HotFreeBooks.com
The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints - January, February, March
by Alban Butler
Previous Part     1 ... 6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20 ... 30     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

The commentary On the First Epistle to the Corinthians, (t. 10,) in forty-four homilies, was likewise the fruit of his zeal at Antioch, and is one of the most elaborate and finished of his works. The interpreter seems animated with the spirit of the great apostle whose sacred oracle he expounds, so admirably does he penetrate the pious energy of the least tittle. If St. Paul uses the words My God, he observes, that out of the vehement ardor and tenderness of his love he makes Him his own, who is the common God of all men; and that he names Him with a sentiment of burning affection and profound adoration, because he had banished all created things from his heart, and all his affections were placed in God. He extols the merit and advantages of holy virginity, (Hom. 19,) and Hom. 26, speaks on the duties of a married state, especially that of mutual love and meekness in bearing each other's faults: this he bids them learn from Socrates, a pagan, who chose a very shrew for his wife, and being asked how he could bear with her, said: "I have a school of virtue at home, in order to learn meekness and patience by the daily practice." The saint adds, it was a great grief to him to see Christians fall short of the virtue of a heathen, whereas they ought to be imitators of the angels, nay, of God himself. Recommending the most profound respect for the holy eucharist, and a dread of profaning it, he says, Hom. 24, pp. 217, 218, "No one dares touch the king's garments with dirty hands. When you see Him (i.e. Christ) exposed before you, say to yourself: This body was pierced with nails; this body which was scourged, death did not destroy; this body was nailed to a cross, at which spectacle the sun withdrew its rays; this body the Magi venerated," &c. The saint inveighs against several superstitious practices of that age, Hom. 12. His discourses are animated and strong on the characters of fraternal charity, and against avarice, envy, &c.

The thirty homilies, On the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, (t. 10, p. 417,) were also preached at Antioch: for he speaks of Constantinople as at a distance, (Hom. 26,) which passage Sir Henry Saville has mistaken, as Montfaucon clearly shows. This commentary is inferior to the last, though not in elegance, yet in fire, the moral instructions being shorter. The saint mentions several of the ceremonies used still at mass, or in the public office of the church. Hom. 18, p. 568. Hom. 30, p. 6{5}0. On visiting the shrines of martyrs, he says, Hom. 26, p. 629, "The tombs of those who served the crucified Christ surpass in splendor the courts of kings. Even he who wears purple visits and devoutly kisses them, and standing suppliant, prays the saint to be a protection to him before God." He adds that emperors sue for their patronage, and count it an honor to be porters to them in their graves. By this he alludes to the burial of Constantine the Great in the porch of the church of the apostles. He proves, Hom. 3, p. 441, and Hom. 14, p. 537, that the essence of repentance consists in a change of the heart: that without an amendment of life, penance is only a mask and a shadow, what fasts or other works soever attend it, and that it must be founded not barely in the fear of hell, but in the love of so good and loving a God. He teaches, Hom. 10, p. 505, that a Christian ought to rejoice at the approaches of death. He speaks in many places on the precept of alms-deeds with great vehemence. He says, Hom. 16, that to be animated with a spirit of charity and compassion is something greater than to raise the dead to life: our alms must be liberal, plentiful, voluntary, and given with joy. He says, Hom. 19, that Christ stripped himself of his immense glory and riches for love of us; yet men refuse him a morsel of bread. They throw away on dogs, and what is superfluous among servants, that which Christ wants in his members, to whom all strictly belongs whatever we enjoy beyond what is necessary for life. He enters into a severe and elegant detail of these superfluities, Hom. 19, p. 570. The apostle, as he observes, (Hom. 20, p. 577,) justly calls alms a seed, because it is not lost, but sown, and produces a most plentiful harvest.

His commentary On the Epistle to the Galatians (t. 10) is an accurate interpretation of the text, with frequent remarks against the Anomoeans, Marcionites, and Manichees, but very sparing in moral exhortations: these the saint probably added in the pulpit, and gave to the work the form of discourses; for it appears to have been delivered in homilies to the people, though it is not now divided into discourses. It was certainly compiled at Antioch.

The twenty-four homilies On the Epistle to the Ephesians (t. 11) were preached at Antioch; and though some passages might have received a higher polish from a second touch of the saint's masterly file, are a most useful and excellent work. From Hom. 3, p. 16, it {271} is clear that his predecessor Nectarius had not abolished canonical public penances, when he removed the public penitentiary; but that this office, as before the institution of such a charge, was exercised altogether by the bishop. For St. Chrysostom having taken notices that many assisted at mass who did not communicate, tells them, that those who were guilty of any grievous sin could not approach the holy table even on the greatest solemnity; but that such persons ought to be in a course of penance, and consequently not at mass with the rest of the faithful: and he terrifies them by exaggerating the danger and crime of delaying to do penance. Those who are not excluded by such an obstacle, he exhorts strongly to frequent communion, seeming desirous that many would communicate at every day's mass. "With a pure conscience," says he, "approach always; without this disposition, never. In vain is the daily sacrifice offered; to no purpose do we assist at the altar: no one communicates. I say not this to induce any one to approach unworthily, but to engage all to render yourselves worthy. The royal table is prepared, the administering angels are present, the King himself is there waiting for you: yet you stand with indifference," &c. (Hom. 3, in Ephes. p. 23.) The virtues of St. Paul furnish the main subject of his sixth and seventh homilies; in the eighth he speaks of that apostle's sufferings for Christ, and declares, in a kind of rapturous exclamation, that he prefers his chains to gold and diadems, and his company in prison to heaven itself. He wishes he could make a pilgrimage to Rome, to see and kiss those chains at which the devils tremble, and which the angels reverence, while they venerate the hands which were bound with them. For it is more desirable and more glorious to suffer with Christ, than to be honored with him in glory: this is an honor above all others. Christ himself left heaven to meet his cross: and St. Paul received more glory from his chains, than by being rapt up to the third heaven, or by curing the sick by the touch of his scarfs, &c. He desires to feast his heart by dwelling still longer on the chains of this apostle, being himself fettered with a chain from which he would not be separated: for he declares himself to be closer and faster linked to St. Paul's chains by desire, than that apostle was in prison. In the like strain he speaks of the chains of St. Peter, and of St. John Baptist. In the next Homily, (9,) he returns in equal raptures to St. Paul in chains for Christ; in which state he calls him a spectacle of glory far beyond all the triumphs of emperors and conquerors. Our saint gives excellent instructions on the duties of married persons, Hom. 20; on the education of children in the practice and spirit of obedience and piety, Hom. 21; and on the duties of servants, Hom. 22.

The eighteen homilies On the First Epistle to Timothy, and ten On the Second, seem also to have been preached at Antioch, (t. 11, p. 146.) They are not equally polished, but contain excellent instructions against covetousness, and the love of the world; on alms, on the duties of bishops, and those of widows, &c.; on the education of children, Hom. 10, p. 596. The six, On the Epistle to Titus, are more elaborate: also three On the Epistle to Philemon, which seem all to have been finished at Antioch.

In the eleventh tome we have also eleven sermons, which St. Chrysostom preached at Constantinople about the end of the year 398. Tile second was spoken upon the following occasion, (ib. p. 332:) The empress Eudoxia procured a solemn procession and translation of the relics of certain martyrs, to be made from the great church in Constantinople to the church of St. Thomas the apostle in Drypia, on the sea-shore, nine miles out of town. The princes without any retinue, priests, monks, nuns, ladies, and the people, attended the procession in such multitudes, that from the light of the burning tapers which they carried in their hands the sea seemed as it were on fire. The empress walked all the way behind, touching the shrine and the veil which covered it. The procession set out in the beginning of the night, passed through the market-place, and arrived at Drypia about break of day. There St. Chrysostom made an extemporary sermon, in which he described the pomp of this ceremony, commended the piety of the empress, and proved that if the clothes, handkerchiefs, and even shadow of saints on earth had wrought many miracles, a blessing is certainly derived from their relics upon those who devoutly touch them. The next day the emperor Arcadius, attended by his court and guards, arrived, and the soldiers having laid aside their arms, and the emperor his diadem, he paid his devotions before the shrine. After his departure St. Chrysostom preached again, (p. 336.)

St. Chrysostom was removed to Constantinople in 397. The fifteen (or, if with some editors we include the prologue, sixteen) homilies On the Epistle to the Philippians, (t. 11, p. 189,) were preached in that capital of the empire. The moral instructions turn mostly on alms and riches. The order which prudence prescribes in the distribution of alms, he explains, (Hom. 1, t. 11, p. 201,) and condemns too anxious an inquiry and suspicion of imposture in the poor, as contrary to Christian simplicity and charity, affirming that none are so frequently imposed upon by cheat as the most severe inquirers. Prudence and caution he allows to be necessary ingredients of alms, in which those whose wants are most pressing, or who are most deserving, ought to be first considered. Hom. 3, p. 215, he lays it down as a principle, that catechumens who die without baptism, and penitents without absolution, "are excluded heaven with the damned;" which we are to understand, unless they were purified by perfect contrition joined with a desire of the sacrament, as St. Ambrose, St. {272} Austin, and all the fathers and councils declare. St. Chrysostom adds, that it is a wholesome ordinance of the apostles in favor of the faithful departed, to commemorate them in the adorable mysteries: for how is it possible God should be deaf to our prayers for them, at a time when all the people stand with stretched forth hands with the priests, in presence of the most adorable sacrifice? But the catechumens are deprived of this comfort, though not of all succor, for alms may be given for them, from which they receive some relief or mitigation of their pains. Though such not dying within the exterior pale of the church cannot be commemorated in its public suffrages and sacrifices; yet if by desire they were interiorly its members, and by charity united to Christ its head, they may be benefited by private suffrages which particulars may offer for them. This is the meaning of this holy doctor. Exhorting the faithful to live in perpetual fear of the dangers with which we are surrounded, (Hom. 8, in Ephes. t. 11,) he says, "A builder on the top of a house always apprehends the danger of falling, and on this account is careful how he stands: so ought we much more to fear, how much soever we may be advanced in virtue. The principal means always to entertain in our souls this saving fear, is to have God always before our eyes, who is everywhere present, hears and sees all things, and penetrates the most secret foldings of our hearts. Whether you eat, go to sleep, sit at dainty tables, are inclined to anger, or any other passion, or whatever else you do, remember always," says he, "that God is present, and you will never fall into dissolute mirth, or be provoked to anger; but will watch over yourselves in continual fear." With great elegance he shows (Hom. 10, p. 279,) that precious stones serve for no use, are not so good even as common stones, and that all their value is imaginary, and consists barely in the mad opinion of men; and he boldly censures the insatiable rapaciousness and unbounded prodigality of the rich, in their sumptuous palaces, marble pillars, and splendid clothes and equipages. Houses are only intended to defend us from the weather, and raiment to cover our nakedness. All vanities he shows to be contrary to the designs of nature, which is ever content with little. In Hom. 12, we have an excellent instruction on that important maxim in a spiritual life, That we must never think how far we have run, but what remains of our course, as in a race a man thinks only on what is before him. It will avail nothing to have begun, unless we finish well our course. In Hom. 13, he excellently explains the mystery of the cross, which we bear if we study continually to crucify ourselves by self-denial. We must in all places arm ourselves with the sign of the cross.

