Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

You may perhaps think that the Irish language is so fast dying away that the case will very soon be altered, and therefore that these remarks are of little importance ; but this is by no means the fact. The English is indeed increasing to a great extent; but I fear not contradiction when I say, that the number of those who understand the English language so very imperfectly that they speak Irish whenever they can, is greater than it was a hundred years ago, and that the number of those who cannot possibly be instructed fully in the differences between protestantism and popery without the Irish language is fast increasing.

I have, I fear, extended this letter to too great a length, but I have said but little of that which I wished to say ; should you think it worth printing, I may perhaps, at a future period, furnish you with further facts referring to the same subject. I may add one fact more before I conclude; namely, that the Romish priests, although their service is in Latin, cannot do without the Irish language in the Irishspeaking counties. Are the flocks more theirs than ours?

I am, Sir, your obedient servant, C. M. W.

[ocr errors]

THE DWELLING OF BALAAM.

SIR-In one of Bishop Heber's admirable parochial sermons, in discussing the conduct and character of Balaam, he remarks that,

“ He has been generally, but very absurdly, supposed to have lived on the banks of the Euphrates, at a great distance from Moab; an idea plainly inconsistent with scripture, which implies that the distance of his home from the mountains of Moab was at most a short day's journey. More probably he was the high-priest of Midian, and the successor of that good Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses."

The few commentators to which I have access hold a different opinion; and I confess that, as far as I can understand the plain words of scripture, I should be inclined to agree with them rather than with the bishop. Not to enter into the question, I would mention the fact of Balak's going out to meet Balaam “unto a city of Moab, which is in the border of Arnon, which is in the utmost coast.” The whole history seems to refer, too, to one over whom Balak had less control than he would have held over the priest of his native country; whilst the departure of Balaam to “his people" sounds as if they were not inhabitants of the same land.

My object, however, is not to argue, but to inquire. If any of your correspondents could be kind enough to inform me of the sources from whence the bishop's opinion is derived, and the grounds upon which it is formed, I should feel exceedingly gratified; and those who, like myself, have been startled by this novel interpretation, so opposed to the general supposition, cannot fail to thank you for assisting them in seeking after the truth, which, even in a matter so indifferent as the present, it is still most desirable to attain. I have the honour to be, Sir, your obliged and obedient servant,

S. P. Rot.

CANON OF THOULOUSE.

SIR,~I beg to thank you for giving a place to my former letter, on the subject of the council of Thoulouse, in your Magazine, and at the same time to acknowledge the very courteous manner in which Mr. Maitland has been pleased to notice my remarks upon his critical labours.

With regard to the writers with whose opinions Mr. Maitland has obligingly furnished me, I have to remark, Ist, That as there is no evidence to prove that Oberhauser did anything more than follow Fleury, his opinion cannot fairly be deemed a sanction of Fleury's version of the clause in question. 2ndly, It would have been more satisfactory if it could have been shewn that Richard and Father D'Achery had, after a full examination of the circumstances mentioned in my former letter as militating against Fleury's version, come to a decision as to the most correct way of interpreting the canon; the form in which Father D'Achery's opinion is recorded is singularly unfortunate, being expressed in a marginal note, which even Mr. Maitland is not certain was added by the hand of Father D'Achery himself. And, as Mr. Maitland observes, “we have the document itself before us,” the phraseology of which appears to me to be at variance with the opinion of the above-named individuals. It still appears to me extraordinary that “a canon beginning with such a prohibition,” if such be the more correct mode of expression, “ should have been so headed,” especially in a work edited by men so well acquainted with what they were about as Labbé and Cossart. By whom the titles to the canons in that work were prefixed I know not, but a title allowed to stand in a work in which we may observe that even single words, the correctness of which appeared doubtful, did not escape their notice, affords a strong presumption that such title expresses the view of the editors as to the meaning of the clause in dispute—viz., “ Quomodo agendum cum ægrotis infamatis de hæresi, vel suspicione notatis." Their opinion is certainly worth something in such a case; and I do not, viewing the matter in this light, agree with those who think that, with regard to the canons framed in the 13th century, “it is seldom worth while to say anything about” the titles of documents in connexion with the documents themselves.

In using the words “reconciled persons," I merely intended, so far as those words were concerned, to convey my notion of the tenour of the canon, and in doing so certainly did not take so great a liberty as Mr. Maitland has done, when expressing his view of the canon, for the expressions, “ Because in that character he might get access to orthodox persons under circumstances peculiarly favourable for their seduction,” and “who has shewn that he is not a heretic by receiving the communion from his priest," do not appear in the canon.

I do not find fault with this; I only wish to point out the fairness of allowing me to pursue the same course. It is, however, a matter of little consequence, as a reconciled person and a non-heretic were much in the same predicament, except that, if “ aliquem infirmum” may not Vol. XIII.- May, 1838.

3 x

[ocr errors]

be considered as intended to apply to a reconciled person, the discrepancy between the title and the canon becomes still more extraordinary; the canon, in this case, does not contemplate sick heretics at all, and might with great propriety have been divided into two distinct canons, headed, “ De Medicis” and “ De Ægrotis."

With regard to the xiith canon of the council of Beziers, I beg to observe that I did not introduce it “as if it was the same, or had some particular agreement, with what had been just quoted from the council of Albi," but to shew that the matter contained in the canon corresponded with the title : and indeed there is from canon ix. to canon xiii, a very intimate connexion between the canons and their respective titles.

The word “addentes," as is candidly admitted, in the council of Albi “ a few years after,” is not decisive, and, I think, it is not difficult to see " why they should refer to the council of Thoulouse, and merely call their decree an addition." As I understand the canon, its tenour appears to be as follows: “ The council of Thoulouse decreed that no persons accused or suspected of heresy should avail themselves of the assistance of a physician; but, finding that the said decree of the council of Thoulouse has not been strictly complied with, and that physicians have attended persons accused or suspected of heresy, we not only reiterate the decree of the council of Thoulouse, but further decree in addition, that no physician shall hereafter presume to practise," &c.

The forbidding, by canon xvii., of the reception of "hæretici et credentes”-I find nothing about “convicted_into the service of prelates, barons, knights, and lords of the soil, as bailiffs and stewards, is perfectly consistent with the direction to hunt after them in caverns and other places of concealment, because such reception, as their persecutors knew right well, would have afforded to the said “ hæretici et credentes" a powerful protection; the very canon proves something more than the mere probability of such protection being afforded and taken advantage of. But the canon goes further, and directs that even “ the perfectly distinct class" of the “ diffamati de hæresi' should not be taken into the service of the aforesaid prelates, barons, knights, and lords of the soil. Let the reader connect this provision with the fact stated by Mr. Maitland, and then judge how long a physician “suspicione hæreseos notatus” would be left at large. Again, let the reader decide upon the justice of thus punishing, by depriving him of the means of getting his bread, (for so, according to Fleury's version, would be the effect of the canon,) a man against whom sufficient proof of his delinquency could not be adduced to convict him—a man who was merely “ diffamatus.” The “good catholic" would feel little inclination to employ a physician who was “diffamatus,” lest he should himself incur the suspicion of heresy, of which every true son of the church was obliged to clear himself, as appears by canon xii., “De juramento a singulis catholicis præstando ;" and so far did the framers of the canons of the council of Thoulouse carry their jealousy on this head, that in canon v. it is decreed “ De eo qui non est convictus quod sciverit hæreticos esse in terrâ suâ,” (so runs the title of

[ocr errors]

