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divisions, and her aim was to achieve a universal transformation of the Church, which should leave catholicity intact. It was a beautiful dream, for which she would gladly have sacrificed everything, but the event showed that it could never be more than a dream.
In the eyes of the Sorbonne, Margaret was regarded as the great enemy of the papacy, and they left nothing untried to bring her into disgrace with the king and to compel her to a public recantation of her errors. She had in the year 1581 published a religious poem entitled “The Mirror of the Sinful Soul." The book is one of holy and beautiful meditations, and everything of a controversial nature is avoided in it; at the same time not the least mention is made of the mediation of the saints, purgatory, penances, nor of any of the prominent doctrines of the Romish creed. The only over-act of dissent with which Margaret could be charged was her translation of the prayer " Salve Regina" (Hail, Queen!) into French verse, applying it entirely to Jesus Christ instead of to the Virgin Mary. In 1533 a new edition of this work was issued at Paris, and as it was usual for the University to appoint commissioners to examine every new book admitted into the College library, and all authors were bound to present their works to the Sorbonne, Margaret's poem came under the inspection of the Commissioners.
After a slight examination of its contents they ordered the book to be placed on the list of prohibited works, feigning to be ignorant of its author. The Sorbonne immediately published a censure on the books indicated, forbidding them to be read by the faithful. This decree was publicly placarded with a list appended of the works condemned as heretical. When the king heard of these proceedings his indignation knew no bounds; he instituted a searching investigation into the whole matter, and commanded his own confessor, the Bishop of Senlis to undertake the defence of his sister's work before the assembled university. The bishop, who was a faithful friend of Margaret, undertook her defence with enthusiasm. He silenced all opponents by his boldness and his eloquence, and even his declaration, that neither by her pen nor by her deeds had the Queen of Navarre offended against the ancient doctrine and discipline of the Church of Rome, was unmet by one dissentient voice. Many were the other attempts made by the Romish party to ruin the queen in her brother's favour. One fanatic monk had the boldness to propose publicly that she should be seized, tied up in a sack and thrown into the Seine, but all these attacks only turned to the shame of their instigators, while they tended rather to the furtherance of the Gospel.
Much of Margaret's life, its serenest and happiest portions, were spent at her husband's palace at Pau, where she found refuge from the gaieties and turmoil of her brother's court, and devoted herself to the good of her subjects. It was the ambition of her husband, as well as herself, to convert the barren and uncultivated lands of Bearn into a garden like the luxuriant mid-provinces of France. Accordingly, they encouraged and promoted agricultural labours, of which the inhabitants till then had known very little ; they also established a large cloth manufactory. Margaret obtained a complete mastery over the dialect of the country, and granted audience to all who desired admission into her presence.
She made it her custom to visit the sick and the aged at their own homes, and often, when she heard of any case of peculiar distress, she would secretly quit her palace, followed by only one attendant, and herself make every enquiry into all its particulars. Her own physicians were frequently dispatched to the help of the sick poor, while she relieved them by gifts of money and other necessaries. She took delight in founding schools; and the amiable and devout Roussel, who was her chaplain, regularly visited the schools for the religious instruction of the children. Dear children,” he would say, “the death of Christ is a real atonement. There is no sin so small as not to need it, and none so great that it cannot be blotted out by it. Praying to God is not muttering with the lips. Prayer is earnest and serious talking with the Lord.” Margaret was continually surrounded by a troop of sufferers for whom she showed the tenderest respect. These were the refugees from Paris and other parts of France, Lefevre, Gerard Roussel, and other converted priests and monks who had been compelled to leave their own districts, and had been aided by her in their flight. Daily she studied the Bible under the guidance of Gerard Roussel and his brother Arnaud, and, aided by most of the reformed ecclesiastics who had sought refuge in Bearn, she drew up that confession of faith which she afterwards presented to her brother, which was called, "La Messe à Sept Points,” because in seven of its articles it differed from the doctrine and practice of the Church of Rome. Margaret's uniform desire and aim was, that the Reformation should be eventually sanctioned by the Church of Rome itself. It was the same with that urged in the profitless assemblies of Constance and Basle, and now, as then, such a compromise was found impossible.
