An examination of the opinions of Vigilantius.


VIGILANTIUS was born in Aquitain, as is proved by De Marca, in a dissertation of his which is not yet published, and Priest in the diocese of Barcelona; he had contracted a particular friendship with St. Paulinus, who was ordained Priest at Barcelona; St. Paulinus recommended him in particular to St. Jerome, as he passed through Campania, where St. Paulinus was Bishop, in his way to Jerusalem; St. Jerome received him with all the affection possible, in the year 394, and calls him the holy Priest Vigilantius, in his thirteenth epistle to St. Paulinus. He made no long stay in the Holy Land; it is probable that the disputes about Origenism, which troubled that province, obliged him, to return the sooner. St. Jerome seems to insinuate that Vigilantius had been gained by Rufinus, enemy to St. Jerome, and that after Vigilantius was come into Egypt, and in some other provinces, he accused St. Jerome for having too great a liking for the writings of Origen, etc. decrying him every where as an Origenist. This was the true cause of the hate and rage of St. Jerome against Vigilantius, whereof we have a very sensible instance in his seventy-fifth epistle, which he wrote against Vigilantius about the year 397, where he treats him with the greatest indignity. Vigilantius being returned into Gaul, seems to have made his abode there, and to have published a certain treatise, about the year 406, against the worshipping of relics, which about sixty years before was introduced into the Church. St. Jerome being informed hereof, had an occasion offered him of defending the superstition of the common people against the censures of Vigilantius, and of unloading against him the most injurious language that hatred could inspire.

The writers of the Church of Rome have not been wanting long since to draw their advantage from these invectives of St. Jerome against the Protestants, and never speak of Vigilantius but as a heretic. The Bishop of Meaux hath carefully traced their steps; he tells us therefore, after his manner, very confidently, that even in the fourth century, the most clearsighted of all the rest, there was found but one only, Vigilantius, who opposed himself against the honors given to the saints, and the worshipping of their relics; yet he is looked upon, by the Protestants, as the person who has preserved the depositum, that is to say, the succession of the apostolical doctrine, and is preferred by them to St. Jerome, who hath the whole Church for him.

This of necessity obligeth us to take a particular view of the opinions of Vigilantius. I shall not make a stop to invalidate what the Bishop saith, that Vigilantius wrote in the fourth century, nor at his endeavoring to cloak the notion of his Church concerning the religious worship they give to saints and to relics, under the indeterminate expression of the honors of saints, and the worship of relics: but to come to the thing itself, I maintain, that if Vigilantius had the misfortune of falling under the displeasure of St. Jerome, by the censure he pronounced against the popular superstition of rendering various honors to the relics of saints, yet was he never condemned by the Church that then was, nor treated as an heretic. Gennadius owns that Vigilantius had an elegant style, and that his zeal for religion had engaged him to write. I own that he charges him with a mistake in his explication of the second vision of Daniel, and in some other articles for which he reckoneth him amongst heretics. But we are to take notice,

1st. That Gennadius wrote an hundred years after Vigilantius, and so follows the judgment St. Jerome had given before of him.

2dly. That he calls these articles heretical, after the manner of ancient authors, who very frankly bestowed the name of heresy on every thing that displeased them, though it had never been condemned by the Scripture, nor rejected by the body of the Church.

3dly. That he looked upon these pretended heresies as of very small importance, because he speaks of an absurd explication of the second vision of Daniel, which St. Jerome had revived, as of an error more considerable than those of Vigilantius, which he does not express, and mentions them as trifles.

However, be it as it will, if the Bishop of Meaux maintains these two things;

1st. That Vigilantius was the only man that opposed the honors of the saints, and the worship of relics; and

2dly. That St. Jerome had the whole Church on his side in his answer; I maintain, against the Bishop, that either he is deceived himself, or was willing to deceive his reader, in both these things. The falsity of the first will appear to every one that can read. St. Jerome’s book against Vigilantius: St. Jerome himself witnesseth, that the holy Bishop, in whose diocese Vigilantius was a Priest, that is to say, the Bishop of Barcelona, was of Vigilantius’s opinion; so that we have already discovered one Bishop, whom St. Jerome endeavored to conceal from us; but we shall find a greater number whom St. Jerome himself owns to have approved Vigilantius’s opinion, lest we should imagine that Vigilantius and his Bishop were schismatics:

“O horrible!” saith St. Jerome, “some Bishops also are said to be partakers of his crimes:” and we may judge of St. Jerome’s moderation by that which follows; Si tamen Episcopi nominandi sunt, qui non ordinant Diaconos nisi primo uxores duxerint, nulli caelibi credentes pudicitiam:

“If we may call them Bishops, who ordain none to be Deacons except they be married, not trusting the chastity of any unmarried person.”

