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kept themselves even from matrimony, and monks have been the fathers of children.' Epist. ad Dracont.
Tillemont, when he gives an account of this Epistle, omits the passage we have cited ; and Du Pin, in his Bibliotheque, hath inserted it. Each had his reasons.
Jerum exhorts Rusticus, a monk, to live in a monastery, rather than to be a hermit in a solitary place. forth the inconveniencies and bad consequences of this way of life. A hermit, says he, becomes proud, thinks himself a man of importance, forgets what he is, eats what he will, sleeps as much as he thinks fit, stands in awe of no person, is oftner rambling in the streets than at home in his cell. Not that I blame a solitary life, but I would have men first learn their spiritual exercises in a monastery. Du Pin.
They who have judged monasteries to be hurtful or useless, yet ever approved of universities, colleges, halls, schools, public libraries, hospitals, and places set apart for the relief of the miserable, the encouragement of literature, and the education of youth. 6 Our Chelseacollege, as they say, was designed by King James I. for Polemic divines ; and then, with a very small and easy alteration, it was made a receptacle of maimed and disabled soldiers.'
If the king's project had been put in execution, the house would probably have been a house of discord ; and Peace be within thy walls, would have been a fruitless wish, and a prayer bestowed in vain upon it. mum fine fundatum fuit (hoc Collegium) a Jacobo primo, ut illic theologi alerentur, quorum officium esset, ut publice oppugnarent novas in ecclesia hæreses.' Act. Erudit, MDCCIX. p. 114.
The Baleares, to teach their children the use of the sling, hung up their dinner, and did not let them eat it till they had fetched it down with a stone.
In like man, ner, the fellows of this college were not to have been admitted to commons, till they had discovered a new heresy in the writings of some contemporary, and had confuted the doctrine, and worried the author.
Constantine held in the highest veneration those who addicted themselves to divine philosophy, as it was called
in those days; that is, to monkery: and the holy women who preserved a perpetual virginity, these he almost adored. So says Eusebius, who was carried away
himself with the torrent, and overvalued this strange way of life. Vit. Const. iv. 26. 28. Demonstr. Ev. i. 8, 9. ii. p ? 29. To some of these saints might have been applied what Tertullian says of the Roman god Faunus Fatuus, Curari eum magis quam consecrari decebat.'
But of all the praisers of virginity, Jerom seems to have performed his part the best, who calls Eustochium the nun His Lady, because she was the spouse of his Lord, and reminds the mother of this lady, that she had the honour to be God's mother-in-law, Socrus Dei. Epist. ad Eustoch. t. iv. P. 2. p. 27. et 36.
After all, since some of the antient monks seem to have been pious, honest, well-meaning, and sensible men, a doubt will arise, whether the writers of their lives have not sometimes misrepresented them, as using more rigour and self-maceration than they really exercised; and whether they have not ascribed to them some freaks and follies into which they never fell, as well as miracles which they never performed. The sayings and the actions of these solitary saints, collected by Tillemont, Fleury, and others, and inserted in various parts of their Ecclesiastical His. tories, are sometimes noble and commendable, charitable, discreet, compassionate, and good-natured, but oftener trifling, frantic, absurd, and ridiculous, mixed with everlasting apparitions of devils, and with miracles of the most useless, fantastic, and improbable kind. So the whole is a strange medley of piety and folly, sense and non
Concerning the miracles wrought in the fourth and fifth centuries, this general observation may be made, that they were usually performed either to serve the cause of the Consubstantialists and to run down Arianism, as afterwards Nestorianism and Pelagianism, or to establish the adoration of saints and of reliques, or to represent a monastic life as the summit of human piety, the quintessence of perfection, and a service the most acceptable to heaven. One would wonder how the physicians did to live in those days, when this effusion of miracles seemed to have rendered
their art altogether unnecessary. They could have had no business, except amongst Pagans, Jews, Heretics, and Schisniatics.
The Ægyptian monks, says Sozomen, preserved with great care the memory of the wonders wrought by their founders and fore-fathers; but they thought it proper to deliver them down from one to another by word of mouth, not by written records. Perhaps they were driven to this method by necessity, and because they could neither write nor read.
As a story never loses in telling, the wonders were daily augmented by this excellent contrivance, and the traditionary snow-ball, rolled about by the monks, licked up new materials, and made a considerable figure. Ilonaa xai θεσπέσια επ' αυτό συμβέβηκεν, ά μάλιστα τους κατ’ Αίγυπτος μοναχούς ηκρίβωται, περί πολλού ποιουμένοις, διαδοχή παραδόσεως ΑΓΡΑΦΟΥ επιμελώς απομνημονεύειν τας των παλαιοτέρων ασκητων αρετάς. Multa porro per eum (Ammonem) mirabilia contigerunt, quæ ab Ægypti monachis studiose notata sunt: quippe qui magni æstimant, veterum monarchorum virtutes continua successione sibi a majoribus traditas accurate commemorare.' i. 14.
