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theme is taken, and uttering such reflections upon it as he thinks fitted to convey a practical lesson to his hearers. He then brings out some point of doctrine or practice which he seeks especially to enforce, and with this view gives what is rubricated as narracio,' some story of which his lesson is the moral. These stories are sometimes taken from the Gospels themselves, sometimes from the authentic history of the Church, but most frequently from the legendary stores of ecclesiastical literature and the popular tales of the day. Some of these are so gross, and are told in language so plain and unvarnished, that it is difficult to conceive in the present day how any man could have the face to stand up and read them before a mixed congregation; but in this, as in other respects, the authors, we presume, simply followed the fashion of the pulpit in their day. The great peculiarity of these Homilies lies in their being in a metrical form. This we have no reason to believe was a common usage. It is not, however, without precedent. As early as the fourth century Ephraem the Syrian composed metrical homilies, many of which are still extant ;* and as there is reason to believe he was not the first who introduced this usage, so it long survived him in the Syrian Church. We find traces of the same practice in France in the thirteenth century. Among the Harley MSS. is one containing a metrical homily in French of this date; and two sermons, one by Guichard de Beaulieu, the other by an unknown author, have been printed at Paris from MSS. in the Royal Library. In both of these the author describes his design in much the same terms as those we have quoted from our English homilist; both address themselves à la simple 'gent,' and the latter says that he has put his instructions en romance' for the benefit of icels enfans qui ne sunt letrez.' Metrical versions of the Scriptures had long been known in England, from the time of Caedmon in the seventh century downwards; and in the Ormulum, the curious collection called Salus Anima, or Sowlhele, and Robert de Brunne's translation of Grosteste's Manuel de Péché, we have compositions which probably served as models for the writer of these Homilies. The measure adopted by him is the octosyllabic; and though some of his verses halt a little, and he not unfrequently falls a victim to what Byron calls the fatal facility' of that measure, many of

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The English reader will find specimens of these Syriac metrical homilies, admirably translated, in Morris's Select Works of St. Ephraem the Syrian, and Burgess's Select Metrical Hymns and Homilies of Ephraem Syrus.

Le Sermon de Guichard de Beaulieu, publié pour la premiere fois d'après le MS. unique de la Bibliothèque du Roi. Paris: 1834. Un Sermon en Vers, publié par M. A. Subinal, d'après, &c. Paris: 1834.

NO. LXXII.

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his lines display a rough vigour, and now and then he ever rises to poetry.

As respects the contents of these Homilies, amidst much that is foolish, and not a little that is repulsive, one is pleased to find so much of sound Gospel truth and wholesome moral teaching communicated in them. The authors lose no opportunity of exalting the merits of Our Lefdye,' as they term the Virgin, and pointing out the advantages to poor sinners of cultivating her favour, even to the extent sometimes of making her the patroness or protectrix of gross sinners. A story, for instance, is told of a lady abbess, who, forgetful of her vows, was in the state in which no unmarried lady ought to be, and was in danger in consequence of disgrace and ruin, but who, on making hyr 'mane to Mary myld,' was miraculously delivered from the effects of her sin, enabled to set her accusers at defiance, and to live a life afterwards of purity and unblemished reputation; from which the preacher draws this practical conclusion :

'Be this tale may we gastely* se,

That no man in dyspayr thar be,
That na synfull schamed thar be,
Haue thai done neuer swilke foly,
If they wyll call on oure Lauedy.
Forethi if we in synne fall,

I rede that opone hyr we call,

That scho purchaysse gras us sone to ryse,

And sythen to duelle in hyr seruysse,

Ewyr mar to our lyues ende,

And sykert may we be to wende,

Unto that court thare scho es qwene,

Thider scho bryng us all bydenne.'§-Pp. 170, 171.

A strange story also is told, not fit for quotation, of the interposition of St. James and the Virgin on behalf of a man who had committed suicide under the instigation of the devil, but whom the Virgin restored to life again,

And fra that tim

That Satenas hafd gabbid || him

Hali man he was and god,

And seruid Godd wit miht and mod.'

Satanas, or the fend,' plays a great part in these narrations, all the evil deeds into which men fall being traced to some special temptation on his part, especially in the case of bishops, monks, and nuns; a doctrine which, when presented as the

* Spiritually.

Certain.

+ Counsel.
Deceived with talk.

§ In due time.

Specimens of Discourse.

