Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

always holy, just, and good; in which opinion there is no- || person who instructed these mountaineers in the doctrine thing reprehensible. Others, more nearly approaching of the Monothelites; it is probable, however, from several the sentiment of the Monophysites, imagined that the two circumstances, that it was John Maro, whose name they wills or faculties of volition in Christ were blended into had adopted. One thing, indeed, we know, with the one, in that which they called the personal union: ac- utmost certainty, from the testimony of Tyrius and other knowledging, at the same time, that the distinction between unexceptionable witnesses, as also from the most authentic these wills was perceivable by reason, and that it was also records, that the Maronites retained the opinions of the necessary to distinguish carefully in this matter. The Monothelites until the twelfth century, when, abandoning greatest part of this sect, and those who were also the and renouncing the doctrine of one will in Christ, they most remarkable for their subtilty and penetration, were were re-admitted, in 1182, to the communion of the Romish of opinion, that the human will of Christ was the instru- church. The most learned of the modern Maronites have ment of the divine; or, in other words, never operated or left no method unemployed to defend their church against acted of itself, but was always ruled, influenced, and im- this accusation; they have laboured to prove, by a variety pelled by the divine will; in such a manner, however, that, of testimonies, that their ancestors always persevered in when it was once set in motion, it decreed and operated the catholic faith and in their attachment to the pope, with the ruling principle. The doctrine of one will, and without ever adopting the doctrines, either of the Monoof one operation in Christ, which the Monothelites main-physites or Monothelites. But all their efforts are insuffitained with such invincible obstinacy, was a natural con- cient to prove the truth of these assertions to such as have sequence of this hypothesis, since the operation of an in- any acquaintance with the history of the church, and the strument and of the being who employs it, is one simple records of ancient times; for, to all such, the testimonies operation, and not two distinct operations or energies. they allege will appear absolutely fictitious and destitute of According to this view of things, the Eutychian doctrine authority. was quite out of the question; and the only point of controversy to be determined, was, whether the human will in Christ was a self-moving faculty determined by its own internal impulse, or derived all its motion and operations from the divine.

In the mean time, we may learn from this controversy, that nothing is more precarious, and nothing more dangerous and deceitful, than the religious peace and concord which are founded upon ambiguous doctrines, and cemented by obscure and equivocal propositions, or articles of faith. The partisans of the council of Chalcedon endeavoured to ensnare the Monophysites, by proposing their doctrine in a manner that admitted a double explication; and, by this imprudent piece of cunning, which showed so little reverence for the truth, they involved both the church and state in tedious and lamentable divisions.

XI. The doctrine of the Monothelites, condemned and exploded by the council of Constantinople, found a place of refuge among the Mardaites, a people who inhabited the mounts Libanus and Anti-Libanus, and who, about the conclusion of this century, were called Maronites, from Maro their first bishop, a name which they still retain. No ancient writers give any certain account of the first

• This ecclesiastic received the name of Maro, from his having lived in the character of a monk in the famous convent of St. Maro, upon the borders of the Orontes, before his settlement among the Mardaites. For an ample account of this prelate, see Assemani Biblioth. Orient. Clement. Vatic. tom. i. p. 496.

b The cause of the Maronites has been pleaded by the writers of that nation, such as Abraham Ecchellensis, Gabriel Sionita, and others; but the most ample defence of their uninterrupted orthodoxy was made by Faustus Nairon, partly in his Dissertatio de Origine, Nomine, ac Religione Maronitarum, published at Rome in 1679, and partly in his Euoplia Fidei Catholicæ ex Syrorum et Chaldæorum Monumentis, published in 1694. None of the learned, however, appeared to be persuaded by his arguments, except Pagi* and La Rocque, of whom the latter has given us, in his Voyages de Syrie et de Mont-Liban, tom. ii. p. 28-128, a long dissertation concerning the origin of the Maronites. Even the learned Assemanus, himself a Maronite, and who has spared no pains to defend his nation t against the reproach in question, ingenuously acknowledges, that among the arguments used by Nairon and others in favour of the Maronites, there are many destitute of force. See Jo. Morinus,

XII. Neither the sixth general council, in which the Monothelites were condemned, nor the fifth, which had been assembled in the preceding century, had determined any thing concerning ecclesiastical discipline, or religious ceremonies. To supply this defect, a new episcopal assem bly was holden in pursuance of the order of Justinian II. in a spacious hall of the imperial palace called Trullus, i. e. Cupola, from the form of the building. This council, which met in 692, was called Quinisextum, as we had occasion to observe formerly, from its being considered, by the Greeks, as a supplement to the fifth and sixth oecumenical councils, and as having given to the acts of these assemblies the degree of perfection which they had hitherto wanted. There are yet extant a hundred and two laws, which were enacted in this council, and which related to the external celebration of divine worship, the government of the church, and the lives and manners of Christians. Six of these are diametrically opposite to several opinions and rites of the Romish church; for which reason the pontiffs have refused to adopt, without restriction, the decisions of this council, or to reckon it in the number of those called oecumenical, though they consider the greatest part of its decrees as worthy of applause."

[

de Ordinat. Sacris, p. 380.-Rich. Simon, Histoire Critique des Chretiens Orientaux, chap. xiii. p. 146.-Euseb. Renaudot, Historia Patriarchar. Alexandrinor. p. 179., and Præf. ad Liturgias Orientales.-Le Brun, Explication de la Messe, tom. ii. The arguments of the contending parties are enumerated impartially in such a manner as leaves the decision to the reader, by Le Quien, in his Oriens Christianus, tom. iii.

See Franc. Pagi Breviar. Pontif. Roman. tom. i. p. 486., and Christ. Lupus, Dissertat. de Concilio Trulliano, in Notis et Dissertat. ad Concilia, tom. iii. op. p. 168. The Roman Catholics reject the following decisions of this council: 1. The fifth canon, which approves the eightyfive apostolical canons commonly attributed to Clement: 2. the thirteenth, which allows the priests to marry: 3. the fifty-fifth, which condemns the Sabbath fast, that was an institution of the Latin church: 4. the sixtyseventh, which prescribes the most rigorous abstinence from blood and things strangled: 5. the eighty-second, which prohibits the representing of Christ under the image of a lamb: 6. the thirty-sixth, concerning the equal rank and authority of the bishops of Rome and Constantinople. *See Critica Baroniana ad A. 694.

† See Biblioth. Oriental. Vatican. tom. i. p. 496.

ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY;

BOOK THE THIRD,

CONTAINING THE

HISTORY OF THE CHURCH

FROM

CHARLEMAGNE TO THE REFORMATION BY LUTHER.

PART I.

THE EXTERNAL HISTORY OF THE CHURCH.

CHAPTER I.

that country; but this first attempt was unsuccessful; and

Concerning the prosperous Events which happened to a war breaking out between Radbod, the king of that

the Church in this Century.

a

I. WHILE the Mohammedans were infesting with their arms, and adding to their conquests, the most flourishing provinces of Asia, and obscuring, as far as their influence could extend, the lustre and glory of the rising church, the Nestorians of Chaldea were carrying the lamp of Christianity among those barbarous nations, called Scythians by the ancients, and by the moderns, Tartars, who, unsubjected to the Saracen yoke, had fixed their habitations within the limits of mount Imaus. It is now well known, that Timotheus, the Nestorian pontiff, who had been raised to that dignity in 778, converted to the Christian faith, by the ministry of Subchal Jesu, whom he had consecrated bishop, first the Gela and Dailamites by whom a part of Hyrcania was inhabited; and afterwards, by the labours of other missionaries, the rest of the nations, who had formed settlements in Hyrcania, Bactria, Margiana, and Sogdia. It is also certain, that Christianity enjoyed, in these vast regions, notwithstanding occasional attacks from the Mohammedans, the advantages of a firm and solid establishment for a long course of ages; while the bishops, by whose ministry it was propagated and supported, were all consecrated by the sole authority of the Nestorian pontiff.

b

II. If we turn our eyes toward Europe, we find many nations that were yet unenlightened with the knowledge of the Gospel. Almost all the Germans, (if we except the Bavarians, who had embraced Christianity under Theodoric, or Thierry, the son of Clovis, and the eastern Franks, with a few other provinces,) lay buried in the grossest darkness of pagan superstition. Many attempts were made, by pious and holy men, to infuse the truth into the minds of these savage Germans; and various efforts were used for the same purpose by kings and princes, whose interest it was to propagate a religion that was so adapted to mitigate and tame the ferocity of those warlike nations; but neither the attempts of pious zeal, nor the efforts of policy, were attended with success. This great work was, however, effected in this century, by the ministry of Winfred, a Benedictine monk, born in England of illustrious parents, and afterwards known by the name of Boniface. This famous ecclesiastic, attended by two companions of his pious labours, passed over into Friseland in 715, to preach the Gospel to the people of

The southern regions of Scythia were divided by the ancients (to whom the northern were unknown) into three parts, namely, Scythia within, and Scythia beyond Imaus, and Sarmatia. It is of the first of these three that Dr. Mosheim speaks, as enlightened at this time with the knowledge of the Gospel; and it comprehended Turkestan, the Mongol, Usbeck, Kalmuck, and Nogaian Tartary, which were peopled by the Bactrians Sogdians, Gandari, Sacs, and Massagetes, not to mention the land of

country, and Charles Martel, our zealous missionary returned to England. He resumed, however, his pious undertaking in 719; and being solemnly empowered by the Roman pontiff, Gregory II., to preach the Gospel, not only in Friseland, but all over Germany, he performed the functions of a christian teacher among the Thuringians, Friselanders, and Hessians, with considerable success. III. This eminent missionary was, in 723, consecrated bishop by Gregory II., who changed the name of Winfred into that of Boniface: seconded also by the powerful protection, and encouraged by the liberality of Charles Martel, mayor of the palace to Chilperic, king of France, he resumed his ministerial labours among the Hessians and Thuringians, and finished with glory the task he had undertaken, in which he received considerable assistance from a number of pious and learned men, who repaired to him from England and France. As the Christian churches erected by Boniface were too numerous to be governed by one bishop, this prelate was advanced to the dignity of archbishop, in 738, by Gregory III., by whose authority, and the auspicious protection of Carloman and Pepin, the sons of Charles Martel, he founded the bishoprics of Wurtzburg, Buraburg, Érfort, and Eichstadt, to which he added, in 744, the famous monastery of Fulda. His last promotion (the last recompense of his assiduous labours in the propagation of the truth) was his advancement to the archiepiscopal see of Mentz, in 746, by Zachary, bishop of Rome, by whom he was, at the same time, created primate of Germany and Belgium. In his old age, he returned to Friseland, that he might finish his ministry in the same place where he had entered first upon its functions; but his piety was ill rewarded by that barbarous people, by whom he was murdered in 755, while fifty ecclesiastics, who accompanied him in his journey, shared the same unhappy fate.

IV. Boniface, on account of his ministerial labours and holy exploits, was distinguished by the honourable title of the Apostle of the Germans; nor, if we consider impartially the eminent services he rendered to Christianity, will this title appear to have been undeservedly bestowed. But it is necessary to observe, that this eminent prelate was an apostle of modern fashion, and had, in many respects, departed from the excellent model exhibited in the conduct and ministry of the primitive and true apostles. Beside his zeal for the glory and authority of the Roman

Siberia, Samoiedia, and Nova Zembla, which were uninhabited in ancient times.

b Thomas Margensis, Historia Monastica, lib. iii. in Assemani Biblioth. Orient. Vatic. tom. iii.

An ample account of this eminent man is to be found in a learned dissertation of Gudenius, de S. Bonifacio German. Apost, published at Helmstadt in 1722. See also Fabricii Bib. Lat. medii Evi, tom. i. p.

pontiff, which equalled, if it did not surpass, his zeal for || formidable people, who inhabited a considerable part of the service of Christ and the propagation of his religion, Germany, and were engaged in perpetual quarrels with many other things unworthy of a truly Christian minis- the Franks concerning their boundaries, and other matter are laid to his charge. In combating the pagan su- ters of complaint. Hence Charlemagne turned his arms perstitions, he did not always use those arms with which against this powerful nation, in 772, with a design, not the ancient heralds of the Gospel gained such victories in only to subdue that spirit of revolt with which they had behalf of the truth; but often employed violence and so often troubled the empire, but also to abolish their idolaterror, and sometimes artifice and fraud, in order to mul- trous worship, and engage them to embrace the Christian tiply the number of Christians. His epistles, moreover, religion. He hoped, by their conversion, to vanquish their discover an imperious and arrogant temper, a cunning obstinacy, imagining that the divine precepts of the Gosand insidious turn of mind, an excessive zeal for increas- pel would assuage their impetuous and restless passions, ing the honours and pretensions of the sacerdotal order, mitigate their ferocity, and induce them to submit quietly and a profound ignorance of many things of which the to the government of the Franks. These projects were knowledge was absolutely necessary in an apostle, and great in idea, but difficult in execution; accordingly, the particularly of the true nature and genius of the Chris- first attempt to convert the Saxons, after having subdued tian religion. them, was unsuccessful, because it was made, without the aid of violence or threats, by the bishops and monks, whom the victor had left among that conquered people, whose obstinate attachment to idolatry no arguments or exhortations could overcome. More forcible means were afterwards used to draw them into the pale of the church, in the wars which Charlemagne carried on, in the years 775, 776, and 780, against that valiant people, whose love of liberty was excessive, and whose aversion to every species of sacerdotal authority was inexpressible. During these wars, their attachment to the superstition of their ancestors was so warmly combated by the allurements of reward, by the terror of punishment, and by the imperious language of victory, that they suffered themselves to be baptised, though with inward reluctance, by the missionaries whom the emperor sent among them for that purpose.' Fierce seditions, indeed, were soon after renewed, and fomented by Witekind and Albion, two of the most valiant among the Saxon chiefs, who attempted to abolish the Christian worship by the same violent methods which had contributed to its establishment. But the courage and liberality of Charlemagne, alternately employed to suppress this new rebellion, engaged these chiefs to make a public and solemn profession of Christianity in 785, and to promise an adherence to that divine religion for the rest of their days. To prevent, however, the Saxons from renouncing a religion which they had embraced with relucexacting tithes, and extending their authority, than in propagating the sublime truths and precepts of the Gospel; and yet these very apostles are said to have wrought stupendous miracles.

V. The famous prelate, of whom we have been now speaking, was not the only Christian minister who attempted to deliver the German nations from the miserable bondage of pagan superstition; several others signalized their zeal in the same laudable and pious undertaking. Corbinian, a French Benedictine monk, after having laboured with great assiduity and fervour in planting the Gospel among the Bavarians, and in other countries, became bishop of Freysingen. Firmin, a Gaul by birth, preached the Gospel under various kinds of suffering and opposition in Alsatia, Bavaria, and Helvetia, now Switzerland, and had inspection over a considerable number of monasteries. Lebuin, an Englishman, laboured with the most ardent zeal and assiduity to engage the fierce and warlike Saxons, and also the Friselanders, Belgæ, and other nations, to receive the light of Christianity: but his ministry was attended with very little fruit. We pass over in silence several apostles of less fame; nor is it necessary to mention Willibrod, and others of superior reputation, who persisted now with great alacrity and constancy in the labours they had undertaken in the preceding century, in or der to the propagation of divine truth.

C

VI. A war broke out at this time between Charlemagne and the Saxons, which contributed much to the propagation of Christianity, though not by the force of a rational persuasion. The Saxons of that age were a numerous and 709.-Hist. Liter. de la France, tom. iv. p. 92, and Mabillon, in Annalibus Benedictinis.

The French Benedictine monks ingenuously confess that Boniface was an over-zealous partizan of the Roman pontiff, and attributed more authority to him than was just and reasonable. Their words, in their Histoire Literaire de la France, tom. iv. p. 106, are as follow: "Il exprime son devouement pour le Saint Siege en des termes qui ne sont pas assez proportionnés à la dignité du caractere episcopal."

b Baronius, Annal. Eccles. tom. viii. ad annum 716. sect. 10. Car. Maichelbeck, Historia Frisingensis, tom. i.

Herm. Bruschii, Chronologia Monaster. German. p. 30. Anton. Pagi, Critica in Annales Baronii, tom. ii. ad annum 759, sect. ix. Histoire Literaire de la France, tom. iv. p. 124.

a Hucbaldi Vita S. Lebuini in Laur. Surii Vitis Sanctor. d. 12. Nov. p. 277.-Jo. Molleri Cimbria Literata, tom. ii. p. 464.

It will be proper here to transcribe, from the epistles of the famous Alcuin, once abbot of Canterbury, a remarkable passage, which will show us the reasons that contributed principally to give the Saxons an aversion to Christianity, and at the same time will expose the absurd and preposterous manner of teaching used by the ecclesiastics who were sent to convert them. This passage, in the 104th epistle, and 1647th page of his works, is as follows: "Si tanta instantia leve Christi jugum et onus ejus leve durissimo Saxonum populo prædicarentur, quanta decimarum redditivel legalis pro parvissimis quibuslibet culpis edictis necessitas exigebatur, forte baptismatis sacramenta non abhorrerent. Sint tandem aliquando doctores fidei apostolicis eruditi exemplis: sint prædicatores, non prædatores." Here the reader may see a lively picture of the kind of apostles that flourished at this time: apostles who were more zealous in

e

See

Alcuinus apud Gul. Malmesbur. de Gestis Regum Anglorum, lib. i. cap. iv. p. 23, inter Rer. Anglic. Script. edit. Francof. 1601. In this work we find the following passage, which proves what we have said with respect to the unworthy methods that were used in converting the Saxons. Antiqui Saxones et omnes Fresonum populi, instante rege Carolo, alios præmiis et alios minis solicitante, ad fidem Christi conversi sunt." also two passages in the Capitularia Regum Francor. tom. i. p. 246 and 252. From the first we learn, that those Saxons who abandoned the pagan superstitions were "restored to the liberty they had forfeited by the fate of arms, and freed from the obligation of paying tribute;" and in the second, we find the following severe law, that " every Saxon who contemptuously refused to receive the sacrament of baptism, and persisted in his adherence to Paganism, was to be punished with death." While such rewards and punishments were employed in the cause of religion, there was no occasion for miracles to advance its progress; for these motives were sufficient to draw all mankind to an hypocritical and external profession of the Gospel; but it is easy to imagine what sort of Christians the Saxons must have been, who were dragooned into the church in this abominable manner. Compare with the authors mentioned in this note, Launoius, de veteri More baptizandi Judæos et Infideles, cap. v. vi. p. 703, tom. ii. op. part ii. This author assures us, that Adrian, the first Roman pontiff of that name, honoured with his approbation Charlemagne's method of converting the Saxons.

Eginhartus, de Vitâ Caroli M.-Adam Bremensis, lib. i. cap. viii. See also the writers of the history and exploits of Charlemagne, enu

« AnteriorContinuar »