Born at Stridon, a town on the confines of Dalmatia and Pannonia, about the year 340-2; died at Bethlehem, 30 September, 420.
He went to Rome, probably about 360, where he was baptized, and became interested in ecclesiastical matters. From Rome he went to Trier, famous for its schools, and there began his theological studies. Later he went to Aquileia, and towards 373 he set out on a journey to the East. He settled first in Antioch, where he heard Apollinaris of Laodicea, one of the first exegetes of that time and not yet separated from the Church. From 374-9 Jerome led an ascetical life in the desert of Chalcis, south-west of Antioch. Ordained priest at Antioch, he went to Constantinople (380-81), where a friendship sprang up between him and St. Gregory of Nazianzus. From 382 to August 385 he made another sojourn in Rome, not far from Pope Damasus. When the latter died (11 December, 384) his position became a very difficult one. His harsh criticisms had made him bitter enemies, who tried to ruin him. After a few months he was compelled to leave Rome. By way of Antioch and Alexandria he reached Bethlehem, in 386. He settled there in a monastery near a convent founded by two Roman ladies, Paula and Eustochium, who followed him to Palestine. Henceforth he led a life of asceticism and study; but even then he was troubled by controversies which will be mentioned later, one with Rufinus and the other with the Pelagians. Chronology
The literary activity of St. Jerome, although very prolific, may be summed up under a few principal heads: works on the Bible; theological controversies; historical works; various letters; translations. But perhaps the chronology of his more important writings will enable us to follow more easily the development of his studies.
A first period extends to his sojourn in Rome (382), a period of preparation. From this period we have the translation of the homilies of Origen on Jeremias, Ezechiel, and Isaias (379-81), and about the same time the translation of the Chronicle of Eusebius; then the "Vita S. Pauli, prima eremitae" (374-379).
A second period extends from his sojourn in Rome to the beginning of the translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew (382-390). During this period the exegetical vocation of St. Jerome asserted itself under the influence of Pope Damasus, and took definite shape when the opposition of the ecclesiastics of Rome compelled the caustic Dalmatian to renounce ecclesiastical advancement and retire to Bethlehem. In 384 we have the correction of the Latin version of the Four Gospels; in 385, the Epistles of St. Paul; in 384, a first revision of the Latin Psalms according to the accepted text of the Septuagint (Roman Psalter); in 384, the revision of the Latin version of the Book of Job, after the accepted version of the Septuagint; between 386 and 391 a second revision of the Latin Psalter, this time according to the text of the "Hexapla" of Origen (Gallican Psalter, embodied in the Vulgate). It is doubtful whether he revised the entire version of the Old Testament according to the Greek of the Septuagint. In 382-383 "Altercatio Luciferiani et Orthodoxi" and "De perpetua Virginitate B. Mariae; adversus Helvidium". In 387-388, commentaries on the Epistles to Philemon, to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to Titus; and in 389-390, on Ecclesiastes.
Between 390 and 405, St. Jerome gave all his attention to the translation of the Old Testament according to the Hebrew, but this work alternated with many others. Between 390-394 he translated the Books of Samuel and of Kings, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Canticle of Canticles, Esdras, and Paralipomena. In 390 he translated the treatise "De Spiritu Sancto" of Didymus of Alexandria; in 389-90, he drew up his "Quaestiones hebraicae in Genesim" and "De interpretatione nominum hebraicorum." In 391-92 he wrote the "Vita S. Hilarionis", the "Vita Malchi, monachi captivi", and commentaries on Nahum, Micheas, Sophonias, Aggeus, Habacuc. In 392-93, "De viris illustribus", and "Adversus Jovinianum"; in 395, commentaries on Jonas and Abdias; in 398, revision of the remainder of the Latin version of the New Testament, and about that time commentaries on chapters 13-23 of Isaias; in 398, an unfinished work "Contra Joannem Hierosolymitanum"; in 401, "Apologeticum adversus Rufinum"; between 403-406, "Contra Vigilantium"; finally from 398 to 405, completion of the version of the Old Testament according to the Hebrew.
