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being effectually suppressed or totally extirpated. Though || they had been persecuted and afflicted with a variety of hardships, trials, and calamities, yet they still subsisted, and continued to excite dissensions and tumults in many places. The Manicheans are said to have gained such a degree of influence among the Persians, as to have corrupted even the son of Kobad, the monarch of that nation, who repaid their zeal in making proselytes with a terrible massacre, in which numbers of that impious sect perished in the most dreadful manner. Nor was Persia the only country which was troubled with the attempts of the Manicheans to spread their odious doctrine; other provinces of the empire were undoubtedly infected with their errors, as we may judge from the book that was written against them by Heraclian, bishop of Chalcedon. In Gaul and Africa, dissensions of a different kind prevailed; and the controversy between the Semi-Pelagians and the disciples of Augustin continued to divide the western churches.


II. The Donatists enjoyed the sweets of freedom and tranquillity, as long as the Vandals reigned in Africa; but the scene was greatly changed with respect to them, when the empire of these barbarians was overturned in 534. They, however, still remained in a separate body, and not only held their church, but, toward the conclusion of this century, and particularly from the year 591, defended themselves with new degrees of animosity and vigour, and were bold enough to attempt the multiplication of their sect. Gregory, the Roman pontiff, opposed these efforts with great spirit and assiduity; and as appears from his epistles, tried various methods of depressing this faction, which was pluming its wings anew, and aiming at the revival of those lamentable divisions which it had formerly excited in the church. Nor was the opposition of the zealous pontiff without effect; it seems on the contrary to have been attended with the desired success, since in this century, the church of the Donatists dwindled away to nothing, and after this period no traces of it are to be found. III. About the commencement of this century, the Arians were triumphant in several parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe. Many of the Asiatic bishops favoured them secretly, while their opinions were openly professed, and their cause maintained by the Vandals in Africa, the Goths in Italy, the Spaniards, the Burgundians, the Suevi, and the greatest part of the Gauls. It is true, that the Greeks, who had received the decrees of the council of Nice, persecuted and oppressed the Arians wherever their influence and authority could reach; but the Nicenians, in their turn, were not less rigorously treated by their adversaries, particularly in Africa and Italy, where they felt, in a very severe manner, the weight of the Arian power, and the bitterness of hostile resentment.c

The triumphs of Arianism were, however, transitory, and its prosperous days were entirely eclipsed, when the Vandals were driven out of Africa, and the Goths out of

See Photius, Biblioth. cod. cxiv. p. 291.

See his Epis. lib. iv. ep. xxxiv. xxxv. p. 714, 715, lib. vi. ep. lxv. p. 841, ep. xxxvii. p. 821, lib. ix. ep. liii. p. 972. lib. ii. ep. xlviii. p. 611, t. ii. op. Procopius, de Bello Vandal. lib. i. cap. viii, and de Bello Gothico, lib. ii. cap. ii.-Evagrius, Hist. Ecclesiast. lib. iv. cap. xv.

d See Mascovii Historia German. tom. ii. p. 76, 91. See also an account of the barbarian kings, who abandoned Arianism, and received the doctrines of the Nicene council, in the Acta Sanctorum, tom. ii. Martii, p. 275, and April. p. 134.

• Cosmas Indicopleustes, Topograph. Christian. lib. ii. p. 125, which is to be found in Montfaucon's Collectio nova PP. Græcorum.

