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vent of Dominicans, and a hospital without the walls for pilgrims and sick persons. Here Ignatius was received, and spent his time in the most austere devotion. It is certain that he met with many insults, which he bore with cheerfulness. The story of the fine suit of clothes given to the beggar at Montserrat, and the patience and devotion of the holy man, made him, however, soon to be received as some fervent penitent in disguise. To shun this danger he hid himself in a dark deep cave in a solitary valley, called the Vale of Paradise, covered with briers, half a mile from the town. It belongs not to this place to take notice of the spiritual trials which he here underwent; it must suffice to say that he triumphed over them. Too nice a worldly prudence may condemn the voluntary humiliations which he made choice of. But the wisdom of God is above that of the world, and the Holy Ghost sometimes inspires certain heroic souls to seek perfectly to die to themselves by certain practices which are extraordinary, and which would not be advisable to others. After a residence of ten months at Manvesa, he left that place for Barcelona, where he took shipping, and in five days landed at Gaeta, whence he travelled on foot to Rome, Padua, and Venice, through villages, the towns being shut for fear of the plague. He spent the Easter at Rome, and sailed from Venice, touched at Cyprus, and landed at Jaffa ; from whence he went on foot to Jerusalem in four days. The sight of the holy places filled his soul with joy, and the most ardent sentiments of devotion; and he desired to stay there to labour for the conversion of the Mahometans : but the Provincial of the Franciscans, by virtue of his authority from the holy See over the pilgrims, commanded him to leave Palestine. St. Ignatius returned to Europe, and, upon arriving at Barcelona, commenced his studies, and after this period his history belongs not to this place.
It pleased the moderns in the sixteenth century to call in question the wisdom and importance of the monastic institutions, and to censure with severity those illustrious men who retired from the world to a life of penitence. - Yet those who condemned these abdications,” says Dr,
1 Butler's Lives of the Saints, July 31.
Milner, “as superstitious, when performed for the sake of religion, would extol it as an act of heroism, if grounded on a philosophic contempt of wealth and state, or on a preference of the calm pleasures of domestic life, or of studious retirement.”] Every individual soul of man has its own particular vocation, and no man, and no society, has a right to oppose the inspiration of God. Many a monk, when reminded of his paternal possessions, might truly have replied in the words of Anaxagoras when he beheld the ruin of his estate, and said, “ Non essem ego salvus, nisi istæ periissent." In some respects they exist from a principle as old as human nature. Sophocles describes one who, externally, is not unlike some Christian hermit ; for Jocasta says, that as soon as Edipus came to the throne, the only surviving attendant upon Laius when he was murdered begged of her
αγρούς σφε πέμψαι κάπι ποιμνίων νομάς, ,
ως πλείστον είη τουδ' άποπτος άστεως.2 ? And when (Edipus makes the discovery of his own guilt, he declares that he is not worthy to live in a house, and so he says to Creon, έα με ναίειν όρεσιν.3 Who will doubt but that in Monasteries there have been some dark penitents, who had been permitted to have a near acquaintance with the doom of futurity, and who felt constrained to a life of penance ? Venerable Bede speaks of a monk who suddenly adopted, and then persevered in, a most rigid manner of life to his dying day, insomuch that when advised to relax a little, although silent, his looks and continued penance would give testimony that he had seen horrible things. When asked, “How can you persevere in such austerity ?” he replied, “I have seen far greater austerity.” The moderns cannot contrive that all men should look with equal indifference, or that every man should adopt the same mode of evincing his veneration at the awful mysteries which encompass mortals. Guerricus, the Dominican, a great philosopher and physician, and afterwards a most famous divine, hearing them read the fifth chapter of Genesis,—wherein are recounted the sons and descendants of Adam in these terms, “ The whole life
| Hist. of Winchester, i. 104.
2 (Ed. Tyr. 753.
of Adam was 930 years, and he died; the life of his son Seth was 912 years, and he died ;” and so of the rest,began to think with himself, that if such great men, after so long a life, ended in death, it was not safe to lose more time in this world, but so to secure his life, that losing it here, he might find it hereafter; and with this thought he entered into the order of St. Dominique, and became a most holy man. I must leave it to a monk to answer the objection which some may propose here. “ Si dicis, non soli monachi ad salutem perveniunt ; verum est.
Sed qui certius, qui altius, illi qui solum Deum conantur amare; an illi, qui amorem Dei et amorem sæculi simul volunt copulare?
