the "widowhood of the monastery." The appointment was considered to rest with the king, though the Benedictine rule enjoined a previous election by the monks and then the royal sanction. This election was conducted in the chapter-house: the prior who acted as abbot during the time the mitre was vacant summoned the monks at a certain hour, the licence to elect was then read, the hymn of the Holy Ghost sung, all who were present and had no vote were ordered to leave, the licence was repeatedthree scrutators took the votes separately, and the chanter declared the result-the monks then lifted up the elect on their shoulders, and, chanting the Te Deum, carried him to the high altar in the church where he lay whilst certain prayers were said over him; they then carried him to the vacant apartments of the late abbot which were thrown open, and where he remained in strict seclusion until the formal and magnificent ceremony of installation was gone through. In the meantime the aspect of the monastery was changed, the signs of mourning were laid aside, the bells which had been silent were once more heard, the poor were again admitted and received relief, and preparations were at once commenced for the installation. Outside also there was a commotion for the peasantry, and in fact all the neighbourhood joined in the rejoicings.

The immense resources of the refectory were taxed to their utmost, for the installation of the Lord Abbot was a feast, and to it were invited all the nobility and gentry in the neighbourhood. On the day of the ceremony the gate of the great church was thrown open, to admit all who were to witness the solemn ceremony; and as soon as the bells had ceased, the procession began to move from the cloisters, headed by the Prior, who was immediately followed by the priests of the divine office, clad in their gorgeous ceremonial robes-then followed the monks, in scapulary and cowled tunic, and last of all the lay brethren and servants-the newly elect and two others who were to officiate in his installation remained behind, as they were not to appear until later. The Prior then proceeded to say Mass, and just before the Gospel was read there was a pause,

during which the organ broke out into strains of triumphant music, and the newly chosen Abbot with his companions were seen to enter the church, and walk slowly up the aisle towards the altar. As they approached they were met by the Prior (or the Bishop, if the abbey were in the jurisdiction of one), who then read the solemn profession, to which the future Abbot responded: the Prior and the elect then prostrated themselves before the high altar, in which position they remained, whilst litanies and prayers were chanted; after the Litany the Prior arose, stood on the highest step of the altar, and whilst all were kneeling in silence, pronounced the words of the benediction: then all arose, and the Abbot received from the hands of the Prior the rule of the order and the pastoral staff; a hymn was sung, and after the Gospel the Abbot communicated, and retired with his two attendants, to appear again in the formal ceremony of introduction. During his absence the procession was re-formed by the chantor, and, at a given signal, proceeded down the choir to meet the new Abbot, who re-appeared at the opposite end barefooted, in token of humility, and clad no longer in the simple habit of a monk, but with the Abbot's rich dalmatic, the ring on his finger, and a glittering mitre of silver, ornamented with gold, on his brow. As soon as he had entered he knelt for a few moments in prayer upon a carpet, spread on the upper step of the choir; when he arose he was formally introduced as the Lord High Abbot, led to his stall, and seated there with the pastoral staff in his hand. The monks then advanced, according to seniority, and kneeling before him, gave him the kiss of peace, first upon the hand, and afterwards when rising, upon the mouth. When this ceremony was over, amid the strains of the organ and the uplifted voices of the choir, the newly proclaimed arose, marched through the choir in full robes, and carrying the pastoral staff, entered the vestiary, and then proceeded to divest himself of the emblems of his office. The service was concluded, the Abbot returned to his apartments, the convent to the cloisters, the guests to prepare for the feast, and the widowhood of the abbey was over. The sway of the

