Some are of opinion that the Monks of this age were most holy men: but this is a great prejudice & such a prejudice as judicious men who have read & considered their lives can scarce fall into. ffor they seeme to me to have been the most unchast & superstitious part of mankind as well in this first age as in all following ages. For it was a general notion amongst them a[1] that after any man became a Monk he found himself more tempted by the Devil to lust then before & those who went furthest into the wilderness & profest Monkery most stricktly were most tempted, the Devil (as they imagined) tempting them most when it was to divert them from the best purpose. So that to turn a Monk was to run into such temptation as Christ has taught us to pray that God would not lead us into. For lust by being forcibly restrained & by struggling with it is always inflamed. The way to be chast is not to contend & struggle with unchast thoughts but to decline them {illeg} keep the mind imployed about other things: for he that's always thinking of chastity will be always thinking of weomen & every contest with unchast thoughts will leave such impressions upon the mind as shall make those thoughts apt to return more frequently. ffasting duly is one of the moral <75r> vertues & has its vitious extreames like all the rest. If duly exercised 'tis temperance & its extremes are intemperance. To pamper the body enflames lust & makes it lesse active & fit for use. And on the other hand To macerate it by fasting & watching beyond measure does the same thing. It does not only render the body feeble & unfit for use but also enflames it & invigorates lustful thoughts. The want of sleep & due refreshment disorders the imagination & at length brings men to a sort of distraction & madnesse so as to make them have visions of weomen conversing with 'em & think they really see & touch them & heare them talk. ✝ ✝See the backside of the next page < insertion from f 76v > See the leaf before. ✝ as I gather from what the Monks have recorded from their own experience. {illeg}anus in Collat. 22 {illeg}. 2 propounds this Question Cur interdum remissius jejunantes levioribus carnis {illeg}culeis titillentur & nonnunquam districtius abstinentes afflicto exhaustoque corpore incentivis acr{illeg}ribus urgeantur ita ut experge facti reperiant se humorum naturalium {qu}estione respersos. And subjoyns hujus in festationis triplicem causam Monachorum majores prodidere. And in Collat 2 cap. 17 he affirms gravius se periclitatum somni cibique fastidio quam soporis et gastrimargiæ colluctatione persensit. Et quod perniciosius continentia immoderata quam saturitas remissa supplantat. And Evagrus a monk the Master of Palladius, in his book de octo vitiosis cogitationibus writes thus Libidinis Dæmon, inquit, variorum corporum desiderio animas inflammat, acriusque eos qui continentiæ student, urget: quo nimirum tanquam frustra laborantes institutum suum abrumpant. Atque animam inficiens, et dicere et rursus audire verba facit non secus ac si res ipsa cerneretur ac præsto esset. And this I take to be one of the reasons why the first Monks who fasted most were most frighted with apparitions of Devils as Cassian affirms. Collat. 7. cap 23. < text from f 75r resumes > These are the extremes of intemperance & between these such a moderate fasting as best suits with every mans body so as without unfitting it for use to keep down lust, is the due mean of temperance. ffor my part I have not met with more uncleannesse & greater arguments of unchast minds in any sort of people then in the lives of the t[2] first Monks: For what else mean their doctrine that its better to contend with & vanquish unchast thoughts then not to have them, their frequent visions of naked weomen, their digging up the bodies of dead weomen with w{ch} they burned in lust, their lusting even after passive Sodomy & their relating these & other such histories without blus{hing}

[1] The contents of this note are only visible in the diplomatic transcript because they were deleted on the original manuscript

[2] t See the collection of Rosweydus.

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