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thority to these injunctions, by expressing them partly in terms borrowed from the sacred scriptures, of which we find a valt number of citations, also, in the writings of his disciples. To this austere discipline, he added the pretended art of lo purging and refining that faculty of the mind, which receives the images of things, as to render it capable of perceiving the demons, and of performing many marvelous things by their assistance. This art, which the disciples of Ammonius called theurgy, was not, however, communicated to all the schools of this fanatical philosopher, but only to those of the first rank.

The extravagant attempts of Ammonius did not cease here. To reconcile the popular religions of different countries, and particularly the Christian, with this new system, he fell upon the following inventions: ift, He turned into a mere allegory the whole bistory of the gods, and maintained that those beings, whom the priests and people dignified with this title, were no more than celestial ministers, to whom a certain kind of worfhip was due ; but a worship inferior to that which was to be reserved for the supreme deity. 2dly, He acknowledged Chrift to be a most excellent man, the friend of God, the admirable theurge; he denied, however, that Jesus designed to abolith entirely the worship of demons, and of the other ministers of divine providence, and affirmed, on the contrary, that his only intention was to purify the ancient religion, and that his followers had manifestly corrupted the doctrine of their divine master.

• This new species of philosophy, imprudently adopted by Origen and many other Christians, was extremely prejudicial to the cause of the gospel, and to the beautiful fimplicity of its celestial doctrines. For hence it was, that the Christian doctors began to introduce their subtile and obscure erudition into the religion of Jesus, to involve in the darkness of a vain philo{nphy, some of the principal truths of Christianity that had been revealed with the utmost plainness, and were indeed obvious to the meanest capacity, and to add, to the divine precepts of our Lord, many of their own, which had no fort of foundation in any part of the sacred writings. From the same source arose that melancholy set of men, who have been distinguished by the name of Myftics, whose fyftem, when separated from the Platonic doctrine concerning the nature and origin of the soul, is but a lifeless mals, without any vigour, form, or consistence. Nor did the evils, which sprung from this Ammonian philofophy, end here. For under the specious pretext of the neceffity of contemplation, it gave occafion to that flothful and indolent course of life, which continues to be led by myriads of monks retired in celis, and fequeftred from fociety, to which they are neither useful by their inttructions, nor by their examples. To .this philosophy we may trace as to their source, a'multitude of vain and foolish ceremonies, proper only to cast a veil over truth, and to nourish superstition, and which are, for the most part, religiously observed by many, even in the times in which we live. It would be endless to enumerate all the pernicious consequences that may be justly attributed to this new philofophy, or rather to this monstrous attempt to reconcile falshood with truth, and light with darkness. Some of its most fatal effects were its alienating the minds of many, in the following ages, from the Christian religion, and its substituting in the place of the pure and sublime simplicity of the gospel an unseemly mixture of Platonism and Chriftianity.

- The number of learned men among the Christians, which was very small in the preceding century, grew considerably in this. Among these there were few rhetoricians, sophists, or orators. The most part were philosophers attached to the Eclectic system, though they were not all of the same sentiments concerning the utility of letters and philosophy. Those, who were themselves initiated into the depths of philosophy, were defirous that others, particularly such as aspired to the ofices of bishops or doctors, should apply themselves to the study of human wisdom, in order to their being the better qualified for defending the truth with vigour, and instructing the ignorant with fuccess. Others were of a quite different way of thinking upon this subject, and were for banishing all argumentation and philosophy from the limits of the church, from a notion that erudition might prove detrimental to the true spirit of religion. Hence the early beginnings of that unhappy contest between faith and reason, religion and philof phy, piety and genius, which increased in the succeeding ages, and is prolonged even to our times with a violence, that renders it extremely difficult to be brought to a conclufion. Those, who maintained that learning and philofophy were rather advantageous, than detrimental to the cause of religion, gained, by degrees, the ascendant, and, in consequence thereof, laws were enacted, which excluded the ignorant and illiterate from the office of public teachers. The opposite side of the question was not, however, without defenders; and the defects and vices of learned men and philofophers contributed much to increase their number, as will appear in the progress of this history.'

In treating of the Ascetics, our learned Author observes, there is a particular consideration, which will enable us to render a natural account of the origin of that auftere discipline they imposed upon themselves, and which is drawn from the genius and temper of the people by whom it was first practised. It was in Egypt, he says, that this morose discipline had its rise; and it is observable, that Egypt has in all times, as it were by an im

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mutable law, or disposition of a melancholy complexion, and p tent, more gloomy spirits than was here that the Elenes and gloomy sects, chiefly dwelt, lor as also many others of the Asce melancholy turn of mind, and themselves more acceptable to withdrew from human Society, and comforts of life. From EE pline passed into Syria, and the also abounded with persons of th that of the Egyptians; and from infection reached to the Europea

