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lively and flowing; the feeling deeper; the religious sentiment more pervading, and the delineation of the principal character most happy and effective, both in her attractions, her weaknesses, and the errors to which they naturally lead. It is the fashion now, for lack of more discriminating praise, to compare all female writers on domestic manners with Miss Austin. We are never disposed to offer this compliment. No one, to our mind, writes at all like Miss Austin, except in the way of direct imitation ; but our authoress needs no unmeaning distinction of this kind; she has merits of her own, which make her independent of comparisons, and give her a permanent hold on our interest, and no inconsiderable standing in the lighter literature of her own day.
Ar'r. IV.- The History of S. Cuthbert, or an Account of his Life,
Decease, and Miracles; of the Wanderings of his Body at intercals during 124 Years ; of the State of his Body from his Decease until A.D. 1542, and of the various Monuments erected to his Memory. By the Very Rev. Monsignor C. EYRE, Chamberlain of Honour to His Holiness Pope Pius IX.; Incumbent of St. Mary's Church, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; Member of the Archæological Institute, etc. London: Burns. 1849.
• Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth,
And delves the parallels in beauty's brow,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow.' So sings the greatest poet in the world, in strains that throw a grace and beauty around the tritest subject. Kalpos ó ravdajátwp has, no doubt, been a schoolboy theme ever since there were schoolboys. But perhaps the Anglo-Saxon period with its kings and saints is remarkable beyond others for the greatness of the reputations enjoyed at one time by its celebrated men, and the utter oblivion into which they are now sunk. Who but the few students of the Anglo-Saxon language and chronicles knows anything of S. Edwin or S. Oswald, or the whole series of canonized kings and queens which the Saxon Church produced? Names once great in England-household words in large districts—are utterly unknown; characters once familiarly understood, enshrined in the love and veneration of a whole people, now utterly forgotten-their very existence, as in the case of S. Bega and others, almost matter of controversy.
Even of those whose names remain familiar to us, and whose fame was greatest and most widely spread, there seems but little to be told ; and history, where we can arrive at it, affords but scanty justification to tradition.
We know, indeed, that the popularity of saints in all ages has been regulated by no fixed laws, and men have been content in this as in lower matters to be guided by the chance influences of fashion or fancy. Of two saints apparently equally entitled to the reverence of posterity, we often find one neglected and the other followed with exaggerated honours. Often, indeed, at least in modern times, and in another communion, the greatest are disregarded, while no care is thought too much for some comparatively new and insignificant name. At Rome itself the old church on the island, which has inscribed outside, In hac Basilica requiescit corpus S. Bartholomæi Apostoli, remains desolate and neglected; while the shrine of S. Philumena is continually crowded with devotees, and covered with offerings.
This is not always so, however. Fashion and merit often go together, and occasionally, by a kind of instinct, men are marked out in the annals of the Church as commanding unusual respect, who are really worthy of all honour, as the greatest men of their times, the types of their kind, the landmarks of history. To the man of the world, to the mere intellectualist, these men are objects for careful and deferential study. Their characters have an historical value; many of their qualities are such as find sympathy with all who are in earnest about anything; and in their religious belief and devotional practices the philosopher may find matter for profound and solemn speculation. Like other bodies, the Church, too, has its heroes, who stand forth as the representatives of periods, and embody each a separate, perhaps a very opposite, element of her marvellous and complicated organization. Such was S. Columban-such S. Wilfrid —such S. Wulstan among ourselves. Abroad we feel that the lives of S. Bernard, of Francis of Assisi, and Ignatius Loyola, have an importance and meaning beyond that of mere biographies, and if rightly written would be little less than histories of their contemporary Church.
Such a life also was that of S. Cuthbert. The Anglo-Saxon Church produced no greater name.
One of its earliest saints, living in times when paganism was still full of activity,—almost a contemporary of S. Augustine-he attained a celebrity and a veneration scarcely earned by any one in succeeding ages. Nearly one hundred churches bore his name, in each of which, probably, there was some chapel or some altar especially dedicated to his honour. From the hills of Northumberland to the marshes of Somersetshire S. Cuthbert's churches bore witness to his sanctity throughout the length and breadth of England. Of the North, however, he was the especial patron. There he was regarded with feelings in which a sort of personal affection was blended with reverence for his character. He was one of themselves, and no endowment seemed too large, no magnificence too great, for the depth and fervour of their love. There was the patrimony of s. Cuthbert, which for ages claimed and obtained many important privileges from the sovereigns: there was the banner of S. Cuthbert, brought forth only upon very solemn occasions, and never known to be subjected to the dishonour of defeat; there was the Cross of S. Cuthbert, a peculiar and graceful form of this sacred emblem; there was the cathedral of S. Cuthbert, one of the grandest in the kingdom; and the shrine of S. Cuthbert, one of the most beautiful and splendid of the mediæval chantries.
