« ZurückWeiter »
idolatry; thirdly, that she has made others traitors, and disloyal to their kings, princes, and lords paramount. These three propositions I shall bring forward as my major, and then add a minor, for the complete justification of my said lord of Burgundy. I may indeed divide these into two parts; the first consisting of my major, and the second of my minor. The first will comprehend four others, and discuss the first subject of my theme, the second the second,-and the third the third. In the fourth article, I propose to bring forward some facts as the groundwork of my lord's justification. “In regard to the first article, that covetousness is the root of all evil, I may bring forward an instance to the contrary from the holy Scriptures, which declares, “Initium omnis peccati superbia.' Eccles. x. Ergo, non est cupiditas radix omnium malorum. Since the holy church says that pride is the foundation of sin, covetousness is not the root of all evil, —and thus the words of St. Paul do not seem true. In answer to this I say, from St. John the evangelist, “Nolite diligere mundum mec ea quae in eo sunt. Siquis diligit mundum, non est charitas Patris in eo: quoniam omne quod est in mundo aut est concupiscentia carnis, autoculorum, aut superbia vitae, quae non est ex Patre sed mundo : et mundus transibit, et concupiscentia carnis; sed qui facit voluntatem Dei vivet in aeternum.' That is to say, Do not love the world, nor place your sole happiness in worldly things; for the pleasures of this world consist in covetousness and in a love of the flesh,_in the pursuit of worldly riches and vain honours, which are not the passions given us by God. All worldly things are transitory, —and the world dies and its desires with it; but he who does the will of God, will enjoy everlasting glory with him. “It appears clearly from this quotation from St. John, that there are three sorts of covetousness, which include within them every sin, namely, covetousness of vain honours, covetousness of worldly riches, covetousness of carnal delights; and it was thus understood by the apostle when he said, ‘Radix omnium malorum cupiditas. Covetousness being understood to appear in the three forms aforesaid, and mentioned by St. John, the first of which is that of vain honours, which is nothing more than a wicked desire, and a disordered inclination to deprive another of his honours or lordships, this passion is called by St. John superbia cita, and contains within it every vice, namely, pride, vain-glory, anger, hatred, and envy; for when he who is possessed by this passion cannot accomplish his will, he becomes enraged against God, and against those that stand in his way, and thus commits the sin of anger, which increases soon against the person in possession of the aforementioned superiority, to so great a degree that he practises to put him to death. “The second covetousness is called ‘the covetousness of worldly riches, which is the passion to take away from another his wealth and moveables, and is called by the evangelist concupiscentia oculorum. It includes within it usury, avarice, and rapine. The third covetousness is the concupiscentia carnis, which is merely disorderly desires for carnal delights, or perhaps indolence; as, for example, when a monk or other religieux cannot endure to go to matins, because he is more comfortable in his bed. Sometimes it consists in gluttony, as when any one devours too much meat or wine, because they are pleasing to his tongue and savoury to his palate. At other times, it may show itself in luxury, and in other shapes and manners which it is unnecessary to explain. “My first article is therefore clear, when I said, that “covetousness was the root of all evil,' if we understand it as the apostle did, when he said, ‘Radix omnium malorum cupiditas: et hoc de primo articulo hujus prima partis. “To enter on the subject of the second article of my major, I shall take it for granted that the greatest possible crime on earth is the crime of high treason, for the highest honour under heaven consists in the royal majesty. Can there then be a greater crime than any injury offered to the royal majesty ? As this crime, therefore, is the deepest, the punishment of it should be the most severe. There are two sorts of kingly dignity,+the one divine and perpetual, the other human and temporal; and in like manner, there are two kinds of high treason, the first the crime of treason against the divine, and the second against the human majesty. That of high treason against the divine majesty may be again divided into two parts; first, when an injury is offered personally to our Sovereign Lord God and Creator, such as heresy and idolatry; secondly, when they are committed against the spouse of our holy Lord God Jesus CHRIST,-namely the holy Church, and when any schism or division is introduced within it. I therefore mean to say, that heretics and idolaters commit the crime of high treason in the first degree, and schismatics in the second. “The crime of human high treason may be divided into four degrees: first, consisting of offences done personally against the prince,—of offences done to the person of the queen, his spouse,_of such as are done personally against their children,-and fourthly, of injuries done to the public state. As the crime of high treason has been ever considered as one of the most atrocious, the laws have ordained much severer punishments against it than for any others. In cases of heresy and human high treason, a man may be accused after his death, and a process may be carried on against him: should he be convicted of heresy, his body is taken up from the grave, his bones put into a bag, carried to the place of execution, and burnt. In like manner, should any one be convicted after his decease of human high treason, his body is taken up from the grave, his bones put into a sack, all his wealth in land or moveables is confiscated to the prince, and his children declared incapable of holding lands, or of succeeding to any property. Having distinguished the crimes of high treason, I shall now proceed to prove the second article of my major by authorities and examples, namely, that covetousness has made many apostates, who have denied the catholic faith, and worshipped idols. I have found many instances to prove this, but it would take up too much time to relate the whole: I shall confine myself to three only.
“ of JULIAN The ApostATE.
“The first example is Julian the apostate, who was a Christian and a churchman; but to arrive at the imperial dignity of emperor of Rome, he denied the catholic faith and his baptism, and adored idols, telling the Christians, by way of colouring his apostacy, ‘Christus were dicit in evangelio suo, Nisi quis renunciaverit omnibus que possidet, non potest meus esse discipulus.' Saying, ‘You who wish to be Christians cannot possess anything.’ You must know, that this Julian was a churchman, very learned, and of high descent; and it was said that he might, had he laboured for it, have been pope; but as the popedom was at that time in a state of poverty, he cared not for it.—and the imperial dignity being the highest in the world, he was very eager to obtain it by any means. Having considered that the pagans were sufficiently strong to refuse to be governed by any Christian, he denied his baptism and the catholic faith, and adopted the pagan religion in the adoration of idols. He also persecuted the Christians, and defamed the name of Jesus CHRIST, which he looked to as one means of succeeding to the empire. The reigning emperor shortly after died; and the pagans, knowing that Julian was of high birth, great learning, and the most bitter persecutor of the Christians in the world, and who said more than any one else against our holy mother the church, elected him emperor.
“I will now tell you the horrible death that put an end to his days. During his government, the Persians rebelled against Rome. He collected a large army to subdue them, and swore on the altars of his cursed gods, that should he return victorious, he would utterly destroy all Christendom. In the course of his march with the army, he passed a city called Cesarea, in the country of Cappadocia, where he met a very learned doctor in theology, who was bishop of that town, and who is now known by the name of St. Basil. He was an excellently good man, and by means of the truth of his doctrines, all the inhabitants of that country were become Christians. St. Basil waited on the apostate Julian, made his obeisance to him, and presented him with three barley-loaves. The emperor was indignant at the present, and said, “Does he send me mare's food & I will return the compliment by sending him horse-meat, namely, three bushels of oats.” The good man excused himself, saying that it was such bread as he and those of that country ate. The emperor, however, swore, that on his return, he would destroy the town so completely, that a plough should pass over the ground, and make a field of the spot where the town now stood, which field should bear wheat—‘Itaque juravit quod faceret eam farriferam et non austeram"—and marched on with his army.
“St. Basil and the Christians took counsel together how they could save the city from this threatened destruction, and imagined it would be best to offer the emperor all their jewels and treasure to appease his anger. They likewise proposed going in procession to a church of our Lady, situated on a mountain near the city, and to remain there for three days to pray to God to save them and their city from ruin. On the third night, St. Basil had a vision, in which he saw a great company of angels and saints assembled before a lady, who thus spoke to one of the saints, called the chevalier Mercure : “Thou hast always been a faithful servant to my son and to me; and on this account I command thee to go and kill the emperor Julian, that false apostate, who so bitterly persecutes the Christians, and says such infamous things of my son and me.' She instantly restored Mercure to flesh and blood, who, like a good knight, took his lance and shield from the roof of the church where it had been affixed after his interment there, and went as he was commanded. When he overtook Julian, he thrust his lance through his body in the presence of his servants: having withdrawn his lance, he threw it across his neck, and none of the emperor's attendants knew who he was. St. Basil, after this vision was ended, hastened to the church wherein was the tomb of the knight, and found neither body, nor lance, nor shield. He called to him the keepers of the church, and asked them what was become of the lance and shield? They replied, that in the preceding night they had been carried away, but knew not how or by whom. “St. Basil returned instantly to the mountain, and related his vision to the clergy and people, adding that he had just visited the church where the knight had been buried, but that neither his shield nor lance was to be found; which was a strong confirmation of the truth of the vision. The whole town, shortly after this, visited the church; and the shield and lance were seen hanging to the roof, as formerly, over the tomb of the knight, but the point of the lance was covered with blood. It was imagined that this action had required but one day and two nights, and that on the second night the body had been replaced in the tomb, and the arms under the roof. The point of the lance was covered with the blood of Julian the apostate, as has been mentioned; and the chronicle adds, that when slain, he received the blood in his hand, saying, Vicisti me, Galilae 1 that is to say, ‘Thou hast conquered me, Galilean '' alluding to Jesus CHRIST, and throwing his blood in the air.
vol. 1. F
The same chronicle says, that one of the counsellors and sophists of this Julian had a similar
vision respecting his miraculous death, and that he came to St. Basil to be baptised, like a good Christian. He told him he had been present when the emperor was killed, and saw him throw his blood from his hand up into the air. Thus ended miserably the life of Julian the apostate. “We have another example in the monk Sergius, who was a Christian of the church, but through covetousness got admitted into the company of Mohammed, and became his apostle. This monk, considering that Mohammed was a great captain in the armies of Syria and other countries beyond sea, and that the principal lords of the country were almost all destroyed by the plague, leaving only children behind them, said to Mohammed, “If you will follow my advice, I will shortly make you the greatest and most respected lord in the universe.’ Mohammed consented to his proposals; and it was agreed that Mohammed should conquer the whole country by force of arms, and make himself lord of it. The monk was to renounce the Christian religion, and compose a new religious code, in the name of Mohammed. This was done; and all the countries of Arabia, Syria, Africa, Fez, Morocco, Granada, Persia, Egypt, with several others that had been Christians, were converted, or the greater part of them, to the religion of Mohammed, six hundred years after the incarnation of our Lord. Mohammed gave to this monk great abundance of worldly riches, which his covetousness received to the eternal damnation of his soul. “The third example is that of the prince or duke of Simeon, one of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. He was a very powerful prince, and his name was Zambry, and was so smitten with concupiscence, and carnal desires, for a pagan lady, who would not submit to his will unless he consented to adore her idols, that he apostatised, and not only adored idols himself, but induced many of his people and subjects to do the same. The holy Scriptures thus speak of him: “At illi comederunt et adoraverunt deos earum. Initiatusque est Israel Beelphegor. Et iratus Dominus ait ad Moysem, Tolle cunctos principes populi, et suspende illos contra solem in patibulis, &c. Et paulopost: ‘Et ecce unus de filiis Israel intravit coram fratribus suis ad scortum Madianitem, &c. Quod cum vidisset surrexit de medio multitudinis Phinees, et arrepto pugione ingressus est post virum Israelitem in lupinar, et perfodit ambos simul in locis genitalibus. Et occisi sunt viginti quatuor millia hominum. Et sic Phinees placavit Deum. Et ideo innocentius inde miseria conditionis humanae ait. Extrema libidinis turpitudo : quae non solum mentem effoeminat, sed etiam corpus aggravat. Omne namoue peccatum quodcunque fecerit homo extra corpus est; qui autem fornicatur in corpus suum peccat.' That is to say, This duke and a great part of his people committed fornication with pagan and Saracen women of the country of Moab, who induced them to worship their idols. God was much angered thereat, and said to Moses, who was their sovereign commander, ‘Take all the princes of the people and hang them up on a gibbet in the face of the sun.” “But why," said he, “hang all the princes !” “Because part of them were consenting to this crime, and the other part, though not following their example, were neglectful to avenge such heavy offences against God, their Creator.” “Moses instantly assembled all the princes and people of Israel, and told them what God had commanded. The people began to weep, because the offenders were so powerful the judges dared not condemn them,-and duke Zambry had full twenty-four thousand men of his tribe. This duke quitted the assembly, and, in the presence of all the people, entered the house of the pagan lady, the mistress of his heart, who was the handsomest woman of the country. A valiant man, named Phineas, roused by this insult to his God, stepped forth and said, “I vow to God, that I will instantly avenge this offence.’ He departed without saying more, or having any commands from Moses, and having entered the lady's house found her in dalliance with her lover, when, with a knife or dagger, he pierced their bodies through, and instantly put them to death. The twenty-four thousand adherents of the duke wished to revenge his death in battle, but, through God's grace, they were the weaker, and were all slain. This example of the valiant man Phineas is worthy of notice, for he was so much enamoured with the love of God, and so grieved on seeing the daring insult offered to him, that he was regardless of exposing his own life to danger; nor did he wait for the orders of Moses to perform the act, but he did it because he saw that the judges would not do their duty, some through neglect, others from fear of duke Zambry. “See what praise and recompense he received for this act, as it is written in the holy Scriptures: “Dixit Dominus ad Moysem, Phinees filius Heleazari filii Aaron sacerdotis avertitiram mean a filiis Israel, quia zelomeo commotus est contra eos ut non ipse delerem filios Israel in zelomeo idcirco loquere ad eum. Ecce do ei pacem foederis mei et erit tam ipsi quam semini ejus pactum sacerdotii sempiternum : quia zelatus est pro Deo suo, et expiavit scelus filiorum Israel.” That is to say, That the act he had done was so agreeable to God that he rewarded him, by ordaining that none but such as were of his blood should be anointed priests; and this is confirmed by the writings in the Old Testament: “Placuit et cessavit seditio, et reputatum est ei ad justitiam usque in sempiternum.’ Scribitur in Psalmo. Which means, That this action redounded to the honour, glory and praise of Phineas and his family for ever. Thus it plainly appears, that concupiscence and disorderly lusts had so entangled the duke Zambry in their snares that he became an idolater, and worshipped idols. Here concludes the third example of my second article. “Respecting the third article of my major, I must show from the authority of the Bible, which none dare contradict, that covetousness has made many become disloyal, and traitors to their sovereigns; but although I could produce numerous instances from the Scriptures and other writings, I shall confine my examples to three only.
“ of LUCIFER.
“The first instance is that of Lucifer, the most perfect of all the creatures God had made,
of whom the prophet Isaiah says, “Quomodo cecidisti de coelo Lucifer, qui mane orieberis:
qui dicebas in corde tuo, conscendam supra astra Dei, exaltabo solium meum, ascendam
supra altitudinem nubium et similis ero altissimo. Veruntamen ad infernum detraheris in
profundum laci.” Scrib. Is. xiv. Lucifer, as the prophet writes, considering himself as the most perfect of creatures, said, within his own mind, ‘I will exert myself so greatly that I will place myself and my throne above the angels and rival God;’ that, is to say, he would have the same obedience paid to him. For this end, he deceived numbers of angels, and brought them over to his party, so that they were to do him homage and obedience, as to their sovereign lord, and be no way subject to God ; and Lucifer was to hold his government in like manner to GoD, and independent of all subjection to him. Thus he wished to deprive God, his Sovereign and Creator, of the greater part of his power, and attribute it to himself, being induced to it by covetousness, which had taken possession of his mind. “St. Michael, on discovering his intentions, came to him, and said, that he was acting very wrong; and that, since God had formed him the most perfect of his creatures, he was bounden in gratitude to pay him greater reverence and obedience than all the others, for the gracious favours that had been shown him. Lucifer replied, that he would do no such thing. St. Michael answered, that neither himself nor the other angels would suffer him to act so injuriously to their Sovereign Lord and Creator. In short, a battle ensued between them, and many of the angels took part on either side, but the greater number number were for St. Michael. St. Michael slew Lucifer with a perdurable death, and he and his legions were cast out of heaven by force, and thrown into hell. Their sentence is in the xiith chap. of the Revelations: “Michael et angeli ejus praeliabantur cum dracone, et draco pugnabat et angeli ejus cum eo.' Et paulum post,-'et projectus est in terram draco ille, et angeli ejus missi sunt cum eo. Et audiwi vocem magnam in coelo dicentem, nunc facta est salus, et virtus, et regnum Deo nostro;'—which means, That St. John saw in a vision this battle, and how Lucifer was cast with his angels from heaven into hell. When the battle was won, he heard a loud voice proclaiming through the heavens, “At present, peace is restored to our Lord God and to his saints.’—Thus ends the first example of the third article. “The second instance refers to the fair Absalom, son to David king of Jerusalem.— Absalom, considering that his father was become old and very feeble, practised a conspiracy against him, and had himself anointed king. He collected ten thousand fighting men, whom he marched towards Jerusalem, to put his father to death and take possession of the town. “King David received intelligence of what was intended, and in consequence fled from the city of Jerusalem, with some of his faithful friends, to a town beyond Jordan, whither he summoned his adherents. A battle was shortly proposed in the forest of Lendeue, whither Absalom came with a large force of men at arms, leading them as their prince. His constable and other knights advised him to remain within the forest, for it was strongly situated. This he did; but as he was one of the most expert knights in the world, he would himself form his army into three battalions: the first was put under the command of Joab his constable; the second was given to Bisay, brother to Joab ; and the third was commanded by Eschey, son to Jeth. When the battle took place, it was very severe and hard-fought; but the party of Absalom was slain or put to flight. “It happened, as Absalom was flying on his mule after the defeat of his party, that he passed under an oak, whose spreading branches caught hold of his hair, and thus suspended him, while his mule galloped from under him. Absalom had that day taken off his helmet from his head, the more readily to escape, and his hair was extremely thick and long, reaching to his girdle, and got twisted among the branches, so that he seemed to hang there miraculously, as a punishment for the disloyal treason he had formed against his father and sovereign. Absalom was seen in this situation by one of the men-at-arms of Joab, constable to king David, and hastened to tell Joab of it, who replied, “When thou sawest him, why didst thou not kill him? and I would have given thee ten golden besants, and a handsome girdle.' The man answered, “If thou wouldst have given me ten thousand besants, I should not have dared to have touched him, or done him the least evil; for I was present when the king commanded thee, and all his men at arms, saying, ‘Save me my child Absalom Oh, save him from being slain " Joab said, ‘that the commands of the king were contrary to his honour and safety; and that so long as Absalom should live, the king would be always in peril, and we shall not have peace in the kingdom. Lead me where Absalom is.’ And the man led him to where Absalom was hanging by his hair. Joab, on seeing him, thrust his lance thrice into his body, near to the place of his heart, and then had