2. MEROPIUS PONTIUS ANICIUS PAULINUS, bishop of Nola in the early part of the fifth century, AND hence generally designated Paulinus Nolanus,
was born at Bordeaux, or at a neighbouring town, he calls Embrotmutym.
about the year A. D. 353. Descended from illustrious parents, the inheritor of ample possessions, gifted by nature with time, good abilities, which were cultivated with affectionate assidulity by his preceptor, the poet Ausonius [AUSONIUS, he entered life under the fairest auspices. was raised to the rank of consul suffectus, before he had attained to the age of twenty-six, and married a wealth lady named Therasia, whose disposition and tastes seem to have been in perfect harmony with his own.
After many years spent in the enjoyment of worldly honours, Panlinus became convinced of the truth of Christianity, was by Delphinis, bishop of Bourdeaux. in A. D. 309, distributed large sums to the poor. and passed over with his wife to Spain.
The death of an only child, which survived its birth eight days, with perhaps other domestic afflictions concerning which we are imperfectly informed, seem to have confirmed the dislike with which he now regarded the business of the world.
After four years passed in retirement he resolved to withdraw himself entirely from the society of tis friends, to apply his wealth to religious purposes, and to delicate, the remainder of his life to works of piety.
This determination, while it called forth the earnest remonstrances of his kindred, excited the most lively admiration among all classes of the devout, and the dignity of Presbyter was almost forced upon his acceptance by the enthusiasm of the populace at Barcelona (A. D. 303).
He did not, however, remain to exercise his clerical functions in this province, but crossed the Alps into Italy. Passing through Florence, where he was greeted with much cordiality by Ambrose, he proceeded to Rome, and, after meeting with a cold reception from Pope Siricius, who probably looked with suspicion on the hasty irregularity of his ordination, reached Nola, in Campania, where he possessed some property, soon after Easter A. D. 304.
In the immediate vicinity of this city were the tomb and miracle-working relics of Felix, a confessor and martyr, over which a church had been erected with a few cells for the accommodation of pilgrims.
In these Paulinus, withi a small number of followers, took up his abode, conforming in all points to the observances of monastic establishments, except that his wife appears to have been his companion.
After nearly fifteen years passed in holy meditations and acts of charity, he was chosen bishop of Nola in A. D. 409 (or according to Pagi, A. D. 403), and when the stormy inroad of the Goths had passed away, discharged the duties of the office in peace until his death, which took place in >A. D. 431.
The above sketch contains a narrative of all the facts which can be ascertained with regard to this father, but to what extent these may be eked out by laborious conjecture will be seen upon referring to biography compiled by Le Brun.
The story told in the dialogues of St. Gregory, that Paulinus having given away all his possessions, made a jou: ney into Africa, and sold himself into slavery, in order to ransom the son of a poor widow, has, upon chronological and other considerations, been generally rejected as a fable, as well as numerous legends contained in the histories of the Saints.
The following works of Paulinus, all composed after he had quitted public life, are still extant, consisting of Epistolae
and a very short tract entitled Passio S. Genesii Arelatensis.
Fifty, or, as divided in some editions, fifty-one letters. addressed to Sulpicius Severus, to Delphinus bishop of Bordeaux, to Augustine to Rutinus, to Eucherius, and to many other friends upon different topics, some being complimentary, mentary, others relating entirely to domestic affairs, while the greater number are of a serious cast, being designed to explain some doctrine, to inculcate some precept, or to convey information upon some point connected with religion. Neither in style nor in substance can they be regarded as of much importance or interest, except in so far as they afford a fair specimen of the familiar correspondence of churchmen at that epoch, and convey a very pleasing impression of the writer.
The most elaborate are the t twelfth (to Amandus), which treats of the Fall and the Atonement, the thirtieth (to Sulpicius Severus) on the Inward and Outward Man, and the forty-second (to Florentius, bishop of Cahors) on the Dignity and Merits of Christ; the most curious is the thirty-first (to Severus) on the Invention vention of the True Cross; the most lively is the forty-ninth (to Macarius) on a famous miracle performed om the society of his formeds, to apply his is to be found in Funceius, and longer abstracts in Dupin.
Thirty-two in number, composed in a great variety of metres. Of these, the most worthy of notice are the birthday addresses to St. Felix in heroic hexameters, composed regularly on the festival of the saint, and forming a series which to embraces so complete an account of the career and achievements of that holy personage, that Bede was enabled from these documents alone to compile a prose narrattive of his life. We have besides paraprose phrases of three psalms, the 1st, 2d, and 136th; Epistles to Ausonius and to Gestidius, two Precutiones Matutitnae, De S. Joanniie Baptiste Christi Praecone et Legato,
in 330 hexameters; an elegy on the death of a boy named CELSUS; an epithalamium on the nuptials of Julianus and Ia [JULIANUS DIDIUS], Ad Nicetami redeuntem in Daciam, Ad Juvieom de Nolhna Ecclesia, Ad Antonium contra Paganos,
while the list has been recently swelled by Mai from the MSS. of the Vatican, by the addition of two poems, which may however be regarded with some suspicion; the one inscribed Ad, Denm post Conversiosnem et Baptismunt suuims,
the other De suis Domestieis Calamnituistibs.
