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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«' may be fo lively, that the fpiritual man (hall be-
" iievethat he feels the pain not only in his mind,
*' but in his limbs." Treating of vvhat he ca.]]s fpi-
ritual intoxication, he fays, *• When a man receives
** more fpiritual joy than the heart can contain, it
'* expreffes itfeif in extraordinary geftarcs. Soma
*• perfons fing hymns, others fhed tears, or run
" about, dancing, and clapping their hands ;

" and


" and fome faint away. They," fays he, '* who
*' find thcmfeivcs in this fl:ue, ought to be thank-
" ful and humble." He was fenhble of laife pre-
tences , to a life of contemplation and devotion.
For fpeaking of the illufions of falfe my flics, lie
fays, " Thefc men only feek natural quiet. Under
*' the pretence of contemplation they fit ftiil, with-
*' out any occupation, interior or exterior, which
produces ignorance and blindnefs, accompanied
with felf conceit, and pride, the fource of all
" other vices." Mhury, Vol. 26. p. 311. John
Thaulerus, a Dominican, and great theologiaD,
reforted much to Rufbroek, and is laid by this
means to have profited much in the interior and
contemplative life, as appears by his writings.

Superflition was much promoted by fabulous
legends, and in this period James de Voragin«,
who was made archbifhop of Genoa in a. d. 1292;
wrote the lives of the faints, called the Golden h"
gendy for the eReem in which it was held for two
hundred years. Afterwards, however, it fell into
great contempt, on account of the fables with which
it was filled, not however of his own invention ;
but that age being fond of the marvellous, he
added fuch circumflances and fpeechcs as he
thought proper.



4. Of the Extcnfion of Chrijlianity. ■

There is but little to boaft of the real proprefs
of ChridianiLy in this period, and what was pro-
pagated under that name was little better ihr.n a
miferable faperllirion, prLfcable. howe^ cr, to the
hcathenifm, oi which it took place. Mdiw o\ the
convcrfions were the empty boalls of the nuiliona-
ries, which had no permanent efrc-?is.

In A. D. 1307 |ohn de Montcorvin, a F;an-
eifcan, wrote Irom Tartary, that he had made great
progrefs in the converfion of that country, hav-
ing bapiized many hundreds of the people. On
this Clement V made him bilhop of Cambalu, the
capital, and fent feven other friars of the fame or-
4icr to be bifliops under him. In a. d. 1326 An-
drew of Peru fa, another mifTionary to the fame
country, wrote, that he made no converts among
the Jews or Mahometans, but that he converted
many of the Heathens. Bat he acknowledged that
many of thefe did not live like good Chriflian.5.
Raimond Lulii, a Francifcan ot the third order,
and who had greatly diflinguiflied himfelf by his
imetaphyfical and other writings, undertook to
preach Chriftlanity to the Mahometans on the
coafts of Africa, but he v/as Honed to there

in A, D. 1315.



The Norrh Eaflern part of Europe continuerl
in nearly the fame ftate in v/hich it was in the Ltd
period. In a. d. 1324 Godcmin, duke t Litfuta-
Tiia, complained to the pope, ihat tho* his prede-
ceffor became a convert of Chriflianity with all his
fubjefls, the infuls and atrocious violence of ti-.e
Teutonic knights had made <-hem return to idola-
try. To thefe complain. s :he pope oppofed eccle-
Caflical cenfures. In a. d. 1385, Jageilon, duke
of Lithuania, having married a daughter of the
king of Hungary and Poland, became a Chr^Pi-an,
after having lonii rtriHed the fohci rations or the
neighbouring princes to that purpofe-. Along with
him were baptized three of his brothers, and fume
lords. His other brother had been baptized ac-
cording to the Greek ritual. After thi^ the ksDg
extinguiflied the facred fire which the heatuen Li-
thuanians kept up, and he alfo killed fonie fer-
pents which they kept in their houfes, as doaiellic
divinities. Tiie peopl«, finding no mifch'.ef
arifmg from it, at length fubmitted to be baptized,
the nobles one at a time, but with refpf:tl to the
commonalty, it was deemed fuflicient to throw ho-
ly water upon a multitude of them at the fame
time, giving the fame ChriRian name to every in-
dividual of the feverai companies. On this FJeury
expreffes a doubt, whether the baptifm would, ii\
all the cafes, be valid, as, in a great croud, fomc



might efcape wilhoufe any of the baptifmal water
touching them. As the king gave vsroollen garments
to thofe who were baptized, many came to tb«
baotifm for the fake of that prefent.

