Alfred Wesley Wishart.

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Sometime _Fellow_ in _Church History_ in _The University of Chicago_




The aim of this volume is to sketch the history of the monastic
institution from its origin to its overthrow in the Reformation period,
for although the institution is by no means now extinct, its power was
practically broken in the sixteenth century, and no new orders of
importance or new types have arisen since that time.

A little reflection will enable one to understand the great difficulties
in the execution of so broad a purpose. It was impracticable in the
majority of instances to consult original sources, although intermediate
authorities have been studied as widely as possible and the greatest
caution has been exercised to avoid those errors which naturally arise
from the use of such avenues of information. It was also deemed
unadvisable to burden the work with numerous notes and citations. Such
notes as were necessary to a true unfolding of the subject will be found
in the appendix.

A presentation of the salient features of the whole history was
essential to a proper conception of the orderly development of the
ascetic ideal. To understand the monastic institution one must not only
study the isolated anchorite seeking a victory over a sinful self in the
Egyptian desert or the monk in the secluded cloister, but he must also
trace the fortunes of ascetic organizations, involving multitudes of
men, vast aggregations of wealth, and surviving the rise and fall of
empires. Almost every phase of human life is encountered in such an
undertaking. Attention is divided between hermits, beggars,
diplomatists, statesmen, professors, missionaries and pontiffs. It is
hoped the critical or literary student will appreciate the immense
difficulties of an attempt to paint so vast a scene on so small a
canvas. No other claim is made upon his benevolence.

There is a process of writing history which Trench describes as "a moral
whitewashing of such things as in men's sight were as blackamoors
before." Religious or temperamental prejudice often obscures the vision
and warps the judgment of even the most scholarly minds. Conscious of
this infirmity in the ablest writers of history it would be absurd to
claim complete exemption from the power of personal bias. It is
sincerely hoped, however, that the strongest passion in the preparation
of this work has been that commendable predilection for truth and
justice which should characterize every historical narrative, and that,
whatever other shortcomings may be found herein, there is an absence of
that unreasonable suspicion, not to say hatred, of everything monastic,
which mars many otherwise valuable contributions to monastic history.

The author's grateful acknowledgment is made, for kindly services and
critical suggestions, to Eri Baker Hulbert, D.D., LL.D., Dean of the
Divinity School, and Professor and Head of the Department of Church
History; Franklin Johnson, D.D., LL.D., Professor of Church History and
Homiletics; Benjamin S. Terry, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval and English
History; and Ralph C.H. Catterall, Instructor in Modern History; all of
The University of Chicago. Also to James M. Whiton, Ph.D., of the
Editorial Staff of "The Outlook"; Ephraim Emerton, Ph.D., Winn Professor
of Ecclesiastical History in Harvard University; S. Giffard Nelson,
L.H.D., of Brooklyn, New York; A.H. Newman, D.D., LL.D., Professor of
Church History in McMaster University of Toronto, Ontario; and Paul Van
Dyke, D.D., Professor of History in Princeton University.

Trenton, March, 1900.


PREFACE, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
BIBLIOGRAPHY, . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13


MONASTICISM IN THE EAST, . . . . . . . . . . 17
The Hermits of Egypt, . . . . . . . . . . 33
The Pillar Saint, . . . . . . . . . . . 51
The Cenobites of the East, . . . . . . . . 57


340-480 A.D., . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
Monasticism and Women, . . . . . . . . . . 106
The Spread of Monasticism in Europe, . . . . . 115
Disorders and Oppositions, . . . . . . . . 124


THE BENEDICTINES, . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
The Rules of Benedict, . . . . . . . . . . 138
The Struggle Against Barbarism, . . . . . . . 148
The Spread of the Benedictine Rule, . . . . . 158


The Military Religious Orders, . . . . . . . 197


THE MENDICANT FRIARS, . . . . . . . . . . . 205
Francis Bernardone, 1182-1226 A.D., . . . . . 208
The Franciscan Orders, . . . . . . . . . . 226
Dominic de Guzman, 1170 - 1221 A.D., . . . . . 230
The Dominican Orders, . . . . . . . . . . 241
The Success of the Mendicant Orders, . . . . . 242
The Decline of the Mendicants, . . . . . . . 253


THE SOCIETY OF JESUS, . . . . . . . . . . . 258
Ignatius de Loyola, 1491-1556 A.D., . . . . . 261
Constitution and Polity of the Order, . . . . . 265
The Vow of Obedience, . . . . . . . . . . 266
The Casuistry of the Jesuits, . . . . . . . 272
The Mission of the Jesuits, . . . . . . . . 276
Retrospect, . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284


