Institutes of ecclesiastical history, ancient and modern, in four books, much corrected, enlarged, and improved from the primary authorities (Volume 2) online

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1 84 I.



R 1916 L

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1839, by James Murdocx,
the Clerk's office of the District Court of Connecticut District.






EMBRACING , . . . . -








$ 1. Propagation of Christianity in Hyrcania and Tartary. — ^ 2. Conversion of the Ger-
mans by Boniface. — <) 3. Other Expeditions and Successes of Boniface. — () 4. Estimate
of his Apostleship. — ^ 5. Other Apostles of Germany. — ^ 6. Expedition of Charlemagne
against the Saxons. — <) 7. Estimate of his Conversions. — ^ 8. The Reputed Miracles of
this Century.

§ 1. While the Mohammedans were falling upon and subjugating the
fairest provinces of Asia, and diminishing every where the lustre and rep.
utation of Christianity, the Ncstorians of Chaldea were blessing with the
knowledge of heavenly truth those barbarous nations, called Scythians by
the ancients and by the moderns Tartars, living on this side Mount Imaus,
and not subject to the Saracens. It is now ascertained that Timotheus
the Nestorian pontiff, who attained that dignity A.D. 778, imbued wim a
knowledge of Christianity by the ministry of Subclial Jesu whom he cre-
ated a bishop, first the Gelae and Dailamites, nations of Hyrcania ; and
afterwards by other missionaries, the rest of the nations of Hyrcania,
Bactria, Margiana, and Sogdiana.(l) It is also certain, that Christianity

( 1 ) Thomas Margcnsis, Historiae Monas-
ticae lib. iii., in Jos. Sim. Asseman's Bib-
liotheca Orient. Vatic, torn, iii., pt. i., p.
491. See also the Bibliotheca, torn, iii., pt.
ii., cap. ix., (f v., p. cccclxxviii. [Dr. Mo-
sheim, in his Historia Tartarorum ecclesias-
tica, p. 13, &c., relying chiefly on the pre-
ceding authorities, states that Timotheus,
who was patriarch of the Nestorians from
A.D. 777 to A.D. 820, planned the mission
to these nations inhabiting the shores of the
Caspian Sea ; and that he selected for its
execution one Subchal Jesu, a learned monk
of the Nestorian monastery of Beth-Aben in
Assyria well skilled in the Syriac, Arabic,
and Persian languages, ordained him bishop,
and sent him forth. Subchal made numer-
ous converts among the Gelae and Daila-
mites, formed them into churches, and or-
dained elders over them. This active mis-
sionary also travelled farther East, and spread
the gospel extensively in Tartary, Cathai,
and China ; but on his return from his mis-

sion to visit Timotheus and the monks of his
convent, he was murdered by the Barbarians.
Timotheus now ordained Kardagus and Ja-
halaha, two other monks of Beth-Aben, and
sent them with fifteen assistant monks into
the same countries. These also were suc-
cessful missionaries ; and with the consent
of Timotheus, the two bishops ordained seven
of their companions to be bishops of the East ;
namely, Thomas who went into India, Do-
vid metropolitan of China, and Zacchaeus,
Semus, Ephraim, Simeon, and Ananias.
Thomas Margensis relates, that Timotheus
directed the two ordaining bishops first to
ordain a third, and to supply the place of a
third bishop at his ordination by placing a
copy of the Gospels on the seat near the right
hand. Afterwards, they would have the
canonical number of three bishops, to ordain
the others. These new bishops dispersed
themselves widely over the countries of the
East, and founded many churches in India,
Cathai, and China. But after the death of


was firmly and permanently established in those countries for several
centuries, although it was sometimes disturbed by the Mohammedans ;
and that the bishops of these countries were always subject to the author-
ity of the Nestorian pontiff,

§ 2. In Europe, most of the German nations were still involved in the
darkness of superstition ; the only exception being the tribes on the Rhine,
namely, the Bavarians, who are known to have received a knowledge of
Christianity under Theodoric the son of Clovis the Great, and the Eastern
Franks [or Franconians], with a few others. Attempts had been often
made to enlighten the Germans, both by the kings and princes for whose
interest it was that those warlike tribes should become civilized, and also
by some pious and holy men ; but the attempts had met with little or no
success. But in this century, Winifrid an English Benedictine monk of
noble birth who afterwards bore the name of Boniface, attempted this ob-
ject with better success. In the year 715 he left his native country, with
two companions, and first attempted in vain to disseminate Christian doc-
trines among the Frieslanders who were subjects of king Radbod. Af-
terwards in the year 719, having received a solemn commission from the
Roman pontiff Gregory II., he more successfully performed the functions
of a Christian teacher among the Thuringians, the Frieslanders, and the
Hessians. (2)