What then, shall we conclude that so many Churches, whose Bishops and Priests were all married, had no lawful Bishops or Priests? Can any thing be conceived more extravagant than this? To this acknowledgment of St. Jerome we may add what he saith himself on the sixty-fifth chapter of Isaiah; for he owns that Vigilantius’s blaming of that popular superstition had induced divers persons in Gaul to abstain from frequenting the churches of the martyrs, and to withdraw themselves from the prayers that were made there. The falsity of the second article will be no less evident, if we examine the manner of St. Jerome’s defending himself against Vigilantius; for though he had undertaken to run down Vigilantius, yet after all he agrees with him in the main.

St. Jerome owns in his fifty-third epistle, which he writes to Riparius, that Vigilantius had writ twice against the worship of relics, and that he called those that adored them, Cinerarii and idolaters, qui mortuorum hominum ossa venerarentur, who did honor the bones of dead men; for which St. Jerome calls him a Samaritan and a Jew, because he counted dead bodies to be unclean, as if Christians still lived under the Law.

Whereas Vigilantius blamed the custom of honouring them in the churches, because it was a piece of superstition in a place dedicated to religious worship, to bestow any veneration upon creatures, though the most holy and most excellent that might be. St. Jerome is forced to prevaricate upon this charge; his way of defending this matter is such as would never please the palate of the Church of Rome. Nos autem non dico martyrum reliquias, sed ne solem quidem et lunam, non angelos, non archangelos, non cherubin, non seraphim, et omne nomen quod nominatur, et in praesenti saeculo et in futuro, colimus et adoramus ne serviamus creaturae potius quam Creatori, qui est benedictus in saecula. Honoramus autem reliquias martyrum, ut eum cujus sunt martyres adoremus; honoramus servos, ut honor servorum redundet ad Dominum, qui ait, Qui vos suscipit, me suscipit. Ergo Petri et Pauli immundae sunt reliquiae, ergo Moysi corpusculum immundum erit, quod, juxta Hebraicam veritatem, ab ipso sepultum est Domino; et quotiescunque Apostolorum et Prophetarum, et omnium martyrum basilicas ingredimur, toties idolorum templa veneramur, accensique ante tumulos eorum cerei idololatriae insignia sunt.

“But we neither worship nor adore, I do not say the relics of martyrs, but not so much as the sun and moon, etc. nor any name that is named in this world, or in that which is to come, lest we should serve the creature rather than God, who is blessed for ever: but we honor the relics of the martyrs, in worshipping him whose they are; we honor the servants, that their honor may redound to the Lord, who saith, He that receives you, receives me. What! are the relics then of Peter and Paul unclean? Is the body of Moses unclean, which according to the Hebrew truth was buried by the Lord himself? And as often as we enter the churches of the Apostles, Prophets, and Martyrs, do we worship the temples of idols? And shall we say that the tapers which burn before their monuments are the marks of idolatry?”

What a fine application doth St. Jerome make here of that passage, He that receives you, receives me; and how solid an answer doth he return to a solid objection, when he tells us, “We honor the servants in worshipping him whose they are.”

What a consequence is this! Is there any other honor due to relics, besides that of being interred? Was not this the custom used to the Christians of old, before the time of Constantius? It is well enough seen, that the good Father skips over the difficulty, and under a general protestation of worshipping nothing but God, he endeavors to shelter a custom which had been introduced after the Emperor Constantius’s time, that is to say, about sixty years before. Vigilantius blamed the custom, which but a little before had been introduced, of lighting tapers before the tombs of martyrs, and passing the night by them in prayer, wherein he followed the maxims of the Council of Elvira, held under the empire of Constantine, about ninety years before. After what manner doth St. Jerome refute these complaints of Vigilantius? He tells us of the presence of the angels at the grave of Jesus Christ; he relies upon the example of the Apostles, who buried the body of St. Stephen; he produceth the custom of Daniel and the Apostles, who spent the night in prayer; and all this without doubt extremely to the purpose; and the Protestants are much in the wrong to prefer the opinions of Vigilantius to such solid reasonings as these. But it may be replied, that St. Jerome disputed only slightly, and for argument’s sake, in his Epistle to Riparius, not having then seen the writing of Vigilantius, and therefore handled the matter only as a declaimer. This indeed is the best excuse that can be alleged, to make the reader digest the furious transports and invectives of this famous Monk, who treats Vigilantius no otherwise than as another Julian the Apostate, and seems very willing to have had him destroyed by the law mentioned in the thirteenth of Deuteronomy. And after all this, St. Jerome is the same in his book against Vigilantius, which follows this epistle.

