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placed on the oath of Constantine, since he had not the least scruple in perjuring himself, by causing Licinius to be strangled, to whom he had promised his life upon oath. Eusebius
in silence over all the actions of Constantine which are related by Eutropius,* Zosimus,t Orosius, St. Jerome, ş and Aurelius Victor.ll
After this, have we not reason to conclude, that the pretended appearance of the cross in the sky is only a fraud which Constantine imagined to favour the success of his ambitious enterprises? The medals of this prince and of his family, which are found in Banduri, and in the work entitled “ Numismata Imperatorum Romanorum;" the triumphal arch of which Baronius speaks, in the inscription of which the senate and the Roman people said, that Constantine, by the direction of the Divinity, had rid the republic of the tyrant Maxentius, and of all his faction; finally, the statue which Constantine himself caused to be erected at Rome, holding a lance terminating in the form of a cross, with this inscription (as related by Eusebius**):
By this saving sign I have delivered your city from the yoke of tyranny;"-all this, I say, only proves the immoderate pride of this artificial prince, who would every where spread the noise of his pretended dream, and perpetuate the recollection of it.
Yet, to excuse Eusebius, we must compare him to a bishop of the seventeenth century, whom La Bruyere hesitated not to call a father of the church.
Bossuet, at the same time that he fell so unmercifully on the visions of the elegant and sensible Fénélon, commented himself, in the funeral oration of Anne of Gonzaga of Cleves, on the two visions which worked the conversion of the princess Palatine. It was an admirable dream, says this prelate: she thought that walking alone in a forest, she met with a blind man in a small cell. She comprehended that a sense is wanting to the in
* Book x. chap. 4.
Book vii. chap 28.
| Epitome, chap. 1. I Vol. iii. page 296. ** Book i. chap. 4.
credulous as well as to the blind; and at the same time, in the midst of so mysterious a dream, she applied the fine comparison of the blind man to the truths of religion and of the other life.
In the second vision, God continued to instruct her, as he did Joseph and Solomon; and during the drowsiness which the trouble caused her, he put this
parable into her mind, so similar to that in the gospel :* -she saw that
appear which Jesus Christ has not disdained to give us as an image of his tenderness—a hen become a mother, anxious round the little ones which she conducted. One of them having strayed, our invalid saw it swallowed by a hungry dog. She ran and tore the innocent animal away from him. At the same time a voice cried from the other side, that she must give it back to the ravisher.f No, said she, I will never give it back. At this moment she awakened, and the explanation of the figure which had been shewn to her, presented itself to her mind in an instant. I
To make a vow for life, is to make oneself a slave. How can this worst of all slavery be allowed in a country in which slavery is procribed? To promise to God by an oath, that from the
of fifteen until death, we will be a jesuit, jacobin, or capuchin, is to affirm that we will always think like a capuchin, a jacobin, or a jesuit. It is very pleasant to promise for the whole life that which no man can certainly ensure from night to morning!
How can governments have been such enemies to themselves, and so absurd, as to authorise citizens to alienate their liberty at an age when they are not
* St. Matthew, c. xxiii, v. 37. + The author bas given this strange dream still more circumantially in a previous article.
I We give this formal refutation of a flagrant piece of imposture, in deference to the original; although with a very slight notion of the necessity of any such exposure to the English reader.-T.
allowed to dispose of the least portion of their fortunes ? How, being convinced of the extent of this stupidity, have not the whole of the magistracy united to put an end to it?
Is it not alarming to reflect, that there are more monks than soldiers ?*
Is it possible not to be affected by the discovery of the secrets of cloisters; the turpitudes, the horrors, and the torments to which so many unhappy children are subjected, who detest the state which they have been forced to adopt, when they become men, and who beat with useless despair the chains which their weakness has imposed on them?
