The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire
By Edward Gibbon
          THE  indissoluble connection  of  civil  and  ecclesiastical
          affairs  has compelled  and  encouraged  me  to  relate  the
          progress,   the   persecutions,   the   establishment,   the
          divisions, the final  triumph, and the gradual corruption of
          Christianity. I have  purposely delayed the consideration of
          two religious events  interesting  in  the  study  of  human
          nature, and important  in  the decline and fall of the Roman
          empire. I. The  institution  of the monastic life; (1) and II. 
          The conversion of the northern barbarians.

          I. Prosperity and  peace  introduced  the distinction of the
          vulgar and the Ascetic  Christians.  (2)  The  loose  and 
          imperfect practice of  religion  satisfied the conscience of
          the multitude. The  prince  or  magistrate,  the  soldier or
          merchant, reconciled their  fervent  zeal and implicit faith
          with the exercise  of their profession, the pursuit of their
          interest, and the  indulgence  of  their  passions  but  the
          Ascetics, who obeyed  and  abused  the rigid precepts of the
          Gospel,  were  inspired   by  the  savage  enthusiasm  which
          represents man as  a  criminal,  and  God  as a tyrant. They
          seriously renounced the  business  and  the pleasures of the
          age; abjured the  use  of  wine,  of flesh, and of marriage;
          chastised  their  body,   mortified  their  affections,  and
          embraced  a  life   of  misery,  as  the  price  of  eternal
          happiness. In the  reign  of  Constantine  the Ascetics fled
          from a profane and degenerate world to perpetual solitude or
          religious society. Like the first Christians of Jerusalem, (3) 
          they resigned the  use  or  the  property  of their temporal
          possessions; established regular communities of the same sex
          and  a  similar   disposition;  and  assumed  the  names  of
          Hermits,Monks, and Anachorets, expressive  of their
          lonely retreat in  a natural or artificial desert. They soon
          acquired the respect  of the world, which they despised; and
          the loudest applause was bestowed on this DIVINE PHILOSOPHY,
          (4) which surpassed, without the aid of science or reason, the 
          laborious virtues of  the  Grecian  schools. The monks might
          indeed contend with  the  Stoics in the contempt of fortune,
          of  pain,  and   of   death:  the  Pythagorean  silence  and
          submission were revived  in  their  servile  discipline; and
          they disdained as  firmly  as  the Cynics themselves all the
          forms and decencies  of  civil  society. But the votaries of
          this Divine Philosophy  aspired  to imitate a purer and more
          perfect model. They  trod  in the footsteps of the prophets,
          who had retired  to  the  desert  ;  (5) and they restored the 
          devout and contemplative  life, which had been instituted by
          the Essenians in Palestine and Egypt. The philosophic eye of
          Pliny had surveyed  with astonishment a solitary people, who
          dwelt among the  palm-trees near the Dead Sea; who subsisted
          without money; who  were  propagated  without women; and who
          derived  from  the  disgust  and  repentance  of  mankind  a
          perpetual supply of voluntary associates. (6) 

          Egypt, the fruitful  parent  of  superstition,  afforded the
          first example of  the monastic life. Antony, (7) an illiterate 
          (8) youth of  the  lower  parts  of  Thebais,  distributed his 
          patrimony,  (9) deserted  his  family  and  native  home,  and 
          executed his monastic  penance  with  original  and intrepid
          fanaticism. After a  long  and  painful  novitiate among the
          tombs and in  a  ruined  tower,  he boldly advanced into the
          desert three days'  journey  to  the  eastward  of the Nile;
          discovered a lonely  spot, which possessed the advantages of
          shade and water;  and  fixed  his  last  residence  on Mount
          Colzim, near the  Red  Sea, where an ancient monastery still
          preserves the name  and  memory of the saint. (10) The curious 
          devotion of  the  Christians pursued him to the desert; and
          when he was  obliged to appear at Alexandria, in the face of
          mankind, he supported  his fame with discretion and dignity.
          He enjoyed the  friendship  of Athanasius, whose doctrine he
          approved; and the  Egyptian  peasant respectfully declined a
          respectful  invitation from  the  emperor  Constantine.  The
          venerable patriarch (for  Antony  attained  the  age  of one
          hundred and five  years)  beheld  the numerous progeny which
          had been formed by his example and his lessons. The prolific
          colonies of monks  multiplied  with  rapid  increase  on the
          sands of Libya, upon the rocks of Thebais, and in the cities
          of the Nile.  To  the south of Alexandria, the mountain, and
          adjacent desert, of  Nitria  was  peopled  by  five thousand
          anachorets; and the  traveller  may  still  investigate  the
          ruins of fifty  monasteries,  which  were  planted  in  that
          barren soil by  the  disciples  of  Antony.  (11) In the Upper 
          Thebais, the vacant  island  of  Tabenne, (12) was occupied by 
          Pachomius and fourteen  hundred  of  his brethren. That holy
          abbot successively founded  nine monasteries of men, and one
          of women; and  the  festival  of  Easter sometimes collected
          fifty thousand religious  persons,  who followed his angelic
          rule of discipline.  (13)  The  stately  and  populous city of 
          Oxyrinchus, the seat of Christian orthodoxy, had devoted the
          temples, the public  edifices,  and  even  the  ramparts, to
          pious and charitable  uses; and the bishop, who might preach
          in  twelve churches,  computed  ten  thousand  females,  and
          twenty thousand males,  of  the  monastic profession. (14) The 
          Egyptians, who gloried  in  this marvellous revolution, were
          disposed to hope,  and  to  believe,  that the number of the
          monks was equal  to  the  remainder  of  the  people; (15) and 
          posterity might repeat  the  saying  which had formerly been
          applied to the  sacred  animals of the same country, that in
          Egypt it was less difficult to find a god than a man.

          Athanasius introduced into  Rome  the knowledge and practice
          of the monastic  life;  and  a school of this new philosophy
          was opened by the disciples of Antony, who accompanied their
          primate to the  holy  threshold  of the Vatican. The strange
          and savage appearance  of these Egyptians excited, at first,
          horror and contempt,  and,  at  length, applause and zealous
          imitation. The senators,  and  more  especially the matrons,
          transformed their palaces  and villas into religious houses;
          and the narrow  institution  of  six Vestals was eclipsed by
          the frequent monasteries,  which were seated on the ruins of
          ancient temples and  in  the  midst  of  the Roman Forum. (16) 
          Inflamed by the  example  of  Antony,  a Syrian youth, whose
          name was Hilarion,  (17)  fixed  his  dreary  abode on a sandy 
          beach between the  sea  and  a morass about seven miles from
          Gaza. The austere penance, in which he persisted forty-eight
          years, diffused a  similar  enthusiasm; and the holy man was
          followed by a  train  of  two  or three thousand anachorets,
          whenever  he  visited   the   innumerable   monasteries   of
          Palestine. The fame  of Basil (18) is immortal in the monastic 
          history of the  East.  With  a  mind  that  had  tasted  the
          learning and eloquence  of Athens; with an ambition scarcely
          to be satisfied  by  the  archbishopric  of  Casarea,  Basil
          retired to a  savage  solitude in Pontus; and deigned, for a
          while, to give  laws  to  the  spiritual  colonies  which he
          profusely scattered along the coast of the Black Sea. In the
          West, Martin of Tours, (19) a soldier, a hermit, a bishop, and 
          a saint, established  the  monasteries of Gaul; two thousand
          of his disciples followed him to the grave; and his eloquent
          historian challenges the deserts of Thebais to produce, in a
          more favourable climate,  a  champion  of  equal virtue. The
          progress of the  monks  was not less rapid or universal than
          that of Christianity  itself.  Every province, and, at last,
          every city, of  the  empire was filled with their increasing
          multitudes; and the  bleak  and barren isles, from Lerins to
          Lipari, that arise out of the Tuscan Sea, were chosen by the
          anachorets for the  place  of their voluntary exile. An easy
          and perpetual intercourse  by  sea  and  land  connected the
          provinces of the  Roman  world;  and  the  life  of Hilarion
          displays the facility  with  which  an  indigent  hermit  of
          Palestine might traverse Egypt, embark for Sicily, escape to
          Epirus, and finally  settle  in the island of Cyprus. (20) The 
          Latin  Christians embraced  the  religious  institutions  of
          Rome. The pilgrims  who visited Jerusalem eagerly copied, in
          the most distant  climates  of the earth, the faithful model
          of  the  monastic  life.  The  disciples  of  Antony  spread
          themselves beyond the  tropic,  over the Christian empire of
          Ethiopia. (21) The  monastery  of  Banchors  (22) in Flintshire, 
          which contained above  two  thousand  brethren,  dispersed a
          numerous colony among  the  barbarians  of  Ireland;  (23) and 
          Iona, one of  the  Hebrides,  which was planted by the Irish
          monks, diffused over  the northern regions a doubtful ray of
          science and superstition. (24) 

