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guilt of oppression and that of sacrilege.(119) . After a fruitless attempt to reclaim the haughty magistrate by mild and religious admonition, Synesius proceeds to inflict the last sentence of ecclesiastical justice,(120) which devotes Andronicus, with his associates and their families, to the abhorrence of earth and heaven. The impenitent sinners, more cruel than Phalaris, or Sennacherib, more destructive than war, pestilence, or a cloud of locusts, are deprived of the name and privileges of Christians, of the participation of the sacraments, and of the hope of Paradise. The bishop exhorts the clergy, the magistrates, and the eople, to renounce all society with the enemies of Christ; to exclude them rom their houses and tables; and to refuse them the common offices of life, and the decent rites of burial. The church of Ptolemais, obscure and contemptible as she may appear, addresses this declaration to all her sister churches of the world; and the profane who reject her decrees, will be involved in the guilt and punishment of Andronicus and his impious followers. These spirituasterrors were enforced by a dexterous application to the Byzantine court; the trembling president implored the mercy of the church; and the descendant of Hercules enjoyed the satisfaction of raising a prostrate tyrant from the o Such principles and, such examples insensibly prepared the triumph of the Roman pontiffs, who have trampled on the necks of kings. VI. Every popular government has experienced the effects of rude or artificial eloquence. The coldest nature is animated, the firmest reason is moved, by the rapid communication of the prevailing impulse; and each hero is #. by his own passions, and by those of the surrounding multitude. The ruin of civil liberty had silenced the demagogues of Athens, and the tribunes of Rome; the custom of preaching, which seems to constitute a considerable part of Christian devotion, . not been introduced into the temples of ..". and the ears of monarchs were never invaded % the harsh sound of popular eloquence, till the pulpits of the empire were filled with sacred orators, who possessed some advantages unknown to their profane predecessors.(122) The arguments and rhetoric of the tribune were instantly *P. with equal arms, by skilful and resolute antagonists; and the cause of truth and reason might derive an accidental support from the conflict of hostile passions. The bishop or some distinguished presbyter, to whom he cautiously delegated the powers of preaching, harangued, without the danger of interruption or reply, a submissive multitude, whose minds had been prepared and subdued by the awful ceremonies of religion. Such was the strict subordination of the catholic church, that the same concerted sounds might issue at once from a hundred É. of Italy or Egypt, if they were tuned(123) by the master hand of the toman or Alexandrian primate. The design of this institution was laudable, but the fruits were not always salutary. The preachers recommended the practice of the social duties; but they exalted the perfection of monastic virtue, which is painful to the individual, and useless to mankind. Their charitable exhortations betrayed a secret wish, that the clergy might be permitted to manage the wealth of the faithful, for the benefit of the poor. The most sublime representations of the attributes and laws of the Deity were sullied by an idle mixture of metaphysical subtleties, puerile rites, and fictitious miracles. and they expatiated, with the most fervent zeal, on the religious merit of
(119) See the invective of Synesius, Epist. lvii. p. 191—201. The promotion of Andronicus was illegal, since he was a native of Berenice, in the same province. The instruments of torture are curiously specified, the gue; mptey, or press, the oaxrv\mópa, the wočospasm, the pivo) affis, the oraypa, and the ão." that variously pressed or #.the fingers, the feet, the nose, the ears, and the lips of victims. (120). The sentence of excommunication is expressed in a rhetorical style. (Synesius, Epist. lviii. p. 201–203.) The method of involving whole families, though somewhat unjust, was improved into national interdicts. (121) See Synesius, Epist. xlvii. p. 18, 187. Epist. lxxii. p. 218,219. Epist. lxxxix. p. 30, 231. . (122). See Thomassin (Discipline de l'Eglise, tom. ii. l. iii. c. 83, p. 1761–1770,) and Bingham (Antiquities, vol. i. 1. xiv. c. 4, p. 688–717). Preaching was considered as the most important office of the bishop; but this function was sometimes intrusted to such presbyters as Chrysostom and Augustin. A123) Queen Elizabeth used this expression, and practised this art, whenever she wished to pre the minds of her people in favour of any extraordinary measure of government. The hostile effects of this music were apprehended by her successor, and severely felt by his son. “When pulpit, drum eccle siastic,” &c. See Heylin's Life of Archbishop Laud, p. 152.