In like manner, Rowland was a knight, who having been present at a feast celebrated with great pomp, at night when he returned home, cried out with much bitterness of spirit, “Where is the feast we had to-day? where is the glory of it?" His soul had no doubt been long prepared for this resolve; but it appeared to be only this consideration which made him change his life, and enter into religion. So again, when St. Francis Borgia, then Marquis of Lombay, accompanied the corpse of Donna Isabella, wife to the emperor Charles V. to Grenada, that spectacle of death so wrought upon him, that on returning to the court he resolved to serve Him for the future who could never die. In all these cases there was no option, but almost a necessity of embracing such a life. Hence the result was not sorrow and misery; but the very reverse. St. Bernard says of the monks of Clairvaux, that they drew from their poverty, fasts, and penances, such joy and spiritual comfort, that they began to fear lest God had given them their whole reward in this world ; whereupon St. Bernard proved to them that the Holy Spirit did not communicate grief. Fleury remarks that the Egyptians and other ancient monks knew so well how to unite austerity with attention to health, that they often lived to be older than 100 years. The poverty of monks had been the object of ambition with the old sages Aristides, Zeno, Anaxagoras, Crates, Æschines of Rhodes, &c. The death of the corrupt nature was not hidden from the heathen philosophers, and Plato affirmed
S. Anselm, Epist. to his friend Henry, lib. xi. 29.
that the sage should desire it. The silence observed by some of the severe orders had been practised, as the means of perfecting wisdom, by some of the ancient sages and their pupils, such as the å kovotikoù of the Pythagoreans.? Diogenes Laertius says that Xenocrates used to spend one hour every day in silence. The ancients approved of Lucullus for retiring from public affairs. « How much happier,” said they, " would it have been for Cicero if he had retired after the affair of Catiline ; and for Scipio if he had furled his sails when he had added Numantia to Carthage ! For there is a period when we should bid adieu to political contests; these, as well as those of wrestlers, being absurd when their strength and vigour of life are gone." And are Christians to be condemned for retiring, not to the Epicurean villas, baths, and cellars of Lucullus at Naples, but for meditation and prayer, for learning to be wise themselves, and to be able to instruct and console others ? év tavri de μάλιστα φυλακτέον το ηδύ και την ηδονήν, says Aristotle;4 and are they Christians who condemn mortification? I know that in our age men have the art of reading the Scriptures without ever dreaming of drawing any inference from them respecting their own lives and conduct, and without even observing what they command; but the old Christians who had read St. Paul, and who had marked with St. Augustine what quality had been in common possessed by the precursor, the mother, and the beloved disciple of Jesus Christ, are not to be taxed with inconsistency or error for the opinions which they held respecting the discipline of a monastic life. The monks, you say, were useless to society: so the true philosophers were said of old, áxphorous tais πόλεσι γιγνομένους.6 But Socrates shews by a fine parable that the true pilot in the voyage of life, when the crew are drunk with wine, will be called by them uetewpookóπον τε και αδολέσχης και άχρηστόν σφισι' and so he concludes, “if men wonder that the lovers of wisdom are not honoured in a country, convince them ότι πολυ αν θαυμαστότερον ήν ει ετιμώντο.” But this greater of wonders
1 Macrobius in Somn. Scip. i. 13. Brucker, Hist. Philos. 11. i. 10. 2 Aul. Gell. lib. i. 9.
4 Ethics, ii. 9. 5 Vide St. Justin Martyr, Apolog. xi. 62, for the opinion of the early Christians.
6 Plato de Repub. vi.
was nevertheless true in the middle ages; for the lovers of wisdom were then in honour. Still further, it may
indeed be true that they were useless, but it was to them who were lost, who were incapable of deriving benefit from their ministry. You say, how could these men live without employment ? They were employed in the education of youth, and in attendance upon the poor, and in maintaining the public worship of God. But is it for a Christian to think this objection conclusive, when Socrates thought no business of such importance as listening to the conversation of Lysias and Phædrus ?! You talk of the sameness of monastic life? Is life in the world so varied ?
Non potius vitæ finem jacis atque laboris ?
eadem sunt omnia semper.? You are shocked at their utter and perpetual seclusion. You forget what they believed : “ Simile est regnum cælorum thesauro abscondito.” It mattered not that other persons saw it; not like other goods which are good only so far as they are known by the world. Hear what a contemporary writer says, a scholar and a philosopher. “ When I hear or read the vulgar abuse so lavishly poured out, if ever a monk or convent is mentioned, I call to mind what the Egyptian king said to the Israelites, 'Ye are idle, ye are idle; therefore ye say, Let us go and do sacrifice to the Lord.' To those who know not God, all worship of God is idleness.”3 But the origin of the monastic orders lies too deep in the heart of man for any influence of time or place to render feeling men insensible to their excellence. View Jeremy Taylor, at Portmore, near Lisburne, in Ireland, retiring for the purpose of prayer to Ram Island, in Lough Neagh, or to a smaller rock in Lough Bay; the first distinguished by the ruins of a monastery, and by one of those tall round towers of uncertain origin, which are a romantic feature in Irish scenery. Hear him express his conviction respecting the reforming agents, who built their palaces with church stones in the time of Henry VIII. and Edward VI., that “ God hath been punishing that great sin ever since; and hath displayed to so many generations of men, to three or four descents of children, that 1 Plato, Phædrus.
2 Lucretius, iii. 956. 3 Guesses at Truth.