« PreviousContinue »
bino, the Ecclefiaftical State extends from the Mediterranean to the Adriatic, and from the confines of Naples to the banks of the Po; and as early as the fixteenth century, the greater part of that fpacious and fruitful country acknowledged the lawful claims and temporal fovereignty of the Roman Pontiffs. Their claims were readily deduced from the genuine or fabulous donations of the darker ages: the fucceffive fteps of their final fettlement would engage us too far in the tranfactions of Italy, and even of Europe; the crimes of Alexander the fixth, the martial operations of Julius the fecond, and the liberal policy of Leo the tenth, a theme which has been adorned by the pens of the nobleft hiftorians of the times. In the first period of their conquefts, till the expedition of Charles the eighth, the Popes might fuccefsfully wrestle with the adjacent princes and states, whose military force was equal, or inferior, to their own *.
Power was indeed given unto him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations-for the Pope affumed the prerogative of being the fupreme fovereign of the Chriftian Church, and exercised for many ages an uncontrolled
* Gibbon, vol. vi. p. 613, 614i
and univerfal authority. The kings gave their power and strength unto him, as previous to the Reformation all the monarchs of the Weft acknowledged him as their fuperior and lord, and, as his vaffals, fubmitted to his power and his caprice. In the feventh century Pope Zachary I. depofed Childeric, King of France, the laft of the Merovingian race, and abfolved his fubjects from their oaths of allegiance In the eighth century, Paul I. excommunicated Conftantinus Copronymus, the Greek Emperor, because he endeavoured to abolish the worship of images. Henry IV. Emperor of Germany, was depofed and excommunicated in the eleventh century by Pope Hildebrand II. "Under that young and ambitious prieft, Innocent III. the fucceffors of St. Peter attained the full meridian of their greatness; and in a reign of eighteen years he exercised a defpotic command over the Emperors and Kings, whom he raised and depofed; over the nations, whom an interdict of months or years deprived, for the offence of their rulers, of the exercise of Christian worship.-In the Council
y "Socrates faith of the Church of Rome and Alexandria, the most famous Churches in the Apoftles' time, that about the year 430, the Roman and Alexandrian Bishops, leaving their facred functions, were degenerated to a fecular rule or dominion." Hooker's Eccl. Polity, p. 152.
of the Lateran, he acted as the ecclefiaftical, almost as the temporal fovereign of the East and West. It was at the feet of his Legate that John, King of England, furrendered his crown; and Innocent may boast of the two most signal triumphs over sense and humanity, the establishment of transubstantiation 2, and the origin of the Inquifition. At his voice, two crufades, the fourth and the fifth, were undertaken "." In the fame century b, in which the fame hiftorian says, that "Charles the fourth received the gift or promife of the empire from the Roman pontiff, who, in the exile or captivity of Avignon, affected the dominion of the earth," the Monkish misfionaries kept the Papal banner flying in China; and Pope Benedict XII. received a folemn embaffy from the Khan of the Tartars. In the next age, Alexander IV. gave a rare fpecimen of Papal presumption, in dividing America between the Portuguese and Spaniards. the seventeenth century, Alphonfo Mendez, the Catholic Patriarch of Ethiopia, accepted, in the name of Urban VIII. the homage of the Emperor of Abyffinia and his court-I con
2 About the year 931, Pafchafius Radbertus first maintained the real presence in the Sacrament.
Gibbon, vol. vi. p. 109.
Whitaker, p. 241.
fefs, faid the Emperor on his knees, that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, the Succeffor of St. Peter, and the Sovereign of the world: to him I swear true obedience, and at his feet I offer my person and kingdom.”
And to fhow the high prerogatives to which the Church of Rome holds itself intitled, we have only to appeal to their own writers for authentic proofs. Cardinal Bellarmine, when treating of the Roman Pontiffs, tells us that they must peculiarly well underftand the authority of their own See. Let us therefore hear them fpeak from their apoftolical chair.
"He who reigneth on high, to whom all power is given in heaven and in earth, hath committed the one holy Catholic and Apoftolical Church, out of which there is no falvation, to be governed with plenitude of power by one only on earth; namely, by Peter the prince of the Apostles, and by the fucceffor of Peter, the Roman Pontiff. This one be bath conftituted a prince over all nations, and all kingdoms; to pluck up, waste, destroy, plant, and build."
Babylon in the Revelation of St. John, by Townson,
These are the words of Pope Pius V. in his Bull againft Queen Elizabeth; towards the conclufion of which, Supported," he says, by the authority of him who hath feen fit to place him, however unequal to so great a charge, in this fupreme throne of justice, he declares, in the plenitude of his Apoftolical authority, the faid Elizabeth laid under a fentence of Anathema, deprived of all right and title to her kingdom, her fubjects abfolved from all oaths of allegiance to her, and those who obey her, involved in the like fentence of Anathema.'
The See of Rome, as it was rifing to this plenitude of power, endeavoured to fupport itself by every appeal to the peculiar favour of heaven. Many of the Popes confirmed their authority by the pretended evidence of ghosts, and of perfons affirmed to be rifen from the dead. Such is the exact conduct of him who was predicted to come after the working of Satan, with all power, and figns, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteoufnefs, who deceiveth them that dwell in
d This Bull may be feen at length in Camden's Annals of Queen Elizabeth, under the year 1570, and in Burnet's Hift. of the Reformation, vol. ii. Collection of Records, P. 377.