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our times. It is therefore the duty of a candid historian to avoid attaching to this term tre invidious sense in which it is too often used, since it is the invective of all contending parties, and is employed against truth as frequently as against error. The wisest method is to take che word Heretic in its general signification, as denoting a person, who, either directly or indirectly, has been the occasion of exciting divisions and dissensions among Christians.
XII. After thus considering what constitutes the matter of Ecclesiastical History, it will be proper to bestow a few thoughts on the manner of treating it, as this is a point of too much importance not to deserve some attention. And here we may observe, that, in order to ren. der both the External and Internal History of the Church truly interesting and useful, it is absolutely necessary to trace effects to their causes, and to connect events with the circumstances, views, principles, and instruments that have contributed to their existence. A baro recital of facts can at best but enrich the memory, and furnish a certain degree of amusement; but the historian who enters into the secret springs that direct the course of outward events. and views things in their various relations, connexions, and tendencies, gives thus a proper ex. ercise to the judgment of the reader, and administers, on many occasions, the most useful les. sons of wisdom and prudence. It is true, a high degree of caution is to be observed here, lest, in disclosing the secret springs of public events, we substitute imaginary causes in the place of real, and attribute the actions of men to principles they never professed.
XIII. In order to discover the secret causes of public events, some general succours are to he derived from the History of the Times in which they happened, and the Testimonies of the Authors by whom they are recorded. But, beside these, a considerable acquaintance with human nature, founded on long observation and experience, is extremely useful in researches of this kind. The historian, who has acquired a competent knowledge of the views that occupy the generality of men, who has studied a great variety of characters, and attentively observed the force and violence of human passions, together with the infirmities and contradictions they produce in the conduct of life, will find, in this knowledge, a key to the secret reasons and motives which gave rise to many of the most important events of ancient times. An acquaintance also with the manners and opinions of the persons concerned in the events that are related, will contribute much to lead us to the true origin of things.
XIV. There are, however, beside these general views, particular considerations, which will assist us still farther in tracing up to their true causes the various events of sacred history. We must, for example, in the external history of the church, attend carefully to two things; first, to the political state of those kingdoms and nations in which the Christian religion has been cmbraced or rejected; and, secondly, to their religious state, i. e. the opinions they havo entertained concerning the divine nature, and the worship that is to be addressed to God. For we shall then perceive, with greater certainty and less difficulty, the reasons of the different reception Christianity has met with in different nations, when we are acquainted with the respective forms of civil government, the political maxims, and the public forms of religion that prevailed in those countries and at those periods in which the Gospel received encouragement, or met with opposition.
XV. With respect to the Internal History of the Church, nothing is more adapted to lay open to view the hidden springs of its various changes, than an acquaintance with the History of Learning and Philosophy in ancient times. For it is certain, that human learning and philosophy have, in all times, pretended to modify the doctrines of Christianity; and that these pretensions have extended farther than belongs to the province of philosophy on the one hand, or is consistent with the purity and simplicity of the Gospel on the other. It may also be observed, that a knowledge of the forms of civil government, and of the superstitious rites and institutions of ancient times, is not only useful, as we remarked above, to illustrate several things in the external history of the church, but also to render a satisfactory account of its internal variations, both in point of doctrine and worship. For the genius of human laws, and the maxims of civil rulers, have undoubtedly had a great influence in forming the constitution of the church; and even its spiritual leaders have, in too many instances, from an ill-judged prudence, modelled its discipline and worship after the ancient superstitions.
XVI. We cannot be at any loss to know the sources from which this important knowledge is to be derived. The best writers of every age, who make mention of ecclesiastical affairs, and particularly those who were contemporary with the events they relate, are to be carefully consulted, since it is from credible testimonies and respectable authorities that history derives A solid and permanent foundation. Our esteem for those writers, who may be considered as the sources of historical knowledge, ought not however to lead us to treat with neglect tho historians and annalists, who have already made use of these original records, since it betra ys a foolish sort of vanity to reject the advantages that may be derived from the succours and labours of those who have preceded us in their endeavours to cast light upon points that have been for many ages covered with obscurity.*
XVII. From all this we shall easily discern the qualifications that are essential to a good writer of ecclesiastical history. His knowledge of human affairs must be considerable. and his learning extensive. He must be endowed with a spirit of observation and sagacity; a habit of reasoning with evidence and facility; a faithful memory; and a judgment matured by ex
* The various writers of ecclesiastical history are enumerated by Sever. Walt. Sluterus, in his Propylaeum llis toriæ Christianæ, published at Lunenburg, in 410., A the year 1696; and by Casp. Sagittarius, in his Introductio ad Historiam Ecclesiasticam, singulasque ejus partes.
