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synod of ninety-three bishops, against what was termed the heresy of the Iconoclasts, or image breakers.-- With their consent a geneneral excommunication was pronounced against all, who by word or deed should attack the images of the saints, (Gibbon's Decline and Fall, chapter lxix.) that is, against all who should presume to obey the commandment of the Lord, which says, thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image, or any likeness of any thing in heaven above, or on the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth : thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor them.
We here therefore behold a power seated in the temple of God, opposing and exalting itself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, i. e. above the highest kingly and imperial authorities upon earth. We see this power, like ancient Babylon, mad on its idols, (Jer. 1. 38.) treating the Emperor, whom it professed to acknowledge as its rightful sovereign, with proud and disdainful insolence, when he presumed to interdict that which God had forbidden: and finally rising in rebellion against its lawful sovereign, rather than obey the edict for the abolition of im
ages. Thus did this antichristian power arrogate to itself the authority of God himself, by setting up its own will in subversion of the commandment of the Lord, forbidding the worship of images.
The next example which I shall adduce from history of the exercise of antichristian power by the Popes, is as follows:-“ Pepin who was mayor of the palace to Childeric III. king of France, and was possessed in reality of the royal power and authority, not contented with this, aspired to the titles and and honours of majesty, and formed the design of dethroning his sovereign. For this purpose the states of the realm were assembled by Pepin, A. D. 751, and though they were devoted to the interests of this ambitious usurper, they gave it as their opinion, that the Bishop of Rome was previously to be consulted, whether the execution of such a project was lawful or not.-In conseqence of this, ambassadors were sent by Pepin to Zachary, the reigning Pontiff, with the following question :-Whether the Divine law did not permit a valiant and warlike people, to dethrone a pusillanimous and indolent monarch, who was incapable of exer
cising any of the functions of royalty, and
The coronation of Pepin was twice performed, first with the sanction of the Pope, by Boniface, Bishop of Metz, and the apostle of Germany, and again by Pope Stephen the Third, who, in the monastery of St. Denis, placed the diadem on the head of his benefactor. 66 The Franks were absolved from their ancient oath: but a dire anathema was thundered against them and their posterity, if they should dare to renew the same freedom of choice, or to elect a king, except in
the holy and meritorious race of the Carlovingian princes:
It is to be remarked, that in the above occurrences three different acts of Antichristian authority are attributable to the Pope. First, The assumption of a power to dethrone a legitimate monarch. Secondly, The sanction given to the elevation of an usurper. And Thirdly, Pretending to a right to absolve men from the obligation of an oath of allegiance. By the two first of these acts, the Pope exalteth himself above all earthly authorities, i. e. "every thing that is called god, or is worshipped.” By the last of them, he usurped an authority, which belongs only to the eternal majesty of God.
* Gibbon's Decline and Fall, chap. xlix. Gibbon quotes the words of Eginhard, secretary and historian of Charlemagne. “Childeric was deposed by the command, and the Carlovingians were established by the authority of the Roman Pontiff.” See also on this subject, the remarks of a Catholic writer, and therefore an unexceptionable wit. ness, L'abbe Condillac in his Cours d'Etude pour l'instruction du Prince de Parme. Tomé Sme. “ Pepin (says he) was an usurper, and Zachary instead of consulting justice, consulted only his interests. Father Daniel wishes to excuse the Pope and St. Boniface, who is pretended to have had charge of this negotiation."
Having next stated the arguments used by Father Dan. iel, of which he exposes the weakness, the Abbe Condillac thus concludes: “ It is true that the temporal property of the Popes was in danger; this also is that which moved them, and we shall soon see how they confounded this vile interest with the sacred cause of religion. It appears to me that Father Daniel had better not have sought to justify Boniface.”
I shall pass over all the intermediate Pontiffs, and proceed next to consider some of the acts of Gregory VII. commonly known by the appellation of Hildebrand, who filled the Papal chair during part of the eleventh century, and distinguished himself above all the Popes who had preceded him, by the arrogance of his pretensions.—He pronounced a sentence of excommunication against Henry the Fourth, emperor of Germany, which ran in these terms. “For the dignity and defence of the Church, and in the name of Almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and by your authority, (viz. St. Peter's) I prohibit King Henry, son of Henry, sometime emperor, who by unheard of pride, has exalted himself against thy Church, from governing the Teutonic kingdom and Italy; I absolve all Christians from the oath which they have sworn or may swear to hin, and I prohibit every one from obeying him as king," &c. (Condillac Cours d'Etude, Tome 8me. p. 321.)
The Pope at the same time sent letters into Germany to cause another emperor to be elected in case that Henry did not submit.