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have very probably to deal with a resisting recipient ; possessions? If sensation, perception, attention, are but if at last you prevail, you may find him none the the collecting faculties, memory is, what Sir William less a faithful conservator. The Church of Rome has Hamilton has called it, the “conservative faculty”-the studded Europe and the Holy Land with fossil foot- custodier of the collected treasures. In point of fact, prints—with the life-like impress, heel and toe, of saints we know that every mind from an early period possesses and Scripture worthies. But although Protestantism this power. In virtue of it the infant soon learns to alleges that the footmarks on St. Paul's Rock and else- distinguish its mother from all the world, and in virtue where are more indebted to monkish tools than to of it the inarticulate sages of our race — those little miraculous sandals, there can be no doubt that now they Pythagoreans who have not yet finished their twelve are made they are sufficiently permanent. And as there months' novitiate of silence—have laid the foundations are subjects for which our minds are not always soft and of a most valuable experimental philosophy. They have plastic, se must have recourse to the hammer and made the discovery, and they retain the conviction, that chisel. A school-boy has no difficulty in recollecting in fire burns—that there is a certain point beyond which, the month of May every bank and bush where a nest is if puss's good-nature is taxed, it is pretty sure to give built or in progress; and he can tell the exact number way—that, in cases of collision, action and reaction being of eggs which were that morning reported in the census equal, it is inexpedient to butt violently against bedof ever so many separate establishments, wrens, tit- posts and the legs of chairs and tables. The first use of mice, finches, and linnets. These facts are interesting, the conservative faculty is to treasure up experiences and impress themselves. But “The verb agrees with like these—just as one of the first uses of the reasoning the nominative before it in number and person "_"9 or comparing faculty is to generalize them and draw detimes 6 are 54, 9 times 7 are 63”—although facts im- ductions from them; and with the help of these two portant and indisputable, are not particularly capti- faculties your little philosopher on all-fours has already vating; and yet the ingenuous youth has an interest in taught himself more important lessons in the art of selfretaining them. Pains and penalties are involved in for- preservation than any which he will afterwards learn, getting them. Accordingly, by dint of diligence, he does even although he should attend Dr. Hassall's sanatory after a fashion get them inscribed on the reluctant stone lectures, or study Sir John Sinclair on the art of lon-chipped and chiselled into that mysterious Runic pillar gevity. If he had no memory, he would forget that the where, long after the statistics of birds' nests have candle burned his finger yesterday, and so he would put crumbled away, rules of syntax and multiplication tables it into the flame this evening; if he had no judgment, stand forth with triumphant distinctness.
he would see no necessary resemblance between the red The memory may be strong where the intellect is weak; poker and the ignited gas-cone ; but having both, he but without the former faculty there can be no intel- learns to "walk,” or rather to creep“circumspectly," and lectual growth. For, stripped of all mystery, what is grows cautious in his dealings with cats and candles, memory? Is it not the mind's power of retaining its and such other dangerous friends or open enemies.
THE ROMAN CATACOMBS AND THEIR RELIGIOUS TEACHINGS.
BY THE REV. W. II. WITHROW, M.A.
MONG the cultivated grounds not that cross each other, here and there opening into
far from the city of Rome," writes chapels and sepulchral halls." *
a deep crypt with dark recesses. century is equally applicable to their appearance A descending path, with winding steps, leads in the nineteenth. These wonderful excavations through the dim turnings ; and the daylight are situated, for the most part, near the great entering by the mouth of the cavern somewhat highways leading from Rome. According to the illumines the first part of the way. But the Cavaliere Di Rossi, the most eminent authority darkness grows deeper as we advance, till we upon this subject, there are forty-two of these meet with openings cut in the roof of the pas- early Christian cemeteries. They so encompass sages, admitting light from above. On all sides
*"Haud procul extremo culta ad pomaria vallo," &c.—IIepie spreads the labyrinth, woven dense with paths | Stépavov, Hymn 10.
