« PrécédentContinuer »
erroneous notions concerning the procession of the Holy Ghost, and the state of souls after death. Some moreover imagine, that the souls of mer were all created at the beginning of the world; that all without exception, righteous aud unrighteous, were by our Saviour Christ delivered out of hell ; and that there is no purgatory. But these are not the errors of the Armenian church, but of individuals only; and have been introduced among them by foreigners with whom they are in commerce. Nor were they ever noticed-as undoubtedly they must have been had they then existed, --when the reunion of the Armeniabs with the Roman church was in contemplation. (See the Acts of the council of Armenia held in 1342, t. 7, Collect. du P. Martenne.)
Moreover, the prayers, the canticles and most ancient hymns of the Armenian church flatly contradict these errors. In their rituals and books of prayer we find established the catholic practice of praying for the dead, the invocation of saints, and veneration of their
relics ; in a word, the whole religious creed of the Roman church, and the epoch of each doctrinal alteration which has been introduced in the church of Armenia, is distinctly marked. Consequently the church of Rome cannot be fairly charged with the innovations with which she is reproached by protestants, since we find her doctrines professed by a church totally independent of the Roman see; nor is this conformity of doctrine the effect of commercial intercourse, as some would fain persuade the world ; since it is mentioned in rituals and liturgies far more ancient than the commerce of the Armenians with the Latins.
There are, however, besides the above errors, some abuses among the Armenians, and some traces of Judaical opinions.
They observe the term prescribed by the Mosaical law for purification after child-birth; they scrupulously abstain from the flesh of animals which the law declared unclean, with the exception of hog's flesh :--an exception for which they can assign no
Like the Jews they offer to God the sacrifice of beasts, which they immolate at the entrance of their churches by the ministry of the priests ; they dip their finger on these occasions in the Þlood of the victim, and with it form a cross upon the doors of their houses. The priest retains one half of the victim for his own use, while those that present it for the sacrifice consume the rest. These kinds of sacrifices they offer on all their solemn festivals, in order to obtain the cure of their diseases, or some other temporal benefits. Thus the Armenians, in order at once to enjoy the several advantages of the two covenants, join the practices of the Jewish law with the profession of christianity.
ARMINIUS-was a native of Holland, born in 1560. He reu
ceived his education parily at the university of Leyden, and part10 ly * Genev2, and was commissioned to write against the minis
ters rof Delft, whe combated the doctrine of Tireodoras Beza regarding predestination. In order to attenrpt their refatation with success, he applied himself diligently to examine their arguments, and eventually adopted those sentiments which he had undertaken to confite. Arminius could not comprehend how Almighty God, according to the blasphemous assertions of Beza and John Calvin, could predestine men to sin and damna
tion ; knowing him to be a just Judge and most tender Father. the
On the contrary, he maintained, it was the will of God that all P.
mankind should renounce their sins, and persevere to the end in righteousness, after having first attained to the knowledge of the truth ; although, he said, each one was left to his own free choice, without either violence or compulsion: that the doctrine of Beza and Calvin necessarily made God the author of sin, and hardened men in their evil hábits, by inspiring them with the
conceit of inamissible justification. 2
Gomar, professor of theology at Leydert, warmly espoused Y the predestinarian system; and the two parties filled the United Y
States with tumult and disorder. Arminius and his followers, in common with the rest of the reformers, rejected all infallible
authority, which pretended to be the depository of revealed of
truths, and to fix the religious creed of christians: they deemed holy scripture exclusively, the sole rule of faith, and every private individual a competent judge of the scriptural sense. Hence they fell insensibly into the errors of the Pelagians and Semi-Pelagians regarding predestination. But they did not wish to obtrude their opinions upon others: they left them the liberty too, to interpret scripture their own way, and granted a general toleration to all christian societies-to honour God in the manner which they might think prescribed by the gospel.
Under this view, it is plain, Arminianism can have no fixed
symbol, no received formula of belief; excepting only what they B,
admit as scripture, and the fundamental dogma of the reform; namely, that each private individual is the natural judge of the sense of scripture.
The Calvinists have written much against the Arminians, and accuse them of having fallen into the errors of Socinianism. This charge is not altogether void of foundation, whatever the Arminians may adduce to invalidate it. But their adversaries are equally exposed to the difficulties and the retorsions of the Arminians. To the Catholic alone appertains the exclusive privilege of solidly refuting the Arminian, as well as his antagonists, by shewing against both, that the church only, is competent to interpret holy scripture in the last resort, and authoritatively to define what Jesus Christ has in fact revealed. Can any remotely plausible pretext be possibly alleged—why private
individuals, rather than the church of God collectively in its pastors ;-—those same pastors whom Christ commands us all to hear as his own and his heavenly Father's representatives, should preside as judges in controverted articles of faith? This, however, is the bold pretension of all the separatists from catholic communion.
ра fai TI
ARNOLD of BRESCIA-was a scholar of Peter Abelard. Returning into Italy his native country, he took there the monastic habit, and acquired a considerable reputation as a preacher
. His vanity increased with his reputation, and he sought to perpetuate his fame, by some extraordinary enterprise. With this view, he began to inveigh against the monastic institute, and to rail intemperately against the clergy, priests and bishops. In his sermons he affirmed, they had no right to the possession of landed property; and damned all those that were possessed of any. This doctrine was relished with avidity by the people. The clergy was alarmed; and Innocent II. expelled the author out of Italy; who upon the first news of the pontiff's death, reentered, and recommenced his seditious harangues. He excited the populace, already predisposed, to mutiny against Eugenius III. and proposed to the Romans the re-establishing of their ancient government, which, he observed, had made their ancestors masters of the universe.