In A. D. 1413 Ladiflas Jagellon, king of Po-
land, went to Samogitia, the inhabitants of which
were heathens, who kept up a perpetual fire, and
a facred grove with animals ; when he himfelf ex-
tinguifhed the fire, cut down the facred grove, and
Hew the animals. On this the people, feeing
that this was done with impunity, deferted theii
former worfhip, and became Chriftians.

In A. D, 1366 the Francifcans made many
converts injBulgaria. Marc de Viterbo, the gene-
ral of the order, fays that in fifty days they baptized
piore than two hundred tIiourandmen,vvhofe names
in order to be fure of the number, the king enter-
ed in a public regiiler ; and yet one third of th«
country was not yet converted, tho' the heretict
and fchifmatics, heretofore fo obftinate, as well as
the Patarins, and Manicheans, were more thau
ever difpofed to become Catholics. Laflly, in a.
D. 1370, Lafco, duke of Moldavia, being con-
verted by a Francifcan, abandoned the Greek
church, and became a Catholic.




5. Of the jetjs in this Period,

The fufferings of the Jews v/eie hv no means
clofed with the laft period. Philip /Af Fair, king
of France, had ail the Jews in his dominions ar-
retted in one day in a. d. 1306. .indall their goods
confifcated, leaving only as much to, each as \v?s
fufEcient to carry him out of rfje country ; ar«d
they were forbidden to return on pain of death.
A few were baptized, and ftayed ; but many died
on the road, with gri^ f and fatigue. However, in
A. D. 1315, Lewis Hutin permitted them tore-
turn, on their advancing him a funi of money for
■his wars in Fla- ders.

But their fr fFerings in France were not yet at
an end. For in a. d 1320 a number of the com-
.mon people, chiefly fn.phcrd.s imagining that, tl/c
relief of the holy land v/as dt (lined to be efftttt?d
by their means, formed themlelve'^ into large bo-
dies, \valkin;4 in proctflion, two and two, thio*
France, vifuing particular churches, and begging,
provifions, wish which, as the pfcple favoured
them, they we'e abundantly fuppl'cd ; but being
joined by many d iorderly people, the) were gudty
of many cnmts, plundering even the churches;
and they murdered the jews whenever ihey met
with them, eiptciaily at Thouloufe, and in the
South of France ; the kmg's ofhcers not being able
to hinder them. Going to Aviguon, where the


Se-cXIII. the christian church. 529

pope then was, they endeavoured to make thcm-
felves mailers of the place ; but he took his mea-
fures fo well, that many of them were killed,
others taken, and hanged, and the left difperfed.
Thefe fliepherds of Fratice befet a caflle to v/hich
many Jews had retired, when, on the failure of
weapons, they threw their children frorh the walls
to excite compaflion, but it had no effeft. The
befiegers breaking down the gates, found only dead
bodies, and a few children. The Jews had killed
one another, that they might not fall into the hands
of the Chriftians. There remained only one per-
fon alive, and him they tore in pieces. The pla-
gue having feized thefe fhepherds, they imputed
it to the Jews, who they faid had poifoned the
wells ; and the king, unable to protedl them, on
their refufal to embrace Chriflianity, delivered up
fifteen thoufand, all of whom they burned alive.
Bafnage, Vol. 9. p. 522. 526.

A Jew being falfely accufed of murdering a
Chriflian in the reign of Charles VI of France,
feveral of that nation were apprehended, and of
thefe fome were hanged, others were fcourged, and
the fynagogue was condemned to pay eighteen
hundred crowns. Two years after this all the Jews
were banifhed from France, and in a manner that
made the event fo calamitous that it became an
Vol, IV. L 1 epocha


cpocha in their hiflory, and from it they dated fub-
fequent events, Bafnage, Vol. p. p. 605.

