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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i<aon, r-"'^ he returned to Paris ; where teachuiu'



logic, and tbeologj% he was attended by a pro-
digious number oi fcholars from all parts ; but
his fuccefs was the caufe of his ruin. Undertaking
the inflrutlion of Heloifa, niece to Fulbert, a ca-
non of the church of Paris, a j'oung woman of an
uncommonly fine genius, and great accompUfh-
menfs, he had a criminal conne6lion with her;
and when (he was with child he removed her to
]ais lifters where fhe was delivered of a fon ; and
he promifed the uncle, who was much irritated, to
xnarry her, provided it could be done privately.
Accordingly, tho' much again ft her will, they
were married in the prefence of the uncle, and a
few other witneffes, but only had private inter-
views afterwards.

Fulbert, willing to repair the honour of his fa-
Jnily, contrary to his promife, publifhed the mar-
riage, tho' Heloifa denied it, and was on that ac-
count ill ufed by him. On this Al^elard removed
}ier to the nunnery of Argenteuil, where fhe had
been educated, and took the habit, but not the
veil. Fulbert, provoked at this, caufed Abelard
to be furprized in the niglit, and caftrated. When
he was recovered^ he embraced the monaftic life,
and perfuadcd Heloifa to do the fame ; he enter-
ing at St. Denis, and fhe at Argenteuil. After
this Abelard again opened his fchool, and he had


fo many fcholars (hat they could hardly findlodgino-
or viduals. Some came even from Rome.

In this fituation Abelard publifhed a book on
the fubjeft ot the trinity, in which he maintained
that, as in logic the propofition, afiumption, and
eonclufion, are the fame difcourfe; fo the Father
Son, and Holy Spirit, are the fame eflfence, but
that the Father alone is the almighty. In this he
had no fufpicion that he was advancing any here-
fy ; but fubile diftin6iions and nice comparifons
being thsn much admired, he probably thought he
had hit upon one that would do him credit. His
popularity, however, together with his vanity,
and the afperity of his temper, had raifed him ma-
ny enemies, and among them was the redoubtable
Bernard. He was, therefore, accufed of herefy at
(he council of Soiffons in a. d. im, and with-
out any difcufhon of the fubjeft, his book was
condemned as heretical, and he was ordered to
throw it into the fire with his own hands, and alfo
to read, as theconfeffion of his faith, the creed of
Athanafius. This mortifying ceremony he fub-
mitted to go thro', tho' not without many tears,
and as a punilhment, he was confined in the mo-
naftery of St. Medard at Soih'bns. Affer this he
was ordered to return to the monaftery of St. De-
nis ; but giving offence by fomething that he ad-
vanced concerning that St. Denis, he fled from the



place ; and having obtained leave to lead a mo-
naftic life wherever he pleafed, he retired to a fo*
litary place in the diocefe of Troyes, where he
built an oratory, and called it the Paradet, and
was reforted to as before by a great number of pu-
pils. This fuccefs, again excited envy, and dread-
ing the ill offices of St. Norbert and Bernard, he
took upon him the condu6t of an obfcure abbey
at St. Gildas in the diocefe of Vannes in
Bretagne, and gave the Paraclet to Heloifa, where
ihe eftabliftiedherfelfasabbefs. At St. Gildas he
met with every mortification he could well have
from the behaviour of the monks, and the lords in
the neighbourhood ; but all this did not fatisfy the
malice of his enemies.

In A. D. 1139 complaint was made by Wil-
liam abbot of St. Thieri to GeofFroy bifhop of
Chartres and St. Bernard, of errors in the writings
of Abelard. He was particularly charged with
afferting that in God the terms Father, •Son and
Holy Spirit, are improper, that the Father alone
is almighty, the Son a certain power, viz. wifdom,
and the Holy Spirit no proper power at all, being
only the divine goodnefs. He was moreover
charged with advancing that the Holy Spirit is not
of the fubftance of the Father and of the Son, as
the Son is ot the fubftance of the Father, and that
the Holy Spirit is the foul of the world. He was



alfo accufed of maintaining that man has the power
of willing what is good, without the help of divine
grace, and that we derive from Adam only the
punifhment, and not the guilt, of origin?.! lin.

After fome correfpondence on the fubjeft, Abe-
lard challenged his opponent to a public difputa-
tion, at a council which was to be held at Sens m<
A. D. 1140; when the king of France was to be*
prefent, and a great number of learned ecclefiaftics,
Bernard accepted the challenge, and coming pre-
pared for the purpofe produced the books of Abe-
lard, and called upon him to defend certain arti«*
cles which he objcQed to in them as abfurd, and
heretical. But Abelard, perceiving the unfavour-
able dilpofition of the audience, contented him-
felf with appealing to the pope. The council^,
offended at his condu6l, condemned his doQrine,,
but out of regard to his appeal, fparedhis perfon 5;
but they exhorted the pope to confirm their fen»
tence left, a^ they faid, the evil fliould extend it-*
felf ; Cnce they faw that he drew a great multitude
after him, lo that a fpeedy remedy was neceflary.

Bernard alfo wrote to the pope, complaining
of Abelard, as having engaged his difciple Arnold
of Brefcia to attack the church in corjun6lion with
him ; obferving that they had an appearance of
piety in their manner of living, which ferved to le-
duce many, Abelard, he faid, extolled the philo-



fophers, in order to vilify the do6lors of the church.
He (Irongly urged him to fupprefs this herefy, af-
ter having extinguiihed the fchifm. " Nothing
'• moce," he fuid, " is wanting to your crown."
In animadverting upon the errors of Abelard, he
charged him in this letter with advancing that the
cud of Chriil's incarnation was only to inftruQ us
by his example and his doftrine, reprefenting him,
in faft, as a Pelagian.

The pope, in compliance with thefe requefls,
which with refpeft to Bernard were equivalent to
commands, in a. d. ii49pafl"ed a fentence of con-
demnation on Abelard, impofmg upon him, as a
heretic, perpetual fiLence, and ordering that sU his
followers fhould be excommunicated. He like-
wife dire6led that Abelard and Arnold fhould be
confined in feparate monafteries, and that their
books ftiould be burned wherever they could be


Notvvithuanding this fentence, Abelard pur-
fued his journey to P^ome, in oider to profecute
his appeal. But flopping at the abbey of Clugni,
where he was kindly received by Peter the abbot,
by his advice he made his peace with Bernard, re-
iracled every thing he had advanced that had given
offence, and conlented to pafs the remainder of
bis life in that monaftery. To this the pope con-
fentedi and when AbeJardhad, in a moft inoffen-



Sec. I^. the CHRISTIAN CHURCH. i2&

five and exemplary manner, paffod two years in
that monaflery, he died. His remains were carried
to the Paraclet, where they were received in a man-
ner the relation of which is very afFefting by He-
loifa, v/ho furvived him more than twenty years ;
he dying in a. d. 1142 and flie in a. d. 1163*
See Mr. Berington's well written, and mod in-
n;ru6live H/c of A hdard.


Of the -various Opinions advanced in this Period,


S this was an age of much fpecula-
tion, and metaphyseal fubtlety, we are not fur -
prized at the advancement of fingular opinions.
Had the church had lefs power, and there not had
been adifpofitionfo very hoflile to all innovations,
this turn for fpeculation might have had valuable
confequences. It was the introduction of the
works of Ariflotie into the fchools of Chriflians
that was the chief caufe of this refinement, and
four men particularly diitinguifhed themfelves by
their attachment to his philofophy ; Peter Lom-
bard bifhop of Paris, Abelard, Peter of Poi-
tiers, and Gilbert of Poree biftiop of Poitiers.
Vol, IV. I Their


Their opinions were fometimcs called the four la-
hyrinths, into which the old church men faid the
church had fallen thro' this philofophy.

Gilbert of Poree had advanced that the divlnt
cffence was not God. He was likewife charged
with advancing various other fubtleties about the
diftindlion of the perfons in the trinity ; and as
every new opinion, or fingular mode ot expreflion,
excited alarm, he was examined on the fubjett at
Paris in a. d. 1146, and the year following at
Rheims, in a council held by pope Eugenius,
Bernard being prefent and condu£ling the exami-
nation. But, after much difputation, Gilbert made
the conceflions that were required of him, and
thus the bufmefs terminated, without any feri-
ous confequences.

In the catechifm of the Greek church there was
an anathema againft the God of Mahomet, as nei-
ther begetting nor begoUen. This the emperor Ma-
nuel Comnenus wilhed to have taken away, as it
fhocked the Mahometans, that God fhould be ana-
thematized. But the prelates rejefted the propo-
sal, fince the anathema was not againft the true
God, but a mere phantom. However the emperor
perfifting the anathema was at length changed for
one againft " Mahomet, his do6lrine, and his fe6l,'*



In A. D. 1 166 a council was held at Conflansi
tinople on occafion of one Demetrius having re-
ported that the Germans were in an error for main-
taining that the Son was at the fame time equal to
the Father, and inferior to him. This queftion
having been the fubjeft of much difputation about
(ix years, the council, without entering into the
merits of the queftion, contented themfelves with
pronouncing an anathema againft ^thofe who did
not affent to the doftrine of .the church. Nothing;
of any importance, or at all new, was advanced on
.the occafion, and nothing of confequence followed
from it.