1 See Webb's Continental Ecclesiology, p. 94. NO. LXXV.--N.8.
The life of such a man must be worth inquiring into; and as the Venerable Bede and others have been unusually full in their narrative of what relates to him, not only the man himself, but the way in which he was regarded, and the fashion of the biographies of those days, come under consideration. We learn what a time it was in inany ways, when we know that this was its greatest saint. It would be weak and foolish to shrink from such a subject. A man's faith must be indeed ill-founded who cannot afford to look facts boldly in the face, and consider with fairness and honesty the history of an age gone by: Neither should it be approached in an uncandid or disrespectful spirit. Sneers and mockery are wasted upon the men of the seventh century, but may be very mischievous to ourselves. Their ways were not as our ways.
Their idea of sanctity involved for the most part an austere asceticism, extreme it may be in degree, and too little tolerant of the joys and courtesies of social and domestic life. But their saints were at least thoroughly in earnest : all their lives long they kept the other world before their view, shrunk from no hardship, fled from no suffering, sacrificed every tie, to do what they believed was God's will, and to increase what they thought was His glory and honour. It is not for us to judge or to condemn them. Pioneers of civilization in the rudest wilderness, depositaries of what little learning and refinement there was in those fierce times, they are fairly entitled to the respectful curiosity of an age whose manners are softer and whose intellect far more cultivated. Considered with regard to their advantages, their achievements were wonderful; and even positively what we know of them, whether from their own works or the writings of biographers and historians, will in many respects bear the test of severe modern criticism. The lives of many of the Anglo-Saxon ecclesiastical saints were spent in the most active and practical exertion; and some of the canonized kings, such as Edwin and Oswald, were models of wise and magnificent Christian rulers. In many ways the age, when we come to look into it, (as perhaps is the case with all periods,) is far more like our own than we are generally inclined to think. Not, indeed, that the life of S. Cuthbert himself can be in any sense called modern. Its simplicity, its fearful rigour, and the uncompromising reality of its practice, whatever we may think of the feeling by which that practice was directed, all these things stamp npon it the character of antiquity, carry us back twelve hundred years, and bring us into contact with a set of ideas and a race of men differing greatly in more than mere external matters from those which surround us now.
In the year 650 a young shepherd lad might have been seen tending a flock on the sloping sides of one of the Northumbrian hills. It was in the present Roxburghshire, and not far from the abbey of Melrose. His countenance was beautiful, his body well proportioned, his manners winning. He was an orphan. In his youthful sports with his companions he had excelled them all; his boyish spirits had been high ; his strength great; his love of play indomitable. At eight years old, Bede tells us he had received a solemn call to a holier and higher life. A little child bade him cease from playing, and wept when he persisted, saying that it was unworthy of one called hereafter to be a sacred bishop in the Church of God. The lad obeyed the call, and strove henceforward to lead a monastic life, though he had not determined as yet actually to enter into the monastic
His endeavours after what he thought perfection were successful : tokens of God's favour continually attended him. One of his limbs became diseased, and an angel told him how it should be healed. A fearful storm threatened destruction to some charitable monks, who were endeavouring to succour some distressed vessels amidst the jeers and derision of the people on the beach, with whom their life and teaching were unpopular. The boy knelt down and prayed earnestly, and the storm was stilled, to the relief of the monks, and the confusion of the people, who began to look upon him as not in the roll of common men.' Still he went on feeding sheep till his fifteenth year, distinguished only from other shepherds by the gravity of his demeanour and the fervour of his piety. On lonely mountain tops, after a Divine example, he used to spend whole nights in prayer. One night he was thus occupied on a hill that overlooks the river Leader, when he saw a heavenly vision. The skies opened, and amidst a glorious company of angels chanting triumphant melodies, he beheld a soul of exceeding brightness and beauty pass upwards and enter into heaven. "He aroused his companions and told them of his vision; and a few days afterwards they heard that S. Aidan, the holy Bishop of Lindisfarne, had died that night.
This, according to Bede, was the turning-point of S. Cuthbert's life; he at least was thoroughly persuaded of the reality of his vision, and believed that it revealed to him that he was called to follow S. Aidan in his life here, if he hoped to join him and share his happiness in the world to come. He no longer hesitated, and at the age of fifteen, attracted by the fame of Boisil the prior, he presented himself at the original monastery of Mailros—which stood on a rich lawn all but encircled by the