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ment, but one which the Sergeant for a time de himself fully understand? At the time we write, clined ; indeed, accepted it only after many argu- a starling was his friend, but one neither deaf nor ments addressed to his sense of duty, and enforced dumb. This starling had been caught and tamed by pressing personal reasons brought to bear on his for his boy Charlie. He had taught the creature kind heart by his minister, Mr. Porteous.
with greatest care to speak with precision. It's The other event, of equal—may we not safely first, and most important lesson, was, “I'm say of greater importance to him?-was his mar- Charlie's bairn." And one can picture the delight riage! We shall not weary the reader by telling with which the child heard this innocent conhim how this came about; or by tracing out all the fession, as the bird put his head askance, looked at subtle magic ways by which a woman worthy to him with his round full eye, and in clear accents be loved untwined the cords that had hitherto acknowledged his parentage; “I'm Charlie's bairn!” bound the Sergeant's heart; or how she alone The boy fully appreciated his feathered confidant, tapped the deep well of his affections into which the and soon began to look to him as essential to his purest drops had for years been falling, until it daily enjoyment. The Sergeant had also taught gushed out with a freshness, fulness, and strength, the starliug to repeat the words, “A man's a man which are, perhaps, oftenest to be found in an old for a' that,” and to sing a bar or two of the ditty, heart, when it is touched by one whom it dares to “ Wha'll be king but Charlie." love, as that old heart of Adam Mercer's required Katie had more than once confessed that she to do if it loved at all,
wasna unco fond o’ this kind o' diversion ;" had Katie Mitchell was out of her teens when Adam, pronounced it to be “neither natural nor canny, in a happy moment of his life, met her in the house and had earnestly remonstrated with the Sergeant of her widowed mother, who was confined to a bed for what she called his "idle, foolish, and even of feebleness and pain for years, and whom she had profane” painstaking in teaching the bird. But one attended, with a patience, cheerfulness, and un- , night, when the Sergeant announced that the educawearied goodness which makes many a humble and tion of the starling was complete, she became more unknown home a very Eden of beauty and peace. vehement than usual on this assumed perversion Her father had been a leading member of a very of the will of Providence. “ Nothing,” he said, strict Presbyterian body, called the “Old Light,” | “could be more beautiful than his ‘A man's a man in which he shone with a brightness which no for a' that.' » Katie said “The mair's the pity, cburch ou earth could of itself either kindle or Adam! Its wrang-clean wrang -I tell ye; avd extinguish ; and when it passed out of the earthly ye'll live to rue it. What right has he to speak ? dwelling, it left a subdued glory behind it which cock him up wi' his impudence! There's mony a never passed away. “Faither” was always an bairn aulder than him canna speak sae weel. It's authority with Katie and her mother, his ways a no a safe business, I can tell you, Adam.” constant teaching, and his words an enduring “Gi' ower, gi' ower, woman,” said the Sergeant; strength, for they were echoes from the Rock of “the cratur' has its ain gifts, as we hae ours, and Ages.
I'm thankfu' for them. It does me mair gude than The marriage took place after the death of Katie's ye can see when I tak’ the boy on my lap, and see mother, and soon after Adam had been ordained to hoo his e'e blinks, and his bit feet gang, and hoo he the eldership.
laughs when he hears the bird say, 'I'm Charlie's A boy was born to the worthy couple, and named bairn.' It's a real blessing to me, for it makes Charles, after the Sergeant's father.
our bonnie bairn happy. And when I'm cutting, It was a sight to banish bachelorship from the and stitching, and hammering, at the window, and world, to watch the joy of the Sergeant with Charlie, dreaming o’auld langsyne, and fechting my battles from the day he experienced the new and in- ower again, and when I think o' this and that describable feelings of being a father, until the awfu' time that I have seen wi' brave comrades noo flaxen-haired blue-eyed boy was able to toddle to lying in some neuk in Spaiu; and when I hear the him, be received into his waiting arms, and roar o'the big guns, and the spluttering crackle o' then mounted on his shoulders, while he stepped the wee anes, and see the crowd o' red coats, and the round the room to the tune of the old familiar flashing o' bayonets, and the awfu' bell-excuse me regimental march, performed by him with half -o the fecht, I tell you its like a sermon to me whistle half trumpet tones, which vainly expressed when the cratur' says, 'A man's a man for a' that!”” the roll of the band that crashed harmoniously in 'The Sergeant would say this, standing up, and erect, memory's ear. Katie “ didna let ou” her motherly with one foot forward as if at the first step of the pride and delight at the spectacle, which never scaling ladder. “Mind you, Katie, that it's no' became stale or common-place.
