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fellow priest, labours to be called “ Universal Bishop!" I am compelled to cry out, “ O the corruption of times and manners!” Behold the Barbarians are become lords of all Europe: cities are destroyed-castles are beaten down-provinces depopulated—there is no husbandman to till the ground *-Idolators rage and domineer over Christians; and yet Priests, who ought to lie weeping upon the pavement, in sack-cloth and ashes, covet names of vanity, and glory in new and profane titles. Do I, most religious Sovereign, in this plead my own cause ! Do I vindicate a wrong done to myself, and not maintain the cause of Almighty God, and of the church universal! Who is he that presumes to usurp this new name against both the law of the gospel and of the Canons? I would to God there might be one called universal without doing injustice to others. We know, that many priests of the church of Constantinople have been not only heretics, but even the chief leaders of them. Out of that school proceeded Nestorius, who, thinking it impossible that God should be made man, believed that Jesus Christ, the mediator between God and man, was two persons, and went as far in infidelity as the Jews themselves. Thence came Macedonius, who denied the Holy Ghost, consubstantial to the Father and the Son, to be God. If then every one in that church assumes the name by which he makes himself the head of all good men, the Catholic church, which God forbid should ever be the case, must needs be overthrown when he falls who is called UNIVERSAL. But, far from Christians be this blaspemous name, by which all honour is taken from all other priests, while it is foolishly arrogated by one. It was offered to the bishop of Rome by the reverend council of Chalcedon, in honour of St. Peter, prince of the apostles; but
Gregory here seems to refer to the irruption of the Goths into the Roman empire, and its total subversion by those Barbarians. Anthor.
none of them either assumed or consented to use it, lest, while this privilege should be given to one, all others should be deprived of that honour which is due unto them. Why should we refuse this title when it was offered, and another assume it without any offer at all? This man (John) contemning obedience to the Canons, should be humbled by the commands of our most pious Sovereign. He should be chastised who does an injury to the holy Catholic church! whose heart is puffed up, who seeks to please himself by a name of singularity, by wbich he would elevate himself above the emperor! We are all scandalized at this. Let the author of this scandal reform himself, and all differences in the church will cease. I am the servant of all priests, so long as they live like themselves—but if any shal) vainly set up his bristles, contrary to God Almighty, and to the Canons of the Fathers, I hope in God that he will never succeed in bringing my neck under his yoke-not even by force of arms. The things that have happened in this city, in consequence of this new title, I have particularly declared to Sabinianus, the deacon, my agent. Let therefore my religious sovereigns think of me their servant, whom they have always cherished and upheld more than others, as one who desired to yield them obedience, and yet am afraid to be found guilty of negligence in my duty at the last awful day of judgment. Let our most pious Sovereign either vouchsafe to determine the affair, according to the petition of the aforesaid Sabinianus, the deacon, or cause the man, so after mentioned to renounce his claim. In case he submits to your most just sentence, or your favourable admonitions, we will give thanks to Almighty God, and rejoice for the peace of the church, procured by your clemency. But if he in this contention, we shall hold the saying to true, “Every one that exalteth himself shall be
And again it is written, “ Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” In obedience to my Sovereign, I have written to my brother priest both gently and humbly, urging him to desist from this vain glory. If he gives ear unto me, he hath a brother devoted unto him, but if he continue in his pride, I foresee what will befall him-he will make himself His enemy of whom it is written, “ God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.”
It is difficult to determine whether the finesse of the politician, or the envy of the priest, be most prevalent in this artful letter. It does not, however, appear to have produced any good effect. John, indeed, was soon afterwards removed by death from his Arcbiepiscopal dignity; but Cynacus, who succeeded him as bishop of Constantinople, adopted the same pompous title as his predecessor. Having had occasion to dispatch some agents to Rome, in the letter which he wrote to the Roman Pontiff Gregory, he so much displeased him by assuming the appellation of " Universal Bishop," that the latter withheld from the agents somewbat of the courtesy to which they considered themselves entitled, and, of course, complaint was made to the emperor Maurice of the neglect which had been shewn them. This circumstance extorted a letter from the Emperor at Constantinople to the Bishop of Rome, in which he advises him to treat them, in future, in a more friendly manner, and not to insist so far on punctilios of style, as to create a scandal about a title, and fall out about a few syllables To this Gregory replies, “that the innovation in the style did not consist much in the quantity and alphabet; but the bulk of the iniquity was weighty enough to sink and destroy all. And therefore I am bold to say,” says he,
Epist. Greg. Mag. Ep. xxxii.
“ that whoever adopts, or affects the title of “UNIVERSAL Bishop,” has the pride and character of Antichrist, and is in some manner his fore-runner in this haughty quality of elevating himself above the rest of his order. And indeed both the one and the other seem to split upon the same rock; for, as pride makes Antichrist strain his pretensions up to Godhead, so whoever is ambitious to be called the only or Universal Prelate, arrogates to himself a distinguished superiority, and rises, as it were, upon the ruins of the rest." *
But though Gregory artfully disclaimed for himself, and refused to his aspiring brother the title of Universal Bishop, he exercised an authority, says Bishop Hurd,+ that can only belong to that exalted character. Gregory died in the year 604, and was succeeded by Pope Boniface III. who had no scruples about adopting this proud title. He readily accepted, or rather importunately begged it from the emperor Phocas, with the privilege also of transmitting it to all his successors. The profligate emperor, to gratify the inordinate ambition of this court sycophant, deprived the bishop of Constantinople of the title which he had hitherto borne, and conferred it upon Boniface, at the same time declaring the church of Rome to be the head of all other churches.
Epist. Greg. 1. 6. Ep. 30. + Introductory Sermons to the Study of Prophecy. Vol. ii. Serm. 7.
APPENDIX TO CHAP. III. SECT. IV.
A RESPECTABLE writer in one of our Monthly Journals, and, as I am informed, a Classical Tutor in one of our Dissenting Academies, appears to think that, in animadverting on the characters of some of the luminaries of the Catholic church, I have not made sufficient allowance for the darkness of the period in which they lived. His words are, “ We apprehend, that Mr. Jones has not quite enough attended to the infelicity of times, the want of a free communication of knowledge, the power of educational prejudices, and the effect of usages venerated as apostolic. Under circumstances so disadvantageous, it is not, we hope, unreasonable to believe that many who in their hearts loved the Redeemer, and in their lives served bim, according to the light they had, were found dragged in the train of those who wandered after the beast. Painful and humbling fact! That such men as Athanasius and Gregory, Anselm and Bernard, should have defiled their garments with the blood of persecution, and bowed their knees before relics and wafers."
The Gregory referred to in this quotation, I understand to be “Gregory the Great,” as he is commonly termed; the first of the Roman pontiffs of that name; the man to whose exploits the preceding pages refer. He is the only prelate of the Roman church, of that appellation, who, so far as I know, has ever been considered by Protestants to have had any pretensions to the character of a Christian; and his history, certainly, well assorts with that of Athanasius and Bernard, which confirms me in the supposition that he is the person referred to. Now