תמונות בעמוד

Fulbert, bishop of Chartres, eminent for his love of letters, and his zeal for the education of youth, as also for various compositions, particularly his epistles, and famous for his excessive and enthusiastic attachment to the Virgin Mary;"

Humbert, a cardinal of the Roman church, who far surpassed all the Latins, both in the vehemence and learning which appeared in his controversial writings against the Greeks;

Petrus Damianus, who, on account of his genius, candour, probity, and various erudition, deserves to be ranked among the most learned and estimable writers of this century; though he was not altogether untainted with the reigning prejudices and defects

of the times ;' Marianus Scotus, whose Chronicle, with several other compositions, is yet extant;

Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, a man of great genius and subtilty, deeply versed in the dialectics of this age, and most illustriously distinguished by his profound and extraordinary knowledge in theology;

Lanfranc, also archbishop of Canterbury, who acquired a high degree of reputation by his Commentary upon the Epistles of St. Paul, as also by several other productions ;" which, considering the age in which he lived, discover an uncommon measure of sagacity and erudition ;

Bruno, of Mount Cassin, and the other famous ecclesiastic of that name, who founded the monastery of the Carthusians;

Ivo, bishop of Chartres, who was so eminently distinguished by his zeal and activity in maintaining the rights and privileges of the church;

r For a fasther account of this eminent man, see the Hist. Liter. de la France, tom. vii. p. 261.

s See Martene, Thesaurus Anecdot. tom. v. p. 629, Histoire Liter. de la France, tom. vii. p. 527.

t See the Acta Sanctor. Febr. tom. iii. p. 406. General Dictionary, at the article Damien. Cassim. Oudini Diss. in tom. ii. Comm. de Scriptor. Eccles. p. 686.

u See the Histor. Litur. de la France, tom. ix. p. 398. Rapin Thoyras, Hist. d'An. gleterre, tom. ii. p. 65, 166, de l'ed en. 4to. Colonia, Hist. Liter. de Lyon, tom. ii. p. 210. We have already given a more ample account of the eminent abilities and learn. ed productions of Anselm.

bo w Among these productions we may reckon Lanfranc's Letters to pope Alexander II, to Hildebrand, while archdeacon of Rome, and to several bishops in England and Normandy; as also A commentare upon the Psalms; A treatise concerning confession ; An Ecclesiastical History, which is not extant; and a remarkable dissertation concerning the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist. In this last performance, Lanfrane endeavours to prove, against Berenger, the reality of a corporal presence in the eucharist; though it is manisest, that this opinion was not the doctrine of the church of England, in the conclusion of the tenth, or the commencement of the following century. See Collier's Eccles. History of Great Britain, vol. i. p. 260, 263.

x Hist. Liter, de la France, tom. viii. p. 260.

Hildebert, archbishop of Tours, who was a philosopher and a poet, as well as a divine, without being either eminent or contemptible in any of these characters ;' but upon the whole, a man of considerable learning and capacity ;

Gregory VII. that imperious and arrogant pontiff, of whom we have several productions beside

his Letters.




1. It is not necessary to draw at full length the hideous portrait of the religion of this age. It may easily The state of be imagined that its features were full of deformi- religion. ty, when we consider that its guardians were equally destitute of knowledge and virtue, and that the heads and rulers of the Christian church, instead of exhibiting models of piety, held forth in their conduct scandalous examples of the most flagitious crimes. The people were sunk in the grossest superstition; and employed all their zeal in the worship of images and relics, and in the performance of a trifling round of ceremonies, which were imposed upon them by the tyranny of a despotic priesthood. The more learned it is true retained still some notions of the truth, which however they obscured and corrupted by a wretched mixture of opinions and precepts, of which some were ludicrous, others pernicious, and the most of them equally destitute of truth and utility. There were no doubt in several places judicious and pious men, who would have willingly lent a supporting hand to the declining cause of true religion; but the violent prejudices of a barbarous age rendered all such attempts not only dangerous, but even desperate ; and those chosen spirits, who had escaped the general contagion, lay tou much concealed, and had therefore too little influence to combat, with success, the formidable patrons of impiety and superstition, who were extremely numerous in all ranks and orders, from the throne to the cottage.

y The Benedictine mouks published in folio, at Paris, in the year 1708, the Works of Hildebert, illustrated by the observations of Beaugendre.

the truth.

11. Notwithstanding all this we find, from the time of Witnesses of Gregory VII. several proofs of the zealous efforts

of those, who are generally called by the protestants, the witnesses of the truth; by whom are meant, such pious and judicious Christians, as adhered to the pure religion of the gospel, and remained uncorrupted amidst the growth of superstition ; who deplored the miserable state to which Christianity was reduced, by the alteration of its divine doctrines, and the vices of its profligate ministers; who opposed, with vigour, the tyrannic ambition both of the lordly pontiff and the aspiring bishops; and in some provinces privately, in others openly, attempted the reformation of a corrupt and idolatrous church, and of a barbarous and superstitious age. This was indeed bearing witness to the truth in the noblest manner, and it was principally in Italy, and France that the marks of this heroic piety were exhibited. (0 Nor is it at all surprising, that the reigning superstition of the times met with this opposition; it is astonishing on the contrary, that this opposition was not much greater and more universal, and that millions of Christians suffered themselves to be hoodwinked with such a tame submission, and closed their