After a preface which outdoes all the monsters that either the Scripture or fables speak of, he begins thus; Exortus est subito Vigilantius, seu verius Dormitantius, qui immundo spiritu pugnet contra Christi Spiritum, et martyrum neget sepulcra veneranda, damnandas dicat esse vigilias, nunquam nisi in Pascha alleluia cantandum, continentiam haeresin, pudicitiam libidinis seminarium; et quomodo Euphorbus in Pythagora renatus esse perhibetur, sic in isto Joviniani mens prava surrexit, ut in illo, et in hoc Diaboli respondere cogamur insidiis:

“Here is suddenly started up one Vigilantius, or rather Dormitantius, who with an unclean spirit fights against the Spirit of Christ, and denies that any veneration ought to be given to the sepulchres of martyrs, condemns the watchings at them, affirms that alleluias ought to be sung at no time except Easter, calls continence heresy, and chastity the nursery of lust; so that as Euphorbus was said to be born again in Pythagoras, in like manner in him seems to be revived Jovinianus’s wickedness, in whom as we were forced to oppose ourselves against the wiles of the Devil, so likewise are we now equally obliged to oppose this man’s errors.”

What Ciceronian eloquence is this! What a strange account of things is here!

But there is something worse behind: see what stories he tells of Jovinian; Ecclesiae authoritate damnatus inter Phasides aves et carnes suillas, non tam emisit spiritum, quam eructavit, iste caupo Callaguritanus, et in perversum propter nomen viculi, mutus Quintilianus: miscet aquam vino, et de pristino artificio, suae venena perfidiae Catholicae fidei sociare conatur, impugnare virginitatem, odisse pudicitiam, in convivio saecularium contra sanctorum azemia proclamare, dum inter phialas philosophatur, et ad placentas liguriens, Psalmorum modulatione mulcetur, ut tantum inter epulas David et Idithum et Asaph et filiorum Core cantica audire dignetur. Surely the good St. Jerome did not think of what he said, so extremely was he transported with an inconsiderate zeal for celibacy; but however, this zeal of his had a reasonable motive: Proh nefas! said he. This is the first heresy of Vigilantius; he would have it allowed to Ministers to marry, whereas in the ten provinces subject to the Pope, in the seventeen provinces of the jurisdiction of Ephesus, and in the five provinces of Egypt, they followed a contrary custom.

This without doubt was a crying heresy, and yet it appears from the Decretal of Pope — — to Hymerius, Bishop of Tarracona, that it had made so little impression upon the minds of men, that Innocent I. was fain to write, A.D. 405, to Exuperius, Bishop of Toulouse, upon the same subject of the celibacy of the Clergy; so much opposition did that business every where meet with at that time. We must consider further the manner how St. Jerome applies the passage, which only regards adultery, to the celibacy of the Clergy: but this is only by way of preface.

St. Jerome tells us at first, that he had received Vigilantius’s book by the care of Riparius and Desiderius, who lived near the countries that Vigilantius had infected with his opinions; and that he had been informed by them, that there were some there who favored his vices, and were pleased with his blasphemies: after having branded his book for a stupid piece of ignorance, and which did not deserve to be discussed, were it not for the sake of some silly women, laden with sins, of whom St. Paul speaks, 2 Timothy 3:6, he assaults Vigilantius upon the account of the place of his birth; he was born at Calaguri, whereupon St. Jerome makes a learned disquisition into the original of that people from Pompey’s time: Nimirum, saith he, respondet generi suo, ut qui de latronum et convenarum natus est semine, quos Cn. Pompeius, edomita Hispania, et ad triumphum redire festinans, de Pyrenaei jugis deposuit, et in unum oppidum congregavit, unde et convenarum urbs nomen accepit, hucusque latrocinetur contra Ecclesiam; et de Vectonibus, Arrebacis, Celtiberisque descendens, incurset Galliarum Ecclesias, portetque nequaquam vexillum Christi, sed insigne Diaboli. Fecit hoc idem Pompeius etiam in orientis partibus, ut Cilicibus et Isauris piratis latronibusque superatis, sui nominis inter Ciliciam et Isauriam conderet civitatem. Sed haec urbs hodie servat scita majorum, et nullus in ea ortus est Dormitantius: Galliae vernaculum hostem sustinent, et hominem moti capitis, atque Hippocraticis vinculis alligandum, sedentem sinunt in Ecclesia, et inter caetera verba blasphemiae, etc.

