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eyes the general danger to which the common people were exposed, as well as the priests, who are to render an account of their souls to the great pastor. “I conjure you, says he, by his humiliations and

sufferings, his crown of thorns, his cross, and his

blood, at least have pity on us, and consider the " love and charity of the venerable Valerius, who, "out of tenderness for you, entrusted me with the “ formidable ministry, to declare the word of God “ unto you. He has often told you how over-joyed he

was at my coming bither; but his views in this was, " that I might be the minister of your salvation, and not of

your damnation.” St. Austin added, that he hoped this would never come to pass; and that in case they would not submit to the authority of the Divine Word he had preached to them, they would yield to the chastisements, which he did not doubt God would inflict upon them in this world, to prevent their being damned in the other. He spoke this in so affecting a manner, that he drew tears from bis congregation, and could not refrain from weeping himself. It was not, says he, my weeping over " them, that drew tears froin their eyes; but, whilst I was speaking, their tears prevented mine. I must

confess that I was then melted. After we had wept “ together, I began to have strong hopes of their " amendment.

[b] The day following, which was the feast-day, he was informed, that some murmured, and cried, " What's doing now? Were not those, who permitted this custoin hitherto, Christians?" [c] St. Austin, not knowing how to move them, was in great perplexity. He had resolved to read to these obstinate people that passage in [d] Ezekiel, where it is said, that the centinel is discharged when he has given warning of the danger; and afterwards to shake his garments over the people, and to return home. How

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[6] Cùm illuxisset dies cui sole. commovendi eos machinas præpabant fauces ventres que se parare. farem, omnino nesciebam. [] Quo audito, quas majores [d] Ezek, xxviii. 9.

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ever, God spared him this affliction, and the murmurers were no longer able to resist so lively and eloquent a charity

There is no doubt, but that the solidity and beauty of the discourse was of service in preparing the way, and affecting the minds of his hearers; but a circumstance which overthrew those murmurers, and gained St. Austin a complete victory, was his blending the sublime and pathetic, with that softness and tenderness we have mentioned elsewhere. [e] The two others may procure acclamations; but the sublime and pathetic bear down, as it were, every thing with their weight; and instead of applauses, force tears from their hearers.

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The extract 1 here give, is borrowed from the beautiful epistle of this illustrious bishop to pope Cornelius, upon occasion of those persons, who, having fallen during the persecution, demanded haughtily to be restored to the sacraments, though they had not done the penance required on those occasions, and had even the boldness to employ menaces.

If those sinners, says St. Cyprian, will be received into the church, let us see what idea they have of the satisfaction they ought to make, and what fruits of repentance they bring. The church here is not shut against any person; the bishop does not reject any one. We are ready to receive with "patience, indulgence, and mildness, all those who present themselves before us. It is my desire that

all return into the church: it is my desire that all "who fought with us, should rally under the stand

ards of Christ Jesus; and return to his heavenly camp,

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and into the house of God his Father. I re

ake ti

[e] Non sanè, si dicendo crebriùs Grande autem genus plerumque & vehementiùs acclametur, ideo pondere suo voces premir, sed lacrygranditer putandus est dicere: hoc mas exprimit. S. Aug. de Doctr. enim & acumina submissi generis, Chr. l. 4. c. 24. & ornamenta faciunt temperati.



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“ mit as much as I possibly can; I wink at a great many things, from the ardent desire I have to reunite “ our brethren to us. I do not even examine with all “the severity which piety and the Christian religion

require, such offences as have been committed “ against God; and I commit sin perhaps myself in too “ easily remitting the sin of others. I embrace, with " the ardor and the tenderness of an entire charity, " those who return with sentiments of penitence, those “ who contess theirsins, and atone for them with humi

lity, and simplicity of heart. But if some think to enter again into the church by threats, and not by prayers; and to force open the doors of it by terror, and not to gain admittance by atonement and

tears; they are to know, that the church is for ever “shut against such persons; and that the invincible

camp of Christ Jesus, fortified by the almighty

power of God, who is the protector of it, is not to “ be forced by human insolence. The priest of the “ Lord, who follows the precepts of the gospel, may “ be killed; but he cannot be overcome. Sacerdos " Dei erungelium tenens, 8: Christi præcepta custodiens, occidi potest, non tinci.'