hating the adversaries, and obeying the ministers of the church. When the public peace was distracted by heresy and schism, the sacred orators sounded the trumpet of discord, and perhaps of sedition. The understandings of their congregations were perplexed by mystery, their passions were inflamed by invectives; and they rushed from the Christian temples of Antioch or Alexandria, prepared either to suffer or to inflict martyrdom. The corruption of taste and language is strongly marked in the vehement declamations of the Latin bishops, but the compositions of Gregory and Chrysostom have been compared with the most splendid models of Attic, or at least of Asiatic ...]
VII. The representatives of the Christian republic were regularly assembled in the spring and autumn of each year; and these synods diffused the spirit of ecclesiastical discipline and legislation through the hundred and twenty provinces of the Roman world.(125) The jo. or metropolitan was empowered, by the laws, to summon the suffragan bishops of his province; to revise their conduct, to vindicate their rights, to declare their faith, and to examine the merit of the candidates who were elected by the clergy and people to supply the vacancies of the episcopal college. e primates of Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Carthage, and afterward Constantinople, who exercised a more ample jurisdiction, convened the numerous assembly of their dependent bishops. But the convocation of great and extraordinary synods was the prerogative of the emperor alone. *W. the emergencies of the church i. this decisive measure, he despatched a peremptory summons to the bishops, or the deputies of each province, with an order for the use of posthorses, and a competent allowance for the expenses of their journey. At an early period, when Constantine was the protector, rather than the proselyte, of Christianity, he referred the African controversy to the council of Arles; in which the bishops of York, of Treves, of Milan, and of Carthage, met as friends and brethren, to debate in their native tongue on the common interest of the Latin or Western church.(126) Eleven years afterward, a more numerous and celebrated assembly was convened at Nice in Bithynia, to extinguish, by their final sentence, the subtle disputes which had arisen in of: on the subject of the Trinity. Three hundred and eighteen bishops obeyed the summons of their indulgent master; the ecclesiastics of every rank, and sect, and denomination, have been computed at two thousand and forty-eight persons;(127) the Greeks appeared in person; and the consent of the Latins was expressed by the legates op the Roman pontiff. The session, which lasted about two months, was frequently honoured o: the presence of the emperor. Leaving his guards at the door, he seated himself (with the permission of the council) on a low stool in the midst of the hall. Constantine listened with patience, and spoke with modesty; and while he influenced the debates, he humbly professed that he was the minister, not the judge, of the successors of the apostles, who had been established as priests and as gods upon earth.(128). Such profound reverence of an absolute monarch toward a feeble and unarmed assembly of his own subjects, can only be compared to the respect with which the senate had been treated by the Roman princes who adopted the policy of Augustus. Within the space of fifty years, a philosophic spectator .# the vicissitudes of human affairs might have contemplated Tacitus in the senate of Rome, and Constantine in the council of Nice. The fathers of the capitol and those of the church, had alike degenerated from the virtues of their founders; but as the bishops were more deeply rooted in the public opinion, they sustained their dignity, with more decent pride, and sometimes opposed, with a manly spirit, the wishes of their sovereign. . The progress of time and superstition erased the memory of the weakness, the passion, the ignorance, which disgraced these ecclesiastical synods; and the Catholic world has unanimously submitted(129) to the infallible decrees of the general councils.(130)
(134) Those modest orators acknowledged, that, as they were destitute of the gift of miracles, they endeavoured to acquire the arts of eloquence.
(125). The Council of Nice, in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh canons, has made some fundamental regulations concerning synods, metropolitans, and primates. The Nicene canons have been variously tortured, abused, interpolated, or forged, according to the interest of the clergy. The Suburbicarian churches, assigned (by Rufinus) to the bishop of Rome, have been made the subject of vehement controversy. See Sirmond, Opera, tom. iv. p. 1–238.
