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mutable law, or disposition of nature, abounded with persons of a melancholy complexion, and produced, in proportion to its extent, more gloomy spirits than any other part of the world. It was here that the Effenes and the Therapeutæ, those dismal, gloomy feets, chiefly dwelt, long before the coming of Christ; as also many others of the Afcetic tribe, who, led by a certain melancholy turn of mind, and a delusive notion of rendering themselves more acceptable to the Deity by their austerities, withdrew from human Society, and all the innocent pleasures and comforts of life. From Egypt, this four, unsociable discipline passed into Syria, and the neighbouring countries, which also abounded with persons of the same dismal conftitution with that of the Egyptians; and from thence, in process of time, its infection reached to the European nations.

In the account our Author gives of the state of learning and philosophy during the fifth century, he tells us, that the credit of the Platonic philosophy, and the preference that was given to it, as more excellent in itself, and less repugnant to the genius of the gospel than other systems, did not prevent the doctrine of Aristotle from coming to light after a long struggle, and forcing its way into the Christian church. The Platonics themselves, he says, interpreted, in their schools, some of the writings of Aristotle, particularly his Dialectics, and recommended that work to such of the youth as had a taste for logical discuss fions, and were fond of disputing. In this, the Christian doctors imitated the manner of the heathen schools, and this was the first step to that universal dominion, which the stagyrite afterwards obtained in the republic of letters. A second, and a yet larger stride which the Ariftotclian philosophy made towards this universal empirc, was, during the controversies which Origen had occasioned, and the Arian, Eutychian, Nestorian, and Pelagian diffenfions, which, in this century, were so fruitful of calamities to the Christian church. Origen, as is well known, was zealously attached to the Platonic syftem : when therefore he was publicly condemned, many, to avoid the imputation of his errors, and to prevent their being counted among the number of his followers, adopted openly the philosophy of Aristotle, which was entirely different from that of Origen. The Nestorian, Arian, and Eutychian controversies were managed, or rather drawn out, on both sides, by a perpetual recourse to subtle distinctions, and captious fophisms. And no philosophy was so proper to furnish such weapons, as that of Aristotle ; for that of Plato was far from being adapted to form the mind to the polemic arts. Besides, the Pelagian doctrine bore a striking resemblance of the Platonic opinions concerning God and the human spul; and this was an additional reason which engaged


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

In the history 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 Jerufalem, or rather of Ælia, - attempted to withdraw himself and his church from the jurif. diction of the Bishop of Cæfarea, 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 assembly founded by the apoftles) was extremely favourable to the ambition of Juvenal, and rendered his project much more practicable, than it would otherwise have been. Encouraged by this, and animated by the favour and protection of Theodofius the younger, the aspiring prelate not only assumed the digi! nity of patriarch of all Palestine, a rank that rendered him supreme and independent of all spiritual authority, but also invaded the rights of the bishop of Antioch, and ufurped his jurisdiction over the provinces of Phænicia and Arabia. Hence there arofe 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 poffeffion of all Palestine, and in the high rank which he had assumed 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 bishop of Antioch voluntarily ceded a part of his jurifdiction. 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 defti- : tute of all authority.

The patriarchs were diftinguifhed by considerable and extensive rights and privileges, that were annexed to their high ftation. They alone confecrated the bishops, who lived in the provinces that belonged to their jurisdiction. They affembled yearly in council, the clergy of their respective districts, in order to regulate the affairs of the church. The cognizance of all important causes, 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 against 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 wellern empires, were exempted from their jurisdiction. Befides, the emperors, who reserved to themfelves the supreme power in the Christian hierarchy, and received, with great facilicy and readiness, the complaints of those who considered themselves as injured by the patriarchs ; the councils also, in which the inajelty 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 diflentions and animofities, 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 lowed 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 causę by the most alluring promises, and attached to their interests by the most inagnificent acts of liberality, whole swarms of monks,


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who served as intestine enemies to the bishops, and as a dead weight on the side of patriarchal tyranny. These monastic hire. lings contributed more than any thing else, to ruin the ancient ecclefiaftical discipline, to diminish the authority of the bishops, and raise, to an enormous and exceflive height, the power and prerogatives of their insolent and ambitious patrons.

