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Verùm cùm nos præ nimiâ uâdam licentiâ in molitiem elicatam et dissolutam segmitiem essemus prolapsi, cùmque alii aliis invidere, maladictis insectari, et prope nos ipsi inter nos petulantibus linguis tanquam mutuis armis oppugnare, et casu aliquando verborum contumelias vel hastas, unus in alium, intorquere, et præsides (ecclesiarum) alter alterius vires infringere, et populos in populum seditionem concitare inciperent; cùmque ficta et adumbrata sanctitatis species, quæ oratione nequit exprimi, et simulatio fronte occultata ad immensam quandam pravitatem serpsisset; divina ultio, dum permagna adhuc Christianorum ubique versabatur frequentia,parcius, aliquando remissius et moderatius, ut solet, primò persecutione ex fratribus, qui militiam exercebant, inchoatâ, cœpit in nos animadvertare..

C. Cypriani de lapsis, p. 128. (S. Cæcilii Cypriani opera.

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Habenda tamen est, fratres dilectissimi ratio veritatis, nec sie mentem debet et sensum persecutionis infestæ tenebrosa

caligo cæcasse, ut nihil remanserit lucis et luminis, unde divina præcepta perspici possunt. Si cladis causa cognoscitur, et medela vulneris invenitur. Dominus probari familiam suam voluit, et quia traditam nobis divinitus disciplinam paae longa corruperat, jacentem fidem et pene dixerim dormientem, censura cœlestis evexit: cùmque nos peccatis nostris amplus pati mereremur, clementissimus Dominus sic cuncta moderatus est, ut hoc omne quod gestum est, exploratio potius quàm investigatio videretur. Studebant augendo patrimonio singuli ; et obliti quid eredentes aut sub Apostolis ante fecissent, aut semper facere deberent, insatiabili cupiditatis ardore ampliandis facultatibus incubabant. Non in sacerdotibus religio devota, non in ministris fides integra, non in operibus misericordia, non in moribus disciplina. Corrupta barba in viris ; in fœminis forma fueata. Adulterati post Dei manus oculi, capilli mendacio coloratis. Ad decipienda corda fidelium callidæ fraudes, circumveniendis fratribus subdolae voluntates. Jungere cum infidelibus vinculum matrimonii, prostituere gentilibus membra Christi; non jurare tantum temerè, sed adhuc etiam pejerare: præpositos superbo tumore contemnere, venenato sibi ore maledicere, odiis pertinacibus invicem dissidere: Episcopi plurimi, quos et hortamento esse oportet cæteris et exemplo, divina procuratione contempta, procuratores rerum sæcularium fieri, derelicta cathedra, plebe deserta, per alienas provincias oberrantes, negotionis quæstuosæ mundinas aucupari. Esurientibus in ecclesia fratribus non subvenire, habere argentum largiter velle, &e. Quid non perpeti tales pro peccatis ejusmodi mereremur ?

THE CORRUPTION OF THE VISIBLE CHURCH IN THE FOURTEI AND FIFTEI CENTURIES.

Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History. (Cent. iv. c. 3.)