          These unhappy exiles  from  social life were impelled by the
          dark and implacable  genius  of  superstition.  Their mutual
          resolution was supported  by  the  example  of  millions, of
          either sex, of  every  age,  and  of  every  rank;  and each
          proselyte who entered the gates of a monastery was persuaded
          that he trod the steep and thorny path of eternal happiness.
          (25)  But  the   operation  of  these  religious  motives  was 
          variously determined by the temper and situation of mankind.
          Reason  might  subdue,   or  passion  might  suspend,  their
          influence; but they  acted most forcibly on the infirm minds
          of children and  females;  they  were strengthened by secret
          remorse or accidental misfortune; and they might derive some
          aid from the  temporal considerations of vanity or interest.
          It was naturally  supposed  that the pious and humble monks,
          who had renounced  the world to accomplish the work of their
          salvation,  were  the   best  qualified  for  the  spiritual
          government of the  Christians. The reluctant hermit was torn
          from his cell,  and  seated  amidst  the acclamations of the
          people, on the  episcopal  throne: the monasteries of Egypt,
          of Gaul, and  of  the East, supplied a regular succession of
          saints and bishops;  and ambition soon discovered the secret
          road which led  to  the possession of wealth and honours. (26) 
          The popular monks,  whose  reputation was connected with the
          fame and success  of  the  order,  assiduously  laboured  to
          multiply  the  number   of   their   fellow-captives.   They
          insinuated themselves into  noble  and opulent families, and
          the specious arts of flattery and seduction were employed to
          secure those proselytes  who  might bestow wealth or dignity
          on the monastic  profession.  The  indignant father bewailed
          the loss, perhaps, of an only son; (27) the credulous maid was 
          betrayed by vanity  to  violate  the laws of nature; and the
          matron aspired to  imaginary  perfection  by  renouncing the
          virtues of domestic  life.  Paula  yielded to the persuasive
          eloquence  of  Jerom;   (28)   and   the   profane   title  of 
          mother-in-law of God  (29)  tempted  that illustrious widow to 
          consecrate the virginity  of her daughter Eustochium. By the
          advice, and in  the  company,  of her spiritual guide, Paula
          abandoned Rome and  her  infant  son;  retired  to  the holy
          village of Bethlem; founded an hospital and four monasteries
          and acquired, by  her  alms  and  penance,  an  eminent  and
          conspicuous station in  the  Catholic  church. Such rare and
          illustrious  penitents were  celebrated  as  the  glory  and
          example of their  age;  but the monasteries were filled by a
          crowd of obscure  and abject plebeians, (30) who gained in the 
          cloister much more  than  they  had sacrificed in the world.
          Peasants, slaves, and  mechanics  might  escape from poverty
          and contempt to  a  safe  and  honourable  profession, whose
          apparent hardships were  mitigated  by  custom,  by  popular
          applause, and by the secret relaxation of discipline. (31) The 
          subjects of Rome,  whose  persons  and  fortunes  were  made
          responsible for unequal  and  exorbitant  tributes,  retired
          from the oppression  of  the  Imperial  government;  and the
          pusillanimous youth preferred  the penance of a monastic, to
          the dangers of  a military, life. The affrighted provincials
          of every rank, who fled before the barbarians, found shelter
          and  subsistence;  whole   legions   were  buried  in  these
          religious sanctuaries; and the same cause which relieved the
          distress of individuals  impaired the strength and fortitude
          of the empire. (32) 

          The monastic profession  of  the  ancients  (33) was an act of 
          voluntary devotion. The  inconstant  fanatic  was threatened
          with the eternal  vengeance of the God whom he deserted, but
          the doors of  the  monastery were still open for repentance.
          Those monks whose  conscience  was  fortified  by  reason or
          passion were at  liberty  to resume the character of men and
          citizens; and even  the  spouses  of Christ might accept the
          legal embraces of  an  earthly  lover.  (34)  The  examples of 
          scandal, and the  progress  of  superstition,  suggested the
          propriety of more  forcible  restraints.  After a sufficient
          trial, the fidelity  of  the  novice was secured by a solemn
          and  perpetual  vow;  and  his  irrevocable  engagement  was
          ratified by the  laws  of  the  church  and  state. A guilty
          fugitive  was  pursued,   arrested,   and  restored  to  his
          perpetual prison; and  the  interposition  of the magistrate
          oppressed the freedom  and  merit  which  had alleviated, in
          some degree, the  abject slavery of the monastic discipline.
          (35) The actions  of a monk, his words, and even his thoughts, 
          were determined. by  an  inflexible  rule (36) or a capricious 
          superior: the slightest  offences were corrected by disgrace
          or confinement, extraordinary fasts, or bloody flagellation;
          and  disobedience, murmur,  or  delay  were  ranked  in  the
          catalogue of the most heinous sins. (37) A blind submission to 
          the commands of the abbot, however absurd, or even criminal,
          they might seem,  was the ruling principle, the first virtue
          of the Egyptian  monks;  and  their  patience was frequently
          exercised by the most extravagant trials. They were directed
          to remove an  enormous  rock;  assiduously to water a barren
          staff that was  planted  in  the ground, till, at the end of
          three years, it  should vegetate and blossom like a tree; to
          walk into a  fiery  furnace;  or to cast their infant into a
          deep  pond:  and   several  saints,  or  madmen,  have  been
          immortalised in monastic  story  by  their  thoughtless  and
          fearless obedience. (38)  The  freedom of the mind, the source 
          of every generous  and  rational sentiment, was destroyed by
          the  habits of  credulity  and  submission;  and  the  monk,
          contracting the vices  of  a  slave,  devoutly  followed the
          faith and passions  of  his ecclesiastical tyrant. The peace
          of the Eastern  church  was  invaded by a swarm of fanatics,
          incapable of fear,  or reason, or humanity; and the Imperial
          troops acknowledged, without shame, that they were much less
          apprehensive of an  encounter  with the fiercest barbarians.

          Superstition has often  framed and consecrated the fantastic
          garments of the  monks:  (40)  but  their apparent singularity 
          sometimes proceeds from their uniform attachment to a simple
          and primitive model,  which  the revolutions of fashion have
          made ridiculous in  the  eyes  of mankind. The father of the
          Benedictines  expressly disclaims  all  idea  of  choice  or
          merit; and soberly exhorts his disciples to adopt the coarse
          and  convenient  dress  of  the  countries  which  they  may
          inhabit. (41) The  monastic habits of the ancients varied with 
          the climate and  their  mode of life; and they assumed, with
          the  same  indifference,   the  sheepskin  of  the  Egyptian
          peasants or the  cloak  of  the  Grecian  philosophers. They
          allowed themselves the use of linen in Egypt, where it was a
          cheap  and  domestic  manufacture;  but  in  the  West  they
          rejected such an  expensive article of foreign luxury. (42) It 
          was the practice  of  the monks either to cut or shave their
          hair; they wrapped  their  heads  in  a  cowl, to escape the
          sight of profane  objects;  their  legs and feet were naked,
          except in the  extreme  cold  of  winter; and their slow and
          feeble steps were supported by a long staff. The aspect of a
          genuine anachoret was horrid and disgusting: every sensation
          that is offensive  to man was thought acceptable to God; and
          the angelic rule of Tabenne condemned the salutary custom of
          bathing the limbs  in  water and of anointing them with oil.
          (43) The austere monks slept on the ground, on a hard mat or a 
          rough blanket; and  the  same  bundle  of palm-leaves served
          them as a  seat  in the day and a pillow in the night. Their
          original cells were  low narrow huts, built of the slightest
          materials; which formed,  by the regular distribution of the
          streets, a large and populous village, enclosing, within the
          common wall, a  church,  a hospital, perhaps a library, some
          necessary offices, a  garden, and a fountain or reservoir of
          fresh water. Thirty  or  forty brethren composed a family of
          separate discipline and  diet;  and the great monasteries of
          Egypt consisted of thirty or forty families.

          Pleasure and guilt  are  synonymous terms in the language of
          the monks, and  they  had  discovered,  by  experience, that
          rigid fasts and  abstemious  diet  are  the  most  effectual
          preservatives against the  impure  desires  of the flesh. (44) 
          The rules of  abstinence  which  they imposed, or practised,
          were not uniform  or perpetual: the cheerful festival of the
          Pentecost was balanced by the extraordinary mortification of
          Lent; the fervour of new monasteries was insensibly relaxed;
          and the voracious  appetite  of  the Gauls could not imitate
          the patient and  temperate  virtue  of the Egyptians. (45) The 
          disciples of Antony  and Pachomius were satisfied with their
          daily pittance (46)  of  twelve  ounces  of  bread,  or rather 
          biscuit, (47) which  they  divided into two frugal repasts, of 
          the afternoon and  of  the evening. It was esteemed a merit,
          and almost a  duty,  to  abstain  from the boiled vegetables
          which were provided for the refectory; but the extraordinary
          bounty of the  abbot sometimes indulged them with the luxury
          of cheese, fruit,  salad,  and  the  small dried fish of the
          Nile. (48) A  more  ample  latitude  of sea and river fish was 
          gradually allowed or  assumed; but the use of flesh was long
          confined to the  sick  or  travellers: and when it gradually
          prevailed  in  the  less  rigid  monasteries  of  Europe,  a
          singular distinction was  introduced;  as  if birds, whether
          wild or domestic,  had  been  less  profane than the grosser
          animals of the  field.  Water  was  the  pure  and  innocent
          beverage of the  primitive  monks;  and  the  founder of the
          Benedictines regrets the  daily  portion  of  half a pint of
          wine which had been extorted from him by the intemperance of
          the age. (49)  Such  an  allowance might be easily supplied by 
          the vineyard of  Italy;  and  his  victorious disciples, who
          passed the Alps, the Rhine, and the Baltic, required, in the
          place of wine,  an  adequate  compensation of strong beer or

          The candidate who  aspired  to  the  virtue  of  evangelical
          poverty,  abjured,  at  his  first  entrance  to  a  regular
          community, the idea,  and  even the name, of all separate or
          exclusive possession. (50)  The  brethren  were  supported  by 
          their manual labour;  and the duty of labour was strenuously
          recommended as a  penance,  as  an exercise, and as the most
          laudable means of  securing  their daily subsistence. (51) The 
          garden and fields, which the industry of the monks had often
          rescued from the  forest  or  the  morass,  were  diligently
          cultivated  by  their   hands.   They   performed,   without
          reluctance, the menial  offices of slaves and domestics; and
          the several trades  that  were  necessary  to  provide their
          habits, their utensils,  and  their  lodging, were exercised
          within the precincts  of the great monasteries. The monastic
          studies have tended,  for  the  most  part to darken, rather
          than to dispel, the cloud of superstition. Yet the curiosity
          or  zeal of  some  learned  solitaries  has  cultivated  the
          ecclesiastical and even  the profane sciences: and posterity
          must gratefully acknowledge  that the monuments of Greek and
          Roman literature have been preserved and multiplied by their
          indefatigable pens. (52)  But  the more humble industry of the 
          monks, especially in  Egypt,  was contented with the silent,
          sedentary  occupation  of   making  wooden  sandals,  or  of
          twisting the leaves  of the palm-tree into mats and baskets.
          The superfluous stock,  which  was  not consumed in domestic
          use, supplied, by  trade,  the  wants  of the community: the
          boats of Tabenne,  and  the  other  monasteries  of Thebais,
          descended the Nile as far as Alexandria; and, in a Christian
          market,  the sanctity  of  the  workmen  might  enhance  the
          intrinsic value of the work.