THE FALL OF THE MONASTERIES, . . . . . . . . 286
The Character of Henry VIII., . . . . . . . 290
Events Preceding the Suppression, . . . . . . 293
The Monks and the Oath of Supremacy, . . . . . 301
The Royal Commissioners and their Methods of
Investigation, . . . . . . . . . . . . 308
The Report of the Commissioners, . . . . . . 316
The Action of Parliament, . . . . . . . . . 319
The Effect of the Suppression Upon the People, . . 322
Henry's Disposal of Monastic Revenues, . . . . 328
Was the Suppression Justifiable? . . . . . . 331
Results of the Dissolution, . . . . . . . . 347


Causative Motives of Monasticism, . . . . . . 355
Beliefs Affecting the Causative Motives, . . . . 365
Causes of Variations in Monasticism, . . . . . 371
The Fundamental Monastic Vows, . . . . . . . 375


THE EFFECTS OF MONASTICISM, . . . . . . . . . 386
The Effects of Self-Sacrifice Upon the Individual, 390
The Effects of Solitude Upon the Individual, . . 393
The Monks as Missionaries, . . . . . . . . 398
Monasticism and Civic Duties, . . . . . . . 399
The Agricultural Services of the Monks, . . . . 403
The Monks and Secular Learning, . . . . . . . 405
The Charity of the Monks, . . . . . . . . . 410
Monasticism and Religion, . . . . . . . . . 412

APPENDIX, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 425
INDEX, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 433

* * * * *



After the painting by J.J. Weerts. Originally published by
Goupil & Co. of Paris, and here reproduced by their permission.

[Jean Joseph Weerts was born at Roubaix (Nord), on May 1,
1847. He was a pupil of Cabanel, Mils and Pils. He was
awarded the second-class medal in 1875, was made Chevalier of
the Legion of Honor in 1884, received the silver medal at the
Universal Exposition of 1889, and was created an Officer of
the Legion of Honor in 1897. He is a member of the "Société
des Artistes Français," and is _hors concours_.]

SAINT BERNARD, . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192

After an engraving by Ambroise Tardieu, from a painting on glass
in the Convent of the R.P. Minimes, at Rheims.

[Ambroise Tardieu was born in Paris, in 1790, and died in
1837. He was an engraver of portraits, landscapes and
architecture, and a clever manipulator of the burin. For a
time he held the position of "Geographical Engraver" to the
Departments of Marine, Fortifications and Forests. He was a
member of the French Geographical and Mathematical
Societies.] - _Nagler_.

SAINT DOMINIC, . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230

From a photograph of Bozzani's painting, preserved in his cell at
Santa Sabina, Rome. Here reproduced from Augusta T. Drane's
"History of St. Dominic," by courtesy of the author and the publishers,
Longmans, Green & Co., of London and New York.

["Although several so-called portraits (of St. Dominic) are
preserved, yet none of them can be regarded as the _vera
effigies_ of the saint, though that preserved at Santa Sabina
probably presents us with a kind of traditionary
likeness."] - _History of St. Dominic_.

[In the "History of St. Dominic," on page 226, the author
credits the portrait shown to "Bozzani." We are unable to
find any record of a painter by that name. Nagler, however,
tells of a painter of portraits and historical subjects,
Carlo Bozzoni by name, who was born in 1607 and died in 1657.
He was a son of Luciano Bozzoni, a Genoese painter and
engraver. He is said to have done good work, but no other
mention is made of him.]

IGNATIUS DE LOYOLA, . . . . . . . . . . . 261

After the engraving by Greatbach, "from a scarce print by H.
Wierz." Originally published by Richard Bentley, London, in 1842.

[W. Greatbach was a London engraver in the first half of the
nineteenth century. He worked chiefly for the "calendars" and
"annuals" of his time, and did notable work for the general
book trade of the better class.]

[A search of the authorities does not reveal an engraver
named "H. Wierz." This is probably intended for Hieronymus
Wierex (or Wierix, according to Bryant), a famous engraver,
born in 1552, and who is credited by Nagler, in his
"Künstler-Lexikon," with having produced "a beautiful and
rare plate" of "St. Ignaz von Loyola." The error, if such it
be, is easily explained by the fact that portrait engravers
seldom cut the lettering of a plate themselves, but have it
engraved by others, who have a special aptitude for making
shapely letters.]


