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s held in ostle Peter, that by any right or by authon
In neither of his epistles is the name of Rome mentioned ; nor does it appear from the epistle to the Romans, that the name of primate or prince was heard of, in the Christian church on earth, after its sole King had ascended into heaven. And instead of the apostle Peter having been the infallible head of the church, from whom a long train of successors were to draw their changeful yet sure infallibility, it is recorded of him again, in the epistles as well as in the gospels, as of no other apostle, that Paul withstood him to the face, before them all—because he was to be blamed, Gal. i. 11, 14. It is not, then, in conformity with the precepts of Jesus, nor by authority derived from him, nor by any right of succession from the apostle Peter, that the primacy of the church was held in possession as a rightful heritage, by the Pope, any more than that political right of sovereignty was valid, which was defended and maintained, for the first time in the eighth century, from the similarly pretended and forged decretals, and alleged donation of Constantine (to which farther allusion will be made)—" the two main pillars," as Gibbon justly terms them, 6 of the spiritual and temporal monarchy of the Popes.” And, in returning to our subject, the actual progress of papal domination may be more clearly and faithfully traced.
By an edict of the emperors Gratian and Valentinian, in the end of the year 378 or the beginning of 379, the right of jurisdiction was conferred on the bishop of Rome over all the churches of Gaul and Italy. - The granting of this jurisdiction gave several bishops occasion to write to him for his resolutions upon doubtful cases, whereupon he answered by decretal epistles ; and henceforth he gave laws to the western churches by such epistles."* He issued
was any mpossessions
the firs, valid, whithan that a rightful lacy of the ccession
• Sir Isaac Newton's Observations on the Prophecies, p. 91.
edicts; nominated vicars as his representatives ; and “ gave orders to the metropolitans of all the other provinces in the Western empire, as their universal governor.—The monarchical form of government was then set up in the churches of the Western empire under the bishop of Rome, by means of the imperial decree of Gratian, and the appeals and decretal epistles founded thereon."* The edict of Gratian and Valentinian was confirmed and renewed in more authoritative terms, by Theodosius and Valentinian III. in the year 445; the highest spiritual jurisdiction was recognised, or assigned, as pertaining to the Pope; it was enacted that no one should presumptuously dare to dispute the authority of that see ; and it is declared that the peace of the church would be everywhere preserved, if the universe would acknowledge its ruler.f
But the most remarkable document respecting the establishment, by civil authority, of the spiritual supremacy of the pope, is the epistle of the Emperor Justinian to the Roman pontiff, in which, almost in the very words of the prophet, he gives all the churches into his hands. The institutes of Justinian form the foundation of the laws of southern and western Europe. And the high authority of the pope had the same origin, and would appear to have been established at the same period. The see of Constantinople alone then vied with that of Rome: and the authority of the emperor put an end to the rivalry.
The union of the divine and human nature of Christ,—the Word, who was in the beginning with God, and who was God, but who became flesh and dwelt among us,—has proved a source of unholy con
* Sir Isaac Newton's Observations on the Prophecies, pp. 107, 108.