perience, and strengthened by exercise. Such are the intellectual endowments that are re quired in the character of a good historian; and the moral qualities necessary to complete it; are, a persevering and inflexible attachment to truth and virtue, a freedom from the servitude of prejudice and passion, and a laborious and patient turn of mind.
XVIII. Those who undertake to write the history of the Christian church are exposed to the reception of a bias from three different sources; from times, persons, and opinions. The times, in which we live, have often so great an influence on our manner of judging, as to make us consider the events which happen in our days, as a rule by which we are to estimate the probability or evidence of those that are recorded in the history of past ages. The persons, on whose testimonies we think we have reason to depend, acquire an imperceptible authority over our sentiments, that too frequently seduces us to adopt their errors, especially if these persons 'zave been distinguished by eminent degrees of sanctity and virtue. And an attachment to favourite opinions, leads authors sometimes to pervert, or, at least, to modify, facts in favour of those who have embraced these opinions, or to the disadvantage of such as have opposed them. These kinds of seduction are so much the more dangerous, as those whom they deceive are, in innumerable cases, insensible of their delusion, and of the false representations of things to which it leads them. It is not necessary to observe the solemn obligations that bind an historian to guard against these three sources of error with the most delicate circum spection, and the most scrupulous attention.
XIX. It is well known, nevertheless, how far ecclesiastical historians, in all ages, have doparted from these rules, and from others of equal evidence and importance. For, not to mention those who lay claim to a high rank among the writers of history in consequence of a happy memory, loaded with an ainple heap of materials, or those whose pens are rather guided by sordid views of interest than by a generous love of truth, it is too evident, how few in number the unprejudiced and impartial historians are, whom neither the influence of the sect to which they belong, nor the venerable and imposing names of antiquity, nor the spirit of the times and the torrent of prevailing opinion, can turn aside from the rigid pursuit of truth alone. In the present age, more especially, the spirit of the times, and the influence of predominant opinions, have gained with many an incredible ascendency. Hence we find frequently in the writings, even of learned men, such wretched arguments as these:-Such an opinion is true; therefore it must of necessity have been adopted by the primitive Christians.-Christ has commanded us to live in such a manner; therefore it is undoubtedly certain, that the Christians of ancient times lived 80.—A certain custom does not take place now; therefore it did not prevail in Former times.
XX. If those who apply themselves to the composition of Ecclesiastical History be carefu: to avo.d the sources of error mentioned above, their labours will be eminently useful to man kind, and more especially to those who are called to the important office of instructing others in the sacred truths and duties of Christianity. The history of the church presents to our view a variety of objects that are every way adapted to confirm our faith. When we contemplate here the discouraging obstacles, united efforts of kingdoms and empires, and the dreadful calamities which Christianity, in its very infancy, was obliged to encounter, and over which it gained an immortal victory, this will be sufficient to fortify its true and zealous professors against all the threats, cavils, and stratagems, of profane and impious men. and shining examples also, which display their lustre, more or less, in every period of the Christian history, must have an admirable tendency to inflame our piety, and to excite, even in the coldest and most insensible hearts, the love of God and virtue. Those amazing revolutions and events that distinguished every age of the church, and often seemed to arise from small beginnings, and causes of little consequence, proclaim, with a solemn and respectable voice, the empire of Providence, and also the inconstancy and vanity of human affairs. And, among the many advantages that arise from the study of Ecclesiastical History, it is none of the least, that we shall see therein the origin and occasions of those ridiculous rites, absurd opinions, foolish superstitions, and pernicious errors, with which Christianity is yet disfigured in too many parts of the world. This knowledge will naturally lead us to a view of the truth in its beautiful simplicity, will engage us to love it, and render us zealous in its defence; not to mention the pleasure and satisfaction that we must feel in researches and discoveries of such an interesting kind.
