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historian remarks, that they were richly clad, carried in litters, and profuse in their feastings. * Socrates says, that they affected a dominion beyond the bounds of priesthood, and began to exercise secular power and authority." Basil, observing this, expresses himself with warmth and indignation against it, saying, “I hate the pride of that Church.” Dr. Geddes supposes, the bishops of Rome thought it reasonable, on account of the superiority of their city, that they should be to Christians what her pontifex maximus was to the heathen : and he endeavours to prove, that out of the ruins of the heathen pontificate rose the papal pontificate in that city. And both St. Jerome and St. Paulinus assert, that pride, ambition, envy, avarice, and luxury, at the time when the heathen pontificate was dissolved, were as rampant in the bishops and clergy of Rome, as ever they had been before among any order of men in that proud city; for which reason St. Jerome calls Rome Christian, the spiritual Babylon. “ The Eastern and Western Churches entering into warm disputes about keeping Easter, produced unhappy effects. The latter, particularly that of Rome, were for celebrating it on the Lord's day, pretending as an authority, a tradition from St. Peter: the former, in conformity to the Jews, were for keeping the feast on the 14th of the month of March, the day appointed for the Passover, for which they urged a tradition pretended to have been received from St. John. Both sides contending fiercely for their own opinion, at last Victor, bishop of Rome, interposed, and resolved to settle the matter himself, requiring all other churches to conform to the custom of his own. And because the Christian world had not then learned to bow down to an infallible chair, not knowing of any such universal sovereignty set up at Rome, they refused to comply with his imperious injunctions, though accompanied with admonitions and threats: he, in the pride and vexation of his heart, denounced his anathemas, and solemnly excommunicated the bishops of the Eastern Churches. This was a presage of what might be expected at a future period. The same spirit possessed many of his successors, till, at last, the bishop of Rome, from being a vigilant pastor to a single congregation of devout Christians, over whom he was a spiritual overseer, and among whom he laboured,—preaching to them, praying with them, and for them, and teaching from house to house,_serving the Lord with all humility, and many tears, and temptations that befell him; from 'such a one he grew up to that haughty sovereign, who exercised authority over kings and emperors, to our Lord God the Pope. Dupin, a learned and candid papist, says, “The riches of the church began to be too burdensome; contests and canvassings for obtaining bishopricks were very common, and many were promoted to them, who had neither knowledge, merit, nor capacity.”" And the progress of apostacy, from the sixth through the following centuries, was like the gravitating properties of heavy bodies, constantly increasing the swiftness of its motion. Mattheus de Cracovia, in his work entitled De Squalori
escaped from the procession, alarmed by the vicinity of the horses) exclaimed, “Que c'est edifiant cela.” I smiled internally, but reflected that it was well for her if she was edified.”—Christian Observer. Feb. 1823.
* Amian. Marcel. lib. 27.
* Hist. lib. vii. cap. 11.
* Geddes's Posthumous Tracts, p. 68.
bus Romanae Curiae, hesitates not to say, that scarce any one was so wicked and scandalous but he might be admitted to holy orders, and allowed to celebrate divine offices. And Petrus de Aliaco, in his tract offered to the Council of Constance, affirms, that things are come to that pass in the church, that it was not fit to be governed but by reprobates." Picus Mirandula, in his oration at the Council of Lateran, gave not only a noble specimen of his learning and eloquence, but of his zeal for the purity of religion, and deep concern for the corruption of the times. He says, “Even with the chief men of our religion, there is little or no worship of God; no good method of living; no shame, no modesty, no justice; religion is turned into superstition; all orders and degrees of men openly sin; so that virtue itself is made matter of reproach to those that practise it, and vices honoured instead of virtues.”” Under Constantine, A.D. 330, the seat of government was removed from Rome to Constantinople. By the third canon of the Council of Constantinople, held A. D. 381, the bishop of that city was placed next in rank to the bishop of Rome. The title of universal bishop was assumed first by Cyrianus, patriarch of Constantinople, in a synod held A.D. 587; and, being ratified by the emperor Mauritus and a synod, held A.D. 595, was then settled to belong for ever to the bishop of Constantinople and his successors. Phocas, by an imperial edict, A.D. 606, took the primacy from Constantinople, and settled the supremacy on Boniface I. then bishop of Rome, and his successors. It was not, however, till A.D. 1095, that the Council of Clermont gave the bishop of Rome that title exclusively. These swellings of pride, presumption, and ostentation, in persons professing to be the ministers of Christ, were soon observed by others who were possessed of a different spirit, and influenced by sober views, generating in their minds suspicions that were but too well founded. Gregory the Great, bishop of Rome, A.D. 595, laid it down as an undeniable maxim, that “whosoever affected the title of universal bishop, he was Antichrist, or the forerunner of Antichrist.” When John, bishop of Constantinople, first usurped this title, Gregory said, “That by this pride of his, what thing else is signified, but that the time of Antichrist is now at hand? The king of pride approaches: and, what is wicked to be spoken, an army of priests is prepared.” Many of the Fathers, and Christian apologists, as Justin Martyr, Lactantius, Cyrill of Jerusalem, Ambrose, Jerome, Austin, St. Chrysostom, applied these words—the man of sin, the man of blasphemy, to the Pope of Rome. Many persons of eminence, within the pale of the church of Rome, have agreed in their testimony with the Fathers. St. Bernard deposed, that “the ministers of Christ (that is, the Pope and his clergy) served Antichrist, that nothing remained but that the man of sin should be revealed, and that the beast in the Apocalypse occupied St. Peter's chair. The famous Abbot Joachim, of Calabria, in a sermon on the Apocalypse, said, “that Antichrist was already born in the city of Rome, and that he would be advanced to the apostolic chair, and exalted above all that is called God, or is worshipped.” And Calmet assures us, that “Antichrist is the name of the man of sin, who is represented in the Fathers as the epitome of every thing that is most impious, cruel,
* Fasc. Tom. i. p. 406.
* The author, in this part of his work, is largely indebted to Bennet's Memorial of the Reformation, from page—22.
and abominable.” To these names might be added those of Matthew of Paris, monk of St. Albans, and an early historian; William, of St. Amour, a doctor of the Sorbonne; Dante and Petrarch; Marsilius, a celebrated lawyer of Padua; with many others. This assumption of ecclesiastical authority and domination by the bishop of Rome, has been worked up, by cunning artifice, daring presumption, and false argument, into a divine right, first conferred on St. Peter, and then by him on all his successors in office. The Papists assert, that our Saviour, before he left our earth, delegated his supreme authority to St. Peter, who, by fixing his see at Rome, and dying there, bequeathed his supremacy to his successor in that chair to the end of the world. On which premises they conclude, that therefore, the Roman bishop is the head of the Catholic church. Now as a proof, that St. Peter was an entire stranger to this alleged supremacy over the rest of the apostles, as well as over the universal church, appears sufficiently evident from the total silence on this subject in the Scriptures; whereas, if it had been true, the sacred writers, having the infallible inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and who wrote every thing necessary to faith and salvation, would not on any account, have omitted a matter of such vast importance. When the question, “Who should be the greatest ?" was agitated among the disciples, there is no intimation that our Saviour gave the least preference to St. Peter. If our Saviour had vested such authority in him, he would, of course, some time or other, have exercised that high function; but there is not the most remote evidence in the Scriptures that he ever assumed anything of the kind; therefore it is fair to conclude that he had no such authority. K