          But  the  necessity   of   manual   labour   was  insensibly
          superseded. The novice  was tempted to bestow his fortune on
          the saints in  whose  society  he  was resolved to spend the
          remainder of his  life; and the pernicious indulgence of the
          laws permitted him  to  receive,  for  their use, any future
          accessions of legacy  or inheritance. (53) Mezanla contributed 
          her plate, three hundred pounds' weight of silver, and Paula
          contracted an immense debt for the relief of their favourite
          monks, who kindly  imparted  the merits of their prayers and
          penance to a  rich  and liberal sinner.  (54) Time continually 
          increased, and accidents  could seldom diminish, the estates
          of the popular  monasteries,  which spread over the adjacent
          country and cities:  and,  in  the  first  century  of their
          institution, the infidel  Zosimus  has maliciously observed,
          that, for the  benefit  of the poor, the Christian monks had
          reduced a great part of mankind to a state of beggary. (55) As 
          long  as  they   maintained  their  original  fervour,  they
          approved themselves, however,  the  faithful  and benevolent
          stewards of the  charity  which was intrusted to their care.
          But  their discipline  was  corrupted  by  prosperity:  they
          gradually assumed the  pride of wealth, and at last indulged
          the luxury of  expense. Their public luxury might be excused
          by the magnificence  of  religious  worship,  and the decent
          motive  of erecting  durable  habitations  for  an  immortal
          society.  But every  age  of  the  church  has  accused  the
          licentiousness  of  the  degenerate  monks;  who  no  longer
          remembered the object  of  their  institution,  embraced the
          vain and sensual  pleasures  of  the  world  which  they had
          renounced, (56) and  scandalously  abused the riches which had 
          been acquired by  the  austere virtues of their founders. (57) 
          Their  natural descent,  from  such  painful  and  dangerous
          virtue, to the  common vices of humanity, will not, perhaps,
          excite  much  grief   or   indignation  in  the  mind  of  a

          The lives of  the  primitive  monks were consumed in penance
          and solitude, undisturbed  by  the various occupations which
          fill the time,  and  exercise  the faculties, of reasonable,
          active, and social  beings.  Whenever they were permitted to
          step beyond the  precincts  of  the  monastery,  two jealous
          companions were the  mutual guards and spies of each other's
          actions; and, after  their  return,  they  were condemned to
          forget, or, at least, to suppress, whatever they had seen or
          heard in the  world.  Strangers,  who professed the orthodox
          faith, were hospitably  entertained in a separate apartment;
          but their dangerous  conversation  was  restricted  to  some
          chosen elders of approved discretion and fidelity. Except in
          their presence, the  monastic  slave  might  not receive the
          visits of his  friends  or kindred; and it was deemed highly
          meritorious, if he  afflicted  a  tender  sister, or an aged
          parent, by the  obstinate  refusal of a word or look. (58) The 
          monks  themselves  passed   their  lives,  without  personal
          attachments,  among  a   crowd  which  had  been  formed  by
          accident, and was  detained, in the same prison, by force or
          prejudice. Recluse fanatics  have few ideas or sentiments to
          communicate: a special  licence  of  the abbot regulated the
          time and duration  of  their  familiar visits; and, at their
          silent  meals,  they   were   enveloped   in   their  cowls,
          inaccessible, and almost  invisible, to each other. (59) Study 
          is the resource  of solitude; but education had not prepared
          and qualified for  any  liberal  studies  the  mechanics and
          peasants who filled  the  monastic  communities.  They might
          work; but the  vanity of spiritual perfection was tempted to
          disdain the exercise of manual labour; and the industry must
          be faint and  languid  which  is not excited by the sense of
          personal interest.

          According to their  faith  and  zeal,  they might employ the
          day, which they  passed  in  their cells, either in vocal or
          mental prayer: they  assembled in the evening, and they were
          awakened  in the  night,  for  the  public  worship  of  the
          monastery. The precise  moment  was determined by the stars,
          which are seldom  clouded  in the serene sky of Egypt; and a
          rustic horn, or  trumpet,  the  signal  of  devotion,  twice
          interrupted the vast  silence  of the desert. (60) Even sleep, 
          the last refuge of the unhappy, was rigorously measured: the
          vacant hours of  the  monk  heavily  rolled  along,  without
          business or pleasure;  and, before the close of each day, he
          had repeatedly accused  the  tedious progress of the sun. (61) 
          In this comfortless  state,  superstition  still pursued and
          tormented her wretched  votaries.  (62)  The repose which they 
          had  sought  in   the   cloister   was  disturbed  by  tardy
          repentance, profane doubts,  and  guilty desires; and, while
          they considered each natural impulse as an unpardonable sin,
          they perpetually trembled  on  the  edge  of  a  flaming and
          bottomless abyss. From  the painful struggles of disease and
          despair, these unhappy  victims  were  sometimes relieved by
          madness or death;  and, in the sixth century, a hospital was
          founded at Jerusalem  for  a  small  portion  of the austere
          penitents  who were  deprived  of  their  senses.  (63)  Their 
          visions, before they  attained this extreme and acknowledged
          term  of  frenzy,   have   afforded   ample   materials   of
          supernatural history. It  was their firm persuasion that the
          air which they  breathed was peopled with invisible enemies;
          with innumerable demons,  who  watched  every  occasion, and
          assumed every form,  to  terrify,  and  above  all to tempt,
          their  unguarded  virtue.  The  imagination,  and  even  the
          senses,  were  deceived  by  the  illusions  of  distempered
          fanaticism;  and  the  hermit,  whose  midnight  prayer  was
          oppressed by involuntary  slumber, might easily confound the
          phantoms  of  horror  or  delight  which  had  occupied  his
          sleeping and his waking dreams. (64) 

          The monks were divided into two classes: the Coenobites, who
          lived  under  a  common  and  regular  discipline,  and  the
          Anachorets,  who  indulged   their   unsocial,   independent
          fanaticism. (65) The  most  devout,  or the most ambitious, of 
          the spiritual brethren  renounced  the  convent, as they had
          renounced  the world.  The  fervent  monasteries  of  Egypt,
          Palestine, and Syria  were  surrounded  by  a Laura, (66) a 
          distant  circle  of  solitary  cells;  and  the  extravagant
          penance  of the  Hermits  was  stimulated  by  applause  and
          emulation. (67) They  sunk under the painful weight of crosses 
          and chains; and  their  emaciated  limbs  were  confined  by
          collars, bracelets, gauntlets and greaves of massy and rigid
          iron.   All   superfluous    incumbrance   of   dress   they
          contemptuously cast away;  and  some  savage  saints of both
          sexes  have been  admired,  whose  naked  bodies  were  only
          covered  by  their   long   hair.  They  aspired  to  reduce
          themselves to the  rude  and  miserable  state  in which the
          human brute is  scarcely  distinguished  above  his  kindred
          animals; and the  numerous  sect of Anachorets derived their
          name from their  humble practice of grazing in the fields of
          Mesopotamia with the  common herd. (68) They often usurped the 
          den of some  wild beast whom they affected to resemble; they
          buried themselves in some gloomy cavern, which art or nature
          had scooped out  of  the  rock;  and  the marble quarries of
          Thebais are still  inscribed  with  the  monuments  of their
          penance. (69) The  most  perfect  Hermits are supposed to have 
          passed many days  without  food,  many nights without sleep,
          and many years without speaking; and glorious was the man (I
          abuse that name)  who  contrived  any  cell,  or  seat, of a
          peculiar construction, which  might  expose him, in the most
          inconvenient posture, to the inclemency of the seasons.

          Among these heroes of the monastic life, the name and genius
          of Simeon Stylites (70) have been immortalised by the singular 
          invention of an  aerial  penance. At the age of thirteen the
          young Syrian deserted  the  profession  of  a  shepherd, and
          threw himself into  an  austere  monastery. After a long and
          painful novitiate, in which Simeon was repeatedly saved from
          pious suicide, he  established  his residence on a mountain,
          about thirty or  forty  miles to the east of Antioch. Within
          the space of a mandra, or circle of stones to which he had
          attached himself by a ponderous chain, he ascended a column,
          which was successively  raised  from  the height of nine, to
          that of sixty,  feet  from  the  ground. (71) In this last and 
          lofty station, the  Syrian  Anachoret  resisted  the heat of
          thirty summers, and  the  cold of as many winters. Habit and
          exercise instructed him  to maintain his dangerous situation
          with out fear  or  giddiness, and successively to assume the
          different postures of  devotion.  He  sometimes prayed in an
          erect attitude, with  his outstretched arms in the figure of
          a cross; but  his most familiar practice was that of bending
          his meagre skeleton  from  the  forehead  to the feet; and a
          curious  spectator,  after   numbering  twelve  hundred  and
          forty-four repetitions, at  length desisted from the endless
          account. The progress  of  an  ulcer  in  his thigh (72) might 
          shorten, but it  could not disturb, this celestial life; and
          the  patient Hermit  expired  without  descending  from  his
          column.  A prince,  who  should  capriciously  inflict  such
          tortures, would be deemed a tyrant; but it would surpass the
          power of a  tyrant  to impose a long and miserable existence
          on the reluctant  victims  of  his  cruelty.  This voluntary
          martyrdom must have gradually destroyed the sensibility both
          of the mind  and  body;  nor  can  it  be  presumed that the
          fanatics  who torment  themselves  are  susceptible  of  any
          lively affection for the rest of mankind. A cruel, unfeeling
          temper has distinguished the monks of every age and country:
          their  stern indifference,  which  is  seldom  mollified  by
          personal friendship, is  inflamed  by  religious hatred; and
          their merciless zeal  has  strenuously administered the holy
          office of the Inquisition.

