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by the unanimous voice of the assembly. He refused to surrender the episcopal residence-till the downfal of his protectress Zenobia, when, upon the application of the catholic bishop, the conqueror and Roman emperor, Aurelian, decreed that the
li episcopal house should be adjudged to the person, to whom the bishops of Rome should have addressed their letters of com
d munion; concluding very rationally, that if any individual re
hi fused submission to the decisions of his religious superiors
, he pi
U ought from that instant to renounce all claim to what belonged to them.
di (Theodoret, Hæret. Fab. l. 2, c. 8.) Upon this principle hè accorded to the catholics--that protection which
hi the laws hold out to every subject indiscriminately,--aiding him
ch to drive from his premises the unjust intruder ; and to every so
NC ciety-in order to the expulsion of such members as it dislikes
, or who refuse obedience to its rules. But he did not punish ble the refractory bishop by depriving him of the rights of a citizen;
to nor did the catholics require it. The Antiochian synod having thus condemned the innovating
lag doctrine, together with its author, wrote circular letters to all the churches of the christian world--to inform them of its pro
bu ceedings; and they were received with general approbation. Consequently, the divinity of Christ was at that early period distinctly professed ; and the smallest deviation in the generally received doctrine affecting it, was deemed heretical and destructive of the
in religion. The sentiments of Paul relative to this great and fundamental article of christianity, were indeed precisely the same
ing with those of Theodotus in the preceding century: the same arguments were by him urged in their defence: they were combated in both instances with the same principles, and with similar effect. No traces of either sect were visible towards the whf close of the fifth age; nor had they ever been considerable for
tha their numbers or respectability. However, St Lucian of An
tair tioch seems to have been deceived by the subtile reasoning, or rather the crafty dissimulation of his master Paul; and, as we are informed by St Alexander of Alexandria, remained for
Be some years separated from the communion of the catholic church. The Arians even boasted, that Arius had received his der doctrine from him; but he is justified with regard to that aspersion--by the panegyrics of St Chrysostom and St Jerom; by the express testimony of the ancient book on the Trinity, among
bor the works of St Athanasius (tom. 2, p. 279); by his own orthodox confesson of faith in Sozomen, (1. 3, c. 5, p. 502) and by the authority of the church, which from his death has al. ways ranked him among its illustrious martyrs.
PELAGIANS-Pelagius was by birth a Briton, as we are in lon formed by St Augustine, St Prosper and Marius Mercator'; be and was a monk of Bangor in Wales. His name in the lan
WOT not his
oth of 1
guage of his country was Morgan; which abroad he changed into the Greek word of the same import Πελαγιος from Πελαγος the sea. (See Usher. Antiq. c. 8.) He travelled into Italy, and lived a long time at Rome, where he acquired a reputation for virtue. Falling in with Rufinus the Syrian, a disciple of Theodosius of Mopsuestia who came to Rome about the year 400, he learned from him the errors which he began immediately to propagate-though at first in private
against the necessity of Divine grace. He wished first to find out-how the people were disposed to receive his doctrine, before he openly committed himself; and he sounded them by means of his disciples: the chief of these was Celestius-a man, according to Mercator, nobly born, assuming, and of a subtle ready wit. He was a Scotchman and is called, somewhat vulgarly, by St Jerom- a fellow bloated with Scottish gruels” or crowdies; meaning, we suppose, to censure in him the want of that spirit and practice of mortification, becoming his profession of a monk. He had joined Pe. lagius at Rome; and a little before that city was taken, passed with him
into Africa in 409. Pelagius went soon into the East but left Celestius at Carthage, where he entered himself among the candidates for the priesthood. Meanwhile Paulinus, the deacon of Milan, who was then in Africa, preferred against him an accusation of heresy to Aurelius bishop of Carthage, about the beginning of the year 412. Aurelius assembled a council in that city, to which Paulinus presented two memorials—charging Celestius with holding the following errors : that Adam would equally have been mortal and have died, though he had not sinned ;—that his sin was prejudicial to himself alone, not to his posterity ;-that children are now born in the same state in which they would have been, if Adam had never sinned; and that, if they die without receiving baptism, they nevertheless obtain eternal life.
