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councils or emperors. The great star whose name was called wormwood, had already fallen from heaven. The little horn had already appeared; the ten horns were now visible; three of them were soon to be plucked up by the roots, before the Jittle horn to give him room. The sounding of the first, second, third and fourth trumpets, had been one entire fierce convulsion of murder, rapine, blood, burning and devastation. With every new trumpet, the scene was heightened, increased and extended. If there was any respite or cessation of hostilities, it was less a remisssion of war, than a pause for whetting the blunted sword, and renerving the murderous arm. And though the mystery of iniquity was often beclouded, and obscured from the view of the church, and the world. It was incessantly at work, and accumulating power and strength, till it had now arrived at maturity. The eternal quarrels of the ambitious Bishops of the eastern churches, had unconsciously made the Bishop of Rome the common arbiter. The Pope, thus rose to power, until the edict of Justinian, the Emperor of Constantinople. In the memorable year 533, solemnly conferred on him, the fatal and guilty title of universal Bishop, and head of the church, and placed him in sight of universal Empire. Justinian's wicked devices and intrigues, had made him Emperor, necessity made him a warrior and legislator;-, but nature had made him a monk, Artifice, trick and stratagem, must continue him in power; therefore the allegiance of the man, who held the keys of Rome, was not to be lost for points of ceremony, by him who intended to re-conquer Italy and all the western Empire. He brought to the throne, all the monkish prejudices of the cloister, and at the head of a dominion; still the stateliest and the most powerful of the earth, sa'yo the historian, the Emperor gave himself up to the hopeless perplexities of bitter animosities, and personal vindictiveness of monkish controversy. One of his indignant cotemporaries, says of him, “he sits like a private man, closetted whole nights prith old priests, doing nothing but turning over church writ
ings." The perpetual feuds and strife of the Bishops, (those priestly aristocrats) who would be lords over God's heritage, gave ample employment to this midnight diligence; but they were suddenly eclipsed by the bolder novelty of Nestorianism. A peculiar homage to the Virgin Mary, had been for some time growing up, both in the east and west,which had at length approached to divine worship, and the Virgin was named, “The Mother of God!” Néstorius, a Syrian Bishop, distinguished for learning and eloquence, fearlessly prononnced the doctrine impious; and, even in the hearing of the palace, declared that the Virgin Mary was but the mother of Christ in his human nature; and that the Divine nature, however mysteriously united to it, could, as God, neither be born nor die. Justinian plunged headlong into this sacred war; persecution soon reinforced his arguments for the divine maternity, and by the imperial decree, he laid Nestorius and his disciples under the spiritual ban. Some of the anathematized, in their distress, appealed to Rome, the common arbiter. To govern by artifice, was the pride of the Emperor, and this’unkingly craft led him to the extraordinary concession of the papal supremacy, a measure pregnant with eternal division to his own empire, hopeless schisms in the church; and still deeper and darker consequences to the human family. Ancient Rome had reigned and trampled on the world, for more than twelve hundred years. But the pen which wrote the decree of Justinian, was to give birth to the dominion of another Rome, of a still longer duration, armed with a sterner power, and using it with a much more cruel, fiendlike and remorseless pressure on mankind. The ancient Rome arose out of the great sea of men.Daniel, 7. 2. 3. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and behold the four winds of the heavens strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up out of the sea, diverse, one from another. But this one is from the bottomless pit; the wicked one, the man of sin, and son of perdition. The former had a wound by a sword and did live, his deadly wound
was healed. 12. Concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away; yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. That is, they lived in their successors; but this is to have no successor; it is to be given to the burning flame; it goeth into perdition. 11. I beheld then, because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake:I beheld, even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. The former Rome, or empire was more wicked, cruel and tyrannical, than all that were before him. 19. Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth are made of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet. The latter inherits all his cruelty, power and malevolence, with the prodigious addition of impiety, 'blasphemy, and covered over with more heaven daring crimes. The former Rome was succeeded by the reign of Antichrist. The latter will be sucsucceed by the reign of the blessed & glorious Prince of Peace; the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
