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gin. Herluin, after various strange adventures, builds in the forest a rustic church; he works with spade and trowel, he denies himself repose to teach the brethren; but at last, overcome by fire and hardship, removes his convent to a more promising spot. There he still finds his task too great, and is troubled by his own insufficiency.
In the year 1041, the abbot was making an oven, when a poor stranger arrived before the convent, and implored admission. It was Lanfranc of Pavia, learned in letters and law, distinguished as a dialectician in Bologna. The fame of Norman schools had drawn him over the Alps. On the banks of the Rille he was plundered by robbers, who left him bound to a tree, his face muffled in a hood. Lanfranc would pray; not a prayer can the great doctor of Bologna call to mind. In shame and terror, he resolved to enter the poorest convent of the district. Delivered by travellers, he had been directed to Bec, and found Herluin occupied with his oven. Here, accepted by the abbot, he undergoes all the hardship of a severe novitiate, observes a strict silence, and consents to mispronounce Latin penultimates to suit the taste of his Norman Abbé, thinking, as he says, disobedience a worse fault than a false quantity.
And here Lanfranc, having become Prior, opened a school. His wonderful learning (the story was, he knew even Greek) soon drew to the humble abbey a crowd of eager pupils. Refinement and science began to distinguish the monastery; and Lanfranc soon became a great personage in the Church. In 1063, he was called away to become Abbot of Saint Etienne; and his place was filled by a monk who had been in the convent but three years, but who was recommended by a deep and gentle piety, by unequalled learning, and by noble and amiable appearance and manners, Anselm of Aosta. The story of Anselm is the story of many a godly youth of the Middle Ages: a pious mother had taught him the devotion in which he delighted, and his kindled imagination took, as was then usual, a religious bent. He heard that heaven was above the mountain-tops, and, in a dream ascending there, he saw its lord, and was fed with celestial bread of perfect whiteness. At fifteen he had made great progress in study, and would
have become a monk, but an abbot refused to consecrate him, in spite of a sickness which Heaven sent in answer to his prayers. His bark, says Eadmer, his loving but truthful and simple monk biographer, - then glided anchorless down the tide of the world. A father's harshness drove him from home in Lombardy, and at the age of twenty-six the fame of Lanfranc had drawn him to Bec. Here he studied assiduously, and, overcoming the impulses of ambition, which urged him to betake his learning to a convent where such a fame as Lanfranc's would not overshadow it, he had become a monk; and, after three years, we have seen him chosen as prior, out of a number of students of every condition, rich, noble, and learned, some of them the future popes and prelates of the Church.
Here we may imagine him devoting himself wholly to serve God, climbing the heights of divine speculation, searching the Scriptures, striving to make clear to his reason the difficult questions of his faith, practising, too, the severest austerities of the monastic life, so that, as we are told, he had deadened alike the pleasures of taste and the pangs of hunger, constant in prayers and watchings. Better and rarer, we may see him overcoming by love the jealousy of some aspirants to his place, till, perceiving that in all his actions he was pure and single-hearted, they began rather to emulate his virtues. To the young he devoted especial care; in them, he would say, the wax was ready for the seal, of which it would keep forever the impression. One day a certain abbot complained of the boys he was bringing up in his cloister. "What shall be done with them?" said he; "night and day we bind them down to study, we never cease to beat them, and they grow ever worse!" "You never cease to beat them!" cried Anselm. "If you were to plant a tree in your garden, and wall it up on every side, so that it could not spread its boughs, and then should release it years after, what sort of a tree would it be? Useless and crooked, to be sure. And whose fault would that be? You so repress, by threats and blows, these boys, planted in the garden of the Church, that they can enjoy no liberty; and, as they receive from you no love, affection, kindness, sweetness, they believe that, in all your treatment of
them, you are actuated by hate. But did you ever see an artist fashion a beautiful image out of a plate of gold by nothing but blows?" "Never," he wrote to a friend, "is there need of so much gentleness as in a new and unmatured change from wrong conduct to the right."
Anselm was the resource and confidant of the sick and troubled (for the unnatural convent-life bred strange disorders in the most peaceful monastery), and many miracles were attributed to him. His very presence cures a young man who had incurred disease by one of the foolish excesses of ascetieism. The old Herewald will take food from no other hand, and is restored to health by a little grape-juice pressed in the palm of the prior. His secretary sees him at his devotions, wrapped in bright flame; he enters in terror, and the fire has vanished.
