The cloister and the world need not then assume a hostile attitude, and set each other at defiance. As an eminent writer says, "It is a characteristic trait of a great mind that it recognizes humanity in all its forms and conditions." The monk does not look society in the face and say, “Thou art heartless," he says rather, with a German author, that “Life in every shape should be precious to us, for the same reason that the Turks carefully collect every scrap of paper that comes in their way because the name of God may be written upon it." Men are, in some respect, moulded by circumstances; and the results are often what we should think unnatural, and even deplorable. It is in vain to deny it. We cannot have all things just as we might wish at any particular period of our life. True, courage is not given us only for the wars, but to resist the batteries of fortune. Yet after reason and spirit have all been called up to our aid, there are misfortunes of a kind so intense as to disqualify the most manly and vigorous minds afterwards for common life. Say what men like, there is a pang, for instance, in balked affection, for which, as the author of Henrietta Temple says, no wealth, power, or place, watchful indulgence, or sedulous kindness can compensate. Ah! the heart, the heart!" There are many, besides, who want what even their domestic home refuses them, the repose of the nervous system. Take away the silent, tranquil asylums, compatible, mind, with a new and most useful activity, that faith had prepared for such persons, and you behold verified the poet's lines:


"If such may be the ills which men assail,
What marvel if at last the mightiest fail?

Breasts to whom all the strength of feeling given
Bear hearts electric-charged with fire from heaven,
Black with the rude collision, inly torn,

By clouds surrounded, and on whirlwinds borne,

Driven o'er the low'ring atmosphere that nurst

Thoughts which have turn'd to thunder-scorch-and burst."

Moreover, the constitutions of men from their birth are different, and there are various delights to suit them. Because one admires, loves, and respects these institutions provided for some, it does not follow that one thinks them to be designed for you. "Man and woman and their social life-poverty, labour, love, fear, fortune," are things, perhaps, for you to associate with. Your province lies inclosed in human life, in which, too, the heart and soul of beauty may be woven. This is the material for you to work upon. "You are to know its secrets of tenderness, of terror, of will. You have to work with men in houses and in streets. Your needs, appetites, talents, affections, accomplishments qualify you for such a sphere. You are to

know in your own beating bosom the sweet and smart of human life. Out of love and fear; out of earnings, and borrowings, and lendings, and losses; out of pain and anxiety; out of wooing and worshipping; out of travelling, and watching, and caring; out of humiliations and suffering must come your tuition in the serene and beautiful laws of nature and of grace." There should be no antagonism, however, between you and the monk; that which is good for him cannot hurt you. There is but a division of labour. The latter professes no vaunting, overpowering, excluding sanctity, which makes no allowance for your circumstances, your character; but he welcomes and blesses all sweet natural goodness—the goodness of mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, friends, ay, and lovers too. Is it too much to ask in return that you should tolerate his retreat, his seclusion, or his active labours to compose some masterly or beautiful work of science or of art, to console the poor, to teach the ignorant, to redeem the captive? There was a place, according to Strabo, near Oropus and the temple of Amphiarcus, which contained the sepulchre of Narcissus the Eretrian, which was called Of the Silent-tynλov, for the reason that it was the custom to pass it by in silence, Tεion oɩywoi mapiovrec*. Is it demanding too great a sacrifice of personal feeling to desire that you should pass the monastery in silence, and leave the monk or the nun to pursue their unobtrusive ministry? They are good and temperate. You may live to have need of such a virtue.

Some persons naturally like retreat. "All knight-errant as I am," says a celebrated traveller, "I have now the sedentary tastes of a monk. I have not put my foot out of this inclosure three times since I entered it. My pines and my firs keeping their promise, the Vallée-aux-Loups will become a true Chartreuse." Men of a different character would be wretched in such seclusion; and religion, we are assured, never consists in making persons wretched.

"Though Oberon would perforce have the child

Knight of his train, to trace the forests wild."

What suits one, therefore, may not agree with the natural capacity of another. In the old play, when Floriana says,

"Madam, I have vow'd my life to a cloister;"

the queen of Arragon replies,

"Alas! poor soul! inclosure and coarse diet,
Much discipline and early prayer, will ill

Agree with thy complexion. There's Cleantha !
She hath a heart so wean'd from vanity,
To her a nunnery would be a palace."

* Lib. ix.

But, on the other hand, elsewhere, when Decastro says,

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"By all things sacred never.

In this I will grow old, and with the weight
Of years bend to the earth. In this I'll breathe
A happier air, than you in all your soft

And varied silks.

And know, I am resolved ne'er to forsake it,
Till, in the vault, my earth and it together
Shall wear away to dust."

There will ever

You cannot change the ordination of nature. be this diversity of affinities, desires, and characters in the human family. "You will find," says Hazlitt, "the business of life conducted on a much more varied and individual scale than you might expect. People will be concerned about a thousand things that you have no idea of, and will be utterly indifferent to what you feel the greatest interest in."

As in general some order of monastic life is needed by a certain portion of mankind, so, to suit the variety of wishes and wants even within the class where that need is felt, we find that particular rules and institutions are provided for them. Within the ecclesiastical state there are posts and offices for men of all tastes and qualifications. One has the gift of government-he becomes an abbot; another, ever attentive to the spiritual side of things, renounces all, becomes a friar mendicant; another turns to study, and becomes a Benedictine; another to contemplation, and becomes a Carthusian. Some are for solitude, others for a community; some for an indoor life desire to be cloistered, others, for external action, are employed without doors. "There are some," says the rule of blessed Elred, "to whom it is most pernicious to live amongst many. There are others to whom, though not pernicious, it is most expensive. There are, in fine, others who fear neither of these things, but only think it more beneficial to live apart from men. Therefore the ancients, either to avoid danger or expense, or more freely to serve Christ, chose to live in solitude*."

