« PreviousContinue »
their profession to abstain from both, absolutely and perpetually. Concerning the first, hear St. Chrysostome speak (Hom. 7. in Matthew)* “All the commandments of God's law are common to us with monks, besides marriage.” Wherefore in the Council of Chalcedon is an express Canon, cap. 16,“That no nun or monk should marry;" i. e. they might not forsake their profession.
For the second, the abstaining from meats, St. Bennet can tell us best, who is the father and founder of well nigh all the monks of the west; his rule, which they all bind themselves to observe, saith, “Let all abstain from flesh.” Again, ş" Let all abstain altogether from the eating of flesh, even of four-footed beasts.” Hence is that decree of Bishop Fructuosus in Gratian, Dist. 5.|| “No monk hath leave granted him to take, or so much as to taste a piece of flesh.” And these were the two principal observations of the first monks, before they came to be gathered into a society of a common life, under certain set rules. Paulus Thebæus, the first pattern of this kind of life, abstained (as from marriage, whereof there is no question, so) from all meats, save bread and dates. Anthony the next ate nought but bread and salt, and both drank no other drink but water. Epiphanius, in his Anchorato, tells us of differing observations in this kind. Some ate no flesh but fish; some neither of both, but only fruits and herbs ; some ate flying creatures, but abstained from all besides.
But if you will take meats in this place in a larger sense, you shall have a full definition of monkery, and take in that other monastical principle of renouncing
Nobis and Monachis (saith he) omuia mandata Legis sunt communia πλην τ8 γαμ8. . + Ut nec Deo dictata virgo nec Monachus nubant.
A carnibus omnes abstineant. § Carnium etiam quadrupedum omuino ab omnibus abstinealur comestio.
|| Carnem cuiquam Nonacho nec gustandi nec sumendi est con. cessa licentia.
possessions, and having no propriety in any thing, which they account the second fundamental principle, next to the vow of chastity or single life. Now may not* meats be expounded in this sense ? We know the word [bread] iu scripture signifies all things needful for maintenance of life, (omnia vitæ subsidia ;) and, therefore, we ask them all in the Lord's prayer under that name,
-“ Give us this day our daily bread.” Mark the words of David to Ziba, 2 Samuel, ix. 10, “ Thou and thy sons and thy servants shall till the land for him. (Mephibosheth) and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master's son may have food to eat.” Here bread or food is taken for Mephibosheth's whole maintenance, the whole profit of the lands which Ziba tills. Matthew x. 9, 10, “ Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey ; neither two coats, nor shoes, nor yet staves; for the workman is worthy+ of his meat.” Here gold, silver, brass, clothes, and staves, and all come under, . the single word meat. Instead whereof, St. Luke chap. x. 7, putteth his hire. Proverbs xxx. 8, Agur saith, “Give me neither poverty nor riches : feed me with food convenient for me." By all which it appears, that food and meat in scripture is often taken for all necessaries,|| as St. James speaks (chap. ii. verse 16,) for all provision of things for the use of this body and this life :-maintenance, revenue, estate, possession. Why may not, then, abstaining from meats in this prophecy mean or include abstaining from possessions, (votum paupertatis) the vow of poverty and renouncing of the world, as the hypocrites call it? to which the following words** are every way as pliable as to the stricter sense, and inay be read thus : [Which God hath created to be enjoyed with thanksgiving of them which, &c.] Let us hear S. Bennet's rule speak for all, tt
* Βρωματα. * της τροφης αυτ8. I spoon. και το μισθε αυτο. || τα επιτηδεια τα σωματος. .
εις μεταλεψιν. . ++ Nemo aliquid proprium habeat, nullam omnino rem, neque codicem, neque tabulas, neque graphiarium, sed nihil omnino.
“ Let no man have any thing proper or as his own, no kind of thing, neither book, nor writings, nor inkhorn, nor any thing at all.” And those who had once imposed upon themselves this law, were prohibited for ever to return to the world again. *“Monks must not return to the world,” saith the canon of a great council. Hear a story out of S. Hierom, Epist. ad Eustochium :-A certain monk being dead, was found to have been so good a husband as to have had lying by him an hundred shillings, which he had gotten by weaving of linen; hereupon great doubt there was what it should be done withal, whether given to the poor, to the church, or to what use. But Pambo, Isidorus, and the other fathers (of the monks) laying their heads together, decreed it should be buried with him, with this blessing, t “thy money perish with thee.” The like sentence gave Gregory the Great against Justus, a monk, for the like fault. Dial. 1. 4. c. 55.
