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who served as inteftine 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 ecclesiastical 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 animofities 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. Elaced 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 ítruggled ineffectually, both for want of strength, and likewise on account of a variety of unfavourable circumstances. But the Roman pontif, far superior 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 source of those most scandalous and deplorable dissensions, which divided, first, the eastern church into various sects, and afterwards separated it entirely from that of the weft. 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, Aed 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 alterpately under his protection, daily added new degrees of influence:

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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 bithops. 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 themselves the supreme power in the Christian hierarchy, and received, with great facility and readiness, the complaints of those who considered themselves as injured by the patriarchs; the councils also, in which the majelty 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 animosities, and was productive of various in-, conveniencies 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 oppofition, 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 autho-, rity, 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 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 excesive height, the power and prerogatives of their insolent and ambitious patrons. ..To these lamentable evils were added the ambitious quarrels, and the bitter animofities that arose among the patriarchs themselves, and which produced the moft 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 fua. 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 source of those most scandalous and deplorable diffenfions, which divided, first, the eastern church into various sects, and afterwards separated it entirely from that of the weft. 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 Chriftian church. The bishops of Alexandria and Antioch, unable to make head against the lordly prelate of Constantinople, fed 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 altera : pately under his protection, daily added new degrees of influence:

and

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 thc supine indolence of the emperors, left the authority of the bilhop who prefided in their imperial city almost without controul. The incursions, moreover, 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 controversies, and the determination of their causes to the Roman triburial.

• The vices of the clergy were now carried to the most enormous 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 voluptuousness 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 écclesiastics gave audience, and received the homage of a cringing multitude. The office of a presbyter 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 deacons, their pride and licentiousness occafioned many and grievous complaints, as appears from the decrees of several councils,

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

ministers, minifters, from the model exhibited by the facerdotal orders Among the Hebrews, the Greeks, and Romans, during the law of Moses, and the darkness of paganism. The barbarous nations, also, those fierce and warlike Germans, who, after the defeat of the Romans, divided among them the western empire, bore, with the utmost patience and moderation, both the dominion and vices of the bithops and priests, because, upon their conversion to Christianity, they became naturally subject to their jurisdiction ; and still more, because they looked upon the miniIters of Christ, as invested with the same rights and privileges, which distinguished the priests of their fictitious deities.

• The corruption of that order, who were appointed to promote, by their doctrine and examples, the sacred interests of piety and virtue, will appear less surprizing when we consider, that multitudes of people of all kinds were every where admitted without examination and without choice into the body of the clergy, the greatest part of whom had no other view, than the enjoyment of a lazy and inglorious repose. Many of these eco clefiaftics were confined to no fixed places or assemblies, had no employment of any kind, but fauntered about wherever they pleased, gaining their maintenance by impofing upon the ignorant multitude, and sometimes by mean and dishonest pra&ices.

• But if any should ask, how this account is reconcilable with the number of saints, who, according to the teftimonies of both the eastern and weftern writers, are said to have shone forth in this century? The answer is obvious; these faints were canonized by the ignorance of the times. For, in an age of dark, ness and corruption, thole, who distinguished themselves from the multitude either by their genius, their writings, or their eloquence } by their prudence and dexterity in managing matters of importance, or by their meekness and moderation, and the afcendant they had gained over their resentments and paffions; all such were esteemed something more than men, they were reverenced as gods; or, to speak more properly, they appeared to others as mea divinely inspired, and full of the deity. · * The monks, who had formerly lived only for themselves in solitary retreats, and had never thought of assuming any rank among the facerdotal orders, were now gradually diftinguished from the populace, and were endowed with fuch opulence, and such honourable privileges, that they found themselves in a condition to claim an eminent ftation among the supports and pilJars of the Christian community. The fame of their piety and sanctity was, at first, so great, that bishops and presbyters were often chosen out of their order, and the paffion of erecting edifices and convents, in which the monks and holy virgins might serve God in the most commodious manner, was, at this time, carried beyond all bounds. - ".

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