Celestius was heard ; and notwithstanding all his evasions, he confessed enough to be convicted of obstinate error; so that he was finally condemned and deprived of ecclesiastical communion. Before the close of the same year, the great St Augustine undertook the refutation of Pelagianism. This, however, he did -without naming the authors of that heresy, in order the more easily to reclaim them. Pelagius himself he even praised-in a book which he wrote against his errors, and says: “ As I understand, he is a holy man very far advanced in christian virtue -a good man, and worthy of praise.” (I. de merito Peccat. et Remiss, c. 1. 3.) But-after his condemnation, Orosius and other fathers accuse him of loving banquets and the baths, and of leading a life of softness and sensual indulgence. He made a long stay in Palestine; and in 415, was summoned to appear before certain bishops at Jerusalem ; who thought fit to write to the pope for information in this affair, and to abide by his an
However, in December the same year, a council of fourteen bishops, among whom was John of Jerusalem, was held at Diospolis or Lydda ; in which Pelagius was obliged to appear and give an account of his faith : two Gaulish bishops who had been expelled from their sees, Heros of Arles, and Lazarus of Aix, were his accusers. Pelagius escaped personal condemnation by subscribing to the condemnation of his errors. But this he did—with certain mental reservations--so as to deceive the synod; for, in fact, he never altered his opinions. (St Aug. 1. de gestis Pelag. c. 20.) After this, his vanity was at its zenith ; and he boasted loudly of his imaginary victory; although he durst not show the proceedings of the council, because the people would have seen in them, that he had been compelled to disavow his tenets. He contented himself with writing to his friends ; informing them that fourteen bishops had approved his doctrine ; which asserted--that a man may live without sin, and may easily keep the Divine commandments, if he will. But he did not say--that he had added in the council these words—with the grace of God: and he superadded in his letter the word casily, which he had not dared to affirm before the synod, as St Augustine observes. The bishops of Africa were too well acquainted with his artifices to be imposed upon; and, assembling two councils, one at Carthage, the other at Milevis, in 416, they wrote against him to Pope Innocent, who—with commendations of their pastoral vigilance
, in 417 declared Pelagius and Celestius excommunicated : for he perceived, that the answers of the former in the council of Diospolis were no way satisfactory; as appears from the epistolary correspondence between him and St Augustine upon this affair. Pelagius wrote to Rome in his own justification ; and Celestius, who had got himself ordained priest at Ephesus, went thither in person, where Zozimus had succeeded Innocent in the papal chair in March 417. To him Celestius presented a confession of faith, in which he was very explicit on the first articles of the creed, and professed that if in some of his letters he had advanced any thing erroneous, he submitted it to his judgment, and begged to be set right. Pope Zozimus had so much regard to his pretended submission, that he wrote in his favor to the African prelates ; though he would not take off the excommunication which they had pronounced against Celestius, but deferred passing sentence personally for two months. In the mean time St Aurelius assembled in 418, a council at Carthage, of two hundred and fourteen bishops ; which renewed the sentence of excommunication against Celestius, and declared its firm adherence to the decree of
Innocent. Zozimus having received their letters of information, condemned the Pelagians, and cited Celestius to appear again. The latter secretly withdrew from Rome, and returned into the East;
thus demonstrating the insincerity of his late professions of submission, and his pretended wishes to be set right. Upon this Zozimus published a solemn sentence of excommunication against both Pelagius and Celestius, and sent it into Africa, and to all the principal churches of the East. Eighteen Italian bishops refusing to subscribe the letter and sentence of pope Zozimus, were deposed. The most learned of these, as well as the most obstinate, was Julian of Eclanum in Campania, which see is now removed to Avellino. His writings show him to have been one of the most self-conceited of human beings; full of pride and a contempt of all other men, but of quick parts and abundance of ready wit.