the canon,) that “pænis legitionis puniatur," simply for not having discovered that a heretic was on his soil. Indeed, when all circumstances are taken into consideration, especially the fact mentioned by Mr. Maitland, it would appear that the danger was to be apprehended, not from a “medicus diffamatus” whom no one would venture to employ, but from the physician to whom no suspicion attached; and therefore, to make everything doubly sure, the sick person suspected of heresy was forbidden to employ any physician at all, a prohibition rendered still more severe by the addition of the decree of the council of Albi. But whatever difference of opinion there may be as to the force of the argument derived from this source, the phraseology of the disputed clause is still before us, and it is worthy of remark, that Oberhauser, Richard, and Father D' Achery, are certainly in my favour, as far as regards the most correct way of expressing the meaning which they attached to the canon, whether that meaning be the correct one or not. With respect to the quotation from Carena, I perceive that p. 285 has been printed for p. 235, and “ Greg. XIV.” for “ Greg. XV.;" a correction is also necessary in the first line of the extract, which will render the passage still more favourable to my view of the phraseology, for instead of “ne catholici operâ medici utantur,” should be read, “ne catholici operâ medicorum hæreticorum utantur.” Why Carena should be suspected of having made a mistake I cannot sce, as the phraseology employed by him is fully borne out by my quotations from Livy. The title of the book quoted from is as follows, “Cæsaris Carene Cremonensis, I. C. Sacræ Theol. Doctoris, Eminentiss. et Reverend. D.D. Camporei auditoris, Judicis conservatoris, consultoris, et Advocati Fiscalis S. Officii. A Sanctissimo, D. Nostro Urbano VIII. et Eminentissima Universali Inquisitione specialiter deputati Tractatus,” &c.* It also appears, from the laudatory style in which the book is prefaced by two members of the society of Jesus, Horatius Martinius, theologue and consultor of the Holy Office, and Leonard Vellius, of the college of Cremona, that Carena was considered, by persons well qualified to judge of his merits, a writer who might be trusted. I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant,

JOIN EVANS. Whitchurch, March 20th, 1838.

BANNS OF MARRIAGE FORBIDDEN FOR SCANDALOUS CONDUCT. Sir,—May I be permitted, through the medium of your Magazine, to ask the opinion of your clerical readers on the following case ?

A clergyman in this neighbourhood was very lately called upon to publish the banns of marriage between two persons who had been discreditably connected for some time previous. The fact had just become notorious in the parish, and the parties did not deny the

* I give the reference according to the division of the work itself, part II. tit. xvii. sect. v., as there was a prior edition in 1641; and that edition is, I believe, in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

to

charge. The man belonged to a parish at some little distance ; thither he went to reside when bis conduct became known to the woman's friends; and there it was intended that the marriage should take place. There were circumstances, it seems, connected with the case, not necessary to be here detailed, that made it more than usually scandalous. The clergyman felt very strongly that such persons were improper objects for the church's blessing, and therefore unfit to enter into the holy estate of matrimony, until they had given some evident token of repentance; and after the publication of the banns for the third time, he forbad them himself, and then went down to the house, where he understood one of the parties was still living, that he might explain what he had done, and carrying with him a paper to the following purport: “ We, and

being unfeignedly sorry for the heinous sin we have committed, and fearing lest others should be encouraged by our bad example, do hereby request and authorize the clergyman of make known publicly in church this our humble confession, and to ask the prayers of the congregation for us."

Signed { Had he met with the parties, and obtained their signatures, I suppose he might, with the consent of his ordinary, have read his paper, as intended, in the church, and thus renewed, in some degree, the ancient practice of penance, of which we are taught, in the commination service, to regret the disuse. As it happened, however, he did not meet with either of them, but only with some of their friends, who were naturally rather more than surprised, I believe, at what had taken place. Of course he explained his motive to them—the scandal universally given by what had happened, and the propriety of making all the reparation for it that lay in the power of those who had occasioned it. How far he succeeded in making them agree with him I have not yet heard. But to conclude my account-when he was asked for the certificate of the publication of the banns, he gave it, coupled with his objection as stated above.

Now I can vouch for the substantial correctness of what I have related ; and I think many will agree with me in considering that it involves much that is important, as regards both

the duties and liabilities of the clergy under existing circumstances. The following questions seem to embrace the points which most need consideration :

1. Whether it is not desirable to refuse the church's blessing to such persons ?

2. Whether, considering the late change in the law respecting marriages, any legal penalty is incurred by so doing, and what?

3. Whether it be a sufficient objection to say that, by such refusal, you drive the parties into a union merely legal—that is, without the church's blessing—such union being rather like a heathen marriage than a state of concubinage ?

4. Whether such a case as the above affords an opportunity of recurring to the ancient practice of penance, and ought to be so used ?

With regard to the third of these questions, it may be as well to

« AnteriorContinuar »