תמונות בעמוד

11. The prince of that country, whom the Nestorians con

verted to the Christian faith, assumed, if we may Prester John. give credit to the vulgar tradition, the name of John after his baptism, to which he added the surname of Presbyter, from a principle of modesty. Hence it was, as some learned men imagine, that the successors of this monarch retained these names until the time of Jenghis Khan, who flourished in the fourteenth century, and were each of them called Prester John. But all this has a very fabulous air ; at least it is advanced without any solid proof; nay,


appears evident, on the contrary, that the famous Prester John, who made so much noise in the world, did not begin to reign in that part of Asia before the conclusion of the eleventh century. It is however certain beyond all contradiction, that the monarchs of the nation called Karit, which makes a large part of the empire of the Mogul, and is by some denominated a province of the Turks, and by others a tribe of the Tartars, embraced Christianity in this century; and that a considerable part of Tartary, or Asiatic Scythia, lived under the spiritual jurisdiction of bishops, who were sent among them by the Nestorian pontiff. III. If we turn our eyes to the western world, we shall

find the gospel making its way with more or less rapidity through the most rude and uncivilized

nations. The famous archpirate Rollo, son of a Norwegian count, being banished from his native land, had, in the preceding century, put himself at the head of a resolute band of Normans, and seized upon one of the maritime provinces of France, from whence he infested the whole country round about with perpetual incursions and depredations. In the year 912, this valiant chief embraced, with his whole army, the Christian faith, and that upon the following occasion ; Charles the Simple, who wanted both resolution and power to drive this warlike and intrepid invader out of his dominions, was obliged to

Rollo first duke of Normandy converted.

b See Assemanui Biblioth. Orientale Vaticanæ, tom. iii. pars ii. p. 282.

c The late learned Mr. B. Theophilus Sigefred Bayer, in his Preface to the Museum Sinicum, p. 145, informed us of his design to give the world an accurate account of the Nestorian churches established in Tarfary and China, drawn from some curious ancient records and monuments, that have not been as yet made public. His work was to have beeu entitled Historia Ecclesiarum, Sinicarun, et Septentrionalis Asiæ ; but death prevented the exceution of this interesting plan, and also of several others, which this great man had formed, and which would have undoubtedly cast a new light upon the history of the Asiatic Christians.

d Holbergi Historia Danorun Navalis in Scriptis Societat. Scient. Hafniens. pars iii. p.

have recourse to the method of negotiation. He accordingly offered to make over to Rollo a considerable part of his territories, upon condition that the latter would consent to a peace, espouse his daughter Gisela,' and embrace Christianity. These terms were accepted by Rollo without the least hesitation ; and his army, following the example of their leader, professed a- religion of which they were totally ignorant.' These Norman pirates, as appears from many authentic records, were absolutely without religion of every kind, and therefore were not restrained, by the power of prejudice, from embracing a religion which presented to them the most advantageous prospects. They knew no distinction between interest and duty, and the estimated truth and virtue only by the profits with which they were attended. It was from this Rollo, who received at his baptism the name of Robert, that the famous line of Norman dukes derived its origin; for the province of Bretagne, and a part of Neustria, which Charles the Simple conveyed to his son-in-law by a solemn grant, were, from this time, known by the name of Normandy, which they derived from their new possessors.

iv. The Christian religion was introduced into Poland, by the zealous efforts of female piety. Dambrowka, daughter of Bolislaus, duke of Bohemia, persuaded, by the force of repeated exhortations, lishe nation. her husband Micislaus, duke of Poland, to abandon paganism, in consequence of which he embraced the gospel, A. D. 965. The account of this agreeable event was no sooner brought to Rome, than the pontiff, John XIII. sent into Poland Ægidius, bishop of Tusculum, attended with a numerous train of ecclesiastics, in order to second the pious efforts of the duke and dutchess, who desired, with impatience, the conversion of their subjects. But the exhortations and endeavours of these devout missionaries, who were unacquainted with the language of the people they came to instruct, would have been entirely without effect, had they not been accompanied with the edicts and penal laws, the promises and threats of Micislaus, which dejected the courage, and conquered the obstinacy of the reluc

The conversion of the Po

De Other writers more politely represent the offer of Gisela, as one of the methods that Charles employed to obtain a peace with Rollo. f Boulay, Hist. Acad. Paris, tom. i. p. 296. Daniel, Ilist. de France, tom. ii. p. 587.