the city, like a military circumvallation, that they of worship. Sometimes four or five were grouped have been called “the encampment of the Chris-together, affording space for eighty or a hundred tian host besieging Pagan Rome, and driving in-persons; and the whole were illuminated by a ward its mines and trenches, with the assurance shaft or luminaria, opening to the sky. Here, of final victory."
during the storms of persecution, the primitive After descending a steep and narrow stairway, Church took refuge; meeting by stealth for the the traveller enters a long passage, varying from celebration of the rites of religion, and burying two to five feet in width, and from five to twelve in these silent recesses the holy dead. Here refeet high, arched, and occasionally protected with posed the proto-martyrs and confessors of the masonry, and plastered. The walls are completely faith-the forlorn hope of the army of Christianity honey-combed with graves, in tiers one above their holy dust making a true terra sancta of another, like shelves in a library or berths in a these gloomy vaults. Here arose the funeral ship. They are of all sizes,—from an infant's to hymn, the chant of praise, the voice of exhortathat of a full-grown man. They are generally tion or of prayer; no less acceptable to God than closed with tiles of terra-cotta or slabs of marble, if from the stateliest of human temples. put edgeways in a groove or mortise cut in the Often beneath this deep there is a lower deep rock, and fastened with cement-on which the -or even as many as four or five sets of galleries marks of the trowel may be seen as fresh as if on different levels, each being excavated as the made yesterday. Many of the slabs are broken, one above became filled with graves. The worse revealing the bones or dust and ashes of the dead than Cimmerian darkness of these gloomy labywithin. Others still retain the inscriptions—to rinths was illumined by terra-cotta lamps, placed be hereafter mentioned. Some of the tombs—in niches at the junction of the principal galleries, called arcosolia—are excavated in an arched re- or suspended from the roof. Multitudes of these cess, and covered by a horizontal slab.
lamps have been found in situ, and are preserved There are numerous passages, branching off at in the various museums of Rome. right angles, forming a complete network of corri- When the age of persecution passed away, the dors, often extending over many acres. Signor Catacombs continued to be invested with a deep Michell Di Rossi, who has carefully surveyed and and pathetic interest, as the cradle of the faith, mapped several of the Catacombs, computes that the refuge of the Church during the storm of the aggregate length of these galleries amounts calamity, and the sepulchre of the saints and to 876,000 mètres, or 587. geographical miles. martyrs; and it became an object of ambition to The average number of graves is about five on share the resting-place of those who had been so each side, for every two yards and a half; which holy in life and so glorious in death. In course would give the enormous aggregate of 3,831,200. of time these feelings degenerated into a superThis seems an almost incredible number; but we stitious reverence for the martyr-shrines ; and know that for nearly four centuries almost the numerous pilgrims came from afar to pay their entire Christian population of Rome, which even devotions amid these sacred scenes. Commodious at an early date was of great extent, was buried entrances were constructed, easy stairways hewn here.
in the rock for the accommodation of visitors, There are also numerous chambers, or cubicula, and many of the principal tombs were adorned varying from eight or ten feet square to as much with marble and votive offerings. as twenty feet square in certain isolated examples. With the barbarian invasion and the breaking These are often plastered, and adorned with paint- up of the Empire, subterranean sepulture ceased; ings in fresco. They are sometimes ornamented
and the Catacombs were given up to pillage by with stucco columns and mouldings, and lined Goth and Vandal, who destroyed many of the with marble or mosaic. They generally occur in sacred monuments in their search for supposed pairs, on opposite sides of the gallery. Those of hidden wealth. During the gathering gloom of the smaller size were probably family tombs; and the Middle Ages, when faction, civil war, and those of larger dimensions, places of meeting or I anarchy laid waste the land, and even the classic mausolea above ground were converted into armed the Catacombs are constructed refutes this theory. fortresses, these gloomy vaults became the rendez- They are not excavated in the compact and rockvous of insurgents and conspirators. Frequently like tufa lithoide, from which the building-stone armed bands of the retainers of hostile houses — was hewn; nor in the more friable tufa pozzolano, the Montagues and Capulets of the day—met in out of which the sand was dug; but in the tufa these subterranean vaults, and the war-cry of granolare, an accretion of volcanic scoria of interGuelph and Ghibelline rang through the hollow mediate position and hardness. It is probable, corridors, and bloodshed and cruelty desecrated however, that the early Christians made use of the spot sacred to religion and the ashes of the the pre-existing armariae as masks to the entrance sainted dead.
