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of the city of Memphis, went into Spain, where he was entertained by a lady named Agape-and Helpidius, a rhetorician : but the most famous of all his converts was Priscillian.”
20. “ In the religious assemblies of all the Mani. cheans, 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 obliga
tions of virtue to inform the rest." tel. Res
21. “ Priscillian did so, and many of noble families, searches, and common people, and crouds, especially of wo
6 men, attended and imbibed the doctrine. Ina short . time it spread all over Spain : and some bishops ' embraced it, who, Jaying aside the vices of the world, and the superstitions of the Catholic] clergy, 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 thc rank of a teacher without leave first had and obtained from them. Priscillian in the mean tiire continued to teach. Enraged at this con. tempt of their assumed authority, their next recourse was to the civil magistrate for aid.
24. And astera process of several years, the bloody sory, vol. Ithacius obtained an order from the Catholic emperor p. 414.
Maxiinus, 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 confiscared, and others were banished.
25. And who were Ithucius and Marimus, that they should agree, for the honor of religion, to de. strov the inoffensive Priscillian, and those who adopsed his harinless manner of life? Maximus came to the throne by means of procuring the murder of the
emperor Gratian ; and even the party to which Itha- CHAP. cius belonged gave him the following character.
26. “ He was a man abandoned to the most cor. Eccl. His. 6 rupt indolence, and without the least tincture of tory, vol. “ true piety. He was audacious, talkative, impu- Note [mn] “ 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 66 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. P.434,418 king touch to what the council of Nice had left im• perfect, and fixed, in a full and determinate man
ner, the doctrine of L 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, superstition became the established religion, and persecution the principal means of supe porting 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.
The established Order of the Catholic Church.
THE continuation of a thing in its own place, na
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 con• tinue 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, doubtless, with propriety be said, that certain men have, in every age through the Christian æra, appeared either as Christ, or in his place, and that either the real church of Christ, or one in its place, has continued to exist upon earth.
3. And if any man and any church did actually rise up in the room of Christ and his church, then it must be evident that neither Christ nor his church remained upon earth: for admitting that the church of Christ existed upon earth, it must have been in its own place : of course another could not stand in its place, at one and the same time.
4. When Solomon, king of Israel, died, the-kingdom was divided between Rehoboam, and Jereboam, but neither of them reigned fully in his stead. Nor was there any kingdom or empire established upon earth in the room of Solomon's, until the last remains of that was rooted out and the seat of government established at Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.
5. Then it might be said that there was a kingdom established in the room of Solomon's and a king reigned in his stead, but this was not a continuance either of Solomon or bis kingdom, but something in their place, that in some respects resembled them, but was essentially different and distirict.
6. This may serve as a comparison between Con." stantine. the Great, and Jesus Christ. For, as the wild and frantic Nebuchadnezzar was born to the wise men of Babylon, and grew up and established a kingdom
or empire, according to their council, in the place of CHAP, Solomon's; so in the same sense was Constantine born to the Catholic Church, and grew up and acted in the place of Jesus Christ.
7. And although the empire or church which Constantine founded, stood as perfectly in the place of the Church of Christ, as the Babylonian empire stood in the place of the kingdom of Solomon ; yet it will appear beyond dispute, upon the slightest comparison, that the church which was founded and established by Consthantine the Great, was not a continuation of the church of Christ, but the very reyerse.
8. And if it be granted that the heads and fathers of the Catholic church stood in the place of Christ Jesus and his apostles, and did not in reality fill the very character of those whom they pretended to represent, then the conclusion must be evident, that neither Christ nor his apostles, in reality, were manifest on earth, but certain pretenders in their place.
9. Of course, that church of which they were the heads and fathers, must have been as distinct from the Primitive Church of Christ, as they themselves were distinct, in point of character, froin those whom they are said to represent. If any evidence is want. ing to confirm these plain principles, it will appear from the following account of the establishment of the Catholic church, under Constantine and his successors.
10. “ Constantine the Great, in order to prevent Zeel. Hkcivil commotions, and to fix his authority upon so- p. 339. • lid and stable foundations, made several changes, • not only in the laws of the empire, but also in the • form of the Roman government. And as there
were many important reasons, which induced him " to suit the administration of the church to these changes in the civil constitution, this necessarily in
troduced, among the bishops, new degrees of emi. 'nence and rank." So says Dr. Mosheim,
11. And further : “ Though Constantine permitted • the church to remain a body politic, distinct from " that of the state, as it bad formerly been, yet he as
sumed to himself the supreme power over this sacred body, and the right of modelling and govern
CHAP. “ing it in such a manner, as should be most condu
cive to the public good. This right he enjoyed Eccl. His
without any opposition, as none of the bishops pretory, vol 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 gova ernment, 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 Dan. si saying of the prophet Daniel : Such as do wickedly
against the covenant, shall he corrupt by flaiteries. Eze. xvi. By the prophet Ezekiel such a union is compared to
the work of an imperious whorish woman. Or, as a
14. In thus uniting and incorporating the church
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 Constantinople enjoyed a certain degree of pre-eminence over the rest of the episcopal order. (6 These four