An Increase of Evils

Pope Francis, center, opens the afternoon session of a two-week synod on family issues at the Vatican, Monday, Oct. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

My mind is, if I must write the truth, to keep clear of every conference of bishops, for of conference never saw I good come, or a remedy so much as an increase of evils. For there is strife and ambition, and these have the upper hand of reason.

St. Gregory Nazianzen, Ep. 55 (as quoted in Tract 90).

Francis, Bishop of Rome.

It is not to be excluded that I will enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church.

Francis, Bishop of Rome.

Pantocrator in the Monastery Church at Daphni.

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.

Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.

And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.

And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness.

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;

But, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.

Jeremias xxiii, 1-8.

Altus Prosator “F”

Ceiling of the Hagia Sophia, Constantinople, with Seraphim mosaics on pendentives of the main dome.

CAPITULUM F

TITLE: De laude Dei ab angelis in quarta feria dicentes Sanctus
Sanctus Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth.

ARGUMENT: ‘Quando feci celum et terram collaudaverunt me
angeli’; ut in Sapientia Salomonis dicitur.

Factis simul sideribus
etheris luminaribus
collaudaverunt angeli
factura praemirabili
immensae molis dominum
opificem celestium
preconia laudabile
debito et immobile
concentuque egregio
grates egerunt domino
amore et arbitrio
non naturae donario.

STANZA F

When together, æther’s wonder,
Shine the Stars, the Angels sing;
To th’ Immensity’s Designer,
Host on host, their anthems ring:
Songs right meet for adoration,
Glorious harmonies they raise;
Since they move not from their courses
Never-ending is their praise.
Noble concert in the highest
Is their offering full and free:—
‘Tis of love’s sincerest rapture
Not of natural decree.

— The Hiberno-Latin abecedarian hymn, Altus prosator, a sequence attributed to St. Columba, from Lays of Iona and Other Poems; English paraphrase by Samuel John Stone.

Tae Oor Dear Native Scenes

Title page of Rev. Alexander M. MacGregor’s Gaelic Topography of Balquhidder Parish.
Loch Voil, near Balquhidder.

Poem Inspired by a Gaelic Topography of Balquhidder Parish: Rev. Alex MacGregor, EUP 1886
The Cloud Collector: Poems & Story in Scots & English (Maud, Aberdeenshire: Lochlands 2015) by Sheena Blackhall

Field of the land producing thatch
Shieling of grinding wheat
Burn beside the dun coloured dell
Burn of the mournful bleat

Burn of the black waterfall
Burn of the windy space
Burn of the rock where MacRenish lived
A robber of that place

Burn of the hawthorn tree
Trough of the grey hound’s peak
Burn of the house of the ravine
Knoll of the men of peace

Pass of the dell of arrows
The dell of hides and skins
The hamlet of the hollow
Hill of the moaning winds

The coffer of the hand mill
The stone of the slender grass
Pass of the little bramble bush
Brae where the corpses pass

The glen suited for cattle
The hollow of the bog
The clachan of the stepping stones
Of Linn and fallen log

The fairy knoll of battles
The mountains of the mine
The black peak of the badgers
The ben of the creeping pine

Altus Prosator “E”

Creation of Adam (Vr) from Liber Chronicarum (the Nuremberg Chronicle).

CAPITULUM E

TITLE: De creatione elementorum mundi et hominis regentis ea
postea more regis
.

ARGUMENT: ‘In principio fecit Deus celum et terram’ ut in
Genesi dicitur
.–(Gen. i. 1.)

Excelsus mundi machinam
previdens et armoniam
caelum et terram fecerat
mare et aquas condidit
herbarum quoque germina
virgultorum arbuscula
solem lunam ac sidera
ignem ac necessaria
aves pisces et peccora
bestias et animalia
hominum demum regere
protoplastum praesagmine.

STANZA E

God, the Lord Most High, foreseeing
Nature’s concord full and sweet.
Moulded Heaven and Earth and Ocean
To one harmony complete:
Sprang the grasses, fair unfolding.
Copses burgeoned in the sun:
Beamed the sunlight, starlight, moonlight,
Firelight: all of need was done–
Birds for brake, and fish for waters.
Wild or tame kine for the sward–
Last, the highest, first created,
Man, Creation’s crown and lord.

— The Hiberno-Latin abecedarian hymn, Altus prosator, a sequence attributed to St. Columba, from Lays of Iona and Other Poems; English paraphrase by Samuel John Stone.

Eyesight of the Mind

“Certainly,” he said, “I do wish very much to be settled either in the English Church or somewhere else. I wish I knew what Christianity was; I am ready to be at pains to seek it, and would accept it eagerly and thankfully, if found. But it’s a work of time; all the paper-arguments in the world are unequal to giving one a view in a moment. There must be a process; they may shorten it, as medicine shortens physical processes, but they can’t supersede its necessity. I recollect how all my religious doubts and theories went to flight on my dear father’s death. They weren’t part of me, and could not sustain rough weather. Conviction is the eyesight of the mind, not a conclusion from premises; God works it, and His works are slow. At least so it is with me. I can’t believe on a sudden; if I attempt it, I shall be using words for things, and be sure to repent it. Or if not, I shall go right merely by hazard. I must move in what seems God’s way; I can but put myself on the road; a higher power must overtake me, and carry me forward.

— John Henry Newman, Loss and Gain.

De Chrenecruda

Si quis hominem occiderit et totam facultatem data habuerit unde tota lege conpleat XII juratores donare debet quod nec super terram nec subtus terram plus facultatem non habeat quam jam donavit. Et postea debet in casa sua introire et de quattuor angulos terrae in pugno collegere et sic postea in duropullo hoc est in limitare stare debet intus in casa respiciens et sic de sinistra manum de illa terra trans scapulas suas jactare super illum quem proximiorem parentem habet. Quod si jam pater et fratres solserunt tunc super suos debet illa terra jactare; id est super tres de generatione matris et super tres de generatione patris qui proximiores sunt. Et sic postea in camisia discinctus discalcius palo in manu sepe sallire debet ut pro medietate quantum conpositione diger est aut quantum lex addicat illi tres solvant hoc est illi alii qui de paterna generatione veniunt facere debent. Si vero de illis quicumque proximior fuerit ut non habeat unde integrum debitum solvat quicumque de illis plus habet iterum super illum chrenecruda ille qui pauperior est jactet ut ille tota lege solvat. Quam si vero nec ipse habuerit unde tota persolvat tunc illum qui homicidium fecit qui eum sub fidem habuit in mallo praesentare debent et sic postea eum per quattuor mallos ad suam fidem tollant. Et si eum in conpositione nullus ad fidem tullerunt hoc est ut redimant de quo non persolvit tunc de sua vita conponat.

J. Fr. Behrend, 2nd ed. revised by Richard Behrend, Lex Salica, Weimar: Hermann Böhlaus Nachfolger, 1897, cap. LVIII., pp. 121-123.

Out of Time

Alabaster relief in the British Museum, showing the martyrdom of Thomas Becket. Tag reads: “Alabaster showing Becket’s martyrdom.” and “About 1450-1500, England, Alabaster. PE 1890.0809.1”.

You think me reckless, desperate and mad.
You argue by results, as this world does,
To settle if an act be good or bad.
You defer to the fact. For every life and every act
Consequence of good and evil can be shown.
And as in time results of many deeds are blended
So good and evil in the end become confounded
It is not in time that my death shall be known;
It is out of time that my decision is taken
If you call that decision
To which my whole being gives entire consent.
I give my life
To the Law of God above the Law of Man.

T.S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral, p. 74.

One Red Rose

Postcard showing Castle Hill and the Castle Gardens, Dunoon, Argyll.

Charter under the Great Seal by King James III. to Colin Earl of Argyll, of the keeping of the Castle of Dunoon in Cowall.—18 Jan. 1472.