of the Catacombs; as we still see at those of S. In course of time all knowledge of the Cata- Agnese, where the passage descending to the subcombs became entirely lost; and it was not till terranean sepulchres dives abruptly down from the revival of learning in the sixteenth century the old pagan excavation above. They were had stimulated the minds of men to the study of doubtless also used as at least partial receptacles the past, that this treasury of Christian Evidences for the excavated débris, of which it is difficult was rediscovered, and again thrown open to the to conceive how they disposed otherwise. investigation of mankind. To Father Antonio The present condition of the Catacombs is one Bosco, a Roman priest, is the honour due of un- of the utmost dilapidation and ruin. Many of veiling to the sight of Europe the ancient monu- the galleries and chambers are filled with earth, ments of the faith buried in their depths. Sus- either by the falling in of the walls, or by infiltratained by a lofty enthusiasm, he spent thirty-three tion through the roof or through the crumbling years groping in these gloomy corridors, threading luminaria. This was frequently done, also, by their tangled labyrinths—sometimes lost in their the hunted Christians in time of persecution, in intricacies—deciphering the half-effaced inscrip-order to prevent the pursuit of their heathen foes. tions, and copying the remains of early Christian The luminaria are frequently choked with rubbish art. D’Agincourt was another original explorer or overgrown with weeds, and have become sources in these mines of Christian antiquity. He came of danger to the horseman traversing the Camto Rome near the close of the last century, with pagna. The once stately entrances have in many the intention of spending six months in the study cases so fallen in through age as to resemble more of the Catacombs. But the absorbing interest of a fox's burrow than a passage for human beings. the subject so grew upon him, that he remained The paintings of the cubicula are often spoiled by for fifty years, collecting the materials for his dampness, or begrimed by the smoke of the inmagnificent posthumous work, “ Histoire de l'Art numerable torches of visitors during successive par les Monumens.” The literature of the Cata- ages. As the pilgrim to these chanıbers of silence combs is very voluminous,-chiefly in the Latin and glooni walks through the vaulted corridors and Italian languages. Arringhi, Bottare, Bol- his footsteps echo strangely down the distant pasdetti, Marchi, and Di Rossi, have all written sages—the graves yawn weirdly as he passes, torch ponderous tomes on the subject; and in French, in hand-deep mysterious shadows crouch around M. Raoul Rochetti, the Abbés Gawone and the air is hot and stifling, and seems laden with Gerbet, and M. Perret. The work of the latter the dry dust of death. Most of the inscriptions consists of seven magnificent folios, published at have been removed, and are affixed to the walls the expense of the French Government, and cost- of the different churches and museums of the ing about £100 sterling.
city. The origin of the Catacombs was long errone- About eleven thousand of these inscriptions ously attributed to the pagan quarrymen or sand have been carefully examined and classified; and diggers, who supplied the materials for the in- nowhere else can we find such direct and importnumerable palaces, temples, baths, theatres, and ant testimony concerning the spirit and character private buildings of the adjacent city. Recent of the primitive Christians as in these humble examination of the geological formation in which / epitaphs of the early centuries. By their careful study we may follow the development of Christian numerous heresies which, like plague spots, be thought from age to age—we may trace the suc- gan to infect the Church even in the early cencessive changes of doctrine and discipline—we turies, some of which found ecclesiastical patronmay read the irrefragable evidence, written with age at Rome. a pen of iron on the rock for ever, of the purity Protestantism, therefore, has nothing to fear of the primitive faith, and of the gradual corrup- from the closest investigation of these evidences tion it has undergone. “What insight into the of primitive Christianity. The science of epifamiliar feelings and thoughts of the primitive graphy yields no warrant for the doctrines and ages of the Church,” remarks the learned and elo- practice of the modern Church of Rome. There quent Dean Stanley, “can be compared with that is not a single inscription, or painting, or sculpture, afforded by the Roman Catacombs ! Hardly before the middle of the fourth century, that lends noticed by Gibbon or Mosheim, they yet give us the least countenance to her arrogant assumptions a likeness of those early times beyond that de- and erroneous dogmas. All previous to this date rived from any of the written authorities on are remarkable for their evangelical character ; which Gibbon and Mosheim repose......He who and it is only after that period that the distincis thoroughly steeped in the imagery of the Cata- tive peculiarities of Romanism begin to appear. combs will be nearer to the thought of the early The wholesome breath of persecution and the Church than he who has learned by heart the “sweet uses of adversity” in the early ages tended most elaborate treatise even of Tertullian or
to preserve the moral purity of the Church ; but Origen." In this era of critical investigation of the enervating influence of imperial favour, and the very foundations of the faith, it will be well the influx of wealth and luxury, led to corrupto examine the vast body of Christian evidences tions of practice and errors of doctrine. Her as to the doctrinal teachings of the primitive trappings of worldly pomp and power were a times which have been handed down from be- Nepus garment which empoisoned her spiritual lievers living in or near the apostolic age, and life. Hence the Catacombs, the rude cradle of thus providentially preserved as a perpetual me- the early faith, became also the grave of much of morial of the faith and practice of the golden its simplicity and purity. prime of Christianity.
While we should not expect to find in these inscriptions a complete system of theology, we
PART II. would certainly look for some definite expression In the investigation of early Christian epigraphy, of the religious belief of those who wrote these the determination of dates is of the utmost immemorials of the dead. We would expect some portance, as it is only inscriptions of the earlier reference to the lives of the departed, to the vir- and acknowledged purer period of the Church tues of their character, and to the hopes of the wbich can bear authoritative testimony as to survivors as to their future condition in the spirit primitive doctrine. We will take the inscriptions world. In this expectation we are not disap- as given by the Cavaliere Di Rossi, the most emipointed. We find in these inscriptions a body of nent living authority on this subject, in his great evidence on the doctrine and discipline of the work, “ Inscriptionæ Christianæ ;" but while acprimitive Church, whose value it is scarcely pos- cepting his facts, and acknowledging his candour sible to over-estimate. We are struck with the and honesty of research-which qualities we will infinite contrast of their sentiment from that of seek to imitate—we cannot in all cases accept his the pagan sepulchral monuments; and also by conclusions. We will endeavour to examine the the conspicuous absence, in the earlier and purer subject from a strictly philological and scientific period of Christianity, of the doctrines by which point of view; and, anxious only to discover the Church of Rome is characterized, and by truth, will seek to avoid the odium theologicum, which it proves its alienation from the true, apos- that compound of vinegar and gall which has lent tolic, and holy catholic Church of Christendom. such bitterness to religious controversy. We shall also find references to some of the The first dated inscription possessing any doc
DE S.ECVLO RECESSIT
VIXIT ANX. XV. M.IIII.
trinal character occurs in the year A.D. 217.* It synonym for death. In the year A.D. 268 occurs is taken from a large sarcophagus, and commem- a fragment, on which one may with difficulty deorates PROSENES RECEPTVS AD DEVM. V. NON......cipher the inscription, by the parents, " to their
Prosenes received to God, on the fifth day be- well-deserving son, who lived twelve years and fore the nones of,... We hare here the earliest eleven months.” The chief interest attaches to indication of doctrinal belief as to the condition the last line,of the departed; but it is no dark and gloomy
VIBAS INTER SANCTIS [sic] IHA. apprehension of purgatorial fires, but the joyous
May you live among the holy ones! confidence of immediate reception into the pre
The meaning of the last three letters is unknown. sence of God.
