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and the year after
• birth. It is none of my saying, it is an old rule: CHAP.III. : No man can serre tuo masters, the flesh * spirit. The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the apethe spirit against the flesh.
These are contrary • one to the other, that we cannot do the things tre
vuld. When any thing in my book seems serere, regard not my words, but the scripture • from which the words are taken. Christ is a - virgin. The mother of our virgin Lord is a virgin,' &e.
Here, after he had confessed and apologized for himself, he passes to the other theme of commending virginity, and shewing the inconveniences of an ineumbered and secular state. Here is nothing affirmed that he himself had either of the two sorts of virginity. And if any one judge, as Baronius seems to have done, that the chain of thought leads one to think he meant so; that conjecture will be much overbalanced by what he says plainly and expressly of lis own case in another place, where be speaks of his ill life, and aggravates the guilt of it as being the defiling of his baptism. For commenting on that expression of Isaiah coneerning himself, that he was a man of unclean lips, he sars, . He as being a just man had sinned only in * word, and therefore had only unclean lips, not a * foul conscience. But I, as using my eyes to lust, • and being offended by my hand, and sinning by 'my foot, and all my limbs, have every thing un• clean. And because having been once baptized · with the Spirit, I have defiled my garments again;
• Explanatio Visionis Isaiæ, Epist. 142. (Ep. 18. sect. 1]. ed. Vallars)
CHAP.IU.“ I deserve the second baptism, which is that «
It was some great and mortal sin that he speak of, (for they do not use to speak so of sins of dail: incursion,) and we read of no such that he wa guilty of, but his fornication. His words also are such as to particularize that.
And besides, he professes in a great many places', (in the foresaid letter to Damasus for one,) that he undertook the monk's life, as a state of voluntary penance for his sins; whereas they that in those times were baptized in their adult age, would have been counted greatly to undervalue the grace of baptism, if they had thought any such thing necessary for the sins they had committed before. They always speak of baptism as giving a person a free, total, and absolute discharge from all guilt of sin, original or actual, before that time.
IV. One thing that will stick as an objection in the minds of those that are acquainted with the ecclesiastical discipline of that age, is this; that if he had been baptized in infancy, or any time before his fornication ; that sin being after his baptism, would have rendered him incapable of holy orders. Because the canons of that time, those of Nices, those of Eliberish, and those of Neocæsarea', as also Can. Apostol. 61. (als. 53.) do enact, that if any one after his baptism did fall into fornication, or any other of the great crimes; such a man, though he might by penance be restored to laycommunion, must never be ordained to the holy functions. And so strict it was, that if such an Epist. 61, 58, &c. (16.)
☆ Can. 9, 10. i Can 9, 10.
b Can. 30.
one were ordained by mistake, his crimes not being CHAP.III. known ; when they came afterward to be known, year after he was to be deposed by the Nicene canon: but the the apo
stles. Neocæsarean admits him to continue in the name, and some part of the office; but not to offer, as they called it, i. e. to consecrate the holy elements. And this they will have to be observed, because * (as the words of the Nicene canon are) the holy 'church does in all things keep to that which is • blameless,' or, without scandal. But as for heathens, or men unbaptized, they judged that no sin whatever committed in that state was to be an impediment of their promotion after they came to be baptized. In a word, they reckoned that penance, or a long course of repentance, would cure a mortal sin, but so as to leave a scar. But that baptism did perfectly wash off all the stain and discredit of sins committed before it. So that St. Hierome's being ordained presbyter (as we said before he was) by Paulinus, will make an argument that his baptism was after his fornication.
But then they that know that the canons ran thus, know also that the practice was not always so strict and regular as the canon : but that, on the contrary, these and some other such strict rules were frequently dispensed with in the case of such men as came afterward to be of great merit or abilities, which the church could not well want : and that St. Hierome was, without controversy, the most learned and best skilled in interpreting the scripture of any man then living; and also was a great favourite of pope Damasus, whose interest was great in all the church.
And besides, an observation which retorts the
CHAP.III. force of this argument strongly to the other side, is Year after this; that these canons bad in great measure their the capo force upon St. Hierome. For he not only protested,
when he was made presbyter, as he tells us himselfk, that if Paulinus who ordained him, .meant • thereby to take him out of his state of monachism, • (or penance,] that he would not so accept it; but also, after he was ordained, refused, out of a deep humility and sense of his sin, to execute the priestly office, at least in the principal parts thereof. Of which there are these proofs :
1. That in all his letters and works one finds no , mention or instance of his acting in that office. Of this I am no further confident, than that having taken notice as I read, I remember none.
2. That Epiphanius affirms this of him, and of Vincentius, another monk that bad been ordained. The occasion was this. Epiphanius had, in a case which he judged to be of necessity, ordained Paulinianus, St. Hierome's younger brother, priest ; though the place in which he did it was out of his own diocese. Being blamed for this encroachment by John bishop of Jerusalem, he makes this apology'; Though no man ought to go beyond bis own ' measure; yet Christian charity, in which there is ' no guile, is to be preferred before all. Nor should * you consider what is done ; but at what time, and
in what manner, and for what reasons, and upon whom, the thing was done. For when I saw that
k Epist. 61. contra errores Joannis Hierosol. (This epistle. or treatise, is removed from its place by Vallarsius, and printed with others of similar argument in tom.ö.—See the passage qaoted, Op. ii. p. 452. sect. 41.]
· Epist. ad Joann. Hierosol. 60. (Ep. 55. ed. Vallars.]
there was a great number of holy brethren in the CHAP.III. * monastery; and the holy presbyters Hierome and year after • Vincent, by reason of their modesty and humility therapie • would not execute the offices proper for their title, • nor labour in that part of the ministry, in which • consists the chief salvation of Christians,' &c.
His being made priest after his sin, is not so great & proof of his baptism coming between, as those serere censures of himself are, that his sin was after his baptism. He that in that
He that in that age should have spoken of his sins committed before baptism, as he does of his m, I came into the fields and wil- derness, that their bewailing durescentia pec* cata, my sins that lie so hard upon me, I might * more the pity of Christ towards me,' would have been censured to derogate from that article of the creed, I believe one baptism for the remission of *sins.' And he himself says in other places °, all • fornications and lewdnesses of the most scandalous * nature, impiety against God, parricide or incest, * &c, are washed away in this Christian fountain - or laver.'
In how different a strain does St. Austin confess his sins, which, though much greater than St. Hierome's viz. & continued course of fornication with several harlots, yet because his baptism came after them, he says thus of them P; What praise * ought I to give to the Lord that my memory re• counts these things, and yet my soul is in no • terror for them?
- Epist. 61. (see above. ]