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-that is, on either hand, and on either foot, marks exactly corresponding with the two opposite extremities of a rude iron nail, and, on the side, a wound such as might have been inflicted by a spear.

This stupendous event happened on the 17th September; a day still consecrated by the church to the perpetual commemoration of it. No Christian, therefore, may doubt it; for St Thomas, and all other theologians, assure us, that to doubt a 'canonical 'fact,' is rash, scandalous, and open to the just suspicion of heresy. Yet scepticism on the subject appears to have been of very early growth. Within thirteen years from the date of the occurrrence, a Dominican preacher at Oppaw in Moravia, and the Bishop of Olmutz, had both published their utter disbelief of the whole story, and had condemned the propagation of it as sinful. For this audacious presumption, however, Ugolino, who then filled the papal throne under the title of Gregory the IXth, addressed to them both reproachful letters, which sufficiently attest his own faith in the prodigy. In the dense cloud of corroborative witnesses, may be distinguished his successor, Pope Alexander the Fourth, who, in a still extant bull, denounces the severest penalties on all gainsayers. Indeed, if Saint Bonaventura may be believed, Alexander went further still, and was used to declare that he had with his own eyes seen and admired the stigmata. And here is M. Chavin de Malan ready to abandon his reliance on all human testimony, if any one can convince him of the insufficiency of that on which his faith in this miracle reposes. When the fishermen of Jordan shall have learnt how to stay her swellings with their nets, it will be time to encounter the soaring enthusiasm of M. Chavin de Malan by the cobwebs of human logic. When geometricians shall have ascertained the colour of the circle, we may hope to arrive at an understanding with him as to the meaning of the terms in which he disputes. When critics shall have demonstrated, from the odes of Pindar, the polarisation of Light, he and we may be of one mind as to the laws by which our belief should be governed. Meanwhile, his rebukes for the hardness of our hearts shall not be repelled by any imputations touching the softness of his head. He and his fellow worshippers regard it as eminently probable, that He by whom this universal frame of things has been created and sustained, should descend to this earth, to act so strange a part in so grotesque a drama as that of Mount Alvernia. If we could adopt the same opinion, we might with them give some heed even to the scanty, and most suspicious, evidence on which these marvels rest. One prodigy, indeed, connected with this tale, we receive with implicit conviction and

profound astonishment. It is, that in the city in which Louis Philippe reigns, in which Guizot and Thierry write, and in which Cousin lectures, there have arisen two learned historians, who, with impassioned eloquence, and unhesitating faith, reproduce a legend which would have been rejected as extravagant by the authors to whom we owe the Arabian

Nights,' and as profane by those with whom Don Quixote was familiar.

Francis did not long survive the revelation of Mount Alvernia. Exhausted by vigils, by fastings, and by fatigue, he retired to Assisi. Leoni accompanied him. As they approached the city, the increasing weakness of the saint compelled him to seek the unwonted relief of riding. But as his companion followed behind, Francis divined his thoughts. In early life they had often journeyed together over the same road, the one ever conscious of his noble birth, the other never allowed to forget that his father was but a merchant. The contrast of the past and the present was too powerful to both of the travellers. Faint as he was, Francis dismounted from the ass which bore him, declaring that he could not retain the saddle while one so much his superior in rank was on foot.

He reached at length a hut near the convent of St Damiano, where, under the care of Clara and her poor sisters, he found a temporary repose. Twelve months of utter incapacity for exertion followed. They were passed in the monastery of St Mary of Angels. The autumn brought with it some brief intermission of his sufferings, and again his voice was heard throughout Umbria, preaching, as his custom was, in words few, simple, and pathetic; and when unable to teach by words, gazing with earnest tenderness on the crowds who thronged to receive his benediction and to touch his garments.

In this last mission, a woman of Bagnarea brought to him her infant to be healed. Francis laid his hands on the child, who recovered; and who afterwards, under the name of Bonaventura, became his biographer, the general minister of his order, a cardinal, a theologian, and a saint.

At the approach of death, Francis felt and acknowledged the horror common to all men, and especially to men of irritable nerves and delicate organization. But such feelings promptly yielded to his habitual affiance in the Divine love, and to his no less habitual affection for all in whom he recognized the regenerate image of the Divine nature. Among these was the Lady Jacoba di Settesoli; and to her he dictated a letter, requesting her immediate presence with a winding-sheet for his body, and tapers for his funeral, and with the cakes she had been used to give him

during his illness at Rome. Then pausing, he bade his amanuensis tear the letter, expressimg his conviction that Jacoba was at hand. She appeared, and so deep was her emotion as to have suggested to the bystanders (to whom apparently her existence had till then been unknown) the vague and oppressive sense of some awful mystery. With no failure of the reverence due to so great a man, it may, however, be reasonably conjectured, that in Jacoba he had found that intense and perfect sympathy to which the difference of sex is essential, and which none but the pure in heart have ever entertained.

Her cakes were again eaten by the sick man, but without any abatement of his malady. Elia, who during his illness had acted as general minister of his order, and Bernard de Quintavalle, his first proselyte, were kneeling before him. To each of them he gave a part of one of the cakes of Jacoba, and then crossing his arms so as to bring his right hand over the head of Bernard, (whose humility had chosen the left or inferior position,) he solemnly blessed them both, and bequeathed to Bernard the government of the whole Franciscan society. He then dictated his last will, in which the rules he had already promulgated were explained and enforced, and his followers were solemnly commended to the guidance and the blessing of the Most High.

