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name of the Dry Valley, or Barren Bottom, which was changed into the title of Finhon, which, in old Welch, signifies a fountain or well. 'Twas also observed, that the stones of the well were tinctured with drops, as it were of blood, to perpetuate the memory of what she had shed for the love of Christ, and in process of time, it was taken notice of, that the moss growing round the well had a very fragrant smell, as an emblem of the odour of her angelic virtues.
" To close the last act of this inhuman tragedy, and to relate the dreadful stroke of divine justice on the cruel tyrant, we are to premise with brevity; that the just grief of the holy virgin's parents, is not to be expressed, seeing their dear child, so villanously butchered almost before their eyes. St. Beuno's virtue was also put to the test, to bear with true resignation the loss of so devout a creature. Tears came trickling down his cheeks, at the sight of the horrid murder. The afflicted people, with united voices, called upon Heaven for speedy execution against him who had committed that heinous outrage. Indignation accompanied compassion, when they beheld the unrelenting assassin, wiping his bloody sword upon the grass, and glorying in the detestable fact, without any fear of God or man.
Saint Beuno was preparing to offer the unbloody sacrifice of our redemption; but being inspired by him, who declared, revenge to me, and I will repay it; (Deut. xxxii
. 35.) he left the altar, and taking the blessed martyr's head in his trembling hands, he mounted the ascent towards Crado
He feared not such a blow as was given to the tender virgin; on the same account for the love of Christ, he would have bid it welcome. Faithful servants of God dread nothing, sin only excepted. Being come up to him, he said: Thou wicked man! who without any regard to innocence, or beauty, has massacred a princely virgin, no less nobly born than thyself. Nor dost thou repent, or seem sorry as thou oughtest to do, for this horrid sacrilege. I here beseech my heavenly Lord, that for an example to others, he will please to execute his divine judgment against thee, who has murdered his spouse, troubled his people, violated his sabbath, and besprinkled this holy house with blood, which I consecrated to his service. As the earth swallowed up rebellious and perverse Corah, so some affirm, that at Saint Beuno's last words, Cradocus not only dropped down dead, but also that the earth opened, to give passage to the luxurious body to sink towards his monstrous soul, or that the master whom he had served, the devil, carried it off; for it is certain, that the carcass of the cruel murderer never afterwards appeared.
" The faithful glorified God in his justice, but could not curb their grief. Saint Beuno earnestly exhorted the parents and people to turn from lamentations, and to address the Creator of souls, and Raiser up of dead bodies, that as he commanded back Lazarus to life, rotting in his monument, so, to his great honour and glory, and for the comfort of the sorrowful parents, who had so generously dedicated this darling child to his service, he would graciously vouchsafe to restore her to bled up at that very instant, for a perpetual miracle, in witness of God's approbation of the confession of faith made by his handmaid.” This spring is also remarkable for its healing qualities; and the monks of St. Francis have a chapel beside it, as St. Wenefride had for ages at her holy well. See Frauds of Romish Monks and Priests, rol. 1, p.4.
life. He then joined the sacred head to the pale body, covering both with his cloak; after which he offered up the holy sacrifice of our salvation.
“ After mass was ended, he, lifting up his hands to heaven, made the following prayer. '0, Lord Jesus Christ! for whose sake this holy virgin contemned the world, and languished after thee; by the tender bowels of thy mercy, love, and bounty, be graciously pleased to grant us the effect of our vows and prayers, humbly offered unto thee. We are fully persuaded, that this godly virgin, who lived holily, and died for thee with great constancy, is now highly exalted, and wants no more the society of us mortal and miserable creatures. Yet to mani. fest thy omnipotence and supreme dominion, which thou hast over our souls and bodies, which are never dead to thy power of reuniting them; as also to multiply the merits of that soul whose body lies here before us: we crave a second life for her; to the end, that after a long and plentiful harvest, laden and enriched with new merits, she may return unto thee, her eternal Spouse, and the beloved of her heart; who with the Father and the Holy Ghost, rulest on earth, and reignest in heaven, for ever and ever. The pious people, drowned in tears, having with sighs and moving sobs answered devoutly, Amen; the virgin arose as newly awaked from sleep. She wiped her eyes and face, to clear away that glorious dust, which had settled on her lovely head, when it tumbled towards her dear Saint Beuno. The decollation of Saint Wenefride is celebrated on the 22d of June.
