The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints. January, February, March

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Title: The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints. January, February, March

Author: Alban Butler

Release date: January 26, 2007 [eBook #20450]

Language: English


Produced by Geoff Horton

{000} {Transcriber's notes:

1) Page numbers in the main text have been retained in {braces}. Page breaks within long footnotes are not marked.

2) The original of this work is printed very badly. In most cases, the original text is obvious and has been restored without any special notations in the transcription. In those cases where it was not possible to determine the original text with much certainty (usually numbers and rare proper nouns which cannot be deduced from context) a pair of braces {} indicates where the illegible text was. Sometimes the braces contains text {like this}, indicating a possible but not certain reconstruction.

3) The original had both numbered footnotes, used for references, and footnotes with symbols, used for extended comments. This transcription does not preserve that distinction; all the notes have been numbered or renumbered as needed.

4) In a few cases, footnotes appear on the bottom of the page that do not appear in the text (presumably because of the poor printing noted above). In this case, the footnote is marked in the text at a likely location, and the footnote begins {Footnote not in text} to indicate that this was done.}

{Michael Augustinus
Archeispo Neo}
June 28th, 1895.


NOTWITHSTANDING that several editions of Butler's Lives of the Saints have been issued from the American press, and circulated extensively throughout the United States, yet the publishers of the present one are led to believe that there are vast numbers of persons still unsupplied, and desirous of possessing a work so replete with instruction and edification for Christian families. This edition is reprinted from the best London edition, without the omission of a single line or citation from the original. To render the work as complete as possible, we have added the Lives of St. Alphonsus Liguori, and other Saints canonized since the death of the venerable author, and not included in any former edition. This edition also contains the complete notes of the author, which have been shamefully omitted in an edition published by a Protestant firm of this city.

The present edition is illustrated with fine steel engravings of many of the Saints, and when bound will form four very handsome volumes, uniform with the Life of Christ, and the Life of the Blessed Virgin.


NEW YORK, Sept., 1895.



"THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS" is republished. This work—this inestimable work, is at length given to the public. Hitherto the circulation of it was confined to those who could afford to purchase it in TWELVE volumes, and at a proportionate price. It is now stereotyped, printed in good character, on fine paper, and published at a price not only below its value, but below the hopes of the publisher. It is therefore now, and for the first time, that "THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS" are, properly speaking, given to the public.

And what is the nature and character of this work, which is thus placed within the reach of almost every family in Ireland? We presume to say, that "The Lives of the Saints" is an historical supplement to the Old and New Testaments; an illustration of all that God has revealed, and of all the sanctity which his divine grace has produced among the children of men. It is a history, not so much of men, as of all ages and nations; of their manners, customs, laws, usages, and creeds. It is a succinct, but most accurate and satisfactory account of all that the Church of God has done or suffered in this world from the creation to almost our own days: an account not extracted from authentic records only, but one which exhibits at every page the living examples, the speaking proofs, of whatever it sets forth or asserts. As drawings taken by an artist, and afterwards carved on plates of steel or copper, present to us views of a country, or of the productions of the earth and sea, so "The Lives of the Saints" exhibit to the reader images the most perfect of whatever the human race, in times past, has yielded to God in return for his countless mercies.

But "The Lives of the Saints" are not confined to history, though they embrace whatever is most valuable in history, whether sacred, ecclesiastical, or profane. No! This work extends farther; it presents to the reader a mass of general information, digested and arranged with an ability and a candor never surpassed. Here, no art, no science, is left unnoticed. Chronology, criticism, eloquence, painting, sculpture, architecture—in a word, whatever has occupied or distinguished man in {008} times of barbarism or of civilization; in peace or in war; in the countries which surround us, or in those which are far remote; in these later ages, or in times over which centuries upon centuries have revolved; all, all of these are treated of, not flippantly nor ostentatiously, but with a sobriety and solidity peculiar to the writer of this work.

But there is one quality which may be said to characterize "The Lives of the Saints." It is this: that here the doctrines of the Catholic Church are presented to us passing through the ordeal of time unchanged and unchangeable, while her discipline is seen to vary from age to age; like as a city fixed and immoveable, but whose walls, ramparts, and outworks, undergo, from one period to another, the necessary changes, alterations, or repairs. Here are pointed out the persecutions which the Saints endured,—persecutions which patience overcame, which the power of God subdued. Here are traced the causes of dissension in the Church; the schisms and heresies which arose; the errors which the pride and passions of bad men gave birth to; the obstinacy of the wicked,—the seduction of the innocent,—the labors and sufferings of the just; the conflicts which took place between light and darkness,—between truth and error; the triumph, at one time of the city of God, at another, the temporary exaltation of the empire of Satan. In this work, we see the great and powerful leaders of God's people, the pastors and doctors of the Church, displaying lights gives them from heaven, and exercising a courage all-divine; while crowds of the elect are presented to us in every age retiring from the world, hiding their lives with Christ in God, and deserving, by their innocence and sanctity, to be received into heaven until Christ, who was their life, will again appear, when they also will appear along with him in glory. Here we behold the Apostles, and their successors in the several ages, calling out to the nations who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, "Arise, thou who sleep eat, and Christ will enlighten thee!"—men of God, and gifted with his power, who, by preaching peace, enduring wrongs, and pardoning injuries, subdued the power of tyrants, stopped the mouths of lions, upturned paganism, demolished idols, planted everywhere the standard of the cross, and left to us the whole world illuminated by the rays of divine truth. Here is seen the meek martyr who possessed his soul in patience,—who, having suffered the two of goods, the loss of kindred, the lose of fame, bowed down his head beneath the axe, and sealed, by the plentiful effusion of his blood, the testimony which he bore to virtue and to truth. Here the youthful virgin, robed in innocence and sanctity, clothed with the visible protection of God, is seen at one time to yield up her frame, unfit, as yet, for torments, to the power of the executioner; while her spirit, ascending {009} like the smoke of incense, passed from earth to heaven. At another time we behold her conducted, as it were, into the wilderness by the Spirit; where, having left the house of her father, the allurements of the world, and the endearments of life, she dedicates her whole being to the service of God, and to the contemplation of those invisible goods which he has reserved for those who love him.

In "The Lives of the Saints" we behold the prince and the peasant, the warrior and the sage, the rich and the poor, the old and the young, the peasant and the mechanic, the shepherd and the statesman, the wife and the widow, the prelate, the priest, and the recluse,—men and women of every class, and age, and degree, and condition, and country, sanctified by the grace of God, exhibiting to the faithful reader models for his imitation, and saying to him, in a voice which he cannot fail to understand, "Go thou and do likewise."

It is on this account we have ventured to designate "The Lives of the Saints" an historical supplement to the Old and New Testaments. We think this work deserves to be so considered, on account of the close resemblance it bears to the historical portions of holy writ. Let the divine economy, in this respect, be for a moment the subject of the reader's consideration.

When God was pleased to instruct men unto righteousness, he did so, as the whole series of revelation proves, by raising up from among the fallen children of Adam men and women of superior virtue,—men and women whose lives, like shining lights, could direct in the ways of peace and justice the footsteps of those who looked towards them. He did more: he caused the lives of those his servants whom he sanctified and almost glorified in this world, to be recorded by their followers; and his own Spirit did not disdain to inspire the men who executed a work so salutary to mankind. From Adam to Noe, from Noe to Abraham, from Abraham to the days of Christ, what period is not marked by the life of some eminent saint; and what portion of the Old Testament has always been and still is most interesting to true believers? Is it not that which instructs us as to the life and manners of those patriarchs, prophets, and other holy persons of whom we ourselves are, according to the promise, the seed and the descendants? The innocence of Abel, the cruel deed of Cain, the piety of Seth, the fidelity and industry of Noe, furnish to us the finest moral instruction derived from the primeval times. The life of Abraham is perhaps the most precious record in the Old Testament! Who even now can read it, and not repose with more devotion on the providence of God? Who can contrast his life and conduct with that of all the sages of paganism, and not confess there is a God; yea! a God who not only upholds this {010} world, and fills every creature in it with his benediction, but who also conducts by a special providence all those who put their trust in him,—a God who teaches his elect, by the unction of his Spirit, truths inaccessible to the wise of this world; and who makes them, by his grace, to practise a degree of virtue to which human nature unassisted is totally unable to attain? The God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, is exceedingly glorified by the virtues of those great men; and that glory is exalted, and we are led to adore it, because the lives of those men have been written for our instruction. Is not Moses the keystone, as it were, of the Jewish covenant? Are they not his trials, his meekness, his attachment to God and to God's people, his incessant toils, and patience, and long-suffering, even more than the miracles wrought by his interposition, which render the law published by him, and the ministry established by him, worthy of all acceptation in our eyes? Who can contemplate the rejection of Saul, and the election of David,—the wisdom of Solomon in early life, and his utter abandonment in his latter days,—and not be stricken with a salutary dread of the inscrutable judgments of a just God? Who can read the life of Judith, and not wonder?—of Susanna, and not love chastity and confide in God? Who has read the prophecies of Isaiah, and not believed the gospel which he foretold? And what example of a suffering Saviour so full, so perfect, and expressive, as that exhibited in the life of Jeremiah? If thus, then, from the beginning to the day of Christ, the Spirit of God instructed mankind in truth and virtue, by writing for their instruction "the Lives of the Saints," what can better agree with the ways of that God, than to continue the record—to prolong the narrative? If this mode of instruction has been adopted by the master, should it not be continued by the servant?—if employed when the people of God were only one family, should it not be resorted to when all nations were enrolled with that people? if this mode of instruction was found useful when the knowledge of the Lord was confined to one province, should it not be preserved when that knowledge covered the whole earth even as the waters cover the sea? And is it not therefore with justice we have said that "The Lives of the Saints" might not improperly be designated "an historical supplement to the Old and New Testaments?"

And in good truth, who can peruse the life of Peter, and not be animated with a more lively faith? Who can read of the conversion of Paul, of his zeal and labor, and unbounded love,—who can enter with him into the depths of those mysterious truths which he has revealed, and contemplate along with him the riches of the glory of the grace of God, and not esteem this world as dung; or experience some throes of those heavenly desires, which urged him so pathetically to exclaim, "I {011} wish to be dissolved, and to be with Christ?" Who can read the life of the evangelist John, and not feel the impulse of that subdued spirit, of that meek and humble charity, which so eminently distinguished him as the "beloved disciple of the Lord?" And if we advance through the several ages that have elapsed since our Saviour ascended into heaven, we shall find each and all of them instructing us by examples of the most heroic virtue. The age of the martyrs ended, only to make room for that of the doctors and ascetics; so that each succeeding generation of the children of God presents to us the active and contemplative life equally fruitful in works of sanctification. An Athanasius, a Jerom, a Chrysostom, or an Augustin, are scarcely more precious as models in the house of God, than an Anthony, a Benedict, an Arseneus, or a Paul. Nor has the Almighty limited his gifts, or confined the mode of instruction to those primitive times when the blood of the Mediator was as yet warm upon the earth, and the believers in him filled more abundantly with the first-fruits of the Spirit. No; he has extended his grace to every age! Only take up the history of those holy persons, men and women, whose lives shed a lustre upon the Church within these last few centuries, and you will acknowledge that the arm of the Lord is not shortened, and, to use the words of the Psalmist, that "Sanctity becometh the house of the Lord unto length of days," or to the end of time.

As therefore it hath pleased God to raise up for our help and edification so many and so perfect models of Christian perfection, and disposed by his all wise providence that their lives should have been written for our instruction, we should not be faithful co-operators with the grace given to us, if we did not use our best efforts to learn and to imitate what our Father in heaven has designed for our use.

But "The Lives of the Saints" are a history, not so much of men, as of all ages and nations,—of their manners, customs, laws, usages, and creeds. And in this licentious age, an age of corrupted literature, when that worldly wisdom or vain philosophy which God has declared to be folly, is again revived; in this age, when history has failed to represent the truth, and is only written for base lucre's sake, or to serve a sect or party, what can be so desirable to a Christian community, as to have placed in their hands a sincere and dispassionate account of the nations which surround us, and of the laws and manners and usages, whether civil or religious, which have passed, or are passing into the abyss of time? If the wisdom of God warns us "to train up youth in the way in which they should walk," and promises that "even when old they will not depart from it," there is no duty more sacred, or more imperative or parents and pastors, than to remove from their reach such {012} books as are irreligious, immoral, or untrue, and to place in their hands such works only as may serve to train their minds and affections to the knowledge of truth and to the love of virtue.

History is, of its nature, pleasing and instructive; it leaves after it the most lasting impressions; and when youth, as at present, is almost universally taught to read, and works of fiction or lying histories placed constantly in their way, is it not obvious that every parent and every pastor should be careful not only to exclude from their flocks and families such impious productions, but also to provide the youth committed to their care with works of an opposite description? But we make bold to say, that in no work now extant can there be found condensed so vast a quantity of historical information as is contained in "THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS:" nor is it the store of knowledge here amassed which renders the work, as a history, of so much value; but it is the judicious arrangement, the undoubted candor, the dispassionate judgment of men, manners, and things, which the venerable historian everywhere displays.

He has been able to trace events to their true causes; to point out the influence of religion upon human policy, and of that policy on the Church of God; to exhibit the rise and fall of states and empires,—the advancement or declension of knowledge,—the state of barbarism or civilization which prevailed in the several countries of the world,—the laws, the manners, the institutions, which arose, were changed, improved, or deteriorated, in the kingdoms and empires which brought forth the elect of God in every age: but in his narration there is always found to prevail a spirit, wanted in almost every history written in our times—a spirit which assigns to the power and providence of God the first place in the conduct of human events, and which makes manifest to the unbiased reader the great and fundamental truth of the Christian Religion, that "all things work together to the good of those who, according to the purpose or design of God, are called to be Saints."

The great characteristic, however, of this work, and that which, perhaps, in these times and in this country, constitutes its chief excellence, is, that it exhibits to the reader the doctrine and discipline of the Catholic Church,—the former always the same, "yesterday, to-day, and forever"—the latter receiving impressions from abroad, and moulding itself to the places, times, and circumstances, in which the Church herself was placed. In other works may be found arguments and proofs in support of the dogmas of faith and the doctrines of the Catholic Church, set forth in due order and becoming force; but such works are of a controversial nature, and not always suited to the taste or capacity of every class of readers: not so "The Lives of the Saints." This work presents to us the religion of Christ as it was first planted, as it grew {013} up, and flourished, and covered with its shade all tribes, and tongues, and peoples, and nations. The trunk of this mighty tree is placed before our eyes, standing in the midst of time, with ages and empires revolving about it, its roots binding and embracing the earth, its top touching the heavens, its branches strong and healthful—bearing foliage and fruits in abundance. But to drop this allegory. "The Lives of the Saints" demonstrate the doctrines of the Church, by laying before us the history of the most precious portion of her children: of her martyrs, her doctors, her bishops; of holy and devout persons of all ranks and conditions; of what they believed, and taught, and practised, in each and every age: so that if no Gospel had been written, or liturgy preserved, or decree recorded, we should find in "The Lives of the Saints" sufficient proofs of what has always, and in every place, and by all true believers, been held and practised to the Church of God.

In this work there is no cavilling about texts, no disputes about jurisdiction, no sophisms to delude, no imputations to irritate, no contradictions to confound the reader; but in place of all these there is found in it a simple detail of the truths professed, and of the virtues practised by men and women, who were not only the hearers of the law but the doers thereof. Whosoever seeks for wisdom as men seek for gold, will find it in the perusal of "The Lives of the Saints:" for here not theory or speculation, but living examples, make truth manifest, and exhibit at once and together all the marks of the Church of God in the life and conduct of her children. These children will all be found to have denied themselves, to have taken up the cross, to have followed Christ, and to have convinced the world by their sanctity that they were the children of God—that they were perfect even as their heavenly Father was perfect. These children of the Church will be found a Catholic or universal people, collected from all ages and nations, offering the same sacrifice, administering or receiving the same sacraments, and yielding to the same authority a reasonable obedience. Finally, there will be found included in this great family the Apostles and their disciples, and the descendants of those disciples,—faithful men keeping the deposit of the faith, or transmitting it to others through all the vicissitudes to which this world is a prey, even to that hour when the dead will arise and come to judgment. Thus it is that "The Lives of the Saints" put to silence the gainsayers, and convince, not by argument, but by historical and incontrovertible details of facts and of the lives of men, that the Church of God is one, that she is holy, that she, though universal, is not divided, that she is built upon the Apostles, as upon an immoveable {014} foundation, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone. This work strips schism of her mask, and stops the mouth of heresy. It points out, with an evidence not to be impeached, the day of separation,—when schism commenced, and the hour of revolt and rebellion, when the heretic said, like Lucifer, in the pride of his heart, "I WILL NOT SERVE." If ever there was a work which rendered almost visible and tangible to the sight and touch of men that promise of the Redeemer to his Church, "And the gates of hell shall not prevail against her," surely this work is "THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS."

Who, therefore, is a Catholic, and would not possess such a treasure? How great is the benefit derived to the public from the low price and convenient form in which this work is given to them! If infidelity, and immorality, and heresy have opened wide their mouths, and are everywhere devouring their victims, is it not a blessing from God that the children of the Church should be preserved from them, and fed with the wholesome food of pious reading? If the spirit of error or of that worldly wisdom which is folly with God, has filled our shops and streets with circulating poison in the shape of books, is not the Spirit of truth, and of Him who has overcome the world, to have also such means of instruction as may save and strengthen those whom God, by his grace, has translated into the kingdom of his beloved Son? Accept, therefore gentle reader, of "The Lives of the Saints;" Which, for their own worth's sake, and for your good, we have endeavored to recommend. And with it permit us also to recommend to your pious prayers the spiritual wants of him who has thus addressed you.




Quare quis tandem me reprehendat, si quantum ad cæteris festos dies ludorum celebrandos, quantum ad alias voluptates, et ad ipsam requiem animi et corporis conceditur temporis: Quantum alii tempestivis conviviis, quantum aleæ, quantum pilæ, tantum mihi egomet ad hæc studia recolenda, sumpsero.



THE Reverend Alban Butler was the second son of Simon Butler, Esq., of Appletree, in the county of Northampton, by Miss Ann Birch, daughter of Thomas Birch, Esq., of Gorscot, in the county of Stafford. His family, for amplitude of possessions, and splendor of descent and alliances, had vied with the noblest and wealthiest of this kingdom, but was reduced to slender circumstances at the time of his birth. A tradition in his family mentions, that Mr. Simon Butler (our author's grandfather) was the person confidently employed by the duke of Devonshire and the earl of Warrington, in inviting the prince of Orange over to England; that he professed the protestant religion, and that his great zeal for it was his motive for embarking so warmly in that measure; but that he never thought it would be attended with the political consequences which followed from it; that, when they happened, they preyed greatly on his mind; that to fly from his remorse, he gave himself up to pleasure: and that in a few years he dissipated a considerable proportion of the remaining part of the family estate, and left what he did not sell of it heavily encumbered.

At a very early age our author was sent to a school in Lancashire, and there applied himself to his studies with that unremitted application which, in every part of his life, he gave to literature. Sacred biography was even then his favorite pursuit. A gentleman, lately deceased, mentioned to the editor that he remembered him at this school, and frequently heard him repeat, with a surprising minuteness of fact, and precision of chronology, to a numerous and wondering audience of little boys, the history of the chiefs and saints of the Saxon æra of our history. He then also was distinguished for his piety, and a punctual discharge of his religious duties. About the age of eight years he was sent to the English college at Douay. It appears, from the diary of that college, that Mr. Holman, of Warkworth, (whose memory, for his extensive charities, is still in benediction in Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire,) became security for the expenses of his education. About this time he lost his father and mother. The latter, just before she died, wrote to him and his two brothers the following beautiful letter:


"Since it pleases Almighty God to take me out of this world, as no doubt wisely foreseeing I am no longer a useful parent to you, (for no person ought to be thought necessary in this world when God thinks proper to take them out;) so I hope you will offer the loss of me with a resignation suitable to the religion you are of, and offer {016} yourselves. He who makes you orphans so young, without a parent to take care of you, will take you into his protection and fatherly care, if you do love and serve him who is the author of all goodness. Above all things, prepare yourselves while you are young to offer patiently what afflictions he shall think proper to lay upon you, for it is by this he trieth his best servants. In the first place, give him thanks for your education in the true faith, (which many thousands want;) and then I beg of you earnestly to petition his direction what state of life you shall undertake, whether be for religion, or to get your livings in the world. No doubt but you may be saved either way, if you do your duty to God, your neighbor, and yourselves. And I beg of you to make constant resolutions rather to die a thousand times, if possible, than quit your faith; and always have in your thoughts what you would think of were you as nigh death as I now think myself. There is no preparation for a good death but a good life. Do not omit your prayers, and to make an act of contrition and examen of conscience every night, and frequent the blessed sacraments of the church. I am so weak I can say no more to you, but I pray God bless and direct you, and your friends to take care of you. Lastly, I beg of you never to forget to pray for your poor father and mother when they are not capable of helping themselves: so I take leave of you, hoping to meet you in heaven, to be happy for all eternity.

"Your affectionate mother,

Though our author's memory for the recollection of dates was, in his very earliest years, remarkable, he found, when he first came to the college, great difficulty in learning his lessons by heart; so that, to enable him to repeat them in the school as well as the other boys, he was obliged to rise long before the college hour. By perseverance, however, he overcame this disheartening difficulty. Even while he was in the lowest schools, he was respected for his virtue and learning. One of his school-fellows writes thus of him: "The year after Mr. Alban Butler's arrival at Douay, I was placed in the same school, under the same master, he being in the first class of rudiments, as it is there called, and I in the lowest. My youth and sickly constitution moved his innate goodness to pay me every attention in his power; and we soon contracted an intimacy that gave me every opportunity of observing his conduct, and of being fully acquainted with his sentiments. No one student in the college was more humble, more devout, more exact in every duty, more obedient or mortified. He was never reproved or punished but once; and then for a fault of which he was not guilty. This undeserved treatment he received with silence, patience, and humility. In the hours alloted to play he rejoiced in the meanest employments assigned to him by his companions, as to fetch their balls, run on their errands, &c. &c. Though often treated with many indignities by his thoughtless companions, on purpose to try his patience, he never was observed to show the lest resentment, but bore all with meekness and patience. By the frequent practice of these virtues he had attained so perfect evenness of temper, that his mind seemed never ruffled with the least emotion of anger. He restricted himself in every thing to the strictest bounds of necessity. Great part of his monthly allowance of pocket-money, and frequently of his daily food, went to the poor. So perfectly had he subjected the flesh to the spirit, that he seemed to feel no resistance from his senses in the service of God and his neighbor."

As he advanced in age his learning and virtue became more and more conspicuous. Monsieur Pellison,[1] in his life of the famous Huet, bishop of Avranches, observes, that "from his tenderest youth he gave himself to study; that at his rising, his going to bed, and during his meal, he was reading, or had others to read to him; that neither the fire of youth, the interruption of business, the variety of his employments, the society of his friends, nor the bustle of the world, could ever moderate his ardor of study." The same may be said of our author. He generally allowed himself no more than four hours sleep, and often passed whole nights in study and prayer. All his day was spent in reading. When he was alone, he read; when he was in company, he read; at his meals, he read; in his walks, he read; when he was in a carriage, he read; when he was on horseback, he read; whatever he did, he read. It was his custom to make abridgments of the principal works he perused, and to copy large extracts from them; several bulky volumes {017} of them have fallen into the hands of the editor. Many were surprised to see the rapidity with which he read, or rather ran through books, and at the same time acquired a full and accurate knowledge of their contents.

Footnotes: 1. Histoire de l'Académie, 1 vol. 102.


After our author had completed the usual course of study, he was admitted as alumnus of Douay college, and appointed professor of philosophy. The Newtonian system of philosophy was about that time gaining ground in the foreign universities. He adopted it, in part, into the course of philosophy which he dictated to the students. He read and considered with great attention the metaphysical works of Woolfe and Leibnitz. He did not admire them, and thought the system of pre-established harmony laid down in them irreconcilable with the received belief or opinions of the Roman Catholic church on the soul; and that much of their language, though susceptible of a fair interpretation, conveyed improper notions, or, at least, sounded offensively to Catholic ears. The late Mr. John Dunn, his contemporary at the college, frequently mentioned to the editor the extreme caution which our author used in inserting any thing new in his dictates, particularly on any subject connected with any tenet of religion. After teaching a course of philosophy, he was appointed professor of divinity. On this part of his life the editor has been favored by a gentleman deservedly damed for his erudition and piety, the reverend Robert Bannister, with a long letter, of which the reader is presented with an extract.

"I was contemporary with Mr. Alban Butler in Douay college eight years; viz. from October, 1741 to October, 1749. But as I was but a boy the greater part of that time, I had not any intimacy with him, nor was I capable of knowing any thing concerning his interior, the manner of his prayer, or the degrees to which he ascended in it, or any extraordinary communications or elevations to which the Holy Ghost, the great master and teacher of contemplation, might raise him. All that I can say is, that he opened Douay college great door to me and a gentleman whom I knew not, but who was so good as to bring me from Lisle in his coach, on Sunday between ten and eleven, the 15th of October, 1741; and the first sight of him appeared to me then so meek and so amiable, that I thought I would choose him for my ghostly father; but another, I suppose in rotation, adopted me. Mr. Alban was my sole master in my first year of divinity in 1749, and dictated the two treatises De Decalogo et De Incarnatione; he also presided over my defensions upon those two treatises, and over Mr. James Talbot's (the late bishop of London) upon universal divinity. As to heroic acts of virtue, which strike with admiration all that see or hear of them, I cannot recollect more than a uniform, constant observance of all the duties of a priest, professor, and confessarius. He was always at morning meditations, seldom omitted the celebration of the holy sacrifice of the mass, which he said with a heavenly composure, sweetness, and recollection; studying and teaching assiduously, dictating with an unwearied patience so equally and leisurely, that every one could, if he wished to do it, write his dictates in a clear and legible hand; nor do I remember that he ever sent a substitute to dictate for him; so exact and punctual he was in his duty as a professor. I never knew one more ready to go to the confession-seat, at the first intimation of any, even the least or youngest boy. He heard his penitents with wonderful meekness; and his penetration, learning, judgment, and piety, were such as to move them to place in him a singular confidence. He frequently visited the military hospital, to instruct, exhort, and hear the confessions of Irish soldiers. He sometimes assembled a number of them (when they happened to be quartered in Douay) in the college-church of St. Thomas of Canterbury, and preached to them. In one of his sermons I remember he told them, for their example and encouragement, that there are more soldiers saints than of any other vocation, or state, or condition. As poor, and often distressed, Irish men and women frequently came to Douay, he was always ready to relieve them, and administer both corporal and spiritual succors. It can never be forgotten what attention, solicitude, and care he had, in the year 1745, of our English soldiers, wounded and maimed, who were brought prisoners to Douay, and quartered in the barracks, in great numbers, after the battle of Fontenoy. He animated both by words and example all the young priests, and all in holy orders at the college, to visit them, to instruct and instil into them serious thoughts of saving their souls by embracing the only saving faith, and by true repentance.{018} He also procured for them temporal succor and relief so beneficently, that the duke of Cumberland, then generalissimo of the British and allied armies, being informed of it, promised him a special protection whensoever he came over into England. Scarce any thing affords one a better proof of Mr. Alban's eminent spirit of piety and great understanding, discretion, and light in spiritual matters, than his familiarity and friendship with M. Jean Baptiste de Villérs, president of the seminary des Evéques in the university of Douay, who died October the 7th, 1746, the death of a saint, after having lived the life of one for seventy-eight years. This M. de Villérs was eminent in all supernatural and moral virtues, but he concealed them under an amiable simplicity, and a plain unaffected behavior or exterior, unless charity and zeal for the glory of God and salvation of souls required their open and full exertion; and, notwithstanding his great learning, (which he had acquired by an excellent genius and diligent application to sacred studies,) and his great and solid fund of piety, he was as docile as an infant; so timorous and diffident of his own judgment, that he would neither do nor decide any thing without counsel. With this sentiment of diffidence and humility, he often visited (says M. Leroy, the faithful imitator and writer of the history of his life) a young professor, a foreigner, (that is, Alban Butler,) and passed an hour or two in his company in the afternoon, once every week, and sometimes twice, several years, until his edifying death. Their conversation together was solely about various points of morality; about the direction of souls, and the method of arriving at perfection in every action and intention; how to teach devout persons a habit of making continual aspirations to God, by acts of love, oblation, entire sacrifice of their hearts, of humility, &c. M. de Villérs would not suffer more than half a small fagot to be kindled for him in the severest weather, saying to Mr. Alban, 'the other part may serve some poor person.' As to wine, or any other liquor, he never drank any but at meal-time. I remember to have heard an instance of Mr. Alban's meekness, for I am not a witness of it. When he was presiding over one of his students in divinity in the public hall of Douay college, a disputant, who was probably much offended at some proposition in the thesis, as being opposite to some favorite opinion of his school or religious family, said to him with intolerable rudeness, habes mel in ore, sed fel in corde: to which he made no reply, nor showed the least resentment. Mr. Alban Butler was totally averse to the system of probabilism, and to all assertions that favor laxity in morale. This is evident from the dictates which he delivered to us, from his treatise De Decalogo, de actibus humanis, in his Epitome moralis sacramentorum, &c. It is still more evident from his Epitome de sex prioribus conciliis [oe]cumenicis in calce tractanus de Incarnatione, that he had the highest veneration for the holy see, and for him who sits in the chair of St. Peter; that he constantly held and maintained the rights and singular prerogatives of St. Peter and his successors, in calling, presiding over, and confirming general or [oe]cumenical councils; the pope's superiority over the whole church, and over the whole college of bishops, and over a general council; the irreformability of his doctrinal decisions in points of faith and morale; his supreme power to dispense (when there is cause) in the canons of general councils; in short, the plenitude of his authority over the whole chorus, without exception or limitation, Nihil excipitur ubi distinguitur nihil."


From the letter of which we have presented the reader with an extract, it appears what our author's sentiments were on the nature and extent of the spiritual power of the see of Rome. It has frequently been said that he was the editor of doctor Hulden's Analysis Fidei: had this been the fact, it would have been a strong proof of an alteration of his sentiments on those points; but, after particular inquiry, the editor finds the assertion to be wholly unfounded.

On the celebrated questions, Of the infallibility of the Pope, and his right to the deposing power, our author thus expresses himself in one of his letters on Mr. Bower's History of the Popes; "Mr. Bower having been educated in the Catholic schools, could not but know that, though some private divine think that the pope, by the assistance of some special providence, cannot err in the decisions of faith solemnly published by him, with the mature advice of his council, or of the clergy or divines of his church, yet that this is denied by others; and that the learned Bossuet, and many others, especially of the school of Sorbon, have written warmly {019} against that opinion; and that no Catholic looks upon it as an article or term of communion. It is the infallibility of the whole church, whether assembled in a general council, or dispersed over the world, of which they speak in their controversial disputations. Yet this writer, at every turn, confounds these two things together only to calumniate and impose on the public. If he had proved that some popes had erred in faith, he would have no more defeated the article of supremacy, than he would disinherit a king by arraigning him of bad policy. The Catholic faith teaches the pope to be the supreme pastor of the church established by Christ, and that this church, founded by Christ on a rock, shall never be overcome by hell, or cease to be his true spouse. For he has promised that his true Spirit shall direct it in all truth to the end of the world. But Mr. Bower never found the infallibility of the pope in our creed; and knows very well that no such article is proposed by the church, or required of any one. Therefore the whole chain of his boastings which is conducted through the work falls to the ground.

"What he writes against the deposing power in popes, certainly cannot be made a reproach against the Catholics of England, France, Spain, &c. It is a doctrine neither taught nor tolerated in any Catholic kingdom that I know of, and which many Catholics write as warmly against as Mr. Bower could wish."


While our author continued at the college of Douay, his first publication made its appearance: this was his Letters on the History of the Popes, published by Mr. Archibald Bower. That gentleman had entered into the society of Jesus, and acquired a reputation for learning and talents. He came into England, embraced the religion of the established church, and endeavored to recommend himself to the favor of his new friends by his History of the Lives of the Popes. He also published an account of his escape from Italy, and of his motives for quitting it. The truth of the account became a subject of controversy. It was disbelieved, not only by Catholics but by Protestants. Dr. Douglas, the present bishop of Salisbury, wrote an excellent pamphlet to expose its falsehood and absurdity. It carried great improbability on the face of it. Mr. Bower was a lively writer, and defended himself with adroitness; but he was not equal to the composition of the history which he undertook to write. He was of the numerous list of authors who, when they sit down to write, have to learn what they shall write, rather than to write what they have already learned. The errors which our author exposes in his letters are sometimes the errors of a very young writer. The letters are written with ease and good-humor; they show various and extensive learning, a vigorous and candid mind. They met with universal applause.


In the year 1745, our author accompanied the late earl of Shrewsbury and the honorable James Talbot and Thomas Talbot on their travels through France and Italy. He wrote a full, entertaining, and interesting account of them. As it will be published, the editor makes no extracts from it in this place. He was always solicitous that the noble personages committed to his care should see whatever deserved attention, and be introduced to persons distinguished by their rank, talents, or virtue. He drew out for them a comparative view of the Greek, Roman, and Gothic architecture; an account of the different schools of painting; and an abridgment of the lives, and remarks on the different characters, of the most eminent painters. These will be found in his travels. He kept them from all stage entertainments: "The stage entertainments," he says, in one of his letters, "I can give no account of, as we never would see any; they being certainly very dangerous, and the school of the passions and sin, most justly abhorred by the church and the fathers. Among us, Collier, Law, &c.; among the French, the late prince of Condi, Doctor Voisin, Nicole, &c., have said enough to satisfy any Christian; though Tertullian, St. Cyprian, St. Chrysostom, are still more implacable enemies of the stage. However, we saw the stages for their architecture, where this was curious." His opinion of the evil tendency of stage entertainments continued with him through life.


On his return from his travels our author was sent on the English mission. He {020} had long been engaged in his great work of the Lives of the Saints, and was then bringing it to a conclusion. He naturally, therefore, wished to be settled in London, for the convenience of its public libraries, and the opportunities it affords of intercourse with men of letters. But the vicar-apostolic of the middle district claimed him as belonging to that district, and appointed him to a mission in Staffordshire. This was a severe mortification to our author; he respectfully remonstrated; but the vicar-apostolic was inexorable, and required his immediate obedience. A gentleman who lived in the same house with him at the time, has mentioned to the editor, that he was with him when the summons came; and that on receiving it, he appeared much hurt, retired for half an hour to his oratory, and soon after set off for his country mission.

From Staffordshire he removed to Warkworth, the seat of Francis Eyre, esquire, to whom these sheets are dedicated. He had the highest opinion of a good missioner, and frequently declared that he knew of no situation so much to be envied, while the missioner had a love of his duties, and confined himself to them: none so miserable, when the missioner had lost the love of them, and was fond of the pleasures of life. "Such a one," he used to say, "would seldom have the means of gratifying his taste for pleasure; he would frequently find that, in company, if he met with outward civility, he was the object of silent blame; and that if he gave pleasure as a companion, no one would resort to him as a priest." He had a manuscript written by a Mr. Cox, an English missioner, who lived in the beginning of the present century, in which these sentiments were expressed forcibly and with great feeling: he often mentioned it. But no person was less critical on the conduct of others, none exacted less from them, than our author. He was always at the command of a fellow-clergyman, and ready to do him every kind of good office. To the poor, his door was always open. When he resided in London, in quality of chaplain to the duke of Norfolk, he was under no obligation, strictly speaking, of attending to any person except the duke himself and his family; but he was at the call of every one who wanted any spiritual or temporal assistance which it was in his power to afford. The poor, at length, flocked to him in such numbers that, much in opposition to his wishes, his brother, with whom he then lived, was obliged to give general orders that none of them should be admitted to him. He was ever ready to oblige. Moss. Olivet relates of Huet, the bishop of Avranches, that he was so absorbed in his studies as sometimes to neglect his pastoral duties; that once a poor peasant waited on him respecting some matter of importance, and was refused admittance, "his lordship being at his studies:" upon which the peasant retired, muttering, with great indignation, "that he hoped they should ever have another bishop who had not finished his studies before he came among them;" but our author's "being at his studies," was never a reason with him for refusing to see any one. It was often unpleasant to observe how much his good-humor, in this respect, was abused.


Our author did not remain long in Staffordshire. Edward, duke of Norfolk, (to whom the present duke is second in succession,) applied to the late Mr. Challoner for a person to be his chaplain, and to superintend the education of Mr. Edward Howard, his nephew and presumptive heir. Mr. Challoner fixed upon our author to fill that situation. His first residence, after he was appointed to it, was at Norwich in a house generally called the duke's palace. Thither some large boxes of books belonging to him were directed, but by mistake were sent to the bishop's palace. The bishop opened them, and finding them fall of Roman Catholic books, refused to deliver them. It has been mentioned, that after the battle of Fontenoy, our author was very active in serving the English prisoners, and that the duke of Cumberland returned him thanks for his conduct, and made him an offer of his services, if he should have occasion for them after his return to England. On this seizure of his books, our author applied to the duke; his highness immediately wrote to the bishop, and soon after the books were sent to their owner.

Mr. Edward Howard, by our author's advice, was first sent to the School of the English clergy, at a small village near Douay, called Esquerchin, of which the most pious and respectable Mr. Tichborne Blunt was president. After some years he was sent to complete his education at Paris; and thither our author accompanied him. Mr. Edward Howard was the Marcellus of the English Catholics; {021} never did a noble youth raise greater expectations; but he was suddenly taken ill and died after an illness of a few days. On that melancholy occasion the family expressed great pleasure in the recollection of the religious education he had received from our author.


During our author's stay at Paris he finally completed and sent to the press his great work on the Lives of the Saints. We have seen that, from his tenderest years, he had discovered his turn for sacred biography. At a very early period of his life he conceived the plan of his work; and from that time pursued it with undeviating attention. He qualified himself for an able execution of it, by unremitted application to every branch of profane or sacred literature connected with it. He was, a perfect master of the Italian, Spanish, and French languages. The last he spoke and wrote with fluency and purity. He was also perfect master of the Latin and Greek languages. At an advanced period of his life he mentioned to the editor that he could then understand the works of St. John Chrysostom as easily in the original as in the Latin interpretation; but that the Greek of Saint Gregory Nazianzen was too difficult for him. A few years before he died he amused himself with an inquiry into the true pronunciation of tee Greek language, and in preparing for the press some sheets of an intended Greek grammar. To attain that degree of knowledge of the Greek language is given to few: Menage mentions that he was acquainted with three persons only who could read a Greek writer without an interpreter. Our author had also some skill in the oriental languages. In biblical reading, in positive divinity, in canon law, in the writings of the fathers, in ecclesiastical antiquities, and in modern controversy, the depth and extent of his erudition are unquestionable. He was also skilled in heraldry: every part of ancient and modern geography was familiar to him. He had advanced tar beyond the common learning of the schools in the different branches of philosophy; and even in botany and medicine he was deeply read. In this manner he had qualified himself to execute the work he undertook.


The present section is intended to give An account of some of the principal works he consulted in the composition of it. It will contain, 1st, some remarks on the attention of the church, during the early ages of Christianity, to preserve the memory of the martyrs and saints: 2dly, some account of the acts of the martyrs; 3dly, some account of the sacred calendars: 4thly, some account of the Martyrologies: 5thly, some account of the Menæon and Menologies of the Greek church; 6thly, some account of the early Agiographists: 7thly, some account of the Bollandists: and, 8thly, some account of the process of the beatification and canonization of saints.

IX. 1. The Roman Catholic church has ever been solicitous that the lives and miracles of those who have been eminent for their sanctify should be recorded for the edification of the faithful. St. Clement the Second, successor of St. Peter in the see of Rome, is said to have divided the fourteen districts of that city among seven notaries, assigning two districts to each of them, with directions to form a minute and accurate account of the martyrs who suffered within them. About one hundred and fifty years from that time, pope Fabian put the notaries under the care of deacons and subdeacons. The same attention to the actions and sufferings of the martyrs was shown in the provinces. Of this, the letter of the church of Smyrna, giving an account of the martyrdom of St. Polycarp, the letter of the churches of Lyons and Vienne, giving an account of the martyrs who suffered in those cities; and the letter of St. Dionysius, the bishop of Alexandra, to Fabius, the bishop of Antioch, on the martyrs who suffered under the emperor Decius, are remarkable instances. "Our ancestors," says Pontius, in the beginning of the acts of St. Cyprian, "held those who suffered martyrdom, though only catechumens, or of the lowest rank, in such veneration, as to commit to writing almost every thing that related to them." Nor was this attention confined to those who obtained the crown of martyrdom. Care was taken that the lives of all should be written who were distinguished by their virtues, particularly if they had been favored with the gift of miracles.

IX. 2. The lives of the martyrs and saints, written in this manner, were called their acts. They were often collected into volumes. One of the earliest of these {022} collections was made by Eusebius, the father of church history. Some of the lives he inserted in the body of his great historical work: he also published a separate collection of them; it was greatly esteemed, but has not reached our time: many others were published. These accounts of the virtues and sufferings of the martyrs were received by the faithful with the highest respect. They considered them to afford a glorious proof of the truth of the Christian faith, and of the holiness and sublimity of its doctrines. They felt themselves stimulated by them to imitate the heroic acts of virtue and constancy which they placed before their eyes, and to rely on the assistance of heaven when their own hour of trial should arrive. Thus the vocal blood of the martyrs was a powerful exhortation, both to induce the infidel to embrace the faith of Christ, and to incite the faithful to the practice of its precepts. The church, therefore, always recommended the frequent reading of the acts of the martyrs, and inserted the mention of them in her liturgy. This Ruinart proves by many examples: he also shows that the greatest care was taken to procure the genuine acts of the martyrs; or, when they could not be had, to procure exact accounts of their trials and sufferings. By this means the church was in possession of authentic histories of the persecutions she had suffered, and through which she had finally triumphed over paganism, and of particular accounts of the principal sufferers. The greatest part of them was lost in the general wreck which sacred and profane literature suffered from the barbarians who overturned the Roman empire. In every age, however, some were found who carefully preserved whatever they could save of those sacred treasures. Copies were frequently made of them; and this in this, as in every other important branch of Christian learning, the chain of tradition has been left unbroken. Much, however, of these sacred documents of church history has been irretrievably lost; and, speaking generally, the remaining part came down to us in an imperfect state. Hence Vives, at the end of the fifteenth century, exclaimed, "What a shame it is to the Christian world, that the acts of our martyrs have not been published with greater truth and accuracy!" The important task of publishing them in that manner was at length undertaken by Dom Ruinart, a Maurist monk, in his Acta primorum martyrum sincera et selecta. He executed it in a manner that gained him universal applause. His prefatory discourse, respecting the number of martyrs, has been generally admired. An invaluable accession to this branch of sacred literature was published by Stephen Evodius Assemani, in two volumes folio, at Rome in 1748. The title of the work expresses its contents: "Acta Sanctorum Martyrum orientalium et occidentalium editore Stephano Evodio Assemano, que textum Chaldaicum recensuit, notis vocalibus animavit, Latine vertit, et annotationibus illustravit." It is to be observed, that the eastern and western martyrs mentioned in this place, are not the martyrs of the eastern of Greek church, and the martyrs of the Latin or western church, in which sense the words eastern and western are generally used by ecclesiastical writers. By the eastern martyrs, Assemani denotes the martyrs who suffered in the countries which extend from the eastern bank of the Euphrates, over Mesopotamia and Chaldea to the Tigris and the parts beyond it; by the western, he denotes the martyrs who suffered in Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. Stephen Assemani was the nephew of Joseph Assemani, whose Kalendaria will be mentioned in another place. Joseph was first præfect of the Vatican library; Stephen was archbishop of Apamea; both of them were Maronite monks, and sent into the east by pope Clement XII. to purchase manuscripts.

IX. 3. It was the pious custom of the early Christians to celebrate yearly the memory of the martyrs, on the days on which they suffered. On that day the martyr was considered to be born to a life of glory and immortality, and, with respect to that second life, it was called the day of his birth. The different churches, therefore, were careful to preserve an exact account of the particular days on which the martyrs obtained the crown of martyrdom. The book which contained this account was called a Calendar. At first the calendar contained the mention of the martyrs only; but, in the course of time, the confessors, or those who, without arriving at the glory of martyrdom, had confessed their faith in Christ by their heroic virtues, were admitted to the same honor. The calendars were preserved in the churches; a calendar of the Church of Rome was published by Boucher; another by Leo Alatius; a third by Joannes Fronto, chancellor of Paris, and canon regular of the church of St. Genevieve at Paris. A most ancient calendar of the church of Carthage was published by Mabillon. But under this head no publication is more respectable than Joseph Assemani's Kalendaria Ecclesiæ universæ notis illustrata.


IX. 4. The calendars gave rise to the Martyrologies; the object of them was to collect, in one volume, from the calendars of the different churches, the names of the martyrs and confessors throughout the world, with a brief mention of the day of their decease, and the place in which they suffered, or which they had illustrated by their birth, their residence, their rank, or their virtues. The Roman Martyrology is mentioned in the following terms by St. Gregory, (Lib. 8. Epist. Indict. 1.) in a letter to Eulogius, the bishop of Alexandria: "We," says his holiness, "have the names of almost all the martyrs collected into one volume, and referred to the days on which they suffered; and we celebrate the solemn sacrifice of the mass daily in their honor. But our calendar does not contain the particulars of their sufferings; it only mentions their names, and the place and time of their martyrdom." The Roman calendar seems to have been adopted generally through the western church. It certainly was received in England. At the council held at Shovesham in 747, by Cuthbert, the archbishop of Canterbury, it was ordered, "That throughout the year, the feasts of the saints should be celebrated on the days appointed by the Martyrology of the church of Rome, with the proper psalms." It was once generally believed to have been composed by St. Jerom; but this opinion is now universally rejected. It suffered much in the middle ages. Pope Gregory XIII., immediately after he had completed the great work of reforming the calendar, used the most earnest endeavors to procure a correct edition of the Roman Martyrology. He committed the care of it to some of the most distinguished writers of his time on ecclesiastical subjects. Among them, Bellarmin, Baronius, and Gavant deserve particular mention. With this edition Baronius himself was not satisfied. He published another edition in 1586: and afterwards, at the instigation of cardinal Sirlet, published a still more correct edition, with notes, in 1598. He prefixed to his edition a dissertation, in which he appears to have exhausted the subject. A further correction of the Roman Martyrology was made by pope Urban VIII. They were all surpassed by that published by pope Benedict XIV., at Cologne, in 1751. But the most useful edition is that published at Paris, in 1661, by father Lubin, an Augustinian friar. It is accompanied with excellent notes and geographical tables. Politus, an Italian divine, published, in 1751, the first volume of a new edition of the Roman Martyrology. It comprises the month of January, but the plan of annotation is so extended, that it fills five hundred folio pages of the smallest print; from the time of Drackenborch's edition of Livy, so prolix a commentary had not been seen. Among other principal Martyrologies, is that of the Venerable Bede. After several faulty editions of it had appeared, it was correctly published by Henschenius and Papebroke, and afterwards by Smith, at the end of his edition of Bede's Ecclesiastical History. Notwithstanding Bede's great and deserved celebrity, the Martyrology of Usuard, a Benedictine monk, was in more general use; he dedicated it to Charles the Bald, and died about 875. It was published by Solerius at Antwerp, in 1714, and by Dom Bouillard, in 1718; but the curious still seek for the earlier edition by Molanus, in 1568, as, in the subsequent editions, some parts of it were omitted. Another Martyrology of renown is that of Ado; he was archbishop of Vienne, in Dauphiné, and died in 875. The best edition of it is that by Roswede, in 1613, published at Rome in 1745.—Such have been the exertions of the church of Rome, to perpetuate the memory of those who have illustrated her by their virtues. During the most severe persecutions, in the general wreck of the arts and sciences, in the midst of the public and private calamities which attended the destruction of the Roman empire, the providence of God always raised some pious and enlightened men, who preserved the deposit of faith, sod transmitted to future times the memory of whatever had been most virtuous in former ages or their own.

IX. 5. The Greek church has also shown great attention to preserve the memory of the holy martyrs and saints. This appears from her Menæon and Monologue. The Menæon is divided into twelve months, and each month is contained in a volume. All the saints, whose festivals occur in that month, have their proper day assigned to them in it: the rubric of the divine office, to be performed on that day, is mentioned; the particulars of the office follow; an account of the life and actions of the saint is inserted; and sometimes an engraving of him is added. If it happen that the saint has not his peculiar office, a prose or hymn in his praise in generally introduced. The greater solemnities have an appropriate office. From this the intelligent reader will observe that the Menæon of the Greeks is {024} nearly the same as a work would be, which should unite in itself the Missal and Breviary of the Roman Catholic church. It was printed in twelve volumes in folio at Venice. Bollandus mentions that Raderus, a Tyrolese Jesuit, had translated the whole of the Menæon, and pronounced it to be free from schism or heresy.

The Menologium answers to the Latin Martyrology. There are several Menologia, as, at different times, great alterations have been made in them. But the ground-word of them all is the same, so that they are neither wholly alike nor wholly different. A translation of a Menologium into Latin by cardinal Sirlet, was published by Henry Canisius, in the third volume of his Lectiones Antiquæ. The Greek original, with a new version, was published by Annibal Albani, at Urbino, in 1727. From these works it is most clear that the Greek church invokes the saints, and implores their intercession with God: "Haud obscure ostendit," says Walchius, "Græcos eo cultu prosequi homines in sanctorum ordinem ascriptos, ut ilios incocent." Bib. Theologica, vol. iii. 668. From the Menæon, and the Menologium, Raderus published a collection of pious and entertaining narratives, under the title of Viridarum Sanctorum. It is to be wished that some gentleman would employ his leisure in a translation of it. We should then be furnished, from the works of the Agiographists of the eastern church, with a collection of pious and instructing narratives, similar to those in the well-known Histoires Choisies. One of the most curious articles inserted in the Acta Sanctorum of the Bollandists, is the Muscovite or Russian Calendar, with the engravings of the saints. It was first published by father Possevin. He praises the Russians for the great attention to decency which they observe in their pictures and engravings of holy subjects. He mentions that the Russians, who accompanies him in his return to Rome, observed with surprise in the Italian paintings of saints, a want of the like attention. Father Papebroke, when he cites this passage, adopts the remark, and loudly calls on Innocent XII. to attend to the general decency of all public paintings and statues. A Greek Calendar of the Saints in hexameter verse accompanies the Russian Calendar, in the Acta Sanctorum; both are illustrated with notes by father Pane broke.

IX. 6. We proceed to the Lives of the Saints, written by individuals. For these our attention must be first directed to the Agiographists of the Greek church. The eighth century may be considered as the period when Grecian literature had reached its lowest state of depression; in the ninth, Bardas Cæsar, the brother of the empress Theodora, protected letters; from that time they were constantly cultivated by the Greeks; so that Constantinople, utile it was taken by Mahomet, was never without its historians, poets, or philosophers. Compared with the writings of the ancients, their compositions seem lifeless and unnatural; we look among them in vain either for original genius or successful imitation. Still they are entitled to our gratitude; many of the precious remains of antiquity have come down to us only in their extracts and abridgments; and their voluminous compilations have transmitted to us much useful information which has no other existence. Sacred biography, in particular, has great obligations to them. The earliest work on that subject we owe to the care which the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus bestowed on the literary education of his son; an example which, at the distance of about six hundred years, was successfully rivalled by the elegant edition of the Delphin Classics, published under the aspics of Lewis XIV. But the Greek emperor had this advantage over the French monarch, that he himself was the author of some of the works published for the use of his son. In the first (published by Lerch and Reisch at Leipsic, in 1751) he described the ceremonial of the Byzantine court; the second (published by Banduri, in his Imperium Orientale) is a geographical survey of the provinces, or, as he calls them, the Themata of the empire; the third, which some ascribe to the emperor Leo, his father, describes the prevailing system of military tactics; the forth delineates the political relations and intercourse of the court of Byzantium with the other states. His Geoponics (published by Nicholas Niclas at Leipsic, in 1731, in two volumes, 8vo.) were written with a view of instructing his subjects in agriculture. By his direction, a collection of historical examples of vice and virtue was compiled in fifty-three books, and Simeon Metaphrastes, the great logothete, or chancellor of the empire, composed his Lives of the Saints. Several of them were published, with a Latin translation, by the care of Lipoman, the bishop of Verona. Cardinal Bellarmin accuses Metaphrastes of giving too much loose to his imagination. "He inserts," {025} says the cardinal, "such accounts of conversations of the martyrs with their persecutors, and such accounts of conversions of bystanders, as exceed belief. He mentions many and most wonderful miracles on the destruction of the temples and idols, and on the death of the persecutors, of which nothing is said by the ancient historians." We next come to Jacobus de Voragine, a Dominican friar and archbishop of Genoa, in 1292. His Golden Legend was the delight of our ancestors during the ages which preceded the revival of letters. The library of no monastery was without it. Like the essays of Montaigne, it was to be found on the shelf of every private person; and, for a long time after the invention of printing, no work more often issued from the press. After enjoying the highest degree of reputation, it lost much of its celebrity, in consequence of the Lives of Saints published by Mombritius in two immense volumes, in folio, about the year 1480, from manuscripts in the library of the church of St. John of Lateran and in consequence of the Lives of Saints published by Surius, a Carthusian monk. The first edition of Surius's work was published in 1570-75, in six volumes; the second appeared in 1578, the third and most complete was published, in twelve volumes, in 1615. That he frequently shows too much credulity, and betrays a want of taste, must be admitted; but his works are allowed to breathe a spirit of piety; his candor, and desire to be accurate, are discernible in every part of his writings; and his learning, for the age in which he lived, was considerable. In Ribadeneira the line of ancient Agiographists respectably finishes.

While candor and good taste must allow that, even in the Lest of the compilations we have mentioned, there is a great want of critical discernment, and that they are wholly deficient in elegance, and the artificial beauties of composition, justice requires that their defects should not be exaggerated. Still less should an intention to deceive, even on the pretence of edification, be imputed to them. Whatever may have been either the error or the criminality of some of her members, the church herself, in this, as in every other instance, has always inculcated the duty of sincerity and truth, and reprobated a deviation from them, even on the specious pretence of producing good. On this subject our author thus forcibly expresses himself, in one of his letters on Mr. Bower's History of the Lives of the Popes: "It is very unjust to charge the popes or the Catholic church with countenancing knowingly false legends; seeing all the divines of that communion unanimously condemn all such forgeries as lies in things of great moment, and grievous sins; and all the councils, popes, and other bishops, have always expressed the greatest horror of such villanies; which no cause or circumstances whatever can authorize, and which, in all things relating to religion, are always of the most heinous nature. Hence the authors, when detected, have been always punished with the utmost severity. Dr. Burnet himself says, that those who feigned a revelation at Basil, of which he gives a long detail, with false circumstances, in his letters on his travels, were all burnt at stakes for it, which we read more exactly related by Surius in his Commentary on his own times. The truth is, that many false legends of true martyrs were forged by heretics, as were those of St. George, condemned by pope Gelasius, as many false gospels were soon after the birth of Christianity, of which we have the names of near fifty extant. Other wicked or mistaken persons have sometimes been guilty of a like imposture. A priest at Ephesus forged acts of St. Paul's voyages, out of veneration for that apostle, and was deposed for it by St. John the evangelist, as we learn from Tertullian. To instance examples of this nature would form a complete history; for the church has always most severely condemned all manner of forgeries. Sometimes the more virtuous and remote from fraud a person is, the more unwilling he is to suspect an imposture in others. Some great and good men have been imposed upon by lies, and have given credit to false histories, but without being privy to the forgery; and nothing erroneous, dangerous, or prejudicial was contained in what they unwarily admitted. However, if credulity in private histories was too easy in any former age, certainly skepticism and infidelity are the characters of this in which we live. No histories, except those of holy scripture, are proposed as parts of divine revelation or articles of faith; all others rest upon their bare historical authority. They who do not think this good and sufficient in any narrations, do well to suggest modestly their reasons; yet may look upon them at least as parables, and leave others the liberty of judging for themselves without offence. But Mr. Bower says, p. 177, 'The Roman Breviary is the most authentic book the {026} church of Rome has, after the scripture; it would be less dangerous, at least in Italy, to deny any truth revealed in the scripture, than to question any fable related in the Breviary.' Catholic divines teach that every tittle in the holy scriptures is sacred, divinely inspired, and the word of God dictated by the Holy Ghost. Even the definitions of general councils do not enjoy an equal privilege; they are indeed the oracles of an unerring guide in the doctrine of faith; which guide received, together with the scriptures, the true sense and meaning of the articles of faith contained in them; and, by the special protection of the Holy Ghost, invariably preserves the same by tradition from father to son, according to the promises of Christ. But the church receives no new revelation of faith, and adds nothing to that which was taught by the apostles: 2dly, Its decisions are not supernaturally infallible in matters of fact, as scripture histories are, but only in matters of faith. Nor do Catholics say that its expressions, even in decisions of faith, are strictly dictated by the Holy Ghost, or suggested from him, by any immediate revelation or inspiration; but only that the church is directed by his particular guidance, according to his divine truths, revealed and delivered to his church by his apostles. As to the Roman Breviary, the prayers consist, for the greatest part, of the psalms, and other parts of the holy scriptures, to which the same respect is due which we pay to the divine books. The short lessons from the Homilies, or other works of approved fathers, especially those fathers who are mentioned by Gelasius I. in his decree, carry with them the authority of their venerable authors. As it was the custom in the primitive ages to read, in the churches or assemblies, the acts of the most illustrious martyrs, of which frequent mention is made in those of St. Polycarp, &c., some short histories of the martyrs and other saints have been always inserted in the Breviary, to which only an historical assent is due, whence they have been sometimes altered and amended. These are chiefly such as are judged authentic and probable by the cardinals Baronius and Bellarmin, who revised those lessons, in the last correction under Clement VIII. Gavant, who was himself one of the revisers of the Breviary, and secretary to the congregation, writes thus, (in Breviar. sect. 5, c. 12, n. 15, p. 18:) 'The second lessons from the histories of the saints were revised by Bellarmin and Baronius, who rejected what could be justly called in question: in which difficult task they thought it best to restore the truth of history with the least change possible, and to retain those things which had a certain degree of probability, and had the authority of some grave voucher, though the contrary sentiment had perhaps more patrons.' In computing the years of the popes, the chronology of Baronius was judged the most exact, and retained. Historical facts, nowise revealed or contained in scripture, cannot be made an object of divine faith. If edifying histories are inserted in the church-office, they stand upon their own credit. Such only ought to be chosen which are esteemed authentic. This rule has been always followed when any were compiled. If the compilers are found afterwards to have been mistaken, it is nowhere forbid to correct them.[1] This has been often done by the order of several popes."

1. Nimia profecto almplicitate peccant qui scandalizantur quoties
    audiunt aliquid ex jam olim creditia et juxta breviarii prescriptum
    hodiedum recitandis, in disputationem adduci.—Diss. Ballandic{e}.
    vol. 2, p. 140.

IX. 7. Among the modern collections of the Lives of Saints, of which our authors availed himself, in the work we are speaking of, the histories which different religious have written of their own orders, hold a distinguished place. But he was indebted to no work so much as the Acta sanctorum of the Bollandists. That noble collection was first projected by Father Roswede of the society of Jesus. He died before he had completely digested his plan. Fortunately for the lovers either of sacred history or sacred literature, it mm taken up by father Bollandus of the same society, and has been carried down to the eleventh day of October inclusive. Those who, after Bollandus's decease, succeeded him in his undertaking, were from him called Bollandists.

As far as the editor has been able to learn, the work was composed by the following authors, and published in the number of volumes and years following:

          No. of Vols. Years of their
Months. all in folio. appearance. Authors.
January Two, 1643 ……….. Bollandus and Henschenius
February Three, 1658 ……….. Bollandus and Henschenius
March Three, 1668 ……….. Henschenius and
April Three, 1675 ……….. Henschenius and
May Seven, 1680-1688……. Henschenius, Papebrochius,
                                              Baertius, and Janningus


June Six, 1695—1715…… Henschenius, Papebrochius,
                                              Baertius, Janningus,
                                              and Sollerius
July Seven, 1719—1731…… Janningus, Sollerius,
                                              Pinius, Cuperius, and
August Six, 1733—1743…… Sollerius, Pinius,
                                              Cuperius, Boschius, and
September Eight, 1746—1762…… Pinius, Stiltingus,
                                              Limpenus, Veldius,
                                              Suyskenius, Pericrius,
                                              and Cleus.
October Five 1765—1786…… Stiltingus, Suyskenius,
                                              Perierius, Byeus, Boæus,
                                              Gnesquierus, Hubenus,
                                              and Fronsonus.

Antwerp was the scene of the labors of the Bollandists. They were engaged on them, when the enemies of every thing sacred arrived there under Pichegrû. The most eminent of the Bollandists was Father Papebroke, a rival of the Petaviuses, the Sirmonds, and Mabillons: one of those men who exalt the character of the society to which they belong, and the age in which they live. The Spanish Inquisition condemned some of the volumes in which he was concerned, but afterwards retracted the censure. Several dissertations, replete with various and profound erudition, are interspersed in the body of the work; they are equally distinguished by the learning, and the soundness and sobriety of criticism which appear in them. It would be an irreparable loss to the Christian world that the work should not be completed. The principal dissertations have been printed, in three volumes folio, at Venice, in 1749-59. Those who wish to see an account of the controversy which produced or was occasioned by the sentence of the Inquisition, may consult the Acta Eruditorum, 1696, p. 132-500.

IX. 8. Another source of information, of which our author availed himself in the composition of his work, was the Acts of the Beatification and Canonization of the Saints.

The name of Martyr was given by the ancient church to those who had suffered death for the faith of Christ; the name of Confessor was applied to those who had made a public profession of their faith before the persecutors. It was afterwards extended to those who had edified the church by their heroic virtues. St. Martin of Tours is generally supposed to have been the first saint to whom the title of confessor was applied in the last sense.

Originally, every bishop had the privilege of canonizing saints, or declaring them entitled to the honors which the Catholic church bestows on her saints. The council of Cologne, cited by Ivo of Chartres, forbids the faithful to show any public mark of veneration to any modern saint, without the permission of the diocesan. A capitulary of Charlemagne in 801 is to the same effect.

Pope Alexander III. is supposed to have been the first pope who reserved the exclusive privilege of canonizing saints to the holy see. It was recognised by the church of France at a council at Vienne, in which the bishops, addressing themselves to pope Gregory IX., expressly say, "that no sanctity, however eminent, authorizes the faithful to honor the memory of a saint, without the permission of the holy see."

The present mode of proceeding in the canonization of saints, principally takes its rise from the decree of pope Urban VIII., dated the 13th of March, 1625. By that he forbade the public veneration of every new saint, not beatified or baptized; and particularly ordered that no one, even in private, should paint the image of any person, whatever might be his reputation for sanctity, with a crown or {}e of light round his head; or expose his picture in any sacred place, or publish a history of his life, or a relation of his virtues and miracles, without the approbation of his diocesan: that if, in a work so approved of, the person were called saint, or blessed, those words should only be used to denote the general holiness of his life, but not to anticipate the general judgment of the church. His holiness adds a form of protestation to that effect, which he requires the authors to sign, at the beginning and end of their works. This regulation of pope Urban is so strictly attended to, that a single proof of the infraction of it, and even the omission of a definite sentence that there has been no infraction of it, makes the canonization of the saint impossible, and invalidates the whole of the proceedings. The only exception is, in favor of those saints who are proved to have been immemorially venerated for a hundred years and upwards, before 1634, the year in which pope Urban's bull was confirmed.

The beatification of a saint is generally considered as a preliminary to his canonization. It is a kind of provisional permission, authorizing the faithful to honor {028} the memory of the person beatified; but qualified as to the place or manner. A decree of pope Alexander VIII. in 1659, prohibits the faithful from carrying those honors farther than the bull of beatification expressly permits.

The proceedings of beatification or canonization are long, rigorous, and expensive. 1st, The bishop of the diocese institutes a process, in the nature of an information, to inquire into the public belief of the virtues and miracles of the proposed, and to ascertain that the decree we have mentioned of pope Urban VIII. has been complied with: this proceeding begins and ends with the bishop, his sentence being conclusive. 2dly, The acts of this proceeding, with the bishop's sentence, are sealed up, then taken to the congregation of rites: and deposited with the notary. 3dly, The solicitors for the congregation petition for publication of the proceedings. 4thly, This is granted; and the proceedings, being first legally verified, are opened before the cardinal-president of the congregation, 5thly, The pope is then requested to refer the business to a particular cardinal to report upon it. 6thly, This being granted, the writings of the proposed, if he be the author of any, are laid before the cardinal-reporter. 7thly, He appoints a commission to assist him, and, with their assistance, makes his report. If one formal error against faith, one direct opinion contrary to morals, be round in them, it puts a total end to the proceedings, unless the author, in his life, expressly retracted it. "A general protestation;" says Benedict XIV., "the most sincere submission of all opinions to the authority of the Catholic church, saves the author from criminality, but does not prevent the effect of this rigorous escalation." 8thly, Hitherto the proceedings are not in strictness before the pope; but, from this sage of the business, the affair wholly devolves on his holiness. He signs a commission to the congregation of rites to institute and prosecute the process of beatification; but, before this commission is granted, ten years must have expired, from the time when the acts of the diocesan were first lodged with the congregation of rites. 9thly; The congregation of rites appoints commissaries, whom the pope delegates, to inform themselves of the virtues and miracles are the proposed. The commissaries usually are bishops, and the bishop of the diocese where the proposed is buried is usually one of them; but laymen are never employed. The proceedings of the commissaries are secret, and carried on and subscribed with the strictest order and regularity, and in great form; the last step in their proceedings is to visit the tomb of the deceased, and to draw out a verbal process of the state in which his remains are found. The original of the proceedings is left with the bishops; a legalized copy is taken of them, and returned by a sworn courier to the congregation of rites. 10thly, The solicitors for the congregation then pray for what is called a decree of attribution, or that an inquiry may be made into each particular virtue and miracle attributed to the proposed: 11thly, Upon this, they proceed to make the inquiry, beginning with the virtues and ending with the miracles; but of the former they can take on notice in this stage of the business, till fifty years from the time of the proposed's decease: in the case of a martyr, his martyrdom alone, with proof both of the heroism with which it was suffered, and of its having been suffered purely and absolutely in the cause of Christ, is supposed to make an inquiry into his virtues unnecessary. 12thly, The final determination of the cause is settled in three extraordinary congregations, called the antepreparatory, the preparatory, and the general. The virtues to be approved of must be of the most heroic kind: the number of miracles is, in strictness, limited to two. The pope collects the vows of the assembly; and two-thirds of it, at least, must agree in opinion, before they come to a resolution. He then pronounces what is called a private sentence, before the promoter and the secretary of the congregation of St. Peter. 13thly, A general congregation is then held, to determine whether it be advisable to proceed to the beatification of the proposed. 14thly, Three consistories are afterwards held. l5thly, The pope then signs the brief of beatification. The publication of it is performed in the church of the Vatican. The solicitor for the beatification presents the brief to the cardinal-prefect; he remits it to the cardinal-archpriest of the church where the ceremony is held. The cardinal-archpriest reads it aloud; the Te Deum is sung, a collect in honor of the beatified is read, and mass is solemnized in his honor. 16thly, When the proceedings for the beatification are completed, the proceedings for the canonization begin. But it is necessary that, before any thing be done in them, new miracles should be wrought. When the solicitor for the canonization is satisfied that he can prove by judicial evidence the existence of these miracles, he presents a petition for resuming the {029} cause. 17thly, Three congregations extraordinary, a general assembly, and three consistories, are held for the purpose of pronouncing on the new miracles, and determining whether it be prudent to proceed to canonization. 18thly, This being determined upon, the pope issues the brief of canonization, and, soon after, the ceremonial follows. It begins by a solemn procession: an image of the saint is painted on several banners. When the procession arrives at the church where the ceremony is performed, the pope seats himself on his throne, and receives the usual homage of the court. The solicitor for the cause and the consistorial advocate place themselves at the feet of his holiness, and request the canonization; the litanies are sung; the request is made a second time; the Veni Creator is sung; the request is made a third time; the secretary announces that it is the will of the pope to proceed immediately upon the canonization; the solicitor requests that the letters of canonization may be delivered in due form; his holiness delivers them, and the first prothonotary calls on all the assembly to witness the delivery. The Te Deum is sung, and high mass is solemnized.

The decree of canonization is usually worded in these terms: "To the glory of the Holy Trinity, for the exaltation of the Catholic faith, and the increase of the Christian religion: In virtue of the authority of Jesus Christ, of the holy apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, and our own, after due deliberation and frequent invocations of the heavenly light, with consent of our venerable brethren, the cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, and bishops, present at Rome, we declare the blessed N. to be a saint, and we inscribe him as such in the catalogue of the saints. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen."

Such is the outline of the process of canonization. It must be added, that the strictest evidence is required of every thing offered in proof. It is laid down as a universal rule, which admits of no exception, that the same evidence shall be required, through the whole of the process, as in criminal cases is required to convict an offender of a capital crime; and that no evidence of any fact shall be received, if a higher degree of evidence of the same fact can possibly be obtained. Hence, a copy of no instrument is admitted, if the original be in existence; no hearsay witness is received, if ocular testimony can be produced. The rigorous examination of every circumstance offered to be proved has excited the surprise of intelligent Protestants. Miracles, which to them seemed proved to the utmost degree of demonstration, have, to their surprise, been rejected. Whatever there is most awful in religion, most sacred in an oath, or most tremendous in the censures of the church, is employed in the process of canonization to elicit truth and detect falsehood. Every check and countercheck is used, which slowness of proceeding, or a repetition of it in other stages and under different forms, can effect. The persons employed in it are the members of the Roman Catholic church, the most exalted by their rank, and the most renowned for their virtues and talents. When the proceedings are concluded, they are printed and exposed to the examination of the whole world. The sixth volume of the celebrated treatise of Benedict XIV. on the beatification and canonization of saints, contains the acts of the saints canonized by himself.


With these helps our author sat down to his work. We may suppose him addressing to the saints, whose lives he was about to write, a prayer similar to the beautiful prayer addressed to them by Bollandus at the end of his general preface, and which may be thus abridged: "Hail, ye citizens of heaven! courageous warriors! triumphant over the world! from the blessed scenes of your everlasting glory, look on a low mortal, who searches everywhere for the memorials of your virtues and triumphs. Show your favor to him; give him to discover the valuable monuments of former times; to distinguish the spurious from the legitimate; to digest his work in proper order and method; to explain and illustrate whatever is obscure. Take under your protection all who have patronized or assisted him in his undertakings: obtain for all who read his work, that they imitate the examples of virtue which it places before their eyes; and that they experience how sweet, how useful, and how glorious it is to walk in your steps."

In the preface to the French translation, the work is said to have cost our author the labor of thirty years. It was his practice, when he began to write the life of any saint, to read over and digest the whole of his materials, before he committed any thing to paper. His work evidently shows, that his mind was full of its subject, {030} and that what he wrote was the result of much previous information and reflection. On many occasions he must have written on subjects which were new to him; but, such is the mutual connection and dependence of every branch of literature, that a mind stored like his was already in possession of that kind of knowledge, which would make him apprehend, with great ease, whatever he had to learn; and would instruct him, though the subject were new to him, where he might express himself decisively, and where he should doubt. How extensive and profound his general knowledge was, appears from this, that a person who happens to have made any subject, treated of by him, his particular study, will seldom read what our author has written upon it without finding in it something original, or, at least, so happily expressed or illustrated as to have the merit of originality. In some instances, as in his account of the Manichæns, in the life of St. Augustine, and of the crusades, in the life of St. Lewis, he shows such extent and minuteness of investigation, as could only be required from works confined to those subjects. In other instances, where his materials are scanty, so that he writes chiefly from his own mind, as in the lives of St. Zita or St. Isidore of Pelusium, he pours an unpremeditated stream of piety, which nothing but an intimate acquaintance with the best spiritual writers could produce.

The sameness of a great number of the most edifying actions which our author had to relate, made it difficult for him to avoid a tiresome uniformity of narrative: but he has happily surmounted this difficulty. Another difficulty he met with, was the flat and inanimate style of the generality of the writers from whom his work was composed. Happy he must have been, when the authors he had to consult were St. Jerome, Scipio, Maffei, Bouhours, or Marsollier. But most commonly they were such as might edify but could not delight. He had then to trust to his own resources for that style, that arrangement, those reflections, which were to engage his reader's attention. In this he has certainly succeeded. Few authors on holy subject have possessed, in a higher degree, that indescribable charm of style which rivets the reader's attention to the book, which never places the writer between the book and the reader, but insensibly leads him to the conclusion, sometimes delighted, but always attentive and always pleased.

His style is peculiar to himself; it partakes more of the style of the writers of the last century than of the style of the present age. It possesses great merit, but sometimes is negligent and loose. Mr. Gibbon mentioned it to the editor in warm terms of commendation; and was astonished when he heard how much of our author's life had been spent abroad. Speaking of our author's Lives of the Saints, (vol. iv. 457,) he calls it "a work of merit,—the sense and learning belong to the author—his prejudices are those of his profession." As it is known what prejudice means in Mr. Gibbon's vocabulary, our author's relatives accept the character.

Having lived so long in the schools, he must have had a strong predilection for some of the opinions agitated in them; and frequent opportunities of expressing it occurred in his work. He seems to have cautiously avoided them: a single instance, perhaps, is not to be found, where any thing of the kind is discoverable in any of his writings. He has carefully brought before the reader every circumstance arising from his subject, that could be offered in proof or illustration of the particular tenets of the Roman Catholic church; but he does it without affectation, and rather leaves the reader to draw his own conclusions, than suggests them to him. Those expressions which good manners and good taste reject, are never to be found in his works.

But the chief merit of his works is, that they make virtue and devotion amiable: he preaches penance, but he shows its rewards; he exhorts to compunction, but he shows the sweetness of pious sorrow; he enforces humility, but he shows the blessedness of a humble heart; he recommends solitude, but he shows that God is where the world is not. No one reads his work who does not perceive the happiness, even in this world, of a holy life, or who does not wish to die the death of a saint. Most readers of it will acknowledge that, sometimes at least, when they have read it, every worldly emotion has died within them, and they have felt themselves in a disposition of mind suited to receive the finest impressions of religion.

At the finishing of his work he gave a very edifying instance of humility. The manuscript of the first volume having been submitted to Mr. Challoner, the vicar-apostolic of the London district, he recommended the omission of all the notes, not {031} excepting that beautiful note which gave an account of the writings of St. John Chrysostom. His motive was, that, by being made less bulky, the work might be made less expensive, and, consequently, more generally useful. It is easy to suppose what it must have cost our author to consign to oblivion the fruit of so much labor and so many vigils. He obeyed, however, and to this circumstance it is owing that, in the first edition, the notes in question were omitted.


XI. 1. It has been objected to our author's work on the Lives of the Saints, that the system of devotion which is recommended by it, is, at best, suited to the cloister. But no work has ever appeared, in which the difference between the duties of a man of the world and the duties of a religious is more strongly pointed out. Whenever the author has occasion to mention any action of any saint, which is extraordinary or singular in its nature he always observes, that it is of a kind rather to be admired than imitated.

XI. 2. It has been objected, that the piety which it inculcates is of the ascetic kind, and that the spirit of penance, voluntary mortification, and contempt of the world, which it breathes everywhere, is neither required nor recommended by the gospel. But no difference can be found between the spirit of piety inculcated by our author, and that inculcated by the most approved authors of the Roman Catholic church. Less of penance, of voluntary mortification, or of contempt of the world, is not recommended by Rodriguez, by Thomas of Kempis, by St. Francis of Sales, by Bourdaloue, or Massillon, than is recommended by our author. Speaking of those "who confound nature with grace, and who look on the cross of Jesus Christ as an object foreign to faith and piety;—It was not thus," says Massillon, in his sermon on the Incarnation, "it was not thus that the apostles announced the gospel to our ancestors. The spirit of the gospel is a holy eagerness of suffering, an incessant attention to mortify self-love, to do violence to the will, to restrain the desires, to deprive the senses of useless gratifications; this is the essence of Christianity, the soul of piety. If you have not this spirit, you belong not, says the apostle, to Jesus Christ; it is of no consequence that you are not of the number of the impure or sacrilegious of whom the apostle speaks, and who will not be admitted into the kingdom of Christ. You are equally strangers to him; your sentiments are not his; you still live according to nature; you belong not to the grace of our Saviour; you will therefore perish, for it is on him alone, says the apostle, that the Father has placed our salvation. A complaint is sometimes made that we render piety disgusting and impracticable, by prohibiting many pleasures which the world authorizes. But, my brethren, what is it we tell you? allow yourselves all the pleasures which Christ would have allowed himself; faith allows you no other; mix with your piety all the gratifications which Jesus Christ would have mixed in his; the gospel allows no greater indulgence—O my God, how the decisions of the world will one day be strangely reversed! when worldly probity and worldly regularity, which, by a false appearance of virtue, give a deceitful confidence to so many souls, will be placed by the side of the crucified Jesus, and will be judged by that model! To be always renouncing yourselves, rejecting what pleases, regulating the most innocent wishes of the heart by the rigorous rules of the spirit of the gospel, is difficult, is a state of violence. But if the pleasures of the senses leave the soul sorrowful, empty, and uneasy, the rigors of the cross make her happy. Penance heals the wounds made by herself; like the mysterious bush in the scripture, while man sees only its thorns and briers, the glory of the Lord is within it, and the soul that possesses him possesses all. Sweet tears of penance! divine secret of grace! O that you were better known to the sinner!" "The pretended esprits forts," says Bourdaloue, in his sermon on the scandal of the cross, and the humiliations of Jesus Christ, the noblest of all his sermons, in the opinion of the cardinal de Maury, "do not relish the rigorous doctrines announced by the Son of God in his gospel; self-hatred, self-denial, severity to one's self. But when Christ established a religion for men, who were to acknowledge themselves sinners and criminals, ought he, as St. Jerome asks, to have published other laws? What is so proper for sin as penance? what is more of the nature of penance, than the sinner's harshness and severity to himself? Is there any thing in this contrary to reason? They are astonished at his ranking poverty among the beatitudes; that he held up the cross as an attraction to his disciples to follow him; that he declared a love of {032} contempt was preferable to the honors of the world. In all this I see the depth of his divine counsels." Such is the language of Bourdaloue and Massillon, preaching before a luxurious court, to the best-informed and most polished audience in the Christian world. It is apprehended that no other language is found in our author's Lives of the Saints.

XI. 3. Some (but their number is small) have imputed to our author too much credulity respecting miracles. A chain of agiographists might be supposed: on the first link of it we might place Surius, as possessing the utmost degree of the belief of miracles, consistent with any degree of judgment; on the last we might place Baillet and Launoy, as possessing the utmost degree of the belief of miracles, consistent with any degree of deference to the general opinions of pious Catholics. Between them we might place in succession, according to their respective degrees of supposed belief, Ribadeneira, Baronius, the Bollandists, Tillemont, and Fleury. With which of these writers shall we class our author? certainly neither with Surius, nor with Baillet or Launoy. The middle links represent those to whom the most liberal Roman Catholic will not impute too much credulity, or the most credulous too much freedom. Perhaps our author should rank with the Bollandists, the first of this middle class; and generally he who thinks with father Papebroke on any subject of ecclesiastical literature, may be sure of thinking right. To those who wholly deny the existence of miracles these sheets are not addressed; but the Roman Catholic may be asked on what principle he admits the evidence for the miracles of the three first centuries, and rejects the evidence for the miracles of the middle age; why he denies to St. Austin, St. Gregory, the venerable Bede, or St. Bernard, the confidence he places in St. Justin, St. Irenæus, or Eusebius.


Some years after our author had published the Lives of the Saints, he published the Life of Mary of the Cross; a nun in the English convent of the Poor Clares at Rouen. It is rather a vehicle to convey instruction on various important duties of a religious life, and on sublime prayer, than a minute account of the life and actions of the nun. It was objected to this work, as it had been to the Saints' Lives, that it inculcated a spirit of mystic prayer, the excesses of which had been formally condemned, and the propriety of which, even in a very qualified view of it, was doubtful.

It must be admitted by those who urge this objection, that, both in the Saints Lives and in the work of which we are speaking, our author uses very guarded expressions. He always takes care to mention that, in the practices of devotion, as in every other practice, the common is the safest road: that many of the greatest saints have, through the whole of their lives, confined themselves to the usual modes of prayer and meditation; that the gift of contemplation is given to few; that, like every other practice of devotion, contemplation has its dangers; and that, without a perfect spirit of humility, it is much exposed to illusion; but he delivers, at the same time, an explicit opinion, that contemplation is a gift of heaven; that the happiness of a soul on whom God bestows it, is above description; and that every joy which this life affords is contemptible in comparison of it. This certainly is catholic doctrine.

It is natural to suppose that, at a time when every art and science was deluged in a quantity of barbarous words, and metaphysics were carried into every subject, the doctrine of prayer would often be involved in similar intricacies and refinements. The fact certainly is, that many writers of the middle age, on the subject of prayer, introduced into their writings a wonderful degree of metaphysical subtilty. But, if their doctrine be divested of those subtilties, and expressed in plain language, it will be found that nothing in what our author, with other spiritualists, calls mystical theology, contradicts common sense. With them he divides the progress of a Christian, in his advances towards perfection, into three stages, the purgative, the contemplative, and the unitive. In the first stage he places sinners on their first entrance, after their conversion into a spiritual life; who bewail their sins, are careful to avoid relapsing into them, endeavor to destroy their had habits, to extinguish their passions; who fast, watch, prey, chastise the flesh, mourn, and are blessed with a contrite and humble heart. In the second stage he places those who divest themselves of earthly affections, study to acquire purity of heart, and a constant habit of virtue, the true light of the soul; who {033} meditate incessantly on the virtues and doctrines of Christ, and thereby inflame themselves to the imitation of him. Those he supposes to be arrived at the third stage whose souls, being thus illuminated, are united to God, and enjoy his peace which passeth understanding. According to our author, the prayer of a person who is arrived at the last stage, is very different from that of a beginner in spiritual life. To present a pious subject to his mind, to place it in the various points of view in which it should be considered, to raise the devout sentiments which the consideration of it should produce, and to form the resolutions which those sentiments should inspire, must, our author observes, be a work of exertion to a beginner. But when once he has arrived at that state of perfection as to have detached himself from those objects which are the usual incitements to sin, and to which, from the natural propensity of the human heart, the imaginations of man forcibly lead, and when an ardent love of virtue, piety, and whatever relates to them, is habitual in her; then, our author supposes, that what before was exertion becomes the usual state of the soul; a thousand causes of distraction cease to exist, and all the powers of the mind and affections of the heart rest with ease and pleasure on the subject of her meditation; God communicates to her his perfections; he enlightens her in the mysteries of religion, and raises in her admirable sentiments of wonder and love. This our author calls the prayer of contemplation. In process of time, he supposes that the habit of devotion increases: that the soul acquires a stronger aversion from every thing that withholds her from God, and a more ardent desire of being united to him; and that, by continually meditating on the sublime truths and mysteries of Christianity, she is disengaged from earthly affections, is always turned to God, and obtains a clearer view of his perfections, of her obligations to him, and of the motives which entitle him to her love. Then, according to our author, every thing which is not God becomes irksome to her, and she is united to him in every action and every thought. At first, the soul, by our author's description, calls to her mind the presence of God; afterwards she habitually recollects it; at length every thing else disappears, and she lives in him. Even in the first stage, when the sinner first turns from vice, and determinately engages in the practice of a virtuous life, our author pronounces that the comforts which she experiences in reflecting on the happiness of the change, exceed the joys of this world: he supposes her to say, in the words of Bourdaloue, (Sur la Choix mutuel de Dieu et de l'Ame Religieuse,) "I have chosen God, and God has chosen me; this reflection is my support and my strength, it will enable me to surmount every difficulty, to resist every temptation, to rise above every chagrin and every disgust." From the moment this choice is made, he supposes, with the same eloquent preacher, in his sermon for the feast of St. Mary Magdalen, "that the soul, exposed till then to all the vexations which the love of the world inevitably occasions, begins to enjoy a sweet tranquillity; conscience begins to experience the interior joy of pious hope and confidence in the mercies of God, and to feel the holy unction of grace; in the midst of her penitential austerities she comforts and strengthens herself by the thought, that she is making some satisfaction and atonement to God for her sins, that she is purifying her heart, and disposing it to receive the communications of heaven." This comfort and sensation of happiness, he observes, must necessarily increase as the charms of virtue are unveiled to the soul, and she acquires a continual habit of thinking on God. "Who can express," he makes the soul exclaim with the same author, "the secret delights which God bestows on a heart thus purified and prepared? how he enlightens her! how he inflames her with divine love! with what visitations he favors her! what holy sentiments and transports he excites in her!" but, when she lives for God alone, then, in our author's language, God communicates himself with her, and her happiness, as far as happiness is attainable in this life, is complete. Here, according to Thomas of Kempis, (and what Catholic recuses his authority?) begins the familiaritas stupenda nimis. "What is the hundred-fold of reward," cries Bourdaloue, (Sermon sur le Renoncement Religieuse,) "that thou, O God, hast promised to the soul which has left every thing for thee? It is something more than I have said upon it: it is something that I cannot express; but it is something with which, sinful and weak as I am, God has more than once favored me."—"Thou promisedst me a hundred-fold," says St. Bernard: "I feel it; thou hast more than performed thy promise." Necessitas good cogit, defendit. In defence of our author, this short exposition of his doctrine seemed necessary: and it may be confidently asked {034} in what it differs from the doctrine of Rodriguez, of St. Francis de Sales, of Bourdaloue, or of many other authors, in whom the universal opinion of the Catholic world recognises, not only true devotion and piety, but extreme good sense and moderation. Nor should it be forgotten that, if the prelates assembled at Issy, in 1695, declared, (Art. 22,) "that, without any extraordinary degrees of prayer, a person may become a very great saint," they had previously declared, (Art. 21,) "that even those which are passive, and approved of by St. Francis of Sales and other spiritualists, cannot be rejected." The authors on these subjects, whom our author particularly recommended, were Balthazar, Alvarez de Paz, and St. Jure. The latter was one of the Jesuits who came into England during the reign of Charles the First. His most celebrated work is, a Treatise on the Knowledge and Love of God, in five volumes,—a noble effusion of the sublimest piety. The only work by which he is known in this country is, his Life of the Baron de Renty: our author esteemed it much, but thought it censurable for mentioning, in terms of commendation, the mode in which the baron, to save his honor, indirectly put himself in the way of fighting a duel.

Another spiritualist, whom our author greatly admired, was the celebrated Henry Marie de Boudon. He frequently mentioned, in terms of the highest admiration, the humility and resignation with which Boudon bore the calumnies of his prelate and fellow-clergy. He often related that part of his life, when, being abandoned by the whole world, a poor convent of religious received him into their house, and he knelt down to thank God that one human being still existed who was kindly disposed to him. His writings are numerous: the style of them is not elegant, and they abound with low expressions; but they contain many passages of original and sublime eloquence. Our author was also a great admirer of the works of Father Surin, particularly his Fondemens de la Vie Spirituelle, edited by Father Bignon. In this species of writing, few works, perhaps, will give the reader so much pleasure as the Morale de l'Evangile, in 4 vols. 8vo., by Father Neuvile, brother to the celebrated preacher of that name. It is to be hoped that it will be translated into English.[1] Our author greatly lamented the consequences of the altercation between Fenelon and Bossuet. He thought the condemnation which had been passed {035} on it on the abuses of devotion, had brought devotion itself into discredit, and thrown a ridicule on the holiness of an interior life. Of Fenelon he always spoke with the highest respect. One of the editors of the last edition of his works is now in England: he has declared that it appeared from Fenelon's papers, that his exertions, to the very last, to ward off the sentence of the condemnation of his works, were most active. This enhanced the value of his sacrifice. Our author thought that Valart had abundantly proved that Thomas of Kempis was not the author of the Imitation of Christ; but that he had not proved it to be written by Gersen, the abbot of Vercelli: he also differed from Valart in his opinion of the general merit of the works of Thomas of Kempis; his treatises De Tribus Tabernaculis and De Verâ Compunctione (the latter particularly) he thought excellent.[2]

1. For this and many other valuable works we naturally look to
    Stonyhurst. If the Musæ Exulantes,[The title assumed by them, in the
    preface to the Latin translation of Cato.] in the swamps of Bruges,
    could produce an elegant and nervous translation of Cato, will their
    notes be less strong or less sweet in their native land? May we not
    expect from Stonyhurst other Petaviuses, other Sirmonds, other
    Porées, future Strachans, future Stanleys, future Heskeys, future
    Stricklands. If any of them would favor us with a translation of
    Father Montreuil's Vie de Jésus Christ, he would supply the
    English Catholic with the present desideratum of his library, an
    interesting and accurate life of Christ. A literary history of the
    gospels, showing the state of the text, and the grammatical
    peculiarities of their idiom, and containing a short account of the
    early versions, would be an invaluable work. The excellent
    translation by Mr. Combes, the professor of divinity in St. Edmund's
    College, of selected parts of St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom,
    shows his ability to execute such a work, and leads us to hope it
    for him. The mention of these gentlemen naturally makes us reflect
    on the singular kindness shown by this country to the foreign
    exiles. The editor begs leave to copy what has been said by him on
    this subject in a small work entitled Hors Biblicæ. After
    mentioning some of the most splendid of the biblical exertions of
    the English, the compiler of that work says, "Yet, useful and
    magnificent as these exertions have been, an edition of the New
    Testament has lately appeared in this country, which, in one point
    of view, eclipses them all. It has been our lot to be witnesses of
    the most tremendous revolution that Christian Europe has known: a
    new race of enemies to the Christian religion has arisen, and, from
    Rome to Hungary, has struck at every altar and shaken every throne.
    One of their first enormities was, the murder of a large proportion
    of their clergy, and the banishment of almost the whole of the
    remaining part. Some thousands of those respectable exiles found
    refuge in England. A private subscription of 33,775_l_, 15_s_.
    9-1/2_d_. was immediately made for them. When it was exhausted, a
    second was collected, under the auspices of his majesty, and
    produced 41,304_l_. 12_s_. 6-1/4_d_. Nor is it too much to say, that
    the beneficence of individuals, whose charities on this occasion are
    known to God alone, raised for the sufferers a sum much exceeding
    the amount of the larger of the two subscriptions. When at length
    the wants of the sufferers exceeded the measure of private charity,
    government took them under its protection, and, though engaged to a
    war exceeding all former wars in expense, appropriated, with the
    approbation of the whole kingdom, a monthly allowance of about
    8000_l_. for their support; an instance of splendid munificence and
    systematic liberality, of which the annals of the world do not
    furnish another example. The management of the contributions was
    intrusted to a committee, of whom Mr. Wilmot, then one of the
    members of parliament for the city of Coventry, was president: on
    him the burden of the trust almost wholly fell, and his humanity,
    judgment, and perseverance, in discharge of it, did honor to himself
    and his country.

    "It should be observed, that the contributions we have mentioned are
    exclusive of those which were granted for the relief of the lay

    "So suddenly had the unhappy sufferers been driven from their
    country, that few of them had brought with them any of those books
    of religion or devotion which their clerical character and habits of
    prayer had made the companions of their past life, and which were to
    become almost the chief comfort of their future years. To relieve
    them from this misfortune, the University of Oxford, at her sole
    expense, printed for them, at the Clarendon Press, two thousand
    copies of the Latin Vulgate of the New Testament, from an edition of
    Barbou, but this number not being deemed sufficient to satisfy the
    demand, two thousand more copies were added, at the expense of the
    marquess of Buckingham. Few will forget the piety, the blameless
    demeanor, the long, patient suffering of these respectable men.
    Thrown on a sudden into a foreign country, differing from theirs in
    religion, language, manners, and habits, the uniform tenor of their
    pious and unoffending lives procured them universal respect and
    good-will. The country that received them has been favored. In the
    midst of the public and private calamity which almost every nation
    has experienced, Providence has crowned her with glory and honor;
    peace has dwelt in her palaces, plenty within her wells; every
    climate has been tributary to her commerce, every sea has been
    witness of her victories."
2. Our author was a great admirer of the writings of Abraham Woodhead:
    he purchased his manuscripts, and, by his will, bequeathed them to
    the English College at Douay. Mr. Woodhead is one of the writers to
    whom the celebrated Whole Duty of Man has been attributed. On that
    subject the editor is in possession of the following note in our
    author's handwriting: "Mr. Simon Berrington, who died in 1758,
    endeavored to give Mr. Woodhead the honor of being the author of the
    Whole Duty of Man, and other works of the same kind; but there is a
    difference of style between them,—there occurring in the Whole Duty
    of Man, and the other works of that author, scarce any parentheses,
    with which all Mr. Woodhead's works abound. Nevertheless, certain it
    is that Dr. John Pell, dean of Christ Church, (afterwards bishop of
    Oxford,) who published the other works of the author of the Whole
    Duty of Man, namely, the Ladies' Calling, the Art of Contentment,
    the Government of the Tongue, the Lively Oracles given unto us, &c.,
    in folio, at Oxford, in 1675-78, and wrote the preface which he
    prefixed to this edition, and who was the only person then living
    who knew the author of the Whole Duty of Man, gave this book of the
    Whole Duty of Man to his bookbinder, and Hawkins, his bookseller in
    London, with other pieces of Mr. Woodhead's, and ordered Mr.
    Woodhead's name to be added to the title of this, as well as of the
    other works which he gave to be bound. If Mr. Woodhead wrote that
    celebrated work, it was before he travelled abroad, or had any
    thoughts of embracing the Catholic faith." The same anecdote has
    been mentioned to the editor by the late Mr. Challoner.


Some time after our author's return to England, from his travels with Mr. Edward Howard, he was chosen president of the English College at St. Omer's. That college was originally founded by the English Jesuits. On the expulsion of the society from France, the English Jesuits shared the fate of their brethren.

On his being named to the presidency of the English college at St. Omer's, doubts were suggested to him on the justice or propriety of his accepting the presidency of a college which, in fact, belonged to others. He advised with the bishop of Amiens and the bishop of Boulogne upon this point, and they both agreed in opinion that he might safely accept it.

He continued president of the college of St. Omer's till his decease. It was expected by his friends, that his office of president would leave him much time for his studies; but these expectations wholly failed. He was immediately appointed vicar-general to the bishops of Arras, St. Omer's, Ipres, and Boulogne. This involved him in an immensity of business; and, his reputation continually increasing, he was consulted from every part of France on affairs of the highest moment. The consequence was, that, contrary to the wishes and expectations of his friends, he never was so little master of his time as he was during his residence at St. Omer's. The editor has been favored with the following letter, which will show the esteem in which our author was held by those who, at the time we speak of, lived in habits of intimacy with him.

"You have occasioned me, sir, to experience a heartfelt satisfaction in allowing me an intercourse with you on the subject of the late Mr. Butler, your uncle; and to communicate to you the particulars within my knowledge, concerning the life, the eminent virtues, and uncommon abilities of that celebrated gentleman. Never was I acquainted with any of my contemporaries who was at once so learned, so pious, so gentle, so modest; and, whatever high opinion might be conceived of him from a perusal of his immortal work on the Lives of the Saints,—that masterpiece of the most extensive erudition, of the most enlightened criticism, and of that unction which commands the affections,—such an opinion is greatly inferior to the admiration which he inspired in those persons who, like myself, had the happiness to live in intimate connection with him. The paternal kindness, and, I am bold {036} say it, the tender friendship with which he honored my youth, have indelibly engraved on my heart the facts I am about to relate to you with the most scrupulous exactness. Monsieur de Conzie, now bishop of Arras, having been raised to the see of St. Omer's in 1766, caused me to be elected a canon in his cathedral church: he nominated me one of his vicars-general, and I repaired thither on the 5th of October, 1767.

"That prelate, whose high reputation dispenses with my encomiums, mentioned your uncle to me on the very day of my arrival. 'I am here possessed,' said he; 'of a hidden treasure; and that is Mr. Butler, the president of the English college. I for the first time saw him,' added he, 'during the ceremony of my installation. He was kneeling on the pavement in the midst of the crowd; his countenance and deportment had something heavenly in them: I inquired who he was, and upon his being named to me, I caused him, though reluctant, to be conducted to one of the first stalls in the choir. I will entreat him,' said moreover the prelate, 'to favor you with his friendship: he shall be your counsel; you cannot have a better.' I made answer, that Monsieur de Beaumont, the illustrious archbishop of Paris, in whose palace I had enjoyed the invaluable benefit of passing two years, had often spoken of him to me in the most honorable terms; that he had commissioned me, at my departure, to renew to him the assurance of his particular esteem; and that I would neglect nothing to be thought worthy of his benevolence.

"I was so happy as to succeed in it within a short time. His lordship, the bishop, condescended to wish the joy of it, and intrusted me with the design he had formed of honoring the assembly of his vicars-general, by making him our colleague. I was present when he delivered to him his credentials; which moment will never forsake my remembrance. I beheld your dear uncle suddenly casting himself at the prelate's knees, and beseeching him, with tears in his eyes, not to lay that burden upon him. Ah! my lord, said he to him, I am unable to fill so important a place; nor did he yield but upon an express command: Since you require it shall be so, said he, I will obey; that is the first of my duties. What an abundant source of reflections was this for me, who was then but twenty-six years of age. It was then especially that I resolved to make up for my inexperience, by taking him for my guide who had been giving me that great example of Christian humility.

"The bishop had already showed him his confidence, by placing his own nephew in the English college, as also that of the bishop of Senlis, his friend, and the son of one of his countrymen. I had the charge of visiting them frequently. I used to send for them to dine with me on every school holiday. If one of them had been guilty of a fault, the punishment I inflicted was, that he should desire Mr. Butler to keep him at home. But it almost always proved useless; he would himself bring me the delinquent, and earnestly solicit his pardon; Depend upon it, said he to me one day, he will behave better for the future. I asked him what proof he had of it. Sir, answered he, in the presence of the lad, he has told me so. I could not forbear smiling at such confidence in the promises of a school-boy of ten years old; but was not long before I repented. In a private conversation he observed to me, that one of the most important rules in education is to impress children with a persuasion that the vices we would keep them from, such as lying and breaking one's word, are too shocking to be thought possible. A maxim this worthy of the great Fenelon, his beloved model, and which common tutors do not so much as surmise.

