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We must therefore be careful to make youth attentive to the excellent lessons even Paganism affords, [t] which sets no value upon whatever is external and adventitious, such as wealth, honours and magnificence; [u] and even in man esteems and admires only the qualities of the heart, that is to say, probity and virtue ; [x] which are of so glorious a nature, that they honour, dignify, and exalt whatever approaches, or surrounds them, even poverty, misery, exile, imprisonment, and torture. It is virtue alone which fixes the price of every thing, and is the sole source of solid Glory and real Greatness. According to the principles of Paganism, [y] a prince is only so far great, as he is beneficent and liberal ; por should he think of his power, but with a view to do good, and in imitation of the gods, to place the title of best before that of greatest ; JUPITER OPTIMUS MAXIMUS. He should prefer the tender name of [:] father of his country to all the pompous titles of the invincible, the triumpher, the thunderbolt of war, the conqueror, titles generally so fatal to mankind, and call to mind that he is the protector and father of his subjects, and that his most solid Glory, as well as his most essential duty, is to do his utmost to make them happy.

One would think, nothing could be added to these noble ideas, which the Pagans give us of human power and greatness, or to the examples of virtue, which I have quoted above in such great abundance.

[1] Quicquid est hoc quod circa [y] Proximum diis locum tenet, nos ex adventitio fulget, honores, qui se ex deorum naturâ gerit, beopus, ampla atria ... alieni com- neficus, ac largus, & in melius pomodatique apparatus sunt.


Hæc affectare, hæc imitari Consol. ad Marc. c. 10.

decet: maximuin ita haberi, ut op(u) Nec quicquam suum, nisi se, timus simul habeare. Senec. I. s. putet esse, eà quoque parte quâ me

de Clem. c. 19. lior est. Senec. de Const. Sap. c. 6. [z] Cætera cognomina honori

[x] Quicquid actigit virtus, in data sunt... Patrem quidein pasimilitudinem sui adducit & tingit: triæ appellamus, ut sciret datan actiones, amicitias, interdum domos sibi potestatem patriam, quæ est totas, quas intravit disposuitque, temperatissima, liberis consulens, condecorat : quicquid tractavit, id suaque post illos reponens. Senec. amabile, conspicuum, mirabile fa. l. 1. de Clem. c. 14. cit. Id. Ep.60.


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But let us hear what a wise man says, who was brought up, not in the school of Plato or Socrates, but of Jesus Christ, I mean St. Augustine, who, after having drawn the character of a great prince, teaches us, by one circumstance that he adds to the descriptions of the ancients, wherein solid Glory consists, and how far Christianity surmounts the Pagan virtues, of which pride and vanity were the soul and principle.

“ We do not call Christian princes great and hap

py,” sal says this tather, speaking of the emperors, “ for having reigned long, or for dying in peace, “ and leaving their children behind them on the “throne ; for having conquered the enemies of the

state, or suppressed sedition, advantages which are common to them with such princes as are worshippers

of devils. But we call them great and happy, “ when they make justice to flourish, and amidst the “ praises that are given thein, and the homage paid

them, do not grow proud, but remember they are 'men; when they submit their power to the sove

reign power of the King of kings, and make it " subservient only to the advancement of true re

ligion ; when they fear God, love him and worship him; when they value not their kingdom in comparison of him, with whom they have no rivals

nor enemies to apprehend ; when they are slow to “punish, and switt to pardon; when they punish

only for the good of the state, and not the grati“ fication of their personal revenge, and pardon only “ from the hope of amendment, and not to grant “ impunity to crimes; when, being obliged to use

severity, they temper it with some action of mild* ness and clemency; when they are the more re"served in their pleasures, from being the more at " liberty to indulge themselves in them; when they “rather chuse to command their passions, than to “ govern all the nations of the world ; AND WHEN [9] S Aug. de Civit. Dei, l. 5. c. 24.


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It was not in the power of Paganism to inspire such noble sentiments, and at the same time so pure from all self-love and vain glory. Hæc omnia faciunt, non propter ardorem inanis gloriæ, sed propter caritatem felicitatis æternce. All this they do, not through a " desire of vain glory, but of eternal life.” Nothing but the school of Christ was capable of raising man to so high a degree of perfection, as to make him absolutely forget himself in the midst of the greatest actions, that he might refer them only to God, wherein his entire greatness and glory consists. For whilst a man centers every thing in himself, let him make what efforts he will to appear great, and exalt himself, he continues still what he is, that is, meanness and nothing, and can only become great and exalted, by uniting himself to Him, who is the sole source of all glory and greatness.

