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The c vents th

CENT. XX. Among the convents that were founded XIII. :in this century, and still subsist, the principal

place is due to that of the sèrvites, i. e. the ser.

vants of the blessed virgin, whose order was first still subsist. instituted, A. D. 1223, in Tuscany, by seven Flo

rentine merchants, and afterwards made a great progress under the government of Philip BENIZI its chief. This order, though subjected to the rule of St AUGUSTINE, was, nevertheless, erected in commemoration of the most holy widowhood of the blessed Virgin; for which reason its monks wear a black habit [k], and observe several rules unknown to other monasteries. The prodigious numbers of Christians, that were made prisoners, by the Mahometans in Palestine, gave rise, towards the conclusion of the 12th century, to the institution of the order, entitled, The Fraternity of the Trinity, which in the following age, received a still greater degree of stability, under the pontificate of HONORIUS III. and also of his suc. cessor CLEMENT IV. The first founders of this institution were JOHN DE Matha and FELIX DE Valois, two pious men who led an austere and solitary life at Cerfray, in the diocese of Meaux, which is still the seat of the principal convent of the order. The monks of this society are called the Brethren of the Holy Trinity, because all their churches are solemnly dedicated to that profound mystery; they are also styled MATHURINS, from their having a monastery at Paris erected in a place where there is a chapel consecrated to St MATHURIN, and Brethren of the redemption of captives [1, because the grand design of their insti

tution

[k] Besides the ordinary writers of the Monastic History, see Pauli FLORENTINI Dialog. de origine Ordinis Servorum, in Lamii Deliciis eruditorum, tom. i. p.

1 4 8. [1] BROUGHTON and some other writers make a distinction between the Order of the redemption of Captives, and the Fraternity, or Brethren of the Holy Trinity. They allege,

that

ART

tution was to find out means for restoring liberty C EN T, to the Christian captives in the Holy Land, in

XIII. which charitable work they are obliged to employ the third part of their revenue. Their manner of life was, at first, extremely abstemious and austere; but its austerity has been from time to time considerably mitigated by the indulgence and lenity of the pontifs [m],

XXI. The religious society that surpassed all the mendithe rest in the purity of its manners, the extent cant of der. of its fame, the number of its privileges, and the multitude of its members, was that of the Mendicant, or begging friars, whose order was first established in this century, and who, by the tenor of their institution, were to remain entirely destitute of all fixed revenues and possessions. The present state and circumstances of the church rendered the establishmentofsuch an order absolutely necessary. The monastic orders, who wallowed in opulence, were, by the corrupting influence of their ample possessions, lulled in a luxurious indolence. They lost sight of all their religious

; obligations, that the latter order was instituted at Rome by St Philip Neri, in the year 1548, about 350 years after the first establishment of the former; and that the monks who composed it, were : bliged, by their vow, to take care of the pilgrims who resorted from all parts of the world to Rome, to visit the tombs of St PETER and St PAUL.

[m] Beside HELyot and the other writers of the monastic History, see TOUSSAINT DE PLESSIS, Hist. de l'Eglise de Meaux, tom. i. p. 172. and 566. BOULAY Hist. Acad. Paris. tom. ii. p. 523. Ant. Wood, Antiq. Oxoniens. tom. i. p. 133. In the ancient records, this society is frequently styled the Order of Asses, on account of the prohibition of the use of horses, which made a part of their rule, and which obliged the mendicant monks to ride upon asses. See CAR. DU FRESNE's Notes upon Joinville's Life of St LEWIS, p. 81. But at present, thro' the indulgence of the Roman pontifs, they are permitted to make use of horses when they find them necessary. An order of the same kind was instituted in Spain, in the year 1229, by PAUL NOLASCO, under the title of the Order of St Mary for ibe redemption of Captives. See the Acta Sanctorum Janxar. tom. ii. p. 983.

'E ENT obligations, trampled upon the authority of their

XII. pati superiors, suffered heresy to triumph unrestrained, ar and the sectaries to form assemblies in several

places; in short, they were incapable of contributing in any respect to promote the true interests of the church, and abandoned themselves, without either shame or remorse, to all manner of crimes. On the other hand, the enemies of the church, the various sects which had left its communion, followed certain austere rules of life and conduct, which formed a strong contrast between them and the religious orders, and contributed to render the licentiousness of the latter still more offensive and shocking to the people. These sects maintained, that voluntary poverty was the leading and essential quality in a servant of CHRIST, Obliged their doctors to imitate the simplicity of the apostles, reproached the church with its overgrown opulence, and the vices and corruptions of the clergy, that flowed from thence as from their natural source, and by his commendation of poverty and contempt of riches, acquired a high degree of respect, and gained a prodigious ascend. ant over the minds of the multitude. All this rendered it absolutely necessary to introduce into the church a set of men, who, by the austerity of their manners, their contempt of riches, and the external gravity and sanctity of their conduct and maxims, might resemble the doctors, who had gained such reputation to the heretical sects, and who might be so far above the allurements of worldly profit and pleasure, as not to be seduced, by the promises or threats of kings and princes, from the performance of the duties they owed to the church, or from persevering in their subordination to the Roman pontifs. INNOCENT III. was the first of the popes who perceived the necessity of instituting such an order; and, accordingly, he gave, such monastic societies as made a

profession

profession of poverty the most distinguishing CENT

XIII. marks of his protection and favour. They were puteti il. also encouraged and patronized by the succeeding pontifs, when experience had demonstrated their public and extensive usefulness. But when it became generally known, that they had such a peculiar place in the esteem and protection of the rulers of the church, their number grew to such an enormous and unwieldy multitude, and swarmed so prodigiously in all the European provinces, that they became a burthen nct only to the people, but to the church itself.

XXII. The great inconveniency that arose Its history. from the excessive multiplication of the mendicant orders, was remedied by GREGORY X. in a general council which he assembled at Lyons in the year 1272. For here all the religious orders, that had sprung up after the council held at Rome, in the year 1215, under the pontificate of INNOCENT III. were suppressed, and the extravagant multitude of mendicants, as GRECORY called them, were reduced to a smaller number, and confined to the four following societies, or denominations, viz. the Dominicans, the Franciscans, the Carmelites, and the Hermits of St Augustin (n.] The Carmelite order, which had been instituted in Palestine during the preceding century, was, in this, transplanted into Europe, and, in the year 1226, was favoured by pope HONORIUS III. with a place among the monastic societies, which enjoyed the protection and approbation of the church. The Hermits of St Augustin had for their founder VOL. III.

O

ALEXANDER [n] Concil. Lugd. II. A. 1274. Can. xxii. in Jo. HARDUI II Conciliis, tom. vii. p. 715. Iimportuna potentiam indiario Relizionum (so were the religious orders entitled) multiplicationem cxa. iorsit, verum etiam aliquorum prcesumotuosa temerilis viverrsorum ordinum, præcipue Mendicanliun....eilrænatam multitudinem adinvenit.... Hinc ordines Mendicantes post dium cencilium (i. e. the council of Lateran held in 1215) adinventos ... perpetuæ prohibitioni subjicimus.

PART

esteen of

CENT ALEXANDDER IV. 50), who, observing that the * XIII

1. Hermits were divided into several societies, some w of which followed the maxims of the famous WILLIAM, others the rule of St AUGUSTIN, while others again were distinguished by different denominations, formed the wise project of uniting them all into one religious order, and subjecting them to the same rule of discipline, even that which bears the name of St AUGUSTIN. This project

was put in execution in the year 1256. Attracts XXIII. As the pontils allowed these four Menthe veneand dicant orders the liberty of travelling wherever

they thought proper, of conversing with persons the public.

of all ranks, of instructing the youth and the multitude wherever they went; and, as these monks exhibited, in their outward appearance and manner of life, more striking marks of gravity and holiness, than were observable in the other momastic societies, they arose all at once to the very summit of fame, and were regarded with the utmost esteem and veneration throughout all the countries of Europe. The enthusiastic attachment to these sanctimonious beggars went so far, that, as we learn from the most authentic records, several cities were divided, or cantoned out, into four parts, with a view to these four orders; the first part was assigned to the Dominicans; the second, to the Franciscans; the third, to the Carmelites; and the fourth, to the Augustinians. The people were unwilling to receive the sacraments froin any other hands than those of the Mendicants, to whose churches they crowded to perform their devotionis, wlile living, and were extremely desirous to deposit there also their remains after death; all which occasioned grievous complaints among the ordinary priests, to

whom

[o] This edict of Pope ALEXANDER IV. is to be found in the new edition of the Bullarium Romanum, tom. i. p. 110.-See also Ac:a Sancior. Mons. Februar. tom. ii. p. 472.

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