Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

heless distine new institir fame by ul. to imo

CENT. II. Though the more rational and judicious of XV.

: 1. the Roman pontifs complained of their overgrown S multitude of ceremonies, festivals, temples, and Rites in

the like, and did not seem unwilling to have this the Latin enormous mass somewhat diminished, they neverchurch.

theless distinguished, every one his own pontific cate, by some new institution, and thought it their duty to perpetuate their fame by some new edict of this nature. Thus CALIXTUS III. to immortalize the remembrance of the deliverance of Bel. grade from the victorious arms of MAHOMET H. who had been obliged to raise the siege of that city, ordered, in the year 1456, the festival in honour of the Transfiguration of CHRIST (which had been celebrated in some places by private authority before this period) to be religiously observed throughout all the western world. And Sixtus IV. in the year 1476, granted Indulgences, by an express and particular edict, to all those who should devoutly celebrate an annual festival in honour of the immaculate conception of the blessed Virgin, with respect to which none of the Roman pontifs before him had thought proper to make any express declaration, or any positive appointment [8). The other additions that were made to the Roman ritual, relating to the worship of the Virgin Mary, public and private prayers, the traffic of Indulgences, and other things of that nature, are of too little importance to deserve an exact and circumstantial enumeration. We need not such a particular detail to convince us, that in this century religion was reduced to mere show, to a show composed of pompous absurdities and splendid trifles.

[-8] See RAPH. VOLATERRANI Commert. Urbani, lib. vii. f. 389.-ÆNEAS SYLVIUS, De Statu Europe sub Frederico III. cap. x. in FREHERI Scriptor.rerum Germanicar. tom. ii. p. 104.

С НАР.

CHAP. V.

Concerning the beresies, sects, and divisions that's

troubled the Church during this century.

I. ATEITHER the severe edicts of the pontifs C E N T.

XV. and emperors, nor the barbarity and vi-PART gilance of the unrelenting inquisitors, could extirpate the remains of the ancient heresies, or pre- ans and vent the rise of new sects. We have already seen Waldenses the Franciscan order at open war with the church of Rome. In Bosnia, and the adjacent countries, the Manichæans, or Paulicians who were the same with the sect named in Italy, Catharists, propagated their doctrines with confidence, and held their religious assemblies with impunity. It is true, indeed, that the great protector of the Manichæans, STEPHEN THOMASCUS, king of Bosnia, . abjured their errors, received baptism by the ministry of JOHN CARVAIALUS, a Roman cardinal, and, in consequence thereof, expelled these heretics out of his dominions. But it is also certain, that he afterwards changed his mind; and it is well known, that, towards the conclusion of this century, the Manichæans inhabited Bosnia, Servia, and the neighbouring provinces. The Waldenses also still subsisted in several European provinces, more especially in Pomerania, Brandenburg, the district of Magdeburg and Thuringia, where they had a considerable number of friends and followers. It appears, however, by authentic records, which are not yet published, that a great part of the adherents of this unfortunate sect, in the countries now mentioned, were discovered by the inquisitors, and delivered over by them to the civil magistrates, who committed them to the flames.

II. Thę

XV.

[ocr errors]

CENT. II. The Brethren and Sisters of the free spirit

(who were called, in Germany, Beghards, or PART II. cro Schwestriones, and in France, Turelupins, and Beghards, whose distinctive character was a species of mystienes, Pic- cism that bordered upon frenzy) wandered aboutin hards, and a secret and disguised manner in several parts of Adanites.

France, Germany and Flanders, and particularly in Suabia and Switzerland, where they spread the contagion of their enthusiasm, and caught the unwary in their snares. The search, however, that was made after them was so strict and wellconducted, that few of the teachers and chiefs of this fanatical sect escaped the hands of the inquisitors [b]. When the war between the Hussites and the votaries of Rome broke out in Bohemia in the year 1418, a troop of these fanatics, with a person at their head whose name was JOHN, repaired thither, and held secret assemblies, first at Prague, and afterwards in different places, from whence they, at length, retired to a certa n island, where they were less exposed to the notice of their enemies. It was, as we have already had occasion to observe, one of the leading principles of this sect, that the tender instincts of nature, with that bashfulness and modesty that generally accompany them, were evident marks of inherent corruption, and shewed, that the mind was not