every man that’s ‘a man for a' that;' but mair than Adam bad a weakness for pets. Dare we call ye wad believe are a set o' fushionless, water gruel, such tastes a weakness, and not rather a minor useless cloots, cauld sowans, when it comes to the real part of his religion, which included within its bit--the grip atween lifo and death! ( ye wad scope a love of domestic animals, in whom he wunner, woman, hoo mony men wheu on parade, or saw, in their willing dependence on himself, a when singing sangs aboot the war, are gran' hands, reflection of more than they could ever know, or but wha lie flat as scones on the grass when they
see the cauld iron! Gie me the man that does his Satan or religion? Wae's me for the religion that daty, whether he meets man or deevil - that's the could be hurt by a bird's cracks! The cratur man for me in war or peace; and that's the reason didna ken what it was saying."
I teached the bird thae words. It's a testimony for “Didna ken wbat it was saying !” exclaimed 11 auld friends that I focht wi', and that I'll never Katie, with evident amazement. “I tell you, I've
forget-no, never! Dinna be sair, gudewife, on the see'd it mony a time, and heard it, too; and it was a puir bird.”—“Eh, Katie,” he added, one night, hantle sensibler than maist bairns ten times its when the bird had retired to roost, "just look at size. I was watching it that day when it disturbed the cratur! Is'na he beautifu'? There he sits on Mr. Carruthers, and I see'd it looking roon, and his back as roon as a clew, an' his bit head under winkin' its een, and scartin' its head long afore it his wing, dreaming aboot the woods maybe—or spak; and it tried its tongue-and black it was, as ye sboot wee Charlie-or aiblins aboot naething. But micht expek, and dry as ben leather--three or four he is God's ain bird, wonderfu' and fearfully made.” times afore it got a sound oot; and thoʼaʼthe forenoon
Still Katie, feeling that “a principle”- -as she, it had never spak a word, yet when the minister began, i la mode, called her opinion--was involved in the its tongue was lowsed, and it yoked on him wi' its bard's linguistic habits, would still maintain her cause gowk's sang, “Stap yer blethers, stap yer blethers !' with the same arguments, put in a variety of forms. It was maist awful to hear it! I maun alloo, “Na, na, Adam!” she would persistingly affirm, hooever, that it cam’ frae a heathen land, and wasna "I will say that for a sensible man an' an elder o' therefore sae muckle to be blamed. But I couldna the kirk ye'r ower muckle ta’en up wi' that cratur'. mak’ the same excuse for your bird, Adam !” rll stick to it, that it's no fair, no richt, but a A loud laugh from Adam proved at once to Katie mockery o man. I'm sure faither wadna have that she had neither offended nor convinced him by pitten up wi 't.”
her arguments. “Dinna be fleyting on the wee thing wi' its But all real or imaginary differences between the speckled breast and bonnie e'e. Charlie's bairn, ye Sergeant and his wife about the starling, ended with ken-mind that!”
the death of their boy. What that was to them " I'm no fleyting on him, for it's you, no him, both, parents only who have lost a child-an only
Mony a time when I spak to you child-can tell. It “cut up," as they say, the mysel', ye were as deaf as a door nail to me, and Sergeant terribly. Katie seemed suddenly to becould hear naething in the house but that wee neb
She kept all her boy's clothes in a press, o' his fechting awa' wi’ its lesson. Na, ye needna and it was her wont for a time to open it as if for glower at me, and look sae astonished, for I'm worship, every night, and to “ get her greet out." perfect serious.”
The Sergeant never looked into it, but read his "Ye're speaking perfect nonsense, gudewife, let Book at the fireside, put his mark into it, prayed, me assure you; and I am astonished at ye,” replied and went to bed in peace. Once, when his wife Adam, resuming his work on the bench.
awoke and found him weeping bitterly, he told his "I'm do sich a thing, Adam, as spakin' non- first and only fib; for he said that he had an exsense,” retorted his wife, sitting down with her cruciating headache. A headache! He would no seam beside him. “I ken mair aboot they jabber- more have wept for a headache of his own than he ing birds maybe than yersel. For I'll never forget would for one endured by his old foe, Napoleon. an awfu' job wi' ane o' them that made a stramash This great bereavement made the starling a painful atween Mr. Carruthers, our Auld Licht minister, but almost a holy remembrancer of the child. “I'm and Willy Jamieson the Customer Weaver. The Charlie's bairn!” was a death knell in the house. minister happened to be veesitin in Willy's house, When repeated no comment was made. It was gene. and exhorting him and some neebours that had rally heard in silence; but one day, Adam and Gaithered ben to hear. Weel, what hae ye o't, but his wife were sitting at the fireside taking their ane o' they parrots, or Kickcuckkoo birds- -or hoo meal in a sad mood, and the starling, perhaps d'ye ca' them ?-had been brocht hame by Willy's under the influence of hunger, 'or, who knows, brither's son-him that was in the Indies—and from an uneasy instinctive sense of the absence of didna this cratur cry oot “Stap yer blethers !” | the child, began to repeat rapidly the sentence, just abint the minister, wha gied sic a loup, and “I'm Charlie's bairn !” The Sergeant rose and went thocht it a cunning device o' Satan!”
to its cage with some food, and said, with as much i "Gudewife, gudewife !” struck in the Sergeant, earnestness as if the bird had understood him, aa he turned to her with a laugh. “O dinna “ Ay, yer jist his bairn, and ye'll be my bairn too Llether yoursel', for ye never did it afore. They as long as ye live!” micht hae hung the birdcage oot while the minister “A man's a man for a' that!” quoth the bird. was in. But what had the puir bird to do wi' “Maybe," murmured the Sergeant.
(To be continued..)
HISTORY OF A MIRACLE.
Near the sources of the Arno and the Tiber, a reported, a little inquiry serves to explode them. branch of the Apennines rises wooded almost to its They disappear when fairly looked into. This is to summit. In its hollows there are deep grottoes, put the historical question fairly in a shape in and two jutting rocks which, according to an old which no one is entitled to quarrel with it. We do legend, were upheaved towards the sky at the not set out from any sceptical basis. We do not moment of the death of Christ. Here St. Francis venture to prejudge the question of the superof Assisi found one of his favourite retreats. The natural; we simply ask evidence of it. And if mountain belonged to him as much as anything can satisfactory evidence is not to be found, we ask for be said to have belonged to a man whose principle explanation. What account does the marvel almit was not to own anything on earth. The Count of ? How did the supposed miracle arise ? how did Roland, the lord of the country, had made him a men really come to credit it, if it did not really gift of it. In this retirement the disciples of Francis happen? The historical problem is only exhausted built a chapel and some rude cottages ; and amidst when we are able to give some answer to these its wild and lofty solitudes during the summer of questions. 1224, and the fast of forty days which the Saint Let us look at the evidence in the special case kept in honour of the Archangel Michael, there is before us. The miracle of the Stigmata is handed supposed to have here happened the greatest miracle down to us through what we may call three priof the middle ages—the miracle of the Stigmata. mary sources. These are the biographies of St.
