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A Virgin averse to Matrimony, will needs be a Nun. She is dissuaded from it, and persuaded to moderate her Inclination in that Matter, and to do nothing against her Parents Consent, but rather to marry. That Virginity may be maintain'd in a conjugal Life. The Monks Way of living in Celibacy is rally'd. Children, why so call'd. He abhors those Plagiaries who entice young Men and Maids into Monasteries, as though Salvation was to be had no other Way; whence it comes to pass, that many great Wits are as it were buried alive.


Eub. I am glad with all my Heart, that Supper is over at last, that we may have an Opportunity to take a Walk, which is the greatest Diversion in the World.

Ca. And I was quite tir'd of sitting so long at Table.

Eu. How green and charming does every Thing in the World look! surely this is its Youth.

Ca. Ay, so it is.

Eu. But why is it not Spring with you too?

Ca. What do you mean?

Eu. Because you look a little dull.

Ca. Why, don't I look as I use to do?

Eu. Shall I show you how you look?

Ca. With all my Heart.

Eu. Do you see this Rose, how it contracts itself, now towards Night?

Ca. Yes, I do see it: And what then?

Eu. Why, just so you look.

Ca. A very fine Comparison.

Eu. If you won't believe me, see your own Face in this Fountain here. What was the Meaning you sat sighing at Supper so?

Ca. Pray don't ask Questions about that which don't concern you.

Eu. But it does very much concern me, since I can't be chearful myself, without you be so too. See now, there's another Sigh, and a deep one too!

Ca. There is indeed something that troubles my Mind. But I must not tell it.

Eu. What, won't you tell it me, that love you more dearly than I do my own Sister: My Katy, don't be afraid to speak; be it what it will you are safe.

Ca. If I should be safe enough, yet I'm afraid I shall be never the better in telling my Tale to one that can do me no good.

Eu. How do you know that? If I can't serve you in the Thing itself, perhaps I may in Counsel or Consolation.

Ca. I can't speak it out.

Eu. What is the Matter? Do you hate me?

Ca. I love you more dearly than my own Brother, and yet for all that my Heart won't let me divulge it.

Eu. Will you tell me, if I guess it? Why do you quibble now? Give me your Word, or I'll never let you alone till I have it out.

Ca. Well then, I do give you my Word.

Eu. Upon the whole of the Matter, I can't imagine what you should want of being compleatly happy.

Ca. I would I were so.

Eu. You are in the very Flower of your Age: If I'm not mistaken, you are now in your seventeenth Year.

Ca. That's true.

Eu. So that in my Opinion the Fear of old Age can't yet be any Part of your Trouble.

Ca. Nothing less, I assure you.

Eu. And you are every Way lovely, and that is the singular Gift of God.

Ca. Of my Person, such as it is, I neither glory nor complain.

Eu. And besides the Habit of your Body and your Complexion bespeak you to be in perfect Health, unless you have some hidden Distemper.

Ca. Nothing of that, I thank God.

Eu. And besides, your Credit is fair.

Ca. I trust it is.

Eu. And you are endow'd with a good Understanding suitable to the Perfections of your Body, and such a one as I could wish to myself, in order to my Attainment of the liberal Sciences.

Ca. If I have, I thank God for it.

Eu. And again, you are of a good agreeable Humour, which is rarely met with in great Beauties, they are not wanting neither.

Ca. I wish they were such as they should be.

Eu. Some People are uneasy at the Meanness of their Extraction, but your Parents are both of them well descended, and virtuous, of plentiful Fortunes, and very kind to you.

Ca. I have nothing to complain of upon that Account.

Eu. What Need of many Words? Of all the young Women in the Country you are the Person I would chuse for a Wife, if I were in Condition to pretend to't.

Ca. And I would chuse none but you for a Husband, if I were dispos'd to marry.

Eu. It must needs be some extraordinary Matter that troubles your Mind so.

Ca. It is no light Matter, you may depend upon it.

Eu. You won't take it ill I hope if I guess at it.

Ca. I have promis'd you I won't.

Eu. I know by Experience what a Torment Love is. Come, confess now, is that it? You promis'd to tell me.

Ca. There's Love in the Case, but not that Sort of Love that you imagine.

Eu. What Sort of Love is it that you mean?

Ca. Guess.

Eu. I have guess'd all the Guesses I can guess; but I'm resolv'd I'll never let go this Hand till I have gotten it out of you.

Ca. How violent you are.

Eu. Whatever your Care is, repose it in my Breast.

Ca. Since you are so urgent, I will tell you. From my very Infancy I have had a very strong Inclination.

Eu. To what, I beseech you?

Ca. To put myself into a Cloyster.

Eu. What, to be a Nun?

Ca. Yes.

