Joseph Priestley.

A general history of the Christian church, from the fall of the western empire to the present time (Volume 2) online

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two years. One day, as he was hearing mafs in
this place, he was fo forcibly flruck with the fol-
lowing exprefTions in the cliarge that our Saviour
gave to the twelve apofiies previous to their miflion.
Mat. 10, 9- Provide neither gold nor fdver, nor
irafs in your purfes, nor f crip for your journey ^
neither two coats, neither Jhoes, nor yd Jlaves, (^c,
that he cried out, " Ihis is what I feek;" and im-
mediately he threw away his fhoes, his ftaff, his
wallet, and all his money, and kept only one coat.;
He alfo laid afidc his girdle which was of leather,
and made ufe of a piece of rope in its place.

From this time, in imitation of the apoRles, he
began to exhort other perfons to repent, and he
did it in a very forcible manner, and with wonder-
ful fuccefs, always beginning his difcourfes with
faying, " God give you peace." When he had
got three difciples, they difperfed themfelves to
preach in different places ; when fome perfons re-
ceived them with great humanity, looking with
aftonilhment on their extraordinary drefs and
auftcrities, butin other places people made a mock
of them, and abufed them. This, however, they
bore with the greatell patience. When he had feven
difciples, he exhorted them to go to different coun-
tries, preaching repentance, without regarding any
treatment they might meet with ; affuring them
that, in a ijioit time many of the learned and the



noble would join them, and that they would
preach to kings and princes, as well as to the com-
mon people. When he had eleven difciples, one
of whom was as prieft, he wrote out a rule for thepi,
taken wholly out of the gofpels, and prefented it
to pope Innocent III, who, after making fome ob-
je6lions, approved of it in a. d. 1210.

Francis having obtamed this confirmation of
his inftitute, went with twelve difciples, and
cftabiifhed himCelf in a church which he had re-
paired at Puntremoii, and this was the firR houfe
of his order, which by way of humiiity he called
that of the mino?- brethren, fratres minores, 9k
french freres, and in Englifh by corruption /?7^r 5,
as the 'Dominicans had at the fame alTumed the
appellation of preaching brothers, orjriars ; and
this term it will be convenient to ufe to diUinguifh
thefe two orders from the monki.

From this place they went forth preaching in
the neighbouring towns and villages, roc with ftu-
died harangues, but in a manper that impreffed-
their hearers in an extraordinary manner, as. they
had the appearance of men of another world, hav-
ing their taces always turned towards heaven,
whither they were continually dire6imtr their au-
dience. Proceeding in this manner, they foon
had more followers, and in a. d. 1211 they found-
ed feveial convents, the moil confiderable ol which



were thofe of CortoiHa, Vifa., and Bologna ; and
Francis himfelf, having preached thro' all Tufcany,
returned to AHifi in lent in a. n. 1,212.

In fuch veneration was he at this time held,
that v/hen he went into any city they rung the bells,
and the clergy and people went to meet him, bear-
ing branches of trees, and finging, thinking them-
felves happy who could kir§ his h-.nds or ieet. That
knt he preached at his native place, where he had
many converts, and among them St. Claire, a»
young woman oi a noble tarnily, who by his di-
redion, tho' only at the age of eighteen, abandon^
ed the woild, and notwithftanding the remon-.
ftrances of her relations, fixed herfelf in a rnona-
flery firft at St. Ange de Panfa, where fla.e was join-
ed by her filler Agnes, and then at St. Damient
of the order of the Benediaines, which was thQ
firft church that St. Francis had. repaired. Her«
fhe continued forty two years, many difci pies join-
in ^ her; and thus was formed the order oi poor
women, or that of Si. Claire, being the fecond or-
der of Franeifcans.

At this time Francis was in doubt whether he
ihould continue to preach, or apply to prayer, and
he confulted one Silvefter, who lived wholly oc-
cupied in prayer on a mountain near Aflifi, and
-alfo St. Claire, that they might inform him what
was revealed to them on the fubjca ; and both



their anfwers agreeing that he fhould app^y to
preaching, he did lo. Thus determined, which
was about a. d. 1216, he gave inflru6lions to his
difciples to go in pairs, as the apoftles had done in
their miflion, behaving with all humility and good
■order, and preaching peace wherever they came.
He fent them thus intruded into Spain, Provence,
and Germany, into which country he fent no lefs
than fixty brothers. He hi mfelf intended to go to
France, but by the advice ot his friend cardinal
HugoHn bifhopofOIlia, he fent another perfbn, and
continued himfelf in Italy. But his preachersbeing
often infulted, and the whole order expofed to vio-
lence, he ^ot a proteHor of his order fixed at the
court of Rome, and the firft of them was cardinal