In a former paper we spoke of this miracle, of its Francis, written within forty years of his death, strange and fascinating character, and the deep and each of them with significant variations conhold which it took of the spiritual imagination of taining an account of the miracle. Thomas de !! the Medieval Church, and promised to return to it Celano, a disciple of the Saint, wrote his life in and consider whether it admitted of any natural obedience to papal command-three years after his explanation. To the devout Catholic of course it death-in 1229. Twenty years afterwards, viz., in needs no such explanation. It is only a part of the 1247, the three companions (Leo, Rufinus, Angelus) supernatural furniture familiar to his mind. The wrote a sort of supplement to this original biography. Saints are to him beings of a higher order. The They had been friends of St. Francis, and one of supernatural life of the Church is perpetuated in them (Leo) had been his confessor and chosen confithem, not merely in the saintliness, purity, and dant. They profess to give facts, and while charged frequent beauty of their character, but in their by the general of the Order with a careful recital of doings and sufferings. They do what others cannot the miracles of the Saint, they yet draw attention do; they have an intimacy with heaven which to his character as far greater than any of his others have not. They confound their enemies miracles, which were to be considered, according to with a word ; they come forth from cruel tortures them, mainly as evidences of his saintliness. Finally, upharmed. Nature obeys their behests, and a Bonaventura, the most Platonic of the mediæval secret charm of diviuity hedges them about. The schoolman, and general of the Order of Franciscans, miracle, therefore, is merely a fitting part of their wrote a life of the great founder in Paris in 1263. lives. The wonder would be if it were not present. This task was laid upon him by the Order on account And, marvellous as is the great minimets of the of the many legendary stories already in circulation Stigmata, there is nothing in it to excite the incre. regarding the Saint, and was only undertaken after dulity of the faithful, who see the lives of the a visit to his birthplace, and elaborate inquiries at Saints through this haze of supernaturalism. St. all the contemporaries of Francis who still survived. Francis was the great medieval Saint. All other The book is half a gospel, half a poem, and while saintliness is eclipsed by his; and it is only appro. undertaken with a view of clearing the life of the priate, therefore, that to him should have been Saint from legends, can least of the three biogranted this choicest token of divine favour, to graphies claim to be free from legendary and my. wear on his body the marks of his Lord's Passion. thical material.
But the historical student cannot accept such an Such are the sources of the miraculous story. explanation even if he would. He must look at More particularly, Thomas de Celano tells us that every fact on its own evidence. He must ask of in the two last years of his life the Saint bore the any marvel which he encounters--did the thing signs of the cross in five places of his body, just as if really happen in that form, or in any form? What he had hung upon the cross with the Son of God. proof is there that it happened at all? Is not its The miracle happened in this wise, according to him. very claim to be supernatural a presumption against As the Saint communed with God in solitary retire. it? For similar supernatural facts, it is admitted on 'ment he besought some special expression of the all hands, no longer happen. If they are for a time Divine Will; and opening the Gospel, according to
wont, three times, glance fell each time upon Note:- This paper is founded on Hase's interesting the narrative of the Passion. Then suddenly he Sketch of the Life of St. Francis of Assisi.
saw in vision a seraph with six wings and out
stretched hands as if attached to the cross : two be registered in the archives of Assisi, as completing wings covered the head, two were unfolded for the primitive testimony to the miracle. This is the flight, and the remaining two covered the whole only hint thus early of the mode in which the body. The sight ravished the Saint and pierced his sacred wounds were made on the body of St. heart with ineffable joy; and as he asked what it Francis. For in none of our narratives is there any meant there began to appear on his own hands and mention, as in the later legends, of the wounds feet mysterious marks of nails, as on the apparition having been communicated by embrace, or, as re- the heads of the nails projecting in the palms of presented in the great picture of Giotto in Assisi, his hands and upon his feet, a curved surface of by bloody rays proceeding from the vision, and swollen flesh upon the hands, and at the right side imprinting them on the body of the Saint. There is an Found that often bled and wet his garments. especial obscurity also in the first and simplest form The story of the three companions is very similar. of the story of the vision by Thomas de Celano, One morning, as St. Francis was upon Alverno, the namely, as to how the wounds were seen at all in name of the mountain solitude, at the time of the the crucified seraph, when with two of its wings it elevation of the cross, he was lost in a transport of covered its whole body. compassionate sympathy for his crucified Lord. Passing over such minor criticisms, let us look at The same vision of the seraph appeared to him the evidence on which the fact of the miracle, or of with the addition of the figure of the crucified One St. Francis bearing the wounds of the Passion, is gleaming between the wings of the heavenly appari- based. The character of the evidence is particularly tion; and when the vision vanished, the same deserving of notice. According to his first biogramarks as of nails appeared, the flesh rising in swollen pher, the saint carefully concealed the stigmata lumps, and leaving the colour of iron.
