Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“ which does not exist, nor is there any non-existence for what exists. That

(being) by which all this universe is created, is indestructible. The finite “ bodies have been said to belong to an eternal, indestructible, and infinite

spirit. He who believes that this spirit can kill, and he who thinks that it “can be killed, are both of them wrong in their judgment. It neither “ kills nor is killed. It is not born nor dies at any time. Unborn, change

less, eternal, both as to future and past time, it is not slain when the body is killed. As a man abandons worn-out clothes, and takes other new ones, so does the soul quit worn-out bodies and enter other new ones.

Weapons cannot cleave it ; fire cannot hurn it; it is impenetrable, incombus“tible, and incapable of moisture. It is said to be invisible, incomprehen

sible, immutable.' Therefore, knowing it to be such, thou art not right se to grieve for it. For to everything born death is certain--to everything & dead regeneration is certain.

In another chapter, speaking of Immortality, he says: But there is another invisible external existence, superior to this visible one, which does perish when all things perish, called invisible and indivisible. This they call the highest walk. Those who obtain this never return. This is my supreme abode. But this Supreme Person, O son of Pritha ! within whom all existing things exist, and by whom all this universe is caused to emanate, may be approached by devotion, which is intent on Him alone.

Returning to the first chapter, we find him saying, “When man has put “away all desires which enter the heart, and is satisfied by himself in himself, "he is considered to be confirmed in spiritual knowledge. When his heart is "not troubled by adversity, and all enjoyment in pleasure is filed, when he is "free from passion, fear, and anger, and is constant in meditation, he is called "a Muni (devotee or saint). Attachment to objects of sense arises in a man "who meditates upon them; from attachment arises desire ; from desire pas"sion springs up; from passion comes bewilderment; from bewilderment

confusion of the memory; from that destruction of the intellect, and then “ he perishes. But he who approaches the objects of sense with senses

beneath his own control, free from love and hate, and having his soul well "disposed, attains to tranquillity of thought. . . . He who does not practise

reflection has no calm. When a man is disposed in accordance with his “roaming senses, it snatches away his spiritual knowledge, as the wind does "a ship on the waves. The self-governed man is awake in that which is

night to all other beings; that in whiclı, all other beings are awake is night "to the self-governed. He unto whom all desires enter in the same manner as rivers enter the ocean, which is always full, yet does not remove its bed, can obtain tranquillity, but not he who cherishes desires. That man who,

casting off all desires, acts without interest, free from selfishness and ego“tism, attains to tranquility. This is the condition of the Supreme Being."

For all practical purposes this is the same as the teaching of Jesus in the Mountain Sermon : " Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where "moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but slay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth

corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal : for where your " treasure is, ther will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye; “ if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But " if thine eye be evil

, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore " the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness !"* The

* Matthew vi. 19-23.

66

[ocr errors]

a

:

ز

[ocr errors]

words vary, but the uuderlying thought is precisely the same; and, as far as " the spiritual meaning” of Jesus is concerned, it is difficult to discover in what sense it transcends the other. The Hindu author had evidently conceived all those deeper ideas of the means through which the human is to be linked with the Divine as clearly as he of Nazareth had done; and in inoderu times, when passages from the Hindu are given in our pulpits, without acknowledgment, the congregation is delighted by the spiritual insight of their pastor.

In the third chapter the following passage occurs, which would serve for a translation of Matthew' into Sauscrit : "He who remains inert, restraining

: " the organs of sensual action, and pondering in his heart on objects of " sense, is called a false pietist of bewildered soul.” The passage in 'Matthew'

” reads : " He who looketh upon a woman, to lust after her, hath committed " adultery with her already in his heart."* The thought is the same in both passages, and each may stand for the other when rendered into any other language.

In the fourth chapter, called “ Devotion through Spiritual Knowledge, the Divine One" says: “ There is no purifier in the world like spiritual

“ knowledge. A man who is perfected in devotion finds it spontaneously in "himself, in the progress of time. He who possesses faith, if intent on it,

acquires spiritual kuowledge; and, having acquired spiritual knowledge, he

soon attains to supreme tranquillity. Ile who ignores the truth, and is " devoid of faith, being of doubtful mind, perishes. Is not this much the same as that saying of Jesus, " Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye "shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for everyone that

asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it « shall be opened"? +

In the following chapter the “ Divine One” says the Lord of the world creates neither the faculty of acting nor actions, nor yet the desire for the fruits of actions. But each man's own nature produces them. The Lord receives no one's vice or virtue. Knowledge is surrounded by ignorance. Therefore, creatures err. But the knowledge of those in whose souls that ignorance is destroyed by knowledge, lights up that Supreme One like the sun. Those whose thoughts are on that spirit, whose souls are in it, who exist in it, and are intent on it, their sins being put away by spiritual knowledge, attain to that place whence there is no return. . . Even in this life, those whose heart persists in equability, surmount the tendencies of their natures. For the Supreme Being is free from sin and equal-minded. Therefore they partake of the nature of the Supreme Being. One should not be overjoyed when one obtains what one loses, nor grieve when one meets with what one desires not, but should be of unwandering thoughts, not deluded (by the world), seeking to know the Supreme Being, remaining within the Supreme Being. He whose soul is not attached to the contact of external objects, and who finds pleasure within himself, whose soul is united, by means of devotion, to the Supreme Being enjoys imperishable happiness. Those holy men whose sins are destroyed, who have solved all doubt, who are self-governed, and delight in the good of all beings, obtain extinction in the Supreme Spirit. Extinction in the Supreme Spirit is near at hand for those who are free from desire and anger, and are temperate, of thoughts restrained, and who know their own souls. Much of Jesus' teaching is very similar to this.

