« VorigeDoorgaan »
exile and suffering, another papal bull (of sight we can gain into their loftiest conEugenius IV., in 1431) warning all au- ceptions, and (unless the preponderance thorities, spiritual or lay, against disturb- of opinion concerning the authorship of ing the brethren's pious and beneficent the “ Imnitatio Christi” be in error) the activity.
one enduring embodiment of these. The half century which followed was Mount St. Agnes was for seventy-two that of the most vigorous advance of the years the home of Thomas Hamerken, of institution. Its settlements were to be Kempen (a tranquil little town formerly found spreading from Holland and Fries in the archbishopric of Cologne, now in land to Flanders and Brabant, and even Rhenish Prussia, which at the present extending beyond the Netherlands into day has little to recall the memory which Rhenish Germany; and, more sparsely, makes it illustrious, unless it be the huinto other parts of the empire. But these mane consideration which is paid in it to remoter foundations were mostly of later the inhabitants of its principal edifice, an date and inferior importance, nor was it asylum for the deaf and dumb). Seventymore than a pleasant form when (at two years -- from his arrival there in 1399, Cologne in 1475) the emperor Frederick in the twentieth year of his life, to the 111. appointed the brethren his and his day of his death!" Blessed is he who has successors' vicars and chaplains forever. lived well in one and the same place, and Perhaps, on the other hand, somet ng of made a happy end." The writer of these the spiritual influence exercised by the words was of humble birth, a handicrafts. brethren in that part of the Netherlands man's son; and it seems to have been the where they were most numerous, may be force of example which attracted him into accounted for by the exceptional need the life of which his own career was to which in this period arose for its exercise. become a lasting type. For the names of From 1456 to 1496 the see of Utrecht was several other natives of Kempen occur held by David of Burgundy (the half. among the brethren or the canons of the brother of Charles the Bold), who was said Common Life, and Thomas's own elder to have done only one good deed during brother John, who had become a canon at the whole course of his episcopate. Al Windesen, and was afterwards the first ready, however, in this second period the prior of the convent at St. Agnes, had institution of the brotherhoods was – in preceded him on his way, on which a accordance with an almost inevitable law younger brother named Gobelinus seems – tending to merge itself in the general afterwards to have followed him. Thomas monastic system of the Church of Rome. spent six years as a scholar, and one as a It has been noticed how, so soon as two brother, at Deventer, residing during the years after the death of Groot, a monas. last in the Florentius house, to whose tery of Regular Canons in connection founder and inmates he has erected an with the Brotherhood of the Common imperishable monument. Florentius, who Life, and following the rule of St. Augus. bad enabled him to go through his pretine, had been established at Windesem, paratory studies, acquiesced in his desire Dear Zwolle, and how not long afterwards to devote himself to a monastic life; and a second convent of the very simplest thus, after not less than seven years of kind had been opened on Mount St. Ag. probation at St. Agnes, he was in 1406 nes, a little height pleasantly rising out of admitted as a regular member of the con. the “ bush ” near the same city, and wa. vent. “It is no small matter," he writes, tered at its base by a stream supplying “to dwell in a monastery, or in a congre. the fish which formed so important a nec- gation, and to live therein, without re. essary of life in these as in other con proof, and to persevere faithfully till vents. By the year 1340 there were al- death." Doubtless the good Thomas had ready in existence not less than forty-five his part in the trials incident to the inner monastic establishments of the same kind life of all small communities, as well as in and origin; and in the period just de troubles of greater outward importance. scribed this number had nearly irebled. He shared the three years' exile of his The convent at Windesem, however, al. brother canons on the occasion of the ways remained the institution in chief, and episcopal troubles in 1425. After he had after it the whole body of these convents held the office of sub-prior in the convent, in the Netherlands and in Germany were he lost it - perhaps in consequence of called the Windesem Congregations. this very flight on shipboard; and was
It is, however, to the second and hum- subsequently appointed to the post of bler foundation of Canons Regular of the steward – the “office of Martha," as he Common Life that we owe both what in. calls it. He was ultimately again made