The people, seduced by the flattering prospect, insulted persons of eminence and the cardinals, and proceeded to attack and plunder their palaces. Hereupon Pope Adrian IV. excommunicated Arnold of Brescia with his adherents, and laid the people under an interdict, till they should expel this seditious monk from Rome.
Arnold was obliged to leave Rome accordingly, and retired into Tuscany, where the silly populace revered him as a prophet. He was afterwards arrested, conducted back to Rome, and publicly executed—in the sight and with the approbation of those very people who, a little while before, had honoured him as something more than human.
ARNOLD of VILLENEUVE-was born about the close of the thirteenth century. He excelled in the art of chemistry, and afterwards applied himself with much industry and success to the study of philosophy and medicine, which latter art he taught and practised at Paris with extraordinary reputation. His errors do not do him much credit as a theologian. Among other doctrinal eccentricities he taught 1.—That the human nature in Jesus Christ was in all respects equal to the Divinity. 2.-That all monks would be damned. 3.-That the world would end in 1335.
Some protestants affect to number Arnold among their glorious precursors.
His blunders certainly were not catholic.
hea mer 8t] Cess
is Why then obstinately contest with these gentlemen the honor lll to which they claim ?
The Arnoldists became a considerable sect in Spain. This This
age indeed, was an epoch peculiarly prolific in sectarism. We will instance in proof of this, the Beguardæ, the Apostolics, the Frerots, the Lollards, without noticing a numerous spawn of
subordinate sects which sprang up like mushrooms from these Re fertile roots. One degree more of civilization and religious light
would have sufficed to make all these sectaries appear ridiculous, her .
and have consigned them to merited oblivion. ber this ARNOLD of PUICERDA--was a native of Catalonia, who I to
taught—that Jesus Christ and his apostles possessed nothing
either personally, or in common ;—that none that wore the haof bit of St Francis, would be damned ;-and that St Francis deof
scended annually into purgatory, and thence withdrew all the ale patients of his order on his return to Paradise ; in a word, he
fancied that the Franciscan institute would subsist to eternity. This man retracted his very whimsical conceptions before the tribunal of the inquisition; but, relapsing into his former eccen
tricity, he was consigned to perpetual imprisonment. of
ARTEMON—denied the divinity of Jesus Christ, and taught the same errors as did Theodotus of Byzantium. (See his article.)
ARTOTURITES--a branch of Montanists, so called from their offering bread and cheese in their religious rites: they also admitted females to the sacerdotal and episcopal functions, as Montanus had associated to his pretended ministry of Prophet Priscilla and Maximilla. Whence the Artoturites concluded, that women might be promoted to clerical orders, as well as persons of the other sex.
Their master had assumed the office of reformer ; and the disciples, as became them, had inherited his spirit. Every Montanist who had wit enough to devise some new method of honoring God, made it an essential article of his practice, and formed a distinct sect. Thus some among them, recollecting that the first inhabitants of the world, in their sacrifices offered to Almighty God the fruits of the earth and the products of their flocks, resolved to imitate their good old ancestors by offering bread and cheese.
As the Montanists affected great austerity, the spirit of mortification and sorrow for having offended God, they deemed it a principal part of the ministry to excite such sentiments in the heart of christians, and thought the fair sex better qualified than men to facilitate the desired effect. « One might behold,” says St Epiphanius, describing the peculiarities of this sect, “ a proCession of seven damsels clad in white garments, with each a
burning torch in their hand, entering their churches in the capacity of prophetesses. There they commenced their lamentations; deplored the misery of man; and by their doleful cries disposed the people to a kind of penitence." (Epiph. Hær. 49. Aug. de Hær. c. 28.) See the article MONTANUS.
ASCITES-another sect of Montanists who placed near their altar a kind of foot-ball well blown up, and danced around it. This they regarded as an emblem of their being themselves replenished with the Holy Spirit, a privilege which every Montanist pretended to. See again the article MONTANUS.
AscoPHITES-were a branch of Valentinians, who made their first appearance about the year 173. They rejected the Old Testament, denied the necessity of good works, for which they entertained a marked contempt ; and pretended that nothing more was required in order to sanctification, than simply to know God. Out of the aversion which they had for the sacred oblations made in the true church, they deemed it meritorious to break in pieces the consecrated vessels destined for the service of the altar." (Theod. Hær. Fab. I. 10, c. 10. Ittig. Hær. sect. 2. c. 14.)
ATHEIST-one who affects to disbelieve the existence of a Di. vine Being, or the superintendance of a wise and all-equitable Providence, since, according to the very sensible remarks of Cicero against the Epicurean system,-a God without Providence, properly speaking, is no God at all in regard of men. Of this description of Atheists, the number unfortunately, is but too considerable.
Holy Scripture speaks of Atheists in general as follows, (Ps. 13. al. 12.)-The fool hath said in his heart there is no God. It is the language of men corrupted and abominable. There is not one of them that doeth what is right. Their throat is an open sepulchre ; with their tongues they act deceitfully; the poison of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of cursing, and of bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and unhappiness is in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known; there is no fear of God before
The word of God here informs us, that Atheism is the growth of a corrupted heart. This truth many of our modern infidels themselves have been compelled to acknowledge; and daily experience confirms it. It is what was remarked in the book of Job (c. 21) above three thousand years ago. Depart from us, exclaim the impious Epicures of those early times, depart from Us; we will not receive the knowledge of thy ways. Who is the Almighty that we should serve Him? And what doth it profit us if we pray to Him? But, behold; in a moment they shall go