Larger font
Smaller font
Copy
Print
Contents

The Two Republics, or Rome and the United States of America

 - Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents

    JUSTINAN, AUGUST 1, 527—NOVEMBER 14, 565

    In the supremacy of the papacy, Justinian holds the same place as does Constantine and Theodosius in the establishment of the Catholic Church. “Among the titles of greatness, the name ‘Pious’ was most pleasing to his ears; to promote the temporal and spiritual interests of the church was the serious business of his life; and the duty of father of his country was often sacrificed to that of defender of the faith.”—Gibbon. 31[Page 544] “Decline and Fall,” chap. xlvii, par. 23. “The emperor Justinian unites in himself the most opposite vices,—insatiable rapacity and lavish prodigality, intense pride and contemptible weakness, unmeasured ambition and dastardly cowardice.... In the Christian emperor, seem to meet the crimes of those who won or secured their empire by assassination of all whom they feared, the passion for public diversions without the accomplishments of Nero or the brute strength of Commodus, the dotage of Claudius.”—Milman. 32[Page 544] “History of Latin Christianity,” book iii, chap. iv, par. 2.TTR 543.3

    Pope Felix was succeeded by Boniface II, A. D. 530-532, who was chosen amidst the now customary scenes of disturbance and strife, which in this case were brought to an end, and the election of Boniface secured, by the death of his rival, who after his death was excommunicated by Boniface. On account of the shameful briberies and other methods of competition employed in the election of the popes, the Roman Senate now enacted a law “declaring null and execrable all promises, bargains, and contracts, by whomsoever or for whomsoever made, with a view to engage suffrages in the election of the pope; and excluding forever from having any share in the election, such as should be found to have been directly or indirectly concerned either for themselves or others, in contracts or bargains of that nature.”—Bower. 33[Page 544] “History of the Popes,” Boniface II, par. 3. Laws of the same import had already been enacted more than once, but they amounted to nothing; because as in the days of Caesar, everybody was ready to bribe or be bribed. Accordingly, at the very next election, in 532, “Votes were publicly bought and sold; and notwithstanding the decree lately issued by the Senate, money was offered to the senators themselves, nay, the lands of the church were mortgaged by some, and the sacred utensils pawned by others or publicly sold for ready money.”—Bower. 34[Page 544] Id., John II, par. 1. As the result of seventy-five days of this kind of work, a certain John Mercurius was made pope, and took the title of John II, December 31, 532.TTR 544.1

    In the year 532, Justinian issued an edict declaring his intention “to unite all men in one faith.” Whether they were Jews, Gentiles, or Christians, all who did not within three months profess and embrace the Catholic faith, were by the edict “declared infamous, and as such excluded from all employments both civil and military; rendered incapable of leaving anything by will; and all their estates confiscated, whether real or personal.” As a result of this cruel edict, “Great numbers were driven from their habitations with their wives and children, stripped and naked. Others betook themselves to flight, carrying with them what they could conceal, for their support and maintenance; but they were plundered of what little they had, and many of them inhumanly massacred.”—Bower. 35[Page 545] Id., par. 2.TTR 545.1

    There now occurred a transaction which meant much in the supremacy of the papacy. It was brought about in this way: Ever since the Council of Chalcedon had “settled” the question of the two natures in Christ, there had been more, and more violent, contentions over it than ever before; “for everywhere monks were at the head of the religious revolution which threw off the yoke of the Council of Chalcedon.” In Jerusalem a certain Theodosius was at the head of the army of monks, who made him bishop, and in acts of violence, pillage, and murder, he fairly outdid the perfectly lawless bandits of the country. “The very scenes of the Saviour’s mercies ran with blood shed in his name by his ferocious self-called disciples.”—Milman. 36[Page 545] “History of Latin Christianity,” book iii, chap. i, par. 5.TTR 545.2

    In Alexandria “the bishop was not only murdered in the baptistery, but his body was treated with shameless indignities, and other enormities were perpetrated which might have appalled a cannibal.” And the monkish horde then elected as bishop one of their own number, Timothy the Weasel, a disciple of Dioscorus.—Milman. 37[Page 546] Id., Bower calls him Timothy the Cat; but whether “weasel” or “cat,” the distinction is not material, as either fitly describes his disposition, though both would not exaggerate it.TTR 545.3

    Soon there was added to all this, another point which increased the fearful warfare. In the Catholic churches it was customary to sing what was called the Trisagion, or Thrice-Holy. It was, originally, the “Holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts” of Isaiah 6:3; but at the time of the Council of Chalcedon, it had been changed, and was used by the council thus: “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.” At Antioch, in 477, a third monk, Peter the Fuller, “led a procession, chiefly of monastics, through the streets,” loudly singing the Thrice-Holy, with the addition, “Who wast crucified for us.” It was orthodox to sing it as the Council of Chalcedon had used it, with the understanding that the three “Holies” referred respectively to the three persons of the Trinity. It was heresy to sing it with the later addition.TTR 546.1

    In A. D. 511, two hordes of monks on the two sides of the question met in Constantinople. “The two black-cowled armies watched each other for several months, working in secret on their respective partisans. At length they came to a rupture.... The Monophysite monks in the Church of the Archangel within the palace, broke out after the ‘Thrice-Holy’ with the burden added at Antioch by Peter the Fuller, “who wast crucified for us.’ The orthodox monks, backed by the rabble of Constantinople, endeavored to expel them from the church; they were not content with hurling curses against each other, sticks and stones began their work. There was a wild, fierce fray; the divine presence of the emperor lost its awe; he could not maintain the peace. The bishop Macedonius either took the lead, or was compelled to lead the tumult. Men, women, and children poured out from all quarters; the monks with their archimandrites at the head of the raging multitude, echoed back their religious war-cry.”—Milman. 38[Page 547] Id., par. 31.TTR 546.2