Abbot was unlimited-they were all sworn to obey him implicitly, and he had it in his power to punish delinquents with penances, excommunication, imprisonment, and in extreme cases with corporal punishmenthe ranked as a peer, was styled "My Lord Abbot," and in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries kept an equal state, and lived as well as the king on the throne: some of them had the power of conferring the honour of knighthood, and the monarch himself could not enter the monastery without permission. The next man in office to the Abbot was the Prior, who, in the absence of his superior, was invested with full powers; but on other occasions his jurisdiction was limited-in some monasteries he was assisted by sub-priors, in proportion to the size of the institution and number of its inmates. After the Prior in rank came the precentor or chantor, an office only given to a monk who had been brought up in the monastery from a child. He had the supervision of the choral service, the writing out the tables of divine service for the monks, the correction of mistake in chaunting, which he led off from his place in the centre of the choir; he distributed the robes at festivals, and arranged processions. The cellarer was intrusted with the food, drink, &c., of the monastery, also with the mazers or drinking cups of the monks, and all other vessels used in the cellar, kitchen, and refectory; he had to attend at the refectory table, and collect the spoons after dinner. The treasurer had charge of the documents, deeds, and moneys belonging to the monastery; he received the rents, paid all the wages and expenses, and kept the accounts. The sacristan's duties were connected with the church; he had to attend to the altar, to carry a lantern before the priest, as he went from the altar to the lecturn, to cause the bell to be rung; he took charge of all the sacred vessels in use, prepared the host, the

wine, and the wafers. The almoner's duty was to provide the monks with mats or hassockst for their feet in the church, also matting in the chapter-house, cloisters, and dormitory stairs; he was to attend to the poor, and distribute alms amongst them, and in the winter warm clothes and shoes. After the monks had retired from the refectory, it was his duty to go round and collect any drink left in the mazers to be given away to the poor. The kitchener was filled by a different monk every week in turn, and he had to arrange what food was to be cooked, go round to the infirmary, visit the sick, and provide for them, and superintend the labours of his assistants. The infirmarer had care of the sick; it was his office to administer to their wants, to give them their meals, to sprinkle holy water on their beds every night, after the service of compline. A person was generally appointed to this duty, who, in case of emergency, was competent to receive the confession of a sick man. The porter was generally a grave monk of mature age; he had an assistant to keep the gate when he delivered messages, or was compelled to leave his post. The chamberlain's business was to look after the beds, bedding, and shaving-room, to attend to the dormitory windows, and to have the chambers swept, and the straw of the beds changed once every year, and under his supervision was the tailory where clothes, &c., were made and repaired. There were other offices connected with the monastery, but these were the principal, and next to these came the monks who formed the convent with the lay brethren and novices. If a child were dedicated to God, by being sent to a monastery, his parents were required to swear that he would receive no portion of fortune, directly or indirectly; if a mature man presented himself, he was required to abandon all his possessions, either to his family or to

• Heads of priories were priors also, but they were equally subject to their respective abbeys.

It is worthy of remark, just at this point, that Tischendorf, after many weary wanderings and fruitless searches for the codex Sinaiticus of the N. Test., found it recently in an eastern monastery, not cherished up in the library, nor the scriptorium, but in use by these precious monks, for hassocks in the church, and it was only after vigorous negotiation; and let us hope a supply of the softest British manufacture, that this valuable authority upon the sacred text was parted with.



the monastery itself, and then to enter as a novitiate. In order to make this as trying as possible, the Benedictine rule enjoined that no attention should be at first paid to an applicant, that the door should not be even opened to him for four or five days, to test his perseverance. If he continued to knock, then he was to be admitted to the guests' house, and after more delay to the novitiate, where he was submitted to instruction and examination. Two months were allowed for this test, and if satisfactory, the applicant had the rule read to him, which reading was concluded with the words used by St. Benedict himself, and already quoted :-"This is the law under which thou art to live, and to strive for salvation. If thou canst observe it, enter; if not, go in peace, thou art free." The novitiate lasted one year, and during this time the rule was read and the question put thrice. If at the end of that time the novice remained firm, he was introduced to the community in the church, made a declaration of his vows in writing, placed it on the altar, threw himself at the feet of the brethren, and from that moment was a monk. The rule which swayed this mass of life, wherever it existed, in a Benedictine monastery, and indirectly the monasteries of other orders, which are only modifications of the Benedictine system, was sketched out by that solitary hermit of Subiaco. It consists of seventy-three chapters, which contain a code of laws regulating the duties between the Abbot and his monks, the mode of conducting the divine services, the administration of penalties and discipline, the duties of monks to each other, and the internal economy of the monastery, the duties of the institution towards the world outside, the distribution of charity, the kindly reception of strangers, the laws to regulate the actions of those who were compelled to be absent or to travel; in fine, everything which could pertain to the administration of an institution composed of an infinite variety of characters subjected to one absolute ruler. It has elicited the admiration of the learned and good of all subsequent ages, though it reads like a sad reproach to the monasticism of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It begins with the simple sentence :


"Listen, O son, to the precepts of the master! Do not fear to receive the counsel of a good father, and to fulfil it fully, that thy laborious obedience may lead thee back to Him from whom disobedience and weakness have alienated thee. To thee, whoever thou art, who renouncest thine own will to fight under the true King, the Lord Jesus Christ, and takest in hand the valiant and glorious weapons of obedience, are my words at this moment addressed." The first words, Ausculta, O fili!" are often to be seen inscribed on a book placed in the hands of St. Benedict, in paintings and stained glass. The preamble contains the injunction of the two leading principles of the rule; all the rest is detail, marvellously thorough and comprehensive. These two grand principles were obedience and labour-the former became absorbed in the latter, for he speaks of that also as a species of labour-" Obedientiæ laborem;" but the latter was the genius, the masterspirit of the whole code. There was to be labour, not only of contemplation, in the shape of prayer, worship, and self-discipline, to nurture the soul, but labour of action, vigorous, healthy, bodily labour, with the pen in the scriptorium, with the spade in the fields, with the hatchet in the forest, or with the trowel on the walls. Labour of some sort there must be daily, but no idleness: that was branded as "the enemy of the soul"-"Otiositas inimica est animæ." It was enjoined with all the earnestness of one thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the great Master, who said, "Work whilst it is yet day, for the night cometh, when no man shall work;" who would not allow the man he had restored to come and remain with him, that is, to lead the life of religious contemplation, but told him to "Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee?" That is the life of religious activity. The error of the early monasticism was the making it solely a life of contemplation. Religious contemplation and religious activity must go together. In the contemplation the Christian acquires strength, in the activity he uses that strength for others; in the activity he is made to feel his weak

ness, and driven to seek for aid in contemplation and prayer. Nowhere does our Saviour enjoin a life of mere contemplation; but in the instance quoted, the refusal of this man's prayer directly discountenances it. His own life was a blending of the two; it was occasionally contemplative, but mostly active. Though he did sometimes retire from a noisy, hostile world, which reviled and persecuted him, to the mountain top, the desert, the wilderness for contemplation and prayer, yet how small a proportion does it bear to that active life of benevolence, preaching, reasoning, and wandering along the wearying roads, scattering the blessings of health and peace as he went, by the wayside, in the villages, and through the whole length and breadth of Palestine.

But, besides being based upon Divine authority and example, this injunction of labour was formed upon a clear insight into, and full appreciation of one of the most subtle elements of our constitution. It is this, that without labour no man can live; exist he may, but not live. This is one of the great mysteries of life-its greatest mystery; and its most emphatic lesson, which, if men would only learn it would be one great step towards happiness, or at least towards that highest measure of happiness attainable below. If we can only realize this fact in the profundity of its truth, we shall have at once the key to half the miseries and anomalies which beset humanity. Passed upon man, in the first instance, by the Almighty as a curse, yet it carried in it the germ of a blessing, pronounced upon him as a sentence of punishment, yet there lurked in the chastisement the Father's love. Turn where we may, to the pages of bygone history or to the unwritten page of everyday life, from the gilded saloons of the noble to the hut of the peasant, we shall find this mysterious law working out its results with the unerring precision of a fundamental principle of nature. Where men obey that injunction of labour, no matter what their station, there is in the act the element of happiness, and whereever men avoid that injunction there is always the shadow of the unfulfilled curse darkening their path. This is the great clue to the balance of com

