Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Works of Sulpitius Severus.: Chapter XV.
“Again, on a certain day, after he had sat down on that wooden seat of his (which you all know), placed in the small open court which surrounded his abode, he perceived two demons sitting on the lofty rock which overhangs the monastery. He then heard them, in eager and gladsome tones, utter the following invitation, Come hither, Brictio, come hither, Brictio. I believe they perceived the miserable man approaching from a distance, being conscious how great frenzy of spirit they had excited within him. Nor is there any delay: Brictio rushes in in absolute fury; and there, full of madness, he vomits forth a thousand reproaches against Martin. For he had been reproved by him on the previous day, because he who had possessed nothing before he entered the clerical office, having, in fact, been brought up in the monastery by Martin himself, was now keeping horses and purchasing slaves. For at that time, he was accused by many of not only having bought boys belonging to barbarous nations, but girls also of a comely appearance. The miserable man, moved with bitter rage on account of these things, and, as I believe, chiefly instigated by the impulse received from those demons, made such an onset upon Martin as scarcely to refrain from laying hands upon him. The holy man, on his part, with a placid countenance and a tranquil mind, endeavored by gentle words to restrain the madness of the unhappy wretch. But the spirit of wickedness so prevailed within him, that not even his own mind, at best a very vain one, was under his control. With trembling lips, and a changing countenance, pale with rage, he rolled forth the words of sin, asserting that he was a holier man than Martin who had brought him up, inasmuch as from his earliest years he had grown up in the monastery amid the sacred institutions of the Church, while Martin had at first, as he could not deny, been tarnished with the life of a soldier, and had now entirely sunk into dotage by means of his baseless superstitions, and ridiculous fancies about visions. After he had uttered many things like these, and others of a still more bitter nature, which it is better not to mention, going out, at length, when his rage was satisfied he seemed to feel as if he had completely vindicated his conduct. But with rapid steps he rushed back by the way he had gone out, the demons having, I believe, been, in the meantime, driven from his heart by the prayers of Martin, and he was now brought back to repentance. Speedily, then, he returns, and throws himself at the feet of Martin, begging for pardon and confessing his error, while, at length restored to a better mind, he acknowledges that he had been under the influence of a demon. It was no difficult business for Martin to forgive the suppliant. And then the holy man explained both to him and to us all, how he had seen him driven on by demons, and declared that he was not moved by the reproaches which had been heaped upon him; for they had, in fact, rather injured the man who uttered them. And subsequently, when this same Brictio was often accused before him of many and great crimes, Martin could not be induced to remove him from the presbyterate, lest he should be suspected of revenging the injury done to himself, while he often repeated this saying: If Christ bore with Judas, why should not I bear with Brictio?”
Next: Chapter XVI.
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