Withdraw, dearly beloved, from the heresy of Origen and from all heresies. For I see that all your indignation has been roused against me simply because I have told you that you ought not to eulogize one who is the spiritual father of Arius, and the root and parent of all heresies. And when I appealed to you not to go astray, and warned you of the consequences, you traversed my words, and reduced me to tears and sadness; and not me only, but many other Catholics who were present. – St Jerome
Category Archives: Jerome
Here’s a fun fact from Urs Leu’s brilliant book-
Jerome is mentioned [by Zwingli][JW] 873 times, Augustine 512, Ambrose114 451 and Origen 345, the names of the latter two occurring predominantly in the marginal notes of Zwingli’s copy of the Greek Pauline epistles.
Zwingli loved Jerome. With good reason.
Tears which have no meaning are an object of abhorrence. Yours are detestable tears, sacrilegious tears, unbelieving tears; for they know no limits, and bring you to the verge of death. You shriek and cry out as though on fire within, and do your best to put an end to yourself. But to you and others like you Jesus comes in His mercy and says: “Why weepest thou? the damsel is not dead but sleepeth.” The bystanders may laugh him to scorn; such unbelief is worthy of the Jews.
If you prostrate yourself in grief at your daughter’s tomb you too will hear the chiding of the angel, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” It was because Mary Magdalene had done this that when she recognized the Lord’s voice calling her and fell at His feet, He said to her: “Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father;” that is to say, you are not worthy to touch, as risen, one whom you suppose still in the tomb.
And that’s how you comfort someone…. if you’re Jerome.
So, be like Jerome-
I am well aware that there will be many who, with their customary fondness for universal detraction (from which the only escape is by writing nothing at all), will drive their fangs into this volume. They will cavil at the dates, change the order, impugn the accuracy of events, winnow the syllables, and, as is very frequently the case, will impute the negligence of copyists to the authors. I should be within my right if I were to rebut them by saying that they need not read unless they choose.
Murder often springs from hate, the hater, even though he has not yet slain his victim, is at heart a murderer. — Jerome
The laws of Cæsar are different, it is true, from the laws of Christ: Papinianus commands one thing; our own Paul another. Earthly laws give a free rein to the unchastity of men, merely condemning seduction and adultery; lust is allowed to range unrestrained among brothels and slave girls, as if the guilt were constituted by the rank of the person assailed and not by the purpose of the assailant. But with us Christians what is unlawful for women is equally unlawful for men, and as both serve the same God both are bound by the same obligations. – St Jerome
What has Paul to do with Aristotle? or Peter with Plato? For as the latter was the prince of philosophers, so was the former chief of the Apostles: on him the Lord’s Church was firmly founded, and neither rushing flood nor storm can shake it. – Jerome (Against the Pelagians, 1.14).
I must confute the open blasphemy of men who say that God first determined in the Old Testament to save the world by Moses and the prophets, but that finding Himself unable to fulfil His purpose He took to Himself a body of the Virgin, and preaching under the form of the Son in Christ, underwent death for our salvation. Moreover that, when by these two steps He was unable to save the world, He last of all descended by the Holy Spirit upon Montanus and those demented women Prisca and Maximilla; and that thus the mutilated and emasculate Montanus possessed a fulness of knowledge such as was never claimed by Paul; for he was content to say, “We know in part, and we prophesy in part,” and again, “Now we see through a glass darkly.” These are statements which require no refutation. To expose the infidelity of the Montanists is to triumph over it. – St Jerome
Here we have a man who has reached perfection without a teacher, so as to be a vehicle of the spirit and a self-taught genius. He surpasses Cicero in eloquence, Aristotle in argument, Plato in discretion, Aristarchus in learning, Didymus, that man of brass, in the number of his books; and not only Didymus, but all the writers of his time in his knowledge of the Scriptures.
It is reported that you have only to give him a theme and he is always ready—like Carneades—to argue on this side or on that, for justice or against it.
The world escaped a great danger, and civil actions and suits concerning succession were saved from a yawning gulf on the day when, despising the bar, he transferred himself to the Church. For, had he been unwilling, who could ever have been proved innocent? And, if he once began to reckon the points of the case upon his fingers, and to spread his syllogistic nets, what criminal would his pleading have failed to save?
Had he but stamped his foot, or fixed his eyes, or knitted his brow, or moved his hand, or twirled his beard, he would at once have thrown dust in the eyes of the jury. No wonder that such a complete Latinist and so profound a master of eloquence overcomes poor me, who—as I have been some time away (from Rome), and without opportunities for speaking Latin—am half a Greek if not altogether a barbarian. No wonder, I say, that he overcomes me when his eloquence has crushed Jovinian in person.
Good Jesus! what! even Jovinian that great and clever man! So clever, indeed, that no one can understand his writings, and that when he sings it is only for himself—and for the muses!
[I have been sent] the books which [Vigilantius] vomited forth in a drunken fit. … He is a barbarian both in speech and knowledge. His style is rude. He cannot defend even the truth; but, for the sake of laymen, and poor women, laden with sins, ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth, I will spend upon his melancholy trifles a single night’s labour, otherwise I shall seem to have treated with contempt the letters of the reverend persons who have entreated me to undertake the task. — St. Jerome
Now that’s a book review.
If there is anything of which you are ignorant, if you have any doubt about Scripture, ask one whose life commends him, whose age puts him above suspicion, whose reputation does not belie him. … Or if there should be none such able to explain, it is better to avoid danger at the price of ignorance than to court it for the sake of learning. — St Jerome
And that’s a gem!
Amen and amen, good St. Jerome!
When you go a short way into the country, do not leave your daughter behind you. Leave her no power or capacity of living without you, and let her feel frightened when she is left to herself. Let her not converse with people of the world or associate with virgins indifferent to their vows.
Let her not be present at the weddings of your slaves and let her take no part in the noisy games of the household.
As regards the use of the bath, I know that some are content with saying that a Christian virgin should not bathe along with eunuchs or with married women, with the former because they are still men at all events in mind, and with the latter because women with child offer a revolting spectacle.
For myself, however, I wholly disapprove of baths for a virgin of full age. Such an one should blush and feel overcome at the idea of seeing herself undressed. By vigils and fasts she mortifies her body and brings it into subjection. By a cold chastity she seeks to put out the flame of lust and to quench the hot desires of youth. And by a deliberate squalor she makes haste to spoil her natural good looks. Why, then, should she add fuel to a sleeping fire by taking baths?
See? It’s stuff like that which endears Jerome to my Jerome-esque heart.
I read that and thought right off of the folk who cite Strong’s concordance in an attempt to persuade others of their linguistic skills. They ‘know’ enough Hebrew and Greek to make the person who knows neither think they are a scholar of both.
I love Jerome. A straight-talker if ever there were one.