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In 1622 this holy bishop fell into an apoplexy; and as his illness slowly increased, he poured forth his soul in supplication to God, and in all those expressions of devotion and humility which might have been anticipated at the close of so Christian a life. He then peacefully expired, in the fifty-sixth year of his age.
VINCENT DE PAUL was born near the Pyrenees in France, of poor parentage, in 1576; and even from his childhood shewed a seriousness and love of prayer remarkable for his years. His father was determined, by the strong inclinations of his child for piety and study, and by the quickness of his parts, to give him a school-education; and for this purpose placed him at a monastery of Franciscan friars. He afterwards studied at the university of Toulouse, where he was admitted to the order of priesthood in 1600. Vincent was already endowed with many virtues; but he was now to experience trials which were calculated to make the deepest demands on his self-denial, his humility, and his submission to the will of God. He was on a voyage from Narbonne to Marseilles, on some affairs, in 1605, when the vessel in which he was sailing was captured by pirates from Africa, who wounded him with an arrow, laid him in chains, and sailed for the coast of Barbary. At Tunis, Vincent was sold as a slave to a physician, who was a humane man, but who used his utmost efforts to induce his slave to embrace the Mahommedan law, promising, on that condition, to leave him all his riches, and communiIcate to him the secrets of his science. The result need scarcely be told. Vincent remained firm in his faith; and on his master's death was sold to another Mahommedan, who treated him with extreme harshness and cruelty. He, however, learned to bear all his afflictions with comfort and joy, by
remembering his blessed Redeemer, and studying to imitate his perfect meekness, patience, silence, and charity. At last he was sold again to a renegade (one who had apostatised from Christianity). This man had several Turkish wives, one of whom frequently went to the field where Vincent was digging, and, out of curiosity, would ask him to sing the praises of God. He used to sing to her, with tears in his eyes, the Psalm, "By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept," and several Christian hymns. She gradually became so much captivated with the excellence of the Christian religion, though still unconverted and professing the Mahommedan creed, that she continually reproached her husband for his apostacy from so excellent a religion; and at length his conscience was so awakened, that he repented of his sin, and resolved to return to his country and his faith. In 1607 he made his escape to France, accompanied by Vincent de Paul. They afterwards went to Rome, where the renegade was received again into the Church.
On Vincent's return to Paris, he served as curate at a neighbouring village, and afterwards became preceptor and spiritual director in a noble family; and here his remarkable success in awakening the sleeping conscience of a dying sinner to a full sense of his guilt, led to his employment in the mission of preaching repentance; for which purpose he became the founder of a congregation or society of clergy, who were bound to devote themselves to the conversion of sinners, and the training up of clergy for the holy ministry. They traversed every part of France, and engaged in the sacred office wherever their assistance, in aid of the ordinary ministry, was particularly called for. Vincent lived to see this institution become very extensive, and highly approved by the Church and State.
He and char Charity, fo each parish sick in hospi also procured He instituted s about to receiv ferences on the the wars in Lorra the people of tha lected alms amon Paris to the amo highest favour wit Anne of Austria, siastical affairs, and
Amidst such a r his soul was always s for self-denial, for pr of prayer. that, if possible, a n He laid own concerns; such from, and nourishing At length, at the ad pious and profitable his everlasting rewa love of all men. in the church of St. НА
He was also the founder of many other religious and charitable societies, especially of the Society of Charity, for attending on all the poor sick persons in each parish; and of other societies for visiting the sick in hospitals, and for the education of girls. He also procured the foundation of many great hospitals. He instituted spiritual exercises for those who were about to receive holy orders, and ecclesiastical conferences on the duties of the clerical office. During the wars in Lorraine, hearing of the misery to which the people of that province were reduced, he collected alms amongst pious and charitable people at Paris to the amount of 100,000l. He was in the highest favour with King Louis XIII. and Queen Anne of Austria, who consulted him on all ecclesiastical affairs, and on the collation of benefices.
Amidst such a multiplicity of important affairs, his soul was always set on God. He was remarkable for self-denial, for profound humility, and for a spirit of prayer. He laid it down as a rule of humility, that, if possible, a man ought never to talk of his own concerns; such discourse usually proceeding from, and nourishing in the heart, the spirit of pride. At length, at the advanced age of eighty-four, this pious and profitable servant of God was called to his everlasting reward, amidst the veneration and love of all men. He died in 1660, and was buried in the church of St. Lazarus at Paris.
ON THE ORIENTAL CHURCHES.
HE faith and discipline of the eastern or Greek Churches in Russia, Turkey, Greece, Asia, Syria, and Egypt, have remained with scarcely any variation during the whole of this period. In the sixteenth century the Lutherans sought a union with the Constantinopolitan Church, but were prevented by various differences from accomplishing their wish. In the seventeenth century some intercourse took place between the Constantinopolitan and English Churches. Cyrillus Lucaris, patriarch of Constantinople, dedicated his work on the faith of the Eastern Church to King Charles I., and presented to him the celebrated Alexandrian manuscript of the Bible. And in 1653 Dr. Basire, archdeacon of Northumberland, when travelling in Greece, was invited twice by the metropolitan of Achaia to preach before the bishops and clergy; and he received from Païsius, patriarch of Jerusalem, his patriarchal seal, to express his desire of communion with the Church of England. The communion of our Churches and those of the East has not, however, yet been restored. In the seventeenth century, also, the doctrine of transubstantiation was first embraced by a portion of the Greek Church, though many persons still only make use of the term, without believing the Roman doctrine on this subject.
In the latter part of the sixteenth century the Russian Church, which had previously always been
subject to the see of Constantinople, became independent; for, at the desire of the Russians, a patriarch of Moscow was created by the eastern patriarchs. Peter the Great, in the last century, suppressed this office, and appointed a synod to conduct the affairs of the Russian Church. He also reformed several abuses and corruptions in that Church; but these improvements were not relished by some of the clergy and people, who were attached to the old superstitions and abuses, and who, like the Romanists in England and Ireland, separated from the Church, and are termed Roskolniks, or schismatics. Within the last few years the Church in the newly created kingdom of Greece has also been withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the see of Constantinople, and placed under the direction of a synod of bishops: but this has not led to any division in the eastern Church; for, unlike the popes, the patriarchs of Constantinople do not treat as heretics or schismatics every one who is not subject to their jurisdiction. The Greek Church has also recently gained a considerable addition, by the reunion of those Churches in Poland who held the Greek rites, and which had been for some time obedient to the pope.