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country clowns, who, pretending to devote themselves to mar: tyrdom, wandered and roamed up and down the country for a certain time, pampering themselves as victims fed for the sacrifice, and at length precipitated. headlong from the rocks, or into rivers, or otherwise put an end to their own existence; which they called martyrdom. Many of them would needs compel travellers whom they happened to fall in with, to murder them. Some catholics who met them in this strange frenzy, to save their own lives, and not imbrue their hands in the blood of these fanatics, insisted first upon their being bound, before they would proceed to make them martyrs; and when they were se cured, they beat them soundly till they returned to their senses, and were content to live. (See Theodoret, Hæret. Fab.)
Such are the extravagances into which men are liable to fall, when once they have abandoned the paths of truth, and follow in its stead' the guidance of error and their passions. The errors of the sect were combated with success, chiefly by St Optatus of Milevum, and the great St Augustine. The former observes, that passion was the
mother of the schism, ambition the nurse, and avarice the champion in the cause : and St Augustine remarks in general, on this occasion, that, all who disturb the peace of the church, do it either blinded by pride, distracted with envy, or seduced by worldly interest, soft passions and unruly lust. The united efforts of these two great men and most enlightened pastors of the church, had given a mortal blow to the Donatist faction. But it was not totally extinct till after the Vandal conquest of Africa, nor even before the seventh century.
Against these sectaries St Augustine lays down the true principles of the unity, extent and perpetuity of the church. He demonstrates, 1st, the falsehood of that doctrine--that sinners are not members of the church; since Jesus Christ
the church to a net in which are enclosed all kinds of fish, both good and bad ;-to a' field in which tares are mixed with the good grain; to a barn-floor on which is found chaff together with the wheat: and he tells us it shall so remain till the last day, when he will separate the good from the bad grain, the chaff from the wheat, &c. The sacraments which he instituted for the reconciliation of sinners, are themselves a striking proof that the latter are within the pale of the church.
2nd. He shows that the Donatists were palpably in error--to suppose that the catholic and universal church could be cooped up in a corner of Africa, confined within the limits of their own sect, and not diffused, more or less, over the whole christian world, as it was in fact at the period in question ; the greater part of Europe, Asia, and even Africa itself
, being then catholic. 3rd. He shews the absurdity of the idea--that the sacraments were null when administered by prevaricating priests or bishops. For the efficacy of the sacraments depends not upon the interior dispe.
sitions of the person who confers them: it is Jesus Christ himself that baptises and absolves by the organ even of a wicked minister. 4th. St Augustine teaches, that the unity of the church consists in the profession of one and the same faith; in the participation of the same sacraments ; in submission to its legitimate pastors. This unity, he says, it is never lawful to disturb by schism. And these principles are applicable equally to every age; they alike 'condemn all the various sects that ever have relinquished the communion of the catholic church. Nothing but inculpable ignorance can excuse any one that refuses to embrace it.
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DOSITHEUS-See SIMON the MAGICIAN.
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DUALISTS-a name given to those who maintained, that in the universe there are two eternal and necessary principles ; one of them the efficient cause of all good, the other author of all evil. See the articles MARCION and MANES.
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DULCINUS—the disciple of the infamous Segarel, and, after bis master's death, himself the leader of the sect called APOSTO
(See the article.)
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DUNKERS (or Tunkers)—first appeared about the year 1721, chiefly in Pennsylvania. Their dress resembles that of the Dominican friars: they never shave their beard, have different apartments for the sexes, and live principally on roots and vegetables, except at their love feasts when they eat only mutton. No bed is allowed them but in case of sickness, having in their respective cells a bench to lie upon, and a block of wood for their pillow. Their principal tenet is the mortification of the body; and they deny the eternity of punishment. They are commonly called the harmless Dunkers. This account is given of them in the Sketch of Mr Evans. They seem to be ambitious of rivalling in austerity of life—some of the religious orders in the Roman catholic church: it would be well if they copied also their orthodoxy of belief.
As to what regards the eternity of punishment-it is one of those articles which, being incomprehensible to human reason, our faith commands us to receive with an humble submission of our understanding to revealed truth. Here to reason is -to risk our being lost in the unfathomable abyss of the Divine immensity; and it is our only secure way to follow in this, as in all other doctrines of revelation, the unerring guid. ance of that church, which Christ himself enjoins us all to hearunder pain of being looked upon as heathens or incorrigible sinners. Thus we shall avoid the rash presumption of too curiously prying into the unsearchable ways of God. Incomprehen
sible are his judgments; and who, exclaims the royal psalmist, shall be able to recount the mightiness of thy wrath! (Ps. 89.)
EBIONITES-a word which in Hebrew signifies poor, and was appropriated to a sect of men who had adopted the sentiments of the Nazareans, adding certain practices and doctrines peculiar to themselves. For instance, the Nazareans received all the books of the ancient Testament comprised in the canon of the Jews ; while the Ebionites rejected all the prophets ; held in abomination the names of David, of Solomon, of Jeremy and Ezechiel; and, of all the books of holy scripture, they admitted only the Pentateuch. Origen distinguishes two sorts of Ebionites, and informs us, that some among them held with the Nazareans, that Christ was born of a virgin ; the rest maintained, that he had been brought into the world in the same manner precisely, as were other men. One branch of the Ebionites were strictly temperate and chaste, while another refused to admit into their communion any person unmarried, although not yet arrived at the age of puberty, These moreover practised polygamy, though they scrupled to touch any animal food, or even any thing derived from animals, as milk, eggs, &c. They received, in common with the Nazareans, the gospel according to St Matthew, but in many places adulterated ; and among a variety of other corruptions, they had retrenched the genealogy of Christ, which the Nazareans had retained. Besides the Hebrew gospel of St Matthew, the Ebionites had adopted many other books as scripture under the names of James, John and other apostles, and also the apocryphal voyages of St Peter. (Origen con. Cels. Epiph. Hær. 20. Iren. 1. c. 20. Euseb. Hist. Eccles. 1. 3, c. 27.)
