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The Spital Sermon derives its name from the priory and hospital of “our blessed Lady, St. Mary Spital,” situated on the east side of Bishopsgate-street, with fields in the rear, which now form the suburb, called Spitalfields. This hospital founded in 1197, had a large churchyard with a pulpit cross, from whence it was an ancient custom on Easter Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, for sermons to be preached on the Resurrection before the lord mayor, aldermen, sheriffs, and others who sat in a house of two stories for that purpose; the bishop of I cadon and other prelates being above them. In 1594, the pulpit was taken down and a new one set up, and a large house for the governors and children of Christ's Hospital to sit in.” In April 1559, queen Elizabeth came in great state from St. Mary Spital, attended by a thousand men in harness, with shirts of mail and croslets, and morris pikes, and ten great pieces carried through London unto the court, with drums, flutes, and trumpets sounding, and two morris dancers, and two white bears in a cart. On Easter Monday, 1617, king James I. having gone to Scotland, the archbishop of Canterbury, the lord keeper Bacon, the bishop of London, and certain other lords of the court and privy counsellors attended the Spital Sermon, with sir John Lemman, the lord mayor, and aldermen; and afterwards rode home and dined with the lord mayor at his house near Billingsgate. The hospital itself was dissolved under Henry VIII.; the pulpit was broken down during the troubles of Charles I. ; and after the restoration, the sermons denominated Spital Sermons were preached at St. Bride's church, Fleet-street, on the three usual days. A
writer of the last century" speaks of “a room being crammed as full of company, as St. Bride's church upon the singing a Spittle psalm at Easter, or an anthem on Cicelia's day,” but within the last thirty years the Spital Sermons have been removed to Christ church, Newgate-street, where they are attended by the lord mayor, the aldermen, and the governors of Christ's, St. Bartholomew’s, St. Thomas's, Bridewell, and Bethlem Hospitals; after the sermon, it is the usage to read a report of the number of children, and other persons maintained and relieved in these establishments. In 1825, the Spital Sermon, on Easter Monday was preached by the bishop of Gloucester, and the psalm sung by the children of Christ's Hospital was composed by the rev., Arthur William Trollope, D. D. head classical master. It is customary for the prelate on this occasion, to dine with the lord mayor, sheriffs, and aldermen at the Mansion-house. Hereafter there will be 1mention of similar invitations to the dignified clergy, when they discourse before the civic authorities. In 1766, bishop Warburton having preached before the corporation, dined with the lord mayor, and was somewhat facetious: “Whether,” says Warburton, “I made them wiser than ordinary at Bow (church,) I cannot tell. I certainly made them merrier than ordinary at the Mansionhouse; where we were magnificently treated. The lord mayor told me—“The common council were much obliged to me, for that this was the first time he ever heard them prayed for;' I said, “I considered them as a body who much needed the prayers of the church.’”f
An Easter Tule.
Under this title a provincial paper gives the following detail:—In Roman catholic countries it is a very ancient custom for the preacher to divert his congregation in due season with what is termed a Fabula Paschalis, an Eastern Tale, which was becomingly received by the auditors with peals of Easter laughter. During Lent the good people had morti
fied themselves, and prayed so much,
that at length they began to be rather discontented and ill-tempered; so that the clergy deemed it necessary to make a little fun from the pulpit for them, and thus give as it were the first impulse towards the revival of mirth and cheerfulness. This practice lasted till the 17th and in many places till the 18th century. Here follows a specimen of one of these tales, extracted from a truly curious volume, the title of which may be thus rendered:—Moral and Religious Journey to Bethlem; consisting of various Sermons for the safe guidance of all strayed, converted, and misled souls, by the Rev. Father ATTANAsy, of Dilling. “Christ our Lord was journeying with St. Peter, and had passed through many countries. One day he came to a place where there was no inn, and entered the house of a blacksmith. This man had a wife, who paid the utmost respect to strangers, and treated them with the best that her house would afford. When they were about to depart, our Lord and St. Peter wished her all that was good, and heaven into the bargain. Said the woman, ‘Ah! if I do but go to heaven, I care for nothing else.'— Doubt not,’ said St. Peter, * for it would be contrary to scripture if thou shouldest not go to heaven. Let what will happen, thou must go thither. Open thy mouth. Did I not say so : Why, thou canst not be sent to hell, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth, for thou hast not a tooth left in thy head. Thou art safe enough; be of good cheer.' Who was so overjoyed as the good woman 2 Without doubt, she took another cup on the strength of this assurance. §. our Lord was desirous to testify his thanks to the man also, and promised to grant him four wishes. “Well,' said the smith, ‘ I am heartily obliged to you, and wish that if any one climbs up the pear-tree behind my house, he may not be able to get down again without my leave.” This grieved St. Peter not a little, for he thought that the smith ought rather to have wished for the kingdom of heaven; but our Lord, with his wonted kindness, granted his petition. The smith's next wish was, that if any one sat down upon his anvil, he might not be able to rise without his permission; and the third, that if any one crept into his old flue, he might not have power to get out without his consent. St. Peter said, “Friend smith, beware what thou dost. These are all wishes that can bring thee no advantage; be wise, and let the remaining one be for everlasting life with the blessed in heaven.” The smith was not to be put out of his way, and thus
his ardent love of freedom, his hatred of oppression,
dour of Dr. Parr’s heart and mind. Undeviating
* Ned Ward in his Dancing School.