          The monastic saints,  who  excite only the contempt and pity
          of a philosopher,  were  respected  and almost adored by the
          prince and people.  Successive  crowds of pilgrims from Gaul
          and India saluted the divine pillar of Simeon; the tribes of
          Saracens disputed in arms the honour of his benediction, the
          queens  of  Arabia   and  Persia  gratefully  confessed  his
          supernatural virtue; and the angelic Hermit was consulted by
          the younger Theodosius in the most important concerns of the
          church and state.  His  remains  were  transported  from the
          mountain  of  Telenissa,  by  a  solemn  procession  of  the
          patriarch, the master-general  of  the  East,  six  bishops,
          twenty-one counts or  tribunes,  and  six thousand soldiers;
          and Antioch revered  his  bones as her glorious ornament and
          impregnable defence. The  fame  of  the apostles and martyrs
          was  gradually  eclipsed   by   these   recent  and  popular
          Anachorets; the Christian  world fell prostrate before their
          shrines; and the miracles ascribed to their relics exceeded,
          at least in  number  and duration, the spiritual exploits on
          their lives. But  the  golden  legend  of their lives (73) was 
          embellished by the  artful  credulity  of  their  interested
          brethren; and a  believing age was easily persuaded that the
          slightest caprice of  an  Egyptian or a Syrian monk had been
          sufficient to interrupt  the  eternal  laws of the universe.
          The favourites of  Heaven were accustomed to cure inveterate
          diseases with a  touch, a word, or a distant message; and to
          expel the most  obstinate  demons  from  the souls or bodies
          which  they  possessed.   They   familiarly   accosted,   or
          imperiously commanded, the lions and serpents of the desert;
          infused vegetation into  a  sapless trunk; suspended iron on
          the surface of  the  water; passed the Nile on the back of a
          crocodile; and refreshed  themselves  in  a  fiery  furnace.
          These extravagant tales,  which display the fiction, without
          the genius, of  poetry,  have seriously affected the reason,
          the faith, and the morals of the Christians. Their credulity
          debased  and  vitiated  the  faculties  of  the  mind:  they
          corrupted  the  evidence   of   history;   and  superstition
          gradually extinguished the  hostile  light of philosophy and
          science. Every mode  of  religious  worship  which  had been
          practised by the  saints,  every  mysterious  doctrine which
          they believed, was  fortified  by  the  sanction  of  divine
          revelation, and all  the manly virtues were oppressed by the
          servile and pusillanimous  reign  of  the  monks.  If  it be
          possible to measure  the  interval  between  the philosophic
          writings of Cicero  and  the  sacred  legend  of  Theodoret,
          between the character  of  Cato  and  that of Simeon, we may
          appreciate the memorable  revolution  which was accomplished
          in the Roman empire within a period of five hundred years.

          II. The  progress  of  Christianity  has been marked by two
          glorious  and  decisive  victories:  over  the  learned  and
          luxurious citizens of the Roman empire; and over the warlike
          barbarians of Scythia  and Germany, who subverted the empire
          and embraced the  religion of the Romans. The Goths were the
          foremost of these  savage  proselytes;  and  the  nation was
          indebted for its  conversion to a countryman, or at least to
          a subject, worthy to be ranked among the inventors of useful
          arts who have  deserved  the  remembrance  and  gratitude of
          posterity. A great  number of Roman provincials had been led
          away into captivity  by the Gothic bands who ravaged Asia in
          the time of  Gallienus;  and  of  these  captives  many were
          Christians,  and  several  belonged  to  the  ecclesiastical
          order. Those involuntary  missionaries,  dispersed as slaves
          in the villages  of  Dacia,  successively  laboured  for the
          salvation of their  masters. The seeds which they planted of
          the evangelic doctrine were gradually propagated; and before
          the end of  a  century  the  pious  work was achieved by the
          labours of Ulphilas,  whose  ancestors  had been transported
          beyond the Danube from a small town of Cappadocia.

          Ulphilas, the bishop  and  apostle of the Goths, (74) acquired 
          their  love  and   reverence   by  his  blameless  life  and
          indefatigable  zeal,  and   they   received   with  implicit
          confidence  the doctrines  of  truth  and  virtue  which  he
          preached and practised.  He  executed  the  arduous  task of
          translating  the Scriptures  into  their  native  tongue,  a
          dialect of the German or Teutonic language; but he prudently
          suppressed the four  books  of  Kings, as they might tend to
          irritate the fierce and sanguinary spirit of the barbarians.
          The rude, imperfect  idiom of soldiers and shepherds, so ill
          qualified to communicate  any  spiritual ideas, was improved
          and modulated by  his  genius; and Ulphilas, before he could
          frame his version,  was obliged to compose a new alphabet of
          twenty-four letters; four  of  which  he invented to express
          the peculiar sounds that were unknown to the Greek and Latin
          pronunciation. (75) But  the  prosperous  state  of the Gothic 
          church was soon  afflicted by war and intestine discord, and
          the chieftains were  divided  by  religion  as  well  as  by
          interest. Fritigern, the  friend  of  the Romans, became the
          proselyte of Ulphilas;  while  the haughty soul of Athanaric
          disdained the yoke  of  the  empire  and  of the Gospel. The
          faith of the new converts was tried by the persecution which
          he excited. A  waggon,  bearing aloft the shapeless image of
          Thor,  perhaps,  or   of  Woden,  was  conducted  in  solemn
          procession through the  streets  of the camp, and the rebels
          who  refused to  worship  the  god  of  their  fathers  were
          immediately  burnt  with   their  tents  and  families.  The
          character of Ulphilas  recommended  him to the esteem of the
          Eastern court, where  he  twice  appeared as the minister of
          peace, he pleaded  the  cause  of  the distressed Goths, who
          implored the protection  of  Valens; and the name of 'Moses'
          was applied to  this  spiritual  guide,  who  conducted  his
          people through the  deep waters of the Danube to the Land of
          Promise. (76) The  devout  shepherds, who were attached to his 
          person and tractable  to  his  voice,  acquiesced  in  their
          settlement at the  foot  of  the  Maesian  mountains,  in  a
          country of woodlands  and  pastures,  which  supported their
          flocks, and herds, and enabled them to purchase the corn and
          wine  of  the   more  plentiful  provinces.  These  harmless
          barbarians multiplied in obscure peace and the profession of
          Christianity. (77) 

          Their   fiercer   brethren,    the   formidable   Visigoths,
          universally adopted the  religion  of  the Romans, with whom
          they  maintained  a   perpetual   intercourse   of  war,  of
          friendship, or of  conquest.  In  their  long and victorious
          march from the  Danube  to the Atlantic Ocean they converted
          their allies; they  educated  the rising generation; and the
          devotion which reigned  in  the camp of Alaric, or the court
          of Toulouse might  edify or disgrace the palaces of Rome and
          Constantinople. (78) During  the  same period Christianity was 
          embraced by almost  all the barbarians who established their
          kingdoms on the ruins of the Western empire; the Burgundians
          in Gaul, the  Suevi  in  Spain,  the  Vandals in Africa, the
          Ostrogoths in Pannonia, and the various bands of mercenaries
          that raised Odoacer  to  the throne of Italy. The Franks and
          the Saxons still  persevered  in the errors of Paganism, but
          the Franks obtained the monarchy of Gaul by their submission
          to the example  of  Clovis;  and  the  Saxon  conquerors  of
          Britain were reclaimed from their savage superstition by the
          missionaries of Rome.  These  barbarian proselytes displayed
          an ardent and  successful  zeal  in  the  propagation of the
          faith.  The  Merovingian   kings   and   their   successors,
          Charlemagne  and the  Othos,  extended  by  their  laws  and
          victories the dominion  of  the  cross. England produced the
          apostle of Germany;  and  the  evangelic light was gradually
          diffused from the  neighbourhood of the Rhine to the nations
          of the Elbe, the Vistula, and the Baltic. (79) 