"Those three youths, our common functions of vicars-general, the delightful company of your uncle, and the frequent need I had of drawing from that source of light, carried me almost every day to the English college. I could delineate to you, sir, his ordinary course of life in the inward administration of that house; I could tell you of his assiduousness at all the exercises; of his constant watchfulness; of the public and private exhortations he made to his pupils, with that persuasive eloquence we meet with in his writings; of his pious solicitude for all their wants; and of their tender attachment to him. His room was continually filled with them. He never put on the harsh end threatening magisterial look: he was like a fond mother surrounded by her children; or he was rather, according to the expression, the eagle not disdaining to teach her young ones to soar, and carrying {037} them on her expanded wings, to save them from a fatal fall. But I leave to his worthy co-operators the satisfaction of detailing to you those particulars, which I only transiently beheld, and which I never saw without being affected. How many interesting anecdotes will they have to acquaint you with!

"Every instant that Mr. Butler did not dedicate to the government of his college he employed in study; and, when obliged to go abroad, he would read as he walked along the streets. I have met him with a book under each arm, and a third in his hands, and have been told that, travelling one day on horseback, he fell a reading, giving the horse his full liberty. The creature used it to eat a few ears of corn that grew on the road-side. The owner came in haste, swearing he would be indemnified. Mr. Butler, who knew nothing of the damage done, no sooner perceived it, than, blushing, he said to the countryman, with his usual mildness, that his demand was just; he then draws out a louis d'or, and gives it to the fellow, who would have been very well satisfied with a few pence, makes repeated apologies to him, easily obtains forgiveness, and goes on his way.

"Notwithstanding such constant application, the extensiveness of his knowledge was next to a prodigy. Whenever I happened to consult him on any extraordinary question, upon which the authors most familiar to us were silent, he would take me to the library of the abbey of St. Bertin, would ask for old writers, whose names I was scarce acquainted with, and point out to me, even before I had opened them, the section and chapter in which I should find my difficulty solved.

"Nor would I have you think, sir, that the ecclesiastical sciences were the only that he had applied to. A couple of anecdotes I am going to relate, and which I could hardly have believed had I not been witness to them, will prove to you that every kind of information was reunited in his intellect, without the smallest confusion.

"Monsieur de Conzie, after his translation from the bishopric of St. Omer's to that of Arras, invited him to come and see him there. My brother vicars and myself sought one day for a question which he should not be able to answer, and thought we had found one. Accordingly, we asked him what was the name of a pear called, in French, bon Chrétien, before the coming of Christ, and Christianity. There are, answered he, two systems on that point; and then quotes as two modern naturalists, sets forth their opinions, and unfolds to us the authorities with which they backed them. I had the curiosity to ascertain one of those quotations, and found it accurate to a tittle.

"A few days after, the bishop of Arras, having his drawing-room filled with company, Mr. President was announced. The bystanders thinking it to be the first president of the council d'Artois, opened him a gangway to come at the prelate; they behold a priest enter, whom, by his bashful and modest looks, they take for some country curate, and, by a simultaneous motion, they close up the passage which they had made. The bishop, who had already descried his dear president of the English college, perceived also the motion and resolved to put the authors of it to the blush. He observed in one corner of the room a group of military men; he goes up to them, and, finding they were conversing upon the question keenly debated at that time, whether in battle the thin order, observed in our days, be preferable to the deep order of the ancients; he called to Mr. Butler, and asked him what he thought of it. I then heard that amazing man talk on the art of war with the modest tone of a school-boy, and the depth of the most consummate military man. I observed admiration in the countenance of all those officers; and saw several of them, who, being too far off, stood up upon chairs to hear and see him. They altogether put to him questions upon questions, and each of his answers caused fresh applause.

"His lordship left us to go and join another group, consisting of magistrates, who were discussing a point of common law; and, in like manner, called upon his oracle, who, by the sagacity of his reflections, bore away all suffrages, and united their several opinions.

"The prelate, next, taking him by the hand, presented him to the ladies, seated round the fireplace, and asked him, whether the women in ancient times wore their head-dresses as high as ours then did. Fashions, answered he, like the spokes of a wheel turning on its axis, are always replaced by those very ones which they have set aside. He then described to us the dresses, both of the men and women, in the various ages of our monarchy: and, to go still further back, added he, the {038} statue of a female Druid has been found, whose head-dress measured half a yard to height; I have been myself to see it, and have measured it.

"What astonished me most was, that studies so foreign to the supernatural objects of piety, shed over his soul neither aridity nor lukewarmness. He referred all things to God, and his discourse always concluded by some Christian reflections, which he skilfully drew from the topic of the conversation. His virtue was neither minute nor pusillanimous: religion had, in his discourse as well as in his conduct, that solemn gravity which can alone make it worthy of the Supreme Being. Ever composed, he feared neither contradictions nor adversities: he dreaded nothing but praises. He never allowed himself a word that could injure any one's reputation; his noble generosity was such, that, as often as I happened to prize in his presence any one of his books, or of the things belonging to him, I the same day found them in my possession. In short, I will confess it, to my confusion, that for a long time I sought to discover a failing in him; and I protest, by all that is most sacred, that I never knew one in him. These are the facts, sir, you were desirous of knowing; in the relation of which I have used no exaggeration, nor have had anything to dissemble. I have often related these facts to my wondering friends, as a relief to my heart; and indeed, notwithstanding the distance of time, they recur as fresh to my remembrance as if just transacted before my eyes.

"I was at a distance from St. Omer's when death robbed me of my respectable friend. Time has not alleviated the sorrow which the loss of him fixed deeply in my breast. I have preciously preserved some of his presents, and carefully concealed them at my leaving France. May I one day find again those dear pledges of a friendship, the recollection of which is, in our calamities, the sweetest of my consolations. I have the honor to be, with the highest regard, sir, your most obedient, &c.

"L'Abbé de la SEPOUZE.

"At the Hague, December 30, 1794."

During our author's stay at St. Omer's, a thesis was printed and publicly defended, in a neighboring university, which excited his attention. Mr. Joseph Berington presided at the defensions of it. It certainly contained many propositions which were offensive to pious ears; but respectable persons are said to have declared, that it contained nothing materially contrary to the faith of the Roman Catholic church; and the editor feels it a duty incumbent on him to add, that one of the bishops, to whom our author was grand-vicar, mentioned to the editor, that he thought his vicar had shown too much vivacity on that occasion.

Footnotes: 1. Sieni aquila provocans ad volandam pullos suos et super eos volians expandit alas suas—Deuteron. cap. 22.


Both from our author's letters, and from what is recollected of his conversations, it appears that he often explicitly declared that, if powerful measures were not adopted to prevent it, a revolution in France would take place, both in church and state. He thought irreligion, and a general corruption of manners, gained ground everywhere. On the decay of piety in France, he once mentioned in confidence to the editor a circumstance so shocking, that even after what has publicly happened, the editor does not think himself justifiable in mentioning it in this place. He seems to have augured well on the change of ministry which took place on the expulsion of the Choiseuls. He was particularly acquainted with the cardinal de Bernis, and the mareschal de Muy. Of the latter he writes thus in one of his letters. "Mr. de Muy, who has sometimes called upon me, and often writes to me, as the most affectionate of friends, is unanimously called the most virtuous and upright nobleman in the kingdom. The late dauphin's projects in favor of religion he will endeavor to execute. He is minister of war. The most heroic piety will be promoted by him by every method: if I gave you an account of his life, you would be charmed by so bright a virtue."


Our author had projected many works besides those which we have mentioned. Among them his Treatise on the Moveable Feasts may be reckoned. He very much lamented that he had not time to complete: what he had prepared of it, he thought too prolix, and, if he had lived to revise it, he would have made great alterations in it. Some time after his decease, it was published under the inspection of Mr. Challoner. He proposed writing the lives of bishop Fisher and sir Thomas {039} More, and had made great collections, with a view to such a work: some of them are in the hands of the editor, and are at the command of any person to whom they can be of use. He had begun a treatise to explain and establish the truths of natural and revealed religion; he was dissatisfied with what Bergier had published on those subjects. He composed many sermons, and an immense number of pious discourses. From what remained of the three last articles, the three volumes of his discourses, which have appeared since his decease, were collected. The editor is happy in this opportunity of mentioning his obligations to the Rev. Mr. Jones, for revising and superintending the publication of them. They are acknowledged to possess great merit; the morality of them is entitled to great praise; the discourse on conversation shows a considerable knowledge of life and manners. Having mentioned his sermons, it is proper to add, that as a preacher he almost wholly failed. His sermons were sometimes interesting and pathetic; but they were always desultory, and almost always immeasurably long. The editor has lately published his Short Life of Sir Toby Matthews.

He was very communicative of his manuscripts, and consequently many of them were lost; so that, on an attentive examination of them, after his decease, none but those we have mentioned were thought fit for the press.


The number of letters written by our author exceeds belief; if they could be collected, they would be found to contain an immense mass of interesting matter on many important topics of religion and literature. He corresponded with many persons of distinction, both among the communicants with the see of Rome, and the separatists from her. Among the former may be reckoned the learned and elegant Lambertini, who afterwards, under the name of Benedict XIV., was honored with the papal crown: among the latter may be reckoned Dr. Louth, the bishop first of Oxford, afterwards of London, the celebrated translator of Isaiah. In a Latin note on Michaelis, our author speaks of that prelate as his intimate acquaintance, "necessitate conjunctissimus."

He had the happiness to enjoy the friendship and esteem of many persons distinguished by rank, talents, or virtue. The holy bishop of Amiens spoke of him in the highest terms of admiration and regard. In the life written in French of that excellent prelate, he is mentioned "as the most learned man in Europe." He is styled by father Brotier, in his preface to his edition of Tacitus, "sacrâ eruditione perceleber." The late Mr. Philips, in the preface to his life of cardinal Pole, mentioning the edition of his letters by cardinal Quirini, expresses himself thus: "They were procured for the author by Mr. Alban Butler, to whom the public is indebted for the most useful and valuable work which has appeared in the English language on the Lives of the Saints, and which has been so much esteemed in France, that it is now translating into the language of a country celebrated for biography, with large additions by the author. This gentleman's readiness on all occasions to assist the author in his undertaking, was answerable to his extensive knowledge and general acquaintance with whatever has any relation to erudition." Our author was not satisfied with the French translation of his work: the writers professed to translate it freely; but he thought that they abused the privilege of free translation, that they misrepresented his meaning, that their style was affected, and that the devotional cast which he had labored to give the original, was wholly lost in their translation. The editor has heard that a translation of it was begun in the Spanish and Italian languages, but he has seen no such translation. Dr. Kennicot spoke loudly of our author's readiness and disinterested zeal to oblige. Even the stern Mr. Hollis mentions him in his memoirs with some degree of kindness. No person was more warmly attached to his friends. With his affectionate and generous disposition, no one was more sensible of unkindness than he was; but none forgave it more readily. It was his rule to cultivate those who were inimical to him by every mark of attention and act of kindness; and rather to seek than avoid an intercourse with them. His incessant attention to his studies frequently made him absent in society: this sometimes produced whimsical incidents.

Whatever delight he found in his literary pursuits, he never sacrificed his religious duties to them, or permitted them to trespass on his exercises of devotion. Huet, whom, from his resemblance to our author in unremitted application to study, the editor has often had occasion to mention, laments his own contrary conduct in {040} very feeling terms: "I was entirely carried," says he, (De Rebus ad eum Pertinentibus, 174,) "by the pleasure found in learning: the endless variety which it affords had taken up my thoughts, and seized all the avenues of my mind, that I was altogether incapable of any sweet and intimate communication with God. When I withdrew into religious retirement, in order to recollect my scattered thoughts, and fix them on heavenly things, I experienced a dryness and insensibility of soul by which the Holy Spirit seemed to punish this excessive bent to learning." This misfortune our author never experienced. A considerable portion of his time was devoted to prayer. When it was in his power, he said mass every day; when he travelled, he rose at a very early hour, that he might hear it: he never neglected the prayer of the Angelus, and, when he was not in the company of strangers, he said it on his knees. He recommended a frequent approach to the sacrament of the altar: some, under his spiritual direction, communicated almost every day. The morale sevère of the Jansenists he strongly reprobated in discourse, and no person receded further from it in practice: but he was an admirer of the style of the gentlemen of Port Royal, and spoke with praise of their general practice of avoiding the insertion of the pronoun I in their writings. He thought the Bible should not be read by very young persons, or by those who were wholly uninformed: even the translation of the whole divine office of the church he thought should not be given to the faithful promiscuously. In the printed correspondence of Fenelon, a long letter by him on frequent communion, and one on reading the Bible, (they deserve to be translated and generally read,) express exactly our author's sentiments on those subjects. All singularity in devotion was offensive to him. He exhorted every one to a perfect discharge of the ordinary duties of his situation, to a conformity to the divine will, both in great and little occasions, to good temper and mildness in his intercourse with his neighbor, to an habitual recollection of the divine presence, to a scrupulous attachment to truth, to retirement, to extreme sobriety. These, he used to say, were the virtues of the primitive Christians, and among them, he said, we should always look for perfect models of Christian virtue. Fleury's account of them, in his Manners of the Christians, he thought excellent, and frequently recommended the perusal of it. He exhorted all to devotion to the Mother of God; many, under his care, said her office every day. The advantage of mental prayer he warmly inculcated. In the conduct of souls he was all mildness and patience: motives of love were oftener in his mouth than motives of fear: "for to him that loves, nothing," he used to say, with the author of the Imitation of Christ, "is difficult." He often sacrificed his studies and private devotions to the wants of his neighbor. When it was in his power he attended the ceremony of the salut at the parish church; and on festivals particularly solemnized by any community of the towns in which he resided, he usually assisted at the divine service in their churches. He was very abstemious in his diet; and considered systematic sensuality as the ultimate degradation of human nature. He never was heard to express so much disgust, as at conversations where, for a great length of time, the pleasures of the table, or the comparative excellence of dishes, had been the sole topic of conversation; yet he was very far from being an enemy to rational mirth, and he always exerted himself to entertain and promote the pleasures of his friends. In all his proceedings he was most open and unreserved: from selfishness none could be more free. Dr. Kennicot often said that, of the many he had employed in his great biblical undertaking, none had shown more activity or more disinterestedness than our author. He was zealous in the cause of religion, but his zeal was without bitterness or animosity: polemic acrimony was unknown to him. He never forgot that in every heretic he saw a brother Christian; in every infidel he saw a brother man. He greatly admired Drouen de Sacramentis, and Boranga's Theology. Tournely he preferred much to his antagonist Billouart. He thought Houbigant too bold a critic, and objected some novelties to the Hebraizing friars of the Rue St. Honoré. He believed the letters of Ganganelli, with the exception of two or three at most, to be spurious. Their spuriousness has been since placed beyond controversy by the Diatribe Clementine, polished in 1777. Caraccioli, the editor of them, in his Remerciement à l'Auteur de l'Année Littéraire de la part de l'Editeur des Lettres du Pape Ganganelli, acknowledges that he filled sixty pages at least of them with thoughts and insertions of his own compositions. In the handwriting of a gentleman, remarkable for his great accuracy, the editor has before him the following {041} account of our author's sentiments on usury: "Mr. Alban Butler's opinion of receiving interest for money, in a letter dated the 20th of June, 1735, but copied anno 1738.—In England, and in some other countries, the laws allow of five per cent., and even an action at law for the payment of it. This is often allowable in a trading country; and, as it is the common practice in England, I shall not blame any one for taking or even exacting interest-money; therefore will say nothing against it in general: but, in my own regard, I am persuaded it is not warrantable in conscience, but in three cases; viz. either for a gain ceasing, as merchants lend money which they would otherwise employ in trade, lucrum cessans: or, secondly, some detriment the lender suffers by it, damnum emergens: or, thirdly, some hazard in the principal money, by its being exposed to some more than ordinary danger in being recovered safely. Some time afterwards the said Alban Butler was convinced there was no occasion of scruple in receiving interest for money, so that it was at a moderate or low rate of interest; and that there was reason to believe the borrower made full the advantage of the money that he paid for it by the interest."

Our author's love of learning continued with him to the last. Literary topics were frequently the subject of his familiar conversation. He was a great admirer of what is called the simple style of writing; and once mentioned that, if he could acquire a style by wishing for it, he should wish for that of Herodotus. He thought the orator appeared too much in Cicero's philosophical works, except his Offices; that work he considered to be one of the most perfect models of writing which have come down to us from antiquity. He professed to discover the man of high breeding and elegant society in the commentaries of Cæsar; and to find expressions in the writings of Cicero which showed a person accustomed to address a mob, the foex Romani populi. He believed the works of Plato had been much interpolated; and once mentioned, without blame, father Hardouin's opinion that they were wholly a fabrication of the middle age. Of the modern Latin poets, he most admired Wallius, and in an illness desired his poems to be read to him. He himself sometimes composed Latin poetry. He preferred the Paradisus Animæ to its rival prayer-book, the Coeleste Palmetum. Of the last he spoke with great contempt. The little rhyming offices, which fill a great part of it, are not very interesting; but the explanation in it of the psalms in our Lady's office, of the psalms in the office for the dead, of the gradual and seven penitential psalms, and of the psalms sung at vespers and complin, is excellent. A person would deserve well of the English Catholics who should translate it into English. The Coeleste Palmetum was the favorite prayer-book of the Low Countries. By Foppen's Bibliotheca Belgica, it appears that the first edition of it was printed at Cologne, in 1660, and that, during the first eight years after its publication, more than 14,000 copies of it were sold. Most readers will be surprised, when they are informed that our author preferred the sermons of Bossuet to those of Bourdaloue but in this he has not been absolutely singular; the celebrated cardinal de Maury has avowed the same opinion; and, what is still more extraordinary, it has also been avowed by father Neuville. Bossuet's Discourse upon Universal History may be ranked among the noblest efforts of human genius that ever issued from the press. In the chronological part of it, the scenes pass rapidly but distinctly; almost every word is a sentence, and every sentence presents an idea, or excites a sentiment of the sublimest kind. The third part of it, containing his reflections on the events which produced the rise and fall of the ancient empires of the earth, is not inferior to the celebrated work of Montesquieu on the greatness and fall of the Roman empire; but, in the second part, the genius of Bossuet appears in its full strength. He does not lead his reader through a maze of argumentation; he never appears in a stretch of exertion; but, with a continued splendor of imagery, magnificence of language, and vehemence of argument, which nothing can withstand, he announces the sublime truths of the Christian religion, and the sublime evidence that supports them, with a grandeur and force that overpower and disarm resistance. Something of this is to be found in many passages of his sermons; but, in general, both the language and the arguments of them are forced and unnatural. His letters to the nuns are very interesting. Let those who affect to talk slightingly of the devotions of the religious, recollect that the sublime Bossuet bestowed a considerable portion of his time upon them. The same pen that wrote the discourse on universal history, the funeral oration of the prince of Condé, and the History of the Variations, was at the command of every religious who requested {042} from Bossuet a letter of advice or consolation. "Was he at Versailles, was he engaged on any literary work of importance, was he employed on a pastoral visit of his diocese, still," say the Benedictine editors of his works, "he always found time to write to his correspondents on spiritual concerns." In this he had a faithful imitator in our author. No religious community addressed themselves to him who did not find in him a zealous director, an affectionate and steady friend. For several among the religious he had the highest personal esteem. Those who remember him during his residence at St. Omer's, will recollect his singular respect for Mrs. More, the superior of the English convent of Austins at Bruges. He was, in general, an enemy to the private pensions of nuns; (see Boudon's Letter Sur le Relâchement qui s'est introduit dans l'Observation du Voeu de Pauvreté, Lettres de Boudon, vol. 1, p. 500;) but in this, as in every other instance, he wished the reform, when determined upon, to proceed gently and gradually.

All who leave had an opportunity of observing the English communities since their arrival in this country, have been edified by their amiable and heroic virtues. Their resignation to the persecution which they have so undeservedly suffered, their patience, their cheerfulness, their regular discharge of their religious observances, and, above all, their noble confidence in Divine Providence, have gained them the esteem of all who know them. At a village near London, a small community of Carmelites lived for several months, almost without the elements of fire, water, or air. The two first (for water, unfortunately, was there a vendible commodity) they could little afford to buy; and from the last (their dress confining them to their shed) they were excluded. In the midst of this severe distress, which no spectator could behold unmoved, they were happy. Submission to the will of God, fortitude, and cheerfulness, never deserted them. A few human tears would fall from them when they thought of their convent; and with gratitude, the finest of human feelings, they abounded; in other respects they seemed of another world. "Whatever," says Dr. Johnson, "withdraws us from the power of our senses; whatever makes the past, the distant, or the future, predominate over the present, advances us in the dignity of human beings." It would be difficult to point out persons to whom this can be better applied than these venerable ladies, whose lives are more influenced by the past, the distant, or the future, or so little influenced by the present.

Our author was not so warm on any subject as the calumnies against the religious of the middle age: he considered the civilization of Europe to be owing to them. When they were charged with idleness, he used to remark the immense tracts of land, which, from the rudest state of nature, they converted to a high state of husbandry in the Hercynian wood, the forests of Champagne and Burgundy, the morasses of Holland, and the fens of Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire. When ignorance was imputed to them, he used to ask, what author of antiquity had reached us, for whose works we were not indebted to the monks. He could less endure that they should be considered as instruments of absolute power to enslave the people: when this was intimated, he observed that, during the period which immediately followed the extinction of the Carlovingian dynasty, when the feudal law absolutely triumphed over monarchy, the people were wholly left to themselves, and must have sunk into an absolute state of barbarism, if it had not been for the religious establishments. Those, he said, softened the manners of the conquerors, afforded refuge to the vanquished, preserved an intercourse between nations: and, when the feudal chiefs rose to the rank of monarchs, stood as a rampart between them and the people. He thought St. Thomas of Canterbury a much injured character. He often pointed out that rich tract of country, which extends from St. Omer's to Liege, as a standing refutation of those who asserted that convents and monasteries were inimical to the populousness of a country: he observed, that the whole income of the smaller houses, and two-thirds of the revenues of the greater houses, were constantly spent within twenty miles round their precincts; that their lands were universally let at low rents; that every abbey had a school for the instruction of its tenants, and that no human institution was so well calculated to promote the arts of painting, architecture, and sculpture, works in iron and bronze, and every other species of workmanship, as abbeys or monasteries, and their appendages. "Thus," he used to say, "though the country in view was originally a marsh, and has for more than a century wholly survived its commerce, it is the most populous country in Europe; and presents on the face of it as great a display {043} of public and private strength, wealth, and affluence, as can be found in any other part of the world." Fortunately for him, he did not live to be witness to the domiciliary visit which, in our times, it has received from France. What would he have thought, if any person had told him, that, before the expiration of the century in which he lived, the French themselves would, in perfect hatred of Christ, destroy the finest churches of France? At their profanation of his favorite church of St. Bertin, in the town of St. Omer's, that is said to have happened which Victor Vitensis relates to have happened in the persecution of the Vandals, (Hist. Pers. Van. 31:) "Introeuntes maximo cum furore, corpus Christi et sanguinem pavimento sparserunt, et illud pollutis pedibus calcaverunt."


Our author enjoyed through life a good state of health, but somewhat impaired it by intense application to study. Some years before his decease he had a slight stroke of the palsy, which affected his speech. He died on the 15th of May, 1773, in the sixty-third year of his age. A decent monument of marble was raised to his memory in the chapel of the English college at St. Omer's, with the following inscription upon it, composed by Mr. Bannister:

Hic jacet
R. D. Albanus Butler (Bouteillier) Prænobilis Angius.
Sacerdos et Alumnus Collegii Anglorum Duaci.
Ibidem S. T. Professor, Postmodum Missionarius in Patria.
Præses II. Collegii Regii Anglorum Audomari.
Vicarius Generalis
Illustrissimorum Philomelien. Deboren. Atrebaten. Audomarea
Ex vetustâ Ortus prosapiâ
In utrisque Angliæ et Galliæ Regnis
Amplâ et Florente.
Suavissimis Moribus,
Summis acceptissimus, Infimis benignus,
Omnium necessitatibus inserviens,
Pro Deo.

Propter Doctrinam et Ingenium, Doctissimis,
Propter Pietatem, Bonis omnibus,

Nobilissimæe Juventutis Institutionem,
Sacrarum Virginum curam,
Reverendissimorum Antistitum negotia,
Suscepit, promovit, expedivit,
Opera, Scriptis, Hortatubus.
Sanctorum rebus gestis a Puentiâ inhærens,
Acta omnia pernoscens,
Mentem et Sapientiam altê imbibens.
Multa scripsit de Sanctorum vitis,
Plena Sanctorum Spiritu, librata judicio, polita stylo,
Summæ ubertatis et omnigenæ eruditiouis.
Apastolicæ sedis et omnis officii semper observantissimus.
Pie obiit 15 Mensis Maii 1773.
Natus annis 63.
Sacerdos 39.
Præses 7
Hoc m[oe]rens posuit Carolus Butler
Monumentum Pietatis sum in Patruum Amantissimum.

{044 blank} {045}


As in corporal distempers a total loss of appetite, which no medicines can restore, forebodes certain decay and death; so in the spiritual life of the soul, a neglect or disrelish of pious reading and instruction is a most fatal symptom. What hopes can we entertain of a person to whom the science of virtue and of eternal salvation doth not seem interesting, or worth his application? "It is impossible," says St. Chrysostom,[1] "that a man should be saved, who neglects assiduous pious reading or consideration. Handicraftsmen will rather suffer hunger and all other hardships than lose the instruments of their trade, knowing them to be the means of their subsistence." No less criminal and dangerous is the disposition of those who misspend their precious moments in reading romances and play-books, which fill the mind with a worldly spirit, with a love of vanity, pleasure, idleness, and trifling; which destroy and lay waste all the generous sentiments of virtue in the heart, and sow there the seeds of every vice, which extend their baneful roots over the whole soil. Who seeks nourishment from poisons? What food is to the body, that our thoughts and reflections are to the mind: by them the affections of the soul are nourished. The chameleon changes its color as it is affected by sadness, anger, or joy; or by the color upon which it sits: and we see an insect borrow its lustre and hue from the plant or leaf upon which it feeds. In like manner, what our meditations and affections are, such will our souls become, either holy and spiritual or earthly and carnal. By pious reading the mind is instructed and enlightened, and the affections of the heart are purified and inflamed. It is recommended by St. Paul as the summary of spiritual advice.[2] Devout persons never want a spur to assiduous reading or meditation. They are insatiable in this exercise, and, according to the golden motto of Thomas à Kempis, they find their chief delight in a closet, with a good book.[3] Worldly and tepid Christians stand certainly in the utmost need of this help to virtue. The world is a whirlpool of business, pleasure, and sin. Its torrent is always beating upon their hearts, ready to break in and bury them under its flood, unless frequent pious reading and consideration oppose a strong fence to its waves. The more deeply a person is immersed in its tumultuous cares, so much the greater ought to be his solicitude to find leisure to breathe, after the fatigues and dissipation of business and company; to plunge his heart, by secret prayer, in the ocean of the divine immensity, and, by pious reading, to afford his soul some spiritual refection; as the wearied husbandman, returning from his labor, recruits his spent vigor and exhausted strength, by allowing his body necessary refreshment and repose.

The lives of the saints furnish the Christian with a daily spiritual entertainment, {046} which is not less agreeable than affecting and instructive. For in sacred biography the advantages of devotion and piety are joined with the most attractive charms of history. The method of forming men to virtue by example, is, of all others, the shortest, the most easy, and the best adapted to all circumstances and dispositions. Pride recoils at precepts, but example instructs without usurping the authoritative air of a master; for, by example, a man seems to advise and teach himself. It does its work unperceived, and therefore with less opposition from the passions, which take not the alarm. Its influence is communicated with pleasure. Nor does virtue here appear barren and dry as in discourses, but animated and living, arrayed with all her charms, exerting all her powers, and secretly obviating the pretences, and removing the difficulties which self-love never fails to raise. In the lives of the saints we see the most perfect maxims of the gospel reduced to practice, and the most heroic virtue made the object of our senses, clothed as it were with a body, and exhibited to view in its most attractive dress. Here, moreover, we are taught the means by which virtue is obtained, and learn the precipices and snares which we are to shun, and the blinds and by-ways in which many are bewildered and misled in its pursuit. The example of the servants of God points out to us the true path, and leads us as it were by the hand into it, sweetly inviting and encouraging us to walk cheerfully in the steps of those that are gone before us.

Neither is it a small advantage that, by reading the history of the saints, we are introduced into the acquaintance of the greatest personages who have ever adorned the world, the brightest ornaments of the church militant, and the shining stars and suns of the triumphant, our future companions in eternal glory. While we admire the wonders of grace and mercy, which God hath displayed in their favor, we are strongly moved to praise his adorable goodness. And, in their penitential lives and holy maxims, we learn the sublime lessons of practical virtue, which their assiduous meditation on the divine word, the most consummate experience in their deserts, watchings, and commerce with heaven, and the lights of the Holy Ghost, their interior Master, discovered to them. But it is superfluous to show from reason the eminent usefulness of the example, and the history of the saints, which the most sacred authority recommends to us as one of the most powerful helps to virtue. It is the admonition of St. Paul, that we remember our holy teachers, and that, having the end of their conversation before our eyes, we imitate their faith.[4]

For our instruction the Holy Ghost himself inspired the prophets to record the lives and actions of many illustrious saints in the holy scriptures. The church could not, in a more solemn manner, recommend to us to have these great models often before our eyes, than by inserting in her daily office an abstract of the lives of the martyrs and other saints; which constant sacred custom is derived from the primitive ages, in which the histories of the martyrs were publicly read at the divine office, in the assemblies of the faithful, on their annual festivals. This is testified of the acts of St. Polycarp in the life of St. Pionius, and, by St. Austin,[5] of those of SS. Perpetua and Felicitas, &c. The council of Africa, under Aurelius, archbishop of Carthage, in 397, mentions the acts of the martyrs being allowed to be read in the church on their anniversary days.[6] St. Cæsarius permitted persons that were sick and weak, to hear the histories of the martyrs sitting, when they were of an uncommon length; but complained that some who were healthful unreasonably took the same liberty.[7]


All great masters of a spiritual life exceedingly extol the advantages which accrue to souls from the devout reading of the lives of eminent saints; witness St. Nilus,[8] St. Chrysostom, and others. Many fathers have employed their pens in transmitting down to posterity the actions of holy men. And the histories of saints were the frequent entertainment and delight of all pious persons, who ever found in them a most powerful means of their encouragement and advancement in virtue, as St. Bonaventure writes of St. Francis of Assisium. "By the remembrance of the saints, as by the touch of glowing stones of fire, he was himself enkindled, and converted into a divine flame." St. Stephen of Grandmont read their lives every day, and often on his knees. The abbot St. Junian, St. Antoninus, St. Thomas, and other holy men are recorded to have read assiduously the lives of the saints, and by their example to have daily inflamed themselves with fervor in all virtues. St. Boniface of Mentz sent over to England for books of the lives of saints,[9] and, by reading the acts of the martyrs, animated himself with the spirit of martyrdom. This great apostle of Germany, St. Sigiran and others, always carried with them in their journeys the acts of the martyrs, that they might read them wherever they travelled. It is related of St. Anastasius the martyr, that "while he read the conflicts and victories of the martyrs, he watered the book with his tears, and prayed that he might suffer the like for Christ. And so much was he delighted with this exercise that he employed in it all his leisure hours." St. Teresa declares how much the love of virtue was kindled in her breast by this reading, even when she was a child. Joseph Scaliger, a rigid Calvinist critic, writes as follows on the acts of certain primitive martyrs:[10] "The souls of pious persons are so strongly affected in reading them, that they always lay down the book with regret. This every one may experience in himself. I with truth aver, that there is nothing in the whole history of the church with which I am so much moved: when I read them I seem no longer to possess myself."

It would be very easy to compile a volume of the remarkable testimonies of eminent and holy men concerning this most powerful help to virtue, and to produce many examples of sinners, who have been converted by it to an heroic practice of piety. St. Austin mentions two courtiers who were moved on the spot to forsake the world, and became fervent monks, by accidentally reading the life of St. Antony.[11] St. John Columbin, from a rich, covetous, and passionate nobleman, was changed into a saint, by casually reading the life of St. Mary of Egypt.[12] The duke of Joyeuse, marshal of France, owed his perfect conversion to the reading of the life of St. Francis Borgia, which his servant had one evening laid on the table. To these the example of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and innumerable others might be added. Dr. Palafox, the pious Binni of Osma, in his preface to the fourth tome of the letters of St. Teresa, relates, that an eminent Lutheran minister at Bremen, famous for several works which he had printed against the Catholic church, purchased the life of St. Teresa, written by herself, with a view of attempting to confute it; but, by attentively reading it over, was converted to the Catholic faith, and from that time led a most edifying life. The examples of Mr. Abraham Woodhead and others were not less illustrious.

But, to appeal to our own experience—who is not awakened from his spiritual lethargy, and confounded at his own cowardice, when he considers the fervor and courage of the saints? All our pretences and foolish objections are silenced, when we see the most perfect maxims of the gospel {048} demonstrated to be easy by example. When we read how many young noblemen and tender virgins have despised the world, and joyfully embraced the cross and the labors of penance, we feel a glowing flame kindled in our own breasts, and are encouraged to suffer afflictions with patience, and cheerfully to undertake suitable practices of penance. While we see many sanctifying themselves in all states, and making the very circumstances of their condition, whether on the throne, in the army, in the state of marriage, or in the deserts, the means of their virtue and penance, we are persuaded that the practice of perfection is possible also to us, in every lawful profession, and that we need only sanctify our employments by a perfect spirit, and the fervent exercises of religion, to become saints ourselves, without quitting our state in the world. When we behold others, framed of the same frail mould with ourselves, many in age or other circumstances weaker than ourselves, and struggling with greater difficulties, yet courageously surmounting, and trampling upon all the obstacles by which the world endeavored to obstruct their virtuous choice, we are secretly stung within our breasts, feel the reproaches of our sloth, are roused from our state of insensibility, and are forced to cry out, "Cannot you do what such and such have done?" But to wind up this discourse, and draw to a conclusion; whether we consult reason, authority, or experience, we may boldly affirm that, except the sacred writings, no book has reclaimed so many sinners, or formed so many holy men to perfect virtue, as that of The Lives of Saints.

If we would read to the spiritual profit of our souls, our motive must be a sincere desire of improving ourselves in divine love, in humility, meekness, and other virtues. Curiosity or vanity shuts the door of the heart to the Holy Ghost, and stifles in it all affections of piety. A short and humble petition of the divine light ought to be our preparation; for which we may say with the prophet, "Open thou mine eyes, and I will consider the wonderful things of thy law."[13] We must make the application of what we read to ourselves, entertain pious affections, and form particular resolutions for the practice of virtue. It is the admonition of a great servant of God,[14] "Whatever good instructions you read, unless you resolve and effectually endeavor to practise them with your whole heart, you have not read to the benefit of your soul. For knowledge without works only accuseth and condemneth." Though we cannot imitate all the actions of the saints, we can learn from them to practise humility, patience, and other virtues in a manner suiting our circumstances and state of life; and can pray that we may receive a share in the benedictions and glory of the saints. As they who have seen a beautiful flower-garden, gather a nosegay to smell at the whole day; so ought we, in reading, to cull out some flowers, by selecting certain pious reflections and sentiments with which we are most affected; and these we should often renew during the day; lest we resemble a man who, having looked at him self in the glass, goeth away, and forgetteth what he had seen of himself.

Footnotes: 1. St. Chrys. Conc. 3, de Lazaro. t. 1, p. 738, ed. Montfauc. 2. 1 Tim. iv. 13. 3. In angelo cum libello. 4. Heb. xii. 5. St. Aug. Serm. 280, t. 5, p. 1134. 6. Can. 47, Conc. t. 2, p. 1072. 7. St. Cæsar. Serm. 95, vel apud St. Aug. t. 5, Append. Serm. 300. 8. St. Nilius, l. 4, ep. 1, Discipulo suo, p. 458. Item, Tr. e Monasticâ Exercitatione, c. 34 et c. 43, p. 40 et Peristeria, sect. 4, p. 99. 9. St. Bonif. ep. 35, Bibl. Patr. 10. Animadv. in Chronic. Eus. ad ann 2187. 11. Conf. l. 8, c. 6. 12. Fleury, l. 97, n. 2, t. 20. 13. Ps. cviii. 18. 14. Lansperg. Enchir. c. 11.



THE lives of the principal martyrs, fathers, and other more illustrious saints, whose memory is revered in the Catholic church, are here presented to the public. An undertaking of this kind seems not to stand in need of an apology. For such are the advantages and so great the charms of history, that, on every subject, and whatever dress it wears, it always pleases and finds readers. So instructive it is, that it is styled by Cicero, "The mistress of life,"[1] and is called by others, "Moral philosophy exemplified in the lives and actions of mankind."[2] But, of all the parts of history, biography, which describes the lives of great men, seems both the most entertaining, and the most instructive and improving. By a judicious choice and detail of their particular actions, it sets before our eyes a living image of those heroes who have been the object of the admiration of past ages; it exhibits to us a portraiture of their interior virtues and spirit, and gives the most useful and enlarged view of human nature. From the wise maxims, experience, and even mistakes of great men, we learn the most refined lessons of prudence, and are furnished with models for our imitation. Neither is the narration here interrupted, nor the attention of the reader hurried from one object to another, as frequently happens in general history. On these and other accounts are the lives of eminent personages the most agreeable and valuable part of history. But, in the lives of the saints, other great advantages occur. Here are incidentally related the triumphs of the church, the trophies of the most exalted virtue, and the conversion of nations. What are profane histories better than records of scandals? What are the boasted triumphs of an Alexander or a Cæsar but a series of successful plunders, murders, and other crimes? It was the remark of the historian Socrates, that if princes were all lovers of peace and fathers of their people, and if the lives of men were a uniform and steady practice of piety, civil history would be almost reduced to empty dates. This reflection extorted from the pen of a famous wit of our age, in his history of the empire of the West since Charlemagne, the following confession: "This history is scarcely any more than a vast scene of weaknesses, faults, crimes, and misfortunes; among which we find some virtues, and some successful exploits, as fertile valleys are often seen among chains of rocks and precipices. This is likewise the case with other histories."[3] But the lives of the saints are the history of the most exemplary and perfect virtue and prowess. While therefore all other branches of history employ daily so many pens, shall this, which above all others deserves our attention, be alone forgotten? While every other part of the soil is daily raked up, shall the finest spot be left uncultivated? Our antiquaries must think themselves obliged by this essay, as the greatest part of these saints have been the objects of the veneration of the whole Christian world during several ages. Their names stand recorded in the titles of our churches, in our towns, estates, writings, and {050} almost every other monument of our Christian ancestors. If the late learned bishop Tanner, by his Notitia Monastica, deserved the thanks of all lovers of antiquity, will they not receive favorably the history of those eminent persons of whom we meet so frequent memorials?

Besides the principal saint for each day, in this collection is added a short account of some others who were very remarkable in history, or famous among our ancestors. The English and Scottish churches had, by the mutual intercourse and neighborhood of the nations, a particular devotion to several French saints, as appears from all their ancient breviaries, from a complete English manuscript calendar, written in the reign of Edward IV., now in my hands, and from the titular saints of many monasteries and parishes. Our Norman kings and bishops honored several saints of Aquitain and Normandy by pious foundations which bear their names among us: and portions of the relics of some French saints, as of St. Salvius, kept in the cathedral of Canterbury, have rendered their names illustrious in this kingdom. The mention of such, were it but for the satisfaction of our antiquaries, &c., will, it is to be hoped, be pardoned. Though the limits of this work would not allow long abstracts of these secondary lives, yet some characteristical circumstances are inserted, that these memoirs might not sink into a bare necrology, or barren list of dates and names. For, unless a narration be supported with some degree of dignity and spirit, and diversified by the intermixture of various events, it deserves not the name of history; no more than a plot of ground can be called a garden, which is neither variegated with parterres of flowers, nor checkered with walks and beds of useful herbs or shrubs. To answer the title and design of this work, a short account is given of those fathers whose names are famous in the history of the church, and in the schools, but who have never been honored among the saints. But such fathers or other eminent persons are spoken of only in notes upon the lives of certain saints, with which they seem to have some connection. It was the compiler's intention to insert among the lives of the saints an account of none to whom public veneration has not been decreed by the authority of the Holy See, or at least of some particular churches, before this, on many just accounts, was reserved to the chief pastor of the church. The compiler declares that the epithets of Saint and Blessed are never employed in this work, but with entire submission to the decrees of Urban VIII. on this subject; and that if they are anywhere given to persons to whom the supreme pastors of the church have never juridically granted this privilege, no more is meant by them, than such persons are esteemed holy and venerable for the reputation of their virtue; not that they are publicly honored among the saints. The same is to be understood of miracles here related, which have not been judicially examined and approved, the part of an historian differing entirely from an authentic decision of the supreme judge.

The actions of several apostles and other illustrious saints were never committed to writing: and, with regard to some others, the records of their transactions, by falling a prey to the moths or flames, have perished in the general wreck: yet their names could not be omitted. If their history affords little to gratify vain curiosity, at least a heart which seeks and loves God will find, even in these scanty memoirs, every thing interesting and entertaining. If the names of some saints have been transmitted down to us without particular accounts of their lives,[4] their virtues shine with no {051} less lustre in heaven; and this very circumstance is pleasing and favorable to humility, which studies and loves to lie concealed and unknown; and it was pointed out by the hidden life of Christ. It is also objected, that certain actions of some saints, which were performed by a special instinct of the Holy Ghost, are to us rather objects of admiration than imitation; but even in these we read lessons of perfect virtue, and a reproach of our own sloth, who dare undertake nothing for God. But some may say, What edification can persons in the world reap from the lives of apostles, bishops, or recluses? To this it may be answered, that though the functions of their state differ from ours, yet patience, humility, penance, zeal, and charity, which all their actions breathe, are necessary virtues in all persons. Christian perfection is in its spirit and essence everywhere the same, how much soever the means or exercises may vary. Though edification be the primary view in works of this nature, the other ends of history are not neglected, as it becomes more entertaining and useful in proportion as it is more clear, complete, and important. This, it is hoped, will excuse certain short digressions which are sometimes inserted, and which the laws of correct writing allow when not too long, frequent, or foreign, when they have a natural connection with the subject, and when the want of regularity is compensated by greater perspicuity and utility. This liberty is more freely taken in parts which would have otherwise seemed barren. Notes are added, which seemed useful to the bulk of those for whom this work was designed, or likely to attract the curiosity of some to whom these lives would otherwise have seemed obscure, or not sufficiently interesting. This method renders sacred biography a more universal improvement in useful knowledge, and by enlarging the view, becomes more satisfactory and engaging.

Certain critics of this age, as they style themselves, are displeased with all histories of miracles, not considering that these wonders are, in a particular manner, the works of God, intended to raise our attention to his holy providence, and to awake our souls to praise his goodness and power, often also to bear testimony to his truth. Entirely to omit the mention of them would be an infidelity in history, and would tend, in some measure, to obstruct the great and holy purposes for which they were effected. Yet a detail of all miracles, though authentically attested, is not the design of this work. Wherefore, in such facts, it seemed often sufficient to refer the reader to the original records. But miracles may be the subject of a particular disquisition.

A tedious sameness in the narration hath been carefully avoided, and in relating general virtues, it is hoped that the manner, diction, and thoughts will be found new. Where memoirs allowed it, such a collection of remarkable actions and sayings of the saints hath been selected as seems neither trifling nor redundant; and may serve to express their character and spirit. In this consists the chief advantage of biography, as in painting, a portraiture draws its life from the strength of the features. By thus singular excellency doth Plutarch charm his readers, cover, or at least compensate for, his neglect of style and method, and other essential blemishes, and make even the most elegant writers who have attempted a supplement to his {052} lives,[5] to appear tedious and dull to one who hath first read his work. What eloquence could furnish so fine a description, or convey so strong a idea of the pride of Alexander, as the short answers of that prince to the Cynic philosopher, or to Darius? or of the modesty of Phocion, as the well-chosen circumstances of his disinterestedness and private life?[6]

In these lives of the saints pious reflections are sometimes interspersed, though in general sparingly, not to swell the volume, or seem to suspect the judgment of the reader, or to forestall the pleasure of his own reflections. The study and exercise of virtue being the principal end which every good Christian ought to propose to himself in all his actions and undertakings, and which religious persons have particularly in view in reading the lives of saints, in favor of those who are slow in forming suitable reflections in the reading, a short instruction, consisting of maxims drawn from the writing or example of each saint, is subjoined to the principal life for each day, which may be omitted at discretion. A succinct account of the writings of the fathers is given in marginal notes, as a key to young theologians in studying their works: their ascetical lucubrations are principally pointed out, in which their spirit is often discovered, even to better advantage than in the best histories which are left us of their actions.

The compiler's first care in this work, hath been a most scrupulous attachment to truth, the foundation, or rather the soul of all history, especially of that which tends to the advancement of piety and religion. The indagation is often a task both nice and laborious. If we weigh the merit of original authors, some we shall find careless and injudicious, and many write under the bias of party prejudice, which strangely perverts the judgment. By this, James Basnage could, in his History of the Jews, (b. 6,) notoriously mistake and misrepresent, by wholesale, the clearest authorities, to gratify his prepossession against an incontestable miracle, as the most learned Mr. Warburton hath demonstrated in his Julian, (b. 2, ch. 4.) Some write history as they would a tragedy or a romance; and, seeking at any rate to please the reader, or display their art, often sacrifice the truth for the sake of a fine conceit, of a glittering thought, or a point of wit.[7] Another difficulty is, that ancient writings have sometimes suffered much by the bold rashness of modern critics, or in the manuscripts, by the slips of careless copiers.[8] Again, authors who polish the style, or abridge the histories of others, are seldom to be trusted; and experience will show us the same of translations. Even Henry Valois, the most learned and celebrated Greek interpreter, is accused of having sometimes so far mistaken the sense of Eusebius, as to have given in his translation the contradictory of the meaning of his author.

A greater mischief than all these have been the forgeries of impostors, especially heretics. Indeed, if the father of lies, by the like instruments, {053} found means to counterfeit forty-eight or fifty false gospels, of which a list is given by Calmet,[9] is it surprising that, from the same forge, he should have attempted to adulterate the histories of certain saints? But the vigilance of zealous pastors, and the repeated canons of the church, show, through every age, how much all forgeries and imposture were always the object of their abhorrence. Pope Adrian I., in an epistle to Charlemagne, mentions this constant severe law of the church, and says, that no acts of martyrs are suffered to be read which are not supported by good vouchers.[10] The council in Trullo,[11] and many others down to the present age, have framed canons for this purpose, as F. Honoratus of St. Mary shows.[12] Pope Gelasius I., in his famous Roman council in 494, condemns the false acts of St. George, which the Arians had forged,[13] &c. Tertullian[14] and St. Jerom[15] inform us, that, in the time of the apostles, a certain priest of Asia, out of veneration for St. Paul and St. Thecla, forged false acts of their peregrinations and sufferings; but for this crime he was deposed from the priesthood by St. John the Evangelist. No good end can, on any account, excuse the least lie; and to advance that pious frauds, as some improperly call them, can ever be lawfully used, is no better than blasphemy. All wilful lying is essentially a sin, as Catholic divines unanimously teach, with St. Austin, against the Prisciallianists. It is contrary and most hateful to the God of truth, and a heinous affront and injury offered to our neighbor: it destroys the very end and use of speech, and the sacred bond of society, and all commerce among men; for it would be better to live among dumb persons, than to converse with liars. To tell any lie whatsoever in the least point relating to religion, is always to lie in a matter of moment, and can never be excused from a mortal sin, as Catholic divines teach.[16] Grotius, the Protestant critic, takes notice that forgeries cannot be charged upon the popes, who, by the most severe canons, forbid them, punish the authors if detected, and give all possible encouragement to judicious critics.[17] This also appears from the works of innumerable learned men among the Catholics, and from the unwearied labors with which they have given to the public the most correct editions of the ancient fathers and historians. Good men may sometimes be too credulous in things in which there appears no harm. Nay, Gerson observes,[18] that sometimes the more averse a person is from fraud himself, the more unwilling he is to suspect imposture in others. But no good man can countenance and abet a known fraud for any purpose whatever. The pretence of religion would exceedingly aggravate the crime.

If any particular persons among the monks could be convicted of having attempted to palm any false writing or lie on the world, the obligations of their profession would render their crime the more odious and enormous. But to make this a charge upon that venerable order of men in any age, is a most unjust and a notorious slander. Melchior Cano, who complains of interpolations which have crept into some parts of sacred biography, justifies the monks from the infamous imputation which some, through ignorance or malice, affect to cast upon them;[19] and Mabillon has vindicated them more at large.[20] On their diligence and scrupulosity in general, in correctly copying the manuscripts, see Dom. Coutant,[21] and the authors of the new {054} French Diplomatique.[22] In the Penitentia of St. Theodore the Studite, a penance is prescribed for a monk who had made any mistake in copying a manuscript. In 1196, in the general chapter of the Cistercians, it was ordered that the church of Lyons and the monastery of Cluni should be consulted about the true reading of a passage in a book to be copied. Anciently, books were chiefly copied and preserved in monasteries, which for several ages were the depositories of learning. Mr. Gurdon[23] and Bishop Tanner[24] take notice, that in England the great abbeys were even the repositories of the laws, edicts of kings, and acts of parliament. The history of Wales was compiled and kept through every age, by public authority, in the monastery of Ystratflur for South Wales, where the princes and noblemen of that country were interred; and in the abbey of Conwey for North Wales, which was the burying-place of the princes of that part. Conringius,[25] a German Protestant, writes, "In the sixth, seventh, and eighth centuries there is scarce to be found, in the whole Western church, the name of a person who had written a book, but what dwelt, or at least was educated in a monastery." Before universities were erected, monasteries, and often the palaces of bishops, were the seminaries of the clergy, the nurseries for the education of young noblemen, and the great schools of all the sciences. To the libraries and industry of the monks we are principally indebted for the works of the ancients which we possess. Grateful for this benefit, we ought not to condemn them because, by a fatality incident to human things, some works are come down to us interpolated or imperfect.[26]

Accidental causes have given frequent occasions to mistakes, which, when we consider, we cannot be surprised if sometimes good men have been deceived by false memoirs. As to authors of wilful forgeries, we have no name harsh enough to express, nor punishment equal to their crime. But the integrity even of Geoffry of Monmouth is no longer impeached, since it hath been proved that in his British history he was not the author of the fables which he published upon the credit of other vouchers.

Nevertheless, upon these, and the like accounts, history calls aloud for the discernment of criticism. And many learned men, especially of the monastic order, have, for our assistance, with no less industry than success, separated in ancient writings the sterling from the counterfeit, and by collating manuscripts, and by clearing difficult points, have rendered the path in this kind of literature smooth and secure. The merit of original authors hath been weighed; we have the advantage of most correct editions of their works; rash and groundless alterations of some modern critics, and the blunders of careless copiers or editors are redressed; interpolations foisted into the original writings are retrenched; and a mark hath been set on memoirs of inferior authority. Moreover, the value of ancient manuscripts, being known, ample repositories of such monuments have been made, curious lists of which are communicated to the public, that any persons may know and have recourse to them. It must also be added, that the laborious task of making the researches necessary for this complicated work, hath been rendered lighter by the care with which several judicious and learned men have compiled the lives of many particular saints. Thus have Mabillon and {055} Bulteau writ the lives of the saints of the order of St. Benedict; the elegant Touron of that of St. Dominick; Le Nain, of the Cistercian order; Tillemont, the Maurist Benedictin monks, and Orsi, these of the principal fathers of the church, &c.[27] The genuine acts of the primitive martyrs, the most valuable monument of ecclesiastical history, have been carefully published by Ruinart. Some of them are presidial acts, i.e. extracted from the court registers; others were written from the relations of eye-witnesses of undoubted veracity. To this treasure an accession, which the learned Orsi and others doubt not to call of equal value, hath been lately made by the publication of the genuine acts of the martyrs of the East, or of Persia, and of the West, or Palestine, in two volumes, folio, at Rome. Those of the East were written chiefly by St. Maruthus, a neighboring bishop of Mesopotamia: the others seem to contain the entire work of Eusebius on the martyrs of Palestine, which he abridged in the eighth book of his history. Both parts were found in a Chaldaic manuscript, in a monastery of Upper Egypt, and purchased by Stephen Evodius Assemani, archbishop of Apamea, and his uncle Joseph Simonius Assemani, first prefect of the Vatican library, at the charges of pope Clement XII., who had sent the former into the East on that errand. The manuscripts are deposited in the Vatican library. Joseph Assemani is known in the republic of letters by his invaluable Oriental library, his Italicæ Historiæ Scriptores, his Kalendaria Ecclesiæ Universæ notis Ilustrata, &c., and Stephen, by his share in the publication of the works of St. Ephrem, and by the Acta Martyrum Orientalium et Occidentalium. The learned Jesuits at Antwerp, Bollandus and his continuators, have given us the Acta Sanctorum, enriched with curious remarks and dissertations, in forty-one large volumes in folio, to the 5th day of September. To mention other monuments and writers here made use of, would be tedious and superfluous. The authorities produced throughout the work speak for themselves: the veracity of writers who cannot pretend to pass for inspired, ought to be supported by competent vouchers.

The original authors are chiefly our guides. The stream runs clear and pure from the source, which in a long course often contracts a foreign mixture; but the lucubrations of many judicious modern critics have cast a great light upon ancient historians: these, therefore, have been also consulted and compared, and their labors freely made use of.

Footnotes: 1. Cicero, l. 2, de Orat. c. 9. 2. Voss. Ars Hist. cap. 5. 3. Voltaire's Annals of the Empire of Germany. 4. Some call in question the existence of certain saints, as SS. Bacchus, Quirinus, Mercurius, Nilammon, Hippolytus, &c., because these names are of pagan original. But that Christians often retained those names is evident, not only from the oldest Martyrologies, but from Eusebius, Theodoret, and other ancient writers, who often mention Christians named Apollonius and Apollinerius, from Apollo &c., and St. Paul speaks of a disciple called Hermes, or Mercurius; and had another named Dionysius, or Bacchus. Dr. Geddes and others object to the existence of St. Almnachius, St. George, St. Wenefred, &c., but we shall find their honor supported in this work by irrefregable authorities. Longinus not only signifies a spear, but was a Roman name, and that of a soldier and martyr, on the 15th of March: whether he be the person who opened the side of Christ with a spear or no, is a point of less importance. Mr. Addison and Dr. Middleton thought they had hit on a great discovery when they transformed Mount Soracte into St. Orestes. But that mountain is commonly called, not St. Orestes, but San Sylvestro, together with the monastery on its summit. Moreover, we find both in the Roman Martyrology and Greek Menæa two saints of the name of Orestes recorded, the one on the 9th of November, the other on the 19th of December, who both suffered under Dioclesian, one in Armenia, the other in Cappadocia. The latter is also named by St. Gregory Nazianzen, in his oration on St. Basil. If, by slips of copiers, mistakes have happened to some names, of accidental circumstances; or if certain private persons should be convicted of having been any time deceived in some saint, this would not affect the credit of authentic general Martyrologies. 5. Mrs. Dacier, Mr. Rowe. 6. This made Theodorus Gaza say, that if learning must suffer a general shipwreck, and he had only his choice left him of preserving one author, Plutarch should be the man. 7. With this fault the famous king of Prussia, who is perfectly acquainted with the affairs of the North, charged the florid author of the history of Charles XII. of Sweden. Nor could this historian, as it is said, give any other answer to the complaint of the Hamburghers, that he had notoriously slandered them with regard to their conduct towards the citizens of Altena, than that his fiction was plausible and ingenious, founded in their mutual jealousy, according to the maxim of dramatic writers, Feign with probability. Of this cast, indeed, though we have many modern examples, we know, perhaps, none among the authors of antiquity. 8. Thirty thousand various readings were found by Mr. Mills in the Greek New Testament; Dr. Bentley reckoned twenty thousand in Terence, and twice as many as there are verses in the poet Manilius. Even the most valuable Vatican and Alexandrian manuscripts of the Bible abound in faults of the copiers; and editions of works made from single manuscripts are always very defective.—witness those of Cornelius Nepos, and the Greek Hesychius. Patrick Young, (called in Latin, Patricius Junius,) when keeper of the king's library at London, scrupled not to erase and alter several words in the most valuable Alexandrian Greek manuscript copy of the Bible, as is visible to this day. What wonder, then, (how intolerable such liberties are,) if the like has been sometimes done by others in books of less note, with a presumption like that of Dr. Bentley in his amendments of Horace. 9. Prelim Dissert. on St. Matthew. 10. Sine probabilibus autoribus, Conc. t. 7, 954. 11. Can. 62. 12. Règies de la Critique, t. 2, p. 12, 20, et Diss. 3, p. 134. 13. See Mabillon, Disquis. de Cursu Gallic. §1. 14. Tert. l. de Bapt. c. 17. 15. Catal. Vir Illustr. c. 7. 16. See Nat. Alexander, Collet, Henno, &c., in Decalogum de Mendacio. 17. Grot. l. de Antichr. t. 3, Op. Theolog. 18. Gerson, ep. ad Morel. 19. De Loc. Theol. l. 11, c. 5. 20. Diplomat. l. 3, c. 3. 21. Coutant, Vindic. veter. Cod. Confirm. p. 32, 550, &c. 22. Diplom. t. 4, p. 452, &c. 23. Gurdon, Hist. of Parliament, t. 1. 24. Pref. to Notitia Monastica, in folio. 25. Dissert. 3, de Antiq. Acad. 26. How easy was the mistake of a copyist or bookseller, who ascribed the works of some modern Austin to the great doctor of that name? or who, finding several sermons of St. Cæsarius annexed in the same copy to those of St. Austin, imagined them all to belong to one title? Several disciples published, under the names of St. Austin, St. Gregory, or St. Zeno, sermons or comments which they had heard from their mouths: by the same means we have three different editions of the confession of St. Ephrem. We have already seen many works falsely published under the name of Boerhaave, which never came from his pen; as, The Method of Studying Physic, Materia Medica, Praxis Medica, and a spurious edition of his Chemistry, which seem all to come from the pens of his scholars. 27. Among the compilers of the lives of saints, some wanted the discernment of criticism. Simeon Metaphrastes, patrician, first secretary and chancellor to the emperors Leo the Wise, and Constantine Porphyrogenitus, in 912, (of whose collection one hundred and twenty-two lives are still extant,) sometimes altered the style of his authors where it appeared flat or barbarous, and sometimes inserted later additions and interpolations, often not sufficiently warranted, though not by him forged; for Psellus, in his panegyric, furnishes us with many proofs of his piety. See Cave, (Hist. Litér. t. 2, p. 88,) who, with other judicious critics, entertains a much more favorable opinion of Metaphrastes than Baillet. See Metaphrastes vindicated by Leo Allatius. (Diatr. de Nilis, p. 24.) James de Voragine, of the order of St. Dominick, and archbishop of Genoa, author of the Golden Legend, in 1290, wrote still with less judgment, and, in imitation of Livy, often made the martyrs speak his own language. Lippoman, bishop of Verona in 1550, and Laurence Surius, a Carthusian monk of Cologne in 1570, sometimes wanted the necessary helps for discernment in the choice of materials. The same is to be said of Ribadeneira, except in the lives of saints who lived near his own time, though a person otherwise well qualified for a writer of sacred biography. Several who have augmented his works in France, Spain, or Italy, labored under the same misfortune and often gathered together whatever the drag-net of time had amassed. John Capgrave, an Austin friar, some time confessor to the duke of Gloucester, who died at Lynn in Norfolk, in 1484, compiled the legend of the saints of England, from a more ancient collection, the Sanctilogium of John of Tinmouth, a monk of St. Alban's, in 1366, of which a very fair manuscript copy was, before the last fire, extant in the Cottonian library. By the melting of the glue and warping of the leaves, this book is no longer legible unless some such method be used as that which is employed in unfolding the parched and mouldering manuscripts found in the ruins of Herculaneum.

On the other hand, some French critics in sacred biography have tinctured their works with a false and pernicious leaven, and, under the name of criticism, established skepticism.

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THE Circumcision of our Lord………………… 59
St. Fulgentius, Bishop and Confessor…………. 63
St. Odilo, or Olon, Sixth Abbot of Cluni……… 69
St. Almachus, or Telemachus, Martyr………….. 71
St. Eugendus, Abbot………………………… 71
St. Fanchea, or Faine, Virgin, of Ireland…….. 72
St. Mochua, or Moncain, alias Claunus, Abbot
  in Ireland………………………………. 72
St. Mochua, alias Cronan, of Bella, Abbot in
  Ireland…………………………………. 72

St. Macarius, of Alexandria, Anchoret………… 73
SS. Martyrs for the Holy Scriptures………….. 76
St. Concordius, Martyr……………………… 77
St. Adalard, or Alard, Abbot and Confessor……. 77

St. Peter Balsam, Martyr……………………. 80
St. Anterus, Pope………………………….. 81
St. Gordius, Martyr………………………… 81
St. Genevieve, or Genovefa, Virgin, Patroness of
  Paris…………………………………… 82

St. Titus, Disciple of St. Paul, Bishop………. 86
St. Gregory, Bishop of Langres………………. 88
St. Rigobert, or Robert, Bishop……………… 88
St. Rumon, Bishop in England………………… 88

St. Simon Stylites, Confessor……………….. 89
St. Telesphorus, Pope and Martyr ……………. 93
St. Syncletica, Virgin …………………….. 93

The Epiphany of our Lord……………………. 95
St. Melanius, Bishop and Confessor…………… 100
St. Nilammon, Hermit……………………….. 100
St. Peter, Abbot in England…………………. 100

St. Lucian, Priest and Martyr……………….. 101
St. Cedd, Bishop of London………………….. 103
St. Kentigerna, Widow, of Ireland……………. 105
St. Aldric, Bishop of Mans, Confessor………… 105
St. Thillo, Recluse………………………… 106
St. Canut…………………………………. 107

St. Apollinaris, the Apologist, Bishop……….. 108
St. Severinus, Abbot, and Apostle of Noricum,
  or Austria ……………………………… 110
St. Lucian, Apostle of Beauvais, in France,
  Martyr………………………………….. 112
St. Pega, Virgin, of England………………… 112
St. Vulsin, Bishop in England……………….. 112
St. Gudula, Virgin, Patroness of Brussels…….. 113
St. Nathalan, Bishop of Aberdeen, Confessor…… 113

St. Peter of Sebaste, Bishop and Confessor……. 114
St. Julian and St. Basilissa, Martyrs………… 114
St. Marciana, Virgin and Martyr……………… 116
St. Brithwald, Archbishop of Canterbury………. 117
St. Felan, or Foelan, Abbot in Ireland ………. 117
St. Adrian, Abbot at Canterbury……………… 118
St. Vaneng, Confessor………………………. 118
St. William, Confessor, Archbishop of Bourges…. 120
St. Agatho, Pope…………………………… 122
St. Marcian, Priest………………………… 123

St. Theodosius the Cenobiarch, Abbot…………. 124
St. Hyginus, Pope and Martyr………………… 127
St. Egwin, Bishop in England, Confessor………. 128
St. Salvius, or Sauve, Bishop of Amiens………. 128

St. Arcadius, Martyr……………………….. 129
St. Benedict Bishop, Abbot………………….. 131
St. Tygrius and St. Eutropius, Martyrs……….. 133
St. Aelred, Abbot in England………………… 133

St. Veronica, Virgin, of Milan………………. 135
St. Kentigern, Bishop of Glasco, Confessor……. 137
The Octave of the Epiphany………………….. 139

St. Hilary, Bishop…………………………. 140
St. Felix, Priest and Confessor……………… 147
St. Isaias, St. Sabbas, &c. Martyrs of Sinai….. 149
St. Barbasceminus, &c. Martyrs ……………… 150

St. Paul, the First Hermit………………….. 151
St. Maurus, Abbot………………………….. 154
St. Main, Abbot, Native of England…………… 155
St. John Calybite, Recluse………………….. 155
St. Isidore of Alexandria, Priest and Hospitaller 156
St. Isidore of Sceté, Priest and Hermit………. 157
St. Bonitus, Bishop of Auvergne, Confessor……. 157
St. Ita, or Mida, Virgin of Ireland, Abbess…… 158

St. Marcellus, Pope and Martyr………………. 158
St. Macarius the Elder, of Egypt…………….. 159
St. Honoratus, Archbishop of Arles, Abbot…….. 162
St. Fursey, Abbot In Ireland………………… 163
SS. Five Friars, Minors, Martyrs…………….. 164
St. Henry, Hermit………………………….. 164

St. Antony, Abbot, Patriarch of Monks………… 165
SS. Speusippus, Eleusippus, and Meleusippus,
  Martyrs…………………………………. 172


St. Sulpicius the Pious, Archbishop of Bourges… 173
St. Sulpicius de Débonnaire, Archbishop
  of Bourges………………………………. 173
St. Milgithe, Virgin, of England…………….. 174
St. Nennius, or Nennidhius, Abbot In Ireland….. 174

St. Peter's Chair at Rome…………………… 175
St. Paul and Thirty-six Companions in Egypt,
  Martyrs…………………………………. 176
St. Prisca, Virgin and Martyr……………….. 176
St. Deicolus, Abbot, Native of Ireland ………. 177
St. Ulfrid, or Wolfred, Bishop and Martyr…….. 177

St. Maris, St. Martha, St. Audifax, and St
  Abachum, Martyrs…………………………. 178
St. Canutus, King of Denmark, Martyr…………. 179
St. Henry, Archbishop of Upsal, Martyr……….. 180
St. Wulstan, Bishop of Worcester, Confessor…… 181
St. Blaithmaic, Native of Ireland, Abbot of Hij in
  Scotland………………………………… 182
St. Lomer, or Laudomarus, Abbot……………… 182

St. Fabian, Pope and Martyr…………………. 183
St. Sebastian, Martyr………………………. 183
St. Euthymius, Abbot……………………….. 185
St. Fechin, Abbot in Ireland………………… 187

St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr………………… 188
St. Fructuosus, Bishop of Tarragon, and his
  Companions, Martyrs………………………. 190
St. Vimin, or Vivian, Bishop and Confessor, in
  Scotland………………………………… 192
St. Publius, Bishop and Martyr………………. 192
St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Pavia……………… 192

St. Vincent, Martyr………………………… 193
St. Anastasius, Martyr……………………… 196

St. Raymund of Pennafort, Confessor………….. 200
St. John the Almoner, Confessor, Patriarch of
  Alexandria………………………………. 203
St. Emerentia, Virgin and Martyr…………….. 206
St. Clement of Ancyra, Bishop and Martyr……… 207
St. Agathangelus, Martyr……………………. 207
St. Ildelfonsus, Archbishop…………………. 207
St. Eusebius, Abbot………………………… 208

St. Timothy, Bishop and Martyr………………. 208
St. Babylas, Bishop of Antioch, Martyr ………. 211
St. Suranus, Abbot in Umbria………………… 213
St. Macedonius, Anchoret In Syria……………. 213
On the life and Writings of Theodoret, Bishop of
  Cyrus…………………………………… 213

The Conversion of St. Paul………………….. 216
St. Juventius and St. Maximinus, Martyrs……… 219
On the Life and Writings of Julian the Apostate.. 219
St. Projectus, Bishop of Clermont, Martyr…….. 220
St. Poppo, Abbot of Stavello………………… 221
St. Apollo, Abbot in Thebais………………… 222
St. Publius, Abbot near Zeugma, upon the
  Euphrates……………………………….. 222

St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr……….. 223
St. Paula, Widow…………………………… 229
St. Conon, Bishop of the Isle of Man…………. 232

St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of
 Constantinople……………………………. 233
On the Writings of that Father………………. 252
St. Julian, First Bishop of Mans, Confessor…… 275
St. Marius, Abbot………………………….. 275

Commemoration of St. Agnes………………….. 276
St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria…………… 276
On the Writings of that Father………………. 279
St. Thyrsus, St. Leucius, and St. Callinicus,
  Martyrs…………………………………. 283
St. John of Reomay, Abbot…………………… 283
B. Margaret, Princess of Hungary, Virgin……… 284
St. Paulinus, Patriarch of Aquileia, Confessor… 284
B. Charlemagne, Emperor…………………….. 287
St. Glastian, Bishop and Confessor in Scotland… 289


St. Francis of Sales, Bishop and Confessor……. 289
St. Sulpicius Severus………………………. 303
On the Writings of that Saint……………….. 305
St. Gildas the Wise, or Badonicus, Abbot,
   Native of England ………………………. 306
St. Gildas the Albanian, or the Scot, Confessor.. 310

St. Bathildes, Queen of France………………. 310
St. Martina, Virgin and Martyr………………. 312
St. Aldegondes, Virgin and Abbess……………. 313
St. Barsimæus, Bishop and Martyr…………….. 313

St. Peter Nolasco, Confessor………………… 314
St. Serapion, Martyr in England……………… 317
St. Cyrus and St. John, Martyrs……………… 317
St. Marcella, Widow………………………… 318
St. Maidoc, or Maodhog, Bishop of Ferns in
  Ireland…………………………………. 318



CIRCUMCISION was a sacrament of the Old Law, and the first legal observance required by Almighty God of that people, which he had chosen preferably to all the nations of the earth to be the depositary of his revealed truths.—These were the descendants of Abraham, whom he had enjoined it, under the strictest penalties,[2] several hundred years before the giving of the law to Moses on Mount Sinai; and this on two several accounts: First, as a distinguishing mark between them and the rest of mankind. Secondly, as a seal to a covenant between God and that patriarch: whereby it was stipulated on God's part to bless Abraham and his posterity; while on their part it implied a holy engagement to be his people, by a strict conformity to his laws. It was, therefore, a sacrament of initiation in the service of God, and a promise and engagement to believe and act as he had revealed and directed. Circumcision is also looked upon by St. Austin, and by several eminent modern divines,[3] to have been the expedient, in the male posterity of Abraham, for removing the guilt of original sin, which in those who did not belong to the covenant of Abraham, nor fall under this law was remitted by other means, probably by some external act of faith.

This law of circumcision continued in force till the death of Christ: hence our Saviour being born under the law, it became him, who came to teach mankind obedience to the laws of God; to fulfil all justice, and to submit to it. Therefore, he was made under the law, that is, was circumcised, that he might redeem them that were under the law, by freeing them from the servitude of it; and that those, who were in the condition of servants before, might be set at liberty, and receive the adoption of sons in baptism; which by Christ's institution, succeeded to circumcision. On the {060} day he was circumcised he received the name of JESUS, the same which had been appointed him by the angel before he was conceived.[4] The reason of his being called JESUS is mentioned in the gospel:[5] For he shall save his people from their sins. This he effected by the greatest sufferings and humiliations; having humbled himself, as St. Paul says,[6] not only unto death, but even to the death of the cross; for which cause God hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names; that at the name of JESUS every knee should bow: agreeably to what Christ says of himself,[7] All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.[8]

Christ being not only innocent, but incapable of sin, could stand in no need of circumcision, as an expedient then in use for the remission of sin. He was pleased, however, to subject himself to this humbling and painful rite of the Mosaic dispensation for several reasons: as, First, to put an end in an honorable manner to a divine, but temporary, institution, by taking it upon his own person. Secondly, to prove the reality of his human body; which, however evident from this and so many other actions and sufferings of his life, was denied by several ancient heretics. Thirdly, to prove himself not only the son of man, but of that man in particular of whose seed the Messiah was promised to come: thus precluding any future objection that might be raised by the Jews against his divine mission in quality of Messiah, under the pretence of his being an alien; and hereby qualifying himself for free conversation with them for their own spiritual advantage: setting us all a pattern of undergoing voluntarily several hardships and restraints, which, though not necessary on our own account, may be of great use to promote the good of others. Christ not being like other Jewish children, who could not know or fear the pain of circumcision, when they were going to suffer the operation, was perfectly sensible of it beforehand, and with calmness and intrepidity offered himself willingly to suffer the knife, and shed the first-fruits of his sacred blood in this painful manner. Under the smart this divine infant shed tears, but not as other children; for by them, with the most tender love and compassion, he bewailed chiefly our spiritual miseries, and at the same time presented with joy his blood as the price of our redemption to his Father. Fourthly, by thus humbling himself under this painful operation, he would give us an early pledge and earnest of his love for us, of his compassion for our miseries, and of his utter detestation of sin. The charity and zeal which glowed in his divine breast, impatient, as it were, of delay, delighted themselves in these first-fruits of humiliation and suffering for our sakes, till they could fully satiate their thirst by that superabundance of both, in his passion and death. With infinite zeal for his Father's honor, and charity for us sinners, with invincible patience, and the most profound humility, he now offered himself most cheerfully to his Father to undergo whatever he was pleased to enjoin him. Fifthly, he teaches us by the example of voluntary obedience to a law that could not oblige him, to submit with great punctuality and exactness to laws of divine appointment; and how very far we ought to be from sheltering our {061} disobedience under lame excuses and frivolous pretexts. Sixthly, by this ceremony, he humbled himself to satisfy for our pride, and to teach us the sincere spirit of humility. What greater humiliation can be imagined than for Him who is the eternal Son of God, in all things equal to his Father, to conceal these glorious titles under the appearance of a sinner? What a subject of confusion to us, who, being abominable criminals, are ashamed to pass for what we are, and desire to appear and be esteemed what we are not! Shall we not learn from this example of Christ to love humiliations, especially as we cannot but acknowledge that we deserve every reproach and all manner of contempt from all creatures? Seventhly, by beginning the great work of our salvation in the manner he was one day to finish it; suffering in his own person the punishment of sin, to deliver us from both sin and its punishment, he confounds the impenitence of sinners who will suffer nothing for their own sins; and inculcates the necessity of a spiritual circumcision, whereof the external was but the type and figure, as the apostle puts us in mind.[9]

It is manifest, beyond all contradiction, from several texts of the Old Testament,[10] that men under that dispensation ought not to have rested in the external act alone, but should have aspired from the letter to the spirit, from the carnal to a spiritual circumcision. These texts, at the same time that they set forth its necessity, describe it as consisting in a readiness and willing disposition to conform to the will of God, and submit to it when known, in every particular. They in consequence require a retrenchment of all inordinate and superfluous desires of the soul, the keeping a strict guard and government over ourselves, a total abstinence from criminal, and a prudent reserve even in the lawful gratifications of sense and appetite. If such instances of spiritual circumcision were required of those under the Old Law, to qualify them for acceptance with God, can any thing less than the same entitle us Christians to the claim of spiritual kindred with faithful Abraham, and to share of that redemption which Christ began this day to purchase for us at the expense of his blood? We must cut off whatever inordinate or superfluous desires of riches, honors, or pleasures reign in our hearts, and renounce whatever holds us wedded to our senses or the world. Though this sacrifice required the last drop of our blood, we ought cheerfully to make it. The example of Christ powerfully excites us not to spare ourselves. A thousand irregular affections reign in our souls, and self-love is master there. This enemy is only to be expelled by compunction, watchfulness over ourselves, perfect obedience, humble submission to correction, voluntary self-denials, and patience under crosses. To these endeavors we must join earnest prayer for the necessary grace to discover, and courageously crucify whatever opposes the reign of the pure love of God in our affections. If we are conscious to ourselves of having taken a contrary course, and are of the unhappy number of the uncircumcised to heart; what more proper time to set about a thorough reformation, by cutting off whatever is inconsistent with or prejudicial to the true Christian spirit, than this very day, the first of the new year? that so it may be a new year to us in the most Christian and beneficial sense of the word.[11]


Wherefore, after having consecrated its first-fruits to God, by the most sincere and fervent homage of praise and adoration; after having paid him the just tribute of thanksgiving for all his benefits, and in particular for the mercy by which he vouchsafes us still time to appease his anger, and serve him; it becomes us to allot some part of this day to tears of compunction for our past offences, and to the diving into the source of our spiritual sloth and other irregularities, with a view to the amendment of our lives, and the preventing of relapses: not contenting ourselves with general purposes, which cost self-love so little, the insufficiency of which our own experience has convinced us of; we must lay the axe to the root, and seriously resolve to decline, to the best of our power, the particular occasions which have betrayed us into sin, and embrace the most effectual means of reformation of life and improvement in virtue. Every year ought to find us more fervent in charity; every day ought our soul to augment in strength, and be decked with new flowers of virtue and good works. If the plant ceases to grow, or the fruit to ripen, they decay of course, and are in danger of perishing. By a rule far more sacred, the soul, which makes not a daily progress in virtue loses ground: a dreadful symptom in the spiritual life.

The more intense ought our fervor to be, as we draw the nearer to the end of our course: So much the more, says the apostle, as you perceive the day to approach,[12] the day of retribution to each according to his works, which will be that of our death, which may be much nearer than we are willing to imagine. Perhaps we may not live to the end of this very year: it will be the case of thousands, who at this time are as regardless of it as we can be. What security can we have against a surprise, the consequences whereof are infinite and irretrievable, except that of a sincere and speedy conversion, of being upon our guard against temptations, of dedicating effectually this ensuing year and the remainder of our short lives to God, our last end and only good, and frequently imploring his grace and mercy. It is our blessed Saviour's advice and injunction: Watch ye therefore; praying at all times {063} … that you may be accounted worthy … to stand before the Son of man.[13]

The Christian's devotion on this day ought to consist, first, in the solemn consecration of the first-fruits of the year to God; and secondly, in honoring the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God, particularly his birth and circumcision. The church invites us on this day to unite our homage with the seraphic ardors and transports of devotion with which the glorious Mother of God assisted at these wonderful mysteries which we commemorate, but in which she acted herself so great a part. With what sentiments did Mary bear in her womb, bring forth, and serve her adorable son, who was also her God? with what love and awe did she fix her eyes upon him particularly at his circumcision, who can express in what manner she was affected when she saw him subjected to this painful and humbling ceremony? Filled with astonishment, and teeming affections of love and gratitude, by profound adorations and praise she endeavored to make him all the amends in her power, and the best return and acknowledgment she was able. In amorous complaints that he would begin, in the excess of his love, to suffer for us in so tender an age, and to give this earnest of our redemption, she might say to him: Truly than art to me a spouse of blood.[14] With the early sacrifice Christ here made of himself to his Father, she joined her own offering her divine son, and with and through him herself, to be an eternal victim to his honor and love, with the most ardent desire to suffer all things, even to blood, for the accomplishment of his will. Under her mediation we ought to make him the tender of our homages, and with and through this holy Redeemer, consecrate ourselves to God without reserve.

1. In the ancient sacramentary of the Roman church, published by
    cardinal Thomasius, (the finishing of which some ascribe to Pope
    Gelasius I., others more probably to Leo I., though the ground was
    doubtless the work of their predecessors,) this festival is called
    the Octave of our Lord's Nativity. The same title is given to it in
    the Latin calendar (or rather collection of the gospels read at Mass
    throughout the year) written above 900 years ago, presented to the
    public by F. John Fronteau, regular canon of saint Genevieve's at
    Paris, and by Leo Allatius. The inference which Baillet draws from
    thence that the mystery of our Lord's circumcision was not then
    commemorated in the office of this day, is a notorious mistake. For
    Thomassin takes notice from Ivo of Chartres, that the word Octave
    here implies the circumcision of our Lord, which was performed on
    the eighth day after his birth; and in the above mentioned
    Sacramentary express mention is made of the circumcision in the
    Secret of the Mass. In F. Froubeau's calendar the gospel read on
    this day is the history of the circumcision given, by St. Luke. An
    old Vatican MS. copy of St. Gregory's Sacramentary and that of
    Usuard's Martyrology kept at St. Germain des-Près, express both the
    titles of the Octave day and of the circumcision.

    Durandus in the 13th century, (Ration. offic. l. 6, c. 15,) John
    Beleth, a theologian of Paris, (c. 71,) and several missals of the
    middle ages prescribe two masses to be said on this day, one on the
    circumcision, the other on the B. Virgin Mary. Micrologus (c. 39)
    assigns this reason, that as the B. Virgin, who had so great a share
    in the birth of Christ, could not be mentioned in that solemn
    office, therefore a commemoration of her is deferred to the Octave
    day. The second Mass is now abolished: but in a great part of the
    office a regard is had to the B. Virgin. In F. Fronteau's Roman
    calendar, after the title of the Octave is added, Natale S. Mariæ
    for which Dom Martenne would have us read S. Martinæ; but without
    grounds. For, as Pope Benedict XIV. observes, (Comment. de Festis
    Domini, c. 1,) the original unquestionably means a festival of the
    B. Virgin Mary. The word Natale, which was used originally for the
    birth-day of the emperors, was afterwards taken for any annual
2. Gen. xvii.
3. Grounding their opinion on Gen. xvii. 14, &c.
4. Luke i. 31.
5. Matt. i. 21.
6. Phil. ii. 8, 9, 10.
7. Matt. xxviii. 18.
8. The Jews generally named their children on the day of their
    circumcision, but this was not of precept. There are several
    instances of children named on the day of their birth, (Gen. xxx.)
    which could not be that of their circumcision by an express law
    requiring the interval of eight days from their birth; the child
    being presumed too weak and delicate to undergo the operation
    sooner, without danger of its life. It seems to have been the
    practice among the Jews for children to be circumcised at home; nor
    was a priest the necessary or ordinary minister, but the father,
    mother, or any other person could perform the ceremony, as we see in
    the time of Abraham, (Gen. xvii.; Acts vii.) and of the Maccabees,
    (1 Mac. 1.) St. Epiphanius, (Hær. 20.) Whence F. Avala, in his
    curious work entitled Pietor Christianus, printed at Madrid in
    1730, shows that it is a vulgar error of painters who represent
    Christ circumcised by a priest in the temple. The instrument was
    sometimes a sharp stone, (Exod. iv. Jos. v.,) but doubtless most
    frequently of iron or steel.
9. Rom. ii. 29.
10. Deut. x. 16; xxx. 6; Jer. iv. 4.
11. The pagan Romans celebrated the Saturnalia, or feast of Saturn,
    from the 17th of December during seven days: at which time slaves
    dined with their masters, and were allowed an entire liberty of
    speech, in the superstitious remembrance of the golden age of the
    world, in which no distinction of ranks was yet known among men.
    (Macrob {}, 10. Horat. &c.) The calends also of January were
    solemnized with licentious shows in honor of Janus and the goddess
    Strenia: and it is from those infamous diversions that among
    Christians, are derived the profane riots of new year's day,
    twelfthtide, and shrovetide, by which many pervert these times into
    days of sin and intemperance. Several councils severely condemn
    these abuses; and the better to prevent them, some churches formerly
    kept the 1st of January a fast-day, as it is mentioned by St.
    Isidore of Seville (lib. 2 offic c. 40) Alcuin (lib. de div offic)
    &c. Dom Martenne observes, (lib. de antiquis ritibus in celebr. div.
    offic. c. 13,) that on this account the second council of Tours in
    567 ordered that on the calends of the circumcision the litany be
    sung, and high mass begun only at the eighth hour, that is, two in
    the afternoon, that it might be finished by three, the hour at which
    it was allowed to eat on the fasts of the stations. We have among
    the works of the fathers many severe invectives against the
    superstitions and excesses of this time. See St. Austin, (serm. 198,
    in hunc diem,) St. Peter Chrysologus, (serm. in calendas,) St.
    Maximus of Turin, (Hom. 5, apud Mabill. in Musæo Italico,) Faustinus
    the Bishop, (apud Bolland. hac die. p. 3,) &c. The French name
    Etrennes is pagan, from strenæ, or new-year gifts, in honor of the
    goddess Strenia. The same in Poitou and Perche, anciently the
    country of the Druids, is derived from their rites. For the
    Poitevins for Etrennes use the word Auguislanneuf, and the
    Percherons, Equilans, from the ancient cry of the Druids, Au guy
    l'an neuf
, i.e. Ad Viscum, annul novus, or to the mistletoe the
    new-year, when on new-year's day the Pagans went into the forests to
    seek the mistletoe on the oaks. See Chatelain, notes on the Martyr.
    Jan. 1, p. 7.

The ancients began the year, some from the autumnal, others from the vernal equinox. The primitive patriarchs from that of autumn, that is, from the month called by the Hebrews Tisri, which coincides with part of our September and October. Hence it seems probable, that the world was created about that season; the earth, as appears from Gen. iii. 2, being then covered with trees, plants, fruits, seeds, and all other things in the state of their natural maturity and perfection. The Jews retained this commencement of the year, as a date for contracts and other civil purposes; as also for their sabbatical year and jubilee. But God commanded them to begin their ecclesiastical year, or that by which their religious festivals were regulated, from the spring equinox, or the Hebrew month Nisan, the same with part of our March and April, Exod. xii. 2. Christian nations commenced the year, some from the 25th of March, the feast of the Annunciation, and bordering upon the spring equinox; others from Christmas; others from its octave day, the first of January, in which our ancestors have often varied their practice. Europe is now agreed in fixing the first of January for this epoch.

    The Julian year, so called from Julius Cæsar, from whom the Roman
    calendar received its last reformation, consisted of 365 days and 6
    hours, which exceed the true solar year by 11 minutes, for
    astronomers compute the yearly revolution of the sun not to exceed
    365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 37 seconds, according to Cassini,
    but according to Keil 57 seconds, or almost 49 minutes. This error,
    becoming daily more sensible, would have occasioned the autumnal
    equinox to have at length fallen on the day reckoned the solstice,
    and in process of time, on that held for the vernal equinox. The
    Golden number, or Grecian cycle of the lunar years, was likewise
    defective. The remedy both which, pope Gregory XIII., in 1585,
    established the new style. Scaliger, Tachet, and Cassini have
    demonstrated that cycles might be chosen still more exact by some
    few seconds: however, this adopted by pope Gregory, besides being
    the easiest in the execution, admits of no material error, or
    sensible inconveniency. This correction of the style was received by
    act of Parliament, in Great Britain, in 1752; for the promoting of
    which, great praise is due to the two illustrious ornaments of the
    republic of letters, the earls of Chesterfield and Macclesfield.
12. Heb. x. 25.
13. Luke xxi. 36.
14. Exod. v. 25.


Extracted from his works, and from his life, accurately written by a disciple of great abilities, the companion of his exile: and dedicated to Felician, his successor in the see of Ruspa. The author declares himself a monk: consequently was not the deacon Ferrandus, as some critics imagine.

A.D. 533.

FABIUS CLAUDIUS GORDIANUS FULGENTIUS was the descendant of a noble senatorian family of Carthage: but much decayed in its splendor by the invasion of the Vandals. His father Claudius, being unjustly deprived of his house in Carthage, which was made over to the Arian priests, settled at an estate belonging to him at Telepte, the capital city of the province of Byzacena. Our saint was born in 468, about thirty years after the Barbarians had dismembered Africa from the Roman empire. He was educated in sentiments of piety with his younger brother, under the care of his mother Mariana, who was left a young widow. Being, by her particular direction, taught the Greek very young, he spoke it with as proper and exact an accent as if it had been his native language. He also applied himself to Latin, and all the useful parts of human literature, under masters distinguished for consummate abilities: yet he knew how to mingle business with study; for he took upon himself the regulation of the family concerns, in order to ease his mother of the burden. His prudent circumspection in all the affairs he transacted, his virtuous conduct, his mild carriage to all, and more especially his deference for his mother, without whose express orders or approbation he never did any thing, caused him to be beloved and admired wherever his name was known. He was chosen procurator, that is, lieutenant-governor, and general receiver of the taxes of Byzacena. But it was not long before {064} he grew disgusted with the world; and being justly alarmed at its dangers he armed himself against them by pious reading, assiduous prayer, and rigorous fasting. His visits to monasteries were frequent; and happening among other books of spiritual entertainment, to read a sermon of St. Austin on the thirty-sixth psalm, in which that father treats of the world and the short duration of human life, he felt within him strong desires of embracing the monastic state.

Huneric, the Arian king, had driven most of the orthodox bishops from their sees. One of these, named Faustus, had erected a monastery in Byzacena. It was to him that the young nobleman addressed himself for admittance; but Faustus immediately objecting the tenderness of his constitution, discouraged his desires with words of some harshness; "Go," said he, "and first learn to live in the world abstracted from its pleasures. Who can well suppose, that you on a sudden, relinquishing a life of softness and ease, can take up with our coarse diet and clothing and can inure yourself to our watchings and fastings?" The saint, with downcast eyes, modestly replied: "He, who hath inspired me with the will to serve him, can also furnish me with courage and strength." This humble, yet resolute answer, induced Faustus to admit him on trial. The saint was then in the twenty-second year of his age. The news of so unthought of an event both surprised and edified the whole country; many even imitated the example of the governor. But Mariana his mother, in transports of grief, ran to the monastery, crying out at the gates: "Faustus! restore to me my son; to the people, their governor: the church always protects widows; why then rob you me, a desolate widow, of my son?" She persisted several days in the same tears and cries. Nothing that Faustus could urge was sufficient to calm her, or prevail with her to depart without her son. This was certainly as great a trial of Fulgentius's resolution as it could well be put to; but the love of God, having the ascendant in his breast, gave him a complete victory over all the suggestions of nature: Faustus approved his vocation, and accordingly recommended him to the brethren. The saint having now obtained all he wished for in this world, made over his estate to his mother, to be discretionally disposed of by her in favor of his brother, as soon as he should be arrived at a proper age. He totally abstained from oil and every thing savory; from wine also, drinking only water. His mortifications brought on him a dangerous illness; yet after recovery he abated nothing in them. The persecution breaking out anew, Faustus was obliged to withdraw; and our saint, with his consent, repaired to a neighboring monastery, of which Felix, the abbot, would fain resign to him the government. Fulgentius was much startled at the proposal, but at length was prevailed upon to consent that they should jointly execute the functions. It was admirable to observe with what harmony these two holy abbots for six years governed the house. No contradiction ever took place between them; each always contended to comply with the will of his colleague. Felix undertook the management of the temporal concerns; Fulgentius's province was to preach and instruct.

In the year 499, the country being ravaged by an irruption of the Numidians, the two abbots were necessitated to fly to Sicca Veneria, a city of the proconsular province of Africa. Here it was, that an Arian priest ordered them to be apprehended and scourged on account of their preaching the consubstantiality of the Son of God. Felix, seeing the executioners seize first on Fulgentius, cried out: "Spare that poor brother of mine, whose delicate complexion cannot bear torments; let them rather be my portion who am strong of body." They accordingly, at the instigation of this wicked priest, fell on Felix first, and the old man endured their stripes {065} with the greatest alacrity. When it was Fulgentius's turn to experience the same rigorous treatment, he bore the lashes with great patience; but feeling the pain excessive, that he might gain a little respite and recruit his spirits, he requested his judge to give ear to something he had to impart to him. The executioners thereupon being commanded to desist, he began to entertain him with an account of his travels. This savage monster expected nothing more than some overtures to be proposed to him of an intention to yield; but finding himself disappointed, in the utmost rage, ordered his torments to be redoubled. At length having glutted his barbarity, the confessors were dismissed, their clothes rent, their bodies inhumanly torn, and their beards and hair plucked off. The very Arians were ashamed of such cruelty, and their bishop offered to punish the priest, if Fulgentius would but undertake his prosecution. His answer was, that a Christian is never allowed to seek revenge; and for their parts it was incumbent on them not to lose the advantage of patience, and the blessings accruing from the forgiving of injuries. The two abbots, to avoid an additional effort of the fury of these heretics, travelled to Ididi, on the confines of Mauritania. Here Fulgentius went aboard a ship for Alexandria, being desirous, for the sake of greater perfection, to visit the deserts of Egypt, renowned for the sanctity of the solitaries who dwelt there. But the vessel touching at Sicily, St. Eulalius, abbot at Syracuse, diverted him from his intended voyage, on assuring him, that "a perfidious dissension had severed this country from the communion of Peter,"[1] meaning that Egypt was full of heretics, with whom those that dwelt there were obliged either to join in communion, or be deprived of the sacraments. The liberality and hospitality of Fulgentius to the poor, out of the small pittance he received for his particular subsistence, made Eulalius condemn himself of remissness in those virtues, and for the future imitate so laudable an example.

Our saint having laid aside the thoughts of pursuing his voyage to Alexandria, embarked for Rome, to offer up his prayers at the tombs of the apostles. One day passing through a square called Palma Aurea, he saw Theodoric, the king of Italy, seated on an exalted throne, adorned with pompous state, surrounded by the senate, and his court, with all the grandeur of the city displayed in the greatest magnificence: "Ah!" said Fulgentius, "how beautiful must the heavenly Jerusalem be, if earthly Rome be so glorious! What honor, glory, and joy will God bestow on the saints in heaven, since here in this perishable life he clothes with such splendor the lovers and admirers of vanity!" This happened towards the latter part of the year 500, when that king made his first entry into Rome. Fulgentius returned home in a short time after, and was received with incredible joy. He built a spacious monastery in Byzacena, but retired to a cell himself, which was situate on the sea-shore. Here his time was employed in writing, reading, prayer, mortification, and the manual labor of making mats and umbrellas of palm-tree leaves. Faustus, who was his bishop, obliged him to resume the government of his monastery; and many places at the same time sought him for their bishop. King Thrasimund having prohibited by edict the ordination of orthodox bishops, several sees by this means had been long vacant and destitute of pastors. The orthodox prelates resolved to remedy this inconveniency, as they effectually did; but the king receiving intelligence of the matter, caused Victor, the primate of Carthage, to be apprehended. All this time our saint lay concealed, though sought after eagerly by many citizens for their bishop. Thinking the danger over, he appeared again: but Ruspa, now a little town called {066} Alfaques, in the district of Tunis, still remained without a pastor; and by the consent of the primate, while detained in the custody of the king's messengers, Fulgentius was forcibly taken out of his cell, and consecrated bishop in 508.

His new dignity made no alteration in his manners. He never wore the orarium, a kind of stole then used by bishops, nor other clothes than his usual coarse garb, which was the same in winter and summer. He went sometimes barefoot: he never undressed to take rest, and always rose to prayer before the midnight office. His diet chiefly consisted of pulse and herbs, with which he contented himself, without consulting the palate's gratification by borrowed tastes: but in more advanced years, finding his sight impaired by such a regimen, he admitted the use of a little oil. It was only in very considerable bodily indispositions, that he suffered a drop or two of wine to be mingled with the water which he drank; and he never could be prevailed upon in any seeming necessity to use the least quantity of flesh-meat, from the time of his monastic profession till his death. His modesty, meekness, and humility, gained him the affection of all, even of the ambitious deacon Felix, who had opposed his election, and whom the saint received and treated with the most cordial charity. His great love for a recluse life induced him to build a monastery near his own house at Ruspa, which he designed to put under the direction of his ancient friend Felix; but before the building could be completed, or he acquit himself to his wish of his episcopal duties, orders were issued from King Thrasimund, for his banishment to Sardinia, with others to the number of sixty orthodox bishops. Fulgentius, though the youngest of this venerable body, who were transported from Carthage to Sardinia, was notwithstanding their sole oracle in all doubts, and their tongue and pen upon all occasions; and not only of them, but even of the whole church of Africa. What spread a brighter lustre on these amiable qualities, were the humility and modesty with which he always declared his sentiments: he never preferred his counsel to that of another, his opinion he never intruded. Pope Symmachus, out of his pastoral care and charity, sent every year provisions in money and clothes to these champions of Christ.[2] A letter of this pope to them is still extant,[3] in which he encourages and comforts them; and it was at the same time that he sent them certain relics of SS. Nazarius and Romanus, "that the example and patronage,"[4] as he expresses it, "of those generous soldiers of Christ, might animate the confessors to fight valiantly the battles of the Lord." Saint Fulgentius, with some companions, converted his house at Cagliari into a monastery; which immediately became the comfort of all in affliction, the refuge of the poor, and the oracle to which the whole country resorted for deciding their controversies without appeal. In this retirement the saint composed many learned treatises for confirming and instructing the faithful in Africa. King Thrasimund, hearing that he was their principal support, and their invincible advocate, was desirous of seeing him; and having accordingly sent for him, appointed him lodgings in Carthage. The king then drew up a set of objections, to which he required his immediate answer: the saint without hesitation complied with, and discharged the injunction; and this is supposed to be his book, entitled, An Answer to Ten Objections. The king equally admired his humility and learning, and the orthodox triumphed exceedingly in the advantage their cause gained by this piece. To prevent a second time the same effect, the king, when he sent him new objections, ordered them to be only read to him. Fulgentius refused to give an answer in writing, unless he was allowed {067} to take a copy of them. He addressed, however, to the king an ample and modest confutation of Arianism, which we have under the title of his Three Books to King Thrasimund. The prince was pleased with the work, and granted him permission to reside at Carthage; till upon repeated complaints from the Arian bishops of the success of his preaching, which threatened they said, a total extinction of their sect in Carthage, he was sent back to Sardinia in 520. Being ready to go aboard the ship, he said to a catholic, whom he saw weeping: "Grieve not, Juliatus!" for that was his name, "I shall shortly return, and we shall see the true faith of Christ flourish again in this kingdom, with full liberty to profess it; but divulge not this secret to any." The event confirmed the truth of the prediction. His humility concealed the multiplicity of miracles which he wrought, and he was wont to say: "A person may be endowed with the gift of miracles, and yet may lose his soul: miracles ensure not salvation; they may indeed procure esteem and applause; but what will it avail a man to be esteemed on earth, and afterwards be delivered up to hell torments?" If the sick, for whom he prayed, recovered, to avoid being puffed up with vain-glory, he ascribed it wholly to the divine mercy. Being returned to Cagliari, he erected a new monastery near that city, and was exceedingly careful to supply his monks with all necessaries, especially in sickness; but would not suffer them to ask for any thing, alleging, "That we ought to receive all things as from the hand of God, with resignation and gratitude." Thus he was sensible how conducive the unreserved denial of the will is for perfecting ourselves in the paths of virtue.

