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CHAPTER XII.

GREAT AUTHORITY OF THE PAPACY.

AND THE DRAGON GAVE HIM HIS POWER, AND

HIS SEAT, AND GREAT AUTHORITY.

The following quotations from Mosheim's History throw light on the sacred text. Speaking of the clergy in the eighth century, he says : Corrupt as they were, they were still held in the highest veneration, and were honoured, as a sort of deities, by the submissive multitude. This veneration for the bishops and clergy, and the influence and authority it gave them over the people, were indeed carried much higher in the west than in the eastern provinces : and the reason of this difference will appear manifest to such as consider the customs and manners that prevailed among the barbarous nations, which were at this time masters of Europe, before their conversion to Christianity. All these nations during their continuance under the darkness of PAGANISM, were absolutely enslaved to their priests : without whose counsel and authority they transacted nothing of the

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least importance, either in civil or in military affairs. Upon their conversion to Christianity they therefore thought proper to TRANSFER to the ministers of their new religion the rights and privileges of their former priests : and the Christian bishops in their turn were not only ready to accept the offer, but used all their diligence and dexterity to secure and assert to themselves and their successors the dominion and authority which the ministers of PAGANISM had usurped over an ignorant and brutish people. The historian subjoins a note, in which he proves, from ancient writers, the immense authority exercised by the Druidical priests : he then observes, this ancient custom of honouring their priests and submitting in all things to their decisions, was still preserved by the Germans and the other European nations, after their conversion to Christianity; and this furnishes a satisfactory answer to the question how it came to pass that the Christian priesthood obtained in the west that enormous degree of AUTHORITY, which is so contrary to the positive precepts of Christ, and the nature and genius of his divine religion. It appears, from the above, that the “ great autho

. rity” of the Druidical and Pagan priesthood, was transferred to the Papal clergy.

" The Dragon gave him” (i. e. the Beast or the Papacy) “ great autho. rity.” But the Papacy may be considered as concentrated in the Pope. And the great authority of the Bishop of Rome descended in a straight line from the great authority of the chief Druid.

“ This prodigious accession to the opulence and AUTHORITY of the

clergy in the west, began at their head, the Roman Pontiff, and spread gradually from thence among the inferior bishops and also among the sacerdotal and monastic orders. The barbarous nations, who received the gospel, looked upon the Bishop of Rome as the successor of their chief Druid or High Priest, AND AS THIS TREMENDOUS DRUID HAD ENJOYED

UNDER THE DARKNESS OF PAGANISM A BOUNDLESS

AUTHORITY, AND HAD BEEN TREATED WITH A DEGREE OF VENERATION, WHICH, THROUGH ITS SERVILE EXCESS, DEGENERATED INTO TERROR : SO THE BARBAROUS NATIONS, UPON THEIR CONVERSION TO CHRISTIANITY, THOUGHT PROPER TO CONFER UPON

THE CHIEF OF THE

BISHOPS THE SAME HONOURS

AND THE SAME AUTHORITY WHICH HAD FORMERLY

BEEN VESTED IN THEIR ARCH-DRUID.-THIS CON

DUCT OF A SUPERSTITIOUS PEOPLE SWELLED THE ARROGANCE OF THE ROMAN DRUID TO AN ENOR. MOUS SIZE, AND GAVE TO THE SEE OF ROME THAT HIGH PRE-EMINENCE AND THAT DESPOTIC AUTHORITY IN CIVIL AND POLITICAL MATTERS, WHICH WERE UNKNOWN TO FORMER AGES.” What a comment is this upon the words of St. John: And the Dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.Well may the Bishop of Rome be called THE ROMAN DRUID !

We will briefly notice some of the methods which the Popes adopted to augment their authority, and some of the circumstances which favoured their ambitious views. The being seated in the imperial city, the queen

and capital of the world ; the pretence of succeeding St. Peter, and the name of the apostolic see; the honorary privileges allowed them by councils; the authority deferred to them by one synod of revising the causes of bishops; the countenance given to them in repressing some heresies; the making use of sentences of Scripture in their decrees and bulls ; the pretending to dispense remission of sins; the promising the kingdom of heaven to those who favoured them; the excommunicating and anathematizing all who opposed them ; the intermeddling in dissensions, and continually leaning to the stronger party; the construing compliments and terms of respect as importing privileges, and the alleging them as verdicts and arguments of unquestionable right; the making the most of ambiguous words, so that if a pope was said to have judged so or so in any particular case, it was adduced as a certain argument of proper jurisdiction; the admission and amplification of the Popes’ authority by persons who applied to them for redress, when condemned or extruded from their places whether rightfully or wrongfully; the angling in troubled waters, and snatching some fresh power out of the confusion of affairs, the eruptions of barbarians, the straits of emperors, the contentions of princes, &c. ; the ignorance and credulity of the times, which allowed their dictates to pass for infallible oracles, and their decrees for inviolable laws; the supporting factious churchmen against princes upon pretences of spiritual interest and liberty ; the being head of all the clergy, who, in return for the protection and patronage of the Popes, devoted themselves to maintain their interests ; the inventing divers ways of amassing money, as dispensations, indulgences, pardons, reservations, and provisions of benefices not bestowed gratis, confiscations, sending of the pallium, for which in the reign of Henry I. the Bishop of York paid £10,000. commutations of penance, for money, legacies, &c. ; mercenary divines ; histories written by monks in France; the making use of princes to oppress bishops, and of bishops to make princes; the forgery of the Decretal Epistles, and the donation of Constantine; legends ; fables of miracles, and all such deceivableness of unrighteousness; the convening synods of bishops, devoted to their interests; the imposing on the clergy vows of universal obedience ; compositions with princes ; revocations of pragmatical sanctions; the laying of princes under obligations to themselves by absolving them from oaths and vows, and dispensing with prohibited marriages ; the device of indulgences;-these are a few of the causes which conspired together to promote the

great authorityof the Popes.

The reader will find these enlarged upon by Dr. Barrow in his Treatise on the Pope's Supremacy. One of the causes which have been mentioned is the admission and amplification of the Papal authority by persons who applied to the bishops of Rome for redress, when condemned or extruded from their places, whether rightfully or wrongfully. We have an instance in the pontificate of Innocent III. :

" He deposed Philip-Philip denied his right---but it was

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