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THE POPE DERIVES HIS POWER FROM THE DRAGON.
<< AND THE DRAGON GAVE HIM HIS POWER." Verse 2.
THE Dragon has given to the Pope three things, his power, his seat, and great authority. In this chapter we will confine our attention to the power which the Dragon has given to the Pope.
The Power of the Dragon is manifest in four respects. First, He is the Prince of this World. (John xiv. 30.) Secondly, He deceiveth the whole world. (Rev. xii. 9.) Thirdly, He can perform signs and lying wonders. (2 Thess. ii. 9.) Fourthly, He can quote scripture to his purpose. (Matt. iv. 6.) And this power he has given to the Pope.
First, the Devil is "the prince of this world," so also is the Pope. Innocent III. declared that the Pope was as much superior to a King as the sun is to the moon. Gregory II. maintained that he was a God upon earth. As a consequence of this, Popes have dethroned Kings, absolved their subjects from
their allegiance, and disposed of kingdoms according to their own pleasure. Even in the year 1493, 'at a season when the power of the See bore no proportion to its ancient grandeur, and when the character of the prelate who administered it was not, certainly, such as to redeem it, Pope Alexander VI. drew a line along the map, from the north to the south, and gave away, by a stroke of his pen, half the habitable world and so much seriousness did he affect to attach to his donation, that he descended to specify the exact distance from his line, at which the rights of Spain should begin and those of other nations end.' (Waddington's Hist. of Church, p. 652.)
But, Secondly, the Devil "deceiveth the whole world." He was "a deceiver from the beginning: he abode not in the truth, for there is no truth in him.” He deceived Eve in Paradise; and from that time to this he has deceived all the sons of Adam.
This power of deceiving the whole world, the Devil has given to the Pope.
The two greatest forgeries which the world ever saw are what are now denominated the false decretals and the donation of Constantine. They are designated by Mr. Waddington, the two most celebrated monuments of human imposture and credulity.' When they were put forth about the conclusion of the eighth century, they were immediately and universally received as genuine. Probably they were the composition of some monk or scribe of that age. Their direct object was the unlimited advancement of the Roman See; and for that purpose the Decretals
furnished the spiritual, the Donation the temporal authority; the former, professing to be a compilation of the epistles and decrees of primitive Popes, and early Emperors, derived from the first ages the ghostly omnipotence of Rome while the latter declared no less than that Constantine, on removing the seat of government to the East, had consigned the Western Empire to the temporal, as well as spiritual government of the Bishop of Rome-unbounded dominion over churches, and nations, and kings, was delegated to the successor of St. Peter, and the Vicar of Christ. It was asserted that the original deed of the Emperor had been recently discovered: the monstrous forgery went forth and spread itself through the world without confutation, seemingly without suspicion and it continued for above six hundred years to form the most prominent, and not the least solid among the bulwarks of the Papacy.' (Mr. Waddington's Hist. of Church, pp. 224, 225.) So deep,' says Mr. Gibbon, was the ignorance and credulity of the times, that the most absurd of fables was received, with equal reverence, in Greece and in France, and is still enrolled among the decrees of the canon law. The Emperors and the Romans were incapable of discerning a forgery, that subverted their rights and freedom and the only opposition proceeded from a Sabine Monastery, which in the beginning of the twelfth century disputed the truth and validity of the donation of Constantine.... The Popes themselves have indulged a smile at the credulity of the vulgar; but a false and obsolete title still sanctifies
their reign; and by the same fortune which has attended the Decretals and the Sibylline Oracles, the edifice has subsisted after the foundations have been undermined.' (Vol. ix. p. 163, 164.)
Thirdly, the Devil has the power of performing signs and lying wonders." And this power he has given to the Papacy.
The Papal church has boasted of its miracles from the time of Gregory the First to the present moment. When the Empress Constantina was building a church at Constantinople to St. Paul, she made application to Gregory for the head of that Apostle, or at least for some portion of his body.' The Pope begins his answer by a very polite expression of his sorrow, that he neither could nor dared to grant that favour; for the bodies of the holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, are so resplendent with miracles and terrific prodigies in their own churches, that no one can approach them without great awe, even for the purpose of adoring them.' Though the Pope would not part with any portion of these holy bodies, he consented that 'a piece of linen called brandeum should be enclosed in a box and placed near them; it should then be withdrawn and shut up with due veneration in the church to be dedicated, and as many prodigies would then be wrought by it as if the bodies themselves had been carried thither.' Gregory then goes on to say, that ' in the time of St. Leo, when some Greeks doubted the virtue of some relics, that Pope called for a pair of scissors and cut the linen, and blood flowed from the incision.' (Mr. Waddington's Hist. of Church, p. 152).
The house of Loretto is said to have been carried by angels from Nazareth to Dalmatia, and from Dalmatia to Loretto: Queen Lupa in Spain was turned into a lamb, and her palace into a church: in Toulouse a German who had been hanged, was brought to life after he had been dead thirty-six days: these two last miracles were performed by St. James, who performed three others. A captain fell to the bottom of the sea with his armour on, but found St. James below who helped him up another marine pilgrim was held above water by the hair of his head by St. James for three days a high tower by St. James's order stooped to the ground and let a man off without danger! In the church of St. Maximin, in France, is the phial into which St. Mary Magdalen put the blood of our Saviour, which visibly boils up every year on Good Friday! Cardinal Tolet affirms that the skin of Christ performs splendid miracles ! It appears that there are four skins of Christ in the world! that the very same tears of Christ, which the Virgin put into a phial, are in two different places! that the blessed Virgin's milk is in Judæa, Italy, Spain, and many parts of France. At St. Denis are the hair and swaddling-clothes of our Lord! near Blois is the breath of St. Joseph kept in a phial! And then what miracles were performed by Justinian, by St. Osith, by St. Clarus, and by St. Decumanus !
Justinian, after decapitation, walked with his head in his hand over the sea to the port where a church is now built to his memory! St. Osith also walked a quarter of a mile with her head in her hand! St.