Abbildungen der Seite

according to his condition, and very well furnished; but he neglected his own chamber. Instead of tapestry, there hung the pictures of bis chief friends and of famous men, besides innumerable bundles of commentaries, transcripts, notes, collections from books, epistles, and such like papers. His bed was exceeding plain, and his table continually loaded and covered with papers, books, letters, and other things; as also all the seats round about, and the greatest part of the floor. These were so many evidences of the turn of his mind, which made the writer of his eulogium compare him to the Roman Atticus; and Bayle, considering his universal correspondence and general assistance to all the literati in Europe, called him “the attorney-general of the literary republic.” The multiplicity of his engagements prevented him from finishing any considerable work; but he left behind him a great number of MSS. on local history and antiquities, mathematics and astronomy, the medallic science, languages, &c. Of the writings of this scholar there have been published 48 Italian letters, addressed to Paul and John Baptist Gualdo, in the “ Lettere d'uomini illustri ;” a considerable number of letters among those of Camden, and a long and learned dissertation on an ancient tripod found at Frejus, in the “ Mém. de Literature et de l'Histoire," by Desmalets, in 1731. It is remarkable, that though Peiresc bought more books than any man of his time, yet the collection which he left was not large. The reason was, that as fast as he purchased, he kept continually making presents of them to learned men to whom he knew they would be useful.. But the destruction of a multitude of his papers after his death, by some of his near relations, is mentioned by the learned with indignation and regret; they were applied to the vile uses of heating the oven and boiling the pot. Gassendi, another ornament of France, has given us his life in detail, in elegant Latin, one of those delightful works, which exhibit a striking likeness of a great and good man at full length, and shew every feature and fold of the drapery in the strongest and clearest light."

PELAGIUS (the Heresiarch), was born in Great Britain in the fourth century, and is said to have been abbot of the monastery of Bangor, His real name is said to be Morgan, which signifying in the Celtic languages sea- born, from Mór, sea, and gan born, was translated into Nenários in Latin Pelagius. For the greater part of his life, he was distinguished among his brethren both for piety and learning, but towards the close of his life, he went to Rome, and began to teach certain doctrines in that city about the year 400, wbich occasioned no small disturbance in the church. He absolutely denied all original sin, which he held to be the mere invention of St. Augustine ; and taught that men are entire masters of their actions, and perfectly free creatures; in opposition to all predestination, reprobation, election, &c. He owned, indeed, that the natural power of man needed to be assisted by the grace of God, to enable him to work out his own salvation ; but, by this grace, he only meant outward assistance, viz. the doctrines of the law, and of the gospel. Though, when pressed by those words of St. Paul, “Deus est enim, qui operatur in nobis," &c. he owned that it is God, in effect, that makes us will what is good, when he warns and excites us by the greatness of the glory we are to obtain, and by the promises of rewards; when he makes us love him by revealing his wisdom, &c. These are Pelagius's own words, as cited by St. Augustine; who confutes him, and shews, that, besides these exterior graces, there are required other real and interior ones. He owned, that the will of man is indeed aided by a real grace; but he added, that this grace is not absolutely necessary in order to live well; but that it only helps us to do well with the more ease. Julian, one of his adherents, went farther yet; and owned that the assistance of grace was absolutely necessary to enable us to do perfect works. In effect, the grand doctrine of the Pelagians was, that a man might accomplish all the commands of God by the mere power of nature; and that the gifts of grace were only necessary to enable him to act well more easily, and more perfectly.

1 Vita à Gassendo, Hague, 1655, 4t0.-Gen. Dict.--Moreri.-- Burigay's Life of Grotius, &c. VOL. XXIV.


As the morals of Pelagius had long been irreproachable, he found it easy to gain a crowd of followers; and the heresy spread so much, that it became necessary for him to quit Rome, in the year 409, going to Sicily, and accompanied by Celestius, his chief disciple and fellow-labourer, and, as is said, his countryman. They continued in Sicily, till the report of a conference, held at Carthage between the orthodox and the donatists, induced them to go to Africa : but Pelagius did not stay long there; and, after his departure, Celestius being accused of denying original sin by Paulinus, was condemned by a council held at Carthage in the year 412, under Aurelius, primate of Africa. Upon this, he repaired to his friend Pelagius, who had retired to Palestine.

