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ter the sacraments, “that they are like lighted torches, which give light to others, but are themselves consumed.” But we have still to observe the clergy in the character of dispensers of the goods of the church, which were considered as the patrimony of the poor.' The rule of St. Jerome was indeed severe, “optimus dispensator est qui nihil sibi reservat.” Again, he says, “ignominia omnium sacerdotum est propriis studere divitiis.” The bishop, aided by arch-priests and arch-deacons, was to take care of widows, pupils, and strangers ; and the prayers and good works of these persons were enjoined for the good of the church,“ viduæ, quæ stipendio ecclesiæ sustentantur, tam assiduæ in Dei opere esse debent, ut et meritis et orationibus suis ecclesiam adjuvent.” Thus St. Ambrose said, “Aurum ecclesia habet, non ut servet, sed ut eroget, et subveniat in necessitatibus."2 St. Chrysostom says that the church at Antioch supported 3000 widows and virgins, besides a multitude of captives, strangers, lepers, and all who served the altar. Hence, at the Council of Agen, those who took possession of the goods of the church were styled “ slayers of the poor,"
« velut necatores pauperum.” And by the Council of Tours, the bishop, priests, and all the inhabitants of each town, were to take care of the poor; suum pauperem pascant; quo fiet, ut ipsi pauperes per civitates alias non vagentur.' Bishops were to break up the church-vessels to redeem captives, but only in case of urgent necessity. The first day of every month, Pope Gregory distributed among the poor, in vast quantities, his own corn, wine, cheese, lard, flesh-meat, fish, and oil, as John the deacon records.4 Every day, for certain respectable poor, he had dishes taken from his own table ; and once hearing of a poor man who had perished from hunger, he grieved as if he had been his murderer, and refrained from saying mass for many days. When a bishop of the Anglo-Saxon church died, Wulfred's canons decreed that a tenth part of his substance should be given for his soul's sake in alms to the poor, of his cattle and herds, of his sheep and swine. In the consecration of bishops, the question is asked, “Vis pauperibus et peregrinis omnibusque indigen1 Thomassin, ii, lib. iii. c. 26.
2 Offic. ii. 28. 3 In Matt. Hom. vii.
4 ii. 26.
tibus esse propter nomen Domini affabilis et misericors ?” To which the bishop elect replies, “Volo.” In short, the whole property of the church throughout the world was considered as the patrimony of the poor, and every parish priest gave a fourth of his income in alms. Blessed Elphegus, archbishop of Canterbury, would not suffer himself to be redeemed from the Danes by the goods of the church, saying, that he had rather suffer chains, torture, and death, than that the property of the poor should be expended in his concerns. By the Council of Oxford, in 1222, it was decreed that heavy penalties were due if the remnants from the tables of the clergy, secular as well as regular, were not given to the poor. “ Id præcipit lex humilitatis, ut ad Christi gloriam et ecclesiæ omnia referantur, jubet moderatio ut necessitati et decori serviatur, cum res pauperum in hanc pompam expendantur. Interest ad pauperum ipsorum salutem, ut religio, qua sustentantur, sustentetur et fulciatur ipsa, populorum in prælatos maxime observantia, et aliis rationibus nonnullis, quæ non sine sumptu aliquo expediuntur.” The church possessed goods in the time of the Apostles. Before Constantine it had lands and magnificent temples. In his reign it had the addition of first-fruits and tenths. Clement IV. and VI., Urban V., Martin IV., Adrian VI., and Marcellus II., were illustrious examples of not attending to family connexion in bestowing benefices. Nay, Adrian IV. only recommended his poor mother to the church at Canterbury, and Adrian VI. sent back his relations who had come to Rome, hearing of his dignity, and left them to return on foot.2 Portable altars, consecrated by a bishop, were carried on a journey, lest there should be no church to celebrate mass in.3 From the time of Constantine, churches were asylums : from the year 500 to 1000, this honour was universally continued to them.4 The episcopal residence enjoyed the same privilege ; some crimes, were, however, exempted by the Greeks and by Charlemagne ; that is, no meat was allowed to the man who had fled to sanctuary, so that he was compelled to come out. The crosses in the public ways enjoyed the same privilege. In France these asylums | Thomassin, p. iii. lib. iii. 20.