"Contemplate here, dear reader, the joy and admiration, which then transported all present, at this wonderful miracle. Tears burst out more plentifully, but flowing from a different cause. They magnified and blessed the boundless goodness of her great God, every one resolving to rise with the saint, to a newness of reforming their past lives. One particular in this surprising resuscitation is very remarkable, viz. When her parents, and others, fixed their eyes upon her neck, they observed a pure white circle, no larger than a small thread, quite round it, denoting the place, where the separation had been made; which always after remained. From this, the great veneration of the people for her, changed her name, which was Brewa, into that of Wenefride. Wen in the old British tongue signifies white, and other letters were by an alteration added to this syllable, to render more agreeable the sound of the new name. In the many apparitions after her second death, when she showed herself to her devout clients, they always took special notice of the aforesaid white circle, which intimated to them the indelible mark of her Spouse's affection, for suffering that mortal wound so courageously for his sake."
We have next a few pages of what are meant for pious reflections: and certainly many of the words are such as are used in pious discourses; but considering that they are used for promoting the worship of an idol, they are nauseous as were the frantic devotions of the worshippers of the golden calf, when they said, “These be thy gods, O Israel
, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.' " Whatever this incredulous age may think of this great miracle of our saint's return to life; it appeared so evident to the West Britons, and redounded so much to the honour of God's church, St. Beuno's sanctity, and the power he had with his Creator, that many pagan
people, remaining in those parts, came to hear the holy man's instructions in the Catholic faith, and to receive baptism.
"St. Wenefride, according to her former practice, like Mary at the feet of Christ, sat on a low seat before him. She was never satiated with the heavenly manna, which fell from his angelical tongue. She counted as nothing what she had already done, or suffered, and rest. less to be more strictly united to her beloved Spouse, she aspired to the height of perfection. Wherefore she most humbly begged upon her knees, to be solemnly veiled, (according to the custom of the primitive ages,) that by entering into a religious course of life, she might put hell to great confusion, which had fiercely attempted to dishonour God and herself: but mostly, that she might pour forth her soul in the presence of her eternal Spouse, with a flaming and disengaged heart, entirely his, and say, Behold, I have left all things and have followed thee. (St. Matt. xix. 27.)
"St. Beuno, with tears of joy, complied with this religious request, and performed the ceremony in a numerous assembly. He knew to what a degree of sanctity the Spirit of God would raise her, for his own glory, and the improvement of others; therefore he spent whole days in cultivating her soul, in what regarded a religious state. She, as an apt scholar, took in so fast the frequent lessons, and put them in practice so punctually that it struck her master into admiration. He finding her so far advanced in an interior life, that she was even able to direct and govern others in the way of perfection; one day called for her parents, and after the following manner delivered unto them his sentiments and resolutions.
"As you (said he) have most liberally bestowed a church and house for the service of God, and for the help and benefit of the faithful, so his Divine Majesty has more than sufficiently requited your charity, by conferring on you spiritual favours, but more especially on your child, whom, for the time to come, you may follow as a safe guide, in our blessed Redeemer's service. I am called on by Heaven to another place; and I leave you to the grace and goodness of God, and to the rare example of your daughter.' Then turning to Saint Wenefride, he said, 'Our Lord, dear child, has appointed you to succeed in my labours. March on in the way of virtue as I have taught you, and guide others in the road to eternal life. Gather in this very place, for your heavenly Spouse, many pure and devout virgins; but know withal, that here you shall not end your days; for after the term of seven years spent by you in prayer and austerities, for your own merits, and edification of others, our gracious Lord will summon you to another place, that strangers may be instructed by you, and come to the true knowledge and service of Him, for whose sake you fell a victim of purity
" When the ancients of Ephesus had heard St. Paul declare unto them, that they should see no more his face, (Acts xx. 25,) they fell upon his neck, and there was great weeping. In like manner, when Saint Wenefride was acquainted by her admired master, that she should not see him any more in this world, a lawful grief seemed to overwhelm her. To comfort her in such deep affliction, Saint Beuno took her by the hand, and led her to to the crystalline fountain, the place of her martyrdom; where they, sitting together on a stone, bearing to this day the name of Saint Beuno's stone, and which lieth now in the outward well; .You see (said he) the monument here of your sufferings. Behold also the stones, as tinctured with your blood, which was shed for the glory of your heavenly Spouse. Be you therefore attentive, and mindful of what I do foretel you, concerning three special favours, whereby your glorious Spouse, Jesus Christ, will hereafter honour yourself, and by your prayers, benefit others. The first is, that these bloody spots shall never be washed off from the said stones, but ever remain, as triumphant signs of your blood, spilt in defence of your chastity. The second is, that any person who shall devoutly ask temporal blessings, or freedom from spiritual or corporcal distresses, to be obtained by your merits and intercession, the saine shall compass his request, if it be to the honour and glory of God, by paying their devotions three times at this well. If what he petitions for be not for the advantage of his soul, and therefore is not granted; at his death, by your prayers, he shall reap more ample fruit, and in the next world everlasting blessings. The third, that after my departure into a more remote part of this island, God will give me a cell near unto the seashore; so that whenever you send any letters or tokens to me, as I entreat you to do at least once every year, only cast them into the stream of this fountain, and they will come safe unto me. Which wonders will be gloriously divulged of you, to the end of the world.'
