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around them, to whom they proclaimed the grace of God. The Britons, who could obtain no assistance from the falling Roman empire, were then driven to great distress by a war with the wild Saxons and Picts. Both bishops were called into the British camp, and their presence infused into the desponding Britons as much courage and confidence as if an army had come to their help. As it was a season of fasting, the bishops preached daily amid the perils of war, and many were induced by their sermons to be baptized. At Easter the church was splendidly decorated and garlanded with green boughs for the festival of their baptism. The Britons enjoyed their Easter festivities in quiet. The Picts had, indeed, formed a project to take advantage of their negligence, in order to surprise them unarmed; but their design was discovered, and Germanus showed the Britons a valley enclosed by mountains, where they could wait the coming of the foe. He himself went thither with them, and told them, when he should cry Hallelujah, all to join him with one accord. This was done, and the loud accordant cry of the vast multitude resounding amongst the hills, made so powerful an impression on the Picts, that they filed precipitately.
At another time, when he was just returned from a second journey to Britain, his aid was besought by the inhabitants of the province of Bretagne, to avert a great danger which threatened that region; Aëtius, then a distinguished and influential general of the Western Empire, having called in the king of a wild tribe of Alani to chastise them for a revolt. As the biographer of Germanus relates, he, a gray-headed man, yet through the protection of Christ stronger than all, went alone to encounter the warlike people and the heathen king. He passed calmly through the midst of the army to the king; and when the monarch would not hearken to him, but persisted in riding on, he seized his bridle-rein, His daring so astounded the rude warrior, that he yielded, promising to spare the province until the bishop should have endeavoured to procure a pardon for it from the imperial government. In order to effect this, Germanus immediately set out for Italy. On his way he joined a company of poor mechanics, who were returning to their homes after having completed a bargain in a foreign country. Amongst them was a lame old man, whose strength failed him when he had to follow the rest in wading through a brawling torrent with his heavy burden. Germanus relieved him of his burden, and carried first the burden, and then the old man, through the stream.
“As he was coming out of the rich city of Milan, where he had been preaching a great deal, some poor people met him, begging alms. He asked his attendant deacon how large their store of money was. The deacon replied that he had not more than three gold pieces left. Thereupon the bishop desired him to distribute it all among the poor. “But, then, what shall we live on to-day ? asked the deacon. Germanus replied: "God will feed his poor. Only do thou give away what thou hast.' But the deacon thought he would be more prudent; so he gave two pieces away, and kept back one. When they had travelled a little farther, two horsemen came after them, to entreat a visit in the name of a rich landed proprietor, who, with his family, was afflicted with many diseases. The place lay off the road, and his attendants therefore entreated Germanus not to accept the invitation, but he answered: “It is the first thing of all to me to do the will of my God.'
“When the horsemen heard that he had resolved to come, they presented him with the sum of two hundred solidi, (a gold coin of the time,) which had been given them for Bishop Germanus. Germanus gave it to his deacon, and said: • Take this, and acknowledge that thou hast robbed the poor of one hundred of these pieces ; for if thou hadst given all to the poor, He who repayeth a hundredfold would have restored to us three hundred pieces today.' His arrival diffused universal joy at the estate; he visited master and servant, with equal sympathy, on their sick beds; he went even into the poorest huts, and strengthened all by prayer.
“At the imperial court of Ravenna, Germanus received universal honour; and he could easily have obtained whatever he wished. The empress sent to his dwelling a large silver vessel full of costly provisions. Germanus divided the victuals amongst his servants, and kept the silver for himself, in order to lay it out to the best advantage for the poor. As an acknowledgment, he sent the empress a wooden dish with black bread upon it, such as he was accustomed to
eat. But in the eyes of the empress it was a precious remembrance, and she afterwards had the dish enchased in gold.
“Once when, during his residence at Ravenna, he was conversing with the bishops on religious topics, he said to them: •My brethren, I wish you farewell in this world. The Lord appeared to me to-night in a dream, and gave me some travelling money. And when I asked the object of the journey, He answered. me: "Fear not, I do not send thee into a strange land, but unto thy fatherland, where thou wilt find everlasting rest." ; The bishops sought to apply the dream to his return to his earthly country; but he would not suffer the mistake, saying: “I know well what fatherland the Lord hath promised his servant.' “Into this heavenly country he soon after passed.”—Pp. 50-54.