(126) We have only thirty-three or forty-seven episcopal subscriptions, but Ado, a writer indeed of *" account, reckons six hundred bishops in the council of Arles. Tillemont Mem. Eccles. tom. vi. p.
(127) See Tillemont, tom. vi. p. 915, and Beausobre Hist. du Manicheisme, tom. i. p. 529. The name of bishop, which is given by Futychius to the 2048 ecclesiastics (Annal. tom. i. p. 440. vers. Pocock), must be extended far beyond the limits of an orthodox or even ..". ordination.
go- Euseb. in § Constantiu. I lii c 6 21 Tillemont Mem. Ecclesiastiques, tom. vi. P. wjö9–7
Persecution of heresy–The schism of the Donatists—The Arian controversy— Athanasius-Distracted state of the church and empire under Constantine and his sons—Toleration of paganism.
The grateful applause of the clergy has consecrated the memory of a prince who indulged their passions and promoted their interest. Constantine gave them security, wealth, honours, and revenge: and the support of the orthodox faith was considered as the most sacred and important duty of the civil magistrate. The edict of Milan, the great charter of toleration, had confirmed to each individual of the Roman world, the privilege of choosing, and professing his own religion. But this inestimable privilege was soon violated; with the knowledge of truth, the emperor, imbibed the maxims of persecution; and the sects which dissented from the Catholic church, were afflicted and oppressed by the triumph of Christianity. Constantine easily believed that the heretics, who presumed to dispute his opinions, or to oppose his commands, were guilty of the most absurd and criminal obstinacy; and that a seasonable application of moderate severities might save those unhappy men from the danger of an everlasting condemnation. Not a moment was lost in excluding the ministers and teachers of the separated co ations from any share of the rewards and immunities which the emperor had so liberally bestowed on the orthodox clergy. But as the sectaries might still exist under the cloud of royal disgrace, the conquest of the East was immediately followed by an edict which announced their total destruction.(1). After a preamble filled with passion and reproach, Constantine absolutely prohibits the assemblies of the heretics, and confiscates their public property to the use either of the revenue or of the Catholic church. The sects against whom the lmperial severity was directed, appear to have been the adherents of Paul of Samosata; the Montanists of Phrygia, who maintained an enthusiastic_succession of prophecy; the Novatians, who sternly rejected the temporal efficacy of repentance; the Marcionites and Valentinians, under whose leading banners the various Gnostics of Asia and Egypt had insensibly rallied; and perhaps the Manichaeans, who had recently imported from Persia a more artful composition of Oriental and Christian theology.(2) The design of extirpating the name, or at least of restraining the progress, of these odious heretics, was prosecuted with vigour and
(129) Sancimus igitur vicem legum obtinere, quas a quatuor Sanctis Conciliis... expositie sunt aut firmatae. Praedictarum enim quatuor synodorum dogmata sicut sanctas Scripturas et regulas sicut leges observamus. Justinian. Novell. cxxxi. Beveridge (ad Pandect. proleg. p. 2.) remarks, that the emperors never made new laws in ecclesiastical matters; and Giannone observes, in a very different spirit, that they gave a legal sanction to the canons of councils. Istoria Civile di Napoli, tom. i. p. 136.
(130) See the article Concile in the Enclyclopedie, tom. iii. p. 668–679, edition de Lucques. The author, M. le docteur Bouchaud, has discussed, according to the principles of the Gallican church, the *H. questions which relate io the form and constitution of general, national, and provincia councils. The editors (see Preface, p. xvi.) have reason to be proud of this article. Those who consult their immense compilation, seldom . so well satisfied.
(1) Eusebius in Vit. Constantin. l. iii. c. 63, 64, 65, 66.