Peter Lombard having aflferted that Jefus Chrift
as man was not, flridlly (peaking, a thifig or fub-
Jlance, it gave great offence to pope Alexander III,
who propofed to have the opinion condemned at
the council of Lateran in a. d. 1179; but fome
difciples of Lombard ftanding up to defend it, the
difcufiion was deferred. Afterwards, however, thb
pope ordered his legate in France to afifemble the
dodors of the fchools of Paris, Rheims, and othef
cities, and to forbid the teaching of it, under pain
of anathema.

In Lombardy we find a fe6l called Pajfaginians,
who held that the law of Mofes was obligatory on
Chriflians, excepting, however, what related to fa*

I 2 orifices.


crificcs. They circutncifed their children, abftain-
ed from the meats prohibited in the pentateuch,
and they obferved the Jewifh fabbath. Like the
Jews they alfo denied the doQrine of the trinity,
maintaining that Chrift was the firfl and pureft
creature of God. Nor, fays Mofheim, are we to
ivonder at this, when we confider the great number
of Arians with which Italy formerly abounded.
Vol. 2. p. 456.

In Burgundy we find perfons called Caputiati,
from a fmgular kind of cap which they wore, and
in which they put a leaden image of the virgin Ma-
ry. They profeffed, as it is faid, to level all
diflindions, to abrogate magiftracy, and reftore
primitiveliberty. Thefe were probably mere ca^
lumnies, the fame things being frequently charged
on other advocates for liberty civil or ecclefiaftical.
However Hugo bifhop of Auxerre employed arms,
inflead of arguments, to reduce them. Mo/Jieim,
Vol. 2. p. 457-

Many Chrillians in the Eaft were attached to
the Eutychian doftrine ; and being no longer fub-
je6l to the emperor of Conftantinople, they openly
profeffed their opinions, and formed feparate
churches. Both the Armenians, and the genera-
lity of the Egyptian Chrillians, were of this clafs.
Many perfons, who were more offended tlian was



neceffary at thefe divifions amon.r Chrillians, took
much pains to unite them. In a. d. 1170 Nor-
lefis the Catholic, as he was called, a patriarch of
the Armenians, wrote to the emperor Manuel Com-
nenus on thefubjeft cf the difference between their
church and that of Conftantinople, and in confe-
quence of this he fent Theorian, who had a long
conference with Norfefis, which terminated in his
intire fatisfa6lion ; fo that he protiiifed to ufe his
beft endeavours to bring over his nation to acknow-
ledge the council of Chalcedon, and to condemn
thofe who were condemned by it. Nothing, how-
ever, feems to have followed from it ; and to this
day the two churches areas far feparated from each
other as ever.

The Greek and Latin churches, tho' they had
little communication in this period, were not in a
flate of declared hoflility to each other. The em-
peror Manuel Comnenus had a correfpondence
with pope Alexander III; and William archbi-
fhop of Tyre fpending a winter at Conilantinople,
fpeaks in the highell terms of his piety ; which
ibews, fays Floury, that the Latin church then
confidered the Greek church as Catholic, and that
the fchifm between them was not properly formed.
But Theodore Ealfamon, in his Commentary on
the Nomocanon of Photius, fpeaks of the bifhops
of antient Rome as cut off from other churches,

I PI and


and laments it, exprcffing his hope of their con-
verfion ; and this is the firfl diretl proof of the
fchifm of tlie Greeks, or the feparation of the two

So great was the inveteracy of the Greeks
againd the Latins, inflamed, no doubt, by their
.conduft m the crufades, that in April a. d. 1182
they made a general madacre of thofe that were
fettled m Conftantinople. They had been in great
favour vv^ith the emperor Manuel Comnenus, who
employed them in preference to the Greeks, finding
them better qualified to ferve him. This made
them exceedingly odious to the Greeks, the priefts
alfo continually reprefenting them as heretics, for
not conforming to their cufloms. The Greeks did
not, on this occafion, fpare even the churches of
the Latins, but burned them, together with all the
perfons who had taken refuge in them, without
any diflindion of prieils, monks, or laymen; and
amopg the reft perifhed John a cardinal fubdeacon,
who had been fent to promote an union between
the two churches. After cutting ofF his head, they
tied it to the tail of a dog, and thus dragged it thro'
the ftreets. The mofl humane fold to the Turks
thofe who took refuge with them; and of tl^^fe
there were faid to have been more than four thou-
fand, of every age, and of both fexes. Thofe of
tile Latins who efcaped this malTacre took a cruel



revenge for it. For, alTembling near Conftanti-
nople, they went from the mouth of the Hellefpont
to the black fea, kilHng all the inhabitants they
met with, plundering monafteries, and churches,
in which they tound immenfe booty. They alfo
colle6led many galiies, and thereby raifed a formi-
dable fleet.

