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of Constantius, was more than usually violent in com. pelling men to subscribe to the creed of the court. To enable him to effect this design, the civil and military
powers were directed to obey his commands;' and the • sacraments of the church,' says Mr. Gibbon", ' were administered to the reluctant victims, who denied the vocation, and abhorred the principles, of Macedonius. •The rites of baptism were conferred on women and
children, who, for that purpose, had been torn from • the arms of their friends and parents; the mouths of • the communicants were held open by a wooden engine, · while the consecrated bread was forced down their
throats; the breasts of tender virgins were either burnt with red-hot egg-shells, or inhumanly compressed be
tween sharp and heavy boards. The principal asliftants of Macedonius, in the work of persecution, were the two bishops of Nicomedia and Cyzicus.'
Every honeft man is accustomed to express his indig. nation at the barbarous policy adopted by the court of Rome, when its emissaries defolated the towns of the Albigenses, and endeavoured to extirpate heresy by the torch and the sword. But their conduct was by no means unprecedented. Of those who styled themselves the followers of Jesus in the fourth century, some blushed not to be the authors of similar outrages. Macedonius?', being informed that a large district of Paphla
70 Vol. III. p. 396.
79 The manner in which he obtained power corresponded to the man. ner in which he used it. As the claims and the principles of Macedonius were odious to the citizens of Constantinople, he was surrounded with troops of guards with drawe swords, as he passed through the freets of that capital in order to be consecrated. • The military procession ado • vanced towards the cathedral; the. Arians and the Catholics eagerly • sushed to occupy that important poft; and 3150 persons lost their lives • in the confusion of the tumult. Macedonius, who was supported by a • regular force, obtained a decifive vi&ory.' Gibbon, vol. III. p. 394.
gonia' was almost entirely inhabited by the Novatians, who refused to profess his peculiar tenets, 'resolved • either to convert or to extirpate them; and as he dis. 'trufted, on this occasion, the efficacy of an ecclesias
tical million, he commanded a body of four thousand legionaries to march against the rebels, and to reduce
the territory of Mantinium under his spiritual dominion. • The Novatian peasants, animated by despair and religious fury, boldly encountered the invaders of their country; and though many of the Paphlagonians were
flain, the Roman legions were vanquished by an irre*gular multitude, armed only with scythes and axes ; and, except a few who escaped by an ignominious flight, four thousand soldiers were left dead on the field
of battle. The successor of Constantius has expressed, * in a concise but lively manner, some of the theological, calamities which afflicted the empire, and more espe.
cially the East, in the reign of a prince who was the ' slave of his own passions, and of those of his eunuchs.
Many were imprisoned, and persecuted, and driven “ into exile. Whole troops of those who are called “ heretics were massacred, particularly at Cyzicus, and " at Samosata. In Paphlagonia, Bithynia, Galatia, and " in many other provinces, towns and villages were laid “waste, and utterly destroyed","?
When all that has been stated is considered ; and it is moreover recollected, that superstition, and profligacy, and spiritual tyranny, continued to gain ground, and to become get more firmly established, during the 5th, the 6th, and the 7th centuries; the impartial and dispassionate inquirer cannot I think but be of opinion, that bp. Newtono, when he insinuated that the man of fin
do Julian. Epistol. LII. p. 436. edit. Spanheim. 8. Himself an advocate and coforeer of perfecution, bp. Newton was
was not fully manifested before the 8th century, has given fanction to an error, which admits of the cleareft confutation. That a prelate, of such fagacity and hiftoric research, fhould have countenanced a statement so palpably erroneous, needs not however awaken fur. prize; for he plainly perceived, that the admiffion of the contrary opinion would draw after it confequences, which prudence would recommend to be kept out of fight, as being unwelcome and inconvenient to every ad. vocate of every hierarchy. If the prophecy of the man of fin be once admitted to be of general application ; if it can be satisfactorily proved from ecclesiastical history, that the terms of this prophecy correspond not only to the Roman pontiffs, but that it was also exa&tly fulfilled, prior to the acknowledgment of their supremacy, in many different places, and by many different persons ; there will certainly be ftrong reasons for fufpecting, that neither can those churches be unconcerned in the ful. filment of the apostolic prediction, which, in later times, have not only afferted the fame impious claims over the conscience and the thoughts, as the churches of Rome and Antioch and Conftantinople have done, but have likewise imitated in their establifhed conftitution the former of those apoftate churches, and derived from her their articles and creeds, their discipline and ceremonies.
I shall conclude the appendix with some admirable
Bot likely to be much shocked by the intolerant practices of the 4th, the gth, the 6th, and the 7th centuries. In proof of the charge which I here bring forward against the prelate, 1 appeal to his own Works (see his Life, p. 88), and to the conclusion of ch. xiv,
• • In the fourth century,' says Dr. Apthorp,' the bishop of Rome had only the rank of a metropolitan over his own province within the limits • of 200 miles from Rome: he derived his rank from the imperial city, • but was not superior to other metropolitans, was not the patriarch of all • the western churches, much less the monarch of the Chriftian world.' Serm, vol. II. p. 193.
observations of one of the most fair, candid, and unprejudiced writers that ever lived. When superadded to the facts already stated, they are, I think, sufficient to decide the question before proposed : Did that much applauded prince, Constantine the great, upon the whole render service to the cause of Christianity? If," says Dr. Lardner, you make ufe of any methods, besides * those of rational arguments, to induce men to profess and act as you desire, you do what lies in your power to make them lie and prevaricate. So did the coun
cil of Nice.' This council introduced authority and • force in the church, and the affairs of religion. Or, if * authority had been introduced before, they now openly countenanced it, and gave it a farther sanction. This way of acting may be supposed to have been the chief
cause of the ruin of the Chriftian interest in the East. • This and the like determinations of fpeculative doctrines, and the violent methods, by which they were * enforced, may be reckoned to have paved the way for • Mahometanism, more than any thing else. By these means ignorance, and hypocrisy, and tedious rituals, came to take place of honefty, true piety, and undif• sembled, spiritual and reasonable worship and devotion. • In about 300 years after the afcension of Jesus, without • the aids of secular power, or church-authority, the
Christian religion spread over a large part of Asia, Eu* rope, and Africa : and at the accession of Conftantine, s and convening the council of Nice, it was almoft every
where, throughout those countries, in a flourishing con• dition. In the space of another 300 years, or a little * more, the beauty of the Christian religion was greatly
corrupted in a large part of that extent, its glory de' faced, and its light almost extinguished. What can this • be so much owing to, as to the determinations and transactions of the council of Nice, and the meafures
then set on foot, and followed in succeeding times ?
These impositions poison the waters of the sanctuary at * the very fountain. They require the minifters of • Chrift, the officers of his church, to subscribe certain • articles upon pain of heavy forfeitures : and a subscrip
tion to these articles, whether believed or not, gives a right to preferment. If any subscribe what they are * not satisfied about, and fo enter into the service of the • church (which is very likely to happen), they gain and • hold their offices by the tenor of hypocrisy. How can * religion flourish in this way? Will the persons, who • have so subscribed (without conviction or against it), be • fincere and upright ever afterwards ? Will they, upon • all other occasions, speak the truth without fear or fa'vour, who have once solemnly and deliberately preva
ricated? And can others entirely confide in them; or 'can they heartily reverence them, as upright and disin* terested men 83?'
"HE prophecies, which relate to the fymbolic Baby.
lon, constitute far too extensive a portion of the apocalypse to be completely and minutely considered in the present work. To some of them, I am, however, induced to direct the attention of the reader, not only on account of their connexion with the subject of the last chapter, but because I am persuaded, that attentively to examine all this class of St. John's predi&tions is to be