King Thrasimund died in 523, having nominated Hilderic his successor. Knowing him inclined to favor the orthodox, he exacted from him an oath, that he would never restore their profession. To evade this, Hilderic, before the death of his predecessor, signed an order for the liberty of the orthodox churches, but never had the courage to declare himself of the same belief; his lenity having quite degenerated into softness and indolence. However, the professors of the true faith called home their pastors. The ship which brought them back, was received at Carthage with the greatest demonstrations of joy: the shore echoed far and near with repeated acclamations, more particularly when Fulgentius appeared on the upper deck of the vessel. The confessors went straight to the church of St. Agileus, to return thanks to God, and were accompanied by thousands; but on their way, being surprised with a sudden storm, the people, to show their singular regard for Fulgentius, made a kind of umbrella over his head with their cloaks to defend him from the inclemency of the storm. The saint hastened to his own church, and immediately set about the reformation of the abuses that had crept in during the persecution, which had now continued seventy years; but this reformation was carried on with a sweetness that won, sooner or later, the hearts of the most vicious. In a council held at Junque, in 524, a certain bishop, named Quodvultdeus, disputed the precedency with our saint, who made no reply, though he would not oppose the council, which ordered him to take the first place. The other resented this as an injury offered to the dignity of his see; and St. Fulgentius, in another council soon after, publicly requested that Quodvultdeus might be allowed the precedency. His talents for preaching were singular; and Boniface, the archbishop of Carthage, never heard him without watering, all the time, the ground with his tears, thanking God for having given so great a pastor to his church.[5]


About a year before his death, he secretly retired from all business into a monastery on the little island, of rock, called Circinia, in order to prepare {069} himself for his passage to eternity, which he did with extraordinary fervor. The necessities and importunities of his flock recalled him to Ruspa a little before his exit. He bore the violent pains of his last illness for seventy days with admirable patience, having this prayer almost always in his mouth:[6] "Lord, grant me patience now, and hereafter mercy and pardon." The physicians advised him the use of baths; to whom he answered "Can baths make a mortal man escape death, when his life is arrived at its final period?" He would abate nothing of his usual austerities without an absolute necessity. In his agony, calling for his clergy and monks, who were all in tears, he begged pardon if he had ever offended any one of them; he comforted them, gave them some short, moving instructions, and calmly breathed forth his pious soul in the year 533, and of his age the 65th, on the 1st of January, on which day his name occurs in many calendars soon after his death, and in the Roman; but in some few on the 16th of May,—perhaps the day on which his relics were translated to Bourges, in France, about the year 714, where they still remain deposited.[7] His disciple relates, that Pontian, a neighboring bishop, was assured in a vision of his glorious immortality. The veneration for his virtues was such, that he was interred within the church, contrary to the law and custom of that age, as is remarked by the author of his life. St. Fulgentius proposed to himself St. Austin for a model; and, as a true disciple, imitated him in his conduct, faithfully expounding his doctrine, and imbibing his spirit.

1. A comumnione Petri perfida dissentio separavit. Vit S. Fulg. c. 12.
2. Anastas. in Symmacho. Bar. ad ann. 504. Fleury, Liv. 31.
3. Inter opera Ennodii. t. 4. Conc. Labb. col. 1300.
4. Patrocinia.
5. S. Fulgentius, in his first letter, to a gentleman whose wife in a
    violent sickness had made a vow of continency, proves that a vow of
    chastity ought not to be made by a person engaged in a married
    state, without the free consent of the husband. In his second, to
    Galla, a most virtuous Roman lady, he comforts her upon the death of
    her husband, who, he says, was only gone a little before her to
    glory; and he sets before her the divine mercy, which by this means
    calls her to a more heroic practice of all virtues in the state of
    widowhood,—especially continence, plainness in dress, furniture,
    and diet, profuse alms-deeds, and holy prayer, the exercise whereof
    ought to be her most assiduous employment. Herein he warns her that
    vanity and pride are our most dangerous enemies, against which we
    must diligently watch and arm ourselves. In his third letter,
    addressed to the holy lady Proba, sister to Galla, consecrated to
    God by a vow of virginity, he shows the excellency of that virtue,
    and recommends, at length, temperance, penance, and perfect
    humility, as its essential attendants, without which it cannot
    render a soul the spouse of Christ, who chose her poor, and bestowed
    on her all she had. In his fourth letter, to the same lady, he again
    puts her in mind of the extreme danger of pride and vain-glory, and
    lays down excellent precepts concerning the necessity of assiduous
    prayer and compunction; in which spirit we are bound to weep
    continually before God, imploring his mercy and succor under the
    weight of our miseries, and to pay him the constant tribute of
    praise and thanksgiving for all his benefits and gratuitous favors.
    His letter to the abbot Eugypius, is a commendation of fraternal
    charity, a principal fruit of which is, to pray for one another. In
    the sixth letter, he congratulates with Theodorus, a senator, upon
    his conversion from the world, promising himself that such an
    example would have great influence over many: for "those who are
    raised above others by their rank in the world, either draw many
    with themselves into eternal damnation, or are to many an occasion
    of salvation." The saint strenuously exhorts him to the study of the
    most profound humility, which is the only greatness of a Christian,
    and is always attended with its sister virtue, meekness. The seventh
    letter of this father is addressed to the illustrious and venerable
    lady Venantia, and contains a strong exhortation to the spirit and
    practice of penance, with advice against despair. The sermons and
    homilies of S. Fulgentius are usually short: we have near one
    hundred extant which bear his name, but some of these belong to S.
    Austin. The danger and evil of presumption and pride, are points
    which he takes every occasion to inculcate: he teaches that it is
    impossible to know God, and his benefits and goodness, unless we
    have a true knowledge of ourselves, and our own frailty and
    miseries. (Hom. 14, p. 123. Bibl. Patr. Lugdun. T. 9, part 1.) In
    his sermons and letters, he frequently enforces the obligation of
    alms-deeds. His other works are chiefly polemical, against the
    Arians, Pelagians, and Nestorians. In his books against the Sermon
    of Fastidiosus, (an Arian priest,) to Felix the Notary; On the
    Orthodox Faith, to Donatus, against Fabian; Three Books to King
    Thrasimund; Ten Answers to Ten Objections of the Arians, &c., he
    explains the trinity of persons in one divine nature, solidly
    answers the objections of the Arians, and frequently shows that
    prayers which are addressed to the Father, or to the Son, or to the
    Holy Ghost, are addressed to the whole Blessed Trinity. (Lib. 9,
    contra Fabium, p. 620, &c.) Showing that the Father, Son, and Holy
    Ghost are equally to be adored, he distinguishes the worship of
    Latria, or adoration, which is due to God alone, and that of
    Dulia, which is given to creatures. (Ib. lib. 4, p. 592.) Pinta,
    an Arian bishop, having published a treatise against our saint's
    books to King Thrasimund, St. Fulgentius answered him by a work
    which is lost. For that which we have among his writings, is the
    performance of some other Catholic controvertist of the same age, as
    the learned agree. This author's style falls short of St.
    Fulgentius's: he quotes the Scripture according to the Old Italic
    Version; our saint always makes use of the Vulgate. He understood
    not the Greek tongue, in which St. Fulgentius was well skilled. And
    the author of our saint's life mentions, that in his book against
    Pinta he referred to his books to King Thrasimund, which is not
    found in this work.

    One of the most famous among the writings of St. Fulgentius, is that
    entitled, On the Two-fold Predestination, to Monimus, in answer to
    certain difficulties proposed to him by a friend of that name. In
    the first book he shows, that though God foresees sin, he
    predestinates no one to evil, but only to good, or to grace and
    glory. In the second book he proves, that the sacrifice of Christ's
    body and blood is offered not to the Father alone, as the Arians
    pretended, but to the whole Blessed Trinity. In this and the third
    book he answers certain other difficulties. In his two books, On the
    Remission of Sins, to Euthymius, he proves that sins can never be
    forgiven without sincere repentance, or out of the pale of the true
    church. When Peter, a deacon, and three other deputies from the
    Scythian monks in the East, arrived at Rome, to be informed of the
    sentiments of the western churches concerning the late errors
    advanced in the East, against the mystery of the Incarnation, and in
    the West, by the Semipelagians against the necessity of divine
    grace, they consulted the sixty African bishops who were at that
    time in banishment, in Sardinia. St. Fulgentius was pitched upon to
    send an answer in the name of this venerable company of Confessors.
    This produced his book, On the Incarnation and Grace, in the first
    part of which he confutes the Nestorians and Eutychians, and in the
    second the Semipelagians. His three books, On the Truth of
    Predestination and Grace, addressed to John the Archimandrite, and
    Venerius, deacon of Constantinople, are another fruit of the leisure
    which his exile gave him. In the first part he shows, that grace is
    the pure effect of the divine goodness and mercy; in the second,
    that it destroys not free-will; and in the third, that the Divine
    election both to grace and glory is purely gratuitous. In another
    treatise or letter, to the same John and Venerius, who had consulted
    the Confessors in Sardinia about the doctrine of Faustus of Riez, he
    confutes Semipelagianism. In the treatise, On the Incarnation, to
    Scarilas, he explains that mystery, showing that the Son became
    man,—not the Father, or the Holy Ghost; and that in God the trinity
    destroys not the unity of the nature. Ferrand, the learned deacon of
    Carthage, consulted St. Fulgentius about the baptism of a certain
    Ethiopian, who had desired that sacrament, but was speechless and
    senseless when it was administered to him. Our saint, in a short
    treatise on this subject, demonstrates this baptism to have been
    both necessary and valid. By another treatise, addressed to this
    Ferrand, he answers five questions proposed by him, concerning the
    Trinity and Incarnation. Count Reginus consulted him, whether the
    body of Christ was corruptible, and begged certain rules for leading
    a Christian life in a military state. St. Fulgentius answered the
    first point, proving that Christ's mortal body was liable to hunger,
    thirst, pain, and corruption. The second part of moral instructions,
    which he lived not to finish, was added by Ferrand the deacon. St.
    Fulgentius's book, On Faith, to Peter, is concise and most useful.
    It was drawn up after the year 523, about the time of his return
    from Sardinia. One Peter, designing to go to Jerusalem, requested
    the saint to give him in writing a compendious rule of faith, by
    studying which he might be put upon his guard against the heresies
    of that age. St. Fulgentius executed this in forty articles, some
    copies and forty-one. In these he explains, under anathemas, the
    chief mysteries of our faith: especially the Trinity. Incarnation,
    sacrifice of the altar, (cap. 19. p. 475,) absolute necessity of the
    true faith, and of living in the true church, to steadfastness, in
    which he strongly and pathetically exhorts all Christians in the
    close of the work, (c. 44, 45.) For if we owe fidelity to our
    temporal prince, much more to Christ who redeemed our souls, and
    whose anger we are bound to fear above all things, nay, as the only
    evil truly to be dreaded. The writings of this father discover a
    deep penetration and clear conception, with an admirable perspicuity
    in the diction; but seeming apprehensive of not having sufficiently
    inculcated his matter, he is diffusive, end runs into repetitions.
    His reasoning is just and close, corroborated by Scripture and
    tradition. The accurate F. Sirmond published part of his writings,
    but the most complete edition of them was given at Paris, in 4vo.,
6. Domine, da mihi modo patientiam, et postea indulgentiam.
7. See Gall. Christ. Nov. T. l, p. 121. and Baillet, p. 16. The written
    relation of this translation is a production of the tenth century,
    and deserves no regard; but the constant tradition of the church and
    country proves the translation to have been made (See Hist. Liter.
    de la France, T. 6, p. 265.) The hutch in which these relics are
    venerated at Bourget, is called S. Fulgentius's. The saint's head is
    in the church of the archbishop's seminary, which was anciently an
    abbey, and named Monte-maven.


HIS family was that of the lords of Mercteur, one of the most illustrious of Auvergne. Divine grace inclined him from his infancy to devote himself to God with his whole heart. He was very young when he received the monastic habit at Cluni, from the hands of S. Mayeul, by whose appointment he was made his coadjutor in 991, though only twenty-nine years of age, and from the death of S. Mayeul in 994, our saint was charged with the entire government of that great abbey. He labored to subdue his carnal appetites by rigorous fasting, wearing hair-cloth next his skin, and studded iron chains. Notwithstanding those austerities practised on himself, his carriage to others was most mild and humane. It was usual with him to say, that of two extremes, he chose rather to offend by tenderness, than a too rigid severity. In a great famine in 1006, his liberality to the poor was by many censured as profuse; for he melted down the sacred vessels and ornaments, and sold the gold crown S. Henry made a present of to that abbey, to relieve their necessities. He accompanied that prince in his journey to Rome when he was crowned emperor, in 1014. This was his second journey thither; he made a third in 1017, and a fourth in 1022. Out of devotion to S. Bennet he paid a visit to Mount Cassino, where he begged leave, with the greatest earnestness, to kiss the feet of all the monks, which was granted him with great difficulty. Besides the journeys which the reformation he established in many monasteries obliged him to undertake, he made one to Orbe, to wait on the empress Alice. That pious princess burst into tears upon seeing him, and taking hold of his habit, kissed it, and applied it to her eyes, and declared to him she should die in a {070} very short time. This was in 999, and she died on the 16th of December the same year. Massacres and plunders were so common in that age, by the right which every petty lord pretended of revenging his own injuries and quarrels by private wars, that the treaty called the truce of God was set on foot. By this, among other articles, it was agreed, that churches should be sanctuaries to all sorts of persons, except those that violated this truce; and that from Wednesday till Monday morning no one should offer violence to any one, not even by way of satisfaction for any injustice he had received. This truce met with the greatest difficulties among the Neustrians, but was at length received and observed in most provinces of France, through the exhortations and endeavors of St. Odilo, and B. Richard, abbot of St. Vanne's, who were charged with this commission.[1] Prince Casimir, son of Miceslaw, king of Poland, retired to Cluni, where he professed the monastic state, and was ordained deacon. He was afterwards, by a solemn deputation of the nobility, called to the crown. St. Odilo referred the matter to pope Benedict IX., with whose dispensation Casimir mounted the throne in 1041, married, had several children, and reigned till his death in 1058.[2]

St. Odilo being moved by several visions, instituted the annual commemoration of all the faithful departed, to be observed by the members of his community with alms, prayers, and sacrifices, for the relief of the suffering souls in purgatory; and this charitable devotion he often much recommended. He was very devout to the Blessed Virgin; and above all sacred mysteries, that of the divine Incarnation employed his particular attention. As the monks were singing that verse in the church, "thou being to take upon thee to deliver man, didst not abhor the womb of a virgin;" melting away with the tenderest emotions of love, he fell to the ground; the ecstatic agitations of his body bearing evidence to that heavenly fire which glowed in his soul. Most of his sermons and little poems extant, treat of the mysteries of our redemption, or of the Blessed Virgin.[3] He excelled in an eminent spirit of compunction, and contemplation. While he was at prayer, trickling tears often watered his cheeks. Neither importunities nor compulsion could prevail upon him to submit to his being elected archbishop of Lyons in 1031. Having patiently suffered during five years the most painful diseases, he died of the cholic, at Souvigny, a priory in Bourbonnois, while employed in the visitation of his monasteries, January 1, 1049, being then eighty-seven years old, and having been fifty-six years abbot. He would be carried to the church, to assist at the divine office, even in his agony; and having received the viaticum and extreme-unction the day before, he expired on sackcloth strewed with ashes on the ground. See his life, by his disciple Lotsald, as also, by St. Peter Damian, who wrote it soon after the saint's death, at the request of St. Hugh of Cluni, his successor, in Bollandus, and Bibliotheca Cluniacensis by Dom Marrier, and in Andrew Duchesne, fol. Paris, 1614. See likewise certain epistles of St. Odilo, ib., and fourteen Sermons on the festivals of our Lord, the B. Virgin, &c., in Bibl. Patr. Lugdun. an. 1677, T. 17, p. 653.

1. Glaber, monk of Cluni, in his history which he dedicated to St.
    Odilo, l. 4, c. 5, l. 5, c. 1.
2. Mab. Annal. l. 57, n. 45. Solignac, Hist. de Pologne, t. 1.
3. Ceillier demonstrates, (T. 20, p. 258,) against Basnage, (observ. in
    vit. Adelaid. T. 3, le t. Canis, p. 71,) that the life of St. Alice
    the empress is the work of St. Odilo, no less than the life of St.
    Mayeul. We have four letters, some poems, and several sermons of
    this saint in the library of Cluni, (p. 370,) and in that of the
    Fathers, (T. 17, p. 653.) Two other sermons hear his name in
    Martenn{} (Anned. T. 5.)



WAS a holy solitary of the East, but being excited by the ardors of a pious zeal in his desert, and pierced with grief that the impious diversion of gladiators should cause the damnation of so many unhappy souls, and involve whole cities and provinces in sin; he travelled to Rome, resolved, as far as in him lay, to put a stop to this crying evil. While the gladiators were massacring each other in the amphitheatre, he ran in among them; but as a recompense for his kind remonstrance, and entreating them to desist, he was beaten down to the ground, and torn in pieces, on the 1st of January, 404. His zeal had its desired success; for the effusion of his blood effected what till that time many emperors had found impracticable. Constantine, Constantius, Julian, and Theodosius the elder, had, to no purpose, published several edicts against those impious scenes of blood. But Honorius took occasion from the martyrdom of this saint, to enforce their entire abolition. His name occurs in the true martyrology of Bede, in the Roman and others. See Theodoret, Hist. l. 5, c. 62, t. 3, p. 740.[1]

1. The martyrologies of Bede, Ado, Usuard, &c. mention St. Almachus, M.
    put to death at Rome, for boldly opposing the heathenish
    superstitions on the octave of our Lord's nativity. Ado adds, that
    he was slain by the gladiators at the command of Alypius, prefect of
    Rome. A prefect of this name is mentioned in the reign of
    Theodosius, the father of Honorius. This name, the place, day, and
    cause seeming to agree, Baronius, (Annot. In Martyr. Rom.) Bolland,
    and Baillet, doubt not but this martyr is the same with St.
    Telemachus, mentioned by Theodoret. Chatelain, canon of the
    cathedral at Paris, (Notes sur le Martyr. Rom. p. 8,) and Benedict
    XIV., (in Festo Circumcis. T. 10, p. 18.) think they ought to be
    distinguished, and that Almachus suffered long before Telemachus.
    Wake, (on Enthusiasm,) Geddes, &c. pretend the name to have been a
    mistake for Almanachum; but are convicted by Chatelain of several
    unpardonable blunders, and of being utterly unacquainted with
    ancient MSS. of this kind, and the manner of writing them. Scaliger
    and Salmasius tell us that the word Almanach is of Arabic
    extraction. La Crosse observes, (Bibl. Univ. T. 11,) that it occurs
    in Porphyry, (apud Eus. Præf. Evang. l. 3, c. 4,) who says that
    horoscopes are found [Greek: en tois almenichiaxois], where it seems
    of Egyptian origin. But whatever be the meaning of that term in
    Porphyry, Du Cange, after the strictest search, assures us that the
    barbarous word Almanach is never met with in any MS. Calendars or
    Ephemerides. Menage (Origine de la Langue Françoise V. Almanach)
    shows most probably that the word is originally Persian, with the
    Arabic article prefixed. It seems to have been first used by the
    Armenians to signify a calendar, ib.


AFTER the death of the two brothers, St. Romanus and St. Lupicinus, the holy founders of the abbey of Condate, under whose discipline he had been educated from seven years of age, he was first coadjutor to Minausius, their immediate successor, and soon after, upon his demise, abbot of that famous monastery. His life was most austere, his clothes being sackcloth, and the same in summer as in winter. He took only one small refection in the day, which was usually after sunset. He inured himself to cold and all mortifications; and was so dead to himself, as to seem incapable of betraying the least emotion of anger. His countenance was always cheerful; yet he never laughed. By meekness he overcame all injuries, was well skilled in Greek and Latin, and in the holy scriptures, and a great promoter of the sacred studies in his monastery. No importunities could prevail upon him to consent to be ordained priest. In the lives of the first abbots of Condate, of which a MS. copy is preserved in the Jesuit's library in the college of Clermont, at Paris, enriched with MS. notes by F. Chifflet, it is mentioned, that the monastery which was built by St. Romanus, of timber, being consumed by fire, St. Eugendus rebuilt it of stone; and also near the oratory, which St. Romanus had built, erected a handsome church in honor of SS. Peter, Paul, and Andrew, enriched with precious relics. His prayer was almost continual, and his devotion so tender, that the hearing {072} of a pious word was sufficient visibly to inflame his soil, and to throw him sometimes into raptures even in public, and at table. His ardent sighs to be united with his God, were most vehement during his last illness. Having called the priest among his brethren, to whom he had enjoined the office of anointing the sick, he caused him to anoint his breast according to the custom, says the author of his life, and he breathed forth his happy soul five days after, about the year 510, and of his age sixty-one.[1] The great abbey of Condate, in Franche-comté, seven leagues from Geneva, on mount Jura, or Mont-jou, received from this saint the name of St. Oyend; till in the thirteenth century it exchanged it for that of St. Claude; who having resigned the bishopric of Besanzon, which see he had governed seven years in great sanctity, lived fifty-five years abbot of this house, a perfect copy of the virtues of St. Oyend, and died in 581. He is honored on the 6th of June. His body remains entire to this day; and his shrine is the most celebrated place of resort for pilgrims in all France.[2] See the life of St. Oyend by a disciple, in Bollandus and Mabillon. Add the remarks of Rivet. His. Liter. T. 3, p. 60.

1. The history of the first Abbots of Condate, compiled, according to
    F. Chifflet, in 1252, mentions translation of the relics of St.
    Eugendus, when they were enshrined in the same Church of St. Peter,
    which had been made with great solemnity, at which this author had
    assisted, and of which he testifies that he had already wrote the
    history here quoted. F. Chifflet regrets the loss of this piece, and
    adds that the girdle of St. Eugendus, made of white leather, two
    fingers broad, has been the instrument of miraculous cures, and that
    in 1601 Petronilla Birod, a Calvinist woman in that neighborhood,
    was converted to the Catholic faith, with her husband and whole
    family, having been suddenly freed from imminent danger of death and
    child-bearing, and safely delivered by the application of this
2. The rich abbey of St. Claude gave rise to a considerable town built
    about it, which was made an episcopal see by pope Benedict XIV., in
    1743: who, secularizing the monastery, converted it into a
    cathedral. The canons, to gain admittance, must give proof of their
    nobility for sixteen degrees, eight paternal and as many maternal.
    St. Romanus was buried at Beaume, St. Lucinius at Leu{}nne, and St.
    Oyend at Condate: whence this last place for several ages bore his


HER feast has been kept for time immemorial in the parish church of Rosairthir, in the diocese of Clogher, in Ulster: and at Kilhaine near mount Bregh, on the borders of Meath, where her relics have been in veneration. She seems to have been an abbess, and is thought to have flourished in the sixth century, when many eminent saints flourished in Ireland. Her name was not known to Bollandus or Sir James Ware. See Chatelain.


HAVING served his prince in the army, he renounced the world, and devoted himself to God in a monastic state, with so much fervor as to become a model of perfection to others. He is said to have founded thirty churches, and one hundred and twenty cells, and passed thirty years at one of these churches, which is called from him Teach Mochua, but died at Dayrinis on the 1st of January, in the ninety-ninth year of his age, about the sixth century. See his life in Bollandus, p. 45.


WAS contemporary to S. Congal, and founded the monastery (now a town) named Balla, in Connaught. He departed to our Lord in the fifty-sixth year of his age. See Bollandus, p. 49.




From Palladius, bishop of Helenopolis, who had been his disciple, c. 20.
Rufin, Socrates, and others in Rosweide, D'Andilly, Cotelier, and
Bollandus, p. 85 See Tillemont, t. 8, p. 626. Bulteau, Hist. Mon.
d'Orient, l. 1, c. 9, p. 128.

A.D. 394.

ST. MACARIUS the younger, a citizen of Alexandria, followed the business of a confectioner. Desirous to serve God with his whole heart, he forsook the world in the flower of his age, and spent upwards of sixty years in the deserts in the exercise of fervent penance and contemplation. He first retired into Thebais, or Upper Egypt, about the year 335.[1] Having learned the maxims, and being versed in the practice of the most perfect virtue, under masters renowned for their sanctity; still aiming, if possible, at greater perfection, he quitted the Upper Egypt, and came to the Lower, before the year 373. In this part were three deserts almost adjoining to each other; that of Sceté, so called from a town of the same name on the borders of Lybia; that of the Cells, contiguous to the former, this name being given to it on account of the multitude of hermit-cells with which it abounded; and a third, which reached to the western branch of the Nile, called, from a great mountain, the desert of Nitria. St. Macarius had a cell in each of these deserts. When he dwelt in that of Nitria, it was his custom to give advice to strangers, but his chief residence was in that of the Cells. Each anchoret had here his separate cell, which he made his continued abode, except on Saturday and Sunday, when all assembled in one church to celebrate the divine mysteries, and partake of the holy communion. If any one was absent, he was concluded to be sick, and was visited by the rest. When a stranger came to live among them, every one offered him his cell, and was ready to build another for himself. Their cells were not within sight of each other. Their manual labor, which was that of making baskets or mats, did not interrupt the prayer of the heart. A profound silence reigned throughout the whole desert. Our saint received here the dignity of priesthood, and shone as a bright sun influencing this holy company, while St. Macarius the elder lived no less eminent in the wilderness of Sceté, forty miles distant. Palladius has recorded[2] a memorable instance of the great self-denial professed and observed by these holy hermits. A present was made of a newly-gathered bunch of grapes to St. Macarius: the holy man carried it to a neighboring monk who was sick; he sent it to another: it passed in like manner to all the cells in the desert, and was brought back to Macarius, who was exceedingly rejoiced to perceive the abstinence of his brethren, but would not eat of the grapes himself.

The austerities of all the inhabitants of that desert were extraordinary; but St. Macarius, in this regard, far surpasses the rest. For seven years {074} together he lived only on raw herbs and pulse, and for the three following years contented himself with four or five ounces of bread a day, and consumed only one little vessel of oil in a year; as Palladius assures us. His watchings were not less surprising, as the same author informs us. God had given him a body capable of bearing the greatest rigors; and his fervor was so intense, that whatever spiritual exercise be heard of, or saw practised by others, be resolved to copy the same. The reputation of the monastery of Tabenna, under St. Pachomius, drew him to this place in disguise, some time before the year 349. St. Pachomius told him that he seemed too far advanced in years to begin to accustom himself to their fastings and watchings; but at length admitted him, on condition he would observe all the rules and mortifications of the house. Lent approaching soon after, the monks were assiduous in preparations to pass that holy time in austerities, each according to his strength and fervor; some by fasting one, others two, three, or four days, without any kind of nourishment; some standing all day, others only sitting at their work. Macarius took some palm-tree leaves steeped in water, as materials for his work, and standing in a private corner, passed the whole time without eating, except a few green cabbage leaves on Sundays. His hands were employed in almost continual labor, and his heart conversed with God by prayer. If he left his station on any pressing occasion, he never stayed one moment longer than necessity required. Such a prodigy astonished the monks, who even remonstrated to the abbot at Easter against a singularity of this nature, which, if tolerated, might on several accounts be prejudicial to their community. St. Pachomius entreated God to know who this stranger was; and learning by revelation that he was the great Macarius, embraced him, thanked him for his edifying visit, and desired him to return to his desert, and there offer up his prayers for them.[3] Our saint happened one day inadvertently to kill a gnat that was biting him in his cell; reflecting that he had lost the opportunity of suffering that mortification, he hastened from his cell for the marshes of Sceté, which abound with great flies, whose stings pierce even boars. There he continued six months exposed to those ravaging insects; and to such a degree was his whole body disfigured by them with sores and swellings, that when he returned he was only to be known by his voice.[4] Some authors relate[5] that he did this to overcome a temptation of the flesh.

The virtue of this great saint was often exercised with temptations. One was a suggestion to quit his desert and go to Rome, to serve the sick in the hospitals; which, by due reflection, he discovered to be a secret artifice of vain-glory inciting him to attract the eyes and esteem of the world. True humility alone could discover the snare which lurked under the specious gloss of holy charity. Finding this enemy extremely importunate, he threw himself on the ground in his cell, and cried out to the fiends: "Drag me hence if you can by force, for I will not stir." Thus he lay till night, and by this vigorous resistance they were quite disarmed.[6] As soon as he arose they renewed the assault; and he, to stand firm against them, filled two great baskets with sand, and laying them on his shoulders, travelled along the wilderness. A person of his acquaintance meeting him, asked him what he meant, and made an offer of easing him of his burden; but the saint made no other reply than this: "I am tormenting my tormentor." He returned home in the evening, much fatigued in body, but freed from the temptation. Palladius informs us, that St. Macarius, desiring to enjoy more perfectly the sweets of heavenly contemplation, at least for five days without interruption, {075} immured himself within his cell for this purpose, and said to his soul: "Having taken up thy abode in heaven, where thou hast God and the holy angels to converse with, see that thou descend not thence: regard not earthly things." The two first days his heart overflowed with divine delights; but on the third he met with so violent a disturbance from the devil, that he was obliged to stop short of his design, and to return to his usual manner of life. Contemplative souls often desire, in times of heavenly consolation, never to be interrupted in the glorious employment of love and praise: but the functions of Martha, the frailty and necessities of the human frame, and the temptations of the devil, force them, though reluctant, from their beloved object. Nay, God oftentimes withdraws himself, as the saint observed on this occasion, to make them sensible of their own weakness, and that this life is a state of trial. St. Macarius once saw, in a vision, devils closing the eyes of the monks to drowsiness, and tempting them by diverse methods to distractions, during the time of public prayer. Some, as often as they approached, chased them away by a secret supernatural force, while others were in dalliance with their suggestions. The saint burst into sighs and tears; and, when prayer was ended, admonished every one of his distractions, and of the snares of the enemy, with an earnest exhortation to employ, in that sacred duty, a more than ordinary watchfulness against his attacks.[7] St. Jerom[8] and others relate, that a certain anchoret in Nitria, having left one hundred crowns at his death, which he had acquired by weaving cloth, the monks of that desert met to deliberate what should be done with that money. Some were for having it given to the poor, others to the church: but Macarius, Pambo, Isidore, and others, who were called the fathers, ordained that the one hundred crowns should be thrown into the grave and buried with the corpse of the deceased, and that at the same time the following words should be pronounced: "May thy money be with thee to perdition."[9] This example struck such a terror into all the monks, that no one durst lay up any money by him.

Palladius, who, from 391, lived three years under our saint, was eye-witness to several miracles wrought by him. He relates, that a certain priest, whose head, in a manner shocking to behold, was consumed by a cancerous sore, came to his cell, but was refused admittance; nay, the saint at first would not even speak to him. Palladius, by earnest entreaties, strove to prevail upon him to give at least some answer to so great an object of compassion. Macarius, on the contrary, urged that he was unworthy, and that God, to punish him for a sin of the flesh he was addicted to, had afflicted him with this disorder: however, that upon his sincere repentance, and promise never more during his life to presume to celebrate the divine mysteries, he would intercede for his cure. The priest confessed his sin with a promise, pursuant to the ancient canonical discipline, never after to perform any priestly function. The saint thereupon absolved him by the imposition of hands; and a few days after the priest came back perfectly healed, glorifying God, and giving thanks to his servant. Palladius found himself tempted to sadness, on a suggestion from the devil, that he made no progress in virtue, and that it was to no purpose for him to remain in the desert. He consulted his master, who bade him persevere with fervor, never dwell on the temptation, and always answer instantly the fiend: "My love for Jesus Christ will not suffer me to quit my cell, where I am determined to abide in order to please and serve him agreeably to his will."

The two saints of the name of Macarius happened one day to cross the {076} Nile together in a boat, when certain tribunes, or principal officers, who were there with their numerous trains, could not help observing to each other, that those men, from the cheerfulness of their aspect, must be exceeding happy in their poverty. Macarius of Alexandria, alluding to their name, which in Greek signifies happy, made this answer: "You have reason to call us happy, for this is our name. But if we are happy in despising the world, are not you miserable who live slaves to it?" These words, uttered with a tone of voice expressive of an interior conviction of their truth, had such an effect on the tribune who first spoke, that, hastening home, he distributed his fortune among the poor, and embraced an eremitical life. In 375, both these saints were banished for the catholic faith, at the instigation of Lacius, the Arian patriarch of Alexandria. Our saint died in the year 394, as Tillemont shows from Palladius. The Latins commemorate him on the 2d, the Greeks with the elder Macarius, on the 19th of January.

In the desert of Nitria there subsists at this day a monastery which bears the name of St. Macarius. The monastic rule called St. Macarius's, in the code of rules, is ascribed to this of Alexandria. St. Jerom seems to have copied some things from it in his letter to Rusticus. The concord, or collection of rules, gives us another, under the names of the two SS. Macariuses; Serapion (of Arsinoe, or the other of Nitria;) Paphnutius (of Becbale, priest of Sceté;) and thirty-four other abbots.[10] It was probably collected from their discipline, or regulations and example. According to this latter, the monks fasted the whole year, except on Sundays, and the time from Easter to Whitsuntide; they observed the strictest poverty, and divided the day between manual labor and hours of prayer; hospitality was much recommended in this rule, but, for the sake of recollection, it was strictly forbid for any monk, except one who was deputed to entertain guests, ever to speak to any stranger without particular leave.[11] The definition of a monk or anchoret, given by the abbot Rancè of la Trappe, is a lively portraiture of the great Macarius in the desert when, says he, a soul relishes God in solitude, she thinks no more of any thing but heaven, and forgets the earth, which has nothing in it that can now please her; she burns with the fire of divine love, and sighs only after God, regarding death as her greatest advantage; nevertheless they will find themselves much mistaken, who, leaving the world, imagine they shall go to God by straight paths, by roads sown with lilies and roses, in which they will have no difficulties to conquer, but that the hand of God will turn aside whatever could raise any in their way, or disturb the tranquillity of their retreat: on the contrary, they must be persuaded that temptations will everywhere follow them, that there is neither state nor place in which they can be exempt, that the peace which God promises is procured amidst tribulations, as the rose-bud amidst thorns; God has not promised his servants that they shall not meet with trials, but that with the temptation, he will give them grace to be able to bear it:[12] heaven is offered to us on no other conditions; it is a kingdom of conquest, the prize of victory—but, O God, what a prize!

Footnotes: 1. Some confound our saint with Macarius of Pisper, or the disciple of Saint Antony. But the best critics distinguish them. The latter, with his fellow-disciple Amathas, buried St. Antony, who left him his staff, as Cronius, the Priest of Nitria, related to Palladius. To this Macarius of Pisper St. Antony committed the government of almost five thousand monks as appears from the life of saint Posthumias. 2. Hist. Lausiac, c. 20. 3. Pallad. Laus. c. 20. 4. Ib. 5. Rosweide b. 8, c. 20, p. 722. 6. Pallad. Laus. c. 20. 7. Rosweide, Vit. Patr. l. 2, c. 29, p. 481. 8. S. Hier. ep. 18 (ol. 22) ad. Eustoch. T. 4, par. 2, p. 44, ed. Ben. et Rosw. Vit. Patr. l. 3, c. 319 9. Acts viii. 20. 10. Concordia Regularum, autore S. Benedicto Ananiæ Abbate, edita ab Hugone Menardo, O.S.B. in 4to Parisiis, 1638. Item, Codex Regularum collectus a S. Benedicto Ananiæ, auctus a Luca Holstenio, two vols. 4to. Romæ, 1661. 11. C. 60, p. 809 edit. Mena{}. 12. 1 Cor. x. 13.

On the same day

Are commemorated many holy martyrs throughout the provinces of the Roman empire; who, when Dioclesian, in 303, commanded the holy scriptures, {077} wherever found, to be burnt, chose rather to suffer torments and death than to be accessary {sic.} to their being destroyed by surrendering them into the hands of the professed enemies of their Author.[1]

1. See Baron. n. annal. et annot. in Martyr. Rom. Eus. l. 8, c. 2. H.
    Vales. not. ib. p. 163. Ruinart, in Acta SS Saturn &c. and S.
    Felicis. Fleury. Moeurs des Chrét. p. 45. Tillem. Pers. de. Dicol.
    art. 10, t. 5. Lactant. de mort. Pers. c. 15 et 18, cum not. Baluz.


A HOLY subdeacon, who in the reign of Marcus Antoninus, was apprehended in a desert, and brought before Torquatus, governor of Umbria, then residing at Spoletto, about the year 178. The martyr, paying no regard to his promises or threats, in the first interrogatory was beaten with clubs, and in the second was hung on the rack, but in the height of his torments he cheerfully sang: "Glory be to thee, Lord Jesus!" Three days after, two soldiers were sent by Torquatus, to behead him in the dungeon, unless he would offer sacrifice to an idol, which a priest who accompanied them carried with him for this purpose. The saint showed his indignation by spitting upon the idol, upon which one of the soldiers struck off his head. In the Roman Martyrology his name occurs on the 1st, in some others on the 2d of January. See his genuine acts in Bollandus, p. 9, and Tillemont, t. 2, p. 439.


Pronounced ALARD.[1]

THE birth of this holy monk was most illustrious, his father Bernard being son of Charles Martel, and brother of king Pepin, so that Adalard was cousin-german to Charlemagne, by whom he was called in his youth to the court, and created count of his palace. A fear of offending God made him tremble at the sight of the dangers of forfeiting his grace, with which he was surrounded, and of the disorders which reigned in the world. Lest he should be engaged to entangle his conscience, by seeming to approve of things which he thought would endanger his salvation, he determined to forsake at once both the court and the world. His sacrifice was the more perfect and edifying, as he was endowed with the greatest personal accomplishments of mind and body for the world, and in the flower of his age; for he was only twenty years old, when, in 773, he took the monastic habit at Corbie in Picardy, a monastery that had been founded by queen Bathildes, in 662. After he had passed a year in the fervent exercises of his novitiate, he made his vows; the first employment assigned him in the monastery was that of gardener, in which, while his hands were employed in the business of his calling, his thoughts were on God and heavenly things. Out of humility, and a desire of closer retirement, he obtained leave to be removed to mount Cassino, where he hoped he should be concealed from the world; but his eminent qualifications, and the great example of his virtue, betrayed and defeated all the projects of his humility, and did not suffer him to live long unknown; he was brought back to Corbie, and some years after chosen abbot. Being obliged by Charlemagne often to attend at court, he appeared there as the first among the king's counsellors, as he is styled by Hincmar,[2] who had seen him there in 796. He was compelled by Charlemagne {078} entirely to quit his monastery, and take upon him the charge of chief minister to that prince's eldest son Pepin, who, at his death at Milan in 810, appointed the saint tutor to his son Bernard, then but twelve years of age. In this exalted and distracting station, Adalard appeared even in council recollected and attentive to God, and from his employments would hasten to his chamber, or the chapel, there to plunge his heart in the centre of its happiness. During the time of his prayers, tears usually flowed from his eyes in great abundance, especially on considering his own miseries, and his distance from God. The emperor recalled him from Milan, and deputed him to pope Leo III. to assist at the discussion of certain difficulties started relating to the clause inserted in the creed, concerning the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son. Charlemagne died in 814, on the 28th of January, having associated his son, Lewis le Débonnaire, in the empire in the foregoing September. While our saint lived in his monastery, dead to the world, intent only on heavenly things, instructing the ignorant, and feeding the poor, on whom he always exhausted his whole revenue, Lewis declared his son, Lothaire, his partner and successor in the empire, in 817: Bernard, who looked upon that dignity as his right, his father Pepin having been eldest brother to Lewis, rebelled, but lost both his kingdom and his life. Lewis was prevailed upon, by certain flatterers, to suspect our saint to have been no enemy to Bernard's pretensions, and banished him to a monastery, situated in the little island Heri, called afterwards Hermoutier, and St. Philebert's, on the coast of Aquitain. The saint's brother Wala (one of the greatest men of that age, as appears from his curious life, published by Mabillon) he obliged to become a monk at Lerins. His sister Gondrada he confined in the monastery of the Holy Cross, at Poitiers; and left only his other sister Theodrada, who was a nun, at liberty in her convent at Soissons. This exile St. Adalard regarded as his gain, and in it his tranquillity and gladness of soul met with no interruptions. The emperor at length was made sensible of his innocence, and, after five years' banishment, called him to his court towards the close of the year 821; and, by the greatest honors and favors, endeavored to make amends for the injustice he had done him. Adalard (whose soul, fixed wholly on God, was raised above all earthly things) was the same person in prosperity and adversity, in the palace as in the cell, and in every station: the distinguishing parts of his character were, an extraordinary gift of compunction and tears, the most tender charity for all men, and an undaunted zeal for the relief and protection of all the distressed. In 823, he obtained leave to return to the government of his abbey of Corbie, where he with joy frequently took upon himself the most humbling and mortifying employments of the house. By his solicitude, earnest endeavors, and powerful example, his spiritual children grew daily in fervor and divine love; and such was his zeal for their continual advancement, that he passed no week without speaking to every one of them in particular, and no day without exhorting them all in general, by pathetic and instructive discourses. The inhabitants of the country round his monastery had also a share in his pious labors, and he exhausted on the poor the revenue of his monastery, and whatever other temporal goods came to his hands, with a profusion which many condemned as excessive, but which heaven, on urgent occasions, sometimes approved by sensible miracles. The good old man would receive advice from the meanest of his monks, with an astonishing humility; when entreated by any to moderate his austerities, he frequently answered, "I will take care of your servant, that he may serve you the longer;" meaning himself. Several hospitals were erected by him. During his banishment, another Adalard, who governed the monastery by his appointment, began, upon our saint's project, to {079} prepare the foundation of the monastery of New Corbie, vulgarly called Corwey, in the diocese of Paderborn, nine leagues from that city, upon the Weser, that it might be a nursery of evangelical laborers, to the conversion and instruction of the northern nations. St. Adalard, after his return to Corbie, completed this great undertaking in 822, for which he went twice thither, and made a long stay, to settle the discipline of his colony. Corwey is an imperial abbey; its territory reaches from the bishopric of Paderborn to the duchy of Brunswick, and the abbot is one of the eleven abbots, who sit with twenty-one bishops, in the imperial diet at Ratisbon: but the chief glory of this house is derived from the learning and zeal of St. Anscharius, and many others, who erected illustrious trophies of religion in many barbarous countries. To perpetuate the regularity which he established in his two monasteries, he compiled a book of statutes for their use, of which considerable fragments are extant:[3] for the direction of courtiers in their whole conduct, he wrote an excellent book, On the Order of the Court; of which work we have only the large extracts, which Hincmar has inserted in his Instructions of king Carloman, the master-piece of that prelate's writings, for which he is indebted to our saint. A treatise on the Paschal Moon, and other works of St. Adalard, are lost. By those which we have, also by his disciples, St. Paschasius Radbertus, St. Anscharius, and others, and by the testimony of the former in his life, it is clear that our saint was an elegant and zealous promoter of literature in his monasteries: the same author assures us, that he was well skilled, and instructed the people not only in the Latin, but also in the Tudesque and vulgar French languages.[4] St. Adalard, for his eminent learning, and extraordinary spirit of prayer and compunction, was styled the Austin, the Antony, and the Jeremy of his age. Alcuin, in a letter addressed to him under the name of Antony, calls him his son;[5] whence many infer that he had been scholar to that great man. St. Adalard was returned out of Germany to Old Corbie, when he fell sick three days before Christmas: he received extreme unction some days after, which was administered by Hildemar, bishop of Beauvais, who had formerly been his disciple; the viaticum he received on the day after the feast of our Lord's circumcision, about seven o'clock in the morning, and expired the same day about three in the afternoon, in the year 827, of his age seventy-three. Upon proof of several miracles, by virtue of a commission granted by pope John XIX. (called by some XX.) the body of the saint was enshrined, and translated with great solemnity in 1040; of which ceremony we have a particular history written by St. Gerard, who also composed an office in his honor, in gratitude for having been cured of a violent headache through his intercession: the same author relates seven other miracles performed by the same means.[6] The relics of St. Adalard, except a small portion given to the abbey of Chelles, are still preserved at Corbie, in a rich shrine and two smaller cases. His name has never been inserted in the Roman Martyrology, though he is honored as principal patron in many parish churches, and by several towns on the banks of the Rhine and in the Low Countries. See his life, compiled with accuracy, in a very florid pathetic style, by way of panegyric, by his disciple Paschasius Radbertus, {080} extant in Bollandus, and more correctly in Mabillon, (Act. Ben. t. 5, p. 306, also the same abridged in a more historical style, by St. Gerard, first monk of Corbie, afterwards first abbot of Seauve-majeur in Guienne, founder by William, duke of Aquitain and count of Poitiers, in 1080. The history of the translation of the saint's body, with an account of eight miracles by the same St. Gerard, is also given us by Bollandus.)

1. It was usual among the ancient French, to add to certain words,
    syllables, or letters which they did not pronounce; as Chrodobert,
    or Rigobert, for Robert: Cloves for Louis; Clothaire for Lotharie,
2. Hinc. l. Inst. Regis, c. 12.
3. Published by D'Achery, Spicil. tom. 4, p. 1, 20.
4. From this testimony it is clear, that the French language, used by
    the common people, had then so much deviated from the Latin as to be
    esteemed a different tongue; which is also evident from Nithard, an
    officer in the army of Lewis le Débonnaire, who, in his history of
    the divisions between the sons of Lewis le Débonnaire, (published
    among the French historians by du Chesne,) gives us the original act
    of the agreement between the two brothers, Charles the Bald, and
    Lewis of Germany, at Strasburg, in 842.
5. Alcuin, Ep. 107.
6. St. Gerard, of Seauve-majeur, died on the 5th of April, 1095, and
    was canonized by C[oe]lestine III. in 1197. See his life, with an
    account of the foundation of his monastery, in Mabillon, Acts,
    Sanctorum ad S. Benedict. t. 9, p. 841.



From his valuable acts in Ruinart, p. 501. Bollandus, p. 128. See
Tillemont, T. 5. Assemani, Act Mart. Occid. T. 2, p. 106.

A.D. 311.

PETER BALSAM, a native of the territory of Eleutheropolis, in Palestine, was apprehended at Aulane, in the persecution of Maximinus. Being brought before Severus, governor of the province, the interrogatory began by asking him his name. Peter answered: "Balsam is the name of my family, but I received that of Peter in baptism." SEVERUS. "Of what family, and of what country are you?" PETER. "I am a Christian." SEVERUS. "What is your employ?" PETER. "What employ can I have more honorable, or what better thing can I do in the world, than to live a Christian?" SEVERUS. "Do you know the imperial edicts?" PETER. "I know the laws of God, the sovereign of the universe." SEVERUS. "You shall quickly know that there is an edict of the most clement emperors, commanding all to sacrifice to the gods, or be put to death." PETER. "You will also know one day that there is a law of the eternal king, proclaiming that every one shall perish, who offers sacrifice to devils: which do you counsel me to obey, and which, do you think, should be my option; to die by your sword, or to be condemned to everlasting misery, by the sentence of the great king, the true God?" SEVERUS. "Seeing you ask my advice, it is then that you obey the edict, and sacrifice to the gods." PETER. "I can never be prevailed upon to sacrifice to gods of wood and stone, as those are which you adore." SEVERUS. "I would have you know, that it is in my power to revenge these affronts by your death." PETER. "I had no intention to affront you. I only expressed what is written in the divine law." SEVERUS. "Have compassion on yourself, and sacrifice." PETER. "If I am truly compassionate to myself, I ought not to sacrifice." SEVERUS. "My desire is to use lenity; I therefore still do allow you time to consider with yourself, that you may save your life." PETER. "This delay will be to no purpose, for I shall not alter my mind; do now what you will be obliged to do soon, and complete the work, which the devil, your father, has begun; for I will never do what Jesus Christ forbids me."

Severus, on hearing these words, ordered him to be hoisted on the rack, and while he was suspended in the air, said to him scoffing: "What say you now, Peter; do you begin to know what the rack is? Are you yet willing to sacrifice?" Peter answered: "Tear me with iron hooks, and talk not of my sacrificing to your devils: I have already told you, that I will sacrifice to that God alone for whom I suffer." Hereupon the governor {081} commanded his tortures to be redoubled. The martyr, far from fetching the least sigh, sung with alacrity those verses of the royal prophet: One thing I have asked of the Lord; this will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.[1] I will take the chalice of salvation, and will call upon the name of the Lord.[2] The governor called forth fresh executioners to relieve the first, now fatigued. The spectators, seeing the martyr's blood run down in streams, cried out to him: "Obey the emperors: sacrifice, and rescue yourself from these torments." Peter replied: "Do you call these torments? I, for my part, feel no pain: but this I know, that if I am not faithful to my God, I must expect real pains, such as cannot be conceived." The judge also said: "Sacrifice, Peter Balsam, or you will repent it." PETER. "Neither will I sacrifice, nor shall I repent it." SEVERUS. "I am just ready to pronounce sentence." PETER. "It is what I most earnestly desire." Severus then dictated the sentence in this manner: "It is our order, that Peter Balsam, for having refused to obey the edict of the invincible emperors, and having contemned our commands, after obstinately defending the law of a man crucified, be himself nailed to a cross." Thus it was that this glorious martyr finished his triumph, at Aulane, on the 3d of January, which day he is honored in the Roman Martyrology, and that of Bede.

* * * * *

In the example of the martyrs we see, that religion alone inspires true constancy and heroism, and affords solid comfort and joy amidst the most terrifying dangers, calamities, and torments. It spreads a calm throughout a man's whole life, and consoles at all times. He that is united to God, rests in omnipotence, and in wisdom and goodness; he is reconciled with the world whether it frowns or flatters, and with himself. The interior peace which he enjoys, is the foundation of happiness, and the delights which innocence and virtue bring, abundantly compensate the loss of the base pleasures of vice. Death itself, so terrible to the worldly man, is the saint's crown, and completes his joy and his bliss.

Footnotes: 1. Ps. xxvi. 4. 2. Ps. cxv. 4.


HE succeeded St. Pontianus in 235. He sat only one month and ten days, and is styled a martyr by Bede, Ado, and the present Roman Martyrology. See Card. d'Aguirre, Conc. Hispan. T. 3. In the martyrology called S. Jerom's, kept at S. Cyriacus's, it is said that he was buried on the Appian road, in the Paraphagene, where the cemetery of Calixtus was afterwards erected.


MARTYRED at Cæsarea, in Cappadocia, was a centurion to the army, but retired to the deserts when the persecution was first raised by Dioclesian. The desire of shedding his blood for Christ made him quit his solitude, while the people of that city were assembled to the Circus[1] to solemnize public games in honor of Mars. His attenuated body, long beard and hair and ragged clothes, drew on him the eyes of the whole assembly; yet, with this strange garb and mien, the graceful air of majesty that appeared in his {082} countenance commanded veneration. Being examined by the governor, and loudly confessing his faith, he was condemned to be beheaded. Having fortified himself by the sign of the cross,[2] he joyfully received the deadly blow. St. Basil, on this festival, pronounced his panegyric at Cæsarea, in which he says, several of his audience had been eye-witnesses of the martyr's triumph. Hom. 17, t. 1.

Footnotes: 1. The Circus was a ring, or large place, wherein the people sat and saw the public games. 2. [Greek: Heautou ton tupon tou staurou perigrapsas.] St. Basil, t. 1, p. 452.


HER father's name was Severus, and her mother's Gerontia: she was born about the year 422, at Nanterre, a small village four miles from Paris, near the famous modern stations, or Calvary, adorned with excellent sculptures, representing our Lord's Passion, on Mount Valerien. When St. Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, went with St. Lupus into Britain to oppose the Pelagian heresy, he lay at Nanterre in his way. The inhabitants flocked about them to receive their blessing, and St. Germanus made them an exhortation, during which he took particular notice of Genevieve, though only seven years of age. After his discourse he inquired for her parents, and addressing himself to them, foretold their daughter's future sanctity, and said that she would perfectly accomplish the resolution she had taken of serving God, and that others would imitate her example. He then asked Genevieve whether it was not her desire to serve God in a state of perpetual virginity, and to bear no other title than that of a spouse of Jesus Christ. The virgin answered, that this was what she had long desired, and begged that by his blessing she might be from that moment consecrated to God. The holy prelate went to the church of the place, followed by the people, and, during long singing of psalms and prayers, says Constantius,[1]—that is, during the recital of None and Vespers,[2] as the author of the life of St. Genevieve expresses it,[3] he held his hand upon the virgin's head. After he had supped, he dismissed her, giving a strict charge to her parents to bring her again to him very early the next morning. The father complied with the commission, and St. Germanus asked Genevieve whether she remembered the promise she had made to God. She said she did, and declared she would, by the divine assistance, faithfully perform it. The bishop gave her a brass medal, on which a cross was engraved, to wear always about her neck, to put her in mind of the consecration she had made of herself to God; and at the same time, he charged her never to wear bracelets, or necklaces of pearls, gold, or silver, or any other ornaments of vanity. All this she most religiously observed, and considering herself as the spouse of Christ, gave herself up to the most fervent practices of devotion and penance. From the words of St. Germanus, in his exhortation to St. Genevieve never to wear jewels, Baillet and some others infer, that she must have been a person of quality and fortune; but the ancient Breviary and constant tradition of the place assure us, that her father was a poor shepherd. Adrian, Valois, and Baluze, observe, that her most ancient life ought not to be esteemed of irrefragable authority, and that the words of St. Germanus are {083} not perhaps related with a scrupulous fidelity.[4] The author of her life tells us, that the holy virgin begging one day with great importunity that she might go to the church, her mother struck her on the face, but in punishment lost her sight, which she only recovered, two months after, by washing her eyes twice or thrice with water which her daughter fetched from the well, and upon which she had made the sign of the cross. Hence the people look upon the well at Nanterre as having been blessed by the saint. About fifteen years of age, she was presented to the bishop of Paris to receive the religious veil at his hands, together with two other persons of the same sex. Though she was the youngest of the three, the bishop placed her the first, saying, that heaven had already sanctified her; by which he seems to have alluded to the promise she had already made, in the presence of SS. Germanus and Lupus, of consecrating herself to God. From that time she frequently ate only twice in the week, on Sundays and Thursdays. Her food was barley bread with a few beans. At the age of fifty, by the command of certain bishops, she mitigated this austerity, so far as to allow herself a moderate use of fish and milk. Her prayer was almost continual, and generally attended with a large flow of tears. After the death of her parents she left Nanterre, and settled with her god-mother at Paris; but sometimes undertook journeys upon motives of charity, and illustrated the cities of Meaux, Leon, Tours, Orleans, and all other places wherever she went, with miracles and remarkable predictions. God permitted her to meet with some severe trials; for at a certain time all persons indiscriminately seemed to be in a combination against her, and persecuted her under the opprobrious names of visionary, hypocrite, and the like imputations, all tending to asperse her innocency. The arrival of St. Germanus at Paris, probably on his second journey to Britain, for some time silenced her calumniators; but it was not long ere the storm broke out anew. Her enemies were fully determined to drown her, when the archdeacon of Auxerre arrived with Eulogies, or blessed bread, sent her by St. Germanus, as a testimony of his particular esteem for her virtues, and a token of communion. This seems to have happened while St. Germanus was absent in Italy in 449, a little before his death. This circumstance, so providentially opportune, converted the prejudices of her calumniators into a singular veneration for her during the remainder of her life. The Franks or French had then possessed themselves of the better part of Gaul; and Childeric, their king, took Paris.[5] During the long blockade of that city, the citizens being extremely distressed by famine, St. Genevieve, as the author of her life relates, went out at the head of a company who were sent to procure provisions, and brought back from Arcis-sur-Aube and Troyes several boats laden with corn. Nevertheless, Childeric, when he had made himself master of Paris, though always a pagan, respected St. Genevieve, and, upon her intercession, spared the lives of many prisoners, and did several other acts of clemency and bounty. Our saint, out of her singular devotion to St. Dionysius and his companions, the apostles of the country, frequently visited their tombs at the borough of Catulliacum, which many think the borough since called Saint Denys's. She also excited the zeal of many pious persons to build there a church in {084} honor of St. Dionysius, which King Dagobert I. afterwards rebuilt with a stately monastery in 629.[6] Saint Genevieve likewise performed several pilgrimages, in company with other holy virgins, to the shrine of St. Martin at Tours. These journeys of devotion she sanctified by the exercise of holy recollection and austere penance. King Clovis, who embraced the faith in 496, listened often with deference to the advice of St. Genevieve, and granted liberty to several captives at her request. Upon the report of the march of Attila with his army of Huns, the Parisians were preparing to abandon their city, but St. Genevieve persuaded them, in imitation of Judith and Hester, to endeavor to avert the scourge, by fasting, watching, and prayer. Many devout persons of her sex passed many days with her in prayer in the baptistery; from whence the particular devotion to St. Genevieve, which is practised at St. John-le-rond, the ancient public baptistery of the church of Paris, seems to have taken rise. She assured the people of the protection of heaven, and their deliverance; and though she was long treated by many as an impostor, the event verified the prediction, that barbarian suddenly changing the course of his march, probably by directing it towards Orleans. Our author attributes to St. Genevieve the first design of the magnificent church which Clovis began to build in honor of SS. Peter and Paul, by the pious counsel of his wife Saint Clotilda, by whom it was finished several years after; for he only laid the foundation a little before his death, which happened in 511.[7] St. Genevieve died about the same year, probably five weeks after that prince, on the 3d of January, 512, being eighty-nine years old. Some think she died before King Clovis. Prudentius, bishop of Paris, had been buried about the year 409, on the spot where this church was built. Clovis was interred in it: his remains were afterwards removed into the middle of the choir, where they are covered with a modern monument of white marble, with an inscription. St. Clotilda was buried near the steps of the high altar in 545; but her name having been enrolled among the saints, her relics were enshrined, and are placed behind the high altar. Those of St. Alda, the companion of St. Genevieve, and of St. Ceraunus, bishop of Paris, are placed in silver shrines on the altar of S. Clotilda. The tombs of St. Genevieve and King Clovis were near together. Immediately after the saint was buried, the people raised an oratory of wood over her tomb, as her historian assures us, and this was soon changed into the stately church built under the invocation of SS. Peter and Paul. From this circumstance, we gather that her tomb was situated in a part of this church, which was only built after her death. Her tomb, though empty, is still shown in the subterraneous church, or vault, betwixt those of Prudentius, and St. Ceraunus, bishop of Paris. But her relics were enclosed, by St. {085} Eligius, in a costly shrine, adorned with gold and silver, which he made with his own hands about the year 630, as St. Owen relates in his life. In 845 these relics, for fear of the Normans, were removed to Atis, and thence to Dravel, where the abbot of the canons kept a tooth for his own church. In 850 they were carried to Marisy, near Ferté-Milon, and five years after brought back to Paris. The author of the original life of St. Genevieve concludes it by a description of the Basilick which Clovis and St. Clotilda erected, adorned with a triple portico, in which were painted the histories of the patriarchs, prophets, martyrs, and confessors. This church was several times plundered, and at length burnt, by the Normans. When it was rebuilt, soon after the year 856, the relics of St. Genevieve were brought back. The miracles which were performed there from the time of her burial, rendered this church famous over all France, so that at length it began to be known only by her name. The city of Paris has frequently received sensible proofs of the divine protection, through her intercession. The most famous instance is that called the miracle of Des Ardens, or of the burning fever. In 1129, in the reign of Louis VI., a pestilential fever, with a violent inward heat, and pains in the bowels, swept off, in a short time, fourteen thousand persons; nor could the art of physicians afford any relief. Stephen, bishop of Paris, with the clergy and people, implored the divine mercy, by fasting and supplications. Yet the distemper began not to abate till the shrine of St. Genevieve was carried in a solemn procession to the cathedral. During that ceremony many sick persons were cured by touching the shrine; and of all that then lay ill of that distemper in the whole town, only three died, the rest recovered, and no others fell ill. Pope Innocent II. coming to Paris the year following, after having passed a careful scrutiny on the miracle, ordered an annual festival in commemoration of it on the 26th of November, which is still kept at Paris. A chapel near the cathedral, called anciently St. Genevieve's the Little, erected near the house in which she died, afterward, from this miracle, (though it was wrought not at this chapel, but chiefly at the cathedral, as Le Beuf demonstrates,) was called St. Genevieve des Ardens, which was demolished in 1747, to make place for the Foundling Hospital.[8] Both before and since that time, it is the custom, in extraordinary public calamities, to carry the shrine of St. Genevieve, accompanied with those of St. Marcel, St. Aurea, St. Lucan, martyr, St. Landry, St. Merry, St. Paxentius, St. Magloire, and others, in a solemn procession to the cathedral; on which occasion the regular canons of St. Genevieve walk barefoot, and at the right hand of the chapter of the cathedral, and the abbot walks on the right hand of the archbishop. The present rich shrine of St. Genevieve was made by the abbot, and the relics enclosed in it in 1242. It is said that one hundred and ninety-three marks of silver, and eight of gold, were used in making it; and it is almost covered with precious stones, most of which are the presents of several kings and queens. The crown or cluster of diamonds which glitters on the top, was given by Queen Mary of Medicis. The shrine is placed behind the choir, upon a fine piece of architecture, supported by four high pillars, two of marble, and two of jaspis.[9] See the Ancient Life of St. Genevieve, written by an anonymous author, eighteen years after her death, of which the best edition is given by F. Charpentier, a Genevevan regular canon, in octavo, in 1697. It is interpolated in several editions. Bollandus has added another more modern life; see also Tillemont, t. 16, p. 621, and notes, ib. p. 802. Likewise, Gallia Christiana Nova, t. 7, p. 700.

1. Constant. in vit. S. Germani. Altiss. l. 1, c. 20.
2. Nonam atque duodecim. It deserves the attention of clergymen, that
    though anciently the canonical hours were punctually observed in the
    divine office, SS. Germanus and Lupus deferred None beyond the hour,
    that they might recite it in the church, rather than on the road.
    The word duodecima used for Vespers, is a clear demonstration that
    the canonical hour of Vespers was not five, but six o'clock,—which,
    about the equinox, was the twelfth hour of the natural day: which
    is also proved from the name of the Ferial hymn at Vespers, Jam ter
, &c. See Card. Bona, de div. Psalmodia, &c.
3. Apud Bolland.
4. See Piganiol, Descrip. de Paris, t. 8, v. Nanterre.
5. Paris was called by the Romans the castle of the Parisians, being by
    its situation one of the strongest fortresses in Gaul; for at that
    time it was confined to the island of the river Seine, now called
    the Isle du Palais, and the City: though the limits of the city
    are now extended somewhat beyond that island, it is the smallest
    part of the town. This isle was only accessible over two wooden
    bridges, each of which was defended by a castle, which were
    afterwards called the Great and Little Chatelet. (See Lobineau.
    Hist. de la Ville de Paris, t. l, l. 1.) The greatest part of the
    neighboring country was covered with thick woods. The Roman
    governors built a palace without the island, (now in Rue de
    l'Harpe,) which Julian, the Apostate, while he commanded in Gaul,
    exceedingly embellished, furnished with water by a curious aqueduct,
    and, for the security of his own person, contrived a subterraneous
    passage from the palace to the castle or Great Chatelet; of all
    which works certain vestiges are to be seen at this day.
6. Some think that Catualliacum was rather Montmartre than St. Denys's,
    and that the church built there in the time of St. Genevieve stood
    near the bottom of the mountain, because it is said in her life to
    have been at the place where St. Dionysius suffered martyrdom; and
    it is added, that she often visited the place, attended by many
    virgins, watched there every Saturday night in prayer, and that one
    night when she was going thither with her companions in the rain,
    and through very dirty roads, the lamp that was carried before her
    was extinguished, but lighted again upon her taking it into her own
    hands: all which circumstances seem not to agree to a place two
    leagues distant, like St. Denys's.
7. The author of the life of St. Bathildes testifies, that Clovis built
    this church for the use of monks; which Mabillon confirms by other
    proofs, (Op. Posth. t. 2, p. 356.) He doubts not but it continued in
    their hands, till being burnt by the Normans in 856 (as appears from
    Stephen of Tournay, ep. 146,) it was soon after rebuilt, and given
    to secular canons. These, in punishment of a sedition, were expelled
    by the authority of Eugenius III., and Suger, abbot of St. Denys's,
    and prime minister to Lewis VII., or the Young, in 1148, who
    introduced into this church twelve regular canons of the order of
    St. Austin, chosen out of St. Victor's abbey, which had been erected
    about forty years before, and was then most famous for many great
    men, the austerity of its rule, and the piety and learning which
    flourished in it. Cardinal Francis Rochefoucault, the history of
    whose most edifying life and great actions will be a model of all
    pastoral virtues to all ages to come, having established an
    excellent reformation in the abbey of St. Vincent, at regular
    canons, at Senlis, when he was bishop of that see, being nominated
    abbot of St. Genevieve's by Lewis XIII., called from St. Vincent's
    F. Charles Faure, and twelve others, in 1624, and by their means
    introduced the same reformation in this monastery, which was
    confirmed in 1634, when F. Faure was chosen abbot coadjutor to the
    cardinal. He died in odor of sanctity in 667, the good cardinal
    having passed to a better life in 1645.
8. De Miraculo Ardentium. See Anonym. ap. Bolland. et Brev. Paris. ad
    26 Nov.
9. See Piganiol, Descr. de Paris, t. 5, p. 238, et Le Fevre Calendrier
    Hist. de l'Eglise de Paris, Nov 26, et Jan. 3. Gallia Christian.
    Nova, t. 7, p. 700. Le Beuf l. 2, p. 95, et l. 1, p. 387.




See St. Paul, ep. ad Tit. and 1 and 2 ad Cor.; also, Tillemont T. 2,
Calmet, T. 8, Le Quien Oriens Christianus, T. 2, p. 256. F. Farlat
Illyrici sacri. T. 1, p. 354 ad 392.

ST. TITUS was born a Gentile, and seems to have been converted by St. Paul, who calls him his son in Christ. His extraordinary virtue and merit gained him the particular esteem and affection of this apostle; for we find him employed as his secretary and interpreter; and he styles him his brother, and copartner in his labors; commends exceedingly his solicitude and zeal for the salvation of his brethren,[1] and in the tenderest manner expresses the comfort and support he found in him,[2] insomuch, that, on a certain occasion, he declared that he found no rest in his spirit, because at Troas he had not met Titus.[3] In the year 51, he accompanied him to the council that was held at Jerusalem, on the subject of the Mosaic rites. Though the apostle had consented to the circumcision of Timothy, in order to render his ministry acceptable among the Jews, he would not allow the same in Titus, apprehensive of giving thereby a sanction to the error of certain false brethren, who contended that the ceremonial institutes of the Mosaic law were not abolished by the law of grace. Towards the close of the year 56, St. Paul sent Titus from Ephesus to Corinth, with full commission to remedy the several subjects of scandal, as also to allay the dissensions in that church. He was there received with great testimonies of respect, and was perfectly satisfied with regard to the penance and submission of the offenders; but could not be prevailed upon to accept from them any present, not even so much as his own maintenance. His love for that church was very considerable, and at their request he interceded with St. Paul for the pardon of the incestuous man. He was sent the same year by the apostle a second time to Corinth, to prepare the alms that church designed for the poor Christians at Jerusalem. All these particulars we learn from St. Paul's two epistles to the Corinthians.

St. Paul, after his first imprisonment, returning from Rome into the east, made some stay in the island of Crete, to preach there the faith of Jesus Christ: but the necessities of other churches requiring his presence elsewhere, he ordained his beloved disciple Titus bishop of that island, and left him to finish the work he had successfully begun. "We may form a judgment," says St. Chrysostom,[4] "from the importance of the charge, how great the esteem of St. Paul was for his disciple." But finding the loss of such a companion too material, at his return into Europe the year after, the apostle ordered him to meet him at Nicopolis in Epirus, where he intended to pass the winter, and to set out for that place as soon as either Tychichus, or Arthemas, whom he had sent to supply his place during his absence, should arrive in Crete. St. Paul sent these instructions to Titus, in the canonical epistle addressed to him, when on his Journey to Nicopolis, in autumn, in the year 64. He ordered him to establish Priests,[5] that is, {087} bishops, as St. Jerom, St. Chrysostom, and Theodoret expound it, in all the cities of the island. He sums up the principal qualities necessary for a bishop, and gives him particular advice touching his own conduct to his flock, exhorting him to hold to strictness of discipline, but seasoned with lenity. This epistle contains the rule of episcopal life, and as such, we may regard it as faithfully copied in the life of this disciple. In the year 65, we find him sent by St. Paul to preach in Dalmatia.[6] He again returned to Crete, and settled the faith in that and the adjacent little island. All that can be affirmed further of him is, that he finished a laborious and holy life by a happy death in Crete, in a very advanced old age, some affirm in the ninety-fourth year of his age. The body of St. Titus was kept with great veneration in the cathedral of Gortyna, the ruins of which city, the ancient metropolis of the island, situated six miles from mount Ida, are still very remarkable. This city being destroyed by the Saracens in 823, these relics could never since be discovered: only the head of our saint was conveyed safe to Venice, and is venerated in the Ducal basilica of St. Mark (See Creta Sacra, Auctore Flaminio Cornelio, Senatore Veneto. Venetiis, anno 1755, de S. Tito, T. 1, p. 189, 195.) St. Titus has been looked upon in Crete as the first archbishop of Gortyna, which metropolitical see is fixed at Candia, since this new metropolis was built by the Saracens. The cathedral of the city of Candia, which now gives its name to the whole island, bears his name. The Turks leave this church in the hands of the Christians. The city of Candia was built in the ninth century, seventeen miles from the ancient Gortyn or Gortyna. Under the metropolitan of Candia, there are at present in this island eleven suffragan bishops of the Greek communion.

When St. Paul assumed Titus to the ministry, this disciple was already a saint, and the apostle found in him all the conditions which he charged him so severely to require in those whom he should honor with the pastoral charge. It is an illusion of false zeal, and a temptation of the enemy, for young novices to begin to teach before they have learned themselves how to practise. Young birds, which leave their nests before they are able to fly, are sure to perish. Trees which push forth their buds before the season, yield no fruit, the flowers being either nipped by the frost, or destroyed by the sun. So those who give themselves up to the exterior employments of the ministry, before they are thoroughly grounded in the spirit of the gospel, strain their tender interior virtue, and produce only unclean or tainted fruit. All who undertake the pastoral charge, besides a thorough acquaintance with the divine law, and the maxims and spirit of the gospel, and experience, discretion, and a knowledge of the heart of man, or his passions, must have seriously endeavored to die to themselves by the habitual practice of self-denial, and a rooted humility; and must have been so well exercised in holy contemplation, as to retain that habitual disposition of soul amidst exterior employments, and in them to be able still to say, I sleep, and my heart watches;[7] that is, I sleep to all earthly things, and am awake only to my heavenly friend and spouse, being absorbed in the thoughts and desires of the most ardent love.

1. 2 Cor. viii. 16, xii. 18.
2. 2 Cor. vii. 6, 7.
3. 2 Cor. xi. 13.
4. Hom. i. in Tit.
5. [Greek: Presbuterous], Tit. i. 5. See the learned Dr. Hammond's
    dissertation on this subject. From the words of St. Paul, Tit. i. De
    Marca de Concord. l. 1, c. 3, n. 2. and Schelstrate, T. 2, Ant.
    Eccl. Diss. 4, c. 2 prove archbishops to be of apostolic
6. St. Titus certainly preached in Dalmatia, 2 Tim. iv. 10, &c. He is
    honored in that country as its principal apostle, on which see the
    learned Jesuit F. Fariat, Illyrici Sacr. T. i. p. 355. Saint
    Domnius, who is honored among the saints on the 7th of May, is said
    to have been ordained by him first bishop of Salona, then the
    metropolis, which see was afterwards translated to Spalatro.
7. Cant. v.



HE was one of the principal senators of Autun, and continued from the death of his wife a widower till the age of fifty-seven, at which time, for his singular virtues, he was compelled from his private penitential life, and consecrated bishop of Langres, which see he governed with admirable prudence and zeal thirty-three years, sanctifying his pastoral labors by the most profound humility, assiduous prayer, and extraordinary abstinence and mortification. An incredible number of infidels were converted by him from idolatry, and worldly Christians from their disorders. He died about the beginning of the year 541, but some days after the Epiphany. Out of devotion to St. Benignus, he desired to be buried near that saint's tomb at Dijon, which town was then in the diocese of Langres, and had often been the place of his residence. This was executed by his virtuous son Tetricus—who succeeded him in his bishopric. The 4th of January seems to have been the day of the translation of his relics. He is mentioned in the Roman Martyrology. See his miracles recorded by St. Gregory of Tours. Vit. Patr. c. 7. Hist. Franc. l. 3, c. 15, 19. Cointe Annal. et Gall. Christ.


HE was abbot of Orbais, afterwards bishop of Rheims, was favored with the gift of miracles, and suffered an unjust banishment under Charles Martel. He was recalled by Pepin, but finding Milo in possession of his see, retired to Gernicour, a village four or five leagues from Rheims, where he led a retired life in the exercises of penance and prayer. He died about the year 750, and was buried in the church of St. Peter at Gernicour, which he had built. Hincmar, the fifth bishop from him, translated his relics to the abbey of St. Theodoric, and nine years after, to the church of St. Dionysius at Rheims. Fulco, Hincmar's successor, removed them into the metropolitan church of our lady, in which the greater part is preserved in a rich shrine; but a portion is kept in the church of St. Dionysius there, and another portion in the cathedral of Paris, where a chapel bears his name. See his anonymous life in Bollandus; also Flodoard, l. 2. Hist. Rhemens. &c.


WILLIAM of Malmesbury informs us, that the history of his life was destroyed by the wars, which has also happened in other parts of England. He was a bishop, though it is not known of what see. His veneration was famous at Tavistock, in Devonshire, where Ordulf, earl of Devonshire, built a church under his invocation, before the year 960. Wilson, upon informations given him by certain persons of that country, inserted his name on this day; in the second edition of his English Martyrology. See Malmesb. l. 2. De gestis Pont. Angl. in Cridiensibus.




From the account given of him by Theodoret, one of the most judicious and most learned prelates of the church, who lived in the same country, and often visited him; this account was written sixteen years before the saint's death. Also from St. Simeon's life written by Antony, his disciple, published genuine in Bollandus, and the same in Chaldaic by Cosmas, a priest; all three contemporaries and eye-witnesses. This work of Cosmas has been lately published by Monsignor Stephen Assemani,[1] from a Chaldaic MS, which he proves to have been written in the year 474, fifteen years only after the death of St. Simeon. Also from the ancient lives of SS. Euthyinius, Theodosius, Auxentius, and Daniel Stylites. Evagrius, Theodorus Lector, and other most faithful writers of that and the following age, mention the most wonderful actions of this saint. The severest critics do not object to this history, in which so many contemporary writers, several of them eye-witnesses, agree; persons of undoubted veracity, virtue, and sagacity, who could not have conspired in a falsehood, nor could have imposed upon the world facts, which were of their own nature public and notorious. See Tillemont, T. 14.

A.D. 459.

ST. SIMEON was, in his life and conduct, a subject of astonishment, not only to the whole Roman empire, but also to many barbarous and infidel nations. The Persians, Medes, Saracens, Ethiopians, Iberians, and Scythians, had the highest veneration for him. The kings of Persia thought his benediction a great happiness. The Roman emperors solicited his prayers, and consulted him on matters of the greatest importance. It must, nevertheless, be acknowledged, that his most remarkable actions, how instrumental soever they might be to this universal veneration and regard for him, are a subject of admiration, not of imitation. They may serve, notwithstanding, to our spiritual edification and improvement in virtue; as we cannot well reflect on his fervor, without condemning and being confounded at our own indolence in the service of God.

St. Simeon was son to a poor shepherd in Cilicia, on the borders of Syria, and at first kept his father's sheep. Being only thirteen years of age, he was much moved by hearing the beatitudes one day read in the church, particularly these: Blessed are they that mourn; blessed are the clean of heart. The youth addressed himself to a certain old man, to learn the meaning of those words; and begged to know how the happiness they promised was to be obtained. He told him that continual prayer, watching, fasting, weeping, humiliation, and patient suffering of persecutions, were pointed out by those texts as the road to true happiness; and that a solitary life afforded the best opportunities for enforcing the practice of these good works, and establishing a man in solid virtue. Simeon, upon this, withdrew to a small distance, where, falling prostrate upon the ground, he besought Him, who desires all may be saved, to conduct him in the paths which lead to happiness and perfection; to the pursuit of which, under the help of his divine grace, he unreservedly from that moment devoted himself. At length, falling into a slumber, he was favored with a vision, which it was usual with him afterward to relate.. He seemed to himself to be digging a pit for the foundation of a house, and that, as often as he stopped for taking a little breath, which was four times, he was commanded each time to dig deeper, till at length he was told he might desist, the pit being deep enough to receive the intended foundation, on which he would be able to raise a superstructure of what kind, and to what height he pleased. "The event," says Theodoret, "verified the prediction; the actions of this wonderful man were so superior {090} to nature, that they might well require the deepest foundation of humility and fervor whereon to raise and establish them."

Rising from the ground, he repaired {"here paired" in the original text} to a monastery in that neighborhood under the direction of a holy abbot, called Timothy, and lay prostrate at the gate for several days, without either eating or drinking; begging to be admitted on the footing of the lowest servant in the house, and as a general drudge. His petition was granted, and he complied with the terms of it with great fervor and affection for four months. During this time he learned the Psalter by heart, the first task enjoined the novices; and his familiarity with the sacred oracles it contains, greatly helped to nourish his soul in a spiritual life. Though yet in his tender youth, he practised all the austerities of the house; and, by his humility and charity, gained the good-will of all the monks. Having here spent two years, he removed to the monastery of Heliodorus, a person endowed with an admirable spirit of prayer; and who, being then sixty-five years of age, had spent sixty-two of them in that community, so abstracted from the world, as to be utterly ignorant of the most obvious things in it, as Theodoret relates, who was intimately acquainted with him. Here Simeon much increased his mortifications; for whereas those monks ate but once a day, which was towards night, he, for his part, made but one meal a week, which was on Sundays. These rigors, however, he moderated at the interposition of his superior's authority, and from that time was more private in his mortifications. With this view, judging the rough rope of the well, made of twisted palm-tree leaves, a proper instrument of penance, he tied it close about his naked body, where it remained unknown both to the community and his superior, till such time as it having eat into his flesh, what he had privately done was discovered by the stench proceeding from the wound. Three days successively his clothes, which clung to it, were to be softened with liquids, to disengage them; and the incisions of the physician, to cut the cord out of his body, were attended with such anguish and pain, that he lay for some time as dead. On his recovery, the abbot, to prevent the ill consequences such a dangerous singularity might occasion, to the prejudice of uniformity in monastic discipline, dismissed him.

After this he repaired to a hermitage, at the foot of mount Telnescin, or Thelanissa, where he came to a resolution of passing the whole forty days of Lent in a total abstinence, after the example of Christ, without either eating or drinking. Bassus, a holy priest, and abbot of two hundred monks, who was his director, and to whom he had communicated his design, had left with him ten loaves and water, that he might eat if he found it necessary. At the expiration of the forty days he came to visit him, and found the loaves and water untouched, but Simeon stretched out on the ground, almost without any signs of life. Taking a sponge, he moistened his lips with water, then gave him the blessed Eucharist. Simeon, having recovered a little, rose up, and chewed and swallowed by degrees a few lettuce-leaves, and other herbs. This was his method of keeping Lent during the remainder of his life; and he had actually passed twenty-six Lents after this manner, when Theodoret wrote his account of him; in which are these other particulars, that he spent the first part of Lent in praising God standing; growing weaker, he continued his prayer sitting; and towards the end, finding his spirits almost quite exhausted, not able to support himself in any other posture, he lay on the ground. However, it is probable, that in his advanced years he admitted some mitigation of this wonderful austerity. When on his pillar, he kept himself, during this fast, tied to a pole; but at length was able to fast the whole term, without any support. Many attribute this to the strength of his constitution, which was naturally very {091} robust, and had been gradually habituated to such an extraordinary abstinence. It is well known that the hot eastern climates afford surprising instances of long abstinence among the Indians.[2] A native of France has, within our memory, fasted the forty days of Lent almost in that manner.[3] But few examples occur of persons fasting upwards of three or six days, unless prepared and inured by habit.

After three years spent in this hermitage, the saint removed to the top of the same mountain, where, throwing together some loose stones, in the form of a wall, he made for himself an enclosure, but without any roof or shelter to protect him from the inclemencies of the weather; and to confirm his resolution of pursuing this manner of life, he fastened his right leg to a rock with a great iron chain. Meletius, vicar to the patriarch of Antioch, told him, that a firm will, supported by God's grace, was sufficient to make him abide in his solitary enclosure, without having recourse to any bodily restraint: hereupon the obedient servant of God sent for a smith, and had his chain knocked off.

The mountain began to be continually thronged, and the retreat his soul so much sighed after, to be interrupted by the multitudes that flocked, even from remote and infidel countries, to receive his benediction; by which many sick recovered their health. Some were not satisfied unless they also touched him. The saint, to remove these causes of distraction, projected for himself a new and unprecedented manner of life. In 423, he erected a pillar six cubits high, and on it he dwelt four years; on a second twelve cubits high, he lived three years; on a third, twenty-two cubits high, ten years: and on a fourth, forty cubits high, built for him by the people, he spent the last twenty years of his life. Thus he lived thirty-seven years on pillars, and was called Stylites, from the Greek word Stylos, which signifies a pillar. This singularity was at first censured by all, as a mark of vanity or extravagance. To make trial of his humility, an order was sent him, in the name of the neighboring bishops and abbots, to quit his pillar and new manner of life. The saint, ready to obey the summons, was for stepping down: which the messenger seeing, said, that as he had shown a willingness to obey, it was their desire that he might follow his vocation in God. His pillar exceeded not three feet in diameter on the top, which made it impossible for him to lie extended on it; neither would he allow a seat. He only stooped, or leaned, to take a little rest, and often in the day bowed his body in prayer. A certain person once reckoned one thousand two hundred and forty-four such reverences of adoration made by him in one day. He made exhortations to the people twice a day. His garments were the skins of beasts, and he wore an iron collar about his neck. He never suffered any woman to come within the enclosure where his pillar stood. His disciple Antony mentions, that he prayed most fervently for the soul of his mother after her decease.

God is sometimes pleased to conduct certain fervent souls through extraordinary paths, in which others would find only dangers of illusion, vanity, and self-will, which we cannot sufficiently guard ourselves against. We should notwithstanding consider, that the sanctity of these fervent souls does not consist in such wonderful actions, or miracles, but in the perfection of their unfeigned charity, patience, and humility; and it was the exercise {092} of these solid virtues that rendered so conspicuous the life of this saint; these virtues he nourished and greatly increased, by fervent and assiduous prayer. He exhorted people vehemently against the horrible custom of swearing, as also, to observe strict justice, to take no usury, to be assiduous at church and in holy prayer, and to pray for the salvation of souls. The great deference paid to his instructions, even by barbarians, is not to be expressed. Many Persians, Armenians, and Iberians, with the entire nation of the Lazi in Colchis, were converted by his miracles and discourses, which they crowded to hear. Princes and queens of the Arabians came to receive his blessing. Vararanes V. king of Persia, though a cruel persecutor, respected him. The emperors Theodosius the younger, and Leo, often consulted him, and desired his prayers. The emperor Marcian visited him, disguised in the dress of a private man. By his advice the empress Eudoxia abandoned the Eutychian party a little before her death. His miracles and predictions are mentioned at large in Theodoret and others. By an invincible patience he bore all afflictions, austerities, and rebukes, without ever mentioning them. He long concealed a horrible ulcer in his foot, swarming with maggots. He always sincerely looked upon, and treated himself, as the outcast of the world, and the last of sinners; and he spoke to all with the most engaging sweetness and charity. Domnus, patriarch of Antioch, administered unto him the holy communion on his pillar: undoubtedly he often received that benefit from others. In 459, according to Cosmas, on a Wednesday, the 2d of September, this incomparable penitent, bowing on a pillar, as if intent on prayer, gave up the ghost, in the sixty-ninth year of his age. On the Friday following his corpse was conveyed to Antioch, attended by the bishops and the whole country. Many miracles, related by Evagrius,[4] Antony, and Cosmas, were wrought on occasion; and the people immediately, over all the East, kept his festival with great solemnity.[5]

The extraordinary manner of life which this saint led, is a proof of the fervor with which he sought to live in the most perfect sequestration from creatures, and union with God and heaven. The most perfect accomplishment of the Divine Will was his only view, and the sole object of his desires; whence upon the least intimation of an order from a superior, he was ready to leave his pillar; nor did he consider this undertaking as any thing great or singular, by which he should appear distinguished from others. By humility he looked upon himself as justly banished from among men and hidden from the world in Christ. No one is to practise or aspire after virtue or perfection upon a motive of greatness, or of being exalted by it. This would be to fall into the snare of pride, which is to be feared under the cloak of sanctity itself. The foundation of Christian perfection is a love of humiliation, a sincere spirit of humility. The heroic practice of virtue must be undertaken, not because it is a sublime and elevated state, but because God calls us to it, and by it we do his will, and become pleasing to him. The path of the cross, or of contempt, poverty, and sufferings, was chosen {093} by the Father for his divine Son, to repair his glory, and restore to man the spiritual advantages of which sin had robbed him. And the more perfectly we walk in his spirit, by the love and esteem of his cross, the greater share shall we possess in its incomparable advantages. Those who in the practice of virtue prefer great or singular actions, because they appear more shining, whatever pretexts of a more heroic virtue, or of greater utility to others they allege, are the dupes of a secret pride, and follow the corrupt inclinations of their own heart, while they affect the language of the saints. We are called to follow Christ by bearing our crosses after him, leading at least in spirit a hidden life, always trembling in a deep sense of our frailty, and humbled in the centre of our nothingness, as being of ourselves the very abstract of weakness, and an unfathomed abyss of corruption.

1. Act. Mart. T. 2, app {}.
2. Lettres édifiantes et curieuses.
3. Don Claude Leauté, a Benedictin monk of the congregation of St.
    Maur, in 1731, when he was about fifty-one years of age, had fasted
    eleven years, without taking any food the whole forty days, except
    what he daily took at mass; and what added to the wonder is, that
    during Lent he did not properly sleep, but only dozed. He could not
    bear the open air; and towards the end of Lent he was excessively
    pale and wasted. This fact is attested by his brethren and
    superiors, in a relation printed at Sens, in 1731; and recorded by
    Dom L'Isle, in his History of Fasting; and by Feyjoo, in his Theatro
    Critico Universal.
4. Evagrius, l. 1, c. 13, 14.
5. Monsignor Majelli, a domestic prelate to pope Benedict XIV., in his
    dissertation on the Stylites, or religious men living on pillars,
    represents the pillar of St. Simeon enclosed with rails around the
    top. Whenever he slept a little he leaned on them, or his staff.
    This author shows the order of the Stylites to have been propagated
    in the East from saint Simeon, down to the Saracen and Turkish
    empires. The inclemency of the air makes that manner of life
    impracticable to the West. However, St. Gregory of Tours mentions
    one (l. 8. c. 15) V{}filaick, a Lombard, and disciple of the abbot
    St. Yrier, who leaving Limousin went to Triers, and lived some time
    on a pillar in that neighborhood. He engaged the people of the
    villages to renounce the worship of idols, and to hew down the great
    statue of Diana at Ardens, that had been famous from the time of
    Domitian. The bishop ordered him to quit a manner of life too severe
    for the cold climate. He instantly obeyed, and lived afterwards in a
    neighboring monastery. He seems to have been the only Stylite of
    the West. See Fleury, l. 35, T. 8, p. 54.


HE was a Grecian by birth, and the seventh bishop of Rome. Towards the end of the year 128, he succeeded Saint Sixtus I., sat eleven years, and saw the havoc which the persecution of Adrian made in the church. "He ended his life by an illustrious martyrdom," says Eusebius;[1] which is also confirmed by St. Irenæus.[2]

Footnotes: 1. Hist. l. 4, c. 10. 2. L. 3, c. 3.


SHE was born at Alexandria in Egypt, of wealthy Macedonian parents. From her infancy she had imbibed the love of virtue, and in her tender years she consecrated her virginity to God. Her great fortune and beauty induced many young noblemen to become her suitors for marriage, but she had already bestowed her heart on her heavenly spouse. Flight was her refuge against exterior assaults, and, regarding herself as her own most dangerous enemy, she began early to subdue her flesh by austere fasts and other mortifications. She never seemed to suffer more than when obliged to eat oftener than she desired. Her parents, at their death, left her heiress to their opulent estate; for the two brothers she had died before them; and her sister being blind, was committed entirely to her guardianship. Syncletica, having soon distributed her fortune among the poor, retired with her sister into a lonesome monument, on a relation's estate; where, having sent for a priest, she cut off her hair in his presence, as a sign whereby she renounced the world, and renewed the consecration of herself to God. Mortification and prayer were from that time her principal employment; but her close solitude, by concealing her pious exercises from the eyes of the world, has deprived us in a great measure of the knowledge of them.

The fame of her virtue being spread abroad, many women resorted to her abode to confer with bet upon spiritual matters. Her humility made her unwilling to take upon herself the task of instructing, but charity, on the other side, opened her mouth. Her pious discourses were inflamed with so much zeal, and accompanied with such an unfeigned humility, and with so many tears, that it cannot be expressed what deep impressions they made on her hearers. "Oh," said the saint, "how happy should we be, did we but take as much pains to gain heaven and please God, as worldlings do to heap up riches and perishable goods! by land they venture among thieves and robbers; at sea they expose themselves to the fury of winds and storms; {094} they suffer shipwrecks, and all perils; they attempt all, try all, hazard all; but we, in serving so great a master, for so immense a good, are afraid of every contradiction." At other times, admonishing them of the dangers of this life, she was accustomed to say, "We must be continually upon our guard, for we are engaged in a perpetual war; unless we take care, the enemy will surprise us, when we are least aware of him. A ship sometimes passes safe through hurricanes and tempests, yet, if the pilot, even in a calm, has not a great care of it, a single wave, raised by a sudden gust, may sink her. It does not signify whether the enemy clambers in by the window, or whether all at once he shakes the foundation, if at last he destroys the house. In this life we sail, as it were, in all unknown sea. We meet with rocks, shelves, and sands; sometimes we are becalmed, and at other times we find ourselves tossed and buffeted by a storm. Thus we are never secure, never out of danger; and, if we fall asleep, are sure to perish. We have a most intelligent and experienced pilot at the helm of our vessel, even Jesus Christ himself, who will conduct us safe into the haven of salvation, if, by our supineness, we cause not our own perdition." She frequently inculcated the virtue of humility, in the following words: "A treasure is secure so long as it remains concealed; but when once disclosed, and laid open to every bold invader, it is presently rifled; so virtue is safe so long as secret, but, if rashly exposed, it but too often evaporates into smoke. By humility, and contempt of the world, the soul, like an eagle, soars on high, above all transitory things, and tramples on the backs of lions and dragons." By these, and the like discourses, did this devout virgin excite others to charity, humility, vigilance, and every other virtue.

The devil, enraged to behold so much good, which all his machinations were not capable to prevent, obtained permission of God, for her trial, to afflict this his faithful servant, like another Job: but even this served only to render her virtue the more illustrious. In the eightieth year of her age she was seized with an inward burning fever, which wasted her insensibly by its intense heat; at the same time an imposthume was formed in her lungs; and a violent and most tormenting scurvy, attended with a corroding hideous stinking ulcer, ate away her jaws and mouth, and deprived her of her speech. She bore all with incredible patience and resignation to God's holy will; and with such a desire of an addition to her sufferings, that she greatly dreaded the physicians would alleviate her pains. It was with difficulty that she permitted them to pare away or embalm the parts already dead. During the three last months of her life, she found no repose. Though the cancer had robbed her of her speech, her wonderful patience served to preach to others more movingly than words could have done. Three days before her death she foresaw, that in the third day she should be released from the prison of her body; and on it, surrounded by a heavenly light, and ravished by consolatory visions, she surrendered her pure soul into the hands of her Creator, in the eighty-fourth year of her age. The Greeks keep her festival on the 4th, the Roman Martyrology mentions her on the 5th of January.[1] The ancient beautiful life of S. Syncletica is quoted in the old lives of the fathers published by Rosweide, l. 6, and in the ancient notes of St. John Climacus. It appears, from the work itself, that the author was personally acquainted with the saint. It has been ascribe to St. Athanasius, but without sufficient grounds. It was translated into {095} French, though not scrupulously, by d'Andilly, Vies des SS. Pères des Dé certs, T. 3, p. 91. The antiquity of this piece is confirmed by Montfaucon, Catal. Bibl. Coislianæ, p. 417.

1. She must not have lived later than the fourth century, for we find
    her life quoted in the fifth and sixth; and as she lived eighty-four
    years, she could not at least be much younger than St. Athanasius.
    From the age in which she lived, she is thought by some to have been
    the first foundress of nunneries, of religious women living in
    community, as St. Antony was of men. On this head consult Helyott,
    Hist. des Ord., and Mr. Stevens in his English Monasticon, c. 1, p.
    16. However, St. Antony's sister found a nunnery erected when she
    was but young, and this was prior to the time of Constantine the



EPIPHANY, which in the original Greek signifies appearance or manifestation, as St. Austin observes,[1] is a festival principally solemnized in honor of the discovery Jesus Christ made of himself to the Magi, or wise men; who, soon after his birth, by a particular inspiration of Almighty God, came to adore him and bring him presents.[2] Two other manifestations of our Lord are jointly commemorated on this day in the office of the church; that at his baptism, when the Holy Ghost descended on him in the visible form of a dove, and a voice from heaven was heard at the same time: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.[3] The third manifestation was that of his divine power at the performance of his first miracle, the changing of water into wine, at the marriage at Cana,[4] by which he manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him.[5] Upon so many accounts ought this festival to challenge a more than ordinary regard and veneration; but from none more than us Gentiles, who, in the persons of the wise men, our first-fruits and forerunners, were on this day called to the faith and worship of the true God. Nothing so much illustrates this mercy as the wretched degeneracy into which the subjects of it were fallen. So great this, that there was no object so despicable as not to be thought worthy of divine honors, no vice so detestable as not to be enforced by the religion of those times of ignorance,[6] as the scripture emphatically calls them. God had, in punishment of their apostasy from him by idolatry, given them over to the most shameful passions, as described at large by the apostle: Filled with all iniquity, fornication, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, murder, contention, deceit, whisperers, detracters, proud, haughty, disobedient, without fidelity, without affection, without mercy, &c.[7] Such were the generality of our pagan ancestors, and such should we ourselves have been, but for God's gracious and effectual call to the true faith.

The call of the Gentiles had been foretold for many ages before in the clearest terms. David and Isaias abound with predictions of this import; the like is found in the other prophets; but their completion was a mercy reserved for the times of the Messiah. It was to him, who was also the consubstantial Son of God, that the eternal Father had made the promise of all nations for his inheritance;[8] who being born the spiritual king of the {096} whole world, for the salvation of all men,[9] would therefore manifest his coming both to those that were near, and those that were afar off;[10] that is, both to Jew and Gentile. Upon his birth, angels[11] were dispatched ambassadors to the Jews, in the persons of the poor shepherds, and a star[12] was the divine messenger on this important errand to the Gentiles of the East;[13] conformably to Balaam's prophecy,[14] who foretold the coming of the Messias by that sign.

The summons of the Gentiles to Bethlehem to pay homage to the world's Redeemer was obeyed by several whom the scripture mentions under the name and title of Magi,[15] or wise men; but is silent as to their number. The general opinion, supported by the authority of St. Leo, Cæsarius, Bede, and others, declares for three.[16] However, the number was small, comparatively to those many others that saw that star, no less than the wise men, but paid no regard to this voice of heaven: admiring, no doubt, its uncommon brightness, but culpably ignorant of the divine call in it, or hardening their hearts against its salutary impressions, overcome by their passions, and the dictates of self-love. In like manner do Christians, from the same causes, turn a deaf ear to the voice of divine grace in their souls, and harden their hearts against it in such numbers, that, notwithstanding their call, their graces, and the mysteries wrought in their favor, it is to be feared, that even among them many are called, but few are chosen. It was the case with the Jews, with the most of whom, St. Paul says, God was not well pleased.[17]

How opposite was the conduct of the wise men! Instead of being swayed by the dictates of self-love, by the example of the crowd, and of many reputed moral men among them, they no sooner discovered the heavenly messenger, but, without the least demur, set out on their journey to find the Redeemer of their souls. Convinced that they had a call from heaven by the star, which spoke to their eyes, and by an inward grace, that spoke to their hearts, they cut off all worldly consultations, human reasonings, and delays, and postponed every thing of this kind to the will of God. Neither any affairs to be left unfinished, nor the care of their provinces or families, nor the difficulties and dangers of a long and tedious journey through deserts and mountains almost unpassable, and this in the worst season of the year, and through a country which in all ages had been notoriously {097} infested with robbers: nothing of all this, or the many other false lights of worldly prudence and policy, made use of, no doubt, by their counsellors and dependents, and magnified by the enemy of souls, could prevail with them to set aside or defer their journey; or be thought deserving the least attention, when God called. They well know that so great a grace, if slighted, might perhaps have been lost forever. With what confusion must not this their active and undaunted zeal cover our sloth and cowardice!

The wise men being come, by the guidance of the star, into Jerusalem, or near, it, it there disappears: whereupon they reasonably suppose they are come to their journey's end, and upon the point of being blessed with the sight of the new-born king: that, on their entering the royal city, they shall in every street and corner hear the acclamations of a happy people, and learn with ease the way to the royal palace, made famous to all posterity by the birth of their king and Saviour. But to their great surprise there appears not the least sign of any such solemnity. The court and city go quietly on in seeking their pleasure and profit! and in this unexpected juncture what shall these weary travellers to? Were they governed by human prudence, this disappointment is enough to make them abandon their design, and retreat as privately as they can to screen their reputation, and avoid the raillery of the populace, as well as to prevent the resentment of the most jealous of tyrants, already infamous for blood. But true virtue makes trials the matter and occasion of its most glorious triumphs. Seeming to be forsaken by God, on their being deprived of extraordinary, they have recourse to the ordinary means of information. Steady in the resolution of following the divine call, and fearless of danger, they inquire in the city with equal confidence and humility, and pursue their inquiry in the very court of Herod himself: Where is he that is born king of the Jews? And does not their conduct teach us, under all difficulties of the spiritual kind, to have recourse to those God has appointed to be our spiritual guides, for their advice and direction? To obey and be subject to them,[18] that so God may lead us to himself, as he guided the wise men to Bethlehem by the directions of the priests of the Jewish church.

The whole nation of the Jews, on account of Jacob's and Daniel's prophecies, were then in the highest expectation of the Messiah's appearance among them; the place of whose birth having been also foretold, the wise men, by the interposition of Herod's authority, quickly learned, from the unanimous voice of the Sanhedrim, or great council of the Jews,[19] that Bethlehem was the place which was to be honored with his birth; as having been pointed out by the prophet Micheas,[20] several ages before. How sweet and adorable is the conduct of divine providence! He teaches saints his will by the mouths of impious ministers, and furnishes Gentiles with the means of admonishing and confounding the blindness of the Jews. But graces are lost on carnal and hardened souls. Herod had then reigned upwards of thirty years; a monster of cruelty, ambition, craft, and dissimulation; old age and sickness had at that time exasperated his jealous mind in an unusual manner. He dreaded nothing so much as the appearance of the Messiah, whom the generality then expected under the notion of a temporal prince, and whom he could consider in no other light than that of a rival and pretender to his crown; so no wonder that he was startled at the news of his birth. All Jerusalem, likewise, instead of rejoicing at such happy tidings, were alarmed and disturbed together with him. We {098} abhor their baseness; but do not we, at a distance from courts, betray several symptoms of the baneful influence of human respects running counter to our duty? Likewise in Herod we see how extravagantly blind and foolish ambition is. The divine infant came not to deprive Herod of his earthly kingdom, but to offer him one that is eternal; and to teach him a holy contempt of all worldly pomp and grandeur. Again, how senseless and extravagant a folly was it to form designs against those of God himself! who confounds the wisdom of the world, baffles the vain projects of men, and laughs their policy to scorn. Are there no Herods now-a-days; persons who are enemies to the spiritual kingdom of Christ in their hearts?

