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large omnibus-yard to address the men employed there, to whom so few opportunities are given ; and now standing by the bed-sides of the sick patients in the wards of the Cholera Hospital. Who could inaugurate so much mission work in the course of a few years, as that which was brought into action by the agency of the Bishop of London's Fund?
Well we know how great the legacy of work which he has bequeathed to us in this diocese, in carrying out its great object. May it be given to his successor in the diocese of London to complete as nobly and as thoroughly all that was so well and nobly begun; and then we may hope that a few years will witness a marked change in many of our London parishes.
May the remembrance of the season of prayer which has just passed over our heads, and brought us into a new year's Advent, abide with us, bringing down its own blessing throughout the coming year. If it had done no other good, surely it would be a blessing to know that it had brought the children of God so much nearer to the throne of grace, in united supplication for themselves and one another! By the time these words are in our readers' hands, a new year will be dawning upon us; may the season which has just passed help us to a spirit of more earnest self-consecration, and a more heartfelt desire to help forward, even in the smallest degree, the work which may be given to us to do.
Well we know how great the work which is yet to be done; how many missions are requiring the most diligent efforts to help them forward in the coming year. At this moment we are thinking of one which especially needs all the help and all the sympathy of those who are willing to aid the Church's work. But we leave its particulars for our next paper, only perhaps we may be forgiven for saying that we shall write it more hopefully on account of the Twelve Days Prayer which is just over.
IVANOVXA. Advent, 1869.
ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.
The white slave under a burning sun,
Toiled in the heat of the day,
Where the ruins of Carthage lay?
He thought of the empires past and gone,
Of glories which once had been,
Gazed gloomily on the scene.
He thought of Cyprian's hoary head,
How calmly he laid it down ;
Whilst Vandals begirt the town;
How Louis amid his weeping host,
Died under the Paynim wall,
Say, must he resign them all?
Nor altar, nor cross, nor choral band,
With ever alternate sound,
And Imaums droning around.
'Sing me a hymn of the Christian Creed,'
-He turned at the lady's speech*For fain would I know in very deed,
What the Frankish muftis teach.'
Sedimus flevimus-tears in his eye
The melody died away; Cantabimus Canticum Domini,
In terrâ alienâ.*
Speechless she stood, drinking every word,
With a quenchless thirst of truth ; Could it be her bearded Moslem lord,
Had held this faith in his youth?
Straight she ran to the renegade base,
Indignant her tale she told; ‘Oh! how canst thou lift thy shameless face,
And sell thy pure faith for gold?'
To see the guilty Apostate start,
His dull cheek flushing with shame! She pierced and she scorched his inmost heart,
With a two-edged sword of flame.
In and around all those sins uprose,
In a previous Judgement Day, Which Heaven alone and the conscience knows,
Nor could he thrust them away.
* Psalm cxxxvii. Vulgate.
* Fioretti di S. Francesco, testo di lingua, seconda la lezione adottata dal P. A. Cesari. Con brevi note filologiche.' Tipografia di Pietro Fraticelli. Firenze.
I do not know any work which recommends itself for pure and simple grace as the Fioretti di S. Francesco. The perfume of faith and piety which breathes out from these · Little Flowers,' is of the genuine spirit of the Seraphic Saint, while its visit to the earth was yet in its early freshness. Rightly are they titled “Little Flowers,' for they are all gentleness and devotion. They contain no word of violence or dispute. When they tell of frightful conflicts with the Evil One even, they are yet serene. There is not even a terrible description of a martyr's agonies : all is
* Psalm cxxvi.
peace and joy--joy and peace even in suffering and desolation. All, faith and charity : that charity and faith which removes mountains,' and to which all things are possible.' The birds, the fishes,' the very wolves,“ listen to the praises and the commands of God; the lepers are cleansed;' the hard rocks give up springs of water ;' the empty platters replenish themselves’ at the need of the fainting brethren who trust in God with the trust of the sparrows: the whole face of the country receives a glow of radiant light when the love of God is the theme of discourse,
Who put them together and wrote them out may never be known-in other words, we may never know his individual name; but we distinguish at once he was one of the fraticelli of S. Francis; one who had merged his being into that of the bodycorporate of the order of poverty and humility : who claimed to have nothing of his own—not even the powers of his mind: all, all had been made over to the religious community. Whether men called him Frate Ilario,' or “Frate Rinieri,' mattered not to him: that he was of the family of S. Francis, was more to him than all the praise of men. One of those whose life is a symbol, whereby to realize something of that mysterious existence of the future, in which perfect individual identity is to be reconciled with the condition of being merged in the glorified Body of Christ.
Such was the love of the fraticelli for their Father S. Francis, and for each other. They loved one another in the love of Christ, which makes of many one. No wonder then that the holy thoughts and words and acts of those who were so loved should have been treasured up in the archives—that is, the memories-of the brotherhood. They had floated for two or three hundred years in the atmosphere of the Franciscan houses, when one of the family-it matters not which-bethought him to write them down, that their brethren in the world might know of them too. Thus were gathered the Fioretti, 'the exquisite Franciscan Legends,' which set Faber's muse all on fire with enthusiasm for the Apennines, "for they contain the Uinbrian Sanctuaries.' • Their summits,' he wrote, “are constantly crowned with monasteries. It is a glorious thought, that the chain of mountains from Savona to Benevento is at all hours of the day and night positively resonant with prayer and psalmody:... when you consider that Umbrian enthusiasm changed the whole Aspect of the Church, that it forced art and poetry to take new directions, that it directed the course of the Renaissance, ... it seems scarcely reverent to think such great changes were not intended in God's Providence as the work which supernatural Umbria was fore-ordained to accomplish.'