2 Ibid. iii. lib. ii. 46. 3 Ibid. i. lib. ii, c. 25.
# Ibid. ii. lib. iii. 97.
existed till the edict of Francis I., in 1539. When the bishops were on a journey, a bell was sounded to advise all to approach and receive a blessing. Great care was taken that benefices might be conferred upon the most worthy. Sometimes a less holy man possessed other talents, which made him more eligible. In he twelfth century, a gross abuse prevailed of boys having ecclesiastical dignities. This was gradually corrected by various councils in the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries. By the Council of Trent, no one under twenty-five could receive care of souls. Precedence among priests was regulated by the date of their ordination, but this only was to be observed in public ceremonies, not in private life, says Thomassinus, where humility is the chief of virtues.4 The simplicity of bishops was great. A bishop came from Scotland to the third Lateran Council with only one horse ; another came from the same country on foot, and with only one companion ; and a bishop came from Ireland, whose annual revenue consisted of the produce of three cows which his diocesans gave him.5 The knights templars followed the rule of the canons regular of St. Augustine. From Easter to Allhallows they were allowed to wear linen. Hospitals were under the superintendence of bishops. There were hospitals also in monasteries, served by the monks. During the first three centuries, there were no country churches, nor any in cities, excepting the cathedral,? where was but one altar, at which the bishop presided; but in the fourth century, many other churches were built in Alexandria and Rome. perhaps, with some view to this, that St. Hugh, bishop of Lincoln, with his people, meeting a robber who was going to be executed, ordered him to be set free and absolved, saying that he and his people formed a church, and therefore, in this instance, he possessed the privilege of asylum. By the fourth Council of Carthage, laymen were exhorted to apply to bishops rather than go to law. For the history of investitures, Thomassinus may be consulted ;8 and also Dr. Milner, in his History of
Thomassin, ii. lib. iii. 64.
2 Ibid. ii. lib. i. 37-40.
Winchester. When you read in the ancient canons that none were to be ordained unless noble, it means that slaves and bondsmen were irregular. Till the middle of the fourth century, the bishops preached extempore without art. The oldest composed sermons extant are those of St. Gregory Nazianzen. Short-hand writers took down his sermons, as also those of St. Chrysostom and St. Augustine. About the time of Charlemagne, when the Latin tongue was no longer understood, excepting among the higher classes, the councils admonished the bishops to preach in the vulgar tongue.2 Priests had license to preach earlier in the East than in the West.
The clergy were recommended not to appear at the feasts of great nobles; and the precept was, "Denique si magistratuum et procerum gratiam, non aliter quam dedecorando ministerio suo demereri possint, multo præstabilius est ut ea funditus careant.3 Judex sæculi plus deferet clerico continenti quam diviti, et magis sanctitatem tuam venerabitur quam opes.” The frugality of the clergy was indeed great.4 St. Augustine had meat for his guests, and also wine ; but he only eat vegetables. Something holy was always read when he dined. However, St. Ambrose at Milan, and St. Martin at Tours, used to entertain all great men and prefects who passed by. St. Ambrose, indeed, said, that it became all ecclesiastics to decline the invitations of secular men, because their entertainments gave rise to gluttony, idle talking, and pride. The immense subject of ecclesiastical hospitality is fully discussed in Thomassinus. Guests, on arriving, were invited to prayer; then portions from the divine law were read to them, that they might be edified. Afterwards they were shewn all humanity.
The canon of the sixth Council of Paris began thus : Cum
ergo hospitalitas in tremendi examinis die ab æterno judice sit remuneranda, qui dicturus est, Hospes fui, et non collegistis me, &c. et ob id ab omnibus Christianis summopere sit sectanda.” But even parish priests in the country were invited to receive strangers with hospitality, and were to exhort their flocks to practise this virtue. So that the 1 Vol. i. p. 203.
? Thomassin, ii. lib. iii. 85. 3 Ibid. iii. lib. iii. 34.
4 Ibid. 34-41. 5 Ibid, iii. lib. iii, 47.
monasteries, the bishops' houses, and the curates' houses, were so many înns where all strangers might be received.
Luitprand relates, that at the table of the Emperor Nicephorus, at Constantinople, homilies of the holy Fathers used to be read aloud. The monastery of Clugni was renowned for its hospitality. Hugues, the abbot, out of gratitude to Alfonso, king of Spain, decreed, that every day a table should be laid in the refectory apart for him, as if he were to dine there, and what was served to it was to be given to one of the poor of Christ. St. Charles Borromeo, while he entertained great men, took care to use every means that might recall them to piety and virtue twice he received Andrew Battorius, nephew to Stephen King of Poland, with his retinue of fifty horsemen ; and this was the great end of episcopal hospitality to the great, ut in eorum pectora instillent fidei lumina et virtutum amorem.
.” Respecting the charge which has been brought against the clergy, founded on their disputes with the civil power, I shall only observe, that the faults and crimes of the latter have been too little taken into account by most of the writers who have declaimed on this subject. We are tempted to forget the offences of such men as Crillon, who used to give 1000 livres to the poor every month ; but what can be said in excuse for the simoniacal profligacy of the King Henry II., who had enabled him to do so, by rewarding him with a rich benefice and some bishopricks ? St. Paul had claimed from a heathen his rights as a Roman citizen ; and why were not the clergy, living among Christians, to remonstrate when justice and religion were outraged in their regard ? And though much may be said in censure of Simon Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, for extorting, sword in hand, justice and right from King John, I do not understand on what ground St. Thomas of Canterbury can be condemned for defending the very same justice and right from his father Henry, by mere spiritual weapons and course of law. Enough has now been stated respecting the duties which were discharged by the secular clergy. The conclusion from the whole is, that the essential qualifications for this order were piety and love.
« Jesus Christ,” says
| Thomassin, iii, lib. iii. c. 49.