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heaven's own hosts. No longer with the same palpitating souls do we behold the great mitred abbot issue, with his train like a very army, with crozier and cross and banner borne before him, and with glittering battle-axes following on stalwart shoulders, as he went forth to attend as a great temporal and spiritual peer in Parliament. No longer do we drop with all our kith and kin on our knees, and, as the solemn dignitary slowly passes by on his plump mule, in caparison of damask and gold, receive the blessing from his extended hands. Those hands! which could, to the general belief, open the gates of Paradise, or lock them up at pleasure ; open the place of purgatorial or of more consuming fires !
Such was, during the reign of Rome, the living period of these houses, the heaviness of the weight that lay on the souls of men. We can talk of it, but we cannot feel it. It is beyond words, beyond the subtlest force of re-creative imagination.
Such an incubus of death can live and stretch its bloated body and its dragon wings only over generations blind and catalepsed by ignorance. With our light and our intellectual activity, we can no more inspire ourselves with a sense of that worse than Egyptian bondage, than we can conceive of some yet untried state of being.
But at once the thunderbolt fell. In the pride and confidence of that great system, it fell. As yet no yellow leaf fhone ominous on its tree; as yet no trembling paralysis of age shook it, no grey hair drooped on its temple; but in the lustrous day and summer of its strength the thunder crashed, and the ruins of its glory strewed the earth. The irate hand of the temporal struck down the spiritual Titan. The stout arm of the Tudor, strung by passion and resentment, struck, and broke, the livid arm of Rome. Three hundred years have passed, and the power which was so wounded lives on elsewhere. It is only now that the temporal papacy totters to its fall, whilst its spiritual influence still lives, and shall long live, over vast lands. But here these ruins stand, as the Jews stand amid the Christian world, significant monuments of what has been, and yet
shall be. They tell us that if any enemy oppresses us, if any power in its haughty tyranny lead us to question whether God and Justice still live-God and Justice do live, and falvation will surely come in the appointed time. It may not wait till the injury has grown old and feeble ; but a summer cloud may bring the electric Aash, and the blue regenerate sky shine out above us, ere we can well have said _“God defend us !"
And now, from these fallen haunts and tabernacles of the past spiritual dynasty, come up more reconciled and musical voices. The wrath and the resentment have died out, and we remember only the beauties and the benefits. We recall the works of literature preserved, the science delved after, the arts cherished, and the benevolence practised towards the poor.
We seek, though yet with unequal success, to revive the architectural genius which evolved these fallen fanes; amid their crumbling stones and clasping ivy we seek for principles of grace and truth; and these point us smilingly to that inexhaustible source whence mediæval builders drew their laws and forms—to all-informing, God-informed Nature. To these voices, to this great schoolmistress, we cannot listen too much or too frequently amid the beautiful remains of the Castles and Abbeys of England.
RICHARD BARRETT, Printer, 13, Mark Lane, London.