Зображення сторінки

them. Their means were barbarous as themselves ; but the objects of their plans were barbarous too. The barbarianism belonged to the men, and we justify none of its proceedings. But we adore the holy Wisdom and Power which brought good out of evil. When the Northmen became nominally Christians, falsehood received a death-blow, and living, powerful truth was introduced. In the falsehood there was nothing vital, and, therefore, nothing purifying, expansive, and elevating. With the truth there was life, and these the true forces of life. It was the wrath of man that was at work; but God made the wrath of man to praise him. Wrath introduced that which is in its own nature the tamer of wrath, and the source of peace. Arguments they would have despised; but they yielded to force. We condemn the conduct of those by whom it was employed, but we are thankful that it was overruled for good. Even from the first, the story of Bethlehem and Calvary would, especially in children, check the tide which the tales of Thor and Woden were accustomed to roll into the mind. Fuel would no longer be cast on the fire. The view of the character of Jesus tended to awaken a new feeling; and though at first it might seem to be neutralized, yet it was there. The introducing passion was bad, the introduced religion was good. A new movement was given to mind, individual and social; and though in the beginning it was almost imperceptible, we, at the present day, can tell how mighty was the motive power, how beneficial the movement itself. We ourselves have witnessed, in our own time, an evidence of its goodness. Christianity is mixing itself with public opinion; and much as it finds there opposed to its own nature, it has already demonstrated that when it shall possess its rightful supremacy, men shall learn war no more.

The introduction of Christianity marks the close of the old era of the Northmen. We particularly direct attention, however, to the latter part of the extract. Be it that Olaf used violence; it was violence against blood, against human sacrifices. Olaf offered to continue heathen, provided he might select the sacrifices. But when he said he would not select slaves, but Chiefs, and great men, the very men who contended for the power of sacrificing others, yielded, when they saw it coming home to themselves. Willing enough to shed the blood of others, they did not choose to have their own shed. We again adore the Providence of God. Olaf used violence ; but it was to put down a religion of violence and blood. These slave-murderers would have rejected peaceful Missionaries : God permitted them to be dealt with partly in their own way. But if Olaf employed a force which he had no authority to employ, God gave a blessing which neither one party nor the other either understood or deserved.

Ed. Y. 1.7

When King Olaf came to Rogaland, he immediately summoned the people to a Thing (a sort of council, or Parliament); and when the bonders (landowners, freemen) received the message-token for a Thing, they assembled in great numbers well armed. After they had come together, they resolved to choose three men, the best speakers of the whole, who should answer King Olaf, and argue with the King ; and especially should decline to accept of anything against the old law, even if the King should require it of them. Now when the bonders came to the Thing, and the Thing was formed, King Olaf arose, and at first spoke goodhumouredly to the people; but they observed he wanted them to accept Christianity, with all his fine words : and in the conclusion he let them know that those who should speak against him, and not submit to his proposal, must expect his displeasure and punishment, and all the ill that it was in his power to inflict. When he had ended his speech, one of the bonders stood up, who was considered the most eloquent, and who had been chosen as the first who shonld reply to King Olaf. But when he would begin to speak, such a cough seized him, and such a difficulty of breathing, that he could not bring out a word, and had to sit down again. Then another bonder stood up, resolved not to let an answer be wanting, although it had gone so ill with the former ; but he became so confused that he could not find a word to say, and all present set up a laughter, amid which the bonder sat down again. And now the third stood up to

make a speech against King Olaf's; but when he began, he became so hoarse and husky in his throat, that nobody could hear a word he said, and he also had to sit down. There was none of the bonders now to speak against the King; and as nobody answered him, there was no opposition; and it came to this, that all agreed to what the King had proposed. All the people of the Thing accordingly were baptized before the Thing was dissolved.

The same harvest King Olaf summoned the bonders to a Thing of the four districts at Drogseid, in Stad ; and there the people from Sogn, the Fiord district, South Möre, and Raumsdal, were summoned to meet. King Olaf came there with a great many people who had followed him from the eastward, and also with those who had joined him from Rogaland and Hordaland. When the King came to the Thing, he proposed to them there, as elsewhere, Christianity; and as the King had such a powerful host with him, they were frightened. The King offered them two conditions, either to accept Christianity, or to fight. But the bonders saw they were in no condition to fight the King; and resolved, therefore, that all the people should agree to be baptized. The King proceeded afterwards to North Möre, and baptized all that district. He then sailed to Lade, in Drontheim; had the temple there razed to the ground; took all the ornaments and all property out of the temple, and from the gods in it; and, among other things, the great gold ring which Earl Hakon had ordered to be made, and which hung in the door of the temple; and then had the temple burnt. But when the bonders heard of this, they sent out a war-arrow as a token through the whole district, ordering out a warlike force, and intended to meet the King with it.

King Olaf collected a great army in the east of the country towards summer, and sailed with it north to Nidaros, in the Drontheim country. From thence he sent a message-token over all the fiord, calling the people of eight different districts to a Thing; but the bonders changed the Thing-token into a war-token, and called together all men, free and unfree, in all the Drontheim land. Now when the King met the Thing, the whole people came fully armed. After the Thing was seated, the King spoke, and invited them to adopt Christianity; but he had only spoken a short time when the bonders called out to him to be silent, or they would attack him, and drive him away. “We did so," said they, “ with Hakon, foster-son of Athelstan, when he brought us the same message; and we held him in quite as much respect as we hold thee.” When King Olaf saw how incensed the bonders were, and that they had such a war force that he could make no resistance, he turned his speech as if he would give way to the bonders, and said, “I wish only to be in a good understanding with you as of old; and I will come to where ye hold your greatest sacrifice-festival, and see your customs, and thereafter we shall consider which to hold by.” And in this all agreed; and as the King spoke mildly and friendly with the bonders, their anger was appeased, and their conference with the King went off peacefully.

King Olaf lay with his ships in the river Nid, and had thirty vessels, which were manned with many brave people ; but the King himself was often at Lade, with his court attendants. As the time now was approaching at which the sacrifices should be made at Mære, the King prepared a great feast at Lade, and sent a message to the districts of Strinde, Guladal, and out to Orkadal, to invite the Chiefs and other great bonders. When the feast was ready, and the Chiefs assembled, there was a handsome entertainment the tirst evening, at which plenty of liquor went round, and the guests were made very drunk. The night after they all slept in peace. The following morning, when the King was dressed, he had the early mass sung before him; and when the mass was over, ordered to sound the trumpets for a House Thing : upon which all his men left the ships to come up to the Thing. When the Thing was seated, the King stood up, and spoke thus:-"We held a Thing at Froste, and there I invited the bonders to allow themselves to be baptized; but they, on the other hand, invited me to offer sacrifice to their gods, as King Hakon, Athelstan's foster-son, had done; and thereafter it was agreed upon between us that we should meet at Mære, and make a great sacrifice. Now if 1, along with you, shall turn again to making sacrifice, then will I make the greatest of sacrifices that are in use; and I will sacrifice men. But I will not select slaves or malefactors for this, but will take the greatest men only to be offered to the gods; and for this I select Orm Lyrgia of Medalhouse, Styrkar of Gimsar, Kaare of Gryting, Asbiorn Thorbergson of Varness, Orm of Lyra, Haldor of Skirdingstedia;” and besides these be named five others of the principal men. All these, he said, he would offer in sacrifice to their gods for peace, and a fruitful season ; and ordered them to be laid hold of immediately. Now when the bonders saw that they were not strong enough to make head against the King, they asked for peace, and submitted wholly to the King's pleasure. So it was settled that all the bonders who had come there should be baptized, and should take an oath to the King to hold by the right faith, and to renounce sacrifice to the gods.

(Continued from page 318.)

THE ARTS, &c. Though the Chinese have not in the arts approached the excellence of the ancient Greeks and Romans, their attainments are of a more useful character, their skill having been displayed chiefly in the construction of instruments for domestic, agricultural, and mechanical purposes.

In the sixteenth century China had more of the arts and comforts of domestic life than the Europeans; but since that period the latter have advanced in those matters at railroad speed, while China has been almost stationary. The description of the arts and implements of the Chinese given by Marco Paulo will apply at the present day, they having made but little improvement. They have great lack of invention, but are good imitators; and now that their intercourse with other nations is extending, will doubtless adopt many things from foreign countries.

« НазадПродовжити »