So rapidly did tliis order of Francifcahs in-
creafe, that at a chapter general held near Affifi
the 26th of May a. d. 1219, when Dominic wa§
prefent, there appeared to be not lefs than five
thoufand in it, tho' they had not been eftablifhed
more than nine or ten years. At this time fom<5
of the order wilhed to have a power of preaching
independently of lire parochial clergy, but Fran-
cis oppofcd it ; faying that by their humility, and
ufeful fervices, they Ihould gain the good will of
the clergy, that they fliould cover their faults, and
fupply their defers. And June 1 ith, of that



year pope Honorius III iCTued a bull, addreffed
to all biftiops and the higher orders of ecclefiaftics,
recommending the Francifcans as apaflolical men,
but not giving them any independent powers.

About this time m*ny women were converted
by his preachers, and formed themfelves into mo-
nafleiies ; but he refufed to take the charge of any
of them, except that of St. Claire, and expreffed
his wiflies that his brethren might have no con-
ne6lion with them. He ufed to fay, " 1 tear that
*' while God takes women from us" (for the Fran-
cifcans took the vow of continence) " the devil
" fliould fend us his liflers."

After this Francis fent his chief difciples into
diftant countries, with a number of companions,
takino-for himfelf and twelve others, the mifhon of
Syria and Egypt. And they went forth with the
fpirit of confelTors and martyrs ; for when men ex-
pofe themfelves to almoft certain death, there can-
not be a doubt of their being in earneft. Two of
his miffionaries going to Africa endeavoured to go
into a mofque ; and preaching in the flreets, and
putting themfelves in the way of the king, he firft
ordered them to be confined; but as they conti-
nued their importunity, he was fo much enraged,
that he ftruck off their heads with his own hands,
while they fuffered with the greateft relignation.
Francis iiimfdi vfcnt to Egypt, during the fiege of



Damiata, and gettirg accefs to the fultan, he of-
fered to go into the fireinproof of the truth of his
religion. But the fultan, who heard him with
great patience, did not chufe to put him to that teft ;
but admiring his courage, difmilTed him with much
good humour, defiring him to pray to Gcd that
he would Ihevv him which religion was moft agree-
able to him.

In A. D. 1221 feven Francifcans went to Ceu-
ta, to preach to the Moors; but they were foon
apprehended, and not yielding to the command of
the king to turn Mahometans, they were all be-

In the fame year a third order of Francifcans,
called brothers of repentance, was inflituted by St.
Anthony of Padua. His original name was Fer-
dinand, and he w^as a native of Lifbon in Portugal.
Many perfons exprefling their defire to cmbraca
the order, he was unwilling to difiblve fo many re-
gular marriages, and difpeople the country j and
therefore he gave them a rule, according to which
they might ferv^ God in a limilar manner in their
houfes, living in fome meafure like monks, but
without aufterity. This was confirmed by pope
Nicolas IV, fixty-eight years after.

St. Anthony was many years minifter provin-
cial of the Francifcans in Romania, and greatly
diflinguiftied himfelf by preaching on the I'ubjeft



•of morals, and iii the controverfy with the heretics.
It is faid that the fociety of Flagcitants began from
his preaching. In a. d. 1221 he fixed htmfclf at
Padua, wliere he fometimes preached in the open
air to thirty thoufand perfons, who came from all
llie neighbouring towns. His difcourfes had a
wonderful efFeft in converting proftitutes, deli-
vering prifoners, reconciling enemies, procuring
Irlie rcftitution of ufury, and the remiflion of debts.
He preached every day. He died this year at th<2
age of thirty fix, ten of which he had paffed among
the Francifcans, and he was canonized theyeat

The rule of the Francifcans was not fully con^

•firmed till the glh of November a. d. 1213, when

It was done by a bull of pope Nicolas III. Be*

fides entrao-ing to live in obedience to their fupe-

'rior, in chaftity, and without any property, they

vowed obedience to the pope, and his fucctsflTors.

And certainly both the orders of mendicants were

of much greater ufe in the fupport of the papal

hierarchy, and combating heretics, than all the

orders of monks had ever been. Indeed, fuch was

the -number of perfons in this period difaflFeaed to

the fee of Rome, that it is very doubtful whether,

without this feafonable aflfiftance, it could have

"been fupported at all.