As in the case of the Epistolae,
the above are differently arranged in different editions. Thus the Natalitia
are sometimes condensed into thirteen, teen, ontetimes expanded into fifteen; and in like manner the letters to Ausonius are distributed into two, three, or four, according to the conflicting views of critics.
The authenticity of the Passio S. Genesii
has been called in question by Rosweyd, but is vindicated by the concurring testimony of many MSS.
Among the lost works we may notice the following : --
A congratulatory address composed in honour of the victory gained over Eugenius and Arbogastes. Although this piece is distinctly described by Honoritius of Autun (De Script. Eccles.
2.47; comp. Rufin. Hist.
1.27), Funceius maintains that an error has been committed as to the subject, and argnes from the expressions of Paulinus himself (Ep.
9, and 28), that it was a funeral oration delivered after the death of the emperor. (See also Hieronym. Ep.
13; Cassiodor. L. S.
100.21 ; Gennadius, 48 Trithem. 117.)
Affirmed by Gennadius to be the most important of all his productions. Here again we might conjecture that there was some confusion, and that the titles of two treatises, one De Poenientia,
the other De Laude Martyrmn,
have been mixed up together.
On contempt of the world.
Loudly commended by Ausonius, who has preserved nine lines.
Attributed to Clemens [CLEMENS ROMANUS]. We hear also of a Sacramentarium
and a Hymnarium.
Works ascribed to Paulinus
The Epistles Ad Marcellam and Ad Celantiam,
together with the poems, Exhortatio ad Conjugen, De Norinie Jesu,
and a Vita S. Martini
in six books, do not belong to this father.
The enthusiastic commendations bestowed upon the learning and genius of Paulinus by his contemporaries, and repeated by successive generations formed by St. Felix.
A summary of each epistle have at least been too freely lavished. Although well versed in the works of the Latin writers, his knowledge of Greek was very imperfect, and he occasionally betrays much ignorance regarding the cotonmmon facts of history.
The quotations from Scripture so frequently adduced in support or illustration of his arguments, will be found in many instances to be strangely twisted from their true signification, while his allegorical interpretations are in the highest degree far-fetched and fantastic. His poetry, although offending grievously against the laws of prosody and inetre, is in every respect far superior to his prose.
The purity of the language proves how deeply he had studied the best ancient models ; the descriptions are lively, the pictures vivid, but there is no creative power, no refined taste, no sublimity of thought, no grandeur of expression.
The early impressions of Paulinus, commencing with that printed at Paris by Badius Ascensius, 8vo. 1516
, present the text in a most mutilated, corrupt, and disordered condition. Considerable improvements were introduced by the jesuit Herbert Rosweyd (8vo. Antv. 1622)
, who compiled some useful annotations and prefixed a biographical sketch by his friend Sacchini; but the first really valuable materials were furnished by another jesuit, Peter Francis Chifflet, whose Paulinus Illustratus was published at Dijon, 4to. 1662. This was followed after a lapse of more than twenty years by the very elaborate and complete edition of Jean Baptiste Le Brun, 4to. Paris, 1635
, which may still be regarded as the standard.
It contains the text corrected by a collation of all the best MSS., voluminous commentaries, dissertations, indices, a new life of Paulinus, and a variety of documents requisite for the illustration of his works. The first volume of Muratori's Anecdota (4to. Mediolan. 1697)
exhibited in a complete form, from a MS. in the Ambrosian library, three of the Carmina Natalitia
(xi. xii. xiii.), which had previously appeared as disjointed fragments, and they are accompanied by twenty-two dissertations on all the leading events in the history of Paulinus and all the persons with whom he was in any way connected. These poems were afterwards republished, with emendations, by Mingarelli in his Anecdotornm Fasciculus (4to. Rom. 1756)
, and by Galland in his Bibliotheca Patrnm, vol. viii. (fol. Ven. 1772) p. 211. There is a reprint of Le Brun with the additional matter from Muratori, fol. Veron. 1736. The two elegies contributed by Mai are to be found in "Episcoporum Nicetae et Paulini Scripta ex Vaticanis Codicibus edita," fol. Rom. 1827.
19, 23, 24; Paulin. Ep. ad Auson.
1.75; Ambros. Ep. 16; Augustin. De Civ. Dei,
1.10; Hieronym. Ep.
xiii. lviii. ed. Vallarsi; Cassiodor. I. D.
ii.; Gennad. De Script. Ercles.
48 ; Honor. August. 2.47; Trithem. 117; Idat. Chron.
; Gregor. Dialog.
3.1; Surius, de probatis SS. Historiis,
vol. xxii.; Pagi, Ann.
431, n. 53; Schönemann, Bibl. Puatrum Lat.
vol. i. cap. 4.30; Bähr, Geschichte der Röm. Litterat.
Suppl. Band, lte Abtheil. § 23-25, 2te Abtheil. § 100.