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theology, supported by the extraordinary credit CE N T. and authority of the Dominicans and Franciscans, p. XV.,, maintained its ground against its various opposers, and nor could these two religious orders, who excelled in that litigious kind of learning, bear the thoughts of losing the glory they had acquired by quibbling and disputing in the pompous jargon of the schools.

XI. This vain philosophy, however, grew daily And also more contemptible in the esteem of the judicious by the

Mystics. and the wise, while at the same time the Mystics gathered strength, and saw their friends and abettors multiply on all sides. Among these there were, indeed, certain men of distinguished merit, who are chargeable with few of the errors and extravagancies that were mingled with the discipline and doctrine of that famous sect, such as Thomas a Kempis, the author of the Germanic theology, so highly commended by Luther; Laurentius, Justinianus, Savanarola, and others. There are, on the other hand, some writers of this sect, such as Vincentius Ferrerius, Henricus Harphius, and Bernard Senensis, in whose productions we must carefully separate certain notions which were the effects of a warm and irreguIar fancy, as also the visions of Dionysius, whom the Mystics consider as their chief, from the noble precepts of divine wisdom with which they are mingled. The Mystics were defended against their adversaries, the Dialectricians, partly by the Platonics, who were every where held in high esteem, and partly by some even of the most eminent scholastic doctors. The former considered Dionysius as a person whose sentiments had been formed and nourished by the study of Platonism, and wrote commentaries upon his writings; of which we have an eminent example in Marcilius Ficinus, whose name adds a lustre in the Platonic school. The latter at

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CENT. tempted a certain sort of association between the

xv. PART 11. scholastic theology and that of the Mystics; and

in this class were John GERSON, NICHOLAS CUSA

NUS, DIONYSIUS the Carthusian, and others. The state XII. The controversy with the enemies of of polemic, Christianity was carried on with much more vior contro persial di- gour in this than in the preceding ages, and sevinity.

veral learned and eminent men seemed now to ex, ert themselves with peculiar industry and zeal in demonstrating the truth of that divine religion, and defending it against the various objections of its adversaries. This appears from the learned book of Marçilius FICINUS, Concerning the Truth of Christianity, SAVANAROLA's Triumph of the cross, the Natural Theology of RAYMOND DE SABUNDE, and other productions of a like nature. The Jews were refuted by PEREZIUS and JEROME DE St Foi, the Saracens by JOHANNES DE TURRECREMATA, and both these classess of unbelievers were opposed by ALPHONSUS DE SPINA, in his work entitled, The Fortress of Faitb, Nor were these pious labours in the defence of the Gospel at all unseasonable or superfluous; on the contrary. the state of things at this time rendered them necessary. For, on the one hand, the Aristotelian philosophers in Italy seemed, in their public instructions, to strike at the foundations of all religion; and, on the other hand, the senseless subtilties and quarrels of the schoolmen, who modelled religion according to their extravagant fancies, tended to bring it into contempt. Add to all this, that the Jews and Saracens lived in many places promiscuously with the Christians, who were therefore obliged, by the proximity of

the enemy, to defend themselves with the utThe schism most assiduity and zeal.

en. XIII. We have already, taken notice of the the Latis and Greek sfruitless attempts that had been made to heal the not yet unhappy divisions that separated the Greek and

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Latin churches. After the council of Florence, BNT. and the violation of the treaty of pacificationXV.

PART IT. by the Greeks, NICHOLAS V. exhorted and intreated them again to turn their thoughts to. wards the restoration of peace and concord. But his exhortations were without effect; and in a. bout the space of three years after the writing of this last letter, Constantinople was besieged and taken by the Turks, And from that fatal period to the present time, the Roman pontifs, in all their attempts to bring about a reconciliation, have al. ways found the Grecian patriarchs more obstinate and intractable than they were when their em- , , pire was in a flourishing state. Nor is this circumstance so difficult to be accounted for, when all things are duly considered. This obstinacy was the effect of a rooted aversion to the Latins and their pontifs, that acquired, from day to day, new degrees of strength and bitterness in the hearts of the Greeks: an aversion, produced and nourished by a persuasion that the calamities they suffered under the Turkish yoke might have been easily removed, if the western princes and the Roman pontifs had not refused to succour them against their haughty tyrants. And accordingly, when the Greek writers deplore the calamities that fell upon their devoted country, their complaints are always mingled with heavy accusations against the Latins, whose cruel insensibility to their unhappy situation they paint in the strongest and most odious colours. .

XIV. We pass over in silence many trifling The intescontroversies among the Latins, which have not sort of claim to the attention of our readers. But contests we must not omit mentioning the revival of that of the Lan famous dispute concerning the kind of worship that was to be paid to the blood of CHRIST, which was first kindled at Barcelona, in the year 1351, between the Franciscans and Dominicans,

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was to be haled at Barcelona Dominicans;

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CENT. and had been left undecided by Clement VI. [d).

u. This controversy was now renewed at Brixen, in w the year 1462, by Jacobus à Marchia, a celebrat

ed Franciscan, who maintained publicly, in one of his sermons, that the blood which Christ shed upon the cross, did not belong to the divine nature, and of consequence was not to be considered as an object of divine and immediate worship. The Dominicans rejected this doctrine; and adopted with such zeal the opposite side of the question, that James of Brixen, who performed the office of inquisitor, called the Franciscan be. fore his tribunal and accused him of heresy. The Roman pontif, Pius II, having made several inef

at last persuaded to submit the matter to the ex-
amination and judgment of a select number of a-
ble divines. But many obstacles arose to prevent
a final decision, among which we may reckon as
the principal, the influence and authority of the
contending orders, each of which had embarked
with zeal in the cause of their respective cham-
pions. Hence, after much altercation and chi-
cane, the pontif thought proper to impose silence
on both the parties in this miserable dispute, in
the year 1464 ; declaring, at the same time, that
“ both sides of the question might be lawfully
“ held, untii Christ's Vicar upon earth should find
“ leisure and opportunity for examining the mat-
“ ter, and determining on what side the truth
“ lay.” This leisure and opportunity have not as
yet been offered to the pontifs [e].

[d] Luc. WADDINGI Annal. Minor. tom. viii. p. 58.—JAC. ECHARDI Scriptor. Prædicator. tom. i. p. 650.

Se] WADDINGI Annal. Minor. tom. xiii. p. 206.-NAT. ALEXANDER, Hist. Eccles. Sæc. xv. p. 17.

С НА Р.

.

CHA P. IV.

Concerning the rites and ceremonies that were used in

the Church during this century.

XY.

I. THE state of religious ceremonies among CENT.

1 the Greeks may be learned from the book PART II. of SIMEON of Thessalonica, Concerning Rites and He a d

Rites of the resies [f], from which it appears, that the sub-Greek stance of religion was lost among that people; church. that a splendid shadow of pomp and vanity was substituted in its place by the rulers of the church; and that all the branches of divine worship were ordered in such a manner as to strike the imaginations and captivate the senses of the multitude. They pretended, indeed, to allege several reasons for multiplying, as they did, the external rites and institutions of religion; and casting over the whole of divine worship such a pompous garb of worldly splendour. But in these reasons, and in all the explications they give of this gaudy ritual, there is much subtilty and invention, without the least appearance of truth or good sense to render them plausible. The origin of these multiplied rites, that cast a cloud over the native beauty and lustre of religion, is often obscure, and frequently dishonourable. And such as, by force of ill-applied genius and invention, have endeavoured to derive honour to these ceremonies from the circumstances that gave occasion to them, have failed egregiously in this desperate attempt. The deceit is too palpable to seduce any mind that is void of prejudice and capable of attention.

II. Though

[f]J. A. FABRICIUS gives us an account of the contents of this book in his Biblioth. Græca, vol. xiv. p. 54.

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