網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

190

A LEGEND OF S. AUSTEN.

[ocr errors]

One winter's night many years ago, a weary traveller approached a fair castle in Kent. Its towers were massive, and surrounded by high walls; the ground about it was covered with a hard and crisp coating of snow, whilst a sharp cutting wind blew in the wanderer's face. By his attire he appeared a pilgrim bound on a long journey. Faint and weary he put down his staff at the castle gate. Quoth be to himself, “ though it be ever so late, surely shelter for me can here be found.” Without much ado he hammered at the massive portal, but no response came to his call, or glimmering light did be see.

At length growing tired be stopped and sat down on a ledge of stone just by; one more knock he gave, but still no answer, he then seemed as if fastening something on the gate, and regaining bis staff he wended his way chanting as he went à “ miserere.”

Within those walls it was not as he supposed, namely that his request was unheard, for the warder had noticed the noise that was made, and straightway had gone to the ball where the baron with his friends and retainers was keeping high revelry, for his only son had just returned from the wars and they were giving him a right royal welcome to his paternal balls.

“Who is it, fair warder," the baron exclaimed, “that is now coming to disturb our festivity ?" To which the warder replied that he believed it to be merely a pilgrim, or other wayfarer, as he had heard neither the sound of clarion nor of horses' hoofs. Then

open not the gate at this late hour," the baron said, “ for our balls are filled, and there is no room for such as he. Bid bim be gone, see all safe, and then you may go and regale yourself in the buttery."

The warder went back and unlatched his wicket gate, to bid the stranger begone, and looking out nought did he see, but floating over the frosty air he heard strains

[ocr errors]

of sweet minstrelsy which seemed to die away in the distance.

The morn broke both fair and fine, and a glimmer of sunsbine lighting up what was left of the last night's snow, formed it into crystals of various hues. A large cavalcade were assembling in the castle yard, for an early ride perchance to some neighbouring abbey, to give thanks for the young lord's return.

“Warder! unfasten the gate and raise the portcullis, and let us be gone,” the baron cried.

The ponderous gates swung back on their huge hinges, and the appliance was set in motion to raise the heavy mass of iron which still obstructed their departure, when something glittering affixed to it was seen by all who were near at hand.

“Hold; what is that which shows so bright?” exclaimed the baron; “let me see.

On a nearer view the colour mounted to his temples, and his fair daughter, who rode her palfrey by his side, turned pale, for “fastened by a silver thread, was a golden shell surmounted by a crystal coronet.”

The baron then said, “The holy Austen hath been here, I see plainly by that sign. Alas that we should bave turned him away in the frost and cold to rest, for bad he but graced our feast last night, it would indeed have been blessed. Bear me witness then, all of you, that benceforth as long as this castle stands, or these lands belong to my heirs, I charge my estate that from Michaelmas to Lady-day no pilgrim or other wayfarer be denied a night's shelter and food. For had we done so yestereen, we might have entertained an angel unawares.' (Heb. xiii. 2.)

Centuries have come and gone since the period to which our legend relates. A new Canterbury has arisen in the southern hemisphere which at that time was totally unknown. Thither have wended their way many of the descendants of the choicest of old England's sons, carrying with them the traditions of their forefathers. And although that fine old castle in the old country be in ruins, and the name of the baron be lost, yet they preserve amongst them one apostolic precept of S. Austen, namely, “Bear ye one another's burdens," (Gal. vi. 2) and endeavour to carry it out in its strictest integrity. Should

any

reader of this legend be desirous to ascertain how they are to be known, he will find they call themselves “ The Austen Club."

NGARANI.

66

Correspondence.

The Editor is not responsible for the opinions of the Correspondents.

To the Editor of the Churchman's Companion.

Answers.

NOLI ME TANGERE.

SIR, -I cannot accept as satisfactory either of the replies given to the inquiry David makes in your June number, neither as I read the words do I see that they contain any such difficulty as he finds in them.

S. John alone gives the words which our LORD addressed to the Magdalene upon the morning of His Resurrection; “Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My FATHER: but go to My brethren, and

say unto them, I ascend unto My FATHER, and your FaTHER; and to My God, and your God.' Now is it not clear that our LORD declines the adoration which Mary, perhaps with too much forwardness, offers, for the simple reason He Himself gives, viz. that He was not yet ascended unto His FATHER? Where is there any room for the supposition that the hindrance to Mary's approach lay in herself ? S. Matthew indeed tells us of the holy women that even as they were on the way to tell the glad tidings, “JESUS met them,” (Mary Magdalene being of the number,) and that“they

came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him." How the objection on the part of our LORD became so quickly removed, we know not, neither do we know the full force of the objection urged against Mary Magdalene, but it may well have been that He Who came to do His FATHER's will and was straitened till it were accomplished, now that the Divine purpose was for ever completed in the Redemption of man, would saffer nothing to come between Himself and His FATHER, into Whose presence He would at once proceed to present the spotless sacrifice of His perfect obedience even unto death.

It may well have been so, and our LORD's own words justify our belief that it was so, but where Scripture is silent, reverence forbids aught of speculation on so holy a theme: as Keble sings of a like sacred interview he presumes to have taken place, “Thought has not colour half so fair That she to paint that hour may dare In silence best adored.”

Yours, &c., F. J. H.