from inspection. To no one during his life was the The account of Bonaventura is less simple. There secret fully revealed. Two of the brethren * alone is more an air of reflection and explanatory com- were permitted to see the wound in his side, and ment about it. He says that the thought was one of them also to touch it with his hands. It was impressed upon St. Francis as he consulted the only after his death that the miracle became fully Gospel. “I must become like Christ in His passion, known. Then the whole people of Assisi flocked to
even as I have sought to follow Him in all the view the dead body of the Saint, and gazed on it i acts of his life.” Then the vision of the seraph is with stricken awe in its resemblance to that of the
related with some difference in the details of the Son of God, which bore the sins of the world upon vision :—“One morning, as the Saint was praying the cross. He adds, significantly, that it was eson the slope of the mountain, he saw a seraph teemed the highest favour to be admitted “not only descend from heaven with a rapid flight, having to kiss the sacred wounds, but to see them.”ıf The between wings of fire the image of a crucitied narratives of the three companions agree in this
In the celestial figure the Saint at once respect substantially with that of Thomas de recognised his Lord, and all the tender bitterness of Celano. There is an important difference, howthe Passion entered into his soul as a sword, while ever, in the statement of Bonaventura. He also it was communicated to him by chosen revelation mentions, indeed, that the Saint endeavoured carethat he must be transformed into His image not by fully to hide the sacred mystery during his lifethe martrydom of the flesh, but by ardour of soul. time, by covering his hands with the sleeves of his Immediately the apparition vanished, the marks of frock, and wearing shoes on his feet. But he adds the nails and the wound in the side began to that, notwithstanding his efforts at concealment, appear."
“some of the brethren saw the stigmata of the Such is the story as given by St. Francis' three hands and feet," and "very many affirmed by oath early biographers. It is not necessary to give any that they had seen them.” The distinction in the later accounts. One or two points claim to be original is peculiar, and deserves to be exhibited :noticed on the face of the story before we proceed to “ Latere non potuit quin aliqui stigmata manuum examine more particularly the evidence on which viderunt et pedum-plurimi se vidisse juramento the miracle rests. In the vision as narrated by firmarunt.” Several cardinals even are said to have Thomas de Celano, there is only a crucified seraph seen, and to have celebrated the miracle in prose and igen ; in the vision of the three companions there verse. And the Pope Alexander IV., according to s the further vision of a crucified man between the Bonaventura, in a sermon which he himself heard, wings of the seraph ; and in the vision of Bona- declared that he had witnessed with his own eyes i reatura the seraph becomes Christ himself. And the wounds of the Saint while he lived. After his this last view is declared to be confirmed by the death, Bonaventura goes on to say, as many as fifty statement of a brother, in 1282, to whom St. monks and innumerable laymen saw them, and Francis appeared, informing him that it was no many touched and kissed them. It is true that angel but Christ himself who was manifested to Francis concealed so carefully the wound in his hirn while the mountain was bathed in a golden side, that two witnesses alone had seen it privately light, and who Himself impressed with ineffable
Elias of Cortona and Rufinus. sweetness the stigmata upon his body. The general
if "Non solum ad osculandum, sed ad videndum sacra of the Order caused the statement of the brother to stigmata."
- he same two mentioned by Thomas de Celano. the stigmata. So late as 1259, the Holy Father But the brethren who washed the Saint's garments utters threats against certaio secular clergy and had come to know of the wound which they after monks of Spain who remained incredulous even wards saw with adoring reverence when he was after all that had been said on the subject. dead. And the great schoolman concludes his It is unnecessary to pursue the thread of evidence narrative by the statement that the "fact of the further down. We have already plainly got beyond stigmata had been assured not only by two or three the range of primary evidence. The more tho. witnesses, which would have been enough, but roughly we examine the facts, the more clearly superabundantly by a large number, so as to take indeed will we see that there is, after all, only one away from the incredulous all pretext of unbelief." bit of really original evidence brought before us.
