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OF SOME OF
THE MONASTIC ORDERS.
The origin of the order of the CARTHUSIANS is thus related by Petrarch :
Two brothers, from Genoa, set out on a trading voyage; the one sailed towards the east, the other towards the west. After a number of years, one of them arriving at Genoa, being informed that his brother was at Marseilles, wrote to him to desire his return to Genoa ; but receiving no answer, he went to Marseilles, and finding his brother there, he asked him why he did not come to Genoa. His brother replied, “I am weary of navigation and trade: I will no longer trust my life to the mercy of the winds ; do as you please; my resolution is fixed. I have found a port on the borders of Paradise, where I will rest, and wait in tranquillity the moment of my death.”
The other, who did not comprehend this language, asked him to explain himself: he returned no answer, but took him to Montrieu, into a deep valley, in the middle of a wood, and pointed to a house which he had just built there. Struck with the awfulness of the surrounding scene, the other Genoese felt a sudden compunction, and determined immediately to erect a building like that of his brother, on a neighbouring hill. They bade adieu to the world, and founded with their estates and houses the new order of the CARTHUSIANS; an order famous for its piety and austerity of manners : and in this solitude they consecrated the remainder of their days to God.
This monastery of Montrieu is situated between Aix and Toulon, in the middle of the woods, and surrounded with mountains, from whence issue several rivers.
The order of CARMELITES constituted one of the four orders of
Mendicants. They debarred themselves from ever possessing property ; they never tasted animal food ; they habituated themselves to manual labour; were constantly engaged in oral or mental prayer; and continued in religious silence from the hour of vespers to the third portion of the succeeding day. The law, forbidding the use of meat, was, in some degree, mitigated by the Popes Eugenius and Pius ; in consequence of which, and a few other regulations, this order was divided into two, under the names of the moderate, and the barefooted Carmelites.
The BENEDICTINES always walked two and two; they never conversed in the Refectory ; slept
singly in the same dormitory; performed their devotions seven times in a day; and in Lent fasted till the hour of six. They had but a slight covering to their beds; slept in their clothes ; and their wardrobe consisted of only two coats, two cowls, and a handkerchief.
The DOMINICANS were the most infamous, as well as the most celebrated and powerful of all the monastic orders. Attentive, at all times, to their secular interests, there was not a crime of which they were not guilty, nor a meanness to which they would not stoop, in order to augment their influence, or enlarge their possessions. Difference of opinion they stigmatized as heresy; and fraud, treachery,