287

 

Chapter 8

 

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 of Image-worship, 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 Thebaeus 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 Saint-worship 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

 

 

288

 

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 Apostle痴 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 relics and invocation of saints: where that which I first speak of shall be in the words of Chemnitius, lest some more tender of the honor of our fathers upon earth, than 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, 307,* 澱y Basil, Nyssen, and Nazianzen, upon occasion of panegyrical

 

覧覧覧覧覧覧覧

* Per Basilium, Nyssenum et Nazianzenum, in publicos Ecclesiae conventus, occasione orationum panegyricarum (invocatio sanctorum) invehi incepit, eodem tempore cum ab iisdem authoribus Monachatus ex Aegypto et Syria in Graeciam introduceretur. Et videtur (saith he) haec sive portio, sive Appendix Monachatus fuisse.

 

 

289

 

orations, invocations 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 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,* 的 deny not, saith he, 澱ut 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 Monks were in this business, hear St. Augustine, De opere Monachorum, cap. 28: 螺 典he Devil (saith he) hath dispersed in every corner such a crew of hypocrites under the habit of monks, gadding about every country, sent no whither, staying nowhere, everywhere restless, whether sitting or standing: some sell the limbs of martyrs, (if it be of martyrs,) and all are asking, all exacting either the expenses of a

 

覧覧覧覧覧覧覧

* Non tamen nego (inquit) Ambrosium tandem cum Monachatum a Basilio mutuo sumpsisset, etiam ad invocationem sanctorum inclinare caepisse, ut patet ex libro De viduis.

 

Tam multos hypocrites sub habitu Monachorum usquequaquam dispersit (Satan,) circumeuntes provincias, nusquam missos, nusquam fixos, nusquam stantes, nusquam sedentes. Alii membra martyrum (sit amen martyrum) venditant 貌t omnes petunt, omnes exigunt aut sumptus lucrosae egestatis, aut simulatae pretium sanctitatis.

 

 

290

 

gainful poverty, or the hire of a counterfeit sanctity. These were those surely which occasioned that rescript of Theodosius, the Emperor, 鏑et no man sell, let no man buy a martyr; whereby we may gather what honesty was like to be used among them. We know, Laudat venales qui vult extrudere merces. Merchants use to commend their commodities. Gregory of tours, who lived and died somewhat before the year 600, tells us this, 鍍hat certain Monks came to Rome, and, near unto St. Paul痴 Church, in the night time, digged up certain bodies; who, being apprehended, confessed they meant to have carried them into Greece for relics of saints. The same author, l. 9, c. 16, a monk, who pretended to come out of Spain, with martyr痴 relics; but being discovered, they were found to be roots of certain herbs, bones of mice, and such like stuff; and he tells us there were many such seducers which deluded the people. And he said true; there were many indeed, and many more than Gregory took for such, even those he took for honest men. For though it must not be denied but God had some of this order which were holy men, and unfeignedly mortified, notwithstanding their error in thinking God was pleased with that singularity of life;

 

覧覧覧覧覧覧覧

Nemo martyrem distrahat, nemo mercetur.

Monachos quosdam Roman venisse, ac prope Templum Pauli corpora quaedam noctu effodisse; qui comprehensi fassi sunt in Graeciam se ea pro sanctorum reliquiis portaturos fuisse.

 

 

291

 

yet must it be confessed that the greater part were no better than hypocrites and counterfeits, and that the lamentable defection of the Christian Church chiefly proceeded from, and was fostered by, men of that profession, as in part we have heard already.

 

And if you can with patience hear him speak, I will add the testimony of Eunapius Sardianus, a Pagan writer, who lived in the days of Theodosius the First, about the year 400. In the life of Aedesius, most bitterly inveighing against the Christians for demolishing that renowned temple of Serapis, at Alexandria, in Egypt, he speaks in this manner: 欄When they had done, they brought into the holy places those whom they call monks; men indeed for shape, but living like swine, and openly committing innumerable villainies not to be named, who yet took it for a piece of religion thus to despise the divinity, he means of Serapis; 吐or then, saith he, 努hosoever wore a black coat, and would demean himself absurdly in public, got a tyrannical authority; to such an opinion of virtue had that sort of men attained. These monks also they placed at Canopus, instead of the intelligible gods, to worship slaves, and those of no good conditions; thus bringing a bond of religion upon men. For having powdered the bones and skulls of such as had been condemned of many crimes, and punished by a legal course of justice, they made gods of them, prostrating themselves unto them, and thinking themselves the better for being polluted with sepulchers.

 

 

292

 

They called them forsooth martyrs, and some ministers, yea and solicitors of their prayers with the gods, being indeed but perfidious slaves, who had been well basted with the whip, and carried the scars of their lewdness upon their bodies; and yet such gods as these the earth brings forth.

 

Thus the wretched caitiff and damned dog blasphemes the saints and servants of Christ, who loved not their lives unto death, the dust of whose feet he was not worthy to lick up. Yet may we make a shift to gather hence what manner of offices monks were then busied in. And if Baronius took leave to use his testimony for the antiquity of saint-worship, why may not I with the like liberty allege it, to show that monks and friars were ringleaders therein?

 

But when the idolatry of image worship came to be added to that of saints, whether monks and friars, were not the chief sticklers therein, judge, when you shall hear how it fared with them in that great opposition against idols in the East.

 

Of Leo Isaurus, the first of those Emperors that opposed images, we have this general out of the Greek menology; that he raged most cruelly against bishops and monks which maintained the worship of images; and that he burnt a whole cloister of such kind of people in their monastery, together with a famous library and all their furniture.

 

But Constantine his son made a worse fray amongst them. For the author of the Acts of Monk Stephen tells us, that he being reproved

 

 

293

 

and convicted for what he had done, viz., against images, by the religious and worthy professors of monastical life, he raised an implacable war against them, calling that noble habit , 鍍he vesture of darkness, and the monks themselves, , 砥nworthy of memory, and besides terming them all idolaters for the worshipping of venerable images.

 

The same is confirmed by Theosterictus, another author of that time, who saith, that the whole aim and study of this Emperor was to extinguish and root out the order of Monks.

 

And for particulars, hear what Theophanes, himself a monk, and a little singed too in this flame, before it ended, will inform us.

 

的n the one-and-twentieth year of his reign, he caused, saith he, 鄭ndreas Calybites, a worthy monk, who reproved him for his impiety, in demolishing images, 鍍o be scourged till he died. Lib. 22, cap. 30. Hist. Miscel.

 

的n the five-and twentieth year of his reign, he caused Monk Stephen to be dragged by the heels in the streets, till, being rent in pieces, he died; both for the aforesaid offence, and because he drew and persuaded many to a monastical life. Ibid. cap. 39.

 

典he same year, the Emperor, saith he, 電isgraced and dishonored the monastical habit, publicly commanding every Monk to lead a woman by the hand, and so to march through the Hippodrome, all the people abusing them and spitting upon them. Ibid. cap. 40.

 

的n the seven-and-twentieth year, saith he,

 

 

294

 

the monasteries partly he destroyed to the very foundations, partly bestowed them upon his captains and soldiers. Ibid, cap. 49.

 

的n the same year, when he could not draw Peter a Metra, a famous stylite or pillar Monk, unto his opinions, he caused him likewise to be dragged by the heels, and his body cast out into the streets. Ibid., c. 48.

 

的n his thirtieth year, his praetor, or Deputy Lichanodraco, gathered all the Monks in his jurisdiction together, and commanded them to obey the Emperor, to put on a white coat, and to marry wives instantly, or to have their eyes put out, and be sent into exile. Ibid., cap. 52. 鉄o the Emperor, when he would have Constantine the patriarch abjure monkery, he made him (saith the same author) eat flesh. Lib. eod. cap. 22.

 

的n the one-and thirtieth year, the same Lichanodraco sold all the monasteries, both of men and women, in his jurisdiction, and sent the money to the Emperor. If he found anyone to have a relic of any saint in keeping, he burnt it. He slew the monks, some with stripes, some with the sword, and left not a man, where he had to do, that wore a monastical habit; whereupon the Emperor wrote thus unto him, * 的 have found thee a man after mine own heart, who fullfillest my whole will. Thus much of Constantine.

 

The like reports Cedrenus of Michael Balbus,

 

覧覧覧覧覧覧覧

 

 

295

 

that he abominated Monks and diversely afflicted them, ordaining one punishment after another against them. As also of Theophilus the last Emperor that opposed images: Theophilus, saith he, 登rdained * that no Monks should have access unto the cities, and that they should by all means be banished, and not so much as dare to be seen in the country; and that he caused the monasteries and places of holy retirement to become common and secular habitations. What the reason was, we may learn by what the same author tells us: 登f those, saith he, 努hich reprehended the Emperor, the Abramite Monks were the chief, who freely adventuring into his presence, did demonstrate that monastical life was not an invention of yesterday or the other day, but an ancient and primitive institution; and that holy images were familiar in the apostles times, and that St. Luke painted an image of the blessed virgin, &c. But it seems the Emperor was not convinced by their demonstrations; for this their boldness cost them dear, as our author relates.

 

By this time, I know you understand what the matter was, that this image storm fell so heavily upon the heads of Monks and Friars; and yet, notwithstanding all this, they at length prevailed, and carried the day, so God would have it, for their idols. For another Theophanes, whom they call the Presbyter, a writer also of his time, tells us that Theophilus being dead, Theodora the Empress,

 

覧覧覧覧覧覧覧

 

 

296

 

(whilst she reigned in the minority of Michael her son,) when she meant to restore image-worship, which had been banished now the second time, ever since Leo Armenius, 努hen she had acquainted the magistrates and those in authority therewith, together with them she sent for the chiefest of the Monks, and propounded to them the question concerning the restoring of images; whom when she found all men for the purpose, yea, very eager in the business, she called a synod, whereby idolatry was again publicly erected in the Greek Church, 120 years after it first began to be purged thereof by Leo Isaurus, the Emperor. (w.)

 

For the idolatry of the mass-God, which was not in use, at the soonest, till a thousand years after Christ, when the opinion of transubstantiation had gotten sufficient strength, we shall not need trouble ourselves much, to show that Monks and Friars were the authors and advancers thereof, since by that time these kind of men were become the only masters of divinity; and therefore we need not doubt but what was then broached in the Church came out of their shops. Judge now, by what you have heard, how truly this prophecy of St. Paul is fulfilled, who told us that the doctrines of demons should be brought into the Church, through the hypocrisy of those who forbid to marry, and command to abstain from meats.

 

 

Home Contents Previous Next