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'SECT. 11.) Boldness of Hincmar, Archb. of Rheims. 389 respect and submission which the antient pontiffs had always paid to princes, and to reflect that his dignity gave him no right over the government of kingdoms; that he could not be at the same time pope and king: that the choice of a sovereign belongs to the people; that anathemas ill applied have no effect upon the soul; and that free men are not to be enslaved by a bishop of Rome.* But the voice of an individual is eaily drowned in the clamours of a mob. The evil proceeded in defiance of the expostulation of Hincmar. About the year 877, Pope John VIII. convened a council at Troyes in France, one of the canons of which is sufficiently remarkable to be adduced as a specimen of the spirit of the times. It expressly asserts, that " the powers of the world shall not dare to seat themselves in the presence of the bishops, unless desired.”

To dwell minutely upon this subject, and to illustrate the reign of the antichristian power by a copious detail of historical facts, though an easy task, would require more room than can be conveniently allotted to such a discussion in this sketch. The reader will probably be satisfied with this concise detail. Indeed all our historians, civil and ecclesiastical, agree in describing the tenth century of the Christian æra as the darkest epoch in the annals of mankind. “ The history of the Roman pontiffs that lived in this (tenth] century,” says the learned Mosheim,“ is a histoy of so many monsters, and not of men ; and exhibits a horrible series of the most flagitious, tremendous, and complicated crimes, as all writers, even those of the Romish communion, unanimously confess.” Nor was the state of things much better in the Greek church at this period ; as a proof of which, the same learned writer instances the example of Theophylact, patriarch of Constantinople. “ This exemplary prelate, who sold every ecclesiastical benefice as soon as it became vacant, had in his stable above two thousand hunting horses, which he fed with pignuts, pistachios, dates, dried grapes, figs steeped in the most exquisite wines, to all which he added the richest perfumes. One Holy Thursday, as he was celebrating high mass, his groom brought him the joyful news that one of his favorite mares had foaled ; upon which he threw down the Liturgy, left the church, and ran in rapture to the stable, where having expressed his joy at that grand event, he returned to the altar to finish the divine service, which he had left interrupted during his absence."*

* Fleury's Eccles. Hist.

To avoid the necessity of recurring to a topic so replete with every thing that can excite disgust in the mind of a humble Christian, I shall take leave of it by a short review of the state of things as they existed in the middle of the eleventh century.

In the year 1056, Henry IV. surnamed the great, though only five years old, ascended the throne of his father as emperor of Germany. During the first years of his reign, the empire was harrassed with civil wars, and Italy was a prey to intestine disorders. Nicholas II. then filled the pontifical chair; and he caused a council to be convened which consisted of a hundred and thirteen bishops, who passed a decree, by which it was ordained, that in future the cardinals only should elect the pope, and that the election should be confirmed by the rest of the Roman clergy and the people,“ saving the honour,” it was added, “ due to our dear son Henry, now king; and who, if it please God, shall one day be emperor, according to the privilege which we have already conferred upon him; and saying the honour of his successors, on whom the

apostolic see shall confer the same high privilege.

There resided at this time at Rome, one Hildebrand, a monk of the order of Cluny, who had recently been cre

* Quoted from Fleury's Eccles. Hist.

sect. 11.] Gregory VII. elected Pope.

