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V. I said he entered into a monk's life young Year after (when I was shewing that it was probable he took
the habit at Rome). stles.
He himself says so in several places 4.
The vulgar reader is not to imagine that this monastic life was then of the same sort with that, which is now for the most part in use in the church of Rome. On the contrary, the first institution and primitive practice of it was commendable. It is time, and the corruption of the age, and superstitions added to it, and the great revenues that have been settled on the monasteries, that have perverted it. They professed virginity; and they did accordingly with wonderful hardships of diet, lodging, &c., keep under the body. They sold all they had, and gave it to the poor. They renounced all the affairs of secular life, but at the same time used daily labour for their living: they had not then the fat of the land; nor one politic head, whose interest they were to promote. If any one endeavoured to live at ease, or indulge himself, he was not counted a monk. St. Hierome speaks of some few that he had seen of this sort". I have seen,' says he, * some that after they have renounced the world, • restimentis duntaxat, in their garments, or habit only, and by a verbal profession, not in deeds ; have altered nothing of their former way of living : they are richer, rather than poorer, than before:
they have as much attendance of servants,' &c.
9 Epist. 2. [52.) item 62. , &c.
then; St. Hierome has been under some censure, CHAP.III. for his excessive urging it on people; not only in year after his own time, but ever since; and not only among the protestants, but among those of the church of Rome that are any thing impartial. Mr. Du Pin, who is highly to be valued for that quality, says of him, · concerning virginity and the monk's life, he often “speaks so, as if he would have one think they are ' necessary for salvations:
Where shall one meet, even among the late monks, an expression in praise of this sort of life more exorbitant than one that he has in his letter to Eustochium, a lady that professed that state? Where addressing himself to Paulla her mother, he says, • Your daughter has procured you a great benefit: you are now become God's mother-in-law,' socrus Dei ese crepisti. This is something worse than calling the habit, the garments of Christ. He means, that the daughter, by professing a religious virginity, was become the spouse of Christ ; and so the mo. ther must be his mother-in-law. But such allegories, carried too far, border upon impiety. They are not to be so easily pardoned to a man of a cool head: but St. Hierome having had the spleen to a high degree, must be allowed some favour in the eensure of his expressions. Those men when they are in, at commending or disparaging any thing, are carried to speak more than they mean at their sedate times.
VI. But it was not during the times of Damasus, that St. Hierome fell under any censure for this his over-lashing: but afterward, in the times of Siri
Nouv. Bibl. tom. i. p. I.
WALI, VOL. II.
CHAP.III. cius. Damasus had been so much of the same temYear after per, that it is likely he approved of him the better
for it ; and that one reason of his using those high285. flown expressions was, to ingratiate himself with
him. And we find him, in his writings, during this later popedom, frequently appealing to the times of Damasus. “I wrote,' says he, “while Damasus of • blessed memory lived, a book against Helvidius,
of the perpetual virginity of the blessed Mary: in ' which I had occasion, for the setting forth the ad' vantage of virginity, to say many things of the • inconveniences of marriage. Did that excellent • man, and learned in the scriptures, that virgin • doctor of the church which is a virgin, find any • fault with that discourse ? And in my book to · Eustochium, I said some things harder yet con
cerning marriage; and yet nobody was offended • at it. For Damasus, being a lover of chastity, • heard my commendations of virginity with a greedy * eart'
This last is the book which he complains is now lapidatus,“ stoned ;” or generally condemned.
He says also in another place", that Damasus • did himself write in commendation of virginity, • both in prose and verse.'
It is the less wonder, that in letters between these two, that did so magnify this state of life, the habit, or garment, by which the continent life of a monk was professed, should be called the garment of Christ.
And if what I have produced, be sufficient to
* Apolog. pro libro contra Jovinianum. Epist. 50. (Vallars. 48.) sect. 17.]
u Epist. 2. ad Nepotian. (Ep. 52.)
zake this probable, then I have cleared St. Hie-CHAP.III.
Sect. 11. Of St. Austin.
born: and a long time after.
That he was about thirty-three years old when 388. be was baptized, is clear: he himself gires a large account of it in his book of Confessions". As he oleerred that that book was in his lifetime more generally read than ans other of his works; so it has happened ever since. That, of all other, haring bad the fortune to be translated into many rulgar languages erery body has obserred the story of his baptism: and it has cast scruples into the heads of mans unlearned readers to think if infant-baptism were then practised, why he was not baptized in irfanor. • Parti. ch. 15.3.1. Lib. is. e. 6. • Retractat. lib. i. c. 0.
CHAP.III. II. As for his parents: Possidius, who a little Year after after his death wrote his life, says in the beginning
thereof; that he was ‘born of creditable and Chris• tian parents.' So here matters are brought to a fair issue. St. Austin, in his books which I quoted a, makes us to understand, that he never knew, heard, or read, of any Christian that was an antipædobaptist; and Pelagius his adversary, in the question of original sin, whose interest it was to have found some if there had been any, confesses, that he knew of none.
And yet now it seems St. Austin's own father was one.
And this must have passed for current; if St. Austin himself had not given us a truer, or at least a more particular account of his parents than Possidius has done. But this he does in the forementioned book of his Confessions. Only there is this difference; that the story of his baptism being set down at large, is taken notice of by every body : but his father's want of Christianity being mentioned but briefly, and by the by in one or two places, has escaped the notice of many readers.
Marshall, in his Defence of Infant Baptism', or rather a friend of bis, whom he made use of to search into matters of antiquity; having himself, as he there says, ' but just leisure enough to look into these authors now and then: he was taken up, I suppose, with much higher authors; Calvin, Twisk, &c. But his friend has cleared this matter very well: which was easy to do. He has produced the particular places, where St. Austin tells us, that his father was no baptized Christian, nor so much