The tyrant, to ward off the blow he seemed threatened with, has recourse to his usual arts of craft and dissimulation. He pretends a no less ardent desire of paying homage to the new-born king, and covers his impious design of taking away his life, under the specious pretext of going himself in person to adore him. Wherefore, after particular examination about the time when the wise men first saw this star, and a strict charge to come back and inform him where the child was to be found, he dismisses them to the place determined by the chief priests and scribes. Herod was then near his death; but as a man lives, such does he usually die. The near prospect of eternity seldom operates in so salutary a manner on habitual sinners, as to produce in them a true and sincere change of heart.

The wise men readily comply with the voice of the Sanhedrim, notwithstanding the little encouragement these Jewish leaders afford them from their own example to persist in their search; for not one single priest or scribe is disposed to bear them company, in seeking after, and paying due homage to their own king. The truths and maxims of religion depend not on the morals of those that preach them; they spring from a higher source, the wisdom and veracity of God himself. When therefore a message comes undoubtedly from God, the misdemeanors of him that immediately conveys it to us can be no just plea or excuse for our failing to comply with it. As, on the other side, an exact and ready compliance will then be a better proof of our faith and confidence in God, and so much the more recommend us to his special conduct and protection, as it did the wise men. For no sooner had they left Jerusalem, but, to encourage their faith and zeal, and to direct their travels, God was pleased to show them the star again, which they had seen in the East, and which continued to go before them till it conducted them to the very place where they were to see and adore their God and Saviour. Here its ceasing to advance, and probably sinking lower in the air tells them in its mute language: "Here shall you find the new-born king." The holy men, with an unshaken and steady faith, and in transports of spiritual joy, entered the poor cottage, rendered more glorious by this birth than the most sumptuous stately palace in the universe, and finding the child with his mother, they prostrate themselves, they adore him, they pour forth their souls in his presence in the deepest sentiments of praise, thanksgiving, and a total sacrifice of themselves. So far from being shocked at the poverty of the place, and at his unkingly appearance, their faith rises and gathers strength on the sight of obstacles which, humanly speaking, should extinguish it. It captivates their understanding; it penetrates these curtains of poverty, infancy, weakness, and abjection; it casts them on their faces, as unworthy to look up to this star, this God of Jacob: they confess him under this disguise to be the only and eternal God: they own the excess of his goodness in becoming man, and the excess of human misery, which requires for its relief so great a humiliation of the Lord of glory. St. Leo thus extols their faith and devotion: "When a star had conducted them to adore Jesus, they did not find him commanding devils, or raising the dead, {099} or restoring sight to the blind, or speech to the dumb, or employed in any divine actions; but a silent babe, under the care of a solicitous mother, giving no sign of power, but exhibiting a miracle of humility."[21] Where shall we find such a faith in Israel? I mean among the Christians of our days. The wise men knew by the light of faith that he came not to bestow on us earthly riches, but to banish our love and fondness for them, and to subdue our pride. They had already learned the maxims of Christ, and had imbibed his spirit: whereas Christians are for the greatest part such strangers to it, and so devoted to the world, and its corrupt maxims, that they blush at poverty and humiliation, and will give no admittance in their hearts to the humility and the cross of Jesus Christ. Such by their actions cry out with those men in the gospel: We will not have this man to reign over us.[22] This their opposite conduct shows what they would have thought of Christ and his humble appearance at Bethlehem.

The Magi, pursuant to the custom of the eastern nations, where the persons of great princes are not to be approached without presents, present to Jesus, as a token of homage, the richest produce their countries afforded, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold, as an acknowledgment of his regal power: incense, as a confession of his Godhead: and myrrh, as a testimony that he was become man for the redemption of the world. But their far more acceptable presents were the holy sentiments and affections of their souls; their fervent charity, signified by gold; their devotion, figured by frankincense; and the unreserved sacrifice of themselves by mortification, represented by myrrh.[23] The divine king, no doubt, richly repaid their generosity by favors of a much greater excellency, the spiritual gifts of his grace. It is with the like sentiments and affections of love, praise, gratitude, compunction, and humility, that we ought frequently, and particularly on this solemnity, to draw near, in spirit, to the infant Jesus; making him an affectionate tender of our hearts, but first cleansed by tears of sincere repentance.

The holy kings being about to return home, God, who saw the hypocrisy and malicious designs of Herod, by a particular intimation diverted them from their purpose of carrying back word to Jerusalem, where the child was to be found. So, to complete their fidelity and grace, they returned not to Herod's court; but, leaving their hearts with their infant Saviour, took another road back into their own country. In like manner, if we would persevere in the possession of the graces bestowed on us, we must resolve from this day to hold no correspondence with a sinful world, the irreconcilable enemy to Jesus Christ; but to take a way that lies at a distance from it, I mean that which is marked out to us by the saving maxims of the gospel. And pursuing this with an unshaken confidence in his grace and merits, we shall safely arrive at our heavenly country.

It has never been questioned but that the holy Magi spent the rest of their lives in the fervent service of God. The ancient author of the imperfect comment on St. Matthew, among the works of St. Chrysostom, says, they were afterwards baptized in Persia, by St. Thomas the apostle, and became themselves preachers of the gospel. Their bodies were said to have been translated to Constantinople under the first Christian emperors. From thence they were conveyed to Milan, where the place in which they were deposited is still shown in the Dominicans' church of that city. The emperor Frederick Barbarossa having taken Milan, caused them to be translated to Cologne in Germany, in the twelfth century.

1. St. Aug. Serm. 203, ol. 64, de div.
2. According to Papebroch, it was pope Julius the First, in the fourth
    century, by whom the celebration of these two mysteries, the
    nativity and manifestation of Christ to the Magi, was first
    established in the western church on distinct days. The Greeks still
    keep the Epiphany with the birth of Christ on Christmas-day, which
    they call Theophany, or the manifestation of God, which is the
    ancient name for the Epiphany in St. Isidore of Pelusium, St.
    Gregory Nazianzen, Eusebius, &c. See Thomassi Tr. des Fôtes,
    Martenne Anecd. T. 5, p. 206, B. et in Nota, ib.
3. Matt. iii. 17.
4. Footnote: Jo. ii. 11.
5. Bollandus (Pref. gen. c. 4) and Ruinart (in Cal. in calce. act.
    Mart.) quote a fragment of Polemeus Sylvius written in 448, in which
    is said that all these three manifestations of Christ happened on
    this day, though S. Maximus of Turin was uncertain.
6. Acts xvii. 30.
7. Rom. i.
8. Ps. ii. 8.
9. 1 Tim. ii. 4.
10. Eph. ii. 17.
11. Luke ii. 10, 11.
12. This phenomenon could not have been a real star, that is, one of the
    fixed, the least or nearest of which is for distance too remote, and
    for bulk too enormous, to point out any particular house or city
    like Bethlehem, as St. Chrysostom well observes; who supposes it to
    have been an angel assuming that form. If of a corporeal nature, it
    was a miraculous shining meteor, resembling a star, but placed in
    the lower region of our atmosphere; its motion, contrary to the
    ordinary course of the stars, performing likewise the part of a
    guide to these travellers; accommodating itself to their
    necessities, disappearing or returning as they could best or least
    dispense with its guidance. See S. Thomas, p. 3, quæst 36, a. 7.
    Federicus Miegius Diss. De Stellá à Magis conspectâ in Thesauro
    Dissertationum in Nov. Testament. Amstelodami. An. 1702, T. 1,
    Benedictus XIV. de Canoniz. l. 4, part 1, c. 25.
13. What and where this East was, is a question about which interpreters
    have been much divided. The controverted places are Persia, Chaldea,
    Mesopotamia, and Arabia Felix. As they lay all more or less eastward
    from Palestine, so, in each of these countries, some antecedent
    notions of a Messias may be accounted for. In Persia and Chaldea, by
    the Jewish captivity and subsequent dispersion; also the prophecies
    of Daniel. In Arabia, by the proximity of situation and frequent
    commerce. In Mesopotamia, besides these, the aforesaid prophecy of
    Balaam, a native of that country.
14. Num. xxiv. 17.
15. In the eastern parts, particularly in Persia,Magi was the title
    they gave to their wise men and philosophers. In what veneration
    they were there held appears from the most important affairs, sacred
    and civil, being committed to their administration. They were deemed
    the oracles of the eastern countries. These that came to Bethlehem
    on this solemn occasion are vulgarly called kings, as they very
    likely were at least of an inferior and subordinate rank. They are
    called princes by Tertullian, (L. contra Judæos, c. 9, L. 5, contra
    Marcion.) See Gretser, l. 1. de Festis, c. 30, (T. 5, Op. nup. ad.
    Ratisp.) Baronius ad ann. l, n. 30, and the learned author Annot.
    ad histor. vitæ Christi, Urbini, anno 1730, c. 7, who all agree that
    the Magi seem to have been governors, or petty princes, such
    anciently being often styled kings. See a full account of the Magi,
    or Magians, in Prideaux's Connexion, p. 1, b. 4.
16. St. Leo, Serm. 30, &c. St. Cæsar. Serm. 139, &c. See Maldonat. on
    Saint Matt. ii. for the grounds of this opinion. Honoratus of St.
    Mary, Règles de la Critique, l. 3, diss. 4, a. 2, F. Ayala in Pictor
    Christian. l. 3, c. 3, and Benedict XIV. de Festis Christi. l. 1, c.
    2, de Epiph. n. 7, p. 22. This last great author quotes a picture
    older than St. Leo, found in an ancient Roman cemetery, of which a
    type was published at Rome in a collection of such monuments printed
    at Rome in 1737. T. 1., Tab. 22.
17. 1 Cor. x. 5.
18. Heb. xiii. 17.
19. This consisted principally of the chief priests and scribes or
    doctors of the law.
20. Ch. v. 2.
21. Ser. 36, in Epiph. 7, n. 2.
22. Luke xix. 14.
23. Myrrh was anciently made use of in embalming dead bodies: a fit
    emblem of mortification, because this virtue preserves the soul from
    the corruption of sin.



HE was a native of Placs or Plets, in the diocese of Vannes in Brittany and had served God with great fervor in a monastery for some years, when Noon the death of St. Amandus, bishop of Rennes, he was compelled by the clergy and people to fill that see, though his humility made great opposition. His virtue was chiefly enhanced by a sincere humility, and a spirit of continual prayer. The author of his life tells us, that he raised one that was dead to life, and performed many other miracles. King Clovis after his conversion held him in great veneration. The almost entire extirpation of idolatry in the diocese of Rennes was the fruit of our saint's zeal. He died in a monastery which he had built at Placs, the place of his nativity, according to Dom Morice, in 490. He was buried at Rennes, where his feast is kept on the 6th of November. In the Roman Martyrology he is commemorated on the 6th of January. St. Gregory, of Tours, mentions a stately church erected over his tomb. Solomon, sovereign prince of Brittany, in 840, founded a monastery under his invocation, which still subsists in the suburbs of Rennes, of the Benedictin order. See the anonymous ancient life of St. Melanius in Bollandus; also St. Greg. Tour. l. de glor. Conf. c. 55. Argentre, Hist. de Bretagne. Lobineau, Vies des Saints de Bretagne, p.32 Morice, Hist. de Bretagne, note 28, p. 932.


WHO being chosen bishop of Geres, and finding the patriarch Theophilus deaf to his tears and excuses, prayed that God would rather take him out of the world than permit him to be consecrated bishop of the place, for which he was intended. His prayer was heard, for he died before he had finished it.[1] His name occurs in the modern Roman Martyrology on this day. See Sozomen, Hist. l. 8, c. 19.

1. A like example is recorded in the life of brother Columban,
    published in Italian and French, in 1755, and abridged in the
    Relation de la Mort do quelques religieux de la Trappe, T. 4. p.
    334, 342. The life of this holy man from his childhood at Abbeville,
    the place of his birth, and afterwards at Marseilles, was a model of
    innocence, alms-deeds, and devotion. In 1710 he took the Cistercian
    habit, according to the reformation of la Trappe, at Buon Solazzo in
    Tuscany, the only filiation of that Institute. In this most rigorous
    penitential institute his whole comportment inspired with humility
    and devotion all who beheld him. He bore a holy envy to those whom
    he ever saw rebuked by the Abbot, and his compunction, charity,
    wonderful humility, and spirit of prayer, had long been the
    admiration of that fervent house, when he was ordered to prepare
    himself to receive holy orders, a thing not usually done in that
    penitential institute. The abbot had herein a private view of
    advancing him to the coadjutorship in the abbacy for the easing of
    his own shoulders in bearing the burden of the government of the
    house. Columban, who, to all the orders of his superior, had never
    before made any reply, on this occasion made use of the strongest
    remonstrances and entreaties, and would have had recourse to flight,
    had not his vow of stability cut off all possibility. Being by
    compulsion promoted gradually to the orders of deacon, he most
    earnestly prayed that God would by some means prevent his being
    advanced to the priesthood; soon after he was seized with a lameness
    in his hands, 1714, and some time after taken happily out of this
    world. These simples are most edifying in such persons who were
    called to a retired penitential life. In the clergy all promotion to
    ecclesiastical honors ought to be dreaded, and generally only
    submitted to by compulsion; which Stephen, the learned bishop of
    Tourney, in 1179, observes to be the spirit and rule of the
    primitive church of Christ, (ser. 2.) Yet too obstinate a resistance
    may become a disobedience, an infraction of order and peace, a
    criminal pusillanimity, according to the just remark of St. Basil,
    Reg. disput. c. 21 Innocent III. ep. ad Episc. Calarit. Decret. l.
    2, tit. 9, de Renunciatione.


DISCIPLE of St. Gregory the Great, and first abbot of St. Austin's, in Canterbury, then called St. Peter's. Going to France in 608, he was drowned near the harbor of Ambleteuse, between Calais and Bologne, and is named in the English and Gallican Martyrologies. See Bede, Hist. l. 1, c. 33.




From his panegyric by St. Chrysostom, at Antioch, in 387, and pronounced on his festival, T. 2, p. 524. And also from St. Jerom de script c. 77. Eusebius, l. 8, c. 12, l. 9, c. 6, and Rufinus. See Tillemont T. 5, p. 474. Pagi, an. 311.

A.D. 312.

ST. LUCIAN, surnamed of Antioch, was born at Samosata, in Syria. He lost his parents while very young; and being come to the possession of his estate, which was very considerable, he distributed all among the poor. He became a great proficient in rhetoric and philosophy, and applied himself to the study of the holy scriptures under one Macarius at Edessa. Convinced of the obligation annexed to the character of priesthood, which was that of devoting himself entirely to the service of God and the good of his neighbor, he did not content himself with inculcating the practice of virtue both by word and example; he also undertook to purge the scriptures, that is, both the Old and New Testament, from the several faults that had crept into them, either by reason of the inaccuracy of transcribers, or the malice of heretics. Some are of opinion, that as to the Old Testament, he only revised it, by comparing different editions of the Septuagint: others contend, that he corrected it upon the Hebrew text, being well versed in that language. Certain, however, it is that St. Lucian's edition of the scriptures was much esteemed, and was of great use to St. Jerom.[1][2]


S. Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, says that Lucian remained some years separated from the catholic communion,[3] at Antioch, under three successive bishops, namely, Domnus, Timæus, and Cyril. If it was for too much favoring Paul of Samosata, condemned at Antioch in the year 269, he must have been deceived, for want of a sufficient penetration into the impiety of that dissembling heretic. It is certain, at least, that he died in the catholic communion; which also appears from a fragment of a letter written by him to the church of Antioch, and still extant in the Alexandrian Chronicle. Though a priest of Antioch, we find him at Nicomedia, in the year 303, when Dioclesian first published his edicts against the Christians. He there suffered a long imprisonment for the faith; for the Paschal Chronicle quotes these words from a letter which he wrote out of his dungeon to Antioch, "All the martyrs salute you. I inform you that the pope Anthimus (bishop of Nicomedia) has finished his course by martyrdom." This happened in 303. Yet Eusebius informs us, that St. Lucian did not arrive himself at the crown of martyrdom till after the death of St. Peter of Alexandria, in 311, so that he seems to have continued nine years in prison. At length he was brought before the governor, or, as the acts intimate, the emperor himself, for the word[4] which Eusebius uses may imply either. On his trial, he presented to the judge an excellent apology for the Christian faith. Being remanded to prison, an order was given that no food should be allowed him; but, when almost dead with hunger, dainty meats that had been offered to idols were set before him, which he would not touch. It was not in itself unlawful to eat of such meats, as St. Paul teaches, except where it would give scandal to the weak, or when it was exacted as an action of idolatrous superstition, as was the case here. Being brought a second time before the tribunal, he would give no other answer to all the questions put to him, but this: "I am a Christian." He repeated the same while on the rack, and he finished his glorious course in prison, either by famine, or, according to St. Chrysostom, by the sword. His acts relate many of his miracles, with other particulars; as that, when bound and chained down on his back in prison, he consecrated the divine mysteries upon his own breast, and communicated the faithful that were present: this we also read in Philostorgius,[5] the Arian historian. St. Lucian suffered at Nicomedia, where Maximinus II. resided.

His body was interred at Drepanum, in Bithynia, which, in honor of him, Constantine the Great soon after made a large city, which he exempted from all taxes, and honored with the name of Helenopolis, from his mother. St. Lucian was crowned in 312, on the 7th of January, on which day his festival was kept at Antioch immediately after his death, as appears from St. Chrysostom.[6] It is the tradition of the church of Arles, that the body of St. {103} Lucian was sent out of the East to Charlemagne, who built a church under his invocation at Arles, in which his relics are preserved.[7]

* * * * *

The first thing that is necessary in the service of God, is earnestly to search his holy will, by devoutly reading, listening to, and meditating on his eternal truths. This will set the divine law in a clear and full light, and conduct us, by unerring rules, to discover and accomplish every duty. It will awake and continually increase a necessary tenderness of conscience, which will add light and life to its convictions, oblige us to a more careful trial and examination of all our actions, keep us not only from evil, but from every appearance of it, render us steadfast and immoveable in every virtuous practice, and always preserve a quick and nice sense of good and evil. For this reason, the word of God is called in holy scripture, Light, because it distinguisheth between good and evil, and, like a lamp, manifesteth the path which we are to choose, and disperseth that mist with which the subtilty of our enemy and the lusts of our heart have covered it. At the same time, a daily repetition of contrition and compunction washes off the stains which we discover in our souls, and strongly incites us, by the fervor and fruitfulness of our following life, to repair the sloth and barrenness of the past. Prayer must be made our main assistant in every step of this spiritual progress. We must pray that God would enable us to search out and discover our own hearts, and reform whatever is amiss in them. If we do this sincerely, God will undoubtedly grant our requests; will lay open to us all our defects and infirmities, and, showing us how far short we come of the perfection of true holiness of life, will not suffer any latent corruptions in our affections to continue undiscovered, nor permit us to forget the stains and ruins which the sins of our life past have left behind them.

Footnotes: 1. St. Hier. Catal. Vir. illustr. c. 77, Ep. 107, et Præf. in Paralip. Item Synopsis ap. St. Athan. ad fin. 2. The Greek translation of the Old Testament, commonly called of the seventy, was made by the Jews living at Alexandria, and used by all the Hellenist Jews. This version of the Pentateuch appeared about two hundred and eighty-five years before Christ, according to Dr. Hody, (de Bibliorum Textibus, Original. et Versionibus, p. 570, &c.) that of the other parts somewhat later, and at different times, as the style seems to prove. The Jews even of Palestine at first gloried in this translation, as Philo testifies; but it being employed by the Christians against them, they began, soon after the beginning of the second century, to condemn it, alleging that it was not always conformable to the Hebrew original. This text had then suffered several alterations by the blunders, and, according to Kennicott, some few by the wilful malice of transcribers; though these differences are chiefly ascribed by Origen to alterations of the Hebrew text, introduced after the version was made. The seventy being exploded by the Jews, three new versions were set on foot among them. The first was formed in 129, by Aquila, of Sinope, in Pontus, whom the emperor Adrian, when he built Jerusalem, under the name of Ælia, appointed overseer of that undertaking. He had been baptized, but for his conduct being expelled from among the Christians, became a Jew, and gave his new translation out of hatred to the Christians. A second was published about the year 175, by Theodotion, a native of Ephesus, some time a Christian, but a disciple first of the heretic Tatian, then of Marcion. At length he fell into Judaism, or at least connected obedience to the Ritual Law of Moses with a certain belief in Christ. His translation, which made its appearance in the reign of Commodus, was bolder than that of Aquila. The third version was formed about the year 200, by Symmachus, who having been first a Samaritan, afterwards, upon some disgust turned Jew. In this translation he had a double view of thwarting both the Jews and Christians. St. Jerom extols the elegance of his style, but says he walked in the steps of Theodotion; with the two former translators he substituted [Greek: neanis] for [Greek: parthenos] in the famous prophecy of Isaiah, (c. vii. v. 14,) and in that of Jacob, (Gen. xlix. 10,) [Greek: ta apokeimena autôi] for [Greek: ôi apokeitai] Both which falsifications St. Justin Martyr charges upon Aquila, (Dial. cum Tryphon. p. 224, 395, 284, ed. Thirlbii.) and St. Irenæus reproaches Aquila and Theodotion with the former, (p. 253, ed. Grebe.) Many additions from these versions, and several various readings daily creeping into the copies of the seventy, which were transcribed, to apply a remedy to this danger, Origen compiled his Hexapla, &c., of which see some account in the appendix to April 21. Before the year 300 three other corrected editions of the old Greek version were published, the first by Lucian, the second by Hesychius, and the third by Pamphilus the martyr. The first was made use of in the churches, from Constantinople to Antioch; that of Hesychius was received at Alexandria, and in the rest of Egypt; and the third in the intermediate country of Palestine, as we are informed by St Jerom, (Præf. in Paralip. et Præf. in Explic. Daniel.) The edition of Lucian came nearest to the [Greek: koine] or common edition of the seventy, and was the purest as St. Jerom (ep. ad Suniam et Fretel. T. 2, col. 627,) and Euthymius affirm, and is generally allowed by modern critics, says Mr. Kennicott, (diss. 2, p. 397.) The excellent Vatican MS. of the seventy, published (though with some amendments from other MSS.) by Cardinal Carafa, at the command of Sixtus V., in 1587, is said in the preface to have been written before the year 390; but Blanchini (Vindiciæ vet. Cod. p. 34) supposes it somewhat later. It is proved from St. Jerom's letter to Sunia and Fretela, and several instances, that this Vatican MS. comes nearest to the [Greek: koine], and to Lucian's edition, as Grabe, (See Annot. in ep. ad Sun. et Fretel. T. 2, col. 671,) Blanchini, (Vindiciæ, p. 256) and Kennicott (diss. 2, p. 416) take notice: the old Alexandrian MS. kept in the British Museum at London, is thought by Grabe to have been written about the year 396; by Mills and Wetstein, (in their Prolegom. in Nov. Test. Gr.) about one hundred years later. It was published by Grabe, though not pure; for in some places he gives the reading of this MS. in the margin, and prefers some other in the text. Though none of Origen's Asterics are retained, it comes nearest to his edition in the Hexapla, as Grabe, Montfaucon, and Kennicott agree: in some places it is conformable to Theodotion, or Symmachus, and seems mostly the Hesychian edition. See Montfaucon, Prælim. in Hexapla; Kennicott, diss. 2. 3. [Greek: Aposunagwgos emo ne.] 4. [Greek: Arxontos] 5. 2 B. 2, c. 12, 13. 6. The Arians boasted that Arius had received his impious doctrine from St. Lucian: but he is justified with regard to that calumny by the silence of Saint Athanasius; the panegyrics of St. Chrysostom and St. Jerom; the express testimony of the ancient book, On the Trinity, among the works of St. Athanasius, Dial. 3, tom. 2, p. 179; his orthodox confession of faith in Sozomen, l. 3, c. 5, p. 502; and the authority of the church, which from his death has always ranked him among her illustrious martyrs. 7. Saussaye Mart. Gallic. t. 1, p. 17. Chatelain, p. 114.


HE was brother to St. Chad, bishop of Litchfield, and to St. Celin, and Cimbert, apostolic priests, who all labored zealously in the conversion of the English Saxons, their countrymen. St. Cedd long served God in the monastery of Lindisfarne, founded by St. Aidan, and for his great sanctity was promoted to the priesthood. Peada, the son of Penda, king of Mercia, was appointed by his father king of the midland English; by which name Bede distinguishes the inhabitants of Leicestershire, and part of Lincolnshire and Derbyshire, from the rest of the Mercians. The young king, with a great number of noblemen, servants, and soldiers, went to Atwall, or Walton, the seat of Oswy, king of the Northumbers, and was there baptized with all his attendants, by Finan, bishop of Lindisfarne. Four priests, Saint Cedd, Adda, Betta, and Diuma, the last a Scot, the rest English, were sent to preach the gospel to his people, the midland English; among whom great multitudes received the word of life with joy. King Penda himself obstructed not these missionaries in preaching the faith in other parts of Mercia, but hated and despised such as embraced the gospel, yet lived not up to it, saying, "Such wretches deserved the utmost contempt, who would not obey the God in whom they believed." St. Cedd, after laboring there some time with great success, was called from this mission to a new harvest. Sigbercht, or Sigebert, king of the East-Saxons, paying a visit to Oswy, in {104} Northumberland, was persuaded by that prince to forsake his idols, and was baptized by bishop Finan. When he was returned to his own kingdom, he entreated king Oswy to send him some teachers, who might instruct his people in the faith of Christ. Oswy called St. Cedd out of the province of the midland English, and sent him with another priest to the nation of the East-Saxons. When they had travelled over that whole province, and gathered numerous churches to our Lord, St. Cedd returned to Lindisfarne, to confer with bishop Finan about certain matters of importance. That prelate ordained him bishop of the East-Saxons, having called two other bishops to assist at his consecration. St. Cedd going back to his province, pursued the work he had begun, built churches, and ordained priests and deacons. Two monasteries were erected by him in those parts, which seem afterwards to have been destroyed by the Danes, and never restored. The first, he founded near a city, called by the English Saxons, Ythancester, formerly Othona, seated upon the bank of the river Pante, (now Froshwell,) which town was afterwards swallowed up by the gradual encroaching of the sea. St. Cedd's other monastery was built at another city called Tillaburg, now Tilbury, near the river Thames, and here Camden supposes the saint chiefly to have resided, as the first English bishops often chose to live in monasteries. But others generally imagine, that London, then the seat of the king, was the ordinary place of his residence, as it was of the ancient bishops of that province, and of all his successors. In a journey which St. Cedd made to his own country, Edilwald, the son of Oswald, who reigned among the Deiri, in Yorkshire, finding him to be a wise and holy man, desired him to accept of some possessions of land to build a monastery, to which the king might resort to offer his prayers with those who should attend the divine service without intermission, and where he might be buried when he died. The king had before with him a brother of our saint, called Celin, a priest of great piety, who administered the divine word, and the sacraments, to him and his family. St. Cedd pitched upon a place amidst craggy and remote mountains, which seemed fitter to be a retreat for robbers, or a lurking place for wild beasts, than a habitation for men. Here he resolved first to spend forty days in fasting and prayer, to consecrate the place to God. For this purpose he retired thither in the beginning of Lent. He ate only in the evening, except on Sundays, and his meal consisted of an egg, and a little milk mingled with water, with a small portion of bread, according to the custom of Lindisfarne, derived from that of St. Columba, by which it appears that, for want of legumes so early in the year, milk and eggs were allowed in that northern climate, which the canons forbade in Lent. Ten days before the end of Lent, the bishop was called to the king for certain pressing affairs, so that he was obliged to commission his priest, Cynibil, who was his brother, to complete it. This monastery being founded in 658, was called Lestingay. St. Cedd placed in it monks, with a superior from Lindisfarne; but continued to superintend the same, and afterwards made several visits thither from London. Our saint excommunicated a certain nobleman among the East-Saxons, for an incestuous marriage; forbidding any Christian to enter his house, or eat with him. Notwithstanding this prohibition, the king went to a banquet at his house. Upon his return, the holy bishop met him, whom, as soon as the king saw, he began to tremble, and lighting from his horse, prostrated himself at his feet, begging pardon for his offence. The bishop touched him with the rod which he held in his hand, and said, "O king, because thou wouldst not refrain from the house of that wicked excommunicated person, thou thyself shalt die in that very house." Accordingly, some time after, the king was basely murdered, in 661. by this nobleman and another, {105} both his own kinsmen, who alleged no other reason for their crime, than that he was too easy in forgiving his enemies. This king was succeeded by Suidhelm, the son of Sexbald, whom St. Cedd regenerated to Christ by baptism. In 664, St. Cedd was present at the conference, or synod, of Streneshalch, in which he forsook the Scottish custom, and agreed to receive the canonical observance of the time of Easter. Soon after, a great pestilence breaking out in England, St. Cedd died of it, in his beloved monastery of Lestingay, in the mountainous part of Yorkshire, since destroyed by the Danes, so that its exact situation is not known. He was first buried in the open cemetery, but, not long after, a church of stone being built in the same monastery, under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin, the mother of our Lord, his body was removed, and laid at the right hand of the altar. Thirty of the saint's religious brethren in Essex, upon the news of his death, came to Lestingay, in the resolution to live and die where their holy father had ended his life. They were willingly received by their brethren, but were all carried off by the same pestilence, except a little boy, who was afterwards found not to have been then baptized, and being in process of time advanced to the priesthood, lived to gain many souls to God. St. Cedd died on the 26th of October, but is commemorated in the English Martyrology on the 7th of January. See Bede, Hist. l. 3, c. 21, 22, 23. Wharton Hist. Episc. Lond. &c.


SHE is commemorated on the 7th of January, in the Aberdeen Breviary, from which we learn, that she was of royal blood, daughter of Kelly, prince of Leinster in Ireland, as Colgan proves from ancient monuments. She was mother of the holy abbot St. Foelan, or Felan. After the death of her husband, she left Ireland, and consecrated her to God in a religious state, and lived in great austerity and humility, and died on the 7th of January, in the year 728. Adam King informs us that a famous parish church bears her name at Locloumont, in Inchelroch, a small island into which she retired some time before her death, that she might with greater liberty give herself up to heavenly meditation. See Brev. Aberden. et Colgan ad 7 Jan. p. 23.


THIS saint was born of a noble family, of partly Saxon and partly Bavarian extraction, about the year 800. At twelve years of age he was placed by his father in the court of Charlemagne, in the family of Lewis le Débonnaire, where, by his application to the exercises of devotion, and to serious studies, and by his eminent virtue, he gained the esteem of the whole court. But the false lustre of worldly honors had no charms to one who, from his infancy, had entertained no other desire than that of consecrating himself to the divine service. About the year 821, bidding adieu to the court, he retired from Aix-la-chapelle to Metz, where he entered himself amongst the clergy, in the bishop's seminary, and received the clerical tonsure. Two years after, he was promoted to the holy orders of deacon, and, after three years more, to the priesthood. The emperor Lewis le Débonnaire called him again to court, and made him his first chaplain and his confessor. In 832, St. Aldric was chosen bishop of Mans, and consecrated on the 22d of December. The emperor arrived at Mans three days after, and kept the {106} Christmas holydays with him. The holy pastor was humble, patient, severe towards himself, and mild and charitable to all others. He employed both his patrimony and his whole interest and credit in relieving the poor, redeeming captives, establishing churches and monasteries, and promoting piety and religion. In the civil wars which divided the French monarchy, his fidelity to his prince, and to his successor Charles the Bald, was inviolable, for which he was for almost a year expelled, by the factious, from his see; though it is a subject of dispute whether this happened in the former or in the latter reign. It was a principal part of his care, to maintain an exact discipline in his clergy; for whose use he drew up a collection of canons, of councils, and decretals of popes, called his Capitulars, which seems to have been the most learned and judicious work of that kind which that age produced, so that the loss of it is much regretted.[1] Some fragments have reached us of the excellent regulations which he made for the celebration of the divine service, in which he orders ten wax candles, and ninety lamps with oil, to be lighted up in his cathedral on all great festivals.[2] We have three testaments of this holy prelate extant.[3] The last is an edifying monument of his sincere piety: in the two first, he bequeaths several lands and possessions to many churches of his diocese, adding prudent advice and regulations for maintaining good order, and a spirit of charity, between the clergy and monks. In 836, he was deputed by the council of Aix-la-chapelle, with Erchenrad, bishop of Paris, to Pepin, king of Aquitain, who was then reconciled with the emperor his father; and that prince was prevailed on by them to cause all the possessions of churches, which had been seized by those of his party, to be restored. Our saint assisted at the eighth council of Paris, in 846, and at the council of Tours, in 849. The two last years of his life he was confined to his bed by a palsy, during which time he redoubled his fervor and assiduity in holy prayer, for which he had from his infancy an extraordinary ardor. He died the 7th of January, 856, having been bishop almost twenty-four years. He was buried in the church of St. Vincent, to which, and the monastery to which it belongs, he had been a great benefactor. His relics are honorably preserved there at this day, and his festival has been kept at Mans from time immemorial. See his life published by Baluze, T. 3, Miscell. from an ancient MS. belonging to his church. The author produces many original public instruments, and seems to have been contemporary. (See Hist Lit. de la France, T. 5, p. 145.) Another life, probably compiled by a canon of the cathedral of Mans, in the time of Robert, successor to Saint Aldric, is given us by Mabillon, Annal. T. 3, p. 46, 246, 397, &c., but inserts some false pieces. (See Hist. Lit. ib. p. 148.) The life of St. Aldric, which we find in Bollandus, is a modern piece composed by John Moreau, canon of Mans.

Footnotes: 1. See Baluze, Capitul. Regnum Fr. T. 2, p. 44. 2. Ibid. p. 143. 3. Ib. p. 63, 70, 72, 80.


HE was by birth a Saxon, and being made captive, was carried into the Low Countries, where he was ransomed and baptized by St. Eligius. That apostolical man sent him to his abbey of Solignac, in Limousin. St. Thillo was called thence by St. Eligius, ordained priest, and employed by him some time at Tournay, and in other parts of the Low Countries. The inhabitants of the country of Isengihen, near Courtray, regard him as their apostle. Some years after the death of St. Eligius, St. Thillo returned to Solignac, {107} and lived a recluse near that abbey, in simplicity, devotion, and austerities, imitating the Antonies and Macariuses. He died in his solitude, about the year 702, of his age ninety-four, and was honored with miracles. His name is famous in the French and Belgic calendars, though it occurs not in the Roman. St. Owen, in his life of St. Eligius, names Thillo first among the seven disciples of that saint, who worked with him at his trade of goldsmith, and imitated him in all his religious exercises, before that holy man was engaged in the ministry of the church. Many churches in Flanders, Auvergne, Limousin, and other places, are dedicated to God, under his invocation. The anonymous life of St. Thillo, in Bollandus, is not altogether authentic; the history which Mabillon gives of him from the Breviary of Solignac, is of more authority, (Mab. Sæc. 2, Ben. p. 996.) See also Bulteau, Hist. Ben. T. i. l. 3, c. 16. Molanus in Natal. Sanct. Belgii, &c.


SECOND son of Eric the Good, king of Denmark, was made duke of Sleswig, his elder brother Nicholas being king of Denmark. Their father, who lived with his people as a father with his children, and no one ever left him without comfort, says the ancient chronicle Knytling-Saga, p. 71, died in Cyprus, going on a pilgrimage to the holy land, in which he had been received by Alexius Comnenus, emperor, at Constantinople, with the greatest honor, and had founded an hospital at Lucca for Danish pilgrims. He died in 1103, on the 11th of July. Mallet, 1. 2, p. 112.

Canut set himself to make justice and peace reign in his principality: those warriors could not easily be restrained from plundering. One day, when he had condemned several together to be hanged for piracies, one cried out, that he was of blood royal, and related to Canut. The prince answered, that to honor his extraction, he should be hanged on the top of the highest mast of his ship, which was executed. (Helmold, l. 6, c. 49) Henry, king of the Sclavi, being dead, and his two sons, St. Canut his nephew succeeded, paid homage to the emperor Lothaire II. and was crowned by him king of the Obotrites, or western Sclavi. St. Canut was much honored by that emperor, in whose court he had spent part of his youth. Valor, prudence, zeal, and goodness, endeared him to all. He was slain by conspiracy of the jealous Danes, the 7th of January, 1130, and canonized in 1171. His son became duke of Sleswig, and in 1158 king of Denmark, called Valdemar I. and the Great, from his virtuous and glorious actions.




From Eusebius, Theodoret, St. Jerom, &c. See Tillemont, Mem. t. 2, p. 492, and Hist des Emp. t. 2, p. 309.

A.D. 175.

CLAUDIUS APOLLINARIS, bishop of Hierapolis, in Phrygia, was one of the most illustrious prelates of the second age. Notwithstanding the great encomiums bestowed on him by Eusebius, St. Jerom, Theodoret, and others, we know but very little of his actions; and his writings, which then were held in great esteem, seem now to be all lost. Photius,[1] who had read them, and who was a very good judge, commends them both for their style and matter. He wrote against the Encratites, and other heretics, and pointed out, as St. Jerom testifies,[2] from what philosophical sect each heresy derived its errors. The last of these works was against the Montanists and their pretended prophets, who began to appear in Phrygia about the year 171. But nothing rendered his name so illustrious, as his noble apology for the Christian religion, which he addressed to the emperor Marcus Aurelius, about the year 175, soon after the miraculous victory that prince had obtained over the Quadi by the prayers of the Christians, of which the saint made mention.

Marcus Aurelius having long attempted, without success, to subdue the Germans by his generals, resolved in the thirteenth year of his reign, and of Christ 171, to lead a powerful army against them. He was beyond the Danube, (for Germany was extended much further eastward than it is at present,) when the Quadi, a people inhabiting that tract now called Moravia, surrounded him in a very disadvantageous situation, so that there was no possibility that either he or his army could escape out of their hands, or subsist long where they were, for want of water. The twelfth legion, called the Melitine, from a town of that name in Armenia, where it had been quartered a long time, was chiefly composed of Christians. These, when the army was drawn up, but languid and perishing with thirst, fell upon their knees, "as we are accustomed to do at prayer," says Eusebius, and poured forth earnest supplications to God in this public extremity of their state and emperor, though hitherto he had been a persecutor of their religion. The strangeness of the sight surprised the enemies, who had more reason to be astonished at the event; for all on a sudden the sky was darkened with clouds, and a thick rain showered down with impetuosity just as the Barbarians had assailed the Roman camp. The Romans fought and drank at the same time, catching the rain, as it fell, in their helmets, and often swallowing it mingled with blood. Though by this means exceedingly refreshed, the Germans were much too strong for them; but the storm being driven by a violent wind upon their faces, and accompanied with dreadful flashes of lightning, and loud thunder, the Germans were deprived of their sight, beaten down to the ground, and terrified to such a degree, that they were entirely routed and put to flight. Both heathen and Christian writers give this account of the victory. The heathens ascribe it, some to the power of {109} magic, others to their gods, as Dio Cassius;[3] but the Christians unanimously recount it as a miracle obtained by the prayers of this legion, as St. Apollinaris in his apology to this very emperor, who adds, that as an acknowledgment, the emperor immediately gave it the name of the Thundering Legion, and from him it is so called by Eusebius,[4] Tertullian,[5] St. Jerom,[6] and St. Gregory of Nyssa.[7]

The Quadi and Sarmatians brought back thirteen thousand prisoners, whom they had taken, and begged for peace on whatever conditions it should please the emperor to grant it them. Marcus Aurelius hereupon took the title of the seventh time emperor, contrary to custom, and without the consent of the senate, regarding it as given him by heaven. Out of gratitude to his Christian soldiers, he published an edict, in which he confessed himself indebted for his delivery to the shower obtained, PERHAPS, by the prayers of the Christians;[8] and more he could not say without danger of exasperating the pagans. In it he forbade, under pain of death, any one to accuse a Christian on account of his religion; yet, by a strange inconsistency, especially in so wise a prince, being overawed by the opposition of the senate, he had not the courage to abolish the laws already made and in force against Christians. Hence, even after this, in the same reign, many suffered martyrdom, though their accusers were also put to death; as in the case of St. Apollonius and of the martyrs of Lyons. Trajan had in like manner forbid Christians to be accused, yet commanded them to be punished with death if accused, as may be seen declared by him in his famous letter to Pliny the Younger. The glaring injustice of which law Tertullian demonstrates by an unanswerable dilemma.

St. Apollinaris, who could not see his flock torn in pieces and be silent, penned his apology to the emperor, about the year 172, to remind him of the benefit he had received from God by the prayers of the Christians, and to implore his protection. We have no account of the time of this holy man's death, which probably happened before that of Marcus Aurelius. The Roman Martyrology mentions him on the 8th of January.

* * * * *

We believe the same great truths, and divine mysteries,—we profess the same faith which produced such wonderful fruits in the souls of the saints. Whence comes it that it has not the like effects in us?—that though we acknowledge virtue to be the richest treasure of the soul of man, we take little pains about it, passionately seek the things of this world, are cast down and broken under every adversity, and curb and restrain our passions only by halves?—that the most glorious objects, God and heaven, and the amazing and dreadful truths, a judgment to come, hell, and eternity, strike us so feebly, and operate so little in us? The reason is plain: because we meditate not sufficiently on these great truths. Our notions of them are dim and imperfect; our thoughts pass so slightly over them, that they scarce retain any print or traces of them. Otherwise it is impossible that things {110} so great and terrible should excite in us no fear, or that things in their own nature infinitely amiable, should enkindle in us no desire. Slight and faint images of things move our minds very weakly, and affect them very coldly, especially in such matters as are not subject to our senses. We therefore grossly deceive ourselves in not allotting more time to the study of divine truths. It is not enough barely to believe them, and let our thoughts now and then glance upon them: that knowledge which shows us heaven, will not bring us to the possession of it, and will deserve punishments, not rewards, if it remain slight, weak, and superficial. By serious and frequent meditation it must be concocted, digested, and turned into the nourishment of our affections, before it can be powerful and operative enough to change them, and produce the necessary fruit in our lives. For this all the saints affected solitude and retreats from the noise and hurry of the world, as much as their circumstances allowed them.

1. {}
2. Ep. 83, ad Magn.
3. B. 71.
4. Hist. B. 5, c. 5.
5. Apol. c. 5. L. ad Scap. c. 4.
6. Chron.
7. Or. 2, de 40 mart.
8. Christianorum FORTE militum precationibus impetrato imbri.
    Tertull. Apolog. c. 5. Euseb. l. 5, c. 5. Some take the word forte
    here to signify, casually, accidentally, as hap was. Several
    learned Protestants have written in defence of this miracle: see Mr.
    Weston's dissertation in 1748. The exceptions of Le Clerc, Hist.
    Eccl. p. 744, and of Moyle, in his essay on the Thundering Legion,
    deserve no notice. The deliverance of the emperor is represented on
    the Columna Antoniniana, in Rome, by the figure of a Jupiter
    Pluvius, being that of an old man flying in the air, with his arms
    expanded, and a long beard which seems to waste away in rain. The
    soldiers are there represented as relieved by this sudden tempest,
    and in a posture, partly drinking of the rain-water, and partly
    fighting against the enemy; who, on the contrary are represented as
    stretched out on the ground with their horses, and upon them only
    the dreadful part of the storm descending. The original letter of
    Marcus Aurelius concerning this matter, was extant when Tertullian
    and St. Jerom wrote. See Hier. in Chron. Euseb. ad annum 176. Tert.
    Apol. c. 5, et lib. ad Scapul. The letter of Marcus Aurelius to the
    senate now extant, is rejected as supposititious by Scaliger,
    (Animadv. In Eus. ad an. 189.).It is published in the new edition of
    the works of Marcus Aurelius, printed by Robert Fowlis in 1748, t.
    1, p. 127, in Greek, t. 2, p. 126, in Latin, with notes, ib. p. 212.
    Mamachi, t. 1, p 366.


From his life, by Eugippius his disciple, who was present at his death.
See Tillemont, t. 16, p. 168. Lambecius Bibl. Vend. t. 1, p. 28, and
Bollandus, p. 497.

A.D. 482.

WE know nothing of the birth or country of this saint. From the purity of his Latin, he was generally supposed to be a Roman; and his care to conceal what he was according to the world, was taken for a proof of his humility, and a presumption that he was a person of birth. He spent the first part of his life in the deserts of the East; but, inflamed with an ardent zeal for the glory of God, he left his retreat to preach the gospel in the North. At first he came to Astures, now Stokeraw, situate above Vienna; but finding the people hardened in vice, he foretold the punishment God had prepared for them, and repaired to Comagenes, now Haynburg on the Danube, eight leagues westward of Vienna. It was not long ere his prophecy was verified; for Astures was laid waste, and the inhabitants destroyed by the sword of the Huns, soon after the death of Attila. St. Severinus's ancient host with great danger made his escape to him at Comagenes. By the accomplishment of this prophecy, and by several miracles he wrought, the name of the saint became famous. Favianes, a city on the Danube, twenty leagues from Vienna, distressed by a terrible famine, implored his assistance. St. Severinus preached penance among them with great fruit; and he so effectually threatened with the divine vengeance a certain rich woman, who had hoarded up a great quantity of provisions, that she distributed all her stores among the poor. Soon after his arrival, the ice of the Danube and the Ins breaking, the country was abundantly supplied by barges up the rivers. Another time by his prayers he chased away the locusts, which by their swarms had threatened with devastation the whole produce of the year. He wrought many miracles; yet never healed the sore eyes of Bonosus, the dearest to him of his disciples, who spent forty years in almost continual prayer, without any abatement of his fervor. The holy man never ceased to exhort all to repentance and piety: he redeemed captives, relieved the oppressed, was a father to the poor, cured the sick, mitigated or averted public calamities, and brought a blessing wherever he came. Many cities desired him for their bishop; but he withstood their importunities by urging, that it was sufficient he had relinquished his dear solitude for their instruction and comfort.


He established many monasteries, of which the most considerable was one on the banks of the Danube, near Vienna; but he made none of them the place of his constant abode, often shutting himself up in a hermitage four leagues from his community, where be wholly devoted himself to contemplation. He never ate till after sunset, unless on great festivals. In Lent he ate only once a week. His bed was sackcloth spread on the floor in his oratory. He always walked barefoot, even when the Danube was frozen. Many kings and princes of the Barbarians came to visit him, and among them Odoacer, king of the Heruli, then on his march for Italy. The saint's cell was so low that Odoacer could not stand upright in it. St. Severinus told him that the kingdom he was going to conquer would shortly be his; and Odoacer seeing himself, soon after, master of Italy, sent honorable letters to the saint, promising him all he was pleased to ask; but Severinus only desired of him the restoration of a certain banished man. Having foretold his death long before it happened, he fell ill of a pleurisy on the 5th of January, and on the fourth day of his illness, having received the viaticum, and arming his whole body with the sign of the cross, and repeating that verse of the psalmist, Let every spirit praise the Lord,[1] he closed his eyes, and expired in the year 482. Six years after, his disciples, obliged by the incursions of Barbarians, retired with his relics into Italy, and deposited them at Luculano, near Naples, where a great monastery was built, of which Eugippius, his disciple, and author of his life, was soon after made the second abbot. In the year 910 they were translated to Naples, where to this day they are honored in a Benedictin abbey, which bears his name. The Roman and other Martyrologies place his festival on this day, as being that of his death.

* * * * *

A perfect spirit of sincere humility is the spirit of the most sublime and heroic degree of Christian virtue and perfection. As the great work of the sanctification of our souls is to be begun by humility, so must it be completed by the same. Humility invites the Holy Ghost into the soul, and prepares her to receive his graces; and from the most perfect charity, which he infuses, she derives a new interior light, and an experimental knowledge of God and herself, with an infused humility far clearer in the light of the understanding, in which she sees God's infinite greatness, and her own total insufficiency, baseness, and nothingness, after a quite new manner; and in which she conceives a relish of contempt and humiliations as her due, feels a secret sentiment of joy in suffering them, sincerely loves her own abjection, dependence, and correction, dreads the esteem and praises of others, as snares by which a mortal poison may imperceptibly insinuate itself into her affections, and deprive her of the divine grace; is so far from preferring herself to any one, that she always places herself below all creatures, is almost sunk in the deep abyss of her own nothingness, never speaks of herself to her own advantage, or affects a show of modesty in order to appear humble before men, in all good, gives the entire glory to God alone, and as to herself, glories only in her infirmities, pleasing herself in her own weakness and nothingness, rejoicing that God is the great all in her and in all creatures.

Footnotes: 1. Ps. 150.



HE preached the gospel in Gaul, in the third century; came from Rome, and was probably one of the companions of St. Dionysius, of Paris, or at least of St. Quintin. He sealed his mission with his blood at Beauvais, under Julian, vicar or successor to the bloody persecutor Rictius Varus, in the government of Gaul, about the year 290. Maximian, called by the common people Messien, and Julian, the companions of his labors, were crowned with martyrdom at the same place a little before him. His relics, with those of his two colleagues, were discovered in the seventh age, as St. Owen informs us in his life of St. Eligius. They are shown in three gilt shrines, in the abbey which bears his name, and was founded in the eighth century. Rabanus Maurus says, that these relics were famous for miracles in the ninth century.

St. Lucian is styled only martyr, in most calendars down to the sixteenth century, and in the Roman Martyrology, and the calendar of the English Protestants, in all which it is presumed that he was only priest; but a calendar compiled in the reign of Lewis le Débonnaire,[1] gives him the title of bishop, and he is honored in that quality at Beauvias. See Bollandus, p. 540; though the two lives of this saint, published by him, and thought to be one of the ninth, the other of the tenth age, are of little or no authority. Tillemont, T. 4, p. 537. Loisel and Louvet, Hist. de Beauvais, p. 76.

Footnotes: 1. Spicileg. T. 10, p. 130.


SHE was sister to St. Guthlack, the famous hermit of Croyland, and though of the royal blood of the Mercian kings, forsook the world, and led an austere retired life in the country which afterwards bore her name, in Northamptonshire, at a distance from her holy brother. Some time after his death she went to Rome, and there slept in the Lord, about the year 719. Ordericus Vitalis says, her relics were honored with miracles, and kept in a church which bore her name at Rome, but this church is not now known. From one in Northamptonshire, a village still retains the name of Peagkirk, vulgarly Pequirk; she was also titular saint of a church and monastery in Pegeland, which St. Edward the Confessor united to Croyland. She is called St. Pee in Northamptonshire, and St. Pege at Croyland. See Ingulph. et Ord. Vitalis, l. 4. Florence of Worcester, ad ann. 714. Harpsfield, sec. 8, c. 19.


WILLIAM of Malmesbury informs us, that St. Dunstan, when bishop of
London, appointed him abbot of twelve monks at Thorney, since called
Westminster, where Saint Mellitus had built a church in honor of St.
Peter. Vulsin was afterwards chosen bishop of Shireburn; his holy life
was crowned with a happy death in 973. He is called Ultius by Matthew of
Westminster, {113} but his true ancient name, given by Capgrave, is
Vulsin. See Malmesbury de Pontif. Angl. l. 2. Capgrave and Harpsfield,
sæc. 10, c. 9, sæc. 11, c. 16.


ST. AMALBERGE, mother of this saint, was niece to Pepin, mayor of the palace. Gudula was educated at Nivelle, under the care of St. Gertrude, her cousin and god-mother; after whose death, in 664, she returned to the house of count Witger, her father, and having by vow consecrated her virginity to God, led there a most austere and holy life, in watching, fasting, and prayer. By her profuse alms, in which she bestowed her whole revenue on the poor, she was truly the mother of all the distressed; though her father's castle was two miles from the church of our Saviour at Morzelle, she went thither early every morning, with a maid to carry a lantern before her; and the wax taper being once put out, is said to have miraculously lighted again at her prayers, whence she is usually represented in pictures with a lantern. She died on the 8th of January, not in 670, as Miræus says, but in 712, and was buried at Ham, near Villevord. In the reign of Charlemagne, her body was removed to the church of our Saviour at Morzelle, and placed behind the high altar; this emperor, out of veneration of her memory, often resorted thither to pray, and founded there a nunnery, which soon after changed its name of St. Saviour for that of St. Goule: this house was destroyed in the irruptions of the Normans. The relics of St. Gudula, by the care of Charles, duke of Lorrain, (in which Brabant was then comprised,) were translated to Brussels, in 978, where they were first deposited to the church of St. Gery, but in 1047, removed into the great collegiate church of St. Michael, since called from her St. Gudula's. See her life wrote by Hubert of Brabant, in the eleventh century, soon after this translation of her relics to St. Michael's, who assures us that he took the whole relation from an ancient life of this saint, having only changed the order and style.


HE possessed a large estate, which he distributed among the poor; and seeing that agriculture is an employment best suiting a life of contemplation, he made this an exercise of penance, joining with the same assiduous prayer. He was a proficient in profane and sacred learning, and being made bishop, (to which dignity he was raised by the pope, in a journey of devotion which he made to Rome,) he continued to employ his revenues in charities as before, living himself in great austerity by the labor of his hands, and at the same time preaching the gospel to the people. By his means Scotland was preserved from the Pelagian heresy. He was one of the apostles of that country, and died in 452. He resided at Tullicht, now in the diocese of Aberdeen, and built the churches of Tullicht Bothelim, and of the Hill; in the former of these he was buried, and it long continued famous for miracles wrought by his relics, which were preserved there till the change of religion. See King, the Chronicles of Dumferling, and the lessons of the Aberdeen Breviary on this day. The see of Aberdeen was {114} not then regularly established; it was first erected at Murthlac by St. Bean, in the beginning of the eleventh century, and translated thence to Aberdeen by Nectan, the fourth bishop, in the reign of king David.[2] See Hector Boetius in the lives of the bishops of Aberdeen,[3] and Spotswood, b. 2, p. 101.

1. The Aberdeen Breviary resembles that called of Sarum, and contains
    the feasts of many French saints. It was printed at Edinburg, by
    Walter Chapman, in 1509.
2. Few authentic memoirs of the ancient Scotch church, or history, have
    been handed down to us, except those of certain noble families. A
    catalogue of the bishops of Galloway, from St. Ninianus, in 450; of
    the archbishops of Glascow, from St. Kentigern; of St. Andrew's,
    from the year 840; and of the bishops of the other sees, from the
    twelfth century, is printed at the end of an old edition of
    Spotsword in 166{} and reprinted by bishop Burnet, in an appendix to
    his memoirs of the house of Hamilton.
3. De vitis episcopor. Aberd. Prælo. Afrensiano, anno 1522.



From the life of his sister St. Macrina, composed by their brother St. Gregory of Nyssa; and from St. Gregory Naz. Or. 20. See also Theodoret, Hist. Eccl. l. 4, c. 30. Rufin, l. 2., c. 9, and the judicious compilation of Tillemont, in his life of St. Gregory of Nyssa, art. 6, t. 9, p. 572.

About the year 387.

THE family of which St. Peter descended, was very ancient and illustrious; St. Gregory Nazianzen tells us, that his pedigree was made up of a list of celebrated heroes; but their names are long since buried in oblivion, while those of the saints which it gave to the church, and who despised the world and its honors, are immortal in the records of the church, and are written in the book of life; for the light of faith, and the grace of the Almighty, extinguishing in their breasts the sparks of worldly ambition, inspired them with a most vehement ardor to attain the perfection of Christian virtue, and changed their family into a house of saints; three brothers were at the same time eminently holy bishops, St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Peter of Sebaste; and their eldest sister, St. Macrina, was the spiritual mother of many saints and excellent doctors; their father and mother, St. Basil the Elder, and St. Emolia, were banished for their faith in the reign of the emperor Galerius Maximian, and fled into the deserts of Pontus; they are recorded together in the Roman Martyrology, on the 30th of May: the grandmother of our pious and fruitful family of saints, was the celebrated St. Macrina the Elder, who was instructed in the science of salvation, by St. Gregory Thaumaturgus. St. Peter of Sebaste was the youngest of ten children, and lost his father in his cradle, some think before he was born; and his eldest sister, Macrina, took care of his education, in which it was her only aim to instruct him in the maxims of religion, and form him to perfect piety; profane studies she thought of little use, to one who designed to make salvation the sole end of all his inquiries and pursuits, nor did he ever make them any part of his employment, confining his views to a monastic state. His mother had founded two monasteries, one for men, the other for women; the former she put under the direction of her son Basil, the latter under that of her daughter Macrina. Peter, whose thoughts were wholly bent on cultivating the seeds of piety that had been sown in him, retired into the house governed by his brother, situated on the bank of the river Iris; when St. Basil was obliged to quit that post, in 362, he left the abbacy in the hands of St. Peter, who discharged this office for {115} several years with great prudence and virtue. When the provinces of Pontus and Cappadocia were visited by a severe famine, he gave a remarkable proof of his charity; human prudence would have advised him to be frugal in the relief of others, till his own family should be secured against that calamity; but Peter had studied the principles of Christian charity in another school, and liberally disposed of all that belonged to his monastery, and whatever he could raise, to supply with necessaries the numerous crowds that daily resorted to him, in that time of distress. Soon after St. Basil was made bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, in 370, he promoted his brother Peter to the priesthood; the holy abbot looked on the holy orders he had received as a fresh engagement to perfection. His brother St. Basil died on the 1st of January, in 379, and his sister Macrina in November, the same year. Eustathius, bishop of Sebaste, in Armenia, a violent Arian, and a furious persecutor of St. Basil, seems to have died soon after them, for St. Peter was consecrated bishop of Sebaste in 380, to root out the Arian heresy in that diocese, where it had taken deep root; the zeal of a saint was necessary, nor can we doubt but God placed our saint in that dignity for this purpose. A letter which St. Peter wrote, and which is prefixed to St. Gregory of Nyssa's books against Eunomius, has entitled him to a rank among the ecclesiastical writers, and is a standing proof, that though he had confined himself to sacred studies, yet by good conversation and reading, and by the dint of genius, and an excellent understanding, he was inferior to none but his incomparable brother Basil, and his colleague Nazianzen, in solid eloquence. In 381, he attended the general council held at Constantinople, and joined the other bishops in condemning the Macedonian heretics. Not only his brother St. Gregory, but also Theodoret, and all antiquity, bear testimony to his extraordinary sanctity, prudence, and zeal. His death happened in summer, about the year 387, and his brother of Nyssa mentions, that his memory was honored at Sebaste (probably the very year after his death) by an anniversary solemnity, with several martyrs of that city.[1] His name occurs in the Roman Martyrology, on the 9th of January.

* * * * *

We admire to see a whole family of saints! This prodigy of grace, under God, was owing to the example, prayers, and exhortations of the elder St. Macrina, which had this wonderful influence and effect; from her they learned most heartily and deeply to imbibe the true spirit of self-denial and humility, which all Christians confess to be the fundamental maxim of the gospel; but this they generally acknowledge in speculation only, whereas it is in the heart that this foundation is to be laid: we must entertain no attachment, says St. Gregory of Nyssa,[2] to any thing, especially where there is most danger of passion, by some sensual pleasure annexed; and we must begin by being upon our guard against sensuality in eating, which is the most ancient enemy, and the father of vice: we must observe in our whole life the most exact rule of temperance, never making the pleasure of sense our end, but only the necessity of the use we make of things, even those in which a pleasure is taken. In another treatise he says,[3] he who despises the world, must also renounce himself, so as never to follow his own will, but purely to seek in all things the will of God; we are his in justice, his will must be the law and rule of our whole life. This precept of dying to ourselves, that Christ may live in us, and all our affections and actions governed by his spirit, is excellently inculcated by St. Basil the Great.[4]

Footnotes: 1. St. Gr. Nyss. ep. ad Flav. t. 3, p. 645. 2. St. Gr. Nyss. de Virg. c. 9. 3. St. Basil, in Ps. 34, de Bapt. l. 1, et interr. 237. 4. Id. de perfectâ Christi formâ.



ACCORDING to their acts, and the ancient Martyrologies, though engaged in a married state, they by mutual consent lived in perpetual chastity, sanctified themselves by the most perfect exercises of an ascetic life, and employed their revenues in relieving the poor and the sick; for this purpose they converted their house into a kind of hospital, in which, if we may credit their acts, they sometimes entertained a thousand indigent persons. Basilissa attended those of her sex, in separate lodgings from the men, of whom Julian took care, who from his charity is surnamed the Hospitalarian. Egypt, where they lived, had then begun to abound with examples of persons, who, either in cities or in deserts, devoted themselves to the most perfect exercises of charity, penance, and contemplation. Basilissa, after having stood severe persecutions, died in peace; Julian survived her many years, and received the crown of a glorious martyrdom, together with Celsus a youth, Antony a priest, Anastatius, and Marcianilla the mother of Celsus. They seem to have suffered in the reign of Maximin II., in 313, on the 6th of January; for, in the most ancient lectionary used in the church of Paris, under the first race of the French kings, quoted by Chatelain,[1] and several ancient calendars, their festival is marked on that day, or on the eve. On account of the concurrence of the Epiphany, it was deferred in different churches to the 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 27, 28, or 29th, of January; 12, 13, 14, 17, 19, 24, or 27th, of February; 20, 21, or 22d of June; or 31st of August. The menology, published by Canisius, places the martyrdom of St. Julian and his companions, at Antinopolis in Egypt; certain ancient MS. copies of the Martyrology, which bear the name of St. Jerom, say more correctly Antinous: by mistaking the abbreviation of this name in some MS. copies, several Latins have read it Antioch;[2] and the Latin acts say these martyrs suffered at Antioch in Egypt: but no town of that name is ever mentioned in that country; though Seleucus, the son of Antiochus, gave it to sixteen cities which he built in Asia, as Appian takes notice. Many churches and hospitals in the east, and especially in the west, bear the name of one or other of these martyrs: at Antioch, in Syria, our St. Julian was titular saint of a famous church and St. Julian of Anazarbus, of two others. Chatelain[3] proves from ancient images and other monuments, that four churches at home, and three out of five at Paris, which bear the name of St. Julian, were originally dedicated under the name of St. Julian the hospitalarian and martyr; though some of these latter afterward took either St. Julian bishop of Mans, confessor, or St. Julian of Brioude, martyr, for patron. The same has happened to some, out of the great number of churches and hospitals in the Low Countries, erected under his invocation; but the hospitalarian and martyr is still retained in the office of the greatest part, especially at Brussels, Antwerp, Tournay, Douay, &c. In the time of St. Gregory the Great, the skull of St. Julian, husband of St. Basilissa, was brought out of the east into France, and given to queen Brunehault; she gave it to the nunnery which she founded at Etampes; part of it is at present in the {117} monastery of Morigny, near Etampes, and part in the church of the regular canonesses of St. Basilissa, at Paris.[4]

1. Notes sur le Martyrol. 6 Jan., p. 106. Mabill. Lit. Gallic. l. 2,
    pp. 115, 116.
2. The abbreviation Antio for Antinous, found in a MS. copy mentioned
    by Chatelain, p. 106, was probably mistaken for Antioch, a name
    better known. Certain circumstances related from the false acts of
    these martyrs, by St. Antoninus, gave occasion to the painters in
    Italy to represent St. Julian as a sportsman with a hawk on his
    hand; and in France, as a boatsman, in a barge; and the postilions
    and bargemen keep his feast, as of their principal patron.
3. Notes on Jan. 6, p. 109.
4. See Chatelain, notes on Jan. 6, p. 110, from a MS. at Morigny.


SHE was a native of Rusuccur in Mauritania, and courageously despising all worldly advantages, to secure to herself the possession of the precious jewel of heavenly grace, she was called to the trial in the persecution of Dioclesian, which was continued in Africa under his successors, till the death of Severus, who was declared Cæsar in 305, and slain in 309. St. Marciana was beaten with clubs, and her chastity exposed to the rude attempts of pagan gladiators, in which danger God miraculously preserved her, and she became the happy instrument of the conversion of one of them to the faith: at length she was torn in pieces by a wild bull and a leopard, in the amphitheatre at Cæsarea in Mauritania. She is the same who is commemorated on the 12th of July, in the ancient breviary of Toledo; and in the Roman, and some other Martyrologies, both on the 9th of July, and on the 9th of January. See a beautiful ancient hymn in her praise, in the Mozarabic breviary, and her acts in Bollandus, though their authority is not altogether certain. Consult Tillemont, t. 5, p. 263. Chatelain, notes on the 9th of January p. 146.


HE was abbot of Glastenbury, but resigning that dignity, came to the little monastery of Riculf, or Riculver, near the isle of Thanet, in Kent, that he might improve himself in the study of the Holy Scriptures, in the neighborhood of St. Theodorus; after whose death he was promoted to the see of Canterbury, in 692, in which he sat thirty-seven years and six months, a living {icon} of perfection to this church. He died in 731. See John of Glastenbury, published by Hearne; William of Malmesbury, in the antiquities of Glastenbury, published by Thomas Gale; and Bede, l. 5, c. 9, and 24.


HIS name is famous in the ancient Scottish and Irish Calendars. The example and instructions of his pious parents, Feriach and St. Kentigerna, inspired him from the cradle with the most ardent love of virtue. In his youth, despising the flattering worldly advantages to which high birth and a great fortune entitled him, he received the monastic habit from a holy abbot named Mundus, and passed many years in a cell at some distance from the monastery, not far from St. Andrew's. He was by compulsion drawn from this close solitude, being chosen abbot. His sanctity in this public station shone forth with a bright light. After some years he resigned this charge, and retired to his uncle Congan, brother to his mother, in a place called Siracht, a mountainous part of Glendarchy, now in Fifeshire, where, with the assistance of seven others, he built a church, near which he served for several years. God glorified him by a wonderful gift of miracles; and called him to the reward of his labors on the 9th of January, in the seventh century. {118} He was buried in Straphilline, and his relics were long preserved there with honor. This account is given us of him in the lessons of the Aberdeen Breviary.[1] The Scottish historians[2] attribute to the intercession of St. Felan a memorable victory obtained by king Robert Bruce, in 1314, over a numerous army of English, at Bannocburn, not far from Sterling, in the reign of Edward II. of England, who narrowly escaped, being obliged to pass the Tweed in a boat, with only one companion. See Lesley, l. 17; Boetius, l. 14. Chatelain certainly mistakes in confounding this saint with St. Finan, bishop of Lindisfarne.[3]

1. T. 1, part 2, fol. 28.
2. Hector Boetius, l. 14, &c.
3. St. Felan flourished in the county of Fife, and probably in the
    monastery of Pettinuime, where his memory was famous, as is
    testified by the author of MS. memoirs on the Scottish saints,
    preserved in the college of the Scots at Paris, who declares himself
    to have been a missionary priest in Scotland to 1609. The county of
    Fife was famous for the rich and most ancient monasteries of
    Dumferling, Lindore, St. Andrew's, or Colrosse, or Courose,
    Pettinuime, Balmure, and Petmoace; and two stately nunneries:
    Aberdaure and Elcho. All these noble buildings they levelled to the
    ground with incredible fury, crying, "Pull down, pull down: the
    crows' nest must be utterly exterminated, lest they should return
    and attempt again to renew their settlement." Ib. MS. fol. 7.


DIVINE Providence conducted this holy man to Britain, in order to make him an instructor of innumerable saints. Adrian was an African by birth, and was abbot of Nerida, not far from Naples, when pope Vitalian, upon the death of St. Deusdedit the archbishop of Canterbury, judged him, for his skill in sacred learning, and experience in the paths of true interior virtue, to be of all others the most proper person to be the doctor of a nation, zealous in the pursuit of virtue, but as yet ignorant in the sciences, and in the canons of the church. The humble servant of God found means to decline that dignity, by recommending St. Theodorus as most capable, but refused not to share in the laborious part of the ministry. The pope therefore enjoined him to be the companion, assistant, and adviser of the apostolic archbishop, which charge Adrian willingly took upon himself. In travelling through France with St. Theodorus, he was stopped by Ebroin, the jealous mayor of the palace, who feared lest the emperor of the East had given these two persons, who were his born subjects, some commission in favor of his pretensions to the western kingdoms. Adrian stayed a long time in France, at Meaux, and in other places, before he was allowed to pursue his journey. St. Theodorus established him abbot of the monastery of SS. Peter and Paul, afterward called St. Austin, near Canterbury, where he taught the learned languages and the sciences, and principally the precepts and maxims of our divine religion. He had illustrated this island by his heavenly doctrine, and the bright example of his virtues, for the space of thirty-nine years, when he departed to our Lord on the 9th of January, in the year 710. His tomb was famed for miracles, as we are assured by Joscelin the Monk, quoted by William of Malmesbury and Capgrave; and his name is inserted in the English calendars. See Bede, l. 4, c. 1, l. 5, c. 21. Malmesb. de Pontif. Angl. and Capgrave.


FROM various fragments of ancient histories of his life, the most modern of which was compiled in the twelfth century, it appears that Vaneng was made by Clotaire III. governor of that part of Neustria, or Normandy, which was anciently inhabited by the Caletes, and is called Pais de Caux, {119} at which time he took great pleasure in hunting. Nevertheless, he was very pious, and particularly devout to St. Eulalia of Barcelona, called in Guienne, St. Aulaire. One night be seemed, in a dream, to hear that holy Virgin and Martyr repeat to him those words of our blessed Redeemer in the gospel, that "it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to be saved." Soon after this he quitted the world, assisted St. Vandrille in building the churches of SS. Peter and Paul at Fontenelles, and founded in the valley of Fécam[1] a church in honor of the holy Trinity, with a great nunnery adjoining, under the direction of St. Owes and St. Vandrille. Hildemarca, a very virtuous nun, was called from Bourdeaux, and appointed the first abbess. Under her, three hundred and sixty nuns served God in this house, and were divided into as many choirs as were sufficient, by succeeding one another, to continue the divine office night and day without interruption. St. Vaneng died about the year 688, and is honored, in the Gallican and Benedictin Martyrologies, on the 9th of January; but at St. Vandrille's, and in other monasteries in Normandy, on the 31st of January. This saint is titular patron of several churches in Aquitain and Normandy; one near Touars in Poictou has given its name to the village of St. Vaneng. His body is possessed in a rich shrine, in the abbatial church of Our Lady at Ham, in Picardy, belonging to the regular canons of St. Genevieve. See Mabillon, t. 2, p. 972; Bollandus, and chiefly the life of St. Vaneng, judiciously collected and printed at Paris in 1700;[2] also, the breviary of the abbey of Fontenelle, now St. Vandrille's. The abbeys of Fécam, St. Vandrille, Jumiege, Bec, St. Stephen's at Caen, Cerisy, &c., are now of the reformed congregation of St. Maur, abbot of St. Benignus, at Dijon, whose life Bollandus has given us among the saints, January 1. Fécam, honored by the dukes of Normandy above all their other monasteries, is the richest and most magnificent abbey in Normandy.

1. The monastery of Fécam was ruined in the invasion of the Normans.
    Rollo, who came into France in 876, was baptized, and, after having
    founded the duchy of Normandy, died in 917. His sepulchral monument
    is shown in one of the chapels near the door in the cathedral at
    Rouen. His son William built a palace at Fécam, where his son
    Richard was born. The church of the Holy Trinity being
    re-established, this Richard placed in it secular canons; but, on
    his death-bed, ordered it to be put into the hands of the monks.
    This was executed by his successor, the monks being sent by William
    the most holy abbot.
2. Ferrarius, an Italian servite, Du-Saussayè, Bollandus, and F. Giry,
    place among the saints of this day, Sithride, or Sedredo, an English
    virgin, and second abbess of Farmoutiers. Bede tells us (l. 3, c. 8)
    that she was daughter of St. Hereswide, by a former husband, before
    she married Annas, king of the East Angles, and that going to the
    monastery of Briè, (now Farmoutiers,) she was second abbess between
    St. Fara and St. Aubierge, King Annas's own daughter. But though St.
    Aubierge be honored at Farmoutiers in July, with great solemnity,
    and St. Arthongate in February, the name of Sedredo is not found in
    the calendar of any church, nor are any of her relics enshrined like
    the others, unless she be the same with St. Sissetrudis, who in some
    calendars is named on the 6th, in others on the 7th of May. But St.
    Sissetrude is called by Jonas of Bobio, cellerer, not abbess. See
    Chatelain, &c. 3.




From his life written by a faithful acquaintance at Bourges, (abridged by Surius,) and again by Peter, a monk of Chaalis, both soon after his death: collected by Dom le Nain, in his history of the Cistercians, t. 7. See also the notes of Bollandus, with a fragment of a third life, and Gallia Christ. Nov. t. 2. p. 63.

A.D. 1209.

WILLIAM BERRUYER, of the illustrious family of the ancient counts of Nevers, was educated by Peter the Hermit, archdeacon of Soissons, his uncle by the mother's side. He learned from his infancy to despise the folly and emptiness of the riches and grandeur of the world, to abhor its pleasures, and to tremble at its dangers. His only delight was in exercises of piety and in his studies, in which he employed his whole time with indefatigable application. He was made canon, first of Soissons, and afterwards of Paris; but he soon took the resolution of abandoning all commerce with the world, and retired into the solitude of Grandmont, where he lived with great regularity in that austere order, till seeing its peace disturbed by a contest which arose between the fathers and lay-brothers, he passed into the Cistercian, then in wonderful odor of sanctity. He took the habit in the abbey of Pontigny, and shining as a perfect model of monastic perfection, was after some time chosen prior of that house, and afterwards abbot, first of Fountaine-Jean, in the diocese of Sens, (a filiation of Pontigny, founded in 1124, by Peter de Courtenay, son of king Louis the Fat,) and some time after, of Chaalis, near Senlis, a much more numerous monastery, also a filiation of Pontigny, built by Louis the Fat in 1136, a little before his death. St. William always reputed himself the last among his brethren. The universal mortification of his senses and passions, laid in him the foundation of an admirable purity of heart, and an extraordinary gift of prayer; in which he received great heavenly lights, and tasted of the sweets which God has reserved for those to whom he is pleased to communicate himself. The sweetness and cheerfulness of his countenance testified the uninterrupted joy and peace that overflowed his soul, and made virtue appear with the most engaging charms in the midst of austerities.

On the death of Henry de Sully, archbishop of Bourges, the clergy of that church requested his brother Endo, bishop of Paris, to come and assist them in the election of a pastor. Desirous to choose some abbot of the Cistercian Order, then renowned for holy men, they put on the altar the names of three, written on as many billets. This manner of election by lots would have been superstitious, and a tempting of God, had it been done relying on a miracle without the warrant of divine inspiration. But it deserved not this censure when all the persons proposed seemed equally worthy and fit, as the choice was only recommended to God, and left to this issue by following the rules of his ordinary providence, and imploring his light, without rashness, or a neglect of the usual means of scrutiny: prudence might sometimes even recommend such a method, in order to terminate a debate when the candidates seemed equally qualified. God, in such cases is said sometimes to have miraculously interposed.


Eudo, accordingly, having written three billets, laid them on the altar, and having made his prayer drew first the name of the abbot William, on whom, at the same time, the majority of the votes of the clergy had made the election fall, the 23d of November, 1200. This news overwhelmed William, with grief. He never would have acquiesced, had he not received a double command in virtue of obedience, from the pope, and from his general the abbot of Citeaux. He left his clear solitude with many tears, and was received at Bourges as one sent by heaven, and soon after was consecrated. In this new dignity his first care was to conform both his exterior and interior to the most perfect rules of sanctity; being very sensible that a man's first task is to honor God perfectly in his own soul. He redoubled all his austerities, saying, it was now incumbent on him to do penance for others, as well as for himself. He always wore a hair-shirt under his religious habit, and never added, nor diminished, any thing in his clothes, either winter or summer. He never ate any flesh-meat, though he had it at his table for strangers. His attention to feed his flock was no less remarkable, especially in assisting the poor both spiritually and corporally, saying, that he was chiefly sent for them. He was most mild to penitent sinners; but inflexible towards the impenitent, though he refused to have recourse to the civil power against them, the usual remedy of that age. Many such he at last reclaimed by his sweetness and charity. Certain great men, abusing his lenity, usurped the rights of his church; but the saint strenuously defended them even against the king himself, notwithstanding his threats to confiscate his lands. By humility and resolution he overcame several contradictions of his chapter and other clergy. By his zeal he converted many of the Albigenses, contemporary heretics, and was preparing himself for a mission among them, at the time he was seized with his last illness. He would, notwithstanding, preach a farewell sermon to his people, which increased his fever to such a degree that he was obliged to set aside his journey, and take to his bed. Drawing near his end, he received first extreme unction, according to the discipline of that age;[1] then, in order to receive the viaticum, he rose out of bed, fell on his knees melting in tears, and prayed long prostrate with his arms stretched out in the form of a cross. The night following, perceiving his last hour approach, he desired to anticipate the nocturns, which are said at midnight; but having made the sign of the cross on his lips and breast, was able to pronounce no more than the two first words. Then, according to a sign made by him, he was laid on ashes in the hair-cloth which he always privately wore. In this posture he soon after expired, a little past midnight, on the morning of the 10th of January, in 1209. His body was interred in his cathedral; and being honored by many miracles, was taken up in 1217; and in the year following he was canonized by pope Honorius III. His relics were kept with great veneration till 1562, when they were burnt, and scattered in the winds by the Huguenots, on occasion of their plundering the cathedral of Bourges, as Baillet and Bollandus mention. A bone of his arm is shown with veneration at Chaalis, whither it had been sent soon after the saint's body was taken up; and a rib is preserved in the church of the college of Navarre, at Paris, on which the canons of St. Bourges bestowed it in 1399.[2] His festival is kept in that church with great, solemnity, and a great concourse of devout persons; St. William being regarded in several parts of France as one of the patrons of the nation, though his name is not mentioned in the Roman Martyrology. The celebrated countess Maud, his niece, out of veneration for his memory, bestowed certain lands in the {122} Nivernois, on the church of Bourges.[3] B. Philip Berruyer, a nephew of St. William, was archbishop of Bourges from the year 1236 to 1260, in which he died in the odor of sanctity. Nangi ascribes to him many miracles, and other historians bear testimony to his eminent virtue.[4] Dom Martenne has published his edifying original life.[5]

* * * * *

If we look into the lives of all the saints, we shall find that it was by a spirit and gift of prayer that the Holy Ghost formed in their hearts the most perfect sentiments of all virtues. It is this which enlightens the understanding, and infuses a spiritual knowledge, and a heavenly wisdom, which is incomparably more excellent than that in which philosophers pride themselves. The same purifies the affections, sanctifies the soul, adorns it with virtues, and enriches it with every gift of heaven. Christ, who is the eternal wisdom, came down among us on earth to teach us more perfectly this heavenly language, and he alone is our master in it. He vouchsafed also to be our model. In the first moment in which his holy soul began to exist, it exerted all its powers in contemplating and adorning the divine Trinity, and employed his affections in the most ardent acts of praise, love, thanksgiving, oblation, and the like. His whole moral life was an uninterrupted prayer; more freely to apply himself to this exercise, and to set us an example, he often retired into mountains and deserts, and spent whole nights in prayer; and to this employment he consecrated his last breath upon the cross. By him the saints were inspired to conceive an infinite esteem for holy prayer, and such a wonderful assiduity and ardor in this exercise, that many renounced altogether the commerce of men to only that of God, and his angels; and the rest learned the art of conversing secretly with heaven even amidst their exterior employments, which they only undertook for God. Holy pastors have always made retirement and a life of prayer their apprenticeship or preparation for the ministry, and afterward, amidst its functions were still men of prayer in them, having God always present to their mind, and setting apart intervals in the day, and a considerable part of the nights, to apply themselves with their whole attention to this exercise, in the silence of all creatures.

Footnotes: 1. See Bellarmin, de Arte moriendi. Iuenin, de Sacram. t. 2, et Hist. des Sacr. t. 7. 2. See Chatelain. Not. p. 161, Brev. Paris. 3. Gallia Christ. Nov. t. 2, p. 63{?}. 4. Ib. p. 69. 5. Martenne Anecdot. t. 3, p. 1927.


AGATHO, a Sicilian by birth, was remarkable for his charity and benevolence, a profound humility, and an engaging sweetness of temper. Having been several years treasurer of the church of Rome, he succeeded Domnus in the pontificate in 679. He presided by his three legates in the sixth general council, and third of Constantinople, in 680, in the reign of the pious emperor Constantine Pogonatus, against the Monothelite heresy, which he confuted in a learned letter to that emperor, by the tradition of the apostolic church of Rome: "Acknowledged," says he, "by the whole Catholic church, to be the mother and mistress of all other churches, and to derive her superior authority from St. Peter, the prince of the apostles, to whom Christ committed his whole flock, with a promise that his faith should never fail." This epistle was approved as a rule of faith by the same council, which declared, that Peter spoke by Agatho. This pope restored St. Wilfrid to the see of York, and was a great benefactor to the Roman clergy and to the churches. Anastatius says, that the number of his miracles procured him the title of Thaumaturgus. He died in 682, having held the pontificate {123} two years and a half. His feast is kept both by the Latins and Greeks. See Anastatius published by Bianchini; also Muratori and Labbé, Conc. t. 6, p. 1109.

* * * * *

The style of this pope's letters is inferior to that both of his predecessors and successors. The reason he alleges in excusing the legates whom he sent to Constantinople for their want of eloquence, because the graces of speech could not be cultivated amidst the incursions of barbarians, while with much difficulty they earned Thor daily subsistence by manual labor; "But we preserve," said he, with simplicity of heart, "the faith, which our fathers have handed down to us." The bishops, his legates, say the same thing: "Our countries are harassed by the fury of barbarous nations. We live in the midst of battles, inroads, and devastations; our lives pass in continual alarms and anxiety, and we subsist by the labor of our hands."


WAS born at Constantinople, though of a Roman family related to the imperial house of the Theodosiuses. From his childhood he served God in continual watching, fasting, and prayer, in imitation of St. John the Baptist; and for the relief of the necessitous he gave away immense occult alms. The time which was not employed in these charities, he spent in holy retirement and prayer. In the reign of the emperor Marcian, Anatolius the archbishop, offering violence to the saint's humility, ordained him priest. In this new state the saint saw himself under a stricter obligation than before of laboring to attain to the summit of Christian perfection; and while he made the instruction of the poor his principal and favorite employment, he redoubled his earnestness in providing for their corporal necessities, and was careful never to relax any part of his austerities. The severity of his morals was made a handle, by those who feared the example of his virtue, as a tacit censure of their sloth, avarice, and irregularities, to fasten upon him a suspicion of Novatianism; but his meekness and silence at length triumphed over the slander. This persecution served more and more to purify his soul, and exceedingly improve his virtue. This shone forth with greater lustre than ever, when the cloud was dispersed; and the patriarch Gennadius, with the great applause of the whole body of the clergy and people, conferred on him the dignity of treasurer, which was the second in that church. St. Marcian built or repaired in a stately manner a great number of churches in Constantinople, confounded the Arians and other heretics, and was famous for miracles both before and after his happy death, which happened towards the end of the fifth century. He is honored both in the Greek Menæa, and Roman Martyrology, on the 10th of January. See his ancient anonymous life in Surius, and Bollandus; also Cedrenus, Sozomen, and Theodorus Lector, l. 1. Codinus Orig. Constant. p. 60. See Tillemont, t. 16, p. 161.




From his life by Theodorus, bishop of Petra, some time his disciple, in
Surius and Bollandus, and commended by Fleury, Baillet, &c.

A.D. 529.

ST. THEODOSIUS was born at Mogariassus, called in latter ages Marissa, in Cappadocia, in 423. He imbibed the first tincture of virtue from the fervent example and pious instructions of his virtuous parents. He was ordained reader, but some time after being moved by Abraham's example to quit his country and friends, he resolved to put this motion in execution. He accordingly set out for Jerusalem, but went purposely out of his road, to visit the famous St. Simeon Stylites on his pillar, who foretold him several circumstances of his life, and gave him proper instructions for his behavior in each. Having satisfied his devotion in visiting the holy places in Jerusalem, he began to consider in what manner he should dedicate himself to God in a religious state. The dangers of living without a guide, made him prefer a monastery to a hermitage; and he therefore put himself under the direction of a holy man named Longinus, to whom his virtue soon endeared him in a very particular manner. A pious lady having built a church under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin, on the high road to Bethlehem, Longinus could not well refuse her request, that his pupil should undertake the charge of it; but Theodosius, who loved only to obey, could not be induced by any entreaties to consent to this proposal: absolute commands were necessary to force him to a compliance. Nor did he govern long; for dreading the poison of vanity from the esteem of men, he retired into a cave at the top of a neighboring desert mountain, and employed his time in fasting, watching, prayers, and tears, which almost continually flowed from his eyes. His food was coarse pulse and wild herbs: for thirty years he never tasted so much as a morsel of bread. Many desired to serve God under his direction: he at first determined only to admit six or seven, but was soon obliged to receive a greater number, and at length came to a resolution, which charity extorted from him, never to reject any that presented themselves with dispositions that seemed sincere. The first lesson which he taught his monks was, that the continual remembrance of death is the foundation of religious perfection; to imprint this more deeply in their minds, he caused a great grave or pit to be dug, which might serve for the common burial-place of the whole community, that by the presence of this memorial of death, and by continually meditating on that object, they might more perfectly learn to die daily. The burial-place being made, the abbot one day, when he had led his monks to it, said, "The grave is made, who will first perform the dedication?" Basil, a priest, who was one of the number, falling on his knees, said to St. Theodosius, "I am the person, be pleased to give me your blessing." The abbot ordered the prayers of the church for the dead to be offered up for him, and on the fortieth day, Basil wonderfully departed to our Lord in peace, without any apparent sickness. When the holy company of disciples were twelve in number, it happened that at the great feast of Easter they had nothing to eat; they had not even bread for the sacrifice: some murmured; the saint bid them trust {125} in God and he would provide: which was soon remarkably verified, by the arrival of certain mules loaded with provisions. The lustre of the sanctity and miracles of St. Theodosius, drawing great numbers to him who desired to serve God under his direction, his cave was too little for their reception; therefore, having consulted heaven by prayer, he, by its particular direction, built a spacious monastery at a place called Cathismus, not far from Bethlehem, at a small distance from his cave, and it was soon filled with holy monks. To this monastery were annexed three infirmaries; one for the sick, the gift of a pious lady in that neighborhood; the two others St. Theodosius built himself, one for the aged and feeble, the other for such as had been punished with the loss of their senses, or by falling under the power of the devil, for rashly engaging in a religious state through pride, and without a due dependence on the grace of God to carry them through it. All succors, spiritual and temporal, were afforded in these infirmaries, with admirable order, care, and affection. He erected also several buildings for the reception of strangers, in which he exercised an unbounded hospitality, entertaining all that came, for whose use there were one day above a hundred tables served with provisions: these, when insufficient for the number of guests, were more than once miraculously multiplied by his prayers. The monastery itself was like a city of saints in the midst of a desert, and in it reigned regularity, silence, charity, and peace. There were four churches belonging to it, one for each of the three several nations of which his community was chiefly composed, each speaking a different language; the fourth was for the use of such as were in a state of penance, which those that recovered from their lunatic or possessed condition before, mentioned, were put into, and detained till they had expiated their fault. The nations into which his community was divided, were the Greeks, which were far the most numerous, and consisted of all those that came from any provinces of the empire; the Armenians, with whom were joined the Arabians and Persians; and, thirdly, the Bessi, who comprehended all the northern nations below Thrace, or all who used the Runic or Sclavonian tongue. Each nation sung the first part of the mass to the end of the gospel, in their own church, but after the gospel, all met in the church of the Greeks, where they celebrated the essential part of the sacrifice in Greek and communicated all together.[1]

The monks passed a considerable part of the day and night at their devotions in the church, and at the times not set apart for public prayer and necessary rest, every one was obliged to apply himself to some trade, of manual labor, not incompatible with recollection, that the house might be supplied with conveniences. Sallust, bishop of Jerusalem, appointed St. Sabas superior general of the hermits, and our saint of the Cenobites, or religious men living in community throughout all Palestine, whence he was styled the Cenobiarch. These two great servants of God lived in strict friendship, and had frequent spiritual conferences together; they were also united in their zeal and sufferings for the church.

The emperor Anastasius patronized the Eutychian heresy, and used all possible means to engage our saint in his party. In 513 he deposed Elias, patriarch of Jerusalem, as he had banished Flavian II., patriarch of Antioch, and intruded Severus, an impious heretic, into that see, commanding the Syrians to obey and hold communion with him. SS. Theodosius and Sabas maintained boldly the right of Elias, and of John his successor; whereupon the imperial officers thought it most advisable to connive at their proceedings, considering the great authority they had acquired by {126} their sanctity. Soon after, the emperor sent Theodosius a considerable sum of money, for charitable uses in appearance, but in reality to engage him in his interest. The saint accepted of it, and distributed it all among the poor. Anastasius now persuading himself that he was as good as gained over to his cause, sent him an heretical profession of faith, in which the divine and human natures in Christ were confounded into one, and desired him to sign it. The saint wrote him an answer full of apostolic spirit; in which, besides solidly confuting the Eutychian error, he added, that he was ready to lay down his life for the faith of the church. The emperor admired his courage and the strength of his reasoning, and returning him a respectful answer, highly commended his generous zeal, made some apology for his own inconsiderateness, and protested that he only desired the peace of the church. But it was not long ere he relapsed into his former impiety and renewed his bloody edicts against the orthodox, dispatching troops everywhere to have them put in execution. On the first intelligence of this, Theodosius went over all the deserts and country of Palestine, exhorting every one to be firm in the faith of the four general councils. At Jerusalem, having assembled the people together, he from the pulpit cried out with a loud voice: "If any one receives not the four general councils as the four gospels, let him be anathema." So bold an action in a man of his years, inspired with courage those whom the edicts had terrified. His discourses had a wonderful effect on the people, and God gave a sanction up his zeal by miracles: one of these was, that on his going out of the church at Jerusalem, a woman was healed of a cancer on the spot, by only touching his garments. The emperor sent an order for his banishment, which was executed; but dying soon after, Theodosius was recalled by his Catholic successor, Justin; who, from a common soldier, had gradually ascended the imperial throne.

Our saint survived his return eleven years, never admitting the least relaxation in his former austerities. Such was his humility, that seeing two monks at variance with each other, he threw himself at their feet, and could not rise till they were perfectly reconciled; and once having excommunicated one of his subjects for a crime, who contumaciously pretended to excommunicate him in his turn, the saint behaved as if he had been really excommunicated, to gain the sinner's soul by this unprecedented example of submission, which had the desired effect. During the last year of his life he was afflicted with a painful distemper, in which he gave proof of an heroic patience, and an entire submission to the will of God; for being advised by one that was an eye-witness of his great sufferings, to pray that God would be pleased to grant him some ease, he would give no ear to it, alleging that such thoughts were impatience, and would rob him of his crown. Perceiving the hour of his dissolution at hand, he gave his last exhortation to his disciples, and foretold many things, which accordingly came to pass after his death: this happened in the one hundred and fifth year of his age, and of our Lord 529. Peter, patriarch of Jerusalem, and the whole country, assisted with the deepest sentiments of respect at the solemnity of his interment, which was honored by miracles. He was buried in his first cell, called the cave of the magi, because the wise men, who came to adore Christ soon after his birth, were said to have lodged in it. A certain count being on his march against the Persians, begged the hair shirt which the saint used to wear next his skin, and believed that he owed the victory which he obtained over them, to the saint's protection through the pledge of that relic. Both the Roman and Greek calendars mention his festival on the 11th of January.


* * * * *

The examples of the Nazarites and Essenes among the Jews, and of many excellent and holy persons among the Christians through every age, demonstrate that many are called by God to serve him in a retired contemplative life; nay, it is the opinion of St. Gregory the Great, that the world is to some persons so full of ambushes and snares, or dangerous occasions of sin, that they cannot be saved but by choosing a safe retreat. Those who from experience are conscious of their own weakness, and find themselves to be no match for the world, unable to countermine its policies, and oppose its power, ought to retire as from the face of too potent an enemy; and prefer a contemplative state to a busy and active life: not to indulge sloth, or to decline the service of God and his neighbor, but to consult his own security, and to fly from dangers of sin and vanity. Yet there are some who find the greatest dangers in solitude itself; so that it is necessary for every one to sound his own heart, take a survey of his own forces and abilities, and consult God, that he may best he able to learn the designs of his providence with regard to his soul; in doing which, a great purity of intention is the first requisite. Ease and enjoyment must not be the end of Christian retirement, but penance, labor, and assiduous contemplation; without great fervor and constancy in which, close solitude is the road to perdition. If greater safety, or an unfitness for a public station, or a life of much business (in which several are only public nuisances) may be just motives to some for embracing a life of retirement, the means of more easily attaining to perfect virtue may be such to many. Nor do true contemplatives bury their talents, or cease either to be members of the republic of mankind, or to throw in their mite towards its welfare. From the prayers and thanksgivings which they daily offer to God for the peace of the world, the preservation of the church, the conversion of sinners, and the salvation of all men, doubtless more valuable benefits often accrue to mankind, than from the alms of the rich, or the labors of the learned. Nor is it to be imagined, how far and how powerfully their spirit, and the example of their innocence and perfect virtue, often spread their influence; and how serviceable persons who lead a holy and sequestered life may be to the good of the world; nor how great glory redounds to God, by the perfect purity of heart and charity to which many souls are thus raised.

Footnotes: 1. See Le Brun, Explic. des Cérèmonies de la Messe, t. 4, pp. 234-235, dissert. l. 4, art. 2.


HE was placed in the chair of St. Peter after the martyrdom of St. Telesphorus, in the year 139. Eusebius informs us,[1] that he sat four years. The church then enjoyed some sort of calm, under the mild reign of the emperor Antoninus Pius; though several martyrs suffered in his time by the fury of the populace, or the cruelty of certain magistrates. The emperor himself never consented to such proceedings; and when informed of them by the governors of Asia, Athens, Thessalonica, and Larissea, he wrote to them in favor of the Christians, as is recorded by St. Justin and Eusebius.[2]

But the devil had recourse to other arts to disturb the peace of God's church. Cerdo, a wolf in sheep's clothing, in the year 140, came from Syria to Rome, and began to teach the false principles which Marcion adopted afterward with more success. He impiously affirmed that there were two Gods; the one rigorous and severe, the author of the Old Testament; the other merciful and good, the author of the New, and the father of Christ, sent by him to redeem man from the tyranny of the former; and that Christ was not really born of the Virgin Mary, or true man, but such {128} in shadow only and appearance. Our holy pope, by his pastoral vigilance detected that monster, and cut him off from the communion of the church. The heresiarch, imposing upon him by a false repentance, was again received; but the zealous pastor having discovered that he secretly preached this old opinions, excommunicated him a second time.[3]

Another minister of Satan was Valentine, who being a Platonic philosopher, puffed up with the vain opinion of his learning, and full of resentment for another's being preferred to him in an election to a certain bishopric in Egypt, as Tertullian relates,[4] revived the errors of Simon Magus, and added to them many other absurd fictions, as of thirty Æones or ages, a kind of inferior deities, with whimsical histories of their several pedigrees. Having broached these opinions at Alexandria, he left Egypt for Rome. At first he dissembled his heresies, but by degrees his extravagant doctrines came to light. Hyginus, being the mildest of men, endeavored to reclaim him without proceeding to extremities; so that Valentine was not excommunicated before the first year of St. Pius his immediate successor.

St. Hyginus did not sit quite four years, dying in 142. We do not find that he ended his life by martyrdom, yet he is styled a martyr in some ancient calendars, as well as in the present Roman Martyrology; undoubtedly on account of the various persecutions which he suffered, and to which his high station in the church exposed him in those perilous times. See Tillemont, t. 2, p. 252.

Footnotes: 1. Eus. l. 4, c. 11. 2. Eus. l. 4, c. 30. 3. St. Epiph. hom. 41; Iren. l. 3, c. 4; Euseb. &c. 4. Tertull. l. contra Valent. c. 4.


HE was of the royal blood of the Mercian kings, devoted himself to the divine service in his youth, and succeeded O{}or in the episcopal see of Worcester, in 692. by his zeal and severity in reproving vice, he stirred up some of his own flock to persecute him, which gave him an opportunity of performing a penitential pilgrimage Rome. Some legends tell us, that setting out he put on his legs iron shackles, and threw the key into the river Severn, others say the Avon; but found it in the belly of a fish, some say at Rome, others in his passage from France to England. After his return, with the assistance of Coenred or Kenred, king of Mercia, he founded the famous abbey of Evesham, under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin. After this he undertook a second journey to Rome, in the company of Coenred, king of the Mercians, and of Offa, of the East Saxons, who gave up their temporal principalities to labor with greater earnestness to secure an eternal crown. St. Egwin died on the 30th of December, in 717, and was buried in the monastery of Evesham. His body was translated to a more honorable place in 1183, probably on the 11th of January, on which day many English Martyrologies mark his festival. See his life in Capgrave, the Annals of Worcester, in Wharton's Anglia Sacra; Malmesbury, l. 4, de Pontif. Ang. Harpsfield. Sæc. 8, c. 15, 18, and Dr. Thomas in his History the Cathedral of Worcester. Monast. Anglic. vol. 1, p. 144, and vol. 2, p. 851. Leland's Collections, vol. 1, pp. 240 and 298; vol. 3, p. 160. Dr. Brown Willis, History of Abbeys, t. 1, p. 90.


FAMOUS for miracles, succeeded Ado in 672, and flourished in the reign of Theodoric III. His relics rest at Montreuil, in Picardy, in the Benedictin {129} Abbey which bears his name, whither they were translated from the cathedral of Amiens, several years after his death, as is related in his anonymous life, a piece of uncertain authority with regard to his actions. A relic of this saint was formerly kept with great veneration in the cathedral of Canterbury, mentioned in the history of that church, &c. This saint must not be confounded with St. Salvius of Alby, nor with the martyr of this name in Africa, on whose festival St. Austin made a sermon. See his anonymous life in Bollandus; also Baillet. Gall. Christ. Nova, t. 10, p. 1154. This seems the day of his translation, and the 28th of October that of his death.



From his ancient acts, much esteemed by Baronius, and inserted by Ruinart in his authentic collection. St. Zeno of Verona made use of them in his forty-ninth sermon on this martyr. See Tillemont. t. 5 p. 557.