To these lamentable evils were added the ambitious quarrels, and the bitter animosities that arose among the patriarchs' themselves, and which produced the most bloody wars, and the most detestable and horrid crimes. The patriarch of Conftantinople distinguished himself in these odious contests. Elated with the favour and proximity of the imperial court, he cast a haughty eye on all sides, where any objects were to be found, on which he might exercise his lordly ambition. On the one hand, he reduced, under his jurisdiction, the patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch, as prelates only of the second order; and on the other, he invaded the diocese of the Roman pontif, and. spoiled him of several provinces. The two former prelates, though they struggled with vehemence, and raised considerable tumults by their opposition, yet they struggled ineffectually, both for want of strength, and likewise on account of a variety of unfavourable circumstances. But the Roman pontif, far sua perior to them in wealth and power, contended also with more vigour and obstinacy, and, in his turn, gave a deadly wound to the usurped supremacy of the Byzantine patriarch. . .

• The attentive inquirer into the affairs of the church, from this period, will find, in the events now mentioned, the prin-> cipal fource of those most scandalous and deplorable diffenfions, which divided, first, the eastern church into various fects, and afterwards separated it entirely from that of the west. He will find, that these ignominious schisms flowed chiefly from the unchristian contentions for dominion and supremacy which reigned among those who set themselves up for the fathers and defenders of the church.

None of the contending bishops found the occurrences of the times so favourable to his ambition, as the Roman pontif. Notwithstanding the redoubled efforts of the bishop of Constantinople, a variety of circumstances united in augmenting his power and authority, though he had not, as yet, assumed the dignity of supreme law-giver and judge of the whole Christian church. The bishops of Alexandria and Antioch, unable to: make head against the lordly prelate of Constantinople, fled often to the Roman pontif for succour against his violence; and: the inferior order of bishops used the same method, when their rights were invaded by the prelates of Alexandria and Antioch.' So that the bishop of Rome, by taking all these prelates alter- : mately under his protection, daily added new degrees of infuence: cada ]


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and authority to the Roman fee, rendered it every where respected, and was thus imperceptibly establishing its supremacy, Such were the means by which the Roman pontif extended his dominion in the east. In the west its increase was owing to other causes. The declining power and the fupine indolence of the emperors, left the authority of the bishop who prefided in their imperial city almoft without controul. The incursions, moře. over, and triumphs of the barbarians were so far from being prejudicial to his rifing dominion, that they rather contributed to its advancement. For the kings, who penetrated into the empire, were only solicitous about the methods of giving a sufficient degree of stability to their respective governments. And when they perceived the subjection of the multitude to the bifhops, and the dependance of the bishops upon the Roman pontif, they immediately resolved to reconcile this ghostly ruler to their interests, by loading him with benefits and honours of various kinds.

Among all the prelates who ruled the church of Rome dur. ing this century, there was none who asserted, with such vigour and success, the authority and pretensions of the Roman pontif, as Leo, commonly furnamed the Great. It must be, however, observed, that neither he, nor the other promoters of that cause, were able to overcome all the obstacles that were laid in their way, nor the various checks which were given to their ambition. Many examples might be alledged in proof of this point, particularly the case of the Africans, whom no threats nor promises could engage to submit the decision of their controverfies, and the determination of their causes to the Roman tribunal.

The vices of the clergy were now carried to the most enor, mous lengths, and all the writers of this century, whose probity and virtue render them worthy of credit, are unanimous in their accounts of the luxury, arrogance, avarice, and voluptuqusnefs of the facerdotal orders. The bishops, and particularly those of the first rank, created various delegates, or ministers, who managed for them the affairs of their dioceses, and a sort of courts were gradually formed, where these pompous ecclefiaftics gave audience, and received the homage of a cringing multitude. The office of a prefbyter was looked upon of such a high and eminent nature, that Martin, bishop of Tours, was so audacious as to maintain at a public entertainment; that the emperor was inferior, in dignity, to one of that order. As to the dracons, their pride and licentiousness occasioned many and grievous complaints, as appears from the decrees of several councils,

• Thefe opprobrious stains, in the characters of the clergy, would never have been supported, had not the greatest part of mankind been sunk in superstition and ignorance, and all in general formed their ideas of the rights and liberties of Christian


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