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AN

ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY,

YROM

The Birth of Christ

TO THE

BEGINNING OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY;

IN WHICH

THE RISE, PROGRESS, AND VARIATION OF CHURCH POWER ARE CONSIDERED IN

THEIR CONNEXION WITH THE STATE OF LEARNING AND PHILOSOPHY,

AND

The Political History of Europe during that period.

BY JOHN LAWRENCE MOSHEIM, D.D.

CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF GOTTINGEN.

TRANSLATED FROM THE LATIN,

AND ACCOMPANIED WITH NOTES AND CHRONOLOGICAL TABLES,

BY ARCHIBALD MACLAINE, D.D.

TO WHICH IS ADDED, AN ACCURATE INDEX.

A NEW EDITION, IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

LONDON:
PRINTED FOR THOMAS TEGG, 73, CHEAPSIDE;
R. GRIFFIN AND CO., GLASGOW ; TEGG AND CO., DUBLIN ; AND J. AND S. A. TEGG,

SYDNEY AND HOBART TOWN.

MDCCCXLII.

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AN

ECCLESIASTICAL INISTORY.

INTRODUCTION,

internal.

Definition of eccle

I. ECCLESIASTICAL History is a clear and faithful siastical history. narration of the transactions, revolutions, and events, that relate to that large community, which bears the name of Jesus Christ, and is vulgarly known under the denomination of the Church. It comprehends both the external and internal condition of this community, and so connects each event with the causes from which it proceeds, and the instruments which have been concerned in its production, that the attenitive reader may be led to observe the displays of providential wisdom and goodness in the preservation of the church, and thus find his piety improved, as well as his knowledge. Division of eccle- II. The church, founded by the ministry and death of siastical history. Christ, cannot be represented with more perspicuity and

propriety than under the notion of a society, subjected to a lawful dominion, and governed by certain laws and institutions, mostly of a moral and spiritual tendency. To such a society many external events must happen, which will advance or oppose its interests, and accelerate or retard its progress towards perfection, in consequence of its unavoidable connection with the course and revolutions of human affairs. Moreover, as nothing is stable and uniform where the imperfections of humanity take place, this religious society, besides the vicissitudes to which it must be exposed from the influence of external events, must be liable to various changes in its internal constitution. In this view of things then, it appears that the history of the church, like that of the state, may be divided, with propriety, into two general branches, which we may call its External and Internal history. The external his

Ill. The External History of the church comprehends tory, which com- all the changes, vicissitudes, and events, that have diversiprehends the

fied the external state and condition of this sacred com

munity. And as all public societies have their periods of events that happened to the lustre and decay, and are exposed to revolutions both of a church.

happy and calamitous nature, so this first branch of Ecclesiastical History may be subdivided into two, comprehending, respectively, the prosperous and calamitous events that have happened to the church.

IV. The prosperous events that have contributed to Prosperous events.

extend the limits, or to augment the influence of the Christian church, have proceeded either from its rulers and leaders, or from the subordinate members of this great community. Under the former class, we rank its public rulers, such as princes, magistrates, and pontifts,

prosperous and calamitous

VOL. I.

B

Calamitous events.

who, by their authority and laws, their liberality, and even their arms, have maintained its cause and extended its borders ; as also, its more private leaders, its learned and pious doctors, whose wise counsels, pious exploits, eminent examples, and distinguished abilities, have contributed most to promote its true prosperity and lustre. Under the latter class, we may comprehend the advantages which the cause of Christianity has derived from the active faith, the invincible constancy, the fervent piety, and extensive charity, of its genuine professors, who, by the attractive lustre of these amiable virtues, have led many into the way of truth, and engaged them to submit themselves to the empire of the Messiah.

V. Under the calamitous events that have happened to

the church, may be comprehended the injuries it has received from the vices and passions of its friends, and the bitter opposition and insidious stratagems of its enemies. The professors of Christianity, and more especially the doctors and rulers of the church, have done unspeakable detriment to the cause of religion, by their ignorance and sloth, their luxury and ambition, their uncharitable zeal, animosities, and contentions, of which many shocking examples will be exhibited in the course of this history. Christianity had public enemies to encounter, even princes and magistrates, who opposed its progress by penal laws, and blood-thirsty persecution ; it had also private and inveterate adversaries in a certain set of philosophers, or rather sophists, who, enslaved to superstition, or abandoned to atheism, endeavoured to blast the rising church by their perfidious accusations, and their virulent writings.

VI. Such then are the events that are exhibited to our Internal history;

view in the external history of the church. Its Internal hends,

History comprehends the changes and vicissitudes that have happened in its inward constitution, in that system of discipline and doctrine by which it stands distinguished from all other religious societies. This branch may be properly termed the llistory of the Christian Religion. The causes of these internal changes are to be sought for principally in the conduct and measures of those who have presided and borne rule in the church. It has been too frequently their practice to interpret the truths and precepts of religion in a manner accommodated to their particular systems, nay, to their private interest : and, while they have found in some implicit obedience, they have met with warm opposition from others. Hence have proceeded theological broils and civil commotions, in which the cause of religion has often been defended at the expense both of justice and humanity. All these things must be observed with the strictest attention by an ecclesiastical historian.

VII. The first thing, therefore, that should be naturally First, the history of the Christiản treated in the Internal History of the church, is the his

tory of its ministers, rulers, and form of government. When we look back to the commencement of the Christian church, we find its government administered jointly by the pastors and the people.

in

process of time, the scene changes, and we see these pastors affecting an air of pre-eminence and superiority, trampling upon the rights and privileges of the community, and assuming to themselves a supreme authority, both in civil and religious matters. This invasion of the rights of the people was at length carried to such a height, that a single man administered, or at least pretended a right to administer, the affairs of the whole church with an unlimited sway. Among the doctors of these early times, there were some who acquired, by their learned labours, a shining

which compre

doctors.

But,

reputation, and a universal influence; they were regarded as oracles ; their decisions were handed down to posterity, as sacred rules of faith and practice; and they thus deserve to be mentioned, with particular distinction, among the governors of the church, though no part of its public administration was actually in their hands.. Secondly, the his- VIII. After giving an account of the rulers and doctors

trines and laws of the church, the ecclesiastical historian proceeds to of the church. exhibit a view of the laws that are peculiar to this sacred community, that form, as it were, its centre of union, and distinguish it from all other religious societies. These laws are of two kinds. The first are properly called divine, because they are immediately enacted by God himself, and are contained in those sacred books which

carry

the most striking marks of a divine origin. They consist of those doctrines that are the objects of faith and reason, and those precepts that are addressed to the heart and the affections. To the second kind belong those laws that are merely of human institution, and derive their authority only from the injunctions of the rulers of the church. Rules necessary to

IX. In that part of the sacred history which relates to be observed in the doctrines of Christianity, it is necessary, above all of the doctrines things, to inquire particularly into the degree of authority of the Christian that has been attributed to the sacred writings in all the church.

different periods of the church, and also into the manner in which the divine doctrines they contain have been explained and illustrated. For the true state of religion in every age can only be learned from the point of view in which these celestial oracles were considered, and from the manner in which they were expounded to the people. As long as they were the only rule of faith, religion preserved its native purity; and, in proportion as their decisions were either neglected or postponed to the inventions of men, it degenerated from its primitive and divine simplicity. It is farther necessary to show under this head, what was the fate of the pure laws and doctrines of Christianity-how they were interpreted and explained-how they were defended against the enemies of the gospel-how they were corrupted and adulterated by the ignorance and licentiousness of men. And finally, it would be proper to inquire here, how far the lives and manners of Christians have been conformable to the dictates of these sacred laws, and the influence that these sublime doctrines ought to have upon the hearts of men; as also to examine the rules of discipline prescribed by the spiritual governors of the church, in order to correct and restrain the vices and irregularities of its members. Thirdly, the his X. The Human Laws, that constitute a part of ecclesiastory of its cere. monies and wor

tical government, consist in precepts concerning the external

worship of the Deity, and in certain rites, either confirmed by custom, or introduced by positive and express authority. Rites and ceremonies regard religion either directly or indirectly; by the former, we understand those that are used in the immediate worship of the Supreme Being, whether in public or in private; by the latter such pious and decent institutions as, besides direct acts of worship, have obtained in the church. This part of sacred history is of a vast extent, both on account of the great diversity of these ceremonies, and the frequent changes and modifications through which they have passed. This consideration will

• By these our author means the Fa- in the Romish Church, while in the Protesthers, whose writings form still a rule of faith tant Churches, their authority daily diminishes.

B 2

ship.

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