THE time of this saint's martyrdom is not mentioned in his acts; some place it under Valerian, others under Dioclesian: he seems to have suffered in some city of Mauritania, probably the capital, Cæsarea. The fury of the tyrants raged violently, and the devil had instigated his soldiers to wage, like so many wolves, a bloody war against the servants of Jesus. Upon the least suspicion they broke into houses, made rigorous searches, and if they found a Christian, they treated him upon the spot with the greatest cruelty, their impatience not suffering them to wait the bringing him before a judge. Every day new sacrileges were committed; the faithful were compelled to assist at superstitious sacrifices, to lead victims crowned with flowers through the streets, to burn incense before idols, and to celebrate the enthusiastic feasts of Bacchus. Arcadius, seeing his city in great confusion, left his estate and withdrew to a solitary place in the neighboring country, serving Jesus Christ in watching, prayer, and other exercises of a penitential life. His flight could not be long a secret; for his not appearing at the public sacrifices made the governor send soldiers to his house; who surrounded it, forced open the doors, and finding one of his relations in it, who said all he could to justify his kinsman's absence; they seized him, and the governor ordered him to be kept in close custody till Arcadius should be taken. The martyr, informed of his friend's danger, and burning with a desire to suffer for Christ, went into the city, and presenting himself to the judge, said: "If on my account you detain my innocent relation in chains, release him; I, Arcadius, am come in person to give an account of myself, and to declare to you, that he knew not where I was." "I am willing," answered the judge, "to pardon not only him, but you also, on condition that you will sacrifice to the gods." Arcadius replied, "How can you propose to me such a thing? Do you not know the Christians, or do you believe that the fear of death will ever make me swerve from my duty? Jesus Christ is my life, and death is my gain. Invent what torments you please; but know that nothing shall make me a traitor to my God." The governor, in a rage, paused to devise some unheard-of torment for him. Iron hooks seemed too easy; neither plummets of lead, nor cudgels could satisfy his fury; the very rack he thought by much too gentle. At last {130} imagining he had found a manner of death suitable to his purpose, he said to the ministers of his cruelty, "Take him, and let him see and desire death, without being able to obtain it. Cut off his limbs joint by joint, and execute this so slowly, that the wretch may know what it is to abandon the gods of his ancestors for an unknown deity." The executioners dragged Arcadius to the place, where many other victims of Christ had already suffered; a place dear and sweet to all who sigh after eternal life. Here the martyr lifts up his eyes to heaven, and implores strength from above; then stretches out his neck, expecting to have his head cut off; but the executioner bid him hold out his hand, and joint after joint chopped off his fingers, arms, and shoulders. Laying the saint afterward on his back, he in the same barbarous manner cut off his toes, feet, legs, and thighs. The holy martyr held out his limbs and joints, one after another, with invincible patience and courage, repeating these words, "Lord, teach me thy wisdom:" for the tyrants had forgot to cut out his tongue. After so many martyrdoms, his body lay a mere trunk weltering in its own blood. The executioners themselves, as well as the multitude, were moved to tears and admiration at this spectacle, and at such an heroic patience. But Arcadius, with a joyful countenance, surveying his scattered limbs all around him, and offering them to God, said, "Happy members, now dear to me, as you at last truly belong to God, being all made a sacrifice to him!" Then turning to the people, he said, "You who have been present at this bloody tragedy, learn that all torments seem as nothing to one who has an everlasting crown before his eyes. Your gods are not gods; renounce their worship. He alone for whom I suffer and die, is the true God. He comforts and upholds me in the condition you see me. To die for him is to live; to suffer for him is to enjoy the greatest delights." Discoursing in this manner to those about him, he expired on the 12th of January, the pagans being struck with astonishment at such a miracle of patience. The Christians gathered together his scattered limbs, and laid them in one tomb. The Roman and other Martyrologies make honorable mention of him on this day.

* * * * *

We belong to God by numberless essential titles of interest, gratitude, and justice, and are bound to be altogether his, and every moment to live to him alone, with all our powers and all our strength: whatever it may cost us to make this sacrifice perfect and complete, if we truly love him, we shall embrace it with joy and inexpressible ardor. In these sentiments we ought, by frequent express acts, and by the uninterrupted habitual disposition of our souls, to give all we are and have to God, all the powers of our souls, all the senses and organs of our bodies, all our actions, thoughts, and affections. This oblation we may excellently comprise in any of the first petitions of our Lord's prayer: the following is a form of an oblation to our divine Redeemer, which St. Ignatius of Loyola drew up and used to repeat: "O sovereign king, and absolute Lord of all things, though I am most unworthy to serve you, nevertheless, relying on your grace and boundless mercy, I offer myself up entire to you, and subject whatever belongs to me to your most holy will; and I protest, in presence of your infinite goodness, and in presence of the glorious Virgin your mother, and your whole heavenly court, that it is my most earnest desire, and unshaken resolution, to follow and imitate you the nearest I am able, in bearing all injuries and crosses with meekness and patience, and in laboring to die to the world and myself in a perfect spirit of humility and poverty, that I may be wholly yours and you may reign in me in time and eternity."



HE was nobly descended, and one of the great officers of the court of Oswi, the religious king of the Northumbers: he was very dear to his prince, and was beholden to his bounty for many fair estates, and great honors; but neither the favors of so good and gracious a king, nor the allurements of power, riches, and pleasures, were of force to captivate his heart, who could see nothing in them but dangers, and snares so much the more to be dreaded, as fraught with the power of charming. At the age therefore of twenty-five, an age that affords the greatest relish for pleasure, he bid adieu to the world, made a journey of devotion to Rome, and at his return devoted him wholly to the studies of the scriptures and other holy exercises. Some time after his return to England, Alcfrid, son of king Oswi, being desirous to make a pilgrimage to the shrines of the apostles, engaged Biscop to bear him company to Rome. The king prevented his son's journey; nevertheless our saint travelled thither a second time, burning with an earnest desire of improving himself in the knowledge of divine things, and in the love of God. From Rome he went to the great monastery of Lerins, then renowned for its regular discipline; there he took the monastic habit, and spent two years in the most exact observance of the rule, and penetrated in every exercise with its true spirit: after this he returned to Rome, where he received an order of pope Vitalian to accompany St. Theodorus, archbishop of Canterbury, and St. Adrian, to England. When he arrived at Canterbury, St. Theodorus committed to him the care of the monastery of SS. Peter and Paul, near that city, which abbacy he resigned to St. Adrian upon his arrival in England. St. Bennet stayed about two years in Kent, giving himself up to religious exercises and sacred studies, under the discipline of those two excellent persons. Then he took a fourth journey to Rome, with a view of perfecting himself in ecclesiastical discipline, and the rules and practice of a monastic life; for which purpose he made a considerable stay at Rome and other places: he brought home with him a choice library, relics and pictures of Christ, the Blessed Virgin, and other saints. When he returned to Northumberland, king Egfrid (in whose father's court St. Bennet had formerly lived) bestowed on him seventy ploughs or families of land for building a monastery;[1] this the saint founded on the mouth of the river Were, whence it was called Weremouth. When the monastery was built, St. Bennet went over to France, and brought back with him skilful masons, who built the church for this monastery of stone, and after the Roman fashion; for till that time stone buildings were very rare in Britain, even the church of Lindisfarne was of wood, and covered over with a thatch of straw and reeds, till bishop Eadbert procured both the roof and the walls to be covered with sheets of lead, as Bede mentions.[2] St. Bennet also brought over glaziers from France, for the art of making glass was then unknown in Britain. In a fifth journey to Rome, St. Bennet furnished himself with a larger stock of good books, especially the writings of the fathers, also of relics and holy pictures, with which he enriched his own country.

His first monastery of Weremouth was entitled from Saint Peter, prince of the apostles; and such was the edification which it gave, that the same {132} king added to the saint a second donation of lands, consisting of forty ploughs; on which Biscop built another monastery, at a place called Girwy, now Jarrow, on the Tine, six miles distant from the former, and this latter was called St. Paul's; these two monasteries were almost looked upon as one; and St. Bennet governed them both, though he placed in each a superior or abbot, who continued subject to him, his long journey to Rome and other avocations making this substitution necessary.[3] In the church of St. Peter at Weremouth he placed the pictures of the Blessed Virgin, the twelve apostles, the history of the gospel, and the visions in the revelation of St. John: that of St. Paul's at Jarrow, he adorned with other pictures, disposed in such manner as to represent the harmony between the Old and New Testament, and the conformity of the figures in one to the reality in the other. Thus Isaac carrying the wood which was to be employed in the sacrifice of himself, was explained by Jesus Christ carrying his cross, on which he was to finish his sacrifice; and the brazen serpent was illustrated by our Saviour's crucifixion. With these pictures, and many books and relics, St. Bennet brought from Rome in his last voyage, John, abbot of St. Martin's, precentor in St. Peter's church, whom he prevailed with pope Agatho to send with him, and whom he placed at Weremouth to instruct perfectly his monks in the Gregorian notes, and Roman ceremonies for singing the divine office. Easterwin, a kinsman of St. Bennet, and formerly an officer in the king's court, before he became a monk, was chosen abbot before our saint set out for Rome, and in that station behaved always as the meanest person in the house; for though he was eminently adorned with all virtues, humility, mildness, and devotion seemed always the most eminent part of his character. This holy man died on the 6th of March, when he was but thirty-six years old, and had been four years abbot, while St. Bennet was absent in the last journey to Rome. The monks chose in his place St. Sigfrid, a deacon, a man of equal gravity and meekness, who soon after fell into a lingering decay, under which he suffered violent pains in his lungs and bowels. He died four months before our saint. With his advice, two months before his death, St. Bennet appointed St. Ceolfrid abbot of both his monasteries, being himself struck with a dead palsy, by which all the lower parts of his body were without life; he lay sick of this distemper three years, and for a considerable time was entirely confined to his bed. During this long illness, not being able to raise his voice to the usual course of singing the divine office, at every canonical hour he sent for some of his monks and while they, being divided into two choirs, sung the psalms proper for the hour of the day or night, he endeavored as well as he could to join not only his heart, but also his voice, with theirs. His attention to God he seemed never to relax, and frequently and earnestly exhorted his monks to a constant observance of the rule he had given them. "You must not think," said he, "that the constitutions which you have received from me were my own invention, for, having in my frequent journeys visited seventeen well-ordered monasteries, I informed myself of all their laws and rules, and picking out the best among them, these I have recommended to you." The saint expired soon after, having received the viaticum on the 12th of January, in 690. His relics, according to Malmesbury,[4] were translated to Thorney abbey, in 970, but the monks of Glastenbury thought themselves possessed at least of part of that treasure.[5] The true name of our saint was Biscop {133} Baducing, as appears from Eddius-Stephen, in his life of St. Wilfrid. The English Benedictins honor him as one of the patrons of their congregation, and he is mentioned in the Roman Martyrology on this day. See his life in Bede's history of the first abbots of Weremouth, published by Sir James Ware, at Dublin, in 1664.

Footnotes: 1. A plough, or family of land, was as much as one plough, or one yoke of oxen could throw up in a year, or as sufficed for the maintenance of a family. 2. Hist. l. 3, c. 25. 3. The abbeys of Weremouth and Jarrow were destroyed by the Danes. Both were rebuilt in part, and from the year 1083 were small priories or cells dependent on the abbey of Durham, till their dissolution {}th of Henry VIII. 4. Malmes. l. 4, de Pontif. 5. See Monast. Ang. t. 1, p. 4, and John of Glastenbury, Hist. Glasten.


WHO was scourged, tormented with the disjointing of his bones, stripped of all his goods, and sent into banishment; and EUTROPIUS, lector, and precentor of the church of Constantinople, who died in prison of his torments, having been scourged, his cheeks torn with iron hooks, and his sides burnt with torches; are honored in the Roman Martyrology with the title of martyrs on the 12th of January.


HE was of noble descent, and was born in the north of England, in 1109. Being educated in learning and piety, he was invited by David, the pious king of Scotland, to his court, made master of his household, and highly esteemed both by him and the courtiers. His virtue shone with bright lustre in the world, particularly his meekness, which Christ declared to be his favorite virtue, and the distinguishing mark of his true disciples. The following is a memorable instance to what a degree he possessed this virtue: a certain person of quality having insulted and reproached him in the presence of the king, Aelred heard him out with patience, and thanked him for his charity and sincerity, in telling him his faults. This behavior had such an influence on his adversary as made him ask his pardon on the spot. Another time, while he was speaking on a certain matter, one interrupted him with very harsh, reviling expressions: the servant of God heard him with tranquillity, and afterwards resumed his discourse with the same calmness and presence of mind as before. His desires were ardent to devote himself entirely to God, by forsaking the world; but the charms of friendship detained him some time longer in it, and were fetters to his soul; reflecting, notwithstanding, that he must sooner or later be separated by death from those he loved most, he condemned his own cowardice, and broke at once those bands of friendship, which were more agreeable to him than all other sweets of life. He describes the situation of his soul under this struggle, and says, "Those who saw me, judging by the gaudy show which surrounded me, and not knowing what passed within my soul, said, speaking of me: Oh, how well is it with him! how happy is he! But they knew not the anguish of my mind; for the deep wound in my heart gave me a thousand tortures, and I was not able to bear the intolerable stench of my sins." But after he had taken his resolution, he says, "I began then to know, by a little experience, what immense pleasure is found in thy service, and how sweet that peace is, which is its inseparable companion."[1] To relinquish entirely all his worldly engagements, he left Scotland, and embraced the austere Cistercian order, at Rieval, in a valley upon the hanks of the Rie, in Yorkshire, where a noble lord, called Walter {134} Especke, had founded a monastery in 1122. At the age of twenty-four, in 1133, he became a monk under the first abbot, William, a disciple of St. Bernard. Fervor adding strength to his tender delicate body, he set himself cheerfully about practising the greatest austerities, and employed much of his time in prayer and the reading of pious books. He converted his heart with great ardor to the love of God, and by this means finding all his mortifications sweet and light, he cried out,[2] "That yoke doth not oppress, but raiseth the soul; that burden hath-wings, not weight." He speaks of divine charity always in raptures, and by his frequent ejaculations on the subject, it seems to have been the most agreeable occupation of his soul. "May thy voice (says he) sound in my ears, O good Jesus, that my heart may learn how to love thee, that my mind may love thee, that the interior powers, and, as it were, bowels of my soul, and very marrow of my heart, may love thee, and that my affections may embrace thee, my only true good, my sweet and delightful joy! What is love? my God! If I mistake not, it is the wonderful delight of the soul, so much the more sweet as more pure, so much the more overflowing and inebriating as more ardent. He who loves thee, possesses thee; and he possesses thee in proportion as he loves, because thou art love. This is that abundance with which thy beloved are inebriated, melting away from themselves, that they may pass into thee, by loving thee."[3] He had been much delighted in his youth with reading Tully; but after his conversion, found that author, and all other reading, tedious and bitter, which was not sweetened with the honey of the holy name of Jesus, and seasoned with the word of God, as he says in the preface to his book, On spiritual friendship. He was much edified with the very looks of a holy monk, called Simon, who had despised high birth, an ample fortune, and all the advantages of mind and body, to serve God in that penitential state. This monk went and came as one deaf and dumb, always recollected in God; and was such a lover of silence, that he would scarce speak a few words to the prior on necessary occasions. His silence, however, was sweet, agreeable, and full of edification. Our saint says of him, "The very sight of his humility stifled my pride, and made me blush at the immortification of my looks. The law of silence practised among us, prevented my ever speaking to him deliberately; but, one day, on my speaking a word to him inadvertently, his displeasure appeared in his looks for my infraction of the rule of silence; and he suffered me to lie some time prostrate before him to expiate my fault; for which I grieved bitterly, and which I never could forgive myself."[4] This holy monk, having served God eight years in perfect fidelity, died in 1142, in wonderful peace, repeating with his last breath, "I will sing eternally, O Lord, thy mercy, thy mercy, thy mercy!"

St. Aelred, much against his inclination, was made abbot of a new monastery of his order, founded by William, Earl of Lincoln, at Revesby, in Lincolnshire, in 1142, and of Rieval, over three hundred monks, in 1143. Describing their life, he says, that they drank nothing but water; ate little, and that coarse; labored hard, slept little, and on hard boards; never spoke, except to their superiors on necessary occasions; carried the burdens that were laid on them without refusing any; went wherever they were led; had not a moment for sloth, or amusements of any kind, and never had any lawsuit or dispute.[5] St. Aelred also mentions their mutual charity and peace in the most affecting manner, and is not able to find words to express the joy he felt at the sight of every one of them. His humility and love of solitude made him constantly refuse many bishoprics which were pressed {135} upon him. Pious reading and prayer were his delight. Even in times of spiritual dryness, if he opened the divine books, he suddenly found his soul pierced with the light of the Holy Ghost. His eyes, though before as dry as marble, flowed with tears, and his heart abandoned itself to sighs accompanied with a heavenly pleasure, by which he was ravished in God. He died in 1166, and the fifty-seventh of his age, having been twenty-two years abbot. See his works published at Douay in 1625, and in Bibl. Cisterc. t. 5, particularly his Mirrour of Charity; Hearne's Notes on Gulielmus Neubrigensis, who dedicated to our saint the first book of his history, t. 3, p. 1: likewise his life in Capgrave, and the annals of his order. The general chapter held at Citeaux in 1250, declared him to be ranked among the saints of their order; as Henriquez and the additions to the Cistercian Martyrology testify. In the new Martyrology published by Benedict XIV. for the use of this order, the feast of St. Aelred is marked on the 2d of March,[6] with a great eulogium of his learning, innocence of life, wonderful humility, patience, heavenly conversation, gift of prophecy, and miracles.

Footnotes: 1. Spec. {} 1, c. 28. 2. Spec. l. 1, c. 5. 3. Ibid. l. 1, c. 1. 4. Ibid. l. 1, c. ult. 5. L. 2, c. 2. 6. P. 304



From her life, in Bollandus, t. 1, p. 890.

A.D. 1497.

ALL states furnish abundant means for attaining to sanctity and Christian perfection, and it is only, owing to our sloth and tepidity that we neglect to make use of them. This saint could boast of no worldly advantages either by birth or fortune.[1] Her parents maintained their family by hard labor in a village near Milan, and were both very pious; her father never sold a horse, or any thing else he dealt in, without being more careful to acquaint the purchaser with all that was secretly faulty in it, than to recommend its good qualities. His narrow circumstances prevented his giving his daughter any schooling, so that she never learned to read; but his own, and his devout wife's example, and fervent though simple instructions, filled her tender heart from the cradle with lively sentiments of virtue. The pious {136} maid from her infancy applied herself to continual prayer, was very attentive to the instructions given in the catechism; and the uninterrupted consideration of the holy mysteries, and the important truths of religion, engrossed her whole soul to themselves. She was, notwithstanding, of all others, the most diligent and indefatigable in labor; and so obedient to her parents and masters, even in the smallest trifles, so humble and submissive to her equals, that she seemed to have no will of her own. Her food was coarse and very sparing, and her drink the same which the poorer sort of people used in that country, water, except sometimes whey, or a little milk. At her work she continually conversed in her heart with God; insomuch that in company she seemed deaf to their discourses, mirth, and music. When she was weeding, reaping, or at any other labor in the fields, she strove to work at a distance from her companions, to entertain herself the more freely with her heavenly spouse. The rest admired her love of solitude, and on coming to her, always found her countenance cheerful, yet often bathed in tears, which they sometimes perceived to flow in great abundance; though they did not know the source to be devotion: so carefully did Veronica conceal what passed in her soul between her and God.

Through a divine call to a religious and conventual state of life, she conceived a great desire to become a nun, in the poor, austere, and edifying convent of St. Martha, of the order of St. Austin in Milan. To qualify herself for this state, being busied the whole day at work, she sat up at night to learn to read and write, which the want of an instructor made a great fatigue to her. One day being in great anxiety about her learning, the Mother of God, to whom she had always recommended herself, in a comfortable vision bade her banish that anxiety; for it was enough if she knew three letters: The first, purity of the affections, by placing her whole heart on God alone, loving no creature, but in him and for him; the second, never to murmur, or be impatient at the sins, or any behavior of others, but to bear them with interior peace and patience, and humbly to pray for them; the third, to set apart some time every day to meditate on the passion of Christ. After three years' preparation, she was admitted to the religious habit in St. Martha's. Her life was entirely uniform, perfect, and fervent in every action, no other than a living copy of her rule, which consisted in the practice of evangelical perfection reduced to certain holy exercises. Every moment of her life she studied to accomplish it to the least tittle, and was no less exact in obeying the order or direction of any superior's will. When she could not obtain leave to watch in the church so long as she desired, by readily complying, she deserved to hear from Christ, that obedience was a sacrifice the most dear to him, who, to obey his Father's will, came down from heaven, becoming obedient even unto death.[2]

She lay three years under a lingering illness, all which time she would never be exempted from any duty of the house, or part of her work, or make use of the least indulgence, though she had leave; her answer always was, "I must work while I can, while I have time." It was her delight to help and serve every one. She always sought with admirable humility the last place, and the greatest drudgery. It was her desire to live always on bread and water. Her silence was a sign of her recollection and continual prayer, in which her gift of abundant and almost continual tears was most wonderful. She nourished them by constant meditation on her own miseries, on the love of God, the joys of heaven, and the sacred passion of Christ. She always spoke of her own sinful life, as she called it, though it was most innocent, with the most feeling sentiments of compunction. She was favored by God with many extraordinary visits and {137} comforts. By moving exhortations to virtue, she softened and converted several obdurate sinners. She died at the hour which she had foretold, in the year 1497, and the fifty-second of her age. Her sanctity was confirmed by miracles. Pope Leo X., by a bull in 1517, permitted her to be honored in her monastery in the same manner as if she had been beatified according to the usual form. The bull may be seen in Bollandus.[3] Her name is inserted on this day in the Roman Martyrology, published by Benedict XIV., in the year 1749; but on the 28th of this month, in that of the Austin friars, approved by the same pope.

* * * * *

Christian perfection consists very much in the performance of our ordinary actions, and the particular duties of our respective stations. God, as the good father and great master of the family of the world, allots to every one his proper place and office in it; and it is in this variety of states by which it subsists; and in their mutual dependence upon each other, that its good order and beauty consist. It is the most holy and wise appointment of providence and the order of nature, that the different stations in the world be filled. Kings and subjects, rich and poor, reciprocally depend upon each other; and it is the command of God that every one perform well the part which is assigned him. It is, then, by the constant attendance on all the duties of his state, that a person is to be sanctified. By this all his ordinary actions will be agreeable sacrifices to God, and his whole life a continued chain of good works. It is not only in great actions, or by fits and starts, but in all that we do, and in every moment, that we are bound to live to God. The regulation of this point is of essential importance in a virtuous life, that every action may be performed with regularity, exactitude in all its circumstances, and the utmost fervor, and by the most pure motive, referred solely to divine honor, in union with the most holy actions and infinite merits of Christ. Hence St. Hilary says,[4] "When the just man performs all his actions, with a pure and simple view to the divine honor and glory, as the apostle admonishes us,[5] his whole life becomes an uninterrupted prayer; and as he passes his days and nights in the accomplishment of the divine will, it is true to say, that the whole course of a holy life is a constant meditation on the law of God." Nevertheless this axiom, that the best devotion is the constant practice of a person's ordinary duties, is abused by some, to excuse a life of dissipation. Every one is bound to live to himself in the first place, and to reserve leisure for frequent exercises of devotion; and it is only by a spirit of perfect self-denial, humility, compunction, and prayer, and by an assiduous attention of the soul to God, that our exterior ordinary actions will be animated by the motives of divine faith and charity, and the spirit of true piety nourished in our breasts; in this consists the secret of a Christian life in all states.

1. The print of the holy face of our Saviour on a linen cloth, is kept
    in Saint Peter's church at Rome, with singular veneration. It is
    mentioned in an ancient ceremonial of that church, dedicated to
    Celestin II. in 1143, published by Mabillon, (Museum Ital. t 2 p.
    122;) also in Matthew of Westminster, Flores Hist. under Innocent
    III. who died in 1216; and in a Bull of Nicholas IV. in 1290. It was
    called Veronica, or true image of our Lord's face, from Vera and
    Iconica, a word used by St. Gregory of Tours. (Vit. Patr. c, 12.)
    for an image, from the Greek word Icon. Some moderns imagine that it
    served at the burial of out Lord; others say, that a devout woman
    wiped his face with it, when he was fainting under the load of his
    cross, going to mount Calvary. In some particular missals, as in
    that of Mentz in 1493, among the votive masses, is one "de Sancta
    Veronica sei vultu Domini," in the same manner as there is a mass,
    "On the cross." Such devotions are directed to honor our Lord, with
    a remembrance of this relic, memorial, or pledge. From this office
    of the Veronica is taken an Anthem and Prayer which are said in some
    private churches, as a commemoration of the holy face of Lucca,
    which is a very ancient and miraculous crucifix, in the chapel of
    the Holy Cross, in the cathedral dedicated to St. Martin at Lucca. A
    copy of the true Veronica is kept in the Cistercian nunnery at
    Montreuil, a present of Urban IV. to this house, his sister being a
    nun there. See his letter to them in Chiffleter, "de Linteis
    sepulchralibus Domini." This letter was dated in 1249, when the
    author was archdeacon and chaplain to Innocent IV. Some private
    writers and churches have given the name of St. Veronica to the
    devout woman who is said to have presented this linen cloth to our
    divine Redeemer; but without sufficient warrant. See Rapebroch Matt.
    t. 7, p. 356, n. 126, and Chatelain. Notes on the Martyr, on Jan.
    13, pp. 201, 222.
2. Phil. ii. 8.
3. T. 1, p. 889.
4. S. Hilar. in Ps. i. p. 20.
5. 1 Cor. x. 31.


THIS eminent saint of the ancient church of North Britain, was of royal blood among the Picts, or original inhabitants of that country, and born about the year 516. He was placed very young under the discipline of St. Servanus, bishop and abbot of Culros, a monastery, situated upon the frith which divides Lothian from Fife. By this holy prelate he was trained up in the perfect spirit of Christian meekness and piety. For his innocence and great virtues he was beloved by his master, and all who were acquainted {138} with that religious family, above all his fellow-disciples, for which reason he was called Munghu, or Mungho, which in the language of that country signified "one dearly beloved;" and this is the name which the Scots usually give him to this day. When he was grown up, by the direction of St. Servanus, he retired to a place called Glasghu, where he led a solitary life in great abstinence, till the clergy and people earnestly demanded him for their bishop. He was consecrated by an Irish bishop, invited over for that purpose, and fixed his see at Glasghu, or Glasco, where he assembled a numerous company of religious brethren, who formed their rule of life upon the model of the primitive Christians at Jerusalem. The saint's diocese was of vast extent, reaching from sea to sea, and being wild and uncultivated, afforded continual exercise for his zeal and patience; he travelled always on foot, sparing no pains to spread the light of the gospel among the unbelievers, of whom he converted and baptized great numbers. The Pelagian heresy having taken deep root among the Christians in those parts, he so vigorously opposed that fatal, growing evil, as entirely to banish that hydra out of the church of the Picts. Besides the recital of the whole Psalter, he performed every day several other exercises of devotion; lived in a constant union of his soul with God, and by perpetual abstinence, rigorous fasts, and other extraordinary austerities, he made his whole life an uninterrupted course of penance. Every Lent he retired from the sight and conversation of men, into some desert, to hold a close communication with God in solitude. As both in his virtues and labors he imitated the apostles, so God was pleased to authorize his preaching, by conferring on him an apostolic grace of the miraculous powers. Out of his monks and disciples, he sent many missionaries to preach the faith in the north of Scotland, in the isles of Orkney, in Norway, and Iceland.

The form of government among the Straith-Cluid Britons and the Cumbrians, the latter inhabiting the country from the Picts' wall, to the Ribble in Lancashire, was in part aristocratical; for many petty lords or princes enjoyed so great authority in their respective territories, as often to wage war among themselves: yet they all obeyed one monarch, who usually resided at Alcluyd, or Dunbritton. Besides the feuds and quarrels of particular chieftains and their clans, there happened about that time several revolutions in the monarchy. We learn from the book entitled the Triades, that when St. Kentigern was made bishop of Glasco, Gurthmel Wledig was king of the North Britons, and contemporary with Arthur. He was succeeded by Rydderch, surnamed Hael, i.e. The Liberal, who vanquished his enemies and rivals in war, especially by the great victory of Arderyth, in 577.[1] He was a religious and deserving prince, and his magnificence, generosity, and other virtues, are extolled by the ancient author of the Triades, by Merlin, Taliessin, the old laws of the Britons, and the authors of the lives of St. Kentigern and St. Asaph. This prince, however, was afterwards obliged by rebellious subjects, under Morcant Mawr, and Aeddon, surnamed Uraydog, or The Treacherous, to fly into Ireland. The impious Morcant (as he is styled in the fragment of St. Asaph's life, extant in Coch-Asaph) usurped the throne of the Straith-Cluid Britons; but the Cumbrians, who dwelt on the south side of the wall, were protected by Urien, lord of Rheged, a nobleman who had lived at the court of king Arthur, and whose great qualities are celebrated by the pens of Lhowarch-Hen, (his cousin-german,) Taliessin, and the author of the Triades. In the beginning of the usurpation of Morcant Mawr, St. Kentigern was obliged to fly into Wales, where he stayed some time with St. David, at Menevia, {139} till Cathwallain, (uncle to king Maelgun Gwynedh,[2]) a religious prince of part of Denbighshire, bestowed on him the land at the meeting of the rivers Elwy and Cluid, on which he built a famous monastery and school, called from the river Elwy, Llan-Elwy, or absolutely Elgwy, where a great number of disciples and scholars soon put themselves under his direction. St. Kentigern was here when St. David died, in 546, or rather in 544, when the first of March fell on a Tuesday.[3] After the death of the usurper Morcant, Rydderch returned from Ireland, and recovered his crown, and St. Kentigern, leaving his school to the care of St. Asaph, (whose name the town, which was raised at Elgwy, bears to this day,) went back to Glasco, taking with him several hundreds of his scholars; their number having probably been much increased after the death of Daniel, bishop of Bangor, which happened between the years 542 and 545. The return of St. Kentigern to his see, is generally placed about the year 560, nor can it be placed later, since in 565 he had a conference with St. Columbo, when that holy man came over to Scotland, in order to convert the northern Picts, to whom St. Kentigern had already sent missionaries.[4] Wharton therefore justly places the residence of St. Kentigern in Wales, from the year 543 to 560.[5] King Rydderch powerfully seconded the zeal of our saint in all his undertakings, being his constant friend and protector; as were the two princes who afterward succeeded him, Guallauc, (who seems to have been his son,) and Morcant Mwynfawn, (who was certainly his brother.) The valor of Rydderch, and these two successors, which is highly commended by an ancient author in Nennius, and other British historians, was the bulwark of their dominions against the inroads of the Saxons. St. Kentigern employed his zeal all this time, with wonderful success, in correcting abuses, reforming the manners of his flock, and propagating the faith; was favored with a wonderful gift of miracles, and died in 601, aged eighty-five years. His tomb, in his titular church at Glasco, was famous for miracles, and his name was always most illustrious in the Scottish calendars. See his ancient life, Leland de Scriptor. Usher, Ant. c. 15. Hector Boetius, Leslie, &c.

Footnotes: 1. Vaughn's Dissert. on the British Chron. Carte. t. 1, p. 211. 2. See Notes on St. Gildas and St. David. 3. Usher, Ant. Brit. c. 14. 4. Vit. S. Kentigerni. Usher, Antiqu. c. 15, p. 358. 5. Wharton de Episcopis Asaphensibus, pp. 300, 302.

This is also the Octave of the Epiphany.[1] The principal object of the devotion of the church on this day is the baptism of our Saviour by St. John in the Jordan. We learn from the great council of Oxford, in 1222,[2] that it was then kept a holyday of the third class; on which all were obliged to hear mass, though they might work afterwards. In France and Germany all servile work was forbidden on it, by the capitulars of Lewis le Débonnaire.[3] The emperor Theodosius II. forbids all civil courts and transactions during eight days before the festival of the Epiphany, and as many after it.

Footnotes: 1. The church prolongs more solemn festivals during eight days, with a daily continuation of the sacred office proper to each such festival. This term is called its octave, and the eighth day is called the octave-day. 2. Can. 8. 3. L. 2, de feriis.




From his own writings, and the histories of that age, which furnish the most authentic memoirs of his life. See what Dom Coutant, the Benedictin monk, has recorded of him in his excellent edition of his works; as also Tillemont, t. 7, Ceillier, t. 5, and Rivet, Hiss. Lit. t. 1, part 2, p. 139. The two books, the one of his life, the other of his miracles, by Fortunatus of Poictiers, 600, are inaccurate. Both the Fortunatases were from Italy; and probably one was the author of the first, and the other of the second book.

A.D. 368.

ST. AUSTIN, who often urges the authority of St. Hilary against the Pelagians, styles him the illustrious doctor of the churches.[1] St. Jerom says[2] that he was a most eloquent man, and the trumpet of the Latins against the Arians; and in another place, that in St. Cyprian and St. Hilary, God had transplanted two fair cedars out of the world into his church.[3]

St. Hilary was born at Poictiers, and his family one of the most illustrious in Gaul.[4] He spent his youth in the study of eloquence. He himself testifies that he was brought up in idolatry, and gives us a particular account of the steps by which God conducted him to the knowledge of his saving faith.[5] He considered by the glimmering or faint light of reason, that man, who is created a moral and free agent, is placed in this world for the exercise of patience, temperance, and other virtues, which he saw must receive from God a recompense after this life. He ardently set about learning what God is; and after some researches into the nature of the Supreme Being, quickly discovered the absurdity of polytheism, or a plurality of gods; and was convinced that there can be only one God, and that the same is eternal, unchangeable, all-powerful, the first cause and author of all things. Full of these reflections, he met with the holy scriptures, and was wonderfully affected with that just and sublime description Moses gives of God in those words, so expressive of his self-existence,[6] I AM WHO AM: and was no less struck with the idea of his immensity and supreme dominion, illustrated by the most lively images in the inspired language of the prophets. The reading of the New Testament put an end to, and completed his inquiries; and he learned from the first chapter of St. John, that the Divine Word, God the Son, is coeternal and consubstantial with the Father. Here he checked his natural curiosity, avoided subtilties, and submitted his understanding to divine revelation, resolving what seemed incomprehensible into the veracity and power of God; and not presuming to measure divine mysteries by his shallow capacity. Being thus brought to the knowledge of faith, he received the heavenly regeneration by baptism. From that time forth he so squared his whole life by the rules of piety, and so zealous were his endeavors to confirm others in the faith of the holy Trinity, and to encourage all to virtue, that he seemed, though a layman, already to possess the grace of the priesthood.

He was married before his conversion to the faith; and his wife, by whom he had a daughter named Apra, or Abram, was yet living, when he was chosen bishop of Poictiers, about the year 353; but from the time of {141} his ordination he lived in perpetual continency.[7] He omitted no endeavors to escape this promotion: but his humility only made the people the more earnest to see him vested with that dignity; and indeed their expectations were not frustrated in him, for his eminent virtue and capacity shone forth with such a lustre, as soon drew upon him the attention, not only of all Gaul, but of the whole church. Soon after he was raised to the episcopal dignity, he composed, before his exile, elegant comments on the gospel of Saint Matthew, which are still extant. Those on the Psalms he compiled after his banishment.[8] Of these comments on the Psalms, and on St. Matthew, we are chiefly to understand St. Jerom, when he recommends, in a particular manner, the reading of the works of St. Hilary to virgins and devout persons.[9] From that time the Arian controversy chiefly employed his pen. He was an excellent orator and poet. His style is lofty and noble, beautified with rhetorical ornaments and figures, but somewhat studied; and the length of his periods renders him sometimes obscure to the unlearned,[10] as St. Jerom takes notice.[11] It is observed by Dr. Cave, that all his writings breathe an extraordinary vein of piety. Saint Hilary solemnly appeals to God,[12] that he held it as the great work of his life, to employ all his faculties to announce God to the world, and to excite all men to the love of him. He earnestly recommends the practice of beginning every action and discourse by prayer,[13] and some act of divine praise;[14] as also to meditate on {142} the law of God day and night, to pray without ceasing, by performing all our actions with a view to God their ultimate end, and to his glory.[15] He breathes a sincere and ardent desire of martyrdom, and discovers a soul {143} fearless of death and torments. He had the greatest veneration for truth, sparing no pains in its pursuit, and dreading no dangers in its defence. The emperor Constantius, having labored for several years to compel the eastern churches to embrace Arianism, came into the West: and after the overthrow of the tyrant Magnentius, made some stay at Arles, while his Arian bishops held a council there, in which they engaged Saturninus, the impious bishop of that city, in their party, in 353. A bolder Arian council at Milan, in 355, held during the residence of the emperor in that city, required all to sign the condemnation of St. Athanasius. Such as refused to comply were banished; among whom were St. Eusebius of Vercelli, Lucifer of Cagliari, and St. Dionysius of Milan, into whose see Auxentius, the Arian, was intruded. St. Hilary wrote on that occasion his first book to Constantius, in which he mildly entreated him to restore peace to the church. He separated himself from the three Arian bishops in the West, Ursacius, Valens, and Saturninus, and exhibited an accusation against the last in a synod at Beziers. But the emperor, who had information of the matter from Saturninus, sent an order to Julian, then Cæsar, and surnamed afterwards the Apostate, who at that time commanded in Gaul, for St. Hilary's immediate banishment into Phrygia, together with St. Rhodanius, bishop of Toulouse. The bishops in Gaul being almost all orthodox, remained in communion with St. Hilary, and would not suffer the intrusion of any one into his see, which in his absence he continued to govern by his priests. The saint went into banishment about the middle of the year 356, with as great alacrity as another would take a journey of pleasure, and never entertained the least disquieting thought of hardships, dangers, or enemies, having a soul above both the smiles and frowns of the world, and fixed only on God. He remained in exile somewhat upwards of three years, which time he employed in composing several learned works. The principal and most esteemed of these is that On the Trinity, against the Arians, in twelve {144} books. In them he proves the consubstantiality of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. He teaches that the church is one, out of which all heresies spring; not that by this she is distinguished, as standing always one, always alone against them all, and confounding them all: whereas they by perpetual divisions tear each other in pieces, and so become the subject of her triumph.[16] He proves that Arianism cannot be the faith of Christ, because not revealed to St. Peter, upon whom the church was built and secured forever; for whose faith Christ prayed, that it might never fail; who received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whose judiciary sentence on earth is that of heaven:[17] all which arguments he frequently urges.[18] He proves the divinity of Christ by the miracles wrought at the sepulchres of the apostles and martyrs, and by their relics: for the devils themselves confess Christ's godhead, and roar and flee at the presence of the venerable bones of his servants,[19] which he also mentions and urges in his invective against Constantius.[20] In 358, he wrote his book On Synods, or On the Faith of the Orientals, to explain the terms and variation of the eastern Arians in their synods.

In his exile he was informed that his daughter Apra, whom he had left in Gaul, had thoughts of embracing the married state; upon which he implored Christ, with many tears, to bestow on her the precious jewel of virginity. He sent her a letter that is still extant, in which he acquaints her, that if she contemned all earthly things, spouse, sumptuous garments, and riches, Christ had prepared for her, and had shown unto him, at his prayers and tears, an inestimable never-falling diamond, infinitely more precious than she was able to frame to herself an idea of. He conjures her by the God of heaven, and entreats her not to make void his anxiety for her, nor to deprive herself of so incomparable a good. Fortunatus assures us that the original letter was kept with veneration in the church of Poictiers, in the sixth century, when he wrote, and that Apra followed his advice, and died happily at his feet after his return.[21] St. Hilary sent to her with this letter two hymns, composed by himself; one for the evening, which does not seem to have reached our times; the other for the morning, which is the hymn Lucis largitor splendide.

The emperor, by an unjust usurpation in the affairs of the Church, assembled a council of Arians at Seleucia, in Isauria, to undermine the great council of Nice. St. Hilary, who had then passed four years in banishment, in Phrygia, was invited thither by the Semi-Arians, who hoped from his lenity that he would be useful to their party in crushing the staunch Arians, that is, those who adhered strictly to the doctrine of Arius. But no human considerations could daunt his courage. He boldly defended the decrees of Nice, till at last, tired out with hearing the blasphemies of the heretics, he withdrew to Constantinople. The weak emperor was the dupe sometimes of the Arians, and at other times of the Semi-Arians. These last prevailed at Seleucia, in September, 359, as the former did in a council held at Constantinople in the following year, 360, where having the advantage, they procured the banishment of the Semi-Arians, less wicked than themselves. St. Hilary, who had withdrawn from Seleucia to Constantinople, presented to the emperor a request, called his second book to Constantius, begging the liberty of holding a public disputation about religion with {145} Saturninus, the author of his banishment. He presses him to receive the unchangeable apostolic faith, injured by the late innovations, and smartly rallies the fickle humor of the heretics, who were perpetually making new creeds, and condemning their old ones, having made four within the compass of the foregoing year; so that faith was become that of the times, not that of the gospels, and that there were as many faiths as men, as great a variety of doctrine as of manners, as many blasphemies as vices.[22] He complains that they had their yearly and monthly faiths; that they made creeds to condemn and repent of them; and that they formed new ones to anathematize those that adhered to their old ones. He adds, that every one had scripture texts, and the words Apostolic Faith, in their mouths, for no other end than to impose on weak minds: for by attempting to change faith, which is unchangeable, faith is lost; they correct and amend, till weary of all, they condemn all. He therefore exhorts them to return to the haven from which the gusts of their party spirit and prejudice had driven them, as the only means to be delivered out of their tempestuous and perilous confusion. The issue of this challenge was, that the Arians, dreading such a trial, persuaded the emperor to rid the East of a man that never ceased to disturb its peace, by sending him back into Gaul; which he did, but without reversing the sentence of his banishment, in 360.

St. Hilary returned through Illyricum and Italy to confirm the weak. He was received at Poictiers with the greatest demonstrations of joy and triumph, where his old disciple, St. Martin, rejoined him, to pursue the exercises of piety under his direction. A synod in Gaul, convoked at the instance of St. Hilary, condemned that of Rimini, which, in 359, had omitted the word Consubstantial. Saturninus, proving obstinate, was excommunicated and deposed for his heresy and other crimes. Scandals were removed, discipline, peace, and purity of faith were restored, and piety flourished. The death of Constantius put an end to the Arian persecution. St. Hilary was the mildest of men, full of condescension and affability to all: yet seeing this behavior ineffectual, he composed an invective against Constantius, in which he employed severity, and the harshest terms; and for which undoubtedly he had reasons that are unknown to us. This piece did not appear abroad till after the death of that emperor. Our saint undertook a journey to Milan, in 364, against Auxentius, the Arian usurper of that see, and in a public disputation obliged him to confess Christ to be true God, of the same substance and divinity with the Father. St. Hilary indeed saw through his hypocrisy; but this dissembling heretic imposed so far on the emperor Valentinian, as to pass for orthodox. Our saint died at Poictiers, in the year 368, on the thirteenth of January, or on the first of November, for his name occurs in very ancient Martyrologies on both these days. In the Roman breviary his office is celebrated on the fourteenth of January. The one is probably that of some translation of his relics. The first was made at Poictiers in the reign of Clovis I., on which see Cointe.[23] From St. Gregory of Tours, it appears that before his time some part of St. Hilary's relics was honored in a church in Limousin.[24] Alcuin mentions the veneration of the same at Poictiers;[25] and it is related that his relics were burned by the Huguenots at Poictiers.[26] But this we must understand of some small portion, or of the dust remaining in his tomb. For his remains were translated from Poictiers to the abbey of St. Denys, near Paris, as is proved by the tradition of that abbey, a writer of the abbey of Richenow, in {146} the ninth century,[27] and other monuments.[28] Many miracles performed by St. Hilary are related by Venantius Fortunatus, bishop of Poictiers, and are the subject of a whole book added to his life, which seems to have been written by another Fortunatus. St. Gregory of Tours, Flodoard, and others, have mentioned several wrought at his tomb. Dom Coutant, the most judicious and learned Maurist monk, has given an accurate edition of his works, in one volume in folio, at Paris, in 1693, which was reprinted at Verona by the Marquis Scipio Maffei, in 1730, together with additional comments on several Psalms.

* * * * *

St. Hilary observes, that singleness of heart is the most necessary condition of faith and true virtue, "For Christ teaches that only those who become again as it were little children, and by the simplicity of that age cut off the inordinate affections of vice, can enter the kingdom of heaven. These follow and obey their father, love their mother; are strangers to covetousness, ill-will, hatred, arrogance, and lying, and are inclined easily to believe what they hear. This disposition of affections opens the way to heaven. We must therefore return to the simplicity of little children, in which we shall bear some resemblance to our Lord's humility."[29] This, in the language of the Holy Ghost, is called the foolishness of the cross of Christ,[30] in which consists true wisdom. That prudence of the flesh and worldly wisdom, which is the mother of self-sufficiency, pride, avarice, and vicious curiosity, the source of infidelity, and the declared enemy of the spirit of Christ, is banished by this holy simplicity; and in its stead are obtained true wisdom, which can only be found in a heart freed from the clouds of the passions, perfect prudence, which, as St. Thomas shows, is the fruit of the assemblage of all virtues, and a divine light which grace fails not to infuse. This simplicity, which is the mother of Christian discretion, is a stranger to all artifice, design, and dissimulation, to all views or desires of self-interest, and to all undue respect or consideration of creatures. All its desires and views are reduced to this alone, of attaining to the perfect union with God. Unfeignedly to desire this one thing, to belong to God alone, to arrive at his pure love, and to do his will in all things, is that simplicity or singleness of heart of which we speak, and which banishes all inordinate affections of the heart, from which arise the most dangerous errors of the understanding. This is the essential disposition of every one who sincerely desires to live by the spirit of Christ. That divine spouse of souls, loves to communicate himself to such.[31] His conversation (or as another version has it, his secret) is with the simple.[32] His delight is in those who walk with simplicity.[33] This is the characteristic of all the saints:[34] whence the Holy Ghost cries out, Approach him not with a double heart.[35] That worldly wisdom is not subject to the law of God, neither can it be.[36] Its intoxication blinds men, and shuts their eyes to the light of divine revelation. They arrogate to themselves the exclusive privilege of learning and clear understanding: but the skepticism, the pitiful inconsistencies, and monstrous extravagances, which characterize their writings and discourses, make us blush to see so strong an alliance of ignorance and presumption; and lament that the human mind should be capable of falling into a state of so deplorable degeneracy. Among the fathers of the church we admire men the most learned of their age, the most penetrating and most judicious, and at the same time {147} the most holy and sincere; who, being endowed with true simplicity of heart, discovered in the mysteries of the cross the secrets of infinite wisdom, which they made their study, and the rule of their actions.

Footnotes: 1. L. 2, adv. Julian, c. 8. 2. L. 2, adv. Rufin. p. 415. 3. In Isa. c. 60. 4. S. Hieron. in Catal. 5. L. 1, de Trin. p. 1-10. 6. Exod. iii. 14. 7. The contrary is certainly a mistake in Dr. Cave; for St. Jerom, writing against Jovinian, says, in {} p. 175, that though the church was sometimes obliged to make choice of married men for the priesthood, because virgins, or unmarried, could not always be found, they notwithstanding lived ever after continent. Certe confiteris, non posse esse episcopum qui in episcopatu filios faciat: alioqui si deprehensus fuerit non quasi vir tenebitur, sed quasi adulter condemnabitur, ib. And in his book against Vigilantius, p. 28, he observes, that in the churches of the East, in Egypt, and in the apostolic see of Rome, those only were made clergymen, who were virgins, or single; or if they were married, they ceased to live as husbands. Aut virgines clericos accipiunt, aut contintes; aut si uxores habuerint, mariti esse desinunt, p. 281. 8. S. Hilar. in Ps. 53, n. 8, in Ps. 67, p. 15, and Contant, Armon. in S. Hilar. in Psalmos, p. 165. 9. Ep. ad Lætam. 10. On the interpretation of certain obscure passages of the works of St. Hilary, see Dom Coutant, in an excellent preface to his edition of this father's works; also Witasse de Incarn. t. 2, &c. 11. Ep. 49, ad Paulinum, t. 4, p. 567. 12. Lib. 1, de Trinit. 13. Doubtless his love of prayer, and the assiduous application of his mind to that holy exercise, moved him to make the Psalms a main object of his sacred studies and meditation. His comments are elegant; though in them he dwells much on the literal sense, he neglects not the mystical and allegorical, every thing in these divine oracles being prophetic, as he takes notice, (in Ps. 142, n. 1.) Often he finds the immediate literal sense clear; in other passages, he shows Christ and his Church to be pointed out. The true sense of the holy scriptures he teaches, only to be opened to us by the spirit of assiduous prayer, (in Ps. 125, n. 2, &c.) The fatal and opposite errors, which the overweening spirit and study of a false criticism have produced in every age, justify this general remark of the fathers, that though the succor of reasonable criticism ought by no means to be neglected, a spirit of prayer is the only key which can open to us the sacred treasures of the divine truths, by the light which it obtains of the Holy Ghost, and the spirit of simplicity, piety, and humility, which it infuses. In this disposition, the holy doctors of the Church discovered in the divine oracles that spirit of perfect virtue, which they imbibed and improved from their assiduous meditation. St. Hilary remarks, that the first lesson we are to study in them is, that of humility, in which "Christ has taught, that all the titles and prizes of our faith are comprised:" In humilitate docuit omnia fidei nomina et præmia contineri, (in Ps. 118, l. 20, n. 1, p. 358.) Whence the royal prophet entreats God, to consider nothing in him but his lowliness of heart, (v. 153, ibid.) This holy father sticks not to say, humility is the greatest work of our faith, our best sacrifice to God, (in Ps. 1311, n. 1. p. 442;) but true humility is accompanied with an invincible courage, and a firmness and constancy in virtue, which no fear of worldly powers is ever able to shake, (in Ps. xiv. p. 66.) St. Hilary laments, that even several pastors of the church thought it a part of piety to flatter princes. But true religion teaches us (Matt. x. 28) only to fear things which are justly to be feared, that is, to fear God, to fear sin, or what can hurt our souls: for what threatens only our bodies, this is to be despised, when the interest of God and our souls is concerned. We indeed study out of charity to give offence to no one, (1 Cor. x. 32, 33;) but desire only to please men for God, not by contemning him, (in Ps. 52, p. 89, 90.) Prayer is the great Christian duty, which this holy doctor was particularly solicitous to inculcate, teaching that it consists in the cry of the heart; not in the lips, as David cried to God in his whole heart, Ps. cxviii. v. 145, (in Ps. cxviii. l. 19, p. 352.) We are to pour forth our souls before God, with earnestness, and with abundance of tears, (in Ps. 41, apud Marten. t. 9, p. 71.) Amidst the dangers and evils of this life, our only comfort ought to be in God, in the assured hope of his promises, and in prayer. (Ib.) That prayer is despised by God, which is slothful and lukewarm, accompanied with distrust, distracted with unprofitable thoughts, weakened by worldly anxiety and desires of earthly goods, or fruitless, for want of the support of good works, (in Ps. liv. p. 104.) All our actions and discourses ought to be begin by prayer, and the divine praise, (in Ps. lxiv. p. 162.) The day among Christians is always begun by prayer, and ended by hymns to God, (ib. n. 12, p. 169.) By this public homage of the church, and of every faithful soul in it, God is particularly honored, and he delights in it. (St. Jerom. in eund. Ps.) St. Hilary takes notice, that the night is of all others the most proper time for prayer; as the example of Christ, David, and other saints, demonstrates, (in Ps. cxviii. l. 8, p. 292.) He observes, that it cannot be doubted, but among all the acts of prayer, that of the divine praise is in general the most noble and most excellent: and that it is for his infinite goodness and mercy, in the first place, that we are bound to praise him, (in Ps. cxxxiv p. 469.) Next to this, he places the duty of thanksgiving. (Ib.) To be silent in the divine praises, he calls the greatest of all punishments; and takes notice, that every one makes what he loves the chiefest object of his joy: as we see in the drunkard, the covetous, or the ambitious man: thus the prophet makes the heavenly Jerusalem the beginning of his joy; always bearing in mind, that this is his eternal country, in which he will be associated with the troops of angels, be received into the kingdom of God, and put in possession of its glory; he therefore finds all other things insipid, and knows no other comfort or joy but in this hope, bearing always in mind, that the glorious inhabitants of that kingdom never cease singing the divine praises, saying, Holy, holy, holy, &c. (in Ps. cxxxvi. n. 11, p. 494.) In another place he tells us, that the prophet bears not the delays of his body, (moras corporis sui non patitur,) sighing with the apostle to be dissolved and clothed with immortality: but earnestly praying, that he may find mercy, and be delivered from falling into the lake of torments, (in Ps. cxlii. n. 8, 9, p. 549.) During this exile to meditate on eternity, and on the divine law and judgments, ought to be our assiduous occupation, (in Ps. cxlii. n. 6, p. 548,) especially in time of tribulations and temptations, (in Ps. cxviii. l. 12, n. 10, p. 313.) The world is to be shunned, at least in spirit; first, because it is filled on every side with snares and dangers, secondly, that our souls may more freely soar above it, always thinking on God; hence, he says, our souls must be, as it were, spiritual birds of heaven, always raised high on the wing; and he cries out, "Thou art instructed in heavenly science: what hast thou to do with anxious worldly cares? Thou hast renounced the world; what hast thou to do with its superfluous concerns? Why dost thou complain if thou art taken in a snare, by wandering in a strange land, who oughtest to restrain thy affections from straying from home? Say rather, Who will give me wings as of a dove, and I will fly, and will be at rest?" Ps. liv. 7, (in Ps. cxviii. l. 14, p. 328.) To build a house for God, that is, to prepare a dwelling for him in our souls, we must begin by banishing sin, and all earthly affections, (in Ps. xxxi. p. 73;) for Christ, who is wisdom, sanctity, and truth, cannot establish his reign in the breast of a fool, hypocrite, or sinner, (in Ps. xli. p. 60, ap. Marten. t. 9.) It is easy for God, by penance, to repair his work, howsoever it may have been defaced by vice, as a potter can restore or improve the form of a vessel, while the clay is yet moist, (in Ps. ii. p. 47:) but he often inculcates that repentance, or the confession of sin, is a solemn profession of sinning no more, (in Ps. cxxxvii. p. 498, in Ps. li. and cxviii. p. 263, &c.) Every thing that is inordinate in the affections must be cut off. "The prophet gave himself entire to God, according to the tenor of his consecration of himself. Whatever lives in him, lives to God. His whole heart, his whole soul is fixed on God alone, and occupied in him, and he never loses sight of him. In all his works and thoughts God is before his eyes." Totum quod vivit, Deo vivit. (Ps. cxviii. l. 14, n. 16, p. 327.) Upon these words, I am thy servant, Ps. cxviii. v. 125, he observes, that every Christian frequently repeats this, but most deny by their actions what they profess in words, "It is the privilege of the prophet to call himself the servant of God in every affection of his heart, in every circumstance and action of his life," &c. (in Ps. cxviii. l. 17, p. 339.) He teaches that the angels, patriarchs, and prophets are as it were mountains protecting the church, (in Ps. cxxiv. n. 6, p. 404;) and that holy angels attend and succor the faithful, (in Ps. cxxxvii. p. 499;) assist them in time of combat against the devils, (in Ps. lxv. p. 178, and in Ps. cxxxiv. p. 475;) carry up their prayers to their heavenly Father with an eager zeal; and looking upon this ministry as an honor, (in Matt. c. 18, p. 699.) That the church of Christ is one, out of which, as out of the ark of Noah, no one man be saved, (in Ps. cxlvi., xiv., lxiv., cxxviii., and cxvvii. in Matt. c. 4, and 7 De Trinit. l. 7, p. 917.) He mentions fast days of precept, the violation of which renders a Christian a slave of the devil, a vessel of death, and fuel of hell, (in Ps. cxviii. l. 18, p. 349.) This crime he joins with pride and fornication, as sins at the sight of which every good Christian ought to pine away with grief and zeal, according to the words of Ps. cxviii. v. 139. Saint Hilary seems to have explained the whole Psalter, though only part is recovered by the editors of his works. To the comments published by Dom Coutant at Paris, in 1693, the marquis Scipio Maffei added some others on several other Psalms, in his edition at Verona, in 1730. Dom Martenne, in 1733, published others on certain other Psalms, which he had discovered in a manuscript at Anchin, in his Amplissima Monumentorum Collectio, t. 9, p. 55. These comments on the Psalms, St. Hilary compiled after his exile, as appears from certain allusions to his books on the Trinity, and from his frequent reflections against the Arians. Nothing of this is found in his commentary on St. Matthew, which Dom Coutant shows to have been the first of his works in the order of time, composed soon after he was raised to the episcopal dignity. He here and there borrows short passages from Origen, but sticks closer to the literal sense, though he sometimes has recourse to the allegorical, for the sake of some moral instruction. St. Hilary is one of the first who published any Latin comments in the holy scriptures. Rheticius, bishop of Autun, and St. Victorinus of Passaw, though the latter wrote in Greek, had opened the way in the West in the beginning of the same century. St. Hilary, in this commentary on St. Matthew, excellently inculcates in few words the maxims of Christian virtue, especially fraternal charity and meekness, by which our souls pass to divine charity and peace, (in Matt. c. 4, v. 18, 19, p. 626:) and the conditions of fasting and prayer, though for the exposition of our Lord's prayer, he refers to that of St. Cyprian; adding that Tertullian has left us also a very suitable work upon it; but that his subsequent error has weakened the authority of his former writings which may deserve approbation, (in c. 5, p. 630.) The road to heaven he shows to be exceeding narrow, because even among Christians very few sincerely despise the world, and labor strenuously to subdue their flesh and all their passions, and to shun all the incentives of vice, (in c. 6, p. 368.) St. Peter he calls the Prince of the College of the Apostles, and the Porter of Heaven, and extols the authority of the keys conferred upon him, (in Matt. c. 7, p. 642, in c. 16, p. 690. Also 1. 6. de Trin. p. 891, 903, 9114.) He proves that Christ, in his bloody sweat, grieved more for the danger of his disciples and other causes, than for his own death; because he had in his last supper already consecrated his blood to be poured forth for the remission of sin. Numquid pati ipse nolebat. Atquin superius fundendum in remissionem peccatorum corporis sui sanguinem consecraverat, (S. Hilar. in Matt. c. 31, p. 743.) His twelve books on the Trinity he compiled during his banishment in Phrygia, between the years 356 and 359, as is clear from his own express testimony, and that of St. Jerom. In the first book of this immortal monument of his admirable genius and piety, he beautifully shows that man's felicity is only to be found in God; and that the light of reason suffices to demonstrate this, which he illustrates by an account of his own conversion to the faith. After this he takes notice, that we can learn only by God's revelation, his nature, or what he is, he being the competent witness of himself, who it known only by himself, (n. 18, p. 777.) In the second book he explains the Trinity, which we profess in the form of baptism, and says, that faith alone in believing, and sincerity and devotion in adoring, this mystery ought to suffice without disputing or prying, and laments, that by the blasphemies of the Sabellians and Arians, who perverted the true sense of the scriptures, he was compelled to dispute of things ineffable and incomprehensible which only necessity can excuse, (n. 25.) He then proves the eternal generation of the Son, the procession of the Holy Ghost, and their consubstantiality in one nature, (l. 2 and 3.) He checks their presumption in pretending to fathom the Trinity, by showing that they cannot understand many miracles of Christ or corporeal things, which yet they confess to be most certain, (l. 3, n. 19, 20, 24.) He detects and confutes the subtilties of the Arians, in their various confessions of faith, (l. 4, 5, 6,) also of the Sabellians and Photinians, (l. 7;) and demonstrates the divinity of Christ, from the confession of St. Peter, &c., (l. 6,) and of the very Jews, who were more sincere than the Arians, acknowledging that Christ called himself the natural Son of God. (John x. 31, &c. l. 7, n. 2, 3, p. 931.) The natural unity of the Father and Son, he demonstrates from that text, "I and my Father are one," and others, (l. 8,) and observes that both from the testimony of Christ in the holy scriptures, and from the faith of the church, we believe without doubting the Eucharist to be the true body and blood of Christ, (l. 8, n. 14, p. 955, 956.) He answers several objections from scripture, (l. 9,) and shows there was something in Christ (viz. the divine person, &c.) which did not suffer in his passion, (l. 10.) Other objections he confutes, (l. 11,) and in his last book defends the eternity of the Son of God. Between August in 358, and May in 359, St. Hilary, after he had been three years in banishment, and was still in Asia, published his book On Synods, to inform the Catholics in Gaul, Britain, and Germany, what judgment they ought to form of several synods, held lately in the East, chiefly by the Arians and Semi-Arians: a work of great use in the history of those times, and in which St. Hilary's prudence, humility, modesty, greatness of soul, constancy, invincible meekness, and love of peace, shine forth. In this work he mollifies certain expressions of the Semi-Arians in their councils, because writing before the council of Rimini, he endeavored to gain them by this method, whereas he at other times severely condemned the same; as did also St. Athanasius, in his book on the same subject, and under the same title, which he composed after the council of Rimini; and expressly to show the variations of those heretics. (See Coutant, vit. S. Hilar. p. c. ci. et præf. in S. Hilar. de Synodis, p. 1147.) Fifteen fragments of St. Hilary's history of the councils of Rimini and Seleucia furnish important materials for the history of Arianism, particularly of the council of Rimini. In his first book to the emperor Constantius, which he wrote in 355 or 356, he conjures that prince with tears to restore peace to the church, and leave the decision of ecclesiastical causes to its pastors. The excellent request which he presented to Constantius at Constantinople, in 360, is called his second book to that prince. The third book ought to be styled, with Coutant, Against Constantius: for in it St. Hilary directs it to the Catholics, (n. 2 and 12) though he often uses an apostrophe to Constantius. The saint wrote it five years after the council of Milan, in 355, as he testifies; consequently in 360, after that prince had rejected his second request; but it was only published after the death of that emperor, in the following year, as is clear from St. Jerom: He says Constantius, by artifices and flattery, was a more dangerous persecutor than Nero and Decius: he tells him, "Thou receivest the priests with a kiss, as Christ was betrayed by one: thou bowest thy head to receive their blessing, that thou mayest trample on their faith: thou entertainest them at thy table, as Judas went from table to betray his master." Fleury (l. 14, n. 26) bids us observe, in these words, with what respect emperors then treated bishops. St. Hilary in his elegant book against Auxentius, gives the catholics an account of his conferences with that heretic at Milan in 364. 14. In Ps. 64. 15. In Ps. 1, p. 19, 20. 16. Lib. 7, de Trinit. n. 4, p. 917. 17. Lib. 6, n. 37, 38, p. 904. 18. In Ps. 131, n. 4, p. 447, in cap. 16, Matt. n. 7, p. 690. 19. Lib. 11, de Trinit. n. 3. 20. Lib. 3, adv. Constant. n. 8, p. 1243, Ed. Ben. 21. This letter is commended by the most judicious critics, Baronius, Tillemont, Fleury, and Coutant, a monk of the congregation of St. Maur, in his edition of the works of St. Hilary, and others. The style is not pompous, but adapted to the capacity of a girl of thirteen years of age. 22. Facta est fides temporum, potius quam evangellorum, l. 2, ad Const. p. 1227. Tot nunc fides existere, quot voluntates, ib. Annuas atque menstruas de Deo fides decernimus, decretis poenitimusm poenitentes defendimus, defensos anathematizamus. ib. p. 1228. 23. Cointe Annal. Fr. ad ann. 538, n. 41, 42, 43. 24. L. de Gl. Conf. c. 2. 25. Alcuin, Hom. de S. Willibrodo. 26. Baillet, Vie de S. Hilaire. 27. Ap. Mab. anal. t. 4, p. 644. 28. Aimion. l. 4, c. 17 & 33. Coutant, Vit. S. Hilar. p. cxxiv, cxxv, cxxix. 29. S. Hilar. in Matt. c. 18, v. i. p. 698. 30. 1 Cor. i. 17, & iii. 18. S. Hilar. l. 3, de Trin. n. 24, 25, pp. 822, 823. 31. 1 Par. xxix. 17. 32. Prov. iii. 32. 33. Prov. xi. 20. 34. 2 Cor. i. 12. 35. Eccles. i. 39. 36. Rom. viii. 7.


IT is observed by the judicious Tillemont, with regard to the life of this saint, that we might doubt of its wonderful circumstances, were they not supported by the authority of a Paulinus; but that great miracles ought to be received with the greater veneration, when authorized by incontestable vouchers.

St. Felix was a native of Nola, a Roman colony in Campania, fourteen miles from Naples, where his father Hermias, who was by birth a Syrian, and had served in the army, had purchased an estate and settled himself. He had two sons, Felix and Hermias, to whom at his death he left his patrimony. The younger sought preferment in the world among the lovers of vanity, by following the profession of arms, which at that time was the surest road to riches and honors. Felix, to become in effect what his name in Latin imported, that is, happy, resolved to follow no other standard than that of the king of kings, Jesus Christ. For this purpose, despising all earthly things, lest the love of them might entangle his soul, he distributed the better part of his substance among the poor, and was ordained Reader, Exorcist, and, lastly, Priest, by Maximus, the holy bishop of Nola; who, charmed with his sanctity and prudence, made him his principal support in these times of trouble, and designed him for his successor.[1]

In the year 250, the emperor Decius raised a bloody persecution against the church. Maximus, seeing himself principally aimed at, retired into the deserts, not through the fear of death, which he desired, but rather not to tempt God by seeking it, and to preserve himself for the service of his flock. The persecutors not finding him, seized on Felix, who, in his absence, was very vigilant in the discharge of all his pastoral duties. The governor caused him to be scourged; then loaded with bolts and chains about his neck, hands, and legs, and cast into a dungeon, in which, as St. Prudentius informs us,[2] the floor was spread all over with potsherds and pieces of broken glass, so that there was no place free from them, on which the saint could either stand or lie. One night an angel appearing in great glory, filled the prison with a bright light, and bade St. Felix go and assist his bishop, who was in great distress. The confessor, seeing his chains fall off, and the doors open, followed his guide, and was conducted by heaven to the place where Maximus lay, almost perished with hunger and cold, speechless, and without sense: for, through anxiety for his flock, and the hardships of his solitary retreat, he had suffered more than a martyrdom. Felix, not being able to bring him to himself, had recourse to prayer; and discovering thereupon a bunch of grapes within reach, he squeezed some of the juice into his mouth, which had the desired effect. The good bishop no sooner beheld his friend Felix, but he embraced him, and begged to be conveyed back to his church. The saint, taking him on his shoulders, carried him to his episcopal house in the city, before day appeared, where a pious ancient woman took care of him.[3]

Felix, with the blessing of his pastor, repaired secretly to his own lodgings, and there kept himself concealed, praying for the church without ceasing till peace was restored to it by the death of Decius, in the year 251. {148} He no sooner appeared again in public, but his zeal so exasperated the pagans that they came armed to apprehend him; but though they met him, they knew him not; they even asked him where Felix was, a question he did not think proper to give a direct answer to. The persecutors going a little further, perceived their mistake, and returned; but the saint in the mean time had stepped a little out of the way, and crept through a hole in a ruinous old wall, which was instantly closed up by spiders' webs. His enemies never imagining any thing could have lately passed where they saw so close a spider's web, after a fruitless search elsewhere, returned in the evening without their prey. Felix finding among the ruins, between two houses, an old well half dry, hid himself in it for six months; and received during that time wherewithal to subsist by means of a devout Christian woman. Peace being restored to the church by the death of the emperor, the saint quitted his retreat, and was received in the city as an angel sent from heaven.

Soon after, St. Maximus' dying, all were unanimous for electing Felix bishop; but he persuaded the people to make choice of Quintus, because the older priest of the two, having been ordained seven days before him. Quintus, when bishop, always respected St. Felix as his father, and followed his advice in every particular. The remainder of the saint's estate having been confiscated in the persecution, he was advised to lay claim to it, as others had done, who thereby recovered what had been taken from them. His answer was, that in poverty he should be the more secure of possessing Christ.[4] He could not even be prevailed upon to accept what the rich offered him. He rented a little spot of barren land, not exceeding three acres, which he tilled with his own hands, in such manner as to receive his subsistence from it, and to have something left for alms. Whatever was bestowed on him, he gave it immediately to the poor. If he had two coats, he was sure to give them the better; and often exchanged his only one for the rags of some beggar. He died in a good old age, on the fourteenth of January, on which day the Martyrology, under the name of St. Jerom, and all others of later date mention him. Five churches have been built at, or near the place where he was first interred, which was without the precinct of the city of Nola. His precious remains are at present kept in the cathedral; but certain portions are at Rome, Benevento, and some other places. Pope Damasus, in a pilgrimage which he made from Rome to Nola, to the shrine of this saint, professes, in a short poem which he composed in acknowledgment, that he was miraculously cured of a distemper through his intercession.

St. Paulinus, a Roman senator in the fifth age, forty-six years after the death of St. Damasus, came from Spain to Nola, desirous of being porter in the church of St. Felix. He testifies that crowds of pilgrims came from Rome, from all other parts of Italy, and more distant countries, to visit his sepulchre on his festival: he adds, that all brought some present or other to his church, as wax-candles to burn at his tomb, precious ointments, costly ornaments, and such like; but that for his part, he offered to him the homage of his tongue, and himself, though an unworthy victim. [5] He everywhere expresses his devotion to this saint in the warmest and strongest terms, and believes that all the graces he received from heaven were conferred on him through the intercession of St. Felix. To him he addressed himself in all his necessities; by his prayers he begged grace in this life, and glory after {149} death.[6] He describes at large the holy pictures of the whole history of the Old Testament, which were hung up in the church of St. Felix, and which inflamed all who beheld them, and were as so many books that instructed the ignorant. We may read with pleasure the pious sentiments the sight of each gave St. Paulinus.[7] He relates a great number of miracles that were wrought at his tomb, as of persons cured of various distempers and delivered from dangers by his intercession, to several of which he was an eye-witness. He testifies that he himself had frequently experienced the most sensible effects of his patronage, and, by having recourse to him, had been speedily succored.[8] St. Austin also has given an account of many miracles performed at his shrine.[9] It was not formerly allowed to bury any corpse within the walls of cities. The church of St. Felix, out of the walls of Nola, not being comprised under this prohibition, many devout Christians sought to be buried in it, that their faith and devotion might recommend them after death to the patronage of this holy confessor, upon which head St. Paulinus consulted St. Austin. The holy doctor answered him by his book, On the care for the dead: in which he shows that the faith and devotion of such persons would be available to them after death, as the suffrages and good works of the living in behalf of the faithful departed are profitable to the latter. See the poems of St. Paulinus on his life, confirmed by other authentic ancient records, quoted by Tillemont, t. 4, p. 226, and Ruinart, Acta Sincera, p. 256; Muratori, Anecd. Lat.

Footnotes: 1. S. Paulin. Carm. 19, 20. Seu Natali, 4. 2. De Cor. hymn 5. 3. Paulin. Carm. 19. 4. Dives egebo Deo; nam Christum pauper habebo. Paulin. Carm. 2. Natali S. Felicia 5. 5. ________________ Ego munere linguæ, Nudus opum, famulor, de me mea debita solvens Meque ipsum pro me, vilis licet hostia pendam. Natal. 6 6. Nat. 1, 2, &c. 7. Nat. 9, 10. 8. St. Paulin. Ep. 28 & 36. Carm. 13, 18, 21, 22, 23, 29, &c. 9. St. August. Ep. 78, olim 137, lib. De curâ pro moritus, c. 16.


AND thirty-eight other holy solitaries on mount Sinai, martyred by a troop of Arabians in 273; likewise Paul, the abbot; Moses, who by his preaching and miracles had converted to the faith the Ishmaelites of Pharan; Psaes, a prodigy of austerity, and many other hermits in the desert of Raithe, two days' journey from Sinai, near the Red Sea, were massacred the same year by the Blemmyans, a savage infidel nation of Ethiopia. All these anchorets lived on dates, or other fruits, never tasted bread, worked at making baskets in cells at a considerable distance from each other, and met on Saturdays, in the evening, in one common church, where they watched and said the night office, and on the Sunday received together the holy eucharist. They were remarkable for their assiduity in praying and fasting. See their acts by Ammonius, an eye-witness, published by F. Combefis; also Bulteau, Hist. Mon. d'Orient, l. 2, c. 1, p. 209.

Also, many holy anchorets on mount Sinai, whose lives were faithful copies of Christian perfection, and who met on Sundays to receive the holy eucharist, were martyred by a band of Saracens in the fifth century. A boy of fourteen years of age led among them an ascetic life of great perfection. The Saracens threatened to kill him, if he did not discover where the ancient monks had concealed themselves. He answered, that death did not terrify him, and that he could not ransom his life by a sin in betraying his fathers. They bade him put off his clothes: "After you have killed me," said the modest youth, "take my clothes and welcome: but as I never saw my body naked, have so much compassion and regard for my shamefacedness, as to let me die covered." The barbarians, enraged at this answer, fell on him with all their weapons at once, and the pious youth died by as many martyrdoms as he had executioners. St. Nilus, who had been formerly governor {150} of Constantinople, has left us an account of this massacre in seven narratives: at that time he led an eremitical life in those deserts, and had placed his son Theodulus in this holy company. He was carried away captive, but redeemed after many dangers. See S. Nili, Septem Narrationes; also, Bulteau, Hist. Mon. d'Orient, l. 2, c. 2, p. 220.


HE succeeded his brother St. Sadoth in the metropolitical see of Seleucia and Ctesiphon, in 342, which he held six years. Being accused as an enemy to the Persian religion, and as one who spoke against the Persian divinities, Fire and Water, he was apprehended, with sixteen of his clergy, by the orders of king Sapor II. The king seeing his threats lost upon him, confined him almost a year in a loathsome dungeon, in which he was often tormented by the Magians with scourges, clubs, and tortures, besides the continual annoyance of stench, filth, hunger, and thirst. After eleven months the prisoners were again brought before the king. Their bodies were disfigured by their torments, and their faces discolored by a blackish hue which they had contracted. Sapor held out to the bishop a golden cup as a present, in which were a thousand sineas of gold, a coin still in use among the Persians. Besides this he promised him a government, and other great offices, if he would suffer himself to be initiated in the rites of the sun. The saint replied that he could not answer the reproaches of Christ at the last day, if he should prefer gold, or a whole empire, to his holy law; and that he was ready to die. He received his crown by the sword, with his companions, on the 14th of January, in the year 346, and of the reign of king Sapor II. the thirty-seventh, at Ledan, in the province of the Huzites. St. Maruthas, the author of his acts, adds, that Sapor, resolving to extinguish utterly the Christian name in his empire, published a new terrible edict, whereby he commanded every one to be tortured and put to death who should refuse to adore the sun, to worship fire and water, and to feed on the blood of living creatures.[1] The see of Seleucia remained vacant twenty years, and innumerable martyrs watered all the provinces of Persia with their blood. St. Maruthas was not able to recover their names, but has left us a copious panegyric on then heroic deeds, accompanied with the warmest sentiments of devotion, and desires to be speedily united with them in glory. See Acta Mart. Orient. per Steph. Assemani, t. 1, p. 3.

1. The Christians observed for several ages, especially in the East,
    the apostolic temporary precept of abstaining from blood. Acts, xv.
    20. See Nat. Alexander Hist. Sæc. 1, dissert 9.




From his life, compiled by St. Jerom, in 365. Pope Gelasius I., in his learned Roman council, in 494, commends this authentic history. St. Paul is also mentioned by Cassian, St. Fulgentius, Sulpitius Severus, Sidonius, Paulinus, in the life of St. Ambrose, &c. St. Jerom received this account from two disciples of St. Antony, Amathas and Macariux. St. Athanasius says, that he only wrote what he had heard from St. Antony's own mouth, or from his disciples; and desires others to add what they know concerning his actions. On the various readings and MS. copies of this life, see the disquisition of P. Jem{} de Prato, an oratorian of Verona, in his new edition of the works of Sulpitius Severus, t. l, app. 2, p. 403. The Greek history of St. Paul the hermit, which Bollandus imagines St. Jerom to have followed, is evidently posterior; and borrows from him, as Jos. Assemani shows. Comm. In Calend. Univ. t. 6, p. 92. See Gudij Epistolæ, p. 278.

A.D. 342.

ELIAS and St. John the Baptist sanctified the deserts, and Jesus Christ himself was a model of the eremitical state during his forty days' fast in the wilderness; neither is it to be questioned but the Holy Ghost conducted the saint of this day, though young, into the desert, and was to him an instructor there; but it is no less certain, that an entire solitude and total sequestration of one's self from human society, is one of those extraordinary ways by which God leads souls to himself, and is more worthy of our admiration, than calculated for imitation and practice: it is a state which ought only to be embraced by such as are already well experienced in the practices of virtue and contemplation, and who can resist sloth and other temptations, lest, instead of being a help, it prove a snare and stumbling-block in their way to heaven.

This saint was a native of the Lower Thebais, in Egypt, and had lost both his parents when he was but fifteen years of age: nevertheless, he was a great proficient in the Greek and Egyptian learning, was mild and modest, and feared God from his earliest youth. The bloody persecution of Decius disturbed the peace of the church in 250; and what was most dreadful, Satan, by his ministers, sought not so much to kill the bodies, as by subtle artifices and tedious tortures to destroy the souls of men. Two instances are sufficient to show his malice in this respect: A soldier of Christ, who had already triumphed over the racks and tortures, had his whole body rubbed over with honey, and was then laid on his back in the sun, with his hands tied behind him, that the flies and wasps, which are quite intolerable in hot countries, might torment and gall him with their stings. Another was bound with silk cords on a bed of down, in a delightful garden, where a lascivious woman was employed to entice him to sin; the martyr, sensible of his danger, bit off part of his tongue and spit it in her face, that the horror of such an action might put her to flight, and the smart occasioned by it be a means to prevent, in his own heart, any manner of consent to carnal pleasure. During these times of danger, Paul kept himself concealed in the house of another; but finding that a brother-in-law was inclined to betray him, that he might enjoy his estate, he fled into the deserts. There he found many spacious caverns in a rock, which were said to have been the retreat of money-coiners in the days of Cleopatra, queen of Egypt. He chose for his dwelling a cat; in this place, near which were a palm-tree[1] and a clear spring: the former by its leaves furnished him with raiment, and by its fruit with food; and the latter supplied him with water for his drink.


Paul was twenty-two years old when he entered the desert. His first intention was to enjoy the liberty of serving God till the persecution should cease; but relishing the sweets of heavenly contemplation and penance, and learning the spiritual advantages of holy solitude, he resolved to return no more among men, or concern himself in the least with human affairs, and what passed in the world: it was enough for him to know that there was a world, and to pray that it might be improved in goodness. The saint lived on the fruit of his tree till he was forty-three years of age, and from that time till his death, like Elias, he was miraculously fed with bread brought him every day by a raven. His method of life, and what he did in this place during ninety years, is unknown to us: but God was pleased to make his servant known a little before his death.

The great St. Antony, who was then ninety years of age, was tempted to vanity, as if no one had served God so long in the wilderness as he had done, imagining himself also to be the first example of a life so recluse from human conversation: but the contrary was discovered to him in a dream the night following, and the saint was at the same time commanded, by Almighty God, to set out forthwith in quest of a perfect servant of his, concealed in the more remote parts of those deserts. The holy old man set out the next morning in search of the unknown hermit. St. Jerom relates from his authors, that he met a centaur, or creature not with the nature and properties, but with something of the mixed shape of man and horse,[2] and that this monster, or phantom of the devil, (St. Jerom pretends not to determine which it was,) upon his making the sign of the cross, fled away, after having pointed out the way to the saint. Our author adds, that St. Antony soon after met a satyr,[3] who gave him to understand that he was an inhabitant of those deserts, and one of that sort whom the deluded Gentiles adored for gods. St. Antony, after two days and a night spent in the search, discovered the saint's abode by a light that was in it, which he made up to. Having long begged admittance at the door of his cell, St. Paul at last opened it with a smile: they embraced, called each other by their names, which they knew by divine revelation. St. Paul then inquired whether idolatry still reigned in the world. While they were discoursing together, a raven flew towards them, and dropped a loaf of bread before them. Upon which St. Paul said, "Our good God has sent us a dinner. In this manner have I received half a loaf every day these sixty years past; now you are come to see me, Christ has doubled his provision for his servants." Having given thanks to God they both sat down by the fountain; but a little contest arose between them who should break the bread; St. Antony alleged St. Paul's greater age, and St. Paul pleaded that Antony was the stranger: both agreed at last to take up their parts together. Having refreshed themselves at the spring, they spent the night in prayer. The next morning St. Paul told his guest that the time of his death approached, and that he was sent to bury him; adding, "Go and fetch the cloak given you by St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, in which I desire you to wrap my body." This he might say with the intent of being left alone in prayer, while he expected to be called out of this world; as also that he might testify his veneration for St. Athanasius, and his high regard for the faith and communion of the Catholic church, on account of which that holy bishop was then a great sufferer. St. Antony was surprised to hear him mention the cloak, which he could not have known but by divine revelation. Whatever was his motive for desiring to be buried {153} in it, St. Antony acquiesced to what was asked of him: so, after mutual embraces, he hastened to his monastery to comply with St. Paul's request. He told his monks that he, a sinner, falsely bore the name of a servant of God, but that he had seen Elias and John the Baptist in the wilderness, even Paul in Paradise. Having taken the cloak, he returned with it in all haste, fearing lest the holy hermit might be dead, as it happened. While on his road, he saw his happy soul carried up to heaven, attended by choirs of angels, prophets, and apostles. St. Antony, though he rejoiced on St. Paul's account, could not help lamenting on his own, for having lost a treasure so lately discovered. As soon as his sorrow would permit, he arose, pursued his journey, and came to the cave. Going in, he found the body kneeling, and the hands stretched out. Full of joy, and supposing him yet alive, he knelt down to pray with him, but by his silence soon perceived he was dead. Having paid his last respects to the holy corpse, he carried it out of the cave. While he stood perplexed how to dig a grave, two lions came up quietly, and, as it were, mourning; and tearing up the ground, made a hole large enough for the reception of a human body. St. Antony then buried the corpse, singing hymns and psalms, according to what was usual and appointed by the church on that occasion. After this he returned home praising God, and related to his monks what he had seen and done. He always kept as a great treasure, and wore himself on great festivals, the garment of St. Paul, of palm-tree leaves patched together. St. Paul died in the year of our Lord 342, the hundred and thirteenth year of his age, and the ninetieth of his solitude, and is usually called the first hermit, to distinguish him from others of that name. The body of this saint is said to have been conveyed to Constantinople, by the emperor Michael Comnenus, in the twelfth century, and from thence to Venice in 1240.[4] Lewis I., king of Hungary, procured it from that republic, and deposited it at Buda, where a congregation of hermits under his name, which still subsists in Hungary, Poland, and Austria, was instituted by blessed Eusebius of Strigonium, a nobleman, who, having distributed his whole estate among the poor, retired into the forests; and being followed by others, built the monastery of Pisilia, under the rule of the regular canons of St. Austin. He died in that house, January the 20th, 1270.

St. Paul, the hermit, is commemorated in several ancient western Martyrologies on the 10th of January, but in the Roman on the 15th, on which he is honored in the anthologium of the Greeks.

* * * * *

An eminent contemplative draws the following portraiture of this great model of an eremitical life:[5] St. Paul, the hermit, not being called by God to the external duties of an active life, remained alone, conversing only with God, in a vast wilderness, for the space of near a hundred years, ignorant of all that passed in the world, both the progress of sciences, the establishment of religion, and the revolutions of states and empires; indifferent even as to those things without which he could not live, as the air which he breathed, the water he drank, and the miraculous bread with which he supported life. What did he do? say the inhabitants of this busy world, who think they could not live without being in a perpetual hurry of restless projects; what was his employment all this while? Alas! ought we not rather to put this question to them; what are you doing while you are not taken up in doing the will of God, which occupies the heavens and the earth in all their motions? Do you call that doing nothing which is the great end God {154} proposed to himself in giving us a being, that is, to be employed in contemplating, adoring, and praising him? Is it to be idle and useless in the world to be entirely taken up in that which is the eternal occupation of God himself, and of the blessed inhabitants of heaven? What employment is better, more just, more sublime, or more advantageous than this, when done in suitable circumstances? To be employed in any thing else, how great or noble soever it may appear in the eyes of men, unless it be referred to God, and be the accomplishment of his holy will, who in all our actions demands our heart more than our hand, what is it, but to turn ourselves away from our end, to lose our time, and voluntarily to return again to that state of nothing out of which we were formed, or rather into a far worse state?

1. Pliny recounts thirty-nine different sorts of palm-trees, and says
    that the best grow in Egypt, which are ever green, have leaves thick
    enough to make ropes and a fruit which serves in some places to make
2. Pliny, l. 7, c. 3, and others, assure us that such monsters have
    been seen. Consult the note of Rosweide.
3. The heathens might feign their gods of the woods, from certain
    monsters sometimes seen. Plutarch, in his life of Sylla, says, that
    a satyr was brought to that general at Athens; and St. Jerom tells
    us, that one was shown alive at Alexandria, and after its death was
    salted and embalmed, and sent to Antioch that Constantine the Great
    might see it.
4. See the whole history of this translation, published from an
    original MS. by F. Gamans, a Jesuit, inserted by Bollandus in his
5. F. Ambrose de Lombez, Capucin, Tr. de la Paix Intérieure, (Paris,
    1758,) p. 372.


AMONG the several noblemen who placed their sons under the care of St. Benedict, to be brought up in piety and learning, Equitius, one of that rank, left with him his son Maurus, then but twelve years old, in 522. The youth surpassed all his fellow monks in the discharge of monastic duties, and when he was grown up, St. Benedict made him his coadjutor in the government of Sublaco. Maurus, by his singleness of heart and profound humility, was a model of perfection to all the brethren, and was favored by God with the gift of miracles. St. Placidus, a fellow monk, the son of the senator Tertullus, going one day to fetch water, fell into the lake, and was carried the distance of a bow-shot from the bank. St. Benedict saw this in spirit in his cell, and bid Maurus run and draw him out. Maurus obeyed, walked upon the waters without perceiving it, and dragged out Placidus by the hair, without sinking in the least himself. He attributed the miracle to the prayers of St. Benedict; but the holy abbot, to the obedience of the disciple. Soon after that holy patriarch had retired to Cassino, he called St. Maurus thither, in the year 528. Thus far St. Gregory, Dial. l. 2, c. 3, 4, 6.

St. Maurus coming to France in 543, founded, by the liberality of king Theodebert, the great abbey of Glanfeuil, now called St. Maur-sur-Loire, which he governed several years. In 581 he resigned the abbacy to Bertulf, and passed the remainder of his life in close solitude, in the uninterrupted contemplation of heavenly things, in order to prepare himself for his passage to eternity. After two years thus employed, he fell sick of a fever, with a pain in his side: he received the sacraments of the church, lying on sackcloth before the altar of St. Martin, and in the same posture expired on the 15th of January, in the year 584. He was buried on the right side of the altar in the same church,[1] and on a roll of parchment laid in his tomb was inscribed this epitaph: "Maurus, a monk and deacon, who came into France in the days of king Theodebert, and died the eighteenth day before the month of February."[2] St. Maurus is named in the ancient French litany composed by Alcuin, and in the Martyrologies of Florus, Usuard, and others. {155} For fear of the Normans, in the ninth century, his body was translated to several places; lastly, in 868, to St. Peter's des Fusses, then a Benedictin abbey, near Paris,[3] where it was received with great solemnity by Æneas, bishop of Paris. A history of this translation, written by Eudo, at that time abbot of St. Peter's des Fusses, is still extant. This abbey des Fusses was founded by Blidegisilus, deacon of the church of Paris, in the time of king Clovis II. and of Audebert, bishop of Paris: St. Babolen was the first abbot. This monastery was reformed by St. Mayeul, abbot of Cluni, in 988: in 1533 it was secularized by Clement VII. at the request of Francis I., and the deanery united to the bishopric of Paris; but the church and village have for several ages borne the name of St. Maur. The abbey of Glanfeuil, now called St. Maur-sur-Loire, was subjected to this des Fosses from the reign of Charles the Bald to the year 1096, in which Urban II., at the solicitation of the count of Anjou, re-established its primitive independence. Our ancestors had a particular veneration for St. Maurus, under the Norman kings; and the noble family of Seymour (from the French Saint Maur) borrow from him its name, as Camden observes in his Remains. The church of St. Peter's des Fusses, two leagues from Paris, now called St. Maurus's, was secularized, and made a collegiate, in 1533; and the canons removed to St. Louis, formerly called St. Thomas of Canterbury's, at the Louvre in Paris, in 1750. The same year the relics of St. Maurus were translated thence to the abbey of St. Germain-des-Prez, where they are preserved in a rich shrine.[4] An arm of this saint was with great devotion translated to mount Cassino, in the eleventh century,[5] and by its touch a demoniac was afterwards delivered, as is related by Desiderius at that time abbot of mount Cassino,[6] who was afterwards pope, under the name of Victor III. See Mabill. Annal. Bened. t. 1, l. 3 and 4; and the genuine history of the translation of the body of St. Maurus to the monastery des Fosses, by Endo, at that time abbot of this house. The life of St. Maurus, and history of his translation, under the pretended name of Faustus, is demonstrated by Cointe and others to be a notorious forgery, with several instruments belonging to the same.[7]

1. Mab. Annal. Ben. t. 1, l. 7, ad annos 581, 584.
2. All writers, at least from the ninth century, are unanimous in
    affirming with Amalarius, that St. Maurus of Anjou, the French
    abbot, was the same Maurus that was the disciple of St. Benedict;
    which is also proved against certain modern critics, by Dom Ruinart
    in his Apologia Missionis St. Mauri, in append. 1. annal. Bened. per
    Mabill. t. 1, p. 630. The arguments which are alleged by some for
    distinguishing them, may be seen in Chatelain's notes on the
    Martyrol. p. 253. In imitation of the congregation of SS. Vane and
    Hydulphus, then lately established in Lorraine, certain French
    Benedictin monks instituted a like reformation of their order, under
    the title of the congregation of St. Maurus, in 1621, which was
    approved of by Gregory XV. and Urban VIII. It is divided into six
    provinces, under its own general, who usually resides at St.
    Germain-des-Prez, at Paris. These monks live in strict retirement,
    and constantly abstain from flesh meat, except in the infirmary.
    Their chief houses are, St. Maur-sur-Loire, St. Germain-des Prez,
    Fleury, or St. Benoit-sur-Loire, Marmoutier at Tours, Vendome, St.
    Remigius at Rheims, St. Peter of Corbie, Fecan &c.
3. Ib. l. 15, p. 465, l. 36, p. 82. See Dom Beaunier, Recueil
    Historique des Evech. et Abbayes, t. 1, p. 17.
4. Dom Vaissette, Géographie Histor. t. 6, p. 515, and Le Beuf, Hist.
    du Diocèse de Paris, t. 5, p. 17. Piganiol, Descrip. of Paris, t. 8,
    p. 165, t. 3, p. 114, t. 7, p. 79.
5. S. Odilo in vitâ S. Majoli; et Leo Ostiens in chron. Casin. l. 2, c.
6. Victor III. Dial. l. 2. Ruinart, Apol. Miss. S. Mauri, p. 632.
    Mabill. Annal. Bened. l. 56, c. 73.
7. Dom Freville, the Maurist monk, and curate of St. Symphorian's, at
    the abbey of St. Germain-des-Prez, has nevertheless made use of
    these pieces in a MS. history of the life and translations of this
    saint, which he has compiled, and of which he allowed me the
    perusal. When the relics of St. Maurus were translated to St.
    Germain-des-Prez, those of St. Babolen, who died about the year 671,
    and is honored is the Paris breviary on the 28th of June, and
    several others which had enriched the monastery des Fosses were
    conveyed to the church of St. Louis, at the Louvre.


THIS saint was a British bishop, who, passing into Little Britain in
France, there founded an abbey in which he ended his days.


HE was the son of Eutropius, a rich nobleman in Constantinople. He secretly left home to become a monk among the Acæmetes.[1] After six {156} years he returned disguised in the rags of a beggar, and subsisted by the charity of his parents, as a stranger, in a little hut near their house; hence he was called the Calybite.[2] He sanctified his soul by wonderful patience, meekness, humility, mortification, and prayer. He discovered himself to his mother, in his agony, in the year 450, and, according to his request, was buried under his hut; but his parents built over his tomb a stately church, as the author of his life mentions. Cedrenus, who says it stood in the western quarter of the city, calls it the church of poor John;[3] Zonaras, the church of St. John Calybite.[4] An old church standing near the bridge of the isle of the Tiber in Rome, which bore his name, according to an inscription there, was built by pope Formosus, (who died in 896,) together with an hospital. From which circumstance Du Cange[5] infers that the body of our saint, which is preserved in this church, was conveyed from Constantinople to Rome, before the broaching of the Iconoclast heresy under Leo the Isarian, in 706: but his head remained at Constantinople till after that city fell into the hands of the Latins, in 1204; soon after which it was brought to Besanzon in Burgundy, where it is kept in St. Stephen's church, with a Greek inscription round the case. The church which bears the name of Saint John Calybite, at Rome, with the hospital, is now in the hands of religious men of the order of St. John of God. According to a MS. life, commended by Baronius, St. John Calybite flourished under Theodosius the Younger, who died in 450: Nicephorus says, under Leo, who was proclaimed emperor in 457; so that both accounts may be true. On his genuine Greek acts, see Lambecius, Bibl. Vind. t. 8, pp. 228, 395; Bollandus, p. 1035, gives his Latin acts the same which we find in Greek at St. Germain-des-Prez. See Montfaucon, Bibl. Coislianæ, p. 196. Bollandus adds other Latin acts, to which he gives the preference. See also Papebroch, Comm. ad Januarium Græcum metricum, t. 1. Maij. Jos. Assemani, in Calendaria Univ. ad 15 Jan. t. 6, p. 76. Chatelain, p. 283, &c.

1. Papebroch supposes St. John Calybite to have made a long voyage at
    sea; but this circumstance seems to have no other foundation than
    the mistake of those who place his birth at Rome, forgetting that
    Constantinople was then called New Rome. No mention is made of any
    long voyage in his genuine Greek acts, nor in the interpolated
    Latin. He sailed only threescore furlongs from Constantinople to the
    place called [Greek: Gomôn], and from the peaceful abode of the
    Acæmetes' monk, ([Greek: Eirênaion], or dwelling of peace,) opposite
    to Sosthenium on the Thrancian shore, where the monastery of the
    Acæmetes stood.
2. From [Greek: kalubê], a cottage, a hut.
3. Cedr. ad an. 461.
4. Zonaras, p. 41.
5. Du Cange, Constantinop. Christiana, l. 4, c. 6, n. 51.



HE was taken from his cell where he had passed many years in the deserts, ordained Priest, and placed in the dignity of hospitaller, by St. Athanasius. He lived in that great city a perfect model of meekness, patience, mortification, and prayer. He frequently burst into tears at table, saying: "I who am a rational creature, and made to enjoy God, eat the food of brutes, instead of feeding on the bread of angels." Palladius, afterwards bishop of Helenopolis, on going to Egypt to embrace an ascetic life, addressed himself first to our saint for advice: the skilful director bade him go and exercise himself for some time in mortification and self-denial, and then return for further instructions. St. Isidore suffered many persecutions, first from Lucius the Arian intruder, and afterwards from Theophilus, who unjustly accused him of Origenism.[2] He publicly condemned that heresy at {157} Constantinople, where he died in 403, under the protection of St. Chrysostom. See Palladius in Lausiac, c. 1 and 2. Socrates, l. 6, c. 9. Sozomen, c. 3 and 12. St. Jerom, Ep. 61, c. 15, ad Princip. Theodoret. l. 4, c. 21. Pallad. de Vitâ S. Chrys. Bulteau, Hist. Mon. d'Orient. l. 1, c. 15

1. A hospitaller is one residing in an hospital, in order to receive
    the poor and strangers.
2. St. Jerom's zeal against the Origenists was very serviceable to the
    church; yet his translation of Theophilus's book against the memory
    of St. Chrysostom, (ap. Fac. herm. l. 6, c. 4,) is a proof that it
    sometimes carried him too far. This weakens his charge against the
    holy hospitaller of Alexandria, whom Theophilus expelled Egypt, with
    the four long brothers, (Dioscorus, Ammonias, Eusebius, and
    Euthymius,) and about three hundred other monks. Some accuse
    Theophilus of proceeding against them out of mere jealousy. It is at
    least certain, that St. Isidore and the four long brothers
    anathematized Origenism at Constantinople, before St. Chrysostom
    received them to his communion, and that Theophilus himself was
    reconciled to them at Chalcedon, in the council at the Oak, without
    requiring of them any confession of faith, or making mention of
    Origen. (Sozom. l. 8, c. 17.) Many take the St. Isidore, mentioned
    in the Roman Martyrology, for the hospitaller; but Bulteau observes,
    that St. Isidore of Scété is rather meant; at least the former is
    honored by the Greeks.


HE was priest of Scété, and hermit in that vast desert. He excelled in an unparalleled gift of meekness, continency, prayer, and recollection. Once perceiving in himself some motions of anger to rise, he that instant threw down certain baskets he was carrying to market, and ran away to avoid the occasion.[1] When, in his old age, others persuaded him to abate something in his labor, he answered: "If we consider what the Son of God hath done for us, we can never allow ourselves any indulgence in sloth. Were my body burnt, and my ashes scattered in the air, it would be nothing."[2] Whenever the enemy tempted him to despair, he said, "Were I to be damned, thou wouldest yet be below me in hell; nor would I cease to labor in the service of God, though assured that this was to be my lot." If he was tempted to vain-glory, he reproached and confounded himself with the thought, how far even in his exterior exercises he fell short of the servants of God, Antony, Pambo, and others.[3] Being asked the reason of his abundant tears, he answered: "I weep for my sins: if we had only once offended God, we could never sufficiently bewail this misfortune." He died a little before the year 391. His name stands in the Roman Martyrology, on the fifteenth of January. See Cassian. coll. 18, c. 15 and 16. Tillem. t. 8, p. 440.


1. Cotellier, Mon. Gr. t. 1, p. 487. 2. Ib. p. 686. Rosweide, l. 5, c. 7 3. Cotel. ib. t. 2, p. 48. Rosweide, l. 3, c. 101, l. 7, c. 11.