Those vain fictious which an attachment to the Platonic philosophy, and to popular opinions, had engaged the greater part of the Christian doetors to adopt before the time of Constantine, were now confirmed, enlarged, and embellished in various ways. Hence arose that extravagant veneration for departed saints, and those absurd notions of a certain fire, destined to purify separate souls, that now prevailed, and of which the public marks were everywhere to be seem. EIence, also, the celibaey of priests, the worship of images and relics, which, in process of time, almost utterly destroyed the Christian religion, or, at least, eclipsed its lustre, and corrupted its very essence in the most deplorable manner. An enormous train of different superstitions were gradually substituted in the place of true religiom and genuine piety. This odious revolution was owing to a variety of causes. A ridiculous precipitation in receiving new opinions, a preposterous desire ofimitating the Pagan rites, and of blending them with the Christian Worship, and that idle propensity which the generality of mankind have towards a gaudy and ostentatious religion, contributed to establish the reign of superstition upon the ruins of Christianity. Accordingly, frequent pilgrimages were undertaken to Palestine, and to the tombs of the martyrs, as if there alone the saered principles of virtue, and the certain hope of salvation, were to be acquired. The reins being once let loose to superstition, which knows no bounds, absurd notions and idle ceremonies multiplied every day. Quantities of dust and earth, brought from Palestine and other places, remarkable for their supposed sanctity, were handed about as the most powerful remedies against the violence of the wicked spirits, and were sold and bought everywhere at enormous prices. The public processions and supplications by which the Pagans endeavoured to appease their gods, were now adopted into the Christian Worship, and celebrated with great pomp and magnificence in several places. The virtues that had formerly been ascribedto the heathen temples, to their lustrations, to the statues of their gods and heroes, were now attributed to Christian churches, to water consecrated by certain forms of prayer, and to the images of holy men. And the same privileges that the former enjoyed under the darkness of Paganism, were conferred upon the latter under the light of the gospel, or rather under that cloud of superstition that was obscuring its glory. It is true that, as yet, images were not very common, nor were there any statues at all. But it is, at the same time, as undoubtedly certain, as it is extravagant and monstrous, that the worship of the martyrs was modelled by degrees aeeording to the religious services that were paid to the gods before the coming of Christ.

S. Gregorii Theologi. Oratio vigesima prima. xxiv. Tom. 1. p. 400.—(S. P. Gregorii Theologi, vulgò Nazianzeni, archiepiscopi Constantinopolitani opera omnia, operâ et studio monachorum ordinis S. Benedicti e congregatione S.

Mauri. Parisiis. 1778.)

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XXIV. Nam proculdubiò stultè egerunt pastores, ut cum Scripturà loquar, et Pastores multi vineam meam pervastaverunt ac desiderabilem partem, hoc est, Dei Ecclesiam, multis sudoribus, et victimis, tam ante Christum quàm post Christum cæsis, ac denique magnis ipsius Dei pro salute nostrâ cruciatibus collectam, probro ac dedecere affecerunt. Nam si perpaucos exceperis, qui, vel ob nominis obscuritatem contemptui habiti fuerunt, vel ob virtutem restiterunt, quos Israeli seminis et radicis loco relinqui oportebat, ut, per Spiritùs influxiones, rursùm effloresceret, atque ad vitam revocaretur, omnes tempori obsecuti sunt : hoc 'tantùm inter eos diseriminis fuit,quod alii citiùs, alii seriús in eam fraudem inciderunt ; atque, alii quidem impietatis duces antistitesque se præbuerunt, alii autem in secundo ordine locati sunt, nempe vel timore perculsi, vel quæstu atque utilitate subacti, vel blanditiis inescati, vel denique ignorantiâ circumventi ac circumseripti, quod omnium levissimum est.

Oratio vigesima quinta.
The Arian Heresy.

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... Arius, a furore pulchrè nomen habens. Hic cùm ab Alexandrinâ civitate initium duxisset, illicque pestiferum dogma in se concepisset, ac deinde, immitis cujusdam et rapidæ flammæ instar, ab exigua scintilla magnam orbis terrarum partem percurrisset, tandem a Patribus nostris, pioque illo numero, qui tum Nicæam se contulit, certisque finibus ac verbis divinitatis doctrinam circumscripsit, oppressus et extinctus est.

IX. Rursus malum imperium, et rursus malum reviviscit, ae, velut subputridum malèque obductum vulnus, aperitur et erumpit: gravesque lupi, alii aliunde nos intercipientes, ecclesiam discerpunt.—Armantur Sacerdotes adversus Sacerdotes ; plebs adversus plebem furibundo impetu fertur ; Imperator* ipse impietati auctoritatem præbet, atque adversus orthodoxum doctrinam leges instituit.

Oratio quadragesima secunda.— p. 762.

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XXI. Quid alia commemorare attinet ? Quo tandem modo sacrum hoc bellum feram ? Dicatur enim etiam

* Julianus.

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