          The different motives  which  influenced  the  reason or the
          passions  of  the   barbarian   converts  cannot  easily  be
          ascertained. They were  often  capricious  and accidental; a
          dream, an omen, the report of a miracle, the example of some
          priest or hero,  the  charms of a believing wife, and, above
          all, the fortunate  event  of  a  prayer  or vow which, in a
          moment of danger,  they  had  addressed  to  the  God of the
          Christians.  (80)  The  early  prejudices  of  education  were 
          insensibly erased by  the  habits  of  frequent and familiar
          society; the moral  precepts of the Gospel were protected by
          the  extravagant virtues  of  the  monks;  and  a  spiritual
          theology was supported  by  the visible power of relics, and
          the  pomp  of   religious  worship.  But  the  rational  and
          ingenious  mode  of  persuasion  which  a  Saxon  bishop  (81) 
          suggested to a  popular saint might sometimes be employed by
          the  missionaries  who   laboured   for  the  conversion  of
          infidels. "Admit," says  the  sagacious disputant, "whatever
          they are pleased  to  assert  of  the  fabulous  and  carnal
          genealogy of their  gods  and  goddesses, who are propagated
          from each other.  From this principle deduce their imperfect
          nature and human  infirmities, the assurance they were born,
          and the probability  that  they  will  die. At what time, by
          what means, from  what cause, were the eldest of the gods or
          goddesses produced? Do  they  still  continue,  or have they
          ceased, to propagate?  If  they  have  ceased,  summon  your
          antagonist to declare the reason of this strange alteration.
          If they still  continue,  the number of the gods must become
          infinite and shall we not risk, by the indiscreet worship of
          some impotent deity, to excite the resentment of his jealous
          superior? The visible heavens and earth, the whole system of
          the universe, which  may  be  conceived  by  the mind, is it
          created or eternal?  If created, how or where could the gods
          themselves exist before  the creation? If eternal, how could
          they assume the  empire  of  an independent and pre-existing
          world? Urge these  arguments  with  temper  and  moderation;
          insinuate, at seasonable  intervals, the truth and beauty of
          the  Christian  revelation;   and   endeavour  to  make  the
          unbelievers  ashamed  without   making   them  angry."  This
          metaphysical  reasoning,  too   refined   perhaps   for  the
          barbarians of Germany,  was  fortified by the grosser weight
          of authority and  popular consent. The advantage of temporal
          prosperity had deserted  the  Pagan cause and passed over to
          the service of Christianity. The Romans themselves, the most
          powerful and enlightened  nation of the globe, had renounced
          their ancient superstition;  and if the ruin of their empire
          seemed to accuse the efficacy of the new faith, the disgrace
          was already retrieved  by  the  conversion of the victorious
          Goths. The valiant  and fortunate barbarians who subdued the
          provinces of the  West  successively  received and reflected
          the same edifying  example.  Before  the age of Charlemagne,
          the Christian nations of Europe might exult in the exclusive
          possession of the  temperate  climates, of the fertile lands
          which  produced  corn,  wine,  and  oil;  while  the  savage
          idolaters and their  helpless  idols  were  confined  to the
          extremities of the earth, the dark and frozen regions of the
          North. (82) 

          Christianity,  which opened  the  gates  of  Heaven  to  the
          barbarians, introduced an  important  change  in their moral
          and political condition.  They  received,  at the same time,
          the  use of  letters,  so  essential  to  a  religion  whose
          doctrines are contained  in  a  sacred  book, and while they
          studied  the  divine  truth,  their  minds  were  insensibly
          enlarged by the  distant  view of history, of nature, of the
          arts, and of  society.  The  version  of  the Sciptures into
          their native tongue  which had facilitated their conversion,
          must excite, among  their  clergy, some curiosity to read he
          original text, to  understand  the  sacred  liturgy  of  the
          church, and to  examine, in the writings of the fathers, the
          chain of ecclesiastical  tradition.  These  spiritual  gifts
          were preserved in  the  Greek  and  Latin  languages,  which
          concealed the inestimable monuments of ancient learning. The
          immortal productions of Virgil, Cicero, and Livy, which were
          accessible to the  Christian barbarians, maintained a silent
          intercourse between the  reign  of Augustus and the times of
          Clovis  and  Charlemagne.   The  emulation  of  mankind  was
          encouraged by the  remembrance  of a more perfect state; and
          the flame of  science  was  secretly kept alive, to warm and
          enlighten the mature  age  of the Western world. In the most
          corrupt state of  Christianity  the  barbarians  might learn
          justice from the  law, and mercy from the gospel; and if the
          knowledge of their  duty  was  insufficient  to  guide their
          actions or to  regulate  their passions, they were sometimes
          restrained  by  conscience,   and   frequently  punished  by
          remorse. But the  direct  authority  of  religion  was  less
          effectual than the  holy  communion,  which united them with
          their  Christian  brethren   in  spiritual  friendship.  The
          influence of these  sentiments  contributed  to secure their
          fidelity in the  service  or  the alliance of the Romans, to
          alleviate the horrors  of  war, to moderate the insolence of
          conquest, and to  preserve, in the downfall of the empire, a
          permanent respect for  the name and institutions of Rome. In
          the days of Paganism the priests of Gaul and Germany reigned
          over the people,  and  controlled  the  jurisdiction  of the
          magistrates;  and  the  zealous  proselytes  transferred  an
          equal, or more  ample,  measure  of  devout obedience to the
          pontiffs of the Christian faith. The sacred character of the
          bishops was supported  by  their  temporal possessions; they
          obtained an honourable seat in the legislative assemblies of
          soldiers and freemen;  and it was their interest, as well as
          their duty, to  mollify  by  peaceful  counsels  the  fierce
          spirit of the  barbarians.  The  perpetual correspondence of
          the Latin clergy,  the  frequent  pilgrimages  to  Rome  and
          Jerusalem, and the  growing authority of the popes, cemented
          the union of  the Christian republic, and gradually produced
          the similar manners  and  common  jurisprudence  which  have
          distinguished from the  rest of mankind the independent, and
          even hostile, nations of modern Europe.

          But the operation  of  these causes was checked and retarded
          by the unfortunate  accident  which  infused a deadly poison
          into the cup  of  salvation.  Whatever  might  be  the early
          sentiments of Ulphilas,  his connections with the empire and
          the church were  formed  during  the  reign of Arianism. The
          apostle  of  the  Goths  subscribed  the  creed  of  Rimini;
          professed with freedom, and perhaps with sincerity, that the
          Son was not  equal  or  consubstantial  to  the  FATHER,(83) 
          communicated these errors  to  the  clergy  and  people; and
          infected the barbaric  world  with  an  heresy  (84) which the 
          great  Theodosius  proscribed  and  extinguished  among  the
          Romans. The temper  and  understanding of the new proselytes
          were  not  adapted  to  metaphysical  subtleties;  but  they
          strenuously maintained what they had piously received as the
          pure and genuine doctrines of Christianity. The advantage of
          preaching and expounding  the  Scriptures  in  the  Teutonic
          language promoted the  apostolic labours of Ulphilas and his
          successors; and they  ordained a competent number of bishops
          and presbyters for  the  instruction  of the kindred tribes.
          The Ostrogoths, the Burgundians, the Suevi, and the Vandals,
          who had listened  to  the  eloquence of the Latin clergy, (85) 
          preferred the more  intelligible  lessons  of their domestic
          teachers; and Arianism  was adopted as the national faith of
          the warlike converts  who  were  seated  on the ruins of the
          Western empire. This  irreconcilable  difference of religion
          was a perpetual  source  of  jealousy  and  hatred;  and the
          reproach of Barbarian  was  embittered  by  the  more odious
          epithet  of Heretic.  The  heroes  of  the  North,  who  had
          submitted with some  reluctance  to  believe  that all their
          ancestors were in  hell,  (86) were astonished and exasperated 
          to learn that  they  themselves had only changed the mode of
          their eternal condemnation.  Instead  of the smooth applause
          which Christian kings  are  accustomed to expect, from their
          loyal prelates, the  orthodox  bishops and their clergy were
          in a state  of  opposition  to  the  Arian courts; and their
          indiscreet opposition frequently  became criminal, and might
          sometimes be dangerous.  (87) The pulpit, that safe and sacred 
          organ of sedition,  resounded  with the names of Pharaoh and
          Holofernes; (88) the  public  discontent  was  inflamed by the 
          hope or promise of a glorious deliverance; and the seditious
          saints were tempted  to  promote the accomplishment of their
          own  predictions. Notwithstanding  these  provocations,  the
          catholics of Gaul, Spain, and Italy enjoyed, under the reign
          of the Arians,  the  free  and  peaceful  exercise  of their
          religion. Their haughty  masters  respected  the  zeal  of a
          numerous people, resolved  to  die  at  the  foot  of  their
          altars,  and the  example  of  their  devout  constancy  was
          admired  and imitated  by  the  barbarians  themselves.  The
          conquerors evaded, however,  the  disgraceful  reproach,  or
          confession, of fear,  by attributing their toleration to the
          liberal motives of  reason  and  humanity;  and  while  they
          affected  the  language,   they  imperceptibly  imbibed  the
          spirit, of genuine Christianity.

          The peace of  the  church  was  sometimes  interrupted.  The
          catholics were indiscreet,  the  barbarians  were impatient;
          and the partial  acts  of  severity  or injustice, which had
          been recommended by  the  Arian  clergy, were exaggerated by
          the  orthodox writers.  The  guilt  of  persecution  may  be
          imputed to Euric,  king  of  the Visigoths who suspended the
          exercise  of ecclesiastical,  or,  at  least,  of  episcopal
          functions, and punished the popular bishops of Aquitain with
          imprisonment, exile, and  confiscation. (89) But the cruel and 
          absurd enterprise of  subduing  the  minds of a whole people
          was undertaken by  the  Vandals  alone. Genseric himself, in
          his early youth,  had  renounced the orthodox communion; and
          the  apostate could  neither  grant  nor  expect  a  sincere
          forgiveness. He was  exasperated  to find that the Africans,
          who had fled  before  him  in  the  field, still presumed to
          dispute his will  in  synods and churches; and his ferocious
          mind was incapable  of  fear  or of compassion. His catholic
          subjects were oppressed  by  intolerant  laws  and arbitrary
          punishments.  The  language  of  Genseric  was  furious  and
          formidable; the knowledge  of  his  intentions might justify
          the most unfavourable interpretation of his actions; and the
          Arians were reproached  with  the  frequent executions which
          stained the palace and the dominions of the tyrant. Arms and
          ambition were, however,  the  ruling passions of the monarch
          of the sea.  But Hunneric, his inglorious son, who seemed to
          inherit only his  vices,  tormented  the  catholics with the
          same unrelenting fury  which  had been fatal to his brother,
          his nephews, and  the  friends and favourites of his father;
          and even to  the  Arian  patriarch,  who was inhumanly burnt
          alive in the  midst  of  Carthage.  The  religious  war  was
          preceded and prepared by an insidious truce; persecution was
          made the serious and important business of the Vandal court;
          and  the loathsome  disease  which  hastened  the  death  of
          Hunneric revenged the  injuries, without contributing to the
          deliverance,  of  the  church.  The  throne  of  Africa  was
          successively filled by  the  two  nephews  of  Hunneric;  by
          Gundamund, who reigned  about twelve, and by Thrasimund, who
          governed  the  nation   above   twenty-seven,  years.  Their
          administration was hostile  and  oppressive  to the orthodox
          party. Gundamund appeared  to  emulate,  or even to surpass,
          the cruelty of  his  uncle; and if at length he relented, if
          he  recalled  the  bishops,  and  restored  the  freedom  of
          Athanasian  worship,  a   premature  death  intercepted  the
          benefits of his tardy clemency. His brother, Thrasimund, was
          the greatest and most accomplished of the Vandal kings, whom
          he excelled in  beauty,  prudence,  and magnanimity of soul.
          But  this  magnanimous   character   was   degraded  by  his
          intolerant zeal and  deceitful  clemency. Instead of threats
          and  tortures, he  employed  the  gentle,  but  efficacious,
          powers of seduction.  Wealth,  dignity, and the royal favour
          were the liberal  rewards of apostacy; the catholics who had
          violated  the  laws  might  purchase  their  pardon  by  the
          renunciation  of  their   faith;   and  whenever  Thrasimund
          mediated any rigorous  measure, he patiently waited till the
          indiscretion  of  his   adversaries  furnished  him  with  a
          specious opportunity. Bigotry  was his last sentiment in the
          hour of death;  and  he  exacted from his successor a solemn
          oath  that  he   would   never  tolerate  the  sectaries  of
          Athanasius. But his  successor,  Hilderic, the gentle son of
          the savage Hunneric,  preferred  the  duties of humanity and
          justice to the  vain  obligation of an impious oath; and his
          accession was gloriously  marked by the restoration of peace
          and universal freedom.  The  throne of that virtuous, though
          feeble, monarch was usurped by his cousin Gelimer, a zealous
          Arian: but the  Vandal  kingdom,  before  he  could enjoy or
          abuse his power,  was  subverted  by the arms of Belisarius;
          and the orthodox  party  retaliated  the injuries which they
          had endured. (90) 

          The  passionate declamations  of  the  catholics,  the  sole
          historians of this  persecution,  cannot afford any distinct
          series  of  causes   and   events,  any  impartial  view  of
          characters   or   counsels;    but   the   most   remarkable
          circumstances that deserve  either  credit  or notice may be
          referred to the  following heads: I.  In  the original law
          which is still  extant,  (91) Hunneric expressly declares, and 
          the  declaration  appears   to   be  correct,  that  he  had
          faithfully transcribed the  regulations and penalties of the
          Imperial edicts against  the  heretical  congregations,  the
          clergy, and the  people,  who dissented from the established
          religion. If the  rights  of conscience had been understood,
          the catholics must  have  condemned  their  past conduct, or
          acquiesced  in  their  actual  sufferings.  But  they  still
          persisted to refuse the indulgence which they claimed. While
          they trembled under  the  lash  of persecution, they praised
          the laudable severity  of  Hunneric  himself, who burnt or
          banished great numbers  of  Manicheans; (92) and they rejected 
          with horror the ignominious compromise that the disciples of
          Arius  and of  Athanasius  should  enjoy  a  reciprocal  and
          similar toleration in  the  territories of the Romans and in
          those of the  Vandals.(93) II. The practice of a conference, 
          which the catholics  had  so  frequently  used to insult and
          punish their obstinate  antagonists,  was  retorted  against
          themselves. (94) At  the command of Hunneric, four hundred and 
          sixty-six orthodox bishops  assembled  at Carthage; but when
          they were admitted  into  the hall of audience, they had the
          mortification of beholding  the Arian Cyrila, exalted on the
          patriarchal throne. The disputants were separated, after the
          mutual and ordinary  reproaches  of  noise  and  silence, of
          delay and precipitation,  of  military  force and of popular
          clamour. One martyr  and  one  confessor were selected among
          the catholic bishops;  twenty-eight  escaped  by flight, and
          eighty-eight by conformity; forty-six were sent into Corsica
          to cut timber  for the royal navy; and three hundred and two
          were banished to  the  different parts of Africa, exposed to
          the insults of  their enemies, and carefully deprived of all
          the  temporal  and   spiritual  comforts  of  life.  (95)  The 
          hardships  of ten  years'  exile  must  have  reduced  their
          numbers;  and  if   they   had  complied  with  the  law  of
          Thrasimund, which prohibited  any  episcopal  consecrations,
          the orthodox church  of  Africa  must  have expired with the
          lives of its  actual  members.  They  disobeyed;  and  their
          disobedience was punished  by  a second exile of two hundred
          and twenty bishops  into  Sardinia,  where  they  languished
          fifteen years, till  the accession of the gracious Hilderic.
          (96) The two  islands were judiciously chosen by the malice of 
          their Arian tyrants.  Seneca,  from  his own experience, has
          deplored and exaggerated  the miserable state of Corsica, (97) 
          and  the  plenty   of   Sardinia  was  overbalanced  by  the
          unwholesome quality of the air.(98)III. The zeal of Genseric 
          and his successors  for the conversion of the catholics must
          have rendered them still more jealous to guard the purity of
          the Vandal faith.  Before the churches were finally shut, it
          was a crime  to  appear  in a barbarian dress; and those who
          presumed to neglect  the  royal  mandate were rudely dragged
          backwards by their  long hair. (99) The palatine officers, who 
          refused  to profess  the  religion  of  their  prince,  were
          ignominiously stripped of  their  honours  and  employments;
          banished to Sardinia and Sicily; or condemned to the servile
          labours of slaves  and  peasants  in the fields of Utica. In
          the districts which  had  been  peculiarly  allotted  to the
          Vandals, the exercise  of  the  catholic  worship  was  more
          strictly prohibited; and  severe  penalties  were  denounced
          against the guilt  both of the missionary and the proselyte.
          By these arts the faith of the barbarians was preserved, and
          their zeal was  inflamed:  they  discharged with devout fury
          the office of spies, informers, or executioners and whenever
          their cavalry took the field, it was the favourite amusement
          of the march to defile the churches and to insult the clergy
          of the adverse  faction.(100) IV. The citizens who had been 
          educated in the luxury of the Roman province were delivered,
          with exquisite cruelty,  to  the  Moors  of  the  desert.  A
          venerable train of  bishops, presbyters, and deacons, with a
          faithful crowd of  four  thousand  and  ninety-six  persons,
          whose guilt is  not  precisely  ascertained,  were torn from
          their native homes  by  the  command of Hunneric. During the
          night they were  confined,  like  a  herd  of cattle, amidst
          their own ordure:  during  the  day they pursued their march
          over the burning  sands;  and if they fainted under the heat
          and fatigue, they  were  goaded  or  dragged along till they
          expired in the  hands of their tormentors. (101) These unhappy 
          exiles, when they reached the Moorish huts, might excite the
          compassion of a  people  whose  native  humanity was neither
          improved by reason  nor corrupted by fanaticism: but if they
          escaped  the dangers,  they  were  condemned  to  share  the
          distress, of a  savage  life. V.  It  is  incumbent  on the
          authors of persecution  previously  to  reflect whether they
          are determined to  support  it  in  the  last  extreme. They
          excite the flame  which  they  strive  to extinguish; and it
          soon becomes necessary to chastise the contumacy, as well as
          the crime, of  the offender. The fine, which he is unable or
          unwilling to discharge,  exposes  his person to the severity
          of the law;  and  his contempt of lighter penalties suggests
          the use and  propriety  of  capital  punishment. Through the
          veil of fiction and declamation we may clearly perceive that
          the catholics, more  especially under the reign of Hunneric,
          endured  the  most  cruel  and  ignominious  treatment.  (102) 
          Respectable citizens, noble matrons, and consecrated virgins
          were stripped naked and raised in the air by pulleys, with a
          weight suspended at  their  feet.  In  this painful attitude
          their naked bodies  were torn with scourges, or burnt in the
          most  tender  parts   with   red-hot  plates  of  iron.  The
          amputation of the  ears, the nose, the tongue, and the right
          hand was inflicted  by  the Arians; and although the precise
          number cannot be  defined,  it is evident that many persons,
          among whom a  bishop, (103) and a proconsul, (104) may be named, 
          were entitled to the crown of martyrdom. The same honour has
          been  ascribed  to   the  memory  of  Count  Sebastian,  who
          professed the Nicene  creed  with  unshaken  constancy;  and
          Genseric might detest  as an heretic the brave and ambitious
          fugitive whom he  dreaded  as a rival.(105) VI. A new mode of 
          conversion, which might  subdue  the  feeble  and  alarm the
          timorous, was employed by the Arian ministers. They imposed,
          by fraud or  violence, the rites of baptism and punished the
          apostasy of the  catholics,  if  they disclaimed this odious
          and  profane  ceremony,   which  scandalously  violated  the
          freedom of the  will and the unity of the sacrament. (106) The 
          hostile sects had  formerly  allowed  the  validity  of each
          other's baptism; and  the innovation, so fiercely maintained
          by the Vandals,  can  be  imputed  only  to  the example and
          advice of the  Donatists.VII. The Arian clergy surpassed in
          religious cruelty the  king  and  his  Vandals but they were
          incapable of cultivating  the  spiritual vineyard which they
          were so desirous  to  possess.  A  patriarch  (107) might seat 
          himself on the  throne  of  Carthage;  some  bishops, in the
          principal cities, might usurp the place of their rivals; but
          the smallness of  their  numbers, and their ignorance of the
          Latin language, (108)  disqualified  the  barbarians  for  the 
          ecclesiastical ministry of a great church; and the Africans,
          after the loss  of  their orthodox pastors, were deprived of
          the public exercise of Christianity. VIII. The emperors were
          the natural protectors  of  the Homoousian doctrine; and the
          faithful people of Africa, both as Romans, and as catholics,
          preferred their lawful  sovereignty to the usurpation of the
          barbarous  heretics.  During   an   interval  of  peace  and
          friendship Hunneric restored  the  cathedral of Carthage, at
          the intercession of  Zeno,  who  reigned in the East, and of
          Placidia, the daughter and relict of emperors and the sister
          of the queen  of the Vandals. (109) But this decent regard was 
          of short duration;  and  the  haughty  tyrant  displayed his
          contempt  for the  religion  of  the  empire  by  studiously
          arranging  the bloody  images  of  persecution  in  all  the
          principal streets through  which  the  Roman ambassador must
          pass in his way to the palace. (110) An oath was required from 
          the bishops who  were assembled at Carthage, that they would
          support the succession  of  his  son Hilderic, and that they
          would renounce all  foreign or transmarine correspondence.
          This engagement, consistent,  as  it should seem, with their
          moral  and  religious   duties,  was  refused  by  the  more
          sagacious  members  (111)  of  the  assembly.  Their  refusal, 
          faintly coloured by  the  pretence that it is unlawful for a
          Christian to swear, must provoke the suspicions of a jealous