sub-prior, having in the interval held the been done. In general, the advance of appointment of master of the novices; the Renascence in Germany bad overand some of the discourses are preserved taken the efforts of the brotherhoods and in which he encouraged the piety of his their schools, to which in its beginnings it charges, among other things by the narra- had owed so much. In particular, the tion of "modern instances,” which have printing-press, which they only here and perhaps escaped the notice of those good there took into their service, was beginProtestants who claim Thomas as a pre- ning to supersede their own less efficacursor of the Reformation. But it is not cious method of multiplying books, in his theology which I can here pretend to which so many of them had found a inain discuss. In it he was a child of his times, support, as well as a distinctive badge of and his writings breathe the particular their Common Life. The centre of both atmosphere in which they were produced ; intellectual and spiritual effort was certhe secret of the influence of his genius tainly no longer in the Low Countries; lies in the enthusiasm of his personal de- and though, when the day of the Reforvotion. At one time he enforces his new mation had arrived, Luther did his utyvūOl geavtóv: “This is the highest and most to attest his warm admiration of the most profitable lesson, truly to know and spirit and the practice of the brotherto despise ourselves.” At another, hep hoods, it was hard indeed for them to can thus directiy point the way to his choose their side - harder than either for ideal: “This is the reason why there are purely ecclesiastical foundations on the found so few contemplative men, because one hand or for purely academical bodies there are few who know how to sep on the other. So their side was in very arate themselves wholly from perishable many instances chosen for them; in Protand created things. For this a great estant States their establishments were grace is required, which may raise the swept away, in Catholic their educational soul and bear it above itself." Thus in functions passed into the hands of the him the contemplative side of the Com- Jesuits; while the brethren's and canons' mon Life, to which the active is minis. and analogous sisters' houses became contrant, is consummately, shown forth. But vents of the ordinary type. Concerning the tranquillity which he seems to typify the earlier part of this period of decay we is not that of a repose obtained without possess a very curious piece of evidence effort, or enjoyed unbroken. The consci-(of which a quite unfair use has been entious steward, the laborious copyist, the made) in a letter addressed by Erasmus much-sought preacher, the rigorous as- to the pope's secretary, and intended for cetic, in his threescore years and twelve the ear of the pope himself. In it he of retirement led a life which was no tells the story of two young men whom, dream; “In all things,” he was wont to on their being left orphans with a small say, “ I have sought rest, but I have found property, their designing guardians had it nowhere save in hæxkens ende bæx- resolved to bring up for a monastic life. kens” (in nooks and in books).
When they were old enough to be sent to Thomas a Kempis belongs in the greater those schools “ which are now called uni. part of his life to the second period in the versities,” the guardians fearing the secu. history of the brotherhoods, though he is lar influence of such a place upon their the historian of the first. He had never wards, determined to place them in an es. known Groot, and Florentius had been the tablishment of those Fratres Collationarii paternal friend of his boyhood; and when “who nowadays are to be found any and he fell asleep himself after his long day's everywhere, and who gain their living by work, both Gerard and his friends had long, teaching boys.” The principal purpose passed away, though it was still nearly two of these brethren, continues Erasmus, is centuries before the piety of a remote to break the spirit of their best pupils, brotherhood bore their remains to their and to mould them into fit subjects for a last resting place at Emmerich. About the monastic life. The Dominicans and Frantime of Thomas's death that decline in the ciscans declare that without these semivigor and usefulness, though not as yet in naries their own orders would soon perish the outward prosperity, of the institutions from inanition. “For my part,” he adds, may be said to have begun, of which their “ I believe that these institutions may modern historians have sufficiently traced contain some honest men; but as they all the causes. These may, perhaps, not un suffer from lack of the best authors, and fairly be summed up in the fact which in their obscurity follow their own usages institutions, like individuals, are so slow and rules of life, without comparing themto recognize — the best of their work had / selves with any one but themselves, I do
not see how they can be liberal educators ber that “there is a great difference beof youth; and at all events the fact speaks tween the wisdom of an enlightened and for itself, that from nowhere issue forth devout man, and the knowledge of a wellyoung men with scantier scholarship and read and studious clerk.” with viler manners.” The younger of the
A. W. W. two brothers knew more than his teachers did, one of whom he roundly described as the most unlearned and boastful monster on wbom he ever set eyes.