The chief errors of Pelagianism, as is plain from what has been said above, regard original sin and divine grace: the former they denied, with the necessity of the latter. They also affirmed that a man—independently of grace—could live entirely exempt from sin; and they extolled the virtues of the heathens. The contrary truths of the catholic faith St Augustine maintained with invincible force; and he proved from the clearest passages of Holy Scripture, that all men are sinners, and bound to pray for the pardon of their sins : for, without an extraordinary grace, (such as was given to the Virgin Mary) even saints offend by small transgressions of a faulty inadvertence; against which they watch, and for which they live in daily compunction. He also proves,
that the virtues of heathens are often counterfeit ; for instance,—whenever they are influenced with motives of yain glory, or other vicious qualities : they are true moral virtues, and may deserve some temporary recompence if they spring purely from principles of moral honesty. But no virtue can be meritorious of eternal life, which is not animated by divine charity, and which is not produced by a supernatural gift of grace. He teaches, that the divine grace obtained for us by our blessed Redeemer, works in us the consent of our will to all virtue, though not without our free concurrence; so that all the good that can be in us, is to be attributed to the Creator; and no one ought to boast of his good works by contrasting them with those of other men. But God cannot be the author of evil: this arises entirely from the malice and defect of rectitude in the free will of the creature; to whom nothing remains-without the Divine concurrence but the wretched power of self-depravation and corruption, or at most, of doing that from self love, which ought to be done for God alone. It cannot-without grace-do any action, of which God is the supernatural end, nor of which, by consequence, He will be the final recompence.
Through the corruption of human nature by sin, pride being become the darling passion of our heart, men are born with a propensity to Pelagianism, or principles which flatter an opinion of our own strength, merit and self sufficiency. We cannot
therefore be surprised, that this heresy found advocates ; rather, it is wonderful it should have had no more. The wound would certainly have been much deeper and more severely felt by the church of God, had not Divine Providence raised up so eminent a doctor of his grace, as was St Augustine, to be a bulwark for the defence of the truth; and to him is the church indebted, as to the chief instrument of God in overthrowing this heresy.
From its ashes sprang Semi-Pelagianism, the authors of which were certain priests, bishops and monks in Gaul,—at Lerins, and in other parts in the vicinity of Marseilles. St Prosper and Hilarius, two zealous and learned laymen, informed St Augustine by letter in 429, that these persons expressed the utmost admiration for all his other actions and words; but took of fence at his doctrine of grace, as if it destroyed free-will in man. They taught, that the beginning of faith, and the first desire of virtue, are from the creature, and move God to bestow that grace which is necessary for men to execute and accomplish good works. They said, that as to children who died without baptism, and those infidels to whom the faith is never preached, the reason of their misfortune is that God foresees they would not make a good use of longer life, or of the gospel; and that he on this account deprives them of those graces. St Augustine wrote two books against this error ; one entitled On the Predestination of the Saints; the other on the Gift of Perseverance ; showing that the authors of this doctrine did not recede from the great principle of Pelagianism, and that, to ascribe to the creature the beginnings of virtue, is in reality, to give the whole to it and not to God. He treats the Semi-Pelagians as brethren, because they erred without obstinacy; and their error had not been yet condemned by any express definition of the church.
The principal persons who espoused it, seem to have been Cassian at Marseilles, and certain monks of Lerins. It was condemned in the second council of Orange under St Cæsarius in 529, confirmed by pope Boniface II. in a letter to that saint.
The famous Vincent of Lerins has been falsely classed by some in the list of Semi-Pelagians. There were two other Vincents living at Marseilles at that very time; and, very possibly, there were many others of the same name, one of whom may have been a Semi-Pelagian, whence the mistake in all appearance originated. At all events, it is certain, that Vincent of Lerins condemned Semi-Pelagianism with great warmth,
and highly extolled the letter of pope Celestine to the bishops of Gaul. To guard the faithful against the dangerous snares spread on every side in order to seduce them, and to open the
of those already seduced by the false and perplexing glosses of subtle refiners, St Vincent, with great clearness and force of reasoning, wrote a book in the year 434, which he entitled A Commonetory against Heretics in general. The saint here lays down as a