The Exposition of the epistle to the Colossians, in twelve homilies, (t. 11) was made at Constantinople in the year 399. In the second homily (p. 333) he says, that a most powerful means to maintain in ourselves a deep sense of gratitude to God, and to increase the flame of his love in our hearts, is to bear always in mind his numberless benefits to us, and the infinite evils from which he has mercifully delivered us. In Hom. 8, p. 319, he teaches, that no disposition of our souls contributes more effectually to our sanctification, than that of returning thanks to God under the severest trials of adversity, a virtue little inferior to martyrdom. A mother who, without entertaining the least sentiment of complaint at the sickness and death of her dearest child, thanks God with perfect submission to his will, will receive a recompense equal to that of martyrs. After condemning the use of all superstitious practices for the cure of distempers, he strongly exhorts mothers rather to suffer their children to die, than ever to have recourse to such sacrilegious methods; and contenting themselves with making the sign of the cross upon their sick children to answer those who suggested any superstitious remedy: "These are my only arms; I am utterly a stranger to other methods of treating this distemper." The tenth homily (p. 395) contains a strong invective against the excessive luxury and immodesty of ladies in their dress, and their vanity, pride, and extravagance. The empress Eudoxia, who was at the head of these scandalous customs, and the mistress of court fashions and vices, could not but be highly offended at this zealous discourse. The saint says, that many ladies used vessels of silver for the very meanest uses, and that the king of Persia wore a golden beard.

The eleven homilies On the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, were also part of the fruit of his episcopal labors at Constantinople. (T. 11.) In the second he shows the excellency of fraternal love and friendship, by which every thing is, as it were, possessed in common, and those cold words mine and thine, the seed of all discords, are banished as they were from the primitive Christians. In the third, he doubts not but perfect patience, under grievous sicknesses, may equal the merit of martyrdom. In the fifth, he speaks incomparably on the virtue of purity, and against occasions which may kindle in the heart the contrary passion, which, with St. Paul, he will not have so much as earned, especially against the stage, and all assemblies where women make their appearance dressed out to please the eyes and wound the hearts of others. In Hom. 6, he condemns excessive grief for the death of friends. To indulge this sorrow for their sake, he calls want of faith: to grieve for our own sake because we are deprived of a comfort and support in them, he says, must proceed from a want of confidence in God; as if any friend on earth could be our safeguard, but God alone. God took this friend away, because he is jealous of our hearts and will have us love him without a rival, (p. 479.) In Hom. 10, we are instructed, that {273} the best revenge we can take of an enemy is to forgive him, and to bear injuries patiently. In Hom. 11, p. 505, he gives an account, that a certain lady being offended at a slave for a great crime, resolved to sell him and his wife. The latter wept bitterly; and a mediator, whose good offices with her mistress in her behalf she implored, conjured the lady in these words: "May Christ appear to you at the last day in the same manner in which you now receive our petition." Which words so strongly affected her, that she forgave the offence. The night following Christ appeared to her in a comfortable vision, as St. Chrysostom was assured by herself. In Hom. 7, (ib.,) he shows the possibility of the resurrection of the flesh, against infidels.

The five homilies On the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, were also preached at Constantinople, (t. 11, p. 510.) In the second, he exhorts all to make the torments of hell a frequent subject of their meditation, that they may never sin; and to entertain little children often with some discourse on them instead of idle stories, that sentiments of holy fear and virtue may strike deep roots in their tender hearts. On traditions received by the church from the apostles he writes as follows: (Hom. 4, in 2 Thess. p. 532.) "Hence it is clear that they did not deliver all things by their epistles, but communicated also many things without writing: and these likewise deserve our assent or faith. It is a tradition: make no further inquiry." In the same Hom. 4, p. 534, he expresses how much he trembled at the thought of being, by the obligation of his office, the mediator betwixt God and his people; and declares, that he ceased not most earnestly to pour forth his prayers for them both at home and abroad. Hom. 4, ib., he severely reprimands those who reproach the poor in harsh words, adding to the weight of their affliction and misery.

The thirty-four homilies On the Epistle to the Hebrews, (t. 12, p. 1,) were compiled at Constantinople. In the seventh he shows, that the evangelical precepts and counsels belong to all Christians, not only to monks, if we except the vow of perpetual virginity: though also men engaged in a married state are bound to be disentangled in spirit, and to use the world as if they used it not. Hom. 17, ib. p. 169, he explains that the sacrifice of the New Law is one, because the same body of Christ is every day offered; not one day one sheep, another day a second, &c. (On this sacrifice see also Hom. 5, in 1 Tim. t. 11, p. 577, Hom. 3, contra Judaeos. t. 1, p. 611. Hom. 7, contra Judaeos. t. 1, p. 664. Hom. in St. Eustath. t. 2, p. 606. Hom. 24, in 1 Cor. t. 10, p. 213.) In Hom. 34, ad Hebr. p. 313, he expresses his extreme fears for the rigorous account which a pastor is obliged to give for every soul committed to his charge, and cries out, "I wonder that any superior of others is saved."

A letter to a certain monk called Caesarius, has passed under the name of St. Chrysostom ever since Leontius and St. John Damascen; and not only many Protestants, but also F. Hardouin, (Dissert. de ep. ad Caesarium Monachum) Tillemont, (t. 11, art. 130, p. 340,) and Tournely, (Tr. de Euchar. t. 1, p. 282, and Tract. de Incarnat. p. 486,) are not unwilling to look upon it as a genuine work of our holy doctor. But it is demonstrated by F. Le Quien, (Diss. 3, in St. Joan. Damasc.) Dom Montfaucon, (in Op. St. Chrys. t. 3, p. 737,) Ceillier, (t. 9, p. 249,) F. Merlin in his learned dissertations on this epistle, (in Memoires de Trevoux an. 1737, pp. 252, 516, and 917,) and F. Stilting, the Bollandist, (t. 4, Sept. Comment. in vitam St. Chrys. Sec.82, p. 656,) that it has been falsely ascribed to him, and is a patched work of some later ignorant Greek writer, who has borrowed some things from the first letter of St. Chrysostom to Olympias, as Stilting shows. Merlin thinks the author discovers himself to have been a Nestorian heretic. At least the style is so opposite to that of St. Chrysostom, both in the diction and in the manner of reasoning, that the reader must find himself quite in another world, as Montfaucon observes. The author's long acquaintance with this Caesarius seems not easily reconcilable with the known history of St. Chrsysostom's life. This piece, moreover, is too direct a confutation of the Eutychian error to have been written before its birth: or if it had made its appearance, how could it have escaped all the antagonists of that heresy? Whoever the author was, he is far from opposing the mystery of the real presence, or that of transubstantiation, in the blessed eucharist, for both which he is an evident voucher in these words, not to mention others: "The nature of bread and that of our Lord's body are not two bodies, but one body of the Son," which he introduces to make a comparison with the unity of Christ's Person in the Incarnation. It is true, indeed, that he says the nature of bread remains in the sacrament: but it is easy to show that by the nature of bread he means its external natural qualities or accidents.

Among former Latin translations of St. Chrysostom's works, only those made by the learned Jesuit Fronto-le-Duc are accurate. These are retained by Montfaucon, who has given us a new version of those writings which Le Duc had not translated. The edition of Montfaucon in twelve volumes, an. 1718, is of all others the most complete. But it is much to be wished that he had favored us with a more elegant Latin translation, which might bear some degree of the beauty of the original. The Greek edition, made by Sir Henry Saville at Eton, in nine volumes, in 1612, is more correct and more beautiful than that of the learned Benedictin, and usually preferred by those who stand in need of no translation.

{274}

As to the French translations, that of the homilies on the epistles to the Romans, Ephesians, &c., by Nicholas Fontaine, the Port-Royalist, in 1693, was condemned by Harlay, archbishop of Paris; and recalled by the author, who undesignedly established in it the Nestorian error. The French translation of the homilies on St. John, was given us by Abbe le Merre: of those on Genesis and the Acts, with eighty-eight chosen discourses, by Abbe de Bellegarde, though for some time attributed to de Marsilly, and by others to Sacy. That of the homilies on St. Matthew, ascribed by many to de Marsilly, was the work of le Maitre and his brother Sacy. That of the homilies to the People of Antioch, was given to by Abbe de Maucroix in 1671. That of the saint's panegyrics on the martyrs, is the work of F. Durauty de Bourecueil, an Oratorian, and made its appearance in 1735.

St Chrysostom wrote comments on the whole scripture, as Cassiodorus and Suidas testify; but of these many, with a great number of sermons, &c., are lost. Theophylactus, AEcumenius, and other Greek commentators, are chiefly abridgers of St. Chrysostom. Even Theodoret is his disciple in the excellent concise notes he composed on the sacred text. Nor can preachers or theologians choose a more useful master or more perfect model in interpreting the scripture; but ought to join with him some judicious, concise, critical commentator. As in reading the classics, grammatical niceties have some advantage in settling the genuine text; yet if multiplied or spun out in notes, are extremely pernicious, by deadening the student's genius and spirit, and burying them in rubbish, while they ought to be attentive to what will help them to acquire true taste, to be employed on the beauties, ease, and gentleness of the style, and on the greatness, delicacy, and truth of the thoughts or sentiments, and to be animated by the life, spirit, and fire of an author; so much more in the study of the sacred writings, a competent skill in resolving grammatical and historical scruples in the text is of great use, and sometimes necessary in the church: in which, among the fathers, Origen and St. Jerom are our models. Yet from the conduct of divine providence over the church, and the example of the most holy and most learned among the primitive fathers, it is clear, as the learned doctor Hare, bishop of Chichester, observes, that assiduous, humble, and devout meditation on the spirit and divine precepts of the sacred oracles, is the true method of studying them, both for our own advantage, and for that of the church. Herein St. Chrysostom's comments are our most faithful assistant and best model: The divine majesty and magnificence of those writings is above the reach, and beyond the power, of all moral wit. None but the Spirit of God could express his glory, and display either the mysteries of his grace, or the oracles of his holy law. And none but they whose hearts are disengaged from objects of sense, and animated with the most pure affections of every sublime virtue, and whose minds are enlightened by the beams of heavenly truth, can penetrate the spirit of these divine writings, and open it to us. Hence was St. Chrysostom qualified to become the interpreter of the word of God, to discover its hidden mysteries of love and mercy, the perfect spirit of all virtues which it contains, and the sacred energy or each word or least circumstance.

The most ingenious Mr. Blackwall, in his excellent Introduction to the Classics, writes as follows on the style of St. Chrysostom, p. 139: "I would fain beg room among the classics for three primitive writers of the church—St. Chrysostom, Minutius Felix, and Lactantius. St. Chrysostom is easy and pleasant to new beginners; and has written with a purity and eloquence which have been the admiration of all ages. This wondrous man in a great measure possesses all the excellences of the most valuable Greek and Roman classics. He has the invention, copiousness, and perspicuity of Cicero; and all the elegance and accuracy of composition which is admired in Isocrates, with much greater variety and freedom. According as his subject requires, he has the easiness and sweetness of Xenophon, and the pathetic force and rapid simplicity of Demosthenes. His judgment is exquisite, his images noble, his morality sensible and beautiful. No man understands human nature to greater perfection, nor has a happier power of persuasion. He is always clear and intelligible upon the loftiest and greatest subjects, and sublime and noble upon the least." All that has been said of St. Chrysostom's works is to be understood only of those which are truly his. The irregular patched compilations from different parts of his writings, made by modern Greeks, may be compared to scraps of rich velvet, brocade, and gold cloth, which are clumsily sewed together with {}thread.

{275}

ST. JULIAN, FIRST BISHOP OF MANS, C.

TOWARDS THE END OF THE THIRD CENTURY.

HE was succeeded by St. Turibius. His head is shown in the cathedral of Mans, but the most of his relics in the neighboring Benedictin abbey of nuns called St. Julian's du Pre, famous for miracles; though the greatest part of these relics was burnt, or scattered in the wind by the Huguenots, who plundered the shrine of St. Julian, in 1562. He was much honored in France, and many churches built during the Norman succession in England, especially about the reign of Henry II., who was baptized in the church of St. Julian, at Mans, bear his name: one in particular at Norwich, which the people by mistake imagine to have been dedicated under the title of the venerable Juliana, a Benedictin nun at Norwich, who died in the odor of sanctity, but never was publicly invoked as a saint. St. Julian of Mans had an office in the Sarum breviary. See Tillem. t. 4, pp. 448, 729. Gal. Christ. Nov. &c.

ST. MARIUS, ABBOT.

DYNAMIUS, patrician of the Gauls who is mentioned by St. Gregory of Tours, (l. 6, c. 11,) and who was for some time steward of the patrimony of the Roman church in Gaul, in the time of St. Gregory the Great, as appears by a letter of that pope to him, (in which he mentions that he sent him in a reliquary some of the filings of the chains of St. Peter, and of the gridiron of St. Laurence,) was the author of the lives of St. Marius and of St. Maximus of Ries. From the fragments of the former in Bollandus, we learn that he was born at Orleans, became a monk, and after some time was chosen abbot at La-Val-Benois, in the diocese of Sisteron, in the reign of Gondebald, king of Burgundy, who died in 509. St. Marius made a pilgrimage to St. Martin's, at Tours, and another to the tomb of St. Dionysius, near Paris, where, falling sick, he dreamed that he was restored to health by an apparition of St. Dionysius, and awaking, found himself perfectly recovered. St. Marius, according to a custom received in many monasteries before the rule of St. Bennet, in imitation of the retreat of our divine Redeemer, made it a rule to live a recluse in a forest during the forty days of Lent. In one of these retreats, he foresaw, in a vision, the desolation which barbarians would soon after spread in Italy, and the destruction of his own monastery, which he foretold before his death, in 555. The abbey of La-Val-Benois[1] being demolished, the body of the saint was translated to Forcalquier, where it is kept with honor in a famous collegiate church which bears his name, and takes the title of Concathedral with Sisteron. St. Marius is called in French St. May, or St. Mary, in Spain, St. Mere, and St. Maire, and in some places, by mistake, St. Marrus. See fragments of his life compiled by Dynamius, extant in Bollandus, with ten preliminary observations.

Footnotes: 1. In Latin Vallis Bodonensis. Baillet and many others call it at present Beuvons, or Beuvoux: but there is no such village. Bevons indeed is the name of a village in Provence, one league from Sisteron; but the ruins of the abbey La-Val-Benois are very remarkable, in a village called St. May, in Dauphine, sixteen leagues from Sisteron, in which diocese it is. See many mistakes of martyrologists and geographers concerning this saint and abbey rectified by Chatelain, p. 424.

{276}

JANUARY XXVIII.

SAINT AGNES, V.M.

A SECOND commemoration of St. Agnes occurs on this day in the ancient Sacramentaries of pope Gelasius and St. Gregory the Great; as also in the true Martyrology of Bede. It was perhaps the day of her burial, or of a translation of her relics, or of some remarkable favor obtained through her intercession soon after her death.

ST. CYRIL,

PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA.

From Socrates, Marius Mercator, the councils, and his works. See Tillemont, t. 14, p. 272. Ceillier, t. 13, p. 241.

A.D. 444.

ST. CYRIL was raised by God to defend the faith of the Incarnation of his Son, "of which mystery he is styled the doctor, as St. Austin is of that of grace," says Thomassin. He studied under his uncle Theophilus, and testifies[1] that he made it his rule never to advance any doctrine which he had not learned from the ancient Fathers. His books against Julian the Apostate show that he had read the profane writers. He often says himself that he neglected human eloquence: and it is to be wished that he had written in a clearer style, and with greater purity of the Greek tongue. Upon the death of Theophilus, in 412, he was raised by the people to the patriarchal dignity. He began to exert his authority by causing the churches of the Novatians in the city to be shut up, and their sacred vessels and ornaments to be seized; an action censured by Socrates, a favorer of those heretics; but we do not know the reasons and authority upon which he proceeded. He next drove the Jews out of the city, who were very numerous, and enjoyed great privileges there from the time of Alexander the Great. Seditions, and several acts of violence committed by them, excited him to this, which grievously offended Orestes the governor, but was approved by the emperor Theodosius: and the Jews never returned. St. Cyril sent to conjure the governor by the holy gospels that he would consent to a reconciliation, and that he would join in sincere friendship with him: but his offers were rejected. This unhappy disagreement produced pernicious effects. Hypatia, a pagan lady, kept a public school of philosophy in the city. Her reputation for learning was so great, that disciples flocked to her from all parts. Among these was the great Synesius, who afterwards submitted his works to her censure. She was consulted by philosophers of the first rank on the most intricate points of learning, and of the Platonic philosophy in particular, in which she was remarkably well versed.[2] She was much respected and consulted by the governor, and often visited him. The mob, which was nowhere more unruly, or more fond of riots and tumults than in that populous city, the second in the world for extent, upon a {277} suspicion that she incensed the governor against their bishop, seditiously rose, pulled her out of her chariot, cut and mangled her flesh, and tore her body in pieces in the streets, in 415, to the great grief and scandal of all good men, especially of the pious bishop.[3][4] He had imbibed certain prejudices from his uncle against the great St. Chrysostom: but was prevailed on by St. Isidore of Pelusium, and others, to insert his name in the Dyptics of his church, in 419: after which, pope Zozimus sent him letters of communion.[5]

Nestorius, a monk and priest of Antioch, was made bishop of Constantinople in 428. The retiredness and severity of his life, joined with a hypocritical exterior of virtue, a superficial learning, and a fluency of words, gained him some reputation in the world. But being full of self conceit, he neglected the study of the Fathers, was a man of weak judgment, extremely vain, violent, and obstinate. This is the character he bears in the history of those times, and which is given him by Socrates, and also by Theodoret, whom he had formerly imposed upon by his hypocrisy. Marius Mercator informs us, that he was no sooner placed in the episcopal chair, but he began to persecute, with great fury, the Arians, Macedonians, Manichees, and Quartodecimans, whom he banished out of his diocese. But though he taught original sin, he is said to have denied the necessity of grace; on which account he received to his communion Celestius and Julian, who had been condemned by the popes Innocent and Zozimus, and banished out of the West by the emperor Honorius, for Pelagianism. Theodosius obliged them to leave Constantinople, notwithstanding the protection of the bishop. Nestorius and his mercenary priests broached also new errors from the pulpit, teaching two distinct persons in Christ, that of God, and that of man, only joined by a moral union, by which he said the Godhead dwelt in the humanity merely as in its temple. Hence he denied the Incarnation, or that God was made man: and said the Blessed Virgin ought not to be styled the mother of God, but of the man who was Christ, whose humanity was only the temple of the divinity, not a nature hypostatically assumed by the divine Person; though at length convicted by the voice of antiquity, he allowed her the empty title of mother of God, but continued to deny the mystery. The people were shocked at these novelties, and the priests, St. Proclus, Eusebius, afterwards bishop of Dorylaeum, and others, separated themselves from his communion, after having attempted in vain to reclaim him by remonstrances. His homilies, wherever they appeared, gave great offence, and excited everywhere clamors against the errors and blasphemies they contained. St. Cyril having read them, sent him a mild expostulation ob the subject, but was answered with haughtiness and contempt. Pope Celestine, being applied to by both parties, examined his doctrine in a council at Rome; condemned it, and pronounced a sentence of excommunication and deposition against the author, unless within ten days after notification of the sentence, he publicly condemned and retracted it, appointing St. Cyril as his vicegerent in this affair, to see that the sentence was put in execution.[6] Our saint, together with his third and last summons, sent Nestorius twelve propositions with anathemas, hence called anathematisms, to be signed by him as a proof of his orthodoxy, but the heresiarch appeared more {278} obstinate than ever. This occasioned the calling of the third general council opened at Ephesus, in 431, by two hundred bishops, with St. Cyril at their head, as pope Celestine's legate and representative.[7] Nestorius, though in the town, and thrice cited, refused to appear. His heretical sermons were read, and depositions received against him, after which his doctrine was condemned, and the sentence of excommunication and deposition was pronounced against him and notified to the emperor.

Six days after, John, patriarch of Antioch, arrived at Ephesus with forty-one oriental bishops; who secretly favoring the person but not the errors of Nestorius, of which they deemed him innocent, had advanced but slowly on their journey to the place. Instead of associating with the council, they assembled by themselves, and presumed to excommunicate St. Cyril and his adherents. Both sides had recourse to the emperor for redress, by whose order, soon after, St. Cyril and Nestorius were both arrested and confined, but our saint the worst treated of the two. Nay, through his antagonist's greater interest at court, he was upon the point of being banished, when three legates from pope Celestine—Arcadius and Projectus, bishops, and Philip, a priest—arrived at Ephesus, which gave a new turn to affairs in our saint's favor. The three new legates having considered what had been done under St. Cyril, the condemnation of Nestorius was confirmed, the saint's conduct approved, and the sentence pronounced against him declared null and invalid. Thus, matters being cleared up, he was enlarged with honor. The Orientals, indeed, continued their schism till 433, when they made their peace with St. Cyril, condemned Nestorius, and gave a clear and orthodox exposition of their faith. That heresiarch, being banished from his see, retired to his monastery in Antioch. John, though formerly his friend, yet finding him very perverse and obstinate in his heresy, and attempting to pervert others, entreated the emperor Theodosius to remove him. He was therefore banished to Oasis, in the deserts of Upper Egypt, on the borders of Libya, in 431, and died miserably and impenitent in his exile. His sect remains to this day very numerous in the East.[8] St. Cyril triumphed over this heresiarch by his meekness, intrepidity, and courage; thanking God for his sufferings, and professing himself ready to spill his blood with joy for the gospel.[9] He arrived at Alexandria on the 30th of October, 431, and spent the remainder of his days in maintaining the faith of the church in its purity, in promoting peace and union among the faithful, and the zealous labors of his pastoral charge, till his glorious death in 444, on the 28th of June, that is, the 3d of the Egyptian month Epiphi, as the Alexandrians, the Copts, and the Ethiopians unanimously affirm, who, by abridging his name, call him Kerlos, and give him the title of Doctor of the world. The Greeks keep the 18th of January in his honor; and have a second commemoration of him again on the 9th of June.[10] The Roman Martyrology mentions him on this day. Pope Celestine styles him, "The generous defender of the church and faith, the Catholic doctor, and an apostolical man."[11]

The extraordinary devotion of this holy doctor towards the holy sacrament appears from the zeal with which he frequently inculcates the glorious effects which it produces in the soul of him who worthily receives it, especially in healing all his spiritual disorders, strengthening him against temptations,{279} subduing the passions, giving life, and making us one with Christ by the most sacred union, not only in spirit, but also with his humanity. Hence this father says that by the holy communion we are made concorporeal with Christ.[12] The eminent dignity and privileges of the ever glorious Virgin Mary were likewise a favorite subject on which he often dwells. In his tenth homily,[13] after having often repeated her title of Mother of God, he thus salutes her: "Hail, O Mary, mother of God, rich treasure of the world,[14] inextinguishable lamp, crown of virginity, sceptre of the true doctrine, temple which cannot fall, the residence of him whom no place can contain, Mother and Virgin, by whom He is who cometh Blessed in the name of the Lord. Hail, Mary, who in your virgin womb contained Him who is immense and incomprehensible: You through whom the whole blessed Trinity is glorified and adored, through whom the precious cross is honored and venerated over the whole world, through whom heaven exults, the angels and archangels rejoice, the devils are banished, the tempter is disarmed, the creature that was fallen is restored to heaven, and comes to the knowledge of the truth, through whom holy baptism is instituted, through whom is given the oil of exultation, through whom churches are founded over the whole earth, through whom nations are brought to penance. And what need of more words? Through whom the only begotten Son of God has shone the light to those who sat in darkness and in the shade of death, &c.—What man can celebrate the most praiseworthy Mary according to her dignity?"

Footnotes: 1. Ep. 56, and 35 apud Lupum. 2. Synesius, ep. 153. 3. Vie d'Hypacie par l'abbe Goujet. Memoires de Litterature, t. 5. 4. It is very unjust in some moderns to charge him as conscious of so horrible a crime, which shocks human nature. Great persons are never to be condemned without proofs which amount to conviction. The silence of Orestes, and the historian Socrates, both his declared enemies, suffices to acquit him. 5. We have nothing further of the life of this father, until the year 428, when his zeal was first exerted in defence of the faith against Nestorianism: we shall introduce this period of his labors with some account of the author of this heresy. 6. Conc. t. 3, p. 343. Liberat. in Breviar. c. 4. 7. St. Leo, Ep. 72, c. 3. Conc. t. 3, p. 656, 980. 8. They have a liturgy under the name of Nestorius, and two others which they pretend to be still more ancient. See Renaudot, liturg. orient. t. 2, and Le Brun, liturg. t. 3. The former contains a clear profession of transubstantiation and the sacrifice of the mass. 9. Ep. ad Theopomp, t. 3. Conc. p. 771. 10. Smith on the present state of the Greek church, p. 13. Thomassin Tr. des Fetes, l. 1, ch. 7. 11. Conc. t. 3, p. 1077. 12. {Footnote not found in text.} L. 4, contra Nestor, t. 6, parte 1, p. 110. l. 7, de adoratione in spiritu et verit. t. 1, p. 231, c. 10, in Joan. t. 1, c. 13. 13. T. 5, parte 2, p. 380. Item Conc. t. 3, p. 583. 14. [Greek: Keimelion tes oikomenes]. The rich furniture of the world.

APPENDIX

ON

THE WRITINGS OF ST. CYRIL

OF ALEXANDRIA.

The old Latin translations of the works of this father were extremely faulty, before the edition of Paris, by John Aubert, in 1638, in six tomes, folio, bound in seven, which yet might be improved. Baluze and Lupus have published some letters of this holy doctor, which had escaped Aubert and Labbe. If elegance, choice of thoughts, and beauty of style be wanting in his writings, these defects are compensated by the justness and precision with which he expresses the great truths of religion, especially in clearing the terms concerning the mystery of the Incarnation. Hence his controversial works are the most valuable part of his writings. His books against Nestorius, those against Julian, and that called The Treasure, are the most finished and important.

His treatise On Adoration in Spirit and Truth, with which he begins his commentary on the Bible, contains, in seventeen books, an exposition of several passages of the Pentateuch, or five books of Moses, (though not in order,) in moral and allegorical interpretations.

In the thirteen books entitled Glaphyrs, i.e. profound or elegant, the longer passages of the same books are explained allegorically of Christ and his church.

In his commentaries on Isaiah, and the twelve lesser prophets, he gives both the literal and allegorical sense.

On the Gospel of St. John, we have ten books entire, and fragments of the seventh and eighth. In the old editions, the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth books, which were entirely wanting, were patched up by Clictou from the writings of other fathers: which, for want of reading the preface, have been quoted by some as St. Cyril's. In this great work, the {280} saint gives not only the literal and spiritual senses of the sacred text, but likewise refutes the reigning heresies of that age, especially those against the consubstantiality of the Son, as the Eunomians. He also answers all the objections of the Manichees. He is very clear in establishing in the holy sacrament of the altar the reality of Christ's body contained in it and the holy sacrifice, teaching that "the holy body of Christ gives life to us when received, and preserves us in it, being the very body of life itself, according to nature, and containing all the virtue of the Word united to it, and being endued with all his efficacy by whom all things receive life, and are preserved." (L. 4, in Joan. p. 324.) That we shall, by tasting it, "have life in us, being united together with his body as it is with the Word dwelling in it." (Ibid. p. 361.) That "as death had devoured all human nature, he who is life, being in us by his flesh, might overcome that tyrant." (Ibid. p. 272.) "Christ by his flesh, hides in us life and a seed of immortality, which destroys in us all corruption," (Ibid. p. 363,) and "heals our diseases, assuaging the law of the flesh raging in our members." (ibid. p. 365.) In the tenth look he is most diffusive and clear on this sacrament, extolling its miraculous institution, the most exalted of all God's mysteries, above our comprehension, and the wonderful manner by which we are united and made one with him; not by affection, but by natural participation; which he calls "a mixture, an incorporation, a blending together; for as wax melted and mingled with another piece of melted wax, makes one; so by partaking of his precious body and blood, he is united in us, and we in him," &c. (L. 10, in Joan. pp. 862, 863, item pp. 364, 365.) See the longer and clearer texts of this doctrine in this book itself, and in the controversial writers upon that subject. Also, in his works Against Nestorius, whom he confutes from the blessed eucharist, proving Christ's humanity to be the humanity of the divine Person. "This," says he, "I cannot but add in this place, namely, that when we preach the death of the only begotten Son of God, that is, of Jesus Christ, and his resurrection from the dead, and confess his ascension into heaven, we celebrate the unbloody sacrifice in the church, and do by this means approach the mystical benedictions, and are sanctified, being made partakers of the sacred flesh and precious blood of Christ, the Saviour of us all. And we do not receive it as common flesh, ([Greek: me genoito],) God forbid; nor as the flesh of man who is sanctified and joined to the Word by a unity of dignity, or as having a divine habitation; but we receive it, as it is truly, the life-giving and proper flesh of the Word." (Ep. ad Nestorium, de Excommun. p. 72, t. 5, par. 2, and in Declaratione undecimi Anathematismi, t. 6, p. 156.) In this latter place he speaks of it also as a true sacrifice: "We perform in the churches the holy and life-giving and unbloody sacrifice, believing the body which is placed, and the precious blood to be made the very body and blood of the Word, which gives life to all things, &c. He proves that it is only to be offered in Catholic churches, in the only one house of Christ" (L. adv. Anthropomorph. t. 6, p. 380.) He heard that some imagined that the mystical benediction is lost if the eucharist is kept to another day; but says, "they are mad; for Christ is not altered, nor his body changed." (T. 6, p. 365, ep. ad Calosyrium.) In his fourth book on St. John, (t. 4, p. 358,) he as expressly confutes the Jewish doubt about the possibility of the holy sacrament, as if he had the modern Sacramentarians in view.

To refute the whole system of Arianism, he wrote the book which he called The Treasure, which he divided into thirty-five titles or sections. He answers in it all the objections of those heretics, and establishes from scripture the divinity of the Son of God; and from title thirty-three, that of the Holy Ghost.

His book On the Holy and Consubstantial Trinity, consists of seven dialogues, and was composed at the request of Nemesm and Hermias. This work was also written to prove the consubstantiality of Christ, but is more obscure than the former. The holy doctor added two other Dialogues, the eighth and ninth, On the Incarnation, against the errors of Nestorius, then only known by report at Alexandria. He afterwards subjoined Scholia, to answer certain objections; likewise a short book On the Incarnation, in which he proves the holy Virgin to be, as she is called, the Mother of God; as Jesus Christ is at the same time both the Son of God, and the Son of man. By his skirmishes with the Arians he was prepared to oppose and crush the extravagances of Nestorius, broached at that time against the same adorable mystery of the Incarnation, of which God raised our holy doctor the champion in his church; for by his writings he both stifled the heresy of Nestorius in the cradle, and furnished posterity with arms against that of Eutyches, says Basil of Seleucia. (T. 4, Conc. p. 925.)

St. Cyril composed at Ephesus his three treatises On the Right Faith, against Nestorius. The first is addressed to the Emperor Theodosius. It contains an enumeration of the heresies against the Incarnation, namely, of Cerinthus, Photinus, Apollinaris, and Nestorius, with a refutation of each, especially the last. The second is inscribed to the princesses Pulcheria, Arcadia, and Marina, the emperor's sisters, all virgins, consecrated to God. This contains the proofs of the Catholic faith against Nestorius. The third is a confutation of the heretics' objections against it.

His five books against Nestorius, are the neatest and best penned of his polemic writings. They contain a refutation of the blasphemous homilies of that heresiarch, who yet is never {281} named in them; by which circumstance they seem to have been written before his condemnation. St. Cyril sent to Nestorius twelve Anathematisms against his errors. This work was read in the council of Ephesus, and is entirely orthodox, yet some censured it as favoring Apollinarism, or as denying the distinction of two natures in Christ, the divine and human, after the Incarnation; and the Eutychians afterwards strained them in favor of their heresy. John, patriarch of Antioch, prepossessed against St. Cyril, pretended for some time to discover that error in them; and persuaded Andrew, bishop of Samosata, and the great Theodoret of Cyr, to write against them. St. Cyril gave in his clear Explication of them to the council of Ephesus, at its desire, extant, p. 145.

He also wrote, soon after that synod, two Apologies of the Anathematisms; one against Andrew of Samosata, and other Oriental prelates, who through mistake were offended at them; and the other, against Theodoret of Cyr. And lastly, An Apologetic for them to the emperor Theodosius, to remove some sinister suspicions which his enemies had endeavored to give that prince against his sentiments in that work.

The Anthropomorphite heretics felt likewise the effects of St. Cyril's zeal. These were certain ignorant monks of Egypt, who having been taught by the elders, in order to help their gross minds in the continual practice of the presence of God, to represent him to themselves under a corporeal human figure, by which they at length really believed him to be not a pure spirit, but corporeal, like a man; because man was created to his image. Theophilus immediately condemned, and the whole church exploded, this monstrous absurdity. St. Cyril wrote a letter to confute it to Calosyrius, bishop of Arsinoe, showing that man is framed according to the Divine image, not in his body, for God being the most pure Spirit, can have no sensible figure, but in being endued with reason, and capable of virtue. In the same letter he rejects a second error of other ignorant monks, who imagined that the blessed Eucharist lost its consecration if kept to the following day. He reprehends other anchorets, who, upon a pretence of continual prayer, did not work at certain hours of the day, making it a cloak of gluttony and laziness. The saint has left us another book against the Anthropomorphites, in which he proves that man is made to God's image, by bearing the resemblance of his sanctity, by grace and virtue. So he says the angels are likewise made to his likeness. He answers in this book twenty-seven dogmatical questions put to him by the same monks.

He wrote, in the years 437 and 438, two Dogmatical Letters (pp. 51 and 52) against certain propositions of Theodorus of Mopsuestia, the forerunner of Nestorius, though he had died in the communion of the church.

The book on the Trinity cannot be St. Cyril's; for it refutes the Monothelite heresy, not known before the year 620.

Julian the Apostate, while he was preparing for the Persian war, had, with the assistance of Maximus and his other impious philosophers, published three books against the holy gospels, which were very prejudicial to weak minds; though nothing was advanced in them that had not been said by Celsus, and fully answered by Origen in his books against that philosopher, and by Eusebius in his Evangelical Preparation. St. Cyril, out of zeal, composed ten books against Julian, which he dedicated to the emperor Theodosius; and also sent to John of Antioch to show the sincerity of his reconciliation. In this work he has preserved us Julian's words, omitting only his frequent repetitions and puerilities. Nor have we any thing else of that work of the Apostate, but what is preserved here by St. Cyril. He begins by warning the emperor against bad company, by which Julian fell into such extravagant impieties. In the first book he justifies Moses's history of the world, and proves with great erudition from profane history that its events are posterior, and the heathen sages and historians younger than that divine lawgiver, from whom they all borrowed many things. In the second, he compares the sacred history of the creation, which Julian had pretended to ridicule, with the puerilities and absurdities of Pythagoras, Thales, Plato, &c., of whom Julian was an admirer to a degree of folly. In the third, he vindicates the history of the Serpent, and of Adam's fall; and retorts the ridiculous Theogony of Hesiod, &c. In the fourth, he shows that God governs all things by himself, not by inferior deities, as Julian pretended, the absurdity of which he sets forth: demonstrating, likewise, that things are ruled by a wise free providence; not by destiny or necessity, which even Porphyry and the wiser heathens had justly exploded, though the Apostate adopted that monstrous doctrine. He justifies against his cavils the history of the Tower of Babel: and in his fifth book, the Ten Commandments; showing in the same, that God is not subject to jealousy, anger, or other passions, though he has an infinite horror of sin. Julian objected that we also adore God the Son, consequently have two gods. St. Cyril answers that he is the same God with the Father. In the sixth book he reports the shameful vices of Socrates, Plato, and their other heroes of paganism, in opposition to the true virtues of the prophets and saints. Julian reproached Christ that he did not appear great in the world, and only cured the pool, and delivered demoniacs in villages; he reprehended Christians for refusing to adore the noble ensign, the gift of Jupiter or Mars; yet, says he, you adore the wood of {282} the cross, make its sign on your forehead, and engrave it on the porches of your houses ([Greek: To toutu saurou proskuneite tzolon, eikonas autou skiagrafountes en to metopo, kai pro ton opennatos eggrafontes.] L. 6, adv. Jul. t. 6, p. 194.) To which St. Cyril answers, (p. 195:) We glory in this sign of the precious cross, since Christ triumphed on it; and it is to us the admonition of all virtue. This father says in another place, (in Isaiam, t. 4, p. 294:) "The faithful arm and intrench themselves with the sign of the cross, overthrowing and breaking by it the power, and every assault of the devils: for the cross is to us an impregnable rampart." In this sixth book he produces the open acknowledgment of Julian that the heathenish oracles had all ceased; but this he ascribed to old age and length of time. St. Cyril shows the extravagance of this supposition, and that the true reason was, because the power of the devil had been restrained by the coming of Christ. He mentions the same in his Commentary on Isaiah, (t. 2, p. 596.) In the seventh book, he proves that the great men in the true religion far surpassed in virtue all the heroes of paganism. In the eighth and ninth, that Christ was foretold by the ancient prophets, and that the Old and New Law are in substance the same. In the tenth he proves, that not only St. John, but all the Evangelists, teach Christ to be truly God. Julian objects, (pp. 333, 335, 339, and 350,) that we also adore the martyrs and their sepulchres: "Why do you prostrate yourselves at the sepulchres?—which it is to be believed your Apostles did after the death of their Master, and taught you this art magic," (p. 339.) The saint answers, We make an infinite difference between God and the martyrs: which he had before told him, (l. 6, pp. 201 and 203,) where he writes, "We neither call the martyrs gods, nor adore them with divine worship; but with affection and honor reverence them: we pay them the highest honors, because they contemned their life for the truth," &c.

We have in the second part of the fifth tome several Homilies and Letters of this saint. It was ordained by the council of Nice that the bishop of Alexandria, in which city chiefly flourished the sciences of mathematics and astronomy, should at the end of every year examine carefully on what day the next Easter was to be kept. They, by custom, acquainted by a circular letter other bishops near them, and in particular the bishop of Rome, that he might notify it to all the prelates of the West. St. Cyril was very exact in this duty. Possevin says he saw his paschal discourses in the Vatican library, for every year of hie episcopacy, namely thirty-one, from the year 414. We have but twenty-nine printed: those for 443 and 444 being wanting. He spoke them to his own flock, as well as sent them to other bishops; and marks in each the beginning of Lent, the Monday and Saturday in Holy Week, and Easter-day, counting Lent exactly of forty days. In these paschal homilies he exceedingly recommends the advantages of fasting; which he shows (Hom. 1.) to be the "source of all virtues, the image of an angelical life, the extinction of lust, and the preparation of a soul to heavenly communications." He says, "If it seems at first bitter and laborious, its fruits and reward infinitely compensate the pains; for more should seem nothing for the purchase of virtue: even in temporal things, nothing valuable can be obtained without labor and cost. If we are afraid of fasting here, we shall fall into eternal flames hereafter; an evil infinitely worse, and quite intolerable." In the following homilies he extols the absolute necessity of this mortification, to crucify in us the old man, and punish past irregularities; but shows it must be accompanied with alms and other good works. In his latter paschal discourses, and others extant, he explains the mystery of the Incarnation against Nestorianism and other heresies. The ninth homily is On the Mystical Supper, or Holy Banquet of the Communion and Sacrifice, in which "the tremendous mystery is performed, and the Lamb of God sacrificed, (p. 271;) in which (p. 272) the Eternal Wisdom distributes his body as bread, and his saving blood as wine: the Maker gives himself to the work of his own hands. Life bestows itself to be eat and drunk by men," &c. At this divine table he cries out, (p. 376,) "I am filled with dread when I behold it. I am transported cut of myself with astonishment when I consider it," &c. He proves, against Nestorianism, (p. 318,) that there is but one Person in Christ, because in this holy sacrament is received his true body and blood: not the Divinity alone, which nobody could receive, nor a pure man's body, which could not give life; but a man made the Word of God—who is Christ, the Son of the living God, one of the adorable Trinity. He remains the priest and the victim: he who offers, and he who is offered. ([Greek: Oti autos menei hiereus kai lusia, autos ho prosferon kai ho prosferomenos.] p. 378.) In the tenth homily he pronounces an encomium of the blessed Mary, mother of God. This was delivered at Ephesus, in an assembly of bishops, during the council; for he apostrophizes that city, and St. John the Evangelist, its protector. In it he calls the pope "the most holy Celestine, the father and archbishop of the whole world, and the patriarch of the great city Rome." (Ib. Encom. in St. Mariam. part 2, p. 384.) He more clearly extols the supreme prerogative of the church of Rome, founded on the faith of Peter; which church is perpetual, impregnable to hell, and confirmed beyond the danger of falling. (Dial. 4, de Trinit. pp. 507, 508.) His eleventh homily is On the Presentation, or, as the Greeks call it, [Greek: apantesis]. The meeting of the Lord in the Temple, and The Purification of our Lady, in which he speaks of the lamp or candles used on that festival. He has a pathetic Sermon on the Pains of {283} Hell: he paints the terrors of the last Judgment in a manner which cannot fail to make a strong impression upon all who read it. (Or. de Exitu animi, et de secundo Adventu.)

The epistles which we have from his pen all relate to the public affairs of the church, and principally those of Nestorius. His second letter to that heresiarch, and his letter to the Orientals, were adopted by the general councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon, and are a rule of the Catholic faith. His sixteenth letter is placed among the canons of the Greek church. In it be recommends to the bishops of Libya and Pentapolis, the strictest scrutiny of the capacity and manners of those who are admitted to holy Orders; and the greatest solicitude and watchfulness that no one die without baptism, if only a catechumen, and the Holy Eucharist or Viaticum. See Beveridge.

SS. THYRSUS, LEUCIUS, AND CALLINICUS, MM.

THEIR Greek and Latin Acts agree that, after suffering many torments, they were put to death, on three different days, at Apollonia, in Phrygia, in the persecution of Decius. Sozomen tells us that Caesarius, who had been prefect and consul, built at Constantinople a magnificent church under the invocation of St. Thyrsus, with a portion of whose relics it was enriched. Another church within the city bore his name, as appears from the Menaea, on the 14th of December. In the cathedral of our Lady at Sisteron, in a church at Limoges, &c., St. Thymus is one of the patrons. Many churches in Spain bear his name. Silon, King of Oviedo and Asturia, in a letter to Cyxilas, archbishop of Toledo in 777, says that the queen had sent presents to the church of St. Thyrsus, which the archbishop had built, viz. a silver chalice and paten, a basin to wash the hands in, with a pipe and a diadem on the cover, to be used when the blood of our Lord was distributed to the people.

Footnotes: 1. Cum suo naso. Du Cange, not understanding this word, substitutes vaso. But nasus here signifies a silver pipe or quill to suck up the blood of Christ at the communion, such as the pope sometimes uses. Such a one is kept at St. Denys's, near Paris. The ancient Ordo Romanus calls that pugillar which is here called nasus, because it sucks up as a nose draws up air. In the reign of Philip II., in 1595, in certain ruins near the cathedral of Toledo, this cover of the chalice was discovered with the diadem. Chatelain, p. 440.

ST. JOHN OF REOMAY, A.

NOW CALLED MOUTIER-SAINT-JEAN, IN BURGUNDY

HE was a native of the diocese of Langres, and took the monastic habit at Lerins. He was called into his own country by the bishop of Langres to found the abbey from which he received his surname. He settled it under the rule of St. Macarius, governed it many years with great reputation of sanctity, and was rendered famous by miracles. He went to God about the year 540, being almost one hundred and twenty years old, and was one of the holy institutors of the monastic state in France. St. Gregory of Tours gives an account of him in the eighty-seventh chapter of his book, On the Glory of Confessors. His life was also compiled by Jonas, the disciple of Columban, extant in Bollandus. See P. Rover, Hist. Monast. S. Joan. Reom. Paris, 1637.

{284}

B. MARGARET, PRINCESS OF HUNGARY, V.

SHE was daughter to Bala IV., the pious king of Hungary. Her parents consecrated her to God by a vow before her birth, and when but three years and a half old she was placed in the monastery of Dominican nuns at Vesprin, and at ten removed to a new nunnery of that order, founded by her father in an isle of the Danube, near Buda, called from her the isle of St. Margaret. She was professed at twelve.[1] In her tender age she outstripped the most advanced in devotion, and was favored with extraordinary communications from heaven. It was her delight to serve everybody, and to practise every kind of humiliation: she never spoke of herself, as if she was beneath all notice: never loved to see her royal parents, or to speak of them, saying it was her misfortune that she was not of poor parentage. Her mortifications were excessive. She endeavored to conceal her sicknesses for fear of being dispensed with or shown any indulgence in the rule. From her infancy she conceived the most ardent devotion towards her crucified Redeemer, and kissed very often, both by day and night, a little cross made of the wood of our Saviour's cross, which she always carried about her. She commonly chose to pray before the altar of the cross. Her affection for the name of Jesus made her have it very frequently in her mouth, which she repeated with incredible inward feeling and sweetness. Her devotion to Christ in the blessed sacrament was most remarkable: she often wept abundantly, or appeared in ecstasies during the mass, and much more when she herself received the divine spouse of her soul: on the eve she took nothing but bread and water, and watched the night in prayer. On the day itself she remained in prayer and fasting till evening, and then took a small refection. She showed a sensible joy in her countenance when she heard any festival of our Lady announced, through devotion to the mother of God; she performed on them, and during the octaves, one thousand salutations each day, prostrating herself on the ground at each, besides saying the office of our blessed Lady every day. If any one seemed offended at her, she fell at their feet and begged their pardon. She was always the first in obedience, and was afraid to be excepted if others were enjoined penance for a breach of silence or any other fault. Her bed was a coarse skin, laid on the bare floor, with a stone for her pillow. She was favored with the gift of miracles and prophecy. She gave up her pure soul to God, after a short illness, on the 18th of January, in the year 1271, and of her age the twenty-eighth. Her body is preserved at Presbourg. See her life by Guerinus, a Dominican, by order of his general, in 1340: and an abridgment of the same by Ranzano. She was never canonized, but is honored with an office in all the churches in Hungary, especially those of the Dominicans in that kingdom, by virtue of a decree of Pope Pius II, as Touron assures us.[2]

Footnotes: 1. Touron, Vies des Hommes Illustres de l'Ordre de St. Dominique, in Humbert des Romains, fifth general of the Dominicans, t. 1, p. 325. 2. Touron, ib. in Innocent V. t. 1, p. 384.

