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treasure; and were the most respectable citizens in all the empire, kingdoms and principalities of Europe. Gregory considered all this wealth as the property and patrimony of the Roman see, and accordingly by his decrees, assumed the superintendancy and management of it, against the will of the sovereigns, within whose jurisdiction such domains, lands, forests, castles, &c. &c. were found, and without asking the consent of their possessors, Thus the Holy Father created an empire with millions of subjects, and procured himself universal dominion, by a dash of the pen. When the emperors, kings, & princes of Europe beheld this unexpected, enormous grasp of power, and their own authority thus diminished, they awoke from their supine indolence to serious alarm. The whole continent was thrown into consternation, and all Europe became a scene of tumult, vehement contests, confusion and distress, for several years.* Any ordinary character would have retractéd, or mollified his measures, upon such formidable opposition ; but such was the penetration, courage and obstinacy of this usurper, that lie called another council at Rome A. D. 1075, in which he confirmed all his former decrees, and by a formal edict pronounced Anathemas against all those, who should receive the investiture of a bishopric or abbacy from the hands of a layman, as also against those by whom such investitures should be performed. By this daring infringement on the lawful rights of the rulers in Europe, who hitherto conferred the more important ecclesiastical dignities, and the go: vernment of monastaries and convents, he perfectly established the independence of his Catholic empire, and
* Aventinus sums up the universal impression of cotemporary writers concerning Gregory, in ihese words, Pleriqiie omnee boni, aperti, justi, ingenui, simplices, tum imperium antichristi cæpisse, memoriæ lilerarum prodidere. Cited by Bengelius. What a diabolical link of the great chain! must he have been, that he was generally considered, to begin the reign of Antichrist.
completed the sovereignty of the Roman see. For these lordly pontiffs had now acquired such wealth, authority and influence by their large possessions, numerous and powerful subjects in every country of Europe, as to be sufficiently formidable in their own defence, & even menacing the independence of sovereign powers.
This vast empire, being thus founded on a durable basis, daily acquired strength by the current sentiments of the times, and soon rose to its highest pitch of power and grandeur. In proof of this assertion, I will produce an authority which will not be disputed, the learned historian and professor. Walch, in his history of the Popes, p. 182; where he continnes this account of the progress of the papacy to its summit of universal monarchy, in these words. “Their next attempt, which was now pushed “ with vigor, was to subject to themselves princes and “ their kingdoms and states. The argument made “ use of was, that the splendor of their dignity was to “ the majesty of the emperors and kings, as the effulgence “ of the sun to the borrowed light of the moon; and there“ fore they demanded and extorted from crowned heads “ the most extravagant marks of humiliations. Having “proceeded thus far, they assumed the right of confer“ ring regal dignity, & particularly presumed to consider “ the imperial crown as absolutely at their disposal ; and “ by the pretenders they set up, kindled perpetual con“ fusion in the Roman empire. They disposed of en“tire kingdoms, provinces and countries; others they “ converted into papal fiefs, of which the new vassals “ might easily be deprived under pretence of felony. They 6. excommunicated emperors, kings and princes on the “slightest pretence ; laid their dominions under an inter“ dict, and even discharged their subjects from the most “ sacred obligations of their oath of fidelity. They even “ stirred up the sons of severeigns to rebellion against “ their fathers, and supported them in their impicty.
“ They interfered in the family concerns of princes; broke “ the sacred bond of matrimony, and daily invented new " methods of weakening their prerogatives." To complete this account of the learned professor, we may add, that these lordly pontiffs, since the time of Gregory, used all endeavours to enlarge their temporal possessions by every means in their power; a proof of which is the princess Matilda's will, their conquest of Benevento, and other territories, by which they enriched their own families, their creatures, and the patrimony of St. Peter. Ac-, cording to Mosheim, Gregory had even formed “ a project 6 to establish at Rome an annual assembly of bishops, by “ whom the contests that might arise between kingdoms s and sovereign states were to be decided, the rights and “ pretentions of princes examined and the fate of nations " and empires determined under the eyes of the pontiffs ; “ in the execution of which, however, he met with warm opposition."!