ELCESAITES, Ossonians or Sampseans-were a sect of fanatics who jumbled together a few ideas of christianity--with the errors of the Ebionites, the principles of judicial astrology, and the practice of the black art; the invocation of demons, witchcraft, and the observance of the Jewish ceremonial law. With them, we must not look for consistency or connection. They adored after all-only one God, and thought they did him mighty honor by plunging into the bath several times in the day: they acknowledged one Christ, one Messiah whom they called the Great King. It is not known whether they held Jesus to be this Messiah, or some other not yet arrived. But they attribut
ed to him a human form, although invisible, and a stature of about thirty-eight leagues.' They concluded, that the Holy Ghost was a female, because the word in Hebrew is of the feminine gender, and for fear they should otherwise be obliged to ascribe two fathers to Jesus Christ.
Under the emperor Trajan a Jew named Elxai embraced their sect, and composed a book of prophecies, which, he assured them, contained wisdom divine. The Elcesaites imagined it had dropped from heaven. Elxai himself was honored by the sect as a Puissance revealed, and predicted by the prophets ; his name in the Hebrew tongue signifying revealed : they revered all his
progeny even to adoration, and deemed it a sacred duty to die for them. So low as the reign of Valens two sisters of the race of Elxai, or the blessed race, still survived: their nanies were Martha and Martenna ; and they were worshipped by the Elcesaites as goddesses. When they went abroad they were tended in crouds by these ridiculous enthusiasts, who industri. ously collected the dust of their feet, and even caught the spittle from their mouth : these precious relics they preserved with religious veneration, and carried them about with them in boxes as sovereign preservatives against misfortune. (Epiph. Hær. 19.)
ENCRATITES. See TATIAN.
EON DE L'ETOILE-was a native of Britanny, and fourished in the twelfth age. At that epoch the Latin word EUM was pronounced EON, and the choir, instead of singing Per EUM qui venturus est judicare vivos et mortuos, intoned Per Eon qúl. venturus est judicare vivos et mortuos. This pronunciation at tracted the notice of Eon de l'Etoile; and it struck him vex forcibly, that he was himself the identical character alluded t and that of course he should come again to judge the quick at the dead, and by consequence,---was the Son of God. He pul lishes this ridiculous conceit; and the silly vulgar gives it fu credit; attends him in crouds through divers provinces o France, and marks its progress with the despoliation, both of pri vate property and, particularly, of religious communities. Éon allotted to his disciples their respective rank and dignity. Some were angels; others apostles. One was denominated Wisdom ; Another Judgment ; a third Domination or Science; and why not a fourth, as in Cromwell's religious army, Praise-God-Bare bones ? Several puissant lords had repeatedly dispatched & force to apprehend this infatuated enthusiast, but to little purpose. For Eon had the address, by courteous treatment and well timed liberalities, to avert the danger. It was confidently given out and generally credited, that he was a conjurer and a magician ; and that it was not in the power of man to seize his person. However, the archbishop of Rheims succeeded in the
desperate attempt ; and then, it was supposed the demons liad forsaken him. This prelate caused him to appear before the council convoked at Rheims by Eugenius III. against the novel doctrines of Gilbert of Poréa. Eon was declared lunatic, and sent to the asylum. But Judgment and Science, and some few more of his disciples who remained incorrigible in their folly, were sentenced to the stake.
(See d'Argentré Collect. Jud. Natal. Alex. in sæc. 12. Dup. bibliot. douzieme siecle.)
In this ignorant and besotted age, while one part of the people was seduced by Eon de l'Etoile, Peter Bruys, Tanchelin, and à croud of other fanatics propagated their respective errors, and excited the flock against their lawful pastors; and theologians were busily employed in their schools in discussing subtle questions of divinity, and disputed with much asperity on points of trifling significance and metaphysical minutiæ. The people, too ignorant to interfere in these scholastic contests, were in other respects very ill instructed in religious knowledge, and ever open to the seduction of the first impostor who thought it worth his while to mislead them; and unfortunately, of characters of this description, in an age of ignorance there is seldom any scarcity.
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EPISCOPALIANS-an appellation appropriated chiefly to the members of the church of England. They insist much on the divine origin of their bishops, and clerical ordination. Their present doctrines are set forth in thirty-nine articles established in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and ordinarily to be found in their book of Common Prayer ; although their sister episcopalian
church of America has curtailed the number to twenty. In Scotland, since the revolution in favour of William III. and the house of Brunswick, a large proportion of Episcopalians, and no small number of them even in England, through their firm attachment to the Stuart family, long refused to acknowledge the new settlement, and were denominated non-jurors—until the decease of the Pretender whom they stiled Prince Charles, in 1788; when they thought fit to tender their allegiance to the reigning sovereign. Since that period the odious distinction of non-juror has been done away.
Of the Episcopalians, or the church of England, the king is recognised as supreme head : there are two archbishops and twenty-four bishops : each prelate has a seat in the house of peers, with the exception only, of the bishop of Sodor and Man. The established church in Ireland is the same with that in England. Four only, out of eighteen bishops and four archbishops, who constitute the protestant prelacy in that kingdom since its union with Great Britain, sit in the house of lords, assembled at Westminster.