Our space will not permit us to linger longer over the details of this troubled and eventful life. We hasten to a close. In the spring of the year 1547, at the age of 52, Francis I. died. It seemed as if the light of Margaret's life was extinguished in the death of her brother. For in spite of difference of character and of sentiment, surely nowhere in the annals of story is there to be met with an instance of more constant, and tender, and even romantic affection than subsisted between this brother and sister from their earliest childhood. After he was taken from her she spent the short remainder of her life in the greatest retirement. All her interest in literature and politics seemed to cease, and only religion occupied her thoughts. Her health, too, declined visibly.
In the year that followed her brother's death her husband travelled with her for many months from place to place, hoping by change of air and scene to restore her health and cheer her sadness. A good deal of her time she also spent at a convent in Tusson, where she had commanded apartments to be prepared for her use. While there she devoted herself to religious exercises, suffering no worldly interests to divert her thoughts, and in stillness meditated the great change which she felt persuaded was not, for her, far off. She had suffered much from dread of death. The thought of the mysterious separation between the soul and the body, and of going alone into the unseen world of spirits, was one that filled her with apprehension. The condition
of departed spirits was a subject on which her mind was often deeply and painfully occupied. One day, as some one was talking in her presence of the unspeakable joys of heaven and the futuro glorious destiny of God's children,—"All this is true," said Margaret, sadly; “but alas ! before that glorious consummation the body sleeps long beneath in the earth.” But as her body became weaker and she came nearer the dreaded change, all her fears seemed to be removed, and faith and hope took full possession of her soul. One day, during feverish sleep, she dreamed that a beautiful and majestic being, clad in robes of dazzling brightness, stood by her bed, and in sweetest accents assured her that in a very little time God himself would place the crown of immortality on her brow. This dream made a deep impression on her mind, and she regarded it as an intimation that the time of her departure was very near. Her illness settled into a severe attack of pleurisy, and her sufferings became intense, but patience had in her its perfect work. During the three last days of her life-days of great bodily anguish, Margaret lost the power of speech. It must have been at this period, when
probably rendered unconscious by suffering, that she received extreme unction · from the hands of a Franciscan monk, who stated, after her death, that he had administered it to her, and whose testimony was eagerly accepted and reproduced by Romish historians eager to redeem her fame from the stain of heresy. It has even been asserted by some Romish historians that Margaret had, previous to her death, made a statement that she had never swerved in her allegiance to Rome, but it is impossible to receive this assertion, for no other proof is pretended to exist beyond the testimony of this one obscure monk, whose name is never mentioned in history except as witness to this alleged fact. Had Margaret on her death-bed desired to abjure the principles she had spent her life in defending, her recantation must have been received and recorded by some distinguished prelate or other dignitary of the Church. The castle of Odos, where she died, was at a short distance of the residence of the bishop who presided over one of the most important Sees of Southern France. Had there been in the mind of Margaret any anxiety for that last rite on which a devout Romanist believes his salvation to depend, her husband could not have failed to send for those prelates who would have deeply rejoiced to receive the royal penitent back into perfect communion with the true Church.
Margaret died at the castle of Odos, in Bigorre, December 21st, 1549, at the age of 57. Her remains, as they lay in state, were visited by hundreds of her poor subjects, and the tears wept over her by these were a tribute to her memory more real and touching, than all the eloquent eulogiums by which the learned men of Europe celebrated the loss of their benefactress.
AROUND THE CROSS.
II.-NUMBERED WITH THE TRANSGRESSORS.
He was not Himself a transgressor. of Jesus, to give sentence that He Neither against God nor Cæsar did should be crucified. Before this He ever sin. To this fact Scripture sentence was finally given, Jesus was gives great prominence. It was a brought into strange and involuntary fact of the utmost importance and of competition with a real transgressor the utmost singularity. Such an
who had already been tried and conoccurrence had never taken place demned. before in the history of mankind. This was Barabbas. 6. Now BarabFrom the day when our first parents bas was a robber," says John. Putting fell was it not heard or known that together the various notices of him by any of their descendants had lived the other evangelists, he was without sin. Great men and good "notable prisoner" (Matt. xxvii. 16); men there had been, not a few men " which lay bound with them that had honoured of God with visions of things made insurrection with him, who had divine and unseen, men empowered of committed murder in the insurrecGod to work mighty works—but a (Mark xv. 7); " who for a sinless man there had not been, nor certain sedition made in the city, and even a man claiming to be sinless. for murder was cast into prison" But now at last there was. And it (Luke xxii. 19);~"plainly a ringwas the strangest thing that had ever leader in one of those fierce and been seen on the earth.