England was difturbed and relieved in the fame
manner about the fame time. On this occafion
the pope pJiblifhed a bull in favour of the Jews,
tho' at the fame time he condemned the Talmud,
and ordered the copies of it to be burned.

Ill A. D. 1338 many Jews were murdered in
Auftria, on the pretence of their procuring confe-
crated hofts, and piercing them, fo that blood
came out of them. But it was found that fomc
Chriftians got wafers not confecrated, and made
them bloody, in order to throw an odium on the
Tews. Thefe violences, however, extended thro'
the whole of Upper Germany, where the peafants
affembled, and murdered all the Jews they could
find, on pretence of zeal for Chriftianity. But
the emperor Lewis put a ftop to thefe proceedings.

The "reat plague in a. d. 1348 being sfcribed
to the Jews poifoning the fountains, many of them
were murdered without examination, and many
mothers, fearing that their children would be
baptized after their deaths, threw them into the
fire along with themfelves, to be burned together
with their hufbands. Thefe maffacres were moft
frequent in Germany; but the pope prevented
them at Avignon.



In A. D. 1340 there was an infurreaion of the
people of Spain againft the Jews of Toledo, whither
R. Afcher, who had fled from his native country
NothenbercT, had taken refuge with his eight fons.
One of thefe, feeing the Chriflians burfting into
the houfe, killed all his relations who were there
with him, his own wife, and that of his brother
Jacob, and then himfelf. This Jacob tho' poor
was a learned man, and was of the moft generous
difpohiion. He had tdiUght gratis, and left behind
him a work on civil and ecclefiaftical law. Bafnagc,

In A. D. 1390, under Henry III of Caftile,
Martin archdeacon of Aftigy preaching in the flreets
of SsviiJe and Cordova, raifed a violent perfe-
cution againft the Jews, and procured them to be
tnaffacred in that city. The fame fate purfued
them to Toledo, Valentia, and Barcelona, where
fome were plundered, and others killed, tho' fome
renounced their religion to fave their lives. The
fynagogues of Seville and Cordova which had been
numeroufly attended were deftroyed. Thofe who
fled to Andalufia and other places were killed by
the inhabitants. His fon John was not more hu-
mane than his father. Thofe who were concealed
in the former reign perifhed miferably in the latter.
Ibid. Vol. 9. p. 537. Nor were the Jews more at
their eafc in Arragon, Jb.

L 1 a A.{ter


After fome time the Jews met with better treat-
ment, and in a. d. .1412, many of them were con-
verted by Vincent Ferrier, a Dominican, and
among them jofhua Horlaki, phyfician to Bene-
di6l XIII, who, being baptized, took the name of
Jerome of the holy Jaith. After his converfion he
compofed two trealifes againft the Jews, one on
the method of convincing them, and the other
againft the Talmud. In the firft he fhewed that
the twenty-four conditions which they require in
the Mefliah were found in Jefus. He was anfwer-
ed by Ifaac Nathan, and feveral others.

There were feveral public conferences with the
Jews in the prefence of Benedi6t XIII at Tortofa
in Spain, when the principal of the difputants on
the part of the Chriftians was Jerom. In confe-
quence of thefe conferences and the preaching of
Vincent Ferrier, * it v/as faid that great numbers


* Vincent Ferrier preached with great applaufe
thirty years in Spam, France, and Italy, and more mi-
racles are afcribed to him than to Mofes or Jefus Chrift.
He is faid to have converted thirty thoufand Mahome-
tans, befides Jews, Waldenfes, and other heretics;
and what is more, to have reclaimed a hundred thou-
fand from a profligate life. He is, howevfer, faid to
have thought too well of the Flagellants, who followed
hun with much applaufe. This appears from d letter



1% n

of Jews were converted; but relapfing to their
former faith, it ferved as a pretext for the pope to
perfecute them. In the bulls that he publiflied on
this occafion he ordered the inquifition to pr ccce
againft any perfons who fhould keep any of their
books j and he ordered all princes to exclude Jews
from the benefit of the laws in the adminiflration of
jullice. He forbad all communication or conver-
fation with Jews ; and direded that they Ihould be
diftinguilhed from Chriflians by opprobrious
badges, and not allowed to follow any trade, or
lend money onufary ; and laftly, that they fhould
become Chriftians, or be imprifoned for life. A
particular account of each of thefe conferences is
given by a Jewiih writer; and according to him
thofe of his religion had the advantage in the argu-
ment. This account may be feen in L'EnJani's
Hijlory of the council of Pifa, Vol. 2. p. 153. &c.

