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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to reprefs them by the fecular power.

G c At


At the council of Lateran in a. d. 1139, the
canon of a preceding council at Thouloufe againft
the heretics who rejeSed the facraments of the
church was repeated verbatim, which Ihews that
the herefy was by no means extinft.

In A. D. 1 160 thefe heretics, as they were called,
|)ut then bearing the name of Poplicani, fpread
from the fouth of France over to England, and at
this time they are faid to have been very numerous
in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany, from
which place thefe who appea'/ed in England di-
teftly came. They were thirty in all, men and
women. Being examined by a council of bifhops
at Oxford, Gerard, the chief of them, anfwered,
that they w^re Chriftians who followed the doftrine
of the apoHies. Being interrogated on particular
articles, it appeared that they did not allow o! bap-
tifm or the Lord's fupper, nor approved of mar-
riage, and made no account of the authority of the
cliurch. They were not aflre6led by any exhor-
tations, or menaces, faying, when they were
threatened, Blefftd arc ihey that are pcrjeciited fit
righteouftiefs fake. After their condemnation by
this council, the king ordered them to be burned
on the forehead, to be driven out of the city, for-
bidding any perfon to receive them, or give them
any reUef. However, they received rhis cruel fen-
(ence with joy; hying Blejcd arc you when men



Jliall hate you, and perfecute you. As it was th,en
winter, and no perfon gave them any entertain-
ment, they perifhed miferably of cold and hunger.
In France the proceedings againft thefe people
were fi nnilar to thofe in England. At a council at
Tours under Alexander III, in a. d. 1163, when
they had fpread from Thouloufe to Gafcony, and
other places, it was forbidden to give them any re-
treat or proteflion, to have any commerce with
them, in buymg or felling, under pain of excom-
munication. When they were difcovered, they
we e ordered to be imprifoned, their goods were
to be conti feared, and their meetings, as far as pof-
lible, prevented.

In A. D. 1167 they again appeared in great
nrimbers in Flanders, where alfo they were called-
Poplicani. They offered the archbifhop fix hundred
marks of filver if he would not molefl; them ; but
he refiifmg the fum, they appealed to the pope.
At Vezelai the fame year feven of thefe heretics
were burned, and one of them, who had aiferted
his innocence, fubmitted to the trial hy water, and
bein.^ found guilty, was publicly whipped.

In A. D. 1176 the archbifhop of Narbonne,
and many other bifhops of the province, called an
affjmbly to judge fome heretics called Goodmen,
which was then, and long after, the diflinguifhing
appellation of plain common people, or thofe wha



were not noble. They were, however, fupportcd.
by the nobility of Lombers, a fmall town two miles
from Albi, and the fentence was pronounced by
the bifhop of Albi. Being queftioned concerning
their principles, they were particularly cautious
not to advance any thing for which they had not
I the cxprefs au hoiity of fcripture, which they in-
terpreted literally. Tney allowed ofnooaihs, and
declaimed violently againfl the clergy, as wolves
i-n Qifep's clothing. In other relpeCls they ap-
pear to have been the fame with thofe, who m Lnc
fame parts had been commoniy ca led Manicheans.
They were condemned as heretics, but it is not
' faid what was done to them.

In the fame year there appeared in Lombardy
heretics called Cathari, probably from their pre-
tending to greater purify than the members of the
eftablifhed church, \\\iti\iQ Puritans in England j
and fometimes Runcarians, who were labouring
people employed in felling trees and clearing the
ground, being in general perfons in the lower claffes
of life. They v.'eic much encouraged at Milan,
when it was in the power of the fchifmatics, and
they made great progrefs in that neighbourhood,
which exciied the zeal of the bifuDp Galbon, who
often preached againil them.

Thefe people got about this time the appella-
tion of Albi^cnfcs, and in a. d. 1177 their party



appears, from a letter of Rainier V count of Thou-
loufe to the abbot and chapter of the Cillercians,
to have been very ftrong in thofe pans of the coun-
try. " This herefy has gained/' he fays, " even
** the priefts. Churches are abandoned and ruin-
•' ed, baptifm is refufed, the eucharift held in abo-
*' mination, penance defpifed, the creation of man
" rej< fted, as well as the refurreftion of the flcfb,
*' and ad the myfterics. In fine they introduce
*• the two principles, and yet nobody thinks of op-
" pofing thefe ivretches. I am willing to employ
*' the fword that is put into my hands, but my
■*' forces are not fufficient, becaufe the nobks of my
" eflates are infeded with thefe errors, and draw
*' great multitudes after them." He then expreffes
a wiQi that the king of France would come and put
- an end to the mifchief.