" He then conducted her back to the church; where he added : •Behold this church and buildings round it, which have been raised by the munificence of your parents; these I leave unto you to be converted into a monastery of chaste and holy virgins, who, moved by your pious instructions and exemplary life, my put in practice those divine lessons which I have often delivered unto you: that is, the contempt of the world, and an entire abnegation of themselves; which are the foundation of religious perfection. Strive therefore, dear child, in all things to exhibit yourself as a lively pattern of virtue. As to my poor self, I will go whither the Spirit of God shall direct me, and shall ever retain in my heart and soul, a most fatherly and loving memory of you.,
" It must not then seem strange, that the tender heart of this doleful virgin, was ready to split asunder with grief, at the last adieu in this world. The more he attempted to sweeten this bitter separation, his charming words caused her swelling sorrow to float higher; insomuch, that when she saw him, with his staff in his hand, ready to depart, she rated the approaching loss, as the heaviest cross upon earth, and could not forbear expressing thus herself unto him: 'Now, holy father, I am to be left alone, as a poor orphan child without a nurse, or as a silly sheep amongst ravenous wolves, without a pastor to defend me. I was always safe with you, always joyful in your presence, always instructed by your exhortations, and edited by your example.' These words attended with flowing tears, so much oppressed Saint Beuno's heart, that not being able to utter any answer, he blessed her with his hand, and hastened his pace in the beginning of his journey.
“Nothing now could comfort her, save only the fresh remembrance of all his pious instructions, and an earnest desire of executing obediently his commands. Accordingly, in a short time she associa
ted to herself many noble and devout virgins, who observed such rules as she established for them. She ordered nothing but what first she practised herself, and miracles were not wanting to increase her authority and the opinion of her sanctity. Their love and respect towards her, caused each of them to contend who should be most forward in the imitation of her rare perfections. They nauseated sordid pleasures, they undervalued wealih and honours, and they seemed to be inhabitants of a terrestrial paradise, in loving and serving their heavenly Spouse, the Son of God. She governed her subjects with endearing commands, so that they obeyed with equal merit and content. She eased them in their difficulties and temptations, insomuch that they, observing her rigid mortification, her angelical purity, and knowing the strict union she had with God in prayer, whatever she declared unto them was received as an oricle from heaven.
“ The spreading fame of Saint Wenefride was wonderfully dilated by miraculous cures of deceased persons. They were frequent and apparent, and divulged through other parts of Wales. Many flocked from distant places to hear her discourse and to receive instructions, whom she sent away with flaming hearts and ardent desires to be faithful and fervent in the service of their God. They regretted a return to their respective habitations: And as the queen of Sheba stood astonished at Solomon's singular wisdom, so these admiring strangers magnified the constant happiness of the virgins she governed, and blessed those who always stood before her, (3 Kin. x. 8,) they having such a secure mistress, and so tender a mother."
IDENTITY OF THE ROMAN CHURCH. A REMARK ON ITS LITERATURE. FURTHER AC
COUNT OF ST. WENEFRIDE, WITH REFLECTIONS. MULTITUDE OF SAINTS AND PATRONS AMONG PAPISTS.
SATURDAY, May 22d, 1819. I am afraid my readers will think they are entitled to an apology from me for occupying so many of my pages with the ridiculous bistory of the idol and saint of Wales. I am ready to allow, that the story is both ridiculous and impious, as it is intended to promote the worship of a creature, and to encourage the diseased and the miserable to trust in her for relief. If we believe the author and the editor of this work, she has performed more miracles than Christ and his apostles did; and as she is represented as still continuing to work miracles, (a thing which apostles did not pretend to after their death,) the tendency of the work evidently is, to divert the minds of the people from the doctrine of Christ, as declared by his inspired messengers,to lead them away from Christ himself, as the hope of the miserable, and to encourage them to trust in a creature; and for any thing they know, the mere creature of a monkish imagination; for her worshippers have little better evidence that such a person ever existed, than the heathen have of the existence of their idols.
Having undertaken to exhibit the true character of popery from the writings of Papists themselves, it is necessary that I give pretty large