In the last period of his life, from 405 to 420, St. Jerome took up the series of his commentaries interrupted for seven years. In 406, he commented on Osee, Joel, Amos, Zacharias, Malachias; in 408, on Daniel; from 408 to 410, on the remainder of Isaias; from 410 to 415, on Ezechiel; from 415-420, on Jeremias. From 401 to 410 date what is left of his sermons; treatises on St. Mark, homilies on the Psalms, on various subjects, and on the Gospels; in 415, "Dialogi contra Pelagianos". Characteristics of St. Jerome's work
St. Jerome owes his place in the history of exegetical studies chiefly to his revisions and translations of the Bible. Until about 391-2, he considered the Septuagint translation as inspired. But the progress of his Hebraistic studies and his intercourse with the rabbis made him give up that idea, and he recognized as inspired the original text only. It was about this period that he undertook the translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew. But he went too far in his reaction against the ideas of his time, and is open to reproach for not having sufficiently appreciated the Septuagint. This latter version was made from a much older, and at times much purer, Hebrew text than the one in use at the end of the fourth century. Hence the necessity of taking the Septuagint into consideration in any attempt to restore the text of the Old Testament. With this exception we must admit the excellence of the translation made by St. Jerome.
His commentaries represent a vast amount of work but of very unequal value. Very often he worked exceedingly rapidly; besides, he considered a commentary a work of compilation, and his chief care was to accumulate the interpretations of his predecessors, rather than to pass judgment on them. The "Quaestiones hebraicae in Genesim" is one of his best works. It is a philological inquiry concerning the original text. It is to be regretted that he was unable to continue, as had been his intention, a style of work entirely new at the time. Although he often asserted his desire to avoid excessive allegory, his efforts in that respect were far from successful, and in later years he was ashamed of some of his earlier allegorical explanations. He himself says that he had recourse to the allegorical meaning only when unable to discover the literal meaning. His treatise, "De Interpretatione nominum hebraicorum", is but a collection of mystical and symbolical meanings.
Excepting the "Commentarius in ep. ad Galatas", which is one of his best, his explanations of the New Testament have no great value. Among his commentaries on the Old Testament must be mentioned those on Amos, Isaias, and Jeremias. There are some that are frankly bad, for instance those on Zacharias, Osee, and Joel.
To sum up, the Biblical knowledge of St. Jerome makes him rank first among ancient exegetes. In the first place, he was very careful as to the sources of his information. He required of the exegete a very extensive knowledge of sacred and profane history, and also of the linguistics and geography of Palestine. He never either categorically acknowledged or rejected the deuterocanonical books as part of the Canon of Scripture, and he repeatedly made use of them. On the inspiration, the existence of a spiritual meaning, and the freedom of the Bible from error, he holds the traditional doctrine. Possibly he has insisted more than others on the share which belongs to the sacred writer in his collaboration in the inspired work. His criticism is not without originality. The controversy with the Jews and with the Pagans had long since called the attention of the Christians to certain difficulties in the Bible. St. Jerome answers in various ways. Not to mention his answers to this or that difficulty, he appeals above all to the principle, that the original text of the Scriptures is the only one inspired and free from error. Therefore one must determine if the text, in which the difficulties arise, has not been altered by the copyist. Moreover, when the writers of the New Testament quoted the Old Testament, they did so not according to the letter but according to the spirit. There are many subtleties and even contradictions in the explanations Jerome offers, but we must bear in mind his evident sincerity. He does not try to cloak over his ignorance; he admits that there are many difficulties in the Bible; at times he seems quite embarrassed. Finally, he proclaims a principle, which, if recognized as legitimate, might serve to adjust the insufficiencies of his criticism. He asserts that in the Bible there is no material error due to the ignorance or the heedlessness of the sacred writer, but he adds: "It is usual for the sacred historian to conform himself to the generally accepted opinion of the masses in his time" (P.L., XXVI, 98; XXIV, 855).
Among the historical works of St. Jerome must be noted the translation and the continuation of the "Chronicon Eusebii Caesariensis", as the continuation written by him, which extends from 325 to 378, served as a model for the annals of the chroniclers of the Middle Ages; hence the defects in such works: dryness, superabundance of data of every description, lack of proportion and of historical sense. The "Vita S. Pauli Eremitae" is not a very reliable document. The "Vita Malchi, monachi" is a eulogy of chastity woven through a number of legendary episodes. As to the "Vita S. Hilarionis", it has suffered from contact with the preceding ones. It has been asserted that the journeys of St. Hilarion are a plagiarism of some old tales of travel. But these objections are altogether misplaced, as it is really a reliable work. The treatise "De Viris illustribus" is a very excellent literary history. It was written as an apologetic work to prove that the Church had produced learned men. For the first three centuries Jerome depends to a great extent on Eusebius, whose statements he borrows, often distorting them, owing to the rapidity with which he worked. His accounts of the authors of the fourth century however are of great value.
The oratorical consist of about one hundred homilies or short treatises, and in these the Solitary of Bethlehem appears in a new light. He is a monk addressing monks, not without making very obvious allusions to contemporary events. The orator is lengthy and apologizes for it. He displays a wonderful knowledge of the versions and contents of the Bible. His allegory is excessive at times, and his teaching on grace is Semipelagian. A censorious spirit against authority, sympathy for the poor which reaches the point of hostility against the rich, lack of good taste, inferiority of style, and misquotation, such are the most glaring defects of these sermons. Evidently they are notes taken down by his hearers, and it is a question whether they were reviewed by the preacher.
The correspondence of St. Jerome is one of the best known parts of his literary output. It comprises about one hundred and twenty letters from him, and several from his correspondents. Many of these letters were written with a view to publication, and some of them the author even edited himself; hence they show evidence of great care and skill in their composition, and in them St. Jerome reveals himself a master of style. These letters, which had already met with great success with his contemporaries, have been, with the "Confessions" of St. Augustine, one of the works most appreciated by the humanists of the Renaissance. Aside from their literary interest they have great historical value. Relating to a period covering half a century they touch upon most varied subjects; hence their division into letters dealing with theology, polemics, criticism, conduct, and biography. In spite of their turgid diction they are full of the man's personality. It is in this correspondence that the temperament of St. Jerome is most clearly seen: his waywardness, his love of extremes, his exceeding sensitiveness; how he was in turn exquisitely dainty and bitterly satirical, unsparingly outspoken concerning others and equally frank about himself.
The theological writings of St. Jerome are mainly controversial works, one might almost say composed for the occasion. He missed being a theologian, by not applying himself in a consecutive and personal manner to doctrinal questions. In his controversies he was simply the interpreter of the accepted ecclesiastical doctrine. Compared with St. Augustine his inferiority in breadth and originality of view is most evident.
His "Dialogue" against the Luciferians deals with a schismatic sect whose founder was Lucifer, Bishop of Cagliari in Sardinia. The Luciferians refused to approve of the measure of clemency by which the Church, since the Council of Alexandria, in 362, had allowed bishops, who had adhered to Arianism, to continue to discharge their duties on condition of professing the Nicene Creed. This rigorist sect had adherents almost everywhere, and even in Rome it was very troublesome. Against it Jerome wrote his "Dialogue", scathing in sarcasm, but not always accurate in doctrine, particularly as to the Sacrament of Confirmation.
The book "Adversus Helvidium" belongs to about the same period. Helvidius held the two following tenets:
* Mary bore children to Joseph after the virginal birth of Jesus Christ; * from a religious viewpoint, the married state is not inferior to celibacy.
Earnest entreaty decided Jerome to answer. In doing so he discusses the various texts of the Gospel which, it was claimed, contained the objections to the perpetual virginity of Mary. If he did not find positive answers on all points, his work, nevertheless, holds a very creditable place in the history of Catholic exegesis upon these questions.