eyes upon the light with so little reluctance.] For notwithstanding the darkness of the times, and the general ignorance of the true religion that prevailed in all ranks and orders, yet the very fragments of the gospel, if we may use that term, which were still read and explained to the people, were sufficient at least to convince the most stupid and illiterate, that the religion, which was now imposed upon them, was not the true religion of Jesus ; that the discourses, the lives, and morals of the clergy were directly opposite to what the divine Saviour required of his disciples, and to the rules he had laid down for the direction of their conduct; that the pontiffs and bishops abused, in a scandalous manner, their power and opulence; and that the favour of God, and the salvation exhibited in his blessed gospel, were not to be obtained by performing a round of external ceremonies, by pompous donations to churches and priests, or by founding and enriching monasteries, but by real sanctity of heart and manners.

111. It must indeed be acknowledged, that they who undertook, with such zeal and ardour, the reformation of the church, were not for the most part equal to this ardu.

ous and important enterprise, and that by avoiding with more vehemence than circumspection, certain abuses and defects, they rushed unhappily into the opposite extremes. They all perceived the abominable nature of those inventions with which superstition had disfigured the religion of Jesus ; but they had also lost sight of the true nature and genius of that celestial religion, that lay thus disfigured in the hands of a superstitious and dissolute priesthood. They were shocked at the absurdities of the established worship; but few of them were sufficiently acquainted with the sublime precepts and doctrines of genuine Christianity, to substitute in the place of this superstitious worship a rational service. Hence their attempts of reformation, even where they were successful, were extremely imperfect, and produced little more than a motley mixture of truth and falsehood, of wisdom and indiscretion ; of which we might allege a multitude of examples. Observing, for instance, that the corruption and licentiousness of the clergy were, in a great measure, occasioned by their excessive opulence and their vast possessions, they conceived rashly the highest ideas of the salutary effects of indigence, and looked upon voluntary poverty as the most eminent and illustrious virtue of a Christian minister. They had also formed to themselves a notion, that the primitive church was to be the standing and perpetual model, according to which the rites, government, and worship of all Christian churches were to be regulated in all the ages of the world; and that the lives and manners of the holy apostles were to be rigorously followed in every respect by all the ministers of Christ. [07-These notions, which were injudiciously taken up, and blindly entertained, without any regard to the difference of times, places, circumstances, and characters; without considering that the provident wisdom of Christ and his apostles left many regulations to the prudence and piety of the governors of the church, were productive of many pernicious effects, and threw these good reformers, whose zeal was not always according to knowledge, from the extreme of superstition into the extreme of enthusiasm.] Many well-meaning persons, whose intentions were highly laudable, fell into great errors in consequence of these ill-grounded notions. Justly incensed at the conduct of the superstitious multitude, who placed the whole of religion in external services, and hoped to secure

tors and expositors.

their salvation by the performance of a laborious round of unmeaning rites and ceremonies, they rashly maintained, that true piety was to be confined entirely to the inward motions and affections of the soul, and to the contemplation of spiritual and divine things. In consequence of this specious yet erroneous principle, they treated with the utmost contempt all the external parts of religious worship, and aimed at nothing less than the total supression of sacraments, churches, religious assemblies of every kind, and Christian ministers of every order.

Several of both the Greek and Latin writers emCommenta- ployed their learned and pious labours in the ex

position and illustration of the holy Scriptures. Among the Latins, Bruno wrote a commentary on the Book of Psalms, Lanfranc upon the Epistles of Št. Paul, Berenges upon the Revelations of St. John, Gregory VII. upon the Gospel of St. Matthew, and others upon other parts of the sacred writings. But all these expositors, in compliance with the prevailing custom of the times, either copied the explanations of the ancient commentators, or made such whimsical applications of certain passages of Scripture, both in explaining the doctrines, and in inculcating the duties of religion, that it is often difficult to peruse them without indignation or disgust. The most eminent of the Grecian expositors was Theophylact, a native of Bulgaria ; though he also is indebted to the ancients, and in a particular manner, to St. Chrysostom, for the greatest part of his most judicious observations. Nor must we pass in silence the commentary upon the Book of Psalms, and the Song of Solomon, that was composed by the learned Michael Psellus ; nor the chain of commentaries upon the Book of Job, which we owe to the industry of Nicetas. v. All the Latin doctors, if we except a few Hibernian

divines, who blended with the beautiful simplicity

of the gospel, the perplexing subtilties of an obscure philosophy, had hitherto derived their system of religion, and their explications of divine truth, either from the holy Scriptures alone, or from these sacred oracles explained by the illustrations, and compared with the theology of the

Scholastic theology.

2 For an account of Theophylact, see Rich. Simon. Hist. Critique des principaus Commentaleurs du N. T. ch. xxviii

. p. 390, et Critique de la Bibliotheque des Auteurs Ecclesiastiques, par Du Pin, tom. i. p. 310, where he also speaks largely concerning Nicetas and Oecumenius.

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