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confines of Syria and Arabia. He was famed for his learning and accomplishments, but he was an idolater. Moreover he was the servant of demons, and practised magical arts. He employed them in his wicked designs against the lives and virtue of many who lived near him. He also taught his forbidden secrets to a school of disciples. There was at that time in Antioch a young and noble lady, named Justina, who had been once a heathen, but since her conversion had devoted herself to her Lord by a vow of eternal fidelity. Her beauty had won the heart of Agladius, a youthful friend of Cyprian. In vain he tried every means to get her into his power; and at last he entreated Cyprian to assist him with his magic. He agreed to do so, and for seventy days he assailed the holy virgin with his impure spells. In her distress, as S. Gregory Nazianzen relates, she implored the Blessed Virgin-Mother of God to succour a virgin in danger. To her prayers she joined mortifications and severe living; and finally, with the help of God, the demon was vanquished by the sign of the Cross.
Cyprian had shared the unhallowed desires of his friend. And when he perceived that his arts had failed, he was so overwhelmed with shame and disappointment, that, touched by the grace of God, he renounced the practice of magic. He burnt all his books, like the converts of earlier days', and gave all his wealth to the poor. And in due time he was received into the Church, with his friend Agladius. Justina was filled with gratitude to God. for His mercy towards her tempters, and she also
1 Acts xix. 19.
gave her riches to the poor, and devoted herself to an ascetic life. In the course of years, Cyprian became bishop of his native town, and in 304, he consummated his penitence by martyrdom. S. Justina suffered along with him, in the city of Nicomedia. The Greeks keep their principal festival on the 2nd of October; the Latin Church, on the 26th of September. Their names occur in the martyrology of Ven. Bede, and in other ancient records. Their relics were made illustrious by miracles, and were afterwards translated to the cathedral basilica of S. John Lateran, in Rome.
The lions prowl around, thy grave to guard,
At morn and eve come sounding; yet, unscared,
Cyprian, thy chief of watchmen, wise and bold,
On Atlas' steep, a thousand years and more,
Cathedral, p. 282.
S. Jerom, Priest, Confessor, and Doctor.
S. JEROM was born at Stridonium, a small town on the confines of Pannonia, Dalmatia, and Italy, now called Sdrigni. The date of his birth was probably
about the year 342, though some historians have fixed it a few years earlier. His father Eusebius was rich, and spared no pains with his education. He was sent to Rome, to finish his studies under Donatus, a famous grammarian. There he made great progress in the Latin and Greek languages, and other branches of human learning. But the temptations of the luxurious capital, and the example of his companions, carried him away for a time into open excesses, while the grace was wanting which flows through the holy sacrament of regeneration. For Jerom was yet unbaptized. Yet even then, signs of his future piety marked his course. He has himself described how "when he was a boy, he was wont on Sundays, with others of the same age and inclinations, to visit the catacombs and cemeteries beneath the earth, where the bodies of the holy apostles and martyrs rested1."
When his studies were finished, he pleaded for some time at the bar with great applause. He was also diligently occupied in transcribing books for his library. In order to increase his knowledge, he undertook a journey into Gaul, and visited several schools of learning which were established there. At Treves he remained for some time, with Bonosus, a companion of his travels. During his stay, his heart was converted to God; he renounced the pleasures which had hitherto engaged him, and dedicated himself wholly to the Divine service by a vow of perpetual celibacy. He went to Aquileia in 372, to enjoy the society of the holy bishop Valerian, and the learned and saintly men whom he had gathered around him. 1 In Ezek. xl.
Many of them became the intimate friends of S. Jerom, and their history is often connected with his own. The most eminent of these is S. Chromatius, who succeeded S. Valerian in the see, and to whom S. Jerom has dedicated several of his works; and Rufinus, whose later controversy with the saint has made him famous. The monastic life seems to have been practised among the brethren at Aquileia, probably according to the rule of the Egyptian ascetics, which S. Athanasius had introduced into Italy during his exile. From Aquileia S. Jerom returned to Rome. It is uncertain whether he then received holy baptism, or whether it had been conferred on him by Liberius, who died in 366, before his journey to Gaul. The grace of purity, which was restored to him in that mystery, he preserved inviolate till his death.
In the year 373, he resolved to go into the East, that, amidst the scenes of our redemption, he might have more leisure for solitary study and contemplation than he could enjoy at Rome. Evagrius, a priest of Antioch, was about to return home from Italy, after consulting Damasus, Bishop of Rome, on the affairs of his Church; and S. Jerom travelled with him, attended by three companions. They passed into Thrace, and thence into Pontus, Bithynia, and Galatia, and visited on their way many of the holy ascetics who lived in retirement in those countries. At Cæsarea they had an interview with the great S. Basil. They arrived safely at Antioch, where S. Jerom became acquainted with Apollinaris. This was a few years before his lamentable apostasy from
the Catholic Faith.
The saint did not remain very long in Antioch, but retired to the desert of Chalcida, between Syria and Arabia. Innocent and Heliodorus, and a slave named Hylas, the companions of his journey from Italy, went with him. Evagrius, who was rich, supplied him with books and every thing necessary; for S. Jerom had brought with him little of this world's wealth, and supported himself in the wilderness by the labour of his hands. He devoted his time also to study, during the four years which he spent in those solitudes. Two of his friends were soon taken from him by death, and Heliodorus left him to return to the West. He was himself afflicted with frequent sickness, and still more terribly by temptations to impurity, which the remembrance of his former life of luxury in Rome presented. Long and severe penances at length subdued his rebellious will. He has described the calm which filled his soul, when the arts of the tempter were overcome. "The Lord is my witness, that after many tears, after fixing my eyes on heaven, I sometimes seemed to myself to be present among the choirs of angels, and in joy and gladness I sang, 'After Thee will we run, because of the savour of Thine ointments.' As a further penance, he applied himself to the study of the Hebrew language. It was at first most galling to him to turn from the polished writings of the Latin classics, in which he took great delight, to its rude and uncouth sounds. After surmounting many difficulties, and even more than once giving up the task in despair, he gained a perfect knowledge of the language, and found it of infinite use in his sacred studies. He had for his master a converted Jew.