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with many interruptions, to the completion of his chief literary work, De Consideratione, "The Book of Consideration," which he addressed to his friend and disciple, Pope Eugenius.1 It was designed to place before him a graphic description of his high vocation as the follower of S. Peter; to indicate the abuses and corruptions that had gradually crept into the Papal system; to exhort him to root them out, and to rely upon the spiritual influence of the Papacy alone. It also aimed to withdraw his mind from earthly things by an elaborate analysis of the means through which the soul may attain to the loftiest elevation of which it is capable. Bernard complains of the manifold engagements which absorbed the time of the Popes; of their being employed to decide upon suits which were rather secular than ecclesiastical, and fell under the laws of Justinian rather than under those of Christ. Such occupations prevented the Pope from investigating the truth and meditating upon holy things; and Bernard advised him to get rid of them as far as possible by devolving some part of his jurisdiction upon others, by cutting short the speeches and artifices of lawyers, and by discouraging unnecessary and trivial appeals to Rome. With all his old eloquence he pointed out the dangers of pride and love of rule, and he declared that the splendour of the Papacy was copied, not from S. Peter, but from Constantine; that the Roman Church ought not to be the mistress of other churches, but their mother; the Pope, not the lord of other bishops, but their brother. He strongly condemned the frequent exemption of abbots from episcopal rule, and of bishops from obedience to their metropolitan. In language as energetic as was afterwards used by the hottest Reformer he condemned the greed, profligacy, and arrogance of the Papal Court. He warned Eugenius to exercise great care in his choice of officials and confidants, to cultivate justice and impartiality, and to advance resolutely, though gradually, towards a reformation of the prevalent abuses.2 In this book, the saint of Clairvaux, as Robertson remarks, by the unreserved plainness of his language and by the weight of his authority, supplied a potent weapon which, from age to age, was continually employed
1 It was written at the Pope's request.
5 Robertson, "History of the Christian Church," ii. 155—157.
by those who desired to reform the Church and the court of Rome. Luther spoke of it as "omni pontifici memoriter noscendus." In many respects it anticipated Luther, and had succeeding Popes acted on its advice and warnings, Luther's work might not have been needed, or at all events would have been more limited in its scope and less destructive in its effect. Indeed (says Morison), to any who can look below the surface, to any who can see through the varying costume which each successive age throws over the deeper characteristics of human nature, there will appear much in the Abbot of Clairvaux to remind them of the great Saxon Reformer. The same ardour, not to say hastiness of temper; the same bold and manly disregard of consequences in denouncing sin and falsehood; the same heroic intrepidity; the same real humility and gentleness under all their divine wrath.
Passing over Bernard's repression of certain heresies which arose in Languedoc, and his confutation of Gilbert de la Poiree, Bishop of Poitiers, who, following in the steps of Abelard, wandered into the paths of speculative inquiry, and broached heterodox views of the Trinity, we come to the close of our brief record. For some time the state of the saint's health had been daily growing more precarious. Such was the debilitated condition of his stomach that he could take no solid food, and even liquids gave him pain. He slept little; his legs and feet were enormously swollen; and he suffered from a distressing physical weakness, which confined him almost entirely to his bed. Yet his mind retained its vigour; he carried on an extensive correspondence; and his exhortations to his monks were numerous and earnest. With that practical broad sympathy which was one of the marked features of his character, he rose from his sick bed, and proceeded on a painful journey to Metz, to effect a settlement of the sanguinary contention between its burghers and the nobles of the country. It was fitting that the last public appearance of this zealous lover of peace and preacher of charity should be as a peace-maker and a benefactor. But on his return his disease attacked him with redoubled violence, and every day brought him nearer to the grave. He was not unwilling that it should be so. He felt that his work in life was done, and a sense of loneliness came upon him as one by one his friends preceded him; Suger first (1151),—then Count Thibaut of Champagne (1152),—and, lastly, his beloved disciple, Pope Eugenius'July, 1153). A slight improvement in his condition taking place, which he attributed with his usual lively faith to the prayers of his sorrowful monks, he exclaimed :— "Why do you thus detain a miserable man? You are the stronger, you prevail against me. Spare me, spare me, let me depart." Gradually he lost his interest in public affairs; that intellect, which for a quarter of a century, had made its mark upon Europe, sank into repose. When the Bishop of Langres came to visit him, he found that the dying saint could not give his attention to any secular concerns. "Marvd not," said Bernard; "for clearly I am not of this world."1
His friends, and the community which he had governed with so much gentle wisdom, were loth to say farewell, and with tears and prayers implored him not to leave them. Their deep affliction touched him, and for a moment he seemed to hesitate. Only for a moment. Lifting up his dove-like eyes,2 he said :—" Thy will be done."
And so he passed away, at the age of sixty-three, in the year 1153, on the 20th of August; "ascending," in the words of a contemporary chronicler, " from the Bright Valley to the Mount of Eternal Brightness." He was buried without ostentation in the conventual church, some relics of S. Thaddeus, which had been recently brought from Jerusalem, being laid, as he had desired, upon his breast. In 1174 he was admitted by Pope Alexander III. to the honour of canonization; and in 1830 Pope Pius VIII. confirmed to him the title of " Doctor."
1 "Tunc vero ipse flens cum flentibus."—Vit. Bern., p. 1179. "Columbinos oculos." All the chroniclers refer to the "dove-like simplicity and angelic purity" which shone in his eyes. S. Bernard was above ihe middle stature, of a singularly meagre frame, of a clear and fresh complexion, with a beard slightly inclining to red.