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Elphage the Martyr; for whose respective deeds I must refer you to the records of Papal canonizations. For myself, I know little of any of them, with the exception of the illustrious St. Swithun. St. Elphage (or Alphage) the Martyr still gives name to more, I believe, than one of our old churches. Alphage was afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, and was called saint and martyr because the Danes stoned him to death, when they sacked and burned Canterbury and massacred the inhabitants about a tribute which they claimed. The good odour of too many of the Roman-Catholic saints arose rather from their practice of Popish austerities, and defence of ecclesiastical revenues, and founding of monkish houses, and working pseudo-miracles, than from those spiritual virtues which St. Paul attaches to the character of those who are 66 called to be saints."
Of Swithun, however, notwithstanding his annual forty days' despotism has brought him into popular disgrace in harvest time, I must in justice acknowledge that he appears to have been a man of many eminent virtues; and it is something considerable to say that he was the tutor of Alfred. As a statesman, he stood in high repute-but I need not recapitulate his well-known history. The circumstance of his directing his remains to be interred in the church-yard, instead of in the cathedral, and his alleged disapprobation of their being afterwards removed to that site of honour, as indicated, according to the legend, by forty days' torrents of rain, would seem to shew either unfeigned humility, or a very refined excess of pride aping that virtue. I see no reason to impute the latter, and feel no wish to derogate from that sanctity which historians have attributed to him, however much I may lament the superstitions of which he was the victim. But his bones were not allowed ultimately to rest in obscurity: the monks would not let him alone; and his poor body was
pulled about as remorselessly as a king on a coronation day. The tradition for ages was, that it reposed in the chapel immediately at the back of the altar of Winchester cathedral, in what was called the " Holy Hole," where were usually deposited the mortal relics of saints. In this chapel stood his shrine, till the Cromwell iconoclasts destroyed it. Close to the Holy Hole lies an enormous sculptured tomb-stone twelve feet long and five wide, which learned antiquaries like you, and simple people like me, equally considered as St. Swithun's tomb, in the spot of highest honour in his cathedral. But so it was, that when, in the year 1797, this tomb was opened, a complete skeleton was found, whereas the skull of the saint was known to have been deposited in Canterbury cathedral. Now, as we Protestants neither believe that miracles are multiplied to no purpose, nor admire the reasoning of one of the Popes-who, in reply to an objection that the numerous professed relics of the cross would more than make the cross itself, besides being of different kinds of wood, that it pleased God thus to multiply and diversify them in order to exercise the faith of humble believers-it follows that the skeleton was not St. Swithun's. But if I were either a dean or a verger of your venerable cathedral I would not be so easily shorn of my honours; but would contend zealously that our saint's cranium never really went to Canterbury; that it was a pitiful ambition in the monks and archprelates of that see to wish to rob Winchester of one of its proudest glories; and that, if they ever bought or stole any head at all, it was only some sexton's or beadsman's, and not illustrious St. Swithun's.