The relative dignity of virginity and marriage, discussed in the book against Helvidius, was taken up again in the book "Adversus Jovinianum" written about ten years later. Jerome recognizes the legitimacy of marriage, but he uses concerning it certain disparaging expressions which were criticized by contemporaries and for which he has given no satisfactory explanation. Jovinian was more dangerous than Helvidius. Although he did not exactly teach salvation by faith alone, and the uselessness of good works, he made far too easy the road to salvation and slighted a life of asceticism. Every one of these points St. Jerome took up.
The "Apologeticum adversus Rufinum" dealt with the Origenistic controversies. St. Jerome was involved in one of the most violent episodes of that struggle, which agitated the Church from Origen's lifetime until the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553). The question at issue was to determine if certain doctrines professed by Origen and others taught by certain pagan followers of Origen could be accepted. In the present case the doctrinal difficulties were embittered by personalities between St. Jerome and his former friend, Rufinus. To understand St. Jerome's position we must remember that the works of Origen were by far the most complete exegetical collection then in existence, and the one most accessible to students. Hence a very natural tendency to make use of them, and it is evident that St. Jerome did so, as well as many others. But we must carefully distinguish between writers who made use of Origen and those who adhered to his doctrines. This distinction is particularly necessary with St. Jerome, whose method of work was very rapid, and consisted in transcribing the interpretations of former exegetes without passing criticism on them. Nevertheless, it is certain that St. Jerome greatly praised and made use of Origen, that he even transcribed some erroneous passages without due reservation. But it is also evident that he never adhered thinkingly and systematically to the Origenistic doctrines.
Under these circumstances it came about that when Rufinus, who was a genuine Origenist, called on him to justify his use of Origen, the explanations he gave were not free from embarrassment. At this distance of time it would require a very subtle and detailed study of the question to decide the real basis of the quarrel. However that may be, Jerome may be accused of imprudence of language and blamed for a too hasty method of work. With a temperament such as his, and confident of his undoubted orthodoxy in the matter of Origenism, he must naturally have been tempted to justify anything. This brought about a most bitter controversy with his wily adversary, Rufinus. But on the whole Jerome's position is by far the stronger of the two, even in the eyes of his contemporaries. It is generally conceded that in this controversy Rufinus was to blame. It was he who brought about the conflict in which he proved himself to be narrow-minded, perplexed, ambitious, even timorous. St. Jerome, whose attitude is not always above reproach, is far superior to him.
Vigilantius, the Gascon priest against whom Jerome wrote a treatise, quarrelled with ecclesiastical usages rather than matters of doctrine. What he principally rejected was the monastic life and the veneration of saints and of relics.
In short, Helvidius, Jovinian, and Vigilantius were the mouthpieces of a reaction against asceticism which had developed so largely in the fourth century. Perhaps the influence of that same reaction is to be seen in the doctrine of the monk Pelagius, who gave his name to the principal heresy on grace: Pelagianism. On this subject Jerome wrote his "Dialogi contra Pelagianos". Accurate as to the doctrine of original sin, the author is much less so when he determines the part of God and of man in the act of justification. In the main his ideas are Semipelagian: man merits first grace: a formula which endangers the absolute freedom of the gift of grace.
The book "De situ et nominibus locorum hebraicorum" is a translation of the "Onomasticon" of Eusebius, to which the translator has joined additions and corrections. The translations of the "Homilies" of Origen vary in character according to the time in which they were written. As time went on, Jerome became more expert in the art of translating, and he outgrew the tendency to palliate, as he came across them, certain errors of Origen. We must make special mention of the translation of the homilies "In Canticum Canticorum", the Greek original of which has been lost.
Here followeth the Life of Jerome, and first of his name.