391 ated a Cardinal; a man of a restless, fiery and enterprising disposition ; but chiefly remarkable for his furious zeal for the pretensions of the church. He was born at Soana in Tuscany, of obscure parents, brought up at Rome, and had been frequently employed by that court to manage various political concerns which required dexterity and resolution, and he had rendered himself famous in all parts of Italy for his zeal and intrepidity. Hildebrand had interest enough to procure himself to be elected to the Pontificial chair, in the year 1073, by the title of Gregory VII, and the papacy has not produced a more extraordinary character. “All that the malice or flattery of a multitude of writers have said of this Pope, is concentrated in a portrait of him drawn by a Neapolitan artist, in which Gregory is represented as holding a crook in one hand, and a whip in the other, trampling sceptres under his feet, with St. Peter's net and fishes on either side of him.”* Gregory was installed by the people of Rome, without consulting the Emperor, as had hitherto been customary; but though Henry had not been consulted upon the occasion, Gregory prudently waited for his confirmation of the choice before he assumed the tiara. He obtained it by this mark of submission; the emperor confirmed his election, and the new pontiff was not dilatory in pulling off the mask, for in a little time he raised a storm which fell with violence upon the head of Henry, and shook all the thrones in Christendom. He began his pontificate with excommunicating every ecclesiastic who should receive a benefice from a layman, and every laymạn by whom such benefice should be conferred. This was engaging the church in an open war with all the sovereigns of Europe. But the thunder of the holy see was more particularly directed against Henry, who sensible of his danger and anxious to avert it, wrote a

* Voltaire's Universal History, Vol. I. ch. 36.

submissive letter to Gregory, and the latter pretended to take him into favour, after severely reprimanding him for the crimes of simony and debauchery, of which he now confessed himself guilty. The pope at the same time, proposed a crusade, the object of which was to deliver the holy sepulchre at Jerusalem from the hands of the Turkish infidels; offering to head the Christians in person, and desiring Henry to serve as a volunteer under his command !

Gregory next formed the project of making himself lord of Christendom, by at once dissolving the jurisdiction which kings and emperors had hitherto exercised over the various orders of the clergy, and subjecting to the papal authority all temporal princes, rendering their dominions tributary to the see of Rome; and however romantic the undertakiog may appear, it was not altogether without success. Solomon, king of Hungary, was at that time dethroned by his cousin Geysa, and fled to Henry for protection, renewing his homage to the latter as head of the empire. Gregory, who favoured the cause of the usurper, exclaimed against this act of submission, and said in a letter to Solomon, “You ought to know, that the kingdom of Hungary belongs to the Roman church; and learn, that you will incur the indignation of the holy see, if you do not acknowledge that you hold your dominions of the pope, and not of the emperor.” This presumptuous declaration, and the neglect with which it was treated, brought the quarrel between the empire and the church to a crisis: it was directed to Solomon but intended for Henry.

Hitherto the princes of Christendom had enjoyed the right of nominating bishops and abbots, and of giving them investiture by the ring and crosier. The popes, on their part, had been accustomed to send legates to the emperors to entreat their assistance, to obtain their con

SECT. 11.) Gregory VII. elected Pope.

393 firmation, or to desire them to come and receive papal sanction. Gregory now resolving to push the claim of investitures, sent two of his legates to summon Henry to appear before him as a delinquent, because he still continued to bestow investitures, notwithstanding the papal decree to the contrary; adding, that if he failed to yield obedience to the church, he must expect to be excommunicated and dethroned.

This arrogant message, from one whom he regarded as his vassal, greatly provoked Henry, who abruptly dismissed the legates, and lost no time in convoking an assembly of princes and dignified' ecclesiastics at Worms; where, after mature deliberation, they came to this conclusion, that Gregory having usurped the chair of St. Peter, by indirect means, infected the church of God with many novelties and abuses, and deviated from his duty to his sovereign in several instances, the emperor, by the supreme authority derived from his predecessors, ought to divest him of his dignity, and appoint a successor. Henry, consequently, sent an ambassador to Rome, with a formal deprivation of Gregory; who, in his turn, convoked a council, at which were present one hundred and ten bishops, who unanimously agreed that the pope had just cause to depose Henry, to annul the oath of allegiance which the princes and states had' taken in his favour, and to prohibit them from holding any correspondence with him on pain of excommunication. And this execrable sentence was immediately fulminated against the emperor and his adherents. “ In the name of Almighty God, and by your authority,” said Gregory, addressing the members of the council," I prohibit Henry from governing the Teutonic kingdom and Italy. I'release all Christians from their oath of allegiance to him; and I strictly forbid all persons to serve or attend him as king.”

Vol. I.

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