    These are but samples of the repeated—it might almost be said the continuous—occurrences in the cities of the East. “Throughout Asiatic Christendom it was the same wild struggle. Bishops deposed quietly; or where resistance was made, the two factions fighting in the streets, in the churches: cities, even the holiest places, ran with blood.... The hymn of the angels in heaven was the battle cry on earth, the signal of human bloodshed.”—Milman. 39[Page 547] Id., par. 21, 22.TTR 547.1

    In A. D. 512 one of these Trisagion riots broke out in Constantinople, because the emperor proposed to use the added clause. “Many palaces of the nobles were set on fire, the officers of the crown insulted, pillage, conflagration, violence, raged through the city.” In the house of the favorite minister of the emperor there was found a monk from the country. He was accused of having suggested the use of the addition. His head was cut off, and raised high on a pole, and the whole orthodox populace marched through the streets singing the orthodox Trisagion, and shouting, “Behold the enemy of the Trinity.” 40[Page 547] Id.TTR 547.2

    In A. D. 519, another dispute was raised, growing out of the addition to the Trisagion. That was, “Did one of the Trinity suffer in the flesh? or did one person of the Trinity suffer in the flesh?” The monks of Scythia affirmed that one of the Trinity suffered in the flesh, and declared that to say that one person of the Trinity suffered in the flesh, was absolute heresy. The question was brought before Pope Hormisdas, who decided that “one person of the Trinity suffered in the flesh” was the orthodox view; and denounced the monks as proud, arrogant, obstinate, enemies to the church, disturbers of the public peace, slanderers, liars, and instruments employed by the enemy of truth to banish all truth, to establish error in its room, and to sow among the wheat the poisonous seeds of diabolical tares.TTR 547.3

    Now, in 533, this question was raised again, and Justinian became involved in the dispute.TTR 548.1

    This time one set of monks argued that “if one of the Trinity did not suffer on the cross, then one of the Trinity was not born of the Virgin Mary, and therefore she ought no longer to be called the Mother of God.” Others argued: “If one of the Trinity did not suffer on the cross, then Christ who suffered was not one of the Trinity.” Justinian entered the lists against both, and declared that Mary was “truly the Mother of God;” that Christ was “in the strictest sense one of the Trinity;” and that whosoever denied either the one or the other, was a heretic. This frightened the monks, because they knew Justinian’s opinions on the subject of heretics were exceedingly forcible. They therefore sent off two of their number to lay the question before the pope. As soon as Justinian learned this, he too decided to apply to the pope. He therefore drew up a confession of faith that “one of the Trinity suffered in the flesh,” and sent it by two bishops to the bishop of Rome. To make his side of the question appear as favorable as possible to the pope, he sent a rich present of chalices and other vessels of gold, enriched with precious stones; and the following flattering letter:—TTR 548.2

    “Justinian, pious, fortunate, renowned, triumphant; emperor, consul, etc., to John, the most holy Archbishop of our city of Rome, and patriarch:—TTR 548.3

    “Rendering honor to the apostolic chair, and to your Holiness, as has been always and is our wish, and honoring your Blessedness as a father, we have hastened to bring to the knowledge of your Holiness all matters relating to the state of the churches. It having been at all times our great desire to preserve the unity of your apostolic chair, and the constitution of the holy churches of God which has obtained hitherto, and still obtains.TTR 548.4

    “Therefore we have made no delay in subjecting and uniting to your Holiness all the priests of the whole East.TTR 548.5

    “For this reason we have thought fit to bring to your notice the present matters of disturbance; though they are manifest and unquestionable, and always firmly held and declared by the whole priesthood according to the doctrine of your apostolic chair. For we cannot suffer that anything which relates to the state of the church, however manifest and unquestionable, should be moved, without the knowledge of your Holiness, who are THE HEAD OF ALL THE HOLY CHURCHES; for in all things, we have already declared, we are anxious to increase the honor and authority of your apostolic chair.” 41[Page 549] Croly’s “Apocalypse,” chap. xi, “History,” under verses 3-10.TTR 548.6

    All things were now ready for the deliverance of the Catholic Church from Arian dominion. Since the death of Theodoric, divided councils had crept in amongst the Ostrogoths, and the Catholic Church had been more and more cementing to its interests the powers of the Eastern throne. “Constant amicable intercourse was still taking place between the Catholic clergy of the East and the West; between Constantinople and Rome; between Justinian and the rapid succession of pontiffs who occupied the throne during the ten years between the death of Theodoric and the invasion of Italy.”—Milman. 42[Page 549] “History of Latin Christianity,” book iii, chap. iv, par. 6.TTR 549.1

    The crusade began with the invasion of the Arian kingdom of the Vandals in Africa, of whom Gelimer was the king, and was openly and avowedly in the interests of the Catholic religion and church. For in a council of his ministers, nobles, and bishops, Justinian was dissuaded from undertaking the African war. He hesitated, and was about to relinquish his design, when he was rallied by a fanatical bishop, who exclaimed: “I have seen a vision! It is the will of heaven, O emperor, that you should not abandon your holy enterprise for the deliverance of the African church. The God of battle will march before your standard and disperse your enemies, who are the enemies of his Son.” 43[Page 549] Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall,” chap. xii, par. 3.TTR 549.2

    This persuasion was sufficient for the “pious” emperor, and in June 533, “the whole fleet of six hundred ships was ranged in martial pomp before the gardens of the palace,” laden and equipped with thirty-five thousand troops and sailors, and five thousand horses, all under the command of Belisarius. He landed on the coast of Africa in September; Carthage was captured on the 18th of the same month; Gelimer was disastrously defeated in November; and the conquest of Africa, and the destruction of the Vandal kingdom, was completed by the capture of Gelimer in the spring of 534. 44[Page 550] Id., par. 7-12. During the rest of the year, Belisarius “reduced the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Majorica, Minorica, and whatever else belonged to the Vandals, either on the continent or in the islands.”—Bower. 45[Page 550] “History of the Popes,” Agapetus, par. 5, note A.TTR 549.3

    Belisarius dispatched to Justinian the news of his victory. “He received the messengers of victory at the time when he was preparing to publish the Pandects of the Roman law; and the devout or jealous emperor celebrated the divine goodness and confessed, in silence, the merit of his successful general. Impatient to abolish the temporal and spiritual tyranny of the Vandals, he proceeded, without delay, to the full establishment of the Catholic Church. Her jurisdiction, wealth, and immunities, perhaps the most essential part of episcopal religion, were restored and amplified with a liberal hand; the Arian worship was suppressed, the Donatist meetings were proscribed; and the Synod of Carthage, by the voice of two hundred the seventeen bishops, applauded the just measure of pious retaliation.”—Gibbon 46[Page 550] “Decline and Fall,” chap. xii, par. 11.TTR 550.1

    As soon as this pious work had been fully accomplished in Africa, the arms of Justinian were turned against Italy and the Arian Ostrogoths. In 534 Amalasontha had been supplanted in her rule over the Ostrogoths by her cousin Theodotus. And “during the short and troubled reign of Theodotus—534 to 536—Justinian received petitions from all parts of Italy, and from all persons, lay as well as clerical, with the air and tone of its sovereign.”—Milman. 47[Page 550] “History of Latin Christianity,” book iii chap. iv, par. 7.TTR 550.2

    Belisarius subdued Sicily in 535, and invaded Italy and captured Naples in 536. As it was now about the first of December, the Gothic warriors decided to postpone, until the following spring, their resistance to the invaders. A garrison of four thousand soldiers was left in Rome, a feeble number to defend such a city at such a time in any case, but these troops proved to be even more feeble in faith than they were in numbers. They threw over all care of the city, and “furiously exclaimed that the apostolic throne should no longer be profaned by the triumph or toleration of Arianism; that the tombs of the Caesars should no longer be trampled by the savages of the North; and, without reflecting that Italy must sink into a province of Constantinople, they fondly hailed the restoration of a Roman emperor as a new era of freedom and prosperity. The deputies of the pope and clergy, of the Senate and people, invited the lieutenant of Justinian to accept their voluntary allegiance, and to enter into the city whose gates would be thrown open to his reception.”—Gibbon. 48[Page 551] “Decline and Fall,” chap. xii, par. 22.TTR 551.1

    Belisarius at once marched to Rome, which he entered December 10, 536. But this was not the conquest of Italy or even of Rome. “From their rustic habitations, from their different garrisons, the Goths assembled at Ravenna for the defense of their country: and such were their numbers that after an army had been detached for the relief of Dalmatia, one hundred and fifty thousand fighting men marched under the royal standard” in the spring, A. D. 537; and the Gothic nation returned to the siege of Rome and the defense of Italy against the invaders. “The whole nation of the Ostrogoths had been assembled for the attack, and was almost entirely consumed in the siege of Rome,” which continued above a year, 537-538. “One year and nine days after the commencement of the siege, an army so lately strong and triumphant, burnt their tents, and tumultuously repassed the Milvian bridge,” and Rome was delivered, March 538. The remains of the kingdom were soon afterward destroyed. “They had lost their king (an inconsiderable loss), their capital, their treasures, the provinces from Sicily to the Alps, and the military force of two hundred thousand barbarians, magnificently equipped with horses and arms.”—Gibbon. 49[Page 552] Id., par. 23, 28 and chap. xliii, par. 4. Afterward, from 54a till 553, there was carried on what had been called the “Gothic” War; but those who made the war were not Goths. They were “a new people” made up of Roman captives, slaves, deserters, and whoever else might choose to join them, with but a thousand Goths to begin with. See Gibbon, Id., chap. xliii, par. 4 and 6. And thus was the kingdom of the Ostrogoths destroyed before the vengeful arrogance of the papacy.TTR 551.2

    This completely opened the way for the bishop of Rome to assert his sole authority over the estates of the church. The district immediately surrounding Rome was called the Roman duchy, and it was so largely occupied by the estates of the church that the bishop of Rome claimed exclusive authority over it. “The emperor, indeed, continued to control the elections and to enforce the payment of tribute for the territory protected by the imperial arms; but, on the other hand, the pontiff exercised a definite authority within the Roman duchy, and claimed to have a voice in the appointment of the civil officers who administered the local government.”—Encyclopedia Britannica. 50[Page 552] Article “Popedom,” par. 25. Under the protectorate of the armies of the East which soon merged in the exarch of Ravenna, the papacy enlarged its aspirations, confirmed its powers, and strengthened its situation both spiritually and temporally. Being by the decrees of the councils, and the homage of the emperor, made the head of all ecclesiastical and spiritual dominion on earth, and being now in possession of territory, and exerting a measure of civil authority therein, the opportunity that now fell to the ambition of the bishopric of Rome was to assert, to gain, and to exercise, supreme authority in all things temporal as well as spiritual. And the sanction of this aspiration was made to accrue from Justinian’s letter, in which he rendered such distinctive honor to the apostolic see. It is true that Justinian wrote these words with no such far-reaching meaning,’ but that made no difference; the words were written, and like all other words of similar import, they could be, and were, made to bear whatever meaning the bishop of Rome should choose to find in them.TTR 552.1

    Therefore, the year A. D. 538, which marks the conquest of Italy, the deliverance of Rome, and the destruction of the kingdom of the Ostrogoths, is the true date which marks the establishment of the temporal authority of the papacy, and the exercise of that authority as a world-power. All that was ever done later in this connection was but to enlarge by additional usurpations and donations, the territories which the bishop of Rome at this point possessed, and over which he asserted civil jurisdiction. This view is fully sustained by the following excellent statement of the case:—TTR 553.1

    The conquest of Italy by the Greeks was, to a great extent at least, the work of the Catholic clergy.... The overthrow of the Gothic kingdom was to Italy an unmitigated evil. A monarch like Witiges or Totila would soon have repaired the mischiefs caused by the degenerate successors of Theodoric, Athalaric, and Theodotus. In their overthrow began the fatal policy of the Roman see, ... which never would permit a powerful native kingdom to unite Italy, or a very large part of it, under one dominion. Whatever it may have been to Christendom, the papacy has been the eternal, implacable foe of Italian independence and Italian unity; and so (as far as independence and unity might have given dignity, political weight, and prosperity) to the welfare of Italy.... Rome, jealous of all temporal sovereignty but her own, for centuries yielded up, or rather made Italy a battle field to the Transalpine and the stranger, and at the same time so secularized her own spiritual supremacy as to confound altogether the priest and the politician, to degrade absolutely and almost irrevocably the kingdom of Christ into a kingdom of this world.”—Milman. 51[Page 553] “History of Latin Christianity,” book iii, chap. iv, last two par.TTR 553.2

    Then “began that fatal policy of the Roman see,” because she was then herself a world-power, possessing temporalities over which she both claimed and exercised dominion, and by virtue of which she could contend with other dominions, and upon the same level. And that which made the papacy so much the more domineering in this fatal policy, was the fact of Justinian’s having so fully committed himself. When the mightiest emperor who had ever sat on the Eastern throne had not only under his own hand rendered such decided homage to the papacy, but had rooted out the last power that stood in her way, this to her was strongly justifiable ground for her assertion of dominion over all other dominions, and her disputing dominion with the powers of the earth.TTR 553.3

    It is evident that as the papacy had hitherto claimed, and had actually acquired, absolute dominion over all things spiritual, henceforth she would claim, and, if crafty policy and unscrupulous procedure were of any avail, would actually acquire, absolute dominion over all things temporal as well as spiritual. Indeed, as we have seen, this was already claimed, and the history of Europe for more than a thousand of the following years, abundantly proves that the claim was finally and fully established. Henceforth kings and emperors were but her tools, and often but her playthings; and kingdoms and empires her conquests, and often only her traffic.TTR 554.1

    The history of this phase of the papacy is fully as interesting, though the details are not so important, as that which shows how her ecclesiastical supremacy was established. Here, however, will be noticed but the one point, how the papacy assumed the supremacy over kings and emperors and acquired the prerogative of dispensing kingdoms and empires.TTR 554.2

    The contest began even with Justinian, who had done so much to exalt the dignity and clear the way of the papacy. Justinian soon became proud of his theological abilities, and presumed to dictate the faith of the papacy, rather than to submit, as formerly, to her guidance. And from A. D. 542 to the end of his long reign in 565, there was almost constant war, with alternate advantage, between Justinian and the popes. But as emperors live and die, while the papacy only lives, the real victory remained with her.TTR 554.3

    In A. D. 568 the Lombards invaded Italy, and for nearly twenty years wrought such devastation that even the pope thought the world was coming to an end. The imperial power of the East was so weak that the defense of Italy fell exclusively to the exarch of Ravenna and the pope. And as “the death of Narses had left his successor, the exarch of Ravenna, only the dignity of a sovereignty which he was too weak to exercise for any useful purpose of government” (Milman 52[Page 555] “History of Latin Christianity,” book iii, chap. vii, par. 1.), the pope alone became the chief defender of Italy. In 580 Gregory I—the Great—became pope, and concluded a treaty of peace with the Lombards, and “the pope and the king of the Lombards became the real powers in the north and center of Italy.”—Encyclopedia Britannica. 53[Page 555] Article “Lombards,” par 6.TTR 555.1

    The wife of the king of the Lombards was a Catholic, and by the influence of Gregory, she “solemnly placed the Lombard nation under the patronage of St. John the Baptist. At Monza she built in his honor the first Lombard church, and the royal palace near it.”—Id. From this the Lombards soon became Catholic; but though this was so, they would not suffer the priesthood to have any part in the affairs of the kingdom. They “never admitted the bishops of Italy to a seat in their legislative councils.”—Gibbon. 54[Page 555] “Decline and Fall,” chap. xiv. par. 18. And although under the Lombard dominion “the Italians enjoyed a milder and more equitable government than any of the other kingdoms which had been founded on the ruins of the empire,” this exclusion of the clergy from affairs of the State was as much against them now, though Catholic, as their Arianism had been against them before; and the popes ever anxiously hoped to have them driven entirely from Italy.TTR 555.2