Eu. Ho! I find I was out in my Notion; to leave a Shoulder of Mutton for a Sheep's Head.

Ca. What's that you say, Eubulus?

Eu. Nothing, my Dear, I did but cough. But, go on, tell me it out.

Ca. This was my Inclination; but my Parents were violently set against it.

Eu. I hear ye.

Ca. On the other Hand, I strove by Intreaties, fair Words, and Tears, to overcome that pious Aversion of my Parents.

Eu. O strange!

Ca. At Length when they saw I persisted in Intreaties, Prayers, and Tears, they promis'd me that if I continu'd in the same Mind till I was seventeen Years of Age, they would leave me to my own Liberty: The Time is now come, I continue still in the same Mind, and they go from their Words. This is that which troubles my Mind. I have told you my Distemper, do you be my Physician, and cure me, if you can.

Eu. In the first Place, my sweet Creature, I would advise you to moderate your Affections; and if you can't do all you would, do all that you can.

Ca. It will certainly be the Death of me, if I han't my Desire.

Eu. What was it that gave the first Rise to this fatal Resolution?

Ca. Formerly, when I was a little Girl, they carried me into one of those Cloysters of Virgins, carry'd me all about it, and shew'd me the whole College. I was mightily taken with the Virgins, they look'd so charming pretty, just like Angels; the Chapels were so neat, and smelt so sweet, the Gardens look'd so delicately well order'd, that in short which Way soever I turn'd my Eye every Thing seem'd delightful. And then I had the prettiest Discourse with the Nuns. And I found two or three that had been my Play-Fellows when I was a Child, and I have had a strange Passion for that Sort of Life ever since.

Eu. I have no Dislike to the Nunneries themselves, though the same Thing can never agree with all Persons: But considering your Genius, as far as I can gather from your Complexion and Manners, I should rather advise you to an agreeable Husband, and set up a College in your own House, of which he should be the Abbot and you the Abbess.

Ca. I will rather die than quit my Resolution of Virginity.

Eu. Nay, it is indeed an admirable Thing to be a pure Virgin, but you may keep yourself so without running yourself into a Cloyster, from which you never can come out. You may keep your Maidenhead at Home with your Parents.

Ca. Yes, I may, but it is not so safe there.

Eu. Much safer truly in my Judgment there, than with those brawny, swill-belly'd Monks. They are no Capons, I'll assure you, whatever you may think of them. They are call'd Fathers, and they commonly make good their Calling to the very Letter. Time was when Maids liv'd no where honester than at home with their Parents, when the only spiritual Father they had was the Bishop. But, prithee, tell me, what Cloyster hast thou made Choice of among 'em all, to be a Slave in?

Ca. The Chrysertian.

Eu. Oh! I know it, it is a little Way from your Father's House.

Ca. You're right.

Eu. I am very well acquainted with the whole Gang. A sweet Fellowship to renounce Father and Mother, Friends, and a worthy Family for! For the Patriarch himself, what with Age, Wine, and a certain natural Drowsiness, has been mop'd this many a Day, he can't now relish any Thing but Wine; and he has two Companions, John and Jodocus, that match him to a Hair. And as for John, indeed I can't say he is an ill Man, for he has nothing at all of a Man about him but his Beard, not a Grain of Learning in him, and not much more common Prudence. And Jodocus he's so arrant a Sot, that if he were not ty'd up to the Habit of his Order, he would walk the Streets in a Fool's Cap with Ears and Bells at it.

Ca. Truly they seem to me to be very good Men.

Eu. But, my Kitty, I know 'em better than you do. They will do good Offices perhaps between you and your Parents, that they may gain a Proselyte.

Ca. Jodocus is very civil to me.

Eu. A great Favour indeed. But suppose 'em good and learned Men to Day, you'll find 'em the contrary perhaps to Morrow; and let them be what they will then, you must bear with them.

Ca. I am troubled to see so many Entertainments at my Father's House, and marry'd Folks are so given to talk smutty; I'm put to't sometimes when Men come to kiss me, and you know one can't well deny a Kiss.

Eu. He that would avoid every Thing that offends him, must go out of the World; we must accustom our Ears to hear every Thing, but let nothing enter the Mind but what is good. I suppose your Parents allow you a Chamber to yourself.

Ca. Yes, they do.

Eu. Then you may retire thither, if you find the Company grow troublesome; and while they are drinking and joking, you may entertain yourself with Christ your Spouse, praying, singing, and giving Thanks: Your Father's House will not defile you, and you will make it the more pure.

Ca. But it is a great Deal safer to be in Virgins Company.

Eu. I do not disapprove of a chaste Society: Yet I would not have you delude yourself with false Imaginations. When once you come to be throughly acquainted there, and see Things nearer Hand, perhaps Things won't look with so good a Face as they did once. They are not all Virgins that wear Vails; believe me.

