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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

He possessed the Syriac literature


109: This name, unknown till the xth century, appears to be of Syriac origin. It was invented by the Jacobites, and eagerly adopted by the Nestorians and Mahometans; but it was accepted without shame by the Catholics, and is frequently used in the Annals of Eutychius, (Asseman. Bibliot. Orient. tom. ii. p. 507, &c., tom. iii. p. 355. Renaudot, Hist. Patriarch. Alexandrin. p. 119.), was the acclamation of the fathers of Constantinople, (Concil. tom. vii. p. 765.)]

[Footnote 110: The Syriac, which the natives revere as the primitive language, was divided into three dialects. 1. The Aramoean, as it was refined at Edessa and the cities of Mesopotamia. 2. The Palestine, which was used in Jerusalem, Damascus, and the rest of Syria. 3. The Nabathoean, the rustic idiom of the mountains of Assyria and the villages of Irak, (Gregor, Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. p. 11.) On the Syriac, sea Ebed-Jesu, (Asseman. tom. iii. p. 326, &c.,) whose prejudice alone could prefer it to the Arabic.]

[Footnote 111: I shall not enrich my ignorance with the spoils of Simon, Walton, Mill, Wetstein, Assemannus, Ludolphus, La Croze, whom I have consulted with some care. It appears, 1. That, of all the versions which are celebrated by the fathers, it is doubtful whether any are now extant in their pristine integrity. 2. That the Syriac has the best claim, and that the consent of the Oriental sects is a proof that it is more ancient than their


[Footnote 112: In the account of the Monophysites and Nestorians, I am deeply indebted to the Bibliotheca Orientalis Clementino-Vaticana of Joseph Simon Assemannus. That learned Maronite was despatched, in the year 1715, by Pope Clement XI. to visit the monasteries of Egypt and Syria, in search of Mss. His four folio volumes, published at Rome 1719--1728, contain a part only, though perhaps the most valuable, of his extensive project. As a native and as a scholar, he possessed the Syriac literature; and though a dependent of Rome, he wishes to be moderate and candid.]

Chapter XLVII: Ecclesiastical Discord.--Part V.

I. Both in his native and his episcopal province, the heresy of the unfortunate Nestorius was speedily obliterated. The Oriental bishops, who at Ephesus had resisted to his face the arrogance of Cyril, were mollified by his tardy concessions. The same prelates, or their successors, subscribed, not without a murmur, the decrees of Chalcedon; the power of the Monophysites reconciled them with the Catholics in the conformity of passion, of interest, and, insensibly, of belief; and their last reluctant sigh was breathed in the defence of the three chapters. Their dissenting brethren, less moderate, or more sincere, were crushed by the penal laws; and, as early as the reign of Justinian, it became difficult to find a church of Nestorians within the limits of the Roman empire. Beyond those limits they had discovered a new world, in which they might hope for liberty, and aspire to conquest. In Persia, notwithstanding the resistance of the Magi, Christianity

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