Bernard, .a saint and doctor of the Latin church, born at Fontaines, in Burgundy, in 1091, died in the abbey of Clairvaux, Aug. 20, 1153. His father, Tescelin, was a knight of the house of Chatillon, and his mother, Aleth, was a daughter of Count Bernard of Montbard. Bernard was the third of a family of seven children. From the beginning he was destined to a clerical life, and he astonished his masters by his rapid progress in learning. After the death of his mother, when he was 19 years old, he resolved to enter the cloister, and to persuade his brothers to join him. Andrew and Bartholomew, younger brothers, were easily won. Guy, the eldest, was for a time retained by his wife, but she at last consented to go to a nunnery. A rich and warlike uncle was the next proselyte. Gerard, the second brother, was more insensible, but his obstinacy was disarmed by a vision. The rule chosen by the brethren was the new Cistercian rule. - Bernard's discipline was rigorous in the extreme, His labors were severe, his fastings protracted; his sensibilities were blunted by various exposure, till he lost almost all sense of outward impressions. His meagre and haggard frame was a fearful witness of the struggles of the soul in its contest with the body.
His novitiate year brought numerous converts, including Nivard, Bernard's youngest brother. The year of novitiate was passed by the brethren in the convent of Citeaux. In this time several new convents had been founded in the neighborhood. In 1115 Bernard, with 12 monks, among whom were his brothers, was sent out to find in the province of Champagne a suitable place for a Cistercian community. He chose a wild gorge in the diocese of Langres, noted as a haunt of robbers, the name of which was the "Valley of Wormwood." He changed the name to Clairvaux, or "Beautiful Valley." The numbers of the brotherhood rapidly multiplied. Their charities were the praise of all the region. Men came to Clairvaux to be healed of their infirmities by one whom sickness had reduced almost to spiritual proportions. Compelled by superior authority to submit himself to a physician, Bernard, against his will, recovered. Henceforth, recognizing his own weakness of body, he was less enthusiastic in his austerities. The 12 succeeding years of his life were devoted to the reform and direction of the convents already established, or suggestions concerning new establishments. His correspondence was vast, and he gave audience to great numbers who came to consult him.
His studies were not less vigorously prosecuted,both in Scriptural and patristic lore. Augustine's theology and the Canticles of Solomon were his favorite themes. In 1124 Humbeline, his only sister, and the last of his family, took the veil in one of the convents of his foundation. Bernard was repeatedly called abroad to reconcile disputes between bishops and their dioceses, between the church and the nobles. He persuaded Abbot Suger, prime minister of Louis the Fat, to relinquish his secular station and confine himself at St. Denis to his religious charge. He supported Henry, archbishop of Sens, and Stephen of Paris, in their appeal to Rome against the king. At the council of Troyes, in 1128, he vindicated the canons of the church, and took part in those stormy debates about the excesses of the Templar knights. At the council of Chalons, 1129, he assisted to depose the bishop of Verdun. Repeated offers of lucrative sees were steadily refused by him. In 1130 a schism was caused by the pretensions of the cardinal of Leon, who claimed the papacy, under the title of Anacletus, in opposition to Innocent II. At the council of Etampes Bernard gave his support to Innocent, procured a decree in favor of the exile, and then visited the principal courts of Europe to plead Innocent's cause.
He secured the countenance of England, accompanied Innocent to Germany, and with some difficulty induced the emperor Lothaire not only to acknowledge him as pope, but to renounce the privilege of investiture. In 1132 Bernard accompanied Innocent into Italy. The division between its various states tended to hinder the restoration of Catholic unity. Genoa, whose jealousy of Pisa was obstinate and ! deep-rooted, was subdued by the preaching of the abbot, until the people almost forced him to stay as their chief bishop. Pisa in turn yielded to his eloquence. In Milan he found a harder task; but here, too, he succeeded, and the Milanese also demanded him for their bishop. Returning after five years of conflict to Clairvaux, he found its affairs peaceful and prosperous. Count William of Aquitaine, the most violent of the adherents of Anacletus, kindled a fresh schism and deposed bishops who supported Innocent. Failing in his argument with this man, Bernard tried an experiment, such as Ambrose had tried with Theodosius. After the consecration at mass, he went toward the count with the wafer and paten in his hands, and threatened him with the judgment of the Lord unless he desisted from the persecution of the church.
The count fell prostrate and penitent at his feet, and two years later died on a pilgrimage. In 1137 Bernard was summoned from his convent to plead the cause of Innocent before King Roger of Sicily, who had possessed himself of Rome. ' The necessity of unity in the church, and the right of majorities to decide disputed questions, were arguments which Roger and his partisans could not well resist. The death of Anacletus weakened the schism still further; and, although the form of electing his successor was tried, the party were forced to confess themselves vanquished, and the abbot received the testimonies of their final submission. Innocent was installed at Rome, and Bernard was able to see the fruit of his eight years of toil and contest. A visit to the convent of the Paraclete, of which He-loise was abbess, had acquainted Bernard with the views and principles of Abelard. Through Bernard's influence, in the year 1140, a council was held at Sens to consider those opinions. From a conviction that his cause was hopeless, or from fear as some say, Abelard did not justify himself before the council, and his default was pronounced, with his sentence as a heretic. His death, during the journey which he was making to Rome, saved his adversary from the annoyance of farther controversy.
