Beacon Lights of History, Volume 07 eBook

John Lord
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 245 pages of information about Beacon Lights of History, Volume 07.
his abstinence from all the enjoyments of the senses.  I speak not of luxury, for that was a stranger to him; he refused everything but what was indispensable for the sustenance of life.  He read continually, prayed often, and never spoke except when literary conversation or holy discussion compelled him to break silence.  His mind and tongue seemed concentrated on philosophical and divine instructions.  Simple, straightforward, reflecting on eternal judgments, shunning all evil, he consecrated the closing hours of an illustrious life.  And when a mortal sickness seized him, with what fervent piety, what ardent inspiration did he make his last confession of his sins; with what fervor did he receive the promise of eternal life; with what confidence did he recommend his body and soul to the tender mercies of the Saviour!”

Such was the death of Abelard, as attested by the most venerated man of that generation.  And when we bear in mind the friendship and respect of such a man as Peter, and the exalted love of such a woman as Heloise, it is surely not strange that posterity, and the French nation especially, should embalm his memory in their traditions.

Heloise survived him twenty years,—­a priestess of God, a mourner at the tomb of Abelard.  And when in the solitude of the Paraclete she felt the approach of the death she had so long invoked, she directed the sisterhood to place her body beside that of her husband in the same leaden coffin.  And there, in the silent aisles of that abbey-church, it remained for five hundred years, until it was removed by Lucien Bonaparte to the Museum of French Monuments in Paris, but again transferred, a few years after, to the cemetery of Pere la Chaise.  The enthusiasm of the French erected over the remains a beautiful monument; and “there still may be seen, day by day, the statues of the immortal lovers, decked with flowers and coronets, perpetually renewed with invisible hands,—­the silent tribute of the heart of that consecrated sentiment which survives all change.  Thus do those votive offerings mysteriously convey admiration for the constancy and sympathy with the posthumous union of two hearts who transposed conjugal tenderness from the senses to the soul, who spiritualized the most ardent of human passions, and changed love itself into a holocaust, a martyrdom, and a holy sacrifice.”

AUTHORITIES.

Lamartine’s Characters; Berington’s Middle Ages; Michelet’s History of
France; Life of St. Bernard; French Ecclesiastical Historians; Bayle’s
Critical Dictionary; Biographic Universelle; Pope’s Lines on Abelard and
Heloise; Letters of Abelard and Heloise.

JOAN OF ARC.

* * * * *

A.D. 1412-1431.

HEROIC WOMEN.

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Beacon Lights of History, Volume 07 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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