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five. The ablest critics, however, such for the purpose of subduing the body, to as Du Pin, Beveridge, Albaspinæus and forego ihe use of flesh, wine, and every Giannon, have regarded them as a collec- luxury of eating and drinking, which tion of canons, selected from synods prior might pamper passion or awaken concuto the council of Nice in 325. This seems piscence. The priests of Cybele, in like to be the true statement. The canons are manner, in entering .on their office, vanoften cited by the councils and authors of quished the enemy by mutilation. the fourth century. John of Antioch in.. The Gnostic and Manichean systems serted them in his collection in the reign also declared against matrimony and in of Justinian, and the emperor himself favour of celibacy. The Manicheans, eulogized them in his sixth novel; whilst indeed, according to Augustine, allowed their authority, at a later date, was ac- their auditors, who occupied the second knowledged by Damascen, Photius and rank, to marry, but refused the same the seventh general council.*
liberty to the eleet, who aimed at the The celibacy of the clergy, however, primary honours of purity. The grovelin consequence of the march of supersti- ing many, who were contented with metion, obtained, at length, in the west, diocrity, indulged in nuptial enjoyments
, though always rejected in eastern Chris- whilst the chosen few, who aspired at tendom. The mind of superstition seems perfection, renounced these degrading inclined to ascribe superior holiness to gratifications, and rose to the sublimity virginity and celibacy, and to venerate of self-denial and spirituality.* abstinence of this kind with blind devo- Popery followed the footsteps of hea. tion. Men, therefore, in all ages, have thenism and heresy. Theimperfect laily, endeavoured to draw attention by preten- like the Manichean auditors, may attach sions to this species of self-denial and its themselves to the other sex, and enjoy fancied purity, and abstraction from sub- connubial gratifications. But the clergy lunary care and enjoyment. Its votaries, and sisterhood, who aim at perfection, in every age, have, by an affected singu- must, like the Manichean elect, soar 10 larity and ascetic contempt of pleasure, the grandeur of alistinence and virginity. contrived to attract the eye of supersti- This admiration of virginity began at tion, deceive themselves or amuse a silly an early period of Christianity. Ignatius, world. This veneration for celibacy has who was the companion of the inspired appeared through the nations, and in the messengers of the Gospel, commenced, in systems of paganism, heresy and Ro- his epistolary address to Polycarp in the manism. Clerical celibacy is the child, beginning of the second century, to eulonot of religion or Christianity, but of su- gize, though in very measured language,
, perstition and policy.
the haughty virgins of the day. This Austerity of life and abstinence from affectation of holiness, which was then lawful as well as unlawful gratifications, in its infancy, had presumed to rear its the heathen accounted the summit of head above unpretending and humble perfection. The Romans, during their purity. Ignatius was followed by Justin
. profession of Gentilism, though their Pon- and Athenagoras : but still in ihe lantifex Maximus was a married man, had guage of moderation. Their encomiums, their vestal virgins, who possessed extra- however, were general, and had no parordinary influence and immunity. The ticular reference to the clergy. TertulAthenian hierophants, according to Je- lian, led astray by the illusions of Montrome's expression, unmanned themselves anism, forsook the moderation of Ignatius, by drinking cold hemlock. Becoming Justin and Athenagoras, and extolled priests, they ceased to be men. The virginity to the sky. He exhausted lanEgyptian priesthood observed similar guage in vilifying marriage and praising continency. These, says Cheremon the celibacy. Tertullian, in his flaitery of Stoic, quoted by Jerome, were induced, this mock purity, was equalled or excelled
* Du Pin, c. 10. Giannon, II. 8. Cotel. 1. 429. 442.
* Jerom. 4. 192. Bruys, 1. 142. Moreri, 4. 142. Augustin, 1. 739. et 8. 14.
