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taste and judgment of even those who are not void of natural sagacity, and often prevent their being shocked at the greatest inconsistencies. Amidst this general depravation of sentiments and conduct, amidst the flagitious crimes that were daily perpetrated, not only by the laity, but also by the various orders of the clergy, both secular and regular, all such as respected the common rules of decency, or preserved in their external demeanour the least
appearance of piety and virtue, were looked upon as saints of the highest rank, and considered as the peculiar favourites of hea
This circumstance was no doubt favourable to many of the monks, who were less profligate than the rest of their order, and might contribute more or less to support the credit of the whole body. Beside, it often happened, that princes, dukes, knights, and generals, whose days had been consumed in debauchery and crimes, and distinguished by nothing but the violent exploits of unbridled lust, cruelty, and avarice, felt at the approach of old death, the inexpressible anguish of a wounded conscience, and the gloomy apprehensions and terrors it excites. In this dreadful condition, what was their resource? What were the means by which they hoped to disarm the uplifted hand of divine justice, and render the Governor of the world propitious ? They purchased at an enormous price the prayers of the monks to screen them from judgment, and devoted to God and to the saints a large portion of the fruits of their rapine, or entered themselves into the monastic order, and bequeathed their possessions to their new brethren. And thus it was that monkery received perpetually new accessions of opulence and credit.
XXIII. The monks of Clugni in France surpassed all the The monks other religious orders in the renown they had
acquired, from a prevailing opinion of their eminent sanctity and virtue. Hence their discipline was universally respected, and hence also their rules were adopted by the founders of new monasteries, and the reformers of
let's Memoires de Literature et d'Histoire, tom. ix. part i. p. 63. The corruption and violence that reigned with impunity in this horrid age, gave occasion to the institutions of chivalry or knighthood, in consequence of which a certain set of equestrian heroes undertook the defence of the poor and feeble, and particularly of the fair sex, against the insults of powerful oppressors and ravishers. This order of knights errant was certainly of great use in these miserable times, when the majesty of laws and government was fallen into contempt, and they who bore the title of sovereigns and magistrates, had neither resolution nor power to maintain their authority, or to perform the duties of their stations.
those that were in a state of decline. These famous monks arose by degrees to the very highest summit of worldly prosperity, by the presents which they received from all quarters; and their power and credit grew, with their opulence, to such a height, that toward the conclusion of this century, they were formed into a separate society, which still subsists under the title of the order or congregation of Clugni." And no sooner were they thus established, than they extended their spiritual dominion on all sides, reducing under their jurisdiction all the monasteries which they had reformed by their counsels and engaged to adopt their religious discipline. The famous Hugo, sixth abbot of Clugni, who was in high credit at the court of Rome, and had acquired the peculiar protection and esteem of several princes, laboured, with such success, in extending the power and jurisdiction of his order, that before the end of this century, he saw himself at the head of five and thirty of the principal monasteries in France, beside a considerable number of smaller convents that acknowledged him as their chief. Many other religious societies, though they refused entering into this new order, and continued to choose their respective governors, yet showed such respect for the abbot of Clugni, or the archabbot, as he styled himself, that they regarded him as their spiritual chief. This enormous augmentation of opulence and authority, was however fruitful of many evils; it increased the arrogance of these aspiring monks, and contributed much to the propagation of the several vices that dishonoured the religious societies of this licentious and superstitious age. The monks of Clugni degenerated soon from their primitive sanctity, and in a short space of time were distinguished by nothing but the peculiarities of their discipline from the rest of the monastic orders.
xxiv. The examples of these monks excited several pious men to erect particular monastic fraternities, or congregations, like that of Clugni; the consequence of which was, that the Benedictine order, which had been hitherto one great and universal body was now divided into sepa
w For a particular account of the rapid and monstrous strides which the order of Clugni made to opulence and dominion, see Steph. Baluzius, Miscellan. tom. v. p. 343, and tom. vi. p: 436, as also Mabillon, Annal. Benedict. tom. v. passiin.
x.Mabillon, Præfat. ad Sæc. v. Actor. SS. Ord. Bened. p. xxvi. Hist. Generale de Bours gogne par les Moines Benedictins, tom. I. p. 151, published at Paris in folio, in the year 1739. Hist. Liter. de la France, tom. ix. p. 470. VOL. II.
rate societies, which, though they were subject to one general rule, yet differed from each other in various circumstances, both in their discipline and manner of living ; and tendered their division stil more conspicuous by recipro. cal exertions of animosity and hatred. In the year 1023, Romuald, an Italian fanatic, retired to Camaldoli, on the mount Appennine, and in that solitary retreat founded the order or congregation of the Camaldolites, which still remains in a flourishing state, particularly in Italy. His followers were distinguished into two classes, of which the one were cænobites, and the other eremites. Both observed a severe discipline; but the cænobites had degenerated much from their primitive austerity."