ADAMS, G.B.: Civilization during the Middle Ages.
ARCHER, T.A., and KINGSFORD, CHARLES L.: The Crusaders.
BARROWS, JOHN H., (Editor): The World's Parliment of Religions.
BLUNT, I.J.: Sketches of the Reformation in England.
BLUNT, JOHN HENRY: The Reformation of the Church of England,
its History, Principles and Results.
BRYCE, JAMES: The Holy Roman Empire.
BURNET, GILBERT: History of the Reformation of the Church of
BUTLER, ALBAN: Lives of the Saints.
CARLYLE, THOMAS: Past and Present: The Ancient Monk. Miscellaneous
Papers: Jesuitism.
CAZENOVE, JOHN G.: St. Hilary of Poitiers and St. Martin of Tours.
CHALIPPE, CANDIDE: The Life of St. Francis of Assisi.
CHILD, GILBERT W.: Church and State Under the Tudors.
CHURCH, R.W.: The Beginning of the Middle Ages.
CLARK, WILLIAM: The Anglican Reformation.
CLARKE, JAMES FREEMAN: Events and Epochs in Religious History.
COOK, KENINGALE: The Fathers of Jesus.
COX, G.W.: The Crusaders.
CUTTS, EDWARD LEWES: St. Jerome and St. Augustine.
DILL, SAMUEL: Roman Society in the Last Century of the Western
DRAPER, JOHN WILLIAM: History of the Intellectual Development
of Europe.
DRAKE, AUGUSTA T.: The History of St. Dominic.
DUGDALE, Sir WILLIAM: Monasticum Anglicanum.
DURUY, VICTOR: History of Rome.
ECKENSTEIN, LINA: Woman Under Monasticism.
EDERSHEIM, ALFRED: The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.
ELIOT, SAMUEL: History of Liberty.
FARRAR, FREDERICK W.: The Early Days of Christianity.
FOSBROKE, J.D.: British Monachism.
FROUDE, JAMES ANTHONY: History of England.
GAIRDNER, JAMES, and SPEDDING, JAMES: Studies in English History.
GASQUET, FRANCIS A.: Henry VIII. and the English Monasteries.
GASQUET, FRANCIS A.: The Eve of the Reformation.
GIBBON, EDWARD: Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
GIESELER, J.K.L.: Manual of Church History.
GNEIST, RUDOLPH: History of the English Constitution.
GNEIST, RUDOLPH: The English Parliament.
GREEN, JOHN RICHARD: History of the English People.
GUÉRANGER, PROSPER: Life of St. Cecilia.
GUIZOT, F.P.G.: The History of France.
GUIZOT, F.P.G.: The History of Civilization in Europe.
HALLAM, HENRY: Europe During the Middle Ages.
HALLAM, HENRY: Constitutional History of England.
HALLAM, HENRY: Introduction to the Literature of Europe.
HARDY, R. SPENCER: Eastern Monasticism.
HARDWICK, CHARLES: History of the Christian Church in the Middle
HARNACK, ADOLF: Monasticism: Its Ideals and Its History: _Christian
Literature Magazine_, 1894-95.
HILL, O'DELL T.: English Monasticism: Its Rise and Influence.
HUGHES, T.: Loyola and the Educational System of the Jesuits.
HUME, DAVID: The History of England.
JAMESON, ANNA: Legends of the Monastic Orders.
JESSOPP, AUGUSTUS: The Coming of the Friars.
KINGSLEY, CHARLES: The Roman and the Teuton.
LAPPENBERG, J.M.: A History of England Under the Anglo-Saxon
LARNED, J.N.: History for Ready Reference and Topical Reading.
LEA HENRY C.: History of the Inquisition in the Middle Ages.
LEA, HENRY C.: Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian Church.
LECKY, WILLIAM E.H.: History of Rationalism in Europe.
LECKY, WILLIAM E.H.: History of European Morals.
LEE F.G.: The Life of Cardinal Pole.
LINGARD, JOHN: History of England.
LINGARD, JOHN: History and Antiquities of the Anglo-Saxon
LORD, JOHN: Beacon-Lights of History.
LORD, JOHN: The Old Roman World.
LUDLOW, JAMES M.: The Age of the Crusades.
MACKINTOSH, JAMES: History of England.
MAITLAND, SAMUEL R.: Essays on the Reformation.
MATHEWS, SHAILER: Social Teachings of Jesus.
MILMAN, HENRY H.: The History of Latin Christianity.
MILMAN, HENRY H.: The History of Christianity.
MONTALEMBERT, C.F.R.: Monks of the West.
MOSHIEM, J.L. VON: Institutes of Ecclesiastical History.
NEANDER, AUGUSTUS: General History of the Christian Religion
and Church.
OLIPHANT, MARY O.W.: Life of St. Francis of Assisi.
PARKMAN, FRANCIS: The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth
PIKE, LUKE OWEN: A History of Crime in England.
PUTNAM, G.H.: Books and Their Makers in the Middle Ages.
READE, CHARLES: The Cloister and the Hearth.
RUFFNER, H.: The Fathers of the Desert.
SABATIER, PAUL: Life of St. Francis of Assisi.
SCHAFF, PHILIP: History of the Christian Church.
SCHAFF, PHILIP, and WACE, HENRY, (Editors): The Nicene and
Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church. (Lives and
writings of Jerome, Athanasius, Cassian, St. Martin of Tours,
and other early supporters of the monastic movement).
SCOTT, WALTER: The Monastery.
SIENKIEWICZ, HENRY K.: The Knights of the Cross.
SMITH, PHILIP: Student's Ecclesiastical History.
SMITH, R.F.: St. Basil.
STANLEY, ARTHUR P.: History of the Eastern Church.
STILLÉ, CHARLES J.: Studies in Medieval History.
STORRS, RICHARD S.: Bernard of Clairvaux.
STRYPE, J.: Annals of the Reformation.
STUBBS, WILLIAM: Lectures on the Study of Medieval History.
TAUNTON, ETHELRED L.: The English Black Monks of St. Benedict.
THOMPSON, R.W.: The Footprints of the Jesuits.
THURSTON, H.: The Life of St. Hugh of Lincoln.
TRAILL, H.D.: Social England.
TRENCH, RICHARD C.: Lectures on Medieval Church History.
TREVELYAN, GEORGE M.: England in the Age of Wycliffe.
VAUGHAN, ROBERT: Revolutions in English History.
VAUGHAN, ROBERT: Hours with the Mystics.
WADDINGTON, GEORGE: History of the Church.
WATERMAN, LUCIUS: The Post-Apostolic Age.
WHITE, A.D.: A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology.
WHITE, JAMES: The Eighteen Christian Centuries.
WOODHOUSE, FREDERICK C.: The Military Religious Orders of
the Middle Ages.