Italy, by the arms of Justinian; for the other Arian princes were easily induced to abandon, themselves, the doctrine of that sect; and not only so, but to employ the force of laws and the authority of councils to prevent its progress among their subjects, and to extirpate it entirely out of their dominions. Such was the conduct of Sigismond king of the Burgundians; also of Theodimir king of the Suevi, who had settled in Lusitania; and Recared king of Spain. Whether this change was produced by the force of reason and argument, or by the influence of hopes and fears, is a question which we shall not pretend to determine. One thing, however, is certain, that, from this period, the Arian sect declined apace, and could never after recover any considerable degree of stability and consistence. IV. The Nestorians, after having gained a firm footing in Persia, and established the patriarch or head of their sect at Seleucia, extended their views, and spread their doctrines, with a success equal to the ardour of their zeal, through the provinces situated beyond the limits of the Roman empire. There are yet extant authentic records, from which it appears, that throughout Persia, as also in India, Armenia, Arabia, Syria, and other countries, there were vast numbers of Nestorian churches, all under the jurisdiction of the patriarch of Seleucia. It is true, indeed that the Persian monarchs were not all equally favourable to this growing sect, and that some of them even persecuted, with the utmost severity, all those who bore the Christian name throughout their dominions; but it is also true that such of these princes, as were disposed to exercise moderation and benignity toward the Christians, were much more indulgent to the Nestorians, than to their adversaries who adhered to the council of Ephesus, since the latter were considered as spies employed by the Greeks, with whom they were connected by the ties of religion.


V. The Monophysites, or Eutychians, flourished also in this century, and had gained over to their doctrine a considerable part of the eastern provinces. The emperor Anastasius was warmly attached to the doctrine and sect of the Acephali, who were reckoned among the more rigid Monophysites; and, in 513, he created patriarch of Antioch, (in the room of Flavian, whom he had expelled from that see,) Severus, a learned monk, of Palestine, from whom the Monophysites were called Severians. This emperor exerted all his influence and authority to destroy the credit of the council of Chalcedon in the east, and to maintain the cause of those who adhered to the doctrine of one nature in Christ; and by the ardour and vehemence of his zeal, he excited the most deplorable seditions and tumults in the church. After the death of Anastasius, which happened in 518, Severus was expelled in his turn; and the sect which the late emperor had maintained and propagated with such zeal and assiduity, was every where opposed and depressed by his successor Justin, and the following emperors, in such a manner, that

Asseman. Biblioth. Orient. Vatic. tom. iii. part i. p. 109, 407, 411, 441, 449; tom. iii. part ii. cap. v. sect. ii. p. 83.

Evagrius, Hist. Ecclesiast. lib. iii. cap. xxx. xliv., &c. Theodori Hist. Ecclesiast. lib. ii. p. 562. See also the Index Operum Severi, as it stands collected from ancient MSS. in Montfaucon's Bibliotheca Coisliniana, p. 53.

h See Asseman. Biblioth. Orient. Vatican. tom. ii. p. 47, 321.-Euseb. Renaudot, Historia Patriarch. Alexandrinor. p. 127, &c.

i Evagrius, Hist. Ecclesiast. lib. iii. cap. xxxiii.-Cyrillus, vita Saba in Jo. Bapt. Cotelerii Monument. Ecclesiæ Græcæ, tom. iii. p. 312.Bayle's Dictionary, at the article Anastasius.

it seemed to be on the very brink of ruin, notwithstand- || and subtile controversy concerning the body of Christ ing that it had created Sergius patriarch in the place of which arose at Alexandria. Julian, bishop of HalicarnasSeverus.a sus, affirmed, in 519, that the divine nature had so insinuated itself into the body of Christ, from the very moment of the Virgin's conception, that the body of our Lord changed its nature, and became incorruptible. This opinion was also embraced by Caianus, bishop of Alexandria; from whom those who adopted it were called Caianists. They were, however, divided into three sects, two of which debated this question, whether the body of Christ was created or uncreated, while the third asserted, that our Lord's body was indeed corruptible, but never actually corrupted, since the energy of the divine nature must have prevented its dissolution.