ST. BONET was referendary or chancellor, to Sigebert III., the holy king of Austrasia; and by his zeal, religion, and justice, flourished in that kingdom under four kings. After the death of Dagobert II., Thierry III. made him governor of Marseilles and all Provence, in 680. His elder brother St. Avitus II., bishop of Clermont, in Auvergne, having recommended him for his successor, died in 689, and Bonet was consecrated. But after having governed that see ten years, with the most exemplary piety, he had a scruple whether his election had been perfectly canonical; and having consulted St. Tilo, or Theau, then leading an eremitical life at Solignac, resigned his dignity, led for four years a most penitential life in the abbey of Manlieu, now of the order of St. Bennet, and after having made a pilgrimage to Rome, died of the gout at Lyons on the fifteenth of January in 710, being eighty-six years old. His relics were enshrined in the cathedral at Clermont; but some small portions are kept at Paris, in the churches of St. Germain l'Auxerrois, and St. Bont, near that of St. Merry. See his life, {158} written by a monk of Sommon in Auvergne, in the same century, published by Bollandus, also le Cointe, an. 699. Gallia Christiana Nova, &c.


SHE was a native of Nandesi, now the barony of Dessee in the county of Waterford, and descended from the royal family. Having consecrated her virginity to God, she led an austere retired life at the foot of the mountain Luach, in the diocese of Limerick, and founded there a famous monastery of holy virgins, called Cluain-cred-hail. By the mortification of her senses and passions, and by her constant attention to God and his divine love, she was enriched with many extraordinary graces. The lesson she principally inculcated to others was, that to be perpetually recollected in God is the great means of attaining to perfection. She died January 15, in 569. Her feast was solemnized in her church of Cluain-cred-hail; in the whole territory of Hua-Conail, and at Rosmide, in the territory of Nandesi. See her ancient life in Bollandus, Jan. xvi., and Colgan, t. 1, p. 72, who calls her the second St. Bridget of Ireland.



See the epitaph of eight verses, composed for this Pope, by St. Damasus, carm. 48, and Tillemont, t. 5.

A.D. 310.

ST. MARCELLUS was priest under pope Marcellinus. whom he succeeded in 308, after that see had been vacant for three years and a half. An epitaph written on him by pope Damasus, who also mentions himself in it, says, that by enforcing the canons of holy penance, he drew upon himself the contradictions and persecutions of many tepid and refractory Christians, and that for his severity against a certain apostate, he was banished by the tyrant Maxentius.[1] He died in 310, having sat one year, seven months, and twenty days. Anastatius writes, that Lucina, a devout widow of one Pinianus, who lodged St. Marcellus when he lived in Rome, after his death converted her house into a church, which she called by his name. His false acts relate, that among his other sufferings, he was condemned by the tyrant to keep cattle in this place. He is styled a martyr in the sacramentaries of Gelasius I. and St. Gregory, and in the Martyrologies ascribed to St. Jerom and Bede, which, with the rest of the Western calendars, mention his feast on the sixteenth of January. His body lies under the high altar in the ancient church, which bears his name, and gives title to a cardinal in Rome; but certain portions of his relics are honored at Cluni, Namur, Mons, &c.

* * * * *

God is most wonderful in the whole economy of his holy providence over his elect: his power and wisdom are exalted infinitely above the understanding {159} of creatures, and we are obliged to cry out, "Who can search his ways?"[2] We have not penetration to discover all the causes and ends of exterior things which we see or feel. How much less can we understand this in secret and interior things, which fall not under our senses? "Remember that thou knowest not his work. Behold he is a great God, surpassing our understanding."[3] How does he make every thing serve his purposes for the sanctification of his servants! By how many ways does he conduct them to eternal glory! Some he sanctifies on thrones; others in cottages; others in retired cells and deserts; others in the various functions of an apostolic life, and in the government of his church. And how wonderfully does he ordain and direct all human events to their spiritual advancement, both in prosperity and in adversity! In their persecutions and trials, especially, we shall discover at the last day, when the secrets of his providence will be manifested to us, the tenderness of his infinite love, the depth of his unsearchable wisdom, and the extent of his omnipotent power. In all his appointments let us adore these his attributes, earnestly imploring his grace, that according to the designs of his mercy, we may make every thing, especially all afflictions, serve for the exercise and improvement of our virtue.

Footnotes: 1. Damasus, carm. 26. 2. Job xxxvi, 23. 3. Ib.


From the original authors of the lives of the fathers of the deserts, in Rosweide, d'Andilly, Bollandus, 15 Jan., Tillemont, t. 13, p. 576, collated with a very ancient manuscript of the lives of the Fathers, published by Rosweide, &c., in the hands of Mr. Martin, of Palgrave, in Suffolk.

A.D. 390.

ST. MACARIUS, the Elder, was born in Upper Egypt, about the year 300, and brought up in the country in tending cattle. In his childhood, in company with some others, he once stole a few figs, and ate one of them: but from his conversion to his death, he never ceased to weep bitterly for this sin.[1] By a powerful call of divine grace, he retired from the world in his youth, and dwelling in a little cell in a village, made mats, in continual prayer and great austerities. A wicked woman falsely accused him of having defloured her; for which supposed crime he was dragged through the streets, beaten, and insulted, as a base hypocrite, under the garb of a monk. He suffered all with patience, and sent the woman what he earned by his work, saying to himself: "Well, Macarius! having now another to provide for, thou must work the harder." But God discovered his innocency; for the woman falling in labor, lay in extreme anguish, and could not be delivered till she had named the true father of her child. The people converted their rage into the greatest admiration of the humility and patience of the saint.[2] To shun the esteem of men, he fled into the vast hideous desert of Scété,[3] being then about thirty years of age. In this solitude he lived sixty years, and became the spiritual parent of innumerable holy persons, who put themselves under his direction, and were governed by the rules he prescribed them; but all dwelt in separate hermitages. St. Macarius admitted only one disciple with him, to entertain strangers. He was {160} compelled by an Egyptian bishop to receive the order of priesthood, about the year 340, the fortieth of his age, that he might celebrate the divine mysteries for the convenience of this holy colony. When the desert became better peopled, there were four churches built in it, which were served by so many priests. The austerities of St. Macarius were excessive; he usually ate but once a week. Evagrius, his disciple, once asked him leave to drink a little water, under a parching thirst; but Macarius bade him content himself with reposing a little in the shade, saying: "For these twenty years, I have never once ate, drunk, or slept, as much as nature required."[4] His face was very pale, and his body weak and parched up. To deny his own will, he did not refuse to drink a little wine when others desired him; but then he would punish himself for this indulgence, by abstaining two or three days from all manner of drink; and it was for this reason, that his disciple desired strangers never to tender unto him a drop of wine.[5] He delivered his instructions in few words, and principally inculcated silence, humility, mortification, retirement, and continual prayer, especially the last, to all sorts of people. He used to say, "In prayer, you need not use many or lofty words. You can often repeat with a sincere heart, Lord, show me mercy as thou knowest best. Or, assist me, O God!"[6] He was much delighted with this ejaculation of perfect resignation and love: "O Lord, have mercy on me, as thou pleasest, and knowest best in thy goodness!"[7] His mildness and patience were invincible, and occasioned the conversion of a heathen priest, and many others.[8] The devil told him one day, "I can surpass thee in watching, fasting, and many other things; but humility conquers and disarms me."[9] A young man applying to St. Macarius for spiritual advice, he directed him to go to a burying-place, and upbraid the dead; and after to go and flatter them. When he came back, the saint asked him what answer the dead had made: "None at all," said the other, "either to reproaches or praises." "Then," replied Macarius, "go, and learn neither to be moved with injuries nor flatteries. If you die to the world and to yourself, you will begin to live to Christ." He said to another: "Receive, from the hand of God, poverty as cheerfully as riches, hunger and want as plenty, and you will conquer the devil, and subdue all your passions."[10] A certain monk complained to him, that in solitude he was always tempted to break his fast, whereas in the monastery, he could fast the whole week cheerfully. "Vain-glory is the reason," replied the saint; "fasting pleases, when men see you; but seems intolerable when that passion is not gratified."[11] One came to consult him, who was molested with temptations to impurity: the saint, examining into the source, found it to be sloth, and advised him never to eat before sunset, to meditate fervently at his work, and to labor vigorously, without sloth, the whole day. The other faithfully complied, and was freed from his enemy. God revealed to St. Macarius, that he had not attained the perfection of two married women, who lived in a certain town: he made them a visit, and learned the means by which they sanctified themselves. They were extremely careful never to speak any idle or rash words: they lived in the constant practice of humility, patience, meekness, charity, resignation, mortification of their own will, and conformity to the humors of their husbands and others, where the divine law did not interpose: in a spirit of recollection they sanctified all their actions by {161} ardent ejaculations, by which they strove to praise God, and most fervently to consecrate to the divine glory all the powers of their soul and body.[12]

A subtle heretic of the sect of the Hieracites, called so from Hierax, who in the reign of Dioclesian denied the resurrection of the dead, had, by his sophisms, caused some to stagger in their faith. St. Macarius, to confirm them in the truth, raised a dead man to life, as Socrates, Sozomen, Palladius, and Rufinus relate. Cassian says, that he only made a dead corpse to speak for that purpose; then bade it rest till the resurrection. Lucius, the Arian usurper of the see of Alexandria, who had expelled Peter, the successor of St. Athanasius, in 376 sent troops into the deserts to disperse the zealous monks, several of whom sealed their faith with their blood: the chiefs, namely, the two Macariuses, Isidore, Pambo, and some others, by the authority of the emperor Valens, were banished into a little isle of Egypt, surrounded with great marshes. The inhabitants, who were Pagans, were all converted to the faith by the confessors.[13] The public indignation of the whole empire, obliged Lucius to suffer them to return to their cells. Our saint, knowing that his end drew near, made a visit to the monks of Nitria, and exhorted them to compunction and tears so pathetically, that they all fell weeping at his feet. "Let us weep, brethren," said he, "and let our eyes pour forth floods of tears before we go hence, lest we fall into that place where tears will only increase the flames in which we shall burn."[14] He went to receive the reward of his labors in the year 390, and of his age the ninetieth, having spent sixty years in the desert of Scété.[15]

He seems to have been the first anchoret who inhabited this vast wilderness; and this Cassian affirms.[16] Some style him a disciple of St. Antony; but that quality rather suits St. Macarius of Alexandria; for, by the history of our saint's life, it appears that he could not have lived under the direction of St. Antony before he retired into the desert of Scété. But he afterwards paid a visit, if not several, to that holy patriarch of monks, whose dwelling was fifteen days' journey distant.[17] This glorious saint is honored in the Roman Martyrology on the 15th of January; in the Greek Menæa on the 19th. An ancient monastic rule, and an epistle addressed to monks, written in sentences, like the book of Proverbs, are ascribed to St. Macarius. Tillemont thinks them more probably the works of St. Macarius of Alexandria, who had under his inspection at Nitria five thousand monks.[18] Gennadius[19] says that St. Macarius wrote nothing but this letter. This may be understood of St. Macarius of Alexandria, though one who wrote in Gaul might not have seen all the works of an author whose country was so remote, and language different. Fifty spiritual homilies are ascribed, in the first edition, and in some manuscripts, to St. Macarius of Egypt: yet F. Possin[20] thinks they rather belong to Macarius of Pispir, who attended St. Antony at his death, and seems to have been some years older than the two great Macariuses, though some have thought him the same with the Alexandrian.[21]

Footnotes: 1. Bolland. 15. Jan. p. 1011, §39. Cotel. Mon. Gr{}t, l. 1, p. 546. 2. Cotel. ib. p. 525. Rosweide, Vit. Patr. l. 3, c. 99, l. 5, c. 15, §25, p. 623. 3. Mount Nitria was above forty miles from Alexandria, towards the Southwest. The desert of Scété lay eighty miles beyond Nitria, and was rather in Lybia than in Egypt. It was of a vast extent, and then were no roads thereabouts, so that men were guided only by the stars in travelling in those parts. See Tillemont on St. Amon and this Macarius. 4. Socrates, l. 4, c. 23. 5. Rosweide, Vit. Patr. l. 3, §3, p. 505, l. 5, c. 4, §26, p. 569. 6. Rosweide, l. 3, c. 20, l. 5, c. 12. Cotel. p. 537. 7. Domine, sicut scis et vis, miserere me! 8. Rosweide, l. 3, c. 127. Cotel. t. 1, p. 547. 9. Rosweide, l. 5, c. 15. 10. Rosweide, l. 7, c. 48. Cotel. t. 1, p. 537. Rosweide, ib. §9. 11. Cassian Collat. 5, c. 32. 12. Rosweide, l. 3, c. 97, l. 6, c. 3, §17, p. 657. 13. Theodoret, l. 4, c. 18, 19. Socr. l. 4, c. 22. Sozom. l. 6, c. 19, 20. Rufin. l. 2, c. 3. S. Hier. in Chrom. Oros. l. 7, c. 33. Pallad. Lausiac. c. 117. 14. Rosw. Vit. Part. l. 5, c. 3, §9. Cotel. Mon. Gr. p. 545. 15. Pallad. Lausiac. c. 19. 16. Cassian. Collat. 15, c. 13. Tillem. Note 3, p. 806. 17. Rosw. Vit. Patr. l. 5, c. 7, §9. Cotel. Apothegm. Patr. 530. Tillem. art. 4, p. 581, and Note 4, p. 80{}. 18. See Tillem. Note 3, p. 806. 19. Gennad. Cat. c. 10. 20. Possin. Ascet. pr. p. 17. 21. Du Pin allows these fifty homilies to be undoubtedly very ancient: in which judgment others agree, and the discourses themselves bear evident marks. Du Pin and Tillemont leave them to St. Macarius of Egypt; and his claim to them is very well supported by the learned English translator, who published them with an introduction, at London, in 1721, in octavo. The censure of Ceillier upon them seems too severe. Certain passages, which seem to favor Pelagianism, ought to be explained by others, which clearly condemn that heresy; or it must be granted that they have suffered some alteration. The composition is not very methodical, these homilies being addressed to monks, in answer to particular queries. The author exceedingly extols the peace and sweetness which a soul, crucified to the world, enjoys with the consolations of the Holy Ghost, who resides in her. But he says that the very angels deplore, as much as their state will permit, those unhappy souls which taste not these heavenly delights, as men weep over a dear friend who lies sick in his agony, and receives all nourishment from their hands. (St. Macar., hom. 1 & 15.) Prayer, without which no one can be free from sin, is a duty which he strongly inculcates, (Hom. 2,) with perfect concord, by which we love, and are inclined to condescend to indifferent things, and to judge well of all men, so as to say, when we see one pray, that he prays for us; if he read, that he reads for us, and for the divine honor; if he rest or work, that he is employed for the advancement of the common good. (Hom. 3.) The practice of keeping ourselves constantly in the divine presence, he calls a principal duty, by which we learn to triumph over our enemies, and refer to the divine honor all we do; "for this one thing is necessary, that whether we work, read, or pray, we always entertain this life and treasure in our souls; having God constantly in our thoughts, and the Holy Ghost in our breasts." (Hom. 3.) A continual watchfulness, and strict guard upon all our senses, and in all our actions, is necessary, especially against vanity, concupiscence, and gluttony; without which, failings will be multiplied; pure and faithful souls God makes his chaste spouses; they always think on him, and place all their desires on him; but those who love the earth are earthly in their thoughts and affections, their corrupt inclinations gain such a mastery, that they seem natural to them. Vigilance is absolutely necessary to remove this insinuating enemy; and purity of conscience begets prudence, which can never be found under the tyranny of the passions, and which is the eye that guides the soul through the craggy paths of this life. Pure souls are raised by divine grace to dwell with God on earth by holy contemplation, and are fitted for eternal bliss, (Hom. 4;) true Christians differ in their desires and actions from other men. The wicked burn with lawless passions, and are disturbed with anxious desires and vain wishes, hunt after, and think of nothing but earthly pleasures; but the true Christian enjoys an uninterrupted tranquillity of mind and joy, even amidst crosses, and rejoices in sufferings and temptations, hope and divine grace sweetening their severest trials. The love of God with which they burn, makes them rejoice in all they suffer for his sake, and by his appointment. It is their most ardent desire to behold God in his glory, and to be themselves transformed into him. (2 Cor. iii.) Even now the sweetness with which God overwhelms them, renders them already, in some measure, partakers of his glory; which will be completed in them in heaven. (Hom. 5.) In prayer we must be freed from all anxious care, trouble of mind, and foreign thoughts; and must cry out to God with our whole hearts in tranquillity and silence; for God descends only in peace and repose, not amidst tumult and clamors. (Hom. 6.) A soul astonished to see God, who is crowned with infinite glory, visit her with so much sweetness, absorbed in hi, sovereignly despises all earthly things, and cries out to his in strains of admiration at his condescension and goodness. (Hom. 7) When a person, endowed with the gift of supernatural prayer, falls on his knees to pray, his heart is straight filled with the divine sweetness, and his soul exults in God as a spouse with her beloved. This joy in one hour of prayer in the silence of the night, makes a soul forget all the labors of the day; being wrapt in God, she expatiates in the depth of his immensity, and is raised above all the toys of this world to heavenly joys, which no tongue can express. Then she cries out, "Oh! that my soul could now ascend with my prayer out high, to be for evermore united with God!" But this grace is not always equal; and this light is sometimes stronger, and this ardor is sometimes more vehement, sometimes more gentle; sometimes the soul seems to herself to behold a cross shining with a dazzling brightness, wherewith her interior man is penetrated. Sometimes in a rapture she seems clothed with glory, in some measure as Christ appeared in his transfiguration. At other times, overwhelmed with a divine light, and drowned in the ocean of divine sweetness, she scarce remains herself, and becomes a stranger, and, as it were, foolish to this world, through the excess of heavenly sweetness, and relish of divine mysteries. A perfect state of contemplation is granted to no one in this life; yet when we go to pray, after making the sign of the cross, often grace so overwhelms the heart, and the whole man, filling every power with perfect tranquillity, that the soul, through excess of overflowing joy, becomes like a little child, which knows no evil, condemns no man, but loves all the world. At other times she seems as a child of God, to confide in him as in her father, to penetrate the heavenly mansions which are opened to her, and to discover mysteries which no man can express. (Hom. 8.) These interior delights can only be purchased by many trials; for a soul must be dead to the world, and burn with a vehement love of God alone, so that no creature can separate her from him, and she dedicate herself and all her actions to him, without reserve. (Hom. 9.) For this, a most profound humility, cheerfulness, and courage are necessary; sloth, tepidity, and sadness being incompatible with spiritual progress. (Hom. 10.) The Holy Ghost is a violent fire in our breasts, which makes us always active, and spurs us on continually to aspire more and more vehemently towards God. (Hom. 11.) The mark of a true Christian is, that he studies to conceal from the eyes of men all the good he receives from God. Those who taste how sweet God is, and know no satiety in his love, in proportion as they advance in contemplation, the more perfectly they see their own wants and nothingness: and always cry out, "I am most unworthy that this sun sheds its beams upon me." (Hom. 15.) In the following homilies, the author delivers many excellent maxims on humility and prayer, and tells us, that a certain monk, after having been favored with a wonderful rapture, and many great graces, fell by pride into several grievous sins. (Hom. 17.) A certain rich nobleman gave his estate to the poor, and set his slaves at liberty; yet afterwards fell into pride, and many enormous crimes. Another, who in the persecution had suffered torments with great constancy for the faith, afterwards, intoxicated with self-conceit, gave great scandal by his disorders. He mentions one who had formerly lived a long time with him in the desert, prayed often with him, and was favored with an extraordinary gift of compunction, and a miraculous power of curing many sick persons, was delighted with glory and applause of men, and drawn into the sink of vice. (Hom. 27.) To preserve the unction of the Holy Ghost, a person must live in constant fear, humility, and compunction. (Hom. 17.) Without Christ and his grace we can do nothing; but by the Holy Ghost dwelling in her, a soul becomes all light, all spirit, as joy, all love, all compassion. Unless a person be animated by divine grace, and replenished with all virtues, the best instructions and exhortations in their mouths produce very little good. (Hom 18.) The servant of God never bears in mind the good works he has done, but, after all his labors, sees how much is wanting to him; and how much he falls short of his duty, and of the perfection of virtue, and says every day to himself, that now he ought to begin, and that to-morrow perhaps God will call him to himself, and deliver him from his labors and dangers (Hom. 26.) The absolute necessity of divine grace he teaches in many places; also the fundamental article of original sin, (Hom. 48. pag. 101, t. 4, Bibl. Patr. Colon. an. {}6{}) which the Pelagians denied.



He was of a consular Roman family, then settled in Gaul, and was well versed in the liberal arts. In his youth he renounced the worship of idols, and gained his elder brother, Venantius, to Christ, whom he also inspired with a contempt of the world. They desired to renounce it entirely, but a {163} fond Pagan father put continual obstacles in their way: at length they took with them St. Caprais, a holy hermit, for their director, and sailed from Marseilles to Greece, with the design to live there unknown, in some desert. Venantius soon died happily at Methone; and Honoratus, being also sick, was obliged to return with his conductor. He first led an eremitical life in the mountains, near Frejus. Two small islands lie in the sea near that coast, one larger, at a nearer distance from the continent, called Lero, now St. Margaret's; the other smaller and more remote, two leagues from Antibes, named Lerins, at present St. Honoré, from our saint, where he settled; and being followed by others, he there founded the famous monastery of Lerins, about the year 400. Some he appointed to live in community; others, who seemed more perfect, in separate cells, as anchorets. His rule was chiefly borrowed from that of St. Pachomius. Nothing can be more amiable than the description St. Hilary has given of the excellent virtues of this company of saints, especially of the charity, concord, humility, compunction, and devotion which reigned among them, under the conduct of our holy abbot. He was, by compulsion, consecrated archbishop of Arles in 426, and died, exhausted with austerities and apostolical labors, in 429. The style of his letters was clear and affecting: they were penned with an admirable delicacy, elegance, and sweetness, as St. Hilary assures. The loss of all these precious monuments is much regretted. His tomb is shown empty under the high altar of the church which bears his name at Arles; his body having been translated to Lerins in 1391, where the greatest part remains. See his panegyric by his disciple, kinsman, and successor, St. Hilary of Arles; one of the most finished pieces extant in this kind. Dom Rivet, Hist. Lit. t. 2, p. 156.


WAS abbot first of a monastery in his own country, in the diocese of Tuam, near the lake of Orbsen, where now stands the church of Kill-fursa, says Colgan. Afterwards, travelling with two of his brothers, St. Foilan and St. Ultan, through England, he founded, by the liberality of king Sigibert, the abbey of Cnobbersburg, now Burg-castle in Suffolk. Saint Ultan retired into a desert, and St. Fursey, after some time, followed him thither, leaving the government of his monastery to St. Foilan. Being driven thence by the irruptions of king Penda, he went into France, and, by the munificence of king Clovis II. and Erconwald, the pious mayor of his palace, built the great monastery of Latiniac, or Lagny, six leagues from Paris, on the Marne. He was deputed by the bishop of Paris to govern that diocese in quality of his vicar; on which account some have styled him bishop. He died in 650 at Froheins, that is, Fursei-domus, in the diocese of Amiens, while he was building another monastery at Peronne, to which church Erconwald removed his body. His relics have been famous for miracles, and are still preserved in the great church at Peronne, which was founded by Erconwald to be served by a certain number of priests, and made a royal collegiate church of canons by Lewis XI. Saint Fursey is honored as {164} patron of that town. See his ancient life in Bollandus, from which Bede extracted an account of his visions in a sickness in Ireland, l. 3, hist. c. 19. See also his life by Bede in MS. in the king's library at the British Museum, and Colgan, Jan. 16, p. 75, and Feb. 9, p. 282.


WERE sent by St. Francis to preach to the Mahometans of the West, while he went in person to those of the East. They preached first to the Moors of Seville, where they suffered much for their zeal, and were banished. Passing thence into Morocco, they began there to preach Christ, and being banished, returned again. The infidel judge caused them twice to be scourged till their ribs appeared bare; he then ordered burning oil and vinegar to be poured into their wounds, and their bodies to be rolled over sharp stones and potsherds. At length the king caused them to be brought before him, and taking his cimeter, clove their heads asunder in the middle of their foreheads, on the 16th of January, 1220. Their relics were ransomed, and are preserved in the monastery of the holy cross in Coimbra. Their names stand in the Roman Martyrology, and they were canonized by Sixtus IV. in 1481. See their acts in Bollandus and Wading; also Chalippe, Vie de S. François, l. 3, t. 1, p. 275.


THE Danes were indebted in part for the light of faith, under God, to the bright example and zealous labors of English missionaries. Henry was born in that country, of honorable parentage, and from his infancy gave himself to the divine service with his whole heart. When he came to man's estate he was solicited by his friends to marry, but having a strong call from God to forsake the world, he sailed to the north of England. The little island of Cocket, which lies on the coast of Northumberland, near the mouth of the river of the same name, was inhabited by many holy anchorets in St. Bede's time, as appears from his life of St. Cuthbert.[1] This island belonged to the monastery of Tinmouth, and, with the leave of the prior of that house, St. Henry undertook to lead in it an eremitical life. He fasted every day, and his refection, which he took at most only once in twenty-four hours, after sunset, was only bread and water: and this bread he earned by tilling a little garden near his cell. He suffered many assaults both from devils and men; but by those very trials improved his soul in the perfect spirit of patience, meekness, humility, and charity. He died in his hermitage in 1127, on the 16th of January, and was buried by the monks of Tinmouth, in the church of the Blessed Virgin, near the body of St. Oswin, king and martyr. See his life in Capgrave and Bollandus.

Footnotes: 1. Bede, Vit. S. Cuthberti, c. 24.





From his life, compiled by the great St. Athanasius, vol. 2, p. 743, a work much commended by St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Jerom, St. Austin, Rufinus, Palladius, &c. St. Chrysostom recommends to all persons the reading of this pious history, as full of instruction and edification. Hom. 8, in Matt t. 7. p. 128. It contributed to the conversion of St. Austin. Confess. l. 8, c. 6 and 28. See Tillemont, t. 7, Helyot, t. 1, Stevens, Addit. Mon. Anglic. t. 1, Ceillier, &c.

A.D. 356.

ST. ANTONY was born at Coma, a village near Heraclea, or Great Heracleopolis, in Upper Egypt, on the borders of Arcadia, or Middle Egypt, in 251. His parents, who were Christians, and rich, to prevent his being tainted by bad example and vicious conversation, kept him always at home; so that he grew up unacquainted with any branch of human literature, and could read no language but his own.[1] He was remarkable from his childhood for his temperance, a close attendance on church duties, and a punctual obedience to his parents. By their death he found himself possessed of a very considerable estate, and charged with the care of a younger sister, before he was twenty years of age. Near six months after, he heard read in the church those words of Christ to the rich young man: Go sell what thou hast, and give it to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.[2] He considered these words as addressed to himself; going home, he made over to his neighbors three hundred aruras,[3] that is, above one hundred and twenty acres of good land, that he and his sister might be free forever from all public taxes and burdens. The rest of his estate he sold, and gave the price to the poor, except what he thought necessary for himself and his sister. Soon after, hearing in the church those other words of Christ; Be not solicitous for to-morrow;[4] he also distributed in alms the moveables which he had reserved; and placed his sister in a house of virgins,[5] which most moderns take to be the first instance mentioned in history of a nunnery. She was afterwards intrusted with the care and direction of tethers in that holy way of life. Antony himself retired into a solitude, near his village, in imitation of a certain old man, who led the life of a hermit in the neighborhood of Coma. Manual labor, prayer, and pious reading, were his whole occupation: and such was his fervor, that if he heard of any virtuous recluse, he sought him out, and endeavored to make the best advantage of his {166} example and instructions. He saw nothing practised by any other in this service of God, which he did not imitate: thus he soon became a perfect model of humility, Christian condescension, charity, prayer, and all virtues. The devil assailed him by various temptations; first, he represented to him divers good works he might have been able to do with his estate in the world, and the difficulties of his present condition: a common artifice of the enemy, whereby he strives to make a soul slothful or dissatisfied in her vocation, in which God expects to be glorified by her. Being discovered and repulsed by the young novice, he varied his method of attack, and annoyed him night and day with filthy thoughts and obscene imaginations. Antony opposed to his assaults the strictest watchfulness over his senses, austere fasts, humility, and prayer, till Satan, appearing in a visible form, first of a woman coming to seduce him, then of a black boy to terrify him, at length confessed himself vanquished. The saint's food was only bread, with a little salt, and he drank nothing but water; he never ate before sunset, and sometimes only once in two, or four days: he lay on a rush mat, or on the bare floor. In quest of a more remote solitude he withdrew further from Coma, and hid himself in an old sepulchre; whither a friend brought him from time to time a little bread. Satan was here again permitted to assault him in a visible manner, to terrify him with dismal noises; and once he so grievously beat him, that he lay almost dead, covered with bruises and wounds; and in this condition he was one day found by his friend, who visited him from time to time to supply him with bread, during all the time he lived in the ruinous sepulchre. When he began to come to himself, though not yet able to stand, he cried out to the devils, while he yet lay on the floor, "Behold! here I am; do all you are able against me: nothing shall ever separate me from Christ my Lord." Hereupon the fiends appearing again, renewed the attack, and alarmed him with terrible clamors, and a variety of spectres, in hideous shapes of the most frightful wild beasts, which they assumed to dismay and terrify him; till a ray of heavenly light breaking in upon him, chased them away, and caused him to cry out: "Where wast thou, my Lord and my Master? Why wast thou not here, from the beginning of my conflict, to assuage my pains!" A voice answered: "Antony, I was here the whole time; I stood by thee, and beheld thy combat: and because thou hast manfully withstood thine enemies, I will always protect thee, and will render thy name famous throughout the earth." At these words the saint arose, much cheered, and strengthened, to pray and return thanks to his deliverer. Hitherto the saint, ever since his retreat, in 272, had lived in solitary places not very far from his village; and St. Athanasius observes, that before him many fervent persons led retired lives in penance and contemplation, near the towns; others remaining in the towns imitated the same manner of life. Both were called ascetics, from their being entirely devoted to the most perfect exercises of mortification and prayer, according to the import of the Greek word. Before St. Athanasius, we find frequent mention made of such ascetics: and Origen, about the year 219,[6] says they always abstained from flesh, no less than the disciples of Pythagoras. Eusebius tells us that St. Peter of Alexandria practised austerities equal to those of the ascetics; he says the same of Pamphilus; and St. Jerom uses the same expression of Pierius. St. Antony had led this manner of life near Coma, till resolving to withdraw into the deserts about the year 285, the thirty-fifth of his age, he crossed the eastern branch of the Nile, and took up his abode in the ruins of an old castle on the top of the mountains; in which close solitude he lived almost twenty years, very {167} rarely seeing any man, except one who brought him bread every six months.

To satisfy the importunities of others, about the year 305, the fifty-fifty of his age, he came down from his mountain, and founded his first monastery at Phaium.[7] The dissipation occasioned by this undertaking led him into a temptation of despair, which he overcame by prayer and hard manual labor. In this new manner of life his daily refection was six ounces of bread soaked in water, with a little salt; to which he sometimes added a few dates. He took it generally after sunset, but on some days at three o'clock; and in his old age he added a little oil. Sometimes he ate only once in three or four days, yet appeared vigorous, and always cheerful: strangers knew him from among his disciples by the joy which was always painted on his countenance, resulting from the inward peace and composure of his soul. Retirement in his cell was his delight, and divine contemplation and prayer his perpetual occupation. Coming to take his refection, he often burst into tears, and was obliged to leave his brethren and the table without touching any nourishment, reflecting on the employment of the blessed spirits in heaven, who praise God without ceasing.[8] He exhorted his brethren to allot the least time they possibly could to the care of the body. Notwithstanding which, he was very careful never to place perfection in mortification, as Cassian observes, but in charity, in which it was his whole study continually to improve his soul. His under garment was sackcloth over which he wore a white coat of sheep-skin, with a girdle. He instructed his monks to have eternity always present to their minds, and to reflect every morning that perhaps they might not live till night, and every evening that perhaps they might never see the morning; and to perform every action, as if it were the last of their lives, with all the fervor of their souls to please God. He often exhorted them to watch against temptations, and to resist the devil with vigor: and spoke admirably of his weakness, saying: "He dreads fasting, prayer, humility, and good works: he is not able even to stop my mouth who speak against him. The illusions of the devil soon vanish, especially if a man arms himself with the sign of the cross.[9] The devils {168} tremble at the sign of the cross of our Lord, by which he triumphed over and disarmed them."[10] He told them in what manner the fiend in his rage had assaulted him by visible phantoms, but that these disappeared while he persevered in prayer. He told them, that once when the devil appeared to him in glory, and said, "Ask what you please; I am the power of God:" he invoked the holy name of Jesus, and he vanished. Maximinus renewed the persecution in 311; St. Antony, hoping to receive the crown of martyrdom, went to Alexandria, served and encouraged the martyrs in the mines and dungeons, before the tribunals, and at the places of execution. He publicly wore his white monastic habit, and appeared in the sight of the governor; yet took care never presumptuously to provoke the judges, or impeach himself, as some rashly did. In 312 the persecution being abated, he returned to his monastery, and immured himself in his cell. Some time after he built another monastery, called Pispir, near the Nile; but he chose, for the most part, to shut himself up in a remote cell upon a mountain of difficult access, with Macarius, a disciple, who entertained strangers. If he found them to be Hierosolymites, or spiritual men, St. Antony himself sat with them in discourse; if Egyptians, (by which name they meant worldly persons,) then Macarius entertained them, and St. Antony only appeared to give them a short exhortation. Once the saint saw in a vision the whole earth covered so thick with snares, that it seemed scarce possible to set down a foot without falling into them. At this sight he cried out, trembling: "Who, O Lord, can escape them all?" A voice answered him "Humility, O Antony!"[11] St. Antony always looked upon himself as the least and the very outcast of mankind; he listened to the advice of every one, and professed that he received benefit from that of the meanest person. He cultivated and pruned a little garden on his desert mountain, that he might have herbs always at hand to present a refreshment to those who, on coming to see him, were always weary by travelling over a vast wilderness and inhospitable mountain, as St. Athanasius mentions. This tillage was not the only manual labor in which St. Antony employed himself. The same venerable author speaks of his making mats as an ordinary occupation. We are told that he once fell into dejection, finding uninterrupted contemplation above his strength; but was taught to apply himself at intervals to manual labor, by a vision of an angel who appeared platting mats of palm-tree leaves, then rising to pray, and after some time sitting down again to work; and who at length said to him, "Do thus, and thou shalt be saved."[12] But St. Athanasius informs us, that our saint continued in some degree to pray while he was at work. He watched great part of the nights in heavenly contemplation; and sometimes, when the rising sun called him to his daily tasks, he complained that its visible light robbed him of the greater interior light which he enjoyed, and interrupted his close application and solitude.[13] He always rose after a short sleep at midnight, and continued in prayer, on his knees with his hands lifted up to heaven till sunrise, and sometimes till three in the afternoon, as Palladius relates in his Lausiac history.

St. Antony; in the year 339, saw in a vision, under the figure of mules kicking down the altar, the havoc which the Arian persecution made two years after in Alexandria, and clearly foretold it, as St. Athanasius, St. Jerom, and St. Chrysostom assure us.[14] He would not speak to a heretic, unless to exhort him to the true faith; and he drove all such from his mountain, calling them venomous serpents.[15] At the request of the bishops, about {169} the year 355, he, took a journey to Alexandria, to confound the Arians, preaching aloud in that city, that God the Son is not a creature, but of the same substance with the Father; and that the impious Arians, who called him a creature, did not differ from the heathens themselves, who worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator. All the people ran to see him, and rejoiced to hear him; even the pagans, struck with the dignity of his character, flocked to him; saying, "We desire to see the man of God." He converted many, and wrought several miracles: St. Athanasius conducted him back as far as the gates of the city, where he cured a girl possessed by the devil. Being desired by the duke or general of Egypt, to make a longer stay in the city than he had proposed, he answered: "As fish die if they leave the water, so does a monk if he forsakes his solitude."[16]

St. Jerom and Rufin relate, that at Alexandria he met with the famous Didymus, and told him that he ought not to regret much the loss of eyes. which were common to ants and flies, but to rejoice in the treasure of that interior light which the apostles enjoyed, and by which we see God, and kindle the fire of his love in our souls. Heathen philosophers, and others, often went to dispute with him, and always returned much astonished at his humility, meekness, sanctity, and extraordinary wisdom. He admirably proved to them the truth and security of the Christian religion, and confirmed it by miracles. "We," said he, "only by naming Jesus Christ crucified, put to flight those devils which you adore as gods; and where the sign of the cross is formed, magic and charms lose their power." At the end of this discourse he invoked Christ, and signed with the cross twice or thrice several persons possessed with devils; in the same moment they stood up sound, and in their senses, giving thanks to God for his mercy in their regard.[17] When certain philosophers asked him how he could spend his time in solitude, without the pleasure of reading books, he replied, that nature was his great book, and amply supplied the want of others. When others, despising him as an illiterate man, came with the design to ridicule his ignorance, he asked them with great simplicity, which was first, reason or learning, and which had produced the other? The philosophers answered, "Reason, or good sense." "This, then," said Antony, "suffices." The philosophers went away astonished at the wisdom and dignity with which he prevented their objections. Some others demanding a reason of his faith in Christ, on purpose to insult it, he put them to silence by showing that they degraded the notion of the divinity, by ascribing to it infamous human passions, but that the humiliation of the cross is the greatest demonstration of infinite goodness, and its ignominy appears the highest glory, by the triumphant resurrection, the miraculous raising of the dead, and curing of the blind and the sick. He then admirably proved, that faith in God and his works is more clear and satisfactory than the sophistry of the Greeks. St. Athanasius mentions that he disputed with these Greeks by an interpreter.[18] Our holy author assures us, that no one visited St. Antony under any affliction and sadness, who did not return home full of comfort and joy; and he relates many miraculous cures wrought by him, also several heavenly visions and revelations with which he was favored. Belacius, the duke or general of Egypt, persecuting the Catholics with extreme fury, St. Antony, by a letter, exhorted him to leave the servants of Christ in peace. Belacius tore the letter, then spit and trampled upon it, and threatened to make the abbot the next victim of his fury; but five days after, as he was riding with Nestorius, governor of Egypt, their horses began to play and prance, and the governor's horse, though otherwise remarkably tame, by {170} justling, threw Belacius from his horse, and by biting his thigh, tore it in such a manner that the general died miserably on the third day.[19] About the year 337, Constantine the Great, and his two sons, Constantius and Constans, wrote a joint letter to the saint; recommending themselves to his prayers, and desiring an answer. St. Antony seeing his monks surprised, said, without being moved: "Do not wonder that the emperor writes to us, one man to another; rather admire that God should have wrote to us, and that he has spoken to us by his Son." He said he knew not how to answer it: at last, through the importunity of his disciples, he penned a letter to the emperor and his sons, which St. Athanasius has preserved; and in which he exhorts them to the contempt of the world, and the constant remembrance of the judgment to come. St. Jerom mentions seven other letters of St. Antony, to divers monasteries, written in the style of the apostles, and filled with their maxims: several monasteries of Egypt possess them in the original Egyptian language. We have them in an obscure, imperfect, Latin translation from the Greek.[20] He inculcates perpetual watchfulness against temptations, prayer, mortification, and humility.[21] He observes, that as the devil fell by pride, so he assaults virtue in us principally by that temptation.[22] A maxim which he frequently repeats is, that the knowledge of ourselves is the necessary and only step by which we call ascend to the knowledge and love of God. The Bollandists[23] give us a short letter of St. Antony to St. Theodorus, abbot of Tabenna, in which he says that God had assured him in a revelation, that he showed mercy to all true adorers of Jesus Christ, though they should have fallen, if they sincerely repented of their sin. No ancients mention any monastic rule written by St. Antony.[24] His example and instructions have been the most perfect rule for the monastic life to all succeeding ages. It is related[25] that St. Antony, hearing his disciples express their surprise at the great multitudes who embraced a monastic life, and applied themselves with incredible ardor to the most austere practices of virtue, told them with tears, that the time would come when monks would be fond of living in cities and stately buildings, and of eating at dainty tables, and be only distinguished from persons of the world by their habit; but that still, some among them would arise to the spirit of true perfection, whose crown would be so much the greater, as their virtue would be more difficult, amid the contagion of bad example. In the discourses which this saint made to his monks, a rigorous self-examination upon all their actions, every evening, was a practice which he strongly inculcated.[26] In an excellent sermon which he made to his disciples, recorded by St. Athanasius,[27] he pathetically exhorts them to contemn the whole world for heaven, to spend every day as if they knew it to be the last of their lives, having death always before their eyes, continually to advance in fervor, and to be always armed against the assaults of Satan, whose weakness he shows at length. He extols the efficacy of the sign of the cross in chasing him, and dissipating his illusions, and lays down rules for the discernment of spirits, the first of which is, that the devil leaves in the soul impressions of fear, sadness, confusion, and disturbance.


St. Antony performed the visitation of his monks a little before his death, which he foretold them with his last instructions, but no tears could move him to die among them. It appears from St. Athanasius, that the Christians had learned from the pagans their custom of embalming the bodies of the dead, which abuse, as proceeding from vanity and sometimes superstition, St. Antony had often condemned: this he would prevent, and ordered that his body should be buried in the earth, as the patriarchs were, and privately, on his mountain, by his two disciples Diacarius and Amathas, who had remained with him the last fifteen years, to serve him in his remote cell in his old age. He hastened back to that solitude, and some time after fell sick: he repeated to these two disciples his orders for their burying his body secretly in that place, adding; "In the day of the resurrection, I shall receive it incorruptible from the hand of Christ." He ordered them to give one of his sheep-skins, with a cloak[28] in which he lay, to the bishop Athanasius, as a public testimony of his being united in faith and communion with that holy prelate; to give his other sheep-skin to the bishop Serapion; and to keep for themselves his sackcloth. He added; "Farewell, my children, Antony is departing, and will be no longer with you." At these words they embraced him, and he, stretching out his feet, without any other sign calmly ceased to breathe. His death happened in the year 355, probably on the 17th of January, on which the most ancient Martyrologies name him, and which the Greek empire kept as a holyday soon after his death. He was one hundred and five years old. From his youth to that extreme old age, he always maintained the same fervor in his holy exercises: age to the last never made him change his diet (except in the use of a little oil) nor his manner of clothing; yet he lived without sickness, his sight was not impaired, his teeth were only worn, and not one was lost or loosened. The two disciples interred him according to his directions. About the year 561, his body[29] was discovered, in the reign of Justinian, and with great solemnity translated to Alexandria, thence it was removed to Constantinople, and is now at Vienne in France. Bollandus gives us an account of many miracles wrought by his intercession; particularly in what manner the distemper called the Sacred Fire, since that time St. Antony's Fire, miraculously ceased through his patronage, when it raged violently in many parts of Europe, in the eleventh century.


A most sublime gift of heavenly contemplation and prayer was the fruit of this great saint's holy retirement. Whole nights seemed to him short in those exercises, and when the rising sun in the morning seemed to him too soon to call him from his knees to his manual labor, or other employments, he would lament that the incomparable sweetness which he enjoyed, in the more perfect freedom with which his heart was taken up in heavenly contemplation in the silent watching of the night, should be interrupted or abated. But the foundation of his most ardent charity, and that sublime contemplation by which his soul soared in noble and lofty flights above all earthly things, was laid in the purity and disengagement of his affections, the contempt of the world, a most profound humility, and the universal mortification of his senses and of the powers of his soul. Hence flowed that constant tranquillity and serenity of his mind, which was the best proof of a perfect mastery of his passions. St. Athanasius observes of him, that after thirty years spent in the closest solitude, "he appeared not to others with a sullen or savage, but with a most obliging sociable air."[30] A heart that is filled with inward peace, simplicity, goodness, and charity, is a stranger to a lowering or contracted look. The main point in Christian mortification is the humiliation of the heart, one of its principal ends being the subduing of the passions. Hence, true virtue always increases the sweetness and gentleness of the mind, though this is attended with an invincible constancy, and an inflexible firmness in every point of duty. That devotion or self-denial is false or defective which betrays us into pride or uncharitableness; and whatever makes us sour, morose, or peevish, makes us certainly worse, and instead of begetting in us a nearer resemblance of the divine nature, gives us a strong tincture of the temper of devils.

1. St. Athanasius commends St. Antony's love of reading, both when he
    lived with his father, (p. 795, B.) and afterwards when he lived
    alone, (p. 797, C.) which we cannot naturally understand of his
    hearing others read, especially when he was alone; therefore, when
    St. Athanasius says, (p. 795, A.) that in his childhood he never
    applied himself to the study of letters, [Greek: grammata mathein],
    fearing the danger of falling into had company at school, he seems
    to mean only Greek letters, then the language of all the learned;
    for he must have learned at home the Egyptian alphabet. In the same
    manner we are to understand Evagrius and others, who relate, that a
    certain philosopher expressing his surprise how St. Antony could
    employ his time, being deprived of the pleasure of reading, the
    saint told him that the universe was his book. (Socr. l. 4, c. 23,
    Rosweide, Vit. Patr. l. 6, c. 4, St. Nilus, l. 4, p. 60.)
    Nevertheless, St. Austin imagined that St. Antony could read no
    alphabet, and learned by heart and meditated on the scriptures only
    by hearing them read by others (S. Aug. de Doctr. Chr. pr. p. 3, t.
    3.) See Rosweide, Not. in Vit. S. Antonii. Bolland. 17 Jan. p. 119,
    §64, Tillem. note 1, p. 666.
2. Matt. xix. 21.
3. An aura was one hundred cubits of land. See Lexicon Constantini.
    Fleury, l. 8, p. 418.
4. Ibid. vi. 34.
5. [Greek: Parthenôn], as St. Athanasius calls it, t. 2, p. 796, ed.
    Ben. He mentions that St. Antony, long after, paid her a visit, when
    she was very old, and superior or mistress of many virgins, [Greek:
    hathêgoumenên allôs parthenôn], n. 54. p. 837.
6. Orig. lib. 5, p. 264.
7. His first monastery was situated near the confines of Upper and
    Middle Egypt: it at first consisted of scattered cells. To visit
    some of these brethren, he is mentioned by St. Athanasius (Vit. p.
    461) to have crossed the Arsinotic canal, extremely infested with
    crocodiles. This is sometimes called his monastery near the river,
    and was situated not far from Aphroditopolis, the lower and more
    ancient city of that name, in Heptanomis, or Middle Egypt. St.
    Athanasius seems to place it in Thebais, or Upper Egypt, because it
    was near the borders, and the boundaries of Upper Egypt were
    extended much lower by those who divided Egypt only into two parts,
    the Upper and the Lower; as Sozomen, l. 2, c. 23, and others,
    frequently did. St. Antony, finding this solitude grow too public,
    and not bearing the distraction of continual visits, he travelled up
    the river to seek a more remote wilderness; but after mounting a
    little way, while he sat on the bank waiting to see a boat pass by,
    he changed his design, and instead of advancing southward, he went
    with certain Saracen merchants to the East, and in three days,
    doubtless on a camel, arrived at the great mountain towards the Red
    Sea, where he spent the latter years of his life; yet he frequently
    visited his first monastery, near Aphroditopolis. St. Hilarion going
    from this latter to St. Antony's great monastery on the mountain,
    performed that journey in three days, on camels, which a deacon,
    named Baisan, let to those who desired to visit St. Antony. This
    latter, near which the saint died, always continued a famous

Pispir was the monastery of St. Macarius, but is sometimes called St. Antony's, who often visited it. This was situated on the Nile, in Thebais, thirty measures or [Greek: sêmeia] from St. Antony's mountain, according to Palladius, (Laus. c. 63.) This some understand of Roman miles, others of Egyptian schæni of thirty furlongs each; thirty schæni are nine hundred stadia, or one hundred and thirteen miles. Pispir therefore seems not to have been very far from Aphroditopolis. See Kocher, (comment. In fastos Abyssinorum,) in the journal of Bern, ad an. 1761, t. 1, p. 160 and 169.

A monastery, of which St. Antony is titular saint, still subsists a little above the ancient city of Aphroditon on the Nile. It is now called Der-mar-Antinious-el-Bahr, that is, The monastery of Antony at the river. See Pocock, p. 70, and the map prefixed to that part of his travels. Travelling from hence one day's journey up the river, then turning from the south towards the east, over sandy deserts, and a chain of high mountains, in which springs of water, in other parts very rare, are here and there found, and camels travel for one hundred miles, we arrive at St. Antony's great monastery, about six or seven hours journey from the Red Sea. See Pocock, ib. p. 128. Granger, Relation du Voyage, &c., p. 107. Nouv. Memoires des Missions, t. 5, p. 136. Vanslebius, Nouv. Relat. pp. 299 and 309; and Maillet. Descr. de 'Egypte, p. 320. The Grotto of St. Paul is shown not very far from this great monastery; yet the road wing [sic] round the mountains, and a great way about it, seems to travellers as a great distance from it. 8. St. Athan. Vit. Anton. n. 45, p. 830. 9. P. 814. 10. P. 823, ed. Ben. 11. Rosweide, l. 3, c. 129. Cotelier, &c. 12. S. Nilus, ep. 24. Cotelier, Apoth. Patr. p. 340. Rosweide, Vit. Patr. l. 3, c. 105, l. 5, c. 7. 13. Cassian, Collat. c. 31. 14. S. Athan. n. 82, p. 857. S. Chrys. Hom. 8, in Matt. S. Hier. ep. {}6. Sozom. l. 6, c. 5. 15. S. Athan. n. 68, 69, p. 847. 16. Ibid. n. 85. p. 859. 17. Ibid. n. 80, p. 855. 18. N. 77, p. 858. 19. N. 86, p. 860. 20. Bibl. Patr. Colon. t. 4, p. 26. See S. Antonii. M. Epistolæ 20. curâ Abr. Eckellens. Paris, 1641. But only the above-mentioned seven letters can be regarded as genuine, except the discourses preserved by St. Athanasius in his life. 21. Ep. 2, ad Arsinoitas. 22. Ib. 23. Maij. t. 3, p. 355. 24. That under his name in Abraham Eckellensis is not of so high a pedigree. A large body of the monks of St. Basil in the East, since the seventh century, take the name of the Order of St. Antony, but retain the rule of St. Basil, comprised in his ascetic writings; and observe the same fasts, and other exercises, with all the other monks of the East, who are called of the order of St. Basil; which even the Maronites follow; though Tillemont denies it by mistake. 25. Rosweide, Vit. Patr. l. 5, c. 8. Abr. Eckellens. in Vit. S. Ant. p. 106. Cotel. p. 344. Mart. Coptor. 26. S. Athan. n. 55, p. 858. 27. N. 16 & 43. 28. The Ependytes of St. Antony, mentioned by St. Athanasius, n. 46, p. 831, has much embarrassed the critics: it seems to have been a cloak of white wool. It is clear, from St. Athanasius, that St. Antony's inner garment was a hair-cloth, over which he wore a cloak made of sheep-skin. 29. This translation of his relics to Alexandria, though doubted of by some Protestants, is incontestably confirmed by Victor of Tunone, (Chron. p. 11, in Scalig. Thesauro,) who lived then in banishment at Canope, only twelve miles from Alexandria; also, by St. Isidore of Seville, in the same age, Bede. Usuard, &c. They were removed to Constantinople when the Saracens made themselves masters of Egypt, about the year 635. (pee Bollandus, pp. 162, 1134.) They were brought to Vienne in Dauphine, by Joselin, a nobleman of that country, whom the emperor of Constantinople had gratified with that rich present, about the year 1070. These relics were deposited in the church of La Motte S. Didier, not far from Vienne, then a Benedictin priory belonging to the abbey of Mont-Majour near Arles, but now an independent abbey of regular canons of St. Antony. In 1089, a pestilential erysipelas distemper, called the Sacred Fire, swept off great numbers in most provinces of France; public prayers and processions were ordered against this scourge; at length it pleased God to grant many miraculous cures of this dreadful distemper, to those who implored his mercy trough the intercession of St. Antony, especially before his relics; the church in which they were deposited was resorted to by great numbers of pilgrims, and his patronage was implored over the whole kingdom against this disease. A nobleman near Vienne, named Gaston, and his son Girond, devoted themselves and their estate to found and serve an hospital near this priory, for the benefit of the poor that were afflicted with this distemper: seven others joined them in their charitable attendance on the sick, whence a confraternity of laymen who served this hospital took its rise, and continued till Boniface VIII. converted the Benedictin priory into an abbey, which he bestowed on those hospitaller brothers, and giving them the religious rule of regular canons of St. Austin, declared the abbot general of this new order, called Regular Canons of St. Antony. An abbey in Paris, which belongs to this order, is called Little St. Antony's, by which name it is distinguished from the great Cistercian nunnery of St. Antony. The general or abbot of St. Antony's, in Viennois, enjoys a yearly revenue of about forty thousand livres according to Piganiol, Descr. de la Fr. t. 4, p. 249, and Dom Beaunier, Rec. Abbayes de Fr. p. 982. The superiors of other houses of this order retain the name of commanders, and the houses are called commaranderies, as when they were hospitallers; so that the general is the only abbot. See Bollandus, Beaunict, F. Longueval, Hist. de l'Eglise de France, l. 22, t. 8, p. 16, and Drouet, in the late edition of Moreri's Hist. Diction V Antoine, from memoirs communicated by M. Bordet, superior of the convent of this order at Paris. 30. S. Athan. n. 67, p. 847, & n. 73, p. 850.


THEY were three twin brothers, who, with Leonilla their grandmother, glorified God by an illustrious martyrdom in Cappadocia, probably in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. The most ancient acts of their martyrdom, published by Rosweide and Bollandus, place it in that country, and their relics were brought from the East to Langres in France, while the first race of French kings filled the throne. A copy of the acts of their martyrdom, which was sent from Langres by one Varnahair, to St. Ceraunus, bishop of Paris, in the beginning of the seventh century, by an evident mistake or falsification, affirms their martyrdom to have happened at Langres; by which false edition, Ado, and many others, were led into the same mistake. From certain ancient writings kept at Langres, mentioned by Gualtherot in his Anastasius of Langres, Chatelain proves that these relics, with the head of St. Mammes, a martyr, also of Cappadocia, were given by the emperor Zeno to a nobleman of Langres, who had served him in his wars. By him this sacred treasure was deposited in the church of Langres, in the time of the bishop Aprunculus, in 490, to be a protection against devils. The cathedral of Langres, which bears the title of Saint Mammes, is possessed of the head of that martyr in a rich shrine. A brass tomb before the high altar, is said to have contained the bodies of the three children who were thrown into the furnace at Babylon, mentioned in the book of Daniel: but Chatelain thinks it belonged to the three martyrs whose bodies were given by the emperor Zeno to the count of Langres. The church called of St. {173} Geome, or Sancti Gemini, that is, the twins, situated two miles from Langres, belongs to a priory of regular canons, and is famous out of devotion to those saints, though great part of their relics was translated by Hariolf, duke of Burgundy, and his brother Erlolf, bishop of Langres, into Suabia, and remains in the noble collegiate church of St. Guy, or St. Vitus, at El{}ange. These holy martyrs are secondary patrons of the diocese of Langres, and titular saints of many churches in France and Germany. See Chatelain Notes on Jan. 17, p. 313.


THE church of Bourges in France was founded by St. Ursin, who was sent from Rome to preach the faith in Gaul. St. Gregory of Tours, in his history, places his mission in the middle of the third century,[1] yet in his book on the Glory of Confessors,[2] he tells us that he was ordained by the disciples of the apostles, and governed many years the church of Bourges, which he had planted. He was interred in a common burial-place in a field without the city; but his remains were translated thence by St. Germanus, bishop of Paris, and abbot of St. Symphorian's,[3] and by Probianus, bishop of Bourges, and deposited in the church of St. Symphorian, now called St. Ursin's.[4] This saint is honored in the Roman Martyrology on the 9th of November; at Lisieux, and some other places, on the 29th of December. Among the most eminent of his successors, two are called Sulpicius, and both surnamed Pious; the first, who is sometimes called the Severe, sat from the year 584 to 591, and his relics are enshrined in the church of St. Ursin.[5] His name was inserted in the Roman Martyrology by Baronius, on the 29th of January, and occurs in other more ancient calendars.[6]

Footnotes: 1. S. Gr. Tur. Hist. l. 1, c. 28. 2. L. de Gl. Conf. c. 80. 3. Fortunat. in Vitâ S. German Paris 4. Gallia Christ. nova, t. 2, p. 4. 5. See St. Greg. Turon. and Gallia Christ. nov. t. 2, p. 15. 6. See Benedict XIV. Litter. Apost. præfix. Martyr. Rom. §46, p. 33.


IS commemorated on this day in the Roman Martyrology. He was descended of a noble family in Berry, and educated in learning and piety. His large patrimony he gave to the church and poor; and being ordained priest, served king Clothaire II. in quality of almoner and chaplain in his armies; and on a time when he lay dangerously ill, restored him to his health by prayer and fasting. In 624 he succeeded St. Austregesilus, commonly called St. Outrille, in the see of Bourges. He reformed discipline, converted all the Jews in his diocese, and employed his whole time in prayer and laborious functions, chiefly in the instruction of the poor. He died in 644. Among the letters of St. Desiderius of Cahors, we have one which he sent to our saint with this title, "To the holy patriarch, Sulpicius;"[1] and several of our saint to him.[2] The famous monastery which bears his name at Bourges, is said to have been founded by him under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin; it now belongs to the congregation of St. Maur, and is enriched with part of his relics, and with a portion of the blood of St. Stephen, who is the titular saint of the stately cathedral. A bone of one of the arms {174} of our saint, is kept in the famous parochial church in Paris, which is dedicated to God under his invocation. See his ancient life in Bolland. and Mab. sæc. 2, Ben. Gallia Christ. nova, t. 2, p. 18.

Footnotes: 1. Apud Canis. Lect. Ant. t. 5, & Bibl. Patr. t. 8, l. 1, ep. 12. 2. Ib. l. 2.


THUS Dom Menard writes the name of this saint, who by Capgrave is called Mildgyda, by Josselin, Milvida, and by Thomas of Ely, in a fragment of the life of St. Andry, quoted by Mabillon, Milgrida. Wilson testifies that her feast is mentioned on this day, in an ancient MS. English Martyrology; though Menard places it on the 26th of February. Her father, Merowald, was son of Penda, and brother of Peoda, Wulfher, and Ethelred, kings of Mercia. Her mother, Domneva, was daughter of Ermenred, who was brother to Erconbert, king of Kent, father of St. Ercongata, who died a nun at Farmoutier, in France, under the discipline of St. Aubierge, her aunt. Her brother Meresin died young, in the odor of sanctity. Her elder sisters, SS. Mildred and Milburge, are very famous in the English calendars. St. Milgithe imitated their illustrious example, and contemning the fading pleasures and delights of the world, retired into the monastery of Estrey, built by Egbert, king of Kent, not far from Canterbury, and having served God in the heroic practice of all Christian virtues, died happily about the close of the seventh century. See Menard in Martyrol. Bened. Wilson's English Martyr. Capgrave and Bolland. t. 2, p. 176.


DESPISING the vanities of the world, though of the race of the monarchs of Ireland, from his youth he made the science of the cross of Christ the sole object of his ambition; and to engrave in his heart the lessons which our divine Redeemer taught by that adorable mystery, was the centre of all his desires. Having passed many years, first in the school of St. Fiechus, archbishop of Leinster, and afterwards in the celebrated monastery of Clonard, in the province of Meath, under its holy founder St Finian, he retired into the isle of Inis-muighesamb, in the lake of Erne, in the province of Ulster. Here, in process of time, he became the director of many souls in the paths of Christian perfection, founded a great monastery, and, on account of his eminent sanctity, and the number of illustrious disciples whom he left behind him, is called one of the twelve apostles of Ireland. He flourished in the sixth century, and has been honored in Ireland among the saints. F. Colgan was not able to meet with any acts of his life, though he is mentioned in the lives of several other Irish saints. A church in the isle of the lake, formed by the river Erne, is dedicated to God under his invocation.




See Phæbeus, de Cathedrâ in quâ S. Petrus Romæ sedit, et de antiquitate et præstantiâ solemnitatis Cathedræ Romanæ. Romæ, 1666, 8vo.; also Chatelain, Notes on the Martyrology, p. 326.

ST. PETER having triumphed over the devil in the East, pursued him to Rome in the person of Simon Magus. He who had formerly trembled at the voice of a poor maid, now feared not the very throne of idolatry and superstition. The capital of the empire of the world, and the centre of impiety, called for the zeal of the prince of the apostles. God had established the Roman empire, and extended its dominion beyond that of any former monarchy, for the more easy propagation of his gospel. Its metropolis was of the greatest importance for this enterprise. St. Peter took that province upon himself; and, repairing to Rome, there preached the faith and established his Episcopal chair, whose successors the bishops of Rome have been accounted in all ages. That St. Peter founded that church by his preaching, is expressly asserted by Caius,[1] a priest of Rome under pope Zephyrinus; who relates also that his body was then on the Vatican-hill, and that of his fellow-laborer, St. Paul, on the Ostian road. That he and St. Paul planted the faith at Rome, and were both crowned with martyrdom at the same time, is affirmed by Dionysius,[2] bishop of Corinth, in the second age. St. Irenæus,[3] who lived in the same age, calls the church at Rome "The greatest and most ancient church, founded by the two glorious apostles, Peter and Paul." Eusebius, in several places,[4] mentions St. Peter's being at Rome, and the several important transactions of this apostle in that city. Not to mention Origen,[5] Hegesippus,[6] Arnobius,[7] St. Ambrose,[8], St. Austin,[9] St. Jerom,[10] St. Optatus,[11] Orosius,[12] and others on the same subject.[13] St. Cyprian[14] calls Rome the chair of St. Peter, (as Theodoret[15] calls it his throne,) which the general councils and ecclesiastical writers, through every age, and on every occasion, repeat. That St. Peter at least preached in Rome, founded that church, and died there by martyrdom under Nero, are facts the most incontestable by the testimony of all writers of different countries, who lived near that time; persons of unquestionable veracity, and who could not but be informed of the truth, in a point so interesting, and of its own nature so public and notorious, as to leave them no possibility of a mistake. This is also attested by monuments of every kind; also by the prerogatives, rights, and privileges, which that church enjoyed from those early ages; in consequence of this title.

It was an ancient custom, as cardinal Baronius[16] and Thomassin[17] show by many examples, observed by churches, to keep an annual festival of the {176} consecration of their bishops. The feast of the chair of St. Peter is found in ancient Martyrologies, as in one under the name of St. Jerom, at Esternach, copied in the time of St. Willibrord, in 720. Christians justly celebrate the founding of this mother-church, the centre of Catholic communion, in thanksgiving to God for his mercies on his church, and to implore his future blessings.

* * * * *

Christ has taught us {by} the divine model of prayer which he has delivered to us, that we are bound to recommend to him, before all other things, the exaltation of his own honor and glory, and to beg that the kingdom of his holy grace and love be planted in all hearts. If we love God above all things, and with our whole hearts, or have any true charity for our neighbor, this will be the centre of all our desires, that God be loved and served by all his creatures, and that he be glorified in the most perfect manner, in our own souls. By placing this at the head of our requests, we shall most strongly engage God to crown all our just and holy desires. As one of his greatest mercies to his church, we must earnestly beseech him to raise up in it zealous pastors, eminently replenished with his Spirit, with which he animated his apostles.

Footnotes: 1. Apud Eus. l. 2, c. 24, alias 25. 2. Ibid. 3. L. 3, c. 3. 4. L. 2, c. 13 & 15, &c. 5. Ib. l. 3, c. 1. 6. L. de. Excid. Hier. {}. 7. L. 3. 8. Ser. de Basilicis. 9. L. de Hæres. c. 1, &c. 10. L. 17, ad Marcell. 11. Adv. Parm. 12. L. 7, c. 1. 13. The general opinion with Eusebius, St. Jerom, and the Roman calendar, fixes the first arrival of St. Peter at Rome in the second year of Claudius. If this date be true, the apostle returned into the East soon after; for he was imprisoned in Judæa, by Agrippa, in the year of Christ 43. Lactantius does not mention this first coming of St. Peter to Rome, but only the second, saying, that he came to Rome in the reign of Nero, who put him and St. Paul to death. L. de Mort. Persec. n. 2. 14. Ep. 55, ad. Cornel. pap. 15. L. 2, c. 17. 16. Notæ in Martyr. 17. Tr. des Fêtes, l. 2, c. 10.


From their authentic acts in Ruinart, p. 624.

IN Egypt, thirty-seven Christian noblemen, all persons of high birth and plentiful fortunes, but richer in the gifts of grace, entered into a zealous confederacy to propagate the gospel throughout the country. Their leader and head was one Paul, a true imitator of the great apostle whose name he bore. They divided themselves into four several bands: Paul and nine others went eastward: Recombus, with eight more, towards the north: Thoonas, with the like number, to the south: and Papias, with the remaining eight, to the west. They labored zealously in extending the kingdom of Christ on every side, planting the faith, instructing the docile, and purifying the souls of penitents who confessed their sins. But the greatest part of the inhabitants of that great kingdom loved darkness rather than light. The servants of God were treated with all manner of injuries, apprehended, and laid in irons. The governor, alarmed at the news of their enterprise, sent orders for their being brought before him from different parts of the kingdom. He employed both promises and threats to compel them to sacrifice. Paul answered, in the name of them all, that it was better for them to die, saying: "Do not spare us." The judge condemned them all to death: those who went to the east and south, to be burned; those from the north, to be beheaded; and those from the west to be crucified. But he was affrighted and surprised beyond expression to see with what joy and courage this brave army marched out, and bowed their heads to death. They suffered on the 18th of January, but in what year it is not mentioned in their acts.


SHE was a noble Roman lady, and after many torments finished her triumph by the sword, about the year 275. Her relics are preserved in the ancient church which bears her name in Rome, and gives title in a cardinal. {177} She is mentioned in the sacramentary of St. Gregory, and in almost all western Martyrologies. The acts of her martyrdom deserve no regard: St. Paul, in the last chapter of his epistle to the Romans, salutes Aquila, a person of Pontus, of Jewish extraction, and Priscilla, whom he and all churches thanked, because they had exposed themselves for his sake. He mentions the church which assembled in their house, which he attributes to no other among the twenty-five Christians whom he saluted, and were then at Rome. This agrees with the immemorial tradition at Rome, that St. Peter consecrated an altar, and baptized there in an urn of stone, which is now kept in the church of St. Prisca. Aquila and Priscilla are still honored in this church, as titular patrons with our saint, and a considerable part of their relics lies under the altar. Aquila and Priscilla were tent-makers, and lived at Corinth when they were banished from Rome under Claudius: she who is called Priscilla in the Acts of the Apostles, and Epistles to the Roman, and first to the Corinthians, is named Prisca in the second to Timothy. See the Roman Martyrology on the 18th of January and the 8th of July; also Chatelain, not. p. 333.


HE quitted Ireland, his native country, with St. Columban, and lived with him, first in the kingdom of the East Angles, and afterwards at Luxeu; but when his master quitted France, he founded the abbey of Lutra, or Lure, in the diocese of Besanzon, which was much enriched by king Clothaire II.[1] Amidst his austerities, the joy and peace of his soul appeared in his countenance. St. Columban once said to him in his youth: "Deicolus, why are you always smiling?" He answered in simplicity: "Because no one can take my God from me." He died in the seventh century. See his life and the history of his miracles in F. Chifflet, and Mabillon, Acta Bened. t. 2, p. 103, both written by a monk of Lure in the tenth century, as the authors of l'Hist. Lit. de la France take notice, t. 6, p. 410. By moderns, this saint is called Deicola; but in ancient MSS. Deicolus. In Franche-comté his name Deel is frequently given in baptism, and Deele to persons of the female sex.

Footnotes: 1. The abbot of Lure was formerly a prince of the empire. At present the abbey is united to that of Morbac in Alsace. Lure is situated three leagues from Laxeu, which stands near mount Vosge, two leagues from Lorraine towards the south.


HE was an Englishman of great learning and virtue; and preached the faith, first in Germany; afterwards in Sweden, under the pious king Olas II., who first took the title of king of Sweden; for his predecessors had only been styled kings of Upsal. The good bishop converted many to Christ; till in the year 1028, while he was preaching against the idol Tarstans or Thor, and hewing it down with a hatchet, he was slain by the pagans. See Adam of Bremen, who wrote his most faithful History of the Church in the North, in 1080, l. 2 c. 44. Albert Kranxius, l. 4. Metrop. c. 8. Baron. ad an. 1028, n. 10.




Abridged from their acts, concerning which see Bollandus, who allows them, Tillem. t. 4, p. 673; and Chatelain, notes, p. 339.

A.D. 270.

MARIS, a nobleman of Persia, with his wife Martha, and two sons, Audifax and Abachum, being converted to the faith, distributed his fortune among the poor, as the primitive Christians did at Jerusalem, and came to Rome to visit the tombs of the apostles. The emperor Aurelian then persecuted the church, and by his order a great number of Christians were shut up in the amphitheatre, and shot to death with arrows, and their bodies burnt. Our saints gathered and buried their ashes with respect; for which they were apprehended, and after many torments under the governor Marcianus, Maris and his two sons were beheaded; and Martha drowned, thirteen miles from Rome, at a place now called Santa Ninfa.[1] Their relics were found at Rome in 1590. They are mentioned with distinction in all the western Martyrologies from the sacramentary of St. Gregory. Their relics are kept principally at Rome; part in the church of St. Adrian, part in that of St. Charles, and in that of St. John of Calybite. Eginhart, sole-in-law and secretary of Charlemagne, deposited a portion of these relics, which had been sent him from Rome, in the abbey of Selghenstadt, of which he was the founder, in the diocese of Mentz.

* * * * *

The martyrs and confessors triumphed over the devil by prayer; by this, poor and weak as they were, they were rendered invincible, by engaging Omnipotence itself to be their comfort, strength, and protection. If the art of praying well be the art of living well, according to the received maxim of the fathers and masters of a spiritual life,[2] nothing is certainly of greater importance, than for us to learn this heavenly art of conversing with God in the manner we ought. We admire the wonderful effects which this exercise produced in the saints, who by it were disengaged from earthly ties and made spiritual and heavenly, perfect angels on earth; but we experience nothing of this in ourselves. Prayer was in them the channel of all graces, the means of attaining all virtues, and all the treasures of heaven. In us it is fruitless: the reason is plain; for the promises of Christ cannot fail: we ask, and receive not, because we ask amiss.

1. Ninfa, or Nympha, in the corrupted ages of the Latin tongue,
    signifies water. In this place are several pools called by the
    Italians from these martyrs, Santa Ninfa. See Chatelain, p. 340, and
    Du Cange.
2. Vere novit recta vivere, qui recti novit orare. Inter Serm. S.
    Augustini, Sermon 55, in Appendix, ed. Ben. t. 5, p. 101.



From his life, faithfully written by Ælnoth, a monk of Canterbury, who had lived twenty-four years in Denmark, and wrote in 1105. It was printed at Copenhagen, in 1602. See also Saxo Grammaticus, the most elegant and judicious of the Danish historians.

A.D. 1086.

ST. CANUTUS, or KNUT, the fourth of that name, king of Denmark, was natural son of Swein III., whose great uncle Canutus had reigned in England. Swein having no lawful issue, took care of the education of Canutus, who being endowed with excellent qualities both of mind and body, answered perfectly well the care of his preceptors and governors. It is hard to say, whether he excelled more in courage, or in conduct and skill in war; but his singular piety perfectly eclipsed all his other endowments. He scoured the seas of pirates, and subdued several neighboring provinces which infested Denmark with their incursions. The kingdom of Denmark was elective till the year 1660; wherefore, when Swein died, many pitched upon our saint, whose eminent virtues best qualified him for the throne; but the majority, fearing his martial spirit, preferred his eldest natural brother Harald, the seventh king of that name, who, for his stupidity and vices, was commonly called the Slothful. Canutus retired into Sweden to king Halstan, who received him with the greatest marks of kindness and esteem; but the king could never induce him to undertake any expedition against Denmark; on the contrary, the Christian hero employed all his power and interest in the service of his country. Harald dying after two years' reign, Canutus was called to succeed him.

Denmark had received the Christian faith long before; some say in 826, but wanted a zealous hand at the helm, to put the finishing stroke to that good work. St. Canutus seems to have been pitched upon by providence for this purpose. He began his reign by a successful war against the troublesome barbarous enemies of the state, and by planting the faith in the conquered provinces of Courland, Samogitia, and Livonia. Amidst the glory of his victories, he humbly prostrated himself at the foot of the crucifix, laying there his diadem, and offering himself and his kingdom to the King of kings. After having provided for its peace and safety, and enlarged its territories, he married Eltha, or Alice, daughter of Robert, earl of Flanders, by whom he had a pious son, St. Charles, surnamed the Good, afterwards also earl of Flanders. His next concern was to reform abuses at home. For this purpose, he enacted severe, but necessary laws, for the strict administration of justice, and repressed the violence and tyranny of the great, without respect of persons. He countenanced and honored holy men, granted many privileges and immunities to the clergy, to enhance the people's esteem of them; and omitted nothing to convince them of their obligation to provide for their subsistence by the payment of tithes. His charity and tenderness towards his subjects made him study by all possible ways to ease them of their burdens, and make them a happy people. He showed a royal magnificence in building and adorning churches, and gave the crown which he wore, of exceeding great value, to the church of Roschild, in Zealand, his capital city, and the place of his residence, where the kings of Denmark are yet buried. He chastised his body with fasting, discipline, and hair-cloths. Prayer was his assiduous exercise. When William the Conqueror had made himself master of England, Canutus sent forces to assist the vanquished; but these troops finding no one willing to {180} join them, were easily defeated in the year 1069. Some time after, being invited by the conquered English, he raised an army to invade this island, and expel the Normans; but through the treacherous practices of his brother Olas, or Olaus, was obliged to wait so long on the coast, that his troops deserted him. The pious king, having always in view the service of God, and judging this a proper occasion to induce his people to pay tithes to their pastors, he proposed to them either to pay a heavy fine, by way of punishment for their desertion, or submit to the law of tithes for the pastors of the church. Their aversion to the latter made them choose the tax, to the great mortification of the king, who, hoping they would change their resolution, ordered it to be levied with rigor. But they, being incensed at the severity of the collectors, rebelled. St. Canutus retired for safety into the isle of Fionia, and was hindered from joining his loyal troops by the treachery of Blanco, an officer, who, to deceive him, assured his majesty that the rebels were returned to their duty. The king went to the church of St. Alban, the martyr, to perform his devotions, and return God thanks for that happy event. This the rebels being informed of by Blanco, they surrounded the church with him at their head. In the mean time the holy king, perceiving the danger that threatened his life, confessed his sins at the foot of the altar, with great tranquillity and resignation, and received the holy communion. His guards defended the church doors, and Blanco was slain by them. The rebels threw in bricks and stones, through the windows, by which they beat down the shrines of certain relics of St. Alban and St. Oswald, which St. Canutus had brought over from England. The saint, stretching out his arms before the altar, fervently recommended his soul into the hands of his Creator: in which posture he was wounded with a javelin, darted through the window, and fell a victim to Christ. His brother Benedict, and seventeen others, were slain with him, on the 10th of July, 1086, as Ælnoth, a contemporary author, testifies, who has specified the date of all the events with the utmost exactness. His wicked brother Olas succeeded him in the kingdom. God punished the people during eight years and three months of his reign with a dreadful famine, and other calamities; and attested the sanctity of the martyr, by many miraculous cures of the sick at his tomb. For which reason his relics were taken up out of their obscure sepulchre, and honorably entombed towards the end of the reign of Olas. His successor, Eric III., a most religious prince, restored piety and religion, with equal courage and success, and sent ambassadors to Rome, with proofs of the miracles performed, and obtained from the pope a declaration authorizing the veneration of St. Canutus, the proto-martyr of Denmark. Upon this occasion a most solemn translation of his relics, which were put in a most costly shrine, was performed, at which Ælnoth, our historian, was present. He adds, that the first preachers of the faith in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, were English priests; that the Danes then zealously embraced the Christian religion, but that the Swedes still continued more obstinate, among whom Eschil, an Englishman, received the crown of martyrdom, while he was preaching Christ to certain savage tribes.


HE was an Englishman, and preached the faith in the North with his countryman, cardinal Nicholas Breakspear, the apostle of Norway, and legate of the holy see, afterwards pope Adrian IV., by whom he was raised to this see, in 1148. St. Eric, or Henry, (for it is the same name,) was {181} then the holy king of Sweden.[1] Our saint, after having converted several provinces, went to preach in Finland, which that king had lately conquered. He deserved to be styled the apostle of that country, but fell a martyr in it, being stoned to death at the instigation of a barbarous murderer, whom he endeavored to reclaim by censures, in 1151. His tomb was in great veneration at Upsal, till his ashes were scattered on the change of religion, in the sixteenth century. See John Magnus, l. 1, Vit. Pout. Upsal. Olaus Magnus, l. 4. Bollandus, and chiefly his life published by Benzelius. Monum. Suec. p. 33.

1. Stiernman, in his discourse, "On the State of Learning among the
    ancient Swedes," observes, that Sweden was chiefly converted to
    Christianity by English Saxon missionaries. The principal among
    these were Ansgar, Sigfrid, Roduard, Richolf, Edward, Eskil, David,
    and Henric, as he gives their names.

In the history of the bishops and archbishops of Upsal, published by Benzelius in his Monum. Suec. p 37, the first whose name is recorded is Everin, whom Benzelius supposes to be the person whom St. Sigfrid consecrated to this see. He seems to have been one of his English colleagues. Stephen, the sixth bishop of Upsal, was the first archbishop. See the life of St. Sigfrid, and Benzelius's notes on the catalogue of the bishops of Upsol, p. 186.


HE was a native of Icentum, in Warwickshire. In his youth, perceiving himself somewhat touched with wanton love on seeing a woman dance, he withdrew into a thicket hard by, and, lying prostrate, bewailed his fault before God, with very great contrition. And he was endowed from that time, by Almighty God, with the gift of such a constant watchfulness over his senses, as prevented his being ever more annoyed with the like temptations. He laid the foundation of his studies and education in the monastery of Evesham, but completed the same at Peterborough. His parents having by mutual consent taken the monastic habit at Worcester; his father, Athelstan, in the great monastery of men, and his mother, Wulfgeva, in a nunnery; St. Wulstan put himself under the direction of Brithege, bishop of Worcester, by whom he was advanced to the holy orders of priesthood. In this station he redoubled his ardor for prayer, and practised greater austerities in the world, than monks in their convents. At first, he allowed himself the use of flesh; but being one day distracted in saying mass, by the smell of meat that was roasting in the kitchen, he bound himself by vow never more to eat any flesh. Not long after he entered himself a novice in the great abbey at Worcester, where he was remarkable for the innocence and sanctity of his life. The first charge with which he was intrusted in the monastery, was the care of instructing the children. He was afterwards made preceptor, and then treasurer of the church. In these two last stations he devoted himself totally to prayer, and watched whole nights in the church. As the meanest employments were always the object of his love and choice, it was contrary to his inclination that he was made prior of Worcester, and, in 1062, bishop of that see, when Aldred was translated to that of York. Though not very learned, he delivered the word of God with so much dignity and unction, as often to move his whole audience to tears. He always recited the psalter while he travelled, and never passed by any church or chapel without going in, to pour forth his soul before the altar with tears, which seemed to stand always ready in his eyes for prayer. When the conqueror had deprived the English, both nobility and clergy, of the posts of honor they possessed in the church and state, in favor of his Normans, on whose fidelity he could depend, Wulstan kept his see, though not without a miracle, as St. Aelred, Florentius, and Capgrave relate, as follows: In a synod, held at Westminster, in which archbishop Lanfranc {182} presided, Wulstan was called upon to give up his crosier and ring, upon pretext of his simplicity and unfitness for business. The saint confessed himself unfit for the charge, but said, that king Edward, with the concurrence of the apostolic see, had compelled him to take it upon him, and that he would deliver his crosier to him. Then going to the king's monument, he fixed his crosier to the stone; then went and sat down among the monks. No one was able to draw out the crosier till the saint was ordered to take it again, and it followed his hand with ease. From this time the conqueror treated him with honor. Lanfranc even commissioned him to perform the visitation of the diocese of Chester for himself. When any English complained of the oppression of the Normans, he used to tell them, "This is a scourge of God for your sins, which you must bear with patience." The saint caused young gentlemen who were brought up under his care, to carry in the dishes and wait on the poor at table, to teach them the practice of humiliation, in which he set the most edifying example. He showed the most tender charity for penitents, and often wept over them, while they confessed their sins to-him. He died in 1095, having sat thirty-two years, and lived about eighty-seven. He was canonized in 1203. See his life by William of Malmesbury, in Wharton, t. 2, p. 244. Also, a second, by Florence of Worcester, and a third in Capgrave; and his history, at length, by Dr. Thomas, in his History of the Cathedral of Worcester.


SON of an Irish king, and abbot in the isle of Hij, in Scotland. He was martyred by Danish pirates, to whom he refused to betray the treasures of the church, in 793. See his life, by Wilfridus Strabo, in Canisius Antiq. {} &c.


IN his childhood he kept his father's sheep; in which employment he macerated his body by regular fasts, and spent his time in studies and prayer, under the direction of a certain holy priest. Being afterwards, by compulsion, ordained priest, he was made canon and cellerer (some moderns say provost) of the church of Chartres. After some years he retired into a neighboring forest: Mabillon thinks at the place where now stands Bellomer, a monastery of the order of Fontevrald. Many disciples being assembled near his hermitage, he removed with them into another desert, where he built the monastery of Corbion, (at present a priory called Moutier-au-Perche, six leagues from Chartres,) about the year 575. A wonderful spirit of prayer, and gift of miracles, rendered his name famous. He died on the 19th of January, in 593, at Chartres, in the house of the bishop, who had called him thither some time before. In the incursions of the Normans, his remains were removed from place to place, till they were lodged at Perly, in Auvergne. His head is now kept in the priory of Maissac, called St. Laumer's, in Auvergne; the rest of his relics were removed to Blois, where an abbey was built which bears his name. Set his anonymous life, written by one who knew him, in Bollandus and Mabillon; also Chatelain and the Paris Breviary.




See Tillemont, t. 3, p. 362.

A.D. 250.

HE succeeded St. Anterus in the pontificate, in the year 236. Eusebius relates,[1] that in an assembly of the people and clergy, held for the election of a pastor in his room, a dove, unexpectedly appearing, settled, to the great surprise of all present, on the head of St. Fabian; and that this miraculous sign united the votes of the clergy and people in promoting him, though not thought of before, as being a layman and a stranger. He governed the church sixteen years, sent St. Dionysius and other preachers into Gaul, and condemned Privatus, a broacher of a new heresy in Africa, as appears from St. Cyprian.[2] St. Fabian died a glorious martyr in the persecution of Decius, in 250, as St. Cyprian and St. Jerom witness. The former, writing to his successor, St. Cornelius, calls him an incomparable man; and says, that the glory of his death had answered the purity and holiness of his life.[3]

* * * * *

The saints made God, and the accomplishment of his holy will, the great object of all their petitions to their prayers, and their only aim in all their actions. "God," says St. Austin,[4] "in his promises to hear our prayers, is desirous to bestow himself upon us; if you find any thing better than him, ask it, but if you ask any thing beneath him, you put an affront upon him, and hurt yourself by preferring to him a creature which he framed: pray in the spirit and sentiment of love, in which the royal prophet said to him, 'Thou, O Lord, art my portion.'[5] Let others choose to themselves portions among creatures, for my part, Thou art my portion, Thee alone have I chosen for my whole inheritance."

Footnotes: 1. Hist. l. 6, c. 29. 2. Cypr. Ep. 30. Ed. Pam. 3. Ep. 44 ad. Corn. 4. S. Aug. Conc. 1, in Ps. 34. 5. Ps. lxxii. 26.


From his acts, written before the end of the fourth age. The gladiators, who were abolished by Honorius, in 403, subsisted when these acts were compiled. See Bollandus, who thinks St. Ambrose wrote them, also Tillemont, t. 1, p. 551.

A.D. 288.

ST. SEBASTIAN was born at Narbonne, in Gaul, but his parents were of Milan, in Italy, and he was brought up in that city. He was a fervent servant of Christ, and though his natural inclinations gave him an aversion to a military life, yet to be better able, without suspicion, to assist the confessors and martyrs in their sufferings, he went to Rome, and entered the army under the emperor Carinus, about the year 283. It happened that the martyrs, Marcus and Marcellianus, under sentence of death, appeared in danger of being shaken in their faith by the tears of their friends: Sebastian seeing this, stepped in, and made them a long exhortation to constancy, which {184} he delivered with the holy fire, that strongly affected all his hearers. Zoë, the wife of Nicostratus, having for six years lost the use of speech by a palsy in her tongue, fell at his feet, and spoke distinctly, by the saint's making the sign of the cross on her mouth. She, with her husband Nicostratus, who was master of the rolls,[1] the parents of Marcus and Marcellianus, the jailor Claudius, and sixteen other prisoners, were converted; and Nicostratus, who had charge of the prisoners, took them to his own house, where Polycarp, a holy priest, instructed and baptized them. Chromatius, governor of Rome, being informed of this, and that Tranquillinus, the father of Saints Marcus and Marcellianus, had been cured of the gout by receiving baptism, desired to be instructed in the faith, being himself grievously afflicted with the same distemper. Accordingly, having sent for Sebastian, he was cured by him, and baptized, with his son Tiburtius. He then enlarged the converted prisoners, made his slaves free, and resigned his prefectship.

Not long after, in the year 285, Carinus was defeated and slain in Illyricum by Dioclesian, who, the year following, made Maximian his colleague in the empire. The persecution was still carried on by the magistrates, in the same manner as under Carinus, without any new edicts. Dioclesian, admiring the courage and virtue of St. Sebastian, who concealed his religion, would fain have him near his person, and created him captain of a company of the pretorian guards, which was a considerable dignity. When Dioclesian went into the East, Maximian, who remained in the West, honored our saint with the same distinction and respect. Chromatius, with the emperor's consent, retired into the country in Campania, taking many new converts along with him. It was a contest of zeal, out of a mutual desire of martyrdom, between St. Sebastian and the priest Polycarp, which of them should accompany this troop, to complete their instruction, and which should remain in the city, to encourage and assist the martyrs, which latter was the more dangerous province. St. Austin wished to see such contests of charity among the ministers of the church.[2] Pope Caius, who was appealed to, judged it most proper that Sebastian should stay in Rome, as a defender of the church. In the year 286, the persecution growing hot, the pope and others concealed themselves in the imperial palace, as a place of the greatest safety, in the apartments of one Castulus, a Christian officer of the court. St. Zoë was first apprehended, praying at St. Peter's tomb on the feast of the apostles. She was stifled with smoke, being hung by the heels over a fire. Tranquillinus, ashamed to be less courageous than a woman, went to pray at the tomb of St. Paul, and was seized by the populace, and stoned to death. Nicostratus, Claudius, Castorius, and Victorinus were taken, and after being thrice tortured, were thrown into the sea. Tiburtius, betrayed by a false brother, was beheaded. Castulus, accused by the same wretch, was thrice put on the rack, and afterwards buried alive. Marcus and Marcellianus were nailed by the feet to a post, and having remained in that torment twenty-four hours, were shot to death with arrows.

St. Sebastian, having sent so many martyrs to heaven before him, was himself impeached before the emperor Dioclesian; who, having grievously reproached him with ingratitude, delivered him over to certain archers of Mauritania, to be shot to death. His body was covered with arrows, and he left for dead. Irene, the widow of St. Castulus, going to bury him, found him still alive, and took him to her lodgings, where, by care, he recovered of his wounds, but refused to fly, and even placed himself one day by a staircase where the emperor was to pass, whom he first accosted, reproaching {185} him for his unjust cruelties against the Christians. This freedom of speech, and from a person, too, whom he supposed to have been dead, greatly astonished the emperor; but recovering from his surprise, he gave orders for his being seized and beat to death with cudgels, and his body thrown into the common sewer. A pious lady called Lucina, admonished by the martyr in a vision, got it privately removed, and buried it in the catacombs,[3] at the entrance of the cemetery of Calixtus. A church was afterwards built over his relies by pope Damasus, which is one of the seven ancient stationary churches at Rome, but not one of the seven principal churches of that city, as some moderns mistake; it neither being one of the five patriarchal churches, nor one of the seventy-two old churches which give titles to cardinals. Vandelbert, St. Ado, Eginard, Sigebert, and other contemporary authors relate, that in the reign of Louis Débonnaire, pope Eugenius II. gave the body of St. Sebastian to Hilduin, abbot of St. Denys, who brought it into France, and it was deposited at St. Medard's, at Soissons, on the 9th of December, in 826; with it is said to have been brought a considerable portion of the relics of St. Gregory the Great. The rich shrines of SS. Sebastian, Gregory, and Medard, were plundered by the Calvinists, in 1564, and the sacred bones thrown into a ditch, in which there was water. Upon the declaration of two eye-witnesses, they were afterwards found by the Catholics; and in 1578, enclosed in three new shrines, though the bones of the three saints could not be distinguished from each other.[4] The head of this martyr, which was given to St. Willibrord by pope Sergius, is kept at Esternach, in the duchy of Luxemburg. Portions of his relics are shown in the cathedral at St. Victor's; the Theatins and Minims at Paris; in four churches at Mantua; at Malaca, Seville, Toulouse, Munich in the ducal palace, Tournay in the cathedral, Antwerp in the church of the Jesuits, and at Brussels, in the chapel of the court, not at St. Gudula's, as some have mistaken.[5] St. Sebastian has been always honored by the church, as one of her most illustrious martyrs. We read in Paul the deacon, in what manner, in the year 680, Rome was freed from a raging pestilence, by the patronage of this saint. Milan, in 1575, Lisbon, in 1599, and other places, have experienced, in like calamities, the miraculous effects of his intercession with God in their behalf.

Footnotes: 1. Primiscrinius. 2. Ep. 180. 3. On Catacombs, see in St. Calixtus, Oct. 14. 4. Chatelain, notes, p. 355. Baillet. 5. Bollandus, Chatel. ib.


From his life, faithfully written forty years after his death, by Cyril of Scythopolis, a monk of his monastery, one of the best writers of antiquity, and author of the life of St. Sabas. See it accurately published by Dom Lottin, Annal. Græc. t. 1, and Cotelier, Mon. Græc. t. 2, p. 200.

A.D. 473.

THE birth of this saint was the fruit of the prayers of his pious parents, through the intercession of the martyr Polyeuctus. His father was a noble and wealthy citizen of Melitene in Armenia. Euthymius was educated in sacred learning, and in the fervent practice of prayer, silence, humility, and mortification, under the care of the holy bishop of that city, who ordained him priest, and constituted him his vicar and general-overseer of the monasteries. The saint often visited that of St. Polyeuctus, and spent whole nights in prayer on a neighboring mountain; as he also did all the time from the octave of the Epiphany till towards the end of Lent. The love of solitude daily growing stronger in his breast, he secretly left his own country,{186} at twenty-nine years of age: and, after offering up his prayers at the holy places in Jerusalem, chose a cell six miles from that city, near the Laura[1] of Pharan. He made baskets, and procured, by selling them, both his own subsistence and alms for the poor. Constant prayer was the employment of his soul. After five years he retired with one Theoctistus, a holy hermit, ten miles further towards Jericho, where they lived together on raw herbs in a cave. In this place he began to receive disciples, about the year 411. He committed the care of his monastery to Theoctistus, and continued himself in a remote hermitage, only giving audience on Saturdays and Sundays, to those who desired spiritual advice. He taught all his monks never to eat so much as to satisfy their hunger, but strictly forbade among them all singularity in fasts, or any other common observances, as savoring of vanity and self-will. According to his example, they all retired into the deserts from the octave of the feast of the Epiphany till the week before Easter, when they met again in their monastery, to celebrate the office peculiar to Holy Week. He enjoined them constant silence and manual labors: they gained their own subsistence, and a surplus, which they devoted as first-fruits to God in the relief of the poor.

St. Euthymius cured, by the sign of the cross and a short prayer, Terebon, one half of whose body had been struck dead with a palsy. His father, who was an Arabian prince, named Aspebetes, an idolater, had exhausted on his cure, but to no purpose, the much-boasted arts of physic and magic among the Persians, to procure some relief for his son. At the sight of this miracle Aspebetes desired baptism, and took the name of Peter. Such multitudes of Arabians followed his example, that Juvenal, patriarch of Jerusalem, ordained him their bishop, and he assisted at the council of Ephesus against Nestorius in 431. He built St. Euthymius a Laura on the right hand of the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, in the year 420. Euthymius could never be prevailed upon to depart from his rules of strict solitude; but governed his monks by proper superiors, to whom he gave his directions on Sundays. His humility and charity won the hearts of all who spoke to him. He seemed to surpass the great Arsenius in the gift of perpetual tears. Cyril relates many miracles which he wrought, usually by the sign of the cross. In the time of a great drought, he exhorted the people to penance, to avert this scourge of heaven. Great numbers came in procession to his cell, carrying crosses, singing Kyrie eleison, and begging him to offer up his prayers to God for them. He said to them: "I am a sinner, how can I presume to appear before God, who is angry at our sins? Let us prostrate ourselves all together before him, and he will hear us." They obeyed; and the saint going into his chapel with some of his monks, prayed prostrate on the ground. The sky grew dark on a sudden, rain fell in abundance, and the year proved remarkably fruitful.

St. Euthymius showed great zeal against the Nestorian and Eutychian heretics. The turbulent empress Eudocia, after the death of her husband Theodosius, retired into Palestine, and there continued to favor the latter with her protection. Awaked by the afflictions of her family, particularly in the plunder of Rome, and the captivity of her daughter Eudocia, and her two granddaughters, carried by the Vandals into Africa, she sent to beg the advice of St. Simeon Stylites. He answered, that her misfortunes were the punishment of her sin, in forsaking and persecuting the orthodox faith; and ordered her to follow the direction of Euthymius. She knew that our saint admitted no woman within the precinct of his Laura, no more than St. Simeon suffered them to step within the enclosure of the mandra or lodge {187} about his pillar. She therefore built a tower on the east side of the desert, thirty furlongs from the Laura, and prayed St. Euthymius to meet her there. His advice to her was to forsake the Eutychians and their impious patriarch Theodosius, and to receive the council of Chalcedon. She followed his advice as the command of God, and returning to Jerusalem, embraced the Catholic communion with the orthodox patriarch Juvenal; and an incredible number followed her example. She spent the rest of her life in works of penance and piety. In 459, she desired St. Euthymius to meet her at her tower, designing to settle on his Laura sufficient revenues for its subsistence. He sent her word to spare herself the trouble, and to prepare herself for death; for God summoned her before his tribunal. She admired his disinterestedness, returned to Jerusalem, and died shortly after. One of the latest disciples of our saint was the young St. Sabas, whom he tenderly loved. In the year 473, on the 13th of January, Martyrius and Elias, to both whom St. Euthymius had foretold the patriarchate of Jerusalem, came with several others to visit him, and to conduct him into his Lent-retreat. But he said he would stay with them all that week, and leave them on the Saturday following, meaning, by death. Three days after he gave orders that a general watching should be observed on the eve of St. Antony's festival, on which he made a discourse to his spiritual children, exhorting them to humility and charity. He appointed Elias his successor, and foretold Domitian, a beloved disciple, that he would follow him out of this world, on the seventh day, which happened accordingly. Euthymius died on Saturday the 28th day of January, being ninety-five years old, of which he had spent sixty-eight in the deserts. Cyril relates his having appeared several times after his death, and the many miracles that were wrought by his intercession; to several of which he declares himself an eye-witness. St. Sabas kept his festival immediately after his death; which is observed both by the Latins and Greeks. The latter always style him the Great. It appears from his life that he was ordained priest before he embraced an eremitical state, and that he founded two monasteries, besides a Laura, which was also converted into a monastery after his death.

Footnotes: 1. A Laura consisted of cells at a little distance from one another, and not under the same roof, as a monastery.


AN ancient hymn on this saint is published by Bollandus. He is honored with singular devotion at Foure, anciently called Fobhar, a village in West-Meath, where he governed a monastery with great sanctity; and happily departed to our Lord in the year 664, being carried off in the great pestilence which swept off four kings in Ireland; and which scarce a third part of the inhabitants survived. See his life in Bollandus; also Giraldus Cambr. Topog. Hibern. dist. 2, c. 52, and Colgan. Giraldus mentions St. Fechin's mill at Foure, which out of respect it is forbid for any woman ever to enter. Several churches, and some villages in Ireland, take their name from this saint.




The following relation is taken from Prudentius, de Coron. hym. 14, St. Ambrose, l. 1, de Virgin. & Offic. t. 1, c. 41, and other fathers. Her acts are as ancient as the seventh century; but not sufficiently authentic: nor are those given us in Chaldaic by Stephen Assemani of a better stamp. They contradict St. Ambrose and Prudentius in supposing that she finished her martyrdom by fire. See Tillemont, t. 5.

A.D. 304, or 305.

ST. JEROM says,[1] that the tongues and pens of all nations are employed in the praises of this saint, who overcame both the cruelty of the tyrant and the tenderness of her age, and crowned the glory of chastity with that of martyrdom. St. Austin observes,[2] that her name signifies chaste in Greek, and lamb in Latin. She has been always looked upon in the church as a special patroness of purity, with the immaculate Mother of God and St. Thecla. Rome was the theatre of the triumph of St. Agnes; and Prudentius says, that her tomb was shown within sight of that city. She suffered not long after the beginning of the persecution of Dioclesian, whose bloody edicts appeared in March in the year of our Lord 303. We learn from St. Ambrose and St. Austin, that she was only thirteen years of age at the time of her glorious death. Her riches and beauty excited the young noblemen of the first families of Rome, to vie with one another in their addresses, who should gain her in marriage.[3] Agnes answered them all, that she had consecrated her virginity to a heavenly spouse, who could not be beheld by mortal eyes. Her suitors finding her resolution impregnable to all their arts and importunities, accused her to the governor as a Christian; not doubting but threats and torments would overcome her tender mind, on which allurements could make no impression. The judge at first employed the mildest expressions and most inviting promises; to which Agnes paid no regard, repeating always, that she could have no other spouse than Jesus Christ. He then made use of threats, but found her soul endowed with a masculine courage, and even desirous of racks and death. At last, terrible fires were made, and iron hooks, racks, and other instruments of torture displayed before her, with threats of immediate execution. The young virgin surveyed them all with an undaunted eye; and with a cheerful countenance beheld the fierce and cruel executioners surrounding her, and ready to dispatch her at the word of command. She was so far from betraying the least symptom of fear, that she even expressed her joy at the sight, and offered herself to the rack. She was then dragged before the idols, and commanded to offer incense: "but could by no means be compelled to move her hand, except to make the sign of the cross," says St. Ambrose.

