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and other pontiffs, and a host of inferiors in their train ; it is more pleasing to the writer to point to the estimable, however defective, characters of a Gregory I. and a Pius VII.; and it is the part of truth and candour to record, that notwithstanding all her errors, that church has furnished models of benevolence, pastoral vigilance, and other virtues, in her François de Sales, her Carlo Borromeo, her Massillon, her Fenelon, her Vincent de Paul, and many other worthies, which even the bishops of protestant churches, and the rectors of protestant parishes, may study with advantage; and which comparatively few will, perhaps, be ready to imitate,-scarcely any can be expected to equal.
P. 279. “ Ad Jesum.”—Joshua is meant, as by St. Paul in the use of the word, Heb. iv. 8.
P. 280. Apotactici.” The followers of Tatian, who combined the oriental philosophy with the christian doctrine, pleaded for celibacy, fastings, &c. and were therefore called Apotactites, or Renouncers.
P. 281. M. Peyran refers also to other authorities, namely, St. Bernard, Ep. 219, 178, ad Innocent. 166, 290, 42, ad Henric. archiep. Senon. Id. in Serm. de convers. B. Panli. Id. in Cantic. Serm. xxxiii. p. 91. in cant. 77. Ep. ad Eugenium de considerat. I. i.
P. 285. “ Les Donatistes." —During a va
cancy of the see of Carthage, A. D. 311, Cæcilian and Majorinus were rival candidates. Cæcilian was elected bishop, though it would appear too hastily; but when the dispute was explained to the emperor Constantine, the election received his sanction. The Numidian bishops, however, to the number of seventy, protested against the legality of Cæcilian's election, consecrated Majorinus, and, upon his death, Donatus ; from whom, or from another bishop of the same name, the body of separatists derived their appellation.
The sect of the Donatists became so numerous, as to be under the guidance of 400 bishops, and a primate; co-existing with other christians in all the cities of Africa ; and they were particularly numerous in Numidia. Although they coincided with others in faith and worship, such was the austerity of their manners that the Donatists re-baptized christians, and reordained bishops and priests, requiring public penance also, before they received them into their communion. One class of the Donatists, the rude peasants of the Numidian and Mauri tanian villages,—when the emperor Constans adopted violent measures against them to enforcę unity in the church, formed themselves into bands of ruffians; and, known by the name
of Circumcelliones, committed many outrages in the villages, till overpowered by the regular troops. The emperor Honorius afterwards inflicted rigorous punishinents on the Donatists, when efforts to reclaim them proved unavailing; proscribing and banishing 300 bishops, and some thousands of the inferior clergy, and instituting very heavy penalties upon those who practised the rites of religion in their conventicles. These measures of severity accelerated the loss of Africa to the Roman empire; for when Genseric and his Vandals attempted the conquest of that province, the Donatists, irritated by previous intolerance, withdrew their allegiance to the emperor, and became Genseric's allies. This schisi continued for 300 years, that is, until the greater calamity of the invasion of the Saracens, became a scourge to the uncharitable and contentious christians of Africa, when the Donatists became gradually an extinct sect.
Such, in brief, is the history of that deplorable division which took place in a church which had but just emerged from a series of pagan persecutions; and whose deliverance should have produced in its members new proofs of gratitude to God, affection towards each other, and zeal for the dissemination of
christianity amongst idolaters. It is a history that teaches in the most emphatic terms, the dangers attendant on religious discord amongst those who maintain the same essential doctrines. The impolicy as well as the impiety of cherishing hatred, is clearly depicted; and it is made evident, that amongst the disciples of Christ, “ if unity should prevail on essential points, liberty should still be allowed on points non-essential; and that, above all, and in every case, charity should be exercised.”
P. 289. “ Parlant des Gnostiques.”—The Gnostics, so called from the knowledge of which they boasted, were those who, in the earliest ages of the gospel, blended the false notions they had derived from the oriental philosophy, respecting the creation of the world,—the origin of evil, &c.—with the pure and simple truths of christianity. The creation of the world they ascribed, not to God but to inferior beings; and the origin of evil to matter; and therefore they rejected the books of Moses. Amongst other extravagances, they both denied the equality of the Son of God to God the Father, and his real humanity; whilst their system of morals, was either unreasonably austere, in point of abstinence from food and marriage, or it degenerated into voluptuousness.
In the third century, Manes, a Persian, who
had been educated amongst the magi, combined the speculations of Zoroaster with the doctrines of Christ; and formed a system resembling in many particulars that adopted by the Gnostics. The total incongruity of the Manichæan tenets with those of the Waldenses, which calumniators have affirmed to be similar,-has been shewn with incontestable evidence by M. Peyran, in a former part of this volume. There are a few particulars, however, in which the Roman Catholic system will be found to approximate, in some degree, to the Gnostic, and tɔ the Manichæan; for instance, l. in those images of Christ, to which Irenæus and Augustine,* as cited by the moderator, p. 289, allude; 2. in the austere and unscriptural plans of mortification enjoined, as abstinence from proper food, and marriage; 3. in the false assertion, that their peculiar opinions were drawn from certain secret doctrines of Christ, which had not been revealed to the vulgar;just as the advocates of the church of Rome, pretend that certain doctrines were taught by Christ, during the forty days that elapsed between his resurrection and ascension, which, though not recorded by the evangelists, having
* Carpocrates, to whose followers Augustine refers, was a Gnostic of Alexandria, whose tenets were peculiarly impious and immoral.