Here they were well received by John bishop of Jerusa. lem, the enemy of St. Jerom, and well looked on by the better sort of people. Count Marcellinus, being desirous to know in what their doctrine, which was much talked of, consisted, applied to St. Augustin, bishop of Hippo, for information ; and Pelagius, fearing to engage with so formidable an antagonist, wrote the bishop a letter full of protestations of the purity of his faith, and St. Augustin seems always unwilling to believe that Pelagius had fallen into error until the year 414, when Pelagius resolved to undertake his treatise of the natural strength of man, in support of his doctrine of free-will; which, however, he still expressed in ambiguous terms, but not so as to deceive either Augustine or Jerome, who wrote against him. In Palestine, his doctrine was approved in a council held at Diospolis in the year 415, consisting of fourteen bishops. Theodore of Mopsuestia was one of Pelagius's most powerful friends in the east, a man of profound erudition and great reputation; who, though he wrote zealously against all heresies, fell into that of Pelagius, as also of Nestorius. On the other hand, the African bishops held a council, according to custom, in the year 416, at Carthage, and decided that Pelagius and Celestius ought to be anathematized, and communicated their judgment to the pope Innocent I. in order to join the authority of the see of Rome to their own, and, prompted by St. Augustine, refute in a summary way the chief errors imputed to Pelagius, and conclude thus: “ Though Pelagius and Celestius disown this doctrine, and the writings produced against them, without its being possible to convict them of falsehood; nevertheless, we must anathematize in general whoever teacheth that human nature is capable of avoiding sin, and of fulfilling the commands of God; as he shews himself an enemy to his grace.” About the same time a council was held at Milevum, composed of sixtyone bishops; who, after the example of that of Carthage, wrote to pope Innocent, desiring him to condemn this heresy, which took away the benefit of prayer from adults, and baptism from infants. Besides these two synodical letters, another was written by St. Augustin, in the name of himself and four more bishops; in which he explained the whole matter more at large, and desired the

pope to order Pelagius to Rome, to examine him more minutely, and know what kind of grace it was that he acknowledged ; or else to treat with him on that subject by letters, to the end that, if he acknowledged the grace which the church teacheth, he might be absolved without difficulty.

These letters were answered by Innocent in the year 417, who coincided in sentiment with his correspondents, and anathematized all who said that the grace of God is not necessary to good works; and judged them unworthy of the communion of the church. In answer to the five African bishops, who had written to him on his being suspected of favouring Pelagianism, he says, “ He can neither affirm nor deny, that there are Pelagians in Rome; because, if there are any, they take care to conceal themselves, and are not discovered in so great a multitude of people.” He adds, speaking of Pelagius, “We cannot believe he has been justified, notwithstanding that some laymen have brought to us acts by which he pretends to have been absolved. But we doubt the authenticity of these acts, because they have not been sent us by the council, and we have not received any letters from those who assisted at it. For if Pelagius could have relied on his justification, he could not have failed to have obliged his judges to acquaint us with it; and even in these acts he has not justified himself clearly, but has only sought to evade and perplex matters. We can neither approve nor blame this decision. If Pelagius pretends he has nothing to fear, it is not our business to send for him, but rather his to make haste to come and get himself absolved. For if he still continues to entertain the same sentiments, whatever letters he may receive, he will never venture to expose himself to our sentence. If he is to be summoned, that ought rather to be done by those who are nearest to him. We have perused the book said to be written by him, which you sent us. We have found in it many propositions against the grace of God, many blasphemies, nothing that pleased us, and hardly any thing but what displeased us, and ought to be rejected by all the world.”

Celestius, upon bis condemnation at Carthage in the year 412, had indeed appealed to this pope; but, instead of pursuing his appeal, he retired into Palestine. Pelagius, however, who had more art, did not despair of bringing Rome over to his interest, by flattering the bishop of that city, and accordingly drew up a confession of faith, and sent it to pope Innocent with a letter, which is now lost. 'Innocent was dead; and Zosimus had succeeded him, when this apology of Pelagius was brought to Rome. On the first notice of this change, Celestius, who had been driven from Constantinople, hastened to the west, in hopes of securing the new pope's favour, by making him his judge, and Zosimus, pleased to be appealed to in a cause that had been adjudged elsewhere, readily admitted Celestius to justify himself at Rome. He assembled his clergy in St. Clement's church, where Celestius presented him a confession of faith ; in which, having gone through all the articles of the Creed, from the Trinity to the resurrection of the dead, he said, “ If any dispute has arisen on questions that do not concern the faith, I have not pretended to decide them, as the author of a new doctrine; but I offer to your examination, what I have from the source of the prophets and apostles; to the end that, if I have mistaken through ignorance, your judgment may correct and set me right." On the subject of original sin, he continued, “We acknowledge that children ought to be baptized for the remission of sins, agreeably to the rule of the universal church, and the authority of the gospel; because the Lord hath declared, that the kingdom of heaven can be given to those only who have been baptized. But we do not pretend thence to establish the transtnission of sin from parents to their children: that opinion is widely different from the catholic doctrines. For sin is not born with man; it is man who commits it after he is born : it does not proceed from nature, but from will. We therefore acknowledge the first, in order not to admit of several baptisms; and take this precaution, that we may not derogate from the Creator." Celestius having confirmed by word of mouth, and several repeated declarations, what was contained in this writing, the pope asked him, whether he condemned all the errors that had been published under his name? Celestius answered, that he did condemn them in conformity with the sentence of pope Innocent, and promised to condemn whatever should be condemned by the holy see. On this Zosimus did not hesitate to condemn Heros and Lazarus, who had taken upon them to be the chief prosecutors of the Pelagian doctrine. He

« ZurückWeiter »