And so in the duties of his office, in the pleasures of mystic piety, and the composition of his early works, the time glides by. In those days sanctity and austerity had a certain, an earthly reward. His reputation spreads through France and Germany even to England; but he ever keeps in mind his own warning, that a monk who mislikes the foundation he has laid can never erect upon it the superstructure of a good life, but is like an oft-planted tree, which draws from the soul no moisture, neither attains to rich fruit: wherefore, "totâ mentis intentione amoris radicibus ibi radicare studeat. Caveat in portus tranquillitatem ventum levitatis et impatientiæ turbinem inducere." He exhibited in himself that constancy, and "mildness, inseparable companion of patience," without which, he says, no monk can attain the quiet mind necessary to survey the narrow paths of virtue.
In 1078, the unanimous consent of the monks elected Anselm as their abbot; and after a sincere but fruitless opposition, he was forced to accept the office, and receive from the Duke investiture by the staff and ring. Never was abbot more unworldly; his own belief was, that wealth was a usurpation of that which God had created for the common use. In 1079, the interests of his abbey carried him to England, where he was enthusiastically welcomed. Lanfranc was troubled about Elfeg, whom the public reverence canonized,
though he had died not in the cause of the Church, but only to save his people from the crushing burden of his ransom. Anselm relieved his scruples; clearly the man who did not dread to die rather than commit a little fault, would be even more ready to escape a great one. "Moreover," he nobly adds, "since, on the witness of Holy Writ, Christ is truth and justice, he who dies for justice and truth dies for Christ." Elfeg, almost alone of Saxon saints, still retains his place in the calendar.
In 1087 the despotic and cruel, but great and order-loving William the Conqueror, was succeeded by the capricious, voluptuous, reckless William Rufus. Oppression, confiscation, outrages on individual rights, became the regular order of things. Orderic Vital compares the age to the agitated sea, ever bursting into unexpected storms: "Every one strains to get the upper hand, to crush his rival, and, forgetting equity, violates the law of God, to win what he desires." After Lanfranc's death, the vacant revenues of the bishoprics were drawn into the royal exchequer till the king should please to appoint a successor. The lands of Canterbury were given in fee to knights, and congregations of monks driven from the cathedrals. The clergy were sunk in ignorance; marriage of priests was universal; infamous vices were common, notorious criminals promoted to the episcopate by the secular power. A national church could not work the necessary reform. To dictate to such unbridled violence it was needful that the whole spiritual power of Christendom should be concentred in one independent and absolute head, in order that the might of the whole body might be exercised in every part. The moral sentiment of Europe, therefore, declared for Rome. But in England, where rival claimants who then contended for the papacy were unknown, it was the Archbishop of Canterbury that represented to the people the unity of the Church; he was, said Urban, "the pope of another world," and they were grieved that the see remained empty.
The despairing clergy recalled to the king the promises made on his accession to the throne, of justice, mercy, piety. "Who can keep all his promises?" he replied. They asked leave to pray Heaven to change his mind. "Pray as you
choose, and I will do as I like. By the holy face of Lucca, no one shall at this time be Archbishop but myself."
Forthwith at Christmas the king falls sick in Gloucester, and death seems near. Now is the time for the clergy to vindicate their insulted power; they entreat him to think on the safety of his soul while there is yet time. Anselm, then in England, is summoned to the dying monarch; he urges him to confess his sins; and the terrified king yields everything, and solemnly promises clemency and justice for the future; royal edict declares the remission of state debts, amnesty of criminals, and the punishment of wanton wrongs. The king takes to heart the prayers of his counsellors for Canterbury, and names Anselm as primate. The scene which follows is characteristic of the man and the age.
Anselm, pale, struggling, is dragged before the king, to receive investiture with the pastoral staff from the royal hand. Why," cry the bishops, "do you strive to oppose God?" They recall to him the miseries of the realm; and complain that he, their staff, for whom wretched Canterbury longs, is seeking only his own repose. Anselm pleads his age; — he is monk; he has forsworn the affairs of earth, which have nothing that can engage his heart. All is of no avail; he is dragged to the king. "Why, O Anselm," cries the monarch, "will you give me over to eternal torment? Aid me! Aid me! Assume the pontificate, for retaining which I am overwhelmed." The king extends the crozier; it is forced into his hand; he is dragged to the church, Te Deum Laudamus chanted before him: but he continnes to cry, "Your deed is null, is null." Returned to his chamber, he warns the bishops that they were yoking together in the same plough an untamed bull and an old and weary sheep.
Anselm's penetration had not deceived him. The king recovered at once from his bodily disease and his moral reformation. Prisoners were rearrested, amnesties annulled, indulgences recalled; all the evil he had done in health was trifling compared with the excesses he committed in his convalescence. The Bishop of Ross ventured to remonstrate.
Know, O bishop!" was the proud reply, "by the holy face of Lucca, never shall God have good of me for the evil