sufficiently

[b] FELIX MALLEOLUS (whose German name is Hammer. lein) in his account of the Luiiards, which is subjoined to his book Conira varios Mrudicantes, i. e. against the siurdy Beggars, Oper plag. c. 2. a. gas given us a list, tourn a very im. perfect one, of the Bigizards that were co:11. tred to the flames in Switzerland, and the adjacent countries, during täis century. This author, in his books agaiust the Bo nards and Lollards, has (either through desigt., or by a mistake founded on the ambiguity of the terms) contourdca together foree different classes of persons, who were usually nown by the appellation of Begbards and Lollards ; as ist, the Iriaries, or third order of the more austere Franciscans; 20, the Brebren of the free spirit ; and 3.4'1', the ceilito or Alexian friars. Many writers have fallen into the same error.

sufficiently purified nor rendered conformable to C E N T. the divine nature, from whence it derived its par origin. And they alone were deemed perfect by these fanatics, and supposed to be united to the Supreme Being, who could behold, without any emotion, the naked bodies of the sex to which they did not belong, and who, in imitation of what was practised before the fall by our first parents, went stark naked, and conversed familiarly in this manner with males and iümales, without feeling any of the tender propensities of nature. Hence it was that the Beghards, (whom the Bohemians, by a change in the pronunciation of that word called Picards) when they came into their religious assemblies, and were present at the celebration of divine worship, appeared absolutely naked, without any sort of veil or covering at all. They had also constantly in their mouths a maxim, which, indeed, was very suitable to the genius of the religion they professed, viz. that THEY WERE NOT FREL (i. e. sufficiently extricated from the shackles of the body) who made use of the garments, particularly such garments as covered the thighs and the purts adjacent. These horrible tenets could not but cast a deserved reproach upon this absurd sect: and though nothing passed in their religious assemblies that was contrary to the rules of virtue, yet they were universally suspected of the most scandalous incontinence, and of the most lascivious practices. Ziska, the austere general of the Hussites, gave credit to these suspicions, and to the rumours they occasioned ; and, falling upon this miserable sect in the year 1421, he put some to the sword, and condemned the rest to the flames, which dreadful punishment they sustained with the most chearful fortitude, and also with that contempt of death that was peculiar to their sect, and which they possessed in a degree

XV. ART II.

tlat

CE N T. that seems to surpass credibility [i]. Among the

XV... various titles by which these extravagant enthus PARTIL.

siasts were distinguished, that of Adamites was one, and it was given them on account of their being so studious to imitate the state of innocence in which the first man was originally created. The ignominious term of Beghards, or Picards, which was at first peculiar to the small sect of which we now treat, was afterwards applied to the Hussites, and to all the Bohemians who opposed the tyranny of the Roman church. All these were called by their enemies, and indeed by the multitude in

general, Picard friars. The White III. A new sect, which made a great noise, Brethren,

and infected the multitude with the contagion of their enthusiasm, arose about the beginning of this century. A certain priest, whose name is not known, descended from the Alps [k], arrayed

in [i] See Jo. Lasitii Historia Fratrum Bobemorum, MS. lib. ü. sect. lxxvi. who proves, in a satisfactory and circumstantial manner, that the Hussites and the Bohemian Brethren were entirely distinct from these Picards, and had nothing at all in common with them. The other authors that have written upon this subject are honourably mentioned by ISAAC DE BEAUSOBRE in his Dissertation sur les Adamires de Boheme, which is subjoined to LENFANT'S Histoire de la Guerre des Hussites. This learned author is at vast pains in justifying the Picards, or Bohemian Adamites, whom he supposes to have been the same with the Waldenses, and a set of men eminent for their piety, whom their enemies loaded with the most groundless accusations. But this is manifestly endeavouring to wash the Æthiopian white. For it may be demonstrated, by the most unexceptionable and authentic records, that the acó count I have given of the matter is true. The researches I have made, and the knowledge they have procured me of the civil and religious history of these times, entitle me perhaps to more credit in such a point as this, than the laborious author from whom I differ, whose acquaintance with the history of the middle age was but superficial, and was, by no means, exa' empt from prejudice and partiality.

[k] THEODORIG DE Nisa tells us, that it was from Scotland that the sect came, and that their leader gave himself out for the prophet ELIAS. SIGONIUS and PLATINA inform us, that this enthusiast came from France; that he was cleathed in

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »