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who had been carried forth for dead to be interred, or whose sepulchre and funerals had been solemnized or prepared ; neither were such allowed to frequent the company of others, nor suffered to come near unto their sacrifices. And there goeth a report of a certain man named Aristinus, one of those who had been possessed with this superstition; how he sent unto the oracle of Apollo at Delphos, for to make supplication and prayer unto the god, for to be delivered out of this perplexed anxiety that troubled him by occasion of the said custom, or law, then in force, and that the prophetess Pythia returned this answer :
« Look whatsoever women do
in childbed newly laid,
and after that, be sure,
to sacrifice, most pure.
6 Which oracle thus delivered, Aristinus, having well pondered and considered, committed bimself as an infant new born unto women, for to be washed, to be wrapped in swaddling clothes, and to be suckled with the breasthead : after which all such others, whom we call Hysteropotmous, that is to say, those whose graves were made as if they were dead, did the semblable. Howbeit some do say that, before Aristinus was born, these ceremonies were observed about these Hysteropotmoi, and that this was a right ancient custom kept in the semblable
- Pluturch's Morals, tr. by Philemon Holland, p. 852.
There is the authority of a Holy Man in the Romance of Merlin, . , which is as good authority for such a fact as anything in the Acta Sanctorum, ... that the Devil, like other wild beasts who prowl about seeking what they may devour, is
afraid of a light. The Holy Man's advice to a pious damsel is never to lie down in the dark : “ garde que la ou tu coucheras il y ait tousjours clarté, car le Diable hait toutes cleres choses ; ne ne vient pas voulentiers ou il y a clarte.”. - vol. i. ff. 4.
And white is black, and black is white.
- p. 208.
Satan might have been reconciled to St. Basil's profession if he had understood, by his faculty of second-sight, that this, which it is sometimes the business of a lawyer to prove, would one day be the duty of the Romanists to believe, if their church were to tell them so. No less a personage than St. Ignatius Loyola has asserted this. In his Exercitia Spiritualia, the 13th of the Rules which are laid down ad sentiendum cum Ecclesiâ, is in these words:
Denique, ut ipsi Ecclesiæ Catholicæ omnino unanimes, conformesque simus, si quid, quod oculis nostris apparet album, nigrum illa esse definierit, debemus itidem, quod nigrum sit, pronuntiare. Indubitate namque credendum est, eumdem esse Domini nostri Jesu Christi, et Ecclesiæ orthodoxæ, sponsæ ejus, spiritum, per quem gubernamur ac dirigimur ad salutem ; neque alium esse Deum, qui olim tradidit Decalogi præcepta, et qui nunc temporis Ecclesiam hierarchicam instruit atque regit." - p. 141. Antwerpiæ, 1635.
Such is the implicit obedience enjoined in those Spiritual Exercises, of which Pope Paul III. said in his brief, sub annulo Piscatoris, “ omnia et singula in eis contenta, ex certâ scientiâ nostrâ, approbamus, collaudamus, ac presentis scripti patrocinio communimus.” The Romanists are to believe that black is white if the Roman Church tells them so: morally and politically it has often told them so, and they have believed and acted accordingly.
The impious scroll was dropt, a blank,
At Eleëmon's feet. – p. 213. This is not the only miracle of this kind recorded of St. Basil.
“ There was a certain woman of noble family, and born of . rich parents, who was wholly made up of the vanities of this world, and beyond measure arrogant in all things ; she, becoming a widow, wasted her substance shamelessly, living a loose and profligate life, doing none of those things which are enjoined by the Lord, but wallowing like a swine in the mire and filth of her iniquities. But being at length by the will of God brought to a consideration of her own estate, and her mind filled with consciousness of the immeasurable offences which she had committed, she called to remembrance the multitude of her sins, and bewailed them penitently, saying, • Woe to me a sinner, how shall I render an account of the multitude of my sins! I have profaned a spiritual temple; I have defiled the soul which inhabiteth this body! Woe is me, woe is me! what have I done! what hath befallen me ! Shall I say, like the Harlot or the Publican, that I have sinned? But no one has sinned like me! How, then, shall I be assured that God will receive my repentance ? While she meditated in herself upon these things, He, who would that all should be saved and brought back into the way of truth, and would have no one perish, was pleased to bring unto her remembrance all the sins which she had committed from her youth up.
And she set down in writing all these offences, even all that she had committed from her youth to this her elder age; and, last of all, she set down one great and heinous sin, the worst of all; and having done this, she folded up the writing, and fastened it with lead. After this, having waited till a convenient season, when holy Basil was accustomed to go to the church that he might pray there, she ran before to meet him, and threw the writing at his feet, and prostrated herself before him, saying, “0, holy man of God, have compassion upon me a sinner, yea, the vilest of sinners!' The most blessed man stopt thereat, and asked of her wherefore she thus groaned and lamented :' and she said unto him, · Saint of God, see I have set down all my sins and iniquities in this writing, and I have folded it, and fastened it with lead; do not thou, I charge thee, open it, but by thy powerful
prayers blot out all that is written therein.' Then the great and holy Basil held up the writing, and, looking toward Heaven, said, O Lord, to Thee alone all the deeds of this woman are manifest! Thou hast taken away the sins of the world, and more easily mayest thou blot out those of this single soul. Before thee, indeed, all our offences are numbered; but thy mercy is infinite.' Saying thus, he went into the church, holding the aforesaid writing in his hand; and prostrating himself before the altar, there he remained through the night, and on the morrow, during the performance of all the masses which were celebrated there, intreating God for this woman's sake. And when she came to him, he gave her the writing, and said to her, · Woman, hast thou heard that the remission of sins can come from God alone ?'
She answered, “ Yea, father; and therefore have I supplicated thee that thou shouldst intercede with that most merciful God in my behalf. And then she opened the writing, and found that it was all blotted out, save only that the one great, and most heinous sin, still remained written there. But she, seeing that this great sin was still legible as before, beat her breast, and began to bewail herself, and falling at his feet again, with many tears she said, “ have compassion upon me, O Servant of the Most High, and as thou hast once exerted thyself in prayer for all my sins, and hast prevailed, so now intercede, as thou canst, that this offence also may be blotted out.' Thereat holy Basil wept for pity; and he said unto her, · Woman, arise! I also am a sinner, and have myself need of forgiveness. He who hath blotted out thus much, hath granted thee remission of thy sins as far as hath to Him seemed good; and God, who hath taken away the sins of the world, is able to take from thee this remaining sin also ; and if thou wilt keep his commandments, and walk in his ways, thou shalt not only have forgiveness, but wilt also become worthy of glory. But go thou into the desert, and there thou wilt find a holy man, who is well known to all the holy fathers, and who is called Ephræm. Give thou this writing to him, and he will intercede for thee, and will prevail with the Lord.'
“ The woman then commended herself to the holy Bishop's prayers, and hastened away into the desert, and performed a long journey therein. She came to the great and wonderful Hermit, who was called Ephræm by name, and knocking at his door, she cried aloud, saying, “ have compassion on me, Saint of God, have compassion on me!' But he, having been forewarned in spirit concerning the errand on which she came, replied unto her, saying, · Woman, depart, for I also am a man and a sinner, standing myself in need of an intercessor.' But she held out the writing, and said, “ the holy Archbishop Basil sent me to thee, that thou mightest intercede for me, and that therethrough the sin which is written herein might be blotted out.
The other many sins holy Basil hath blotted out by his prayers : Saint of God, do not thou think it much to intercede with the Lord for me for this one sin, seeing that I am sent unto thee to that end.' But that confessor made
No, daughter! Could he obtain from the Lord the remission of so many other sins, and cannot he intercede and prevail for this single one? Go thy way back, therefore, and tarry not, that thou mayest find him before his soul be departed from his body.' Then the woman commended herself to the holy Confessor Ephræm, and returned to Cæsarea.
“ But, when she entered that city, she met the persons who were bearing the body of St. Basil to burial ; seeing which, she threw herself upon the ground, and began to cry aloud against the holy man, saying, “Woe is me a sinner, woe is me a lost wretch, woe is me! O man of God, thou hast sent me into the desert, that thou mightest be rid of me, and not wearied more; and behold I am returned from my bootless journey, having gone over so great a way in vain ! The Lord God see to this thing, and judge between me and thee, inasmuch as thou couldest have interceded with Him for me, and have prevailed, if thou hadst not sent me away to another.' Saying this, she threw the writing upon the bier whereon the body of holy Basil was borne, and related before the people all that past between them. One of the clergy then desiring to know what this one sin was, took up the writing, and