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Monasticism in Decline

It would be pleasant to devote our attention even longer to the bright picture of mediaeval Monasticism, both in England and on the Continent, but space does not permit, and we must follow Benedictine history through its trials as well as through its triumphs. Various causes, unnecessary to detail here, combined to weaken monastic discipline and diminish its early fervor.

At length, when least prepared to sustain the shock, the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century dealt monasticism, so deadly a blow, that it seemed, for the moment, a thing inanimate, and incapable of any real revival. But God did not forsake the Benedictine family, although He permitted it to be sorely tried, as gold in the furnace, for the furtherance, in His wisdom, of its greater good. The very country, France, where perhaps matters had reached the lowest level, became in God's providence the scene of a wonderful new growth of Benedictine fervor and activity.

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