St. Francis pretended that the particulars of
bis rule were dictated to him word for word by
God himfelf. But even this is not near fo extra-
ordinary a circumftance as what is related of him
in the lafl period of his life. In a. d. 1224, two
years before his death, he retired to mount Alverne
in the confines of Tufcany, in order to pafs the
Eafler, when he pretended to fee in a vifion the
appearance of Chrift upon the crofs, defcendim-
from heaven. But being awake from his vifion,
he found all the marks of crucifixion on his own
body. His hands and feet were a^ually pierced
with nails, or fomethingrefembling nails, the heads
being within, and the points clenched on the other
fide ; and on his right fide was a red fear, as by a.
lance, from which there often oozed a quantity of
blood, which ftained his clothes. This remaikable
liiflory is contained in the life of St. Francis writ-
ten by Bonaveoture, who declares that pope Alex-
ander IV ailerted in a public difcourfe, which he
himfelf heard, that he had feen thofe marks. Many
other perfons are faid to have attefted the fame on
oath, tho' while he lived he endeavoured, thro'
modefly, to conceal them. But when he died,
which was October 4th, a. d. 1226, many per-
fons faw and examined the wounds, when the nails
were flill in them, and moveable in the flefh,
Fieury, Vol. 16. p. 578.
Vol. IV, Q la

24t tHE HISTdHY OF Per. X1%,

In A. D. 1257 one Ecchard a Dominicari
preacher in Moravia, aflerted in a public difcourfc,
that St. Francis had never received the Jligmates^
as thefe marks of crucifixion were called, that the
Francifcans were liars, and impoftors, who invent*
ed the ftory toaffift their begging, and that by the
pope's authority he had a power of excommunicat-
ing them. But the pope hearing of this, wrote to
the fuperior of the oider to fufpcnd that preacher.
He alfo wrote to the church at Olmutz, and all the
faithful in Germany, to certify the truth of the
ftigmates, as having been the principal motive for
the canonization of St. Francis.

Dominic (de Gufman) was born at Calahor-
ra in Arragon, or according to others at Calarvega,
in the diocefe of Ofma in Caftille, in a. d. 1170.
He was the fon of Felix Gufman, of a noble and
antient family. After ftudying at Palencia, he
was made canon, and afterwards archdeacon, of
Ofma, and then profeffor of theology at Placentia.
But this employment he quitted to go to preach
•after the manner of Francis, which he did in fevc-
ral parts of Spain, in which he gave proof of great
zeal and charity, relieving the poor and afflided.
Coming into France with the bifhop of Ofma, he
greatly diftinguiQied himfelf by preaching againfl:
the Albigenfes, and there he formed the defign of
inllituting an order oi preachers , and for this pur*



pofe Fulk bifhop of Thouloufe brought him to the
council of Lateran in a. d. 1215, that he might be
examined by the pope. But before this he had
given him and Jiis companions pofTeffion of ahand-
fomc houfe in Thouloufe. He alfo gave him the
fixth part of the tythes of his diocefe, foi" the
purchafe of books and fubfiftence.

The Icheme of Dominic being approved by
the pope, he confulted with his followers, wheri
they agreed to adopt the rules of St. Aufttn, but
with feveral additions i and that they might have
no impediment in their preaching, which was their
chief objefl-, and from which they were denomi-
nated preaching brothers, or prcdicard friars, they
refolved to have no eflates in land, but only reve-
nues. They were then fixteen in number, and the
bifliop of Thouloufe gave them their firll church,
viz. that dedicated to St. Romanus in that city ;
and near to it he built cloifters with cells over them,
where they might ftudy anjd ileep. Honorius III
confirmed the order in a. d. 1216, exempting
them from paying tythes of their pofleflTions, and
ordering that they fhould depend upon the dioce-
fan for epifcopal fundions ; and the prior was to
be chofen by the free votes of the brethren ; fo that
the Dominicans, at their firft inftitution, were not
beggars, nor exempt from epifcopal jurifdiaiOii,
but canons regular.

Q 2 The


The next year Dominic fent out his followers
in pairs, after chufmg afuperior, to whom he gave
the title of abbot ; but all the fucceeding ones were
called majlers, and the fuperiors of particular houfes
priors. He fent four to Spain» four to Paris, and
two more to ftudy there ; and obtaining the houfe
ot St. James for their church, they were called J^a-
cohines thro' France. Hearing of the death of Si-
mon de Montfort at the liege of Thouloufe, Do-
minic went thither to comfort his brethren. Thence,
in A. D. I2i8, he went into Spain, and founded
two monafteries, one at Madrid, and the other at
Segovia. Thence he went to Paris, ivhere he
found thirty brethren, and thence to Bologna,
where Arnauld, who joined him at Rome, had
been very fuccefsful, and had formed a large fo-
ciety. From this city he went to Rome, and at
Parma he met St. Francis ; when, after conferring
together, they agreed not to accept of church li-
vings. Dominic propofed to unite the two orders j
but Francis thought it would be better that they
fhould keep feparate, but in perfeft harmony.