In my opinion this extract, which displays both the paternal mildness of a holy bishop, and the invincible courage of a martyr, may be proposed as a perfect model of the strongest and most sublime Eloquence, equal in every respect to that of Demosthenes.

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OATIS. St. Chrysostom, in his homilies to the inhabitants of Antioch, often exclains against those, who for temporal interest, obliged their brethren to swear on the altar, and by that means often occasioned their taking of false oaths. “[f] What are you do“ing, wicked wretch, says he? You require an oath “ on the holy table; and you sacrifice cruelly your " brother, on the same altar where Jesus Christ, who [f] Homil, xv, ad Pop. Antioch.

" sacrificed

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" sacrificed himself for you, lies. Thieves assassinate, " but then they do it in secret; but you,


presence of the church, our common parent, murder one of ' her children, in which you are more wicked than

Cain; for he concealed his guilt in the desert, and only deprived his brother of a transitory life; but

you plunge your neighbour into everlasting death, "and that in the midst of the temple, and before the "face of the Creator! Was then the Lord's house " built for swearing, and not for prayer? Is tlie sacred "altar to occasion the committing of crimes, instead

of expiating them? But if every other religious sen"timent is extinguished in you, revere, at least, the

holy book, with which you present your brother to swear upon. Open the holy Gospel, on which you

are going to make him swear; and upon hearing “what Christ Jesus says of swearing, tremble and "withdraw. And what does Christ say there? It " has been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself.... But I say unto you, Swear "not at all. [8] How ! you make people swear

on that very book which forbids the taking of " oaths! Impious procedure! horrid sacrilege! This

is making the legislator, who condemns murder, an " accomplice in the guilt of it.

“ I shed fewer tears when I hear that a person has “ been murdered on the highway, than when I see a

man go up to the altar, lay his hand on the holy " book of the Gospels, and take his oath aloud. On “ this occasion it is impossible for me to keep from

changing colour, from trembling, and shivering, " both for him who administers, and for him who "takes the oath,

Miserable wretch ! to secure to " thyself a doubtful sum of money, thou losest thy soul! Can the benefit, thou reapest, be put in competition with thine and thy brother's loss ? If thou

knowest, that he from whom thou exactest an oath, " is a good man, why then art thou not contented " with his word? But if he is not, why dost thou force him to forswear himself? [8] Matt, v. 33, 340


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“ But here you will answer, that without this your proof would have been imperfect, and you would not have been believed. What is that to the

pur“pose ? It is in fearing to require the oath that you " will appear worthy of belief

, and be easy in your “mind. For, in fine, when you are got home, does “ not your conscience reproach you? Don't you say to yourself

, Was I in the right to exact an oath from " him? Is he not forsworn ? Am I not the cause of “his committing so dreadful a crime? On the other “ side, what a consolation must it be, when, being re“ turned home, you can say to yourself, Blessed be “ God, I put a restraint upon myself ; I have pre"vented my brother from committing a crime, and “possibly from taking a false oath! May all the gold, “ all the riches in the universe perish, rather than that " I infringe the law, to force others to violate it.”

[h] In the foregoing homily, St. Chrysostom, after having related to his auditors in what manner St. John Baptist had been put to death, because of the oath that Herod had made, exhorts them to preserve theremembrance of so tragical an event, and to take warning by so dreadful an example; on which occasion he employs the most lively and sublime figures. “I bid each of you yesterday bring into his house the still " bleeding head of St. John Baptist, and to imagine to yourselves his eyes animated with a holy zeal against " paths, and his voice, which, still raising itself against " that criminal custom, seems to speak thus to you : Fly, and detest swearing; for this cost me my life, " and occasions the greatest crimes. And indeed, “continues St. Chrysostom, what neither the gene“rous liberty of the holy fore-runner (the Baptist) “nor the violent anger of the king, who saw himself “publicly reproved, could effect, was yet brought

to pass by the ill-grounded fear of perjury; and St. “ John's death was the effect and consequence of the - oath. I again repeat the same thing to you: Re“ present to yourselves perpetually that holy head, [b] Homii. xiv.


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