pensation between the rich and the poor. The rich man has no urgent need to labour; his wealth provides him with the means of escape from the injunction, and there is to be found in that man's life, unless he, in some way, with his head or with his hands, works out his measure of the universal task, a dissonance and a discord, a something which, in spite of all his wealth and all his luxury, corrupts and poisons his whole existence. It is a truth which cannot be ignored-no man who has studied life closely has failed to notice it, and no merely rich man lives who has not felt it and would not confess to its truth, if the question were pressed upon him. But in the case of the man who works, there is in his daily life the element of happiness, cares flee before him, and all the little caprices and longings of the imagination-those gad-flies which torment the idle-are to him unknown. He fulfils the measure of life; and whatever his condition, even if destitute in worldly wealth, we may be assured that the poor man has great compensations, and if he sat down with the rich man to count up grievances would check off a less number than his wealthier brother. Whatever his position man should labour diligently, if poor he should labour and he may become rich, and if rich he should labour still, that all the evils attendant upon riches may disappear. Pure health steals over the body, the mind becomes clear, and the little miseries of life, the petty grievances, the fantastic wants, the morbid jealousies, the wasting weariness, and the terrible sense of vacuity which haunt the life of one-half of the rich in the world, all flee before the talisman of active labour; nor should we be discouraged by failure, for it is better to fail in action than to do nothing. After all, what is commonly called failure we shall find to be not altogether such if we examine more closely. We set out upon some action or engagement, and after infinite toil we miss the object of that action or engagement, and they say we have failed, but there is consolation in this incontrovertible fact, that although we may have missed the particular object towards which our efforts have been directed, yet we have not altogether failed. There are many colla

teral advantages attendant upon exertion which may even be of greater importance than the attainment of the immediate object of that exertion, so that it is quite possible to fail wholly in achieving a certain object and yet make a glorious success. Half the achievements of life are built up on failures, and the greater the achievement the greater evidence it is of persistent combat with failure. The student devotes his days and nights to some intellectual investigation, and though he may utterly fail in attaining to the actual object of that search, yet he may be drawn into some narrow diverging path in the wilderness of thought which may lead him gradually away from his beaten track on to the broad open light of discovery. The navigator goes out on the broad ocean in search of unknown tracts of land, and though he may return, after long and fruitless wanderings, yet in the voyages he has made he has acquired experience, and may, perchance, have learned some fact or thing which will prove the means of saving him in the hour of danger. Those great luminaries of the intellectual firmament-men who devoted their whole lives to investigate-search, study, and think for the elevation and good of their fellows, have only succeeded after a long discipline of failure, but by that discipline their powers have been developed, their capacity of thought expanded, and the experience gradually acquired which at length brought success. There is, then, no total failure to honest exertion, for he who diligently labours must in some way reap. It is a lesson often reiterated in Apostolic teaching that "whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth;" and the truth of that lesson may be more fully appreciated by a closer contemplation of life, more especially this phenomenon of life in which we see the Father's love following close upon the heels of his chastisement. The man who works lives, but he who works not lives but a dying and a hopeless life.

That vow of labour infused new vitality into the inert mass of monkhood, and instead of living as they had hitherto done upon the charity of the public. of peasants overawed by the tale of some miraculous vision, or the exhibition of some saintly

relic-the mere pensioners of superstition, they soon began, not only to support themselves, but to take the poor of their neighbourhood under their own especial protection. Whenever the Benedictines resolved on building a monastery, they chose the most barren, deserted spot they could find, often a piece of land long regarded as useless, and therefore frequently given without a price, then they set to work, cleared a space for their buildings, laid their foundations deep in the earth, and by gradual but unceasing toil, often with their own hands, alternating their labour with their prayers, they reared up those stately abbeys which still defy the ravages of age. In process of time the desert spot upon which they had settled underwent a complete transformation-a little world populous with busy life, sprung up in its midst, and far and near in its vicinity, the briers were cleared away-the hard soil broken upgardens and fields laid out, and soon the land, cast aside by its owners as useless, bore upon its fertile bosom flowers, fruit, corn in all the rich exuberance of heaven's blessing upon man's toil-plenty and peace smiled upon the whole scene-its halls were vocal with the voice of praise and the incense of charity arose to heaven from its altars. They came upon the scene poor and friendless-they made themselves rich enough to become the guardians of the poor and friendless; and the whole secret of their success, the magic by which they worked these miracles was none other than that golden rule of labour instituted by the penetrating intellect of their great Founder: simple and only secret of all success in this world, now and ever-work-absolute necessity to real life, and united with faith, one of the elements of salvation.

Before we advance to the consideration of the achievements of the Benedictine Order, we wish to call attention to a circumstance which has seldom, if ever, been dwelt upon by historians, and which will assist us in estimating the influence of monachism upon the embryo civilization of Europe.

It is a remarkable fact that two great and renowned phases of life existed in the world parallel to each

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