Each order has some specific object. One is devoted to the ransom of captives, another to the care of the sick in hospitals, another to contemplation, another to a life in community. "But," adds Yepes, "the great Father Benedict-'cujus verba et imperia sectatores suos perducunt ad cœli palatia'-opened a wide field to his children by prescribing the exercise of all good

Reg. B. Æl. c. 1.

works," and Benedictine monks are prepared for every kind of action *.

The character of our age is favourable, perhaps, to a calm observation of the subject which here presents itself; for our habits of mind are no longer those of the writers of the beginning of the last century, whose chief care, as a distinguished author says, 66 was to eschew the ridicule of sensibility or enthusiasm, and to give their countenance to no wisdom, no fancy, and no morality which passes the standards current in good company." We can repeat without being ridiculous what is advanced by those who treat on the different institutions of retreat provided by the ancient religion of Europe, transmitting thoughts and manners coeval with the world. The principle of the monastic life, then, is traced from the East and its revelations; from the prophets of the Old Testament, through the Apostles of our Lord, to those men and women who seem in Christian ages by an especial grace called to a voluntary fulfilment of certain supernatural ends. "After the coming of Christ—' post Christi adventum,'" says Baptist the Mantuan, speaking of the Carmelite order, we have had for our rule of life the gospel of Christ, the acts and epistles of the Apostles. This same rule had Basil, had Augustin, had Benedict +." So Simplicius, abbot of Monte Cassino, speaking of the rule of St. Benedict, says:


"Qui levi jugo Christi colla submittere cupis,

Regulæ sponte da mentem, dulcia ut capias mella;
Hic testamenti veteris novisque mandata,

Hic ordo divinus, hicque castissima vita ‡.”

"The Church," says the rule of St. Leander, "has taken the private life from the custom of the Gentiles; but the life in community, or the monastic, from the example of the Apostles §." "Notandum," says Bucchius, "quod ipsa regula fratrum minorum est totaliter hominis immutativa et renovativa; facit enim quod homo deponat veterem hominem cum actibus suis et novum Christum induat_cum actibus suis per ipsius perfectam imitationem ." St. Francis, accordingly, addressing the convent of Alenquere, in Portugal, of which so many brethren were martyred in Morocco, said-"Nunquam in te, O domus Dei, deficiant perfecti fratres, qui devotissime sanctum observent Evangelium ¶." St. Gregory, confirming the rule of St. Benedict from a consideration of its eternal foundation in truth, says

* Chron. Gen. ii. 373.

Bapt. M. Apologia pro Carmelitis.

In Reg. S. Ben. ap. Luc. Holst. Cod. Reg.

§ Reg. S. Leandri, c. xvii.

Bucchius, Liber Conform. Vit. F. ad Vit. J. Christi, 132.
In Vit. ejus.

that whoever "usque ad finem mundi"-comes to that conversion, which consists in a desire to fulfil the counsels, whereever Latin letters are known, should observe this rule *. Cassien gives no other origin to the monastic state than the life in common of the first Christians, described in the Acts of the Apostles. He says that this mode of life was never wholly abrogated; and that a continued chain of disciples perpetuated it to his time in the Church +. Bucchius says that in the thirteenth century the Minor brethren brought back the crossbearers, and that St. Francis, with his brethren, assuming and teaching the principle of imitating our Lord, drew after them nearly the whole world ‡. Of that one order alone there have been canonized more than fifty, beatified six hundred, and martyred fifteen hundred §. According to St. Bernard, what monks have promised in general is only to live like the Apostles ||.

But, after descending to particulars, the kernel, as it were, that lies within all the developments of Catholic monachism is Isaid by its founders to be nothing else but simply the love of God and the love of man T. Monks are considered by the holy fathers and saints as the friends of heaven,-ordained to protect states by their prayers, as columns to support the Church by the purity of their faith, as penitents who appease the wrath of God by their tears, and open the gates of happy eternity for others; as martyrs who, by their sufferings, confess the name of Christ. St. Basil says that the monastic state is that of persons who propose to live in an external visible manner for the glory of Jesus Christ." Oculi mei semper ad Dominum,”—such is the monastic voice. It is the monastic desire, as the Apostle says, "ambulare sicut ipse ambulavit." St. Bernard says, "In this our house the Order of Charity maintains the administration of Martha, the contemplation of Mary, and the penitence of Lazarus **" The author of the Imitation describes some of them generally, saying, "They seldom go abroad; they live very retired; their diet is very poor; their habit coarse; they labour much; they speak little; they watch long; they rise early; they spend much time in prayer; they read often, and keep themselves in all kind of discipline tt." What grave objection can there be to all this? The habit, originally that of the poor, was worn subsequently as an admonition and a safe

Ap. Ant. de Yepes, Chron. Gen. i. 412.
Lib. Conformitatum, &c. 165.

§ Weston on the Rule of the Friar-Minors, 1.

+ Collat. 18, c. 5.

|| Serm. xxvii. Dom de Rancé, De la Sainteté et des Devoirs de la Vie Monastique, p. 16.

Reg. S. August. 1.

** Serm. iii. de Assumpt.

++ i. 25.

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