Having slurred over so many duly canonized saints, I may without incivility pass by the vulgar herd aforementioned of cardinals, bishops, lord chancellors, and other dignitaries. Perhaps we may have a word about some of them as we walk through the cathedral, where so many of
their ashes repose. Yet my heart misgives me for quitting the two cardinals so abruptly; for if I just wished to shew any man what the Church of Rome was in her palmy days, I would take him to your chapter-house, and tell him it was into that precise spot that Cardinal Langton dragged his royal culprit, King John, on the twenty-sixth day of July, anno 1213, to make him swear fealty to Pope Innocent, as well as to defend the church, to re-establish good laws and abolish wicked ones, and to maintain justice and right in his dominions. I never could quite understand Langton's character. It did not seem patriotic or scriptural that he should choose, at the sword's point, to accept the Pope's nomination to the archbishoprick of Canterbury, in spite of the lawful prince of the country; but, on the other hand, he might sincerely think, however absurdly, that the Pope was the Divinely-appointed conservator of the church, and the legitimate bestower of all its dignities; and that John, both ecclesiastically and civilly, was an enemy to his people, whom it was the cardinal's duty as a man and a Christian to endeavour to bring to a better sense of his obligations, by the fulminations and anathemas of the church. To Langton, more than to any one individual, are we indebted for wringing from that execrable monarch the great charter of English privilege; and I should hope, that both in this and his previous conduct he was really swayed by a love for his country, and what he considered its best welfare, civil and religious; and it must be remembered, that he was equally firm in refusing to publish the Pope's bull against the barons who had obtained the charter. But it was a high day for the mother of abominations, drunken with power, when a monarch thus ignominiously prostrated himself in a chapter-house before a monk in scarlet. I am inclined to think well of Langton, from the circumstance that on his monu
ment in Winchester cathedralwhether by his own direction, or by others posthumously speaking his sentiment-occurs, an incredible number of times, in every part of the ornamental work, the motto, "Laus tibi, Christe." Let us trust that his conduct was guided by this motive.-The other cardinal is Beaufort, proverbially called "the rich cardinal of Winchester," whose magnificent shrine is still one of the finest monuments of the cathedral. It has been somewhere said that Shakspeare has exaggerated the horrors of this wicked man's death; but how could such a man's death be otherwise than horrible, especially occurring, as it did, within a few weeks after his participation in the murder of his own nephew? His last words, as related by prose historians, are as full of horror as the tragedian's version of them: "And must I then die? Will not all my riches save me? I could purchase the kingdom, if that would prolong my life. What! is there no bribing of death? When my nephew the Duke of Bedford died, I thought my happiness and my authority greatly increased; but the Duke of Gloucester's death raised me in fancy to a level with kings, and I thought of nothing but accumulating still greater wealth, to purchase at length the triple crown. Alas! how are my hopes disappointed! Wherefore, Omy friends, let me earnestly beseech you to pray for me, and recommend my departing soul to God." Yet this man hoped that immense posthumous bequests to the poor and the church, and ten thousand masses for his soul, would expiate his sins. Quite as rationally might he have trusted to the two successive pardons which he extorted from his temporal sovereign under the great seal of England, and one of which was "for all sorts of crimes whatever, from the creation of the world to the twenty-sixth of July 1437!" Was it possible, that, even in those dark days, Popery could so have blinded the eyes of any man
professing to be a Christian, to say nothing of a bishop and a cardinal, that he did not know that the gift of God could not be purchased with money; that our redemption was not perfected with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without spot or blemish? But, alas! he found in his own corrupt church every thing venal, even, it would seem, the triple crown itself; and he supposed that the exchequer of heaven was modelled after the treasury of Rome. The best thing I remember of him, religiously speaking, is the only line which remained legible, as long as two hundred years ago, upon his sumptuous tomb, under his effigy in his cardinal's robes: "Tribularer si nescirem miserecordias tuas." If he really knew, and committed himself, to these mercies in Christ Jesus, even in his last moments, it is not for his fellow-sinners to intervene between him and his God; but I confess I have but little faith myself in the reality or efficacy of such dying repentance as his appears to have been, and which was remorse rather than godly sorrow; the repentance of Judas or Voltaire, rather than that of the dying thief upon the cross. I say not this because Beaufort happened to be a Popish cardinal; for I can give full credit to what was good among Papists as well as among Protestants. Did you never read the last will and testament of Cardinal Bona, dated anno 1646? It has a sprinkling of Popery in it, and yet, Protestant as I am, and Papist and cardinal as was he, I never read it without reverence and self-abasement, and a silent aspiration, "Sit anima mea cum tua!" Do let me copy a passage for you, as a specimen. I take it from an imperfect translation, not having access to the original Latin, which is subHe joined to the cardinal's works. was a very young man when he wrote it, long before he obtained his scarlet hat. He begins, "In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity,