385

Bible presents it, is an important aid to watchfulness and manful efforts against evil, but which may be presented—as, unhappily, it too often is, not in mediæval sermons alone, but also in some nearer our own day-in such a form as to enfeeble the sense of individual responsibility and to deaden the voice of conscience. But whilst the recurrence of such superstitions and unwholesome representations disfigures these Homilies, it is pleasant to mark that the prevailing tone of the teaching which they exhibit is sound and scriptural. Of the grace, condescension, and saving power of our Lord, and of the need of faith in him, and repentance towards God for salvation, their authors speak strongly, frequently, and clearly. Most faithful and pointed also are their rebukes of evil-doers without respect of persons, and most earnest their calls to righteousness and virtue. It is worthy also of note that no attempt is made to exalt the priesthood or persuade men to confide their salvation to priestly offices; while of a tendency to papal homage and subordination there is hardly

trace.

As we have given specimens of the less commendable parts of this work, we must give one or two of the worthier. In the preface to the Homily on the Advent, we have the following description of the reason of our Lord's appearing :

Exc.

Skin.

Ar the fulthef of tim was comen,
Satenas al folk aued nomen,‡
For mankind in prisoun he held,
Wiht outen help wit outen belde,§
Ai til God in trinite

Of mankind hafd sa gret pite,
That he send his son for to take
Fleys and blod for mannes sake,
For wit outen fleis and blode,
Moht Crist noht by apon the rode
Mankind, that in fleis and felle, ||
Was demed to the pin of helle,
Forthi hafd God of man mercye,
That was bigiled thoru envie
Of Satenas that wiht lesinge
Gabbid Adam and his ofspringe,
And gert mankind ga tille helle,
Thar he suld euer mar duelle,
Yef it ne hauid ben Godd almihti,
That send his son thoru his merci,
To yeld for mankind raunceoun,
And lesseff us al of prisoun,
Goddes sun and Goddes sande,‡‡

+ Fulness.

Destruction.

Taken, seized; Germ. nehmen.
** Caused.
++ Free.

§ Protection.

Ambassader.

Com to les mankind of bande,

And was born of mayden Marye,

Mankind on rode for to bie.'-Pp. 7, 8.

The preacher proclaims three advents of Christ, which he thus

describes :

'Nou se ye qui and for quas sake,
Crist com til us our kind* to take.
His first com was bodilye,
Bot an other est gastilye,†
That es quen Crist gifes us wille,
His comandmenz to fulfille,
For son, quen we haf wil to do
Al that the precheour says us to,
And feles our hert in charite,
For sothet ful siker mai we be,
That Crist es comen in til our hertes
Gastli that us til godnes ertes, S
Of us self haf we noht bot sin,
Bot quen Crist wirkes us wit in,
Than at the first biginne we,
God cresten men for to be.

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It is thus the

With one more extract we shall conclude. preacher discourses of the broad and the narrow way:

'Brad es that gat that ledes

Til hel, wit sin and wik dedis,

This gat es stany and thornye
Wit couaitys, and glotounye,
Wit prid, and nithe, and licherye,
And mani foles gas thar bye,

And forthi I red wel that we leete

Nature. + Spiritual. In truth. § Induces, inclines.

¶ Judge. ** Agreeable, gracious; Germ. bequem.

‡‡ Prepared.

Together; Germ. zusammen.

| Trumpet. tt Terrible. Pleasure.

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Hald we us forthi in stret,
That Satenas may us noht met,
That es to say, in rihtwisnes,
Quarof sain Jon in wildernes
Spac, and bad us graythe that way
That ledis man til gamen and play.

Our Lauerd in this wai us lede

Til heuin, and yeld us thar our med.'-Pp. 51, 59.

387

We must now take our leave of these ancient and homely teachers. Their names have perished, and no record abides on earth of the fruits of their well-meant and pious zeal; but may we not indulge the hope that He who 'fra hell on rode us boht' has now with Him in the blessed place not a few who were led to put their trust in Him by the loving and earnest representations of his grace and might which these rude but honest preachers, lights in a dark age, placed before their congregations from Sunday to Sunday.

Paris.

ART. VII-(1.) Des Hallucinations; ou, Histoire Raisonnée des Apparitions, des Visions, des Songes, de l'Extase, du Magnetisme, et du Somnambulisme. Par A. BRIERRE DE BOISMONT. (2.) Fiends, Ghosts, and Sprites; including an Account of the Origin and Nature of Belief in the Supernatural. By JOHN NETTEN RADCLIFFE. London.

THERE is no form of belief so deeply rooted in man's nature, so widely spread over his entire history in time and space, so apparently necessary to his very being, as a conviction of the existence of an unknown and invisible world, capable of signalizing its presence by becoming at certain times visible and palpaple. There is probably no people who have not traditions of this nature,-no form of religion untinctured with

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