On hearing this reprefentation, the kinas of
France and England agreed in a. d. 1178 to go in.
perfon, and drive thefe heretics out ot the province
of Thouloufe ; but before they did this, they fent
prelates to reafon with them, and convert them.
Thefe, arriving at Thouloufe, found the chief of
the heretics to be one Peter Moran, an old man,
very wealthy, and of great confideration in that
city. Being found to be a heretic, he was fent to
prifon ; and tho' lie recanted, all his property was
confifcatedj and he was farther ordered to leave the



country in forty days, to ferve the poor at Jerufa-
lem three years, to go every funday over a!l the
churches in Thouloufe barefoot, and in his fhirt
to receive difcipline. At the fame time Roger of
Beders, a lord of that country, who is faid to have
held the bifhop of Albi prifoner under a guard of
heretics, tho' it is not faid on what account, was
declared to be a heretic, and a traitor ; he was
publicly excommunicated, and war was declared
againll him. Two of their chiefs demandinoj a
public hearing, it was granted them in the cathe-
dral of Thouloufe, when many perfons were pre-
fent ; and tho' they denied many things that were
laid to their charge, fuch evidence was produced
againft them, that they were excommunicated, and

We now begin to perceive the approach of a
more ferious perfecution. At a council of Late-
ran in a. d. 1179 it was ordered, that "tho* the
" church reje£ls bloody executions, it ought to be
" aided by the laws of Chriftfan princes ; and the
<« fear of corporal punifhment has fometimes made
<' perfons have recourfe to fpiritual remedies ;" and
fmce the heretics called Cathari, Paterini, and Pop-
licani, were fo fortified in Gafcony, that they did
not hide themfelves, but taught their errors pub-
licly, they v/ere anathematized, together with all
thofe who protefted them»



Three years after this, viz. in a. d. 1181 the
pope's legate Henry, who from being abbot of
CJairvaux, was made a cardinal, and bifhop of
Albana, being Cent to France, marched againft the
Albigenfes with a great aiTny, took the caflle of
Lavoux, and obliged Roger de Beziers, and ma-»
ny others, to abjure their herefy. In the begin-,
ning of the year a. d. 1183 the bifhop ot Rheims
condemned to the flames, with confifcation of
their goods, many of the Patarins, clergv, gentle-^
men, peafants, and women.

In the year following, viz. A. d. 1184, at sj
council at Verona, where pope Lucius III, aU
tended by the emperor, prefided, all the herefics
then exifting were condemned by name; the bifhops
were required to make flricl inquiry after thera,
and the temporal powers to punifli them according
to the degrees of their guilt, as diftinguifhed by
thofe who were conviBed, penitent, and relapfed^
In this, fays Fleury, we fee the origin of the zV?-
quijition, which was eftabliilied afterwards. Among
the heretics condemned at this time were fome who
were called PaJJagins, who contended for the flri£l
obfervance of the law of Mofes, denied the trinitjr,
and condemned the Fathers and the church of
RQme in general. Another clafs of heretics con^
demned at this time are called Humiliis, They
were originally men and women who lived in great



poverty by the labour of their hands, the men al-
together in one place, and the v.omcn in another.
The pope approved of their inftitute, and gave
them leave to preach even in churches, with the
leave of the prelates. But many under that diC-
guife preached other do6lrines.

The poor of Lyons, which is another clafs of
heretics cenfured at this council, arofe in a. d.
ii6o, horn one Peter Valdo, who being ftruck
with the fudden death of a perfon in a public
affem.bly, diftributed a large fum of money to
•the poor, and admbnifhed others to do the fame,
and live in voluntary poverty, in imitation of
Chrift and the apoftles. Being in fome meafure
learned, Valdo explained the fcriptures to his
followers, and tho' reproved for this by the
cleigy, he perhtlad in doing it, exclaiming ao-ainfl
thefe on account of their corrupt morals and
do6lrine. Some fay the Vvaldenfes took their
name from this Valdo ; but, as they exifted in the
vallies of Piedmont long before this time, and
profeffed a purer dodrine than that of the church
. of Rome it is more probable that if this was not
his original name, which is very poffible, he might
take it from ihem. Thefe poor of Lyons were
•; di din gui fired by wearing wooden fhoes with the
fjgn of the crofs upon them. From this circum-
Ilanc^ they alfo got the appellation of Sabbatati,




and Injahbatati, jabot being the word for a wooden
fhoe in France. MoJJicim, Vol. 2. p. 451. The Id
poor of Lyons were fo far from conlidering them-
felves as heretics that they applied to pope Inno-
cent III for the confirmation of their order but
were refufed. Gianncne, Vol. 2. p. 6^.