In this and subsequent years Bernard's life was em-bittered l»y misunderstandings with the pope, who preferred the good will of the secular powers to the friendship of the monk who had placed him on the papal throne. His influence at Koine, however, was soon regained. After the short reigns of Celestine II. and Lucius II., one of his own spiritual children, another Bernard of Clairvaux, was called to the chair of St. Peter as Eugenius III. The new pope soon intruded to Bernard the duty of preaching a fresh crusade. Bernard passed through France and Germany, arousing indifference, inflaming piety, opening the coffers of the rich, and calling all to the holy Avar. His success was instant and wonderful. More than once his robe was torn to shreds in furnishing crosses to the eager volunteers. He writes to Eugenius that the cities and castles are deserted, that the wives are becoming widows, and that there is hardly one man to seven women. Soon he had to moderate the excitement and check the excesses of the host which he had gathered. He strove especially to prevent the persecution of the Jews, which was the first sign of the new Christian fury. In 1147 the two great expeditions set out. Confusion marked their way, and disaster followed them.
The Greek emperor Buffered the German forces to be cut to pieces by the Moslems. The French expedition was equally unfortunate, and, though a fragment reached Syria and laid siege to Damascus, the climate and vices of that region finished the destruction which the fortunes of war had begun. The weight of the blame was thrown upon the advisers of the expedition, and Bernard, who had protested against the blunders of the campaign, was cursed for its fatal result. His fame, however tarnished by this disaster abroad, was retrieved by his successful warfare with new heresy at home. He cleansed Languedoc from the scandal which Henry of Lausanne and Pe'ter de Bruis, the Cathari or Purist leaders, had brought upon that province. At the council of Rheims, in 1148, he refuted the Sabdlian bishop, Gilbert of Poitiers. It was proposed to engage him in a new crusade, but he refused. His last five years were passed in comparative retirement, varied only by literary occupations and the visits of distinguished friends. Gurnard, king of Sardinia, and Pope Eugenius, were at different times his guests. The "burning and shining light of the Irish church." Malachi, saint and bishop, died on a visit to Clairvaux, and Bernard wrote his life.
The abbess Hildegard found in Bernard a friend who vindicated her at Rome, and believed that her gift of prophecy was real. In these last years the most remarkable of Bernard's compositions were written. His body was buried in the church at Clairvaux, and in 1165 his name was set in the calendar of the church by Pope Alexander, though it was not openly proclaimed among the saints till 1174. Bernard founded 35 monasteries in France, 11 in Spain, 10 in England and Ireland, 6 in Flanders, 4 in Italy, 2 in Germany, 2 in Sweden, 1 in Hungary, and 1 in Denmark. At Clairvaux at the time of his death there were 700 brethren. His treatises, authoritative as they still are, have been superseded by the works of Aquinas and Bellarmin, and his sermons do not justify his singular fame for pulpit eloquence. It needs nice discrimination to separate his genuine writings from those which have been falsely attributed to him. The former comprise epistles, sermons, and moral and theological treatises. Of the epistles 480 are contained in the collections of Mabillon and Martene, 439 of which were the work of Bernard himself, the remainder being either addressed to him or drawn up by his secretary. The general characteristics of his letters are earnestness, energy, clearness of expression, and a fierce sincerity.
The style is unequal, in most instances rugged and harsh. The sermons include 86 on the Canticles of Solomon, 86 on the events of the ecclesiastical year, 43 on the saints and the Virgin, and 125 miscellaneous. They are cold, ethical, sometimes even obscure. The other works of St. Bernard include treatises on "The Love of God;" "Grace and Free Will;" "Twelve Degrees of Humility and Pride;" baptism and the incarnation, in a letter to Hugo of St. Victor; "Conversion," addressed to the clergy; an "Apology" for his order, in reply to the censure of certain Benedictines; "Exhortations to the Knights Templar;" "Errors of Abelard;" "Precepts and Dispensations;" and a work on "Consideration," suggested by the visit of Pope Eugenius to his monastery, and dedicated to that pontiff. The standard editicn of his writings is that of Mabillon (2 vols, fob, 1690). This contains valuable notes, in addition to the edition of 1667. A new edition appeared in 1719 and in 1726. Another less valuable but more convenient edition, by the same famous Benedictine, is in 9 vols. 8vo. The most accessible biographies are those of Neander (Berlin, 1841), Montalembert, Daunon in vol. xiii. of "French Literary History," Abel Desjardins (Dijon, 1845), the abbe Ratisbonne (2 vols., Paris, 1846), and J. C. Morison (London, 1863).
Bernard. I. John, an English comedian, born in Portsmouth in 1756, died in London, Nov. 29, 1828. His first appearance in London was in 1787 at Covent G;rden theatre, as Archer in "The Beaux Stratagem," and was very successful. He was secretary for nine years of the celebrated Beefsteak club. In 1797 he appeared for the first time in the United States at Birkett's circus (then fitted up as a theatre), Greenwich street, New York, as Goldfinch in the "Road to Ruin." He was one of the managers of the Boston theatre for several years, and finally returned to England in 1813. His "Recollections of the Stage" relates his adventures up to the period (June, 1797) when he went to America, or during one half of his theatrical career. The book was not popular, and the second part never appeared. II. William Bayle, an English dramatist, son of the preceding, born in Boston, Mass., Jan. 1, 1808. He went to England with his father, whose "Recollections of the Stage" he prepared, and wrote "The Nervous Man and the Man of Nerve," "TheIrish Attorney," "TheMummy," "His Last Legs," "Dumb Belle," "A Practical Man," "The Middy Ashore," "The Boarding School," "The Round of Wrong," "A Splendid Investment," and "A Life's Trial."