VI. When the affairs of the Monophysites were in such a desperate situation, that almost all hope of their recovery had vanished, and their bishops were reduced, by death and imprisonment, to a very small number, an obscure man whose name was Jacob, and who was distinguished from others so called, by the surname of Baradæus, or Zanzalus, restored this expiring sect to its former prosperity and lustre. This poor monk, the greatness of whose views rose far above the obscurity of his station, and whose fortitude and patience no dangers could daunt, nor any labours exhaust, was ordained to the episcopal office by a handful of captive bishops, travelled on foot through the whole east, established bishops and presbyters every where, revived the drooping spirits of the Monophysites, and produced such an astonishing change in their affairs by the power of his eloquence, and by his incredible activity and diligence, that when he died bishop of Edessa, in 578, he left his sect in a most flourishing state in Syria, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Egypt, Nubia, Abyssinia, and other countries. This dexterous monk had prudence to contrive the means of success, as well as activity to put them in execution; for he almost totally extinguished all the animosities, and reconciled all the factions, that had divided the Monophysites; and when their churches grew so numerous in the east, that they could not all be conveniently comprehended under the sole jurisdiction of the patriarch of Antioch, he appointed, as his assistant, the primate of the east, whose residence was at Tagritis, on the borders of Armenia. The laborious efforts of Jacob were seconded in Egypt and the adjacent countries, by Theodosius bishop of Alexandria; and he became so famous, that all the Monophysites of the east considered him as their second parent and founder, and are to this day called Jacobites, in honour of their new chief.

VII. Thus it happened, that, by the imprudent zeal and violence which the Greeks employed in defending the truth, the Monophysites gained considerable advantages, and, at length, obtained a solid and permanent settlement. From this period their sect has been under the jurisdiction of the patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch, who, notwithstanding the difference of opinion which subsists, with respect to some points, between the Syrian and Egyptian Monophysites, are exceedingly careful to maintain communion with each other, both by letters, and by the exchange of good offices. The Abyssinian primate is subject to the patriarch of Alexandria; and the primate of the east, who resides at Tagritis, is under the jurisdiction of the patriarch of Antioch. The Armenians are ruled by a bishop of their own, and are distinguished by certain opinions and rites from the rest of the Monophysites.

VIII. The sect of the Monophysites, before it was thus happily established, was torn with factions and intestine disputes, and suffered, in a particular manner, from that nice

See Abulpharajii Series Patriarch. Antiochen. in Biblioth. Orient. Vatican. tom. ii.

b See Biblioth. Orient. &c. tom. ii. cap. viii. p. 62, 72, 326, 331, 414.Eusebii Renaud. Hist. Patriarch. Alexandr. p. 119, 133, 425, and the Liturgia Orient. tom. ii. p. 333, 342.-Faustus Naironus, Euoplia Fidei Catholicæ ex Syrorum Monumentis, part i. p. 40, 41.

With regard to the Nubians and Abyssinians, see the Biblioth. Orient. tom. ii. p. 330.-Lobo, Voyage d'Abyssinie, tom. ii. p. 36.—Ludolph. Commentar. ad Historiam Ethiopicam, p. 451.

This sect was warmly opposed by Severus of Antioch, and Damianus, who maintained that the body of Christ, before his resurrection, was truly corruptible, i. e. subject to the affections and changes with which human nature is generally attended. Those who embraced the opinion of Julian, were called Aphthartodocetæ, Docetæ, Phantasiasts, and even Manicheans, because it was supposed to follow from their hypothesis, that Christ did not suffer in reality, but only in appearance, hunger and thirst, pain and death; and that he did not actually assume the common affections and properties of human nature. On the other hand, the votaries of Severus were distinguished by the names Phthartolatræ, Ktistolatræ, and Creaticola. This miserable controversy was carried on with great warmth under the reign of Justinian, who favoured the Aphthartodoceta; soon after, it subsided gradually; and, at length, was happily hushed in silence. Xenaias of Hierapolis struck out an hypothesis upon this knotty matter, which seemed equally remote from those of the contending parties; for he maintained that Christ had, indeed, truly suffered the various sensations to which humanity is exposed, but that he suffered them not in his nature, but by a submissive act of his will.