ST. PAULINUS, PATRIARCH OF AQUILEIA, C.

ONE of the most illustrious and most holy prelates of the eighth and ninth centuries was Paulinus, patriarch of Aquileia, who seems to have been born {285} about the year 728, in a country farm, not far from Friuli. His family could boast of no advantages of fortune, and his parents having no other revenue than what arose from the tillage of their farm, he spent part of his youth in agriculture. Yet he found leisure for his studios, and in process of time became so eminent a grammarian and professor, that Charlemagne honored him with a rescript, in which he styles him Master of Grammar, and Very Venerable. This epithet seems to imply that he was then priest. The same prince, in recompense of his extraordinary merit, bestowed on him an estate in his own country. It seems to have been about the year 776, that Paulinus was promoted, against his will, to the patriarchate of Aquileia, which dignity had not then been long annexed to that see, after the extinction of the schism of Istria. From the zeal, abilities, and piety of St. Paulinus, this church derived its greatest lustre. Such was his reputation, that Charlemagne always expressed a particular desire that he should be present at all the great councils which were assembled in his time, though in the remotest part of his dominions. He assisted at those of Aix-la-Chapelle in 789, of Ratisbon in 792, and of Frankfort in 794; and held himself one at Friuli, in 791, or 796, against the errors which some had begun to spread in that age concerning the Procession of the Holy Ghost, and the mystery of the Incarnation.

Felix, bishop of Urgel in Catalonia, in a letter to Elipandus, bishop of Toledo, who had consulted him on that subject, before the year 783, pretended to prove that Christ as man is not the natural, but only the adoptive Son of God: which error he had already advanced in his public discourses.[1] The rising error was vigorously opposed by Beatus, a priest and abbot, and his disciple Etherius, who was afterwards bishop of Osma. Soon after it was condemned by a council at Narbonne, in 788,[2] and by another at Ratisbon, in 792, while Charlemagne kept his court in that city. Felix revoked his error first in this council at Ratisbon, and afterwards before pope Leo III. at Rome.[3] Yet after his return into Spain he continued both by letters and discourses to spread his heresy; which was therefore again condemned in the great council of Frankfort, in 794, in which a work of our saint, entitled Sacro-Syllabus, against the same, was approved, and ordered to be sent into Spain, to serve for all antidote against the spreading poison.[4] From this book of St. Paulinus it is clear that Elipandus also returned to the vomit. Alcuin returning from England, where he had stayed three years, in 793, wrote a tender moving letter to Felix, exhorting him sincerely to renounce his error. But the unhappy man, in a long answer, endeavored to establish his heresy so roundly as to fall into downright Nestorianism, which indeed is a consequence of his erroneous principle. For Christ as man cannot be called the adoptive Son of God, unless his human nature subsist by a distinct person from the divine.[5] By an order of Charlemagne, Alcuin and St. Paulinus solidly confuted the writings of these two heresiarchs, the former in seven, our saint in three books. Alcuin wrote four other books against the pestilential writings of Elipandus, in which he testifies that Felix was then at Rome, and converted to the Catholic faith. Elipandus, who was not a subject of Charlemagne, could not be compelled to appear before the councils held in his dominions, Toledo being at that time subject to the Moors. Felix, after his relapse, returned to the faith with his principal followers in the council of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 797.[6] From that time he concealed his heresy, but continued in secret to defend it, and at his {286} death, in 815, left a written profession of his heresy.[7] Elipandus died in 809.[8]

The zeal of St. Paulinus was not less successful in the conversion of infidels than in the extinction of this heresy. Burning with zeal for the salvation of souls, and a vehement desire of laying down his life for Christ, he preached the gospel to the idolaters, who had remained to that time obstinately attached to their superstition among the Carantani in Carinthia and Stiria; in which provinces also St. Severinus the abbot, who died in 481, and afterwards St. Virgilius, bishop of Saltzburg, who died in 785, planted several numerous churches. Whence a contest arising between Arno, St. Virgilius's successor, and Ursus, the successor of Paulinus, to which see Carinthia ought to be annexed, it was settled in 811, that the churches which are situated on the south of the Drave should be subject of the patriarchate of Aquileia, and those on the north to the archbishopric of Saltzburg.[9] The Avares, a barbarous nation of Huns, who were settled in part of Pannonia, and were twice subdued by Charlemagne, received the faith by the preaching of St. Paulinus, and of certain missionaries sent by the archbishops of Saltzburg.[10] Henry, a virtuous nobleman, being appointed by Charlemagne Duke of Friuli, and governor of that country which he had lately conquered, St. Paulinus wrote for his use an excellent book Of Exhortation, in which he strongly invites him to aspire with his whole heart after Christian perfection, and lays down the most important rules on the practice of compunction and penance: on the remedies against different vices, especially pride, without which he shows that no sin ever was, or will be committed, this being the beginning, end, and cause of all sin:[11] on an earnest desire and study to please God with all our strength in all our actions:[12] on assiduous prayer and its essential dispositions: on the holy communion, of the preparation to which after sin he shows confession and penance to be an essential part:[13] on shunning bad company, &c. He closes the book with a most useful prayer; and in the beginning promises his prayers for the salvation of the good duke. By tears and prayers he ceased not to draw down the blessings of the divine mercy on the souls committed to his charge. Alcuin earnestly besought him as often as bathed in tears he offered the spotless victim to the divine Majesty, to implore the divine mercy in his behalf.[14] In 802, St. Paulinus assembled a council at Altino, a city near the Adriatic sea, which had been destroyed by Attila, and was at that time only a shadow of what it had been, though famous for a monastery, in which this synod was probably held.[15] It is long since entirely decayed. St. Paulinus closed a holy life by a happy death on the 11th of January, in 804, as Madrisius proves.[16] His festival occurs on this day in the old missal of Aquileia, and in several German Martyrologies: but it is at present kept at Aquileia, Friuli, and in some other places, on the 28th of January.[17] See the life of St. Paulinus of Aquileia, compiled by Nicoletti, {287} with the notes of Madrisius; and far more accurately by Madrisius himself an Oratorian of U{}na, who in 1737 published at Venice the works of this father in folio, illustrated with long notes and dissertations on every circumstance relating to the history or writings of our saint. See also Ceillier t. 18, p. 262, and Bollandus ad 11 Januarii.

Footnotes: 1. See Madrisius, Dissert. 4, p. 214. 2. On this council see Baluse, additam. ad. e. 25, l. 6, Petri de Marca, de Concord. Sacerd. et. Imp. 3. Leo III. in Conc. Rom. 799. Act. 2, et Eginard in Annal. &c. 4. See Madrisius, dissert. 4, p. 219. 5. See Natal. Alex. Saec. 8. diss. 5. 6. Alcuin, l. 1, contra Elipand. 7. Agobard, l. 1, adv. Felicem. n. 1 & 5. 8. From certain false chronicles, Iamayo and Ceillier (in St. Beatus. t. 18, p. 364,) relate that Ellpandus revoked his error in a council which he held at Toledo, and died penitent. Madrisius shows this circumstance to be uncertain, (Diss. 4, in op. S. Paulini, p. 225,) and Nicolas Antony of Seville, in his Bibl. Hisp. l. 6, c. 2, n. 42, has proved the monuments upon which it is founded to be of no authority. Claudius, bishop of Turin, a disciple of Felix of Urgel, renewed this heresy in Italy, and denied the veneration due to holy images, and was refuted by Jonas, bishop of Orleans, and others. 9. Sconleben, Annal. Austr. and Madrisius, Vit. S. Paulini, c. 8. 10. Alcuin. ep. 112. F. Inchofer, in Annal. Hungar. Eccl. ad an. 795. Madrisius, in Vit. St. Paulini, c. 8, p. 31. 11. St. Paulin. l, Exhort. ad Henr. ducem. c. 19, p. 29. 12. C. 24, p. 34. 13. C. 33, p. 29. See 1 Corinth. xi. 28, St. Cypr. ep. 9, 10, 11, and Tract. de Lapsis. 14. Alcuin, ep. 113, and Poem. 214. 15. See Madrisius, Dissert. 6. 16. Mardis. in Vita St. Paulini, c. 13, p. 37. 17. Besides the polemical and spiritual works of St. Paulinus of Aquileia, mentioned above, we have several poems of his composition: the first contains a rule of faith against the Arians, Nestorians, and Eutychians: the rest are hymns or rhythms on the Chair of St. Peter, and on several other festivals and saints. Among his letters the second is most remarkable, in which he complains severely to Charlemagne that several bishops attending the court neglected to reside in their dioceses. Against this abuse he quotes the council of Sardica, which forbade any bishop to be absent from his see above three weeks. Madrisius, p. 188.