XXI. They, more especially, who are appointed to instruct the youth in the public universities, and also such as are professionally devoted to the service of the church, will derive from this study the most useful lessons of wisdom and prudence, to direct them in the discharge of their respective offices. On the one hand, the inconsiderate zeal and temerity of others, and the pernicious consequences with which they have been attended, will teach circumspection; and in the mistakes into which even men of eminent merit and abilities have fallen, they will often see the things they are obliged to avoid, and the sacrifices it will be prudent to make, in order to maintain peace and concord in the church. On the other hand, illustrious examples and salutary measures will hold forth to them a rule of conduct, a lamp to show them the paths they must pursue. It may be farther observed, that, if we except the arms which Scriplure and reason furnish against superstition and error, there is nothing that will enable us iu combat them with more efficacy than the view of their deplorable effects, as they are represented to us in the history of the church. It would be endless to enumerate all the advantages that result from the study of Ecclesiastical History; experience alone can display tliesc in
all therr extent; nor shall we mention the benefits that may be der ved from it by those #he have turned their views to other sciences than that of theology, and its more peculiar utility to such as are engaged in the study of the civil law. All this would lead us too far from ou present design.
XXII. As the history of the church is External or Internal, so the manner of treating it must be suited to that division. As to the first, when the narration is long, and the thread of the history runs through a great number of ages, it is proper to divide it into certain periods, which will give the reader time to breathe, assist memory, and also introduce a certain method and order into the work. In the following history the usual division into centuries is adopted in preference to all others, because most generally approved, though it may be attended with difficulties and inconveniences.
XXIII. A considerable part of these inconveniences will be however removed, if, heside this smaller division into centuries, we adopt a larger one, and divide the space of time that elapsed between the birth of Christ and our days into certain grand periods, which were distinguished by signal revolutions or remarkable events. It is on this account that we have judged it ex. pedient to comprehend the following History in Four Books, which will embrace four remark able periods. The First will be employed in exhibiting the state and vicissitudes of the Christian church, from its commencement to the time of Constantine the Great. The Second will comprehend the period that extends from the reign of Constantine to that of Charlemagne, which produced such a remarkable change in the face of Europe. The Third will contain the History of the Church, from the time of Charlemagne to the memorable period when Luther nrose in Germany, to oppose the tyranny of Rome, and to deliver divine truth from the darkness that covered it. And the Fourth will carry down the same history, from the rise of Luwer to the present times.
XXIV. We have seen above, that the sphere of Ecclesiastical History is extensive, that it comprehends a great variety of objects, and embraces political as well as religious matters, 80 far as the former are related to the latter, either as causes or effects. But, however great the diversity of these objects may be, they are closely connected; and it is the particular business of an ecclesiastical historian to observe a method that will show this connexion in the most conspicuous point of view, and form into one regular whole a variety of parts that seen beterogencous and discordant. Different writers on this subject have followed different methods, according to the diversity of their views and their peculiar manner of thinking. The order i have observed will be seen above in that part of this Introduction, which trcals of the subject. matter of Ecclesiastical History; the mention of it is therefore omitted here, to avoid unne comary repetitions.
CONTAINING THE HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, FROM ITS
ORIGIN, TO THE TIME OF CONSTANTINE THE GREAT.
COMPREHENDING THE EXTERNAL HISTORY OF THE CHURCHI
evils which thence arose we may justly reckon Concerning the Civil and Religious State of the the formidable armies, that were necessary to World at the Birth of Christ.