Jacobus Dei gratia Rex Scotorum Omnibus probis hominibus tocius terre sue clericis et laicis salutem. Sciatis quod commisimus, et tenore presentium committimus dilecto consanguineo nostro Colino Comiti de Ergile, Domino Lorn et Cambell, Magistro hospicii nostri, custodiam castri nostri de Dunvne, cum potestate constabularios, janitores, carcerum custodes, vigiles, ac ceteros Officiarios ad dicti Castri custodiam necessarios, constituendi, ac eosdem de suis officiis quotiens opus fuerit remouendi, et alios eorum loco imponendi; ac omnia alia et singula faciendi et perimplendi que ad dicti castri nostri custodiam necessaria fuerunt seu etiam oportuna. Pro cuiusquidem castri nostri custodia concessimus, et per presentes concedimus, et donamus, et pro perpetuo confirmamus eidem Colino, terras nostras de Bordlande cum pertinen, extenden, annuatim ad viginti septem marcas vsualis monete Regni nostri, jacen. in balliatu de Cowale, cum ceteris feodis ad custodiam dicti castri spectan. Tenend. et habend, custodiam dicti castri nostri de Dunvne, vnacum terris de Bordlande pro custodia eiusdem, dicto Colino et heredibus suis, de nobis heredibus et successoribus nostris in feodo et hereditate imperpetuum, cum omnibus et singulis libertatibus, commoditatibus, et asiamentis, ac justis suis pertinentiis quibuscunque, tam non nominatis quam nominatis, ad dictum officium custodie castri, et ad prefatas terras cum pertinen, spectan, seu quouismodo juste spectare valen. in futurum, adeo libere, quiete, plenarie, integre, honorifice, bene et in pace, sine reucatione aut retinemento nostri vel successorum nostrorum quorumcunque. Reddendo inde annuatim dictus Colinus et heredes sui nobis, heredibus, et successoribus nostris, vnam rosam rubeam, apud dictum castrum, pro dictis terris et officio, in festo natiuitatis beati Johannis Baptiste, nomine albe firme, si petatur. In cuius Rei testimonium presenti carte nostre magnum Sigillum nostrum apponi precipimus. Testibus reuerendis in Christo patribus Thoma Episcopo Aberdonensi, &c. Apud Edinburgh, decimo octauo die mensis Januarii Anno Domini millesimo quadringentesimo septuagesimo secundo, et Regni nostri Decimo tertio.—[Reg. Mag. Sig. VII. 189.]

The Union Is Dissolved

The State of South Carolina has recorded herself before the universe. In reverence before God, fearless of man, unawed by power, unterrified by clamor, she has cut the Gordian knot of colonial dependence upon the North — cast her fortune upon her right, and her own right arm, and stands ready to uphold alike her independence and her dignity before the world.

Charleston Mercury, 21 December 1860.

The Seal of South Carolina.

AN ORDINANCE

To dissolve the union between the State of South Carolina and other States united with her under the compact entitled “The Constitution of the United States of America.”

We, the people of the State of South Carolina, in convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained,

That the ordinance adopted by us in convention on the twenty-third day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and also all acts and parts of acts of the General Assembly of this State ratifying amendments of the said Constitution, are hereby repealed; and that the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of the “United States of America,” is hereby dissolved.

Done at Charleston the twentieth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty.

A By-word Eternally

[E]t dabo vos in opprobrium sempiternum, et in ignominiam æternam, quæ numquam oblivione delebitur.

[You shall be a laughing-stock for ever, a by-word eternally; time shall never efface the memory of your shame.]

Jeremias xxiii. 40.

“Claw for Claw”

St. Conan’s Holy Well, Dalmally, Glenorchy, Argyll.

“Claw for claw,” as St Conan said to the devil. The expression “blow for blow” occurs in Waverley, and in a note the following explanation is given of it.

In the Irish ballads relating to Fingal, or Fion, there occurs, as in the primitive poetry of most nations, a cycle of heroes, each of whom has some distinguishing attributes. Upon these qualities and the adventures of those possessing them many proverbs are formed which are still current in the Highlands. Amongst other characteristics Conan is distinguished as in some respects a kind of Thersites, but brave and daring even to rashness. He had made a vow that he would never take a blow without returning it, and having like other heroes of antiquity descended into the infernal regions he received a cuff from the Arch-fiend who presided, which he instantly returned, using the expression in the text. Sometimes the proverb is rendered thus–‘Claw for claw, and the devil take the shortest nails.’

We should be very unwilling to believe that St Conan and Thersites–the evil-minded, “scurrilous Grecian”–had anything in common, and though in those rough early days even a churchman–with little law to look up to or to help him–might now and then have to take it into his own hands, he could not well be a brawler, and at the same time retain the reputation for piety which we know was attached to St Conan. The Conan of the ballad of Fion may have been a Thersites, and the saying may have originated in his time, and may have been appropriated and applied to their master by the monkish scribes. At anyrate, one of them gives the following explanation of it: It appears that at one period of the saint’s earlier life the Evil One had great power in Argyllshire. We find in everyday life that one man, when disputing with another, will now and then find it politic to bargain and perhaps give way a little, even when he knows himself to be in the right, rather than provoke a contest in which he is not sure he will altogether be the victor, and so the good monk found it necessary to temporise with the Devil. There were many very bad characters–so says the old chronicler–in those days in the district of Lorn, or what we call Lorn now, to whom St Conan could not altogether deny the Fiend a right; some of whom were hopelessly wicked, and the latter was about sweeping them all, middling, bad and very bad, into his net. St Conan gave up the last and offered to draw alternately for the others, stating his determination if this proposal was refused of fighting most desperately for them all. The Devil, knowing how very formidable an opponent the saint would prove, agreed. The very black ones were raked away, and then the champions took in turn the souls of the remainder. It was while they were thus engaged that the saint made use of the memorable expression, for his great enemy grew so terribly excited in the grim game that he could not keep his turn, and was continually stretching out his awful hands for his prey. “Keep your turn,” thundered the saint, “play fair, claw for claw.”

The Highland Monthly, Vol. II, no. 18, September 1890.

Mary Aggie and Benefit of Clergy in Virginia

Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam;
et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum, dele iniquitatem meam.

Psalmus 50. iii.

LAWS OF VIRGINIA, MAY 1732−−5th & 6th GEORGE II.

CHAP. VII.

An Act for settling some doubts and differences of opinion, in relation to the benefit of Clergy; for allowing the same to Women; and taking away of Reading; and to disable certain Persons, therein mentioned, to be Witnesses.

I. WHEREAS it has been held, That where, by an act of parliament, made in England before the settlement of this colony, the benefit of clergy, as it is called, hath been taken away from any offences, that persons committing the like offences in this colony, are excluded by virtue thereof; but this opinion, if it were nicely examined, might possibly be questioned: And for settling the law in that point,

II. Be it enacted, by the Lieutenant-Governor, Council and Burgesses, of this present General Assembly, and by the authority of the same, That where, by any act of the parliament of England, made before the fourth year of the reign of the late king James the first, the benefit of clergy is taken away from any offence, the same shall hereafter be adjudged to be taken away from the like offence, committed in this colony, in respect to principals, and accessories standing mute, and challenging a greater number of the jury than the law allows.

III. And whereas the old distinction, of allowing the benefit of clergy, to men only, and excluding women, and putting the offender, being a layman, to read, hath been taken away by the parliament of England: Be it enacted, That where a man, being convicted of any felony, may demand the benefit of his clergy, if a woman be convicted of the same, or the like offence, upon her prayer to have the benefit of this act, judgment of death shall not be given against her upon such conviction, nor execution awarded upon any outlawry, for such offence; but she shall suffer the same punishment as a man should suffer, that has the benefit of his clergy allowed him in the like case; That is to say, shall be burnt in the hand by the jailor in open court, and shall be afterwards dealt with, as a man in the like case might be. And if any person be convicted of a felony, for which he ought to have the benefit of clergy, and shall pray to have the benefit of this act, he shall not be required to read, but without any reading, shall be allowed, taken, and reputed to be, and punished as a clerk convict; which shall be as effectual, to all intents and purposes, and as advantageous to him, as if he had read as a clerk; any other law or statute, to the contrary hereof, in any wise, notwithstanding. Clergy allowed to women.

IV. And whereas a question hath lately arisen, touching the right of negros, to the benefit of clergy: for the determination thereof, Be it further enacted, That when any negro, mulatto, or Indian whatsoever, shall be convicted of any offence within the benefit of clergy, judgment of death shall not be given against him or her, upon such conviction; but he or she, shall be burnt in the hand in open court, by the jailor, and suffer such other corporal punishment, as the court shall think fit to inflict; except where such negro, mulatto, or Indian, shall be convicted of manslaughter, or the felonious breaking and entring any house in the night-time, or for breaking and entring in the day-time any house, and taking from thence any goods or chattels whatsoever, to the value of five shillings sterling; and where he or she hath once had the benefit of this act; and in those cases, such negro, mulatto, or Indian, shall suffer death, and be excluded from the benefit of this act.

V. And whereas negros, mulattos, and Indians, have lately been frequently allowed to give testimony as lawful witnesses in the general court, and other courts of this colony, when they have professed themselves to be christians, and been able to give some account of the principles of the christian religion: but forasmuch as they are people of such base and corrupt natures, that the credit of their testimony cannot be certainly depended upon, and some juries have altogether rejected their evidence, and others have given full credit thereto: For preventing the mischiefs that may possibly happen by admitting such precarious evidence,

VI. Be it further enacted, That no negro, mulatto, or indian, either a slave or free, shall hereafter be admitted in any court of this colony, to be sworn as a witness, or give evidence in any cause whatsoever, except upon the trial of a slave, for a capital offence; in which such case they shall be allowed to give evidence, in the manner directed by one act of assembly, made in the ninth year of the reign of the late king George, intituled, An Act directing the trial of Slaves committing Capital Crimes; and for the more effectual punishing Conspiracies and Insurrections of them; and for the better government of Negros, Mulattos, and Indians, bond or free.