Imágenes de páginas


written expressly against the disciples of Jesus, were uni- || versally read, and were, on that account, accurately refuted by Philoponus. All this shows that many of the magistrates, who were witnesses of these calumnious attempts, were not so much Christians in reality, as in appearance; otherwise they would not have permitted the slanders of these licentious revilers to pass without correction or restraint.

III. Notwithstanding the extensive progress of the Gospel, the Christians, even in this century, suffered grievously, in several countries, from the savage cruelty and bitterness of their enemies. The Anglo-Saxons, who were masters of the greater part of Britain, involved a multitude of its ancient inhabitants, who professed Christianity, in the deepest distresses, and tormented them with all that variety of suffering, which the injurious and malignant spirit of persecution could invent. The Huns, in their irruptions into Thrace, Greece, and the other provinces, during the reign of Justinian, treated the Christians with great barbarity; not so much, perhaps, from an aversion to Christianity, as from a spirit of hatred against the Greeks, and a desire of overturning and destroying their empire. The face of affairs was totally changed in Italy, about the middle of this century, by a granu revolution which happened in the reign of Justinian I. This emperor, by the arms of Narses, overturned the kingdom of the Ostrogoths, which had subsisted ninety years; and subdued all Italy. 'The political state, however, which this revolution introSee J. A. Fabricii Bibliotheca Græca, vol. iii. p. 522.

Usher's Chron. Index to his Antiquit. Eccles. Britann. ad annum 508.
Paul. Diacon. de Gestis Longobardorum. lib. ii. cap. ii. xxvii.-
No. XII.

duced, was not of a very long duration; for the Lombards, a fierce and warlike people, headed by Álboinus their king, and joined by several other German nations, issued from Pannonia in 568, under the reign of Justin; invaded Italy; and having made themselves masters of the whole country, except Rome and Ravenna, erected a new kingdom at Ticinum. Under these new tyrants, who, to the natural ferocity of their characters, added an aversion to the religion of Jesus, the Christians, in the beginning, endured calamities of every kind. But the fury of these savage usurpers gradually subsided; and their manners contracted, from time to time, a milder character. Autharis, the third monarch of the Lombards, embraced Christianity, as it was professed by the Arians, in 587; but his successor Agilulf, who married his widow Theudelinda, was persuaded by that princess to abandon Arianism, and to adopt the tenets of the Nicene catholics. The calamities of the Christians, in all other countries, were light and inconsiderable in comparison of those which they suffered in Persia under Chosroes, the inhuman monarch of that nation. This monster of impiety aimed his audacious and desperate efforts against Heaven itself; for he publicly declared, that he would make war not only upon Justinian, but also upon the God of the Christians; and, in consequence of this blasphemous menace, he vented his rage against the followers of Jesus in the most barbarous manner, and put multitudes of them to the most cruel and ignominious deaths.d

Muratorii Antiquit. Italiæ, tom. i. ii. Giannone, Historia di Napoli, tom. i. a Procopius, de Bello Persico, lib. ii. cap. xxvi.




confounded with Christian simplicity; even those who

Concerning the State of Letters and Philosophy applied themselves to the study and propagation of the

during this Century.