fanatic outbreaks against the Roman But although Himself sinless, Jesus domination, which on a large scale or a was numbered with the transgressors;
small so fast succeeded one another in not merely with mankind, all of them the latter days of the Jewish commontransgressors of the law of God, but wealth. This at once explains how with those who were transgressors in it was possible for the chief priests, & way and sense which exposed them with their religious pretensions, to to the penalties of public law. On show the interest on his behalf which the assumption that He was such a they did (Matt. xxvii. 20; Mark xv. transgressor, He was arrested by the 11), and explains no less the enthu. officers of the law, and was tried first siasm with which the Jewish populace by the ecclesiastical rulers, and then demanded his liberation (Luke xxiii. by the civil ruler of the land. The 18).
18). He was the popular hero, who ecclesiastical rulers had caused His had sought to realise his own and arrest, were resolved to compass His their idea of the kingdom of God by death, speedily found Him guilty of violence and blood; who had actually blasphemy, and decreed that He should been that which they wanted Jesus to die. But not having power to execute be, and which, because He refused their sentence, they became His pro- to be, they were now so eager to secutors before the civil ruler, and destroy Him. He had wrought, we succeeded in inducing him, contrary may well believe, in that false Messias to his own conviction of the innocence spirit, which was filling with wild and
insane hopes the whole nation, and rapidly hurrying it to that final conflict with the Roman power, in which as a nation it should be for ever broken in pieces. .... Whether, indeed, Barabbas had actually played the part of a false Christ, and set himself up as the true, we have no means of knowing. It is certainly far from unlikely. . Keeping in mind the significance of names in Scripture, we can hardly fail to recognise a fearful mockery in his name, Barabbas, (“Son of the Father"), as though in the very name which he bore, not to speak of the work which he wrought, he should be the devil's counterfeit and caricature of the true Holy One of God. This suggestion would acquire increased probability, if it could certainly be affirmed that he was not merely named Barabbas, but Jesus Barabbas, the lying counterpart, even to his human name, of the true Saviour of men.”
Archbishop Trench inclines to the belief that such really was the name of the robber whose release was demanded by the Jews. It is well known that in some ancient MSS. and versions the name “ Jesus Barabbas” occurs, and the form of Pilate's question is supposed to corroborate the genuineness of this reading, as if he had said, “ Whom will ye that I release unto you? Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ ?” (Matt. xxvii. 17). And again, “ What shall I do with Jesus which is called Christ ?”—Matt. xxvii. 22)—as if it were, “If ye will that I release unto you Jesus Barabbas, what shall I do with Jesus that is called Christ ?" But, plausible as this appears, there is another form of expression which tells the other way. “ The chief
priests and elders persuaded the mul. titude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus ” (Matt. xxvii. 20) -a form of expression which could scarcely have been used if the name “ Jesus” belonged to both. But assuming that it did, the archbishop well remarks, “ It is at first strangely startling to think that this identity of name could possibly have existed ; and yet He who bore every other scorn and shame, why should He not have also borne this?"
“Numbered with transgressors,” before the Roman judge. It is humiliating to our common nature to find that the real transgressor was “preferred before" the alleged transgressor, although that alleged transgressor had been known for years as going about doing good. Again, he was “ numbered with transgressors on Calvary.". There “two thieves were crucified with Him, one on the right hand and the other on the left” (Matt. xxvii. 38)--two “ robbers," rather. The word is the same as that used by John when he says, “ Now, Barabbas was a robber.” And there can be little doubt that the two robbers crucified with Jesus were companions and followers of Barabbas, some of those who “had made insurrection with him," and had been imprisoned with him. We are not to think of them, then, as mere thieves or stealers, but as robbers. And their robbery being connected with sedition and insurrection, we cannot be wrong in associating them with those “ wild and stormy zealots who maintained in arms a last and hopeless protest against the yoke of the stranger," but who at the same time, as outlaws, gave themselves up to a life of rapine and violence. The two men who