Those authors who take this beast to signify the Roman empire, and the same with Daniel's fourth beast, have made objections to the universality of the papal empire, on the ground that it never was established to the same extent, and in the same degree as the ancient Roman empire; and its authority over secular princes always disputed in Europe. These objections would be of great importance, if the premises of the learned authors were well founded. But is it not strange to see such eminent writers contend that St. John'in a prophetic vision, beheld a beast arise out of the sea, which had arisen more than eight centuries before, and had attained the summit of its power in his time? and to refer the prophet's expression chap. XVII, 10. One is, to his own lifetime, and not to the time, which was then the present in the progress of his visions, contrary to St. John's custom in many places
#Mosheim's Eccles. Hist. ii Vol.
of this book. Chap. IX, 12. XI, 14. XX, 6. This also was once my opin ion, but more mature reflection convinced me, that it is incompatible with the general tenour of this prophecy, and of pernicious consequences to the Church; as it tends to withdraw the true object of danger from before our eyes, and thus defeats the divine purposes of the Lord in giving this prophecy. The papal hierarchy is a beast in prophetic language. Let those who doubt this point, consider its territories, its triple crown, its armies, revenues, courtand ambassadors at all the courts in Europe. The territories which the Pope possessed for many centuries are 400 miles in length, and 80 in breadth ; part of which he governed by feodal princes, or legates as governours. In every province there is a general appointed, as minister of war in peace, and commander in the field ; and the adjacent princes are bound to furnish auxiliary troops in time of war. Besides the citizens of his own territories, the Pope counts more than two millions of monks and ecclesiastical persons, who in all catholic countries, are exclusively his subjects; and who consume an annuity of more than twenty millions of pounds sterling. His own revenue as a temporal monarch, amounts yearly to more than four millions of dollars ; exclusive of his income as head of the Romish Church, from dispensations, indulgences, canonizations, annates, pallias, investitures, and of archbishops and bishops throughout the whole extent of the Church. His lifeguard consists of forty Swiss, seventy-four Cuirassiers, and as many horsemen ; who make the vanguard, and rear of his company, on public occasions. Is not this sufficient to prove it a beast, a distinct and separate kingdom? But the papacy has been more than a kingdom ; it also assumed and exercised an imperial power and authority over the kingdoms and states of Europe, which, if disputed by some, was yet acknowledged by many; who confessed that they held their states and kingdoms as fiefs under the jurisdiction of the
Roman see, and paid the Popes an annual tribute, or Peter-pence, for many centuries. However, those authors have adopted a mistaken position, who contend that the essence of the beast consists, in the possession of the imperial crown and countries of the ancient Roman empire. The spirit and essence of this beast is, the usurpation and exercise of a universal dominion in Christendom, both in temporal and spiritual matters, under pretence of a divine authority. Of this beast Gregory formed the embryo during his reign, and his successors fostered all his vital parts to maturity, during the seven weeks of years, or ordinary time of the seventh trumpet. He rose up out of the sea A. D. 1123, by the assistance of the first occidental general council, this year convened in the Lateran at Rome, which consisted of near a thousand prelates. In this council the convention formed the preceding year at a general diet held at Worms, between the emperor and the pope, was solemnly confirmed, and after a violent and tedious contest of fifty years, the papal hierarchy was established in its usurpation, and the Celibacy of the clergy ( This doctrine of devils, I Tim. IV, 3.) finally settled. Thus the usurped dominion of the papacy had now received the sanction of laro, and the confirmation of legal authority ; with which the beast commences his 666 years of power, and the third wo in the Church.
II. HIS STATB OF EXISTENCE, COMPRISING 666 YEARS.
From A, D. 1123-1789,
Though the Romish Church has flattered herself for many centuries, with the idea of being the guardian of Gospel light and truth to the world; yet the Holy Ghost assures us here, that the Papacy, the very soul of that
Mosheim's Eccles. Hist. Vol. II. p. 495.