Ca. Good Words, I beseech you.

Eu. Those are good Words that are true Words. I never read of but one Virgin that was a Mother, i.e. the Virgin Mary, unless the Eulogy we appropriate to the Virgin be transferr'd to a great many to be call'd Virgins after Childbearing.

Ca. I abhor the Thoughts on't.

Eu. Nay, and more than that, those Maids, I'll assure you, do more than becomes Maids to do.

Ca. Ay! why so, pray?

Eu. Because there are more among 'em that imitate Sappho in Manners, than are like her in Wit.

Ca. I don't very well understand you.

Eu. My dear Kitty, I therefore speak in Cypher that you may not understand me.

Ca. But my Mind runs strangely upon this Course of Life, and I have a strong Opinion that this Disposition comes from God, because it hath continu'd with me so many Years, and grows every Day stronger and stronger.

Eu. Your good Parents being so violently set against it, makes me suspect it. If what you attempt were good, God would have inclined your Parents to favour the Motion. But you have contracted this Affection from the gay Things you saw when you were a Child; the Tittle-tattles of the Nuns, and the Hankering you have after your old Companions, the external Pomp and specious Ceremonies, and the Importunities of the senseless Monks which hunt you to make a Proselyte of you, that they may tipple more largely. They know your Father to be liberal and bountiful, and they'll either give him an Invitation to them, because they know he'll bring Wine enough with him to serve for ten lusty Soaks, or else they'll come to him. Therefore let me advise you to do nothing without your Parents Consent, whom God has appointed your Guardians. God would have inspired their Minds too, if the Thing you were attempting were a religious Matter.

Ca. In this Matter it is Piety to contemn Father and Mother.

Eu. It is, I grant, sometimes a Piece of Piety to contemn Father or Mother for the Sake of Christ; but for all that, he would not act piously, that being a Christian, and had a Pagan to his Father, who had nothing but his Son's Charity to support him, should forsake him, and leave him to starve. If you had not to this Day profess'd Christ by Baptism, and your Parents should forbid you to be baptis'd, you would indeed then do piously to prefer Christ before your impious Parents; or if your Parents should offer to force you to do some impious, scandalous Thing, their Authority in that Case were to be contemned. But what is this to the Case of a Nunnery? You have Christ at home. You have the Dictates of Nature, the Approbation of Heaven, the Exhortation of St. Paul, and the Obligation of human Laws, for your Obedience to Parents; and will you now withdraw yourself from under the Authority of good and natural Parents, to give yourself up a Slave to a fictitious Father, rather than to your real Father, and a strange Mother instead of your true Mother, and to severe Masters and Mistresses rather than Parents? For you are so under your Parents Direction, that they would have you be at Liberty wholly. And therefore Sons and Daughters are call'd [liberi] Children, because they are free from the Condition of Servants. You are now of a free Woman about to make yourself voluntarily a Slave. The Clemency of the Christian Religion has in a great Measure cast out of the World the old Bondage, saving only some obscure Foot-Steps in some few Places. But there is now a Days found out under pretence of Religion a new Sort of Servitude, as they now live indeed in many Monasteries. You must do nothing there but by a Rule, and then all that you lose they get. If you offer to step but one Step out of the Door, you're lugg'd back again just like a Criminal that had poison'd her Father. And to make the Slavery yet the more evident, they change the Habit your Parents gave you, and after the Manner of those Slaves in old Time, bought and sold in the Market, they change the very Name that was given you in Baptism, and Peter or John are call'd Francis, or Dominic, or Thomas. Peter first gives his Name up to Christ, and being to be enter'd into Dominic's Order, he's called Thomas. If a military Servant casts off the Garment his Master gave him, is he not look'd upon to have renounc'd his Master? And do we applaud him that takes upon him a Habit that Christ the Master of us all never gave him? He is punish'd more severely for the changing it again, than if he had a hundred Times thrown away the Livery of his Lord and Emperor, which is the Innocency of his Mind.

Ca. But they say, it is a meritorious Work to enter into this voluntary Confinement.

Eu. That is a pharisaical Doctrine. St. Paul teacheth us otherwise, and will not have him that is called free, make himself a Servant, but rather endeavour that he may be more free: And this makes the Servitude the worse, that you must serve many Masters, and those most commonly Fools too, and Debauchees; and besides that, they are uncertain, being every now and then new. But answer me this one Thing, I beseech you, do any Laws discharge you from your Duty to your Parents?

Ca. No.

Eu. Can you buy or sell an Estate against your Parents Consent?

Ca. No, I can't.