In order to promote the converfion of unbe-
lievers in general, and the Jews among the reft, it
was ordered at the council of Vienne in a. d. 1 o 1 2

o *

that there fhould be maflers to teach Hebrew,
Arabic, and Chaldee in the court ol Rome, and

L 1 3 in

that Gerfon wrote to him from the council of Conftance,
whither he wiihed to draw him. After the eledlion of
Martin V he defertecl Benedia. He died at Vannes in
Britanny in A. D. 1419, and^was afterwards canonized.
Z'£/i/tt«f'5Pij^, Vol. 2.p. 138c


in the unlveifities of Paris, Oxford, Bologna, and
Salamanca, two for each.

6. 0/ the Cnifades.

Tho* there was no general expedition actually en-
tered upon for the recovery of the holy land in this
period, it did not immediately ceafe to be a conftder-
able objed with the Chriftian powers. The taking
of Rhodes by the knights of St. John encouraged
fome to make the attempt ; and at the council of
Vienne in a. l>. 1312, Henry king of the Romans,
Philip king of France, Lewis of Navarre, and
Edward II of England, promifed to undertake the
expedition ; and in confequence of this a general
crufade was ordered to bepublilhed, and a levy was
made of the tenth of eccleliaflical revenues for fix

John XXII was a zealous promoter of another
crufade ; and in his time PhiHp, king of France,
adlually took the crofs, as chief of the expedition ;
being allowed the tenth of all the church livings in
his kingdom for the purpolc; and in a. d. 1353,
the crufade was preached thro' all France, the
troops being appointed to embark in ihree years.

In A. D. 1365 an attempt was a6laally made

to recover the holy land by another defcent upon

Jigvpt. After great eflForts on the part of pope

Urban V, Peter de Lufi-nan, km^ ot Cyprus,



failed with an army of ten thoufand foot and four-
teen hundred horfe ; and after a folemn benedi6l-
ion given by the legate, they lti«ded near Alexan-
dria, and took the place. But finding their num-
bers were not fuflicicnt to keep pcfTenion of it,
they plundered, and then abandoned it. This un-
fuccefsful attempt was of great dilTervice to the
Chriflian caufe, as it excited the fultan of Egypt
to engage the afliftance of the Turks, in order to
get pofTcffion of Cyprus and Rhodes, from which
iflands the Chriflian powers had failed to at-
tack him.

7. Of the Increafe of Infdclity.

Infidelity appears to have made great progrefs
in this period, in confequence ol the writings of
Averroes in the preceding. An enthafiadic ad-
miralion of his writings and ihofe of Ariftotle, on
which he wrote commentaries, and which vwcrc
quoted as oracles in the fchools of philofophy, oc-
calioned a great contempt for the books of fcript-
ure, and the writings of the Chriflian Fathers,
cfpecially in the principal cities of Italy, .where
learning was moft cultivated. Of this iMelchior
Camus, bifhop of the Canaries, made heavy com-
, plaints.

Petrarch was exceedingly fiiccked at the af-
frontery of thofe unbelievers whom he met witii a£

L i 4 Venice.


Venice. They made no account of Jefus Chrift
or the apoftles, defpifing them as unlettered men.;
and their do£lrines they treated as fables. They
refpe6led no perfons as men of fenfe, and phiio-
fophers, but thofe who ridiculed them ; and they
confidered thofe who defended them as mere fools.
One of them meeting with Petrarch in a bookfeller's
fhop, after exprefiing great contempt for the apoftles
and the Chriftian Fathers, faid that if he could but
read Aveiroes, he would fee how fuperior he was
to thofe fimpletons. (nugatoribus.)

Peter D'Apono, a famous profefTor of medi-
cine and aflronomy at Padua in the time of Pe-
trarch, and who, in a. d. 1310, had written a
commentary on the problems of Ariftotle, was one
of the heads of thefe unbelievcis. He ridiculed
the miracles of Chrift, and efpecially that of the
lefurreftion of Lazarus. He was, hov/ever, fen^
tenced by the inquifiticn to be burned ; but- it was
only cxeeuttd in tfligy after his death.