          The catholics, oppressed  by  royal and military force, were
          far superior to  their  adversaries  in numbers and learning
          With the same  weapons which the Greek (112) and Latin fathers 
          had  already  provided   for  the  Arian  controversy,  they
          repeatedly silenced or  vanquished the fierce and illiterate
          successors  of Ulphilas.  The  consciousness  of  their  own
          superiority  might have  raised  them  above  the  arts  and
          passions of religious warfare. Yet, instead of assuming such
          honourable pride, the  orthodox theologians were tempted, by
          the assurance of impunity, to compose fictions which must be
          stigmatised with the  epithets  of  fraud  and forgery. They
          ascribed their own  polemical  works  to  the most venerable
          names of Christian  antiquity;  the characters of Athanasius
          and Augustin were  awkwardly  personated by Vigilius and his
          disciples; (113) and  the  famous  creed,  which  so  clearly 
          expounds the mysteries  of  the Trinity and the Incarnation,
          is  deduced, with  strong  probability,  from  this  African
          school. (114) Even  the Scriptures themselves were profaned by 
          their rash and  sacrilegious hands. The memorable text which
          asserts the unity  of  the  THREE who bear witness in heaven
          (115) is condemned  by  the  universal silence of the orthodox 
          fathers, ancient versions, and authentic manuscripts. (116) It 
          was first alleged  by  the  catholic  bishops  whom Hunneric
          summoned to the  conference  of Carthage. (117) An allegorical 
          interpretation, in the  form  perhaps  of  a  marginal note,
          invaded the text  of the Latin Bibles which were renewed and
          corrected in a  dark  period of ten centuries. (118) After the 
          invention  of  printing,   (119)  the  editors  of  the  Greek 
          Testament yielded to  their  own prejudices, or those of the
          times; (120) and  the  pious  fraud,  which  was embraced with 
          equal zeal at  Rome  and  at  Geneva,  has  been  infinitely
          multiplied in every  country  and  every  language of modern

          The example of fraud must excite suspicion: and the specious
          miracles by which  the  African  catholics have defended the
          truth and justice  of  their  cause may described, with more
          reason, to their own industry than to the visible protection
          of  Heaven.  Yet  the  historian  who  views  his  religious
          conflict with an impartial eye may condescend to mention one
          preternatural  event,  which   will  edify  the  devout  and
          surprise the incredulous.  Tipasa,  (121) a maritime colony of 
          Mauritania, sixteen miles  to  the east of Caearea, had been
          distinguished in every  age  by  the  orthodox  zeal  of its
          inhabitants. They had  braved the fury of the Donatists; (122) 
          they resisted or  eluded the tyranny of the Arians. The town
          was deserted on the approach of an heretical bishop; most of
          the inhabitants who  could  procure ships passed over to the
          coast  of Spain;  and  the  unhappy  remnant,  refusing  all
          communion with the  usurper,  still  presumed  to hold their
          pious,   but   illegal,   assemblies.   Their   disobedience
          exasperated the cruelty  of  Hunneric.  A military count was
          despatched  from  Carthage   to  Tipasa:  he  collected  the
          catholics in the  Forum,  and,  in the presence of the whole
          province, deprived the guilty of their right hands and their
          tongues. But the  holy confessors continued to speak without
          tongues; and this  miracle is attested by Victor, an African
          bishop, who published  an  history of the persecution within
          two years after  the  event.  (123) "If any one," says Victor, 
          "should   doubt  of   the   truth,   let   him   repair   to
          Constantinople, and listen to the clear and perfect language
          of  Restitutus,  the   subdeacon,   one  of  these  glorious
          sufferers, who is  now  lodged  in the palace of the emperor
          Zeno,  and  is   respected   by   the  devout  empress."  At
          Constantinople we are  astonished to find a cool, a learned,
          and unexceptionable witness,  without  interest, and without
          passion.  Aeneas  of   Gaza,  a  Platonic  philosopher,  has
          accurately described his  own  observations on these African
          sufferers.  "I saw  them  myself:  I  heard  them  speak:  I
          diligently inquired by  what  means such an articulate voice
          could be formed  without any organ of speech: I used my eyes
          to examine the  report of my ears: I opened their mouth, and
          saw that the  whole  tongue had been completely torn away by
          the  roots; an  operation  which  the  physicians  generally
          suppose to be  mortal."  (124) The testimony of Aeneas of Gaza 
          might  be confirmed  by  the  superfluous  evidence  of  the
          emperor  Justinian,  in   a   perpetual   edict;   of  Count
          Marcellinus, in his  Chronicle  of  the  times;  and of pope
          Gregory the First,  who had resided at Constantinople as the
          minister of the Roman pontiff. (125) They all lived within the 
          compass of a  century; and they all appeal to their personal
          knowledge or the public notoriety for the truth of a miracle
          which was repeated  in  several  instances, displayed on the
          greatest theatre of the world, and submitted during a series
          of  years to  the  calm  examination  of  the  senses.  This
          supernatural  gift of  the  African  confessors,  who  spoke
          without tongues, will  command  the  assent of those, and of
          those only, who already believe that their language was pure
          and orthodox. But the stubborn mind of an infidel is guarded
          by secret, incurable  suspicion; and the Arian, or Socinian,
          who has seriously rejected the doctrine of the Trinity, will
          not  be  shaken   by  the  most  plausible  evidence  of  an
          Athanasian miracle.

          The Vandals and  the Ostrogoths persevered in the profession
          of Arianism till  the  final ruin of the kingdoms which they
          had founded in  Africa  and  Italy.  The  barbarians of Gaul
          submitted to the  orthodox  dominion of the Franks and Spain
          was  restored  to  the  catholic  church  by  the  voluntary
          conversion of the Visigoths.

          This salutary revolution  (126) was hastened by the example of 
          a  royal  martyr,  whom  our  calmer  reason  may  style  an
          ungrateful rebel. Leovigild,  the  Gothic  monarch of Spain,
          deserved the respect  of  his  enemies  and  the love of his
          subjects: the catholics  enjoyed  a free toleration, and his
          Arian synods attempted,  without  much success, to reconcile
          their scruples by  abolishing the unpopular rite of a second
          baptism. His eldest son Hermenegild, who was invested by his
          father with the  royal  diadem  and the fair principality of
          Baetica, contracted an honourable and orthodox alliance with
          a Merovingian princess,  the  daughter  of Sigebert, king of
          Austrasia,  and of  the  famous  Brunechild.  The  beauteous
          Ingundis, who was  no  more  than thirteen years of age, was
          received, beloved, and  persecuted  in  the  Arian  court of
          Toledo;  and  her   religious   constancy   was  alternately
          assaulted with blandishments and violence by Goisvintha, the
          Gothic  queen, who  abused  the  double  claim  of  maternal
          authority. (127) Incensed by her resistance, Goisvintha seized 
          the catholic princess by her long hair, inhumanly dashed her
          against the ground,  kicked  her  till  she was covered with
          blood, and at  last  gave orders that she should be stripped
          and thrown into  a  basin  or fish-pond. (128) Love and honour 
          might excite Hermenegild  to resent this injurious treatment
          of his bride;  and  he was gradually persuaded that Ingundis
          suffered  for  the   cause   of  divine  truth.  Her  tender
          complaints, and the weighty arguments of Leander, archbishop
          of Seville, accomplished his conversion; and the heir of the
          Gothic monarchy was  initiated  in  the  Nicene faith by the
          solemn rites of  confirmation.  (129) The rash youth, inflamed 
          by zeal, and perhaps by ambition, was tempted to violate the
          duties of a  son  and a subject; and the catholics of Spain,
          although they could  not  complain of persecution, applauded
          his pious rebellion  against  an heretical father. The civil
          war was protracted  by  the  long  and  obstinate  sieges of
          Merida, Cordova, and Seville, which had strenuously espoused
          the  party  of   Hermenegild.   He   invited   the  orthodox
          barbarians, the Suevi, and the Franks, to the destruction of
          his native land:  he  solicited  the  dangerous  aid  of the
          Romans, who possessed  Africa  and  a  part  of  the Spanish
          coast; and his  holy  ambassador,  the  archbishop  Leander,
          effectually negotiated in  person  with the Byzantine court.
          But the hopes  of  the  catholics were crushed by the active
          diligence  of  a   monarch  who  commanded  the  troops  and
          treasures of Spain;  and  the  guilty  Hermenegild after his
          vain attempts to  resist  or  to  escape,  was  compelled to
          surrender himself into  the  hands  of  an  incensed father.
          Leovigild was still  mindful  of  that sacred character; and
          the rebel, despoiled  of  the  regal  ornaments,  was  still
          permitted,  in a  decent  exile,  to  profess  the  catholic
          religion. His repeated  and  unsuccessful treasons at length
          provoked  the  indignation  of  the  Gothic  king;  and  the
          sentence  of  death,   which  he  pronounced  with  apparent
          reluctance, was privately  executed in the tower of Seville.
          The inflexible constancy with which he refused to accept the
          Arian communion, as  the price of his safety, may excuse the
          honours  that  have   been   paid   to  the  memory  of  St.
          Hermenegild. His wife  and  infant  son were detained by the
          Romans  in  ignominious   captivity;   and   this   domestic
          misfortune  tarnished  the   glories   of   Leovigild,   and
          embittered the last moments of his life.