Hence arose that innumerable multitude of Christian heroes of every condition, sex, and age. The greatest, the most distinguished by the fortunes of the world have come to lay down at the foot of the cross, riches, grandeur, magnificence, dignities, science, eloquence, and fame, and counted all these sacrifices as nothing. S. Paulinus, the honour of France and glory of his age, whilst all the world stood in admiration at his generosity in distributing the iminense riches he possessed in several provinces among the poor, thought he had yet done nothing, and compared himself to a wrestler preparing to engage, or a man that was ready to swim over a river, who had neither of them made any great progress, though they had stript off their clothes.

What shall I say of the multitude of illustrious ladies, who were some of them descended froin the Scipios and the Gracchi, S. Paula, S. Olympias, S. Marcella, S. Melania, who in honour of the Gospel trod under foot the pomps and vanitics of the world? What greatness of soul is there in that saying of Marx


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cella's, when, after she had distributed all her goods to the poor, seeing Rome taken and pillaged by the Goths, she thanked God she had secured her wealth before, and that the loss of the city had found her poor, and not made her so! [6] Quòd pauperem illam non fecisset captivitas, sed invenisset.

No triumph ever equalled that which Christian humility gained in the person of S. Melania the grandmother, when she went to Nola, to visit S. Paulinus. We have an eloquent description of it given us by the saint himself. All her family, that is, the greatest and most eminent persons in Rome waited upon her, and resolved by way of honour to attend her in this journey with all the usual pomp belonging to persons of their quality. The Apian way was covered over with gilt and splendid coaches, with horses richly harnassed, and chariots of all kinds in abundance. In the midst of this pompous train marched a lady venerable for her age, and still more so for her grave and modest deportment, mounted on a little lean horse, and clothed in a garment of plain serge. All eyes however were turned and fixed upon the humble Melania. No body took any notice of the gold, the silk, and purple, which glittered around her; the coarse stuff extinguished all that vain splendor. There was seen in the children what the mother had quitted and trampled under foot, as a sacrifice to Jesus Christ.

The great lords and ladies, who made up this pompous retinue, instead of being ashamed of the vile and abject condition the holy widow appeared in, thought it an honour to draw near her, and touch her garments, thinking by this humble and respectful condescension to expiate the pride of their own riches and magnificence. Thus, upon this occasion the pomp of the Roman greatness paid homage to the poverty of the Gospel.

Some such passages as these, intermixed from time to time with select portions of profane history, may

[!] S. Hieron. 1. 3. Ep. ad Principiam.

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serve to correct and amend whatever is amiss in them, supply what is wanting on the part of motive and intention, and give youth a perfect idea of true and solid Greatness. For, in laying before them the beautiful actions and laudable sentiments of the pagans, as we have done here, we must be careful froin time to time to remind them of the principle [c] St. Augustine so frequently repeats, that without true piety, that is, without knowledge and love of the true God, there can be no real virtue; that it ceases to be such, when produced by no other motive than human glory. It is true, adds he, these virtues, though false and inperfect, do however enable those who have them to be much more serviceable to the public, than if they had them not. And it is in this sense we may say that it were sometimes to be wished that those who govern were good pagans, good Romans, and acted according to the great principles, which were the soul of their conduct. [d] But the state is then absolutely happy, when it pleases God to advance such to an high station, as unite true and solid piety with the great qualities which we admire in the ancients.

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I SHALL reduce what I have to say upon the study of Sacred History to two heads.

First I shall lay down the principles I think necessary for making a proper advantage of this study; and then I shall make the application of them to some examples.

i [C] Dam illud constet inter omdes [d] Illi autem, qui verâ pietate veraciter pios, neminem sine verâ præditi bene vivunt, si habent scipietate, id est veri Dei vero cultu, entiam regendi populus, nihil est Veram posse habere virtutem, nec felicius rebus humanis, quàin si eam veram esse, quando gloriæ ser

Deo miserante habeant poisstaiem. vit humana. S. Aug. de Civit. Ibiú.


Dei, l. 5. c. 19.


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