pontiff, exerted themselves with all their might for the liberation of the land of Jerusalem; and accordingly, Frederic, the emperor of the Romans, and the archbishops, bishops, dukes, earls, and barons of his empire, assumed the sign of the cross. In like manner, after their example, great numbers of the chief men of all the nations of Christendom prepared to succour the land of Jerusalem.

There was a certain clerk named master Berther, a native of Orleans, who aroused the spirits of many to assume the cross by repeating the following lines : 13 “In the strains of Jeremiah the ways of Sion mourn indeed, that no longer is there one upon the solemn day to visit the Holy Sepulchre, or to recall the fulfilment of that prophecy; the prophecy in which the poet writes that from Sion the law shall

go

forth. Never shall the law perish there or have an avenger,74 where Christ drank of the cup of passion. The wood of the cross, the banner 72 Sic in original.

Probably the real presence in the Eucharist is referred to. 73 This Leonine dirge begins as follows:

“ Juxta threnos Jeremiæ

Vere Sion lugent viæ ;
Quod solemni non sit die
Qui sepulchrum visitet,

Vel casum resuscitet

Hujus prophetiæ.” The enthusiasm of the composer seems to have considered a meaning as comparatively unnecessary in his lines.

74 The meaning of these lines is involved in obscurity.

of the chieftain, the army follows, which has never given way, but has gone before in the strength of the Holy Spirit. To bear the burden of Tyre it is now the duty of valiant men to try their strength, and daily to contend ; spontaneously to be graced with the glories of the warfare. But as to the persons who are about to engage in this conflict, there is need of hardy champions, not effeminate epicures. For it is not those who pamper their flesh with many luxuries who purchase God with their prayers. The wood of the cross, &c. [as before.]Fresh Philistines once more, the cross captured of Him who was condemned, have taken the ark of God, the ark of the New Testament, the substance of the ancient type, in succession the type of the substance. But as it is clear that these are the forerunners of Antichrist, to whom Christ would have resistance made, what answer at the coming of Christ is he to make who shall not have resisted them. The wood of the cross, &c. The despiser of the cross is trampling on the cross, whence overwhelmed the faith sends forth groans. Who for vengeance does not shout aloud ? At the same value which each man sets upon the faith let him ransom the cross, if by the cross any one has been ransomed. Those who have but little silver, if found to be faithful, with pure faith let them be content. Sufficient provision for the journey is the body of the Lord for him who defends the cross. The wood of the cross, &c. Christ, on delivering himself to the torturer, has made a loan to the sinner; if then, sinner, thou wilt not die for Him who died for thee, thou dost but poorly pay the debt to thy Creator. Well may he be indignant to whom thou dost refuse to bend, while, tortured in the wine-press of the cross as a victim for thee, to thee he extends his arms, and thou wilt not receive his embrace. The wood of the cross, &c. When thou hast listened to what is my request, take up thy cross and make thy vow and say, "To Him do I commend myself, who gave His body and His life, as a victim to die for me.' The wood of the cross, &c."

A Letter of the same pope to the prelates of churches.

Gregory, the bishop, servant of the servants of God, to all prelates of churches to whom these presents shall come, health and the Apostolic benediction. Inasmuch as it is especially the duty of bishops to aid the afflicted and distressed, and God,

75 This is the refrain of the composition.

« AnteriorContinuar »