† Ibid. p. 109, &c. where the edict, in the original, is quoted at length,
troversy among those who have sought to be wise above what is written, and to define what human reason cannot comprehend. Great is the mystery of godliness ; God manifest in the flesh. Yet, although no man knoweth who the Son is but the Father, it is a mystery which vain man, who comprehends not his own nature nor the union of his own soul and body, would endeavour by his feeble intellect to solve. Justinian was a zealot in theological controversy, if not also a tyrant. And instead of promoting religious instruction, and appealing to the word of God as the only and infallible rule of faith and practice, and thereby striving to overcome error with truth, at a time when the Virgin Mary was honoured as a goddess, Justinian, forgetful that he who doth the will of God shall know of the doctrine, appealed to the bishop of Rome as the sole and supreme judge of religious controversies. The bishops of Ephesus and Philippi, to both of which churches epistles had been written by the apostle of Jesus Christ, were the bearers of an epistle to the pope from the emperor, who solicited that he and all who adhered to the same creed, should be received into the communion of the church of Rome. The appeal, which not only recognises, but maintains and establishes, by imperial authority, the supremacy of the pope in regard to ecclesiastical decisions, is inserted at length in the annals of Baronius. The Epistle of Justinian to John, the Roman
Pontiff, A. D. 533. « Rendering honour to the apostolic see, and to your holiness, (as always was and is our desire,) and, as it becomes us, honouring your Blessedness as a father, we have laid without delay before the notice of your holiness, all things pertaining to the state of the church : Since it has always been our earnest
study to preserve the unity of your holy see, and the state of the holy churches of God, which has hitherto obtained, and will remain, without any interfering opposition. Therefore we hasten to SUBJECT and to unite to your holiness, all the priests of the whole east. As to the matters which are presently agitated, although clear and undoubted, and, according to the doctrine of your apostolic see, held assuredly resolved and decided by all priests, we have yet deemed it necessary to lay them before your holiness. Nor do we suffer any thing which belongs to the state of the church, however manifest and undoubted, that is agitated, to pass without the knowledge of your holiness, who are the head of all the holy churches. For in all things (as had been said or resolved) we are prompt to increase the honour and authority of your see."*
It was a less questionable act, on the part of Justinian, to give the churches, even that of Constantinople, into the hands of the pope, than the 6 donation of Constantine,” which included half his empire.
* Epist, Justiniani ad Joannem Rom. Pont. A. D. 533. Reddentes honorem apostolicae sedi et vestrae sanctitati (quod semper nobis in voto et fuit et est) ut decet patrem honorantes vestram beatudinem, omnia quae ad Ecclesiae statum pertinent, festinavimus ad notitiam deferre vestrae sanctitatis : quoniam semper nobis fuit magnum studium, unitatem vestrae apostolicae sedis, et statum sanctarum Dei Ecclesiarum custodire, qui hac. tenus obtinet et incommoté permanet, nulla intercedente contra. rietate. Ideoque omnes sacerdotes universi Orientalis tractus et subjicere et unire vestrae sanctitati properavimus. In praesenti ergo quae commota sunt, quamvis manifesta et indubita sint, et secundum apostolicae vestrae sedis doctrinam ab omnibus semper sacerdotibus firme custodita et praedicata : necessarium duximus ut ad notitiam vestrae sanctitatis perveniant. Nec enim patimur quicquam quod ad Ecclesiarum statum pertinet, quamvis mani. festum et indubitatum sit quod movetur, ut non etiam vestrae innotescat sanctitati, quae caput est omnium sanctarum Ecclesi. arum. Per omnia enim (ut dictum est) properamus honorem et auctoritatem crescere vestrae sedis. Baronii Annales Ecclesiastici, tom. vii. p. 204. Ed. Antverpiae, 1758. (Quoted from copy in Advocates' Library, Edinburgh.)
But while, in respect to the latter, all corroborative evidence is wanting, and all the history of the period refutes the fictitious allegation, there is positive evidence of the authenticity of the epistle of Justinian, which seems fully to place its reality beyond a just or reasonable doubt. It was not to the pope alone that the emperor declared his respect to the papal authority. And in his constitution to Epiphanius, bishop of Constantinople, of date 25th March 533, he acknowledges his Epistle to the Roman pontiff, and maintains that he is the head of all the bishops, and that, “ by the decision and right judgment of his venerable see, heretics are corrected.” The pope's answer to the letter of the emperor is also on record, in which he commends his zeal for religion, approves his doctrine, denounces all who reject it as separate from the church, adopts the titles conferred on him by the emperor, and commends, above all his virtues, his reverence for the holy see, to which, as truly the head, he had subjected and united all the churches.*
The bishop of Constantinople acted in subserviency to the decision of the emperor, and expressed to the pope his desire to follow the apostolic authority of his holiness.
“The authenticity of the title,” as Mr. Croly well observes, “ receives unanswerable proof from the edicts of the “Novellæ' of the Justinian code. The preamble of the 9th states, “that as the elder Rome was the founder of the laws ; so was it not to be questioned, that in her was the supremacy of the pontificate.' The 131st, on the Ecclesiastical Titles and Privileges, chap. ii. states : we therefore decree that the most holy pope of the elder Rome is the first of all the priesthood, and that the most