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VIII. after having carefully examined the book, censured it as containing some of the propositions of Baius which had been condemned by Pius V. and Gregory XIII. In the year 1650 five propositions-extracted from the work of Jansenius, were sent to Rome, with a request to the pope in the name of several
prelates of the church, solemnly to condemn them. The obnoxious propositions are those which follow :
1. Some of the Divine commandments are impossible to the faithful, according to their present circumstances ; although they wish and endeavour to observe them: they are left destitute of that grace by which they are rendered possible.
2. In the state of corrupt nature, no one ever resists interior grace.
3. In order to merit or demerit in the state of corrupt nature, the liberty which excludes necessity is not requisite in man; but it suffices to have the liberty which excludes compulsion.
4. The Semi-Pelagians admitted the necessity of preventing interior grace for every individual action, even the first beginnings of faith ; and they were heretics in pretending, that this grace was of such a nature, that the will had the power of resisting or consenting.
5. It is an error of the Semi-Pelagians to say—that Jesus Christ died and shed his blood for all men.
The first proposition is declared in the papal bull of Innocent X.-rash, impious, blasphemous, deserving of anathema, and heretical; the second, heretical; the third, also heretical; the fourth, false and heretical; the fifth, false, rash, scandalous ; and, in case it be understood in the sense that Jesus Christ died only for the predestinate, the pope condemns it as impious, blasphemous, injurious, derogatory from the divine mercy, and heretical
As the defenders of Jansenius did not pretend to excuse the propositions taken in their worst sense, but maintained, that this was not the sense of Jansenius; Pope Innocent, in a brief dated September 29, 1654, declared that he had condemned the doctrine contained in Jansenius's book. This explanation, though sufficiently explicit, did not satisfy the Jansenists; and Alexander VII. confirmed, by another brief, the bull of Innocent X. stating expressly, that the propositions had been condemned in the
sense of Jansenius ; and, upon the pressing application of the king of France, the same pope published a bull, dated February 15, 1665, in which was inserted a formula of abjuration upon oath of the proscribed propositions ;--enjoining all bishops to cause it to be signed. Some wished to decline it, and to observe only what they termed a respectful silence in reference to the formula, till Clement XI. finally decreed in his constitution of 1763, that this kind of respectful silence did not yield
due obedience to the decisions of the sovereign pontiffs--upon the business in question.
The clergy assembled at Paris in 1705, approved and accepted this pontifical constitution; which gave a death-blow to the advocates of Jansenism, after it had filled the most flourishing part of the Gallican and Belgian churches with religious tumult and insubordination.
BAPTISTS or ANABABTISTS_See that article.
BARDESANES a native of Syria, and one of the most illustrious champions of the christian faith-flourished under Marcus Aurelius who conquered Mesopotamia in 166. As this prince was an enemy to christianity, Apollonius his favourite wished to signalize his zeal by compelling Bardesanes to renounce his faith. But Bardesanes resolutely answered, that he feared not death; and that he could not hope to escape it, even though he should be willing to comply with what the emperor demanded.
This man—so enlightened and so virtuous-by a frailty incident to human nature, fell into the not less impious than absurd doctrine of the Valentinians; and with those infidels admitted a strange and fanciful generation of Eons; (See VALENTINUS) and denied the resurrection of the body. He did not, it is true, persist in the errors of that sect; but he adopted others. Like all the philosophers and theologians of his time, he wished to dive into the origin of evil, and to account for its existence in the universe. He saw the absurdity of making God the author of evil, and concluded that it had some other cause distinct from God: this cause, according to Bardesanes, of course was Satan or the Devil, whom he conceived to be the enemy of God, but not originally
his creature. He held, therefore, an evil principle, endowed with self-existence, and distinct from the Sripreme Being whom he acknowledged to be but one; not perceiving that self-existence necessarily included every other divine perfection.
Bardesanes's new system ascribed to Satan that department only, in the government of the universe, which appeared to him essentially requisite--in order to explain the origin of evil. Thus, said he, Almighty God created the universe and man: but the man which he formed at the beginning, was not man environed with the flesh; but the human soul united to a body endowed with subtility, and of a substance resembling its own nature. This was the soul which God had created according to his own image and likeness, and which, surprised by the artifices of Satan, had been persuaded to transgress the divine law. punishment of her crime, she was banished Paradise, and tied down to a carnal body, now become her prison.
As this was the effect of sin, Bardesanes concluded, 1st. That Jesus Christ had not assumed a human body; 2nd.-That we shall not rise again with our earthly body, but with a celestial body, which is to be the residence of an innocent and pure soul. Orig. cont. Marcion. Dial.)
He acknowledged the immortality of the soul, and the liberty, the omnipotence and providence of God. (Euseb. de Præp. Evang. 1. 1, c. 10.) He had combated fatalism in an excellent work of which Eusebius has preserved us a considerable fragment. But although he believed the soul of man exempt from the laws of destiny, he thought that, with regard to the body, every thing was ruled by fate. (Epiph. Hær. 36. Photius Bib, Cod. 123. Euseb. Hist. Eccles. 1. 4.)
BASILIDIANS—the followers of Basilides, an Egyptian philosopher who flourished about the commencement of the second century. The origin of the world and its co-existing evils—was at this time a principle object of philosophic research. Basilides regarded this second question as one the most interesting to human curiosity, and sought with much eagerness its solution in the books of the philosophers, the writings of Simon Magus and his disciple Menander, and even in the doctrines of christianity itself. His faith, however, was but superficial; and his curiosity not yet sated. He formed to himself a system made up of the principles of Pythagoras, those of Simon Magus, the dogmas of christianity, and the tenets of Judaism. (Člem. Alex. 1. 4. Strom.)