Timotheus A.D. 820, we leam nothing more
respecting these churches till A.D. 1000,
when the famous Christian prince, called
Presbyter John, came upon the stage. — Tr.]
(2) All that could be said of this celebra-
ted man, has been collected by Henr. Phil.
Gudenius, in his Diss, de S. Bonifacio Ger-
manorum Apostolo ; Helmst., 1722, 4to.
Yet we may add Jo. Alb. Fabricii Biblioth.
Latina medii aevi, torn, i., p. 709. Histoire
litt. de la France, torn, iv., p. 92. Jo. Ma-
hillon, Annales Benedictini : and others.
[The Church Histories of Flcury, Schroeckh,
and J. E. C. Schmidt, give ample accounts
of Boniface. Milner (Church Hist., cent.
viii., eh. iv.) is an admirer of Boniface.
The best among the original biographers of
this famous man, are Willibald one of
his disciples, and a German monk named
Othlon, who lived in the 11th century, and
collected various letters of Boniface which
he has inserted in his narrative. Both these
biographies, with valuable notes, are con-
tained in Mabillonii Acta Sanctor. ord. Ben-
edict., torn, iv., p. 1-84, ed. Venet., 1734.
According to these writers, Boniface was
born at Kirton in Devonshire, about A.D.
680. When but four or five years old, he
showed a strong inclination for a monastic
life, which his father first endeavoured to
eradicate but afterwards favoured. He first
entered a monastery at Exeter. From that
he removed after seven years to the monas-
tery of Nuscelle in Hants, as a better place
for study. Here he learned grammar, poe-
try, rhetoric, and biblical interpretation ac-

cording to the threefold sense of scripture.
After a short time he was a teacher of these
things. At the age of 30 he was ordained
a presbyter. About A.D. 715, he undertook
a voluntary mission to Friesland, with two
monks for companions. But Radbod, the
pagan king of the country, being at war with
the Franks and hostile to the Christians,
gave him no encouragement ; and he return-
ed again to his monastery. The abbacy of
Nuscelle was now offered him ; but he re-
fused it, because he preferred a more active
employment. Soon after, having projected
a mission to the pagans in Germany, he set
out for Rome to obtain the papal sanction
and support to his enterprise. Daniel the
bishop of Winchester, gave him a letter of
introduction to the pontiff, who readily gave
him a commission to preach the Gospel to the
pagans wherever he could find them. He
now visited Germany, preached in Bavaria
and Thuringia ; and learning that Radbod
was dead, he went to Friesland, and for three
years assisted Willibrord the aged bishop of
Utrecht, in spreading the gospel and erecting
churches among the neighbouring pagans.
Willibrord proposed to him to become his
permanent assistant and successor ; but Bon-
iface declined, on the ground that the pope
had intended he should labour in the more
eastern parts of Germany. He now visited
Rome a second time in the year 723, was
closely examined by the pope as to his faith
and his adherence to the see of Rome ; and
upon his swearing perpetual allegiance to the
pope, he was created a bishop, and had his


§ 3. In the year 723, being ordained a bishop by Gregory II. at Rome, and
being supported by the authority and the aid of Charles Martel the Major Do-
taxis of tile Franks, Boniface returned to his Hessians and Tliuringians, and
resumed his labours among them with much success. He was now greatly
assisted by several learned and pious persons of both sexes, who repaired
to him out of England and France. In the year 738, having gathered
more Christian churches than one man could alone govern, he was advanced
to the rank of an archbishop by Gregory III., and by his authority and with
the aid of Carloman and Pepin, the sons of Charles Martel, he established
various bishoprics in Germany ; as those of Wiirtzhurg, Burahurg [near
Fritzlar, in Hesse-Cassel], Erfurt, and Eichstadt ; to vviiich he added, in
the year 744, the famous monastery of Fulda. The final reward of hia

name changed from Wini/rid to Boniface.
With namtrous letters of recommendation
to princes, bishops, and others, and a good
stock of holy relics, Boniface returned
through France, where Charles Martel re-
ceived him cordially and furnished him with
a safe conduct throughout the empire. He
first went among the Hessians, where he
suppressed the remains of idolatry, and in-
trepidly cut down the consecrated oak of Ju-
piter, which broke into four equal parts in its
fall. This prodigy silenced all objections ;
and out of the wood of this tree, a chapel
was built, dedicated to St. Peter. From
Hesse he went to Thuringia, where he ef-
fected a similar reform, and had contention
with some who were accounted heretical.
On the accession of Gregory III. to the
papal chair A.D. 731, Boniface sent an em-
bassy to Rome, giving an account of his pro-
ceedings, and proposing several questions
respecting ecclesiastical law, for solution.
The pope answered his inquiries, sent him a
fresh supply of relics, and also the archiepis-
copal pallium, with instructions when and
how to wear it. In the year 738, he visited
Rome a third time, attended by a large ret-
inue of priests and monks, and was gra-
ciously received by the pope. On his return
through Bavaria, as papal legate he divided
that country into four bishoprics, and placed
bishops over them ; namely, John bishop of
Saltsburg, Ehrenhert bishop of Freisingen,
Goshald of Regensburg, and Vivilo of Pas-
sau. In the year 741, he erected four more
bishoprics in Germany ; namely, those of
Wurtzhurg, Eichstadt, Burahurg, and Er-
furth ; over which he placed four of his
friends, Barchard, Willebald, Albinus, and
Adler. Hitherto Boniface had been arch-
bishop of no particular place ; but in the year
74.5, he procured the deposition of Gevilicb
archbishop of Mentz, charging him in a pro-
vincial council with having slain in single
combat the man who had slain his own fa-
ther in battle, and with having kept dogs and
birds for sport. This council decreed the

vacant see oi' Mentz to Boniface. As arch-
bishop o( Mentz, Boniface claimed jurisdic-
tion over the bishop of Utrecht ; which claim
was contested by the archbishop of Cologne.
Boniface, as archbishop and as papal legate,
presided in several councils in France and
Germany, and was very active in enforcing
uniformity of rites and rigid adherence to the
canons of the church of Rome. In the year
754, being far advanced in life, he left his
bishopric at Mentz under the care of Lullus,
whom he ordained his colleague and succes-
sor, and undertook a mission among the
Frieslanders, who were but partially convert-
ed to Christianity. With the aid of several
inferior clergymen and monks, he had brought
many persons of both sexes to submit to bap-
tism, and having appointed the 5th of June
for a general meeting of the converts to re-
ceive the rite of confirmation, at Dockum on
the Bordne, between East and West Fries-
land, on the morning of the day appointed
and while the converts were expected to ar-
rive, a party of pagan Frieslanders assaulted
his camp. His young men began to prepare
for battle ; but Boniface forbid it, and ex-
horted all to resign themselves up to die as
martyrs. He and his fifty-two companions
were all murdered, and their camp was plun-
dered. But the banditti afterwards quarrel-
led among themselves respecting the plun-
der, and being intoxicated with the wine they
had got, they fought till several of their num-
ber were slam. The Christian converts
enraged at the murderers of their teachers,
collected forces, and attacking their villages
slew and dispersed the men, plundered their
houses, and enslaved their wives and chil-
dren. The murdered Christians were re-
moved to Utrecht, and there interred. Af-
terwards the remains of Boniface were car-
ried to Mentz, and thence to Fulda. — Boni-
face left behind him 42 epistles ; a set of
ecclesiastical rules, 36 in number ; 15 dis-
courses ; and a part of a work on penance.


labours, decreed to him in the year 746 by the Roman pontiff Zacharias,
was, to be constituted archbishop of Mcntz, and primate of Germany and
Belgium. In his old age, he travelled once more among the Frieslanders,
that his ministry might terminate with the people among whom it com-
menced : but in the year 755 he was murdered, with fifty clergymen who
attended him, by the people of that nation.

§ 4. On account of his vast labours in propagating Christianity among
the Germans, Boniface has gained the title of the Apostle of Germany ;
and a candid estimate of the magnitude of his achievements, will show him
to be not altogether unworthy of this title. (3) Yet as an apostle, he weis
widely different from that pattern which the first and genuine apostles have
left us. For not to mention that the honour and majesty of the Roman
pontiff, whose minister and legate he was, was equally his care — ^nay more
so, than the glory of Christ and his religion,(4) he did not oppose super-
stition with the weapons which the ancient apostles used, but he often co-
erced the minds of the people by violence and terrors, and at other times
caught them by artifices and fraud. (5) His epistles also betray here and

(3) [If the man deserves the title of an tain the general faith, and union with the
apostle who goes among the heathen, preach- church of Rome, and that he would not cease
es to them the Gospel according to his best to urge and persuade all his pupils in that
knowledge of it, encounters many hardships, quarter to be obedient to the see of Rome,
makes some inroads upon idolatry, gathers — In another letter, addressed to Stephen
churches, erects houses of worship, founds III., (Ep. xcvii., p. 132), upon occasion of
monasteries, and spends his life m this busi- his contest with the bishop of Cologne re-
ness ; — then Boniface justly merits this title, specting the bishopric of Utrecht, he repre-
But if that man only can be called an apos- sents the bishop of Cologne as wishing to
tie, who is in all respects like to Peter and make the bishop who should preach to the
Paul ; — who in all his efforts looks only to Frieslanders wholly independent of the see
the honour of Christ, and the dissemination of Rome ; whereas he (Boniface) was exert-
of truth and virtue ; and for attaining these ing all his powers to make the bishopric of
ends, employs no means but such as the first Utrecht entirely dependant on the see of
apostles of Christ used ; — then manifestly, Rome. — Schl.}

Boniface was wholly unworthy of this name. (5) [It is unquestionable, that this apostle

He was rather an apostle of the Pope than of the Germans marched into Thuringia at

oi Jesus Christ, he had but one eye directed the head of an army ; and that at the time

towards Christ, the other was fixed on the he was murdered by the Frieslanders, he

pope of Rome, and on his own fame which had soldiers with him as his body guard ; and

depended on him. — Schl.] so in all his enterprises, he had the support

(4) The French Benedictine monks ingen- of the civil arm, afforded to him by Charles
uously acknowledge, that Bornface was a Mattel, Carloman, and Pepin. — His argu-
sycophant of the Roman pontiff and showed ments also may have been not the best, if he
him more deference than was fit and proper, followed the directions of Daniel bishop of
See Histoire litt. de la France, tome iv., p. Winchester, for whom, as his epistles show,
106. " II exprime son devouement pour le he had a high respect. (See Ep. Bonif. iii.,
S. Siege quelquefois en des termes qui ne p. 5, and the Ep. of Daniel tohim, Ep. Ixvii.,
sont pas asse proportiones a la dignite du p. 79, &c.) For here Daniel advises him
charactere episcopal." [We need only to to ask the pagans, how they can believe that
read his epistles, to be satisfied on this point, the gods reward the righteous and punish the
He says, (Ep. xci., p. 126, ed. Serrar.), that wicked in this life, since they see the Chris-
all he had done for six-and-thirty years while tians who have destroyed their images and
legate of the holy see, was intended for the prostrated their worship all over the world,
advantage of the church at Rome ; to the remain unpunished ! — And how comes it to
judgment of which, so far as he had erred in pass, that the Christians possess the fruitful
word or deed, he submitted himself with countries which produce wine and oil in
all humility. — Cringing enough for an arch- abundance, while the pagans inhabit the
bishop of the German'^church ! — In a letter cold and barren corners of the earth ! He
to pope Zacharias, (Ep. Bonif., cxxxii., p. must also represent to the pagans, that the
181), he writes, that he wished to main- Christians now ruled the whole world, where-


there an ambitious and arrogant spirit, a crafty and insidious disposition,
an immoderate eagerness to increase the honours and extend the prerog-
atives of the clergy,(6) and a great degree of ignorance not only of many
things which an apostle ought to know, but in particular of the true char-
acter of the Christian religion. (7)

§ 5. Besides Boniface, there were others also who attempted to rescue
the unevangelized nations of Germany from the thraldom of superstition.
Such was CorUnian, a French Benedictine monk, who, after various la-
bours for the instruction of the Bavarians and other nations, became bish-
op of Freysingen.(8) Such also was Pirmin, a French monk nearly con-
say, I think Dr. Mosheim, and his annotator
Schlegcl, have not done impartial justice to
this eminent man. He appears to me to
have been one of the most smcere and hon-
est men of his age ; though he partook largn ■
ly in the common faults of his time, an ex
cessive attachment to monkery, and a super-
stitious regard for the canons of the church
and the externals of religion. With all his
imperfections, he deserves to be classed with
those who followed Christ according to the
best light they had, and who did much to
advance true religion among men. — 7V.J