Here is a specimen of gospel preaching in the sixth century. Speaking of Cæsarius of Arles, Neander proceeds :
If, amongst men who were inclined to place religion in a dead faith and ceremonial observances, he insisted on the necessity of good works as the fruits of faith, and set the requirements of the Holy Ghost before their eyes in all their strictness, he was, nevertheless, no preacher of the law, which killeth, and can never make alive. He did not direct men to their own strength; but sought rather to bring them to a true sense of their powerlessness, that they might learn to draw from that Eternal Fountain of all strength to which he directed them, He says, after representing what belongs to a holy life, . All this, my brethren, seems to be wearisome, until it becomes habitual; or, to speak more justly, it will be deemed impossible as long as men believe they must fulfil it with human strength. But when any one is convinced that it may be obtained and fulfilled by God's power, it no longer appears anything hard and painful, but something mild and easy, according to the words of the Lord : "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light." He told me to rely on the strength of the Redeemer in the contest with the Evil One; as when he says, . How can we fear the devil, if we are united to God? Thou hast such a leader in the strife, and yet fearest the devil ? Thou fightest under such a king, and yet donbtest of victory ? Daily, indeed, does Satan oppose thee; but Christ is present. The devil would crush thee to the earth, Christ will raise thee erect; the one would kill, the other will keep thee alive; but be of good cheer, brethren, Christ is better able to bear you up, than Satan to beat you down. And in another sermon: 'Because we were insignificant, He has made himself lowly. Because we lay dead, the tender Physician has bowed himself to death; for, truly, he who will not stoop, cannot raise the prostrate.'”—Pp. 81, 82.
The chapter on Gregory the Great is highly eulogistic. The following will show how far later bishope of Rome have wandered from the spirit of the earlier ones :
“ It was Gregory's strenuous endeavour to extend the study of the Scriptures among the clery and the laity. He says in a sermon: "As we see the face of strangers and know not their hearts, until these are opened to us by confidential intercourse,—so, if only the history be regarded in the divine word, nothing else appears to us but the outward countenance. But when, by continual intercourse, we let it pass into our being, the confidence engendered by such communion enables us to penetrate into its spirit. Often,' he observes elsewhere, *when we do something, we believe it to be meritorious. But if we return to the word of God, and understand its sublime teaching, we perceive how far behind perfection we stand.'
" A bishop, whom Gregory advised to study the Scriptures, had excused himself on the plea that the troubles of the times would not permit him to read.
regory showed him the barrenness of this excuse, referring him to Rom. xv, 4. • If," he replied, 'the Holy Scripture is written for our consolation, we should read it more, the more we feel oppressed by the burden of the times.' "-P. 127.
“While recommending the study of Holy Scripture, he discriminates between its false and its true use; and counsels that manner of reading the Bible in
which the regard to self-improvement should be paramount. Those,' says he,
who seek to fathom the mysteries of God beyond their power of comprehension, become unfruitful by their hunger; for they seek not what can train them in humility, patience, and long-suffering, but only what serves to show off their learning and enables them to talk. They often speak boldly about the being of God, while they are so unfortunate as not to know themselves. While they strive after what they cannot comprehend, they neglect that which might have made them better men. He shows, however, at the same time, how every one, seeking in the right way, may find an answer to his questions, and the satisfaction of his wants in the Holy Scriptures. God does not,' he says, ' answer individual minds by special voices, but he has so arranged his word as to answer all questions thereby. If we search for our particular cases in the Scripture, we find them there. A general answer is given therein to us all about that which each in particular suffers. Let the life of those who have gone before be a pattern for those that follow. To adduce one instance among many: When we are seized with pain or any bodily annoyance, we wish perhaps to know its hidden causes, finding some consolation even in knowing what it is which we suffer. But since no especial reply is bestowed on our especial search, we have recourse to the Holy Scripture. There we find how Paul, when he was tempted with the infirmities of the flesh, received this reply: "My grace is sufficient for thee, my strength is made perfect in weakness." was said to him in his particular infirmity, that it need not be particularly repeated to each one of us.
Thus we hear the voice of God in the Holy Scripture, on occasion of the sufferings of Paul, in order that we, if we have sorrows to bear, need not each one seek a similar voice for his own consolation. The Lord does not answer our every word, because he has once spoken and will not repeat it. That is to say, whatever was said to our fathers through the Holy Scriptures, was said for our instruction. The teachers of the Church may, therefore, confidently say, when they see many grieving and faint at heart, because God does not answer their every word, that God had once spoken and will not repeat it; that is to say, that he does not now come to the aid of individuals in their thoughts and temptations, by special prophetic voices and angelic ministrations, because the Holy Scriptures include all that is necessary to meet individual cases, and they are constructed so as to mould the life of later times by the examples of the earlier.' Pp. 131, 132.
The following passage from the “History of Missions in the Middle Ages,” is pregnant with important truth.
Christianity can indeed be propagated in a few generally comprehensible doctrines, which are preserved by the power of God in the minds of men. These doctrines, as is shown by the experience of recent times amongst the Hottentots, Greenlanders, and Negroes, as also by the experience of earlier ages, are such as to find access even amongst those deficient of all kind of civilization; for everywhere there lies hidden in man something akin to God, which can only be awakened to consciousness by the revelation of its source--can only be released from its veil of corruption by the breath from above. Irenæus was able to appeal to the fact, that without paper and ink, the doctrine of salvation could be written by the Holy Spirit on the hearts of those who were unacquainted with letters, and could not have received any doctrine in writing.
