Imatges de pàgina
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SECTION IT.

Jerome, that we are told it was com- cesses, and near the banks of the Rhone, piled.

among a sequestered and almost unHeresies had had time to multiply, known people, whom the general desoand more than fifty were enumerated as lation left untouched in their seclusion existing in the fifth century:

{ and poverty, until they at length became Without daring to scrutinize the ways į known, under the name of the Vaudois of providence, which are impenetrable in the twelfth, and that of the Albigenses by the human mind, and merely consult- in the thirteenth century. It is known ing, as far as we are permitted, our feeble how their chosen opinions were treated; reason, it would seem that of so many what crusades were preached against opinions, on so many articles, there would them; what carnage was made among always exist one which must prevail, them; and that, from that period to the which was the orthodox," the right of present day, Europe has not enjoyed a teaching.". The other societies, besides single year of tranquillity and toleration. the really orthodox, soon assumed that It is a great evil to be a heretic; but title also; but being the weaker parties, is it a great good to maintain orthodoxy they had given to them the designation by soldiers and executioners? Would it of “beretics."

į not be better that every man should eat When, in the progress of time, the his bread in peace under the shade of his Christian church in the east, which was own fig-tree? I suggest so bold a prothe mother of that in the west, had irre- position with fear and trembling. parably broken with her daughter, each remained sovereign in her distinct sphere, and each had her particular heresies, arising out of the dominant opinion.

Of the Extirpation of Heresies. The barbarians of the north, having

It appears to me that, in relation to but recently become Christians, could heresies, we ought to distinguish between not entertain the same opinions as southern opinion and faction. From the earliest countries, because they could not adopt times of Christianity, opinions were dithe same usages. They could not, for } vided, as we have already seen. The example, for a long time, adore images, Christians of Alexandria did not think, as they had neither painters nor sculptors. on many points, like those of Antioch. It also was somewhat dangerous to bap- The Achaians were opposed to the Asitise an infant in winter, in the Danube, atics. This difference has existed through the Weser, or the Elbe.

all past periods of our religion, and proIt was no easy matter for the inha- bably will always continue. Jesus Christ, bitants of the shores of the Baltic to know who might have united all believers in precisely the opinions held in the Mi- ș the same sentiment, has not, in fact, done lanese and the march of Ancona. The so; we must, therefore, presume that he people of the south and of the north of did not desire it, and that it was his deEurope had therefore chosen opinions sign to exercise in all churches the spirit different from each other. This seems to of indulgence and charity, by permitting me to be the reason why Claude, Bishop the existence of different systems of faith, of Turin, preserved in the ninth century while all should be united in acknowall the usages and dogmas received in ledging him for their chief and master. the seventh and eighth, from the country All the varying sects, a long while toleof the Allobroges, as far as the Elbe and rated by the emperors, or concealed from the Danube.

their observation, had no power to perseThese dogmas and usages became cute and proscribe each other, as they fixed and permanent among the inha- were all equally subject to the Roman bitants of valleys and mountainous re- magistrates. They possessed only the

power of disputing with each other. ? lution happened in Holland, in Scotland, When the magistrates prosecuted them, { and in Switzerland. When Ferdinand they all claimed the rights of nature. and Isabella expelled from Spain the They said : Permit us to worship God Jews,-who were settled there not merely in peace; do not deprive us of the liberty before the reigning dynasty, but before you allow to the Jews.