" And such they very often entrust with the care of
From The Kaffrarian Watchman. boys. For their teachers are not chosen INFLUENCE OF FORESTS UPON STREAMS. according to the judgment of learned men, The above is the topic of one of the but by the fint of the patriarch, who very sections of a very interesting report upon often knows nothing of letters." The forestry, prepared by Dr. F. B. Hough, writer then relates how one of the two under ibe direction of the United States young men, after “losing two years or commissioner of agriculture. Dr. Hough
in one of these houses, was easily collects the facts in support of his line of persuaded to take the vows in one of the argument from a variety of sources, and establishments of those brethren who re- we shall here avail ourselves of his labojoice in calling themselves canons; while rious industry and make use of his examthe other was with greater difficulty ples to show the "influence of forests drawn into a net of the same kind, which upon streams." “Mr. James Brown, of was kept so tight over him that he could Sterling, Scotland, a standard authority only hope to escape from it through the upon forestry (runs the report), “in intervention of his Holiness.
speaking of the effect of tree-planting upon Allowing a little for the pointedness of moisture, says : I have frequently been a style with which the pope had good rea- surprised to find on examining woods son to be “singularly delighted," allowing which had been planted some ten or more for the burning hatred of monkery twelve years, all the land under which had which animated Erasmus, we may see in been considered dry at the time the planthis letter a picture probably true enough tation was made) wet spots, spreading in many cases to the actual condition or wider and wider every year, and some of growing tendency of the brethren and them even beginning to throw out runs of their conventual establishments. In oth- water; thus proving that under the shade er instances the convents began to take of the trees the larger portion of the moistthought of worldly things, to push the ure of the land is retained, and therefore practice of trade and industry, and to de. accumulates in spots, according to the velop that love of property which seems nature of the subsoil.'” Then reference almost inevitable in a corporate body, and is made to a volume, entitled “Influence of which the germs may perhaps be de- des Forêts sur les Climats et les sources," tected even at St. Agnes in its early days. and published at Montpelier in the year As time went on, no new afflatus man- 1874, which contains an account of cerifested itself, but there was a noteworthy tain observations prosecuted by one M. tenacity in the Common Life even when Jules Maistre de Villeneuvette during a its institutions had become nothing more period of eighteen months in a wooden than an insignificant branch of the con basin and in one that had been cleared, ventual system of the diminished Church but otherwise similar in soil and condiof Rome. As late as the year 1728 not tions. The former, with an area of seven fewer than thirty-four convents sent their hundred and seventy hectares, delivered representatives to a general assembly of one hundred and ten litres of water very the Windesem Chapter.