Jeronimus is said of gerar, that is holy, and of nemus, that is to say a wood. And so Jerome is as much to say as a holy wood. Or it is said of norma, that is to say law, whereof is said in his legend that Jerome is interpreted a holy law. He was farforth holy, that is to say firm or clean or dyed of blood, or deputed to holy usage, like as vessels of the temple be said holy for they be ordained to holy usage. He was holy, that is to say steadfast, in holy work by long perseverance, he was clean in mind by purity, he was dyed in blood by thinking of the passion of our Lord Jesu Christ, he was deputed to holy usage by the exposition of holy Scripture, he was said a holy wood by the conversation that he sometimes did and abode in the wood. And he was said law for the rules of his discipline which he taught to his monks, or because he expounded and interpreted the holy law and Scripture. Jerome also is interpreted the vision of beauty or judging words. There is beauty manifold. First is spiritual, which is in the soul. Second, moral, which is in honesty of manners. The third is intellectual, which is in the angels. The fourth is substantial, which is divine. The fifth is heavenly, which is in the country of saints. This five-fold beauty had S. Jerome in himself. For he had spiritual in diversity of virtues; the moral had he in the honesty of his life; he had intellectual in the excellence of purity; he had the substantial in burning charity; he had the celestial in the perdurable and excellent clearness or clarte. He judged the speeches and words, his own well examined in clearly pronouncing, the others being true in confirming, the false condemning and confusing, and the doubtful in expounding.
Of S. Jerome.
Jerome was the son of a noble man named Eusebius, born of the town Stridon, which is in the utter end of Dalmatia and of Pannonia. He, being yet a child, went to Rome and was there taught in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. He had for his teacher in grammar Donatus, in rhetoric Victorinus, the orator, and he was day and night occupied, and exercised himself in divine Scriptures, which he drew covetously, and after shed it out abundantly. And as he writeth in an epistle to Eustochius, that on a time as he read on a day Plato, and in the night Tully desirously, because that the book of the prophets pleased him not, he was about mid-Lent taken with a sudden and burning fever, that all his body was cold, in such wise that there was no vital heat save a little which he felt in his breast. And as the exequies for his death were making ready, he was suddenly brought to the judgment of God, and there he was demanded of what condition he was, and he answered boldly that he was a christian man. And the judge said: Thou liest, thou art a Ciceronian, and no christian man, whereas thy treasure is, there is thy heart. Then S. Jerome was still and said nothing, and anon then the judge commended that he should be sore beaten. Then he cried and said: Have mercy on me, Lord, have mercy on me. Then they that were assisting our Lord prayed him that he would forgive this young man his trespass. And he then began to swear and say: Lord, if ever I read or hear more secular books, I shall forsake thee. And with the words of this promise and oath he was let go, and anon he revived. And then he saw himself all bewept. And of the strokes of the beatings that he received tofore the throne of our Lord, the tokens of the strokes and lashes were seen on his shoulders right horrible and great. And from then forthon he became good, and read divine books with as great study as ever he had read the books of poetry and of paynims. And when he was nine-and-twenty years old he was ordained cardinal priest in the church of Rome. And when Liberius was dead all the people cried to have S. Jerome sovereign priest. And when he began to blame the jollity and lavish life of some clerks and monks, they had indignation and despite of him, and lay in a wait to hurt and slander him. And as John Beleth saith: They scorned and mocked him by the clothing of a woman. For on a night when he arose to matins, as he was accustomed, he found a woman's clothing Iying by his bed which his enemies had laid there. And he weeping that they had been his own, did them on, and so clothed came in to the church, and this did they that had envy at him because others should ween that he had a woman in his chamber. And when he saw that, he eschewed their woodness and went unto Gregory Nazianzen, bishop of Constantinople. And when he had learned of him the holy Scripture and holy letters, he went into desert, where, what, and how much he suffered for Christ's sake, he recounted to Eustochium, and said that when he was in that great desert and waste wilderness, which is so burnt by the sun that it gave to the monks a right dry habitacle, I supposed me then to be at Rome among the delices, and my members scalded, burnt, made dry and black like to the skin of a Morian or an Ethiopian, and I was always in tears and weepings. And when the very sleep came and oppressed me against which I oft repugned, then I laid my dried bones on the bare earth. Of meats and drink I speak not, for they that were sick used only cold water, and for to take any thing boiled or roasted, it was to them lechery. And yet nevertheless I was oft fellow unto scorpions and wild beasts, and yet the carols of maidens and the embracements of lechery grew in my cold body and in my flesh, wherefore I wept continually, and for to adaunt and subdue my proud flesh I rose at midnight all the week long, joining oft the night with the day, and I ceased not to beat my breast, praying our Lord to render to me the peaceable peace of my flesh. And I also doubted my proper cell as fearing my conceits and thoughts, wherefore I went and departed wroth, and revenging myself, passed alone through the sharp and thick deserts. And as our Lord is witness, after many weepings and tears, it seemed to me that I was among the company of angels, this during four years.
