This feeling is exhibited in the value set on fasting in the Christian church from the earliest times, and in an extreme form in the self-torments of later monasticism; while both tendencies, anti-worldliness and antisensualism, seem to have combined in causing the preference of celibacy over marriage which is common to most early Christian writers.'
Printed in tens of thousands of copies are certain apocalyptic legends dealing with eschatological problems. The ancient Apocalypse of Peter appears here under the name of Paul, then there is an Apocalypse of the Virgin Mary, who, like Peter, is carried by the Archangel through the torments of Hell and the bliss of Paradise, and through whose intervention sufferers are granted pardon on certain days of the year.
His gestures were scanty, his voice was not powerful, but he was desperately in earnest, and he held his audience whether his sermon contained a picturesque and detailed description of the torments of the damned, or, as was often the case, spoke of the love and peace of God in the heart of man.
May Nero rest from all the torments of the damned, that they may seize on Stilicho; for Nero smote his own mother, but Stilicho the mother of the world!