I conclude, therefore, that these words are a description of monkery by such notes as are fundamental, which way soever we take them; either containing single life and (discrimen ciborum,) the differing meats; or the two vows of chastity and poverty; or all three of them,-chastity, poverty, and abstaining from meats. As for that other vow of obedience, it was not from the beginning nor common to all ; not to Hermits and Anchorites, but such as lived in common under an head. And these are the men through whose hypocrisy, and by whose means, the DOCTRINE OF DEMONS should be brought in and advanced among Christians in the latter times.
* Monachis non licere ad seculum redire.
Pecunia tua sit tecum in perditionem.
CHAP. VIII.-PART II.
THE MONASTIC LIFE AND SAINT.WORSHIP BEGAN MUCH ABOUT
THE SAME TIME.—THAT MONKS AND FRIARS (CHIEFLY INTENDED IN THE TEXT BY THE WORDS FORBIDDING TO MARRY, &c.) were the MAIN AUTHORS AND ADVANCERS OF SAINT-WORSHIP, PROVED FROM THE TESTIMONIES OF CHEMNITIUS, ST. AUSTIN, GREGORY OF TOURS, AS ALSO EUNAPIUS, A GENTILE WRITER.—THAT MONKS AND FRIARS WERE THE RINGLEADERS AND CHIEF ADVANCERS OP IMAGEWORSHIP, APPEARS IN THAT (DURING THE ICONOMACHICAL CONTROVERSY IN THE EAST) THE GREATEST PART OF THE STORM FELL UPON THOSE OF THE MONASTIC PROFESSION. THAT THE IDOLATRY OF THE MASS-GOD WAS PROMOTED BY THE SAME PERSONS.
Now, let us see and behold with admiration the truth of this part also of this prophecy. Where, first observe, that this singular kind of life began even just at the time when the DOCTRINE OF DEMONS was to enter. For Paulus Thebæus and Anthony, the first patterns thereof, died, the former in the reign of Constantine, the latter a little before the year 360, whence, or near unto which, we began our reckoning before of the first entrance of Saintworship into the Church. About that time, Monks, till then having been confined to Egypt, Hilarion brought them into Syria, and presently Saint Basil gave them a certain rule to live together in form of a polity, and with the assistance of his brother Gregory Nyssen and Gregory Nazianzen (who all entered this new kind of life) dispersed them over all Asia and Greece; whose increase was so wonderful, that almost in an instant they filled the world; and their esteem was so great, that there was scarce a man of note but took upon him this kind of life.
Though, therefore, it be most true that our Apostles prophecy will be verified, whichsoever of the two, either such as themselves entered the restraint of a monastic life, or those who approved, taught and maintained the holiness of that profession, (as the rest did) were the ring-leaders and foster-fathers of this defection; (for both come within the verge of such as forbid marriage and command to abstain from meats,) yet we will not content ourselves with so loose an application, but see what a hand Monks and Friars themselves (chiefly, I suppose, intended by the Holy Ghost,) had in this business.
And first, in the first DOCTRINE OF DEMONS, adoring of reliques and invocation of Saints : where that which I first speak of shall be in the words of Chemnitius, lest some more tender of the honour of our fathers upon earth, ihan of the glory of our Father in heaven, might take exception. Hear, therefore, not me, but Chemnitius, in his Examen Concilii Tridentini :- About the year of our Lord, 370,* " by Basil, Nyssen, and Nazianzen, upon occasion of panegyrical orations, invocation of Saints began to be brought into the public assemblies of the Church, at the same time when by the same authors the profession of monastical life was brought out of Egypt and Syria into Greece; and it seems (saith he) that this was either a part or an appurtenance of monkery, &c.” Again, speaking of St. Ambrose, when he had once turned Monk, howsoever he was before, t “I deny not (saith he) but Ambrose at length, when he had once borrowed monkery from Basil, began also to incline to the invocation of Saints, as appears in his book concerning widows." Thus Chemnitius.
And that you may yet further see how operative
* Per Basilium, Nyssenum et Nazianzerium, in publicos Ecclesiæ conventus, occasione orationum panegyricarum (invocatio sanctorum) invehi incepit, eodem tempore cum ab iisdem authoribus Monachatus ex Ægypto et Syria in Græciam introduceretur. Et videtur (saith he) hæc sive portio, sive Appendix Monachatus fuisse.
+ Non tamen nego (inquit) Ambrosium tandem cum Monachatum a Basilio mutuo sumpsisset, etiam ad invocationem sancto. rum inclinare cæpisse, ut patet ex libro De viduis.