Some time after this, Gualbert, a native of Florence, founded at Val Ombroso, situated in the Appennines, a congregation of Benedictine monks, who, in a short space of time, propagated their discipline in several parts of Italy. To these two Italian monasteries we may add that of Hirsauge in Germany,' erected by William, an eminent abbot, who had reformed many ancient convents, and was the founder of several new establishments. It is however to be observed that the monastery of Hirsauge was rather a branch of the congregation of Clugni, whose laws and manner of living it had adopted, than a new fraternity, xxv. Toward the conclusion of this century, Robert,
abbot of Moleme, in Burgundy, having employ
ed in vain his most zealous efforts to revive the decaying piety and discipline of his convent, and to oblige his monks to observe, with more exactness, the rule of St. Benedict, retired, with about twenty monks, who had not been infected with the dissolute turn of their brethren, to a
y Otherwise called Campo Malduli.
z The writers who have given any satisfactory accounts of the order of the Camaldolites, are enumerated by Jo. Alb. Fabricius, in bis Bibliotheca Lat. medii ævi, tom. i. p. 895. Add to these Romauldi Vita, in Actis Sanctor. Februar. tom. ii. p. 101, and in Mabillon's Acta Sanctor, Ord. Bened. Sæc. vi. pars i. p. 247. Helyot, Hist. des Ordres, tom. v. p. 236. Mabillon, Annal. Ord. Bened. tom. v. p. 261. Magnoaldi Zeigelbarer, Centifolium Cemaldulense, sire Notitia Scriptor. Camaldulensium, published at Venice in the year 1750.
a. See the life of Gualbert, in Mabillon's Acta Sanctor. Ord. Bened. Sæc. vi. pars ii. p. 373. Helyot, Hist. des Ordres, tom. v. p. 298. Many interesting circumstances relating to the history of this order have been published by the learned Lami in the Deliciæ Eruditorum, published at Florence, tom, ii
. p. 248, as also p. 232, 279, where the ancient laws of the order are enumerated ; see also tom. iii. of the same work, p. 177, 212.
See Mabillon, Acta Sanct. Bened. Sæc. vi. pars ii. p. 716. Helyot, Hist. des Ordres: tom. 5. p. 332.
e In the year 1098.
place called Citeaux, in the diocess of Chalons. In this retreat, which was at that time a miserable desert, covered on all sides with brambles and thorns, but which bears at present a quite different aspect, Robert laid the foundations of the famous order, or congregation of Cistertians, which, like that of Clugni, made a most rapid and astonishing progress, was propagated through the greatest part of Europe in the following century, and was not only enriched with the most liberal and splendid donations, but also acquired the form and privileges of a spiritual republic, and exercised a sort of dominion over all the monastic orders. The great and fundamental law of this new fraternity was the rule of St. Benedict, which was to be solemnly and rigorously observed; to this were added several other institutions and injunctions, which were designed to maintain the authority of this rule, to ensure its observance, and to defend it against the dangerous effects of opulence, and the restless efforts of human corruption, to render the best establishments imperfect. These injunctions were excessively austere, grievous to nature, but pious and laudable in the esteem of a superstitious age. They did not however secure the sanctity of this holy congregation; since the seducing charms of opulence that corrupted the monks of Clugni much sooner than was expected, produced the same effect among the Cistertians, whose zeal, in the rigorous observance of their rule, began gradually to diminish, and who, in process of time, grew as negligent and dissolute as the rest of the Benedictines.'
xxvi. Beside these convents, that were founded upon the principles, and might be considered as branches of the Benedictine order, several other monastic societies were formed, which were distinguished by peculiar laws, and by rules of discipline and obedience, which they had drawn up for themselves. To many of
New monas tic orders.
sd In about an hundred years after its first establishment, this order boasted of eighteen hundred abbeys, and was become so powerful, that it governed almost all Europe both in spirituals and temporals.
e The principal historian of the Cistertian order, is Ang. Manriques, whose Annales Cisterlienses an ample and learned work, were published in four volumes folio at Lyons, in the year 1642. After him we may place Pierre le Nain, whose Essai de l'Histoire de l'Ordres des Citeaux, was printed in the year 1696, at Paris, in nine voluines, in 8vo. The other historians, who have given accounts of this famous order, are enumerated by Fabricius, in his Biblioth. Latina medii ævi, tom. i. p. 1066. Add to these Helyot's Hist. des Ordres, tom. v. p. 341, and Mabillon, who in the fifth and six volumes of his Annales Benedictini, has given a learned and accurate account of the origin and progress of the Cistertians.
those gloomy and fanatical monks, whose austerity was rather the fruit of a bad habit of body, than the result of a religious principle, the rule of Benedict appeared too mild ; to others it seemed incomplete and defective, and not sufficiently accommodated to the exercise of the various duties we owe to the Supreme Being. Hence Stephen, a nobleman of Auvergne, who is called by some Stephen de Muret, from the place where he first erected the convent of his order, obtained, in the year 1073, from Gregory VII. the privilege of instituting a new species of monastic discipline. His first design was to subject his fraternity to the rule of St. Benedict; but he changed his intention, and composed himself the body of laws, which was to be their rule of life, piety, and manners. In these laws there were many injunctions, that showed the excessive austerity of their author. Poverty and obedience were the two great points which he inculcated with the warmest zeal, and all his regulations were directed to promote and secure them in this new establishment; for this purpose it was solemnly enacted, that the monks should possess no lands beyond the limits of their convent; that the use of flesh should be allowed to none, not even to the sick and infirm; and that none should be permitted to keep cattle, that they might not be exposed to the temptation of violating their frugal regimen. "To these severe precepts many others of equal rigourwere added; for this gloomy legislator imposed upon his fraternity the solemn observance of a profound and uninterrupted silence, and insisted so much upon the importance and necessity of solitude, that none but a few of the highest eminence and authority were permitted to pass the threshold of his monastery. He prohibited all intercourse with the female sex, and indeed excluded his order from all the comforts and enjoyments of life. His followers were divided into two classes, of which the one comprehended the clerks, and the other what he called the converted brethren. The former were totally absorbed in the contemplation of divine things, while the latter were charged with the care and administration of whatever related to the concerns and necessities of the present life. Such were the principal circumstances of the new institution founded by Stephen, which arose to the highest pitch of renown in this and the following century, and was regarded with the most profound veneration as long as its laws