the Moors and Goths, and even the CarAll the different sects existing at pre-thaginians,- the Jews would have effected sent may hold the same language to those a revolution ia that country, if they had who oppress them. They may say to been as warlike as they were opulent, the nations who have granted privileges and if they could have come to an unto the Jews: Treat us as you treat these derstanding with the Arabs. sons of Jacob : let us, like them, worship In a word, no sect has ever changed God according to the dictates of con- the government of a country but when it science. Our opinion is not more injuri- was furnished with arms by despair. ous to your state or realm than Judaism. Mahomet himself would not have suc. You tolerate the enemies of Jesus Christ ; ceeded, had he not been expelled from tolerate us, therefore, who adore Jesus Mecca and a price set upon his head. Christ, and differ from yourselves only If you are desirous, therefore, to preupon subtle points of theology; do not vent the overthrow of a state by any deprive yourselves of the services of use- sect, shew it toleration. Imitate the wise ful subjects. It is of consequence to conduct exhibited at the present day by you to obtain their labour and skill in Germany, England, Holland, Denmark, your manufactures, your marine, and and Russia. There is no other policy to your agriculture, and it is of no conse- be adopted with respect to a new sect, quence at all to you that they hold a few than to destroy, without remorse, both articles of faith different from your own. $ leaders and followers, men, women, and What you want is their work, and not children, without a single exception, or their catechism.

to tolerate them when they are numerous. Faction is a thing perfectly different. The first method is that of a monster, the It always happens, as a matter of neces- second that of a sage. sity, that a persecuted sect degenerates Bind to the state all the subjects of into a faction. The oppressed unite, and that state by their interest; let the console and encourage one another. They } Quaker and the Turk find their advantage have more industry to strengthen their { in living under your laws. Religion is party than the dominant sect has for their between God and man; civil law is beextermination. To crush them or between you and your people. crushed by them is the inevitable alternative. Such was the case after the persecution raised in 303 by the Cæsar It is impossible not to regret the loss Galerius, during the two last years of the { of a History of Heresies which Strategius reign of Dioclesian. The Christians, after wrote by order of Constantine. Ammihaving been favoured by Dioclesian for anus Marcellinus informs us, that the the long period of eighteen years, had emperor, wishing to ascertain the opibecome too numerous and wealthy to be nions of the different sects, and not findextirpated. They joined the party of} ing any other person who could give Constantius Chlorus : they fought for correct ideas on the subject, imposed the Constantine his son; and a complete office of drawing up a report or narrative revolution took place in the empire. upon it on that officer, who acquitrei

We may compare small things to great, } himself so well that Constantine was dewhen both are under the direction of the sirous of his being honoured in consesame principle or spirit. A similar revo-quence with the name of Musonianus.

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SECTION 111.

M. de Valois, in his notes upon Ammi- { excited by the ecclesiastics in relation to anus, observes that Strategius, who was Arianism. Eusebius informs us, that in appointed prefect of the east, possessed some places the statues of Constantine as much knowledge and eloquence, as were thrown down, because he wished moderation and mildness; such, at least, the Arians to be tolerated ; and Sozomen is the eulogium passed upon him by Li- says, that on the death of Eusebius of banius.

Nicomedia, when Macedonius, an Arian, The choice of a layman by the em- contested the see of Constantinople with peror shows that an ecclesiastic at that Paul, a Catholic, the disturbance and time had not the qualities indispensible confusion became so dreadful in the for a task so delicate. In fact, St. Au- church, from which each endeavoured to gustin remarks, that a bishop of Bresse, expel the other, that the soldiers, thinkcalled Philastrius, whose work is to be { ing the people in a state of insurrection, found in the collection of the fathers, actually charged upon them; a fierce having collected all the heresies, even and sanguinary conflict ensued, and more including those which existed among the than three thousand persons were slain Jews before the coming of Jesus Christ, or suffocated. Macedonius ascended the reckons twenty eight of the latter and episcopal throne, took speedy possession one hundred and twenty-eight from the of all the churches, and persecuted with coming of Christ; while St. Epiphanius, great cruelty the Novatians and Catholics. comprising both together, makes the It was in revenge against the latter of whole number but eighty. The reason these that he denied the divinity of the assigned by St. Augustin for this differ- holy spirit, just as he recognised the dience is, that what appears heresy to the vinity of the word, which was denied by one, does not appear so to the other. the Arians out of mere defiance to their Accordingly this father tells the Mani- protector Constantius, who had deposed cheans,-“We take the greatest care not him. to treat you with rigour; such conduct The same historian adds, that on the we leave to those who know not what death of Athanasius, the Arians, suppains are necessary for the discovery of } ported by Valens, apprehended, bound truth, and how difficult it is to avoid in chains, and put to death those who falling into errors; we leave it to those remained attached to Peter, whom Athawho know not with what sighs and nasius had pointed out as his successor. groans even a very slight knowledge of Alexandria resembled a city taken by the divine nature is alone to be acquired. assault. The Arians soon possessed For my own part, I consider it my duty themselves of the churches, and the bito bear with you as I was borne with shop, installed by them, obtained the formerly myself, and to show you the power of banishing from Egypt all who same tolerance which I experienced when remained attached to the Nicean creed. I was in error."