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Amen;” and then, after a profession of his faith, and some other matters, he writes as follows:
"And now, having made this solemn protestation of my faith, I fly in much hope and confidence to the altar of Infinite Mercy, there to obtain the pardon of my sins; which, although they are manifold and very grievous (thou, O Lord, only knowest them), yet thy loving-kindness is far greater than all the sins of all the men that have lived from the beginning, or shall live to the end of the world. And I do, from the bottom of my soul, abhor and detest all the sins I have ever committed, from the day in which I first knew sin to this moment. It grieveth me at my heart that I have thus offended my Lord, whom I love above all things; and I do most firmly resolve from henceforth to avoid sin, and all occasions that may lead to it. But thou, O Lord, whose property is always to have mercy and to forgive, call to mind thy loving kindnesses which have ever been of old. O remember not the sins and offences of my youth, nor suffer them to rise up in judgment against me. my transgressions, but upon the face of thy Christ, crucified for me. To redeem me he gave up his soul unto death; and he is most worthy on whom thou shouldest look; who made satisfaction to thy justice for my sins, and for the sins of the whole world. His merits I bring with me ; in them alone is all my trust. This is my righteousness and satisfaction, my redemption and propitiation. To these, O merciful Father, thou canst deny nothing. Receive, therefore, my soul, at whatever hour thou shalt think fit to call for it, since it was purchased, not with corruptible silver and gold, but with the precious blood of thy dear Son.
Look not upon
My sins I have not only confessed in private, but, could I believe it would be well pleasing to God, I am ready to describe or proclaim them to the world; that all who
have been led by outward appearances to form too favourable an opinion of me, might see how polluted a wretch I am; how deserving of punishment and shame; how totally unworthy of honour and consolation.
My soul, at the moment of its departure, and afterwards in its state of separation, I commend, with all humility and submission, to God the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit; whose mercy I entreat with many tears, prostrate before the Throne of Grace, as if I now lay at the point of death. Assist me, O gracious Lord, in this my last hour, and look not upon my sins. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: O suffer me not to perish everlastingly. Remember thy word unto thy servant, wherein thou hast caused me to put my trust. For thou hast said, by thy holy prophet, that at what time soever the sinner turneth from his evil ways, all his iniquities shall be forgotten. Strengthened and comforted by this hope, I venture to lift up my eyes unto thee, who otherwise am not worthy to behold the height of heaven, by reason of the multitude of my sins. Command me, O Lord, to be received and conducted by holy angels into that paradise which thy beloved Son has purchased for mankind by his cross and passion. I make not this request on account of my own merit (for I have none), or of my own righteousness; but my sole trust is in thy mercy, and in the blood of thy Son, my Saviour Jesus Christ. Of this my trust I shall never be ashamed; in this my hope I shall never be confounded. Give me thy blessing, O holy Jesus, and let me depart in peace; for I am thine: I will hold thee fast, and not let thee go for ever. Who shall separate me from thy love? Thou art my salvation; whom then shall I fear? Thou art the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid? Behold I come to thee, whom I have loved; I hasten to thee, whom I have de
sired: in thee I wish to live, and to die, and to live again for ever. Dearest Jesus! what have I more to do with earth; or whom do I desire in heaven but thee? Into thy hands I commend my spirit. Look upon me, O thou lover of souls, that it may be well with me, and that I may sweetly rest and sleep in thee. Let those comfortable and ravishing words sound in my years, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise!' Receive and embrace me in those arms of mercy which were stretched out on the cross, and let perfect peace be my portion for ever."
So much, at present, my dear friend, for Wintonensian cardinals and popish saints. Most of these alleged saints in Winchester, as elsewhere, were in their day great workers of miracles, if we may believe the distich which was inscribed on "the Holy Hole," where reposed their mortal relics;
Corpora sanctorum sunt hic in pace sepulta,
Ex meritis quorum fulgent miracula multa.