    In 728 the edict of the Eastern emperor abolishing the images, was published in Italy. The pope defended the images, of course, and “the Italians swore to live and die in defense of the pope and the holy images.”—Gibbon. 55[Page 556] Id., chap. xlix, par. 9. An alliance was formed between the Lombards and the papacy for the defense of the images. The alliance, however, did not last long. Both powers being determined to possess as much of Italy as possible, there was constant irritation, which finally culminated in open hostilities, and the Lombards invaded the papal territory in A. D. 739.TTR 556.1

    Charles Martel, the mayor of the palace of the Frankish kingdom, had gained a world-wide glory by his late victory over the Mohammedans at Tours. Of all the barbarians, the Franks, were the first who had become Catholic, and ever since, they had been dutiful sons of the church. The pope, Gregory III, now determined to appeal to Charles for help against this assertion of Lombard dominion. He sent to Charles the keys of the “sepulcher of St. Peter;” some filings from the chains with which “Peter had been bound;” and, more important than all, as the legitimate inheritor of the authority of the ancient Roman republic, he presumed to bestow upon Charles Martel the title of Roman consul. “Throughout these transactions the pope appears actually, if not openly, an independent power, leaguing with the allies or the enemies of the empire, as might suit the exigencies of the time.” And now, “the pope, as an independent potentate, is forming an alliance with a Transalpine sovereign for the liberation of Italy.”—Milman. 56[Page 556] “History of Latin Christianity,” book iv, chap. ix, par. 14, 26.TTR 556.2

    The Lombards, too, sent to Charles with counter negotiations. This the pope knew, and wrote to Charles that in Italy the Lombards were treating him with contempt, and were saying, “Let him come, this Charles, with his army of Franks; if he can, let him rescue you out of our hands;” and then Gregory laments and pleads with Charles thus:—TTR 556.3

    “O unspeakable grief, that such sons so insulted should make no effort to defend their holy mother the church! Not that St. Peter is unable to protect his successors and to exact vengeance upon their oppressors, but the apostle is putting the faith of his followers to trial. Believe not the Lombard kings, that their only object is to punish their refractory subjects, the dukes of Spoleto and Benevento, whose only crime is that they will not join in the invasion and plunder of the Roman see. Send, O my Christian son, some faithful officer, who may report to you truly the condition of affairs here; who may behold with his own eyes the persecutions we are enduring, the humiliation of the church, the desolation of our property, the sorrow of the pilgrims who frequent our shrine. Close not your ears against our supplication, lest St. Peter close against you the gates of heaven. I conjure you by the living and the true God, and by the keys of St. Peter, not to prefer the alliance of the Lombards to the love of the great apostle, but hasten, hasten to our succor, that we may say with the prophet, ‘The Lord has heard us in the day of tribulation, the God of Jacob has protected us.” 57[Page 557] Milman’s “History of Latin Christianity,” book iv, chap. ix, par. 24.TTR 557.1

    The embassadors and the letters of the pope “were received by Charles with decent reverence; but the greatness of his occupations and the shortness of his life, prevented his interference in the affairs of Italy, except by friendly and ineffectual mediation.”—Gibbon. 58[Page 557] “Decline and Fall,” chap. xlix, par. 12. But affairs soon took such a turn in France that the long-cherished desire of the papacy was rewarded with abundant fruition. Charles Martel was simply duke or mayor of the palace, under the sluggard kings of France. He died October 21, 741. Gregory III died November 27, of the same year, and was succeeded by Zacharias. No immediate help coming for France, Zacharias made overtures to the Lombards, and a treaty of peace for twenty years was concluded between the kingdom of Lombardy and “the dukedom of Rome.”TTR 557.2

    Charles Martel left two sons, Carloman and Pepin; but Carloman being the elder, was his successor in office. He had been in place but a little while, before he resigned it to his brother, and became a monk, A. D. 747. The events in Italy, and the prestige which the pope had gained by them, exerted a powerful influence in France, and as the pope had already desired a league with Charles Martel, who although not possessing the title, held all the authority, of a king, Pepin, his successor, conceived the idea that perhaps he could secure the papal sanction to his assuming the title of king with the authority which he already possessed. Pepin therefore sent two ecclesiastics to consult the pope as to whether he might not be king of France, and Zacharias returned answer “that the nation might lawfully unite, in the same person, the title and authority of king; and that the unfortunate Childeric, a victim of the public safety, should be degraded, shaved, and confined in a monastery for the remainder of his days. An answer so agreeable to their wishes was accepted by the Franks as the opinion of a casuist, the sentence of a judge, or the oracle of prophet; ... and Pepin was exalted on a buckler by the suffrage of a free people, accustomed to obey his laws, and to march under his standard;” and March 7, 752, was proclaimed king of the Franks.—Gibbon. 59[Page 558] Id., par. 13.TTR 558.1

    Zacharias died March 14 the same year, and was succeeded by Stephen II, who died the fourth day afterward, and before his consecration, and Stephen III became pope, March 26. Astolph was now king of the Lombards. He had openly declared himself the enemy of the pope, and was determined to make not only the territories of the exarchate, but those of the pope, his own. “In terms of contumely and menace, he demanded the instant submission of Rome, and the payment of a heavy personal tribute, a poll-tax on each citizen.” The pope sent embassadors, but they were treated with contempt, and Astolph approached Rome to enforce his demand. “The pope appealed to heaven, by tying a copy of the treaty, violated by Astolph, to the holy cross.”—Milman. 60[Page 559] “History of Latin Christianity,” book iv, chap. xi, par. 24.TTR 558.2

