the pupil and friend of Philastrius [PHILASTRIUS], was, upon the death of his master, elected to the vacant see of Brescia by the united voice of both clergy and laity. laving received intelligence of his elevation while travelling in the east, he sought to decline the responsibility of the sacred office.
But being warmly pressed by Ambrose, and threatened at the same time with excommunication by the oriental bishops in case he should persist in a refusal, his scruples were at length overcome.
The most remarkable event of his subsequent career was the embassy which he undertook to the court of Arcadius, in A. D. 405, in behalf of Chrysostom, who has commemorated with eloquent gratitude this mark of attachment, although it was productive of no happy result.
The year in which Gaudentius was born is unknown, as well as that in which he was raised to the episcopate, and that in which he died. Tillemont fixes upon A. D. 410 as the period of his decease, while by others it is brought down as low as 427.
The extant works of Gaudentius consist of twenty-one discourses (Sermones
), simple in style, but devoid of all grace or felicity of expression, deeply imbued with allegorical phantasies and farfetched conceits, exhibiting little to please or to instruct. Of these ten were preached during Easter (Paschales
), and were committed to writing at the request of Benevolus, a distinguished member of the congregation, who had been precluded by sickness from being present; five are upon remarkable texts in Scripture, but not connected with each other; one is the address delivered on the day of his ordination (De Ordinatione sui
) before St. Ambrose, who officiated on that occasion; one is on the dedication of the church (De Dedicatione Basilicae
) built to receive the relics of forty martyrs; two are in the form of epistles; the first Ad Germinium
on the obligation of almsgiving, the second Ad Paulum Diaconum
on the words of St. John's Gospel, " My father is greater than I," misinterpreted by the Arians; the remaining two, De Petro et Paulo,
and De Vita et Obitu Philastrii,
were first added in the edition of Galeardus.
The Rythmus de Philastrio
, Liber de Singularite Clericorum,
and the Commentarii in Symbolum,
which have been ascribed to various fathers, certainly tainly do not belong to Gaudentius.
The collected writings of Gaudentius were first published in the Patrum Monumenta Orthodoxographa
of J. J. Grynaeus, fol. Bas. 1569, will be found also in the Bibl. Patr. Max.
fol. Lug. Bat. 1677, vol. v. p. 942, and under their best form in the edition of Philastrius by Galeardus, fol. Brix. 1738.