Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

in a white garment, and accompained with a pro-C E N T. digious number of persons of both sexes, who, part II.

XV. after the example of their chief, were also clothed in white linen, from whence they were distinguished by the name of Fruires Albati, i. e. White Brethren. This enthusiastic multitude went in a kind of procession through several provinces, following a cross, which their leader held erected like a siandard, and, by the striking appearance of their sanctity and devotion, cap.ivated to such a degree the minds of the people wherever they went, that persons of all ranks and orders flocked in crowds to augment their number. The new chief exhorted his followers to appease the anger of an incensed Deity, emaciated his body by voluntary acts of mortification and penance, endea: voured to persuade the European nations to renew the war against the Turks in Palestine, and pretended that he was favoured with divine visions, which instructed him in the will and in the secrets of Heaven. Boniface IX. apprehending

that this enthusiast or impostor concealed in· sidious and ambitious views [/], had him seited VOL. III.

Hh . .and white, carried in his aspect the greatest modesty, and seduced Prodigious numbers of people of both sexes, and of all ages; that his followers (called penitents ), among whom were several cardinals and priests, were clothed in white linen down to their heels, with caps, which covered their whole faces, except their eyes ; that they went in great troops of ten, twenty, and forty thousand persons, from one city to another, calling out for mercy and singing hymns; that wherever they came they were received with great hospitality, and made innumerable proselytes ; that they fasted, or lived upon bread and water during the time of their pilgrimage, which continued generally nine or iten days. See Annal. Modiol. ap MURATORI. NIEM. lib. i. cap. XV.

[1] What Dr. MOSHEIM hints but obscurely here is farther explained by Sigonius and PLATINA, who tell us, that the pilgrims, mentioned in the preceding note, stopped at Viterbo, and that BONIFACE, fearing lest the priest who headed them, designed by their assistance to seize upon (the pontificate, sent a body of troops thither, who apprehended the false prophet, and carried him to Rome, where he was burnt. Vol. III.



CENT.and committed to the flames; upon which his to . followers were dispersed, and his sect entirely ex

tinguished. Whether a punishment so severe was inilicted with reason and justice, is a point that has been debated, and yet remains uncertain; · for several writers of great credit and authority maintain the innocence of the sectary, while others assert that he was convicted of the most enormous

crimes (1:2). The men IV. In the year 1411, a sect was discovered in of under- Flanders, and more especially at Brussels, which standing

owed its origin to an illiterate man, whose name was Ægidius CANTOR, and to WILLIAM of HIL. DENISSEN, a Carmelite monk, and whose members were distinguished by the title of Men of understanding. There were many things reprehensible in the doctrine of this sect, which seemed to be chiefly derived from the theology of the Mystics. For they pretended to be honoured with celestial visions; denied that any could arrive at a perfect knowledge of the Holy Scriptures without the extraordinary succours of a Divine il·lumination; declared the approach of a new revelation from heaven, more complete and perfect than the Gospel of CHRIST; maintained, that the resurrection was already accomplished in the person of Jesus, and that no other resurrection was to be expected ; affirmed, that the inward man was not defiled by the outward actions, whatever they were; that the pains of hell were to have an end, and that, not only all mankind, but even the devils themselves, were to return to God, and be made partakers of eternal felicity. This sect seems to have been a branch of that of


[m] See LENFANT, Hist, du Concile de Pise, tom. i. p. 102. Poggia, Historia Florentina, lib. ii. p. 122.-MARC. ANTON. SABELLICUS in Enneadibus Rhapsodiæ Historica. Ennead. ix. lib. ix. tom. ii. opp. p. 839. published in folio at Basil in the year 1560.

[ocr errors]

the Brethren and sisters of the free spirit; sincec e N T. they declared, that a new dispensation of grace,

PART II. and spiritual liberty was to be promulgated to mortals by the Holy Ghost. It must however be acknowledged, on the other hand, that their absurdities were mingled with several opinions, which shewed, that they were not totally void of understanding for they maintained, among other things, “ Ist, That CHRIST alone had merited " eternal life and felicity for the human race,

and that therefore men could not acquire this " inestimable privilege by their own actions " alone; 2dly, That the priests, to whom the " people confessed their transgressions, had not " the power of absolving them, but that it was " CHRisT alone in whom this authority was vest

ed ; and 3dly, That voluntary penance and mor“ tification were not necessary to salvation." These propositions, however, and some others, were declared beretical by PETER D'AILLY, bishop of Cambray, who obliged WILLIAM of HILDENISSEN to abjure them [n], and opposed with the greatest vehemence and success the progress of this sect. V. The sect of the Flagellantes, or Whippers, A new sect

We of Flagel. continued to excite commotions in Germany, more lantes, or especially in Thuringia and the Lower Saxony; but Whippers. these fanatics were very different from the ancient heretics of the same name, who ran wildly in troops through various provinces. The new Whippers rejected not only the sacraments, but also every branch of external worship, and placed their only hopes of salvation in faith and flagellation; to which they added some strange doctrines concerning the evil spirit, and other matters, which are not explained with suflicient perspicuity in the records of antiquity. The person


[n] See the records of this transaction in STEPH. BALUZ. Miscellan. tom. ii. p. 277.

[ocr errors]


CE N T. that appeared at the head of this sect in Thuringia

1, was CONRAD SCHMIDT, who, with many of his

followers, was apprehended and committed to the flames [0], in the year 1414, by HENRY SCHONEFELD, who was, at that time, inquisitor in Germany, and rendered his name famous by his industry and zeal in the extirpation of heresy. NICHOLAS SCHADEN suffered at Quedlingburg for his attachment to this sect. BERTHOLDE SCHADE, who was seized at Halberstadt in the year 1481, escaped death, as appears most probable, by abjuring their doctrine [p]; and we find in the records of these unhappy times a numerous list of the Flagellantes, whom the German inquisitors devoted to the flames.

[0] Excerpta Monachi Pirnesis, in jo. BURCH. MENKINII Scripror. rerum Germanicar. tom. ii. p. 1521.-Cbron, Mona, ster. in Anton. MATTHÆI Analeci. vet. ævi, tom. v. p. 71. Chron. Magdeb. in MEIBOMII Scriptor. rerum German. tom. i. p. 362. From sixteen articles of faith adopted by this sect, which were committed to writing by a certain inquisitor of Brandenborch in the year 1411, and which CONRAD SCHMIDT is said to have taken from the papers of Walkenried, we may derive a tolerable idea of their doctrine, of which the substance is as fol. lows : “ That the opinions adopted by the Roman church, with respect to the efficacy of the sacraments, the flames of purgatory, praying for the dead, and several other points, are entirely false and groundless; and that the person who believes what is con. tained in the apostles Creed, repeats frequently the Lord's prayer and the Ava Maria, and at certain times lashes his body se, verely, as a voluntary punishment of the transgressions he has committed, shall obtain eternal salvation.”

[p] See the account of this matter which is given by the learned Jo. Ernest. Kappius, in his Relal. de Rebus Theologie cis Antiquis et Novis, A. 1747. p. 475.


Thomas Turnbull, Printer, 2

Canongate, Edinburgh. }

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »