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CE N T.effects and remains of this ancient controversy aro

XII. PARiu yet visible in our times. W XIX. A new society of religious Benedictines nastic or

arose about the commencement of this century, whose principal monastery was erected in a barren and solitary place, called Fontevraud, between Angers and Tours, from whence the order derived its name. ROBERT of Arbriselles, its founder, who had been first an hermit, and afterwards a monk, prescribed to his religious of both sexes, the rule of St BENEDICT, amplified, however, by the addition of several new laws, which were extremely singular and excessively severe. Among other singularities that distinguished this institution, one was, that the several monasteries which ROBERT had built, within one and the same inclosure, for his monks and nuns, were all subjected to the authority and government of one abbess; in justification of which measure, the example of CHRIST was alleged, who recommended St John to the Virgin Mary, and imposed it as an order upon that beloved disciple, to be obedient to her as to his own mother (0]. This new order, like all other novelties of that kind, gained immediately a high degree of credit; the singularity of its discipline, its form, and its laws, engaged multitudes to embrace it, and thus

the plissima ejusdem Collectio, tom. ix. p. 971.972.-Phil. HARVENGII Opera, p. 385. Duaci 1621, in folio. .

[0] See the Works of ABELARD, p. 48. whose testimony in this matter is confirmed by the present state and constitution of this famous order; though MABILLON, from an excessive partiality in favour of the Benedictines, has endeavoured to diminish its credit in his Annal. Benodict. tom. v. p. 423. For an account of ROBERT and his order, see the Acta Sanctor, tom. zii. Februar. p. 593.-Dion. SANMARTHANI Gallia Christiana, tom. i. p. 1311.--BAYLE'S Dictionary, at the article TONTEVRAUD.--HELYOT. Hist. des Ordres, tom. vi. p. 83. --The present state of this monastery is described by MOLEON, in his Voyages Liturgiques, p. 103. and by MARTENE, in his Yogage Litteraire de deux Benedicins, part II. p. i. ..

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the labours of its founder were crowned with re-C EN T. markable success. [ But the association of

PARTIL. vigorous monks and tender virgins, in the same community, was an imprudent measure, and could not but be attended with many inconveniences. However that be, ROBERT continued his pious labours, and the odour of his sanctity perfumed all the places where he exercised his ministry.] He was, indeed, suspected by some, of too great an intimacy with his female disciples; and it was rumoured about, that in order to try his virtue, by opposing it to the strongest temptations, he exposed it to an inevitable defeat by the manner in which he conversed with these holy virgins. It was even said, that their commerce was softened by something more tender than divine love; against which charge, his disciples have used their most zealous, endeavours to defend their master [p].

XX. NORBERT, a German nobleman, who The order went into holy orders, and was afterwards arch-of Premo bishop of Magdebourg, employed his most zealous efforts to restore to its primitive severity the disF4

cipline · [p] See the letters of GEOFFRY, abbot of Vendôme, and of MARBOD, bishop of Rennes, in which ROBERT is accused of lying in the same bed with the nuns. How the grave abbot was defended against this accusation by the members of his order may be seen in MAINFERME's Clypeus Nascentis Ordinis Fontebraldensis, published in 8vo at Paris, in the year 1684; and also by another production of the same author, entitled Dis. sertationes in Epistolam contra Roberium de Arbrissello, Salnurii, 1682, in 8vo. BAYLE's account of this famous abbot, in which there is such an admirable mixture of wit, sense, and malice, has been also attacked by several writers: see, among others, the Dissertation Apologetique pour le bienbieureux Robers d'Arbriselles sur ce qu'en a dit M. Bayle, Anvers 1701, in 8vo. -MABILLON, Annal. tom. v. et vi. p. 9, 10.

In the year 1177, some nuns of this order were brought into England, at the desire of HENRY III. who gave them the monastery of Ambresbury in Wiltshire. They had two other houses here; the one at Eton, the other at IVestwood, in Ivoro cestersbire.

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CEN T.cipline of the regular canons, which was extreme

XII,
Į AR 1.11.?

ully relaxed in some places, and almost totally abo-
l ished in others. This eminent reformer founded,

in the year 1121, the Order of Premontre in Pi-
cardy, whose fame spread throughout Europe with
an amazing rapidity, and whose opulence, in a
short space of time, became excessive and enor-
mous [], in consequence of the high esteem
which the monks of this community had acquired
by the gravity of their manners, and their assi-
duous application to the liberal arts and sciences.
But their overgrown prosperity was the source of
their ruin; it soon diminished their zeal for the
exercises of devotion, extinguished their thirst
after useful knowledge, and thus, step by step,
plunged them, at length, into all sorts of vices.
The rule which they followed was that of St
AUGUSTIN, with some slight alterations, and an
addition of certain severe laws, whose authority,
however, did not long survive their austere
founder [r]. .