(2) After some examination of the various opinions of Tillemont, Beausobre, Lardner, &c. I am convinced that Manes did not propagate this sect, even in Persia, hefore the year 270. It is strange that a philosophic and foreign heresy should have penetrated so rapidly into the African provinces; yet I cannot easily reject the edict of #. against the Manicheans, which may be found in Baronius (Annai. Eccl. A. D. 287)
solemnly tried in five successive tribunals, which were appointed by the emror; and the whole proceeding, from the first appeal to the final sentence, asted above three years. A severe inquisition, which was taken by the Pretorian vicar, and the proconsul of Africa, the report of two episcopal visiters who had been sent to Carthage, the decrees of the councils of Rome and of Arles, and the supreme o: of Constantine himself in his sacred consistory, were all favourable to the cause of Caecilian; and he was unanimously acknowledged by the civil and ecclesiastical powers, as the true and lawful rimate of Africa. The honours and estates of the church were attributed to is suffragan bishops, and it was not without difficulty, that Constantine was satisfied with inflicting the punishment of exile on the principal leaders of the Donatist faction. . As their cause was examined with attention, perhaps it was determined with justice. Perhaps their complaint was not without foundation, that the credulity of the emperor had been abused by the insidious arts of his favourite Osius. The influence of falsehood and corruption might procure the condemnation of the innocent, or aggravate the sentence of the guilty. Such an act, however, of injustice, if it concluded an importunate dispute, might be numbered among the transient evils of a despotic administration, which are neither felt nor remembered by posterity. But this incident, so inconsiderable that it †. deserves a place in history, was productive of a memorable schism, which afflicted the provinces of Africa above three hundred years, and was extinguished only with Christianity itself. The inflexible zeal of freedom and fanaticism animated the Donatists to refuse obedience to the usurpers, whose election they disputed, and whose spiritual powers they denied. Excluded from the civil and religious communion of mankind, they boldly excommunicated the rest of mankind who had embraced the impious party of Caecilian and of the Traditors, from whom he derived his pretended ordination. They asserted with confidence, and almost with exultation, that the Apostolical succession was interrupted ; that all the bishops of Europe and Asia were infected by the contagion of guilt and schism ; and that the prerogatives of the Catholic church were confined to the chosen portion of the African believers, who alone had preserved inviolate the integrity of their faith and discipline. This rigid theory was supported by the most uncharitable conduct. Whenever they acquired a proselyte, even from the distant provinces of the East, they carefully repeated the sacred rites of baptism(8) and ordination; as they rejected the validity of those which he had already received from the hands of heretics or schismatics. Bishops, virgins, and even spotless infants, were subjected to the disgrace of a public penance, before they could be admitted to the communion of the Donatists. If they obtained possession of a church which had been used by their Catholic adversaries, they purified the unhallowed building with the same jealous care which a temple of idols might have required. They washed the pavement, scraped the walls, burnt the altar, which was commonly of wood, melted the consecrated plate, and cast the Holy Eucharist to the dogs, with every circumstance of ignominy which could provoke and perpetuate the animosity of religious factions.(9) . Notwithstandi this irreconcileable aversion, the two parties, who were mixed and ...i in all the cities of Africa, had the same language and manners, the same zeal and learning, the same faith and worship. Proscribed by the civil and ecclesiastical powers of the empire, the Donatists still maintained, in some provinces, particularly in Numidia, their superior numbers; and four hundred bishops acknowledged the jurisdiction of their primate. But the invincible spirit of the sect sometimes preyed on its own vitals; and the bosom of their schismatical church was torn by intestine divisions. A fourth part of the Donatist bishops followed the independent standard of the Maximianists. The narrow
(8) The councils of Arles, of Nice, and of Trent, confirmed the wise, and moderate practice of the cliurch of Rome. The Donatists, however, had the advantage of maintaining the sentiment of o: and of a considerable part of the primitive church. Vincentius Lirinensis (p. 332, ap. Tillemont, Mem Eccles. tom. vi. p. 138,) has explained why the Donatists are eternally burning with the Devil, while St. Cyprian reigns in heaven with Jesus Christ.
(9) See the sixth book of Optatus Milevitanus, p. 91–100.