14. And there was given him dominion, & glory, & a kingdom, that all people and nations and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom, that which shall not be destroyed, In the beginning of the year 533, Justinian sent two of the Eastern Bishops as his envoys to state the case before John, "the most holy Archbishop & Patriarch of Rome.” They were furnished with an imperial rescript, detailing the controversy, expressing “the Emperor's anxiety, in all instances, to communicate matters touching the general church to his Holiness;" and declaring that for the purposes of preserving the Apostolic See, and the existing establishment of the holy churches of God, he had lost no time in subjecting and uniting all the priesthood of the entire East to his holiness. The rescript further declared the Roman Bishop Head of all the Churches;" and concluded by making the knowledge of the
doctrine held by his holiness, the standard of the faith, and source of unity to all the Christian world.” This momentous parchment was not left to the dubious fate of the royal archives. The doctrine that the Pope was "the Universal Bishop” was thrown into the shape of law; the substance was repeated in the various forms of the Justinian code; and was thus made general and irreversible. It may be hopeless now to detect the motives of this vast concession in the subtle yet feeble system of the imperial policy. The chances of the Vandalic war which he was about to commence, must have made the extinction of the religious feuds of Constantinople more important than ever. The hope of retaining an interest in the heart of Italy, which it was the imperial purpose to reconquer; or that common pbrenzy, which makes the true"polemic think all sac. rifices cheap for the triumph of words; all might have urged Justinian to purchase the voice of Rome. But, however worthless the motive, the act was done, authentic and unquestionable, sanctioned by all the forms of state, and never abrogated,~"the act of the first Potentate of the world;" says Mr. Croly.
“From this era, Rome dates the earthly acknowledgment of her claim to the supremacy of the Church: Its heavenly authority is referred back to the more remote source of the Apostles. But the turbulence of this period was adverse to all titles but those of the sword. Fifty years had scarcely passed before the Patriarch of Constantinople dared to assume the title of Universal Bishop. He found in Gregory the Great an antagonist who fiercely resisted the usurpation; pronouncing, whether in the heedless wrath of controversy, or in the more unaccountable ignorance of his own distinction, that to arrogate the name UniversalBishop, was to be Antichrist. But the oversight was soon repaired. Boniface III obtained from the emperor Phocas the recognition of the original title; and the Bishop of Constantinople was consigned to the second rank,until the remaining union of the churches was at an end.”
One instance of many thousands, that might be recited, to show the bloated pride, arrogancy and impiety of his holiness of Rome, will suffice, before we pass on to the next chapter.
In the luxury of the huge, turbulent and dissolute capital of the East, image worship found its natural support. It was splendid, and caught the eye; it was fitted to the sensual taste of a people, extravagantly fond of ceremonials; and it sustained a vast priesthood in pompous indolence. But in the remoter parts of the empire were the "seven thousand that had not yet bowed the knee to the image of Baal," Churches and nations that shrank with horror from the adoration of any emblem of the Invisible and Omnipotent God. The Emperor Leo, an Isaurian,a peasant,but endowed with that vigor and capacity which made the throne less the prize of fortune, than the right of the first soldier and statesman of the empire, determined to abolish a worship which he unhesitatingly pronounced idolatry. His first reform was its prohibition in Constantinople. His next step was a command to Gregory II to remove the images and pictures from the Roman altars. The Pope answered his sovereign with haughty defiance. His letter was a declaration of war. “You accuse the catholics of idolatry. By the accusation you betray your own impiety and ignorance. You assault us, tyrant, with a carnal and military hand. We can only implore Christ to send you a devil for the destruction of your body, and salvation of your soul. Are you ignorant that the Popes are the bonds of union, the mediators of peace between the East and the West? The eyes of the nations are fixed on our humility, and they revere, as a god on earth, the apostle St. Peter, whose image you threaten to destroy. The remote kingdoms of the West present their homage to Christ and his vicegerent. The barbarians have submitted to the yoke of the gospel, while Fou alone are deaf to the voice of the shepherd. Those pious barbarians are kindled into rage, they thirst to avenge the persecutions of the East. Abandon your rash and fatal enterprize; reflect, trimble and repent. If you persist, we are in