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The visit of Constantine after his conversion is a triumphant epoch for the Church, and it was subsequently adorned by fables becoming the dignity of the occasion. To that period is referred the donation, first produced long afterwards,

• Che Costantino al buon Silvestro fece;' and also an edict, creditable alike to the Emperor's orthodoxy and his prescience, by which he gives the Church of Rome precedence over all other churches, including that of Constantinople, not yet founded (Shepherd, p. 52). His genuine gifts were hardly less important. By permitting the church to acquire real property, he laid the foundations of her temporal greatness. The hierarchy rose rapidly to wealth, and ambition was not slow to follow. We learn from Ammianus Marcellinus (lib. xxii. 3), that in the year 366, the contest between the followers of Damasus and Ursinus for the Roman chair was so hot—though no doctrine was at stake —that one hundred and fifty dead bodies were left in one basilica. And indeed,' exclaims the historian, 'I cannot blame the zeal with which so very good a thing is contested :—the successful candidate has at his command the luxuries of wealth-equipage and dress, and banquets of royal daintiness.'

The Church of the new seat of government, Constantinople, started immediately into consequence, and in the days of Gregory the Great seems to have been in a condition to claim the primacy over all others. There is extant a letter of Gregory in which he entreats his Byzantine brother not to violate that equality which is the essence of the episcopate, by accepting from the Emperor the title of æcumenical bishop. Gregory was a good man and a great, but before all things he

a churchman. When the blood-stained monster Phocas usurped his master's throne, Gregory thought it expedient to address the tyrant in terms of flattery, which (as Bayle remarks) prove

that those who had forced him to be Pope knew him better than he knew himself. Not long after, if Baronius is to be believed, Phocas conferred on Boniface III. this same title of Ecumenical Bishop, which Boniface had concurred with Gregory in condemning when sought by another. This story has been disputed ;—but that such is the version which Rome chooses to give in what may be considered her own official statement, is a fact in itself quite as interesting as the real truth could be if ascertained. However, we must remind the believers in Dr. Fleming's exposition of Prophecy, that on the precise accuracy of this assumption-namely, that in the year 606 this very title was granted, and that from the said grant the papacy takes its datedepends the whole of the ingenious calculation which fixed on the year 1848 as that in which the papacy should suffer an incurable,



though not immediately lethal wound. Our readers will not have forgotten the wonderment which was occasioned by the republication of the old Presbyterian's prophecy just at the period of its accomplishment.

Not less important in the history of the papacy was the acquisition of independence by the Bishop of Rome on the revolt of Italy from Leo the Iconoclast.* The subsequent donation of the Exarchate of Ravenna by Pepin raised him to the rank of a temporal prince; and though at the time it produced little of solid advantage, it conferred a claim which at a later period the Church was able to enforce. Perhaps also it suggested the magnificent forgery of Constantine's donation of the Western Empire, before alluded to, which was now first solemnly brought forward in a letter of Adrian I. to Charlemagne. In the following century the final schism between the Greek and the Latin Churches relieved the Western Patriarch of a powerful rival, and concentrated his exertions within more manageable limits. But there was yet a pause before the highest point of greatness was achieved.

For about 150 years the See, paralyzed by a series of revolutions and crimes, made little progress in extending its influence. But in the meantime the national synods of every country of Europe were successfully engaged in enlarging the ecclesiastical at the expense of the civil power. There is nothing more clear than the subordination of the Church to the State on the first introduction of Christianity. From the emperor of the civilized world to the chieftain of a barbarous tribe, from Constantine to Clovis, the royal convert became ex officio the head of his newly adopted religion, and its chief missionary to his unconverted subjects. The Church, dante minor, gratefully accepted his favours, and with them his supremacy. But the effects of time tended everywhere to alter this relation. The clergy held the keys of knowledge and of Scripture. It was their duty to instruct, and it became their ambition to direct. Every year the clergy had been gaining ground:-the episcopate concurred in electing sovereigns--they claimed the right to judge and to depose. At length, about the middle of the 11th century, the Papacy awoke from its slumber like a giant refreshed, and proceeded to wrest the fruits of victory from the national churches,

* Barrow notes the dexterity with which Baronius endeavours to represent the rebel. lion of Gregory II, against Leo as a deposition of the Emperor by the Pope.

+ Gibbon, chap. 49. For the first thousand years after Christ all general councils were convoked by sovereigns; and in the early national synods, it must be admitted, the lay presidents did not show themselves more careful of discriminating between temporal and spiritual jurisdiction than did the clergy in after years,


who soon perceived that they had toiled for the exaltation of the common tyrant of clergy and laity.

The magnificent project of Gregory VII. proposed nothing less than the subjugation of the world as its end and the subserviency of the clergy as its means. To fit the Church for its high vocation he professed to reform it: in this task he chiefly employed the instrumentality of the monastic orders, and by exempting them from episcopal jurisdiction, he secured to the See the exclusive devotion of a disciplined ecclesiastical militia. To them moreover was committed the charge of preaching—a most powerful engine in an illiterate age- and by their aid he ultimately succeeded in enforcing the celibacy of the clergy—the final triumph by which the machinery of ecclesiastical despotism was completed. In the name of spiritual supremacy, the Roman See made rapid strides towards temporal dominion. The temporal and spiritual' are easily distinguished in definition, but in action it is as difficult to discriminate their limits as to separate the functions of soul and body. By the alternate distinction and confusion of these terms the See developed the doctrine of spiritual supremacy till it embraced every object of worldly ambition. But Gregory and his successors were soon enabled to discard the perplexing sophistry with disdain. Boldly and without disguise they put forth the claim of temporal as well as spiritual dominion in behalf of the Vicar of Christ—the ruler of the world.'

