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CEN T livered from their confinement [f]. In the year PART 1.1481. he went much farther; and not only
granted a full liberty to the Nominalists and their writings, but also restored that philosophical sect to its former authority and lustre in the university .
Concerning the Doctors and ministers of the church,
and its form of government, during this century.
The viccs of 1. THE most eminent writers of this century the clergy.
l unanimously lament the miserable condi. tion to which the Christian church was reduced by the corruption of its ministers, and which seemed to portend nothing less than its total ruin, if Providence did not interpose, by extraordinary means, for its deliverance and preservation. The vices that reigned among the Roman pontifs, and indeed among all the ecclesiastical order, were so flagrant, that the complaints of these good men did not appear at all exaggerated, or their apprehensions ill-founded; nor had any of the corrupt advocates of the clergy the courage to call them to an account for the sharpness of their censures and of their complaints. Nay, the more eminent rulers of the church, who lived in a luxurious indolence, and the infamous practice of all kinds of vice, were obliged to hear with a placid countenance, and even to commend, these bold censors, who declaimed against the degeneracy of the church, declared that there was almost
() Boulay, loc. cit. tom. v. p: 710.
(8) The proofs of this we find in Salabert's Philosophia Nominal. Vindicata, cap. i. p. 104.-See also Boulay, loc. cit. tom. v. p. 739, 747.
nothing sound either in its visible head, or in its C E N T.
XV. members, and demanded the aid of the secular pa arm, and the destroying sword to lop off the parts that were infected with this grievous and deplorable contagion. Things, in short, were brought to such a pass, that they were deemed the best Christians, and the most useful members of so-ciety, who, braving the terrors of persecution, and triumphing over the fear of man, inveighed with the greatest freedom and fervor against the court of Rome, its lordly' pontif, and the whole tribe of his followers and votaries:
II. At the commencement of this century, the great the Latin church was divided into two great fac- western
schism fo. tions, and was governed by two contending pon-mented and tifs, BONIFACE IX. who remained at Rome, and continued. BENEDICT XIII. who resided at Avignon. Upon the death of the former, the Cardinals of his party raised to the pontificate, in the year 1404, CosBAT DE MELIORATI, who assumed the name of INNOCENT VII. [b], and held that high dignity during the short space of two years only. After his decease, ANGELI CORRARIO, a Venetian cardinal, was chosen in his room, and ruled the Roman faction under the title of GREGORY XII. A plan of reconciliation was however formed, and the contending pontifs bound themselves, each by an oath, to make a voluntary renunciation of the papal chair, if that step were necessary to promote the peace and welfare of the church; but they both violated this solemn obligation in Vol. III.
 Besides the ordinary writers, who have given us an account of the transactions that happened under the pontificate of INNOCENT VII. see Léon. ARETIN. Epistol. lib. i. ep. iv. v. Ps 6. 19. 21. lib. ii. p. 35: et COLLUC. SALUTAT. Epistol. lib. ii. ep. i. p. 1. 18. edit. Florent. We have also an account of the pontificate of GREGORY, in the Epistles of the same ARETIN, lib. ii. iii. p. 32. ep. vii. p. 30.41. 51. lib. ii ep. xvii. p. 54. 56. 59.---Jo. LAMI Delicia Eruditorum, tom. x. p. 49.4.
CE N T. a scandalous manner. BENEDICT XIII. besieged miin Avignon by the king of France, in the year
1408, saved himself by flight, retiring first into
[1 ] See LENFANT's Histoire du Concile du Pise, published in Ato at Amsterdam, in the year 1724.Franc. Paci Breviar. Ponrif. Romanor. tom. iv. p. 350.-BOSSUET, Defensio Decrets Gallicani de Potestate Ecclesiastica, tom. ï. p. 17, &c. .
ther at Austria near Aquileia, in the district ofc E N T. Friuli. The latter, however, apprehending the part II. resentment of the Venetians [k], made his escape in a clandestine manner from the territory of Aquileia, arrived at Caieta, where he threw himself upon the protection of LADISLAUS, king of Naples, and in the year 1412, fled from thence to Rimini.
III. Thus was the Christian church divided in-The council to three great factions, and its government vio
stance aslently carried on by three contending chiefs, sembled by who loaded each other with reciprocal maledic- the
ror Sigistions, calumnies and exeommunications. ALEXAN-mund. DER V. who had been elected pontif at the council of Pisa, died at Bologna, in the year 1410; and the sixteen cardinals, who attended him in that city, immediately filled up the vacancy, by chusing as his successor BALTHASAR Cossa; a Neapolitan who was destitute of all principles both of religion and probity, and who assumed the title of JOHN XXIII. The duration of this schism in the papacy was a source of many calamities, and became daily more detrimental both to the civil and religious interests of those nations where the flame raged. Hence it was that the emperor SIGISMUND, the king of France, and several other European princes, employed all their zeal and activity, and spared neither labour nor expence, in restoring the tranquillity of the church, and uniting it again under one spiritual head. On the other hand, the pontifs could not be persuaded by any means to prefer the peace of the church to the gratification of their ambition, so that no other possible method of accommodating this weighty matter remained, than the assembling of a general council in which the controversy Dd2
might * [k] He had offended the Venetians by deposing their patriarch ANTONY PANCIARINI, and putting ANTONY DU PONT, the bishop of Concordia, in his place.
CIN T. might be examined, and terminated by the judge XV.
,, ment and decision of the universal church. This PART II.
council was accordingly summoned to meet at Constance, in the year 1414, by John XXIII, who was engaged in this measure by the entreaties of SIGISMUND, and also from an expectation, that the decrees of this grand assembly would be favourable to his interests. He appeared in person, attended with a great number of cardinals and bishops, at this famous council, which was also honoured with the presence of the emperor SIGISMUND, and of a great number of German princes, and with that of the ambassadors of all the European states, whose monarchs or regents could not be personally present at the decision
of this important controversy [?]. The design IV. The great purpose that was aimed at in and issue of the convocation of this grand assembly, was the
ne healing of the schism that had so long rent the
papacy : and this purpose was happily accomplished. It was solemnly declared, in the fourth and fifth sessions of this council, by two decrees, that the Roman pontif was inferior and subject to a general assembly of the universal church; and the authority of councils was vindicated and maintained, by the same decrees, in the most
 The Acts of this famous council were published in six volumes in folio, at Francfort, in the year 1700, by HERMAN van der Hardt. This collection, however, is imperfect, notwithstanding the pains that it cost the laborious editor. Many of the Acts are omitted, and a great number of pieces stuffed in among the Acts, which by no means deserve a place there. The history of this council by LENFANT is composed with great accuracy and elegance. It appeared in a second edition at Amsterdam, in the year 1728, in two volumes, quarto; the first was published in 1714. The Supplement that was given to this history by BURGEOIS DE CHASTENET, a French lawyer, is but an indifferent performance. It is entitled, “Nouvelle Histoire du Concile de Constance, où l'on fait voir combien la France a contribué à l'extinction du Schisme.'