IX. Some of the Corrupticolæ, (for so they were called who looked upon the body of Christ to be corruptible,) particularly Themistius, a deacon of Alexandria, and Theodosius, a bishop of that city, were led by the inconsiderate heat of controversy into another opinion, which produced new commotions in the church toward the conclusion of this century. They affirmed, that to the divine nature of Christ all things were known, but that from his human nature many things were concealed. The rest of the sect charged the authors of this opinion with imputing ignorance to the divine nature of Christ, since they held, that there was but one nature in the Son of God. Hence the votaries of this new doctrine were called Agnoëtæ; but their sect was so weak and ill-supported, that, notwithstanding their eloquence and activity, which seemed to promise better success, it gradually declined, and came to nothing.

X. From the controversies with the Monophysites arose the sect of the Tritheists, whose chief was John Ascusnage, d Asseman. Biblioth. Orient. tom. ii. p. 410. See also this learned writer's Dissertatio de Monophysitis.

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Timotheus, de Receptione Hæreticorum, in Cotelerii Monumentis Ecclesiæ Græcæ, tom. iii. p. 409.-Liberatus, in Breviario Controv. cap. xx.-Forbesii Instructiones Historico-Theologica, lib. iii. cap. xviii. p. 108.-Asseman. Biblioth. Oriental. tom. iii. part ii. p. 457.

f Biblioth. Orient. tom. ii. p. 22, and 168.

Cotelerius, ad Monumenta Ecclesiæ Græcæ, tom. iii. p. 641.-Mich. le Quien, ad Damascenum de Hæresibus, tom. i. p. 107.-Forbes, Ins

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a Syrian philosopher, and, at the same time, a Monophy-rated and corrupted, and that both therefore were to be site. This man imagined in the Deity three natures, or restored in the resurrection. Conon held, on the contrary, substances, absolutely equal in all respects, and joined toge- that the body never lost its form: that its matter alone ther by no common essence; to which opinion his adver- was subject to corruption and decay, and was consequentsaries gave the name of Tritheism. One of the warmest ly to be restored when this mortal shall put on inmordefenders of this doctrine was John Philoponus, an Alex- tality.' andrian philosopher, and a grammarian of the highest A third faction was that of the Damianists, who were reputation; and hence he has been considered by many so called from Damian bishop of Alexandria, and whose as the author of this sect, whose members have conse- opinion concerning the Trinity was different from those quently derived from him the title of Philoponists." already mentioned. They distinguished the divine essence from the three persons, and denied that each person was God, when considered in itself, abstractedly from the other two; but affirmed that there was a common divinity, by the joint participation of which each was God. They therefore called the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, hypostases, or persons, and the Godhead, which was common to them all, substance or nature.

This sect was divided into two parties, the Philoponists and the Cononites; the latter of whom were so called from Conon bishop of Tarsus, their chief. They agreed in the doctrine of three persons in the Godhead, and differed only in their manner of explaining what the Scriptures taught concerning the resurrection of the body. Philoponus maintained, that the form and matter of all bodies were gene

tructiones Historico-Theo. lib. iii. cap. xix. p. 119.-Photius, Bib. Cod. 230.
See Gregor. Abulpharajius, in Biblioth. Orient. tom. i. p. 328.
See Fabricii Biblioth. Græc. lib. v. cap. xxxvii. p. 358-Harduini
Concilia, tom. iii. p. 1288.-Timotheus, de Receptione Hæreticorum,

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apud Cotelerii Monumenta Ecclesiæ Græcæ, tom. iii. p. 414.-Jo. I a-
mascenus, de Hæresibus, tom. i. op.
Photii Biblioth. Cod. xxiv.-Biblioth. Orient. tom. ii. p. 329.
a Biblioth. Orient. tom. ii. p. 78, 332, &c.




sion of the six Anglo-Saxon kings, who had hitherto re

Concerning the prosperous Events which happened in mained under the darkness of the ancient superstitions, to

the Church during this Century.