by Origen, Chrysostom, Augustine, Ba- plication to heaven. Theodolf makes a sil, Ambrosius, Jerome, Syricius, Inno- similar statement. But the allegation of cent and Fulgentius.* These saints and Jerome and Chrysostom as well as Theopontiffs represented virginity as the ex. dolf, is the offspring of inconsistency and cellence of Christianity, and viewed with wholly incompatible with their usual senadmiration the system which Paul of timents. Chrysostom, like Jerome, gives, Tarsus, under the inspiration of God, in another place, a different view of the characterized as a “ doctrine of devils.” votaries of virginity in his day. Some of
The reason of this admiration may be these, to counteract the movements of the worth an investigation. One reason arose flesh, cased the body in steel, put on sackfrom the difficulty of abstinence. Vir- cloth, ran to the mountains, spent night ginity, Jerome admits, " is difficult and and day in fasting, vigils and in all the therefore rare.” The monk of Palestine rigor of severity. Shunning the company was a living example of this difficulty. of women, the whole sex were forbidden Sitting, the companion of scorpions, in a access to their solitary retreat. All this frightful solitude, parched with the rays self-mortification, however, could scarcely of the sun, clothed in sackcloth, pale with allay the rebellion of their blood.* The fasting, and quenching his thirst only relation must convey a singular idea of from the cold spring, the saint, in his these victims of superstition and the own confession, wept and groaned, while manners of the age. The portrait is like "his blood boiled with the flames of li- the representation of a Lucian or Swift, centiousness.” Bernard prescribes "fast- who, in sarcastic irony, would ridicule ing, as a necessary remedy for the want-. the whole transaction ; while it displays, onness of the flesh and the inflammation in striking colours, the difficulty of the of the blood." Chrysostom makes simi- attempt as well as the folly of the system. lar concessions of difficulty. The pas- The difficulty of continence, if reports sion indeed, which prompts the matrimo- may be credited, was not peculiar to nial union, being necessary fof the con- Chrysostom's day. Succeeding saints tinuation of the species, has, by the felt the arduousness of the mighty attempt. Creator, been deeply planted in the A few instances of this may amuse, as breast, and forms an essential part of the exemplified in the lives of Francis, Godconstitution. The prohibition is high ric, Ullric, Aquinas, Benedict, an Irish treason against the laws of God, and priest, the maid of Burgundy, the Bishop open rebellion against the spring tide of of Sherburn, and related by Bonaventura, human nature and the full flow of human Paris, Malmesbury, Mabillon, Ranolfand affection. An attempt, therefore, to stem the Roman Breviary. the irresistible current must ever recoil The seraphic Francis, who flourished with tremendous effect on its authors. in the thirteenth century, was the father But the affectation of singularity, the of the Franciscans. The saint, though show of sanctity and the profession of devoted to chastity and brimful of the extraordinary attainments, which outrage spirit, was, it seems, sometimes troubled the sentiments of nature, will, like Phae- with the movements of the flesh. An lon's attempt to drive the chariot of the enemy that wrought within was difficult sun, attract the gaze of the spectator, gain to keep in subjection. His saintship, the applause of superstition and figure in however, on these occasions, adopted an the annals of the world.
effectual way of cooling the internal Aame, Jerome and Chrysostom, quoted by the and allaying the carnal conflict. He stood, Rhemists, say that continency may al- in winter, to the neck in a pit full of icy ways be obtained by prayer. The attain- water. One day, being attacked in an ment, according to the Grecian and Ro- extraordinary manner by the demon of man saint, is the uniform reward of sup- sensuality, he stripped naked, and belaplinarian whip: and then leaving his cell, with shouts, so that, affrighted, he drop
boured his unfortunate back with a disci. . Ignat. c. 5. Cotel. ii. 92. Justin, 22.
† Jerome, 4. 30.177. Bernard, 1114. Chry. Chrysostom, 1. 234. Theod. in Dachery, sostom, 1. 249.
, he buried his body, naked as it was, in a ped his hair cloth garment and fled. A deep wreath of snow.* The cold bath, relic of Godric's beard, says Bede, was, the knotied thong and the snowy bed after his death, transserred to Durham were necessary for discharging the super- and adorned the church of that city. abundant caloric of his saintship’s consti- Ulric's history is of a similar kind. He tution.
was born near Bristol, and fought the eneGodric, an Englishı hermit, was trou- mies of the human race for twenty-nine bled with the same complaint and had years. He was visited, notwithstanding, recourse to the same remedy. He was by the demon of licentiousness. The a native of Norfolk, but had visited Jeru- holy man, in his distress, applied the salem, wept over the sacred sepulchre, remedy of fasting and vigils, and endea