We read in Socrates, that, after the If however any one considers the in-death of Sisinius, the church of Constanfamous imputations, which we have no- {tinople became again divided on the ticed under the article GENEALOGY, and choice of a successor, and Theodosius the the abominations of which this profess- } younger placed in the patriarchal see the edly indulgent and candid father accused violent and fiery Nestorius. In his first the Manicheans in the celebration of their sermon he addresses the following lanmysteries (as we shall see under the į guage to the emperor : “Give me the article ZEAL) we shall be convinced that I land purged of heretics, and I will give toleration was never the virtue of the you the kingdom of heaven ; second me clergy. We have already seen, under in the extermination of heretics, and I the article Council, what seditions were engage to furnish you with etlectual as

gion.

sistance against the Persians." He after- sacre of more than a hundred thousand
wards expelled the Arians from the capital, Egyptians, on different occasions, for hav-
armed the people against them, pulled ing refused to acknowledge the council,
down their churches, and obtained from had planted in the hearts of the whole
the emperor rigorous and persecuting population an implacable hatred against
edicts to effect their extirpation. He the emperors. A part of those who were
employed his powerful influence subse- hostile to the council withdrew to Upper
quently in procuring the arrest, impri- Egypt, others quitted altogether the do-
sonment, and even whipping the principal | minions of the empire, and passed over
persons, among the people, who had in- { to Africa and among the Arabs, where all
terrupted him in the middle of a dis- } religions were tolerated.
course, in which he was delivering his We have already observed, that under
distinguishing system of doctrine, which the reign of the Empress Irene, the wor-
was soon condemned at the council of ship of images was re-established and
Ephesus.

confirmed by the second council of Nice. Photius relates, that when the priest } Leo the Armenian, Michael the Stamreached the altar, it was customary in the merer, and Theophilus, neglected nothing church of Constantinople for the people to effect its abolition ; and this opposition to chaunt,-" Holy God, powerful God, caused farther disturbance in the empire immortal God;" and the name given to of Constantinople, till the reign of the this part of the service was "the trisa- Empress Theodora, who gave the force of

The priest Peter, had added — law to the second council of Nice, ex“Who hast been crucified for us, have tinguished the party of Iconoclasts, or mercy upon us." The Catholics consi- {image-breakers, and exerted the utmost dered this addition as containing the extent of her authority against the Manierror of the Eutychian Theopathists, who cheans. She dispatched orders throughmaintained that the divinity had suffered ; out the empire to seek for them everythey, however, chaunted the trisagion with where, and put all those to death who the addition, to avoid irritating the Em- } would not recant. More than a hundred peror Anastasius, who had just deposed thousand perished by different modes of another Macedonius, and placed in his execution. Four thousand, who escaped stead Timotheus, by whose order this from this severe scrutiny and extensive addition was ordered to be chaunted. } punishment, took refuge among the SaraBut on a particular day the monks en cens, united their own strength with tered the church, and, instead of the ad- theirs, ravaged the territories of the emdition in question, chaunted a verse from pire, and erected fortresses in which the one of the psalms: the people instantly Manicheans, who had remaiued concealed exclaimed « The orthodox have arrived through terror of capital punishment, very se isonably!” All the partisans of found an asylum, and constituted a hostile the council of Chalcedon chaunted, in force, formidable from their numbers, and union with the monks, the verse from the from their burning hatred both of the psalm ; the Eutychians were offended ; } emperors and Catholics. They frequently the service was interrupted, a battle com- inflicted on the territories of the empire menced in the church ; the people rushed dread and devastation, and cut to pieces out, obtained arms as speedily as possible, its disciplined armies. spread carnage and conflagration through We abridge the details of these dreadthe city, and were pacified only by the ful massacres : those of Ireland, those of destruction of ten thousand lives. the valleys of Piedmont, those which we

The imperial power at length esta- } shall speak of under the article INQUIblished through all Egypt the authority of sition, and, lastly, the massacre of St. this council of Chalcedon; but the mas- } Bartholomew, displayed in the west the

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same spirit of intolerance, against which nothing more pertinent and sensible has

HERMES. been written than what we find in the

Hermes or Ermes, Mercury Trismegistus, works of Salvian. The following is the language employed

or Thaut, Taut, or Thot. respecting the followers of one of the We neglect reading the ancient book principal heresies by this excellent priest of Mercury Trismegistus, and we are not of Marseilles, who was surnamed the wrong in so doing. To philosophers it master of bishops, who deplored with has appeared a sublime piece of jargon, bitterness the violence and vices of his and it is perhaps for this reason that they age, and who was called the Jeremiah of believed it the work of a great Platonist. the fifth century. “ The Arians," says Nevertheless, in this theological chaos, he," are heretics ; but they do not know how many things there are to astonish it; they are heretics among us, but they and subdue the human mind! God, are not so among themselves; for they whose triple essence is wisdom, power, consider themselves so perfectly and and bounty; God, forming the world by completely Catholic, that they treat us as his thought, his word; God creating subheretics. We are convinced that they altern gods; God commanding these gods entertain an opinion injurious to the divine to direct the celestial orbs, and to preside generation, inasmuch as they say that the over the world ; the sun ; the son of son is less than the father. They, on the God; man his image in thought; light, other hand, think that we hold an opinion { his principal work a divine essence ;-ali injurious to the father, because we regard these grand and lively images dazzle a the father and the son equal. The truth subdued imagination. is with us, but they consider it as favour- It remains to be known whether this ing them. We give to God the honour work, as much celebrated as little read, which is due to him, but they, according was the work of a Greek or of an Egypto their peculiar way of thinking, main-tian. St. Augustin hesitates not in betain that they do the same. They do not { lieving that it is the work of an Egyptian, acquit themselves of their duty; but in who pretended to be descended from the the very point where they fail in doing ancient Mercury, from the ancient Thaut, so, they make the greatest duty of religion the first legislator of Egypt. It is true consist. They are impious, but even in that St. Augustin knew no more of the being so, they consider themselves as fol- Egyptian than of the Greek ; but in his lowing, and as practising, genuine piety. { time it was necessary that we should not They are then mistaken, but from a prin- doubt that Hermes, from whom we reciple of love to God; and, although they ceived theology, was an Egyptian sage, have not the true faith, they regard that probably anterior to the time of Alexanwhich they have actually embraced as the der, and one of the priests whom Plato perfect love of God.

consulted. “The sovereign judge of the universe It has always appeared to me, that the alone knows how they will be punished theology of Plato in nothing resembled for their errors in the day of judgment. that of other Greeks, with the excepIn the meantime be patiently bears with tion of Timeus, who had travelled in them, because he sees, that if they are in Egypt, as well as Pythagoras. error, they err from pure motives of The Hermes Trismegistus that we pospiety."

sess, is written in barbarous Greek, and in a foreign idiom. This is a proof that it is a translation in which the words are been followed more than the sense. 1 Josephi Scaliger, who assisted the Lord

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