Basilides supposed that the universe was not created immediately by the Supreme Being, but by certain intellectual agents his creatures. This was the fashionable theorism of the day, and was almost general among the various sects which affected to descant upon the origin of the world, and its concomitant evils. According to Basilides the Supreme Being begot Understanding: Understanding produced the Word: the Word produced Prudence: Prudence generated Wisdom and Power : Wisdom and Power--the Virtues, the Principalities and the Angels: the Angels were of various orders; the first of which produced the first Heaven and so on, to the amount of three hundred and sixty-five. (See SIMON Magus, and SATURNINUS.) Those angels which occupy the lowest of the heavens, created this world; and of course it is no matter of surprise, that there should therein exist a mixture of good and evil. The empire of the universe they divided among themselves; and the chief angel of the heaven in which our earth is situated, had the Jewish nation for his inheritance; which accounts for the many prodigies operated in their favor. This ambitious angel wished to subject all the tribes of the earth to his Jews. Upon this the other angels entered into a league against him, and all nations became
enemies to the Jewish race. From that instant man was unhapThe py, groaning under the tyranny of the ambitious angels. The cels Supreme Being compassionating human wretchedness, sent down puz
his first-born son Intelligence, or Jesus the Christ, to deliver
those that should believe in him. berty ,
Basilides acknowledged the miracles which the christians Prep
ascribed to our blessed Redeemer. Nevertheless he denied the ellent incarnation, and maintained that Jesus Christ had assumed only frage the appearance of man; that in his passion he had exchanged from figures with Simon of Cyrenè, and that thus the Jews had crucivody
fied Simon instead of Christ, who attended as spectator, and deBil
rided their infuriated malice in a form invisible to them; and then ascended into heaven to his Father. Basilides did not con
ceive it incumbent on any one to die for Christ. On the con. ilo trary, he affirmed that the martyrs suffered death for Simon of
Cyrené, not for Jesus who did not die at all. (Iren. 1. 1, c. 32.)
With a variety of other ridiculous errors, Basilides imagined ili
that each individual had two souls ; in order, with the Pythato goreans, to explain more easily the struggles of reason and the passions. (Clem. Alex. l. 2, Strom.)
He was a great profind
cient in the black art, and had his head brim-full of the reveries ity
of Cabalism. He fancied that, because the sun performed his
annual revolution, according to the ideas of former times, in of 365 days, this number must be peculiarly agreeable to the Su
preme Being; and expressed it by these letters of the alphabet 4.
in the word Abraxas, to which he attached the privilege of drawing down the favours of heaven upon those that used it. Hence it was engraved upon stones, which, from the letters inscribed, were called Abraxas ; and of which the different cabinets of Europe contain a prodigious number. Magic characters and superstition were then in general use; and the Abraxas were quickly propagated in all directions. It became usual to engrave upon them the symbols expressive of their supposed virtues, and the favours expected to be obtained. (Montfaucon, Antiq. expliq. T. 2, l. 3.)
Those ignorant and superstitious christians who had adopted the principles of Pythagoras, imagined that Jesus Christ resided in the sun, and that the Abraxas had the virtue of attracting
graces upon those that wore them; and, in order to distinguish themselves from tho Basilidians and other Cahalists, they caused his image to be engraved upon their Abraxas. In fact, numbers of ill-instructed christians confided much in Talismans and even in St Chrysostom's time, some wore medals of Alexander the Great, ascribing to them the virtue of preserving his infatuated clients. (Chrys. Catech. 2.)
The Basilidians propagated their sect in Spain and in the Gauls. Stupidity and superstition embraced their phantastic system ; and even learned men have put their ingenuity on the
rack to discover the mysteries of christianity in their unintelligible symbols. (See Basnage, Hist. des Juifs, T. 2, 1. 3. hn Montfaucon Ant. Expl. t. 2.)
BEGHARDA or BEGUARDÆ--false devotees, who appeared in Germany at the commencement of the fourteenth
A love of singularity, and, perhaps at first, a desire of rivalling the virtue of the mendicant and other religious orders lately established in the church, collected together, and united in particular
ide societies--crowds of these wandering devotees in the different re
I. sorts where they happened to assemble. Societies of this de scription were formed in Germany, in France and Italy, where they were known by the name of Beguards, of Frerots, of Fratricelli, of Dulcinists, Apostolics, &c. These sects had each
th their private conventicles, without any common head; only the Frerots and the Dulcinists had their leaders apart. The Beguards were a disorderly assemblage of men and women, who
do pretended to lead a life of greater perfection than other christians.
According to these sectaries, there was a certain degree of perfection to which every christian ought to aspire, and beyond de which no man could advance; otherwise, they pretended, some might attain to a higher state of perfection, than our Saviour
M Jesus Christ. But when once a person is actually arrived at the pr desired term, he has no farther need of grace, of exercises of virtue, or of prayer. He is incapable of sin, and henceforward even in this life enjoys all possible beatitude.
On their way to this state of impeccability, and even after its supposed attainment, they professed a more than ordinary tenderness for each other, and soon perceived they were not yet exempt from the tyranny of the passions. They found it convenient too, to satisfy these passions, and hit upon a witty expedient to do away the crime. The act of fornication these hypocritical pretenders to perfection reckoned no sin, because, like our modern grand reformer Martin Luther--in defiance of the divine prohibition, they deemed it an act of necessity, especially under temptation ; but to kiss a person was highly cri. minal.
Their errors were condemned in a council held at. Vienne under Clement V. in the year 1311, they were classed as follows:
1st. Man may attain even in this life a degree of perfection which will render him incapable of sin, or of increasing in grace.
2nd. Those who are arrived at this perfection, ought neither to fast
t nor pray ; because in this state the senses are so completely subject to the spirit and to reason, that a person may freely indulge his body whatsoever it crayes.