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A. D. 387. together out of a window which looked into the garden of
the house, were entertaining each other with the most kind and tender discourse; forgetting all their past cares, and thinking only on the future, they endeavoured to represent to themselves what kind of life the Saints would probably lead to all eternity; they raised themselves above all the pleasures of sense; and ran over in their imagination the whole compass of created bodies, even Heaven itself, and the stars which it contained. They proceeded to the soul, and passing over all creatures, even those that are spiritual, they arrived at last at Eternal Wisdom, Who gave being to them all, and Who exists for ever without distinction of time. They dwelt on it for a moment, with the most intense reflection of their minds, and sighed that they were obliged to return to the sound of the voice and fleeting words. Then St. Monnica said, “ My son, as for me, I no longer take any “ delight in this life. What I do here, or why I am any “longer here, I know not. One thing there was, for which “I desired to linger for a while in this life, that I might see “you a Catholic Christian before I died. God has granted “me still more than this, for I now see you, despising “all earthly felicity, consecrated to his service: what do
“I here?” c. 11. About five days after she fell sick of a fever. During her
illness, she one day fainted away; on coming to herself, she looked on St. Augustine and his brother Navigius, and said to them, “Where was I?” and afterwards, observing them to be overwhelmed with grief, she added, “ Here shall you bury “your mother.” Navigius expressed a desire that she might rather die in her own country, but she looked upon him with an anxious look, by way of reproof, and said to St. Augustine, “Lo! what he says !” then directing herself to them both, “ Lay this body," she said, “anywhere, let not that give “you the least anxiety; all that I desire of you is, that you “would remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you “ be.” On the ninth day of her sickness, in the fifty-sixth year of her age, and the thirty-third of St. Augustine's, which was the same year in which he had been baptized, viz. 387,
“ was that religious and holy soul freed from the body.” c. 12. As soon as she had breathed her last, St. Augustine closed
her eyes; the boy Adeodatus burst out into a loud lament; A. D. 387.
Thee, O Lord, will I sing. He was joined by the whole house,
Though the Empress Justina had used St, Ambrose so ill, LVII. Fet she besought him to go upon a second embassy to the embassy of Emperor Maximus, which he accepted. The object of it was to demand the body of the Emperor Gratian, and to ratify Maximus. the peace : for there was great reason to fear that Maximus, not satisfied with commanding in Gaul, would invade Italy, De Obitu in order to deprive Valentinian of his dominions. St. Am. va brose being arrived at Treves, Maximus refused to admit Epist. 24. him to audience but publicly in his consistory, and though it 8 % had not been customary for Bishops to go thither, St. Am. brose chose rather to descend from his dignity, than fail to execute his commission. He therefore entered into the consistory, where he found Maximus seated, who rose in order to give him the kiss of salutation. St. Ambrose stayed among the councillors', who advised him to go up to the Emperor's ' [consistothrone; and the Emperor himself called to him. St. Am- Fiat brose answered, “Why do you salute with a kiss him whom "you will not acknowledge for a Bishop? for did you " acknowledge me as such, you would not see me in this " place.” After some discourse had passed between them, Maximus fell into a passion, and reproached him with having mocked him, by preventing his entering Italy, when nothing
St. Ambrose to
A. D. 387. could have opposed him. St. Ambrose answered him calmly,
“I am come to justify myself from that reproach, although “it were glorious for me to have drawn it upon myself for the " sake of saving the life of an orphan. But where did I “oppose your legions, in order to prevent their overrunning “Italy? did I shut up the Alps against you with my body? “And wherein have I mocked you? When you told me “that you intended to have Valentinian come to you, I “answered that it was not reasonable that a child should “ cross the Alps with his mother, in the depth of winter, nor
“that he should be exposed to the danger of so long a $ 9, &c. "journey without her.” He afterwards reproached him with
Gratian's death, and desired him at least to deliver up his bod”.
into consideration, and then St. Ambrose withdrew, declaring (Vit. that he would not hold Ecclesiastical communion with him, Paulin. $ 19.) and telling him, that he must do penance for having shed his " Epist. § 12. master's innocent blood. St. Ambrose abstained even from
the communion of those Bishops who either communicated with Maximus, or who took part in the execution of the Priscillianists. Maximus enraged at all these circumstances,
commanded him to return forthwith, and accordingly St. AmDe Ob. brose gladly departed, though Maximus had threatened him, Valent.$39.
and many people imagined that he was exposing himself to inevitable danger. The only thing that troubled him at his departure was, to see an aged Bishop, named Hyginus, who seemed just ready to die, hurried into banishment. St. Am
brose besought some of Maximus' friends, to obtain leave for *[vestem— his having at least a curtain and a feather cushion', in order rium.) to give him some little ease, but was himself driven away. Epist. 24. On his journey he wrote to the Emperor Valentinian, and $1.
gave him an account of his embassy, being apprehensive lest the Emperor should be prejudiced against him by some false report. He concluded his letter with these words, “ Guard “yourself against a man, who under the cloak of peace, “conceals war.”
We shall not wonder that St. Ambrose refused to communicate with those who sought to put the heretics to death, 11 we consider how much the Church abhorred the blood even of other criminals. About this same time, a judge, named Studius,
consulted St. Ambrose upon this question, viz. whether it be A. D. 387. lawful to condemn a man to death. St. Ambrose applauded Epist. 25. his piety, and immediately declared it to be lawful, since St. Paul says, that the ruler beareth not the sword in vain. Rom. 13. 4. He indeed owns that some would not receive to the communion of the Sacraments, those who had at any time pronounced sentence of death; but he adds that all such are out of the pale of the Church, and they are thought to have been the Novatians. He said that many judges voluntarily abstained under such circumstances from communicating, and that he could not help applauding them. “ If you communicate," says he, “you are excusable; and praiseworthy if you do "not.-Several heathens have boasted that they had never "stained their axes with blood during their administration ; "what should Christians then do?” He quotes the example of our Saviour, who sent back the adulteress, and he adds the reason why the guilty should be pardoned. “It may happen,” he says, “ that there may be hopes of their amendment; if “they are without baptism, that they may be baptized; if “they are baptized, that they may be admitted to penance, " and offer their bodies for Christ.” We must remember that the canonical penances inflicted for great crimes, were at that time so very severe, that they were equal to a rigorous punishment. “Our fathers,” said he, “ have been tender " and indulgent with respect to the judges, lest if they should “ refuse them communion, they might seem to side with the " criminals, and procure a general impunity.
He also treats of the same question in another letter, and Ep. 26. 83. says that “people are grown warm about it, ever since the “time that Bishops prosecuted criminals in the public courts “of justice, and have never given over their prosecution till “they were executed, and that others have approved their “ proceedings. When we put,” says he, “the criminal to $ 20. “death, we destroy the person rather than the crime; but "when we cause him to forsake his sin, the man is delivered, "and the crime is destroyed.” He recommends moreover in In Ps. 118. another place, the custom of interceding for the life of Serm. 8. $ criminals, “provided,” says he, “it may be done without any 41. [p.1071.) "great trouble; lest we should seem to act rather from a De. Off. 11.
c. 21. § 102 " principle of vanity, than charity; and while we are en
ix. Tit. 40.
St. Martin at the table
A. D. 387. “ deavouring to remedy less evils, we should commit greater." Cod. Theod. For it sometimes happened that this zeal to save criminals de Pæn. 1. was carried to such an indiscreet height, as to be the occasion 15. (A D. 392.) and of sedition.
D. About the same time St. Martin happened to be at Treves, 398.] LVIII. and the reluctance which he discovered to communicate with
1. Maximus sufficiently justifies the behaviour of St. Ambrose, of Maxi. who was not his subject, as the Bishops of Gaul were. Many : Sev. Sulp.
from various provinces paid their court to Maximus, and that Vit. $ 23. with flattery and subserviency; but St. Martin always recol
lected his Apostolical authority. He came to intercede for certain criminals; he was again and again invited to the Imperial table, but he refused a long while, alleging“ that he “could not eat at the same table with the man who had “deprived one Emperor of his dominions, and another of his “ life.” However when Maximus protested that he had not assumed the Imperial power of his own will, but that the troops had forced it upon him; that the incredible success which had crowned him with victory, seemed to testify that it was the will of God; and that not one of his enemies had been killed, except in the field, St. Martin at length yielded to his arguments, or his entreaties, which gave the Emperor the utmost satisfaction. He invited to the entertainment as to an extraordinary feast, the most considerable of his courtiers, his brother and his uncle, both Counts of the highest rank, and Evodius the Prætorian Præfect. A Priest who had accompanied St. Martin was seated in a most honourable place between the two Counts, and on the same couch. St. Martin himself sat down on a little seat close to the Emperor. In the midst of the entertainment, an officer presented the cup as usual to Maximus, who caused it to be given to St. Martin, expecting to receive it from his hand; but when he had drunk, he gave it to his Priest, as higher in true rank than any other person in the company. The Emperor and all who were present were surprized, and broke out into admiration, the whole palace rang with it, and St. Martin was applauded for having done at the Emperor's table what no other Bishop would have attempted at the table of the most inconsiderable magistrate. The Holy Bishop foretold to Maximus, that if he went into Italy to