I knew a young man, whose parents engaged to make a capuchin of him at fifteen years
and a half old, when he desperately loved a girl very nearly of his own age. As soon as the unhappy youth had made his vow to St. Francis, the devil reminded him of those which he had made to his mistress, to whom he had signed a promise of marriage. At last, the devil being stronger than St. Francis, the young capuchin left his cloister, repaired to the house of his mistress, and was told that she had entered a convent and made profession.
He flew to the convent and asked to see her, when he was told that she had died of grief. This news deprived him of all sense, and he fell to the ground nearly lifeless. He was immediately transported to a neighbouring monastery, not to afford him the necessary medical aid, but in order to procure him the blessing of extreme unction before his death, which infallibly saves the soul.
The house to which the poor fainting boy was car.. ried happened to be a convent of capuchins, who charitably let him remain at the door for three hours ; but at last he was recognised by one of the venerable brothers, who had seen him in the monastery to which he belonged. On this discovery he was carried into a cell, and attention paid to recover him, in order that
* Most sensible Spaniards think so.-T.
he might expiate, by a salutary penitence, the errors of which he had been guilty.
As soon as he had recovered strength, he was conducted, well bound, to his convent, and the following is precisely the manner in which he was treated. In the first place, he was placed in a dungeon under ground, at the bottom of which was an enormous stone, to which a chain of iron was attached. To this chain he was fastened by one leg, and near him was placed a loaf of barley bread and a jug of water; after which they closed the entrance of the dungeon with a large block of stone, which covered the opening by which they had descended.
Át the end of three days they withdrew him from the dungeon, in order to bring him before the criminal court of the capuchins. They wished to know if he had any accomplices in his flight, and to oblige him to confess, applied the mode of torture employed in the convent. This preparatory torture was inflicted by cords, which bound the limbs of the patient, and made him endure a sort of rack.
After having undergone these torments, he was condemned to be imprisoned for two years in his cell, from which he was to be brought out thrice a week, in order to receive upon his naked body the discipline with iron chains.
For six months his constitution endured this punishment, from which he was at length so fortunate as to escape
in consequence of a quarrel among the capuchins, who fought with one another, and allowed the prisoner to escape during the fray.
After hiding himself for some hours, he ventured to go abroad at the decline of day, almost worn out by hunger, and scarcely able to support himself. A passing Samaritan took pity upon the poor famished spectre, conducted him to his house, and gave him assistance. The unhappy youth himself related to me his story in the presence of his liberator. Behold here the consequence of vows!
It would be a nice point to decide, whether the horrors passing every day among the mendicant friars, are
more revolting than the pernicious riches of the other orders, which reduces so many families into mendicants.
All of them have made a vow to live at our expense, and to be a burthen to their country; to injure its population, and to betray both their contemporaries and posterity; and shall we suffer it?
Here is another interesting question for officers of
Why are monks allowed to recover one of their brethren who has listed for a soldier, while a captain is prevented from recovering a deserter who has turned monk ?
JOURNEY OF ST. PETER TO ROME. The famous dispute, whether Peter made the journey to Rome, is it not in the main as frivolous as most other grand disputes ?. The revenues of the abbey of St. Denis, in France, depend neither on the truth of the journey of St. Dionysius the Areopagite, from Athens to the midst of Gaul; his martyrdom at Montmartre; nor the other journey which he made after his death, from Montmartre to St. Denis, carrying his head in his arms, and kissing it at every step.
The Carthusians have great riches, without there being the least truth in the history of the canon of Paris, who rose from his coffin three successive days, to inform the assistants that he was damned.
In like manner, it is very certain that the rights and revenues of the Roman pontiff can exist, whether Simon Barjonas, surnamed Cephas, went to Rome or not. All the rights of the archbishops of Rome and Constantinople were established at the council of Chalcedon, in the year 451 of our vulgar era, and there was no mention in this council of any journey made by an apostle to Byzantium or to Rome.
The patriarchs of Alexandria and Constantinople followed the lot of their provinces. The ecclesiastical chiefs of these two imperial cities, and of opulent Egypt,