The increase in the number of witnesses of the For the question comes to be, Is there any one miracle in proportion to the distance of the bio- really trustworthy who affirms that he saw the grapher from the time of St. Francis is highly stigmata, or, at least, that he heard with his own significant. It is the usual law of evidence in ears some one, whose words admit of no dispute, such matters, and is calculated at once to raise affirm that he saw the stigmata? This is the suspicion. A furtber cause of suspicion is to be lowest measure of evidence that could possibly be found in a special incident mentioned by Bona- accepted. Even if we had such evidence, what ventura. There was, according to him, an un possibilities of deception might remain as to the believer, a doubting Thomas,” among the crowd real character of the wounds or seeming wounds of the inhabitants of Assisi who flocked to see the seen! What possibilities of explanation might awful sight after the Saint's death-a certain there be without calling in question the veracity of knight of the place. But as soon as he was per the witness! But the primary question, upon mitted to see the wounds with his own eyes, and which the whole truth of this story must hinge, is, to touch them with his hands, bis incredulity van- Have we such a witness ? On the first view we ished, and he became par excellence the witness of seem to have more than one such witness. For we the truth of the miracle. There is a vein of inven- have Bonaventura telling us that be heard Alextiveness here that is highly significant.
ander IV. declare in a public discourse that he had A few further fragments of evidence are adduced. himself seen the stigmata. Then we have the A Spanish bishop, writing against the Albigenses statement of Thomas de Celano that both Elias of in 1231, mentions the stigmata of St. Francis as a Cortona, and Rufinus, one of the three companions, fact so well ascertained that he argues from it saw the wound in the side of St. Francis. Let us regarding the manner in which Christ Himself may see what these statements come to when examined. have suffered. As this bishop, however, evidently Of Bonaventura's good faith there can be no founds upon the narrative of Thomas de Celano, doubt. He is one of the highest and purest characwhich had appeared two years before, he cannot be ters of the Middle Ages. But then his evidence is regarded as an independent witness. There only only hearsay; and we have the statement of Pope remains to be considered, therefore, the solemn Alexander himself, which must be allowed to attestations of the two Popes, Gregory IX. and supersede any account of it from secondary sources. Alexander IV., both contemporaries and friends of In none of his declarations on the subject, directed the Saint. The character of their evidence can only against those who still in different quarters quesbe appreciated in connection with the purposes tioned the miracle, does Alexander affirm that he which it was intended to serve.
himself saw the stigmata. His statement is always A certain bishop of Olmutz, and a Moravian friar of a general character. “ Faithfully observing eyes, of the Great Dominican Order, had cast open dis he says, “ beheld them, and fingers to be trusted credit upon the miracle of the stigmata. The trembled while they touched them ;'* but he says former had forbidden any one to represent the nothing of his own experience. What is more wounds upon the images of St. Francis, or of any remarkable still, his predecessor, Gregory, in the other saint. Gregory IX. notified to the bishop very bull by which St. Francis is enrolled among that his conduct was offensive to God and Holy the number of the saints, while speaking generally Church, and called upon him to retract his denial of Francis' miracles, makes no allusion to this, the of the miracle. The friar he summoned to Rome to greatest of all; and Alexander relates that it receive the chastisement due to his daring. This needed a vision of the Saint himself to assure occurred in 1237, eleven years after the death of Gregory of the wound in the side. Why this St. Francis; and whatever weight may be due to wound should bave required more special evidence the Papal testimony in favour of the miracle, the than the marks on the hands and feet we are not causes which provoked it at least proved that the informed. miracle was not universally acknowledged. Nor We are left then to test the evidence of the two was it received without doubt many years after this. The testimony of Alexander IV., like that of Viderunt namque oculi fideleter intuenter et certishis predecessor, consists of a denunciatory brief, simi palpantium digiti palpaverunt, quod in manibus directed against those who in their insensate blind subjecto proprio carnis excrevit vel de materia novæ crea
ejus et pedibus expressa undique similitudo clavorum de ness still ventured to dispute regarding the fact of tonis accrevit.