regularly: the other, with 6,786 hectares, The brethren of Deventer and their had a drainage of only ten or twelve litres foundations took no part, so far as I know, a second, and was very irregular. He in any endeavor to heal the breach which found the temperature in the open fields the Reformation had effected. But Cath- at least 10° C. above that in woods. He olics and Protestants alike may acknowl-noticed that, in the southern region, the edge the efforts of men who helped to cultivation of cereals is becoming more teach the modern world to love books uncertain and less profitable, and that the without ceasing to love what is better injuries by the Phylloxera upon the vine. than books, and who (though educational roots were more destructive." Then the reformers in their generation) did not lose report enlists in its service Mr. R. U. sight of the maxim of one of their num- Piper, from whose work on the “ Trees of
America " the following extract is made before the Royal Academy of Sciences at by way of ilustrating the return of water St. Petersburg in January, 1876, and for by restoring the woodland shade: “Within which also we indebted to Dr. about one half-mile of my residence there Hough's report. " As a warning examis a pond upon which mills have been ple, the author cites Palestine, Persia, standing for a long time, dating back, 1 Greece, Sicily, and Spain, which countries believe, to the first settlement of the town. are suffering in consequence of the devas. These have been kept in constant opera. tation of their forests. To this list may tion until within about twenty or thirty be added a portion of southern Russia, years, when the supply of water began to where one hundred and fifty or tivo hunfail. The pond owes' its existence to a dred years ago there existed large forests, stream which has its source in the hills now changed into naked plains where the which stretch some miles to the south. hills are without water, and the popula. Within the time mentioned these hills, tion is forced to settle in the valleys. We which were clothed with a dense forest, may also mention the Volga and the have been almost entirely stripped of Dnieper in southern Russia, where the trees; and to the wonder and loss of the forests around their sources have been mill-owners, the water in the pond has cleared to such an extent that in their failed, except in the season of freshets, middle and lower portions, where these and, what was never heard of before, the two rivers, so important to the commerce streamı itself has been entirely dry. With of Russia, pass through a wholly cleared in the last ten years a new growth of country, the high water reaches points wood has sprung up on most of the land never before attained when the upper forformerly occupied by the old forest, and ests were standing. Every one knows of now the water runs all through the year, the changes made yearly in the beds of notwithstanding the droughts of the last these rivers by these floods, and the con. few years.” Next a fact is mentioned in sequent inconvenience and even danger connection with the Ohio River. “ About which these occasion to navigation. The 1871-72," runs the report, “the waters fact is also generally known that the deep sank lower than had been known before, gulfs which in summer and winter are and at Smith's Ferry, where the Pennsyl- without water, become wild torrents after vania line crosses, a ledge of rocks was heavy rains, and the melting of snows in laid bare that had not been seen before by spring, carrying with them acres of the the present inhabitants. On this surface, finest soil. We believe that these evils from fifty to one hundred feet and several would have appeared in less degree if the hundred yards long, inscriptions have country adjoining these rivers had not been made, such as are ascribed to a race been cleared of its woods." Nor does our which densely populated the country be author in this section of his report fail to fore the advent of the recent Indian insist upon and to illustrate how the cuttribes. It is possible to conjecture that ting away of forests tends to produce the clearing of forests by an agricultural great irregularity in the rainfall and to race may have brought about the condi. bring about torrential rains, which run off tions now existing, a long interval of the surface of the ground from their very neglected culture and forest growth hav. impetuosity, and carry with them the best ing since intervened.” Nine years ago at of the soil. As coal is brought more and a meeting of the International Congress more into ordinary and general use in this of Land and Forest Culturists held in country, and the consequent necessity to Vienna, it was shown that the Rhine, the burn wood as fuel is lessened, we inay Elbe, and the Oder were all shallower hope to see some restoration of the forthan they had been in the past, and it was ests and of the seasons to something of pointed out that this was directly tracea. the regularity observed in regard to them ble to the destruction of forests. And for some years after the landing of the our last extract shall be from a paper read | British settlers.
Fifth Series, Volume XXXIX.
No. 1996. – September 23, 1882.
II. THE LADIES LINDORES. · Part 1x.;
CONTENTS. 1. Mrs. FANNY KEMBLE'S RECORDS OF HER
Blackwood's Magazine, III. SNAKE-ANECDOTES. Conclusion,
Chambers' Journal, IV. A CAT's-Paw. Conclusion, .
All The Year Round, . V. COMETS, .
Nineteenth Century, VI. CETEWAYO'S MEDITATIONS?.
Saturday Review, .
Journal of Science,
707 729 737 740 746 753
755 • 758
TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION. Tor Eight Dollars, remitted directly to the Publishers, the Living Age will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of postage.
Remittances should be made by bank draft or check, or by post-office monev-order, if possible. If neither of these can be procured, the money shouid he sent in a registered letter. All postmasters are obliged to register letters when requested to do so. Drafts, checks and inoney-orders should be madu payable to the order of LITTELL & Co.
Single Numbers of The Living AGE, 18 cents.