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Intered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by Sr. Fox, the Clerk's Office of th
District Court of Dintrict cf motheonlictorum
The Christian Examiner.
THE EXAMINER is published on the first of January, March, May, July, September, and November, by the Proprietor, at WALKER, Wise, & Co.'s Bookstore, 245 Washington Street, Boston, in numbers of at least 156 octavo pages each, at four dollars a year, payable in advance.
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O SEPTEMBER, 1862.
ART. I. — SAINT ANSELM.
1. Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury. By Walter FARQUHAR
Hook, D. D., Dean of Chichester. Vol. II. London : Richard
Bentley. 1862. 2. Saint Anselm de Cantorbéry. Tableau de la Vie Monastique et de
la Lutte du Pouvoir Spirituel avec le Pouvoir Temporel au Onzième
Siècle. Par M. CHARLES DE REMUSAT. Paris : Didier. 1853. 3. Le Rationalisme Chretien à la fin du XI Siècle. Par H. Bou
CHITTÉ. Paris : D’Amyot. 1842.
Let the reader picture to himself, in the place of the France of to-day, a France covered with great forests and vast heaths, exhibiting rare intervals of rude cultivation, and traversed by long and narrow roads, relics of Roman power and sole arteries of a precarious and interrupted intercourse. A few leagues from Rouen in Normandy, in the midst of thick woods, stood in the year 1063 a rudely-built abbey, which took its name of Bec from the tongue of land formed by the confluence of two neighboring streams. The country around is rich, inhabited by powerful lords; near is the strong castle of Brionne, whose count, Gislebert, had endowed the abbey. It is impossible to conceive a stronger contrast than the life within the monastery presents to that of the world about it. Without all is isolation, individualism: the feudal chieftain, responsible to no power, owning no check but superior force; a few attendants and warriors at his command, a thin population of serfs dwelling in miserable dependence around his fortress.
Within is a community in VOL, LXXIII. 5TH S. VOL. XI. NO. II.
which individual will is hardly recognized, bound to unhesitating obedience, but obedience to a moral power; knit together by the close bands of love, of religion, of mutual interests. Without is constant devastation, - war public and private, fierce lust of power, unpitying cruelty, capricious courtesy, rude excess, ungoverned passion : within is unvarying and monotonous quiet, repugnance to worldly occupation, contempt for worldly goods, courting of every privation, respect for mercy, charity, concord. In the castle the profoundest and most stagnant ignorance; in the abbey, restless movement of mind, subtile discussion, eager desire for the little learning - grammar, Latin, music — which their teachers had to impart. With the 'soldiers, religion is only a form of superstition, a sentiment of the terrors of future retribution, of the mysterious power of the priest, who holds the keys of the dread world of spirits, of the present protection and favor of God for those who withdraw from worldly cares to him, - a sentiment which habit has fixed in their credulous minds together with that other belief of the sacredness of the feudal tie, and which now leads them to load with wealth, now cannot withhold them from outraging by robbery, the helpless ministers of Heaven. In the cloister, religion is the study of life, the Divine presence is ever near, to be sought in devout meditation and mystic rapture: thither are drawn, or there developed, the genius, refinement, and holiness of the age; and there are reared the commanding minds who go forth to reform disorder, and exercise over force the might of an idea ; or who, drawn into the ties of feudal society, partake also of its ambition, and call the aggrandizement of the Church the service of God.
In the century in which we would place ourselves, the munificence of kings and nobles was founding the great abbeys of Neustria, and few have a more romantic history than Bec. Herluin, a fierce warrior of noble family, in the midst of the mêlée resolves to consecrate his spared life to God. He renounces the pleasures of earth ; his dress is neglected, his hair untrimmed. He refuses to convey the warlike messages of his lord, Gislebert, and the latter confiscates his goods. Herluin explains, and asks leave to enter a convent. The count returns his domains, which are consecrated to the Vir