Then his penance thus done, he returned to the town of Bethlehem, where as a wise and a prudent beast he offered himself to abide by the crib of our Lord. And then his holy Bible, which with study he had translated, and other books he read, and led the day forth with fasting unto even. And there he assembled many disciples unto him for to Iabour there in his holy purpose, and abode there in the translation of holy Scripture fifty-five years and six months, and remained a pure virgin unto the end of his life. And how well that it be said in his legend that he was ever a virgin, yet nevertheless he wrote of himself to Palmatian: I bear virginity into heaven, not for that I have virginity, but for I marvel more that I have it not. Then at the last he being weary for to travail, lay down in his bed wherover hung a cord on a beam, whereon he laid and held his hands for to lift up himself that he might do the service of God as much as he might.
On a day towards even Jerome sat with his brethren for to hear the holy lesson, and a lion came halting suddenly in to the monastery, and when the brethren saw him, anon they fled, and Jerome came against him as he should come against his guest, and then the lion showed to him his foot being hurt. Then he called his brethren, and commanded them to wash his feet and diligently to seek and search for the wound. And that done, the plant of the foot of the lion was sore hurt and pricked with a thorn. Then this holy man put thereto diligent cure, and healed him, and he abode ever after as a tame beast with them. Then S. Jerome saw that God had sent him to them, not only for the health of his foot, but also for their profit, and joined to the lion an office, by the accord of his brethren, and that was that he should conduct and lead an ass to his pasture which brought home wood, and should keep him going and coming, and so he did. For he did that which he was commanded, and led the ass thus as a herdsman, and kept him wisely going and coming, and was to him a right sure keeper and defender, and always at the hour accustomed he and the ass came for to have their refection and for to make the ass to do the work accustomed.
On a time it happed that the ass was in his pasture, and the lion slept fast, and certain merchants passed by with camels and saw the ass alone, and stole him and led him away. And anon after, the lion awoke and when he found not his fellow, he ran groaning hither and thither, and when he saw that he could not find him he was much sorrowful and durst not come in, but abode at the gate of the church of the monastery, and was ashamed that he came without the ass. And when the brethren saw that he was come more late than he was wont, and without the ass, they supposed that by constraint of hunger he had eaten the ass, and would not give to him his portion accustomed, and said to him: Go and eat that other part of the ass that thou hast devoured, and fill thy gluttony. And because they doubted, and they would wit if he had so eaten, they went to the pastures of the town to see if they could have any demonstrance of the death of the ass, and they found nothing, and returned and told it to Jerome, and then he commanded them to enjoin him to do the office of the ass. Then they hewed down bushes and boughs and laid upon him, and he suffered it peaceably. And on a day when he had done his office, he went out to the fields and began to run hither and thither desiring to know what was done to his fellow, and saw from far merchants that came with camels charged and laden, and the ass going tofore them. It was the manner of that region that when the people went far with camels, they had an ass or a horse going tofore with a cord about his neck for to conduct the better the camels. And when the lion knew the ass, with a great roaring he ran on them so terribly that all the merchants fled, and he so feared the camels with beating the earth with his tail that, he constrained them to go straight unto the cell with all their charge and lading. And when the brethren saw this they told it to Jerome, and he said: Brethren, wash the feet of our guests and give them meat, abide ye the will of our Lord hereupon. And then the lion began to run joyously throughout all the monastery, as he was wont to do, and kneeled down to every brother and fawned them with his tail, like as he had demanded pardon of the trespass that he had done. And S. Jerome, which knew well what was to come, said to his brethren: Go and make ye ready all things necessary for guests that be coming to us. And as he thus said, there came to him a messenger, saying to him that there were guests at the gate that would speak with the abbot. And as soon as they were come they kneeled to the abbot, and required of him pardon. And he raised and made them to stand up goodly, and commanded them to take their own good, and not to take away other men's. And then they prayed the holy saint that he would take the half of their oil, and he refused it. And at the last he commanded to take a measure of oil, and then they promised that they should bring every year a measure of oil to that church, and their heirs after them.
