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several occupations of the religious life, or that life which those men and women whom Almighty God has called to devote themselves in a special way to His service live. The few who are called to give up all for God, to be alone with Him, and to serve Him 'with fastings and prayers night and day,' usually fulfil their high destiny by living for Him in the cloistral or in the eremitic life. The conversion of the heathen in this country was effected by men who had foregone the sacred enjoyments of 'Isaac's pure blessings and a verdant home,' that they might surrender themselves body and soul to God, and to preaching the gospel to the heathen for His sake. The life of perfect solitude was very congenial to the wild Celtic natures. To the desert islands of the Atlantic, or to caves along the storm-swept coasts, many saints retreated, and each in his own rocky habitation did daily battle with the unseen infernal powers, and realized the ineffable companionship of God alone. The monastic establishment of Iona, with all those dependent on it, was founded by Columba, on the model of his Irish houses. The family consisted of the abbot, the prior, the bishop, and the brethren and scholars. The abbot was all in all within the mother house, and the superior, who claimed unquestioning obedience of every institution professing the Columban rule, whether in Ireland or Scotland. To this supremacy of jurisdiction bishops even succumbed, yet without regard to the spiritual functions of a presbyter as opposed to those of a bishop, for the essential prerogatives of the Episcopal order were faithfully maintained. 'Thy measure of work of labour, till thy tears come,' was the rule of Colum-Cille, and the daily toils were specified as 'prayers, work, and reading'—' prayers,' which was an employment common to all the brethren, included attendance at the celebration of the Holy Communion, intercession, and the recitation of the
Divine office, that is, of certain psalms and prayers appointed to be said by the brethren, either together in the church or alone in their cells, at seven fixed hours of the day and night, which was called pre-eminently ' the work of God.' In manual labour and fitudy each took his part, as the abbot appointed for him, and as coincided most agreeably with the natural bent of his genius. The work in the library required sedulous attention, and the following list of books belonging to the monastery of Lochleven, in the Columban age, may afford a fair specimen of the literature of Iona. They consisted of a Pastoral, a Gradual, a Missal, an Origen, the Sentences of St. Bernard, several books of the Bible, a Treatise on the Sacraments, a Lectionary, the works of Prosper, Glosses on the Canticles, Interpretationes Dictionum, a collection of the 'Sentences,' a Commentary on Genesis, and a Treatise on the Exceptions from Ecclesiastical Rules. To multiply such books by faultless transcript was a primary monastic duty. This was the 'happy work,' 'in which,' said a monk, 'we discover the secret of preaching with our hands; of speaking with our fingers ; of declaring salvation to men in silence; and of contending with pen and ink against the crafty wiles of the Evil One.'1 Three hundred volumes are said to have been the work of St. Columba's patient pen alone. In the wonderful interlaced patterns of The Book of Deer, the oldest document of Scotland, we see the style of the Celtic caligraphy. Great part of a lifetime was frequently employed in copying and elaborately illuminating a single spiritual book, and it was a pious exaggeration which attributed the delicate wavy devices between the lines to the pens of the angels.2 But if books at
1 Cassiodorus, cited in Historical Sketches of Illumination, Monthly Packet, vol. ix. May 1870.
2 See The Art of Illuminating, Digby Wyatt.
Iona were few, there was assiduous study, and the great volumes of the B1ble and of Nature were never shut. The spirit of Irish Catholicism regulated the poorer church of St. Columba. The Irish Church had already called art and poetic genius into the service of religion, and as her handmaids they had begun their vast mission, which was to be successful in alluring countless souls to the love of God. 'In Ireland the monks were the artificers of the shrines, crosiers, book-covers, and bells, which yet excite our wonder by the grace, and, at the same time, the minute intricacy, of their style.'1 There were doubtless busy heads and hands in the workshop of Iona. The rest of the monks went out as missionaries, or fulfilled the domestic capacities of butler, baker, cook, and the like, while the most vigorous in body, and regardless of weather, went off on messages to Ireland, and to the many religious houses along the coast. To them also was consigned the care of the boats, and it was their business to procure fish for the establishment. There was also the private attendant on the abbot, and the librarian, who, besides the books, had the parchment, the ink-horns, and styles to look after, and who allotted to the scribes their work. In addition to all this, the grain had to be ground in the querne, the garments of the monks to be made and mended, the cows to be tended and milked, peats to be dried and stored, the buildings, assailed by many a storm, to be frequently repaired, and the corn and vegetables which, with fish and milk, formed their chief if not their only food, had to be cultivated on those tracks of the moor that had been taken in for fields and a garden. Columba was skilled in treating with the complaints of the body as well as the soul, and we may suppose that the preparation of herbs was
1 Sculptured Stones of Scotland, vol. ii. Pref. p. 16; Pref. to The Book of Deer, p. xxiii.
a part of their work. Thus the long summer days and winter evenings, and the brief hours of winter daylight, were busy with the continual offering up of the divine praises, and of manual or intellectual work, interrupted only by the meals, which are thought to have been two in number, and by the hours of recreation. By this means every one's soul was kept well guarded, for ' a labouring monk was but tempted by one devil, but an idle one was exposed to the assaults of a legion.'1 Of what the recreations of St. Columba and his children consisted we have no record, but we may imagine pleasant walks and cheerful converse, in summer at least, among the 'sweet lochs and dreamy shores of the Hebrides.' Very touching were the songs and hymns of those wild, simple hearts when Christianity had warmed and refined them :—
'That there should be in God's Son's heart
My two feet, my two hands;
1 Cassian, Instit. lib. x. c. xxiii.
* Book of the Dean of' Lismore, p. 158.
'0 Columcille of a hundred graces,
From the Dialogue of Columcille and Cormac in Hy.
St. Columba is the key-note of all the primitive memorials on his island. On the pebbly beach of the south side is his landing-place, ' the Bay of the Wicker Boat,' so called in allusion to the currach he sailed in from Ireland; there is 'the Hill of Angels' where he is said to have held high converse with those blessed spirits; and there is the 'City of the Silent,' the bur1al-place of St. Oran his disciple. But the one memorial which, through the wear and tear of fourteen hundred years, lasts unimpaired, is his Christian life. The spirit of the founder permeated his religious rule, and his children clung to him with a passionate affection. His fully developed character was a very rare combination of the most winning sweetness and of great strength, which could find expression, when required, in awful severity. To the natural advantages of illustrious birth and a tall graceful person were added not only all his Christianity, but the fruits of years of culture in the most learned seminaries