THE WALDENSES. SIR,-In answer to A., who wishes to know something of the The doctrines of the Waldenses were brought from France into England at the time when the English were masters of Guienne. -Yours, &c., E. J. D.

the heaviest vengeance of the Church of Rome, for they rejected her ordinances, and disbelieved all her miracles. On them, therefore, fell the full anger of Innocent III. For the sake of crushing this little Church in the mountains, he established the Inquisition, and proclaimed a crusade against them, for their faith was rapidly spreading, multitudes in northern Italy, along the Rhine, and also in France and Spain, belonged to this Church.

But it was no easy task to destroy them, it took 300 years to kill them, and great as was the slaughter they lived on; they are living to this day.

ز

Waldenses, I beg to give the following account of them.

It was about the year 1151 that in several parts of the continent were noticed little communities, chiefly of poor and labouring men, distinguished from the established Roman Church.

These persons were scattered all over Europe : in France they were called Tisserands or weavers, Poor Men of Lyons, Waldenses, and Albigenses; in Germany, Cathari. They existed in Spain, and even in Naples, and abounded near the Alps.

It is a mistake to suppose that Peter Waldo was the first founder of this sect. He was called “the good merchant of Lyons," he was a man of learning, and the Christian world is indebted to him for the first translation of parts of the Scriptures into a modern tongue, after the Latin ceased to be a living language.

Waldo's translation was condemned and forbidden by the Council of Toulouse, in 1229, because it was written in the tongue of the people. The Archbishop of Lyons tried to silence and appre hend Waldo, but he escaped, and his disciples followed him. The doctrines of Waldo, after this, spread widely through Europe. Some of his people joined themselves to the Vaudois of Piedmont. Afterwards Waldo fled to Bohemia, where he died.

The Waldenses were a most simple and inoffensive people, yet their history has been little else than a series of persecutions. They were more remarkable than any other people for the large portions of Scripture which they learnt by heart.

The preparation of their pastors for the ministry (whom they called “barbes," the Vaudois term for uncle,) consisted in committing to memory the Gospels of S. Matthew and 8. John, all the Epistles, and part of the Old Testament.

Upon the Waldenses came down

PRESBYTERIAN BAPTISM. SIR, -My early days having been spent in Scotland, I have witnessed more than one Presbyterian Baptism and consequently can answer RACHEL's question.

In the Scottish Kirk the Sacrament of Baptism is usually administered during Afternoon Service-at the end of the sermon. The child is generally brought to church in the arms of an unmarried woman, anciently called the “Maiden Cummer," - Cummer" (from the French Commère) is equivalent to the old English gossip.” Both words allude to the spiritual relation entered into with the infant, “sib in God;" Comme Mère.

In Presbyterian Scotland, however,

the cummer's duty begins and ends in carrying the child to church. The father is the only sponsor. On Baptism Sundays a bowl of water is placed in the frame or bracket, which we may observe on the edge of a Scottish pulpit. When the service is about to begin, the father, taking the child into his own arms, stands on the floor of the Church opposite the pulpit, in view of the congregation. It is scarcely necessary to remind our readers that Presbyterianism has no liturgy. There is uniformity in the mode of conducting the services, but the words used are optional with the minister. He generally begins by giving an address on Baptism. Now, he asks the father if he believes in the three Persons of the Trinity; then, if he desires that his child should be made a member of CHRIST's flock; finally, whether he, as its father, is willing to vow that the child shall be brought up in the faith of a Christian. The man having assented, either in words, or as is more usual, by bowing his head, he is told to bring up his child for Baptism. Cautiously, and it must be confessed often very awkwardly, the father mounts the pulpit stairs with his little one in his arms. The minister asks the name: then without taking the child from the father, the clergyman fills his own hand full of water, and pours it on the infant's face, saying, “ A. B., I baptize thee in the Name of the FATHER, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." The service concludes with an extempore prayer for the child and its parents.—Yours, &c., F. M.

this: the transfer of supremacy from the Pope to the Crown, (26 Henry VIII.c. 1;) and the successive revisions of the Liturgy. But these changes did not affect the identity of the corporation known as the Church of England; there was no solution of its continuity; the outward and visible body was the same as it had always been ; and consequently the Post-reformation Church holds its property by the same title by which that property was held before the Reformation. We have not appropriated the ancient endowments, we have only retained them.Yours, &c., W. R. W.

9

THE ANGELIC SALUTATION, ETC.

SIR,-In reference to the introduction of “the Angelic Salutation” as the “Memorial of the Incarnation" in the “ Treasury of Devotion,” this much at least may be said:

1. It is simply and absolutely pure Scripture language, and being so, as well as the accomplishment of Isaiah's prophecy, is less open to objection than either of the passages Caurus prefers. Again it is the verse which, in one form or another, has been selected by the Church in the East (I believe) and West to keep daily in memory the great mystery and fact of the Incarnation. Because certain results have issued from its use in past ages is surely no reason, but rather the contrary, why such results should again prove the outcome of a revived usage of Scripture words. “Forewarned is forearmed,” hence we, knowing the danger to a certain class of minds, will be on our guard : but it is surely overmuch to require that (for the sake of precaution against an error which happened long ago in a very different stage of the world's history,) we should not be permitted in simple Scripture language, used by the Church for

ANCIENT ENDOWMENTS.

SIR,—There is a deep-seated and wide-spread misconception of the true character of the Reformation in England. The popular idea is that Henry VIII., or Edward VI., or somebody else, made a law tó put down Popery, and set up Protestantism, and to take away their property from the Papists, and give it to the Protestants. Neither in statute-book nor history can lawyers or scholars find any trace of any such proceedings. In England the Reformation just amounted to

« 上一頁繼續 »