We shall turn to another section of this subject in our next,

[ocr errors]

* Matthew 7. 28.

† Matthew ii. 7.8

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE REFORMATION.--XT.

THE ALBIGENSIAN CRUSADE.

THERE are certain moments in history infinitely solemn, when the time seems big witb fate. Such an epoch was the year 1200. The hour had now come for a great movement of the common mind in Europe. The struggles of the Church had hitherto been with the Empire and with Feudalism; and even while she had chained the souls of men in the twofold bond of ignorance and superstition, she had often been ready to stand between the oppressor and the oppressed--always when it was her interest so to do. She had so far moved with the age, is to be doing in some measure the work the age required. Now, her quarrel is not to be with emperors, and kings, and barons, but with the people; persccution and tyranny are to be the chief characters written on her subsequent history; and the fire and the fagot, the thumb-screw and the torture, will henceforth be her principal modes of argument and instruction. We are now to look at the earliest result of this change in the spirit of the time. Languedoc was, as already shown, ripe for revolt against spiritual despotism. The danger to the Church was great. The man who met it was stern, hard, and inflexible. Ever sterner and more inflexible Pope Innocent became as the heresies appeared to be incurable. And in the midst of his cogitations as to what should be done, the news reached him, that one of his legates in Languedoc had been assassinated. This was the signal for a thirty years' bloody war, in which every outrage to which fanaticism can lead men was practised, and in which, for the first time during the Middle Age, the Western Church imbrued her hands in the blood of heretics. Whatever were the vices and crimes which had disgraced the Church during those mediæval centuries, she was as yet free from the “blackest of all her

crimes," as yet she was free from the stain of blood ; not, be it remembered, because she had been more tolerant, or less jealous of her authority through those centuries, but because up to this time she had with few exceptions found means to make humanity bend beneath her yoke. Now, however, the fatal die is cast, and a Crusade shall be preached, not as heretofore against the Saracens and the Turks, but against these hereties, who disturb the peace of the Church.

A few words of explanation are demanded with reference to the event which led to the Crusades against the Albigenses. The chief city of Languedoc, and head-quarters of the heresies, was Toulouse. The Count of Toulouse had already been excommunicated by the Pope, because he tolerated the heretics and dared to harbour Jews. The legate who was assassinated had presumed to present himself in the palace of the Count, and there, in insulting terms, to upbraid him with his disobedience to the Church. The Count, a choleric man, who cared nought for Pope or Church, and made a jest of religion in any shape, let fall some hasty words. One of his knights, interpreting the wishes of the Count by the expressions of his anger, followed the insolent legate and struck him dead. The Pope saw his advantage in this, , and his emissaries, the Cistercian monks, were spread throughout the North of France to preach vengeance against the heretics of Languedoc, against whom they laid the charge of murdering the legate. A different race were those men of the North, steeped in ignorance and blind submission to the Church ; moreover a strong antipathy existed between them and the people

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

of the South. Their duty and their passions thus seemed to concur in leading thcsc barbarous warriors of the North on the Pope's errand of blood.

The infamous hero of this dreadful war was Simon de Montfort ; ambitious, brutal, avaricious, and hypocritical, he was the fit instrument for the deed which was to be done. The Pope knew with whom he was dealing, and instigated his ambition by promising him the Countship of Toulouse, and his cupidity by calling to remembrance the enormous possessions attached thereto, while his hypocrisy and brutality both found scope in the butcheries which were to be enacted in the name of religion. This man was an Englishman, and, iu right of his mother, Earl of Leicester. He was already well known as a veteran in the Crusades against the Turks. Not to be unjust to him, let it be acknowledged that he was a man of unquestionable bravery; the credit of severe morals, which doubtless contributed to his success as a soldier, must also be allowed him, and it must be remembered that many of the atrocities of the war were the doings of the priests who accompanied his army. It is said, too, that he caused the honour of his female prisoners to be always respected. But as the leader in a war such as this was, as the merciless executor of the commands of the Church, his name must ever be infamous, and his memory execrated amongst men. It is a sin for which Hallam should not be easily forgiven, that he dared to couple the names of this man and of Cromwell together, by saying that he was a man like Cromwell, whose “intrepidity, hypocrisy, and ambition, marked him for the hero of a holy war." No, no! Cromwell's name stands first in the muster-roll of fame, as the great good man who dared all for the right and the truth--while this other stands as the tool of a bloodthirsty priest, who but too thoroughly executed his execrable office. The one ever honourable, and beloved by all good men ; the other for ever hateful and accursed.