Cardinal Baronius quotes certain maxims of Gregory VII. (Dictatus Papæ), which formed the basis of his system. They comprise those claims which his predecessors had never put forth to the same extent, or had failed in enforcing, but which he found essential to his “ideal' of a church. They mark the theoretical boundaries of a kingdom that has never yet been fully entered on and possessed, but whose pretensions have never since been withdrawn. The following is a summary of the more important articles. • The Pope is the one Universal Bishop—with all power to depose, to restore, to translate, and to alter the sees of other bishops. No book is canonical without his sanction. No Council can be called General without his precept; his legate presides in every Council with supreme power.

Those who are not in communion with him cannot be Catholics ; those who are excommunicated by him are cut off from the commerce of mankind. He can depose emperors

- he can absolve subjects from their allegiance. He is the judge of all men, and no man can judge him. He can reverse all sentences, and no one can reverse his. No one can be prevented appealing to the Holy See, and to it all great causes


ought to be referred. All princes kiss his feet.* There is only one name in the world—that of the Pope, and by the merits of the blessed St. Peter he is endowed with personal sanctity.'--That among these axioms there should also be one asserting the infallibility of the Church is by no means surprising, but it is very remarkable that Gregory should hesitate dogmatically to attribute this infallibility to the pontiff in his own individual person, more especially as he claims for him the more startling attribute of personal sanctity. When Mr. Seymour so puzzled his friends the Jesuits by denying that they could produce any dogmatic declaration of the Church's infallibility, we presume he did not conceive the pith of his objection to lie in any degree of doubt he had thrown on the fact that a church extra quam nemo salvus esse potest' does virtually claim infallibility; but the remark is valuable as showing:-1. How unwilling the Church has been to expose this doctrine to the attacks of her adversaries by embodying it in a specific decree ;-2. How impotent she shows herself to terminate the schism in her own body by dogmatically deciding where this infallibility resides ;-3. How fearful of defining when and under what circumstances she is infallible, lest she should limit her power of denying at pleasure that she has spoken ex cathedrâ, and of thus relieving herself (when needful) of the grievous burden of infallibility.

The details of Gregory's ecclesiastical system were such as would naturally be derived from these principles. The subserviency of metropolitans was secured by the regulation which enjoined every archbishop to receive the pallium at the hands of the Pope. This law originated in an occasional compliment, which grew into a custom. The custom was made a necessity by our English St. Boniface (the great apostle of Papal supremacy) and a synod of bishops at Frankfort in 742; and Gregory, or, perhaps, some of his predecessors, construed this into a promise of obedience, and added an oath of fealty (Hallam, cap. vii.). The contest for the investitures of bishoprics which convulsed Europe for so many years, was begun by Gregory, and ended in a compromise by which, as usual, all that was obtained by Rome was clear gain for her. Moreover, in all countries the See made a systematic effort, attended with various success, to draw all causes to the ecclesiastical tribunals; to exempt ecclesiastics from lay jurisdiction, and church property from ordinary taxation

an immunity by which, when we see the use the Pope made of

* Notwithstanding these grandiose pretensions, Gregory had allowed his election to be coufirmed by the Emperor. A great advance was made when, not long after, the Papal elections were confined tu the College of Cardinals, to the exclusion of Clergy and Emperor.



his power, the Church was hardly a gainer. It was no war for barren power that was waged :--all the good things of this world were at stake. The reader is familiar with the various devices of annates, first fruits, &c., by which a large portion of all Church

was brought to the Papal treasury. By a series of gradual encroachments, Rome had at one time succeeded in engrossing the greater part of the public and private patronage of Europe. On one occasion Adrian IV. had begged of some bishops a nomination as a favour. From this slender beginning, judiciously developed, arose the Pope's claim to nominate by a

mandat,' to any piece of preferment, at pleasure. By 'provisions,' reserves, ' expectatives,' he bestowed reversions, in defiance of the rights of the legitimate patrons: and so freely was this claim exercised, that the volumes in the Papal archives relating to expectatives, when they were classified and arranged in the year 1835, amounted, from the days of Martin V. to those of Pius VII. inclusive (about 400 years), to no less than 6690. A bull of Clement IV., published in 1266, is curiously illustrative of the tactics of the Vatican. The immediate object is to secure the presentation to the benefices of all who die in Rome - Vacantes in Curiâ. The exordium claims the right to dispose of the preferment of the world, whether vacant or in reversion. The policy of these pompous exordiums is obvious. In those days no Mr. Bowyer was needed to assure the public that this gorgeous language meant nothing; that it was only the Holy Father's usual style. Few thought of disputing about general principles, least of all with a Pope. The mountain is employed to produce a mouse; the mouse creates no alarm and causes no opposition, but there it remains to attest the vitality of its monstrous parent, and the legitimacy of all future offspring. By the subsequent invention of dispensations for non-residence, this universal patronage became a most efficient engine of power.* Two centuries later, at the Council of Trent, the question of nonesidence was agitated with the utmost vehemence by both parties, as being in itself decisive of the influence of the Roman See.

But the Pope by no means limited himself to the distribution of ecclesiastical patronage. He claimed the disposal of the good things of this world, and was ready to sanction the violence of any usurper who would recognise him as the patron. To attain

* Dizionario Storico Ecclesiastico, vol. xix. p. 113. This work bears the name of the Abbate Gaetano Moroni, so well known at Rome as Gaetanino. It was compiled under the eye of Gregory XVI., and edited by his favourite; but it must not, we presume, be inferred that any share of it is from the pen of Moroni himself. According to Signor Farini (the historian translated by Mr. Gladstone) all the municipalities and their dependents were made to understand the necessity of buying the voluminous compilation of the astute and fortunate barber.'

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