    He wrote to Pepin, but got no answer; in his distress he wrote even to Constantinople, but much less from there was there any answer. Then he determined to go personally to Pepin, and ask his help. There was present at the court of the pope an embassador from the court of France, under whose protection Stephen placed himself, and traveled openly through the dominions of Astolph. November 15, 752 he entered the French dominions. He was met on the frontier by one of the clergy and a nobleman, with orders to conduct him to the court of the king. A hundred miles from the palace he was met by Prince Charles, afterward the mighty Charlemagne, with other nobles who escorted him on his way. Three miles from the palace, the king himself, with his wife and family, and an array of nobles, met Stephen. “As the pope approached, the king dismounted from his horse, and prostrated himself on the ground before him. He then walked by the side of the pope’s palfry. The pope and the ecclesiastics broke out at once into hymns of thanksgiving, and so chanting as they went, reached the royal residence. Stephen lost no time in adverting to the object of his visit. He implored the immediate interposition of Pepin to enforce the restoration of St. Peter .... Pepin swore at once to fulfill all the requests of the pope; but, as the winter rendered all military operations impracticable, invited him to Paris, where he took up his residence in the Abbey of St. Denys.”—Milman. 61[Page 559] Id., par. 25.TTR 559.1

    Pepin had already been anointed by a bishop in France, but this was not enough; the pope must anoint him too, and then upon this claim that the king of the Franks held his kingdom by the grace of the bishop of Rome. In the monastery of St. Denys, Stephen III placed the diadem on the head of Pepin, anointed him with the holy oil, confirmed the sovereignty in his house forever, and pronounced an eternal curse upon all who should attempt to name a king of France from any other than the race of Pepin. The pope was attacked with a dangerous sickness which kept him at the capital of France until the middle of 753.TTR 560.1

    At some point in this series of transactions, we know not exactly where, the pope as the head of the restored republic of Rome, renewed to Pepin the Roman title and dignity of patrician, which, as well as that of consul, had been conferred upon Charles Martel. The insignia of this new office were the keys of the shrine of St. Peter, “as a pledge and symbol of sovereignty;” and a “holy” banner which it was their “right and duty to unfurl” in the defense of the church and city of Rome.TTR 560.2

    Meantime Astolph had persuaded Carloman to leave his monastery, and go to the court of Pepin to counteract the influence of the pope, and if possible to win Pepin to the cause of the Lombards. But the unfortunate Carloman was at once imprisoned “for life,” and his life was ended in a few days. In September and October 753, Pepin and the pope marched to Italy against Astolph, who took refuge in Pavia. They advance to the walls of that city; and Astolph was glad to purchase an ignominious peace, by pledging himself, on oath, to restore the territory of Rome.TTR 560.3

    Pepin returned to his capital; and Stephen retired to Rome. But Pepin was no sooner well out of reach, than Astolph was under arms again, and on his way to Rome. He marched to the very gates of the city, and demanded the surrender of the pope. “He demanded that the Romans should give up the pope into his hands, and on these terms only would he spare the city. Astolph declared he would not leave the pope a foot of land.”—Milman. 62[Page 561] Id., par. 28.TTR 560.4

    Stephen hurried away messengers with a letter to Pepin in which the pope reminded him that St. Peter had promised him eternal life in return for a vow which he had made to make a donation to St. Peter. He told Pepin that he risked eternal damnation in not hastening to fulfill his vow; and that as Peter had Pepin’s handwriting to the vow, if he did not fulfill it, the apostle would present it against him in the day of judgment. Pepin did not respond, and a second letter was dispatched in which the pope “conjured him, by God and his holy mother, by the angels in heaven, by the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, and by the last day,” to hasten to the rescue of his holy mother the church, and promised him if he would do so, “victory over all the barbarian nations, and eternal life.” But yet Pepin did not respond, and as Astolph was pressing closer and harder, the pope determined to have St. Peter himself address the dilatory king. Accordingly, he sent now the following letter:—TTR 561.1

    “I, Peter the apostle, protest, admonish, and conjure you, the most Christian kings, Pepin, Charles, and Carloman, with all the hierarchy, bishops, abbots, priests, and all monks; all judges, dukes, counts and the whole people of the Franks. The Mother of God likewise adjures you, and admonishes and commands you, she as well as the thrones and dominions, and all the hosts of heaven to save the beloved city of Rome from the detested Lombards. If ye hasten, I, Peter the apostle, promise you my protection in this life and in the next, will prepare for you the most glorious mansions in heaven, will bestow on you the everlasting joys of paradise. Make common cause with my people of Rome, and I will grant whatever ye may pray for. I conjure you not to yield up this city to be lacerated and tormented by the Lombards, lest your own souls be lacerated and tormented in hell, with the devil and his pestilential angels. Of all nations under heaven, the Franks are highest in the esteem of St. Peter; to me you owe all your victories. Obey, and obey speedily, and, by my suffrage, our Lord Jesus Christ will give you in this life length of days, security, victory; in the life to come, will multiply his blessings upon you, among his saints and angels.” 63[Page 562] Id., par. 31.TTR 561.2

