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vailed, and some gracious effusions of the Spirit of God appeared.

The influences of divine grace seem to have been withheld, in the east, entirely. Men had there filled up the measure of their iniquities. Even from Origen's days a decline of true . doctrine, and the spirit of fceptical philofophy, ever hostile to that of grace, kept them low in religion compared with their western brethren. How precious must the grace of the Gospel be, which, being revived in Europe, in the time of Augustine, ceafed not to produce falutary effects, and to extend true religion even to the most favage nations ! Attempts indeed to propagate, what they called Christianity, were made in the east by the Nestorians, who dwelt in Persia and India, and by the Eutychians, who flourished in Egypt. The former were particularly successful in increasing their numbers; but I have nothing to produce of real godliness as the result of the labours of either party. Abyssinia, which from the days of Athanasius, always considered herself as a daughter of Alexandria, receives thence her pontiff to this day: when Eutychianism prevailed in Egypt, it did so of course in Abyssinia, and has been the prevalent form ever since the seventh century in both countries. The Mahometan conquerors reduced the ancient professors of orthodoxy into a state of extreme insignificancy; and this was one of the scourges of God by the Arabian imposture, namely, that heretics were encouraged and protected by those conquerors, while the orthodox werecrushed. Orthodox patriarchs existed indeed in Egypt for some time after the Saracen conquest. But ignorance, superstition, and immorality, still abounded, and have now continued to abound for many centuries. The east, whence the light first arose, has

long

long sat in darkness, with the exception of some individuals from age to age, such as John the Almoner and a few others, who have been mentioned in this chapter. God will have a Church upon earth, and it shall be carried to the most despised regions rather than extinguished entirely. And there is a voice which speaks to Europe in these works of his providence in a louder tone than I know how to describe.

Africa fell under the power of the Mahometans toward the close of this century. It had long Ihared in the general corruption, and it shared in the general punishment. The region, which has so often refreshed us with evangelical light and energy, where Cyprian suffered, and where Auguftine taught, was consigned to Mahometan darkness, and must henceforth be very nearly dismissed from these memoirs,

С НА Р. CH A P. IV.

AUTHORS OF THIS CENTURY *.

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SIDORE, of Sevil, flourished in the former part

of it: he governed the church of Sevil for forty years, having succeeded his brother Leander, of whom we have made honourable mention already. This writer was voluminous, and, with all due allowance for the fuperftition of the age, appears to have been sincerely pious. But perhaps the most useful part of his works is his collection of sentences out of Gregory. He seems to have been providentially given to Spain, in order to preserve some of the antient learning, and to prevent men from finking into total ignorance and rusticity.

Columban must be mentioned also as an author, though we have already celebrated him in the character in which he shone far more, namely, of a missionary. He was, no doubt, pious and fervent: he wrote monastic rules, and while every part of his writings is infected with the servile genius of the times and the spirit of bondage, which had seized the Church, one sentence retrieves his character, and with it I shall disiniss him. must have recourse to Christ the fountain of life.” Sophronius of Jerufalem wrote a synodal letter to confute the Monothelites. His part in that controversy has been stated already. He asserted that we shall rise with the same body, and that the punishments of hell are eternal. The most remarkable thing in him, is the foundness of his doctrine, which he adorned with genuine piety and purity of life.

Martin, * Du Pin, Cent. 7.

66 We

Martin, bishop of Rome, whose sufferings from the tyrant Constans have been succinctly described, was one of the greatest men of the age. Some of his letters are extant, and they indicate both strength of mind, and zeal in religion. Amandus, bishop of Utrecht, in writing to him, declared, that he was so grieved to find some clergymen to have lived lasciviously after their ordination, that he was tempted to quit his bilhopric. Martin diffuaded him; and at the same time exhorted him to exercise falutary discipline on the offenders, declaring, that such clergymen should be deposed entirely from the facerdotal function, that they may repent in a private condition, and may find mercy at the last day. He exhorts Amandus to undergo patiently all trials for the salvation of the sheep, and the service of God. This Roman prelate, doubtless, was fincere, and he appears to have defended evangelical truth with much firmness. And it was for a branch of scriptural doctrine, that he suffered with consistency and integrity.

I mention Maximus, his fellow-sufferer in the same cause. His writings are too scholastical to merit much attention, though he was, doubtless, a very able reasoner, and, what is infinitely better, a pious and upright man.

I might swell the list, with the names of writers little known, and of little use. Learning was very low: the taste of the age was barbarous : we have seen, however, that Christ had then a Church, and the reader, if he pleases, may travel through itill darker scenes; yet I trust some glimmerings of the presence of Christ will

appear.

Vol. III.

K

CENTURY

CENTU R Y VIII.

CH A P. I.

VENERABLE BEDE, THE ENGLISH PRESBYTER,

HE Church-history of our country, written

by this renowned father, was continued to the year 731. I have extracted from it that which A.D. suited my purpose. He is faid to have died in 735. 735. Of his age the accounts are very contradic

tory. The history of the century will properly begin with a brief narrative of the life and works of this historian.

He was born near Durham, in a village now called Farrow, near the mouth of the Tyne. Losing both his parents at the age of seven years, he was, by the care of relations, placed in the monastery of Weremouth, was there educated with much strictness, and appears from his youth to have been devoted to the service of God. He was afterwards removed to the neighbouring monastery of Jerrow, where he ended his days. He was looked on as the most learned man of his time. Prayer, writing, and teaching were his familiar employments during his whole life *. He was ordained deacon in the nineteenth, and presbyter in the thirtieth

year
of his
age.

himself wholly to the ftudy of the Scripture, the instruction of disciples, the offices of publick worship, and

the

He gave

Life of Bede, prefixed to his works. Cologne edition.

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