“He indeed,” saith he, “every way answers his extraction; for being descended from robbers, and a mixed rabble drawn together from several parts, whom Pompey, after he had conquered Spain, and hasting to his triumph, removed from the tops of the Pyrenean hills, and gathered them into one city, which therefore was called the City of Strangers: what wonder is it then, if, being such a one, he ravage and spoil the Church; and if, deriving his pedigree from the Vectones, Arrebaci, and Celtiberi, he make incursions upon the Gallic Churches, fighting not under Christ’s, but the Devil’s banner? Pompey also did the same in the east; where, after he had overcome the pirates and robbers of Cilicia and Isauria, he built a city bearing his own name between Cilicia and Isauria: but to this day that city observes their forefathers’ customs, and never produced any Dormitantius; whereas Gaul maintains an home-bred enemy, and suffers a man that is half mad, one fit to be bound in Hippocrates’s bands, to sit in the church, etc.”

Here is a violent transport of rage: what horrid thing then is it that this robber hath attempted? Why he said, Quid necesse est to tanto honore non solum honorare, sed etiam adorare illud nescio quid, quod in modico vasculo transferendo colis? Et rursum in eodem libro; Quid pulverem linteamine circundatum adorando oscularis? Et in consequentibus, Prope ritum Gentilium videmus sub praetextu religionis introductum in ecclesias; sole adhuc fulgente, moles cereorum accendi, et ubicunque pulvisculum nescio quod, in modico vasculo, pretioso linteamine circundatum osculantes adorare. Magnum honorem praebent hujusmodi homines beatissimis martyribus, quos putant de vilissimis cereolis illustrandos, quos Agnus qui est in medio throni cum omni fulgore majestatis suae illustrat:

“What need is there for thee not only to venerate, but also adore something I know not what which thou worshippest, carrying it about in a little box? And again in the same book; Why dost thou kiss by way of worship a little dust wrapped up in linen? And afterwards; We have almost seen a heathenish rite introduced into the churches; whole heaps of wax tapers lighted in the face of the sun, and men every where kissing a little dust, shut up in a small box, with religious reverence, which is wrapt about with fine linen. These men must need render a great honor to the most blessed martyrs, whom they suppose to stand in need of the illustration of vile candles, whereas the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne doth illuminate them with all the brightness of his majesty.”

This is a dreadful crime in Vigilantius beyond all controversy. Who is there, replies St. Jerome to this, that ever adored the martyrs? And he proves that it may not be done, by the example of Paul and Barnabas, and of St. Peter. The Church of Rome, and the Bishop of Meaux, are concerned to inquire whether St. Jerome was very orthodox, in denying a thing which at present cannot be so absolutely denied, without the imputation of heresy. After St. Jerome has shewn his indignation against this expression, illud nescio quid, as if Vigilantius therein had spoke blasphemy, and derogated from the honor due to the martyrs, he defends his judgment by the examples of Constantine, that is to say, of Constantius, who had transported to Constantinople the relics of St. Andrew, St. Luke, and Timothy; and of the Emperor Arcadius, who had caused the bones of the Prophet Samuel to be brought out of Judea to Thrace, with the approbation of the Bishops and people of that time. This is a very solid defense, if we may believe St. Jerome; for it seems there is no more to be said, when once a superstition comes to be sixty years old. But the pleasantest thing of all is, that St. Jerome goes about to support this popular worship by this curious way of arguing,

Mortuum suspicaris, et idcirco blasphemas; lege Evangelium, Deus Abraham, Deus Isaac, Deus Jacob; non est Deus mortuorum, sed vivorum. Si ergo vivunt, honesto juxta te carcere non clauduntur; ais enim vel in sinu Abraham, vel in loco refrigerii, vel subter aram Dei, animas Apostolorum et Martyrum consedisse, nec posse suis tumulis et ubi voluerint adesse praesentes; senatoriae videlicet dignitatis sunt, ut non inter homicidas teterrimo carcere, sed in libera honestaque custodia in Fortunatarum Insulis et in Campis Elysiis recludantur. Tu Deo leges ponis, tu Apostolis vincula injicis, ut usque ad diem judicii teneantur custodia; nec sint cum Domino suo, de quibus scriptum est, Sequuntur Agnum quocunque vadit. Si Agnus ubique, ergo et hi qui cum Agno sunt, ubique esse credendi sunt. Et cum Diabolus et daemones toto vagentur orbe, et celeritate nimia ubique praesentes sint, martyres post effusionem sanguinis, sui arca operientur inclusi, et inde exire non poterunt?

“Thou supposest him to be dead, and therefore thou blasphemest; read the Gospel, I am the God of Abrabam, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; he is not the God of the dead, but of the living. But if they be alive, say you, they ought not to be shut up in such narrow prisons; and you own that the souls of the Apostles and Martyrs have taken up their abode either in the bosom of Abraham, or in a place of refreshment, or under the altar of God, and they cannot be present at their tombs, or wherever they 369 please: for by your account, they are persons of the first quality, and so ought not to be shut up amongst murderers in a filthy dungeon, but to enjoy a free and honorable custody in the Fortunate Islands and the Elysian Fields. Thus you limit and set laws to God, and bind the Apostles in chains, and keep them in custody till the day of judgment; so that they cannot be with their Lord, of whom it is written, that they follow the Lamb whithersoever he goes. Now seeing the Lamb is every where, they who are with the Lamb must be supposed to be every where also; and when the Devil and spirits do wander throughout the whole world, and by their overgreat nimbleness are present every where, shall we say that the martyrs, after the shedding of their blood, are shut up in their coffins, without being able to stir from thence?”

These fine reasonings of St. Jerome against Vigilantius have two characters. The first is, that they are contrary to the sentiments of most of the ancients: the second is, that they have been despised by St. Austin, and, in fine, have displeased all the Schoolmen; so that it is not worth while to contradict them. St. Jerome handles the rest of his matter much at the same rate. Dicis in libello tuo, quod dum vivimus mutui pro nobis orare possumus; postquam autem mortui fuerimus, nullius sit pro alio exaudienda oratio: praesertim cum martyres ultionem sui obsecrantes impetrare non quiverint:

“You say in your book, that whilst we are alive we may mutually pray for one another, but that after we are once dead, no man’s prayer can be heard for another; and the rather, because even the martyrs themselves begging of God that he would avenge their blood, have not been able to obtain their request.”

What is it St. Jerome answers to this? He saith, that if the saints, when alive, procured favors for others, they may obtain them much rather now, when they are with Christ, seeing they are not dead, but asleep, as the Scripture tells us.

As to the wax tapers, the use of which is blamed by Vigilantius, St. Jerome tells us something that will not over well agree with the Church of Rome.

Cereos autem non clara luce accendimus, sicut frustra calumniaris, sed ut noctis tenebras hoc solatio temperemus, et vigilemus ad lumen, ne tecum dormiamus in tenebris. Quod si aliqui propter imperitiam et simplicitatem saecularium hominum, vel certe religiosarum feminarum, de quibus vere possumus dicere, confiteor zelum Dei habent, sed non secundum scientiam, hoc pro honore martyrum faciunt, quid inde perdis? Causabantur quondam et Apostoli quod periret unguentum, sed Domini voce correpti sunt; neque enim Christus indigebat unguento, nec martyres lumine cereorum; et tamen illa mulier in honore Christi hoc fecit, devotioque mentis ejus recipitur: et quicunque accendunt cereos, secundum fidem, suam habent mercedem, dicente Apostolo, Unusquisque suo sensu abundet:

“Neither do we light wax tapers at noonday, as you causelessly complain, but only to allay the darkness of the night with the help of candles, and to be kept waking by the light of them, lest being in darkness we should fall asleep as well as you. But and if some out of ignorance and simplicity amongst the laymen or devout women, of whom we may truly say, that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge, should do this in honor to the martyrs, what is the loss or hurt of all this? So the Apostles also murmured of old, that the woman made waste of her ointment, but were reproved by our Lord himself; neither did the Lord want the ointment, any more than the martyrs stand in need of wax tapers; and yet because the woman did it in honor to Christ, her devotion is accepted of; and so they who light wax tapers receive a reward according to their faith; for the Apostle tells us, Let every one abound in his own sense.”