support these extortions in the provinces, and I. A GREAT part of the world was subject the civil wars which frequently broke out beto the Roman empire, when Jesus Christ tween the oppressed nations and their haughty made his appearance upon earth. The re- || conquerors. moter nations which had submitted to the yoke III. It must, at the same time, be acknowof this mighty empire, were ruled either by | ledged, that this supreme dominion of one Roman governors invested with temporary | people, or rather of one man, over so mary commissions, or by their own princes and laws, || kingdoms, was attended with many considerain subordination to the republic, whose sove i ble advantages to mankind in general, and to reignty was to be acknowledged, and from the propagation and advancement of Christiwhich the conquered kings, who were continued | anity in particular; for, by the means of this in their dominions, derived their borrowed || almost universal empire, many nations, differmajesty. At the same time, the Roman peo- || ent in their languages and their manners, were ple and their venerable senate, though they | more intimately united in social intercourse. had not lost all shadow of liberty, were in Hence a passage was opened to the remotest reality reduced to a state of servile submis- i countries, by the communications which the sion to Augustus Cæsar, who, by artifice, per-Romans formed between the conquered profidy, and bloodshed, had acquired an enor- || vinces.* Hence also the nations, whose manmous degree of power, and united in his own ners were savage and barbarous, were civilized person the pompous titles of emperor, sove by the laws and commerce of the Romans. reign pontiff, censor, tribune of the people, || And by this, in short, the benign influence of proconsul; in a word, all the great offices of || letters and philosophy was spread abroad ir the state. *
countries which had lain before under the II. The Roman government, considered both darkest ignorance. All this contributed, no with respect to its form and its laws, was || doubt, in a singular manner, to facilitate the certainly mild and equitable. But the in-progress of the Gospel, and to crown the la justice and avarice of the prætors and pro- || bours of its first ministers and heralds with consuls, and the ambitious lust of conquest | success. and dominion, which was the predominant IV. The Roman empire, at the birth of passion of the Roman people, together with Christ, was less agitated by wars and tumults, the rapacious proceedings of the publicans, by than it had been for many years before; for, whom th., taxes of the empire were levied, though I cannot assent to the opinion of those were the occasions of perpetual tumults and in- || who, following the account of Orosius, mainsupportable grievances; and among the many | tain that the temple of Janus was then shut, throughout the wor!d,* yet it is certain, that tions both of nature and art.* Each people the period, in which our Saviour descended | also had a particular manner of worshipping upon earth, may be justly styled the Pacific and appeasing their respective deities, entirely Áge, if we compare it with the preceding times; different from the sacred rites of other coun and indeed the tranquillity that then reigned, I tries. In process of time, however, the Greeks was necessary to enable the ministers of Christ and Romans became as ambitious in their relo execute, with success, their sublime com- ligious pretensions, as in their political claims. mission to the human race.
and that wars and discords absolutely ceased * See foi this purpose the learned work of Augustin Campia jus, entitled, De Officio et Potestate Magistratuum * See, for an illustration of this point, Histoire des Romanorum et Jurisdictiɔne, lib. i. cap. i. p. 3, 4, &c. grands Chemins de l'Empire Romain, par Nicol. Ber: Genevæ, 1725.
gier, printed in the year 1728. See also the very learned See Moyle's Essay on the Constitution of the Roman Everard Otto, De tutela Viarum publicarum, part ii. Government, in the posthumous works of that author, | Origen, among others, makes particular mention of rel. i. as also Scip. Maffei Verona illustrata, lib. ii. this. in the second book of his auswer te Celsus.
They inaintained that their gods, though unV. The want of ancient records renders it der different names, were the objects of reliimpossible to say any thing satisfactory or cer-gious worship in all nations, and therefore they tain concerning the state of those nations, gave the names of their deities to those of who did not receive the Roman yoke, nor, in- other countries.f This pretension, whether deed, is their history essential to our present supported by ignorance or other means, intropurpose. It is sufficient to observe, with re- duced inexpressible darkness and perplexity spect to them, that those who inhabited the into the history of the ancient superstitions, eastern regions were strangers to the sweets and has been also the occasion of innumeraof liberty, and groaned under the burthen of ble errors in the writings of the learned. an oppressive yoke. Their softness and effemi- VIII. One thing, indeed, which, at first nacy, both in point of manners and bodily | sight, appears very remarkable, is, that this constitution, contributed to make them sup- variety of religions and of gods neither proprrt their slavery with an unmanly patience; duced wars nor dissensions among the different and even the religion they professed riveted nations, the Egyptians excepted. Nor is it, their chains. On the contrary, the northern perhaps, necessary to except even them, since nations enjoyed, in their frozen dwellings, the their wars undertaken for their gods cannot, blessings of sacred freedom, which their go- with propriety, be considered as wholly of a vernment, their religion, a robust and vigorous religious nature. Each nation suffered its frame of body and spirit, derived from the in- neighbours to follow their own method of worclemency and severity of their climate, all ship, to adore their own gods, to enjoy their united to preserve and maintain.
own rites and ceremonies; and discovered no disV! All these nations lived in the practice | pleasure at their diversity of sentiments in reof the most abominable superstitions; for,ligious matters. There is, however, little though the notion of one Supreme Being was wonderful in this spirit of mutual toleration, not entirely effaced in the human mind, but when we consider, that they all looked upon showed itself frequently, even through the the world as one great empire, divided into darkness of the grossest idolatry; yet all na- various provinces, over every one of which a tions, except that of the Jews, acknowledged
* See the discourse of Athanasius, entitled, Oratio a number of governing powers, whom they
coutra Gentes, in the first volume of his works. called gods, and one or more of which they | This fact affords a satisfactory account of the vast supposed to preside over each particular pro- number of gods who bore the name of Jupiter, and the vince or people. They worshipped these ficti- multitudes that passed under those of Mercury, Vetious deities with various rites; they considered | nus, Hercules, Juno, &c. The Greeks, when they found,
in other countries, deities that resembled their own, them as widely different from each other in persuaded the worshippers of these foreign gods, thai sex and power, in their nature, and also in their deities were the same with those who were honcur their respective offices; and they appeased | enat this was the case."
ed in Greece, and were, indeed, themselves convinced
In consequence of this, they gave them by a multiplicity of ceremonies and of the names of their gods to those of other nations, and ferings, in order to obtain their protection and the Romans in this followed their example. Hence we favour; so that, however different the degrees find the names of Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Venus, &c. of enormity might be, with which this absurd frequently mentioned in the more recent monuments and
inscriptions which have been found among the Gauls and and impious theology appeared in different Germans, though the ancient inhabitants of these councountries, yet there was no nation, whose sa- tries worshipped no gods under such denominations. I cred rites and religious worship did not dis- | cannot think that this method of the Greeks and Romang cover a manifest abuse of reason, and very | Mosheim here imagines. If indeed there had been no
has introduced so much confusion into mythology as Dr. striking marks of extravagance and folly. resemblance between the Greek and Roman deities, and
VII. Every nation then had its respective those of other nations, and if the names of the deities of gods, over which presided one more excellent the former had been given to those of the latter in an than the rest, yet in such a manner that this arbitrary and undistinguishing manner, the reflection of
our historian would be undeniably true. supreme deity was himself controlled by the alleged by many learned men, with a high degree of rigid empire of the fates, or what the philoso- | probability, that the principal deities of all nations resemphers called Eternal Necessity. The gods of bled each other extremely in their essential characters,
and if so, their receiving the same names could not inthe East were different from those of the troduce much confusion into mythology, since they were Gauls, the Germans, and other northern na- || probably derived from one common source. If the Thor tions. The Grecian divinities differed widely of the ancient Celts was the same in dignity, character, from those of the Egyptians, who deified plants, | mans, where was the impropriety of giving the samo
and attributes, with the Jupiter of the Greeks and Roanimals, and a great variety of the produc- name?
| Ingenious observations are to be found upon this head
in the Expositio Mensæ Isiacæ of Pignorius. * See Jo. Massoni Templum Jani, Christo nascente, The religious wars of the Egyptians were not underreseratum, Roterodami, 1706.
taken to compel others to adopt their worship, but to t" Fere itaque imperia (says Seneca) penes eos fuere | avenge the slaughter that was made of their gods, such populos, qui mitiore cælo utuntur: in frigora septemtri- || as crocodiles, &c., by the neighbouring nations. They onemque vergentibus immansueta ingenia sunt, ut ait were not offended at their neighbours for serving other poeta, suoque simillima cælo.” Seneca ile Ira, lib. ii divinities, but could not bear that they should put theiro
But it has been