But experience also teaches that divine truth has never been able to propagate itself continuously, when the written records have not been added to the oral preaching—those records from which every age and every individual may draw afresh the living truth in its purity, and appropriate it in its characteristic and applicable form. By the propagation of these records, the divine contents could be preserved from all falsifications ; or, if these had arisen, could be purged from them. Certainly all which has proceeded from the operations of pure and genuine Christianity,--all which in all ages has been thought, and purposed, and done, and instituted in the true Christian spirit,-is inwardly linked to gether; all the operations of the Holy Spirit in the life of humanity, form one great invisible chain, and it must ever give us a holy joy when we can recognise the links of this chain in history, and in this sense trace a Christian tradition in
all times and places in which the gospel has been preached. But this operation of the Holy Ghost, this Christian tradition flowing from it, is never, and nowhere, pure and untroubled, but is everywhere, and at all times, disturbed by the mixture of the flesh, and of that which is not divine. Everywhere, and always, we find in tradition the antichristian beside the Christian, as every one must in himself, in his inward and outward life, be conscious of the same mixture; and what is seen in a small scale in the life of every individual Christian, is seen on a large scale in the life of the whole Church. We are thus always in danger of confounding the Christian with the unchristian, what is of the flesh with what is of the Spirit, if we have not in the divine word, which mirrors to us purely the operations of the Holy Spirit, a trustworthy source of knowledge, a sure testing principle, a fixed rule, by which, as in our own souls, so also in the traditions of the whole Church, to separate that which is of God from that which is not.”--Pp. 158, 159.
But the whole book is made up of beautiful thoughts and touching narratives. It cannot fail to enlarge our sympathy with the universal Church to find such bright illustrations of Christian holiness even in the lives of men whose minds were darkened, to a considerable extent, by the clouds that overhung the middle age.
(2.) “ The Star of the Wise Men: a Commentary on the Second Chapter of St. Matthew, by RICHARD CHENEVIX TRENCH.” (New-York: Lane & Scott, 18mo., pp. 171.) Mr. Trench is well known from his treatises on the Parables and Miracles of Christ, and from his Hulsean Lectures, heretofore noticed in this journal. The work now before us is a fine specimen of commentary, abundant in learning, yet adapted to general apprehension and use. Instead of evading the difficult points of the text-a practice too common among commentatorshe boldly seizes upon them, and brings to bear upon their elucidation a practical sagacity, combined with an amount of erudition, quite rare in these days. We quote the eighth section, on the gifts of the Magi, as a specimen of Mr. Trench's happy style of exposition :
s § 8.-The Gifts. “. And when they had opened their treasures,'-by which treasures' we must understand, not the precious things themselves which they had brought, but the chests, caskets, vessels, (which is the word of the Arabic version,) or other receptacles which contained them, they presented unto Him gifts,'t-after the cus
“* Onoavpós=1x, Deut. xxviii, 12, the receptacle for treasure, (Josephus, Ant., ix, 8, 2,) whether portable as here,=kipwrós, 2 Kings xii, 9, (LXX.;) or the treasurechamber, as often elsewhere: Matt. xii, 35; xiii, 52; Joshua vi, 19, (LXX.)
“† There was another passage of prophecy besides the more obvious ones, Psa. lxxii, 10; Isa. 1x, 6, alluded to already, which was very commonly, in the early Church, held to have found its fulfilment in these gifts-namely, Isa. viii, 4. Such an application of the passage was favoured by the earlier Latin translation, which, as we gather from Tertullian (Adv. Jud., c. 9; cf. Adv. Marcion., 1. 3, c. 13), was: Accipiet virtutem Damasci et spolia Samariæ; and not as in the Vulgate: Auferetur fortitudo Damasci et spolia Samariæ. How the application was exactly made may be best understood by a quota tion from Augustine, (Serm. 202, c. 2,) who, however, is plainly following therein the footsteps of Tertullian. Alluding to these gifts, he says : Tunc enim puer priusquam sciret vocare patrem et matrem, sicut de illo fuerat prophetatum, accepit virtutem Damasci et spolia Samariæ : id est, antequam per humanam carnem humana verba pro ferret, accepit virtutem Damasci, illud scil. unde Damascus præsumebat. In divitiis quippe civitas illa secundum sæculum florens aliquando præsumserat. In divitiis autem principatus auro defertur, quod Christo magi suppliciter obtulerunt. Spolia vero Samariæ iidem ipsi erant, qui eam incolebant. Samaria namque pro idololatriâ posita. Debellaturus scil. Christus gladio spiritali per universum orbem regnum diaboli, hæc prima puer spolia idololatriæ dominatione detraxit, ut ad se adorandum magos conversos a peste illius superstitionis averteret; et in hâc terrâ nondum loquens per linguam, loqueretur de cælo per stellam; ut et quis esset, et quò, et propter quos venisset, non voce carnis, sed virtute Verbi, quod caro factum est, demonstraret.