Petrarch hearing lb much in pr^ife of the writ-
ings of Avenoes, had the curiofity to read them;
and he was fo much fhocked that he formed a de-
f]gn of anfwering ihem.. But his age and various
occupations preventing him, he endeavoured to
peifuade Lewis Marfigli, a mor.k of the order of
St. Auilins at Florence, to undertake it, and to dedi-
cate his work 10 him ; being probably ignorant, as



the writer of his mcmGirs fays, that Thomas Aqui-
nas, and after him feveral others, had combated
the opinion of the unity of intelleft, and that R.
Lulli in particular had foHcited Clement V to con-
demn the errors of Averroes.

At Padua Averroifm made fuch progrefs, thaL*
Urban of Bologna, prior of the Servites, who had
been profefTor of theology at Paris and Bologna
a^ well as at Padua, was called the Avcrroijl^ on
account ot his great attachment to this writer, on
whom he wrote commentaries. In a later period
Nicolet Vernios, one of the profeffors at Padua,
publiflied a treatifc '\r\. which the doclrine of Aver-
roes was represented iti fo pleaGng a light, that it
was faid he drew alnioflall Italy into his opinions.
At length the magnitude otthe evil induced Leo X,
in a later p'eriod ftill, to endeavour to ftop the
progrefs of it, by a bull publiflied at the council
of Lateran, in which he lorbad, under heavy pe-
nallies, the teaching that "the foul of man is
*« mortal, or that there is but one foul," or prin-
ciple of intelleft, " in ail men."

Thefe philofophers did not attack Chriftianity
openly ; and Petrarch fays that when they dif-
-courfed in pub'ic, they always faid that they fpokc
as philofophers, or not as theologians. ^y this
conducl;, and always profefling their belief of the

L 1 5 doflrin-


doftrines of the Catholic church, they efcaped per-

This contempt for revealed religion afFe6led
even the learned Mahometans, and one of their
writers reproached the Caliph Almamon, who in-
troduced the works of Ariftotle among them ; fay-
ing the Arabs defpifed the Koran after they had
read Ariftotle. Averroes faid that Judaifm was
the religion of children, and Mahometanifm that of
hogs ; but that no religion was fo abfurd as that
of the Chrillians, who worftiipped what they ate.
Memoirs de Petrarch, Vol. 3. p. 750. &c. So
ready were unbelievers then, as well as now, to
take advantage of the corruptions of Chriftianity to
decry the whole fcheme. Of how great import-
ance, then, is it to deteft and expofe thofe cor-
ruptions. We are much obliged to unbelievers
for their affiftance in this ufeful work.

8. I fiiall clofe this period with the mention of
an article ot fome curiofity.

In A. D. 1300 pope ijoniface VII forbad the
cuftom of boiling the dead bodies of princes, and
other perfons of diftinclion, in order to feparale
their bones, and convey them to difiant places ; a
method which, it has been obfcrvcd, was ufcd
with refpecl (o the body of Lewis. This cuftom



the pope reprobated as barbarous, and forbad it un-
der pain of excommunication, to thofe who ihould
praflice it, and the deprivation of Chriftian burial
to thofe on whom it was practiced. Ikury, Vol.
19. p. 44.

Tht End of the second Volume of the second Party
or the fourth of the whole Work,


In Vol. 2, Part 2, or Vol. 4 of the whole WoHc.
N. B. (b) fign'ifiesfr 0771 the bott07n of the page,
p. 8 1. 1 fo7' Labeflas, read Ladiflas

— 144 1. 12 - - London - - Lunden

— 2151. 2fbJ - waters - wafers

— 329 1. 2 - - or - as

— 3391. ir - - king - thmg

— 352 1. 2 - BonifaceVII Boniface VIII

— srr 1. 11 - Virubo - Viterbo

1. 1 - - John XXIII- John XXII

^-4871. 5 - - death - - dead



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A general history of the Chris-

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Online LibraryJoseph PriestleyA general history of the Christian church, from the fall of the western empire to the present time (Volume 2) → online text (page 30 of 30)