The governor seeing his measures ineffectual, said he would send her to a house of prostitution, where what she prized so highly should be exposed to the insults of the debauchees.[4] Agnes answered that Jesus Christ was too jealous of the purity of his spouses, to suffer it to be violated in such a manner; for he was their defender and protector. "You may," said she, "stain your sword with my blood, but will never be able to profane my body, consecrated to Christ." The governor was so incensed at this, that he {189} ordered her to be immediately led to the public brothel, with liberty to all persons to abuse her person at pleasure. Many young profligates ran thither, full of the wicked desire of gratifying their lust; but were seized with such awe at the sight of the saint, that they durst not approach her; one only excepted, who, attempting to be rude to her, was that very instant, by a flash, as it were, of lightning from heaven, struck blind, and fell trembling to the ground. His companions, terrified, took him up, and carried him to Agnes, who was at a distance, singing hymns of praise to Christ, her protector. The virgin by prayer restored him to his sight and health.[5]

The chief prosecutor of the saint, who at first sought to gratify his lust and avarice, now labored to satiate his revenge, by incensing the judge against her; his passionate fondness being changed into anger and rage. The governor wanted not others to spur him on; for he was highly exasperated to see himself baffled, and set at defiance by one of her tender age and sex. Therefore, resolved upon her death, he condemned her to be beheaded. Agnes, transported with joy on hearing this sentence, and still more at the sight of the executioner, "went to the place of execution more cheerfully," says St. Ambrose, "than others go to their wedding." The executioner had secret instructions to use all means to induce her to a compliance: but Agnes always answered she could never offer so great an injury to her heavenly spouse; and having made a short prayer, bowed down her neck to adore God, and receive the stroke of death. The spectators wept to see so beautiful and tender a virgin loaded with fetters, and to behold her fearless under the very sword of the executioner, who with a trembling hand cut off her head at one stroke. Her body was buried at a small distance from Rome, near the Nomentan road. A church was built on the spot in the time of Constantine the Great, and was repaired by pope Honorius in the seventh century. It is now in the hands of Canon-Regulars, standing without the walls of Rome; and is honored with her relics in a very rich silver shrine, the gift of pope Paul V., in whose time they were found in this church, together with those of St. Emerentiana.[6] The other beautiful rich church of St. Agnes within the city, built by pope Innocent X., (the right of patronage being vested in the family of Pamphili,) stands on the place where her chastity was exposed. The feast of St. Agnes is mentioned in all Martyrologies, both of the East and West, though on different days. It was formerly a holyday for the women in England, as appears from the council of Worcester, held in the year 1240. St. Ambrose, St. Austin, and other fathers have wrote her panegyric. St. Martin of Tours was singularly devout to her. Thomas à Kempis honored her as his special patroness, as his works declare in many places. He relates many miracles wrought, and graces received through her intercession.

* * * * *

Marriage is a holy state, instituted by God, and in the order of providence and nature the general or most ordinary state of those who live in the world. Those, therefore, who upon motives of virtue, and in a Christian and holy manner engage in this state, do well. Those, nevertheless, who for the sake of practising more perfect virtue, by a divine call, prefer a state of perpetual {190} virginity, embrace that which is more perfect and more excellent. Dr. Wells, a learned Protestant, confesses that Christ[7] declares voluntary chastity, for the kingdom of heaven's sake, to be an excellency, and an excellent state of life.[8] This is also the manifest inspired doctrine of St. Paul,[9] and in the revelations of St. John,[10] spotless virgins are called, in a particular manner, the companions of the Lamb, and are said to enjoy the singular privilege of following him wherever he goes. The tradition of the church has always been unanimous in this point; and among the Romans, Greeks Syrians, and Barbarians, many holy virgins joyfully preferred torments and death to the violation of their integrity, which they bound themselves by vow to preserve without defilement, in mind or body. The fathers, from the very disciples of the apostles, are all profuse in extolling the excellency of holy virginity, as a special fruit of the incarnation of Christ, his divine institution, and a virtue which has particular charms in the eyes of God, who delights in chaste minds, and chooses to dwell singularly in them. They often repeat that purity raises men, even in this mortal life, to the dignity of angels; purifies the soul, fits it for a more perfect love of God and a closer application to heavenly things, and disengages the mind and heart from worldly thoughts and affections. It produces in the soul the clearest resemblance to God. Chastity is threefold; that of virgins, that of widows, and that of married persons; in each state it will receive its crown, as St. Ambrose observes,[11] but in the first is most perfect, so that St. Austin calls its fruit an hundred fold, and that of marriage sixty fold; but the more excellent this virtue is, and the higher its glory and reward, the more heroic and the more difficult is its victory; nor is it perfect unless it be embellished with all other virtues in an heroic degree, especially divine charity and the most profound humility.

1. Ep. 8.
2. Serm. 274.
3. Footnote: S. Ambrose, l. 1, Virgin.
4. Prudent. S. Ambrose.
5. St. Basil witnesses, (l. de verâ Virgin.,) that when virgins were
    exposed by the persecutors to the attempts of lewd men, Christ
    wonderfully interposed in defence of their chastity. Tertullian
    reproached the heathens with this impiety, in these words: Apolog.
    "By condemning the Christian maid rather to the lewd youth than to
    the lion, you have acknowledged that a stain of purity is more
    dreaded by us than any torments or death. Yet your crafty cruelty
    avails you not: it rather serves to gain men over to our holy
6. This church gives title to a cardinal, and every year on her feast
    the abbot of St. Peter's ad Vincula blesses in it, at high mass, two
    lambs, which are thence carried to the pope, by whom they are again
    blessed. After which they are sent to the nuns of St. Laurence's in
    Panisperna, or sometimes to the Capucinesses, who make of their wool
    palliums, which his holiness blesses, and sends to archbishops as
    emblem of meekness and spotless purity.
7. Matt. xix. 11.
8. Wells, Paraph. on S. Matt. p. 185.
9. 1 Cor. vii. 7, 8, 25, 27, 32, 38.
10. Apoc. xiv. 1, 3, 4, 5.
11. S. Ambr. l. de Viduis, t. 5, p. 635.


From his most valuable acts in Ruinart, quoted by St. Austin, Serm. 273, and transcribed by Prudentius, hymno 6.

A.D. 259.

ST. FRUCTUOSUS was the zealous and truly apostolical bishop of Tarragon, then the capital city of Spain. The persecution of Valerian and Gallien raging in the year 259, he was apprehended by an order of Emilian the governor, who sent the soldiers, called Beneficiarii,[1] for that purpose. They seized the good bishop in his lodgings, with two deacons, Augurius and Eulogius, on Sunday the 16th of January. He was then laid down on his bed, and only asked leave to put on his shoes; after which he cheerfully followed the guards, who committed him and his two companions to close prison, where he spent his time with them in fervent prayer, full of joy at the prospect of the crown prepared for them. He gave his benediction to the faithful who visited him, and recommended themselves to his prayers. On Monday he baptized in jail a catechumen named Rogatianus. On Wednesday he kept the usual fast of the stations[2] till none, or three o'clock in {191} the afternoon. On Friday, the sixth day after their commitment, the 21st of January, the governor ordered them to be brought before him, and asked Fructuosus if he knew the contents of the late edict of the emperors. The saint answered that he did not, but that whatever they were, he was a Christian. "The emperors," said Emilian, "command all to sacrifice to the gods." Fructuosus answered, "I adore one God, who made heaven and earth and all things therein." Emilian said, "Do you not know that there are gods?" "No," replied the saint. The proconsul said, "I will make you know it shortly." St. Fructuosus then lifted up his eyes to heaven, and began to pray in private. The proconsul broke out into this exclamation: "What will any man fear or adore on earth, if he contemns the worship of the immortal gods, and of the emperors?" Then turning to the deacon Angurius, he bade him not regard what Fructuosus had said: but he satisfied him in a few words that he adored the same almighty God. Emilian lastly addressed himself to the other deacon, Eulogius, asking him if he did not adore Fructuosus. The holy man answered, "I adore not Fructuosus, but the same God whom he adores." Emilian asked Fructuosus if he was a bishop; and added, upon his confessing it, "say you have been one;" meaning that he was going to lose his dignity with his life: and immediately condemned them to be burnt alive.

The pagans themselves could not refrain from tears, on seeing them led to the amphitheatre; for they loved Fructuosus on account of his rare virtues. The Christians accompanied them with a sorrow mixed with joy. The martyrs exulted to behold themselves on the verge of a glorious eternity. The faithful offered St. Fructuosus a cup of wine, but he would not taste it, saying, it was not yet the hour of breaking the fast, which was observed on Fridays till three o'clock, and it was then only ten in the morning. The holy man hoped to end the station, or fast of that day, with the patriarchs and prophets in heaven. When they were come into the amphitheatre, Augustalis, the bishop's lector, came to him weeping, and begged he would permit him to pull off his shoes. The martyr said he could easily put them off himself, which he did. Felix, a Christian soldier, stepped in, and desired he would remember him in his prayers. Fructuosus said aloud: "I am bound to pray for the whole Catholic church spread over the world from the east to the west;" as if he had said, as St. Austin observes, who much applauds this sentence:[3] "Remain always in the bosom of the Catholic church, and you will have a share in my prayers." Martial, one of his flock, desired him to speak some words of comfort to his desolate church. The bishop, turning to the Christians, said, "My brethren, the Lord will not leave you a flock without a pastor. He is faithful to his promises. Do not grieve for me. The hour of my suffering is short." The martyrs were fastened to wooden stakes to be burnt; but the flame seemed at first to respect their bodies, having consumed only the bands with which their hands were tied, giving them liberty to stretch out their arms in the form of a cross in prayer, in which posture they gave up their souls to God before the fire had touched them. Babylas and Mygdone, two Christian servants of the governor, saw the heavens open, and the saints carried up with crowns on their heads. The faithful came in the night, extinguished the fire, and took out the half-burnt bodies. Every one carried some part of their remains home with them; but being admonished from heaven, brought them back and laid them in the same monument. St. Austin has left us a panegyric on St. Fructuosus, pronounced on the anniversary day of his martyrdom, on which his name has been always famous in the western church, especially in Spain and Africa.

Footnotes: 1. Beneficiarii were soldiers distinguished by certain privileges, and who stood for promotion, as Vege{tius} informs us, l. 2, c. 7. 2. Wednesdays and Fridays were fast-days at that time; but only till none, that is, three in the afternoon, and called the fast of the stations. 3. Serm. 273.



BY the fervent practices of the most perfect monastic discipline in one of the famous abbeys in Fifeshire, he qualified himself to become, by word and example, a guide and director to many chosen souls in the paths of evangelical perfection. This appeared in the fruits of his zealous preaching and labors, when he was raised to the abbatial, and soon after to the episcopal dignity; for at that time, very few bishoprics being erected in Scotland, it was customary for learned and holy abbots of great monasteries to be often consecrated bishops, and to be attended by their monks in performing their functions; as venerable Bede informs us, speaking of St. Aidan.[1] St. Vimin, to shun the danger of vain-glory, to which the reputation of many miracles which he had wrought exposed him, removed to a more solitary place, and there founded the abbey of Holywood, called in Latin Sacrum-boscum, in succeeding ages famous for many learned men; particularly the great mathematician, John à Sacro-bosco, in the thirteenth century. King places the death of St. Vimin in 615, but brings no proofs for dating it so high. The noble and very ancient family of Wemse, in Fifeshire, is said in Scotland to be of the same lineage with this saint. The ancient prayer in the Aberdeen breviary on his festival, and other monuments, bear evidence to the great devotion of the ancient Scottish church to his memory. See Breviarium Aberdonense of Chronicou Skonense.

Footnotes: 1. Bede, Hist. l. 4, c. 17, &c.


HE succeeded St. Dionysius the Areopagite in the see of Athens, as we are assured by St. Dionysius of Corinth, quoted by Eusebius.[1] He went to God by martyrdom, and St. Quadratus was chosen third bishop of that city. See Le Quien, Or. Christ. t. 2, p. 169.

Footnotes: 1. Euseb. l. 4, c. 22.

FROM 467 TO 497.

THE reputation of Epiphanius for sanctity and miracles, gave him the highest credit with all the last weak Roman emperors, and with the kings Odoacer and Theodoric, though all of opposite interests. By his admirable eloquence and charity he often disarmed the most savage barbarians, obtained the lives and liberty of whole armies of captives, the abolition of several oppressive laws, and the mitigation of heavy public imposts and taxes. By his profuse charities he preserved an incredible number of distressed persons from perishing, and by his zeal he stemmed the torrent of iniquity in times of universal disorder and calamity. He performed an embassy to the emperor Anthemius, and another to king Euric at Toulouse; both to avert the dangers of war. He rebuilt Pavia, which had been destroyed by Odoacer, and mitigated the fury of Theodoric in the heat of his victories. He undertook a journey into Burgundy, to redeem captives detained by the kings Gondebald and Godegisile, and died of a cold and fever at Pavia, in the fifty-eighth year of his age. His body was translated to Hildesheim in Lower {193} Saxony, in 963. Brower thinks it lies in a silver coffin near the high altar. His name is inserted in the Roman Martyrology. See his panegyric in verse, by Ennodius, his successor, the master-piece of that author, published by Bollandus and F. Sirmond. Consult also Marroni, of the Schola Pia Comment. de Ecclesià & Episcopis Papiensibus. Romæ. An. 1758.

1. B. MACELAIN, A. His name in Irish signifies the son of Chilian.
    Passing into Belgic Gaul, in order to lead there an anchoretical
    life, he was appointed abbot of St. Michael's on the borders of
    Hainault, and of Vasour, or Vasencour, on the Meuse, in the diocese
    of Namur: monasteries which were just founded. He appointed St.
    Cadroe, who had accompanied him from Ireland, provost of the latter
    in 946, and died in 978. Ferrarius, Saussaye, and Wilson, falsely
    place this monastery of St. Michael's at Virdun, mistaking the
    epithet Vir Dni, which is given him in the chronicle of Flodoard,
    for the name of that town. Though he is styled saint in the
    catalogue of the abbots of Vasour, and by several martyrologists on
    this day, he never was honored in any public office even in either
    of his monasteries, as Bollandus observes; who makes the same remark
    of his two companions, B. Forannand and B. Cadroe. This latter was
    called from Vasour, and made abbot of St. Clement's, at Metz, where
    he died in 975. See Bolland. t. 2, p. 386. Chatelain, p. 371. Gallia
    Christ. Nova, t. 3, p. 570.

B. FORANNAND, B.C. This saint is styled in ancient chronicles, Archbishop of Domnachmor, in Ireland. Domnach signifying church, and mor, the greater, says Mabillon: by which epithet many understand Armagh. Resigning his see, he travelled into Belgic Gaul, with twelve companions, among whom were B. Macelain, and B. Cadroe. After leading for some time an eremitical life, he was commanded by pope Benedict VII. to take upon him the charge of the government of Vasour, in which employment he died on the last day of April, in 982. See Gallia Christ. Nova, t. 3. p. 571.



From Prudentius, hymn 5, and St. Austin, serm, 274, 275, 276, 277, all four preached on his festivals. His ancient acts in Bollandus are also authentic, but not those in Metaphrastes and Surius. See Tillemont t. 5, p. 217.

A.D. 399.

THE most glorious martyr St. Vincent was born, some say at Saragossa, others at Valentia, but most authors, and most probably, at Osca, now Huesca, in Granada. He was instructed in the sacred sciences and in Christian piety by Valerius, the bishop of that city, who ordained him his deacon, and appointed him, though very young, to preach and instruct the people. Dacian, a most bloody persecutor, was then governor of Spain. The emperors Dioclesian and Maximian published their second and third bloody edicts against the Christian clergy in the year 303, which in the following year were put in force against the laity. It seems to have been before these last that Dacian put to death eighteen martyrs at Saragossa, who are mentioned by Prudentius, and in the Roman Martyrology, January the 16th, and that he apprehended Valerius and Vincent. They spilt some of their blood at Saragossa, but were thence conducted to Valentia, where the governor let them lie long in prison, suffering extreme famine and other miseries. The proconsul hoped that this lingering torture would shake their constancy; but when they were brought out before him, he was surprised to see them still intrepid in mind, and vigorous in body, and reprimanded his officers, as if they had not treated the prisoners according to his orders. Then, turning to the champions of Christ, he employed alternately threats and promises to induce them to sacrifice. Valerius, who had an impediment in his speech, making no answer, Vincent said to him "Father, if you order me, I will speak." "Son," said Valerius, "as I committed to you the dispensation of the word of God, so I now charge you to answer in vindication of the faith which we defend." The holy deacon then acquainted the judge that they were ready to suffer every thing for the {194} true God, and little regarded either his threats or promises in such a cause. Dacian contented himself with banishing Valerius.[1] As for St. Vincent, he was determined to assail his resolution by every torture his cruel temper could suggest. St. Austin assures us, that he suffered torments far beyond what any man could possibly have endured, unless supported by a supernatural strength; and that he preserved such a peace and tranquillity in his words, countenance, and gestures in the midst of them, as astonished his very persecutors, and visibly appeared as something divine; while the rage and distraction of Dacian's soul was as visible in the violent agitations of his body, by his eyes sparkling with fury, and his faltering voice.

The martyr was first stretched on the rack by his hands and feet, drawn by cords and pulleys, till his joints were almost torn asunder: while he hung in this posture, his flesh was unmercifully torn off with iron hooks. Vincent, smiling, called the executioners weak and faint-hearted. Dacian thought they spared him, and caused them to be beaten, which afforded the champion an interval of rest: but they soon returned to him, resolved fully to satisfy the cruelty of their master, who excited them all the while to exert their utmost strength. They twice stayed their hands to take breath, and let his wounds grow cold; then began with fresh vigor to rend and tear his body, which they did in all its limbs and parts with such cruelty, that his bones and bowels were in most places exposed bare to sight. The more his body was mangled, the more did the divine presence cherish and comfort his soul, and spread a greater joy on his countenance. The judge, seeing the streams of blood which flowed from all the parts of his body, and the frightful condition to which it was reduced, was obliged to confess, with astonishment, that the courage of the young nobleman had vanquished him; and his rage seemed somewhat abated. Hereupon he ordered a cessation of his torments, begging of the saint for his own sake, that if he could not be prevailed upon to offer sacrifice to the gods, he would at least give up the sacred books to be burnt, according to the order of the late edicts. The martyr answered, that he feared his torments less than that false compassion which he testified. Dacian, more incensed than ever, condemned him to the most cruel of tortures, that of fire upon a kind of gridiron, called by the acts the legal torture.[2] The saint walked with joy to the frightful engine, so as almost to get the start of his executioners, such was his desire to suffer. He mounted cheerfully the iron bed, in which the bars were framed like scythes, full of sharp spikes made red-hot by the fire underneath. On this dreadful gridiron, the martyr was stretched out at length, and bound fast down. He was not only scourged thereon, but, while one part of his body was broiling next the fire, the other was tortured by the application of red-hot plates of iron. His wounds were rubbed with salt, which the activity of the fire forced the deeper into his flesh and bowels. All the parts of his body were tormented in this manner, one after the other, and each several times over. The melted fat dropping from the flesh, nourished and increased the flames; which, instead of tormenting, seemed, as St. Austin says, to give the martyr new vigor and courage; for the more he suffered, the greater seemed to be the inward joy and consolation of his soul. The rage and confusion of the tyrant exceeded all bounds: he appeared not able to contain himself, and was continually inquiring what Vincent did and what he said; but was always answered, that he suffered with joy in his countenance, and seemed every moment to acquire new strength and resolution. {195} He lay unmoved, his eyes turned towards heaven, his mind calm, and his heart fixed on God in continual prayer.

At last, by the command of the proconsul, he was thrown into a dungeon and his wounded body laid on the floor strewed with broken potsherds, which opened afresh his ghastly wounds, and cut his bare flesh. His legs were set in wooden stocks, stretched very wide, and strict orders were given that he should be left without provisions, and that no one should be admitted to see or speak to him. But God sent his angels to comfort him, with whom he sung the praises of his protector. The jailer observing through the chinks the prison filled with light, and the saint walking and praising God, was converted upon the spot to the Christian faith, and afterwards baptized. At this news Dacian chafed, and even wept through rage, but ordered some repose should be allowed the prisoner. The faithful were then permitted to see him, and coming in troops wiped and kissed his wounds, and dipped cloths in his blood, which they kept as an assured protection for themselves and their posterity. After this a soft bed was prepared for him, on which he was no sooner laid but he expired, the happy moment he had not ceased to pray for ever since his torments, and his first call to martyrdom. Dacian commanded his body to be thrown on a marshy field among rushes; but a crow defended it from wild beasts and birds of prey. The acts in Ruinart and Bollandus, and the sermon attributed to St. Leo, add, that it was then tied to a great stone and cast into the sea in a sack, but miraculously carried to the shore, and revealed to two Christians. They laid it in a little chapel out of the walls of Valentia, where God honored these relics with many miracles, as the acts and St. Austin witness. Prudentius informs us, that the iron on which he lay, and other instruments of his passion, were likewise preserved with veneration. Childebert, king of France, or rather of Paris, besieging Saragossa, wondered to see the inhabitants busied continually in making processions. Being informed they carried the stole of St. Vincent about the walls in devout prayer, and had been miraculously protected by that martyr's intercession, he raised the siege upon condition that relic should be given him. This he with great solemnity brought to Paris, and enriched with it the magnificent church and abbey of St. Vincent, now called St. Germain-des-Prés, which he built in 559, and which his successor Clotaire caused to be dedicated.[3] In the year 855, his sacred bones were discovered at Valentia, and conveyed into France, and deposited in the abbey of Castres, now an episcopal see in Languedoc, where they remain; but several portions have been given to the abbey of St. Germain-des-Prés at Paris, and other churches; and part was burnt at Castres by the Huguenots about the end of the sixteenth century.[4] Aimoinus, a contemporary monk, wrote the history of this translation, with an account of many miracles which attended it.[5] St. Gregory of Tours mentions a portion of his relics to have been famous for miracles, in a village church near Poictiers.[6] In the life of St. Domnolus, mention is made of a portion placed by him in a great monastery in the suburb of the city of Mans. But it is certain that the chief part of this martyr's body was conveyed to Lisbon. To escape the cruel persecution of the Saracen king Abderamene, at Valentia, many Christians privately withdrew themselves, and, carrying with them the body of St. Vincent, took shelter on the southwest cape, called {196} the Sacred Promontory, and from these relics St. Vincent's, in the kingdom of Algarb, then under the Saracens. Alphonsus Henry, the most pious first king of Portugal, son of count Henry, having defeated five Moorish kings, at Ourique, in the year 1139, received from those faithful keepers the body of St. Vincent, sent it by sea to Lisbon, and built the royal monastery of the Cross of regular canons of St. Austin, in which he most religiously deposited this treasure, rendered more famous by miracles, in the year 1148. This account is recorded by contemporary unexceptionable vouchers in Bollandus, p. 406. Mariana, and especially Thomas ab Incarnatione, a regular canon, in his Historiâ Ecclesiæ Lusitanæ, printed at Lisbon, A.D. 1759, Sæc. 4, c. 6, t. 1, p. 215. The Portuguese, ever since the year 1173, keep an annual commemoration of this translation on the 15th of September, which feast was confirmed by Sixtus V.

Prudentius finishes his hymn on this holy martyr by a prayer to him, that he would present the marks of his sufferings to Christ, to move him to compassion in his behalf.

* * * * *

God never more visibly manifested his power, nor gave stronger or more wonderful proofs of his tenderness and love for his church, than when he suffered it to groan under the most violent oppression and persecution; nor does his grace anywhere appear more triumphant than in the victories of his martyrs under the severest trials, and in the heroic virtues which they displayed amidst torments and insults. Under the slightest disappointments and afflictions we are apt to fall into discouragement, and to imagine, by our sloth and impatience, that our situation is of all others the most unhappy and intolerable. If nature feels, and we implore the divine mercy, and a deliverance, if this may be conducive to God's honor, we must be careful never to sink under the trials, or consent to the least secret murmuring: we must bear them if not with joy, at least with perfect submission; and remain assured that God only seems to withdraw himself from us, that we may follow him more earnestly, and unite ourselves more closely to him.

1. He is named in the Roman Martyrology, January the 28th, and his
    relics are kept with veneration at Saragossa, famous for miracles
    wrought by them even in the last age. See Bollandus, January the
    28th, p. 838.
2. Quæstio legitima.
3. S. Greg. Tur. Hist. Franc. l. 3, c. 29. Aimoin. de Gestis Franc. l.
    2, c. 19 and 20. Ade In Chron. &c.
4. See Chatelain, Notes on the Martyrol. p. 378.
5. This Aimoinus is something more ancient than another monk of the
    same name, who has left a history of France. His relation depends
    upon the authority of Audald, a monk of Conques in the diocese of
    Rhodes, who brought them from Valentia into Languedoc. See his
    account in Bollandus, which yet the Spaniards deny, and say it could
    only be a small part of these bones: or the body of another martyr
    of the same name.
6. De Gk. Mart. l. 1, c. 90.


From his genuine acts, which are commended in the seventh general council, abut one hundred and sixty years after his death.

A.D. 628.

ST. ANASTASIUS was a trophy of the holy cross of Christ, when it was carried away into Persia by Chosroës, in the year 614, after he had taken and plundered Jerusalem. The martyr was a Persian, son of a Magian, instructed in the sciences of that sect, and a young soldier in the Persian troops. Upon hearing the news of the taking of the cross by his king, he became very inquisitive concerning the Christian religion: and its sublime truths made such an impression on his mind, that being returned into Persia from an expedition into the Roman empire, he left the army with his brother, who also served in it, and retired to Hierapolis. In that city he lodged with a devout Persian Christian, a silversmith, with whom he went often to prayer. The holy pictures which he saw, moved him exceedingly, and gave him occasion to inquire daily more into our faith, and to admire the courage of the martyrs whose glorious sufferings were painted in the churches. At length, desirous of baptism, he left Hierapolis, which city was subject to the Persians, and went to Jerusalem, where he received that sacrament by the hands of Modestus who governed that church as vicar during the absence {197} of the patriarch Zachary, whom Chosroës had led away captive into Persia. In baptism he changed his Persian name Magundat, into that of Anastasius, meaning, according to the signification of that Greek word, that he was risen from death to a new and spiritual life. He had prepared himself with wonderful devotion for that sacrament while a catechumen, and he spent in no less fervor the several days after it, which persons baptized passed in white garments, in prayer, and in receiving more perfect instructions in the faith. At the end of this term, Anastasius, the more easily and more perfectly to keep inviolably his sacred baptismal vows and obligations, desired to become a monk in a monastery five miles distant from Jerusalem. Justin, the abbot, made him first learn the Greek tongue and the psalter; then cutting off his hair, gave him the monastic habit, in the year 621.

Anastasius was always the first at all spiritual duties, especially in assisting at the celebration of the divine mysteries. His attention to pious discourse testified the earnest thirst of his soul; nor was he less fervent in practice. He never read the triumphs of the martyrs without abundance of tears, and burned with an ardent desire of the like happiness. Being molested beyond measure with blasphemous thoughts of magic and superstitions, which his father had taught him, he was delivered from that troublesome temptation by discovering it to his director, and by his advice and prayers. After seven years spent in great perfection in this monastery, his desire of martyrdom daily increasing, and having been assured by a revelation, that his prayers for that grace were heard, he left that house, and visited the places of devotion in Palestine, at Diospolis, Garizim, and our Lady's church at Cæsarea, where he stayed two days. This city, with the greatest part of Syria, was then subject to the Persians. The saint seeing certain Persian soothsayers of the garrison occupied in their abominable superstitions in the streets, boldly spoke to them, remonstrating against the impiety of such practices. The Persian magistrates apprehended him as a suspected spy; but he informed them that he once enjoyed the dignity of Magian with them, and had renounced it to become a humble follower of Christ. Upon this confession he was thrown into a dungeon, where he lay three days without eating of drinking, till the return of Marzabanes, the governor, to the city. Being interrogated by him, he confessed his conversion to the faith, and equally despised his offers of great preferments, and his threats of crucifying him. Marzabanes commanded him to be chained by the foot to another criminal, and his neck and one foot to be also linked together by a heavy chain, and condemned him in this condition to carry stones. The Persians, especially those of his own province of Rasech, and his former acquaintance, upbraided him as the disgrace of his country, kicked and beat him, plucked his beard, and loaded him with burdens above his strength. The governor sent for him a second time, but could by no means prevail with him to pronounce the impious words which the Magians used in their superstitions: he said, "That the wilful calling them to remembrance would defile the heart." The judge then threatened he would write immediately to the king against him, if he did not comply. "Write what you please," said the saint, "I am a Christian: I repeat it again, I am a Christian." Marzabanes commanded him to be forthwith beaten with knotty clubs. The executioners were preparing themselves to bind him fast on the ground; but the saint told him it was unnecessary, for he had courage enough to lie down under the punishment without moving, and he regarded it as his greatest happiness and pleasure to suffer for Christ. He only begged leave to put off his monk's habit, lest it should be treated with contempt, which only his body deserved. He therefore laid it aside in a respectful manner, and then stretched himself on the ground, and without {198} being bound did not stir all the time of the cruel torment, bearing it without changing his posture. The governor again threatened him to acquaint the king of his obstinacy: "Whom ought we rather to fear," said Anastasius, "a mortal man, or God, who made all things out of nothing?" The judge pressed him to sacrifice to fire, and to the sun and moon. The saint answered, he could never acknowledge as gods, creatures which God had made only for our use; upon which he was remanded to prison.

His old abbot hearing of his sufferings, sent two monks to assist him, and ordered prayers for him. The confessor, after carrying stones all the day, spent the greatest part of the night in prayer, to the surprise of his companions: one of whom, a Jew, saw and showed him to others at prayer in the night, shining in brightness and glory like a blessed spirit, and angels praying with him. As the confessor was chained to a man condemned for a public crime, he prayed always with his neck bowed downwards, keeping his chained foot near his companion not to disturb him. Marzabanes in the mean time having informed Chosroës, and received his orders, acquainted the martyr by a messenger, without seeing him, that the king would be satisfied on condition he would only by word of mouth abjure the Christian faith: after which he might choose whether he would be an officer in the king's service, or still remain a Christian and a monk; adding, he might in his heart always adhere to Christ, provided he would but for once renounce him in words privately, in his presence, "in which there could be no harm, nor any great injury to his Christ," as he said. Anastasius answered firmly, that he would never even seem to dissemble, or to deny his God. Then the governor told him, that he had orders to send him bound into Persia to the king. "There is no need of binding me," said the saint: "I go willingly and cheerfully to suffer for Christ." The governor put on him and on two other prisoners the mark, and gave orders that they should set out after five days. In the mean time, on the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the 14th of September, at the request of the Comerciarius, or tax-gatherer for the king, who was a Christian of distinction, Anastasius had leave to go to the church and assist at the divine service. His presence and exhortations encouraged the faithful, excited the tepid to fervor, and moved all to tears. He dined that day with the Comerciarius, and then returned with joy to his prison. On the day appointed, the martyr left Cæsarea, in Palestine, with two other Christian prisoners, under a strict guard, and was followed by one of the monks whom the abbot had sent to assist and encourage him. The acts of his martyrdom were written by this monk, or at least from what be related by word of mouth. The saint received great marks of honor, much against his inclination, from the Christians wherever he came. This made him fear lest human applause should rob trim of his crown by infecting his heart with pride. He wrote from Hierapolis, and again from the river Tigris, to his abbot, begging the prayers of his brethren.

Being arrived at Barsaloe in Assyria, six miles from Discartha, or Dastagerde, near the Euphrates, where the king then was, the prisoners were thrown into a dungeon till his pleasure was known. An officer came from Chosroës to interrogate the saint, who made answer, with regard to his magnificent promises, in these words: "My religious habit and poor clothes show that I despise from my heart the gaudy pomp of the world. The honors and riches of a king, who must shortly die himself, are no temptation to me." Next day the officer returned to the prison, and endeavored to intimidate him by blustering threats and reproaches. But the saint said calmly: "My lord judge, do not give yourself so much trouble about me. By the grace of Christ I am not to be moved: so execute your pleasure without more ado." The officer caused him to be unmercifully beaten with staves, after {199} the Persian manner, insulting him all the time, and often repeating, that because he contemned the king's bounty, he should be treated in that manner every day as long as he lived. This punishment was inflicted on him three days; on the third the judge commanded him to be laid on his back, and a heavy beam pressed down by the weight of two men on his legs, crushing the flesh to the very bone. The martyr's tranquillity and patience astonished the officer, who went again to acquaint the king of his behavior. In his absence the jailer, being a Christian by profession, though too weak to resign his place rather than detain such a prisoner, gave every one free access to the martyr. The Christians immediately filled the prison; every one sought to kiss his feet or chains, and kept as relics whatever had been sanctified by their touch: they also overlaid his fetters with wax, in order to receive their impression. The saint, with confusion and indignation, strove to hinder them, and expressed how extremely dissatisfied he was with such actions. The officer returning from the king caused him to be beaten again, which the confessor bore rather as a statue, than as flesh and blood. Then he was hung up for two hours by one hand, with a great weight at his feet, and tampered with by threats and promises. The judge despairing to overcome him, went back to the king; for his last orders, which were, that he and all the Christian captives should be put to death. He returned speedily to put them in execution, and caused Anastasius's two companions, with threescore and six other Christians, to be strangled one after another on the banks of the river, before his face, whom the judge all the time pressed to return to the Persian worship, and to escape so disgraceful a death, promising, in case of compliance, that he should be made one of the greatest men in the court. Anastasius, with his eyes lifted up to heaven, gave thanks to God for bringing his life to so happy a conclusion; and said he expected that he should have met with a more cruel death in the torture of all his members: but seeing God granted him one so easy, he embraced with joy that end of a life which he otherwise must shortly have lost in a more painful manner. He was accordingly strangled, and after his death his head was cut off. This was in the year 628, the seventeenth of the emperor Heraclius, on the 22d of January, on which day both the Latins and Greeks keep his festival. His body, among the other dead, was exposed to be devoured by dogs, but it was the only one they left untouched. It was afterwards redeemed by the Christians, who laid it in the monastery of St. Sergius, a mile from the place of his triumph, in the city Barsaloe, called afterwards from that monastery, Sergiopolis. The monk that attended him brought back his Colobium, or liners tunic without sleeves. The saint's body was afterwards brought into Palestine. Some years after, it was removed to Constantinople, and lastly to Rome.

The seventh general council[1] proves the use of pious pictures from the head of this holy martyr, and his miraculous image, then kept at Rome with great veneration: where it is still preserved in the church belonging to the monastery of our Lady ad Aquas Sylvias, which now bears the name of SS. Vincent and Anastasius.[2] The rest of his relics are reposited in the holy chapel ad Scalas Sanctas, near St. John Lateran. See the history of many miracles wrought by them in Bollandus. St. Anastasius foretold the speedy fall of the tyrant Chosroës: and ten days after his martyrdom the emperor Heraclius entered Persia.

Footnotes: 1. Act. 4. 2. Mabill. Iter. Ital. p. 141.




From the bull of his canonization, by Clement VIII. in 1601, and his life, written by several Spanish, Italian, and French authors. See Fleury, b. 78, n. 55, 84, and chiefly Touron, Hommes Illustres de l'Ordre de S. Domin. t. 1, p. 1.

A.D. 1275.

THE house of Pegnafort, or, as it is pronounced, Pennafort, was descended from the counts of Barcelona, and nearly allied to the kings of Aragon. Raymund was born in 1175, at Pennafort, a castle in Catalonia, which in the fifteenth century was changed into a convent of the order of St. Dominick. Such was his rapid progress in his studies, that at the age of twenty he taught philosophy at Barcelona, which he did gratis, and with so great reputation, that he began then to be consulted by the ablest masters. His principal care was to instil into his scholars the most perfect maxims of a solid piety and devotion, to compose all differences among the citizens, and to relieve the distressed. He was about thirty years of age when he went to Bologna, in Italy, to perfect himself in the study of the canon and civil law, commenced Doctor in that faculty, and taught with the same disinterestedness and charity as he had done in his own country. In 1219 Berengarius, bishop of Barcelona, who had been at Rome, took Raymund home with him, to the great regret of the university and senate of Bologna; and, not content with giving him a canonry in his church, made him his archdeacon, grand vicar, and official. He was a perfect model to the clergy, by his innocence, zeal, devotion, and boundless liberalities to the poor, whom he called his creditors. In 1222 he took the religious habit of St. Dominick at Barcelona, eight months after the death of the holy founder, and in the forty-seventh year of his age. No person was ever seen among the young novices more humble, more obedient, or more fervent. To imitate the obedience of a Man-God, who reduced himself to a state of subjection to his own creatures, to teach us the dangers and deep wound of self-will, and to point out to us the remedy, the saint would depend absolutely on the lights of his director in all things. And it was upon the most perfect self-denial that he laid the foundation of that high sanctity which he made the object of his most earnest desires. The grace of prayer perfected the work which mortification had begun. In a spirit of compunction he begged of his superiors that they would enjoin him some severe penance, to expiate the vain satisfaction and complacency which he said he had sometimes taken in teaching. They indeed imposed on him a penance, but not such a one as be expected. It was to write a collection of cases of conscience for the instruction and conveniency of confessors and moralists. This produced his Sum, the first work of that kind. Had his method and decisions been better followed by some later authors of the like works, the holy maxims of Christian morality had been treated with more respect by some moderns than they have been, to our grief and confusion.

Raymund joined to the exercises of his solitude the functions of an apostolical life, by laboring without intermission in preaching, instructing, hearing confessions with wonderful fruit, and converting heretics, Jews, and Moors. Among his penitents were James, king of Aragon, and St. Peter Nolasco, {201} with whom he concerted the foundation of the Order of the B. Virgin of mercy for the redemption of captives. James, the young king of Aragon, had married Eleonora of Castile within the prohibited degrees, without a dispensation. A legate was sent by pope Gregory IX. to examine and judge the case. In a council of bishops of the two kingdoms, held at Tarragon, he declared the marriage null, but that their son Don Alphonso should be reputed lawfully born, and heir to his father's crown. The king had taken his confessor with him to the council, and the cardinal legate was so charmed with his talents and virtue, that he associated him in his legation, and gave him a commission to preach the holy war against the Moors. The servant of God acquitted himself of that function with so much prudence, zeal, and charity, that he sowed the seeds of the total overthrow of those infidels in Spain. His labors were no less successful in the reformation of the manners of the Christians detained in servitude under the Moors, which were extremely corrupted by their long slavery or commerce with these infidels. Raymund showed them, by words full of heavenly unction and fire, that, to triumph over their bodily, they must first conquer their spiritual enemies, and subdue sin in themselves, which made God their enemy. Inculcating these and the like spiritual lessons, he ran over Catalonia, Aragon, Castile, and other countries. So general a change was wrought hereby in the manners of the people, as seemed incredible to all but those who were witnesses of it. By their conversion the anger of God was appeased, and the arms of the faithful became terrible to their enemies. The kings of Castile and Leon freed many places from the Moorish yoke. Don James, king of Aragon, drove them out of the islands of Majorca and Minorca, and soon after, in 1237, out of the whole kingdom of Valentia. Pope Gregory IX. having called St. Raymund to Rome in 1230, nominated him his chaplain, (which was the title of the Auditor of the causes of the apostolic palace,) as also grand penitentiary. He made him likewise his own confessarius, and in difficult affairs came to no decision but by his advice. The saint still reserved himself for the poor, and was so solicitous for them that his Holiness called him their father. He enjoined the pope, for a penance, to receive, hear, and expedite immediately all petitions presented by them. The pope, who was well versed in the canon law, ordered the saint to gather into one body all the scattered decree, of popes and councils, since the collection made by Gratian in 1150. Raymund compiled this work in three years, in five books, commonly called the Decretals, which the same pope Gregory confirmed in 1234. It is looked upon as the best finished part of the body of the canon law; on which account the canonists have usually chosen it for the texts of their comments. In 1235, the pope named St. Raymund to the archbishopric of Tarragon, the capital of Aragon: the humble religious man was not able to avert the storm, as he called it, by tears and entreaties; but at length fell sick through anxiety and fear. To restore him to his health, his Holiness was obliged to consent to excuse him, but required that he should recommend a proper person. The saint named a pious and learned canon of Gironne. He refused other dignities with the like constancy.

For the recovery of his health he returned to his native country, and was received with as much joy as if the safety of the whole kingdom, and of every particular person, had depended on his presence. Being restored again to his dear solitude at Barcelona, he continued his former exercises of contemplation, preaching, and administering the sacrament of penance. Except on Sundays, he never took more than one very small refection in the day. Amidst honors and applause he was ever little in his own eyes. He appeared in the schools like a scholar, and in his convent begged the {202} superior to instruct him in the rules of religious perfection, with the humility and docility of a novice. Whether he sung the divine praises with his brethren, or prayed alone in his cell, or some corner of the church, he poured forth an abundance of tears; and often was not able to contain within himself the ardor of his soul. His mildness and sweetness were unalterable. The incredible number of conversions of which he was the instrument, is known only to Him who, by his grace, was the author of them. He was employed frequently in most important commissions, both by the holy see and by the king. But he was thunderstruck by the arrival of four deputies from the general chapter of his order at Bologna, in 1238, with the news that he was chosen third general, Jordan of Saxony being lately dead. He wept and entreated, but at length acquiesced in obedience. He made the visitation of his order on foot, without discontinuing any of his penitential austerities, or rather exercises. He instilled into his spiritual children a love of regularity, solitude, mortification, prayer, sacred studies, and the apostolical functions, especially preaching. He reduced the constitutions of the order into a clearer method, with notes on the doubtful passages. Thus his code of rules was approved in three general chapters. In one held at Paris in 1239, he procured the establishment of this regulation, that a voluntary demission of a superior, founded upon just reasons, should be accepted. This he contrived in his own favor; for, to the extreme regret of the order, he in the year following resigned the generalship, which he had held only two years. He alleged for his reason his age of sixty-five years. Rejoicing to see himself again a private religious man, he applied himself with fresh vigor to the exercises and functions of an apostolical life, especially the conversion of the Saracens. Having this end in view, he engaged St. Thomas to write his work 'Against the Gentiles;' procured the Arabic and Hebrew tongues to be taught in several convents of his order; and erected convents, one at Tunis, and another at Murcia, among the Moors. In 1256, he wrote to his general that ten thousand Saracens had received baptism. King James took him into the island of Majorca. The saint embraced that opportunity of cultivating that infant church. This prince was an accomplished soldier and statesman, and a sincere lover of religion, but his great qualities were sullied by a base passion for women. He received the admonitions of the saint with respect, and promised amendment of life, and a faithful compliance with the saint's injunctions in every particular; but without effect. St. Raymund, upon discovering that he entertained a lady at his court with whom he was suspected to have criminal conversation, made the strongest instances to have her dismissed, which the king promised should be done, but postponed the execution. The saint, dissatisfied with the delay, begged leave to retire to his convent at Barcelona. The king not only refused him leave, but threatened to punish with death any person that should undertake to convey him out of the island. The saint, full of confidence in God, said to his companion, "A king of the earth endeavors to deprive us of the means of retiring; but the King of heaven will supply them." He then walked boldly to the waters, spread his cloak upon them, tied up one corner of it to a staff for a sail, and having made the sign of the cross, stepped upon it without fear, while his timorous companion stood trembling and wondering on the shore. On this new kind of vessel the saint was wafted with such rapidity, that in six hours he reached the harbor of Barcelona, sixty leagues distant from Majorca. Those who saw him arrive in this manner met him with acclamations. But he, gathering up his cloak dry, put it on, stole through the crowd, and entered his monastery. A chapel and a tower, built on the place where he landed, have transmitted the memory of this miracle to posterity. {203} This relation is taken from the bull of his canonization, and the earliest historians of his life. The king became a sincere convert, and governed his conscience, and even his kingdoms, by the advice of St. Raymund from that time till the death of the saint. The holy man prepared himself for his passage to eternity, by employing days and nights in penance and prayer. During his last illness, Alphonsus, king of Castile, with his queen, sons, and brother; and James, king of Aragon, with his court, visited him, and received his last benediction. He armed himself with the last sacraments; and, in languishing sighs of divine love, gave up his soul to God, on the 6th of January, in the year 1275, and the hundredth of his age. The two kings, with all the princes and princesses of their royal families, honored his funeral with their presence: but his tomb was rendered far more illustrious by miracles. Several are recorded in the bull of his canonization, published by Clement VIII. in 1601. Bollandus has filled fifteen pages in folio with an account of them. His office is fixed by Clement X. to the 23d of January.

* * * * *

The saints first learned in solitude to die to the world and themselves, to put on the spirit of Christ, and ground themselves in a habit of recollection and a relish only for heavenly things, before they entered upon the exterior functions even of a spiritual ministry. Amidst these weighty employments, not content with reserving always the time and means of frequent retirement for conversing with God and themselves, in their exterior functions by raising their minds to heaven with holy sighs and desires, they made all their actions in some measure an uninterrupted prayer and exercise of divine love and praise. St. Bonaventure reckons it among the general exercises of every religious or spiritual man,[1] "That he keep his mind always raised, at least virtually, to God: hence, whensoever a servant of God has been distracted from attending to him for ever so short a space, he grieves and is afflicted, as if he was fallen into some misfortune, by having been deprived of the presence of such a friend who never forgets us. Seeing that our supreme felicity and glory consists in the eternal vision of God, the constant remembrance of him is a kind of imitation of that happy state: this the reward, that the virtue which entitles us to it. Till we are admitted to his presence, let us in our exile always bear him in mind: every one will behold him in heaven with so much the greater joy, and so much the more perfectly, as he shall more assiduously and more devoutly have remembered him on earth. Nor is it only in our repose, but also in the midst of our employments, that we ought to have him present to our minds, in imitation of the holy angels, who, when they are sent to attend on us, so acquit themselves of the functions of this exterior ministry as never to be drawn from their interior attention to God. As much as the heavens exceed the earth, so much larger is the field of spiritual meditation than that of all terrestrial concerns."

Footnotes: 1. S. Bonav. de Profectu Religios. l. 2, c. 20. p. 604.


HE received his surname from his profuse alms-deeds; was nobly descended, very rich, and a widower, at Amathus in Cyprus, where, having buried all his children, he employed the whole income of his estate in the {204} relief of the poor, and was no less remarkable for his great piety. The reputation of his sanctity raised him to the patriarchal chair of Alexandria about the year 605, at which time he was upwards of fifty years of age. On his arrival in that city, he ordered an exact list to be taken of his Masters. Being asked who these were, his answer was, "The poor;" namely, on account of their great interest in the court of heaven in behalf of their benefactors. Their number amounted to seven thousand five hundred, whom he took under his special protection, and furnished with all necessaries. He prepared himself, by this action, to receive the fulness of grace in his consecration. On the same day he published severe ordinances, but in the most humble terms, conjuring and commanding all to use just weights and measures, in order to prevent injustices and oppressions of the poor. He most rigorously forbade all his officers and servants ever to receive the least presents, which are no better than bribes, and bias the most impartial. Every Wednesday and Friday he sat the whole day on a bench before the church, that all might have free access to him to lay their grievances before him, and make known their necessities. He composed all differences, comforted the afflicted, and relieved the distressed. One of his first actions at Alexandria was to distribute the eighty thousand pieces of gold which he found in the treasury of his church, among hospitals and monasteries. He consecrated to the service of the poor the great revenues of his see, then the first in all the East, both in riches and rank. Besides these, incredible charities flowed through his hands in continual streams, which his example excited every one to contribute according to their abilities. When his stewards complained that he impoverished his church, his answer was, that God would provide for them. To vindicate his conduct, and silence their complaints, he recounted to them a vision he had in his youth, of a beautiful woman, brighter than the sun, with an olive garland on her head, whom he understood to be Charity, or compassion for the miserable; who said to him "I am the eldest daughter of the great King. If you enjoy my favor, I will introduce you to the great monarch of the universe. No one has so great an interest with him as myself, who was the occasion of his coming down from heaven to become man for the redemption of mankind." When the Persians had plundered the East, and sacked Jerusalem, St. John entertained all that fled from their swords into Egypt; and sent to Jerusalem, for the use of the poor there, besides a large sum of money, one thousand sacks of corn, as many of pulse, one thousand pounds of iron, one thousand loads of fish, one thousand barrels of wine, and one thousand Egyptian workmen to assist in rebuilding the churches; adding, in his letter to Modestus, the bishop, that he wished it had been in his power to have gone in person, and contributed the labor of his hands towards carrying on that holy work. He also sent two bishops and an abbot to ransom captives. No number of necessitous objects, no losses, no straits to which he saw himself often reduced, discouraged him, or made him lose his confidence in divine providence, and resources never failed him in the end. When a certain person, whom he had privately relieved with a most bountiful alms, expressed his gratitude in the strongest terms, the saint cut him short, saying, "Brother, I have not yet spilt my blood for you, as Jesus Christ, my master and my God, commands me." A certain merchant, who had been thrice ruined by shipwrecks, had as often found relief from the good patriarch, who the third time gave him a ship belonging to the church, laden with twenty thousand measures of corn. This vessel was driven by a storm to the British Islands, and a famine raging there, the owners sold their cargo to great advantage, {205} and brought back a considerable value in exchange, one half in money, the other in pewter.

The patriarch lived himself in the greatest austerity and poverty, as to diet, apparel, and furniture. A person of distinction in the city, being informed that our saint had but one blanket on his bed, and this a very sorry one, sent him one of value, begging his acceptance of it, and that he would make use of it for the sake of the donor. He accepted of it, and put it to the intended use, but it was only for one night; and this he passed in great uneasiness, with severe self-reproaches for being so richly covered, while so many of his masters (his familiar term for the poor) were so ill accommodated. The next morning he sold it, and gave the price to the poor. The friend being informed of it, bought it for thirty-six pieces, and gave it him a second, and a third time; for the saint always disposed of it in the same way, saying facetiously, "We shall see who will be tired first." He was well versed in the scriptures, though a stranger to the pomp of profane eloquence. The functions of his ministry, prayer, and pious reading, employed his whole time. He studied with great circumspection to avoid the least idle word, and never chose to speak about temporal affairs, unless compelled by necessity, and then only in very few words. If he heard any detract from the reputation of their neighbor, he was ingenious in turning the discourse to some other subject, and he forbade them his house, to deter others from that vice. Hearing that when an emperor was chosen, it was customary for certain carvers to present to him four or five blocks of marble, to choose one out of them for his tomb, he caused his grave to be half dug, and appointed a man to come to him on all occasions of pomp, and say, "My lord, your tomb is unfinished; be pleased to give your orders to have it completed, for you know not the hour when death will seize you." The remembrance of the rigorous account which we are to give to God, made him often burst into the most pathetic expressions of holy fear. But humility was his distinguishing virtue, and he always expressed, both in words and actions, the deepest sentiments of his own nothingness, sinfulness, miseries, and pride. He often admired how perfectly the saints saw their own imperfections, and that they were dust, worms, and unworthy to be ranked among men.

The saint regarded injuries as his greatest gain and happiness. He always disarmed his enemies of their rancor by meekness, and frequently fell at the feet of those who insulted him, to beg their pardon. Nicetas, the governor, had formed a project of a new tax, very prejudicial to the poor. The patriarch modestly spoke in their defence. The governor in a passion left him abruptly. St. John sent him this message towards evening: "The sun is going to set:" putting him in mind of the advice of the apostle: Let not the sun go down upon your anger. This admonition had its intended effect on the governor, and pierced him to the quick. He arose, and went to the patriarch, bathed in tears, asked his pardon, and by way of atonement, promised never more to give ear to informers and tale-bearers. St. John confirmed him in that resolution, adding, that he never believed any man whatever against another, till he himself had examined the party accused; and that he punished all calumniators and tale-bearers in a manner which might deter others from so fatal a vice. Having in vain exhorted a certain nobleman to forgive one with whom he was at variance, he soon after invited him to his private chapel to assist at his mass, and there desired him to recite with him the Lord's prayer. The saint stopped at that petition; Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us. When the nobleman had recited it alone, he conjured him to reflect on what he had been saying to God at the hour of the tremendous mysteries, {206} begging to be pardoned in the same manner as he forgave others. The other, feeling himself struck to the heart, fell at his feet, and from that moment was sincerely reconciled with his adversary. The saint often exhorted men against rash judgment, saying, "Circumstances easily deceive us; magistrates are bound to examine and judge criminals; but what have private persons to do with others, unless it be to vindicate them?" He used to relate many examples of persons who were found innocent and eminent saints, though they had been condemned by the world upon circumstances; as that of a certain monk, who brought to that city a Jewess whom he had converted, but was accused as guilty of lewdness with her, and cruelly scourged; for he said nothing to justify himself, out of a desire of humiliation and suffering. But his innocence and sanctity were soon after brought to light. St. John employed Sophronius and John Moschus in reducing to the faith the Severians and other heretics. Observing that many amused themselves without the church, during part of the divine office, which was then of a very considerable length, he followed them out, and seated himself among them, saying, "My children, the shepherd must be with his flock." This action, which covered them with confusion, prevented their being guilty of that irreverence any more. As he was one day going to church, he was accosted on the way by a woman who demanded justice against her son-in-law that had injured her. The woman being ordered by some standers-by to wait the patriarch's return from church, he overhearing them, said, "How can I hope that God will hear my prayer, if I put off the petition of this woman?" Nor did he stir from the place till he had redressed the grievance complained of.

Nicetas, the governor, persuaded the saint to accompany him to Constantinople, to pay a visit to the emperor. St. John was admonished from heaven, while he was on his way, at Rhodes, that his death drew near, and said to Nicetas, "You invite me to the emperor of the earth; but the King of heaven calls me to himself." He therefore sailed for Cyprus, and soon after died happily at Amathus, about the year of our Lord 619, in the sixty-fourth of his age, and tenth of his patriarchal dignity. His body was afterwards carried to Constantinople, where it was kept a long time. The Turkish emperor made a present of it to Matthias, king of Hungary, which he deposited in his chapel at Buda. In 1530 it was translated to Tall, near Presbourg; and, in 1632, to the cathedral itself of Presbourg, where, according to Bollandus, it still remains. The Greeks honor this saint on the 11th of November, the day of his death; but the Roman Martyrology on the 23d of January, the day marked for the translation of his relics. His life, written by his two vicars, Sophronius and Moschus, is lost; but we have that by Leontius, bishop of Naplouse in Cyprus, from the relation of the saint's clergy, commended in the seventh general council. It is published more correct by Rosweide and Bollandus. We have another life of this saint, conformable to the former, given us by Metaphrastes. See Le Quien, Oriens Christi, t. 2, p. 446.


SHE suffered about the year 304, and is named in the Martyrologies under the name of St. Jerom, Bede, and others. She is said in her acts to have been stoned to death, while only a catechumen, praying at the tomb of St. Agnes.



HE suffered under Dioclesian, and is ranked by the Greeks among the great martyrs. His modern Greek acts say, his lingering martyrdom was continued by divers torments during twenty-eight years; but are demonstrated by Baronius and others to be of no authority. Two churches at Constantinople were dedicated to God under the invocation of St. Clement of Ancyra; one called of the Palace, the other now in Pera, a suburb of that city. Several parts of his relics were kept with great devotion at Constantinople. His skull, which was brought thence to Paris when Constantinople was taken by the Latins, in the thirteenth century, was given by queen Anne of Austria to the abbey of Val de Grace. See Chatelain, p. 386. Le Quien, Oriens Chr. t. 1, p. 457.


THE fellow-martyr of St. Clement, bishop of Ancyra. His relics, with those of St. Clement, lay in a church in the suburbs of Constantinople, now called Pera; but were brought into the West when that city was taken by the Latins.


HE was a learned Benedictin abbot of a monastery called Agaliense, in a suburb of Toledo, promoted to the archbishopric of that city after the death of Eugenius, in December, 657, according to F. Flores; sat nine years and two months, and died on the 23d of January, 667, according to the same learned author, in the eighteenth year of king Rescisvintho. His most celebrated work is a book On the spotless virginity of the Virgin Mary, against Helvidius, Jovinian, and a certain Jew: he breathes in it the most tender devotion to her, and confidence in her intercession with her Son. He had a singular devotion to St. Leocadia, patroness of Toledo. Certain sermons of St. Ildefonsus on the B. Virgin Mary, and some letters, are published by Flores.[1] Some of his letters, which were first given us by D'Achery, were reprinted by cardinal D'Aguirre.[2] In Spanish this saint is called Ildefonso, and by the common people Alanso, for Alphonsus, which is an abbreviation of Ildefonsus. See his short life by St. Julian, bishop of Toledo, twenty-three years after his death. In Mabillon, sæc. 2. Fleury, b. 39, n. 40. That by Cixila is not authentic. See especially the remarks of the learned F. Flores on these two lives, &c., in his Spana Sagrada, t. 5, tr. 5, c. 3, n. 31, p. 275, and app. 9, ib. p. 522. F. Flores reckons St. Ildefonsus the thirty-first bishop of Toledo, from St. Eugenius, the disciple of St. Dionysius of Paris, whom, with the writers of his country, he counts the first, in the year 112.

Footnotes: 1. F. Flores. Spana Sagrada, t. 5, append. 7, p. 490. 2. Card. D'Aguirre, Conc. Hispan. t. 2, p. 534.



HIS example was a perpetual and a most moving sermon, and his very countenance inspired all who beheld him with the love of virtue. He took nourishment but once in four days, but would not allow any of his monks to pass above two days without eating. He prescribed them mortifications of each sense in particular, but made perpetual prayer his chief rule, ordering them to implore the divine mercy in their hearts, in whatever labor their hands were employed. While Ammianus, who had resigned to him the government of the abbey, was one day reading aloud, out of the scriptures, for their mutual edification, Eusebius happened to cast his eye on certain laborers in the field where they sat, so as not to give due attention to the lecture: to punish himself for this slight fault, he put on, and wore till his death, for above forty years, a heavy iron collar about his neck, fastened by a stiff chain to a great iron girdle about his middle, so that he could only look downwards under his feet: and he never afterwards stirred out of his cell but by a narrow passage from his cell to the chapel. His sanctity drew many disciples to him. He flourished in the fourth century. See Theodoret Philoth. c. 4. Item Hist. Eccles. l. 4, c. 28.



See Tillemont, t. 2, p. 142.

ST. TIMOTHY, the beloved disciple of St. Paul, was of Lycaonia, and probably of the city Lystra. His father was a Gentile, but his mother Eunice a Jewess. She, with Lois his grandmother, embraced the Christian religion, and St. Paul commends their faith. Timothy had made the holy scriptures his study from his infancy.[1] When St. Paul preached in Lycaonia, in the year 51, the brethren of Iconium and Lystra gave him so advantageous a character of the young man, that the apostle, being deprived of St. Barnaby, took him for the companion of his labors, but first circumcised him at Lystra. For though the Jewish ceremonies ceased to be obligatory from the death of Christ, it was still lawful to use them (but not as of precept and obligation) till about the time of the destruction of Jerusalem with the temple, that the synagogue might be buried with honor. Therefore St. Paul refused to circumcise Titus, born of Gentile parents, to assert the liberty of the gospel, and to condemn those who erroneously affirmed circumcision to be still of precept in the New Law. On the other side, he circumcised Timothy, born of a Jewess, by that condescension to render him the more acceptable to the Jews, and to make it appear that himself was no enemy to their law. St. Chrysostom[2] here admires the prudence, steadiness, {209} and charity of St. Paul; and we may add, the voluntary obedience of the disciple. St. Austin[3] extols his zeal and disinterestedness in immediately forsaking his country, his house, and his parents, to follow this apostle, to share in his poverty and sufferings. After he was circumcised, St. Paul, by the imposition of hands, committed to him the ministry of preaching, his rare virtue making ample amends for his want of age. From that time the apostle regarded him not only as his disciple and most dear son, but as his brother, and the companion of his labors.[4] He calls him a man of God,[5] and tells the Philippians, that he found no one so truly united to him in heart and sentiments, as Timothy.[6] This esteem of the apostle is a sufficient testimony of the extraordinary merit of the disciple, whose vocation and entrance into the ministry was accompanied with prophecies in his behalf.[7]

St. Paul travelled from Lystra over the rest of Asia, sailed into Macedon, and preached at Philippi, Thessalonica, and Ber[oe]a, in the year 52. Being compelled to quit this last city by the fury of the Jews, he left Timothy behind him, to confirm the new converts there. On St. Paul's arrival at Athens he sent for him, but being informed that the Christians of Thessalonica lay under a very heavy persecution for the faith, he soon after deputed him to go thither, to comfort and encourage them under it; and he returned to St. Paul, then at Corinth, to give him an account of his success in that commission.[8] Upon this the apostle wrote his first epistle to the Thessalonians. From Corinth St. Paul went to Jerusalem, and thence to Ephesus, where he spent two years. Here he formed a resolution of returning into Greece, and sent Timothy and Erastus before him through Macedon, to apprize the faithful in those parts of his intention, and to prepare the alms intended to be sent the Christians of Jerusalem.

Timothy had a particular order to go afterwards to Corinth, to correct certain abuses, and to revive in the minds of the faithful there the doctrine which the apostle had taught them; who, writing soon after to the Corinthians, earnestly recommended this disciple to them.[9] St. Paul waited in Asia for his return, and then went with him into Macedon and Achaia. St. Timothy left him at Philippi, but rejoined him at Troas. The apostle on his return to Palestine was imprisoned, and after two years custody at Cæsarea, was sent to Rome. Timothy seems to have been with him all or most of this time, and is named by him in the titles of his epistles to Philemon, and to the Philippians and Thessalonians, in the years 61 and 62. St. Timothy himself suffered imprisonment for Christ, and gloriously confessed his name, in the presence of many witnesses; but was set at liberty.[10] He was ordained bishop by a prophecy, and a particular order of the Holy Ghost.[11] He received by this imposition of hands, not only the grace of the sacrament, and the authority to govern the church, but also the power of miracles, and the other exterior gifts of the Holy Ghost. St. Paul being returned from Rome into the East, in the year 64, left St. Timothy at Ephesus, to govern that church, to oppose false teachers, and to ordain priests, deacons, and even bishops.[12] For St. Chrysostom[13] and other fathers observe, that he committed to him the care of all the churches of Asia: and St. Timothy is always named the first bishop of Ephesus.[14]

St. Paul wrote his first epistle to Timothy from Macedon, in 64; and his second, in 65, from Rome, while there in chains, to press him to come to Rome, that he might see him again before he died. It is an effusion of his heart, full of tenderness towards this his dearest son. In it he encourages {210} him, endeavors to renew and stir up in his soul that spirit of intrepidity, and that fire of the Holy Ghost, with which he was filled at his ordination; gives him instructions concerning the heretics of that time, and adds a lively description of such as would afterwards arise.[15]

We learn[16] that St. Timothy drank only water: but his austerities having prejudiced his health, on account of his weak stomach and frequent infirmities, St. Paul ordered him to use a little wine. The fathers observe that he only says a little, even in that necessity, because the flesh is to be kept weak, that the spirit may be vigorous and strong. St. Timothy was then young: perhaps about forty. It is not improbable that he went to Rome to confer with his master. In the year 64 he was made by St. Paul bishop of Ephesus, before St. John arrived there, who resided also in that city as an apostle, and exercising a general inspection over all the churches of Asia.[17] St. Timothy is styled a martyr in the ancient martyrologies.

His acts, in some copies ascribed to the famous Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus, but which seem to have been written at Ephesus, in the fifth or sixth age, and abridged by Photius, relate, that under the emperor Nerva, in the year 97, St. John being still in the isle of Patmos, St. Timothy was slain with stones and clubs by the heathens, while he was endeavoring to oppose their idolatrous ceremonies on one of their festivals called Catagogia, kept on the 22d of January, on which the idolaters walked in troops, every one carrying in one hand an idol, and in the other a club. St. Paulinus,[18] Theodorus Lector, and Philostorgius,[19] inform us, that his relics were with great pomp translated to Constantinople in the year 356, in the reign of Constantius. St. Paulinus witnesses, that the least portion of them wrought many miracles wherever they were distributed. These precious remains, with those of St. Andrew. and St. Luke, were deposited under the altar, in the church of the apostles in that city, where the devils, by their howlings, testified how much they felt their presence, says St. Jerom;[20] which St. Chrysostom also confirms.[21]

* * * * *

Pious reading was the means by which St. Timothy, encouraged by the example and exhortations of his virtuous grandmother and mother, imbibed in his tender years, and nourished during the whole course of his life, the most fervent spirit of religion and all virtues; and his ardor for holy reading and meditation is commended by St. Paul, as the proof of his devotion and earliest desire of advancing in divine charity. When this saint was wholly taken up in the most laborious and holy functions of the apostolic ministry, that great apostle strongly recommends to him always to be assiduous in the same practice,[22] and in all exercises of devotion. A minister of the gospel who neglects regular exercises of retirement, especially self-examination, reading, meditation, and private devotion, forgets his first and most essential duty, the care he owes to his own soul. Neither can he hope to kindle the fire of charity in others, if he suffer it to be extinguished {211} in his own breast. These exercises are also indispensably necessary in a certain degree, in all states and circumstances of life; nor is it possible for a Christian otherwise to maintain a spirit of true piety, which ought to animate the whole body of all his actions, and without which even spiritual functions want as it were their soul.

Footnotes: 1. 2 Tim. iii. 15. 2. Præf. in 1 Tim. 3. Serm. 177, n. 7. 4. 1 Thess. iii. 2. 1 Cor. iv. 17. 5. 1 Tim. vi. 11. 6. Phil. ii. 20. 7. 1 Tim. i. 18. 8. Acts xviii. 9. 1 Cor. xvi. 10. 10. Heb. xiii. 23. 11. 1 Tim. iv. 14. 12. 1 Tim. {}. 13. Hom. 15, in 1 Tim. 14. Eus. l. 3, c. {} Conc. t. 4, p. 699. 15. 2 Tim. iii. 1, 2. 16. 1 Tim. v. 23. 17. In the Apocalypse, which was written in the year 95, Christ threatens the bishop of Ephesus, because he was fallen from his first charity, and exhorts him to do penance and return to his first works. (Apoc. xi. 4.) Calmet says, that this bishop could be no other than St. Timothy; Pererius, Cornelieus à Lapide, Grotius, Alcazar, Bossuet, and other learned men, agree in this point; also Tillemont, t. 2, p. 147, and Bollandus ad 21 Jan. pp. 563 & 564. Nicholas à Lyra and Ribera cannot be persuaded that St. Timothy ever deserved such a censure, unless we understand it only of his flock. The others say, he might have fallen into some venial remissness in not reprehending the vices of others with sufficient vigor; which fault he repaired, upon this admonition, with such earnestness, as to have given occasion to his martyrdom, in 97. He was succeeded in the see of Ephesus by John I., who was consecrated by St. John Evangelist. (See Consitut. Apostol. l. 8, c. 46.) Onesiumus was third bishop of Ephesus. See Le Quien Oriens. Chris. t. 1, p. 672. 18. Carm. 26. 19. L. 3, c. 2. 20. In Vigilant. c. 2. 21. Hom. 1, ad Pop. Antioch. 22. 1 Tim. iv. 7 and 13.


From St. Chrysostom, l. contra Gentiles de S. Babylâ, and hom. de S. Babylâ, t. 2, ed. Ben. p. 531. He wrote the first discourse against the Gentiles, expressly to confound them by the miracles of this saint. He spoke the second five years after, in 3871 on St. Babylas's feast, before a numerous auditory, and mentions Flavian, the bishop of Antioch, and others, who were to speak after him on the same subject. The miracles were recent, performed before the eyes of many then present. Nome of the three acts of this saint in Bollandus can be authentic. See Tillemont, Mem. t. 3, p. 400, and Hist. des Empereurs, t. 3, and F. Merlin. Dissertation contre M. Bayle sur ce que rapporte S. Chrysostome du Martyre de S. Babylas, Mem. de Trevoux, Juin 1737, p. 1051. Also Stilting, the Bollandist, in Vit. S. Chrysost. §15. p 439, ad 14 Septemb. t. 4.

About the year 250.

THE most celebrated of the ancient bishops of Antioch, after St. Ignatius, was St. Babylas, who succeeded Zebinus in the year 237, and governed that church with great zeal and virtue, about thirteen years, under the emperors Gordian, Philip, and Decius. Philip, an Arabian by birth, and of mean extraction, raised by the young emperor Gordian to be prefect of the prætorian guards, perfidiously murdered his master at the head of his victorious army in Persia, and caused himself to be acknowledged emperor by the senate and people of Rome, in the year 244. We have very imperfect histories of his reign. Eusebius says that he abolished the public stews and promiscuous bathing in Rome, which Alexander Severus, the most virtuous of the heathen emperors, had in vain attempted to do. The same historian adds, it was averred[1] that Philip, being a Christian, subjected himself to canonical penance at Antioch, where being arrived on the eve of a great festival, as the chronicle of Alexandria relates, he presented himself at the Christian oratory, with his wife; but being excluded by the bishop, with a meek rebuke for his crimes, he made his exomologesis, or confession, and ranked himself among the penitents without doors. St. Jerom, Vincent of Lerins, Orosius, and others, positively affirm that this emperor was a Christian: and Eusebius, Rufinus, St. Jerom, Vincent of Lerins, and Syncellus say, that Origen wrote two letters, one to the emperor Philip, another to his wife, with an authority which the Christian priesthood gave him over emperors.

Philip assisted at the heathenish solemnity of the thousandth year of Rome; but his presence was necessary on that occasion, nor is he said to have offered sacrifice. He was indeed a bad Christian, and probably only a catechumen, an ambitious and cruel tyrant, who procured the death of Misitheus, father-in-law of Gordian, murdered Gordian himself to usurp his empire, and put to death the young prince, son of the king of Persia, of the Parthians, left a hostage in his hands: circumstances mentioned by St. Chrysostom. Having reigned something upwards of five years, he was slain with his son Philip, his colleague in the empire, by Decius, about the middle of the year 249. The peace and favor which the church had enjoyed during his reign, had much increased her numbers, but had relaxed the fervor of many, as we see in St. Cyprian's works, and in the life of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus. Whole cities had embraced the faith, and public {212} churches were erected. Decius equally hated the Philips and the Christian religion, against which he published the most cruel edicts in the year 250; which caused the seventh general persecution, permitted by God to purge away the dross to his flock, and to awake them to fervor.

St. Chrysostom extols the courage and zeal of St. Babylas, in shutting the church-doors against an emperor and a barbarous tyrant, then at the head of a victorious army. We find Philip styled conqueror of the Parthians, in an inscription in Gruter,[2] by which he seems to have returned triumphant, though Zonoras pretends he had bought a peace. Eusebius mentions it as a report, that the emperor received the bishop's rebuke with meekness, and submitted to public penance: but St. Chrysostom insinuates, that the same tyrant, in a rage for being refused admittance, threw St. Babylas into a dungeon, where he soon died. St. Jerom says that Decius imprisoned him, which seems the true account. F. Stilting thinks that Decius, after being proclaimed emperor in Pannonia, marched first against Philip, and when he was slain, led his army into Syria, where Priscus, Philip's brother, commanded the troops of those parts, and Jotapian about that time assumed the purple, but was soon crushed. At this time he doubts not but Decius was forbid by St. Babylas to enter the church, because he was an idolater, and had perfidiously murdered a prince who was the son of some king of a nation of barbarians, who had sent him as a hostage to that tyrant. For many transactions of that time are not recorded by the Roman historians. At least it seems to have been under Decius that St. Babylas consummated his martyrdom by the hardships of his prison: and when dying, ordered his chains to be buried with him, as the happy instruments and marks of his triumph. The Christians built a church over his tomb. His body rested here about one hundred years, till 351, when Gallus Cæsar translated it to Daphne, five miles from Antioch, to oppose the worship of a famous idol of Apollo, which gave oracles in that place. Gallus erected a church, sacred to the name of St. Babylas, near the profane temple, and placed in it his venerable ashes in a shrine above ground. The neighborhood of the martyr's relics struck the devil dumb, as is averred by St. Chrysostom. Theodoret,[3] Sozomen, and others, who triumph over the pagans on this account.[4] Eleven years after, Julian the Apostate came to Antioch, in the year 362, and by a multitude of sacrifices endeavored to learn of the idol the cause of his silence. At length the fiend gave him to understand, that the neighborhood was full of dead bones, which must be removed before he could be at rest and disposed to give answers. Julian understood this of the body of St. Babylas, and commanded that the Christians should immediately remove his shrine to some distant place; but not touch the other dead bodies. Thus do the fathers and Christian historians of that age relate this miracle.[5] The Christians obeyed the order, and with great solemnity carried back in procession the sacred relics to Antioch, singing on this occasion the psalms which ridicule the vanity and feebleness of idols, repeating after every verse: "May they who adore idols and glory in false gods, blush with shame and be covered with confusion." The following evening, lightning fell on the temple of Apollo, and reduced to ashes all the rich and magnificent ornaments with which it was embellished, and the idol itself, leaving only the walls standing. Julian, the emperor's uncle, {213} and governor of the East, upon this news hastened to Daphne, and endeavored by tortures to compel the priests to confess if the accident had happened by any negligence, or by the interposition of the Christians: but it was clearly proved by the testimony of these very priests, and also by that of several peasants who saw the fire fall from heaven, that lightning was the cause. The Apostate durst not restore the idol lest the like thunder should fall on his own head: but he breathed nothing but fury against the Christians in general, more especially against those of Antioch, the fatal effects of which he intended they should feel at his return from the Persian war. Vain projects against God, who defeated them by his unhappy death in that expedition! The ruins of this temple remained in the same condition above twenty years after. The Roman Martyrology, with that of St. Jerom and others of the West, celebrate the memory of St. Babylas on the 24th of January, but the Greeks on the 4th of September, together with three children martyred with him, as St. Chrysostom and others mention. His body is said to be now at Cremona, brought from the East in the crusades. St. Babylas is the titular saint of many churches in Italy, France, and Spain.

1. [Greek: Touton katexei xristianon honta] Eus. l. 6, c. 3.
2. P. 273.
3. Theodoret l. 3. Hist. c. 6, and de Græcor. Affect. l. 10. Rufin.
4. St. Chrysostom has given us the lamentation of Libanius, the
    celebrated heathen sophist, bewailing the silence of Apollo at
    Daphne; adding that Julian had delivered him from the neighborhood
    of a dead man, which was troublesome to him.
5. Ammianus Marcellinus, a heathen, and Julian's own historian, says b.
    2, p. 225, that he caused all the bones of dead men to be taken away
    to purify the place.


WHO gave all things, even the herbs out of his garden, to the poor. He was martyred by the Lombards in the seventh century, and his relics were famed for miracles.[1]

Footnotes: 1. St. Greg. Dial. l. 4, c. 22.


HE lived forty years on barley moistened in water, till finding his health impaired, he ate bread, reflecting that it was not lawful for him to shorten his life to shun labors and conflicts, as he told the mother of Theodoret; persuading her, when in a bad state of health, to use a proper food, which he said was physic to her. Theodoret relates many miraculous cures of sick persons, and of his own mother among them, by water on which he had made the sign of the cross, and that his own birth was the effect of his prayers, after his mother had lived childless in marriage thirteen years.[1] {214} The saint died, ninety years old, and is named in the Greek menologies. See Theodoret, Hist. Eccles. l. 5, c. 19, and Philotheæ, c. 13. St. Chrysost. hom. 17, ad Pop. Antioch.

Footnotes: 1. The great Theodoret was dedicated to God by his parents before he was born, and was educated in the study of every true branch of Syriac, Greek, and Hebrew learning. He gave a large estate to the poor, and entered a monastery near Apamea, but was taken out of it against his will, and consecrated bishop of Cyrus in 423, being very young. He converted all the Marcionites, Arians, and other heretics in his diocese, in which he reckons eight hundred churches, or parishes. (Ep. 113, p. 987.) Cyrus was a very small poor town in a desert country, eighty miles from Antioch, one hundred and twenty from Apamea, and one hundred and seventeen from Samosata. Though Theodoret lived in great poverty, he enriched the poor and the churches, and built for his city an aqueduct, two large bridges, porticoes, and baths. In 430 pope Celestin and St. Cyril of Alexandria wrote to John, patriarch of Antioch, against Nestorius, who on his side sent an orthodox letter to the same prelate: soon after St. Cyril wrote his third letter to Nestorius, to which he subjoined twelve anathematisms against the errors of Nestorius. In this writing certain obscure phrases occur, which John of Antioch thought favorable to the heresy of Apollinaris: whereupon he engaged Theodoret to undertake a confutation of them. Theodoret carried on this contest with great warmth in several writings, and when the ecumenical council of Ephesus was assembled in 431, refused, with John of Antioch, and the rest of the forty Oriental bishops, to enter it, because Nestorius had been condemned in it on the 21st of June, before they arrived at Ephesus on the 27th. They even went so far as to pretend to excommunicate St. Cyril, and form a schism in the church. F. Garnier, the most declared enemy to Theodoret among the moderns, lays to his charge several things, of which Tillemont and others clear him. It is certain that he wrote with great bitterness against St. Cyril, and his anathematisms, as appears from the works which he wrote upon that occasion, especially certain letters and fragments of his Pentalogus, (or work in five books, against St. Cyril,) still extant. But St. Cyril having made a clear confession of his faith in a letter to Acacius of Ber[oe]a, Theodoret loudly declared him orthodox, and this he proved even in letters which he wrote to Nestorius himself, and to Alexander of Hierapolis, his own metropolitan, the warmest of all St. Cyril's enemies. John of Antioch and many others made their peace with St. Cyril, about the month of April. In 433, Theodoret stood out some time longer, by refusing to condemn the person of Nestorius. St. Cyril and John of Antioch afterwards admitted him to their communion without requiring that condition, and Theodoret labored to gain over Alexander of Hierapolis; but in vain, so that this prelate was banished by the emperor; Theodoret himself, though he enjoyed the communion of St. Cyril, and of John of Antioch, was often accused, because he persisted to defend the person of Nestorius. The persecution was often renewed against Theodoret, so long as he adhered to Nestorius, especially after St. Cyril, St. Proclus, and all the western prelates condemned the writings of Theodorus of Mopsuestia, as the master of the heresiarch Nestorius in his capital error. The Orientals defended Theodorus, and Theodoret endeavored to justify him by several writings against St. Cyril, of which only fragments quoted in the fifth council are extant. St. Cyril, by his silence and moderation, calmed this dispute, and always maintained peace with the Orientals from the time it was settled between them. His death happened in June, 444, and Dioscorus, the impious Eutychian, was his successor. Theodorus, bishop of Mopsuestia, in Cilicia, who died in 428, in his erroneous writings laid the foundation both of the Pelagian and Nestorian heresies. Theodoret, in his writings against St. Cyril, adopts certain expressions which favored Nestorianism, and were condemned in the fifth general council; nevertheless, his sentiments were always orthodox, as is proved by Tillemont, (Art. 20, t. 15, p. 253,) Natalis Alexander, Graveson, &c. By exerting his zeal against Eutyches and Dioscorus, he incurred the indignation of their sect, and the false council of Ephesus pronounced a pretended sentence of deposition against him. Theodosius the younger first forbade him to stir out of his diocese, and when he desired to go to Rome to justify himself, in 450, banished him to his monastery near Apamea. The emperor Marcian put an end to the persecution raised by the Eutychians under his predecessor; yet Theodoret chose to continue in his monastery till he was called by pope Leo to assist at the council of Chalcedon. He had received, with great applause, the excellent letter of that pope to Flavian, and St. Leo declared null all the proceedings of Dioscorus against him at Ephesus, and restored him to his see, (Conc. t. 4, p. 622.) The council of Chalcedon met in 451, and in the seventh session, held on the 26th of October, Theodoret presented his request that his writings and faith might be examined. Those who were prepossessed against him would not allow any such examination, but required that he should anathematize Nestorius, which he at length did; and the council, with high commendations, declared him orthodox, and worthy of his see. Marcian, by a law published the following year, annulled the edict of Theodosius against him and Flavian. He died at Cyrus, about the year 458. The heresy of Nestorius he had clearly condemned from the beginning, with John of Antioch, in their exhortatory letter to Nestorius, (Conc. t. 3, p. 394). What mistakes and faults he fell into he cancelled by his edifying repentance; and the great virtues which he practised even under his disgrace, the extent of his learning, and the sublimity and acuteness of his genius, have established his reputation in all succeeding ages, and he is deservedly ranked among the must illustrious fathers of the church. His excellent writings are the most authentic monuments of his extraordinary learning and piety. He modestly compares himself (Proleg. in Osee. t. 2, p. 700) to the Jewish poor women, who in the building of the tabernacle, having neither gold nor silver to give to God towards this work, picked and gathered together the hair, thread, or cloths, contributed by others, or spun, or sewed something, not to be found quite empty-handed. St. Chrysostom was taken away from Antioch in 397, and Theodoret was only born about the year 393: but though he had not the happiness of hearing his divine discourses, he took him for his principal model, and especially in his comments on the scriptures usually adhered to those of that incomparable doctor. His works were printed at Paris, in 1642, in four volumes in folio, to which F. Garnier, a learned Jesuit, in 1684, added a fifth under the title of an Auctarium, containing certain letters and discourses of this father, with several prolix historical dissertations on the Nestorian heresy. The judicious F. Sirmond, far more equitable than F. Garnier. admires Theodoret's brevity, joined with great perspicuity, especially in his commentaries, and commends the pleasing beauty and attic elegance of his style. Photius praises his fruitfulness of invention, the purity of his language, the choice of his words, and the smoothness and neatness of his style, in which he finds everywhere a decent and noble elevation, though he thinks his metaphors sometimes too bold. This great critic calls his method of short notes the most accomplished model for interpreting the holy scriptures, and mentions, as an instance of his sincere humility, that he never employs a single word, or produces a quotation for ostentation, never falling into digressions foreign to his purpose; we may almost say, that a superfluous word scarce ever escapes him. (Phot. Cod. 203, p. 526. Cod. 31, 46, 56.)

His comments on St. Paul, and on most of the books of the old Testament, are concise literal, and solid, but contain not that inexhausted and excellent treasure of morality which we find in St. Chrysostom, whose commentaries Theodoret had always before him: this latter excels chiefly on the prophets. His church history, in five books, from the close of that of Eusebius in 324 to 429, is a valuable compilation. Photius justly prefers his style to that of Eusebius, Evagrius, Socrates, and Sozomen, as more historical, clear, and lofty, without any redundancy. (Cod. 31) His religious history, or Philothea, (i.e. History of the Friends of God,) contains the lives of thirty monks and anchorets of his time. He was himself an eye-witness to several of the miracles which he relates to have been wrought by the sign of the cross, holy water, and blessed oil. Of some other miracles which he mentions, he tells us that they were so authentic and notorious that no one who believes those of Moses, Elias, and the Apostles, could deny them. The five books, Of Heretical Fables, are a history of ancient heresies which he wrote at the request of Sporacius, one of the imperial commissaries at the council of Chalcedon, who was consul in 452. In the fourth book, he inveighs most bitterly against Nestorius, whom he had for some time unwarily favored. The letters of Theodoret which are extant, amount to the number of 146. His book Against the twelve Anthematisms of St. Cyril, he tacitly recalled by his condemnation of Nestorius; also his Pentalogus on the same subject, which is now lost, except some fragments preserved by Marius Mercator. His three dialogues against the Eutychians, he entitled Polymorphus, (i.e. of many shapes,) and Eranistes, that is, the Beggar, because the Eutychian error was gathered from the various heresies of Marcian, Valentin, Arius, and Apollinaris. The first dialogue he calls the Unchangeable, because in it he shows that the divine Word suffered no change by becoming man. The second is entitled The Inconfused, from the subject, which is to prove that in Christ, after the Incarnation, the divine and human nature remain really distinct. The third is called, The Impassible, because in it the author demonstrates that the divinity neither did nor could suffer; the same is the purport of his Demonstration by syllogisms. The dialogues were written about the year 447; for the author clearly confutes Eutyches, though he never names him; and it appears that St. Cyril was then dead, the author reckoning him in the end among the Catholic doctors, who had formerly flourished in the church, and among the stars which had enlightened the world. (Dial. 2. p. 86, and 111.)

Theodoret's ten sermons On Providence, is a work never yet paralleled by any other writer, ancient or modern, on that sublime subject; whether we consider the matter and the choice of thoughts, or the author's sincere piety, or his extensive knowledge, and the depth of his philosophical inquiries, or the strength and solidity of his reasoning, or the noble sublimity of the expression, and the elegance and perspicuity of the diction. It was the love of God which engaged him to undertake, in this task, the defence of the cause of our best Father and supreme Lord, as he modestly assures us, (p. 320,) and this motive animated him with fresh life and uncommon vigor in exerting and displaying the strength and beauty of his genius on so great a subject.

His twelve discourses On healing the Prejudices of the Greeks, are an excellent apology for our faith against the pagans; a performance which falls little short of the former. In it we meet with many curious anecdotes relating to the heathenish theology of the ancients, and the impiety and vices with which their philosophers disgraced their profession. In the eighth of these discourses, which is entitled, On the Martyrs, he clearly demonstrates that the veneration which Christians pay to the saints in heaven, is entirely different from the worship which the heathens give to their false gods, and elegantly explains (pp. 591, 660, 606) in what manner the souls of the martyrs now in heaven, with the choirs of angels, are our protectors and mediators with God, the physicians of our bodies, and savers of our souls: the portions of their divided relics are the guard and protection of our cities, which through their intercession with God obtain divine gifts: Christians give their names to their children to put these under their patronage: it was a custom to hang up before their shrines, gold or silver images of eyes, feet, or hands, as tokens or memorials of health, or other benefits received by their means: they keep their festivals, as those of Peter, Paul, Thomas, Sergius, Marcellus, Leontius, Panteleemon, Antoninus, Mauritius, and others, in prayer, divine canticles, and holy sermons. The same he testifies in his other works. Almost every life of holy monks which he wrote, he closes by imploring their intercession, and mentions that as far as Rome, handicraftsman hang up in their shops the picture of St. Simeon Stylites, hoping by their devotion to share in the protection of his prayers. (Philoth. c. 26, p. 862.) We learn from, him, that Christians were always accustomed to make the sign of the cross on the cup before they drank. (Hist. Eccl. l. 3, c. 13.) He often extols the virtues of that holy sign, honored, as he says, by all Christians, whether Greeks, Romans, or Barbarians, (Serm. 6, de Prov. p. 580, t. 4,) and he relates, (Hist. Eccl. l. 3. c. 1,) that Julian the Apostate, by making it in a fright, drove away the devils which one of his enchanters was invoking. His book in praise of virginity, to which he refers us, (on 1 Cor. vii. 33.) is lost; also the book in which he confuted both Eutyches and Nestorius, which is mentioned by Gennadius (c. 89) and Marcellinus. (ad an. 466.) His book Against the Jews, and several others, have not reached us. Among those which are extant his Octateuch, (or comments on the five books of Moses, and those of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth,) to which he added comments on the books of Kings and Paralipomenon, much commended by Photius, seems to be the last work which he wrote. See Tillem. t. 15. Ceillier.



CADOC was son to Gundleus, a prince of South Wales, by his wife Gladusa, daughter of Braghan, whose name wax given to the province now called Brecknockshire. His parents were not less ennobled by their virtues than by their blood, and his father, who some years before his death renouncing the world, led an eremitical life near a country church which he had built, was honored in Wales among the saints. Cadoc, who was his eldest son, succeeded in the government, but not long after followed his father's example; and embracing a religious life, put himself under the direction of St. Tathai, an Irish monk, who had opened a famous school at Gwen{t}, the ancient Venta Silurum of the Romans, afterwards a bishop's see, now in ruins in Monmouthshire. Our saint made such progress both in learning and virtue, that when he returned into Glamorganshire, his own country, he spread on every side the rays of his wisdom and sanctity. Here, three miles from Cowbridge, he built a church and a monastery, which was called Llan-carvan, or the Church of Stags, and sometimes Nancarvan, that is, the Vale of Stags. The school which he established in this place became most illustrious, and fruitful in great and holy men. By our saint's persuasion St. Iltut renounced the court and the world, and learned at Llan-carvan that science which he preferred to all worldly treasures. He afterwards founded the great monastery of Llan-Iltut. These two monasteries and that of St. Docuinus, all situated in the diocese of Landaff, were very famous for many ages, and were often governed by abbots of great eminence. St. Gildas, after his return from Ireland, entered the monastery of St. Cadoc, where he taught for one year, and copied a book of the gospels, which was long preserved with great care in the church of St. Cadoc, and highly reverenced by the Welsh, who used it in their most solemn oaths and covenants. After spending there one year, St. Gildas and St. Cadoc left Llan-carvan, being desirous to live in closer retirement. They hid themselves first in the islands of Ronech and Echni. An ancient life of St. Cadoc tells us, that he died at Benevenna, which is the {216} Roman name of a place now called Wedon, in Northamptonshire. Some moderns take it for Benevento, in Italy, where they suppose him to have died. Chatelain imagines this St. Cadoc to be the same who is honored at Rennes, under the name of Cadoc, or Caduad, and from whom a small island on the coast of Vennes is called Enes-Caduad. St. Cadoc flourished in the beginning of the sixth century, and was succeeded in the abbacy of Llan-carvan, by Ellenius, "an excellent disciple of an excellent master," says Leland. See the Acts of St. Cadoc, in Capgrave; Usher's Antiquities, c. 13, p. 252. Chatelain's Notes on the. Martyr. p. 399.



See Tillemont, t. 1, p. 192.

THIS great apostle was a Jew, of the tribe of Benjamin. At his circumcision, on the eighth day after his birth, he received the name of Saul. His father was by sect a Pharisee, and a denizen of Tarsus, the capital of Cilicia: which city had shown a particular regard for the cause of the Cæsars; on which account Cassius deprived it of its privileges and lands; but Augustus, when conqueror, made it ample amends by honoring it with many new privileges, and with the freedom of Rome, as we read in the two Dions and Appian. Hence St. Paul, being born at Tarsus, was by privilege a Roman citizen, to which quality a great distinction and several exemptions were granted by the laws of the empire.[1] His parents sent him young to Jerusalem, where he was educated and instructed in the strictest observance of the law of Moses, by Gamaliel,[2] a learned and noble Jew, and probably a member of the Sanhedrim; and was a most scrupulous observer of it in every point. He appeals even to his enemies to bear evidence how conformable to it his life had been in every respect.[3] He embraced the sect of the Pharisees, which was of all others the most severe, though by its pride the most opposite to the humility of the gospel.[4] It was a rule among the Jews that all their children were to learn some trade with their studies, were it but to avoid idleness, and to exercise the body, as well as the mind, in something serious.[5] It is therefore probable that Saul learned in his youth the trade which he exercised even after his apostleship, of making tents.[6]

Saul, surpassing all his equals in zeal for the Jewish law and their traditions, which he thought the cause of God, became thereby a, blasphemer, a persecutor, and the most outrageous enemy of Christ.[7] He was one of those who combined to murder St. Stephen, and by keeping the garments of all who stoned that holy martyr, he is said by St. Austin to have stoned him by the hands of all the rest;[8] to whose prayers for his enemies he ascribes {217} the conversion of St. Paul:[9] "If Stephen," said he, "had not prayed, the church would never have had St. Paul."

After the martyrdom of the holy deacon, the priests and magistrates of the Jews raised a violent persecution against the church at Jerusalem, in which Saul signalized himself above others. By virtue of the power he had received from the high priest, he dragged the Christians out of their houses, loaded them with chains, and thrust them into prison.[10] He procured them to be scourged in the synagogues, and endeavored by torments to compel them to blaspheme the name of Christ. And as our Saviour had always been represented by the leading men of the Jews as an enemy to their law, it was no wonder that this rigorous Pharisee fully persuaded himself that he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.[11] By the violences he committed, his name became everywhere a terror to the faithful. The persecutors not only raged against their persons, but also seized their estates and what they possessed in common,[12] and left them in such extreme necessity, that the remotest churches afterwards thought it incumbent on them to join in charitable contributions to their relief. All this could not satisfy the fury of Saul; he breathed nothing but threats and the slaughter of the other disciples.[13] Wherefore, in the fury of his zeal, he applied to the high priest and Sanhedrim for a commission to take up all Jews at Damascus who confessed Jesus Christ, and bring them bound to Jerusalem, that they might serve as public examples for the terror of others. But God was pleased to show forth in him his patience and mercy; and, moved by the prayers of St. Stephen and his other persecuted servants, for their enemies, changed him, in the very heat of his fury, into a vessel of election, and made him a greater man in his church by the grace of the apostleship, than St. Stephen had ever been, and a more illustrious instrument of his glory. He was almost at the end of his journey to Damascus, when about noon, he and his company were on a sudden surrounded by a great light from heaven, brighter than the sun.[14] They all saw the light, and being struck with amazement, fell to the ground. Then Saul heard a voice, which to him was articulate and distinct; but not understood, though heard by the rest:[15] Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute me? Christ said not: Why dost thou persecute my disciples? but me: for it is he, their head, who is chiefly persecuted in his servants. Saul answered: Who art thou, Lord? Christ said: Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the goad: "to contend with one so much mightier than thyself. By persecuting my church you make it flourish, and only prick and hurt yourself." This mild expostulation of our Redeemer, accompanied with a powerful interior grace, strongly affecting his soul, cured his pride, assuaged his rage, and wrought at once a total change in him. Wherefore, trembling and astonished, he cried out: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? What to repair the past? What to promote your glory? I make a joyful oblation of myself to execute your will in every thing, and to suffer for your sake afflictions, disgraces, persecutions, torments, and every sort of death. The true convert expressed this, not in a bare form of words, nor with faint languid desires, nor with any exception lurking in the secret recesses of his heart; but with an entire sacrifice of himself, and an heroic victory over the world with its frowns and charms, over the devils with their snares and threats, and over himself and all inclinations of self-love; devoting himself totally to God. A {218} perfect model of a true conversion, the greatest work of almighty grace! Christ ordered him to arise and proceed on his journey to the city, where he should be informed of what he expected from him. Christ would not instruct him immediately by himself, but, St. Austin observes,[16] sent him to the ministry[17] which he had established in the church, to be directed in the way of salvation by those whom he had appointed for that purpose. He would not finish the conversion and instruction of this great apostle, whom he was pleased to call in so wonderful a manner, but by remitting him to the guidance of his ministers; showing us thereby that his holy providence has so ordered it, that all who desire to serve him, should seek his will by listening to those whom he has commanded us to hear, and whom he has sent in his own name and appointed to be our guides. So perfectly would he abolish in his servants all self-confidence and presumption, the source of error and illusion. The convert, rising from the ground, found that, though his eyes were open, he saw nothing. Providence sent this corporal blindness to be an emblem of the spiritual blindness in which he had lived, and to signify to him that he was henceforward to die to the world, and learn to apply his mind totally to the contemplation of heavenly things. He was led by the hand into Damascus, whither Christ seemed to conduct him in triumph. He was lodged in the house of a Jew named Judas, where he remained three days blind, and without eating or drinking. He doubtless spent his time in great bitterness of soul, not yet knowing what God required of him. With what anguish he bewailed his past blindness and false zeal against the church, we may conjecture both from his taking no nourishment during those three days, and from the manner in which he ever after remembered and spoke of his having been a blasphemer and a persecutor. Though the entire reformation of his heart was not gradual, as in ordinary conversions, but miraculous in the order of grace, and perfect in a moment; yet a time of probation and a severe interior trial (for such we cannot doubt but he went through on this occasion) was necessary to crucify the old man and all other earthly sentiments in his heart, and to prepare it to receive the extraordinary graces which God designed him. There was a Christian of distinction in Damascus, much respected by the Jews for his irreproachable life and great virtue; his name was Ananias. Christ appeared to this holy disciple; and commanded him to go to Saul, who was then in the house of Judas at prayer: Ananias trembled at the name of Saul, being no stranger to the mischief he had done in Jerusalem, or to the errand on which he was set out to Damascus. But our Redeemer overruled his fears, and charged him a second time to go to him, saying: Go, for he is a vessel of election to carry my name before Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel: and I will show him how much he has to suffer for my name. For tribulation is the test and portion of all the true servants of Christ. Saul in the mean time saw in a vision a man entering, and laying his hands upon him, to restore his sight. Ananias, obeying the divine order, arose, went to Saul, and laying his hands upon him, said: Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to thee on thy journey, hath sent me that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he recovered his eyesight. Ananias added: The God of our fathers hath chosen thee that thou shouldst know his will and see the just one, and shouldst hear the voice from his mouth: and thou shalt be his witness unto all men to publish what thou hast seen and heard. Arise, therefore, be baptized and washed from thy sins, invoking the name of the Lord. Saul then arose, was baptized,{219} and took some refreshment. He stayed some few days with the disciples at Damascus, and began immediately to preach in the synagogues, that Jesus was the Son of God, to the great astonishment of all that heard him, who said: Is not this he who persecuted at Jerusalem those who invoked the name of Jesus, and who is come hither to carry them away prisoners? Thus a blasphemer and a persecutor was made an apostle, and chosen to be one of the principal instruments of God in the conversion of the world.

* * * * *

St. Paul never recalled to mind this his wonderful conversion, without raptures of gratitude and praise to the divine mercy. The church, in thanksgiving to God for such a miracle of his grace, from which it has derived such great blessings, and to commemorate so miraculous an instance of his almighty power, and to propose to penitents a perfect model of a true conversion, has instituted this festival, which we find mentioned in several calendars and missals of the eighth and ninth centuries, and which pope Innocent III. commanded to be observed with great solemnity. It was for some time kept a holy day of obligation in most churches in the West; and we read it mentioned as such in England in the council of Oxford in 1222, in the reign of king Henry III.[18]

Footnotes: 1. Acts, xxi. 29, xxii. 3. 2. Ibid. xxii. 3. 3. Ibid. xxvi. 4. 4. Ibid. xxvi. 5. 5. Rabbi Juda says, "That a parent, who neglects his duty, is as criminal as if he taught his son to steal." See Grotius and Sanctius on Acts xviii. 3. 6. These tents were for the use of soldiers and mariners, and were made of skins sewn together. {} think that his business was that of making tapestry and hangings for theatres. 7. Gal. i. 14. 8. Serm. 301. 9. Ibid. l. 16, c. 4. Acts, vi. 10. Acts, viii. 3, xxii. 4, xxvi. 10. 11. Acts, xxvi. 9. 12. Heb. x. 32. 13. Acts, x. 1. 14. Acts, ix. xiii. xxvi. 15. So the Greek word [Greek: akoein] is often used in scripture, as in J{} xiv. 2. And thus the text is very reconcilable with Acts. xxii. 9. 16. Qu. Evang. l. 2, c. 40, et præf. 1, de doctr. Christ. p. 32. 17. St. Austin doubts not but Ananias was a bishop, or at least a priest. The Greeks give him a place in their calendar on the 1st of October, and style him bishop of Damascus and martyr. 18. Conc. Labbe, t. xi. p. 274.