There are few periods in this hiftory in which
fomethin^ does not occur relating to the ordinances
of baptifm and the Lord's fupper. About the year
A. D. 1192 there was a difpute whether the words
/ baptize thee were not necelfary to Chriftian bap-
tifm ; Macarion, the bilhop of Paris, faying that
without thofe words the baptifm was null, and Ste-
phen bilhop of Tournay that it was valid ; thofe words
being neceffary to the folemnity, tho' not to the fub-
ftance of baptifm. Sometime after pope Alexander
III decided according to the opinion of the bifhop of
Paris, thofe words being neceilary to diftinguifli
the intention of the mmifter from any other ab-

There was in this period a violent difpute
among the Greeks, in which Emanuel Comne-
nus took a part very unbecoming an emperor, about
the fenfe in which it might be affirmed that an in-
carnate God was at the fame time the offerer and
the oblation. It was the occafion of much difcord
and inconvenience to the empire, but how the

I 4 con^


controverfy was decided does not appear. The
Greeks were alfo divided into deplorable factions
by the controverfy about the fenfe in which Chrift
faid that the Faihsr zo as greater than the Son, The
emperor warmly intereftcd himfelf in this quellion ;
slfo publiCiing an explanation of the text, in which
he maintained that the words related to thcJlefJi that
zuai hid in Chri/i, and that was paJfibU, or fubjeft
to fuffering. He alfo publiihed an edi6t de-
nouncing capital punifhments againfl fuch as
fhouid controvert his opinion. But the next em-
peror, Andronicus, forbad all difputing on the
fubje6i. Mojlidm, Vol. 2. p. 434.

About the year a. d. 1200 there arofe a
que^ion in the Greek church whether the eucha-
riftical elements, or the body of Chrift, was cor-
ruptible, as before his pafSon, or incorruptible, as
afterv/ards. This fo much divided the people, that
it was the fubje£t of converfation in all places.
Kicetas, who gives an account of this controverfy,
does not fay hov/ it terminated; but he obferves
that the emperor took tha right fide, which, of
courfe, v/ds his own, viz. that it was incorruptible.
So popular was this opinion, that they who held
that the euchariilical elements were fubjefl to cor-
ruption, and conlequently to the procefs of di-
gcftion, and its confequences, were by way of op-
probrium called StercGrarijli. At the council of



Sens, in a. d. 1190, Rainold abbo: of St. Martins
of Nevers was accufed as coming under this derio-
tnination, and alfo of maintaining, after Origen,
that in the end all men will be faved.

In the pontificate of Clement Ilia queftion
arofe whether the water mixed with the wine in the
eucharift was changed into the blood of Chrifl.
Innocent III gave it as his opinion that it was.
The water, he faid, is mixed with the wine, to
reprefent the people united to Chrifl: ; but this ob-
iervation feems to militate againft his opinion.
The firfl time that we find the word tranfubjlan^
tion is in the letters of Hildebert archbifhop of
Tours in this period. He died in a. d. 1 130.

Much of the refinement and nice diflinftions in
theology, fpeculative and praftical, came fi'om the
monks, who had leifure for that purpofe. Bernard,
in treating of the love of God, fays, " there are
" four degrees of it, the firfl is for our own fakes,
" the fecond from a principle of gratitude, the third
*' for the fake of God, without refpeft to ourfelves,
'•' and the fourth is the love of ourfelves only for
'■' the fake of God. The laft " he fays, " can only
" be felt occafionally here, but will be the fixed
* ftate of the bleffed hereafter." Thefe diUindions
the intelligent reader v/ill perceive to be in fome
meafure confirmed by the more accurate obfcrva-
tiojis of Dr. Hartley.

I 5 As



As tbe lad article under the title of this feftion,
I would obferve that pope Pafcall II, being at
Florence in a. d. 1106, held a council, in vrhich
there was much difputing with the bifhop of that
city, who maintained that Antichrift was then born.
The novelty of the fubjecl drew a great company,
but noihing was determined about it.


Of the Stats of the Jews in this Period-.