The Albiigenfes had bifhops, and each of tkem
had two vicars, an elder and a younger. They
had alfo deacons, and the veneration in which the
common people held their clergy almoPi exceeds
belief. Mojiieim, Vol. 2. p. 446.

All that the proper Waldenfcs aimed at in this
refpeft was to reduce the form of church govern-
ment, and the manners of the clergy, to their pri-
mitive fimplicity. They denied the fupremacy of
the pope, and faid that the mini Hers of religion,
were obliged, like the apoftles, to procure a fub-
liflence by the labour of their hands. They rc-
monftrated againfl indulgences, confeffion to a
prieft, prayers for the dead, and purgatory. They
interpreted the fermon on the mount in a literal
fenfe, condemning all wars, law fuits, and oaths.
They had bifliops, prefbyters, atid deacons ; and
the common people were divided into two clafTes
the perfe'd, and imperfc^, the former diverting
themfelves of all worldly poflfefTions. Some of the
Waldenfes allowed the Catholic church to be a
Vol. IV. H true


true church, and its facraments valid ; but others
^ confidered the pope as Antichrift. lb. p. 454.

Oiher heretics condemned on this occafion are
called Jojepins, or Mefopins, but the reafon of the
denomination is not known.

In A. D. 1198 one Terric, a leading perfon
among the Poplicani, being difcovered in Never-
nois, was burned, and many other perfons oi good
fortune at Charite were excommunicated, and de-
livered over to the fecular arm.

The perfons who diftinguiflied themfelves the
moft in this clafs of heretics, or rather reformers,
and who therefore deferve a more particular men-
tion were Peter of Bruis, and from whom the
feftaries were lometimes called Petrebru/fians, and
an Italian of the name of Henry, from whom ma-
ny were denominated Henricians, They both
preached with fo much fuccefs in Provence, Dau-
phiny, and the fouth of France in general, that
many pdrfons were rebaptized, the churches pro-
faned, the altars overturned, croffes burned, priefls
whipped, monks imprifoned, or compelled to mar-
ry. They had even made a bonfire of many
croffes, and to Ihew the greater contempt of them,
they cooked vi6luals at the fire, and invited the
people publicly to eat of them, tho' it was on good



In A. D. 1147 Eugenius III fent Alberic bi-
fiiop of Oflia to combat thefe heretics, and he was
accompanied by Bernard. Peter abbot ofClugni,
who gives an account ot this preaching expedition,
employs a long letter to refute the heretics ] and
from this it appears that they reje£led the authority
of the old teftament, the baptifm ot infants, the
facrifice of the mafs, and prayers for the dead.
We know very little ot the hiftory of Peter de
Bruis, but foon after this tniffion of Alberic he was
burned alive at St. Gjlles, after having preached
near twenty years.

Henry was in the diocefe of Mans, where he
Was favourably received by Hildebert the bifhop,'
who was tben fetting out for Rome. Henry was
then a young man, very tall, had a llrong voice,
and a long beard. He walked barefooted, and
had a great appearance of fanftity. As he was ve-
ry eloquent, the people crouded to him, and the
eSed: of his preaching was an univerfal rage againft
the clergy ; fo that many people would have no
dealings with their domeftics. They would even
have pulled down their houfes, and ftoned them,
if the lords had not interpofed. Hildebert, in con-
fequence of this, not being well received by the
people, baniflied Henry from his diocefe.

After this we find Henry in the neighbourhood
•of Thouloufe, and there he was when Alberic and

H 2 ' Bernard


Bernard undertook their expedition. According-
ly, belore they went thither Bernard wrote to AU
phonfo, count of St. Gilles and Thouloufe, in
whofe terrii-ories Henry was, intormin^i; him of all
the mifchief he had done, and defiring that he
would mnke particular inquiry into the manner in
which he had left Laufanne, Mans, Poitiers, and
Bourdeaux, in ail which places he had no doubt

Accordinp- to this letter of Bernard, this re-
former mud have preached with great efiFe6l, " Th&
*' churches," he fays, " are without people, the
** people without priefts, the priefts defpifed, the
*' churches no longer confideied as holy places,
•' nor the facraments holy things ; the feflivals are
*' not celebrated, men die without penance, or
*' communion, and infants are not baptized." A
difciple of Henry named Pons was then at Pere-
gord, but the city the moft infe6led with his opi-
nions was Albi. At this city the legate arrived at
the end of June, where the people met him on
affes, and with beating of drums, by way of mocke-
ry ; and when he performed mafs, he was hardly
attended by thirty perfons. Notwithftanding this
unpromifmg reception, when Bernard preached,
the writer of his life, who reprefents him as work-
ing miracles wherever he went, lays that he con-
verted all the people; which, he fays, was the



greatefl miracle that he wrought in all this journey.
He preached with tlie fame fuccefs at Thouloufe,
fb that Henrj, being fummoned to furrender him-
felf, fled, and his followers, who on this occafion
are called Arians, with him. Bernard followed
his fleps, and at length he was apprehended, and
being put into llie power of the bifliops, and
earned before pope Eugenius, who was holdino a
council at Rheims, he was committed a clofe pri-
fonerin a. d. 1148, and Toon after he died. Pie
had, however, a milder fate than Peter de Bruis.
This Henry is by fome called a difciple of Petes
de Bruys. But this is improbable. The latter
could not bear the fight of a crofs, whereas the
former carried a crucifix in his hand. MoJIieivi,
Vol. 2. p. 448.

He, however, adopted all the opinions of Pe-
ter, and added to them fome of his own. Of thofe
the principal were that fpnitual fongs are an in-
fult to the deity ; that he only delights in pious af-
feaions ; that he is not to be invoked by loud vo-
ciferation, nor foothed by the harmony of mufic;
This is the firft time that I have met with this fen-
timent, which was afterwards adopted by the
Quakers. Bcringtons life of Abelard, p. 315.

Caiin, a chief of Bofnia, having received a
great number of Paterins, Innocent III wrote to
llmeric king of Hungary in a. d. 1200, charging

H 3 :^iia


him to compel Caliri to drive them out of his ter-
litories, with the confilcation of their goods ; other-
wife he would proceed againll all the kingdom of

About the fame time many Manicheans, as
they were called, were difcovered at Orvieto near
Rome, whither thii do£lrine had been brought from
Plorence by one Diotofalvi, a perfon of a venerable
and modeft appearance, about the year a. d. 1150.
He preached in conjunftion with one Gerard Mar-
fon in Campania. They were driven out of Or-
vieto by the bifhop, but were fucceeded by two
women, who leading a pious and contemplative
life, drew many into their opinions. On this the
bifhop, affifted by the civil officers, purfued them
with fo much vigour, that fome were hanged, fome
beheaded, fome burned, and others banilhed ; and
thofe who died were deprived of the rites of
Chriftian burial. In the abfence of this bifhop,
the heretics got the upper hand again ; but in a.
D. 1199 pope Innocent fent Peter di Parenzo, a
noble Roman, to fupprefs them ; which he feem-
ed to have done by violence of every kind ; but
at length the heretics having gotten him into their
power, murdered hiqi.

In the fame year Bertram, bifliop of Metz, in-
formed the pope ot many heretics being in his dio-
cefe, They had tranflatcd in,to French the gofpcis,




the epiftles of Paul, the pfalms, the books of mo-
rals. Job, and fome others, which they read with
great ardour, holding affemblies in fecret, and ex-
horting one another, in contempt of the priefts,
the pope, and the hierarchy in general.

In A. u. 1201 Evraud, a knight, and fteward
of Henry count of Nevers, was convifted of the
herefy of the Bulgarians, which did not differ from
that of thofe mentioned above, and was burned in
public at Nevers. On this his nephew, a canon
of Nevers, infefted with the fame herefy, fled to
the province of Narbonne, where he was received
with honour, but thought proper to change his

Such being the {late of things in all the fouthern
|>rovinces of France, we cannot wonder that the
popes and the court of Rome were alarmed. The
^hole craft was in danger, and therefore, as poli-
tical men, they exerted themfelves to the utmofl
to extirpate thefe heretics, employing all the power
they had for the purpofe, and in ihe next period we
ihall fee the fhocking cruelties they were guilty of.
At prefent they only tried fome preparatory
meafures. Innocent III fent into thofe provinces
two Ciftercian monks. Rainier and Gui, in order
to convert thefe heretics ; but at the fame time he
ordered all princes, counts, and other lords, to
ullift them with their fecular power; and after the

H 4 fen-*


fentence of excommunication pronounced againft
them, to confifcate their goods, banilh them, or
punifii them more feverely, if they remained in
the country. Rainier was alfo inflru^ed to ex-
communicate thofe lords who would not join him
in this, and lay their eftates under an inrcrdift.
The pope alfb granted to thofe who engaged in this
extirpation of iieretics the fame privile^^es as if they
had j^one on the pilgrimage to Rome, or Com-
poftcila. This, however, was only a pielade to
what we (hall find in the next period.

Spain was by no means free from this infe6lion
of here fy. In a. d. 1197 Peter II of Arragon or-
dered all his officers to drive the V/aldenfes out of
his territories, or to burn them alive, and confifcate
their property.


Of Arnold of Brefc^di and Abelard.


HE reformers of religion, in confe-
qucnce, no doubt, in fome meufure, of their hav-
ing been generally oppreiTed by the civil powers^,
have almod always been the zealous advocates of
^ivil liberty ; and on the other hand the friends of



civil liberty have often betsn fufpeSed of lierefy.
This was the cafe with Arnold, a citizen of Brefcia»
in the North of Italy, in this period. He had
formerly been a difciple ot Abelard ; but it does
not appear that he derived any ot his principles
from him. Whether Arnold had ever been in a
monaftery does not appear, but he wore the drefs
of a monk, and declaimed againft the bifhops,
without fparing the pope, or even the monks ; nor
did he flatter the laity, tho' he exhorted them to
affert their liberties.

What were the peculiar opinions of Arnold
does not appear, but he was fufpedled of entertain-*
ing fentiments unfavourable to baptifm and the
Lord's fupper. His difcourfes had fuch an efFe£l
at Brefcia, and many other cities in Lombardy,
that the clergy were held in the greatefl contempt,
and became the objefts of public raillery. Being
complained of by the bilhop, he was ordered to be
filenced, on which he retired to Zuric, and infect-
ed all that country with his opinions. In the mean
time he was condemned at the council of Lateran
in A. D. 1139.

Arnold being now in the diocefc of the biHiop
oi Conftance, Bernard, to whom nothing relating
to the intereft of the church was indiiTerent, wrote
to him to urge him to guard againfl fo dangerous
a perfon, whofe auflere lile gave credit to his

H 5 doclrine;


doftrine; To that he more eafily infinuated his er-
a;ors, and thofe of Abelard. He advifed the bifhop
afot to bantfh, but confine him, left he fliould only
go from place to place, and thereby propagate his
errors tlie more widely. What was the confequence
of this advice does not appear. But on the ac-
ceffion of pope Eugenius in a. d. 1145, Arnold
came to Rome, and joined the difafFeded party
there, exhorting them to follow the example of the
antient Romans, to rebuild the Capitol, reftore
ehe dignity of the fenate, and the order of knights ;
faying that the pope had nofhing to do with the
civil government of the city, and that he ought to
be consent with his fpiritual jurifdidion. We fhali
lee in a later period that this was a favourite opi-
nion of many of the people of Rome, and on this
was founded the influence ot Rienzi in the time of

Ten years after this we Rill find Arnold at
Rome, and preaching publicly. But one of his
followers having wounded a cardinal in a, d. 1145,
Adrian IV laid the city under an interdif}, in con-
fequewce of which the people applied to him, pro-
anifing to expel Arnold and his difciples from the
city, and its territory, which accordingly was done.
And prefently after this, falling into the hands of
the emperor Frederic Barbarolfa, then in Lom-
bardy, three cardinals were fent to demand him,



and being delivered up to tbem, he was publicly-
burned alive, and his afhes were thrown into the
Tiber, left the people Ihould honowr his relics,
as tbofe of a martyr. Such was the end of this re-
former, as well as of many others, in ail ages.

Abelard is by no means to be claffed with Ar-
nold of Brefcia, tho' he was deemed a heretic, and
expofed himfelf to the perfecution of Bernard as
fuch. In fa6l, they were rivals in popularity.
However, Abelard afted fo confpicuous a part on
the public theatre in this period, that his hiftory
deferves to be related. He was born near Nantes
in Bretagnein a. d. 1079, and when he was grown
up addi6led himfelf cLiefly to the ftudy of logic,
under Rofcellin of Compeigne, and then under
Williarn de Champeaux at Paris, reckoned the
ableft teacher of his time. But Abelard foon ri-
valled his mafter, and taught at Melun, tho' he
afterwards returned to fludy rhetoric of Cham-
peaux at St. Victor. After this he fixed his fchooi
at mount St. Ganvieve, then out ot Paris.

Champeaux being made bifhop of SoilTons,
Abelard went to ftudy theology of Anfe.lm biftiop
of Laon j but foon defpifing him, |ho' a venerable
old man, he himfelf undertoolj: to explain the
fcriptures without having regularly prepared him-
felt for doing it, on which Anfelm drove him from

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