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Perettis > when canonization is about tx > be inflicted on another Louis , and little silver models of embryo princes are gravely vowed at the shrine of the virgin : in times . like these it is not too much to expect that such enlightened authors 9 s St . Jerome and Tertuilian may soon become the classics of most of the continental courts . We
shall therefore make no further apa-Jogy , for prefacing our remarks upon Mrl Boyd \ s translation with a few brief and desultory notices of some of the most distinguished fathers aad their works .
St . Justin , the martyr , is usually considered as the * well -spring of most of those strange errors which flowed go-abundantly through the early ages of the Church , and spread arouztd them in their course such luxuriance
of absurdity . The most amiable , and therefore the least contagious of bis heterodoxies , * was that which led him to patronize the souls-of Socrates and other Pagans , in consideration of those glimmerings of the divine Logos which his fancy discovered through
the dark , night of heathenism . The absurd part of this opin ion remained , while its tolerant spirit evaporated . And while these Pagans were still allowed to have known something of the Trinity , * they were yet damned for not knowing more , with most unrelenting orthodoxy .
The belief of an intercourse between angels and women , founded upon a false version of a text in Genesis , and of an abundant progeny of demons in consequence , is one of those monstrous notions of St . Justin , and other fathers , which show how
little they had yet purged off the grossness of heathen mythology , and in how many respects their heaven wa * but Olympus with other names : — Vet we can hardly be angry with them for this error , when we recollect , / that possibly to their enamoured angela we owe the beautiful world of
* Still more benevolent was O \ ig * en \ never-to-be-forgfi veto dissent from the doctrine of eternal damnation . To thjs amiable iveftkfiess , more than any tiling- else , tbis fattier seems to hav e owed the forfeiture g / fcis rank in the Calendar ; and in return for hie anxiety to rescue the human race from hell , he ha # beetk sent thifher himself by more than one Catholic Iheoloff ian .
Sylphs and Gnomes , and that , perhaps , at this moment , we might have wanted Pope ' s most excellent Poem * if the Septuagint Version had translated the book of Genesis correctly . This doctrine , as far as it concerned
angelic natures , was at length indignantly disavowed by St . Chrysostom . But daemons were much too useful a race to be so easily surrendered to reasoning or ridiculej there was no getting up a decent miracle without them , exorcists would have been out
of employ , and saints at a loss for temptation -. — -Accordingly , the writings of these holy doctors abound with such stories of demoniacal possession , as make us alternately smile at their weakness , and blush for their dishonesty . Nor are they chargeable
only with the impostures of their own times ; the sanction they gave to this petty diabolism has made them responsible for whole centuries of juggling . Indeed , whoever is anxious to contemplate a picture of human folly
and human knavery , at the same time ludicrous and melancholy , may find it iu a history of the exploits of daemons , from the days of the Fathers down to modern times ; from about the date of that theatrical
little devil of TertuHian , ( so triumphantly referred to by Jeremy Collier ) , Who claimed a right to take possession of a woman in the theatre (* because he there found her on his own ground *} , to the gallant daemons commemorated bv Eodin and
Remigius , and such tragical farces as the possession of the Nuns of Loudon . The same features of craft and dupery are discoverable through the whole from beginning to end ; and when we have read of that
miraculous-person , Gregory Thaumaturgus , writing a familiar epistle to Satan , and then turn to the story of the young Nun , in fiodin , in whose box was found a love-letter * a son ch * r
deernoiV we need not ask more perfect specimens of the two wretched extremes of imposture and credulity , than these two very different letterwriters a fiord .
The only class of daemons whose los * we regret , and whose visitations we would gladly have restored to us , are those * seducing sprites , who , * as Theophilus of Anlioch tells us , ' confessed themselves to be the same that had inspired the heathen poets / T **
Tte > Father * . VSf
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Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1815, page 17, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1756/page/17/