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of the city of Memfishis, went into Shain, where he was entertained by a lady named Agashe—and Helsidius, a rhetorician : but the most famous of all his converts was Priscillian.” 20. “In the religious assemblies of all the Manicheans, adoration of God was the whole of the worship. This was performed in the natural way of prayer, and singing hymns—the scriptures were read, and some discoursed on the nature and obligations of virtue to inform the rest.” 21. “Priscillian did so, and many of noble families, and common people, and crouds, especially of women, attended and imbibed the doctrine. In a short time it spread all over Spain : and some bishops embraced it, who, laying aside the vices of the world, and the superstitions of the [Catholic] cler‘gy, applied themselves wholly to the practice of ‘piety, and a course of virtue.” 22. Thus far has Robinson stated the occasion of the first Catholic persecution, which began about the year 380, at the instigation of Idacius and Ithacius, two cruel and persecuting ecclesiastics. 23. Their first step was, to call a council, for the purpose of suppressing the heresy of Priscillian. With twelve bishops they pass a decree, that no man should assume the rank of a teacher without leave first had and obtained from them. Priscilliam in the mean time continued to teach. Enraged at this contempt of their assumed authority, their next recourse was to the civil magistrate for aid. 24. And after a process of several years, the bloody Ithacius obtained an order from the Catholic emperor Maxinus, for the execution of Priscillian and his associates. In consequence of which, in the year 384, Priscillian and many more were put to death. Some, says Robinson, were put on the rack, others had all their property confiscated, and others were banished. 25. And who were Ithacius and Maximus, that they should agree, for the honor of religion, to destroy the inoffensive Priscillian, and those who adop:ed his harmless manner of life 2 Maximus came to the throne by uneans of procuring the murder of the
*ver. Researches, p. 188.
Jocel. Hissory, vol. # p. 414.
emperor Gratian ; and even the party to which Ithacius belonged gave him the following character. 26. “He was a man abandoned to the most cor“rupt indolence, and without the least tincture of “true piety. He was audacious, talkative, impu“dent, luxurious, and a slave to his belly. He ac“cused as Heretics, and as protectors of Priscillian, “all those whose lives were consecrated to the pur“suit of piety and knowledge, or distinguished by “acts of mortification and abstinence.” 27. However, in all this he only proved himself to be a true son of the Catholic Church ; and his introducing persecution into his mother's house, was nothing more than improving the liberty which she had granted her sons, by the Theodosian creed, formed about the same period in one of her general councils at Constantinople, in the year 381. 28. “An hundred and fifty bishops, (says Mosheim,) * who were present at this council, gave the finish*ing touch to what the council of Mice had left im* perfect, and fixed, in a full and determinate onan* ner, the doctrine of BCP three PERsons in one GoD, * which is as yet received among the generality of * Christians :” [i. e. professed Christians or Catholics. 29. This venomous council did not stop here ;“ They branded, with infamy, ali the errors, and set “a mark of execration upon all the heresies, that * were hitherto known.” 30. Thus, sufferstition became the established religion, and fiersecution the principal means of supporting it, which furnished the most distinguishing and evident marks of a corrupt hierarchy, founded upon the unnatural and pernicious coalition of tho civil and ecclesiastical powers, under the name of a Christian government.
chap, viii. Eccl. History, vol. i. p. 414. Note [un]
~ CHAPTER IX.
HE continuation of a thing in its own place, nature and properties, is very different from a succession of things rising up and filling the place of another; yet it is rather according to the latter idea that the religion of Christ has been supposed to continue in the world to the present day. 2. But to every reasonable mind the distinction must be self-evident: and if so, then it may, doubt
less, with propriety be said, that certain men have,
in every age through the Christian aera, appeared
coor ‘ing it in such a manner, as should be most condu“cive to the public good. This right he enjoyed realm. “ without any opposition, as none of the bishops pre::::::: ‘sumed to call his authority in question.”- . 12. Here we see that the first step was to incorporate the church and the world into one body, to be governed by one head: so that notwithstanding the church, for certain purposes, was kept a distinct body politic, yet it was as closely united to the civil government, and as much one with the empire, as the harlot is one flesh with him that is joined to her ; and from this union proceeded that high degree of eminence and rank to which the bishops arose. 13. How strong a temptation this must have been for the wickedest men to seek the highest rank in so honorable a church Here we may justly apply that ** saying of the prophet Daniel : Such as do wickedly against the covenant, shall he corrufit by flatteries. Eve swi By the prophet Ezekiel such a union is compared to 30-38, the work of an imperious whorish woman. Or, as a wife that committeth adultery, taketh strangers instead of her husband : But with this difference : They give gifts unto all whores ; but thou givest thy gifts to all thy lovers, and hirest them, that they may come unto thee on every side for thy whoredom. And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock, and shed blood, are judged. 14. In thus uniting and incorporating the church with the civil government, the Emperor met with no opposition; it was on all sides a spontaneous confederacy, entered into with the universal consent of the bishops, as representatives of the church, and the Roman senate, as the great fathers of the people ; all agree in joint compact, that a man-slayer, a proud ambitious Emperor, who had neither seen Christ nor known him, should be the common head of influence to the whole body. 15. In consequence of this unnatural union, the government of the church, in all her parts, assumed the form and likeness of the civil government. Four bishops, viz. of Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinofile enjoyed a certain degree of pre-eminence over the rest of the episcopal order. “These four