It was anciently the custom that whosomever would might sing in the church, so that Theodosius the emperor, as John Beleth saith, required and prayed Damasus the pope that he would commit to some wise man of the church to ordain the office and ordinal of the church. And then he knew well that Jerome was a man that knew the languages of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, and in all science, and committed to him the said sovereign office. And then Jerome divided the psalter by ferias, and to every feria a nocturn proper be assigned, and established in the end of every psalm to be said: Gloria petri. And after, he ordained reasonably to be sung the epistles and gospels, and all other things appertaining, save the song which he sent from Bethlehem unto the pope. Which all was approved and ratified of him and of the cardinals for to be used perpetually and so confirmed.
After this, in the mouth of the spelunke or cave in which our Lord lay, he did do make his monument or sepulture. And when he had accomplished eighty-eight years and six months he was there buried. In what reverence S. Austin had him in, it appeareth in his epistles that he sent to him, in one of the which he wrote in this manner: To his right dear friend; most best beloved and most clean in observing and embracing of chastity, unto Jerome, Austin, etc. And in another place he writeth thus of him: S. Jerome, priest, learned in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, and in holy writings approved unto his last age, of whom the nobleness of his fair eloquence hath resplended from the east unto the west, like unto the clearness of the sun. Prosper saith also of him in his Chronicles: Jerome, priest, was in Bethlehem sometime, clear to all the world, of noble engine, and lived in translating and writing of holy Scripture, and with high and noble study served the universal church. He said also of himself to Albigen: I never enforced me so much from mine infancy as for to eschew a swelling courage and enhanced head, and calling against him the hate of God. And ever I have dreaded the sure things, and have entended with all my heart to the monastery and to hospitality and have received gladly all comers save heretics, and have washed their feet. Isidore saith thus in the book of Etymology: Jerome was wise in three languages, whose interpretation is taken tofore other, for it is more holding and clear by words and it is interpreted of a very christian. It is written also of Jerome in the dialogue of Severus, disciple of S. Martin, which was in his time: Jerome without the merit of the faith and dowry of virtues is not only instruct in letters of Latin, but in Greek and Hebrew, so that none ought to be compared to him in every science, the which had war perpetual against the wicked men. The heretics hated him for he left never to impugn against them, the clerks hated him, for he reproved their sins and their life. But plainly good men loved him and marvelled of him, for they that deemed him a heretic were mad. He was all in lessons, all in books, he never rested day ne night but always read or wrote. Hæc Severus. And like as it appeareth by these words, and also he witnesseth himself, he suffered many persecutors and detractors, which persecutions he suffered patiently and goodly, as it appeared in an epistle that he sent to Assela: I give thankings to our Lord God that I am worthy that the world hate me, and that wicked men and janglers hold me for evil. For I know well that men come to heaven by the defaming of wicked men more than by good renomee, and I would that the company of miscreants should pursue and persecute me for the name and right of our Lord. My will is that the reproof of the world arise more fervently against me so that I might deserve to be praised of our Lord, and that I may hope the reward of his promise. Temptation is desirous and agreeable whose merit in resisting is to be hoped reward of Christ in heaven. Ne the cursing ne malediction is not grievous which is changed into divine laud and praising. He died about the year of our Lord three hundred and eighty-eight.