Papists have always maintained the uninterrupted succession of miracles in their church, and have urged, in proof of the unscriptural character of Protestantism, that it cannot boast of this mark of Divine approbation. The general, and I think the fair and scriptural, reply has been, that miracles are no test of a true church; that there is no promise of their continuance, or any necessity for their continuance, at the present moment; and that the alleged miracles of the Church of Rome are either impostures, or mere contingencies, or to be accounted for by natural causes. Recently, however, a sect has arisen among us, the members of which assert that miracles have never ceased, that they are in visible action now, and that Protestantism claims her full share of them. In proof of these positions, alleged miracles, old and new, have been brought forward; and, in particular, several recent cases of remarkable cures, which, it is stated,
have been wrought supernaturally by a lively faith in Christ, and in answer to fervent prayer. The facts and discussions which have taken place on the subject appear to me to have opened a new chapter in the spiritual and physiological history of our species. It was formerly the habit of writers, either to deny such alleged extraordinary facts, or to feel themselves called upon to admit the inference of miraculous interposition. In this respect the Church of Rome has been too hardly dealt with; and some of her alleged miracles have been attributed to imposture, where not a shadow of candid reason existed for such an inference. I need not go beyond Winchester for an apposite example; for Bishop Milner, the well-known Roman-Catholic historian and antiquary of that place, published, in 1805, a pamphlet entitled "Authentic Documents of the miraculous Cure of W. White, July 25th, 1805;" in alluding to which he says, "I have daily evidence before my eyes of a cure as supernatural and sudden as any upon record." The usual Protestant reply to such allegations has been, What juggling and mendacious impostors are these Papists! And lamentably true is the charge in innumerable instances; as, for example, the liquefaction of the blood of Januarius, which no Papist of common understanding but must see to be a trick of priestcraft. But this, I am persuaded, was not a fair reply, in such cases as that alluded to by Bishop Milner, or in those Roman-Catholic cases mentioned in the pamphlet entitled " Documents on the Cure of Miss Fancourt." The reply was unphilosophical, and arose from not knowing the vast surface over which cures of this nature may extend; and the Roman Catholics had just cause to be displeased that Protestants viewed all such cases as fraudulent, and refused to listen to the most solemn attestations of their authenticity.
Now the late discussions, as I have said, have assisted to open up the truth on this interesting question. It
is now generally admitted, by welljudging persons, who have not the slightest belief in modern miracles, that such extraordinary cures have again and again taken place; but they generalize the principle of them, and shew that this undoubted fact is not confined to any one sect or nation; that cases of this extraordinary character are to be found among Papists and Protestants; nay, among Pagans and Mohammedans. They therefore trace them to some general principle, not of necessity connected with doctrinal faith or the personal piety of the individual. The Protestant advocates for modern miracles are divided upon the subject: some are so perfectly convinced of the analogy which has been traced between the Protestant cases which have recently occurred, and similar ones in the Church of Rome, that they have admitted that the Popish cases were good miracles, wrought through faith in the common Saviour, and have embraced the Church of Rome as an auxiliary against those of their fellow-Protestants who are not convinced that miracles were intended to be perpetual in the church. These advocates for modern miracles act fairly and consistently; but some of their brethren, shocked that the Church of Rome should be allowed. as good miracles as our own, deny the former, while they admit the latter; and were much offended with the Christian Observer for pointing out the analogy, and placing the cure of Miss Stuart, or the cures effected by Hohenlohe, side by side with the recent cures among ourselves. But, though they have been much displeased at this juxta-position, they have not attempted to shew in what way the analogy failed; or to account for the Roman-Catholic cures, while they vindicated the exclusive miraculousness of the Protestant. Their only reply was, that it was impious to think for a moment that there could be any parallel between the Protestant case and the Catholic; between the healing of a pious Scotchwoman, and that of an