I. In this century the progress of Christianity was greatly accelerated both in the eastern and western hemispheres, and its divine light was widely diffused through the darkened nations. The Nestorians who dwelt in Syria, Persia, and India, contributed much to its propagation in the east, by the zeal and diligence, the laborious efforts and indefatigable assiduity, with which they preached it to those fierce and barbarous nations, who lived in the remotest regions and deserts of Asia, and among whom, as we learn from authentic records, their ministry was crowned with remarkable success. It was by the labours of this sect, that the light of the Gospel first penetrated into the immense empire of China, about the year 636, when Jesuiabas of Gadala was at the head of the Nestorians, as will appear probable to those who consider as genuine the famous Chinese monument, which was discovered at Sigenfu by the Jesuits during the last century.a Some look, indeed, upon this monument as a mere forgery of the Jesuits, though, perhaps, without reason: there are, however, some unexceptionable proofs, that the northern parts of China, even before this century, abounded with Christians, who, for many succeeding ages, were under the inspection of a metropolitan sent to them by the Chaldean or Nestorian patriarch."

II. The attention and activity of the Greeks were so entirely occupied by their intestine divisions, that they were little solicitous about the progress of Christianity. In the west, Augustin laboured to extend the limits of the church and to spread the light of the Gospel among the AngloSaxons; and, after his death, other monks were sent from Rome, to exert themselves in the same glorious cause. Their efforts were attended with the desired success: and the efficacy of their labours was manifested in the conver

This celebrated monument has been published and explained by several learned writers, particularly by Kircher, in his China Illustrata; by Muller, in a treatise published at Berlin in 1672; by Renaudot, in his Relations anciennes des Indes et de la Chine, de deux Voyageurs Mahometans, p. 228-271, published at Paris in 1718; and by Assemanus, in his Biblioth. Orient. tom. iii. in part ii. cap. iv. sect. 7. p. 533. A still more accurate edition of this famous monument was promised to us by the learned Theoph. Sigefred Bayer, the greatest proficient of this age in Chinese erudition; but his death has blasted our expectations. For my part, I see no reason to doubt the genuineness of this monument; nor can I understand what advantage could redound to the Jesuits from the invention of such a fable. See Liron, Singularités Historiques et Literaires, tom. ii. p. 500.

b See Renaudot, p. 56, 68, &c. also Assemani Biblioth. cap. ix. p. 522; the learned Bayer, in the Preface to his Museum Sinicum, assures us, that he had in his hands such proofs of the truth of what is here affirmed, as put the matter beyond all doubt. See on this subject a very learned dissertation published by M. de Guines in the thirtieth vol. of the Memoires de Literature, tirés des Registres de l'Academie Royale des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, in which he proves that the Christians were settled in China so early as the seventh century. He remarks,

the Christian faith, which gained ground by degrees, and was, at length, embraced universally in Britain. We are not, however, to imagine, that this general change in favour of Christianity was wholly due to the discourses of the Roman monks and doctors; for other causes were certainly instrumental in accomplishing this great event; and it is not to be doubted that the influence which some Christian queens, and ladies of high distinction, had over their husbands, and the pains they took to convert them to Christianity, as also the severe and rigorous laws that were afterwards enacted against idolaters, contributed much to the progress of the Gospel.


III. Many of the British, Scotish, and Irish ecclesiastics, travelled among the Batavian, Belgic, and German nations, with the pious intention of propagating the knowledge of the truth, and of erecting churches, and forming religious establishments. This was the true reason which induced the Germans, in after-times, to found so many con vents for the Scotch and Irish, of which some yet remain.