In A. D. 1220 Dominic, by the diredion of
Honorius III, removed all the nuns in Rome, to
the number of forty-four, frooi their feveral houfes,
much againft the will of their relations, to the
church of St. Sixtus, where they received from his
hands a new habit, and pijomifed obedience to him ;



and from this lime their relations had no acceCs to
them without witnefTes, which fufficiently implies
that thofe vihts had been the caufe of much difor-

The fame year Dominic held the firft chapter
general of his order at Bologna, when it was re-
folved that the preaching friars fliould profefs per-
fea poverty, and make that the fundamental prin-
ciple ot their crder, that they fliouId renounce for
ever all eftates in land, and lents, even thofe which
they had at Thouloufe, the poffeffion of which had
been fecured to them by the pope's bull. In this
chapter defniteurs were appointed with power even
over the generals, during the holding of chapters,
and it was agreed that thefe chapters fhould be held
every year, at Paris and Bologna alternalcly- At
the fec'ond chapter general, held at Bologna, eight
provincials were chofen, to fuper.ntend the rireach-
ers in the eight provinces of Spain, France, Lom-
bardy, Romagna, Provence, Germany, Hjinga-
ry, and England. Prefently after this, viz Au-
guft 26th, A. D. 1221, Dominic died, in the ^iH
year of his dge, with great marks of piety ; ?.nd idl
his order fhould be hurt by the maxims of worldly
prudence, he forbad, under the curfe of God and
his own, the introdu6lion of temporal poffcffions
into, the order. In a. d. 1223 he was canonized.

S 3 Thef^


Thefe preaching friars had fo much zeal at the
firfl, and confidered preaching as fo effential to
their inftitution, that they were r>ot fatisfied if they
did not exhort at lead one perfon every day. Each
of them carried with him a copy of the gofpel of
Matthew, and of the feven canonical epiftles, ac-
cording to the exprefs order of Dominic.

On the retreat of the ftudents and profeffbrs
from the univerfity of Paris, the Dominicans cftab-
lifhed a chair of theology in that city, to the fuc
cefs ot which the high chara6ler of their general
Jourdan contributed not a little, as alfo the great
number of doftors and ftudents who had enterecj
into the order. For tho' they had changed their '
habits, they ftill gave le£lures.

Among the Dominican preachers, one of the
moft diflinguifhed in this early period was John of
Vieenza. He gained fo much upon the people erf
Bologna, that he became maftcr of the city. So
great was his reputation, that the pope wifhcd to
employ him to reconcile the cities that were at va-
lianee, and he was obliged to threaten the citizetis
with ecclefiaftical cenfures, to compel them to let
him go.

7\nother order of mendicants owes its origin to
pope Alexander IV, who united two fe6ls of her-
mits, vi?. thofc cl William and thofe ol SL Auftm,



giving them both the appellation oUhe Hermits of
St. Aujlin. Thefe, with the Carmelites, made four
prders of mendicants. Mojlieirrif Vol. 3. p. 52.


Some Particulars r dating to both the Orders cf
Mendicants^ and others oj a mifcellaneous Nature,
concerning them and the Monks,


'OTH the Francifcans and Domini-
cans were foon found of great ufe to the fee of
Rome, on which account the popes gave them
every encouragement, and many privileges ; but
the fecular clergy taking umbrage at it, it was fomc
limes found neceflary to reftridt them.

In A. D. 1254 Innocent IV forbad confeffioa
to any pricft who was a ftranger, without the per-
miflion of the cure. The friars were alfo forbidden
to preach during the hour of mafs, left they fhould
idraw the people from the parifh churches. If the
bifliop himfelf chofe to preach, no friar muft preach
in the fame place at the fame time. If any of
them buried a perfon, the biftiop, or the cure,
was to have a third, or a fourth of the fees. This

Q 4 bull,


bull, however, was revckcd by Alexander IV in
A. D. 1255. At the iaine time that he reftorcd to
the univerfity of Paris thcfe doftors of the mendi-
cants who had been excluded by his predecefTor.
Hou'fiver. the fcholars and the antient members of
the univerfity remonftrattd againdthis, and many
of rhern left the univerfity ; but the pope paid no
regard to their oppofiLion.

