Before this violent proceeding against the Canterbury monks, the financial necessities of John had led to an experiment in taxation which embroiled him to almost the same extent with the northern province.
There is an abbey of monks, well builded and well closed with gates of iron for dread of the wild beasts; and the monks be Arabians or men of Greece. There is the Church of Saint Catherine, in the which be many lamps burning; for they have of oil of olives enough, both for to burn in their lamps and to eat also.
Raffaello then painted for the Monastery of the Monks of Monte Oliveto, called S. Maria dello Spasmo, at Palermo, a panel-picture of Christ bearing the Cross, which is held to be a marvellous work.
Flagellation, indeed, as well as the custom of wearing the hair-shirt, so common with the monks, and even with religious lay catholics, was, by the stimulus it imparted to the skin, and hence to the internal viscera, much more likely to increase the energy of the physiological functions, and thus excite the commission of the very acts they are intended to suppress.
But that cloister remained unfinished, because those monks were not then able to bear such an expense.
"Ah," said the chaplain regretfully, "the world's standard for monks is always high. But you will find it hard enough, especially in the first year. But, as I said, I am not the man to advise you I failed." Chris looked at him with something of pity in his heart, as the priest fingered the iron pen on the table, and stared with pursed lips and frowning forehead.
He will find the marks of something more than an imposture. To be the religious head of many empires, to guide the daily life of one-third of the human race, may perhaps justify the title of a messenger of God. Like many of the Christian monks, Mohammed retired to the solitude of the desert, and, devoting himself to meditation, fasting, and prayer, became the victim of cerebral disorder.
In 1305 the Inferno was complete, and Dante left it with the monks of a certain convent while he wandered into a far-distant country. The Frate questioned him eagerly, asking why he had chosen to write the poem in Italian since the vulgar tongue seemed to clothe such a wonderful theme unbecomingly.
Then the monks fled from the monastery, bearing the shrine of St. Cuthbert, and all their treasures, and followed by their retainers, men, women, and children, and their sheep and oxen: and behold! the hour of their flight was that of an exceedingly high spring tide. The Danes were landing from their ships in their rear; in their front was some two miles of sea.
Several monks who endeavoured to evade this strict order were pitilessly mutilated, while a number of them, rebelling against the payment of the tax, retired into convents, thinking they could safely defraud the treasury. Assama, however, sent his soldiers to search these retreats, and all the monks found without rings were beheaded or put to death by the bastinado.
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