In the account our Author gi philosophy during the fifth ceniu of the Platonic philofophy, and to it, as more excellent in itself nius of the gospel than other fyi trine of Aristotle from coming to forcing its way into the Christian selves, he says, interpreted, int ings of Aristotle, particularly his that work to such of the youth a fions, and were fond of difputin tors imitated the manner of the the first step to that universal dor terwards obtained in the republi yet larger stride which the Arifto this universal empire, was, durin gen had occafioned, and the Aria Pelagian diffenfions, which, in ti calamities to the Christian church was zealously attached to the Pla he was publicly condemned, mar his errors, and to prevent their b ber of his followers, adopted oper which was entirely different from rian, Arian, and Eutychian con rather drawn out, on both side fubtle distinctions, and captious was so proper to furnish such wear that of Plato was far from being a polemic arts. Besides, the Pelagi semblance of the Platonic opinions man soul; and this was an addi

many to desert the Platonists, and to assume, at least, the name of Peripatetics.

In the hiftory of this century, our Author gives the following account of the rights and privileges of the patriarchs; of the inconveniencies that accompanied their authority and government; the vices of the clergy, and the sources from whence they proceeded.

" It was much about this time, (viz. the middle of the fifth century) that Juvenal, bishop of Jerusalem, or rather of Ælia, attempted to withdraw himself and his church from the jurifJiction of the Bithop of Cæsarea, and aspired after a place among the first prelates of the Christian world. The high degree of veneration and esteem, in which the church of Jerusalem was held among all other Christian societies (on account of its rank among the apostolical churches, and its title to the appellation of mother-church, as having succeeded the first Christian afiembly founded by the apostles) was extremely favourable to the ambition of Juvenal, and rendered his project much more praciicable, than it would otherwise have been. Encouraged by this, and animated by the favour and protection of Theodosius the younger, the aspiring prelate not only assumed the dignity of patriarch of all Palestine, a rank that rendered him fuu preme and independent of all fpiritual authority, but also invaded the rights of the bishop of Antioch, and usurped his jurisdiction over the provinces of Phænicia and Arabia. Hence there arose a warm contest between Juvenal and Maximus bishop of Antioch, which the council of Chalcedon decided by restoring to the latter the provinces of Phoenicia and Arabia; and confirming the former in spiritual possession of all Palestine, and in the high rank which he had allumed in the church. By this means, there were created, in this century, five superior rulers of the church, who were distinguished from the rest, by the title of Patriarchs. The oriental historians mention a fixth, viz. the bishop of Seleucia and Ctefiphon, to whom, according to their account, the bilhop of Antioch voluntarily ceded a part of his jurisdiction. But this addition to the number of patriarchs is unworthy of credit, as the only proof of it is drawn from the Arabic laws of the council of Nice, which are notoriously destitute of all authority.

The patriarchs were distinguished by considerable and extensive rights and privileges, that were annexed to their high station. They alone confecrated the bishops, who lived in the provinces that belonged to their jurisdi&ion. They assembled yearly in council, the clergy of their respective districts, in order to regulate the affairs of the church. The cognizance of all important caufes, and the determination of the more weighty


controversies, were referred to the patriarch of the province where they arose. They also pronounced a decisive judgment in those cases, where accusations were brought againft bishops, And, lastly, they appointed vicars, or deputies, cloathed with their authority, for the preservation of order and tranquillity in the remoter provinces. Such were the great and distinguishing privileges of the patriarchs, and they were accompanied with others of less moment, which it is needless to mention.

It must, however, be carefully observed, that the authority of the patriarchs was not acknowleged through all the provinces without exception. Several districts, both in the eastern and western empires, were exempted from their jurisdiction. Besides, the emperors, who reserved to themselves the supreme power in the Christian hierarchy, and received, with great facility and readiness, the complaints of those who confidered themselves as injured by the patriarchs ; the councils allo, in which the majesty and legislative power of the church immediately resided; all these were so many obstacles to the arbitrary proceedings of the patriarchal order.

* This constitution of ecclesiastical government was so far from contributing to the peace and prosperity of the Christian church, that it proved, on the contrary, a perpetual source of dissentions and animosities, and was productive of various inconveniencies and grievances. The patriarchs, who, by their exalted rank and extensive authority, were equally able to do much good and much mischief, began to encroach upon the rights, and to trample upon the prerogatives of their bishops, and thus introduced, gradually, a sort of spiritual bondage into the church. And that they might invade, without opposition,

the rights of the bishops, they permitted the bishops, in their turn, to trample, with impunity, upon the ancient rights and privileges of the people. For, in proportion as the bishops multiplied their privileges and extended their usurpations, the patriarchs gained new accessions of power by the despotism which they exercised over the episcopal order. They fomented also divisions among the bishops, and excited animosities between the bishops and the other ministers of the church; nay, they went still further, and sowed the seeds of discord between the clergy and the people, that all these combustions might furnish them with perpetual matter for the exercise of their authority, and procure them a multitude of clients and dependants.

They left no artifice unemployed to strengthen their own authority, and to raise opposition against the bishops from every quarter. For this purpose it was, that they engaged in their cause by the most alluring promises, and attached to their interests by e most magnificent acts of liberality, whole swarms of monks,


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