Valesius hath not expressed the sense altogether so clearly as he ought to have done.
The Ægyptians were by nature disposed to bear austerities and mortifications, and fit to become monks. « Homines autem Ægyptii plerique subfusculi sunt, et atrati,-gracilenti, et aridi, ad singulos motus excandescentes, controversi et reposcones acerrimi. Erubescit apud eos, si quis non inficiando tributa plurimas in corpore vibices ostendat. Et nulla tormentorum vis inveniri adhuc potuit, quæ obdurato illius tractus latroni invito elicere potuit, ut nomen proprium dicat.' Amm. Marcell. xxii. 16. A'yun tícUS φασί δεινώς εγκαρτερείν ταις βασάνοις, και ότι θαττον τείνήξεται ανήρ Αιγύπτιος στρεβλούμενος ή τ' αληθές ομολογή
Elian Var. Hist. vii. 18. The emperor Valens made a law to compel the monks to serve civil offices, and, as some say, to serve in the army, which was no bad scheme. See Cod. Theod. l. xii. tit. i. p. 409. and Gothofred's Notes, and Tillemont H. E. viii. 608. 808.
Quidam ignaviæ sectatores, desertis civitatum muneribus, captant solitudines ac secreta, et specie religionis cum cætibus Monazontón congregantur.
Hos igitur atque hujusinodi, intra Ægyptum deprehensos, per Comitem Orientis, erui e latebris consultâ præceptione mandavimus, atque ad munia patriarum subeunda revocari.' Cod. Th. The same law is to be found in Justinian's Code. Many of these monks, as it appears from ecclesiastical history, had such a martial spirit, and were so addicted to fighting, that they were fitter for the camp than for the cloister.
But it is not probable that Valens would have done the Ægyptian monks so much honour as to list them for soldiers, or that they had the legal qualifications requisite for it. He compelled them militare,' as Orosius and others say; but in those days the words militia’ and militare were used for all kinds of public offices, civil as well as military.
In the fourth century, the number of the monks and nuns of Ægypt alone amounted to more than ninety-six thousand. Fleury H. E. v. p. 30.
One reason of this multiplication of monks was, that they were a collection of all sorts of people, of beggars, fugitives, vagabonds, slaves, day-labourers, peasants, mecha. nics of the lowest sort, thieves, and highwaymen, inured to siripes, poverty, hunger, and hardships, so that a monastic life, such as it was, was preferable to that which they had led; and by becoming monks, they became gentlemen, and a sort of saints. We find from Augustin, that several of them refused to labour with their hands, and expected to be maintained in laziness, pretending that the good instruction which they imparted, and the good example which they set, deserved such a recompence ; for which this father reprimands them. 2. Retract. C. 21.
The monks in all times had their friends and their foes: the first were generally of the clergy, and the second of the laity.
In the fourth century, the people of Rome for the most part (as we learn from Jerom) abhorred the monks who repaired thither from the East, as beggarly impostors, and hungry Greeks, who seduced ladies of fortunes and quality,
and often ruined their health by persuading them to practise rigid mortifications and austerities.
When Jerom departed from Rome, A. D. 385. Paula, with her daughter Eustochium, followed him. She was an illustrious lady, of the family of the Gracchi and the Cornelii. Before she set out, she divided her effects amongst her children, and then went to the haven, accompanied by her young, afflicted, weeping family, her brother, her children, and her kindred. i Parvus Toxotius,' says
Jerom, 'supplices manus tendebat in litore.
Rufina jam nubilis, ut suas expectaret nuptias, tacitis Aetibus obsecrabat.' But Paula, like another Regulus', brake through all these dear obstacles. She went to Cyprus, to kiss the feet of Epiphanius ; thence to Antioch to visit Paulinus, and thence I know not whither.
What a folly for a grave matron to leave her family, out of devotion, and transformed into a religious gypsy, to roam about by sea and land from place to place, to visit monks and ecclesiastics! and what a still greater indiscretion in Jerom, to countenance and encourage such things! The laics in those days had just cause to dislike the monks, who put such superstitious fancies into the heads of their mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters, and taught them to throw away their time, and their money too; for these travelling ladies used to carry alms and oblations with them, to be distributed as the directors of their conscience should advise.
Homer was a much better preacher upon this subject, than the Fathers of the fourth and following centuries :
και 'Αλλ' εις οίκον ιούσα τα σαυτής έργα κόμιζε,
Ιστόν τ' ήλακάτην τε, και αμφιπόλοισι κέλευε
"Έργον επoίχεσθαι. Il. Z.
Melania, the younger, had the same kind of zeal, and
f Fertur pudicæ conjugis osculum,
Torvus humi posuisse vultum.
There guide the spindle, and direct the loom.