Columban, an Irish monk, seconded by the labours of a few companions, had happily extirpated, in the preceding century, the ancient superstitions in Gaul, and the parts adjacent, where idolatry had taken the deepest root; he also carried the lamp of celestial truth among the Suevi, the Boii, the Franks, and other German nations, and per severed in these pious and useful labours until his death, which happened in 615. St. Gal, who was one of his companions, preached the Gospel to the Helvetii, and the Suevi. St. Kilian set out from Scotland, the place of his nativity, and exercised the ministerial function with such success among the eastern Franks, that vast numbers of them embraced Christianity. Toward the conclusion of this century, the famous Willebrod, by birth an AngloSaxon, accompanied with eleven of his countrymen, viz. Suidbert, Wigbert, Acca, Wilibald, Unibald, Lebwin, the indeed, that the Nestorians and other Christians were for a long time confounded in the Chinese annals with the worshippers of Fo, an Indian idol, whose rites were introduced into China about 65 years after the birth of Christ; and that this circumstance has deceived De la Croze, Beausobre, and some other learned men, who have raised specious objec tions against the hypothesis that maintains the early introduction of Christianity into this great empire. A reader, properly informed, will pay little or no attention to the account given of this matter by Voltaire in the first volume of his Essai sur l'Histoire Generale. A poet, who recounts facts, or denies them, without deigning to produce his authorities, must not expect to meet with the credit that is due to an historian. Bedæ Historia Ecclesiast. Gentis Anglor. lib. ii. cap. iii. xiv. lib iii. cap. xxi.-Rapin de Thoyras, tom. i.


d Wilkins' Concilia Magnæ Britanniæ, tom. i. p. 222. See the Acta Sanctorum, tom. ii. Febr. p. 362. Mabillon, Acta Sanctor. Ordinis Benedicti, tom. ii. iii.-Adaman. lib. iii. de S. Columbano, in Canisii Lection. Antiq. tom. i.

Walafridi Strabonis Vit. S. Galli in Actis S. Ord. Benedict, tom. ii. -Canisii Lection. Antiq. tom. i.

↳ Vita S. Kiliani in Canisii Lection. Antiq. tom. iii.—Jo. Pet. de Ludewig, Scriptores Rerum Wurzburgens. p. 966.

tian churches, in order to be baptized by violence and compulsion. The same odious method of converting was practised in Spain and Gaul, by the monarchs of those nations, against which even the bishops of Rome expressed their displeasure and indignation. Such were the horrid and abominable practices to which an ignorance of the true spirit of Christianity, and the barbarous genius of this age, led the heralds of that divine religion, which was designed to spread abroad charity upon earth, and to render mankind truly and rationally free.

two Ewalds, Werenfrid, Marcellin, and Adalbert, crossed || tudes of them to be inhumanly dragged into the Chrisover into Batavia, which lay opposite to Britain, in order to convert the Friselanders to the religion of Jesus. Hence, in 692, they went into Fosteland, which most writers look upon to have been the same with the isle of Heligoland, or Heiligland; but, being cruelly treated there by Radbod, king of the Friselanders, who put Wigbert, one of the company, to death, they departed thence for Cimbria, and the adjacent parts of Denmark. They, however, returned to Friseland in 693, and were much more successful than they had formerly been in opposing the ancient superstitions, and propagating the knowledge of divine truth. Willebrod was ordained, by the Roman pontiff, archbishop of Wilteburg, now Utrecht, and died among the Batavians in a good old age, while his associates continued to spread the light of the Gospel among the Westphalians and the neighbouring nations."

IV. These voyages, and many others, undertaken in the cause of Christ, carry, no doubt, a specious appearance of piety and zeal; but the impartial and attentive inquirer after truth will find it impossible to form the same favourable judgment of them all, or to applaud, without distinction, the motives that animated these laborious missionaries. That the designs of some of them were truly pious, and their characters without reproach, is unquestionably certain; but it is equally certain, that this was not the case of them all, or even of the greatest part of them. Many of them discovered, in the course of their ministry, the most turbulent passions, and dishonoured the glorious cause in which they were engaged, by their arrogance and ambition, their avarice and cruelty. They abused the power which they had received from the Roman pontiffs, of forming religious establishments among the superstitious nations; and instead of gaining souls to Christ, they usurped a despotic dominion over their obsequious proselytes, and exercised a princely authority over the countries where their ministry had been successful. Nor are we to consider, as entirely groundless the suspicions of those who allege that many of the monks, desirous of rule and authority, concealed their vices under the mask of religion, and endured for a time the austerities of a rigid mortification and abstinence, merely with a view to rise to the episcopal dignity.