I. THE incursions of the barbarous nations into the greatest part of the western provinces, were extremely prejudicial to the interests of learning and philosophy, as must be known to all who have any acquaintance with the history of these unhappy times. During these tumultuous scenes of desolation and horror, the liberal arts and sciences would have been totally extinguished, had they not found a place of refuge, such as it was, among the bishops, and the monastic orders. Here they assembled their scattered remains, and received a degree of culture which just served to keep them from perishing. Those churches, which were distinguished by the appellation of cathedrals, had schools erected under their jurisdiction, in which the bishop, or a certain person appointed by him, instructed the youth in the seven liberal arts, as a preparatory introduction to the study of the Scriptures. Persons of both sexes, who had devoted themselves to the monastic life, were obliged, by the founders of their respective orders, to employ daily a certain portion of their time in reading the ancient doctors of the church, whose writings were looked upon as the rich repertories of celestial wisdom, in which all the treasures of theology were centred. Hence libraries were formed in all the monasteries, and the pious and learned productions of the Christian and other writers were copied and dispersed by the diligence of transcribers appointed for that purpose, who were generally such monks as, by weakness of constitution, or other bodily infirmities, were rendered incapable of more severe labour. To these establishments we owe the preservation and possession of all the ancient authors, sacred and profane, who escaped in this manner the savage fury of Gothic ignorance, and are happily transmitted to our times. It is also to be observed, that, beside the schools annexed to the cathedrals, seminaries were opened in the greater part of the monasteries, in which the youth who were set apart for the monastic life were instructed by the abbot, or some of his ecclesiastics, in the arts and sciences.


II. But these institutions and establishments, however laudable, did not produce such happy effects as might have been expected from them. For, not to speak of the indolence of certain abbots and bishops, who neglected entirely the duties of their stations, or of the bitter aversion which others discovered towards every sort of learning and erudition, which they considered as pernicious to the progress of piety; not to speak of the illiberal ignorance which several prelates affected, and which they injudiciously


Fleury, Discours sur l'Histoire Eccles.-Histoire Liter. de la France, tom. iii.-Herm. Conringii Antiq. Academicæ.

Benedict. Anianensis Concordia Regularum, lib. ii. iii.-Jo. Mabillon, Præf. ad Sæc. i. Act. SS. Ord. Bened. p. 44.

• Benedict. Concord. Reg. lib. ii. p. 232.-Mabillon, Acta Ord. Bened. tom. i.

d Gregory the Great is said to have been of this number, and to have ordered a multitude of the productions of pagan writers, and among others Livy's history, to be committed to the flames. See Liron's Singularités Hist. et Lit. tom. i.

sciences, were, for the most part, extremely unskilful and illiterate; and the branches of learning taught in the schools were inconsiderable, both as to their quality and their number. Greek literature was almost every where neglected; and those who by profession, had devoted themselves to the culture of Latin erudition, spent their time and labour in grammatical subtilties and quibbles, as the pedantic examples of Isidorus and Cassiodorus abundantly show. Eloquence was degraded into a rhetorical bombast, a noisy kind of declamation, which was composed of motley and frigid allegories and barbarous terms, as may even appear from several parts of the writings of those superior geniuses who surpassed their contemporaries in precision and elegance, such as Boethius, Cassiodorus, Ennodius, and others. As to the other liberal arts, they shared the common calamity; and, from the mode in which they were now cultivated, they had nothing very liberal or elegant in their appearance, consisting entirely of a few dry rules, which, instead of a complete and finished system, produced only a ghastly and lifeless skeleton.

III. The state of philosophy was still more deplorable than that of literature; for it was entirely banished from those seminaries which were under the inspection and government of the ecclesiastical order. The greatest part of these zealots looked upon the study of philosophy, not only as useless, but even pernicious to those who had dedicated themselves to the service of religion. The most eminent, indeed almost the only Latin philosopher of this age, was the celebrated Boethius, privy counsellor to Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths. This illustrious senator had embraced the Platonic philosophy, and approved also, as was usual among the modern Platonists, the doctrine of Aristotle, and illustrated it in his writings; and it was undoubtedly in consequence of the diligence and zeal with which he explained and recommended the Aristotelian philosophy, that it rose now among the Latins to a higher degree of credit than it had before enjoyed.

IV. The state of the liberal arts, among the Greeks, was, in several places, much more flourishing than that in which we have left them among the Latins; and the em perors raised and nourished a spirit of literary emulation, by the noble rewards and the distinguished honours which they attached to the pursuit of all the various branches of learning. It is, however, certain, that, notwithstanding these encouragements, the sciences were cultivated with less ardour, and men of learning and genius were less numerous, than in the preceding century. In the beginning of this, the modern Platonists yet maintained their credit, Mabillon, Præf. ad Sæc. i. Benedict. p. 46.