His last labour done, he was laid, in obedience to his own command, on the bare ground. The evening, we are told, was calm, balmy, and peaceful, the western sky glowing with the mild and transparent radiance which follows the setting of an autumnal sun behind the lofty hills of central Italy. At that moment the requiem for the dying ceased, as the faltering voice of Francis was heard, in the language of David, exclaiming, Voce ' meâ ad Dominum clamavi!' His attendants bent over him as he pursued the divine song, and caught his last breath as he uttered, Bring my soul out of prison, that I may give thanks ' unto thy name.'

Some there are, total strangers to man's interior life, who find for themselves in the objects of concupiscence a living tomb; these are the sensual and the worldly. Some, for whom the world within is detached from the world without them, by hard, sharp, clear lines of demarcation; these are the men of practical ability. Some, who, from every idol of the theatre, fashion to themselves some idol of the cavern; these are the votaries of poetry or art. Some, to whom all substantial things are permanently eclipsed by the imagery of the brain; these are the insane. And some, to whom every cherished idea of their minds gives assurance of a corresponding objective reality; these are the mystics and



enthusiasts men of an amphibious existence-inhabitants alternately of the world of shadows, and of the world of solidities their dreams passing into action, their activity subsiding into dreams-a byword to the sensual and the worldly, an enigma to the practical, a study to the poet, and not rarely ending as fellow-prisoners with the insane.

To this small section of the human family belonged Francis of Assisi, a mere self-contradiction to those who beheld him incuriously; in one aspect a playful child, in the next a gloomy Anchorite; an arch smile of drollery stealing at times across features habitually sacred to sorrow and devotion; passing from dark forebodings into more than human ecstasies; a passionate lover of nature, yet living by choice in crowds and cities; at once an erotic worshipper, and a proficient in the practical business of the religious state; outstripping in his transcendental raptures the pursuit of criticism and conjecture, and yet drawing up codes and canons with all the precision of a notary.

The reconcilement of all this was not, however, hard to find. Francis was an absolute prodigy of faith, and especially of faith in himself. Whatever he saw in the camera lucida of his own mind, he received implicitly as the genuine reflection of some external reality. Every metaphor with which he dallied, became to him an actual personage, to be loved or to be hated. It was scarcely as a fiction that he wooed Poverty as his wife. Each living thing was a brother or a sister to him, in a sense which almost ceased to be figurative. To all inanimate beings he ascribed a personality and a sentient nature, in something more than a sport of fancy. At every step of his progress, celestial visitants hovered round him, announcing their presence sometimes in visible forms, sometimes in audible voices. The Virgin mother was the lady of his heart; her attendant angels but so many knights companions in his spiritual chivalry; the church a bride in glorious apparel; and her celestial Spouse the object of a passion which acknowledged no restraint either in the vehemence of spirit with which it was cherished, or in the fondness of the language in which it was expressed. It was inevitable that the inhabitant of such a world as this, should have manifested himself to the vulgar denizens of earth, in ceaseless contrasts and seeming incongruities; so essential were the differences between the ever-varying impulses on which he soared, and the unvarying motives in the strength of which they plodded.

Though Bonaventura was but a child at the death of Francis, he possessed and diligently used the means of studying his character, and has laboured in the following passage, with more earnestness than perspicuity, to depict his interior life :—

Who can form a conception of the fervour and the love of Francis, the friend of Christ ? you would have said that he was • burnt up by divine love, like charcoal in the flames. As often 'as his thoughts were directed to that subject, he was excited as if the chords of his soul had been touched by the plectrum of 'an inward voice. But as all lower affections elevated him to this love of the supreme, he yielded himself to the admiration ' of every creature which God has formed, and from the summit ' of this observatory of delights he watched the causes of all 'things, as they unfolded themselves to him under living forms. Among the beautiful objects of nature, he selected the most lovely; and, in the forms of created things, he sought out, with * ardour, whatever appeared especially captivating, rising from 'one beauty to another as by a ladder, with which he scaled to 'the highest and the most glorious.'

Birds, insects, plants, and fishes are variously regarded, in a culinary, a scientific, a picturesque, or a poetical point of view. To Francis of Assisi they were friends, kinsmen, and even congregations. Doves were his especial favourites. He gathered them into his convents, laid them in his bosom, taught them to eat out of his hand, and pleased himself with talking of them as so many chaste and faithful brethren of the order. In the lark which sprung up before his feet, he saw a Minorite sister, clad in the Franciscan colour, who, like a true Franciscan, despised the earth, and soared towards heaven with thanksgivings for her simple diet. When a nest of those birds fought for the food he brought them, he not only rebuked their inhumanity, but prophesied their punishment. His own voice rose with that of the nightingale in rural vespers, and at the close of their joint thanksgivings, he praised, and fed, and blessed his fellow-worshipper. My dear 'sisters,' he exclaimed to some starlings who chattered round him as he preached, you have talked long enough, it is my turn 'now; listen to the word of your Creator, and be quiet.' The very sermon addressed by the saint to such an audience, yet lives in the pages of his great biographer. My little brothers,' it began, you should love and praise the Author of your being, 'who has clothed you with plumage, and given you wings with 'which to fly where you will. You were the first created of all 'animals. He preserved your race in the ark. He has given 'the pure atmosphere for your dwelling-place. You sow not, 'neither do you reap. Without any care of your own, He 'gives you lofty trees to build your nests in, and watches over 'your young. Therefore give praise to your bountiful Creator.' The well-known instinct by which irrational animals discover and attach themselves to their rational friends, was exhibited

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