V. The conversion of the Jews seemed at a stand in this century; for few or none of that obstinate nation embraced the Gospel in consequence of an inward conviction of its truth, though in many places they were barbarously compelled, by the Christians, to make an outward and feigned profession of their faith in Christ. The emperor Heraclius, incensed against that miserable people by the insinuations, as it is said, of the Christian doctors, persecuted them in a cruel manner, and ordered multi

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b Eutychii Annales Eccles. Alexandr. tom. ii. p. 212. Eutychii Annales, tom. ii. p. 236. Jo. Henr. Hottingeri Historia Orientalis, lib. i. cap. iii. p. 129.

Mohammed himself expressly declared, that he was totally ignorant of all branches of learning and science, and was even unable either to write or read and his followers have drawn from this ignorance an argument in favour of the divinity of his mission, and of the religion he taught. It is, however, scarcely credible, that his ignorance was such us it is here described; and several of his sect have called in question the declarations of their chief relating to this point. See Chardin's Voyages en Perse, tom. iv. If we consider that he carried on, for a considerable time, a successful commerce in Arabia and the adjacent countries, this alone will convince us, that he must have been, in some measure,


Concerning the calamitous Events that happened to the Church during this Century.

I. THE Christians suffered less in this than in the preceding centuries. They were sometimes persecuted by the Persian monarchs, but usually recovered their former tranquillity after transitory scenes of violence and oppression. In England, the new converts to Christianity suffered various calamities under the petty kings, who governed in those boisterous times; but these kings embraced the Gospel themselves, and then the sufferings of the Christians ceased. In the eastern countries, and particularly in Syria and Palestine, the Jews, at certain times, attacked the Christians with a merciless fury, but with so little success, that they always had reason to repent of their temerity, which was severely chastised. It is true, the church had other enemies, even those who, under the treacherous profession of Christianity, were laying secret schemes for the restoration of Paganism; but they were too weak and too inconsiderable to form any attempts that could endanger the Christian cause.


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II. But a new and most powerful enemy to the Christian cause started up in Arabia in 612, under the reign of Heraclius. This was Mahomet, or Mohammed, an illiterate man, but endowed by nature with the most flowing and attractive eloquence, and with a vast and penetrating genius, distinguished also by the advantages he enjoyed from the place of his birth, which added a lustre to his name and his undertakings. This adventurous impostor publicly declared, that he was commissioned by God to destroy polytheism and idolatry, and then to reform, first the religion of the Arabians, and afterwards the Jewish and Christian worship. For these purposes he delivered a new law, which is known by the name of the Koran i. e. the book, by way of eminence; and, having gained several victories over his enemies, he compelled an incredible multitude of persons, both in Arabia and the neighbouring nations, to receive his doctrine, and range themselves under his standard. Elate with this rapid and instructed in the arts of reading, writing, and arithmetic, with the knowledge of which a merchant cannot dispense.

The writers, to whom we are indebted for the accounts of the life and religion of Mohammed, are enumerated by Fabricius, in his Delectus et Syllabus Argumentorum, pro Veritate Religionis Christianæ; to which we may add Boulainvilliers' Vie de Mahomet, published at London in 1730, which, however, deserves rather the character of a romance, than of a history; Gagnier's Vie de Mahomet, printed at Amsterdam in 1732, and commendable both for the learning and candour with which it appears to have been composed; and, above all, the learned andl judicious Sale's Preliminary Discourse, prefixed to his English translation of the Koran, sect. ii. p. 37.

For an account of the Koran, see principally Sale's preface. See also Vertot's Discours sur l'Alcoran, subjoined to the third volume of his History of the Knights of Malta, and Chardin's Voyages en Perse, tom.

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