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CHAP.III.“ does not confess that there is but one hypostasis
• in three persons ; he is estranged from Christ.'
About these things he writes to Damasus, who 272. had in the mean time been made bishop of Rome",
desiring to know whether he and the church of Rome (for he is resolved to go by their example) do allow of this word hypostasis for person.
And also which of the foresaid parties, viz. of Meletius, Paulinus, or Vitalis, they would communicate with : for he would do the same.
• And this I do,' says he, ‘inde nunc meæ animæ postulans cibum, unde · olim Christi vestimenta suscepi. Desiring now • food (or instruction] for my soul, from that place • where I formerly took upon me the garments of • Christ.”
This letter not procuring, as it seems, an answer so soon as he expected, he writes another, Epist. 58, [16 ed. Bened.] to the same purpose; desiring him with greater importunity to give him his answer. In which he uses the same motive : but expressed in words so just the same, that one gives no light to the other. •Ego igitur, ut ante jam scripsi, • Christi vestem in Romana urbe suscipiens,' &c.
I therefore, who, as I wrote before, took on me • the garment of Christ in the city of Rome,' &c.
From this place Erasmusy raised a conjecture 1412. that he was baptized at Rome. And if so, he could
not be baptized in infancy: for he was born at Stridon in Dalmatia; and did not come to Rome till he was big enough to go to the grammar school.
And what Erasmus spoke doubtfully, other fol* Epist. 57. [ 5. in edit. Vallarsii.] y In vita Hieronymi.
lowing writers of this Father's life, Baronius, Du Chap.m. Pin, Dr. Cave, &c. bave (as it happens in relating year after matters) told as an absolute unquestioned thing?
the apoThat which Erasmus says is this; He means • his baptism by that taking on him Christ's gar
ments: for, I think, he does not mean it of his * receiving priest's orders; but in baptism there was a white garment given them.'
He might have been sure enough that he did not mean it of the habit of a priest; for St. Hierome was not as yet ordained priest, when the letter was writ: and when he was ordained, it was not at 278. Rome, but at Antioch by Paulinus, to whose communion Damasus had it seems advised him.
II. But there was another sort of habit or garment, which he had then already put on, and which he knew to be very much valued by Damasus, whose acquaintance he now sought, and which he probably took upon him at Rome, (for he took it on him in his younger years?, and it was at Rome that he spent those,) and that was the habit of a monk, which he then wore when he wrote that letter. And it is a great deal more likely that he means that, than the albes which were worn but a few days. Especially since neither be, nor, I think, any other author, among all that variety of expressions which they use for denoting baptism, do ever use that phrase of receiring the garments of Christ. Because the ordinary Christians did not use, for constant wearing, any particular garment as a badge
. (See likewise the same asserted and defended by his last editor Vallarsius, in the life prefixed to vol. xi, of his works, cbap 3. p. 17-19.)
CHAP.III. of their religion. But the monks and virgins that Year after had professed perpetual virginity, did at that time
(as has been usual ever since) wear a peculiar habit, as a token of their profession.
Of which if any one doubt, it must be one that has never read any thing in St. Hierome: for he, being given to an overweening opinion of that way, mentions it with great eulogiums on every turn. And as he calls the persons, servos Christi, and Christo sacratos, servants of Christ,' and 'consecrated to Christ:' and the virgins, virgines Dei, 'God's virgins,' (as if married people did not belong to God or Christ at all :) so, what is most to our purpose, he commonly calls that peculiar sort of coat that the virgins or nuns wore, Christi tunicam, “the coat or garment of Christ.' And the veil, flammeum Christi, “the veil of Christ.' Of each of which I will give one instance.
In his epitaphium, or funeral oration, in praise of Paullab, he recounts how desirous she had been in her lifetime that her children, and those that belonged to her, should take on them that habit and profession of renouncing the world, and leading a single life, as she had done that of a widow; and how she had in great measure her desire: for besides that Eustochium her daughter was then a professed virgin, her granddaughter also, by her only son Toxotius, being then a child, was, by her parents, Christi flammeo reservata, designed to wear the veil of Christ.'
And in his letter to Eustochium', the subject whereof is, de rirginitate servanda, to exhort her to continue constant and unstained in her purpose b Epist. 27. (108. ed. Vallars.]
c Epist. 22. [22.]
of perpetual virginity, he says, “It is not fitting, CHAP.III. when one has taken hold of the plough, to look
Year after • back; nor being in the field, to return home;' the apo
nec post Christi tunicam ad tollendum aliud vesti' mentum tecto descendere:''nor after one has put • on the coat of Christ, to come down from the roof • to take any other garment.'
Since these expressions are the very same with those that he used before of himself; it is probable that those also are to be understood of the monk's babit : or at least, it is not at all necessary that they must be understood of his baptism at Rome. And if they be not, then there remains no kind of ground to doubt of his being baptized at Stridon in infancy,as other Christian children were. For neither Erasmus, nor any of those that have followed him, have brought any other proof but these words; and had it not been for them, no man bad ever had such a surmise.
III. Baronius does indeed say, that after he * was baptized, he presently reformed his life, which • before he had led in some lewdness: and whereas • he had lost the first virginity, he kept undefiled • that which he calls the second, which is after • baptismo.'
If this were true, or could be proved, the question were at an end. But there seems to be no niore ground for it than that Baronius, having first taken for granted from Erasmus' conjecture that he was baptized at man's age, thought it more decent to lay that fornication, of which he is known to be guilty, rather before his baptism than after.
The tract of St. Hierome to which he refers for
d Ad ann. 372.
CHAP.111. the proof of this, is his “ Apology made for his
• books that he had wrote against Jovinian.' In which there is indeed mention of those two sorts
of virginity, and there is also a confession of his own loss of virginity. But it is in several clauses or paragraphs that he mentions these two things ; and not so as to affirm, or intimate that he could claim, either of the said sorts of virginity himself. I think not; yet it may be proper to lay before the reader the places themselves.
He had been accused by a great many, that in the said books against Jovinian he had so excessively commended virginity, that he had in some expressions represented all marriage as sinful; for which accusation he had indeed given too much occasion. Yet he vindicates and explains the places excepted against as well as he can. And then says,
• This therefore I protest, and make it my last • declaration, that I did not then condemn mar
riage, nor do now condemn it. Virginity I do • extol to the sky; not that I am possessed of it, but • that I the more admire a thing that I myself have
It is an ingenuous and modest confession to • commend highly that in others which one has not • one's self. Must not I, because being of a gross • body I am fain to go on the ground, admire that • faculty that the birds have of flying in the air; • and envy the pigeon, which
• Radit iter liquidum, celeres neque commovet alas.'
· Let no man deceive himself: nor let him undo • himself by hearkening to a soothing flatterer. The • first virginity is that which is from one's birth : • the second is that which is from one's second