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of wickedness, and who audaciously maintained, CE N T. that the divine man, or the believer, who was intimately united to God, could not sin, let his con-board duct by ever so horrible and atrocious. This execrable doctrine was not, indeed, explained in the same manner by all the Brethren of the free spirit that were so outrageous as to adopt it. Some held, that the motions and actions of the body had no relation at all to the soul, which, by its union with God, was blended with the divine nature: others fell into a notion infinitely injurious to the Supreme Being, and maintained, that the propensities and passions that arose in the soul of the divine man after his union with the Deity, were the propensities and affections of God him. self, and were therefore, notwithstanding their apparent deformity and opposition to the law, holy and good, seeing that the Supreme Being is infinitely exalted above all law and all obligation [x]. It is necessary to observe before we leave
this [x] This account will be confirmed by the following passage faithfully translated from the famous book of the Nine Rocks, written originally in German : “ Moreover the divine man operates and engenders whatever the Deity operates and engenders. For in God he produced and formed the heavens and the earth. He is also the father of the eternal world. Neither could God produce any thing without this divine man, who is therefore obliged to render his will conformable to the will of God, that so whatsoever may be agreeable to the Deity, may be agreeable to him also. If therefore it be the will of God that I should com. mit sin, my will must be the same, and I must not even desira to abstain from sin. This is true contrition. And although a man, who is well and truly united to God, may have cemmitted a thousand mortal sins, he ought not even to wish that he had not committed them ; nay, he should rather die a thousand deaths than omit one of these mortal sins.” Hence the accusation brought by the inquisitors against this impious sect, whom they reproach with maintaining that the “ sin of a man united to God, is not sin, since God works in him and with him whatever he does.” HENRY Suso, a Dominican monk, and one of the most celebrated Mystic writers, composed, in the following century, another Book concerning she Nine Rocks, which is to be found in the edition of his works published by I 4 URENT.
XII. PART 11
CE N T. this subject, that flagitious and impious impostors
i mingled themselves sometimes with this sect, and - took the name of Beghards, that by a feigned
piety they might impose upon the multitude, and deceive the simple into their snares [a].
XII. SURIUS. But this book is entirely different from that which was in such high esteem among the Beghards, though it bears ihe same title. The latter is of much older date, and was in vogue in Germany, among the Brethren of the free spirii, long before Suso was born. There fell some time ago into my hands an ancient manuscript, composed in Alsace, during the fifteenth century, and containing an account of various Revela, tions and Visions of that age. In this manuscript I found a piece entitled, Declaratio Religiosi cujusdam super Revelatione Carthusiano cuidam de Ecclesiæ per gladium reformatione, Leodii, A. 1453, facia; and almost in the beginning of this declaration the following passage relating to the Book of the Nine Rocks: “Homo quidam devotissimus, licet Laicus, Librum de novem Rupibus conscripsit à Deo compulsus, ubi multa ad præsens pertinentia continentur de Ecclesiæ renovatione et prævia gravi persecutione." These Nine Rocks signified, according to the fanatical doctrine of this wrong.headed sect, the different steps by which the divine man ascended to the Deity. '
[a] The founder of this famous sect, the place of its origin, and the precise date of its first appearance, are not known with any degree of certainty. I have actually in my possession Eighty-nine Sentences of the Beghards, vulgarly called Schwestrones, but who style themselves Brethren of the sect of the Free Spirit and of voluntary Poverty, with a Refutation of the said Sentences, written at Worms towards the conclusion of this century by some one or other of the inquisitors. The 79th of these sentences runs thus : “ To say that the truth is in Rbetiu, is to fall into the heresy of Donatus, who said, that God was in Africa, and not elsewhere.” From these words it appears evident, that Rhetia was the place where the church of the Brethren of the free spirit was fixed and established, and that from this province they passed into Germany. I am not however of opinion, that this sect had its first rise in that province; but am rather inclined to think, that Italy was its country, and that, being driven from thence, it took refuge in Rberia. Nor is it at all improbable, that Italy, which saw so many religious factious arise in its bosom, was also the nursing mother of this blasphemous sect. We shall be almost fully confirmed in this opinion when we consider zhat, in a long letter from CLEMENT V. to Raimier bishop of Cromona (published by ODOR. RAYNALDUS, Annal. tom. xv. A. 1311, n. 66. p. 90.) the zealous pontif exhorts that prelate to
XII. The famous AMALRIC, native of Bene,C E N T. and professor of logic and theology at Paris,p.
'PART II. whose bones were dug up and publicly burnt in the year 1209, although he had abjured his errors Amalric. before his death, and a considerable number of whose disciples and followers were committed to the flames on account of their absurd and pernicious doctrine, was undoubtedly, of the same way of thinking with the sect whose opinions we have been now considering . For though the writers of this barbarous age have given very different and confused accounts of this man's opinions, and even attributed some doctrines to him which he never maintained, it is nevertheless certain, that he taught, that all things were the parts of one substance, or, in other words, that the universe was God, and that not only the forms of all things, but also their matter or substance, proceeded from the Deity, and must return to the source from whence they were derived [c]. From these absurd and blasphemous prin
ciples suppress and extirpate, with all his might, the sect of the Brethren of the free spirit, which was settled in several parts of Italy, and particularly in the province of Spoleto and the countries adjacent. Such are the terms of the pontif's letter : “ in nonnullis Italiæ partibus, tam Spoletanæ provinciæ, quam circumjacentium regionum."
