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His success was great, and his end was worthy of his profession. Lambert, a son of the duke, murdered him at length with favage barbarity. He had been offered a large revenue and a settlement at Ratisbon by Theodo, which he had refused, declaring that he only wished to preach Christ crucified.
Marinus and Anian, two Egyptians, came into Bavaria, and were very successful in the same cause. But the excessive austerity, which they brought with them from the east, must have been detrimental to their work. The former at length was murdered by robbers; the latter died a natural death. Eloi, bishop of Noyon, carefully visited his large diocese, especially the Pagan parts of it, and was very successful among the Flemings, the Antwerpers, and the Frifons. At first he found chein fierce and exceedingly obstinate. But God was with him both in life and doctrine. Every Eafter he baptized great numbers, who had been brought to the knowledge of God in the preceding year. Very aged persons, amidst crowds of chile dren, came to be baptized, and there is the fairest evidence of his evangelical success. This is all that I can find, with certainty, of the propagation of the Gospel in the seventh century in Germany and the neighbouring countries. The censures of Molheim, as if the greatest part of the missionaries were not Ķncere, or as if many of the monks covered their ambition with the cloak of mortification, appear to me illiberal and unfounded *, and would have been more worthy of a modern sceptic. Super. ftition and an exceffive attachment to the Roman See is very visible among them. But the little account of facts, which we have, bears testimony to
their * Mosheim, Id. I find no just reason to suspect any of them except Wilfrid, bishop of Youk, mentioned in the last Chapter,
their uprightness. Where is that charity which hopeth all things, if we are to suppose men to be wrong, against all appearances? If ecclefiaftical historians had delighted as much in recording good as they have in recording evil, it is probable a more ample refutation of the inconsiderate aspersions of this author might have been exhibited to the reader.
CH A P. III.
THE GENERAL HISTORY OF THE CHURCH IN
A.D, fain by Heraclius in the year 610: he was one 610. of the most vicious and profligate tyrants, and may be compared with Caligula, Nero, and Domitian. Since the days of Constantine such characters had been exceeding rare. For such was the benign influence of the Gospel, that even amidst all the corruptions and abuses of it, which were now so numerous, a decency of character and conduct, unknown to their Pagan predecessors, was supported by the emperors in general. Heraclius, the successor of Phocas, reigned thirty years, In the beginning of his reign the Persians desolated the eastern
part of the empire, and made themselves masters of Jerusalem. While Asia groaned under their cruelties and oppressions, and was afflicted with scourge after scourge, for her long abuse of the best gift of God, an opportunity was given for the exercise of Christian graces to a bishop of a Church, which had long ceased to produce Christian fruit.
This was John, bishop of Alexandria, called the Almoner, on account of his extensive liberality. He daily supplied with necessaries those who focked into Egypt, after they had escaped the Perfian arms. He sent to * Jerusalem the most ample Telief for such as remained there: he ransomed cap
tives; • Fleury XXXVII, 1o. VOL. III.
tives ; placed the fick and wounded in hospitals, and visited them, in person, two or three times a week. He even seems to have interpreted too strictly the sacred rule,“ of giving to him that asketh of thee.” His spirit however was noble
Should the whole world come to Alexandria," said he, “ they could not exhaust the treasures of God.”
The Nile not having risen to its usual height, there was a barren season; provisions were scarce, and crowds of refugees still poured into Alexandria. John continued, however, his liberal donatives, till he had neither money, nor credit. The prayer of faith was his resource, and he still persevered in hope. He even refused a very tempting offer of a person, who would have bribed him with a large present, that he might be ordained deacon. “ As to my brethren the poor," said the holy prelate, “ God, who fed them, before you and I were born, will take care to feed them now, if we obey him.” Soon afterward he heard of the arrival of two large ships, which he had sent into Sicily for corn. “ I thank thee, O Lord,” cried the bishop in a rapture of joy, “ that thou hast kept me from selling thy gift for money.”
From the beginning of his bishopric he maintained 7500 poor persons by daily alms. He was accessible to them on all occasions; and what is most material, divine faith seems to have influenced his acts of love. “ If God,” said he, “ allow us to enter into his house at all times, and if we wish him speedily to hear us, how ought we to conduct ourselves toward our brethren ?" He constantly studied the Scriptures, and, in his conversation, was instructive and exemplary. Slander and evilspeaking he peculiarly difliked. If any person in his presence was guilty in this respect, he would give another turn to the discourse. If the person
still persisted, he would direct his servant not to
The long course of heresy, licentiousness, and
" Chile dren,” said he, “ the shepherd should be with his flock; I could pray at home, but I cannot preach at home.” By doing this twice, he reformed the abuse. Let it be marked, as an evidence of the zeal of this prelate, who, like another Josiah, seems to have been sent to reform a falling church, that the preaching of the word engaged much of his heart, and let it moreover be observed, that the contempt of preaching is a certain token of extreme degeneracy.
A canon was made at Paris, in a council, in the A.D. year 614, the same year in which Jerusalem was 614. taken, which enjoins that he shall be ordained to succeed a decealed bishop, who shall be chosen by the archbishop, together with the bishops of the province, the clergy and the people, without any prospect of gain: if the ordination be conducted otherwise through compulsion or neglect, the clection shall be void. The intelligent reader will hence judge of the state of ecclesiastical polity at that time.
In 616 John the Almoner departed from Alex- A.D. andria, for fear of the Persians, and died soon after 616., in Cyprus, in the same spirit in which he had lived; and with him ends all that is worth recording of the church of Alexandria.