ENCYCLOPÆDIAS: McClintock and Strong, Schaff-Herzog, Brittanica,
English, and Johnson. (Articles on "Monasticism,"
"Benedict," "Francis," "Dominic," "Loyola," etc.)

Many other authorities were consulted by the author, but only
those works that are easily accessible and likely to prove of direct value
to the student are cited above.





The monk is a type of religious character by no means peculiar to
Christianity. Every great religion in ancient and modern times has
expressed itself in some form of monastic life.

The origin of the institution is lost in antiquity. Its genesis and
gradual progress through the centuries are like the movement of a mighty
river springing from obscure sources, but gathering volume by the
contributions of a multitude of springs, brooks, and lesser rivers,
entering the main stream at various stages in its progress. While the
mysterious source of the monastic stream may not be found, it is easy to
discover many different influences and causes that tended to keep the
mighty current flowing majestically on. It is not so easy to determine
which of these forces was the greatest.

"Monasticism," says Schaff, "proceeds from religious seriousness,
enthusiasm and ambition; from a sense of the vanity of the world, and an
inclination of noble souls toward solitude, contemplation, and freedom
from the bonds of the flesh and the temptations of the world." A strong
ascetic tendency in human nature, particularly active in the Orient,
undoubtedly explains in a general way the origin and growth of the
institution. Various forms of philosophy and religious belief fostered
this monastic inclination from time to time by imparting fresh impetus
to the desire for soul-purity or by deepening the sense of disgust with
the world.

India is thought by some to have been the birthplace of the institution.
In the sacred writings of the venerable Hindûs, portions of which have
been dated as far back as 2400 B.C., there are numerous legends about
holy monks and many ascetic rules. Although based on opposite
philosophical principles, the earlier Brahminism and the later system,
Buddhism, each tended toward ascetic practices, and they each boast
to-day of long lines of monks and nuns.

The Hindoo (Brahmin) ascetic, or naked philosopher, as the Greeks called
him, exhausted his imagination in devising schemes of self-torture. He
buried himself with his nose just above the ground, or wore an iron
collar, or suspended weights from his body. He clenched his fists until
the nails grew into his palms, or kept his head turned in one direction
until he was unable to turn it back. He was a miracle-worker, an oracle
of wisdom, and an honored saint. He was bold, spiritually proud, capable
of almost superhuman endurance. We will meet him again in the person of
his Christian descendant on the banks of the Nile.

The Buddhist ascetic was, perhaps, less severe with himself, but the
general spirit and form of the institution was and is the same as among
the Brahmins. In each religion we observe the same selfish
individualism, - a desire to save one's own soul by slavish obedience to
ascetic rules, - the extinction of natural desires by self-punishment.
"A Brahmin who wishes to become an ascetic," says Clarke, "must abandon
his home and family and go live in the forest. His food must be roots
and fruit, his clothing a bark garment or a skin, he must bathe morning
and evening, and suffer his hair to grow."

The fact to be remembered, however, is that in India, centuries before
the Christian Era, there existed both phases of Christian monasticism,
the hermit[A] and the crowded convent.

[Footnote A: Appendix, Note A.]

Dhaquit, a Chaldean ascetic, who is said to have lived about 2000 B.C.,
is reported to have earnestly rebuked those who tried to preserve the
body from decay by artificial resources. "Not by natural means," he
said, "can man preserve his body from corruption and dissolution after
death, but only through good deeds, religious exercises and offering of
sacrifices, - by invoking the gods by their great and beautiful names, by
prayers during the night, and fasts during the day."

When Father Bury, a Portuguese missionary, first saw the Chinese bonzes,
tonsured and using their rosaries, he cried out, "There is not a single
article of dress, or a sacerdotal function, or a single ceremony of the
Romish church, which the Devil has not imitated in this country." I have
not the courage to follow this streamlet back into the devil's heart.
The attempt would be too daring. Who invented shaved heads and monkish
gowns and habits, we cannot tell, but this we know: long before Father
Bury saw and described those things in China, there existed in India the
Grand Lama or head monk, with monasteries under him, filled with monks
who kept the three vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. They had
their routine of prayers, of fasts and of labors, like the Christian
monks of the middle ages.

Among the Greeks there were many philosophers who taught ascetic
principles. Pythagoras, born about 580 B.C., established a religious
brotherhood in which he sought to realize a high ideal of friendship.
His whole plan singularly suggests monasticism. His rules provided for a
rigid self-examination and unquestioning submission to a master. Many
authorities claim that the influence of the Pythagorean philosophy was
strongly felt in Egypt and Palestine, after the time of Christ. "Certain
it is that more than two thousand years before Ignatius Loyola assembled
the nucleus of his great society in his subterranean chapel in the city
of Paris, there was founded at Crotona, in Greece, an order of monks
whose principles, constitution, aims, method and final end entitle them
to be called 'The Pagan Jesuits[B].'"

[Footnote B: Appendix, Note B.]

The teachings of Plato, no doubt, had a powerful monastic influence,
under certain social conditions, upon later thinkers and upon those who
yearned for victory over the flesh. Plato strongly insisted on an ideal
life in which higher pleasures are preferred to lower. Earthly thoughts
and ambitions are to yield before a holy communion with the Divine. Some
of his views "might seem like broken visions of the future, when we
think of the first disciples who had all things in common, and, in later
days, of the celibate clergy, and the cloisteral life of the religious
orders." The effect of such philosophy in times of general corruption
upon those who wished to acquire exceptional moral and intellectual
power, and who felt unable to cope with the temptations of social life,
may be easily imagined. It meant, in many cases, a retreat from the
world to a life of meditation and soul-conflict. In later times it
exercised a marked influence upon ascetic literature.

Coming closer to Christianity in time and in teaching, we find a Jewish
sect, called Essenes, living in the region of the Dead Sea, which bore
remarkable resemblances to Christian monasticism. The origin and
development of this band, which numbered four thousand about the time of
Christ, are unknown. Even the derivation of the name is in doubt, there
being at least twenty proposed explanations. The sect is described by
Philo, an Alexandrian-Jewish philosopher, who was born about 25 B.C.,
and by Josephus, the Jewish historian, who was born at Jerusalem A.D.
37. These writers evidently took pains to secure the facts, and from
their accounts, upon which modern discussions of the subject are largely
based, the following facts are gleaned.

The Essenes were a sect outside the Jewish ecclesiastical body, bound by

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