From the elegant panegyric of St. Chrysostom, t. 2, p. 578, ed. Montf., and from Theodoret, Hist. l. 3, c. 11.

A.D. 363.

THESE martyrs were two officers of distinction in the foot-guards of Julian the Apostate.[1] When that tyrant was on his march against the Persians, they let fall at table certain free reflections on his impious laws against the Christians, wishing rather for death than to see the profanation {220} of holy things. The emperor, being informed of this, sent for them, and finding that they could not be prevailed upon by any means to retract what they had said, nor to sacrifice to idols, he confiscated their estates, caused them to be cruelly scourged, and, some days after, to be beheaded in prison at Antioch, January the 25th, 363. The Christians, with the hazard of their lives, stole away their bodies, and after the death of Julian, who was slain in Persia on the 26th of June following, erected for them a magnificent tomb. On their festival St. Chrysostom pronounced their panegyric, in which he says of these martyrs: "They support the church as pillars, defend it as towers, and repel all assaults as rocks. Let us visit them frequently, let us touch their shrine, and embrace their relics with confidence, that we may obtain from thence some benediction. For as soldiers, showing to the king the wounds which they have received in his battles, speak with confidence, so they, by an humble representation of their past sufferings for Christ, obtain whatever they ask of the King of heaven."[2]

1. Julian, surnamed the Apostate, rebelled against Constantius, his
    cousin-german, in the spring, in 360, and by his death, in November,
    361, obtained the empire. He was one of the most infamous
    dissemblers that ever lived. Craft, levity, inconstancy, falsehood,
    want of judgment, and an excessive vanity, discovered themselves in
    all his actions, and appear in his writings, namely, his epistles,
    his satire called Misopogon, and his lives of the Cæsars. He wrote
    the last work to censure all the former emperors, that he might
    appear the only great prince: for a censorious turn is an effect of
    vanity and pride. He was most foolishly superstitious, and
    exceedingly fond of soothsayers and magicians. After the death of
    Constantius, he openly professed idolatry, and by besmearing himself
    with the blood of impious victims, pretended to efface the character
    of baptism. He was deceived in almost every step by ridiculous
    omens, oracles, and augurs, as may be seen in his heathen historian,
    Ammianus Marcellinus, (b. 22.) Maximus, the magician, and others of
    that character, were his chief confidants. He endeavored, by the
    black art, to rival the miracles of Christ, though he effected
    nothing. He disqualified Christians from bearing offices in the
    state; he forbade them to teach either rhetoric of philosophy, that
    he might deprive them of the advantages of human literature, a thing
    condemned by Ammianus himself. He commanded, by an edict, that they
    should be no longer called Christians, but Galileans, and though he
    pretended to toleration, he destroyed more souls by recompenses,
    caresses, and strategems, than he could have done by cruelties. He
    levied heavy fines and seized the estates of Christians, saying, in
    raillery, that he did it to oblige them to follow the gospel, which
    recommends poverty. He often put them to death, but secretly, and on
    other pretences, that he might deprive them of the honor of
    martyrdom: which artifice might have its influence on philosophers,
    the lovers of vanity; but not on the servants of God, who desired to
    be known to him alone, and to suffer, regardless of the applause of
    men, as St. Gregory Nazianzen observes. (Or. 3, in Julian.) That
    father, when he knew him a student at Athens, in 355, prognosticated
    (Or. 4, in Julian, p. 122) from his light carriage, wandering eye,
    haughty look, impertinent questions, and foolish answers, what a
    monster the Roman empire was fostering and breeding up. In his march
    to his Persian expedition, he was made a subject of mockery and
    ridicule at Antioch, on account of his low stature, gigantic gait,
    great goat's beard, and bloody sacrifices. In answer to which, he
    wrote his Misopogon, or Beardhater, a low and insipid satire. He
    everywhere threatened the Christians upon his return from the
    Persian war. The oracles of Delos, Delphos, Dodona, and others,
    promised him victories, as Theodoret, St. Gregory Nazianzen,
    Philostorgius, and Libanius himself, (Libanius, Or. 12,) a heath,
    and the chief favorite of Julian, testify: all the pagan deities
    wherever he passed, gave him the like assurances, as he himself
    writes (Julian, ep. 2.) But in Persia he rashly ventured into wilds
    and deserts, with an army of sixty-five thousand men, where he was
    defeated and slain in June, 363. Ammianus, who was then in the army,
    only says that he was mortally wounded in the battle, and died in
    his tent the same day, before noon. Theodoret, Sozomen, and the acts
    of St. Theodoret the martyr, say, that finding himself wounded, he
    threw up a handful of blood towards heaven, crying out: "Thou hast
    conquered, O Galilean, thou hast conquered." It was revealed to many
    holy hermits, that God cut him off to give peace to his church.
2. Hom. in SS. Juv. et Max. t. 2, p. 583.


THE episcopal see of Auvergne, which was founded by St. Austremonius, in the middle of the third century, has been honored with many holy bishops, of whom twenty-six are ranked among the saints. Of these the most eminent are St. Alidius, called in French Allyre, the fourth bishop, in 380, St. Sidonius Apollinaris in 482, St. Gallus in 656, St. Prix in 674, and St. Bont in 710. About the year 1160, the title of bishops of Auvergne was changed into that of Clermont, from the city of this name. St. Prix was a native of Auvergne, and trained up in the service of the church, under the care of St. Genesius, first archdeacon, afterwards bishop of Auvergne, and was well skilled in plain song, (which was esteemed in that age the first part of the science of a clergyman,) and in holy scriptures and church history. The parish of Issoire, and afterwards the nunnery, of Candedin, (now probably Chantoen, a convent of barefooted Carms,) were the chief theatres of his zeal, till about the year 666 he was called by the voice of the people, seconded by Childeric II., king of Austrasia, to the episcopal dignity, upon the death of Felix, bishop of Auvergne. Partly by his own ample patrimony, and partly by the great liberalities of Genesius, the holy count of Auvergne, he was enabled to found several monasteries, churches, and hospitals; so that all distressed persons in his extensive diocese were provided for, and a spirit of fervor in the exercises of religion, and all Christian virtues, reigned in all parts. This was the fruit of the unwearied and undaunted zeal, assiduous sermons and exhortations, and the admirable example and sanctity of the holy prelate; whose learning, eloquence, and piety, are exceedingly extolled by the two historians of his life. The saint, on his road to the court of king Childeric, whither he was going for the affairs of his diocese, restored to health St. Damarin, or Amarin, a holy abbot of a monastery in the mountains of Voge, who was afterwards martyred with him. This king caused Hector, the patrician of Marseilles, whom the saint had severely rebuked for having ravished a young lady of Auvergne, a rich heiress, and having unjustly usurped considerable estates belonging to his church, to be put to death for this rape and other crimes. One Agritius, imputing his death to the complaints carried to the king by St. Prix, in revenge {221} stirred up many persons against the holy prelate, and with twenty armed men met the bishop as he returned from court, at Volvic, two leagues from Clermont, and first slew the abbot St. Damarin, whom the ruffians mistook for the bishop. St. Prix, perceiving their design, courageously presented himself to them, and was stabbed in the body by a Saxon named Radbert. The saint, receiving this wound, said, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge, for they know not what they do." Another of the assassins clove his head with a back-sword, and scattered his brains. This happened in 674, on the 25th of January. The veneration which the Gallican churches paid to the memory of this martyr began from the time of his death. His name was added to the calendar in the copies of the Sacramentary of St. Gregory, which were transcribed in France, and churches were erected under his invocation in almost every province of that kingdom. The principal part of his relics remain in the abbey of Flavigny, whither they were carried about the year 760. Some portions are kept in the abbey of St. Prix at St. Quintin's, of the congregation of Cluni; another in the priory of St. Prix near Bethune, and in certain other places. See the two lives of St. Prix, the first written by one who was acquainted with him, the other by one of the same age, both extant in Bollandus, pp. 628, 636, and in Mabillon Act. Ben. t. 1, pp. 642, 650.


ST. POPPO was born in Flanders in 978, and received a pious education, under the care of a most virtuous mother, who died a nun at Verdun. In his youth he served for some time in the army, but even while he lived in the world, he found the spiritual food of heavenly meditation and prayer, with which the affections of the soul are nourished,[St. Aug. Tr. 26. in Joan.] to be incomparably sweeter than all the delights of the senses, and to give himself up entirely to these holy exercises, he renounced his profession and the world. In a visit which he made by a penitential pilgrimage to the holy places at Jerusalem, he brought thence many precious relics, with which he enriched the church of our Lady at Deisne, now a marquisate between Ghent and Courtray. He made also a pilgrimage to the shrines of the apostles at Rome, and, some time after his return, took the monastic habit at St. Thierry's, near Rheims. Richard, abbot of Verdun, becoming acquainted with his eminent virtue, obtained with great difficulty his abbot's consent to remove him thither; and being made abbot of St. Vedast's, at Arras, upon the deposition of Folrad, who had filled that house with scandalous disorders, he appointed Poppo procurator. In a journey which our saint was obliged to make to the court of St. Henry, he prevailed with that religious prince to abolish the combats of men and bears. St. Poppo was chosen successively prior of St. Vedast's, provost of St. Vennes, and abbot of Beaulieu, which last he rebuilt. He was afterwards chosen abbot of St. Vedast's, and some time later of the two united abbeys of Stavelo and Malmedy, about a league asunder, in the diocese of Liege; also, two years after this, of St. Maximin's at Triers. Those of Arms and Marchiennes were also committed to his care: in all which houses he settled the most exact discipline. He died at Marchiennes, on the 25th of January, in 1048, being seventy years of age. St. Poppo received extreme unction at the hands of Everhelm, abbot of Hautmont, afterwards of Blandinberg at Ghent, who afterwards wrote his life, in which he gives a particular account of his great {222} virtues. The body of St. Poppo was carried to Stavelo, and there interred: his remains were taken up and enshrined in 1624, after Baronius had inserted his name in the Roman Martyrology; for Molanus, in his Indiculus, and Miræus observe that he was never canonized. Chatelain denies against Trithemius that any commemoration was ever made of him in the public office in any of the abbeys which he governed. But Martenne assures us that he was honored among the saints at Stavelo, in the year 1624. See his life written by the monk Onulf, and abridged by Everhelm, abbot of Hautmont, in Bollandus, p. 673, and Martenne, Amplis. Collectio, t. 2, Præf. p. 17.


AFTER passing many years in a hermitage, he formed and governed a community of five hundred monks, near Heliopolis. They all wore the same coarse white habit, all received the holy communion every day, and the holy abbot made them also a daily exhortation with admirable unction. He entertained them often on the evils of melancholy and sadness, saying, that spiritual joy and cheerfulness of heart are necessary amid our tears of penance; as being the fruit of charity, and requisite to support the fervor of the soul. He was known to strangers by the joy of his countenance. By humility he ranked himself among the goats, unworthy to be numbered among the sheep. He made it his constant and earnest petition to God, that he might know himself, and be preserved from the subtile snares and illusions of pride. It is said that the devil left a possessed person at his command, crying out that he was not able to withstand his humility. The saint received a visit from St. Petronius, afterwards bishop of Bologna, in 393, being then near eighty years old, which he did not long survive. See Sozom. l. 6, c. 29. Rufin. l. 2. Tillem. t. 10, p. 35. The Greek menæa and Bollandus on this day.


IS honored by the Greeks. He was the son of a senator in that city, and sold his estate, plate, and furniture, for the benefit of the poor; and lived first a hermit, afterwards governed a numerous community in the fourth age. He allowed his monks no other food than herbs and pulse, and very coarse bread; no drink but water: he forbade milk, cheese, grapes, and even vinegar, also oil, except from Easter to Whitsuntide. To put himself always in mind of advancing continually in fervor and charity, he added every day something to his exercises of penance and devotion: he was remarkably solicitous to avoid sloth, being sensible of the inestimable value of time. Alas! what would not a damned soul, what would not a suffering soul in purgatory give, for one of those moments which we unthinkingly throw away. As far as the state of the blessed in heaven can admit of regret, they eternally condemn their insensibility as having lost every moment of their mortal life, which they did not improve to the utmost advantage. Theodoret tells us that the holy abbot Publius founded two congregations, the one of Greeks, the other of Syrians, each using their own tongue in the divine office: for the Greek and Chaldean were from the beginning {223} sacred languages, or consecrated by the church in her public prayers. St. Publius flourished about the year 369. See Theodoret, Philoth. c. 5. Rosweide, l. 6, c. 7. Chatel. Mart. Univ. p. 886, among the Aemeres, or saints who are not commemorated on any particular day.



From his acts, written by the church of Smyrna in an excellent circular letter to the churches of Pontus, immediately after his martyrdom: a piece abridged by Eusebius, b. 4, c. 14, highly esteemed by the ancients. Joseph Scaliger, a supercilious critic, says that nothing in the whole course of church history so strongly affected him, as the perusal of these acts, and those relating to the martyrs of Lyons: that he never read them but they gave him extraordinary emotions. Animad. in Chron. Eusebii, n. 2183, &c. They are certainly most valuable pieces of Christian antiquity. See Eusebius, St. Jerom, and St. Irenæus. Also Tillemont, t. 2, p. 327. Dom Ceillier, t. 1. Dom Marechal, Concordance des Peres Grecs et Latins, t. 1.

A.D. 166.

ST. POLYCARP was one of the most illustrious of the apostolic fathers, who, being the immediate disciples of the apostles, received instructions from their mouths, and inherited of them the spirit of Christ, in a degree so much the more eminent, as they lived nearer the fountain head. He embraced Christianity very young, about the year 80; was a disciple of the apostles, in particular of St. John the Evangelist, and was constituted by him bishop of Smyrna, probably before his banishment to Patmos, in 96: so that he governed that important see seventy years. He seems to have been the angel or bishop of Smyrna, who was commended above all the bishops of Asia by Christ himself in the Apocalypse,[1] and the only one without a reproach. Our Saviour encouraged him under his poverty, tribulation, and persecutions, especially the calumnies of the Jews, called him rich in grace, and promised him the crown of life by martyrdom. This saint was respected by the faithful to a degree of veneration. He formed many holy disciples, among whom were St. Irenæus and Papias. When Florinus, who had often visited St. Polycarp, had broached certain heresies, St. Irenæus wrote to him as follows:[2] "These things were not taught you by the bishops who preceded us. I could tell you the place where the blessed Polycarp sat to preach the word of God. It is yet present to my mind with what gravity he everywhere came in and went out: what was the sanctity of his deportment, the majesty of his countenance and of his whole exterior, and what were his holy exhortations to the people. I seem to hear him now relate how he conversed with John and many others, who had seen Jesus Christ; the words he had heard from their mouths. I can protest before God, that if this holy bishop had heard of any error like yours, he would have immediately stopped his ears, and cried out, according to his custom: Good God! that I should be reserved to these times to hear such things! That very instant he would have fled out of the place in which he had heard such doctrine." St. Jerom[3] mentions, that St. Polycarp met at Rome the heretic Marcion, in the streets, who resenting that the holy bishop did not take that notice of him which he expected, said to him: "Do not you {224} know me, Polycarp?" "Yes," answered the saint, "I know you to be the first-born of Satan." He had learned this abhorrence of the authors of heresy, who knowingly and willingly adulterate the divine truths, from his master St. John, who fled out of the bath in which he saw Cerinthus.[4] St. Polycarp kissed with respect the chains of St. Ignatius, who passed by Smyrna on the road to his martyrdom, and who recommended to our saint the care and comfort of his distant church of Antioch; which he repeated to him in a letter from Troas, desiring him to write in his name to those churches of Asia to which he had not leisure to write himself.[5] St. Polycarp {225} wrote a letter to the Philippians shortly after, which is highly commended by St. Irenæus, St. Jerom, Eusebius, Photius, and others, and is still extant. It is justly admired both for the excellent instructions it contains, and for the simplicity and perspicuity of the style; and was publicly read in the church in Asia, in St. Jerom's time. In it he calls a heretic, as above, the eldest son of Satan. About the year 158, he undertook a journey of charity to Rome, to confer with pope Anicetus about certain points of discipline, especially about the time of keeping Easter, for the Asiatic churches kept it on the fourteenth day of the vernal equinoctial moon, as the Jews did, on whatever day of the week it fell; whereas Rome, Egypt, and all the West, observed it on the Sunday following. It was agreed that both might follow their custom without breaking the bands of charity. St. Anicetus, to testify his respect, yielded to him the honor of celebrating the Eucharist in his own church.[6] We find no further particulars concerning our saint recorded before the acts of his martyrdom.

In the sixth year of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, Statius Quadrates being proconsul of Asia, a violent persecution broke out in that country, in which the faithful gave heroic proofs of their courage and love of God, to the astonishment of the infidels. When they were torn to pieces with scourges till their very bowels were laid bare, amidst the moans and tears of the spectators, who were moved with pity at the sight of their torments, not one of them gave so much as a single groan: so little regard had they for their own flesh in the cause of God. No kinds of torture, no inventions of cruelty were forborne to force them to a conformity to the pagan worship of the times. Germanicus, who had been brought to Smyrna with eleven or twelve other Christians, signalized himself above the rest, and animated the most timorous to suffer. The proconsul in the amphitheatre called upon him with tenderness, entreating him to have some regard for his youth, and to value at least his life: but he, with a holy impatience, provoked the beasts to devour him, to leave this wicked world. One Quintus, a Phrygian, who had presented himself to the judge, yielded at the sight of the beast let out upon him, and sacrificed. The authors of these acts justly condemn the presumption of those who offered themselves to suffer,[7] and says that the martyrdom of St. Polycarp was conformable to the gospel, because he exposed not himself to the temptation, but waited till the persecutors laid hands on him, as Christ our Lord taught us by his own example. The same venerable authors observe, that the martyrs by their patience and constancy demonstrated to all men, that, while their bodies were tormented, they were in spirit estranged from the flesh, and already in heaven; or rather that our Lord was present with them and assisted them; for the fire of the barbarous executioners seemed as if it had been a cooling refreshment to them.[8] The spectators, seeing the courage of Germanicus and his companions, and being fond of their impious bloody diversions, cried out: "Away with the impious; let Polycarp be sought for." The holy man, though fearless, had been prevailed upon by his friends to withdraw and conceal himself in a neighboring village during the storm, spending most of his time in prayer. Three days before his martyrdom, he in a vision saw his pillow on fire; from which he understood by revelation, and {226} foretold his companions, that he should be burnt alive. When the persecutors were in quest of him he changed his retreat, but was betrayed by a boy, who was threatened with the rack unless he discovered him. Herod, the Irenarch, or keeper of the peace, whose office it was to prevent misdemeanors and apprehend malefactors, sent horsemen by night to beset his lodgings. The saint was above stairs in bed, but refused to make his escape, saying: "God's will be done." He went down, met them at the door, ordered them a handsome supper, and desired only some time for prayer before he went with them. This granted, he began his prayer standing, which he continued in that posture for two hours, recommending to God his own flock and the whole church with so much earnestness and devotion, that several of those that were come to seize him repented they had undertaken the commission. They set him on an ass, and were conducting him towards the city, when he was met on the road by Herod and his father Nicetes, who took him into their chariot, and endeavored to persuade him to a little compliance, saying: "What harm is there in saying Lord Cæsar, or even in sacrificing, to escape death?" By the word Lord was meant nothing less than a kind of deity or godhead. The bishop at first was silent, in imitation of our Saviour: but being pressed, he gave them this resolute answer: "I shall never do what you desire of me." At these words, taking off the mask of friendship and compassion, they treated him with scorn and reproaches, and thrust him out of the chariot with such violence, that his leg was bruised by the fall. The holy man went forward cheerfully to the place where the people were assembled. Upon his entering it, a voice from heaven was heard by many: "Polycarp, be courageous, and act manfully."[9] He was led directly to the tribunal of the proconsul, who exhorted him to respect his own age, to swear by the genius of Cæsar, and to say: "Take away the impious," meaning the Christians. The saint turning towards the people in the pit, said, with a stern countenance: "Exterminate the wicked," meaning by this expression either a wish that they might cease to be wicked by their conversion to the faith of Christ: or this was a prediction of the calamity which befell their city in 177, when Smyrna was overturned by an earthquake, as we read in Dion[10] and Aristides.[11] The proconsul repeated: "Swear by the genius of Cæsar, and I discharge you; blaspheme Christ." Polycarp replied: "I have served him these fourscore and six years, and he never did me any harm, but much good; and how can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour? If you require of me to swear by the genius of Cæsar, as you call it, hear my free confession: I am a Christian; but if you desire to learn the Christian religion, appoint a time, and hear me." The proconsul said: "Persuade the people." The martyr replied: "I addressed my discourse to you; for we are taught to give due honor to princes as far as is consistent with religion. But the populace is an incompetent judge to justify myself before." Indeed, rage rendered them incapable of hearing him.

The proconsul then assuming a tone of severity, said: "I have wild beasts:" "Call for them," replied the saint: "for we are unalterably resolved not to change from good to evil. It is only good to pass from evil to good." The proconsul said: "If you contemn the beasts, I will cause you to be burnt to ashes." Polycarp answered: "You threaten me with a fire which burns for a short time, and then goes out; but are yourself ignorant of the {227} judgment to come, and of the fire of everlasting torments which is prepared for the wicked. Why do you delay? Bring against me what you please." While he said thus and many other things, he appeared in a transport of joy and confidence, and his countenance shone with a certain heavenly grace, and pleasant cheerfulness, insomuch that the proconsul himself was struck with admiration. However, he ordered a crier to make public proclamation three times it the middle of the Stadium, (as was the Roman custom in capital cases:) "Polycarp hath confessed himself a Christian."[12] At this proclamation the whole multitude of Jews and Gentiles gave a great shout, the latter crying out: "This is the great teacher of Asia; the father of the Christians; the destroyer of our gods, who preaches to men not to sacrifice to or adore them." They applied to Philip the Asiarch,[13] to let loose a lion upon Polycarp. He told them that it was not in his power, because those shows had been closed. Then they unanimously demanded that he should be burnt alive. Their request was no sooner granted, but every one ran with all speed to fetch wood from the baths and shops. The Jews were particularly active and busy on this occasion. The pile being prepared, Polycarp put off his garments, untied his girdle, and began to take off his shoes; an office he had not been accustomed to, the Christians having always striven who should do these things for him, regarding it as a happiness to be admitted to touch him. The wood and other combustibles were heaped all round him. The executioners would have nailed him to the stake; but he said to them: "Suffer me to be as I am. He who gives me grace to undergo this fire, will enable me to stand still without that precaution." They therefore contented themselves with tying his hands behind his back, and in this posture, looking up towards heaven, he prayed as follows: "O Almighty Lord God, Father of thy beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the knowledge of thee, God of angels, powers, and every creature, and of all the race of the just that live in thy presence! I bless thee for having been pleased in thy goodness to bring me to this hour, that I may receive a portion in the number of thy martyrs, and partake of the chalice of thy Christ, for the resurrection to eternal life, in the incorruptibleness of the holy Spirit. Amongst whom grant me to be received this day as a pleasing sacrifice, such an one as thou thyself hast prepared, that so thou mayest accomplish what thou, O true and faithful God! hast foreshown. Wherefore, for all things I praise, bless, and glorify thee, through the eternal high priest Jesus Christ thy beloved Son, with whom, to Thee and the Holy Ghost be glory now and for ever. Amen." He had scarce said Amen, when fire was set to the pile, which increased to a mighty flame. But behold a wonder, say the authors of these acts, seen by us, reserved to attest it to others; the flames forming themselves into an arch, like the sails of a ship swelled with the wind, gently encircled the body of the martyr, which stood in the middle, resembling not roasted flesh, but purified gold or silver, appearing bright through the flames; and his body sending forth such a fragrancy, that we seemed to smell precious spices. The blind infidels were only exasperated to see his body could not be consumed, and ordered a spearman to pierce him through, which he did, and such a quantity of blood issued out of his left side as to quench the fire.[14] The malice of the devil ended not here: {228} he endeavored to obstruct the relics of the martyr being carried off by the Christians; for many desired to do it, to show their respect to his body. Therefore, by the suggestion of Satan, Nicetes advised the proconsul not to bestow it on the Christians, lest, said he, abandoning the crucified man, they should adore Polycarp: the Jews suggested this, "Not knowing," say the authors of the acts, "that we can never forsake Christ, nor adore any other, though we love the martyrs, as his disciples and imitators, for the great love they bore their king and master." The centurion, seeing a contest raised by the Jews, placed the body in the middle, and burnt it to ashes. "We afterwards took up the bones," say they, "more precious than the richest jewels or gold, and deposited them decently in a place at which may God grant us to assemble with joy, to celebrate the birth-day of the martyr." Thus these disciples and eye-witnesses. It was at two o'clock in the afternoon, which the authors of the acts call the eighth hour, in the year 166, that St. Polycarp received his crown, according to Tillemont; but, in 169, according to Basnage.[15] His tomb is still shown with great veneration at Smyrna, in a small chapel. St. Irenæus speaks of St. Polycarp as being of an uncommon age.

* * * * *

The epistle of St. Polycarp to the Philippians, which is the only one among those which he wrote that has been preserved, is, even in the dead letter, a standing proof of the apostolic spirit with which he was animated, and of that profound humility, perfect meekness, burning charity, and holy zeal, of which his life was so admirable an example. The beginning is an effusion of spiritual joy and charity with which he was transported at the happiness of their conversion to God, and their fervor in divine love. His extreme abhorrence of heresy makes him immediately fall upon that of the Docætæ, against which he arms the faithful, by clearly demonstrating that Christ was truly made man, died, and rose again: in which his terms admirably express his most humble and affectionate devotion to our divine Redeemer, under these great mysteries of love. Besides walking in truth, he takes notice, that to be raised with Christ in glory, we must also do his will, keep all his commandments, and love whatever he loved; refraining from all fraud, avarice, detraction, and rash judgment; repaying evil with good, forgiving and showing mercy to others that we ourselves may find mercy. "These things," says he, "I write to you on justice, because you incited me; for neither I, nor any other like me, can attain to the wisdom of the blessed and glorious Paul, into whose epistles if you look, you may raise your spiritual fabric by strengthening faith, which is our mother, hope following, and charity towards God, Christ, and our neighbor preceding us. He who has charity is far from all sin." The saint gives short instructions to every particular state, then adds; "Every one who hath not confessed that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is antichrist;[16] and who hath not confessed the suffering of the cross, is of the devil; and who hath drawn the oracles of the Lord to his passions, and hath said that there is no resurrection nor judgment, he is the oldest son of Satan." He exhorts to watching always in prayer, lest we be led into temptation; to be constant in fasting, persevering, joyful in hope, and in the pledge of our justice, which is Christ {229} Jesus, imitating his patience; for, by suffering for his name, we glorify him. To encourage them to suffer, he reminds them of those who had suffered before their eyes: Ignatius, Zozimus, and Rufus, and some of their own congregation,[17] "who are now," says our saint, "in the place which is due to them with the Lord, with whom they also suffered."

1. Ch. ii. v. 9.
2. Eus. Hist. l. 5, c. 20, p. 188.
3. Cat. vir. illustr. c. 17.
4. See also 1 John ii. 18, 22, and 2 John 10.
5. St. Ignatius begins his letter to the faithful at Smyrna, by
    glorifying God for their great spiritual wisdom, saying he knew them
    to be perfect in their unshaken faith, as men crucified with our
    Lord Jesus in flesh and in spirit, and deeply grounded in charity by
    the blood of Christ. He then solidly confutes the Docætæ, heretics
    who imagined that Christ was not incarnate, and died only in
    appearance; whom he calls demoniacs. He adds: "I give you this
    caution, knowing that you hold the true faith, but that you may
    stand upon your guard against these wild beasts in human shape, whom
    you ought not to receive under your roof, nor even meet if possible;
    and be content only to pray for them that they may be converted, if
    it be possible; for it is very difficult; though it is in the power
    of Jesus Christ, our true life. If Jesus Christ did all this in
    appearance only, then I am only chained in imagination; and why have
    I delivered myself up to death, to fire, to the sword, to beasts?
    but who is near the sword, is near God; he who is among beasts is
    with God. I suffer all things only in the name of Jesus Christ, that
    I may suffer with him, he giving me strength, who was made perfectly
    man. What does it avail me to be commended by any one, if he
    blasphemes our Lord, not confessing him to have flesh? The whole
    consists in faith and charity; nothing can take place before these.
    Now consider those who maintain a false opinion of the grace of
    Jesus Christ, how they also oppose charity; they take no care of the
    widow, or orphan, or him who is afflicted, or pining with hunger or
    thirst. They abstain from the Eucharist and prayer, (says he,)
    because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our
    Saviour Jesus Christ, which was crucified for our sins, and which
    the Father, by his goodness, raised again.
It is advisable for you
    to separate yourselves from them, and neither to speak to them in
    public or in private. Shun schisms and all discord, as the source of
    evils. Follow your bishop as Christ his Father, and the college of
    priests as the apostles; respect the deacons as the precept of God.
    Let no one do any thing that belongs to the church without the
    bishop. Let that Eucharist be regarded as lawful which is celebrated
    by the bishop, or one commissioned by him. Wherever the bishop makes
    his appearance, there let the people be assembled, as wherever
    Christ Jesus is, there is the Catholic church. It is not lawful to
    baptize or celebrate the Agape without the bishop or his authority.
    What he approves of is acceptable to God. He who does any thing
    without the bishop's knowledge, serves the devil." The saint most
    affectionately thanks them for the kindness they had shown him and
    his followers; begs they will depute some person to his church in
    Syria, to congratulate with his flock for the peace which God had
    restored to them, adding that he was unworthy to be called a member
    of that church of which he was the last. He asks the succor of their
    prayers, that by them he might enjoy God. "Seeing," says he, "that
    you are perfect, entertain perfect sentiments of virtue: for God is
    ready to bestow on you who desire to do well." After the most tender
    salutations of many in particular, and of all in general, especially
    the virgins who were called widows, (i.e. the deaconesses, who
    were called widows, because they were often such, though these were
    virgins,) he closes his letter by praying for their advancement in
    all charity, grace, mercy, peace, and patience. St. Ign. ep. ad
    Smyrnæos, p. 872, ed. Cotel.

The apostolic St. Ignatius writes as follows, in his letter to St. Polycarp. "Thy resolution in God, founded as it were upon an unshaken rock, I exceedingly commend, having been made worthy of thy holy face, which I pray I may enjoy in God. I conjure thee in the grace with which thou art enriched, to increase thy stock in thy course, and to exhort all that they may be saved. Have great care of unity and concord, than which nothing is better. Bear with all men, that God may bear with thee; bear all men by charity, as thou dost apply thyself to prayer without interruption. Ask more perfect understanding than thou hast. Watch, seeing that the spirit which sleepeth not, dwelleth within thee. Speak to every one according to the grace which God giveth thee. Bear the weaknesses and distemper of all as a stout champion. Where the labor is greater, the gain is exceeding great. If thou lovest the disciples that are good, thou deservest not thanks; strive rather to subdue the wicked by meekness. Every wound is not healed by the same plaster; assuage inflammations by lenitives. Be not intimidated by those who seem worthy of faith, yet teach things that are foreign. Stand firm, as an anvil which is beaten: it is the property of a true champion to be struck and to conquer. Let not the widows be neglected. Let religious assemblies be most frequent. Seek out every one in them by name. Despise not the slaves, neither suffer them to be puffed up; but to the glory of God let them serve with greater diligence, that they may obtain of God a better liberty. Let them not desire that their liberty be purchased or procured for them by the congregation, lest they fall under the slavery of their own passions. Fly evil artifices; let them not be so much as named. Engage my sisters to love the Lord, and never entertain a thought of any man but their husbands. In like manner enjoin my brethren, in the name of Jesus Christ, to love their wives as Christ loveth his church. If any one is able to remain in a state of continency, in honor of our Lord's flesh, let him be constantly humble: if he boasts, or is puffed up, he is lost. Let all marriages be made by the authority of the bishop, that they may be made in the Lord, not by the passions of men. Let all things be done to the honor of God." Then addressing himself to all the faithful at Smyrna, he writes: "Listen to your bishop, that God may also hearken to you. With joy I would lay down my life for those who are subject to the bishop, priests, and deacons. May my portion be with them in God. Let all things be in common among you: your labor, your warfare, your sufferings, your rest, and your watching, as becomes the dispensers, the assessors, and the servants of God. Please hi, in whose service you fight, and from whom you receive your salary. Let your baptism be always your weapons, faith your helmet, charity your spear, and patience your complete armor. Let your good works the the treasure which you lay up, that you may receive the fruit which is worthy. Bear with each other in all meekness, as God bears with you. I pray that I may always enjoy and rejoice in you. Because the church of Antioch by our prayers now enjoys peace, I am in mind secure in God; provided still that by suffering I may go to God, and be found in the resurrection your servant. You will do well, O Polycarp, most blessed in God, to hold an assembly, and choose a very dear person fit for dispatch in a journey, who may be styled the divine messenger; him honor with a commission to go to Antioch, and there bear witness of the fervor of your charity. A Christian lives not for himself alone, but belongs to God." The holy martyr concludes by desiring St. Polycarp to write for him to the other churches of Asia, he being at that moment called on board by his guards to sail from Troas to Naples. 6. St. Iren. b. 3, c. 3. Euseb. b. 5, c. 24. S. Hieron. c. 17. 7. N. 1, and 4. 8. [Greek: To tur hên autois psuxron to tôn apathôn basanitzôn.] Frigidis ipsis videbatur immanium carnificum ignis. n. 2, p. 1020. 9. Dr. Middleton pretends, that this voice was only heard by some few; but the acts in Ruinart say, by those who were present, [Greek: hoi parontes]: Eusebius says, [Greek: polloi]: Rufinus plurimi, very many. A voice from heaven must certainly be sensibly discerned to be more than human, and manifest itself sufficiently, to be perceived that it could not come from the crowd. 10. L. 71. 11. Or. 20, 21, 22, 41. 12. The great council of Asia seems to have been held at that time in Smyrna, instead of Ephesus, which the Arundelian marbles show sometimes to have been done. 13. Or president of the public games, chosen yearly by the common-council of Asia. 14. Dr. Middleton ridicules the mention of a dove issuing out of the wound of the side; but this is only found in some modern MSS. by the blunder of a transcriber: it is not in Eusebius, Rufinus, Nicephorus, or the Greek Menæa; though the last two would have magnified a prodigy if they had found the least authority for any. According to Le Moyen, (Proleg. ad varia sacra.) Ceillier, &c., the true reading is [Greek: ep apisera], on the left side; which some transcriber blundered into [Greek: perisera], a dove. As to the foregoing miracle, that a wind should naturally divest the fire of its property of burning, and form it into an arch about the body, is a much more wonderful supposition of the doctor's than any miracle. 15. St. Polycarp says himself, "That he had served Christ eighty-six years." Basnage thinks he had been bishop so long, and was a hundred and twenty years old when he suffered: but it is far more probable that this is the term he had been a Christian, having been converted in his youth, and dying about one hundred years old or upwards, as Tillemont understands it. 16. 1 John iv. 3. 17. Some of the Philippians had seen St. Ignatius in chains, and perhaps at Rome. The primitive martyrs, Zozimus and Rufus, are commemorated in the Martyrologies on the 18th of December.


This illustrious pattern of widows surpassed all other Roman ladies in riches, birth, and the endowments of mind. She was born on the 5th of May, in 347. The blood of the Scipios, the Gracchi, and Paulus Æmilius, was centred in her by her mother Blesilla. Her father derived his pedigree from Agamemnon, and her husband Toxotius his from Iulus and Æneas. By him she had a son called also Toxotius, and four daughters, namely, Blesilla, Paulina, Eustochium, and Rufina. She shone a bright pattern of virtue in the married state, and both she and her husband edified Rome by their good example; but her virtue was not without its alloy; a certain degree of the love of the world being almost inseparable from honors and high life. She did not discern the secret attachments of her heart, nor feel the weight of her own chains: she had neither courage to break them, nor light whereby to take a clear and distinct view of her spiritual poverty and misery. God, compassionating her weakness, was pleased in his mercy to open her eyes by violence, and sent her the greatest affliction that could befall her in the death of her husband, when she was only thirty-two years of age. Her grief was immoderate till such time as she was encouraged to devote herself totally to God, by the exhortations of her friend St. Marcella, a holy widow, who then edified Rome by her penitential life. Paula, thus excited to set aside her sorrow, erected in her heart the standard of the cross of Jesus Christ, and courageously resolved to walk after it. From that time, she never sat at table with any man, not even with any of the holy bishops and saints whom she entertained. She abstained from all flesh meat, fish, eggs, honey, and wine; used oil only on holydays; lay on a stone floor covered with sackcloth; renounced all visits and worldly amusements, laid aside all costly garments, and gave every thing to the poor which it was in her power to dispose of. She was careful in inquiring after the necessitous, and deemed it a loss on her side if any other hands than her own administered relief to them. It was usual with her to say, that she could not make a better provision for her children, than to secure for them by alms the blessings of heaven. Her occupation was prayer, pious reading, and fasting. She could not bear the distraction of company, which interrupted her commerce with God; and, if ever she sought conversation, it was with the servants of God for her own edification. She lodged St. Epiphanius and St. Paulinus of Antioch, when they came to Rome; and St. Jerom was her director in the service of God, during his stay in that city for two years and a half, under pope Damasus. Her eldest daughter Blesilla, having, in a short time after marriage, lost her husband, came to a resolution of forsaking the world, but died before she could compass her pious design. The mother felt this affliction too sensibly. St. Jerom, who at that time was newly arrived at Bethlehem, in 384, wrote to her both to comfort and reprove her.[1] He first condoles their common loss; but adds {230} that God is master, that we are bound to rejoice in his will, always holy and just, to thank and praise him for all things; and, above all, not to mourn for a death at which the angels attend, and for one who by it departs to enjoy Christ: and that it is only the continuation of our banishment which we ought to lament. "Blesilla," says he, "has received her crown, dying in the fervor of her resolution, in which she had purified her soul near four months." He adds, that Christ seemed to reproach her grief in these terms: "Art thou angry, O Paula! that thy daughter is made mine? Thou art offended at my providence, and by thy rebellious tears, thou dost offer an injury to me who possess her."[2] He pardons some tears in a mother, occasioned by the involuntary sensibility of nature; but calls her excess in them a scandal to religion, abounding with sacrilege and infidelity: adding, that Blesilla herself mourned, as far as her happy state would allow, to see her offend Christ, and cried out to her; "Envy not my glory: commit not what may forever separate us. I am not alone. Instead of you I have the mother of God, I have many companions whom I never knew before. You mourn for me because I have left the world; and I pity your prison and dangers in it." Paula afterwards, completing the victory over herself, showed herself greatly superior to this weakness. Her second daughter Paulina was married to St. Pammachius, and died in 397. Eustochium, the third, was her individual companion. Rufina died young.

The greater progress Paula made in spiritual exercises, and in the relish of heavenly things, the more insupportable to her was the tumultuous life of the city. She sighed after the deserts, longed to be disincumbered of attendants, and to live in a hermitage, where her heart would have no other occupation than on God. The thirst after so great a happiness made her ready to forget her house, family, riches, and friends; yet never did mother love her children more tenderly.[3] At the thought of leaving them her bowels yearned, and being in an agony of grief, she seemed as if she had been torn from herself. But in this she was the most wonderful of mothers, that while she felt in her soul the greatest emotions of tenderness, she knew how to keep them within due bounds. The strength of her faith gave her an ascendant over the sentiments of nature, and she even desired this cruel separation, bearing it with joy, out of a pure and heroic love of God. She had indeed taken a previous care to have all her children brought up saints; otherwise her design would have been unjustifiable. Being therefore fixed in her resolution, and having settled her affairs, she went to the water side, attended by her brother, relations, friends, and children, who all strove by their tears to overcome her constancy. Even when the vessel was ready to sail, her little son Toxotius, with uplifted hands on the shore, and bitterly weeping, begged her not to leave him. The rest, who were not able to speak with gushing tears, prayed her to defer at least her voluntary banishment. But Paula, raising her dry eyes to heaven, turned her face from the shore, lest she should discover what she could not behold without feeling the most sensible pangs of sorrow. She sailed first to Cyprus, where she was detained ten days by St. Epiphanius; and from thence to Syria. Her long journeys by land she performed on the backs of asses; she, who till then had been accustomed to be carried about by eunuchs in litters. She visited with great devotion all the principal places which we read to have been consecrated by the mysteries of the life of our divine Redeemer, as also the respective abodes of all the principal anchorets and holy solitaries of Egypt and Syria. At Jerusalem the proconsul had prepared a stately palace richly furnished for her reception; but excusing herself with regard {231} to the proffered favor, she chose to lodge in an humble cell. In this holy place her fervor was redoubled at the sight of each sacred monument, as St. Jerom describes. She prostrated herself before the holy cross, pouring forth her soul in love and adoration, as if she had beheld our Saviour still bleeding upon it. On entering the sepulchre, she kissed the stone which she angel removed on the occasion of our Lord's resurrection, and imparted many kisses full of faith and devotion to the place where the body of Christ had been laid. On her arrival at Bethlehem, she entered the cave or stable in which the Saviour of the world was born, and she saluted the crib with tears of joy, crying out; "I, a miserable sinner, am made worthy to kiss the manger, in which my Lord was pleased to be laid an infant babe weeping for me! This is my dwelling-place, because it was the country chosen by my Lord for himself."

After her journeys of devotion, in which she distributed immense alms, she settled at Bethlehem with her daughter Eustochium, under the direction of St. Jerom. The three first years she spent there in a poor little house; but in the mean time she took care to have a hospital built on the road to Jerusalem, as also a monastery for St. Jerom and his monks, whom she maintained; besides three monasteries for women, which properly made but one house, for all assembled in the same chapel to perform together the divine service day and night; and on Sundays in the church that was adjoining. At prime, tierce, sext, none, vespers, complin, and the midnight office, they daily sung the whole psalter, which every sister was obliged to know by heart. Their food was very coarse and temperate, their fasts frequent and austere. All the sisters worked with their hands, and made clothes for themselves and others. All wore the same uniform poor habit, and used no linen except for the wiping of their hands. No man was ever suffered to set a foot within their doors. Paula governed them with a charity full of discretion, animating them in the practice of every virtue by her own example and instructions, being always the first, or among the first, in every duty; sharing with her daughter Eustochium in all the drudgery and meanest offices of the house, and appearing everywhere as the last of her sisters. She severely reprimanded a studied neatness in dress, which she called an uncleanness of the mind. If any one was found talkative, or angry, she was separated from the rest, ordered to walk the last in order, to pray at the outside of the door, and for some time to eat alone. The holy abbess was so tender of the sick, that she sometimes allowed them to eat flesh-meat, but would not admit of the same indulgence in her own ailments, nor even allow herself a drop of wine in the water she drank. She extended her love of poverty to her buildings and churches, ordering them all to be built low, and without any thing costly or magnificent; she said that money is better laid out on the poor, who are the living members of Christ. She wept so bitterly for the smallest faults, that others would have thought her guilty of grievous crimes. Under an overflow of natural grief for the death of her children, she made frequent signs of the cross on her mouth and breast to overcome nature, and remained always perfectly resigned in her soul to the will of God. Her son Toxotius married Læta, daughter to a priest of the idols, but, as to herself, she was a most virtuous Christian. Both were faithful imitators of the sanctity of our saint. Their daughter, Paula the younger, was sent to Bethlehem. to be under the care of her grandmother, whom she afterwards succeeded in the government of that monastery. St. Jerom wrote to Læta some excellent lessons[4] for the education of this girl, which parents can never read too often. Our saint lived {232} fifty-six years and eight months, of which she had spent in her widowhood five at Rome, and almost twenty at Bethlehem. In her last illness, but especially in her agony, she repeated almost without intermission certain verses of the psalms, which express an ardent desire of the heavenly Jerusalem, and of being united to God. When she was no longer able to speak, she formed the sign of the cross on her lips, and expired in the most profound peace, on the 26th of January, 404. Her corpse, carried by bishops, and attended with lighted wax torches, was interred on the 28th of the same month, in the midst of the church of the holy manger. Her tomb is still shown in the same place, near that of St. Jerom, but empty: even the Latin epitaph which St. Jerom composed in verse, and caused to be engraved on her tomb, is erased or removed, though extant in the end of this letter which he addressed to her daughter. Her relics are said to be in the possession of the metropolitical church at Sens, and the feast of St. Paula is kept a holiday of precept in that city on the 27th of January; on which day her name is placed by Ado, Usuard, &c., because she died on the 26th, after sunset, and the Jews in Palestine began the day from sunset: but her name occurs on the 26th in the Roman Martyrology, &c. See her life in St. Jerom's letter to her daughter, called her epitaph, ep. 86, &c.

Footnotes: 1. Ep. 22, ol. 54. 2. Rebellibus lachrymis injurian facis possidenti. 3. Nulla sic amabat filios, &c. St. Heir {} epitaph. Paulæ. 4. Ep. 57, ol. 7.


IF we can give credit to some lives of St. Fiaker, and the old breviary of Limoges, that saint was son of Eusenius, king of Scotland, and by his father committed in his childhood, with his two brothers, to the care of St. Conon, from which saintly education he received that ardent love and perfect spirit of piety, by which he was distinguished during the whole course of his life. Conon, by the purity and fervor in which he served God, was a saint from his infancy. The Isle of Man, which was a famous ancient seat of the Druids, is said to have received the seeds of the Christian faith by the zeal of St. Patrick. St. Conon, passing thither from Scotland, completed that great work, and is said to have been made bishop of Man, or of Sodor, supposed by these authors to have been anciently, a town in this island. This bishopric was soon after united with that of the Hebrides or the Western islands, which see was fixed in the isle of Hi, Iona or Y-colmkille. St. Conon died in the isle of Man, about the year 648. His name continued, to the change of religion, in great veneration throughout the Hebrides, or islands on the West of Scotland.[1] On St. Conon, see Leslie, Hist. of Scotland, &c.

Footnotes: 1. In some few of these islands, the laird and all the inhabitants remain still Catholics; as Banbecuis, under Ranal Mac Donald; South-Vist, under Alan Mac Donald of Moydart, whose ancestors were once kings of these islands; Barry under Mac Neil; Canny, and Egg, and some others. In many others there are long since no Catholics, as in Lewis, North-Vist, Harries, St. Kilda, &c. See the latest edition of the Present State of England and bishop Leslie's nephew, in his MS. account, &c.




From Socrates, Theodoret, and other historians: as also from the saint's works; and his life, written by way of dialogue, with great fidelity, by his friend and strenuous advocate Palladius, a holy bishop, but a distinct person from Palladius the bishop of Helenopolis and author of the Lausiac history, who was then young, and is evidently distinguished by this writer in many places, as Tillemont, Montfaucon, and Stilting show against Baillet and others; though also Palladius, bishop of Helenopolis, exerted himself in defence of St. Chrysostom. Palladius, author of the Dialogue on the life of St. Chrysostom, was never accused of Origenism except by those who, at least in the proofs alleged for this charge, confounded him with the bishop of Helenopolis. F. Stilting clears also the latter from the charge of Origenism, and answers the arguments produced by Baronius against him. Comm. Hist. §1, p. 404. The later Greek panegyrists, George, patriarch of Alexandria, in 620, the emperor Leo the Wise, in 890, &c., deserve very little notice. See the life of our saint compiled by Dom Montfaucon. Op. t. 13. And lastly, the accurate commentary on his life given by F. Stilting the Bollandist, on the 14th of September, from p. 401 to 709, t. 4.

A.D. 407.

THIS incomparable doctor, on account of the fluency and sweetness of his eloquence, obtained soon after his death the surname of Chrysostom, or Golden Mouth, which we find given him by St. Ephrem of Antioch, Theodoret, and Cassiodorus. But his tender piety, and his undaunted courage and zeal in the cause of virtue, are titles far more glorious, by which he holds an eminent place among the greatest pastors and saints of the church. About the year 344, according to F. Stilting, Antioch, the capital city of the East, was ennobled by his illustrious birth. He had one elder sister, and was the only son and heir of Secundus, master of the horse, that is, chief commander of the imperial troops in Syria. His mother, Anthusa, left a widow at twenty years of age, continued such the remainder of her life, dividing her time between the care of her family and the exercises of devotion. Her example in this respect made such an impression on our saint's master, a celebrated pagan sophist, that he could not forbear crying out, "What wonderful women have the Christians!"[1] She managed the estate of her children with great prudence and frugality, knowing this to be part of her duty to God, but she was sensible that their spiritual instruction in virtue was of infinitely greater importance. From their cradle she instilled into them the most perfect maxims of piety, and contempt of the world. The ancient Romans dreaded nothing more in the education of youth, than their being ill taught the first principles of the sciences; it being more difficult to unlearn the errors then imbibed, than to begin on a mere tabula rasa, or blank paper. Wherefore Anthusa provided her son the ablest masters in every branch of literature, which the empire at that time afforded. Eloquence was esteemed the highest accomplishment, especially among the nobility, and was the surest means of raising men to the first dignities in the state. John studied that art under Libanius, the most famous orator of that age; and such was his proficiency, that even in his youth he excelled his masters. Libanius being asked by his pagan friends on his death-bed, about the year 390, who should succeed him in his school: "John," said he, "had not the Christians stolen him from us."[2] Our saint was then priest. While he was only a scholar, that sophist one day read to an assembly of orators a declamation composed by him, and it was received with unusual tokens {234} of admiration and applause. Libanius pronounced the young orator happy, "as were also the emperors," he said, "who reigned at a time when the world was possessed of so great a treasure."[3] The progress of the young scholar in philosophy, under Andragatius, was no less rapid and surprising; his genius shone in every disputation. All this time his principal care was to study Christ, and to learn his spirit. He laid a solid foundation of virtue, by a perfect humility, self-denial, and a complete victory over himself. Though naturally hot and inclined to anger, he had extinguished all emotions of passion in his breast.[4] His modesty, meekness, tender charity, and singular discretion, rendered him the delight of all he conversed with.

The first dignities of the empire were open to John. But his principal desire was to dedicate himself to God, without reserve, in holy solitude. However, not being yet twenty years of age, he for some time pleaded at the bar. In that employment he was drawn by company into the diversions of the world, and sometimes assisted at the entertainments of the stage. His virtue was in imminent danger of splitting against that fatal rock, when God opened his eyes. He was struck with horror at the sight of the precipice upon the brink of which he stood; and not content to flee from it himself, he never ceased to bewail his blindness, and took every occasion to caution the faithful against that lurking place of hellish sirens, but more particularly in his vehement sermons against the stage. Alarmed at the danger he had narrowly escaped, full of gratitude to God his deliverer, and to prevent the like danger for the time to come, he was determined to carry his resolution of renouncing the world into immediate execution. He began by the change of his garb, to rid himself the more easily of the importunities of friends: for a penitential habit is not only a means for preserving a spirit of mortification and humility, but is also a public sign and declaration to the world, that a person has turned his back on its vanities, and is engaged in an irreconcilable war against them. His clothing was a coarse gray coat: he watched much, fasted every day, and spent the greater part of his time in prayer and meditation on the holy scriptures: his bed was no other than the hard floor. In subduing his passions, he found none of so difficult a conquest as vain-glory;[5] this enemy he disarmed by embracing every kind of public humiliation. The clamors of his old friends and admirers, who were incensed at his leaving them, and pursued him with their invectives and censures, were as arrows shot at random. John took no manner of notice of them: he rejoiced in contempt, and despised the frowns of a world whose flatteries he dreaded: Christ crucified was the only object of his heart, and nothing could make him look back after he had put his hand to the plough. And his progress in virtue was answerable to his zealous endeavors.

St. Meletius, bishop of Antioch, called the young ascetic to the service of the church, gave him suitable instructions, during three years, in his own palace, and ordained him Reader. John had learned the art of silence, in his retirement, with far greater application than he had before studied that of speaking. This he discovered when he appeared again in the world, though no man ever possessed a greater fluency of speech, or a more ready and enchanting eloquence, joined with the most solid judgment and a rich fund of knowledge and good sense; yet in company he observed a modest silence, and regarded talkativeness as an enemy to the interior recollection of the heart, as a source of many sins and indiscretions, and as a mark of vanity and self-conceit. He heard the words of the wise with the humble docility of a scholar, and he bore the impertinence, trifles, and blunders of {235} fools in discourse, not to interrupt the attention of his soul to God, or to make an ostentatious show of his eloquence or science: yet with spiritual persons he conversed freely on heavenly things, especially with a pious friend named Basil, one of the same age and inclinations with himself, who had been his most beloved school-fellow, and who forsook the world to embrace a monastic life, a little before our saint. After three years, he left the bishop's house to satisfy the importunities of his mother, but continued the same manner of life in her house, during the space of two years. He still saw frequently his friend Basil, and he prevailed on two of his school-fellows under Libanius to embrace an ascetic life; Theodorus, afterwards bishop of Mopsuestia, and Maximus, bishop of Seleucia. The former returned in a short time to the bar, and fell in love with a young lady called Hermione. John lamented his fall with bitter tears before God, and brought him back to his holy institute by two tender and pathetic exhortations to penance, "which breathe an eloquence above the power of what seems merely human," says Sozomen. Not long after, hearing that the bishops of the province were assembled at Antioch, and deliberated to raise him and Basil to the episcopal dignity, he privately withdrew, and lay hid till the vacant sees were filled. Basil was made bishop of Raphanæa near Antioch; and had no other resource in his grief for his promotion, but in tears and complaints against his friend who had betrayed him into so perilous a charge. John, being then twenty-six years old, wrote to him in his own justification six incomparable books, Of the Priesthood.

Four years after, in 374, he retired into the mountains near Antioch, among certain holy anchorets who peopled them, and whose manner of life is thus described by our saint:[6] They devoted all the morning to prayer, pious reading, and meditating on the holy scriptures. Their food was bread with a little salt; some added oil, and those who were very weak, a few herbs or pulse; no one ever ate before sunset. After the refection it was allowed to converse with one another, but only on heavenly things. They always closed their night-prayers with the remembrance of the last judgment, to excite themselves to a constant watchfulness and preparation; which practice St. Chrysostom earnestly recommends to all Christians with the evening examination.[7] These monks had no other bed than a mat spread on the bare ground. Their garments were made of the rough hair of goats or camels, or of old skins, and such as the poorest beggars would not wear, though some of them were of the richest families, and had been tenderly brought up. They wore no shoes; no one possessed any thing as his own; even their poor necessaries were all in common. They inherited their estates only to distribute them among the poor; and on them, and in hospitality to strangers, they bestowed all the spare profits of their work. They all used the same food, wore a uniform habit, and by charity were all one heart. The cold words mine and thine, the baneful source of lawsuits and animosities among men, were banished from their cells. They rose at the first crowing of the cock, that is, at midnight, being called up by the superior; and after the morning hymns and psalms, that is, matins and lauds, all remained in their private cells, where they read the holy scriptures, and some copied books. All met in the church at the canonical hours of tierce, sext, none, and vespers, but returned to their cells, none being allowed to speak, to jest, or to be one moment idle. The time which others spend a table, or in diversions, they employed in honoring God; even their meal took up very little time, and after a short sleep, (according to the custom of hot countries,) {236} they resumed their exercises, conversing not with men but with God, with the prophets and apostles in their writings and pious meditation; and spiritual things were the only subject of their entertainment. For corporal exercise they employed themselves in some mean manual labor, such as entertained them in humility, and could not inspire vanity or pride: they made baskets, tilled and watered the earth, hewed wood, attended the kitchen, washed the feet of all strangers, and waited on them without distinction, whether they were rich or poor. The saint adds, that anger, jealousy, envy, grief, and anxiety for worldly goods and concerns, were unknown in these poor cells; and he assures us, that the constant peace, joy, and pleasure which reigned in them, were as different from the bitterness and tumultuous scenes of the most brilliant worldly felicity, as the security and calmness of the most agreeable harbor are, from the dangers and agitation of the most tempestuous ocean. Such was the rule of these cenobites, or monks who lived in community. There were also hermits on the same mountains who lay on ashes, wore sackcloth, and shut themselves up in frightful caverns, practising more extraordinary austerities. Our saint was at first apprehensive that he should find it an insupportable difficulty to live without fresh bread, use the same stinking oil for his food and for his lamp, and inure his body to hard labor under so great austerities.[8] But by courageously despising this apprehension, in consequence of a resolution to spare nothing by which he might learn perfectly to die to himself; he found the difficulty entirely to vanish in the execution. Experience shows that in such undertakings, the imagination is alarmed not so much by realities as phantoms, which vanish before a courageous heart which can look them in the face with contempt. Abbot Rancé, the reformer of la Trappe, found more difficulty in the thought of rising without a fire in winter, in the beginning of his conversion, than he did in the greatest severities which he afterwards practised. St. Chrysostom passed four years under the conduct of a veteran Syrian monk, and afterwards two years in a cave as a hermit. The dampness of this abode brought on him a dangerous distemper, and for the recovery of his health he was obliged to return into the city. By this means he was restored to the service of the church in 381, for the benefit of innumerable souls. He was ordained deacon by St. Meletius that very year, and priest by Flavian in 386, who at the same time constituted him his vicar and preacher, our saint being then in the forty-third year of his age.[9] He discharged all the duties of that arduous station during twelve {237} years, being the hand and the eye of his bishop, and his mouth to his flock. The instruction and care of the poor he regarded as his first obligation: this he always made his favorite employment and his delight. He never ceased in his sermons to recommend their cause and the precept of alms deeds to the people. Antioch, he supposed, contained at that time one hundred thousand Christian souls: all these he fed with the word of God, preaching several days in the week, and frequently several times on the same day. He confounded the Jews and Pagans, also the Anomæans, and other heretics. He abolished the most inveterate abuses, repressed vice, and changed the whole face of that great city. It seemed as if nothing could withstand the united power of his eloquence, zeal, and piety.

Theodosius I., finding himself obliged to levy a new tax on his subjects, on occasion of his war with Maximus, who had usurped the Western empire in 387, the populace of Antioch, provoked at the demand, mutinied, and discharged their rage on the emperor's statue, those of his father, his two sons, and his late consort, Flavilla, dragged them with ropes through the streets, and then broke them to pieces. The magistrates durst not oppose the rabble in their excesses. But as soon as their fury was over, and that they began to reflect on what they had been guilty of, and the natural consequences of their extravagances, they were all seized with such terror and consternation, that many abandoned the city, others absconded, and scarce any durst appear publicly in the streets. The magistrates in the mean time were filling the prisons with citizens, in order to their trials, on account of their respective share in the combustion. Their fears were heightened on the arrival of two officers dispatched from Constantinople to execute the emperor's orders with regard to the punishment of the rioters. The reports which were spread abroad on this occasion imported, that the emperor would cause the guilty to be burned alive, would confiscate their estates, and level the city with the ground. The consternation alone was a greater torment than the execution itself could have been. Flavian, notwithstanding his very advanced age, and though his sister was dying when he left her, set out without delay in a very severe season of the year, to implore {238} the emperor's clemency in favor of his flock. Being come to the palace, and admitted into the emperor's presence, he no sooner perceived that prince but he stopped at a distance, holding down his head, covering his face, and speaking only by his tears, as though himself had been guilty. Thus he remained for some time. The emperor seeing him in this condition, carrying, as it were, the weight of the public guilt in his breast, instead of employing harsh reproaches, as Flavian might naturally have expected, summed up the many favors he had conferred on that city, and said at the conclusion of each article: "Is this the acknowledgment I had reason to expect? Is this their return for my love? What cause of complaint had they against me? Had I ever injured them? But granting that I had, what can they allege for extending their insolence even to the dead? Had they received any wrong from them? Why were they to be insulted too? What tenderness have I not shown on all occasions for their city? Is it not notorious that I have given it the preference in my love and esteem to all others, even to that which gave me birth? Did not I always express a longing desire to see it, and that it gave the highest satisfaction to think I should soon be in a condition of taking a journey for this purpose?"

Then the holy bishop, being unable to bear such stinging reproaches or vindicate their conduct, made answer: "We acknowledge, Sir, that you have on all occasions favored us with the greatest demonstrations of your singular affection; and this it is that enhances both our crime and our grief, that we should have carried our ingratitude to such a pitch as to have offended our best friend and greatest benefactor: hence, whatever punishment you may inflict upon us, it will still fall short of what we deserve. But alas! the evil we have done ourselves is worse than innumerable deaths: for what can be more afflicting than to live, in the judgment of all mankind, guilty of the blackest ingratitude, and to see ourselves deprived of your sweet and gracious protection, which was our bulwark. We dare not look any man in the face; no, not the sun itself. But as great as our misery is, it is not irremediable; for it is in your power to remove it. Great affronts among private men have often been the occasion of great charity. When the devil's envy had destroyed man, God's mercy restored him. That wicked spirit, jealous of our city's happiness, has plunged her into this abyss of evils, out of which you alone can rescue her. It is your affection, I dare say it, which has brought them upon us, by exciting the jealousy of the wicked spirits against us. But, like God himself, you may draw infinite good out of the evil which they intended us. If you spare us, you are revenged on them.

"Your clemency on this occasion will be more honorable to you than your most celebrated victories. It will adorn your head with a far brighter diadem than that which you wear, as it will be the fruit only of your own virtue. Your statues have been thrown down: if you pardon this insult, you will raise yourself others, not of marble or brass, which time destroys, but such as will exist eternally in the hearts of all those who will hear of this action. Your predecessor, Constantine the Great, when importuned by his courtiers to exert his vengeance on some seditious people that had disfigured his statues by throwing stones at them, did nothing more than stroke his face with his hand, and told them, smiling, that he did not feel himself hurt. This his saying is yet in the mouths of all men, and a more illustrious trophy to his memory than all the cities which he built, than all the barbarous nations which he subdued. Remember your own memorable saying, when you ordered the prisons to be opened, and the criminals to be pardoned at the feast of Easter: 'Would to God I were able in the same manner to open the graves, and restore the dead to life!' That time is now come. {239} Here is a city whose inhabitants are already dead; and is, as it were, at the gates of its sepulchre. Raise it then, as it is in your power to do, without cost or labor. A word will suffice. Suffer it by your clemency to be still named among the living cities. It will then owe more to you than to its very founder. He built it small, you will raise it great and populous. To have preserved it from being destroyed by barbarians would not have been so great an exploit, as to spare it on such an occasion as now offers.

"Neither is the preservation of an illustrious city the only thing to be considered; your own glory, and, above all, the honor of the Christian religion, are highly interested in this affair. The Jews and Pagans, all barbarous nations, nay, the whole world, have their eyes fixed on you at this critical juncture; all are waiting for the judgment you will pronounce. If it be favorable, they will be filled with admiration, and will agree to praise and worship that God, who checks the anger of those who acknowledge no master upon earth, and who can transform men into angels; they will embrace that religion which teaches such sublime morality. Listen not to those who will object that your clemency on this occasion may be attended with, and give encouragement to the like disorders in other cities. That could only happen, if you spared for want of a power to chastise: but whereas you do not divest yourself, by such an act of clemency, of this power, and as by it you endear and rivet yourself the more in the affections of your subjects, this, instead of encouraging such insults and disorders, will rather the more effectually prevent them. Neither immense sums of money, nor innumerable armies, could ever have gained you so much the hearts of your subjects and their prayers for your person and empire, as will this single action. And if you stand fair for being such a gainer from men, what rewards may you not reasonably expect from God? It is easy for a master to punish, but rare and difficult to pardon.

"It will be extremely glorious to you to have granted this pardon at the request of a minister of the Lord, and it will convince the world of your piety, in that you overlooked the unworthiness of his person, and respected only the power and authority of that Master who sent him. For though deputed immediately by the inhabitants of Antioch to deprecate your just displeasure on this occasion, it is not only in their name that I appear in this place, for I am come from the sovereign Lord of men and angels to declare to you in his name, that, if you pardon men their faults, he will forgive you your sins. Call to mind then that dreadful day on which we shall all be summoned to give in an account of all our actions. Reflect on your having it now in your power, without pain or labor, to efface your sins, and to find mercy at that terrible tribunal. You are about to pronounce your own sentence. Other ambassadors bring gold, silver, and other like presents, but as for me, I offer nothing but the law of God, and entreat you to imitate his example on the cross." He concluded his harangue by assuring the emperor that if he refused to pardon the city, he would never more return to it, nor look upon that city as his country, which a prince of his humane disposition could not prevail upon himself to pardon.

This discourse had its desired effect on the emperor, who with much difficulty suppressed his tears while the bishop spoke, whom he answered in these few words: "If Jesus Christ, the Lord of all things, vouchsafed to pardon and pray for those very men that crucified him, ought I to hesitate to pardon them who have offended me? I, who am but a mortal man like them, and a servant of the same Master." The patriarch, overjoyed at his success, prostrated himself at the emperor's feet, wishing him a reward for such an action suitable to its merit. And whereas the prelate made an offer of passing the feast of Easter with the emperor at Constantinople, he, to {240} testify how sincerely he was reconciled to the city of Antioch, urged his immediate return, saying: "Go, Father, delay not a moment the consolation your people will receive at your return, by communicating to them the assurances of the pardon I grant them; I know they must be in great affliction." The bishop set out accordingly; but, to delay as little as possible the joy of the citizens, he dispatched a courier before him with the emperor's letter of pardon, which produced a comfortable change in the face of affairs. The bishop himself arrived time enough before Easter to keep that solemnity with his people. The joy and triumph of that city could not be greater; it is elegantly described by St. Chrysostom, extolling above all things the humility and modesty of Flavian, who attributed the whole change of Theodosius's mind, and all the glory of the action, to God alone. The discourse which Flavian addressed to the emperor, except the introduction, had been composed by St. Chrysostom, who recited it to the people to comfort them, and ceased not strongly to exhort them to penance, and the fervent exercise of good works, during the whole time of their bishop's absence.[10] After this storm our saint continued his labors with unwearied zeal, and was the honor, the delight, and the darling not of Antioch only but of all the East, and his reputation spread itself over the whole empire.[11] But God was pleased to call him to glorify his name on a new theatre, where he prepared for his virtue other trials, and other crowns.

St. Chrysostom had been five years deacon, and twelve years priest, when Nectarius, bishop of Constantinople, dying in 397, the emperor Arcadius, at the suggestion of Eutropius the eunuch, his chamberlain, resolved to procure the election of our saint to the patriarchate of that city. He therefore dispatched a secret order to the count of the East, enjoining him to send John to Constantinople, but by some stratagem; lest his intended removal, if known at Antioch, should cause a sedition, and be rendered impracticable. The count repaired to Antioch, and desiring the saint to accompany him out of the city to the tombs of the martyrs, on the pretence of devotion, he there delivered him into the hands of an officer sent on purpose, who, taking him into his chariot, conveyed him with all possible speed to the imperial city. Theophilus, patriarch of Alexandria, a man of a proud and turbulent spirit, was come thither to recommend a creature of his own to that dignity. He endeavored by illegal practices secretly to traverse the canonical promotion of our saint; but was detected, and threatened to be accused in a synod. Whereupon he was glad to desist from his intrigues, and thus John was consecrated by him on the 26th of February, in 398.[12] In regulating his own conduct and his domestic concerns, he retrenched all the great expenses which his predecessors had entailed on their dignity, which he looked upon as superfluous, and an excessive prodigality, and these sums he applied to the relief of the poor, especially of the sick. For this purpose he erected and maintained several numerous hospitals, under the government of holy and charitable priests, and was very careful that all the servants and attendants were persons of great virtue, tenderness, compassion, and prudence. His own family being settled in good order, the next thing he took in hand after his promotion was the reformation of his clergy. This he forwarded by zealous exhortations and proper rules for their conduct, tending both to their sanctification and exemplarity. And to give these his endeavors their due force, he lived an exact model of what he inculcated to others: but his zeal exasperated the tepid part of that order, and raised a storm against himself. The immodesty {241} of women in their dress in that gay capital excited in him sentiments of the most just abhorrence and indignation. Some young ladies seemed to have forgot that clothing is the covering of the ignominy of sin, and ought to be an instrument of penance, and a motive of confusion and tears, not of vanity. But the exhortations of St. Chrysostom moved many to despise and lay aside the use of purple, silks, and jewels. It was a far more intolerable scandal that some neglected to cover their necks, or used such thin veils as served only to invite the eyes of others more boldly. Our saint represented to such persons that they were in some respects worse than public prostitutes: for these hide their baits at home only for the wicked: "but you," said he, "carry your snare everywhere, and spread your nets publicly in all places. You allege, that you never invited others to sin. You did not by your tongue, but you have done it by your dress and deportment more effectually than you could by your voice: when you have made another to sin in his heart, how can you be innocent? You sharpened and drew the sword: you gave the thrust by which the soul is wounded.[13] Tell me, whom does the world condemn? whom do judges punish? Those who drink the poison, or those who prepare and give the fatal draught? You have mingled the execrable cup; you have administered the potion of death: you are so much more criminal than poisoners, as the death which you cause is the more terrible; for you murder not the body, but the soul. Nor do you do this to enemies; nor compelled by necessity, nor provoked by any injury; but out of a foolish vanity and pride. You sport yourselves in the ruin of the souls of others, and make their spiritual death your pastime." Hence he infers, how false and absurd their excuse is in saying, they mean no harm. These and many other scandals he abolished. He suppressed the wicked custom of swearing, first at Antioch, then at Constantinople. By the invincible power of his eloquence and zeal he tamed the fiercest sinners, and changed them into meek lambs: he converted an incredible number of idolaters and heretics.[14] His mildness towards sinners was censured by the Novatians; he invited them to repentance with the compassion of the most tender father, and was accustomed to cry out: "If you are fallen a second time, or even a thousand times into sin, come to me and you shall be healed."[15] But he was firm and severe in maintaining discipline, though without harshness; to impenitent sinners he was inflexible. To mention one instance of the success of his holy zeal out of the many which his sermons furnish; in the year 399, the second of his episcopacy, on Wednesday in Holy Week, so violent a rain fell as to endanger the corn, and threaten the whole produce of the country. Hereupon public processions were made to the church of the apostles by the bishop and people, to avert the scourge by imploring the intercession chiefly of St. Peter, St. Andrew, (who is regarded as the founder of the church of Byzantium,) St. Paul, and St. Timothy.[16] The rain ceased, but not their fears. Therefore they all crossed the Bosphorus to the church of SS. Peter and Paul, on the opposite side of the water. This danger was scarce over, when on the Friday following many ran to see certain horse-races, and on Holy Saturday to games exhibited at the theatre. The good bishop was pierced to the quick with grief, and on the next day, Easter-Sunday, preached a most zealous and eloquent sermon, Against the Games and Shows of the Theatre and Circus. Indignation made him not so much as mention the paschal solemnity;{242} but by an abrupt exordium he burst into the most vehement pathos, as follows: "Are these things to be borne? Can they be tolerated? I appeal to yourselves, be you your own judges. Thus did God expostulate with the Jews."[17] This exclamation he often repeated to assuage his grief. He put the people in mind of the sanctity of our faith; of the rigorous account we must give to God of all our moments, and the obligation of serving him incumbent on us from his benefits, who has made for us the heaven and earth, the sun, light, rivers, &c. The saint grieved the more, because, after all, they said they had done no harm, though they had murdered not only their own souls, but also those of their children. "And how will you," said he, "after this approach the holy place? How will you touch the heavenly food? Even now do I see you overwhelmed with grief, and covered with confusion. I see some striking their foreheads, perhaps those who have not sinned, but are moved with compassion for their brethren. On this account do I grieve and suffer, that the devil should make such a havoc in such a flock. But if you join with me, we will shut him out. By what means? If we seek out the wounded, and snatch them out of his jaws. Do not tell me their number is but small: though they are but ten, this is a great loss: though but five, but two, or only one. The shepherd leaving ninety-nine, did not return till he had completed his number by recovering that sheep which was lost. Do not say, it is only one; but remember that it is a soul for which all things visible were made; for which laws were given, miracles wrought, and mysteries effected: for which God spared not his only Son. Think how great a price hath been paid for this one sheep, and bring him back to the fold. If he neither hears your persuasions nor my exhortations, I will employ the authority with which God hath invested me." He proceeds to declare such excommunicated. The consternation and penance of the city made the holy pastor forbear any further censure, and to commend their conversion. Palladius writes that he had the satisfaction to see those who had been the most passionately fond of the entertainments of the stage and circus, moved by his sermons on that subject, entirely renounce those schools of the devil. God is more glorified by one perfect soul than by many who serve him with tepidity. Therefore, though every individual of his large flock was an object of his most tender affection and pastoral concern, those were particularly so, who had secluded themselves from the world by embracing a religious state of life, the holy virgins and nuns. Describing their method of life, he says:[18] Their clothing was sackcloth, and their beds only mats spread on the floor; that they watched part of the night in prayer, walked barefoot, never ate before evening, and never touched so much as bread, using no other food than pulse and herbs, and that they were always occupied in prayer, manual labor, or serving the sick of their own sex. The spiritual mother, and the sun of this holy company, St. Nicareta, is honored December the 27th. Among the holy widows who dedicated themselves to God under the direction of this great master of saints, the most illustrious were the truly noble ladies St. Olympias, Salvina, Procula, and Pantadia. This last (who was the widow of Timasus, formerly the first minister to the emperor) was constituted by him deaconess of the church of Constantinople. Widows he considered as by their state called to a life of penance, retirement, and devotion; and he spared no exhortations or endeavors to engage them faithfully to correspond to the divine grace, according to the advice which St. Paul gives them.[19] St. Olympias claimed the privilege of furnishing the expenses of the saint's {243} frugal table. He usually ate alone: few would have been willing to dine so late, or so coarsely and sparingly as he did; and he chose this to save both time and expenses: but he kept another table in a house near his palace, for the entertainment of strangers, which he took care should be decently supplied. He inveighed exceedingly against sumptuous banquets. All his revenues he laid out on the poor; for whose relief he sold the rich furniture which Nectarius had left; and once, in a great dearth, he caused some of the sacred vessels to be melted down for that purpose. This action was condemned by Theophilus, but is justly regarded by St. Austin as a high commendation of our holy prelate. Besides the public hospital near his cathedral, and several others which he founded and maintained, he erected two for strangers. His own patrimony he had given to the poor long before, at Antioch. His extraordinary charities obtained him the name of John of alms-deeds.[20] The spiritual necessities of his neighbor were objects of far greater compassion to his tender charity. His diocese, nay, the whole world, he considered as a great hospital of souls, spiritually blind, deaf, sick, and in danger of perishing eternally; many standing on the brink, many daily falling from the frightful precipice into the unquenchable lake. Not content with tears and supplications to the Father of mercies for their salvation, he was indefatigable in labors and in every endeavor to open their eyes; feared no dangers, no not death itself in its most frightful shapes, to succor them in their spiritual necessities, and prevent their fall. Neither was this pastoral care confined to his own flock or nation: he extended it to the remotest countries. He sent a bishop to instruct the Nomades or wandering Scythians: another, an admirable man, to the Goths. Palestine, Persia, and many other distant provinces felt the most beneficent influence of his zeal. He was himself endued with an eminent spirit of prayer: this he knew to be the great channel of heavenly graces, the cleanser of the affections of the soul from earthly dross, and the means which renders them spiritual and heavenly, and makes men angels, even in their mortal body. He was therefore particularly earnest in inculcating this duty, and in instructing others in the manner of performing it. He warmly exhorted the laity to rise to the midnight office of matins together with the clergy: "Many artisans," said he, "watch to labor, and soldiers watch as sentries; and cannot you do as much to praise God?"[21] He observes, that the silence of the night is peculiarly adapted to devout prayer, and the sighs of compunction: which exercise we ought never to interrupt too long; and by watching, prayer becomes more earnest and powerful. Women he will not have to go easily abroad to church in the night-time; but advises that even children rise in the night to say a short prayer, and as they cannot watch long be put to bed again: for thus they will contract from their infancy a habit of watching, and a Christian's whole house will be converted into a church. The advantages and necessity of assiduous prayer he often recommends with singular energy; but he expresses himself on no subject with greater tenderness and force than on the excess of the divine love, which is displayed in the holy Eucharist, and in exhorting the faithful to the frequent use of that heavenly sacrament. St. Proclus says,[22] that he abridged the liturgy of his church. St. Nilus[23] assures us that he was often favored with visions of angels in the church during the canonical hours, surrounding the altars in troops during the celebration of the divine mysteries, and at the communion of the people. The saint himself confidently avers {244} that this happens at those times,[24] which he confirms by the visions of several hermits.

The public concerns of the state often called on the saint to afford the spiritual succors of his zeal and charity. Eutropius was then at the head of affairs. He was a eunuch, and originally a slave, but had worked himself into favor with the emperor Arcadius. In 395 he was instrumental in cutting off Rufinus, the chief minister, who had broke out into an open rebellion, and he succeeded the traitor in all his honors: golden statues were erected to him in several parts of the city, and what Claudian, Marcellinus in his chronicle, Suidas, and others, represent as the most monstrous event that occurs in the Roman Fasti, was declared consul, though a eunuch. Being placed on so high a pinnacle, a situation but too apt to turn the strongest head, forgetful of himself and the indispensable rules of decency and prudence, it was not long before he surpassed his predecessor in insolence, ambition, and covetousness. Wholesome advice, even from a Chrysostom, served only to exasperate a heart devoted to the world, and open to flatterers, who added continually new flames to its passions. In the mean time, the murmurs and indignation of the whole empire at the pride and avarice of Eutropius were a secret to him, till the pit was prepared for his fall. Gainas, general of the auxiliary Goths in the imperial army, was stirred up to revenge an affront which his cousin Trigibildus, a tribune, had received from the haughty minister. At the same time the empress Eudoxia, having been insulted by him, ran to the emperor, carrying her two little babes in her arms, and cried out for justice against the insolent servant. Arcadius, who was as weak in abandoning, as he was imprudent in choosing favorites, gave orders that the minister should be driven out of the court, and his estates confiscated. Eutropius found himself in a moment forsaken by all the herds of his admirers and flatterers, without one single friend, and fled for protection to the church, and to those very altars whose immunities he had infringed and violated. The whole city was in an uproar against him; the army called aloud for his death, and a troop of soldiers surrounded the church with naked swords in their hands, and fire in their eyes. St. Chrysostom went to the emperor, and easily obtained of him that the unhappy criminal might be allowed to enjoy the benefit of sanctuary; and the soldiers were prevailed upon, by the tears of the emperor and the remonstrances of the bishop, to withdraw. The next day the people flocked to behold a man whose frown two days before made the whole world to tremble, now laying hold of the altar, gnashing his teeth, trembling and shuddering, having nothing before his eyes but drawn swords, dungeons, and executioners. St. Chrysostom on this occasion made a pathetic discourse on the vanity and treachery of human things, the emptiness and falsehood of which he could not find a word emphatical enough to express. The poor Eutropius could not relish such truths a few days ago, but now found his very riches destructive. The saint entreated the people to forgive him whom the emperor, the chief person injured, was desirous to forgive: he asked them how they could beg of God the pardon of their own sins if they did not pardon a man who then, by repentance, was perhaps a saint in the eyes of God. At this discourse not a single person in the church was able to refrain from tears, and all things seemed in a state of tranquillity.[25] Some days after, Eutropius left the church, hoping to escape privately out of the city, but was seized, and banished into Cyprus.[26] He was recalled a few months after, and being impeached {245} of high-treason was condemned and beheaded, chiefly at the instigation of Gainas; in compliance with whose unjust demands the weak emperor consented to the death of Aurelianus and Saturninus, two principal lords of his court. But St. Chrysostom, by several journeys, prevailed with the barbarian to content himself with their banishment, which they underwent, but were soon after recalled. As unjust concessions usually make rebels the more insolent, Gainas hereupon obliged the emperor to declare him commander-in-chief of all his troops. Yet even when his pride and power were at the highest, St. Chrysostom refused him the use of any Catholic church in Constantinople for the Arian worship. And when, some time after, he laid siege to that capital, the saint went out to him, and by kind expostulations prevailed on him to withhold his design and draw off his army. He was afterwards defeated in passing the Hellespont; and fleeing through the country of the Huns, was overthrown, and slain by them in 400.

This same year, 400, St. Chrysostom held a council of bishops in Constantinople; one of whom had preferred a complaint against his metropolitan Antoninus, the archbishop of Ephesus, which consisted of several heads, but that chiefly insisted on was simony.[27] All our saint's endeavors to discuss this affair being frustrated by the distance of places, he found it necessary, at the solicitation of the clergy and people of Ephesus, to go in person to that city, though the severity of the winter season, and the ill state of health he was then in, might be sufficient motives for retarding this journey. In this and the neighboring cities several councils were held, in which the archbishop of Ephesus and several other bishops in Asia, Lycia, and Phrygia, were deposed for simony. Upon his return after Easter, in 401, having been absent a hundred days, he preached the next morning,[28] calling his people, in the transports of tender joy, his crown, his glory, his paradise planted with flourishing trees; but if any bad shrubs should be found in it, he promised that no pains should be spared to change them into good. He bid them consider if they rejoiced so much as they testified, to see him again who was only one, how great his joy must be which was multiplied in every one of them: he calls himself their bond-slave, chained to their service, but says, that slavery was his delight, and that during his absence he ever had them present to his mind, offering up his prayers for their temporal and spiritual welfare.

It remained that our saint should glorify God by his sufferings, as he had already done by his labors: and if we contemplate the mystery of the cross with the eyes of faith, we shall find him greater in the persecutions he sustained than in all the other occurrences of his life. At the same time we cannot sufficiently deplore the blindness of envy and pride in his enemies, as in the Pharisees against Christ himself. We ought to tremble for ourselves: if that passion does not make us persecute a Chrysostom, it may often betray us into rash judgments, aversions, and other sins, even under a cloak of virtue. The first open adversary of our saint was Severianus, bishop of Gabala, in Syria, to whom the saint had left the care of his church during his absence. This mart had acquired the reputation of a preacher, was a favorite of the empress Eudoxia, and had employed all his talents and dexterity to establish himself in the good opinion of the court and people, to the prejudice of the saint, against whom he had preached in his own city. Severianus being obliged to leave Constantinople at the saint's return, he made an excellent discourse to his flock on the peace Christ came to establish on earth, and begged they would receive again Severianus, whom they {246} had expelled the city. Another enemy of the saint was Theophilus, patriarch of Alexandria, whom Sozomen, Socrates, Palladius, St. Isidore of Pelusium, and Synesius, accuse of avarice and oppressions to gratify his vanity in building stately churches; of pride, envy, revenge, dissimulation, and an incontrollable love of power and rule, by which he treated other bishops as his slaves, and made his will the rule of justice. His three paschal letters, which have reached us, show that he wrote without method, and that his reflections and reasonings were neither just nor apposite: whence the loss of his other writings is not much to be regretted. These spiritual vices sullied his zeal against the Anthropomorphites, and his other virtues. He died in 412, wishing that he had lived always in a desert, honoring the name of the holy Chrysostom, whose picture he caused to be brought to his bedside, and by reverencing it, showed his desire to make atonement for his past ill conduct towards our saint.[29] This turbulent man had driven from their retreat four abbots of Nitria, called the tall brothers, on a groundless suspicion of Origenism, as appears from Palladius, though it was believed by St. Jerom, which is maintained by Baronius. St. Chrysostom admitted them to communion, but not till they had juridically cleared themselves of it in an ample manner.[30] This however was grievously resented by Theophilus: but the empress Eudoxia, who, after the disgrace of Eutropius, governed her husband and the empire, was the main spring which moved the whole conspiracy against the saint. Zozimus, a heathen historian, says, that her flagrant avarice, her extortions and injustices, knew no bounds, and that the court was filled with informers, calumniators, and harpies, who, being always on the watch for prey, found means to seize the estates of such as died rich, and to disinherit their children or other heirs. No wonder that a saint should displease such a court while he discharged his duty to God. He had preached a sermon against the extravagance and vanity of women in dress and pomp. This was pretended by some to have been levelled at the empress; and Severianus was not wanting to blow the coals. Knowing Theophilus was no friend to the saint, the empress, to be revenged of the supposed affront, sent to desire his presence at Constantinople, in order to depose him. He obeyed the summons with pleasure, and landed at Constantinople in June, 403, with several Egyptian bishops his creatures, refused to see or lodge with John, and got together a packed cabal of thirty-six bishops, the saint's enemies, in a church at Chalcedon, calling themselves the synod at the Oak, from a great tree which gave name to that quarter of the town. The heads of the impeachment drawn up against the holy bishop were: that he had deposed a deacon for beating a servant; that he had called several of his clergy base men; had deposed bishops out of his province; had ordained priests in his domestic chapel, instead of the cathedral; had sold things belonging to the church; that nobody knew what became of his revenues; that he ate alone; and that he gave the holy communion to persons who were not fasting: all which were false or frivolous. The saint held a legal council of forty bishops in the city at the same time; and refused to appear before that at the Oak, alleging most notorious infractions of the canons in their pretended council. The cabal proceeded to a sentence of deposition, which they sent to the city and to the emperor, to whom they also accused him of treason, for having called the empress Jezabel, a false assertion, as Palladius testifies. The emperor hereupon issued out an order for his banishment, but the execution of it was opposed by the people, who assembled about the great church to guard their pastor. {247} He made them a farewell sermon,[31] in which he spoke as follows: "Violent storms encompass me on all sides; yet I am without fear, because I stand upon a rock. Though the sea roar, and the waves rise high, they cannot sink the vessel of Jesus. I fear not death, which is my gain: not banishment, for the whole earth is the Lord's: nor the loss of goods; for I came naked into the world, and must leave it in the same condition. I despise all the terrors of the world and trample upon its smiles and favor. Nor do I desire to live unless for your service. Christ is with me: whom shall I fear? Though waves rise against me: though the sea, though the fury of princes threaten me, all these are to me more contemptible than a spider's web. I always say: O Lord, may thy will be done: not what this or that creature wills, but what it shall please thee to appoint, that shall I do and suffer with joy. This is my strong tower: this is my unshaken rock: this is my staff that can never fail. If God be pleased that it be done, let it be so. Wheresoever his will is that I be, I return him thanks." He declared that he was ready to lay down a thousand lives for them, if at his disposal, and that he suffered only because he had neglected nothing to save their souls. On the third day after the unjust sentence given against him, having received repeated orders from the emperor to go into banishment, and taking all possible care to prevent a sedition, he surrendered himself, unknown to the people, to the count, who conducted him to Prænetum in Bithynia. After his departure his enemies entered the city with guards, and Severianus mounted the pulpit, and began to preach, pretending to show the deposition of the saint to have been legal and just. But the people would not suffer him to proceed, and ran about as if distracted, loudly demanding in a body the restoration of their holy pastor. The next night the city was shook with an earthquake. This brought the empress to reflect with remorse on what she had done against the holy bishop. She applied immediately to the emperor, under the greatest consternation, for his being recalled; crying out: "Unless John be recalled, our empire is undone:" and with his consent she dispatched letters the same night, inviting him home with tender expressions of affection and esteem, and protesting her ignorance of his banishment. Almost all the city went out to meet him, and great numbers of lighted torches were carried before him. He stopped to the suburbs, refusing to enter the city till he had been declared innocent by a more numerous assembly of bishops. But the people would suffer no delay: the enemies of the saint fled, and he resumed his functions, and preached to his flock. He pressed the emperor to call Theophilus to a legal synod: but that obstinate persecutor alleged that he could not return without danger of his life. However, Sozomen relates that threescore bishops ratified his return: but the fair weather did not last long. A silver statue of the empress having been erected on a pillar before the great church of St. Sophia, the dedication of it was celebrated with public games, which, besides disturbing the divine service, engaged the spectators in extravagances and superstition. St. Chrysostom had often preached against licentious shows; and the very place rendered these the more criminal. On this occasion, fearing lest his silence should be construed as an approbation of the thing, he, with his usual freedom and courage, spoke loudly against it. Though this could only affect the Manichæan overseer of those games, the vanity of the empress made her take the affront to herself, and her desires of revenge were implacable.[32] His enemies were invited back: Theophilus {248} durst not come, but sent three deputies. Though St. John had forty-two bishops with him, this second cabal urged to the emperor certain canons of an Arian council of Antioch, made only to exclude St. Athanasius, by which it was ordained that no bishop who had been deposed by a synod, should return to his see till he was restored by another synod. This false plea overruled the justice of the saint's cause, and Arcadius sent him an order to withdraw. He refused to forsake a church committed to him by God, unless forcibly compelled to leave it. The emperor sent troops to drive the people out of the churches on Holy-Saturday, and the holy places were polluted with blood and all manner of outrages. The saint wrote to pope Innocent, begging him to declare void all that had been done; for no injustice could be more notorious.[33] He also wrote to beg the concurrence of certain other holy bishops of the West. The pope having received from Theophilus the acts of the false council at the Oak, even by them saw the glaring injustice of its proceedings, and wrote to him, exhorting him to appear in another council, where sentence should be given according to the canons of Nice, meaning by those words to condemn the Arian canons of Antioch. He also wrote to St. Chrysostom, to his flock, and several of his friends: and endeavored to redress these evils by a new council: as did also the emperor Honorius. But Arcadius and Eudoxia found means to prevent its assembling, the very dread of which made Theophilus, Severianus, and other ringleaders of the faction to tremble.

St. Chrysostom was suffered to remain at Constantinople two months after Easter. On Thursday, in Whitsun-week, the emperor sent him an order for his banishment. The holy man, who received it in the church, said to those about him, "Come, let us pray, and take leave of the angel of the church." He took leave of the bishops, and, stepping into the baptistery, also of St. Olympias and the other deaconesses, who were overwhelmed with grief and bathed in tears. He then retired privately out of the church, to prevent a sedition, and was conducted by Lucius, a brutish captain, into Bithynia, and arrived at Nice on the 20th of June, 404. After his departure, a fire breaking out, burnt down the great church and the senate-house, two buildings which were the glory of the city: but the baptistery was spared by the flames, as it were to justify the saint against his calumniators; for not one of the rich vessels was found wanting. In this senate-house perished the incomparable statues of the muses from Helicon, and other like ornaments, the most valuable then known: so that Zozimus looks upon this conflagration as the greatest misfortune that had ever befallen that city. Palladius ascribes the fire to the anger of heaven. Many of the saint's friends were put to the most exquisite tortures on this account, but no discovery could be made. The Isaurians plundered Asia, and the Huns several other provinces. Eudoxia ended her life and crimes in childbed on the 6th of October following, five days after a furious hail-storm had made a dreadful havoc in the city. The emperor wrote to St. Nilus, to recommend himself and his empire to his prayers. The hermit answered him with a liberty of speech which became one who neither hoped nor feared any thing from the world. "How do you hope," said he, "to see Constantinople delivered from the destroying angel of God, after such enormities authorized by laws? after having banished the most blessed John, the pillar of the church, the lamp of truth, the trumpet of Jesus Christ!"[34] And again: "You have banished John, the greatest light of the earth:—At least, {249} do not persevere in your crime."[35] His brother, the emperor Honorius, wrote still in stronger terms,[36] and several others. But in vain; for certain implacable court ladies and sycophants, hardened against all admonitions and remorse, had much too powerful an ascendant over the unhappy emperor, for these efforts of the saint's friends to meet with success. Arsacius, his enemy and persecutor, though naturally a soft and weak man, was by the emperor's authority intruded into his see. The saint enjoyed himself comfortably at Nice: but Cucusus was pitched upon by Eudoxia for the place of his banishment. He set out from Nice in July, 404, and suffered incredible hardships from heats, fatigues, severity of guards, almost perpetual watchings, and a fever which soon seized him with pains in his breast. He was forced to travel almost all night, deprived of every necessary of life, and was wonderfully refreshed if he got a little clear water to drink, fresh bread to eat, or a bed to take a little rest upon. All he lamented was the impenitence of his enemies, for their own sake: calling impunity in sin, and honor conferred by men on that account, the most dreadful of all judgments.[37] About the end of August, after a seventy days' journey, he arrived at Cucusus, a poor town in Armenia, in the deserts of Mount Taurus. The good bishop of the place vied with his people in showing the man of God the greatest marks of veneration and civility, and many friends met him there, both from Constantinople and Antioch. In this place, by sending missionaries and succors, he promoted the conversion of many heathen countries, especially among the Goths, in Persia and Phoenicia. He appointed Constantius, his friend, a priest of Antioch, superior of the apostolic missions in Phoenicia and Arabia. The letters of Constantius are added to those of St. Chrysostom. The seventeen letters of our saint to St. Olympias might be styled treatises. He tells her,[38] "I daily exult and am transported with joy in my heart under my sufferings, in which I find a hidden treasure: and I beg that you rejoice on the same account, and that you bless and praise God, by whose mercy we obtain to such a degree the grace of suffering." He often enlarges on the great evils and most pernicious consequences of sadness and dejection of spirit, which he calls[39] "the worst of human evils, a perpetual domestic rack, a darkness and tempest of the mind, an interior war, a distemper which consumes the vigor of the soul, and impairs all her faculties." He shows[40] that sickness is the greatest of trials, a time not of inaction, but of the greatest merit, the school of all virtues, and a true martyrdom. He advises her to use physic, and says it would be a criminal impatience to wish for death to be freed from sufferings. He laments the fall of Pelagius, whose heresies he abhorred. He wrote to this lady his excellent treatise, That no one can hurt him who does not hurt himself. Arsacius dying in 405, many ambitiously aspired to that dignity, whose very seeking it was sufficient to prove them unworthy. Atticus, one of this number, a violent enemy to St. Chrysostom, was preferred by the court, and placed in his chair. The pope refused to hold communion with Theophilus or any of the abettors of the persecution of our saint.[41] He and the emperor Honorius sent five bishops to Constantinople to insist on a council, and that, in the mean time, St. Chrysostom should be restored to his see, his deposition having been notoriously unjust.[42] But the deputies were cast into prison in Thrace, because they refused to communicate with Atticus. The persecutors saw that, if the council was held, they would be inevitably condemned and deposed by it, therefore they stuck at nothing to prevent its meeting. The incursions of the Isaurian plunderers obliged St. Chrysostom to take shelter in the castle of Arabissus, on{250} Mount Taurus. He enjoyed a tolerable state of health during the year 406 and the winter following, though it was extremely cold in those mountains, so that the Armenians were surprised to see how his thin, weak body was able to support it. When the Isaurians had quitted the neighborhood, he returned to Cucusus. But his impious enemies, seeing the whole Christian world both honor and defend him, resolved to rid the world of him. With this view they procured an order from the emperor that he should be removed to Arabissus, and thence to Pytius, a town situated on the Euxine sea, near Colchis, at the extremity of the empire, on the frontiers of the Sarmatians, the most barbarous of the Scythians. Two officers were ordered to convey him thither in a limited number of days, through very rough roads, with a promise of promotion, if, by hard usage, he should die in their hands. One of these was not altogether destitute of humanity, but the other could not bear to hear a mild word spoken to him. They often travelled amidst scorching heats, from which his head, that was bald, suffered exceedingly. In the most violent rains they forced him out of doors, obliging him to travel till the water ran in streams down his back and bosom. When they arrived at Comana Pontica, in Cappadocia, he was very sick; yet was hurried five or six miles to the martyrium or chapel in which lay the relics of the martyr St. Basiliscus.[43] The saint was lodged in the oratory of the priest. In the night, that holy martyr appearing to him, said, "Be of good courage, brother John; to-morrow we shall be together." The confessor was filled with joy at this news, and begged that he might stay there till eleven o'clock. This made the guards drag him out the more violently; but when they had travelled four miles, perceiving him in a dying condition, they brought him back to the oratory. He there changed all his clothes to his very shoes, putting on his best attire, which was all white, as if he meant it for his heavenly nuptials. He was yet fasting, and having received the holy sacrament, poured forth his last prayer, which he closed with his usual doxology: Glory be to God for all things. Having said Amen, and signed himself with the sign of the cross, he sweetly gave up his soul to God on the feast of the exaltation of the holy cross, the 14th of September, as appears from the Menæa, in 407, having been bishop nine years and almost seven months.[44]

His remains were interred by the body of St. Basiliscus, a great concourse of holy virgins, monks, and persons of all ranks from a great distance flocking to his funeral. The pope refused all communion with those who would not allow his name a place in the Dyptics or registers of Catholic bishops deceased. It was inserted at Constantinople by Atticus, in 417, and at Alexandria, by St. Cyril, in 419: for Nestorius tells him that he then venerated the ashes of John against his will.[45] His body was translated to Constantinople in 434, by St. Proclus, with the utmost pomp, the emperor Theodosius and his sister Pulcheria accompanying St. Proclus in the procession, and begging pardon for the sins of their parents, who had unadvisedly persecuted this servant of God. The precious remains were laid in the church of the apostles, the burying-place of the emperors and bishops, on the 27th of January, 438; on which day he is honored by the Latins: {251} but the Greeks keep his festival on the 13th of November.[46] His ashes were afterwards carried to Rome, and rest under an altar which bears his name in the Vatican church. The saint was low in stature; and his thin, mortified countenance bespoke the severity of his life. The austerities of his youth, his cold solitary abode in the mountains, and the fatigues of continual preaching, had weakened his breast, which occasioned his frequent distempers. But the hardships of his exile were such as must have destroyed a person of the most robust constitution. Pope Celestine, St. Austin, St. Nilus, St. Isidore of Pelusium, and others, call him the illustrious doctor of churches, whose glory shines on every side, who fills the earth with the light of his profound sacred learning, and who instructs by his works the remotest corners of the world, preaching everywhere, even where his voice could not reach. They style him the wise interpreter of the secrets of God, the sun of the whole universe, the lamp of virtue, and the most shining star of the earth. The incomparable writings of this glorious saint, make his standing and most authentic eulogium.

In the character which St. Chrysostom has in several places drawn of divine and fraternal charity and holy zeal, we have a true portraiture of his holy soul. He excellently shows, from the words of our Lord to St. Peter,[47] that the primary and essential disposition of a pastor of souls is a pure and most ardent love of God, whose love for these souls is so great, that he has delivered his Son to death for them. Jesus Christ shed his blood to save this flock, which he commits to the care of St. Peter. Nothing can be stronger or more tender than the manner in which this saint frequently expresses his charity and solicitude for his spiritual children.[48] When he touches this topic, his words are all fire and flame, and seem to breathe the fervor of St. Peter, the zeal of St. Paul, and the charity of Moses. This favorite of God was not afraid, for the salvation of his people, to desire to be separated from the company of the saints, provided this could have been done without falling from the love of God; though he knew that nothing would more closely unite him forever to God, than this extraordinary effort of his love. The apostle of nations desired to be an anathema for his brethren, and for their salvation;[49] and the prince of the apostles gave the strongest proof of the ardor of his love for Christ, by the floods of tears which he shed for his flock. From the same furnace of divine love, St. Chrysostom drew the like sentiments towards his flock, joined with a sovereign contempt of all earthly things; another distinguishing property of charity, which he des