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effected at his tomb. We have every reason to believe, that his life was of too pure a cast, and his abilities and understanding too powerful, to have been overcome by the reigning follies of the day. His dead body and brilliant tomb, have therefore been made the means of working those superstitious miracles which, in his life-time, he had not the arrogance to pretend to. We have now another kingly martyr enrolled in the calendar, for the 20th of this month, and whose history claims our attention.
Charles. You mean King Edmund, who held sovereiga sway over the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, in the reign of his brother Etheldred. He was certainly a patriot : he died to spare his subjects from the fury of the barbarous Danes, who for so many years had made incursions upon this country, and who were subdued and finally expelled by the great King Alfred.
WILLIAM. It is Edmund, king and martyr, so called, whom I mean ; but how far he may be entitled to the exalted name of patriot, I am not prepared to say, It is true, I believe, that he resigned himself into the hands of the Danes, with the express understanding that his subjects should be spared ; but, considering the character of the enemy, the barbarities they had committed, the many treaties they had broken, and the implacable hatred they had always shown towards the inhabitants of Britain, it appears to me more like an act of imbecility than of patriotism. The great Alfred acted very differently. He considered his life, and the life of his subjects too valuable to be intrusted in the hands of the treacherous Danes, and therefore fought and conquered. With regard to Edmund, the result proved the weakness of his decision, for he ultimately suffered the cruel death of being beat with clubs, scourged with whips, and afterwards bound to a stake, and pierced with arrows.
Mr. CONSTANCE. The town of Bury, formerly called Edmund's Bury, received its dame, I believe, from the circumstance of Edmund the martyr being buried there.
WILLIAM. It did, Sir; his body was interred in a church built by Sigebert, one of his predecessors; and where, afterwards, in honour of King Edmund, a more spacious building was erected, and which, together with the town, was named St. Edmund's Bury.
ANGELINA. But now, William, I perceive the name of a person opposite to the 22d in the calendar, whose biography I think likely to interest. It is St. Cecilia, the patroness of music, I mean.
WILLIAM. I am sorry to inform you, Angelina, that the accounts of Cecilia are so scanty of incidents (if we except the absurd appendage of miracles), that her life is not likely to afford the gratification which you anticipate. Her birth-place was Rome, but of her parents or family nothing is known. Of the time or manner of her death different accounts are extant'; but all agree in her having been a martyr to Christianity, in either the first, second, or third centuries, by the cruel mode of scalding in a cauldron of boiling water, or the more lingering one of being stifled in a dry bath. The latter custom is stated to have beén the common mode of executing female criminals of rank: we may therefore infer, that Cecilia filled an exalted station while living.
ANGELINA. But why is she styled the patroness of musíc?
WILLIAM. For her excelling all other females in singing the divine praises. That, however, is the reason assigned by the church of Rome. It is said she was also well versed in instrumental music, which probably induced Raffaelle to represent her with a regal in her hand ,
MR. CONSTANCE. The legend of St. Cecilia would cause us to believe, that she, by her musical powers, drew
down an angel from the skies, who paid frequent visits to her; and the Catholic church assert, that this same angel also joined in a sweet and melodious concert, with other celestial beings, at the time of the martyrdom of the saint, and appeared to conduct her to the realms of bliss. But from such absurdity let us turn to the history of one of the most eminent men named in the calendar.
WILLIAM. '. You mean St. Clement, cotemporary with the apostles, and whose name graces the 23d of this month in our calendar.
Mr. Constance. A name well deserving such a record, as one of the Fathers of the Christian church, and fellow-labourer with St. Paul. He was born at Rome, and is, by some authors, called the first bishop of that city, while others state him to have been the third.: To St. Peter is given the honour of instilling into his mind the principles of Christianity, on which subject Clement afterwards wrote two epistles; one of which was so highly esteemed by the primitive Christians, as to be for some time acknowledged canonical, and is now allowed to be a yaluable specimen of ancient ecclesiastical writing. · WILLIAM. St. Clement did not escape martyrdom, I believe.
Mr. CONSTANCE. No: though it is remarked that he wonderfully escaped persecution during the cruel reign of Domitian, and was sentenced, in the first year of that of Trajan, to labour in the quarries ; from which ignominy he was relieved by martyrdom. This was effected by rather a singular, though a common mode among the Romans : an anchor being fastened round his neck, he was cast into the sea. The representation of an anchor is now the emblematical badge of St. Clement.
WILLIAM. Of the day styled St. Catharine, on the 25th, could I be indulged in my own wishes, I should say Rothing.
CHARLES. For what reason?
WILLIAM. First, because of the little reliance to be placed on the accounts of her life ; and, secondly, because the horrid nature of the instrument of her martyrdom is too revolting to be described. * MARIA. But St. Catharine has, I believe, given a name to several of our churches and streets in England : was she a native of Britain ?
: WILLIAM. No: of Alexandria, and is said to have received a liberal education. Nothing is known of her parentage ; but, in the year 305, she was converted to Christianity. The Greek word from which her name is derived signifies purity, and it is stated that her body was, discovered six centuries after her martyrdom in a pure, Uncorrupted state ; and that in consequence her name was admitted into the breviaries of the Latin and Greek churches, and a day set apart for her commemoration.
CHARLES. What was the nature of the instrument of death you mentioned ? .
WILLIAM. Some authors understand it to have been merely a wheel stuck round with iron spikes, and which was rolled over her body: while others state that Catharine having had the boldness publicly to upbraid the Emperor Maxentius for his flagrant acts of tyranny, he ordered that , every exertion of ingenuity should be used in framing an instrument of torture ; when an engineer soon afterwards designed an engine of four wheels, containing saws, knives, and nails, which, when the wheels were turned, pressed the body between them, and mangled it in a dreadful manner. This also is said to have given the name of “ Catharine wheel” to some of the signs of our publichouses. There are a vast number of other strange circumstances recorded as to her having been miraculously relieved from this instrument of torture, and ultimately beheaded ; but I must be permitted to pass on to some
as born at Bethher, he followest John the
thing less incumbered with the superstitions of the Catholic church.
Mrs. CONSTANCE. Then you will please to explain an important festival in our own church, commemorative of St. Andrew,
WILLIAM. St. Andrew, son of Jonas, and brother to Simon Peter, was born at Bethsaida, a city of Gallilee, where, with his father and brother, he followed the occupation of fishing. Having been a disciple of John the Baptist, he acquired such a preparatory faith in the Messiah, as to befit him for the service of our Lord's ministry. We are told by the Evangelist, St. John, that, Andrew was the first man who came to Christ, and the first, with Peter, who was called to follow him.
MARIA. For that reason it is, I presume, that our church have placed him first in the book of Commons Prayer.
MR. CONSTANCE. It is 80. Brotherly affection was a distinguishing trait in Andrew's character. Immediately on his understanding from St. John, that Christ, was "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world," he: followed him to the place of his abode, listened to his instructions, and increased his faith by conferring with him : he then hastened to his brother Simon, and imparted. to him the joyful news that he had found the Messiah, and begged of him to accompany him into the presence of Jesus. He did so, and they both afterwards returned to their humble occupation of fishing, which they continued to pursue for the space of twelve months, when they were both, with James and John, called personally to follow our Saviour, and become “ fishers of men.” · WILLIAM. They had previously been confirmed of the divinity of our Saviour's person, by witnessing the miracle of the draught of fishes, and were therefore ready to pass the remainder of their days in his service, . .