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that rapacious princes, in order to satisfy the craving wants of their soldiers and domestics, boldly invaded the sions of the church, which they distributed among their armies; in consequence of which the priests and monks, in order to avoid perishing through hunger, abandoned themselves to the practice of violence, fraud, and all sorts of crimes, which they looked upon as the only means they had left of procuring themselves subsistence."
11. T'he Roman pontiffs were raised to that high dignity by the suffrages of the sacerdotal order, accompanied by the voice of the people; but, after their promiffs. election, the approbation of the emperor was necessary in order to their consecration." There is indeed yet extant an edict, supposed to have been published in the year 817, by Lewis the Meek, in which he abolishes this imperial right, and grants to the Romans, not only the power of electing their pontiff, but also the privilege of installing and consecrating him when elected, without waiting for the consent of the emperor. But this grant will deceive none who inquire into this matter with any degree of attention and diligence, since several learned men have proved it spurious by the most irresistible arguments." It must however be confessed, that after the time of Charles the Bald, a new scene of things arose; and the important change above mentioned was really introduced. That prince having obtained the imperial dignity by the good offices of the bishop of Rome, returned this eminent service by delivering the succeeding pontiffs from the obligation of waiting for the consent of the emperors in order to their being installed in their office. And thus we find, that from the time of Eugenius III. who was raised to the pontificate, A. D. 884, the election of the bishops of Rome was carried on without the least regard to law, order, and decency, and was generally
n Agobardus, De dispens. rcrum Ecclesiast. § 4. p. 270, tom i. opp. Flodoördus, Histor. Eccles. Rhemensis, lib. iii. cap. ix
Servatus Lupus, Epist. xlv. p. 87, 437, &c.' Muratori, tom. vi. Antiq, Ital. medii avi, p; 302. Lud. Thomassin, Disciplinc Ecclesiæ vet. et nove circa beneficio, pars ii. lib. iii. cap. xi. These corrupt measures prevailed also among the Greeks and Lombards, as may be seen in the Oriens Christianus of Le Quien, tom. i. p. 142.
o See Du Bunau, Histor. Imper. German. tom. ill. p. 28, 32.
p Harduini Concilia, tom. iv. p. 1236. Le Cointe, Annales Eccles. Francor. tom. vii. u li. 317, § 6. Baluzii. Capitular. Regum Francor. tom. i.
q Muratori Droits de l'Empire sur l'Etat Ecclesiast. p. 54, and Antiq. Ital. medii ævi, ium. iii. p. 29, 30, in which that learned man conjectures that this cdict was forged in the eleventh century., Bunau, Hist. Imper. German. tom. iii. p. 34. The partisans, however, of the papal authority, such as Fontanini and others, plead strenuously, thougli ineffectually, for the authenticity of the edict in question.
creare their power.
attended with civil tumults and dissensions, until the reign of Otho the Great, who put a stop to these disorderly proceedings.
iv. Among the prelates that were raised to the pontifiThe frants cate in this century, there were very few who diso e come to tinguished themselves by their learning, prudence, contuffs to do and virtue, or who were at all careful about ac
quiring those particular qualities that are essential to the character of a Christian bishop. On the contrary, the greatest part of them are known only by the flagitious actions that have transmitted their names with infamy to our times; and they all, in general, seem to have vied with each other in their ambitious efforts to extend their authority, and render their dominion unlimited and universal. It is here that we may place, with propriety, an event, which is said to have interrupted the much vaunted succession of regular bishops in the see of Rome, from the first foundation of that church to the present times. Between the pontificate of Leo IV. who died in the year 855, and that of Benedict III. a certain woman, who had the art to disguise her sex for a considerable time, is said, by learning, genius, and dexterity, to have made good her way to the papal chair, and to have governed the church, with the title and dignity of pontiff, about two years. This extraordinary person is yet known by the title of pope Joan. During the five succeeding centuries, this event was generally believed, and a vast number of writers bore testimony to its truth; nor, before the reformation undertaken by Luther, was it considered by any, either as incredible in itself, or as ignominious to the church." But in the last century, the elevation, and indeed the existence of this female pontiff, became the subject of a keen and learned controversy; and several men of distinguished abilities, both among the Roman catholics and protestants, employed all the force of their genius and erudition to destroy the credit of this story, by invalidating, on the one hand, the weight of the testimonies on which it is founded, and by showing, on the other, that it was inconsistent with the most accurate chro
r The arguments of those who maintain the truth of this extraordinary event, are col. lected in one striking point of view, with great learning and industry, by Fred. Spanheim, in his Exercitatio de Papa Fæmina, tom. ii. opp. p. 577. This dissertation was translated into French by the celebrated l'Enfant, wbo digested it into a better method, and enriched it with sevsalac!!irinm.