XAFTER the compofition of the Chal-
dee paraphrafes, and the Talmud, which was com-
pleted about the year a. d.c^oo, the Jews produced not
more than five or fix books trom the time of Chrift
to this period. But at this time they applied to
literature in imiEation of the Chriftians, and Maho-
metans, and from this time they compofed many

Their firft author of note was Nathan, who
began to diftinguifh himfelf in a. d. 105O, and
died at Rome in a. d. 1106. He wrote a Di6tio-
nary, to explain the difficult words in the Tal-
mud. After him came Abenezra, who wrote com-
men:arie5 on the fcriptures. He was a Spaniard,



and died at Rhodes in a. d. 1174. At the fame
time lived in France Solomon Jarchi, who taught
at Paris, and wrote commentaries on all the Bible
and on the Talmud. He died in a. d. ii8i.

But the moft famous of all their writers was
Maimonides, a native of Cordova, born in a. d.
1135. He was a difciple of Averroes, who was
alfo of Cordova, and one of the greateft philofo-
phers among the Arabians. He wrote a commen-
tary on the works of Ariflotle, which having been
^anflated from Arabic into Latin, was afterwards
ufed in the fchools of Chnftians. From Spain
Maimonides went into E^yipt, where he praCliced
medicine, and wrote many woiks, among which
the moft ufcful is ftiled More Ntvochim^ in which
he explains difficult paffages of fcripture. But the
Jews in the Eaft were offended at his wrirings, not
beanng that the philofophy of Ariftotle fhould be
ufed to explain their religion. His principal op-
ponent in the Weft was Solomon of Montpeliier;-
but his part was taken by other Jews, efpecially at
Narbonne. This occaiioned a kind of fchifm among
the Jews, who excommunicated one another for
forty years. The reputation of Maimonides was
at length, however, univerfally eftablifhed among
the Jews. He died in a. d. 1201. His principal
defender was David Kimchi, a Spanilh Jew, and
a diftinguilhed grammarian.



The crufadcs were always injurious to the Jews,
the bigotted multitude wreaking their vengeance on
them, as the enemies of Chriilianity, no ItLS than
the Mahometans. Alio the wealth that many of
them had at this time acquired, efpecially by ufury,
was another incitement to plunder them. And
^ven the moil moderate among the Chriflians were
far from doing them proper juilice. On the occa-
iion of the lecond crufade, in which many Jews
were murdered in Fiance and Germany, Peter,
abbot of Clugni, exhorted tije king of France to
prevent their being put to death ; but he advifed
him to punifh them by the confifcation of their
roods, and making flaves of them, taking from
them, he fays, their unlawful gains, not only by
ufury, but by purchaling holy velfels, of men who
robbed the churches. Pope Innocent III, in his
bull for the crufade, forbad thofe who took the
crofs to pay ufury to the Jews, tho' in other re-
fpefts he favoured them, and prohibited the ill
iifa<^e to which they had been expofed.

About the year a. u. i:8o there were many re-
t)Orts of children being crucified by Jews, in va-
rious parts oi France and England, and of mi-
racles being wrought on the deaths ol fuch children,
which excited a general hatred of the Jews. Phi-
lip Augullus king of France conceived the greateft
averfion to them. Such at that time were their



reputation and number in Paris, that they were in
poflfefTion of near one half of the city, and in de-
fiance of the laws they had Chriflian flaves. They
pradiced ufury without bounds, and often had the
facred veflels ol churches as pledges. On the re-
prefentation of this, the king difchargedall Chriflians
from their obligation to pay any debt due to a Jew,
keeping the fifth part for himfelf ; and in April a.
D. 1182, he publifhed an edi^l, ordering all Jews
to quit the kingdom ; giving them, however, leave
to fell their efFe6ls, but confifcating their houfes
and lands. Accordingly, except fome wha were
induced to make profefiion of Chriftianity, in July
the fame year they a6lually left the kingdom, with
their wives, children, and all their dependants ;
and the year following the king converted their
fynagogues into Chriftian churches. However in
July A. D. 1198 he recalled the Jews.

In A. D. 1 189 Richard king of England having
given an order not to admit any jews, or women,
on a particular occafion at court, it was reported
that he had ordered them to be deftroyed ; and
in confequence of the miflakc many of them were
put CO death, in various parts of the kingdom. All
the Jews in York, to the number of five hundredj
periftied. Being in a caftle, furrounded day and
night, and unable to defend themfelves, they killed
one another, their wives, children, and domeflicks.



The few who remained were killed by the people,
who plundered their houfes; and their papers being
burned, the Chriftians thought themfeives difcharg-
ed from all the debts due to them.

In A. D. 1167 an Arabian perfuaded many-

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 8 of 30)