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"CENTURY VI.

CHAP. I.

THE LIFE OF FULGENTIUS, AND THE STATE OF " THE AFRICAN CHURCHES IN HIS TIME. '

the

In the year 495, a storm began again to lower CENT. over the African Churches. Thrasamond, whose Vi. reign then commenced, as obstinate in Arianism Thrasa as Huneric, but more sagacious and less bloody, mond, king mingled the arts of gentleness and severity against Vandals in them. On the one hand herstrove to gain over the Africa, ...

begins his orthodox by lucrative motives, on the other he reign, forbad the ordination of bishops in the vacant A. D. Churches *. Eugenius, whose faithfulness was so 495. severely tried in the former persecution, had been called to sleep in Jesus before the commencement of this. The African bishops showed however that divine grace had not forsaken them. They determined unanimously not to obey an order, which threatened the extinction of orthodoxy. They ordained bishops, and filled the vacant Sees, though they foresaw the probability of Thrasamond's resentment. But they thought it their duty to take care of their flocks at this hazard, rather than to seem to consent to the king's unrighteous proKibitions. Thrasamnond, enraged, determined to Thrasabanish them all. Fulgentius about that time was monde

15 secutes with chosen bishop of Ruspæ. In him we behold an- severity. other instance of the effects of the religion revived

..:: See Fleury, B. XXX. Vol. ii. VOL. III,

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CHAP. under Augustine. Fulgentius's life is written by

one of his disciples, and dedicated to Felician, a
bishop, who was the successor of Fulgentius. The
review of it, and of his own works, will give us a
specimen of the power of divine grace victoriously
struggling under all the disadvantages of monastic
superstition, and the childish ignorance of a bar-
barous age. Fulgentius was descended from a
noble family in Carthage, where his father was a
senator. His grandfather Gordian, Aying from the
arms of Huneric, retired into Italy. After his de-
cease, two of his sons, returning into Africa, now
settled under the Vandal government, found their
family-mansion possessed by the Arian clergy. Bý
royal authority however they received part of their
patrimony, and retired to Constantinople. In that
part of the world, at Tellepte, Fulgentius was born,
being the son of Claudius one of the brothers, and
of Marriana, a Christian lady, who being soon left
a widow gave her son a very liberal education, for
which Constantinople afforded at that time peculiar
advantages; and thus his mind became stored with
Greek and Roman learning. As he increased in
religious seriousness, he inclined more and more to
a monastic life, for which he gradually prepared
himself by successive austerities in Africa, the
country of his father, to which he returned with
his mother. He was received into the monastery
of Faustus, a bishop whom the Arian persecution
had banished from his diocese to a place contiguous.
to it, where he erected his monastery. The spirit
and fashion of the times so transported him, that,
at first, he refused even to see his own mother who
came to visit him, though he afterwards behaved to
her with the greatest filial duty. He underwent
severe bodily sufferings from the renewal of the
Arian persecution. He was beaten with clubs so
cruelly, that he confessed afterwards he scarce
found himself capable of enduring the pain any

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