Images de page

sentence from the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, will show that all Europe was affected by the revival of the Imperial Head. Speaking of Charlemagne, the historian observes, The dignity of his person, the length of his reign, the prosperity of his arms, the vigour of his government, and the reverence of distant nations, distinguish him from the royal crowd; and Europe dates a new era from the restoration of the western empire.'

And how the whole world wondered after the" Papacy in the time of Gregory VII. let the page of history declare. The struggle against the natural affections, and the common reason of man,' commenced with the council of Nice in 325, was maintained by the decrees of Pope Siricius, Gregory I., Nicholas, and other Pontiffs; and when Gregory VII. at length achieved the project which had foiled his predecessors for above six centuries, he encountered an opposition which could scarcely have been surmounted by a less extraordinary character.' (Mr. Waddington's Hist. of Church, p. 211 and note.) Gregory VII. was indeed an extraordinary character' "All the world wondered after" him. And there was indeed cause for wonder! • William the Norman, after the conquest of England was ASTONISHED to learn that he held that country as a fief of Rome, and tributary to it.' (Hist. of Church, p. 283.) How must "the whole world" have "wondered," when it beheld for three dreary days, from dawn till sunset, the proudest sovereign in Europe, Henry IV. of Germany, condemned to continue his fast and his

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

penance, with his feet and head bare, and unsheltered from the inclemency of winter, before the walls, and probably under the eyes of Gregory, in solitary and helpless humiliation! How must the king of France have "wondered" when he was reminded that both his kingdom and his soul were under the dominion of St. Peter, who had the power both to bind and to loose in heaven and on earth"! How must the kingdoms of Saxony, Spain, and Naples have "wondered" when they were told that they had been the property of the holy see from the earliest ages of Christianity!' How must the numerous dukes or princes of Germany, those of Hungary, of Denmark, of Russia, of Poland, of Croatia and Dalmatia,' have "wondered" when they were either solicited to subject their states to the suzerainty of St. Peter, or reminded of their actual subjection!' How must" the whole world" have "wondered" when it was informed that it was to have but one metropolis, namely, ROME, and but one earthly sovereign, namely, THE POPE!


Not only was WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR ASTONISHED, BUT THE WHOLE WORLD WAS ASTONISHED WITH HIM! That text of Scripture received its accomplishment, "And all the world wondered after the Beast."

And if we come down to the time of Innocent III. we seem to see Gregory VII. revived again. This pontiff excommunicated the whole world! During his reign the territorial domains of the church were spread so widely, as almost to justify the complaint that they comprehended HALF THE SURFACE OF

[ocr errors]


EUROPE." (Hist. of Church, p. 336.) Indeed so much did the world wonder after the Pope, that Innocent III. was styled,' VERE STUPOR MUNDI ET IMMUTATOR SECULI.'-' OF A





This title of Innocent III. is quoted from Matthew Paris by Dr. Barrow.

When Innocent III. was called "the Wonder of the World," then was fulfilled the text before us "All the world wondered after the Beast!' when he was styled "the Changer of the Age," then was fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel respecting the little horn, which represents the Pope, "He shall think to change times and laws." (Chap. vii. 25.)

Let Romanists boast, as they please, of the splendid dominion of the Gregories and Innocents, and of the title which was given to Innocent III., STUPOR MUNDI! St. John tells us that this title is applicable to the Beast; for of the Beast it is written, " And all the world wondered after him."







'THE Dragon, having failed in his purpose of restoring the old heathen idolatry, delegates his power to the Beast, and thereby introduces a new species of idolatry, nominally different, but essentially the same, the worship of angels and saints instead of the gods and demigods of antiquity. All the world in submitting to the religion of the Beast, did in effect submit again to the religion of the Dragon-it being the old idolatry with only new names: the worshipping of demons and idols being in effect the worshipping of devils.'

These are the sentiments of Bishop Newton; and they shew that the world in worshipping the Beast did in reality "worship the Dragon which gave power unto the Beast." The Pope sits in the Dragon's seat. From this seat of eminence and authority he issues

forth his mandates, and bids the world receive them as the commands of Deity. He lowers the authority of Scripture, and exalts his own authority above it. He substitutes tradition for the written word, and "teaches for doctrines the commandments of men." The Second Commandment expressly enjoins that we shall not make to ourselves any graven image-that we shall not bow down to it-nor worship it. That little word not offends the Pope; and therefore this commandment is omitted in commonly-circulated catechisms of the Church of Rome. Roman Catholics will sometimes quote the example of St. John, who "fell down to worship the angel who shewed him all these things" though even that will not justify falling down before a senseless image. But they forget that the angel rebuked St. John, saying, See thou do it not! (Rev. xix. 10.) St. John, however, falls down a second time before the feet of the angel; and the angel a second time rebukes him, saying, " See thou do it not! for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book worship God." (xxii. 9.) If therefore St. John might not fall down and worship the angel, with whom he had conversed so long, and who had shewn him such glorious visions, how much less should we fall down and worship angels and saints whom we have never seen, and of whose presence we have no assurance whatever! How much less should we fall down before a senseless image! "Let no man beguile you of your reward," says St. Paul" in a voluntary humility and worshipping

[ocr errors]
« PrécédentContinuer »