One cannot avoid taking notice how St. Jerome abuseth this passage of St. Paul, and the pretense he gives for adjudging rewards to all sorts of superstition; however we must acknowledge, that in this article St. Jerome hath many more approvers than Vigilantius.

Vigilantius called them idolaters, who, by lighting wax tapers by daylight, did imitate the customs of the heathens. How does St. Jerome answer him? First, He tells him, that what was done of this kind to idols was detestable; but that the same thing, when done out of respect to the martyrs, is very commendable. Secondly, That the eastern Churches lighted candles at the reading of the Gospel, though there be no relics of the martyrs. Thirdly, That Jesus Christ assigns to the wise virgins lamps lighted. Fourthly, He opposeth to Vigilantius the example of the Bishop of Rome, who celebrated the Mass upon the tombs of the Apostles, as upon an altar. I feared I should tire the patience of my reader, should I go about to examine this piece of St. Jerome’s throughout: this specimen may suffice to judge of the whole work.

I shall therefore only reduce to some few articles what I have further to add, in order to the full clearing of this question.

1. I affirm, that the Bishop of Meaux had no reason to say that Vigilantius opposed himself against the honors done to saints. St. Jerome does not accuse him of it in any part of his works; he only blames him because he was not for giving them so great honor as other men did. Quid necesse est tanto honore, non tantum honorare, sed etiam adorare illud nescio quid?

“What necessity is there not only to honor, but even to adore and worship I know not what, with so very great honor?”

2. It is for the Bishop of Meaux to tell us, whether he believes with St. Jerome, that Vigilantius was an heretic for denying that the souls of saints are present at their graves; and whether St. Jerome doth solidly prove, that we ought to believe them to be every where, where Jesus Christ is, because it is said in the Revelations, that the virgins follow the Lamb whithersoever he goes.

3. The truth is, Vigilantius stretched the point too far, in maintaining, that, after we are dead, the prayer of any one for another cannot be heard. Probably also he might be too rigid, in refusing to enter into the churches of the Apostles and Martyrs, to signify his aversion to the superstition which then began to be introduced, as St. Austin complains, De Moribus Ecclesiae Catholicae, cap. 34. p. 37.

1. But it is false, that because Vigilantius found fault with the adoration of relics, therefore St. Jerome maintained the same to be lawful: he was so far from that, that he upbraids Vigilantius with calumniating the Church by this his accusation. Quis, O insanum caput! aliquando martyres adoravit? Quis hominem putavit Deum?

“Who ever, O foolish man, adored the martyrs? Who ever took a man to be God?”

It is evident that St. Jerome takes adoration to be an act due to God alone, and which he does not divide in two sorts, as the Church of Rome does at this day, which indeed makes three different sorts of it.

2. It is false, that St. Jerome maintains that the Church prayed to saints, whereof Vigilantius accuseth those against whom he had writ. He agrees with Vigilantius, that the saints ought not to be prayed to even as friends to Christ, and intercessors with God; ne ut amici quidem Dei et comprecatores ad Deum. Is it not manifest that the Bishop of Meaux abuses the world, when he quotes St. Jerome in favor of the Church of Rome, which prays to saints on both these accounts, which are so expressly rejected by St. Jerome; and when he upbraids the Protestants for following of Vigilantius in an article which St. Jerome owns as well as he, and the whole Church at that time? But to speak the truth, the whole of Vigilantius’s crime consists, first, in that he was willing to bring the discipline of the Council of Elvira in force again, which was assembled at the beginning of the fourth century; the constitutions whereof were undervalued towards the end of the same age, after the Christian religion began to bear down all its opposers, under the reign of Constantine and his children. Secondly, because he attributes to the Church some customs which were not all of them authorized, though they were already generally received and maintained by the ignorant and superstitious sort of people. Thirdly, because he opposed some customs as general, which were capable of being explained in a tolerable sense. But indeed at the bottom, St. Jerome and Vigilantius were very well agreed upon the point we condemn in the Church of Rome; neither do we find that the Church, to which Vigilantius did belong, did ever except against him. Thus it is evident, that the Protestants may look upon Vigilantius as a zealous defender of the Christian purity, and one of those who opposed themselves against superstition in its first rise.


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