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" and have quite another notion of the worship which " is agreeable to him : It is I myself, if I be worthy “ of it, who am the reasonable temple of God. I re" ceive in me Jesus Christ, his Son, the living image “ of the Divine Majesty. A soul instructed in the “ truth is God's altar ; and as to the honours and sa“ crifices due to him, I hold them to consist of
pure " and pious prayers. How then can I be a schisma“ tical Pagan ?"
In this description we may discern the worship of the Christian church, before it was altered by the mixture of numberless Pagan or Judaical ceremonies, and corrupted by secular pride. So that if Faustus be not an audacious liar, which there is no reason to think, there was nothing reprehensible in the Manichæan worship. Manichæus, who separated himself from the Catholic Church in the third century, retained the worship as he found it, and transmitted it to his followers, whilst the Catholics altered it
every day by new superstitions.
This also is what Faustus fails not to retort upon Augustin, and to represent the Catholics as schisma, tics who, having separated themselves from the Gentiles, had retained many of their errors and superstitions. “ You liave substituted, says he, your Aga
pce to the sacrifices of the Pagans, and to their idols
your martyrs, whom you serve with the very same “ honours. You appease the shades of the dead “ with wine and feasts; you celebrate the solemn “ festivals of the Gentiles, their calends and their " solstices ; and as to their nanners, those you have “ retained without any alteration. Nothing distin
guishes you from the Pagans, except that your assemblies apart from thein."
you hold There is in these accusations some exaggeration and falsehood; but it must be confessed that there is also some truth, and that Paganism had already begun to enter along with the Pagans into the church. It increased greatly in process of time.
The * Vuldenses and the Albigenses were persecuted and massacred, under the pretence of being Manichæans, A. D. 1022. which cruelty continued in Europe long afterwards against persons falsely accused of this heresy.
It has been for a long time a kind of merit to ac cuse, and even to calumniate heretics, and a crime to excuse them. Why should a man engage in their defence, unless he be engaged in their errors ? This spirit and temper passed from the Jews to the Christians, and hath continued to this day : and so far is it carried, that to commend the learning, the eloquence, the abilities, the virtues of some illustrious sectary, is to be a favourer of heretics, and to tread the paths that lead to excommunication. The learned world is well acquainted with this ecclesiastical policy, and not ignorant of its reasons.
Upon a fair examination, it will appear that no part of history hath been more falsified and misrepresented than that which relates to sects and heresies. The frantic extravagances, the strange impurities, the detestable abominations which have been imputed to many societies who invoked the holy name of Jesus
Beausobre wrote a history of these persecuted Christia niand of the Reformation in Germany, which, as I am informed, is in the hands of his relations. If they would offer proposals for printing it by subscription, it is to be hoped that all lovers of literature would join to recommend and encourage the undertaking. I can answer for one, though an inconsiderable person.
Christ, appear to me as so many outrages done to Christianity, and I cannot read without indignation those evidently fabulous stories of ancient sects, charged with monstrous errors, and infamous ceremonies. All this is the effect of blind zeal, weak credulity; precipitation, and blunder. For what more specious argument against Christianity, than this multitude of sects, seeming to vie with one another which should have the honour to invent the most absurd opinions, and the most profane and ungodly rites ? The Pagan philosophers failed not to make their advantage of it, and by it to expose Christianity to the contempt and hatred of the people. It is true that the philosophers who passed over from Judaism and Paganism to Christianity, corrupted the simplicity of the gospe!, and turned it into a contentious religion, and filled it with unedifying speculations : but as to impure and abominable mysteries; either they who practised them were not Christians but true Pagans, or those pretended mysteries were fable and fiction.
The Christians accused Manes of being a magician upon very slender grounds. If he had done what Saint Macarius did, there would have been more reason for the suspicion. Palladius, in his history of this monk, tells us that having interrogated a human skull, the skull answered him, and let him into all the mystery of the state of the dead. It must be confessed that this miracle hath a very magical air, and that, without the best attestations in the world of being a sound Catholic, whosoever should do as much in the territories of the holy inquisition, would run a great risque of being sent to see whether the skull had given a true account. Fasting is a kind of austerity too much esteemed
in the East, to have been neglected by the Manichæ
The Syrians in general, under which name I comprehend all the communions of the Levant, and the nations beyond Syria, are naturally very austere. Thence it came to pass that monkery, born and nursed in Egypt, made a great and rapid progress amongst the Syrians : thence the Stylite, so famous in those parts, whom some heretics called holy birds, and martyrs in the air. The Easterns are very sober, and in Persia the sobriety of the Westerns would be accounted no better than intemperance. The Syrians are perhaps the greatest fasters in the universe. Of the three hundred and sixty-five days of the year, they have one hundred and sixty of fixed fasts, without counting the weekly fasts of Wednesday and Friday observed in all castern communions. I cannot forbear citing on this occasion a passage from the moral system of the Guebres, or ancient Persians. 66 When “ others keep a fast, the meaning is, that they eat “ nothing before dinner: our fast consists in endea• vouring to restrain the organs of our body, our “ hands, our eyes, our tongues from all sin. It is “ better to abstain froin concupiscence and vice, than “ from food.” This indeed is the fast recommended by the prophets, but it is the least brilliant, and the most difficult, and not at all calculated to please hypocrites.
Thus far from Beausobre, to which I add :
Manes drew up a theological system, and entered into a minute detail of things transacted before Adam, for which he had no proofs to give from Scripture or from reason, and therefore thought it convenient to pretend to inspiration. If a man had asked him, where wast thou when the dæmons brake prison, and
fought fought with the first man and with the living spirit? He must have replied, The Lord hath revealed these things to his servant Manes. To which the other might have said ; foretell us then future events, and work some miracles, that we may be satisfied of thy imission, and then it will be time enough to take thy marvellous doctrines into consideration.
It may seem strange that he had disciples ; but it will seem so only to those who consider not what passes in the world. Manes was bold, ingenious, learned, and insinuating ; but men, who resembled him in nothing besides effrontery, have found admirers and followers.
Jerom says, Nullus potest heresin, struere, nisi qui ardentis ingenii est, et habet dona naturre, quce a Deo artifice sunt creata. It is usually as Jerom observes ; but to this general rule there are exceptions. Multum refert in quce tempora cujusque virtus inciderit. Sometimes the most frantic enthusiast, or the most absurd and unintelligible mortal shall be the author of a doctrine or of a system, and shall beget sons and daughters after his own image and similitude. True it is that such a sect seldom holds out for above half å century, or descends beyond the second generation ; as amongst the brutes, a mule, whose sire is an ass, leaves no posterity, and is the last of the family.
The heresies which arose amongst Christians; admitted the truth of the Christian religion, and were a sort of Christianity, though sometimes so corrupted and adulterated as hardly to deserve that appellation. Mohammedism itself made some concessions to the Jews and to the Christians; and if the author of it had denied the divine mission of Moses and of Chrisi, he would not have gathered five disciples. ChristiaCC2