Such, then, was the man who, with an arıny of 300,000 Germans, Lorrainers, Burgundians, and Frenchmen, induced by the promises of plenary indulgences for all their sins, by the hope of plunder, by the fear of the Church, and by fanaticism, undertook to root out the heresy in Languedoc, and with fire and sword to carry destruction among its peaceful citizens, whose only crime was that they dared to think for themselves, and would not bow to priestly power.

The Count of Toulouse, when he saw the preparations thus making, became alarmed, and sued to the Pope for peace, which on certain conditions Innocent agreed to grant ; Raymond (such was the name of the Count) submitted to the conditions, and disgraced himself in the eyes of his subjects by allowing himself to be scourged by priests in the chapel where the murdered legate was buried. The young and noble Count of Beziers, the nephew of Raymond, was indignant at the cowardly conduct of his uncle, and openly defied the Pope to do his worst; this was the occasion of the tuning of the army of Montfort against Beziers, with the siege of which the war against the Albiyenses commenced. By a piece of refined cruelty, worthy of Priestcraft, Rayinond was called upon to take the command of a division of the Crusading army, and thus to lead them against his own nephew and subjects--and to his eternal infamy he did this. The Pope's legate, the Abbot of Citeaux, was with the besieging army, and had drawn up a list of the citizens who were to be put to death ; the intrepid yomg Count, however, refused to surrender a man. Misjudging the force of the chemy, hic sallied out upon him, was repulsed with great loss, and the Crusaders entered the open gates of the town pellmell with him and his surviving followers.

The difficulty now was, how to distinguislı the heretics from the ortho

а

[ocr errors]

dox in the work of blood about to commence. The legate was appealed to, and returned this memorable answer, "Oh! kill 'em all! kill 'em all! The " Lord will know His own. And so the butchery commenced.

- The inha"bitants withdrew,” says the chronicler, "as many as could, men as well as

women, into the great church of St. Nazaire, the priests of which had the " bells tolled until the butchery was completed. Nothing could prevent the “whole of them being put to the sword; not so much as one could escape. • These murders and butcheries were the greatest pity that ever has been seen " and heard. The town was given up to pillage, and fire was set to it in

every quarter, so that it was laid waste and in ruins, and not a living thing “ remained in it." The number who perished is stated at 60,000. The entire country was next laid waste, the castles seized, such men as were taken burnt, the woman violated, and the children massacred. After an ineffectual defence of Carcassonne, the young Count was taken, and died by poison ; and Simon de Montfort then took possession of a depopulated country.

Such of the Languedocians as bad not been killed fled to the mountains.

But had the Crusade ended here thic priestly work of butchery would have been but half-done. The Church had determined to exterminate the heretics, and, as yet, their chief stronghold, the States of the Count of Toulouse, remained untouched. Accordingly, in spite of his submission, in spite of the degradation he had subjected himself to, to obtain peace with the Pope, a new Crusade was preached against Raymond and his subjects, on the pretence that he had not fully complied with the conditions required by the Church. He was bound, said the Pope, to deliver up to the stake such of his subjects is the priests might condenin. Now it was that Raymond remembered the heroism of his nephew, and saw in its true light the depth of his own infamy. The tens of thousands of murdered men, women and children, whose massacre he had countenanced, rose up in judgment against him. The old man shed scalding tears over that fearful past, and out of the depths of his despair arose a

“No! not another victim should be sacrificed with his consent ; the bloodhounds had had enough, and more than enough, already.' defied the Pope, and prepared for war to the death.

The Albigenses had seen in the case of Beziers and Carcassonne the danger of trusting to their walled towns, and now they shut themselves up in the castles of the nobles, who were most of them favourable to the heretics. The castles were taken in detail, and no mercy shown on either side. One specimen will suffice. " At the taking of Lavaur,” says one of the monkish chroniclers of these horrors, and whose account as a dutiful son of the Church is not open to suspicion, “ Almery, Lord of Montreal, and other knights to “the number of cighty, were dragged out of the castle, and were immediately

hung, by the noble Count Montfort's order, on gibbets; but as soon as

Almery, who was the tallest of them had been hung up, the gibbets fell, not " having been securely fixed in the ground. The Count, seeing that this "would occasion great delay, ordered the throats of all the rest to be cut; " and the order being extremely acceptable to the pilgrims (i.e., the Crusaders ) " the latter soon massacred them on the spot. The Lady of the castle, who

was Almery's sister, and an accursed heretic, was then thrown into a well, " which was afterwards filled with stones. After this our pilgrims collected

the innumerable heretics who had filled the castle, and burnt them alive with infinite joy Is it man or devil, speaks?

At intervals throngh thirty years these horrors continued. At the call of the Church, and in the name of God (heaven save the mark !), these Crusa

[ocr errors]

Ile man.

65

« EelmineJätka »