Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

school at Cæsarea, in Palestine, and whose renown to doubt was great at Alexandria, soon reached his ears. To that city therefore he betook himself, where meeting with Fermilian, a Cappadocian gentleman, and afterwards bishop of Cæsarea, in that country, he commenced a friendship with him, there being an extraordinary sympathy and agreement in their tempers and studies, and they jointly put themselves, together with kis brotber Athenodorus, under the tutorage of that celebrated master. Origen en. deavoured to settle him in the full belief of Christianity, of which he had some insight before, and to ground him in the knowledge of the holy scriptures, as the best system of true wisdom and philosophy.

Neo-Cæsarea was a large and populous place, but being miserably overgrown with superstition and idolatry, Chris. tianity had as yet scarce made its entrance there. However, our young pbilosopher was appointed to be a guide of souls in the place of his nativity. Phædinius, bishop of Amasia, a neighbouring city in that province, cast his eye upon him for that purpose ; and it was thought his relation to the place would more endear the employment to him. But, upon receiving the first intimation of the de. sign, he shifted his quarters, and, as oft as sought for, fed from one desert to another; so that the bishop by all his arts and industry could not obtain intelligence of bim; he therefore constituted bim bishop of the plače in bis abe sence, and how averse soever he seemed to be before, he now accepted the charge, when perhaps he had a more formal and solemn consecration. The province he entered upon was difficult; the city and neighbourhood being wholly addicted to the worship of demons, and there not being above seventeen Christians in those parts, so that he must find a church before he could govern it. The country was overrun with heresies; and himself, tbough aci complished sufficiently in buman learning, was, altogether unexercised in theological studies and the mysteries of religion. But here again he had immediate assistance from heaven; for, one night, as it is related by his biographer, Gregory of Nyssen, with the superstitious spirit then prevalent, while he was musing upon these things, and discussing matters of faith in his own mind, he had a vision, in which St. John the evangelist and the blessed virgin appeared in the chamber where he was, and discoursed before him concerning those points. In consequence, after :: their departure, he immediately penned that canon and rule of faith which they had declared. To this creed he always kept himself, and bequeathed it as an inestimable deposit to bis successors. The original, written with his own hand, we are informed, was preserved in that church in his name. It is cited by Dr. Waterland, as express and explicit respecting the doctrine of the Trinity. There can be no doubt of its authenticity, although the Socinians have taken much pains to prove the contrary.

Tbus furnished, he began to apply himself more directly to the charge committed to him, and he was said to be endowed with the power of working miracles : hence the title of Thaumaturgus, or wonder-worker, is constantly ascribed to him in the writings of the church. St. Basil assures us, that upon this account the Gentiles used to call him a second Moses. In this faithful and successful government of his flock he continued quietly till about anno 250, when he fled from the Decian persecution; but, as soon as the storm was over, he returned to his charge, and in a general visitation of his diocese, established in every place anniversary festivals and solemnities in honour of the martyrs who had suffered in the late persecution. In the reign of Galienus, about the year 260, upon the irruption of the northern nations into the Roman empire, the Goths breaking into Pontus, Asia, and some parts of Greece, created such confusion, that a neighbouring bishop of those parts wrote to Gregory for advice what to do : our author's answer, sent by Euphrasymus, is called his “ Canonical Epistle, * still extant among his works. Not long afterwards was convened that synod at Antioch, wherein Paul of Samosata, bishop of the place, which he did not care to lose, made a feigned recantation of his heretical opinions. Our St. Gregory was among the chief persons in this synod which met .n the year 264, but did not long survive it, dying either this or most probably the following year.

St. Basil says he was an evangelical man in his whole life. In his devotion he shewed the greatest reverence : yea and nay, were the usual measures of bis communication. He was also a man of uncommon meekness and humility, and a firm adherent to truth. With respect to the miracles ascribed to him, they do not rest upon the authority of his contemporaries, and are more numerous and extraordinary than will now be readily credited. His works were printed in Greek and Latin, 1626, folio, and in the

VOL. XVI.

bergne, was hury, desce an eminequently called

library of the fathers. Gerard Vossius also printed an edition at Mentz in 1664, 4to. Many of his writings, however, are supposed to be lost. .. . .. 9

GREGORY of Tours, St. or frequently called GEORGIUS FLORENTIUS GREGORIUS, an eminent bishop and writer of the sixth century, descended from a noble family of Anvergne, was born about the year 544. He was educated by his uncle Gallus, bishop of Clermont, and became so eminent for learning and virtue, as to be appointed bishop of Tours in the year 573. He assisted at the council held át Paris in the year 577, respecting Pretextat, bishop of Rouen, and strongly opposed the violence of some of the members of that assembly, particularly Chilperic and Fré degonde. He went afterwards to visit the tomb of the apostles at Rome, where be formed a friendship with St. Gregory the Great, and died November 27, 595... This bishop wrote a “ History of France," in ten books; eight books of “ The Miracles, or Lives of the Saints;" and other works, in the library of the fathers. The best edib tion is that by Dom Ruinart, 1699, fol. His history is very useful; for though the style is dry and coarse, and the author extremely simple and credulous, yet air ingenious critic may easily separate the truths contained in it from the falsehoods. This work has been translated into French by the abbé de Marolles, 1668, 2 vols. 8vo.! .

