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with as many of my congregation as choose to come and I find that the young are beginning to like them, and to come in goodly numbers. Once a week would be too frequent; once a month would give time for the interest to cool; so I say once a fortnight, and make the ‘Evening' about an hour and a half long. And thus I manage it. I gave out at starting that I should be glad to receive, up to a given Monday, written communications from any members of the congregation who might like to say a word to me upon any matters suggested by my sermons, or the events of their own lives, or passing events, or their reading, or their inner experience--the communications to be, preferably, signed with real name and address, though I did not absosutely insist upon that in all cases. Upon these communications, I proposed to comment on the following Thursday evening, and, as far as there was time, to enter into conversation upon them, if that should be wished. My idea was to make the whole thing as genial and human as possible, to exclude nothing but levity and wickedness, and to show a real desire to bring the hearts and minds of my friends into fresh, tender, vivifying contact with mine and with each otlier, as under the eye of God, and with the Cross of Christ in view. The first time, there was some shyness, and I had not many letters - but they were all signed, which pleased me greatly. One asked my opinion of making the best of both worlds' in reference to 1 Tim. iv. 8. Another, from a young lady, simply sent some verses from Keble’s • Christian Year,' adapted by the writer herself to congregational use, and asked whether I did not think them very beautiful. A third communicated to me the writer's doubts about the original sincerity of Kirke White's mind when he turned his attention to the church upon becoming too deaf to practise as a barrister or attorney. A fourth gave some thoughts, evidently based upon personal experience, of the relation of “besetting sins' to 'besetting virtues.' And I had, on the whole, plenty to talk about on our first Fortnightly Evening, and felt that I had made a real step towards the end I had in view. The meetings have gone on increasing in interest, and the communications and the conversations to which they lead I have reason to reckon among the most valuable parts of my intercourse with my congregation. They have now been going on for six months, and in that time two of the attendants have, as it were, glided into communion, who would, in all probability, never have entered the pale by the ordinary path. I have found these Evenings so prolific in suggestion as more than to repay me for the time deducted from what I might otherwise spend in my study; and I begin to feel as if we were really a sociable people !
Mrs. Henderson has scarcely been buried five weeks when the daughter, who has lost father and mother within the year, finds heart and energy enough to arrange a little matter of business for two of the girls in the Staniforth family, by which they are materially assisted. This is pretty well for an insignificant' young lady. By the bye,
my missionary friend has found his sphere, I do believe. He has gone into partnership in a house in a Midland county, and is making a model manufacturer and master-looking after his workmen like a good Christian, and discouraging, as much as he can, the entry of women and children into his mills.
As for the 'insignificant' young lady, I have found her the key-cipher to a good deal of very perplexed writing in the facts around me. She talks of joining her friends on the Welsh border. But
One vice of preachers and commentators in general I resolutely set my face against in my own discourses and expositions. I mean (if I may so speak) that of puffing the Bible. What half-hearted feelings and what imbecility of brain must a spirited, intelligent hearer attribute to a minister who is always using such phraseology as—We have in this exquisitely beautiful chapter'-'the Apostle here, by a most ingenious train of argument'-' the inspired penman having, by a path of inexorable logic, conducted us'—*few strains of ancient or modern poetry will be found to excel this '—'in these passages, of unequalled sublimity and beauty'—the Saviour by this fine parable intimates to his hearers'-and so forth. Nor is the matter mended, but rather worsened, if the preacher introduces his praise by a circumbendibus, as thus—'the poet has told us that to gild refined gold, to paint the lily, is wasteful and ridiculous excess; yet we may be permitted to say that the verses before us '-&c., &c. It is not, indeed, that any portion of the Bible may not be characterized, like any portion of any other book, so that it be naturally, simply, and without parade and the air of being done of course and ex officio. What offends the rough-and-ready listener whose culture is a few degrees above the average is the muliebris impotentia of the stereo. typed phraseology in these cases. The best way in which I can praise any portion of the word to my people is to read it as if I felt and understood it. The rest I leave to the laws of sympathy; and pretermit all compliments to inspiration..
I marvel at the dull instincts, in these matters, of many whom I honour in my thoughts. Unless the thing sought to be recommended by it tend to flatter the pride or relieve the pocket, there is nothing which so disgusts the popular mind as quackery, or that which looks like it. I have seen a list of discourses to the Working Classes' headed exactly tbus : - Come early! Come in your working-clothes! Come and hear the gospel of the blessed God! Seats all free! No collection ! Come!' What would an intelligent Secularist think of this? One can guess at what he would do,-procure a copy of the bill and send it to “The Reasoner. Still worse was another handbill of sermons which (with the alteration of the place of delivery only) was as follows : – Jehovah Honoured! The Redemptorist Fathers Muzzled !
Stoke Pogeis Protected !' These things are put forth with, apparently, the most absolute unconsciousness of their absurdity--but woe unto those by whose levity, vanity, and silly effervescence of nature such offences come!
I have found it serviceable to note how deeply laid in human nature, quite apart from positive faith, is the distinction between (if I might put it so in these rough memoranda) the Roundhead and the Cavalier type of character, and how inveterately the one always did and always does misapprehend the other. But we do not always keep that in
. mind. We take our own peculiar dialect into a quite foreign land without a suspicion that we shall not be understood. I call to mind the well-known story of Fox and Granville Sharpe. The latter, being soaked through with the prophetical speculation of his day, and an expert at bringing Daniel to bear on the last continental news, goes to the minister to talk over the state of Europe, and warn him of certain impending dangers. With perfect bonhommie he speaks as familiarly of the Little Horn as of France and of Rome. Fox listens a bit in patience; but at last breaks out, 'Little Horn, Mr. Sharpe! little horn? What is the little horn? Well, an old playfellow of mine, of the Cavalier type of character, has just been with me (after a separation of years) to deplore his utter incapacity to make common sense of a pious book which has been lent him by a friend anxious for his soul. He brings the book with him, and laying it down open before me, with his finger on the passage, asks, with the same sort of despairing nonintelligence as Mr. Fox, — Having the Son! He that hath the Son ! What is having the Son?'--as ignorant of the beloved disciple as the minister of the
brave prophet. The book had been injudiciously lent, of course. But such incidents are instructive. My friend is a man of positive genius and of a fine heart. Our mental trysting-ground is very wide indeed. He has all the simple superstition of a child in religious matters; but with all his reading, his insight, his unquestionable heart, he has no more understanding of a Puritan or of the Puritan spirit than this piece of paper has. Upon such points I can never get near him.--I never could. I doubt if twenty Whitefields and Wesleys rolled into one would enlighten him in the least. “Ah,' says my friend T. M., “it is the darkness of the natural mind.' Very good; your mind was dark once, but you always understood the message you heard—this other friend does not. You cannot get the thing into his understanding at all-it is like trying to beat up oil and water together. It has been tried, to my certain knowledge, under the most favourable conditions,—by a woman who was attached to him, and who thought she should be wrong to marry him, while his mind remained as it was. Quite without success! He has cried over her letters in my society, but he sees not an inch farther before him than he did. He is only a type of thousands
Shall not the
Judge of all the earth do right?
But let us who teach and preach lay these things to heart, and see that we speak the truth which is committed to us not only in love but in simplicity. And let us remember the Pentecostal lesson, and speak, if we can, to 'every man in his own tongue in which he was born.'
The Castle of Saint Angelo.
CHAPTER II. My friends and Seraphina's family were a week without hearing of me, and they were on the point of supposing I was dead. The Government at length determined to break silence, and stated that my imprisonment was for a political offence. I languished for twenty days in the prison into which they had thrown me. There are no tortures which can be compared to those which I endured at the Madame Palace; badly fed, a wretched bed, without fire in the depth of winter, without a light, and without books, I was also kept in the most absolute ignorance of everything; I could not help reproaching myself bitterly for the imprudence which had brought me there; I cursed the past and dreaded the future.
* Præteritique memor flebam, metuensque futuri.' After several months of waiting, my trial began. Every one knows that in Rome trials last an immense time; but, as in my accusation of belonging to a secret society, I avowed everything, save the name of my accomplices, and acknowledged having belonged to Young Italy, my trial went on rather quickly; nevertheless, it was necessary to submit to endless examinations. My examiner was a man between fifty and sixty years, somewhat tall and corpulent. He wore a costume something between a priest’s and a schoolmaster's; but I cannot exactly describe it, having never thoroughly seen the individual who was enveloped in it, excepting when seated pro tribunali and hidden behind an enormous desk. His head alone was entirely seen, and with reason, for it was the piece truly capital of this worthy personage. His face was fat, but long, and terminated suddenly in a very pointed chin; his jaws were at right angles, the cheek bones very prominent, and his nose ornamented with an enormous wart; all the rest of his countenance at the same time red and green, bilious and sanguine, showed a character very easily irritated. A red wig sat uneasily on his bald, uneven head. Surprise was redoubled when he opened his toothless mouth to question the accused. His enormous jaws worked as they belonged to a skeleton, or to an automaton, and seemed moved by springs. His voice, moreover, had the art in
pronouncing a single sentence of running over every note in the gamut, beginning with the treble and finishing in a cathedral bass. Such was the being, at once singular and grotesque, before whom I had to appear regularly twice a week; and as I could not always help smiling at the absurd questions he put to me, my inquisitor became more formidable and obstinate in his inquiries, and very many times he stated in his notes of the trial myó seditious merriment.' During the whole time of my trial, I was rigorously kept by myself, but was allowed to correspond with my friends and family; my letters, however, passed under the governor's eyes. The thought of Seraphina almost killed me; and I was at the same time happy and miserable to learn that she was unalterably resolved to remain faithful.
My sentence, a terrible one, was at length made known to me; ten years' imprisonment in a fortress! This was for me death preceded by martyrdom. All my family were overwhelmed ; Seraphina fell ill, and almost died. A frightful fear tormented me, that of being shut up far from Rome, in the Castle of Ancona, or Civita Castellana. 1 supplicated, I petitioned; and at length my friends having procured the mediation of persons in power, I obtained, as a great favour, permission to receive my punishment at Rome, and in the Castle of St. Angelo.
The Castle of St. Angelo is situated on the left bank of the Tiber, in front of one of the most beautiful marble bridges in the city. It was built in honour of Adrian, and served him for a tomb, so that it is still called Moles Adriana. The edifice had the form of a round pyramid, and was surrounded with an immense number of columns and statues placed alternately. The summit was surmounted by an immense pine-apple in bronze, which is still preserved in the museum of the Vatican, and which, it is said, contains the ashes of Adrian. In the middle ages, the popes altered little by little the character of this mausoleum. They despoiled it of its pillars, and took the bronze of their capitals to make cannons. As to the statues, the Romans made use of them at the siege of Alaric as projectiles against the barbarians. After the invention of gunpowder, the fortifications of Adrian's Mole were completed. Ramparts were raised, and furnished with pieces of artillery, ditches dug, draw-bridges placed, and the adjacent plain which stretches to the west, behind the fortress, was surrounded by enclosures. The names of several popes belong to the records of the Castle of St. Angelo ; John II. was shut up and died in it; Benedict VI. was strangled there ; Joli XIV. died in it from hunger; Gregory VII. took refuge in it when pursued and besieged lıy Henry IV. ; Alexander VI. sought safety in it; and lately Clement VII. hid himself there, during the attack by the constable Bourbon, and only escaped in a disguise furnished by Benvenuto Cillini. Other persons have given an historical importance to this dismal castle. i 'rescenci, the predecessor of Rienzi, was hung there; Arnold de Brescia was imprisoned there; Cæsar Borgia submitted to a long detention in it; Charles of Bourbon was killed before its walls by a