(8) Casar. Baronii Annales ecclesiast.,
torn, viii., ad ann. 716, () 10, &c. C. Mei-
chelbeck, Hist. Frisingensis, torn. i. [The
life of saint Corbinian in forty six chapters,
was written by one of his pupils and suc-
cessors, Ariho; and may be seen in Mabil-
lon's Acta Sanctor. Ord. Bened., torn, iii.,
p. 470-485, and in Meichelbcck, Hist. Pris-
ing., tom. i., part ii., p. 3-21. Corbinian
was bom at Chartres near Paris, about A.D.
680. He early devoted himself to a mo-
nastic life, and acquired great fame by his
miracles. To escape from society and en-
joy solitude, he travelled into Italy about the
year 717, and begged the pope to assign him
some obscure retreat. But the pope or-
dained him a bishop, and sent him back to
France. His miracles and his marvellous
sanctity now drew such crowds around him,
that after seven years he determined to go
to Rome and beg the pope to divest him of
the episcopal dignity. On his way through
Bavaria and the Tyrol, he caught a huge
bear which had killed one of his pack horses,
whipped him soundly, and compelled him to
serve in place of the pack horse. At Trent
and at Pavia some of his horses were sto-
len ; for which the thieves paid the forfeiture
of their lives, by the hand of God. The pope
would not release him from the episcopacy.
He returned by the way he came, as far as
Frdsingen in Bavaria ; where Grimoald the
reigning prince detained him for the benefit
of himself and subjects. After six years" la-
bours at Freisingen, he died, somewhat like
Moses, or at least in a very extraordinary

as the pagans were but few in number and
powerless ; and that this great change in
their condition had taken place since the
coming of Christ, for before that event the
pagans had vast dominion. It is likewise
undeniable, that Boniface gloried in fictitious
miracles and wonders. — Schl.']

(6) [Consider only his conduct towards
those bishops and presbyters who had before
received ordination, and refused to receive
it again from him according to the Romish
rites, and would not in general subject them-
selves to Romish supremacy and Romish
forms of worship. These men must be re-
garded as false brethren, heretics, blasphe-
mers, servants of the devil, and forerunners
of Antichrist. They must be excommuni-
cated, be cast into prisons, and receive cor-
poreal punishments. See with what vio-
lence he breaks out against Adelbcrt, Cle-
mens, Sampson, Gottschalk, Ehremwolf,
Virgilius and others, in his epistles ; — how
bitterly he accuses them, before the popes
and in presence of councils, &c. — Schl.'\

(7) [A large ])art of the questions which
Boniface submitted to tlie consideration of
the |)opcs, betray his ignorance. But still
more does his decision of the case of con-
science, when a Bavarian priest who did not
Understand Latin had baptized with these
words : Bapttzo tc in nomine patria et filia
€l spiritua sancta, which baptism he pro-
nounced to be null and void ; and also his
persecution of the priest Virgilius in Bava-
ria, who maintained that the earth is globu-
lar, and consequently inhabitable on the other
side of it, and there enlightened by the sun
and moon. Boniface looked upon this as a
gross heresy ; and he accused the man before
the pope, who actually excommunicated him
for a heretic. See the tenth Ep. of Zachari-
as, in Harduin's collection of Councils, tom.
iii., p. 1912. — Schl. In this and the pre-
ceding notes, Schlegel has laboured with
the zeal of a prosecutor, to substantiate the
heavy charges of Dr. Mosheim against Bon-
iface. I have carefully read the original
lives of this missionary and also a consider-
able part of his correspondence, and I must

Vol. II.— B


temporary with Boniface, who taught Christianity amid various suffering.?
in Helvetia, Alsace, and Bavaria, and presided over several monasteries. (9)
Such likewise was Lehwin an Englishman, who laboured with earnest-
ness and zeal though with little success to persuade the warlike Saxon

nation, the Frieslanders, the Belgae, and other nations, to embrace Chris-
tianity.(lO) Others of less notoriety are omitted. (11) Neither shall I

mention Willihrord and others, who commenced their missionary labours
in the preceding century, and continued them with great zeal in this.

manner. He foresaw his death, and having tied down at Deventer in Overyssel, where
made arrangements for it, he arose in the he preached with considerable success till
morning m perfect health, bathed, dressed his death, about A.D. 740. See Molleri
himself in his pontificals, performed public Cimb. Litt., ubi supra. — Tr.]
service, returned and placed himself upon (11) [Among these were the following,

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