XXI. About B [9] The religious of this order were at first so poor, that they had nothing they could call their own, but a single ass, which served to carry the wood they cut down every morning, and sent to Laon in order to purchase bread. But in a short time they received so many donations, and built so many monasteries, that, thirty years after the foundation of this Order, they had above an hundred abbies in France and Germany. In process of time, the Order increased so prodigiously, that it had monasteries in all parts of Christendom, amounting to 1000 abbies, 300 provostships, a vast number of priories, and 500 nunneries. But this number is now grcatly diminished. Besides what they lost in Protestant countries, of sixty-five abbeys, that they had in Italy, there is not one now remaining.

[ru] Sce HELYOT, Hist. des Ordres, tom. ii. p. 156.· CHRYSOST. Van der STERIE, Vita S. NorbertiPræmonstratensiurn Patriarche, published in 8vo, at Antwerp in 1656.--LOUIS HUGHES, Vie de S. Norbert, Luxemb. 1704, in 4to.-Add to these, notwithstanding his partiality, Jo. LAUNOIS, Inquisit, in Privilegia Ordin. Præmonstrat. cap. i, ii. Oper. tom. iii. part I. p. 448. For an account of the present state of the Order of Premontré, see MARTENE'S Voyage Litteraire de deux Benedictins, tom. ii. p. 59.

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XXI. About the middle of this century, a CE N T. certain Calabrian, whose name was BERTHOLD,

Xil. set out with a few companions for mount Carmel, and, upon the very spot where the prophet ELIAS is said to have disappeared, built an humble cottage, with an adjoining chapel, in which he led a life of solitude, austerity, and labour. This little colony subsisted, and the places of those that died were more than filled by new-comers ; so that it was, at length [s], erected into a monastic com- !' munity by ALBERT, patriarch of Jerusalem. This austere prelate drew up a rule of discipline for the new monks, which was afterwards confirmed by the authority of the Roman pontifs, who modified and altered it in several respects, and, among other corrections, mitigated its excessive rigour and severity [t]. Such was the origin of the famous Order of Carmelites, or, as they are commonly called, of the Order of our Lady of Mount Carmel, which was afterwards transplanted from Syria into Europe, and obtained the principal rank among the mendicant or begging orders. It its true, the Carmelites reject, with

the 10 The Præmonstratenses, or monks of Premontré, vulgarly called White Canons, came first into England, A. D. 1146. Their first monastery, called New House, was built in Lincolnsbire, by Peter de Sailia, and dedicated to St Martial. In the. reign of EDWARD I. the Order in question had twenty-seven monasteries in England.

[s] In the year 1205.

[1] I have here principally followed Dan. PAPEBROCH, an accurate writer, and one who is always careful to produce suflicient testimonies of the truth of his narrations, see the Acia Sanctor. Antwerp. Mense April. tom. ii. p. 774.--802. It is well known, that an accusation was brought against this learned jesuit, before the tribunal of the Roman pontif, by the Carmelites, on account of his having called in question the dignity and high antiquity of their Order. We have in HELYOT's Hist, des Ordres, toin. i. p. 282. an account of this long and tedious contest, which was so far determined, or at least suspended, in the year 1698, by INNOCENT XII. that silence was imposed upon the contending parties.

CENT.the highest indignation, an origin so recent and

XII. Pa 11. obscure, and affirm to this very day, that the

prophet Elias was the parent and founder of their ancient community [u]. Very few, however, have been engaged to adopt this fabulous and chimerical account of their establishment, except the members of the order, and many Roman catholic writers have treated their pretensions to such a remote antiquity with the utmost contempt [w]. [? And, scarcely, indeed, can any thing be more ridiculous than the circumstantial narrations of the occasion, origin, founder, and revolutions of this famous order, which we find in several ecclesiastical authors, whose zeal for this fraternity has rendered them capable of adopting, without reluctance, or, at least, of reciting without shame, the most puerile and glaring absurdities. They tell us, that Elias was introduced into the state of monachism by the ministry of angels; that his first disciples were JONAH, MICAH, and also OBADIAH, whose wife, in order to get rid of an importunate crowd of lovers, who fluttered about her at the court of AHAB, after the departure of her husband, bound herself by a vow of chastity, received the veil from the hands of father Elias, and thus became the first abbess of the Carmelite Order. They enter into a vast detail of all the circumstances that relate to the rules of discipline which were drawn up for this community, the habit which

distinguished

[u] The most concise and accurate of all the Carmelite wri. ters, who have treated this matter, is THOMAS AQUINAS, a French monk, in his Dissertatio Histor. Theol. in qua Patriarcbus Ordinis Carmelitarum Prophetæ Eliæ vindicarur , published in 8vo at Paris, in the year 1632. The modern writers who have maintained the cause of the Carmelites against · PAPEBROCH, are extremely prolix and tiresome.

[w] See HARDUINI Opera Posthum. p. 642.-LABAT, Voyo age en Espagne et Italie, tom. iii. p. 87.--COURAYER, Examen des defauts Theologiques. tom. i. p. 455.

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