, and kissed, in holy devotion, the tomb of voured to subdue the stimulations of the Emmanuel and the monument of re- flesh by the regimen of the cold bath. demption. He lived on the banks of the He fasted till the skin was the only Werus, and was the companion of the remaining covering of his bones. He bear and the scorpion, which were genile nightly descended into a vessel filled with and obliging to the man of God. But he freezing water and, during the hours of had to contend, even in his solitude, with darkness, continued, in this comfortable temptation. Satan, assuming the form of lodging, which constituted his head-quara lion or a wolf, endeavoured to allure ters, to sing the Psalms of David.* This him from his duty. These outward trials, Christian discipline, in all probability,
, however, were nothing compared with delivered his veins of all superfluous cathe inward conflicts, arising from the fer- loric, and enabled him to practise modement of concupiscence and the lusts of ration during the day. the flesh.” He counteracted the rebel- Thomas Aquinas, the angelic doctor, lion of his blood, however, by the rigour required angelic aid to counteract the of discipline. The cold earth was his natural disposition of the mind or rather only bed, and a stone, which he placed the flesh. He was born of a noble family, under his head, was his nightly pillow. and enjoyed the benefit of a Parisian edu. The herb of the field, and the water of cation. His friends opposed, but in vain, the spring, were his meat and drink, his resolution of immuring himself in the which he used only when compelled by retreats of monkery. He resisted their the assaults of hunger and thirst. Clothed attempts with signal success, though, it in hair-cloth, he spent his days in tears seems, not always with spiritual weapons. and fasting. The hermit, with these He chased one woman, who opposed his applications for keeping the body under, resolution, with a fire-brand. The blessed used a sufficiently cooling regimen. youth, says the Roman Breviary, praying During the wintry frost and snow, he on bended knees before the cross, was immersed himself, says his historian, in seized with sleep, and seemed, through the stream of the Werus, where, pouring a dream, “ to undergo a constriction of a forth prayers and tears, he offered him- certain part by angels, and lost, from that self a living victim to God.t The flesh, time forward, all sense of concupisit is likely, after this nightly dip, was cence."! His angelic saintship's natural discharged of all unnecessary heat and propensity required supernatural power became duly cool. But the devil, it to restrain its sury. The grasp of angels seems, played some pranks on the her- was necessary to allay his carnality and mit while he was enjoying the cold bath confer continence. and freezing his body for the good of his Benedict, in his distress, had recourse soul. Satan sometimes ran away with to a pointed remedy. The saint, like Godric's clothes, which were
Aquinas, was born of a noble family. He banks. But Godric terrified. Beelzebub was educated at Rome, and devoted him
self wholly to religion or rather to super* Bruy. 3. 151. Moreri, 4. 179. + M. Paris, 114. Beda, 741.
• M. Paris, 89. † Brev. Rom. 702.
stition. He lived three years in a deep flesh. One consisted in remaining, durt
a cave; and, in his retreat, wrought many ing the winter, in a river which ran pasmiracles. “He knocked the devil out of his monastery. He continued, for nights, one monk with a blow of his fist, and out immersed in this stream, regardless of the of another with the lash of a whip." But icy cold. The frosty bath, in all probaSatan, actuated by malice and envious of bility, extracted the superfluous and trouhuman happiness, appeared to Benedict blesome warmth from his veins, and in the form of a blackbird, and renewed, stopped the ebullition of his rebellious in his heart, the image of a woman whom blood. But the other remedy seems to he had seen at Rome. The devil, in this have been rather a dangerous experiment. matter, rekindled the torch of passion, and When the pulse began to beat high, his excited such a conflagration in the flesh, saintship called for a fair virgin, who lay that the saint nearly yielded to the temp- in his bed till he sung the whole order of tation. But he soon, according to Ma- the Psalms, and overcame, by this means, billon and the Roman Breviary, dis- the paroxysm of passion. The sacred
* covered a remedy. Having undressed music and this beautiful maid, who, noth.mself, he rolled his naked body on withstanding her virginity, was very ac
“ nettles and thorns till the lacerated carcass, commodating, soothed the irritation of the through pain, lost all sense of pleasure.”* flesh, and castigated the oscillations of The father of the Benedictines, it appears, the pulse till it beat with philosophical had his own difficulty in attempting to precision and Christian regularity. allay the ferment of the flesh, notwith- A second reason for the preference of standing the allegations of Jerome and virginity arose from the supposed polluChrysostom.
tion of matrimony. Great variety, indeed, An Irish priest, actuated, like Francis, has, on this subject, prevailed among the
, Godric, Ulric, Aquinas and Benedict, by saints and the theologians of Romanism.