An inscription of date a.d. 234 is accompanied The natural ejaculation of the sorrowing friends, by the first examples of the fish and anchor, expressed in the preceding words, is certainly no
indication of the later Romish practice of prayers symbols which afterwards became so common, but with no other distinctively Christian feature.
for the dead, or the intercession of the saints, but In the next year, A.D. 235, occurs the following is merely the yearning desire of the human heart epitaph, in which there is possibly an intimation of for the happiness of the dear departed.
The next dated inscription, of the year 269 A.D., immortality in the expression de sæculo recessit“ retired from the world,” or from the age.t The is of a very barbarous character-Latin words in epithet “ very sweet daughter” is peculiarly ap
Greek letters, not engraved but rudely painted on propriate to the Christian character, although the slab. It is evidently, as is indicated by the
wretched grammar and orthography, the produccommon on pagan tombs :
tion of extreme ignorance. It requires a strong AVRELIA DVLCISSIMA FILIA QVÆ
dogmatic prepossession to detect in its incoherent
language any meaning beyond the attestation of SEVERO ET QUINTIN COSS.
the sanctity of character of the deceased. After Aurelia, our very sweet daughter, who retired from the giving the date, it reads thus :world in the consulate of Severus and Quintinus. She lived fifteen years and four months. In the year A.D. 238, on a sarcophagus which
READ: Lcuces filice Severæ carissime posuit et spiritui bears the first extant representation of the Good Shepherd, we find the following touching inscrip
Leuce erected this (memorial) to her very dear daughter tion. It conveys nothing doctrinal beyond the
and to thy holy spirit. phrase“ most devout," or "God-loving"-expres- Nothing further of dogmatic import occurs till sive of the youthful piety of the deceased. The the year A.D. 291, when we find the following mention of the duration of the illness is very rare example of barbarous Latinity. The grammar in these epitaphs. The yearning affection of the and spelling are atrocious; and, as will be noticed, father is beautifully expressed in the last clause:- the pointing by no means indicates the proper HPAKAITOC O OEOPIAECTATOC EZHCEN
division of words :ETIN]H IIAPA H[uépas]IT ENOCHÇEN HM[€]P[as] IB ΞΑΝΘΙΑC ΠΑΤΕΡ ΤΕΚΝΩ ΓΛΥΚΥΤΕΡΩ ΦΩΤΟC ΚΑΙ ΖΩΗC. .
E MECO VIXISTI LIB ENIO The very devout Heraclitus lived eight years and thir
ONIVGA INNOCENTISSI MACERVONIA SILVANA
REFRIGERACVM SPIRITA SANCTA. teen days. He was ill twelve days...Xanthias his father to his son sweeter than light and life.
READ: Ex rirginio tuo bene mecum vixisti, libens in conThe next example merely gives the consular spiritis sanctis.
juga innocentissima, Macervonia Silvana, Refrigera cum date, A.D. 249, and the assurance that the de
Macervonia Silvana, thou didst live well with me from ceased sleeps—DORMIT- - a distinctively Christian
thy maidenhood, rejoicing in most innocent wedlock.
Refresh thyself among the holy spirits. * The earlier ones express merely the consular dates, and in one instance only the name and age of the deceased.
No candid interpreter can discover in this rude † The use of recedo in the sense of "to die" is classical ; but in the above form is unknown in pagan epigraphy.
epitaph anything beyond the expression of a
AEYKEC. PIAEJE. CEBHPE KAPECEMENTOCOYETE.
EX VERGINIO TVO BEN