GREGORY of Rimini, general of the Augustines 1357, who died in 1358, was a celebrated scholastic divine, surnamed the Authentic Doctor, and wrote a “ Cominentary on the Master of the Sentences," Valentia, 1500, foli with an addition, printed at Venice, 1522, fol. ; “ A Treatise on Usury," and other works, Rimini, 1522, fol........

GREGORY of St. Vincent, a Flemish geometrician, was born at Bruges in 1584, and became a Jesuit at Rome at twenty years of age. He studied mathematics under the learned Jesuit Clavius. He afterward became a reputable professor of those sciences himself, and his instructions were solicited by several princes : he was called to Prague by the emperor Ferdinand II.; and Philip IV. king of Spain was desirous of having him to teach the mathematics to bis son, the young prince John of Austria. He was not less

Cave.-Mosheimu.---Milner's Church Hist. -- Douglas's Criterion, p. 397.Saxii Onomast. , Dupin. Moreri.-Vossins de Hist. Lat.-Care, vol. I.

a Moreri. Dupin.-Cave, vol. II.

endean for a compaigere

bir bey-chreee, Gregor was an nathematicetricus

estimable for his virtues than his skill in the sciences. His well-meant endeavours were very commendable, when his holy zeal, though for a false religion, led him to follow the army in Flanders one conipaign, to confess the wounded and dying soldiers, in which he received several wounds bimself. He died of an apoplexy at Ghent, in 1667, at eighty-three years of age.

As a writer, Gregory of St. Vincent was very diffuse and yoluminous, but he was an excellent geometrician. He published, in Latin, three mathematical works, the principal of which was his “ Opus Geometricum Quadraturæ Circuli, et Sectionum Coni,” Antwerp, 1647, 2 vols. folio. Although he has not demonstrated, in this work, the quadrature of the circle, as he pretends to have done, the book nevertheless contains a great number of truths and important discoveries; one of which is this, viz. that if one asymptote of an hyperbola be divided into parts in geome. trical progression, and from the points of division ordinates be drawn parallel to the other asymptote, they will divide the space between the asymptote and curve into equal portions; from whence it was shewn by Mersenne, that, by taking the continual sums of those parts, there would be obtained areas in arithmetical progression, adapted to abscisses in geometrical progression, and which therefore were analogous to a system of logarithms.' - GREGORY (JAMES), the first of an eminent family of learned men in Scotland, was the son of the Rev. Mr. John Gregory, minister of Drumoak in the county of Aberdeen, and was born at Aberdeen in November 1638. His mother was a daughter of Mr. David Anderson of Finzaugh, or Finshaugh, a gentleman who possessed a singular turn for mathematical and mechanical knowledge. This mathematical genius was hereditary in the family of the Andersons, and from them it seems to have been transmitted to their descendants of the names of Gregory, Reid, &c. Alexander Anderson, cousin-german of the said David, was professor of mathematics at Paris in the beginning of the seventeenth century, and published there several valuable and ingenious works ; as may be seen in our vol. II. The mother of James Gregory inherited the genius of ber family; and observing in her son, while yet a child, a strong propensity to mathematics, she instructed him her

Moreri.-Hutton's Dictionary.

self in the elements of that science. His education in the languages he received at the grammar-school of Aberdeen, and went through the usual course of academical studies at Marischal college, but was chiefly delighted with philosophical researches, into which a new door had been lately opened by the key of the mathematics. Galileo, Kepler, and Des Cartes were the great masters of this new method; their works, therefore, Gregory made his principal study, and began early to make improvements upon their disco. veries in optics. The first of these improvements was the invention of the reflecting telescope, which still bears his name; and which was so happy a thought, that it has given occasion to the most considerable improvements made in optics, since the invention of the telescope. He published the construction of this instrument in his “ Optica promota," 1663, at the age of twenty-four. This disco. very soon attracted the attention of the mathematicians, both of our own and foreign countries, who immediately perceived its great importance to the sciences. But the manner of placing the two specula upon the same axis appearing to Newton to be attended with the disadvantage of losing the central rays of the larger speculum, he proposed an improvement on the instrument, by giving an oblique position to the smaller speculum, and placing the eye-glass in the side of the tube. It is observable, however, that the Newtonian construction of that instrument was long abandoned for the original or Gregorian, which is now always used when the instrument is of a moderate size; though Herschel has preferred the Newtonian form for the construction of those immense telescopes which he has of late so successfully employed in observing the heavens.

About 1664 or 1665, coming to London, he became acquainted with Mr. John Collins, who recommended him to the best optic glass-grinders there, in order to have his telescope executed. But as this could not be done for want of skill in the artists to grind a plate of metal for the object speculum into a true parabolic concave, which the design required, he was 'much discouraged; and after a few imperfect trials made with an ill-polished spherical one, which did not succeed to his wish, he dropped the pursuit, and resolved to make the tour of Italy, then the mart of mathematical learning, in the view of prosecuting his favourite study with greater advantage.

He had not been long abroad when tlie same inventire

[ocr errors]

e. It is", and placing

« ZurückWeiter »