[ocr errors]


f See M. Aur. Cassiodori Liber de septem Disciplinis, which is extant among his works.

This will appear evident to such as, with a competent knowledge of modern Platonism, read attentively the books of Boethius, de Consolatione, &c. See also, on this subject, Renat. Vallin. p. 10, 50. Holstenius in Vit. Porphyrii, and Mascov. Histor. Germanor. tom. ii.

b See the Codex Theodos. tom. ii. lib. vi. and Herm. Conringius, de Studiis Urbis Romæ et Constantinop. in a Dissertation subjoined to his Antiquitates Academicæ.

cal and pregnant with absurdities. Of this class of original philosophers was Cosmas, a Nestorian, commonly called Indicopleustes, whose doctrines are singular, and resemble more the notions of the Orientals than the opinions of the Greeks. Such also was the writer, from whose Exposition of the Octateuch, Photius has drawn several citations."

and their philosophy was in vogue. The Alexandrian | systems of their own, which were inexpressibly chimeriand Athenian schools flourished under the direction of Damascius, Isidorus, Simplicius, Eulamius, Hermias, Priscianus, and others, who were placed on the highest summit of literary glory. But when the emperor Justinian, by a particular edict, prohibited the teaching of philosophy at Athens," (which edict, no doubt, was levelled at the modern Platonism already mentioned,) and when his resentment began to flame out against those who refused to abandon the pagan worship, all these celebrated philosophers took refuge among the Persians, who were at that time the enemies of Rome. They, indeed, returned from their voluntary exile, when the peace was concluded between the Persians and the Romans in 533; but they could never recover their former credit, and they gradually disappeared from the public schools and seminaries, which ceased, at length, to be under their direction.


Thus expired that famous sect, which was distinguished by the title of the Modern or Later Platonic; and which, for a series of ages, had produced such divisions and tumults in the Christian church, and been, in other respects, prejudicial to the interests and progress of the Gospel. It was succeeded by the Aristotelian philosophy, which arose imperceptibly out of its obscurity, and was placed in an advantageous light by the illustrations of the learned, but especially and principally by the celebrated commentaries of Philoponus; and, indeed, the knowledge of this philosophy was necessary for the Greeks, since it was from the depths of this peripatetical wisdom that the Monophysites and Nestorians drew the subtilties with which they endeavoured to overwhelm the abettors of the Ephesian and Chalcedonian councils.

V. The Nestorians and Monophysites, who lived in the east, equally turned their eyes toward Aristotle, and, in order to train their respective followers to the field of controversy, and arm them with the subtilties of a contentious logic, translated the principal books of that deep philosopher into their native languages. Sergius, a Monophysite and philosopher, translated the books of Aristotle into Syriac. Uranius, a Syrian, propagated the doctrines of this philosopher in Persia, and disposed in their favour Chosroes, the monarch of that nation, who became a zealous abettor of the peripatetic system. The same prince received from one of the Nestorian faction (which, after having procured the exclusion of the Greeks, triumphed at this time unrivalled in Persia) a translation of the Stagirite's works into the Persian language.'

It is, however, to be observed, that among these eastern Christians there were some who rejected both the Platonic and Aristotelian doctrines, and who, unwilling to be obliged to others for their philosophical knowledge, invented

• Johannes Malala, Historia Chronica, part ii. page 187, edit. Oxon. Another testimony concerning this matter is cited from a certain Chronicle, not yet published, by Nic. Alemannus, ad Procopii Histor. Arcanam, cap. xxvi.

Agathias, de Rebus Justiniani, lib. ii.

• See Wesselingii Observat. Var. lib. i. cap. xviii.

See the Histor. Dynastiarum, by Abulpharajius, published by Dr. Pocock, p. 94, 172.