          His son and  successor,  Recared, the first catholic king of
          Spain, had imbibed  the  faith  of  his unfortunate brother,
          which he supported  with  more prudence and success. Instead
          of revolting against  his father, Recared patiently expected
          the hour of  his death. Instead of condemning his memory, he
          piously supposed that  the  dying  monarch  had  abjured the
          errors  of  Arianism,   and   recommended  to  his  son  the
          conversion of the Gothic nation. To accomplish that salutary
          end, Recared convened  an  assembly  of the Arian clergy and
          nobles, declared himself  a  catholic,  and exhorted them to
          imitate  the  example   of   their   prince.  The  laborious
          interpretation of doubtful  texts, or the curious pursuit of
          metaphysical  arguments,  would   have  excited  an  endless
          controversy; and the  monarch  discreetly  proposed  to  his
          illiterate audience two  substantial and visible arguments -
          the  testimony  of  Earth  and  of  Heaven.  The  Earth  had
          submitted to the  Nicene  synod: the Romans, the barbarians,
          and the inhabitants  of Spain unanimously professed the same
          orthodox creed; and  the  Visigoths  resisted, almost alone,
          the consent of  the Christian world. A superstitious age was
          prepared to reverence,  as  the  testimony  of  Heaven,  the
          preternatural cures which  were  performed  by  the skill or
          virtue of the  catholic clergy; the baptismal fonts of Osset
          in Baetica (130)  which  were  spontaneously  replenished each 
          year on the  vigil  of Easter; (131) and the miraculous shrine 
          of St. Martin  of  Tours,  which  had  already converted the
          Suevic prince and  people of Gallicia. (132) The catholic king 
          encountered some difficulties  on  this  important change of
          the national religion.  A  conspiracy,  secretly fomented by
          the queen-dowager. was  formed  against  his  life;  and two
          counts excited a  dangerous  revolt  in the Narbonnese Gaul.
          But Recared disarmed  the conspirators, defeated the rebels,
          and executed severe  justice,  which  the  Arians,  in their
          turn, might brand  with  the  reproach of persecution. Eight
          bishops, whose names  betray  their barbaric origin, abjured
          their errors; and  all  the  books  of  Arian  theology were
          reduced to ashes,  with  the  house  in  which they had been
          purposely collected. The  whole  body  of  the Visigoths and
          Suevi, were allured  or driven into the pale of the catholic
          communion; the faith, at least of the rising generation, was
          fervent  and sincere;  and  the  devout  liberality  of  the
          barbarians enriched the  churches  and monasteries of Spain.
          Seventy  bishops,  assembled   in  the  council  of  Toledo,
          received the submission of their conquerors; and the zeal of
          the Spaniards improved  the  Nicene  creed, by declaring the
          procession of the  Holy  Ghost from the Son, as well as from
          the Father; a  weighty  point  of  doctrine, which produced,
          long afterwards, the schism of the Greek and Latin churches.
          (133) The royal  proselyte  immediately  saluted and consulted 
          pope Gregory, surnamed the Great, a learned and holy prelate
          whose reign was  distinguished by the conversion of heretics
          and  infidels.  The   ambassadors  of  Recared  respectfully
          offered on the threshold of the Vatican his rich presents of
          gold and gems;  they  accepted, as a lucrative exchange, the
          hairs of St.  John  the  Baptist;  a  cross which enclosed a
          small piece of  the true wood; and a key that contained some
          particles of iron  which had been scraped from the chains of
          St. Peter. (134) 

          The  same  Gregory,  the  spiritual  conqueror  of  Britain,
          encouraged the pious  Theodelinda, queen of the Lombards, to
          propagate the Nicene  faith  among  the  victorious savages,
          whose recent Christianity  was polluted by the Arian heresy.
          Her devout labours  still  left  room  for  the industry and
          success of future  missionaries,  and  many  cities of Italy
          were still disputed  by  hostile  bishops.  But the cause of
          Arianism was gradually suppressed by the weight of truth, of
          interest, and of  example;  and the controversy, which Egypt
          had derived from  the Platonic school, was terminated, after
          a war of three hundred years, by the final conversion of the
          Lombards of Italy. (135) 

          The  first missionaries  who  preached  the  Gospel  to  the
          barbarians appealed to  the  evidence of reason, and claimed
          the benefit of  toleration.  (136)  But  no  sooner  had  they 
          established their spiritual  dominion than they exhorted the
          Christian kings to  extirpate, without mercy, the remains of
          Roman or barbaric  superstition.  The  successors  of Clovis
          inflicted one hundred  lashes on the peasants who refused to
          destroy their idols;  the crime of sacrificing to the demons
          was  punished by  the  Anglo-Saxon  laws  with  the  heavier
          penalties of imprisonment  and  confiscation;  and  even the
          wise Alfred adopted,  as  an indispensable duty, the extreme
          rigour of the  Mosaic  institutions.  (137) But the punishment 
          and the crime  were  gradually  abolished  among a Christian
          people;  the  theological   disputes  of  the  schools  were
          suspended by propitious ignorance; and the intolerant spirit
          which could find neither idolaters nor heretics, was reduced
          to the persecution  of  the  Jews.  That  exiled  nation had
          founded some synagogues  in  the  cities of Gaul; but Spain,
          since the time  of  Hadrian,  was filled with their numerous
          colonies. (138) The wealth which they accumulated by trade and 
          the management of  the finances invited the pious avarice of
          their masters; and  they  might be oppressed without danger,
          as they had lost the use, and even the remembrance, of arms.
          Sisebut, a Gothic  king  who reigned in the beginning of the
          seventh century, proceeded  at  once to the last extremes of
          persecution. (139) Ninety  thousand  Jews  were  compelled  to 
          receive  the sacrament  of  baptism;  the  fortunes  of  the
          obstinate  infidels  were  confiscated,  their  bodies  were
          tortured, and it  seems doubtful whether they were permitted
          to abandon their  native  country. The excessive zeal of the
          catholic king was moderated even by the clergy of Spain, who
          solemnly  pronounced  an  inconsistent  sentence:  that the
          sacraments should not be forcibly imposed; but that the Jews
          who had been  baptised should be constrained, for the honour
          of the church,  to  persevere  in the external practice of a
          religion which they disbelieved and detested. Their frequent
          relapses provoked one of the successors of Sisebut to banish
          the whole nation from his dominions; and a council of Toledo
          published a decree  that  every  Gothic king should swear to
          maintain this salutary edict. But the tyrants were unwilling
          to dismiss the victims whom they delighted to torture, or to
          deprive themselves of  the industrious slaves over whom they
          might  exercise  a  lucrative  oppression.  The  Jews  still
          continued in Spain,  under  the  weight  of  the  civil  and
          ecclesiastical laws, which  in  the  same  country have been
          faithfully transcribed in  the  Code  of the Inquisition The
          Gothic kings and  bishops at length discovered that injuries
          will  produce  hatred,   and   that  hatred  will  find  the
          opportunity of revenge.  A  nation,  the secret or professed
          enemies of Christianity,  still  multiplied in servitude and
          distress; and the  intrigues  of the Jews promoted the rapid
          success of the Arabian conquerors. (140) 

          As soon as  the  barbarians withdrew their powerful support,
          the  unpopular  heresy  of  Arius  sunk  into  contempt  and
          oblivion. But the  Greeks  still  retained  their subtle and
          loquacious  disposition: the  establishment  of  an  obscure
          doctrine suggested new  questions  and  new disputes; and it
          was always in the power of an ambitious prelate or a fanatic
          monk to violate  the peace of the church, and perhaps of the
          empire. The historian  of  the  empire  may  overlook  those
          disputes which were confined to the obscurity of schools and
          synods.  The Manichceans,  who  laboured  to  reconcile  the
          religions  of  Christ   and   of   Zoroaster,  had  secretly
          introduced themselves into  the provinces: but these foreign
          sectaries  were involved  in  the  common  disgrace  of  the
          Gnostics, and the  Imperial laws were executed by the public
          hatred.  The  rational   opinions   of  the  Pelagians  were
          propagated from Britain  to Rome, Africa, and Palestine, and
          silently expired in  a  superstitious  age. But the East was
          distracted by the  Nestorian  and  Eutychian  controversies,
          which attempted to  explain  the mystery of the incarnation,
          and hastened the  ruin  of  Christianity in her native land.
          These controversies were  first  agitated under the reign of
          the younger Theodosius:  but  their  important  consequences
          extend far beyond  the  limits  of  the  present volume. The
          metaphysical   chain   of    argument,   the   contests   of
          ecclesiastical ambition, and  their  political  influence on
          the  decline  of   the   Byzantine  empire,  may  afford  an
          interesting and instructive  series  of  history,  from  the
          general councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon to the conquest of
          the East by the successors of Mahomet.

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