In A. D. 1256 arbitrators were chofen, who
decided that (he mendicants fhould have no more
than tuo fchocls there, feparate from thofe of the
fecuiar mafters and fcholars, and that they fhould
renounce all particular privileges. But the pope
cancelled this accommodation, and obliged the
univerfity to receive the mendicant profeffors,
efpecially Thomas Aquinas, and Bonaventure.
They ordered, however, that in all the public a6ls
they fhould rank after the other profeffors.

By a bull of pope Martin IV, in a. d. 1282,
thofe perfons who conftffed to a friar were ordered
to confefs at lead once a year to their cure.

The bifhops foon took great offence at the
privileges granted to the friars, and a council being
held on the fubjcft at Rheims, in a. d. 1287, it
was agreed not to allow them thofe privileges till
they had a fecond order from Rome ; and they
fettled the contribution ot each clergyman to pro^
iecute the afFair at Rome.



Lewis the I X of France was fo much attached
to the mendicants, that he was determined to re-
fign the government of his kingdom to his fon, and
become one of them; but his queen difTuaded him
from it. He wiOied that two of his fons and his
daughter might embrace that mode of life, and took
meafures for thai purpofe, but they did not fuc-

In A. D. 1243 t^^^^ ^^^^ ^ g^'^3^ difpute between
the two orders of mendicams which occafioned a
great fcandal, hke that between the krights Tem-
plars and Hofpitallers in Paieftine. The Domi-
nicans faid, " We vv^ear a more decent drefs." The
Francifcans replied, " We have for the love of God
*' embraced a mere auftere and humble life, and
** areconfequently more holy." The Dominicans
anfwered, •'• It is true that you go barefooted, ill
*' dreifed, and gnded with a rope, but you aie not
*' forbidden, as we are, to eat flefli meat, even in
*' public, and to make good cheer."

The great favour fhewn to the mendicants,
cfpeciallyby Lewis IX, excited the jealoufy of
the fecular clergy, and of the monks, who faid they
loved the tables of princes and prelates, and to get
pofts of honour ; that they meddled with public
bufinefs, entering into the councils of lords and
prelates, and fitting with them in courts of judi-
cature. On the oiher hand the fuperior zeal and

Q 5 lite-


llferature of the mendicants made them defpife tb«
monks, as idle and ufelefs.

In the letters of Peter dc Vignes, fecretary of
the emperor Frederic, there is one, written in the
name of the clergy, and feemingly addrefled to
ihe emperor, containing heavy complaints againft
the mendicants. " They declaim againft us," they
fay, " in their fermons, and have diminifhed our
*' rights fo much, that we are reduced to nothing.
*' Whereas before we commanded princt s, and
" made the people iear us, we are now a laughing
" Clock to them ; they engrofs all our advantages
*' from penances, baptifms, the snointing of the
** fick, and the burial of the dead.''

According to Matthew Paris, the mendicanti

abufcd their privileges of preaching and confeffing,

expofing the ignorance of the fecular clergy ; and

fhe parifliioners chufing to contefs to thefe itinerants^

rather than to their own clergy, fmners were under

lefs reRraint. The fuperiority alfumed by the

mendicants had, however, one good efFeft. The

monks being defpifed by the friars for their

•ignorance, Stephen de Lexington an Englilhman

eftablithed a college for the Ciftercian monka in

Paris, which was the origin of the college of

Bernardlnes there.

Before the year a, d. 1289 the Francifcans had
feUen into great diforder, when Raimond Goffredi
* ^ of


of Provence was made their general, the preceding
general after he was made a cardinal, having lived
like a prince ; fo that they were far removed from
the Hate of poverty recogimended by their founder.
They received money at th« firft mafles of new
priefts, they had chefts placed in churches to re-
ceive money for maffes, they attended anniverfaries
for the dead for a certain fum, like the fecular
priefts ; they placed at the doors of their churches
little boys, who took money of paffengers, and
offered them little candles to fell, and burn them
in honour of the faints ; the friars themfelves traf-
ficked in the ftreets and markets, taking with them
little children, who received the money ; they
abandoned their folitary and poor houfes, to build
handfome ones, at a great expence in cities, in
which thofe of the place lived to the exclufion of
flrangers, and none of them would remove far
irom their country or relations.

In A. D. 1256 William de St. Amour wrote a
book intitled, The dangers 0/ the latter days, in
which, without naming them, he inveighed bitter-
ly againft the mendicants, as unauthorized preach-
ers, and dangerous to the church. But pope
Alexander IV condemned the book, ordering it
to be burned within eight days by any perfon who
had a copy of it, under pain of excommunication.

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