 This did not escape the notice of the enemies of the Beghards, or Brethren of the free spirit, in Germany, much less that of the Inquisitors, who, in their Refutalion of the 89 Sentences of the Beghards mentioned in the preceding note, express themselves thus : (Sententia 68.) “ Dicere quod omnis creatura est Deus, hæresis Alexandri * est, qui dixit, materiam primam et Deum et Hominem, hoc est mentes, esse in substantia, quod postea quidam David de Dinanto sequutus est, qui temporibus nostris de hac hæresi de Francia fugatus est, et punitus fuisset, si deprehensus fuisset.” . [c] The account given by Fleury, in his Ecclesiastical History, of the opinions of AMALRIC, is very different from that which is here given by Dr Mosheim. The former observes, that AMALRIC, or AMAURI, taught that every Chris.
tian • The person here mentioned is ALLIANDIR, the Epicurcan, of whom PLUTARCH speaks in his Symposiun.
CE N T.ciples he deduced that chimerical system of fana
Titical devotion, which we have already exposed to PART II.
- the view of the reader, pretended to demonstrate
the possibility of incorporating or translating the human nature into the divine, and rejected all kinds of external worship, as insignificant and useless. The disciples of this enthusiast were men of exemplary piety, were distinguished by the gravity and austerity of their lives and manners, and suffered death in the most dreadful forms with the utmost resolution and constancy. One of the most eminent among these was DAVID of Dinant, a Parisian doctor, who usually expressed the fundamental principle of his master in the following proposition : “ God is the primary matter or substance of all things.” He composed a work entitled Qunternarii, with several other productions, which were chiefly designed to affect and gain the multitude : but, after all, was obliged to save himself by flight [d]. The bishops assembled
in rian was obliged to believe himself a member of Jesus Christ, and tbar wiiboui :his belief none can be saved, and he observes also, that his disciples introduced errors still more pernicious, such as the following: “ That the power of the Father had continued ." only during the Mosaic dispensation, that of the Son 1200 “ years after his entrance upon earth, and that, in the thirteenth “ century, the age of the Holy Spirit commenced, in which the “ sacraments and all external worship were to be abolished; that " there would be no resurrection ; that heaven and hell were a6 mere fictions ;” and many more sentiments of that nature, which, as the learned SPANHEIM I imagines, were falsely imputed to AMALRIC, in order to render his memory odious, because he had opposed the worship of saints and images. See FLEURY, Hist. Eccles. livr. Ixxvi. sect. lix.-Dr Mosheim looks upon AMALRIC to have been a Pantheist, and many men of eminent learning are of this opinion. See among others Joh. GERSON apud Jac. THOMASIUM, and also BRUCKER'S Hist. Philosoph. tom. üi. p. 688.
[d] See MARTENE, Thesaur, Anecd. tom. iv. p. 163. where there is an account of the heresies, for which several priests were burnt at Paris in the year i 209.-NATAL, ALEXANDER, Hist.
'Eucl. · Scc Spanneun Hist. Eccles. SB6. xxii. p. 1694.
in council at Paris in the year 1209, considered
CENT. the philosophy of ARISTOTLE as the source of all XIN." these impious doctrines, and, on that account, PART II: prohibited the reading, or explaining, either in public or private, the metaphysical, and other productions of the Grecian sage [e]. XIII. If we may depend upon the accounts Joachim
Wilhelgiven by certain writers, AMALRIC and his fol- mina. lowers received with the utmost docility and faith the predictions, attributed to JOACHIM abbot of Flora, concerning the reformation that was soon to be brought about in the church by the power of the sword, the approaching Age of the Holy Ghost that was to succeed those of the Father and the Son, and other things of that nature, which raised the hopes and occupied the thoughts of the Spiritual Franciscans. Whether these accounts may be depended upon or not, we shall not determine. To us they appear extremely doubtful. It is, however, true, that certain persons were so far deluded by these pretended prophecies, as to form new sects with a view to their accomplishment, and to declare war against the established church, its system of doctrine, and its forms of worship. Among other fanatical sectaries, there arose one of a most extraordinary kind, a Bohemian woman named Wilhelmina, who resided in the territory of Milan. This delirious and wrongheaded woman, having studied with attention the predictions concerning the Age of the Holy Ghost, was extravagant enough to persuade herselt, and, what is still more amazing, had influence enough to persuade others, that the Holy Ghost was beVOL. III. U
Eccl. Sæc. xii. cap. iii. art. ii. p. 76.--Du Bois, Historia, Eccles. Paris. tom. ii. p. 244.-BOULAY, Histor. Acad. Paris. tom. iii. p. 24. 48. 53. Jac. THOMASIUS, De Exussione Mursdi Sioica, p. 199.
[c] Launois, De varia Aristot. fortuna in Acad. Paris. p. 1276