Eu. What Right have you then to give away yourself to I know not whom, against your Parents Consent? Are you not their Child, the dearest and most appropriate Part of their Possession?

Ca. In the Business of Religion, the Laws of Nature give Place.

Eu. The great Point of our Religion lies in our Baptism: But the Matter in Question here is, only the changing of a Habit, or of such a Course of Life, which in itself is neither Good nor Evil. And now consider but this one Thing, how many valuable Privileges you lose, together with your Liberty. Now, if you have a Mind to read, pray, or sing, you may go into your own Chamber, as much and as often as you please. When you have enough of Retirement, you may go to Church, hear Anthems, Prayers and Sermons; and if you see any Matron or Virgin remarkable for Piety, in whose Company you may get good; if you see any Man that is endow'd with singular Probity, from whom you may learn what will make for your bettering, you may have their Conversation; and you may chuse that Preacher that preaches Christ most purely. When once you come into a Cloyster, all these Things, that are the greatest Assistances in the Promotion of true Piety, you lose at once.

Ca. But in the mean Time I shall not be a Nun.

Eu. What signifies the Name? Consider the Thing itself. They make their boast of Obedience, and won't you be praise-worthy, in being obedient to your Parents, your Bishop and your Pastor, whom God has commanded you to obey? Do you profess Poverty? And may not you too, when all is in your Parents Hands? Although the Virgins of former Times were in an especial Manner commended by holy Men, for their Liberality towards the Poor; but they could never have given any Thing, if they had possessed nothing. Nor will your Charity be ever the less for living with your Parents. And what is there more in a Convent than these? A Vail, a Linnen-Shift turned into a Stole, and certain Ceremonies, which of themselves signify nothing to the Advancement of Piety, and make no Body more acceptable in the Eyes of Christ, who only regards the Purity of the Mind.

Ca. This is News to me.

Eu. But it is true News. When you, not being discharg'd from the Government of your Parents, can't dispose of, or sell so much as a Rag, or an Inch of Ground, what Right can you pretend to for disposing of yourself into the Service of a Stranger?

Ca. They say, that the Authority of a Parent does not hinder a Child from entering into a religious Life.

Eu. Did you not make Profession of Religion in your Baptism?

Ca. Yes.

Eu. And are not they religious Persons that conform to the Precepts of Christ?

Ca. They are so.

Eu. What new Religion is that then, which makes that void, that the Law of Nature had establish'd? What the old Law hath taught, and the Gospel approv'd, and the Apostles confirm'd? That is an Ordinance that never came from Heaven, but was hatch'd by a Company of Monks in their Cells. And after this Manner, some of them undertake to justify a Marriage between a Boy and a Girl, though without the Privity, and against the Consent of their Parents; if the Contract be (as they phrase it) in Words of the present Tense. And yet that Position is neither according to the Dictate of Nature, the Law of Moses, or the Doctrine of Christ or his Apostles.

Ca. Do you think then, that I may not espouse myself to Christ without my Parents Consent?

Eu. I say, you have espous'd him already, and so we have all. Where is the Woman that marries the same Man twice? The Question is here only about Places, Garments and Ceremonies. I don't think Duty to Parents is to be abandon'd for the Sake of these Things; and you ought to look to it, that instead of espousing Christ, you don't espouse some Body else.

Ca. But I am told, that in this Case it is a Piece of the highest Sanctity, even to contemn ones Parents.

Eu. Pray, require these Doctors to shew you a Text for it, out of the holy Scriptures, that teach this Doctrine; but if they can't do this, bid them drink off a good large Bumper of Burgundian Wine: That they can do bravely. It is indeed a Piece of Piety to fly from wicked Parents to Christ: But to fly from pious Parents to a Monkery, that is (as it too often proves) to fly from ought to stark naught. What Pity is that I pray? Although in old Time, he that was converted from Paganism to Christianity, paid yet as great a Reverence to his idolatrous Parents, as it was possible to do without prejudice to Religion itself.

Ca. Are you then against the main Institution of a monastick Life?

Eu. No, by no Means: But as I will not persuade any Body against it, that is already engag'd in this Sort of Life, to endeavour to get out of it, so I would most undoubtedly caution all young Women; especially those of generous Tempers, not to precipitate themselves unadvisedly into that State from whence there is no getting out afterwards: And the rather, because their Chastity is more in Danger in a Cloyster than out of it; and beside that, you may do whatsoever is done there as well at Home.

Ca. You have indeed urg'd many, and very considerable Arguments; yet this Affection of mine can't be removed.

Eu. If I can't dissuade you from it, as I wish heartily I could, however, remember this one Thing, that Eubulus told you before Hand. In the mean Time, out of the Love I bear you, I wish your Inclinations may succeed better than my Counsel.

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