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patriarch with jurisdiction over several metropolitans, or provinces, had never been heard of. Even then, the provinces, or countries over which they presided, maintained their own temporal privileges for some time after, as was the case with England; but the Asiatic and African churches were ultimately, by intrigue and the sword, merged into the see of Rome*. But the “universal supremacy” assumed by her Popes was not acknowledged until the commencement of the seventh century (about 606), when Boniface III. took upon him the privilege of becoming “infallible” and “supreme;" although towards the latter end of the preceding age, John, Bishop of Constantinople, (after the seat of empire was translated to that place,) took the liberty of trying the experiment of absolute authority over all his contemporary bishops.
This attempt of John was not attended with complete success, although his assumption may be styled the foundation of Poperyt. Gregory, Bishop of Rome, afterward called the Great, wrote against John's new doctrine, which he denounced as a “Luciferian pride," asserting, that whoever should adopt it, would be the forerunner of Antichrist; declaring also, that if there were to be such a head of a church, the church must err with hims. But Gregory's successors had not so humble an opinion of power and wealth as himself; Boniface made the most of the opportunity afforded him by Phocas, on the latter murdering his sovereign the Emperor
* The first attempt to exercise any species of undue authority in the Christian Church was made by Victor (A. D. 195), then Bishop of Rome, in opposition to Polycarp (who succeeded Bucolus in the bishopric of Smyrna, and was consecrated by St. John the Evangelist) and the other heads of the Asiatic churches, relative to fixing the day for the celebration of Easter ; Victor excommunicating all the churches which dissented from his opinion. For this insolent assumption he was condemned by all the other bishops; and Irenæus, in the name of the bishops of France, in censuring Victor, reminded him of the vast difference of his thus breaking the union of the Church to the peace and unity of Christian love. See Euseb. 1. 5. c. 24.
# In the seventh century the bishops of Rome “received the pompous titles of Masters of the World, and Popes, i. e. universal fathers.” Mosh. vol. ii. p.
146. Eng. trans.
| Registrum, Lib. ii. Epist. 32. 36. 38. Lib. vii. Epist. 30. 36, &c.
Mauritius, and seizing the throne : in this deed of blood he was abetted by Boniface, who owned him as his prince; and Phocas, in return, acknowledged the supremacy of Boniface over all other bishops. Thus was the despotism of the Church of Rome established in the seventh century; and such the alteration in the government and unity of the Christian Church, from that which was ordained by CHRIST himself-preached by his apostles and persevered in during the first ages of the primitive fathers and other good men. Thus did the Church of Rome usurp the name of Catholic whose badge of unity is subserviency to her bishop ; and thus having wrested their just rights from the whole christian world, she maintained them pro viribus, until her superstitions rendered her victims defenceless. These facts are matters of history—let those who would deny them prove their incorrectness. The apostles speak often of christian churches (all under Christ as their head;)—which of the churches headed by the Pope was Catholic, in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh ages, when these infallible saints were butchering the people and each other*; and when Benedict IX., John XIX., and Sylvester III. were Popes of Rome at the same time, besides John Gratian, who was a fourth aspirant, and ultimately succeeded as Gregory VI. What says Dupin on this subject? “ It is true that, at present, the name of the Church of Rome is given to the Catholic Church, and that these two terms pass for synonymous. But in antiquity, no more was intended by the name of the Church of Rome,
* From the ninth to the thirteenth centuries, there cannot be found in history such horrible atrocities as those which disgraced the Papacy. “There was a succession of not less than fifty bishops" (of Rome) says Stillingfleet," so remarkable for their wickedness, that Annas and Caiphas (setting only aside their condemning Christ) were saints in comparison of them.”
“For one hundred and fifty years together, out of fifty Popes, scarcely one can be found who was not notorious for wickedness,” says Townsend. See also Tillotson's Rule of Faith, p. 718–722. Baronius calls these the Iron and Leaden Ages; and owns, that by the crimes of his “ Church,” it seemed as though Christ had slept, and that there were none of his disciples to cry to him. See also Platina, Luitprand, (who wrote in the tenth century,) &c. &c. &c.
than the church of the city of Rome, and the Popes in their subscriptions, or superscriptions, took simply the quality of bishops of Rome,” &c. Traité de la puissance Ecclésiastique,
&c. page 551.
Sect. V.—That the Church of Christ must be apostolical, by a suc
cession of her pastors and a lawful mission derived from the
1st. Because only those who can derive their lineage from the apostles are the heirs of the apostles; and consequently they alone can claim a right to the scriptures, to the administration of the sacraments, or any share in the pastoral ministry: it is their proper inheritance, which they have received from the apostles, and the apostles from Christ. “ As my Father hath sent me, even so I send you." John xx. 21.
2dly. Because Christ promised to the apostles and their successors, “that he would be with them always even to the end of the world,” Matt. xxviii
. 20, and that the Holy Ghost, “the spirit of truth, should abide with them for ever," John xiv. 16, 17. To this section, as but little of scripture could be found by the Pope bearing upon the question, we need quote but little of the sacred volume, to shew the misapplication of the two or three lines referred to.
The first of these lines is spoken by Christ to his apostles, at the time he breathed upon, and imparted to them the Holy Ghost. Secondly, that Christ said he would be with them to the end of the world; and thirdly, that “the Spirit of Truth should abide with them for ever." Upon these grounds the Pope claims the inheritance of the apostles, his or his Church's right thereto being derived in a direct lineage from them.