See Agathias, de Rebus Justiniani, lib. ii. p. 48. That Uranius made use of the Aristotelian philosophy in the Eutychian controversy, is evident from this circumstance, that Agathias represents him disputing concerning the passibility and immiscibility of God (Kaι TO Tαonтov Kaι ἀσύγχυτον.) Agathias, ibid.

Bernard de Montfaucon, Præfat. ad Cosmam, p. 10. tom. ii. Collectionis novæ Patrum Græcorum. Biblioth. cod. xxxvi.

We cannot avoid taking notice of some mistakes which have


Concerning the Doctors and Ministers of the Church. I. THE external form of church government continued without any remarkable alteration during the course of this century. But the bishops of Rome and Constantinople, who were considered as the most eminent and principal rulers of the Christian church, were engaged in perpetual disputes about the extent and limits of their respective jurisdictions; and both seemed to aim at the supreme authority in ecclesiastical affairs. The latter prelate not only claimed an unrivalled sovereignty over the eastern churches, but also maintained, that his church was, in point of dignity, no way inferior to that of Rome. The Roman pontiffs beheld, with impatience, these lordly pretensions, and warmly asserted the pre-eminence of their church, and its superiority over that of Constantinople. Gregory the Great distinguished himself in this violent contest; and the following event furnished him with an opportunity of exerting his zeal. In 588, John, bishop of Constantinople, surnamed the Faster, on account of his extraordinary abstinence and austerity, assembled a council, by his own authority, to inquire into an accusation. brought against Peter, patriarch of Antioch; and on this occasion assumed the title of œcumenical or universal bishop. Now, although this title had been formerly enjoyed by the bishops of Constantinople, and was also susceptible of an interpretation that might have prevented its giving umbrage or offence to any, yet Gregory suspected, both from the time and the occasion of John's renewing his claim to it, that he was aiming at a supremacy over all the Christian churches; and therefore he opposed his claim in the most vigorous manner, in letters to that purpose addressed to the emperor, and to such persons as he judged proper to second his opposition. But all his efforts were without effect; and the bishops of Constantinople continued to assume the title in question, though not in the sense in which it had alarmed the pope.1



II. This pontiff, however, adhered tenaciously to his purpose, opposed with vehemence the bishop of Constantinople, raised new tumults and dissensior. among the sacred order, and aimed at no less than an u limited supreslipped from the pen of Dr. Mosheim in his narration of this event. First, the council here mentioned was holden under the pontificate of Pelagius II. and not of Gregory the Great, who was not chosen bishop of Rome before the year 590. Secondly, the person accused before this council was not Peter, but Gregory, bishop of Antioch. Thirdly, it does not appear that the council was summoned by John of Constantinople, but by the emperor Mauricius, to whom Gregory had appealed from the governor of the east, before whom he was first accused.

The title of universal bishop, which had been given by Leo and Justinian to the patriarch of Constantinople, was not attended with any accession of power.

1 Gregor. Magni Epist. lib. iv. v. vii. All the passages in these epistles that relate to this famous contest, have been extracted and illustrated by Launoy, in his Assertio in Privileg. S. Medardi, tom. iii. op. part ii. p. 266. See also Lequien, Oriens Christianus, tom. i. p. 67. Pfaffi Dia. sertatio de Titulo Ecumen. in the Tempe Helvetica, tom. iv. p. 99.

macy over the Christian church. This ambitious design || succeeded in the west; while, in the eastern provinces, his arrogant pretensions were scarcely respected by any but those who were at enmity with the bishop of Constantinople; and this prelate was always in a condition to make head against the progress of his authority in the east. How much the opinions of some were favourable to the lordly demands of the Roman pontiffs, may be easily imagined from an expression of Ennodius, that infamous and extravagant flatterer of Symmachus, who was a prelate of ambiguous fame. This parasitical panegyrist, among other impertinent assertions, maintained, that the pontiff was constituted judge in the place of God, which he filled as the vicegerent of the Most High. On the other hand, it is certain, from a variety of the most authentic records, that both the emperors and the nations in general were far from being disposed to bear with patience the yoke of servitude, which the popes were imposing upon the Christian church. The Gothic princes set bounds to the power of those arrogant prelates in Italy, permitted none to be raised to the pontificate without their approbation, and reserved to themselves the right of judging of the legality of every new election. They enacted spiritual laws, called the religious orders before their tribunals, and summoned councils by their legal authority. In consequence of all this, the pontiffs, amidst all their high pretensions, reverenced the majesty of their kings and emperors, and submitted to their authority with the most profound humility; nor were they yet so lost to all sense of shame, as to aim at the subjection of kings and princes to their spiritual dominion.


III. The rights and privileges of the clergy were very considerable before this period, and the riches, which they had accumulated, immense; and both received daily augmentations from the growth of superstition in this century. The arts of a rapacious priesthood were practised upon the ignorant devotion of the simple; and even the remorse of the wicked was made an instrument of increasing the ecclesiastical treasure; for an opinion was propagated with industry among the people, that a remission of sin was to be purchased by their liberalities to the churches and monks, and that the prayers of departed saints, whose efficacy was victorious at the throne of God, were to be bought by offerings presented to the temples, which were consecrated to these celestial mediators. But, in proportion as the riches of the church increased, the various orders of the clergy were infected with those vices which are too often the consequences of an affluent prosperity. This appears, with the utmost evidence, from the imperial edicts and the decrees of councils, which were so frequently levelled at the immoralities of those who were distinguished by the appellation of clerks; for, what necessity would there have been for the enactment of so many

See his Apologeticum pro Synodo, in the xvth volume of the Bibliotheca Magna Patrum. One would think that this servile adulator had never read the 4th verse of the 2d chapter of St. Paul's 2d Epistle to the Thessalonians, where the Anti-Christ, or man of sin, is described in the very terms in which he represents the authority of the pontiff Symmachus.

b See particularly the truth of this assertion, with respect to Spain, in Geddes' Dissertation on the Papal Supremacy, chiefly with relation to the ancient Spanish Church, which is to be found in vol. ii. of his Miscellaneous Tracts. See Mascovii Hist. German. tom. ii. not. p. 113. d Basnage, Histoire des Eglises Reformées, tom. i. p. 381. See the citations from Gregory the Great, collected by Launoy, de regiâ Potestate in Matrimon. tom. i. op. part ii. p. 691, and in his Assertio in Privilegium S. Medardi, p. 272, tom. iii. op. part ii. See also Giannone, Historia di Napoli, tom. ii.

laws to restrain the vices, and to preserve the morals of the ecclesiastical orders, if they had fulfilled even the obligations of external decency, or shown, in the general tenor of their lives, a certain degree of respect for religion and virtue? Be that as it will, the effect of all these laws and edicts was so inconsiderable as to be scarcely perceived; for so high was the veneration paid, at this time, to the clergy, that their most flagitious crimes were corrected by the slightest and gentlest punishments; an unhappy circumstance, which added to their presumption, and rendered them more daring and audacious in iniquity.

IV. The bishops of Rome, who considered themselves as the chiefs and fathers of the Christian church, are not to be excepted from this censure, any more than the clergy who were under their jurisdiction. We may form some notion of their humility and virtue by that long and ve hement contention, which arose in 498, between Symmachus and Laurentius, who were on the same day elected to the pontificate by different parties, and whose dispute was, at length, decided by Theodoric king of the Goths. Each of these ecclesiastics maintained obstinately the validity' of his election; they reciprocally accused each other of the most detestable crimes; and to their mutual dishonour, their accusations did not appear, on either side, entirely destitute of foundation. Three different councils, assembled at Rome, endeavoured to terminate this odious schism, but without success. A fourth was summoned, by Theodoric, to examine the accusations brought against Symmachus, to whom this prince had, at the beginning of the schism, adjudged the papal chair. This council met about the commencement of the century, and in it the Roman pontiff was acquitted of the crimes laid to his charge. But the adverse party refused to acquiesce in this decision; and this gave occasion to Ennodius of Ticinum (now Pavia) to draw up his adulatory Apology for the Council and Symmachus. In this apology, which disguises the truth under the seducing colours of a gaudy rhetoric, the reader will perceive that the foundations of that enormous power, which the popes afterwards acquired, were now laid; but he will in vain seek, in this laboured production, any satisfactory proof of the injustice of the charge brought against Symmachus."

V. The number, credit, and influence of the monks, augmented daily in all parts of the Christian world. They multiplied so prodigiously in the east, that whole armies might have been raised out of the monastic order, without any sensible diminution of that enormous body. The monastic life was also highly honoured, and had an incredible number of patrons and followers in all the western provinces, as appears from the rules which were prescribed in this century, by various doctors, for directing the conduct of the cloistered monks, and the holy virThis schism may be truly termed odious, as it was carried on assassinations, massacres, and all the cruel proceedings of a desperate civil war. See Paulus Diaconus, lib. xvii.


This apology may be seen in the fifteenth volume of the Magn. Bibl. Patrum, p. 248.

That Symmachus was never fairly acquitted, may be presumed from the first, and proved from the second of the following circumstances: first, that Theodoric, who was a wise and equitable prince, and who had attentively examined the charge brought against him, would not have referred the decision to the bishops, if the matter had been clear, but would have pronounced judgment himself, as he had formerly done with respect to the legality of his election. The second circumstance is, that the council acquitted him without even hearing those who accused him, and he himself did not appear, though frequently summoned.

gins, who had sacrificed their capacity of being useful in || his order to promise, at the time of their being received as the world, to the gloomy charms of a convent. In GreatBritain, a certain abbot, named Congal, is said to have persuaded an incredible number of persons to abandon the affairs, obligations, and duties of social life, and to spend the remainder of their days in solitude, under a rule of discipline, of which he was the inventor.b His disciples travelled through many countries, in which they propagated, with such success, the contagion of this monastic devotion that, in a short time, Ireland, Gaul, Germany, and Switzerland, swarmed with those lazy orders, and were, in a manner, covered with convents. The most illustrious disciple of the abbot now mentioned, was Columban, whose singular rule of discipline is yet extant, and surpasses all the rest in simplicity and brevity. The monastic orders, in general, abounded with fanatics and profligates; the latter were more numerous than the former in the western convents, while in those of the east, the fanatics were predominant.

VI. A new order, which in a manner absorbed all the others that were established in the west, was instituted, in 529, by Benedict of Nursia, a man of piety and reputation for the age he lived in. From his rule of discipline, which is yet extant, we learn that it was not his intention to impose it upon all the monastic societies, but to form an order whose discipline should be milder, establishment more solid, and manners more regular, than those of the other monastic bodies; and whose members, during the course of a holy and peaceful life, were to divide their time between prayer, reading, the education of youth, and other pious and learned labours. But in process of time, the followers of this celebrated ecclesiastic degenerated sadly from the piety of their founder, and lost sight of the duties of their station, and the great end of their establishment. Having acquired immense riches from the devout liberality of the opulent, they sunk into luxury, intemperance, and sloth, abandoned themselves to all sorts of vices, extended their zeal and attention to worldly affairs, insinuated themselves into the cabinets of princes, took part in political cabals and court factions, made a vast augmentation of superstitious ceremonies in their order, to blind the multitude and supply the place of their expiring virtue; and among other meritorious enterprises, laboured most ardently to swell the arrogance, by enlarging the power and authority of the Roman pontiff. The good Benedict never dreamed that the great purposes of his institution were to be thus perverted; much less did he give any encouragement or permission to such flagrant abuses. His rule of discipline was neither favourable to luxury nor to ambition; and it is still celebrated on account of its excellence, though it has not been observed for many ages.

