Arnold

, a famous scholar of the twelfth century, born at Brescia in Italy, whence he went to France, and studied under the celebrated Peter Abelard. Upon his return to Italy, he put on the habit of a monk, and began to preach several new and uncommon doctrines, particularly that the pope and the clergy ought not to enjoy | any temporal estate. He maintained in his sermons, that those ecclesiastics who had any estates of their own, or held any lands, were entirely cut off from the least hopes of salvation; that the clergy ought to subsist upon the alms and voluntary contributions of Christians; and that all other revenues belonged to princes and states, in order to be disposed of amongst the laity as they thought proper. He maintained also several singularities with regard to baptism and the Lord’s supper. He engaged a great number of persons in his party, who were distinguished by his name, and proved very formidable to the popes. His doctrines rendered him so obnoxious, that he was condemned in 1139, in a council of near a thousand prelates, held in the church of St. John Lateran at Rome, under pope Innocent II. Upon this he left Italy, and retired to Swisserland. After the death of that pope, he returned to Italy, and went to Rome; where he raised a sedition against Eugenius III. and afterwards against Adrian IV. who laid the people of Rome under an interdict, till they had banished Arnold and his followers. This had its desired effect: the Romans seized upon the houses which the Arnoldists had fortified, and obliged them to retire toOtricoli in Tuscany, where they were received with the utmost affection by the people, who considered Arnold as a prophet. However, he was seized some time after by cardinal Gerard; and, notwithstanding the efforts of the viscounts of Campania, who had rescued him, he was carried to Rome, where, being condemned by Peter, the prefect of that city, to be hanged, he was accordingly executed in 1155. Thirty of his followers went from France to England, about 1160, in order to propagate their doctrine there, but they were immediately seized and put to death. Mr. Berington, the historian of Abelard and Heloisa, after a very elegant memoir of Arnold’s life, sums up his character with much candour. He thinks he was a man whose character, principles, and views, have been misrepresented; but he allows that he was rash, misjudging, and intemperate, or he would never have engaged in so unequal a contest. It appears, indeed, by all accounts, that he was one of those reformers who make no distinctions between use and abuse, and are for overthrowing all establishments, without proposing any thing in their room. 1

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Gen. Dict. Mosheim. Berington’s Hist, of Abelard. Gibbon’s Hist.