tom of the East, which will not allow any person to come empty-handed into the presence of the great, but requires that the inward devotedness should embody itself in an outward gift. Thus we have continual mention of such gifts, as made to kings and other great persons on earth, and to the King of kings in heaven. (1 Sam. x, 27; 1 Kings x, 2; Gen. xxxii, 13; xliii, 11, 25; 1 Sam. ix, 7; xxv, 18, 27 ; Job xiii, 11.) That these gifts on this occasion presented were themselves mystical ;that they who offered them meant more, or, at any rate, that more was meant by the Spirit which prompted them to these, than merely that they would present to this Child the costliest things which they had ; that in these, no less than in the worship which went with them, there was a confession of faith,t explicit or implicit ;—this the Church has evermore felt; and the special symbolic significance which has been attributed severally to the three gifts is probably familiar to all. The frankincense, the choicest of all odours, was offered to the Son of God, who as such was himself also God, and to whom therefore the sweet odours of prayer and all other sacrifices were rightly due: the myrrh to the son of Mary, who, as man, was subject to mortality, while, at the same time, he should be free from corruption; the myrrh, therefore, used in burial, and yet preserving from decay, containing a latent prophecy, not of his death and burial only, as it is sometimes explained, but the pledge also of his resurrection:I and the gold to the Son of David, the King of Israel, to whom all other kings and people should yield tribute of the most precious things which they had.
“But these gifts-royal, divine, and human-may claim to be considered somewhat more in detail. There is a sacred character belonging to all three, and not the least to the gold. Even now in the East there are nations,--the Burmese, for instance,-among whom it is not permitted to coin gold into money, or otherwise to employ it in common and profane uses ; this metal being reserved exclusively for divine, or, which is there the same thing, royal uses,|| and being with them a usual offering to their gods, (cf. Psalm lxxii, 15: "To Him shall be given of the gold of Arabia.') On this, its sacred character, rests the fact that in the holy of holies, as the image of heaven, all is either of massive gold, or thickly overlaid with gold. (Exod. xxxvii ; cf. 1 Kings vi.) For heaven is the palace of light-of light, it needs not to say, ethically contemplated; and in the bright shining of gold there is that which better symbolizes light than anything besides. And thus, too, the New Jerusalem, 'having the glory of God,' the brightness of God's presence, is a city of pure gold. (Rev. xxi, 11, 18, 23.) Alike in the actual tabernacle and in the ideal city, something more than the costliness of the gold is to be taken into account, to explain its selection as the material of which the one and other is composed; and so is it here. This gift is not less significant of the higher character of Him to whom it is offered than the two with which it is joined.
& The frankincense,*** among all the odours of antiquity the highest prized and "* Mystica munera, Juvencus calls them.
6† Léo the Great: Quod cordibus credunt, muneribus protestantur. Fulgentius: Attende quid obtulerint, et cognosce quid crediderint. " | So in the ancient hymn :
Myrrha, caro verbo nupta,
Caro carens carie.' “Ş The earliest writer, I believe, who makes this application, at least of those who have come down to us, is Irenæus (Con. Hær., 1. 3, c. 9, 82): Matthæus magos ait per ea quæ obtulerunt munera ostendisse, quis erat qui adorabatur. Myrrham quidem, quod ipse erat, qui pro mortali humano genere moreretur et sepeliretur; aurum vero quoniam Rex, cujus regni finis non est; thus vero, quoniam Deus, qui et notus in Judæå factus est, [Psa. lxxv, 2,] et manifestus eis, qui non quærebant eum. Cf. Origen, Con. Cels., 1. 1, č. 60; and generally for passages from the Greek fathers, Suicer, Thes., v. rísavos.” " || Ritter, Erdkunde von Asien, 4, 1, 244.
IT The suggestion which has been sometimes made, that this gold may have served, and by the providence of God was intended, in the deep poverty of the holy family, to serve as a viaticum on occasion of the hurried flight into Egypt, which was so near-this suggestion is not altogether to be rejected, since we know that at a later period the Lord condescended to accept and use the offerings of his servants. (Luke viii, 3.)
"** Aißavoc only occurs here and Rev. xviii, 13, in the New Testament. It is strictly the tree which yields the frankincense, and hißavwtós, (which is used with a certain impropriety for the censer or thuribulum, Rev. viii, 3, 5,) the frankincense itself. But