It is proper to remark here, that the institution of Benedict changed, in several respects, the obligations and duties of the monastic life, as it was regulated in the west. Among other things, he obliged those who entered into

These rules are extant in Holstenius' Codex Regularum, part ii. published at Rome in 1661. See also Edm. Martenne et Ursin. Durand. Thesaur. Anecdot. Nov. tom. i. p. 4.

[ocr errors]

Archbishop Usher's Antiq. Eccles. Britan.

Usserii Sylloge Antiq. Epis. Hiber. p. 5-15.-Holstenii Codex Regularum, tom. ii. p. 48.-Mabillon, Præf. ad Sæc. ii. Benedictinum, p. 4.

a See Mabillon, Acta Sanctor. Ord. Bened. Sæc. i. and Annales Ordin. Ben. tom. i. See also Helyot, and the other writers who have given accounts of the monastic orders.

[ocr errors]

See Mabillon, Præf. ad Sæc. iv. Benedict.

novices, and afterwards at their admission as members of the society, to persevere in an obedience to the rules he had laid down, without attempting to change them in any respect. As he was exceedingly solicitous about the stability of his institution, this particular regulation was wise and prudent; and it was so much the more necessary, as, before his time, the monks made no scruple of altering the laws and rules of their founders whenever they thought proper. VII. This new order made a most rapid progress in the west, and soon arrived at the most flourishing state. In Gaul, its interests were promoted by St. Maurus; in Sicily and Sardinia, by Placidus; in England, by Augustin and Mellitus; in Italy, and other countries, by Gregory the Great, who is himself reported to have been for some time a member of this society; and it was afterwards received in Germany by the means of Boniface. This amazing progress of the new order was ascribed by the Benedictines to the wisdom and sanctity of their discipline, and to the miracles wrought by their founder and his followers. But a more attentive view of things will convince the impartial observer, that the protection of the pontiffs, to the advancement of whose grandeur and authority the Benedictines were most servilely devoted, contributed much more to the lustre and influence of their order, than any other circumstances, and indeed more than all other considerations united. But, however general their credit was, they did not reign alone; other orders subsisted in several countries until the ninth century. Then, however, the Benedictines absorbed all the other religious societies, and held unrivalled, the reins of the monastic empire.


VIII. The most celebrated Greek and Oriental writers that flourished in this century, were the following: Procopius of Gaza, who interpreted with success several books of Scripture.i

Maxentius, a monk of Antioch, who, beside several treatises against the sects of his time, composed Scholia on Dionysius the Areopagite.

Agapetus, whose Scheda Regia, addressed to the emperor Justinian, procured him a place among the wisest and most judicious writers of this century.

Eulogius, a presbyter of Antioch, who was the terror of heretics, and a warm and strenuous defender of the orthodox faith.

John, patriarch of Constantinople, who, on account of his austere method of life, was surnamed the Faster, and who acquired a certain degree of reputation by several little productions, and more particularly by his Penitential.

Leontius of Byzantium, whose book against the sects, and other writings, are yet extant.

Evagrius, a scholastic writer, whose Ecclesiastical History is, in many places, corrupted with fabulous narrations. Anastasius of Sinai, whom most writers consider as the author of a trifling performance, written against a sort of

See Mabillon's preface last mentioned, and his Dissertation de Vitâ Monast. Gregorii M. This circumstance, however, is denied by some writers; and among others by Gallonius, concerning whose book upon that subject, see Simon's Lettres Choisies, tom. iii. p. 63.

Anton. Dadini Alteserræ, Origines rei Monasticæ, lib. i. cap. ix. The propagation of the Benedictine order, through the different provinces of Europe, is related by Mabillon, Præf. ad Sæc. i. et ad Sæc. iv. b L'Enfant, Histoire du Concile de Constance, tom. ii.

I See Simon's Critique de la Bibliotheque Ecclesiastique de M. Du Pin, tom. i. p. 197.

« AnteriorContinuar »