III. In the style of the Oriental Christians, the Monothelites of every age are described under the appellation of Maronites, a name which has been insensibly transferred from a hermit to a monastery, from a monastery to a nation.
They condemned the execrable and abominable heresy of the Monothelites, who revived the errors of Manes, Apollinaris, Eutyches, &c.; they signed the sentence of excommunication on the tomb of St. Peter; the ink was mingled with the sacramental wine, the blood of Christ; and no ceremony was omitted that could fill the superstitious mind with horror and affright.
It is for the Governor to decide between Papists and Protestants, Jansenists and Molinists, Arminians and Calvinists, Episcopalians and Presbyterians, Sabellians and Tritheists, Homoousians and Homoiousians, Nestorians and Eutychians, Monothelites and Monophysites, Paedobaptists and Anabaptists.
The only new sect of any importance in this century is that of the Monothelites, later known as Maronites; they taught that Christ had but one will, but the doctrine is wrapped up in so many subtleties as to be almost incomprehensible. They were condemned, in the sixth General Council, held at Constantinople, A.D. 680.
This opinion it seems somewhat difficult to comprehend; and no one, unacquainted with the ecclesiastical history of those ages, could imagine the height of zeal and violence with which it was then inculcated. The decree of the Lateran council calls the Monothelites impious, execrable, wicked, abominable, and even diabolical, and curses and anathematizes them to all eternity.
But controversies on speculative points of theology seem to have engaged scarcely any portion of his attention. In what he wrote on Church Government he showed, as far as he dared, a tolerant and charitable spirit. He troubled himself not at all about Homoousians and Homoiousians, Monothelites and Nestorians.
While the synod debated, a fanatic proposed a more summary decision, by raising a dead man to life: the prelates assisted at the trial; but the acknowledged failure may serve to indicate, that the passions and prejudices of the multitude were not enlisted on the side of the Monothelites.
When, therefore, in the midst of the wrangling of sects, in the incomprehensible jargon of Arians, Nestorians, Eutychians, Monothelites, Monophysites, Mariolatrists, and an anarchy of countless disputants, there sounded through the world, not the miserable voice of the intriguing majority of a council, but the dread battle-cry, "There is but one God," enforced by the tempest of Saracen armies, is it surprising that the hubbub was hushed?
The Emperor Bardanes, a supporter of the Monothelite heresy, ordered that a picture representing the sixth general council should be removed from the Church of St. Sophia, because that council had condemned the Monothelites. Constantine, the Pope, immediately set up six pictures, representing the six general councils, in the porch of St.
Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, called, in the year 680, a synod at Hatfield, consisting of all the bishops in Britain, where was accepted and ratified the decree of the Lateran council, summoned by Martin, against the heresy of the Monothelites.