proceeded: “My fourth wish is, that my green cap may belong to me for ever, and that whenever I sit down upon it, no power or force may be able to drive me away.' This also received the fiat. Thereupon our Lord went his way with Peter, and the smith lived some years longer with his old woman. At the end of this time grim death appeared, and summoned him to the other world. “Stop a moment,' said the smith; “let me just put on a clean shirt, meanwhile you may pick some of the pears on yonder tree. Death climbed up the tree; but he could not get down again; he was forced to submit to the smith's terms, and promised him a respite of twenty years before he returned. When the twenty years were expired, he again appeared, and commanded him in the name of the Lord and St. Peter to go along with him. Said the smith, ‘ I know Peter too. Sit down a little on my anvil, for thou must be tired; I will just drink a cup to cheer me, and take leave of my old woman, and be with thee presently. But death could not rise again from his seat, and was obliged to promise the smith another delay of twenty years. When these had elapsed, the devil came, and would fain have dragged the smith away by force. ‘Holla, fellow !" said the latter; “that won't do. I have other letters, and whiter than thou, with thy black carta-bianca. But if thou art such a conjuror as to imagine that thou hast any power over me, let us see if thou canst get into this old rusty flue.' No sooner said than the devil slipped into the flue. The smith and his men put the flue into the fire, then carried it to the anvil, and hammered away at the oldone most unmercifully. He howled, and begged and prayed; and at last promised that he would have nothing to do with the smith to all eternity, if he would but let him go. At length the smith's guardian-angel made his appearance. The business was now serious. He was obliged to go ; the angel conducted him to hell. The devil, whom he had so terribly belaboured, was just then attending the gate; he looked out at the little window, but quickly shut it again, and would have nothing to do with the smith. The angel then conducted him to the gate of heaven. St. Peter refused to admit him. ‘Let me just peep in,’ said the smith, “that I may see how it looks within there.' No sooner was the wicket
There is a remarkable notice by Dr. E. D. Clarke, the traveller, respecting a custom in the Greek islands. He says, “...A., circumstance occurs annually at Rhodes which deserves the attention of the literary traveller: it is the ceremony of carrying Silenus in procession at Easter. A troop of boys, crowned with garlands, draw along, in a car, a fat old man, attended with great pomp. I unfortunately missed bearing testimony to this remarkable example, among many others which I have witnessed, of the existence of pagan rites in popular superstitions. I was informed of the fact by Mr. Spurring, a naval architect, who resided at Rhodes, and Mr. Cope, a commissary belonging to the British army; both of whom had seen the procession. The same ceremony also takes place in the island of Scio.” It is only necessary here to mention the custom, without adverting to its probable origin. According to ancient fable, Silenus was son to Pan, the god of shepherds and huntsmen; other accounts reresent him as the son of Mercury, and oster-father of Bacchus. He is usually described as a tipsey old wine-bibber; and one story of him is, that having lost
his way in his cups, and being found by some peasants, they brought him to king Midas, who restored him “to the jolly god.” Bacchus, and that Bacchus, grateful for the favour, conferred on Midas the power of turning whatever he touched into gold. Others say that Silenus was a grave philosopher, and Bacchus an enterprising young hero, a sort of Telemachus, who took Silenus for his Mentor, and adopted his wise counsels...The engraving is after an etching by Worlidge, from a sardonyx gem in the possession of the duke of Devonshire.
Øpril 6. OLD LADY-DAY. St. Sirtus I. Pope, 2d Cent. 120 Persian Martyrs, A. D. 345. St. Celestiue, Pope, a. d. 432. St. JPilliam, Abbot of Eskille, A. D. 1203. St. Prudentius, Bp A. D. 861. St. Celsus, in Irish Ceallach Abp. A. D. 1129. Chronology. 1348. Laura de Noves died. She was born in 1304, and is celebrated for having been beloved by Petrarch, and for having returned his passion by indiffer. ence. He fostered his love at Vaucluse, a romantic spot, wherein he had nothing to employ him but recollection of her charms, and imagination of her perfections. These he immortalized in sonnets while she lived; Petrarch survived her six and thirty years. Francis I., who compared a court without ladies to a spring without flowers, caused Laura's tomb to be opened, and threw verses upon her remains complimentary to her beauty, and the fame she derived from her lover's praises. 1803. Colonel Montgomery and captain Macnamara quarrelled and fought a duel at Primrose-hill, because their dogs quarrelled and fought in Hyde-park. Captain Macnamara received colonel Montgomery's ball in the hip, and colonel Montgomery received captain Macnamara's ball in the heart. is exchange of shots being according to the laws of duelling and projectiles, Colonel Montgomery died on the spot. Captain Macnamara was tried at the Old Bailey, and, as a man of honour, was acquitted by a jury of men of honour. The laws of England and the laws of christianity only bind honourable men; men of honour govern each other by the superior power of sword and pistol. The humble suicide is buried with ignominy in a cross road, and a finger-post marks his grave for ublic scorn; the proud and daring duelist reposes in a christian grave beneath marble, proud and daring as himself.
St. Ædesius, A. D. 306. St. Perpetuus, Bp. A. D. 491. St. Walter, Abbot, A. D. 1099. B. Albert. Patriarch of Jerusalem, A. D. 1214.
CHRONology. 1341. The expression of Petrarch's o for Laura, gained him sueh celerity, that he had a crown of laurels placed upon his head, in the metropolis of the papacy, amidst cries from the Roman people, “Long live the poet!” 1364. John, king of France, who had been brought prisoner to England by Edward, the Black Prince, in his captivity, died at the Savoy-palace, in the Strand.
FLORAL DIRECTORY. Ground Ivy. Glecoma hederacea. Dedicated to St. Dionysius.
2pril 9. St. Mary of Egypt, A. p. 421. The Massylitan Martyrs in Africa. St. Eupsychius. The Roman Captives, Martyrs in Persia, year of Christ 362, of Sapor 53. St. Waltrude, or Vautrude, commonly called Paudru, Widow, A. D. 686. St. Gaucher, or Gautier, Abbot, A. D. 1130. St. Dotto, Abbot. CHRONology. 1488. The great lord Bacon died, aged 66. He fell from distinguished station to low estate, by having cultivated high wisdom at the expense of every day wisdom. “Lord Bacon,” says Rushworth, “ was eminent over all the christian world for his many excellent writings. He was no admirer of money, yet he had the unhappiness to be defiled therewith. He treasured up nothing for himself, yet died in debt.” His connivance at the bribery of his servants made them his master and wrought his ruin. The gifts of suitors in the chancery rendered him suspected, but his decrees were so equitable that no one was ever reversed for its injustice. Let him who lacking wisdom desires to know, and who willing to be taught will patiently learn, make himself master of “Bacon's Essays.” It is a book more admired than read, and more read than understood, because of higher thought than most readers dare to compass. He who has achieved the “Essays” has a master-key to Bacon's other works, and consequently every department of English literature. 1747.
Lord Lovat was executed on
emperor, sent an order to Seneca to destroy himself. The philosopher complied by opening his veins and taking poison. During these operations he conversed calmly with his friends, and his blood flowing languidly he caused himself to be |. in a hot bath, till Nero's soldiers
ecoming clamorous for quicker extinction of his life, it was necessary to carry him into a stove and suffocated him by steam." A distinguished French writert quotes a passage from Seneca remarkable for its christian spirit; but this passage is cited at greater length by a living English author,t in order to show that Seneca was acquainted with christian principles, and in reality a christian.
We may almost be sure that it was impossible for Paul to have preached “in his own hired house,” at Rome, without Seneca having been attracted thither as an auditor, and entered into personal communication with the apostle. There exists a written correspondence said to have passed between Paul and Seneca, which, so far as regards Seneca's epistles, many learned men have supposed geInuine.
While Nero followed Seneca's advice, Rome enjoyed tranquillity. This emperor, who was tyrannical to a proverb, commenced his reign by acts of clemency, his sole object seemed to be the good of his people. . When required to sign a list of malefactors, authorizing their execution, he exclaimed, “I wish to heaven I could not write.”. He rejected flatterers; and when the senate commended the justice of his government, he desired them to keep their praises till he deserved them. Such conduct and sentiments were worthy the ". of Seneca, and the Romans imagined their happiness secure. But Nero's sensual and tyrannical disposition, which had been repressed only for
a time, soon broke forth in acts of mon
strous cruelty. He caused his mother Agrippa to be assassinated, and divorced his wife Octavia, whom he banished to Campania. The people, enraged at his injustice toward the empress, so openly expressed their indignation that he was compelled to recall her, and she returned to the capital amidst shouts of exultation.
+ Bayle, Art. Pericles, note. i lor. John Jones, “On the Truth of the Christian eligion.”