    This aroused Pepin to the most diligent activity. Astolph heard he was coming, and hastened back to his capital; but scarcely had he reached it before Pepin was besieging him there. Astolph yielded at once, and gave up to Pepin the whole disputed territory. Representatives of the emperor of the East were there to demand that it be restored to him; but “Pepin declared that his sole object in the war was to show his veneration for St. Peter;” and as the spoils of conquest, he bestowed the whole of it upon the pope—A. D. 755. “The representatives of the pope, who, however, always speak of the republic of Rome, passed through the land, receiving the homage of the authorities, and the keys of the cities. The district comprehended Ravenna, Rimini, Pesaro, Fano, Cesena, Sinigaglia, Iesi, Forlimpopoli, Forli with the Castle Sussibio, Montefeltro, Acerra, Monte di Lucano, Serra, San Marino, Bobbio, Urbino, Cagli, Luciolo, Gubbio, Comachio, and Narni, which was severed from the dukedome of Spoleto.”TTR 562.1

    Astolph was soon afterward killed while hunting. The succession was disputed between Desiderius and Rachis. Desiderius secured the throne by courting the influence of the pope, and in return the pope compelled him to agree to surrender to the papacy five cities, and the whole duchy of Ferrara besides. The agreement was afterward fulfilled, and these territories were added to the kingdom of the pope.TTR 562.2

    Stephen III died April 26, 757, and was succeeded by his brother Paul. Paul glorified Pepin as a new Moses, who had freed Israel from the bondage of Egypt. As Moses had confounded idolatry, so had Pepin confounded heresy; and he rapturously exclaimed, “Thou, after God, art our defender and aider. If all the hairs of our heads were tongues, we could not give you thanks equal to your deserts.”TTR 562.3

    All the donations which Pepin had bestowed upon the papacy were received and held by the popes, under the pious fiction that they were for such holy uses as keeping up the lights in the churches, and maintaining the poor. But in fact they were held as the dominions of the new sovereign State descended from the Roman republic, the actual authority of which had now become merged in the pope, and by right of which the pope had already made Charles a Roman consul, and Pepin a patrician. All these territories the pope ruled as sovereign. He “took possession as lord and master; he received the homage of the authorities and the keys of the cities. The local or municipal institutions remained; but the revenue, which had before been received by the Byzantine crown, became the revenue of the church: of that revenue the pope was the guardian, distributor, possessor.”—Milman. 64[Page 563] Id., par. 41.TTR 563.1

    In A. D. 768, Pepin died, was succeeded by his two sons, Charles and Carloman. In 771 Carloman died, leaving Charles sole king, who by his remarkable ability became Charles the Great,—Charlemagne,—and reigned forty-six years,—forty-three from the death of Carloman,—thirty-three of which were spent in almost ceaseless wars.TTR 563.2

    Charlemagne was a no less devout Catholic than was Clovis before him. His wars against the pagan Saxons were almost wholly wars of religion; and his stern declaration that “these Saxons must be Christianized or wiped out,” expresses the temper both of his religion and of his warfare. He completed the conquest of Lombardy, and placed upon his own head the iron crown of the kingdom, and confirmed to the papacy the donation of territory which Pepin had made. He extinguished the exarchate of Ravenna, and its territory “by his grant was vested, either as a kind of feud or in absolute perpetuity, in the pope.”—Milman. 65[Page 563] Id., chap. xii, par. 16.TTR 563.3

    It seems almost certain that Charlemagne really aspired to consolidate the territories of the West into a grand new Roman empire. Saxony, Bohemia, Bavaria, Pannonia, the Lombard kingdom of Italy as far as the duchy of Beneventum, that part of Spain between the Pyrenees and the river Ebro, Burgundy, Allemannia, and all Gaul, were subject to his sway. In addition to the kingship of all the Frankish dominions, he wore the iron crown of Lombardy. The next step was to be emperor indeed; and that was soon brought about. Leo III was pope. In 799 he made a journey to France, and was royally received and entertained by Charlemagne. At an imperial banquet, the king and the pope quaffed together their rich wines with convivial glee.”—Milman. 66[Page 564] Id., par. 26. In 800 Charlemagne made a journey to Rome. He arrived in the city November 23, and remained there through the month of December.TTR 563.4

    On Christmas day magnificent services were held. Charlemagne appeared not in the dress of his native country, but in that of a patrician of Rome, which honor he had inherited from his father, who had received it from the pope. Thus arrayed, the king with all his court, his nobles, and the people and the whole clergy of Rome, attended the services. “The pope himself chanted the mass; the full assembly were wrapped in profound devotion. At the close the pope rose, advanced toward Charles with a splendid crown in his hands, placed it upon his brow, and proclaimed him Caesar Augustus.” The dome of the great church “resounded with the acclamations of the people, ‘Long life and victory to Charles, the most pious Augustus, crowned by God the great an pacific emperor of the Romans.’” Then the head and body of Charlemagne were anointed with the “holy oil” by the hands of the pope himself, and the services were brought to a close. 67[Page 564] Id., par. 31, and Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall,” chap. xlix, par. 20. In return for all this, Charlemagne swore to maintain the faith, the power, and the privileges of the church; and to recognize the spiritual dominion of the pope, throughout the limits of his empire.TTR 564.1

    Thus had the papacy arrogated to itself all the authority of the ancient Roman empire, and with this the prerogative of bestowing upon whom she would, the dignities, titles, and powers of that empire. And now, as the representative of God, the pope had re-established that empire by bestowing upon Charlemagne the dignity and titles of Caesar, Augustus, and emperor.TTR 565.1