Of this inheritance" we will say but few words. If the Pope or his bishops will shew us any portion of scripture which will warrant their title in opposition to the texts we have already quoted, in refutation of so palpable an assumption, it will be quite time enough to admit it. When Christ breathed upon the apostles, it was at Jerusalem, nor in the scriptures do we find any allusion to
Rome or its Pope; but we are taught by these scriptures, that the ministers who serve God are God's ministers. As to the “ lineage derived from the apostles,” we scarcely understand the allusion*. Popes are elected, and have been since the time of Alexander III.T, from cardinals when they do not fight for their infallibility; and we have always seen, according to history, that the strongest interest of either kind has obtained it. Who but the strongest party was of this
lineage,” when Popes were slaying each other? or when in the sixth oecumenical, or general, council, Pope Honorius was solemnly condemned for heresy, A. D. 680 ? But as the 14th and 16th verses of John, chap. xvi. are quoted, why, we ask, was the intermediate verse omitted ? It consists but of seven words, is spoken by Christ himself, and runs thus: if you love me keep my commandments. But the Pope and Dr. Challoner both seem to have thought that this sentence was not the most applicable to prove the “ inheritance” of Popery from the apostles.
* It is evident that the Salic law is unnecessary to preserve Popish infallibility, since Popesses, or lady-popes, are no interruption to this “ direct lineage;" and as great ability has been evinced under the Papal and petticoat-government of Pope Joan, when the tiara graced her fair brow, it shews a great want of gallantry in her successors, that she was not sainted pro forma. Leo IVth dying A. D. 855, Joan a learned lady (admitted on all sides to have possessed much genius and dexterity) made her best curtsey from the Papal chair, in which she contrived to sit unmolested for two years, (a much longer period than many others have kept it) when Benedict the Third became the luminary of the “direct lineage.” The ecclesiastical writers of the five succeeding ages never dreamed of denying the fact, so notorious in itself; and which could not in anywise derogate from the dignity or credibility of an “infallible” church. Thus the fact was handed down to posterity, by the same pens that recorded other pontificates, and was undisputed until the commencement of the Lutheran Reformation. Then it was that the Popish writers first determined to insist upon it, that all their predecessors who had written of Pope Joan were all wrongthat Joan was not a woman, or if she was a woman, she could not have reigned ; whilst others thought it best to insist that (notwithstanding the account is transmitted to us by their own infallible guides) there never was such a person at all. Those who would peruse the authorities (readily believed by Papists themselves in other points) in proof of the correctness of the above statement, are referred to the Exercitatio de Papa Fæmina, tom. ii. of Spanheim, in which they are collected; or L'Enfant's translation of it into French. + In the third council of the Lateran held at Rome, A, D. 117
in which it was decreed that the election of a Roman pontiff should be vested in the cardinals only, two thirds of whose number should decide it. This decree still exists,
Sect. VI.-That Catholics, and not Protestants, are the true
Church of Christ. How do you prove that the Catholic Church, in communion with Rome, is the true Church of Christ, rather than Protestants or other sectaries.
From what has been already said in the foregoing sections; for, Ist. The true Church of Christ can be no other than that which has always had a visible being in the world ever since Christ's time, as we have seen, Sect. I. She was founded by Christ himself, with the express promise that the gates of hell should not prevail against her." Matt. xvi. 18. “She is the kingdom of Christ, which shall never be destroyed." Dan. ii. 44. Therefore the true Church of Christ can be no other than the Catholic, which alone has always had a visible being in the world ever since Christ's time. Not the Protestunt, nor any other modern sect, which only came into the world since the year 1500. For those who came into the world
1500 years after Christ, came into the world 1500 years too late to be the religion or Church of Christ.
2ndly, The true Church of Christ, in virtue of the promises both of the Old and New Testament, was to continue pure and holy in her doctrine and terms of communion in all ages, even to the end of the world, as we have seen, Sect. III., and, consequently, could never stand in need of a Protestant reformation: therefore that which was of old the true Church of Christ must still be so, and it is in vain to seek for the true church among any of the sects of pretenders to reformation; because they all build upon a wrong foundation, that is, upon the supposition that the Church of Christ was for many ages gone astray.
3dly, The true Church of Christ must be Catholic, or Universal; -she must not only be the church of all ages, but also more or less the church of all nations, as we have seen, Sect. IV. She must be Apostolical, by a succession and mission derived from the apostles, as we have also seen, Sect. V. Now these characters cannot agree to any of our modern sects, but only to the old religion, which alone is the church of all ages, and more or less of all nations; and which descends in an uninterrupted succession, continued in the same communion, from the apostles down to these our days. Therefore the old religion alone is the true Church of Christ, which can be but
one, and in one communion, as we have seen, Sect. II. As Protestants*, we protest against the pitiful shifts of
* This appellation, now generally applied to all Christians who deny the superstitious doctrines of Popery, &c. originated thus :- In the year 1526, Popery had determined, as Mosheim expresses it, “to suppress, by force, a doctrine which she was incapable of overturning by argument;" against which suppression the Lutherans guarded themselves in the best way they could, when the first diet of Spire (a