nological computations.' Between the contending parties, some of the wisest and most learned writers have judiciously steered a middle course; they grant that many fictitious and fabulous circumstances have been interwoven.with this story; but they deny that it is entirely destitute of all foundation, or that the controversy is yet ended, in a satisfactory manner, in favour of those who dispute the truth. And indeed upon a deliberate and impartial view of this whole matter, it will appear more than probable, that some unusual event must have happened at Rome, from which this story derived its origin; because it is not at all credible, from any principles of moral evidence, that an event should be universally believed and related in the same manner by a multitude of historians, during five centuries immediately succeeding its supposed date, if that event was absolutely destitute of all foundation. But what it was that
gave rise to this story is yet to be discovered, and is likely to remain so.'
v. The enormous vices that must have covered so many pontiffs with infamy in the judgment of the wise, their zenlous formned not the least obstacle to their ambition in attachment tu these miserable times, nor hindered them from ex- Chomedey are tending their influence, and augmenting their authority both in church and state. It does not indeed appear, from any authentic records, that their possessions augmented in proportion to the progress of their authority, nor that any new grants of land were added to what they had already obtained from the liberality of the kings of
s The arguments of those who reject the story of pope Joan as a fable, have been collected by David Blondel, and after him with still more art and erudition by Bayle, in the third volume of his Dictionary, at the article Papesse. Add to this Jo. Georg. Eccard, Hist. Franciæ Oriental. tom. ii. lib. xxx. $ 119, p. 436, which author has adopted and appropriated the sentiments of the great Leibnitz, upon the matter in question. See also Le Quieu's Oriers Christian. tom. iii. p. 777, and Heuman's Sylloge Dissert. Sacr. tom. i. part ii. p. 352. The very learned Jo. Christoph. Wagenselius has given a just and accurate view of the arguments on both sides, which may be seen in the Amænitales Literariæ of Schelhornius, part i. p. 146, and the same has been done by Basnage, in his Histoire de l'Eglise, tom. i. p. 408. A list of the other writers who have employed their labours upon this intricate question, may be seen in Casp. Sagittarius's Introd. in Hist. Eccles. tom. i. cap. xxv. p. 676, and in the Biblioth. Bremens. tom. viii. part v.
t Such is the opinion of Paul Sarpi, in bis Lettere Italiane, lett. Ixxxii. p. 452 ; of L'Enfant, Biblioth. Germanique, tom. X. p. 27; of Theod. Hasæus, Biblioth. Bremens. tom. viii. part v. p. 935 ; and of the celebrated Pfaff, Instit. Histor. Eccles. p. 402 ; to whom we might add Wernsdorff, Boecler, Holberg, and many others, were this enumeration necessary. Without assuming the character of a judge in this intricate controversy, concerning which so many false decisions have been pronounced, I shall only take the liberty to observe, that the matter in debate is as yet dubious, and has not, on either side, Heen represented in such a light as to bring conviction.,
the troubles ibat arise in the empire.
France. The donations, which Lewis the Meek is reported to have made to them, are mere inventions, equally destitute of truth and probability;" and nothing is more groundless than the accounts of those writers who affirm that Charles the Bald divested himself, in the year 875, of his right to the city of Rome, and its territory, in favour of the pontiffs, whom he, at the same time, enriched with a variety of noble and costly presents, in return for the good services of John VIII. by whose succours he was raised to the empire. But be that as it may, it is certain that the authority and affluence of the bishops of Rome increased greatly from the time of Lewis the Meek, but more especially from the accession of Charles the Bald to the imperial throne, as all the historical records of that period abundantly testify."
VI. After the death of Lewis II. a fierce and dreadful They gain by war broke out between the posterity of Charle
magne, among which there were several competi
tors for the empire. This furnished the Italian princes, and the Roman pontiff, John VIII. with a favourable opportunity of assuming to themselves the right of nominating to the imperial throne, and of excluding from all part in this election the nations who had formerly the right of suffrage; and if the opportunity was favourable, it was seized with avidity, and improved with the utmost dexterity and zeal. Their favour and interest was earnestly solicited by Charles the Bald, whose entreaties were rendered effectual by rich presents, prodigious sums of money, and most pompous promises, in consequence of which he was proclaimed, a. D. 876, by the pontiff John VIII. and by the Italian princes assembled at Pavia, king of Italy and emperor of the Romans. Carloman and Charles the Gross, who succeeded him in the kingdom of Italy, and in the Roman empire, were also elected by the Roman pontiff
, and the Italian princes. After the reigns of these princes the empire was torn in pieces; the most deplorable tumults and commotions arose in Italy, France, and Germany, which were governed, or rather subdued and usurped by various chiefs, and in this confused scene of things, the highest bidder was, by the succour of the
u Scc above, $ 3.
w Bunau, Histor. Imperii Rom. Germuń, tom. ii. p, 482. Jo. George Eccard, Thistor Francia Orient. tom. ii. lib. --*xi, p. 606.
greedy pontiffs, generally raised to the government of Italy, and to the imperial throne."
vi. Thus the power and influence of the pontiffs, in civil affairs, arose in a short time to an enormous height through the favour and protection of the Tibe.com perors princes, in whose cause they had employed the local receberias; influence which superstition had given them over arbe. comments the minds of the people. The increase of their own of their
wishops dimiauthority in religious matters was not less rapid, nor less considerable, and it arose from the same causes. The wisest and most impartial among the Roman catholic writers, not only acknowledge, but are even at pains to demonstrate, that from the time of Lewis the Meek, the ancient rules of ecclesiastical government were gradually changed in Europe by the counsels and instigation of the court of Rome, and new laws substituted in their place. The European princes suffered themselves to be divested of the supreme authority in religious matters which they had derived from Charlemagne; the power of the bishops was greatly diminished, and even the authority of both provincial and general councils began to decline. The Roman pontiffs, elated with their overgrown prosperity, and become arrogant, beyond measure, by the daily accessions that were made to their authority, were eagerly bent upon persuading all, and had indeed the good fortune to persuade many, that the bishop of Rome was constituted and appointed by Jesus Christ, supreme legislator and judge of the church universal ; and that therefore the bishops derived all their authority from the Roman pontiff, nor could the councils determine any thing without his permission and consent." This opinion, which was inculcated by the pontiffs with the utmost zeal and ardour, was opposed by such as were acquainted with the ancient ecclesiastical constitutions, and the government of the church in the earlier ages; but it was opposed in vain.
* This matter is amply illustrated by Sigonius in his famous book De Regno Ilaliæ, and by the other writers of German and Italian history.
y Sce the excellent work of an anonymous and unknown author, who signs himself D. B. and whose book is entitled Histoire du Droit Ecclesiastique public Francois, published first at London, in two volumes, Svo. in the year 1737, and lately republished in a larger and more splendid edition. The author of this performance shows, in a judicious and concise manner, the various steps by which the papal autbority arose to such a monstrous height. His aceount of the ninth century may be seen in the first volume of his work, at the 160th page.