The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

144

AULINUS.

tioned by Isidorus (De Viris Illusir. c. 4), bat was not known to exist in an entire form until it was discovered by Mingarelli in a very ancient MS. be­longing to the library of St. Salvator at Bologna, and inserted by him in the Anecdota published at Bologna, 4to. 1751, vol. ii. pt. 1, p. 199. A cor­rupt fragment of this tract will be found in the fifth volume of the Benedictine edition of St. Jerome, where it is ascribed to Rufinus.

The three productions enumerated above are placed together in the Bibliotheca Patrum of Galland, fol. Venet. 1773, vol. ix. p. 23. (Cassianus, de Jncarn. c. 7 ; Isidorus, de Viris Illusir. 4 ; Galland, Bill Pair. vol. ix. Proleg. c. ii.; Schonemann, Bill. Patrum Lot. vol. ii. § 21.)

2. meropius pontius anicius paultnus, bishop of Nola in the early part of the fifth century, and hence generally designated Paulinus Nblanus, was born at Bourdeaux, or at a neighbouring town, which he calls Embromagum, about the year A. d. 353. Descended from illustrious parents, the in­heritor of ample possessions, gifted by nature with good abilities, which were' cultivated with affec­tionate assiduity by his preceptor, the poet Ausonius [ausonius], he entered life under the fairest auspices, was raised to the rank of consul suffectus, before he had attained to the age of twenty-six, and married a wealthy lady named Therasia, whose disposition and tastes seem to have been in perfect harmony with his own. After many years spent in the enjoyment of worldly honours, Paulinus be­came convinced of the truth of Christianity, was baptized by Delphinus, bishop of Bourdeaux, in A. d. 389, distributed large sums to the poor, and passed over with his wife to Spain. The death of an only child, which survived its birth eight days, with perhaps other domestic afflictions concerning which wo are imperfectly informed, seem to have confirmed the dislike with which he now regarded the business of the world. After four years passed in retirement he resolved to withdraw himself en­tirely from the society of his friends, to apply his wealth to religious purposes, and to dedicate the remainder of his life to works of piety. This de­termination, while it called forth the earnest re-

j +

monstrances of his kindred, excited the most lively admiration among all classes of the devout, and the dignity of Presbyter was almost forced upon his acceptance by the enthusiasm of the populace at Barcelona (a. d. 393). He did not, however, re­main to exercise his clerical functions in this pro­vince, but crossed the Alps into Italy. Passing through Florence, where he was greeted with much cordiality by Ambrose, he proceeded to Rome, and, after meeting with a cold reception from Pope Siricius, who probably looked with suspicion on the hasty irregularity of his ordination, reached Nola, in Campania, where he possessed some property, soon after Easter A. d. 394. In the immediate vicinity of this city were the tomb and miracle-working relics of Felix, a confessor and martyr, over which a church had been erected with a few cells for the accommodation of pilgrims. In these Paulinus, with a small number of followers, took up his abode, conforming in all points to the observances of monastic establishments, except that his wife appears to have been his companion. After nearly fifteen years passed in holy meditations and acts of charity, lie was chosen bishop of Nola in a. d. 409 (or according to Pagi, a. d. 403), and when the stormy inroad of the Goths had passed away, dis-

PAULINUS.

charged the duties of the office in peace until his death, which took place in a. d. 431.

The abo\e sketch contains a narrative of all the facts which can be ascertained with regard to this father, but to what extent these may be eked out by laborious conjecture will be seen upon referring to biography compiled by Le Brim. The story told in the dialogues of St. Gregory, that Paulinus having given away all his possessions, made a journey into Africa, and sold himself into slavery, in order to ransom the son of a poor widow, has, upon chronological and other considerations, been generally rejected as a fable, as well as numerous legends contained in the histories of the Saints.

The following works of Paulinus, all composed after he had quitted public life, are still extant, consisting of Epistolae, Carmina, and a very short tract entitled Passio S. Genesii Arelatensis.

1. Epistolae. Fifty, or, as divided in some edi­tions, fifty-one letters, addressed to Sulpicius Se­verus, to Delphinus bishop of Bordeaux, to Augus­tine, to Rufinus, to Eucherius, and to many other friends upon different topics, some being compli­mentary, others relating entirely to domestic affairs, while the greater number are of a serious cast, being designed to explain some doctrine, to inculcate some precept, or to convey information upon some point connected with religion. Neither in style nor in substance can they be regarded as of much import­ance or interest, except in so far as they afford a fair specimen of the familiar correspondence of churchmen at that epoch, and convey a very pleas­ing impression of the writer. The most elaborate are the twelfth (to Amandus), which treats of the Fall and the Atonement, the thirtieth (to Sulpicius Severus) on the Inward and Outward Man, and the forty-second (to Florentius, bishop of Cahors) on the Dignity and Merits of Christ ; the most curious is the thirty-first (to Severus) on the In­vention of the True Cross ; the most lively is the forty-ninth (to Macarius) on a famous miracle per­formed by St. Felix. A summary of each epistle is to be found in Funccius, and longer abstracts in Dupin.

2. Carmina. Thirty-two in number, composed in a great variety of metres. Of these, the most worthy of notice are the birthday addresses to St. Felix in heroic hexameters, composed regularly on the festival of the saint, and forming a series which embraces so complete an account of the career and achievements of that holy personage, that Bede was enabled from these documents alone to compile a prose narrative of his life. We have besides para­phrases of three psalms, the 1st, 2d. and 136th ; Epistles to Ausonius and to Gestidius, two Preca-tiones Matutinae, De S. Joanne Baptista Christi Praecone etLegato,\n 330 hexameters ; an elegy on the death of a boy named celsus ; an epithala-mium on the nuptials of Julianus and la [julianus eclanensis], Ad Nicetam redeuntem in Daciam, Ad Jovium de Nolana Ecclcsia, Ad Antonium contra Paganos, while the list. has been recently swelled by Mai from the MSS. of the Vatican, by the addition of two poems, which may however be regarded with some suspicion ; the one inscribed Ad Deum post Conversionem et Baptisimcm suum, the other De suis Domesticis Calamitatibas. As in the case of the Epistolae, the above are differently arranged in different editions. Thus the Natalitia are sometimes condensed into thir­teen, sometimes expanded into fifteen ; and in like

Pages
About | First

142

143

144
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.