. a carnal propensity, had recourse to a Some have represented marriage as a different remedy. The holy man lived means of purity, and some of pollution. near Patrick's purgatory, in Ireland, and Clemens, Augustine, Ambrosius, Chryspent his days in official duty and in sostom, Fulgentius, Harding and Calmet works of charity. Rising early each characterize this Romish sacrament as an morning, he walked round the adjoining institution of holiness, sanctity, honour cemetery, and preferred his orisons for and utility. The Council of Gangra those whose mortal remains there mould. anathematized all who should reproach ered in the clay, and mingled with their wedlock: and this sentence has been kindred dust. His devotion, however, incorporated with the canon law.t Audid not place him beyond the reach of gustine, Chrysostom, Ambrosius and Fultemptation. Satan, envying his happi- gentius, however, in self-contradiction, ness and hating his sanctity, tempted the sometimes speak of the matrimonial instipriest in the form of a beautiful girl. He tution in terms of invective and detestation. was near yielding to the allurement. He Many saints, doctors, pontiffs and counled the iempter into his bedchamber, cils, on the contrary, such as Origen, Jewhen, recollecting himself, he resolved rome, Siricius, Innocent, Bellarmine, Esto prevent the sinful gratification for the tius, Pithou, the canon law, the Rhemish present and in suturity. He seized a annotators and a party in the Council of scalpellum, and adopting, like Origen, Trent, have represented this Popish sathe remedy of amputation, he incapaci- crament, especially in the clergy, as an tated himself for such sensuality in time appointment of pollution and degradato come.t
Adhelm, Bishop of Sherburn, had two ways of subduing the insurrections of the * Ranolf, 245. Malmsbury, 13. Wharton, tion.* Origen, who is quoted by Pithou, manner, condemn the conjugal sacrament reckoned “conjugal intercourse incon- as an abomination. These theologians, sistent with the presence of the Holy on this topic, entertained the grossest Spirit." Jerome, if possible, surpassed conceptions. Their own filthy ideas Origen in bitterness. The monk of Pa- rose no higher than the gratification of lestine growled at the very name of matri- the mere animal passion, unconnected mony, and discharged against the institu- with refinement or delicacy. Their views, tion, in all its bearings, whole torrents of on this subject, were detached from all the vituperation and sarcasm. Surcharged, comminglings of the understanding and as usual, with gall and worm wood, which the heart, and from all the endearments of flowed in copious efflux from his pen, the father, mother and child. Their minds saint poured vials of wrath on this object turned only on scenes of gross sensuality, of his holy aversion. Marriage, accord- unallied 10 any moral or 'sentimental feeling to this casuist, “effeminates the manlying, and insulated from all the reciprocamind.” A man, says the monk, “cannot tions of friendship or affection. Celibacy pray unless he refrain from conjugal en- and virginity, which were unassociated joyments.” The duty of a husband is, with these carnal gratifications and which
+ Clem. Strom. III. P. 559. Aug. con. Pelag. * Mabillon, 1. 89. Mabillon, 1. 8. Brev. 10. 270. Amb. 2.364. in Corin. VII. Chrysos.
1. 38. Fulg. ad Gall. Calmet, 23. 776. Labb. † M. Paris, 92.
2. 427. Crabb. 1. 289. Pithou, 42. VOL. 1.-24
' in his creed, “incompatible with the affected a superiority to their allurements duty of a Christian.” This is a sample became, with persons of this disposition, of his acrimony. Those who would relish the objects of admiration. a full banquet, may read his precious Matrimony, however, though it were production against Jovinian.
gross as the conceptions of these authors, Siricius, the Roman pontiff, called mar- is far purer than their language. The riage filthy, and characterized married sentiments and phraseology of the Roman persons “as carnal and incapable of saints on virginity are, in point of obpleasing God.” Innocent adopted his scenity, beyond all competition.
The predecessor's language and sentiment, diction as well as the ideas of Chrysosand denounced this Romish sacrament as tom, Jerome, Augustine and Basil, would a contamination. Conjugal cohabitation, call the burning blush of shame into the says Bellarmine, is attended with impu- cheek of a Juvenal, a Horace, an Ovid, rity, “and carnalizes the whole man, soul or a Petronius.
or a Petronius. Chrysostom, though and body.” Estius affirms that “the disgusting, is, indeed, less filthy than Jenuptial bed immerses the whole soul in rome, Augustine or Basil. Jerome, bursicarnality.” Gratian and Pithou incor- ing with fury against wedlock, follows porate, in the canon law, the theology of in the footsteps of Chrysostom, and imOrigen, which represents the matrimonial proves, but the wrong way, on the Gresacrament as calculated to quench the cian's indecency. Augustine, in polluSpirit. The statements of the Rhemists tion, excels both Chrysostom and Jerome. are equally gross and disgusting. Wed. But Basil, in impurity, soars above all lock, according to these dirty annotators, rivalry, and, transcending Chrysostom, is a continued scene of sensuality and Jerome and Augustine, fairly carries off pollution. The marriage of the clergy, the palm of filthiness. The unalloyed or of persons who have made vows of obscenity of Chrysostom, Jerome and chastity, is, these theologians aver, the Augustine, rises, in the pages of Basil, to worst kind of fornication. A faction in concentrated blackguardism. Da Pin
Du the Council of Trent characterized mar- confesses that Basil's treatise on virginity riage, which they defined to be a sacra- contains " some passages which may ment, as “a state of carnality;" and these offend nice ears." Basil's Benedictine received no reprehension from the holy, editor admits its tendency to sully maiden unerring assembly.
modesty with images of indecency.* The abettors of Romanism, in this These saints must have had a practical
acquaintance with the subject, to which * Origen, Hom. 6. in Pithou, 383. Jerome, they have done so much justice in de4. 170. Jerome, 4. 150, 175. Siricius ad Him. Crabb. 1. 417, 456. Bell. 1. 18, 19. Estius, 252, Paolo, 2. 449. Rhemists on Corin. vii. * Basil, 3. 588. Du Pin, 1. 224.