The sanctuaries of Umbria are silent now. The fiat of' a revolutionary Parliament went forth, and from that hour there was so much less intercession upon the earth,' as he exclaimed ' amid the desolation of the Certosa of Pavia. These monasteries are now 'a silent sacrifice of Christian art.' .... Yes, silent and speechless; yet the pure melancholy beauty of their deserted walls appeals still eloquently to the traveller, in favour of the supernatural life of abnegation they once housed. And the very modern utilitarian spirit which silenced their chant, has itself created a way for multiplying and distributing the posics of S. Francesco's * Little Flowers,' to an extent all the hidden labours of his patient monks could never have attained.
Part I. chap. viii. p. 31-34. 2 Part II. 32, p. 182, 183; and Part I. chap. xxii. p. 77, 78.
* Part I. chap. xl p. 126-129. • Part I. chap. xxi. p. 72–77. 5 Part I. chap. xxv. p. 82-86. 6 Part II. § 1, p. 181, 182.
? Part IV. 86, p. 271-274; also Part I. chap. xviii. p. 64, 65. & Part I. chap. xv. p. 52, 53. 9 The whole passage is so nervous and eloquent, I cannot forbear quoting it: 'One tranquil morning, at Schönbrunn, the Kaiser (Joseph II.) was detained for one moment in the elm-tree walk beneath the windows; and ere the sentinel could have time to change guard, the Carthusian world of peaceful sanctity, of king-protecting intercession, of penitence and benediction, of Heaven realized below, was signed away-swept from the earth by a written name! It was as though the Kaiser had stopped the fountains of one of the great Lombard rivers.'
I was travelling some three years ago from Foligno to Perugia ; the railway was not built then, and our arrangements dictated haste. We had resisted every strong inclination to turn aside by the way, at the attractions of all the objects of classic or religious interest on our route. But when the carriage wound round under the very shadow of Sta. Maria degli Angeli, the Church of the Portiuncula, it seemed a violation of decent and holy affections not to alight and kneel at its shrine.
Accordingly we went in and renewed our memory of its glories. A frate accompanied us, telling of Francesco's' fasts and “Francesco's' devotion, and pointing out the cell where `Francesco’ died; and culling leaves for us from the briary, which brought forth thornless roses in memory of Francesco's' temptation, with traditional familiarity, as if he had been still in the midst of the community ; till I looked in his simple face, and asked myself, •Did he realize that six centuries and more had passed over that spot since “ Francesco" knelt there ?' and the impression I gained was, that the idea of time, like all other temporal considerations, had found so little place in his mind, that the present was to him but a 'sexagenary twinkle' between the life of poverty of ‘Francesco' on earth, and the life of glory of Francesco ' in Heaven.
It was time to start again; but I could not forbear passing through the church once more. The sun was rapidly descending, and I fell a prey to a sense of sadness and foreboding I could not well define. I knelt at the base of a great pillar, and fancied it an image of the mighty spirit of the Apostle of Poverty, towering over, and upholding the dim enceinte, and wondered how long it would yet abide with a generation holding so little in common with it. As I mused, a sound of soft and measured footsteps fell around, and like a sweeping together of clouds over the evening sky, the fraticelli gathered through the aisles ; whether it was a vision of Frate Bernardo da Quintavalle, and Frate Elia, with Frate Masseo, and Frate Leone, and the rest of the first simple flock, with 'Francesco' at their head; or of that chapter of the Order,' which so edified S. Dominic, and which came to be called the Capitolo de' graticci, because its multitudes had to be encamped in wicker huts through the Val di Spoleto; or the ordinary evening gathering of the flesh and blood representatives of the Order in the nineteenth century, mattered not. I knelt for a moment in their midst, and then was forced to part ; but I may never forget the scene, as I turned to look back through the opened door. The Santissimo was raised upon his throne, the incense rose over the shrine, and caught on its waving clonds the sad straight rays of the dying sun; the fraticelli, singing in sweet sonorous chorus a plaintive litany of intercession, knelt quaintly one behind the other in two dark brown files all down the vast nave, just as if ranged by Fra Angelico's pencil-seeming to form a chain of connection between · Francesco' and the outer world. .... It was one of the last evenings that they so knelt. The sadness which had so oppressed me must have been the foreboding of the coming order of suppression !?
I have cherished the Fioretti the more, though, since; and it needs but to read them to take comfort in the assurance that the spirit of the Seraphic founder is unsuppressable.' When revolution has had its way for a time in deforming the face
1 Fioretti. Part I. chap. xviii. p. 61-66. * The law of sappression was, I find, dated July 7, 1866, and this was the 7th of May. "Antiquity is daily sinking out of sight beneath our steps. Everything changes, everything disappears--but to return. Man cannot destroy any of the fundamental conditions of his existence; and religion, which is one of them, can exist, for the future, only under the form of Christianity. -Lacordaire.