& It was Neustria properly, and not Bretagne, that received the name of Nor. mands, from the Normans who chose Rollo for their chief.

The Christian religion establisted in Mo:covy,

tant Poles. When therefore the fear of punishment, and the hope of reward, had laid the foundations of Christianity in Poland, two national archbishops and seven bishops were consecrated to the ministry, whose zeal and labours were followed with such success, that the whole body of the people abandoned by degrees their ancient superstitions, and made public profession of the religion of Jesus. It was indeed no more than an external

profession ; for that inward change of affections and principles, which the gospel requires, was far from being an object of attention in this barbarous age. v. The Christian religion was established in Russia by

means every way similar to those that had occasioned its propagation in Poland; for we must not lay any stress

upon the proselytes that were made to Christianity among the Russians in the preceding century ; since these conversions were neither permanent nor solid, and since it appears evidently, that such of that nation as, under the reign of Basilius the Macedonian, had embraced the doctrine of the Greek church, relapsed soon after into the superstition of their ancestors. Wlodomir, duke of Russia and Moscovy, married, in the year 961, Anne, sister of Basilius, the second Grecian emperor of that name; and this zealous princess, by her repeated entreaties, and her pious importunity, persuaded at length her reluctant spouse to receive the Christian faith, and he was accordingły baptized, A. D. 987, assuming upon that occasion the name of Basilius. The Russians followed spontaneously the example of their prince; we have at least no account of any compulsion or violence being employed in their conversion, and this is the true date of the entire establishment of Christianity among that people. Wlodomir and his dutchess were placed in the highest order of the Russian saints, and are still worshipped at Kio. via, where they lie interred, with the greatest devotion. The Latins however paid no such respect to the memory of Wlodomir, whom they represent as absolutely unworthy of saintly honours."

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h Duglossi Historia Polonica, lib. ii. p. 91, lib. iii. p. 95, 239. Regenvolscii Historia Eccles. Slavon. lib. ii. cap. i. p. 8. Henr. Canisii Lectiones Antiquæ, tom. iii. pars i. p. 41. Solignac, Hist. de Pologne, toni. i. p. 71.

i See Anton. Pagi Critica in Baron. tom. iv. ad A. 987, p. 55, et ad A. 1015, p. 110. Car. đu Fresne, Familiæ Byzantina, p. 143, ed. Paris.

k Ditmarus, Merseb. lib. vii. Cäronic. p. 417, tom. i. Scriplor. Brunsvic. Leibnitlii.

and in Hun

vr. The Hungarians and Avari had received some faint notions of Christianity under the reign of Charlemagne, and in consequence of the measures that gary. had been taken by that zealous prince for the propagation of the gospel. These notions however were soon and easily extinguished by various circumstances which took their rise from the death of Charlemagne; and it was not before the century of which we now write, that the Christian religion obtained a fixed settlement among these warlike nations.' Toward the middle of this century, Bulosudes and Gyvla, or Gylas, two Turkish chiefs, whose governments lay upon the banks of the Danube," made public profession of Christianity, and were baptized at Constantinople. The former apostatized soon after to the religion of his ancestors; while the latter not only persevered steadfastly in his new profession, but also showed the most zealous concern for the conversion of his subjects, who, in consequence of his express order, were instructed in the doctrines and precepts of the gospel by Hierotheus, a learned prelate, by whom he had been accompanied in his journey to Constantinople. Sarolta, the daughter of Gylas, was afterward given in marriage to Geysa, the chief of the Hungarian nation, whom she persuaded to embrace the divine religion in which she had been educated. The faith however of this new converted prince was feeble and unsteady, and he retained a strong propensity to the superstition which he had been engaged to forsake; but his apostacy was prevented by the pious remonstrances of Adalbert, archbishop of Prague, who came into Hungary toward the conclusion of this century, and by whom also Stephen, the son of Geysa, was baptized with great pomp and solemnity. It was to this young prince that the gospel was principally indebted for its propagation and establishment among the Hungarians, whose entire conversion was the fruit of his zeal for the cause of Christ. For he perfected what his father and grandfather had only begun; fixed bishops, with large revenues, in various places; erected magnificent temples for divine worship; and by the influence of instructions, threatenings, rewards, and punishments, he brought his subjects, almost without exception, to abandon the wretched

I Pauli Debrezeni Historia Eccles. Reformator. in Ungaria, pars i. cap. iii. p. 19:

m The Hungarians and Transylvanians were, at this time, known to the Grecians by the name of Turks,

superstition of their idolatrous ancestors. These vigorous proceedings, by which Stephen introduced the religion of Jesus among the Hungarians, procured him the most distinguished honours of saintship in succeeding ages." VII. The Christian religion was in a very unsettled state

among the Danes under the reign of Gormon, In Denmark, and notwithstanding the protection it received from his queen, who professed it publicly, was obliged to struggle with many difficulties, and to encounter much opposition. The face of things changed indeed after the death of Gormon. His son Harald, surnamed Blaatand, being defeated by Otho the Great, A. D. 949, embraced the gospel, and was baptized, together with his consort and his son Sueno, or Swein, by Adaldagus, archbishop of Hamburgh, or as others allege, by Poppon, a pious ecclesiastic, who attended the emperor in this expedition. It is probable that Harald, educated by his mother Tyra, who was a Christian, was not extremely averse to the religion of Jesus ; it appears however certain, that his conversion was less the effect of his own choice, than of the irresistible commands of his victorious enemy. For Otho, persuaded that the Danes would never desist from their hostile incursions and rapines, as long as they persevered in the religion of their ancestors, which was so proper to nourish a ferocity of temper, and to animate to military exploits, made it the principal condition of the treaty of peace, which he concluded with Harald, that both he and his subjects should receive the Christian faith. Upon the conversion of this prince, Adaldagus and Poppon'employed

n The Greeks, Germans, Bohemians, and Poles, claim each for themselves the peculiar honour of having been the founders of the Christian religion in Hungary, and their respective pretensions have introduced not a little obscurity into this matter. The Gerinans allege, that the Christian religion was brought into Hungary by Gisela, sister to their emperor, Henry II. who being given in marriage to Stephen, the king of that nation, persuaded that prince to embrace the gospel. The Bohemians tell us, on the other hand, that it was by the ministry of Adalbert, archbishop of Prague, that Stephen was converted. The Poles affirm, that Geysa, having married a Christian princess of their nation, viz. Adelheid, sister to Micislaus, duke of Poland, was induced by her remonstrances and exhortations to make profession of Christianity. In consequence of a careful examination of all these pretensions, we have followed the sentiments and decisions of the Greek writers, after having diligently compared them with the Hungarian historians ; and we are encouraged in this by the authority of the learned Gabriel de Juxta Hornad, who, in his Initia Religionis Christianæ inter Hungaros Ecclesiæ orientali adserta, published at Frankfort in 1740, decides this question in favour of the Greeks. All other accounts of the matter are extremely imperfect, and subject to many doubts and difficulties.

o Adam Brem. Hist. lib. ii. cap. ii. iii. p. 16, cap. xv. p. 20, in Lindenbrogii Scriptoribus rerum Sepientrional. Abb. Kranzii Wandalia. lib. iv. cap. xx. Ludwigii Reliquæ Manuscriptor. tom. ix. p. 10. Pontoppidani Annales Ecclesiæ Diplomatiri, tom. i. p. 59.

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