: because being an
anchorite is easier and more comfortable than ordinary life in the world.
Then come two motives that are essentially negative, and perhaps more
predictable: to do penance for sins committed in the past, and to avoid as
many occasions of sin as possible in the future. Last and best is the desire
to give up all worldly occupation in order to dedicate oneself entirely to
contemplation and the praise of God. The
In most cases this must have been done informally, but when, in 1423,
Richard Ludlow expressed his desire to become a hermit at Maidenhead the
bishop of Salisbury initiated a careful and lengthy process of inquiry
[ 50 ]. This is the first record of
the approval and investiture of a hermit in the Salisbury registers, and the
fact that the procedure was described in such detail, and those details
he answers that a beautiful one will be coveted by all
while a repulsive one will be despised by all, but it is difficult to guard a
beautiful one whom everyone desires to possess, and tiresome to keep a
repulsive one whom no one wishes to look at.
Therefore he who has a beautiful wife will always be afraid but he who has
a repulsive wife will always be depressed. For this reason he should pursue a
you] health, etc.
Whereas Agnes de Littlemore, a laysister of your house, who
declares that she left your house in order to attempt the life of an
anchorite, in which she desired to serve the Lord; because she is unable to
fulfil her intention in this regard, desires (as she says) humbly to return
to the same; we command that, when this same Agnes returns to you, you
should be sure to admit her, unless there is some canonical
entangles himself in worldly business’. 37 [p. 64] From here there arise destructive presumption and confusion, from here the devouring flame of carnal desire, the emptying out of the virtues and the incitement to sin. For either the ministers of Christ, seduced by the enjoyment of property, and in order not to lose it are driven to what is not appropriate for them, or the men of the world, aroused by the heat of carnal desire, and protected, as it were, by royal authority, rise up against God with reckless authority and seize what belongs to him. When all of these
Behold! Vanity of vanities , and all is vanity .
Those subject to carnal delights and pleasures are also
effeminate, for such men care for nothing except gratifying their own desires
and pleasures. Long ago, in fact, certain people did not dare to appear in
military camps ( castra ) unless they were chaste ( casta ). Thus
camps are called after the chaste. On this topic, Valerius recounts that
desired that Ahab,
king of Israel, should fall in battle and be killed for his sins, he conjured a
certain evil spirit and ordered him to deceive Ahab by advising him to attack
so that he would perish—and this is what happened.
So the demons secretly entered into these images and predicted
future events that they were able to know by the subtlety of their nature, or
Perules, had been the victim of a disastrous fire in which he had lost
everything. This is the only record we have of Perules, but the indulgence
in his favour evidently had the desired effect: another hermit is recorded
here later in the fifteenth century, and the site was still in use in the
Translated from the Latin of the register of Thomas Langley:
Durham University, Durham Cathedral Archive, Reg. Lang. fol. 217
enemies according to the law of the Gospel. Unfortunately, the men of this
world desire more to have victory over their enemies than to bestow laborious
charity upon them. And therefore we are recording in this present work one
great victory which the city of Genoa achieved during the time of its
development, which was to the honour of God; a second, which was of great
benefit to the city itself; a third, which was of great consolation to its
any sort of fear, and in their governing fear no one. Thus it is
said in Ecclesiasticus: do not desire to become a judge unless you are
strong enough in virtue to root out iniquities , lest you lose courage
with the powerful .
And in the same book it is said of a certain great judge of God: in his
day he feared no prince , and no power conquered him .