B. CHARLEMAGNE, EMPEROR.

CHARLEMAGNE, or Charles the Great, son of king Pepin, was born in 742, and crowned king of France in 768; but his youngest brother Carloman reigned in Austrasia till his death, in 771. Charlemagne vanquished Hunauld, duke of Aquitaine, and conquered the French Gothia or Languedoc; subdued Lombardy; conferred on pope Adrian the exarchate of Ravenna, the duchy of Spoletto, and many other dominions; took Pavia, (which had been honored with the residence of twenty kings,) and was crowned king of Lombardy in 774. The emir Abderamene in Spain, having shaken off the yoke of the caliph of the Saracens, in 736, and established his kingdom at Cordova, and other emirs in Spain setting up independency, Charlemagne, in 778, marched as far as the Ebro and Saragossa, conquered Barcelona, Gironne, and many other places, and returned triumphant. His cousin Roland, who followed him with the rear of his army, in his return was set upon in the Pyrenean mountains by a troop of Gascon robbers, and slain; and is the famous hero of numberless old French romances and songs. The Saxons having in the king's absence plundered his dominions upon the Rhine, he flew to the Weser, and compelled them to make satisfaction. Thence he went to Rome, and had his infant sons crowned kings, Pepin of Lombardy, and Lewis of Aquitaine. The great revolt of the Saxons, in 782, called him again on that side. When they were vanquished, and sued for pardon, he declared he would no more take their oaths which they had so often broken, unless they became Christians. Witikind embraced the condition, was baptized with his chief followers in 785, and being created duke of part of Saxony, remained ever after faithful in his religion and allegiance. From him are descended, either directly or by intermarriages, many dukes of Bavaria, and the, present houses of Saxony, Brandenburg, &c., as may be seen in the German genealogists. Some other Saxons afterwards revolted, and were vanquished and punished in 794, 798, &c., so that, through their repeated treachery and rebellions, this Saxon war continued at intervals for the space of thirty-three years. Thassillon, duke of Bavaria, for treasonable practices, was attacked by Charlemagne in 788, vanquished, and obliged to put on a monk's cowl to save his life: from which time Bavaria was annexed to Charlemagne's dominions. To punish the Abares for their inroads, he crossed the Inns into their territories, sacked Vienna, and marched to the mouth of the Raab, upon the Danube. In 794, he assisted at the great council of Frankfort, held in his royal palace there. He restored Leo III. at Rome, quelled the seditions there, and was crowned by him on Christmas-day, in 800, emperor of Rome and of the West: in which quality he was afterwards solemnly acknowledged by Nicephorus, emperor of Constantinople. Thus was the western empire restored, which had been extinct in Momylus Agustulus in the fifth century. In 805, Charlemagne quelled and conquered the Sclavonians. The Danube, {288} the Teisse, and the Oder on the East, and the Ebro and the ocean on the West, were the boundaries of his vast dominions. France, Germany, Dacia, Dalmatia, Istria, Italy, and part of Pannonia and Spain, obeyed his laws. It was then customary for kings not to reside in great cities, but to pass the summer often in progresses or campaigns, and the winter at some country palace. King Pepin resided at Herstal, now Jopin, in the territory of Liege, and sometimes at Quiercy on the Oise: Charlemagne often at Frankfort or Aix-la-Chapelle, which were country seats; for those towns were then inconsiderable places: though the latter had been founded by Serenas Granus in 124, under Adrian. It owes its greatness to the church built there by Charlemagne.

This prince was not less worthy of our admiration in the quality of a legislator than in that of a conqueror; and in the midst of his marches and victories, he gave the utmost attention to the wise government of his dominions, and to every thing that could promote the happiness of his people, the exaltation of the church, and the advancement of piety and every branch of sacred and useful learning.[1] What pains he took for the reformation of monasteries, and for the sake of uniformity introducing in them the rule of St. Bennet, appears from his transactions, and several ecclesiastical assemblies in 789. His zeal for the devout observance of the rites of the church is expressed in his book to Alcuin on that subject, and in his encyclical epistle on the rites of baptism,[2] and in various works which he commissioned Alcuin and others to compile. For the reformation of manners, especially of the clergy, he procured many synods to be held, in which decrees were framed, which are called his Capitula.[3] His Capitulars, divided into many chapters, are of the same nature. The best edition of these Capitulars is given by Baluzius, with dissertations, in 1677, two vols. folio. The Carolin Books are a theological work, (adopted by this prince, who speaks in the first person,) compiled in four books, against a falsified copy of the second council of Nice, sent by certain Iconoclasts from Constantinople, on which see F. Daniel[4] and Ceillier.[5]

There never was a truly great man, who was not a lover and encourager of learning, as of the highest improvement of the human mind. Charlemagne, by most munificent largesses, invited learned men over from foreign parts, as Alcuin, Peter of Pisa, Paul the deacon, &c., found no greater pleasure than in conversing with them, instituted an academy in his own palace, and great schools at Paris, Tours, &c., assisted at literary disputations, was an excellent historian, and had St. Austin's book, On the City of God, laid every night under his pillow to read if he awaked. Yet Eginhard assures us that whatever pains he took, he could never learn to write, because he was old when he first applied himself to it. He was skilled in astronomy, arithmetic, music, and every branch of the mathematics; understood the Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Syriac, also the Sclavonian, and several other living languages, so as never to want an interpreter to converse with ambassadors of neighboring nations. He meditated assiduously on the scriptures, assisted at the divine office, even that of midnight, if possible; had good books read to him at table, and took but one meal a day, which he was obliged to anticipate before the hour of evening on fasting days, that all his officers and servants might dine before midnight. He was very abstemious, had a paternal care of the poor in all his dominions, and honored good men, especially among the clergy. Charlemagne died January the 28th, in 814, seventy-two years old, and was buried at Aix-la-Chapelle. The incontinence into {289} which he fell in his youth, he expiated by sincere repentance, so that several churches in Germany and France honor him among the saints. In the university of Paris, the most constant nation of the Germans, (which was originally called the English nation, in 1250, when the distinction of nations n the faculty of arts was there established,) take Charlemagne for their patron, but only keep his festival since the year 1480, which is now common to the other three nations of French, Picards, and Normans, since 1661.[6]

Footnotes: 1. See Hardion, Hist. Universelle, t. 10. 2. Apud Mabill. Analect. t. 1, p. 21. 3. Conc. t. 6 & 7, ed. Labbe. 4. Hist. de France in Charlem. French edit. in fol. 5. Ceillier, pp. 376 & 400. 6. Pagi (in Breviario Rom. Pontif. t. 3, in Alex. III. p. 82) proves that suffrages for the soul of Charlemagne were continued at Aix-la-Chapelle, till the antipope Pascal, at the desire of Frederic Barbarossa, enshrined his remains in that city, and published a decree for his canonization. From the time of this enshrining of his remains, he is honored among the saints in many churches in Germany and the Low Countries, as Goujet (De Festis propriis Sanctor. l. 1, c. 5, quaest. 9) and Bollandus (ad 28 Jan. and t. 2, Febr. Schemate 19) show. The tacit approbation of the popes is to be looked upon as equivalent to a beatification, as Benedict XIV. proves (De Canoniz. l. 1, c. 9, n. 5, p. 72.) Molanus, (in Natal. SS. Belg.,) Natalis Alexander. (Hist. Saec. 9 and 10., cap. 7, a. 1,) and many others, have made the same observation.

ST. GLASTIAN, B.C. IN SCOTLAND.

HE was a native of the county of Fife, and discharged in the same, during many years, the duties of the episcopal character with which he was honored. Amidst the desolation which was spread over the whole country, in the last bloody civil war between the Scots and Picts, in which the latter were entirely subdued, St. Glastian was the comforter, spiritual father, and most charitable protector of many thousands of both nations. He died in 830, at Kinglace in Fifeshire, and was particularly honored in that country, and in Kyntire. According to the ancient custom of that country, his name is frequently written Mac-Glastian, the word Mac signifying son. See the Breviary of Aberdeen; King in his Calendar, &c.

JANUARY XXIX.

SAINT FRANCIS OF SALES,

BISHOP AND CONFESSOR.

From his writings and authentic lives, chiefly that written by his nephew, Charles Augustus de Sales: also that by F. Goulu, general of the Feuillans: that by Henry de Maupas du Tour, bishop of Puy, afterwards of Evreux: and that by Madame de Bussi-Rabutin, nun of the Visitation See his life, collected by M. Marsoillier, and done into English by the late Mr. Crathorne. See also the bull of his canonization, and an excellent collection of his maxims and private actions, compiled by his intimate friend and real admirer, M. Peter Caums, bishop of Bellay, in his book, entitled, L'Espirit de St. Francois de Sales, and in his scarce and incomparable work under the title. Quel est le meilleur Gouvernement, le rigoureux ou le dour, printed at Paris without the name of the author, 1636. Though I find not this book in any catalogue of bishop Camus's works, the conformity of style, and in several places the repetition of the same expressions which occur in the last-mentioned work, seem to prove this to be also the production of his pen. See also the excellent new edition of the letters of St. Francis of Sales, in six volumes, 12mo. 1758.

A.D. 1622.

THE parents of this saint were Francis, count of Sales, and Frances of Sionas. The countess being with child, offered her fruit to God with the most fervent prayers, begging he would preserve it from the corruption of the world, and rather deprive her of the comfort of seeing herself a mother, than suffer her to give birth to a child who should ever become his enemy by sin. The saint was born at Sales, three leagues from Annecy, the seat of that noble family; and his mother was delivered of him when she was {290} but seven months advanced in her pregnancy.[1] Hence he was reared with difficulty, and was so weak, that his life, during his infancy, was often despaired of by physicians. However, he escaped the danger, and grew robust: he was very beautiful, and the sweetness of his countenance won the affections of all who saw him: but the meekness of his temper, the pregnancy of his wit, his modesty, tractableness, and obedience, were far more valuable qualifications. The countess could scarce suffer the child out of her sight, lest any tincture of vice might infect his soul. Her first care was to inspire him with the most profound respect for the church, and all holy things; and she had the comfort to observe in him a recollection and devotion at his prayers far above his age. She read to him the lives of the saints, adding recollections suited to his capacity; and she took care to have him with her when she visited the poor, making him the distributer of her alms, and to do such little offices for them as he was able. He would set by his own meat for their relief, and when he had nothing left to bestow on them, would beg for them of all his relations. His horror of a lie, even in his infancy, made him prefer any disgrace or chastisement to the telling of the least wilful untruth.

Previous Part     1 ... 6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20 ... 30     Next Part
Home - Random Browse