    Such was the origin, and thus was established, the doctrine of “divine right” in rulers. Thus was established the doctrine of the supremacy of the bishop of Rome over all things earthly, to whom it “belongs” to set up and to pull down kings and emperors. Thus did the papacy become the dispenser of kingdoms and empires, the disposer of peoples, and the distributor of nations. As she had already, and for a long while, asserted supreme authority over all things spiritual, in heaven and hell, as well as upon earth, and now by this transaction was enabled to assert supremacy over kingdoms, and empires, and their rulers, henceforth the papacy recognized no limits to her dominion over heaven, earth, and hell.TTR 565.2

    Ever since that Christmas day, A. D. 800, Leo and all his successors have spent their lives, and exercised their boundless ambition, in making felt to the uttermost this blasphemous claim; and for ages, nations groaned and people perished, under the frightful exercise of this infernal power. Under it the famous and the infamous Hildebrand punished Henry IV, emperor of Germany, in the no less famous and infamous transaction of Canossa. Under it, through the gift of the pope to Henry II, of England, Ireland is oppressed to-day, equally as the servitor of England, and the slave of the pope. By it Urban and his successors unto Innocent III, like terrible Muezzin, called millions from Europe to dreadful slaughter in the Crusades; and through it, by the instrumentality of the “Holy” Inquisition, Innocent III and his successors unto Gregory XVI, poured out their demoniacal wrath upon the innocent Albigenses, the devoted Waldenses, and the millions of other Christians who by sword, by captivity, by dungeon, by rack, by torture, and by flame, yielded their lives rather than submit to this horrible despotism over the bodies and souls, the actions and the thoughts, of men, choosing rather to die the free men of Christ, than to live the slaves of that filthy strumpet who has “deluged Europe and Asia with blood” (Gibbon 68[Page 566] “Decline and Fall,” chap. xiv, par. 22.) and whom the holy seer of Patmos saw “drunken with the blood of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” Revelation 17:1-6.TTR 565.3

    And even the Inquisition in its practical workings, is but the logic of the theocratical theory upon which the papacy is founded. God is the moral governor. His government is moral only, whose code is the moral law. His government and his law have to do with the thoughts, the intents, and the secrets of men’s hearts. This must be ever the government of God, and nothing short of it can be the government of God. The papacy then being the head of what pretends to be a government of God, and ruling there in the place of God, her government must rule in the realm of morals, and must take cognizance of the counsels of the heart. But being composed of men, how can she discover what are the thoughts of men’s hearts whether they be good or evil, that she may pronounce judgment upon them? By long and careful experiment, and by intense ingenuity, means were discovered by which the most secret thoughts of men’s hearts might be wrung from them, and that was by the confessional first, and especially for those who submit to her authority; and by the thumbscrew, the rack, and her other horrible tortures second, and for those who would not submit—in one word it was by the Inquisition that it was accomplished.TTR 566.1

    There remained but one thing more to make the enormity complete, and that was not only to sanction but to deify the whole deceitful, licentious, and bloody record, with the assertion of infallibility. As all the world knows, this too has been done. And even this is but the logic of the theocratical theory upon which the foundation of the papacy was laid in the days of Constantine. For, the papacy being professedly the government of God, he who sits at the head of it, sits there as the representative of God. He represents the divine authority; and when he speaks or acts officially, his speech or act is that of God. But to make a man thus the representative of God, is only to clothe human passions with divine power and authority. And being human, he is bound always to act unlike God; and being clothed with irresponsible power, he will often act like the devil. Consequently, in order to make all his actions consistent with his profession, he is compelled to cover them all with the divine attributes, and make everything that he does in his official capacity the act of God. This is precisely the logic and the profession of papal infallibility. It is not claimed that all the pope speaks is infallible; it is only what he speaks officially—what he speaks ex cathedra, that is, from the throne. The decree of infallibility is as follows:—TTR 566.2

    “We teach and define that it is a dogma divinely revealed, that the Roman pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal church, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed that his church should be endowed for defining doctrines regarding faith or morals; and that therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are irreformable of themselves, and not from the consent of the church.TTR 567.1

    “But if any one—which may God avert—presume to contradict this our definition, let him be anathema.TTR 567.2

    “Given at Rome in public session solemnly held in the Vatican Basilica in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy, on the eighteenth day of July, in the twenty-fifth year of our pontificate.” 69[Page 567] Schaff’s “History of the Vatican Council,” Decrees, chap. iv. The “pontificate” is that of Plus IX.TTR 567.3

    Under this theory, he sits upon that throne as the head of the government of God, and he sits there as God indeed. For the same pope that published this dogma of infallibility, published a book of his speeches, in the preface to which, in the official and approved edition, he is declared to be “The living Christ,” “The voice of God;” “He is nature that protests; he is God that condemns.” 70[Page 568] Speeches of Pope Plus IX, pp. 9, 17; Gladstone’s Review, p. 6. Thus, in the papacy there is fulfilled to the letter, in completest meaning, the prophecy—2 Thessalonians 2:1-9-----of “the falling away” and the revealing of “that man of sin,” “the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”TTR 568.1

    Therefore, sitting in the place of God, ruling from that place as God, that which he speaks from the throne is the word of God, and must be infallible. This is the inevitable logic of the false theocratical theory. And if it be denied that the theory is false, there is logically no escape from accepting the whole papal system.TTR 568.2

    Thus so certainly and so infallibly is it true that the false and grossly conceived view of the Old-Testament theocracy. contains within it the germ of THE ENTIRE PAPACY. 71[Page 568] Neander’s “History of the Christian Religion and Church,” Vol. ii, Section Second, part i, div. ii, par. 29.TTR 568.3

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents