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before us; in which kings and gene- the righteousness of the slaughtered rals, free men and slaves, were seen martyrs, that had been gathered under flying and seeking to the caves of the the altar, was acknowledged in public rocks, to hide them from the face of edicts; and the living confessors reHim that sate on the throne of power, stored to their homes in triumph, from and from the wrath of the Lamb. the mines and dungeons where they
Thus, under the first shocks of this were suffering. Now, instead of vaults great earthquake, was the Roman and catacombs for the sacred assemearth agitated, and the antichristian blies of Christians, and other hiding powers driven into flight and conster- places shutout from the light of heaven, nation. Thus, in the political hea- to which, like their earlier christian vens, had the sun of pagan supremacy brethren, they had been reduced during been darkened, the moon became the late persecution, there arose, in eclipsed and blood-red, and, of the the cities and towns, churches of magstars, not a few been shaken violently nificence; and the ritual was celebrato the ground. But the prophecy had ted with pomp corresponding Now, not as yet received its entire fulfil- instead of desertions and apostacies ment. The stars of the pagan heaven from the christian body, such as had had not all fallen, nor the heaven itself been the case with not a few under altogether rolled up like a scroll and the fiery trial,- the daily accessions vanished away.
to it were innumerable. Candidates On Constantine's first triumph, and in throngs applied for baptism; and after the first terrors of the antichris- at the Easter and Pentecostal festivals, tian emperors and their hosts, though the newly baptized neophytes, in their the imperial edict gave to Christianity white vestinents, grouped conspicuous its full rights and freedom, yet it als around each' christian sanctuary. lowed to the heathen worship a free Now, moreover, under imperial austoleration also. But very soon there pices, the Christian Church Catholic followed measures of marked prefe- was gathered, for the first time, in rence in the imperial appointments to @cumenical council. Representatives the Christians and their faith; and, at attended from every province, and length, as Constantine advanced in nation, and tongue, in the vast emlife, in spite of the indignation and pire. The palace gates were thrown resentment of the Pagans, he issued open to the holy delegates; the emedicts for the suppression of their sa- peror bowed in respectful deference crifices, the destruction of their tem- before them. If in the use of his ples, and the toleration of no other power, he was to the Church as a nursform of public worship but the ing father, his behaviour was respectChristian.
ful as that of a son. His successors on the throne fol- And now, then, who can wonder at lowed up the same object, by attach- the exultation that was felt at this ing penalties of the severest character time by many, perhaps by most, that to the public profession of Paganism; bore the christian name; or at their and the result was, that before the high raised expectations as to the fucentury had ended, its stars had all ture happy destiny of the Roman, now fallen to the ground, its very heaven that it had become also the christian or political system vanished, and on nation? It seemed to them as if it the earth the old pagan institutions, had become God's covenanted peolaws, rites and worship, been all but ple, like Israel of old : and the expecsubverted.
tation was not unnatural,- an expecWhen Heathenism had been cast tation strengthened by the remarkable down from its supremacy, and Chris- tranquillity which, throughout the tianity established in the Roman world, extent of the now re-united empire, the changes consequent were immense followed almost immediately on Conand universal. Now, throughout its stantine's establishment of Christivast extent, the cross was everywhere anity,—that not only the temporal in honour, and the all-conquering vir- blessing of the ancient Jewish covetue recognized that attended it. Now nant would thenceforth in no small measure attach to them, but even of prosperity, there should come the those prophesied of, as pertaining to accession, in equal measure, of unthe latter days.
soundness and corruption, into the Hence on the medals of that era, christian body; the very event in the emblem of the phenix, all radiant which they triumphed might prove in with the rising sun-beams, to repre- its results, to be but a step in the sent the empire as now risen into new transition from the lesser pagan, to life and hope ; and its legend, which the great antichristian oppression of spoke of the happy restoration of the the Gospel, and with the accompanitimes. Hence, in forgetfulness of all ment of God's fearful judgments. former prognostications of antichrist, True Christians might be surely exand fearful coming evils, the reference pected, from the uniform tenor to that by the most eminent of their bishops effect of holy Scripture, to be but a to the latter day blessedness as even small minority under the existing disthen about fulfilling. The state of pensation,- an election of grace out of things was such, Eusebius tells us, a world of which, till a better dispenthat it looked like the very image of the sation, Satan was to be still the ruler: kingdom of Christ.
and although watched and guarded But the views of the holy Evangelist from real evil by Him who has chosen went deeper. Already he had seen them, yet, for the most part, and corruption working in the Church, even to the end, a suffering people. while under circumstances of adversity “In the world ye shall have tribuand depression; and when the sun- lation.” So that as to the full trishine of prosperity and power should umph of the saints, and realization beam upon it, what might seem more of the blessedness of those glowing likely, in itself, than that the evil prophecies of Messiah's kingdom, reshould increase and extend.
ferred to by Eusebius, he would look Moreover, he could not forget, for it, just as the Church had done though so many might forget it, that hitherto, and was soon led to do again, the great antichristian apostacy from as not to come till the time of the rethe faith, expressly predicted in Scrip- generation of all things,-a time conture, was yet to come. And if anti- sequent to the rise and reign of the christ was to be a power,-as seemed antichristian apostacy, and to be inprobable from the dark hints of pro- troduced by no lesser instrumentality phecy,-in profession Christian, and than that of the brightness of the not Pagan; and if, with the accession coming of the Lord Jesus.
THE QUEEN'S SUPREMACY.-STRICTURES ON THE OXFORD
By the Rev. HenRY WALTER, M.A. Many of our readers have doubtless illustrious predecessors, both before seen with great pleasure the address and since the glorious Revolution, to Her Majesty, emanating from that furnish many examples of the manmeeting of lay members of our Church, ner in which the mischiefs and abuses, which was assembled on Dec. 5th, which at various times have sprung under the presidency of Lord Ashley. up in the Church, have been dealt That address is now circulating to with, by the exercise of the royal receive the signatures of the laity authority.” that they may thus join in petitioning It so happens, however, that the the Queen to exercise that wholesome laity have been told, in the published power of interposition in the manage- language of another address to Her ment of our Established Church, re- Majesty, which appeared in the papers specting which the address says, “The about eight months ago, with the aprecords of the reigns of your Majesty's pended signatures of some hundred members of the Oxford Convocation, scious that this affirmation would That the records of the universal naturally be understood to reach ; Church, as well as those of the reigns unless it could be proved, that all of Her Majesty's most famous pre- whom they would acknowledge to be decessors, unite in proving that it is christian emperors, have, generally, her bounden duty to abstain from at least, so limited their claims; and exercising any other interposition, for have had no farther authority allowed the correction of erroneous teaching them by their ecclesiastics. or of any want of discipline, amongst Take the addressers at their word, professed ministers of our Church, and we must suppose that our grathan that of referring the cognizance cious Queen will stand rebuked by of all ecclesiastical offenders to the the holier course of the whole line of exclusive decision of ecclesiastics, and German and Russian emperors, if she all questions of false doctrine to epis- suffers herself to be induced, by her copal judges. Wherever, therefore, legally constituted advisers, to prothe assertions of these Oxford ad- tect any ecclesiastic from being pudressers have been believed by the nished by his diocesan, for holding laity, they are too likely to conclude doctrines,- which that diocesan has that nothing, worth contending for, not been able to prove-incompatible, can be gained by petitioning Her in their judgment, with our Church's Majesty to interpose her authority declared belief. For, assuredly, many for the maintenance of Protestant doc- of the subscribers to this Oxford adtrine, and of the holy simplicity of a dress are too favourable to the Church Protestant ritual, in our Church. It of Roine ; and some of their party is, consequently, desirable that the have spoken far too highly of the assertions of the Oxford addressers, Greek Church, to justify the public on a subject which is daily growing in supposing that they intended to more important, should no longer be exclude those sovereigns, when using allowed to pass for trustworthy with the phrase christian emperors. But such persons as happen to be unaware on the other hand, the addressers that some of them are grossly at vari- cannot honestly present this stateance with historic truth. These asser- ment to Her Majesty, in terms which tions were made under the form of will naturally be understood to intwenty-one distinct statements, em- clude those emperors, unless they are bodied in the petition of the nume- ignorant of what well-informed Engrous subscribing members of the lish gentlemen ought to have known. Oxford Convocation, as truths to For it was not in obscure times that which they (not the corporate body a select committee of the House of of their university) entreated Her Commons, instituted to gather inforMajesty's gracious attention.
mation “respecting the Laws and Their series of statements begins Ordinances of Foreign States in as follows:
Ecclesiastical Matters," ascertained “1. That the only authority claimed and reported, That the Emperor of by christian emperors, and acknow Austria not only claimed, and was ledged by the Church, in ecclesiasti- allowed, the right of nominating all cal causes, has been to give, upon ap- the bishops in his dominions, with one peal, new episcopal judges.” By exception, but obliged those bishops dropping the limiting word primitive, "to submit their pastoral and circular (which had been used in a preceding letters to the inspection and approparagraph, where they spoke of what bation of the Provincial Civil Governthey could concede to the civil ma- ment, before they were promulgated;" gistrate,) and by employing the words and further required, in the case of has been, properly indicative of con the excommunication of any of his tinuance, the addressers have been subjects, that previous to its publica« made to tell their Sovereign what tion, the motive of such excommunicannot be maintained to be true, to cation should be discussed by an that extent to which the compilers of equal number of ecclesiastical and the address ought to have been con- civil commissaries, and laid before His Majesty, without whose confir- son who should presume to contravene mation it will have no civil effect.” this canon. This Pope had certainly Report, ordered to be printed by H. of strong reasons for confirming the emCom. June 25, 1816. The same com- peror's authority to such an extent; mittee ascertained that every sove- for Platina, the honest Romish chroreign, in papal Europe, exercised nicler, tells how Pope John XII. was nearly the same authority, in con- driven from Rome, for his exceeding trolling the ecclesiastical jurisdiction; wickedness, by Otho's threats; and and it would but be wasting time to that thereupon, at the clergy's perimagine whether the Emperor of suasion, Otho made Leo Pope in Russia is less an autocrat in his John's stead.-Otho, persuadente clero, Church.
Leonem, Romanum civem, LateranenPerhaps, however, some will chari- sis ecelesiæ sorinianum pontificem oreat. tably suggest that the compilers of Was such a procedure as this what this address, being scholars, and of a the compilers of the Oxford address somewhat pedantic cast, have not meant to describe, when they led thought it worth their while to advert their followers to join them in telling to the conduct of such recent empe- the Queen, that the authority claimed rors; and, that to make an allowance by christian emperors, and acknowfor their train of historical recollec- ledged by the Church, had but tions, we should at least go back as amounted, at the most, to giving new far as Charlemagne, or the imperial episcopal judges, upon an appeal ? Othos. Let us therefore meet them But let us gratify these scholars by on this ground. And here the state going a little further back, to a Church ments, which refute their own, may whose history may be read in Greek be taken from documents likely to be as well as Latin; to the iconoclast regarded by them with especial reve. christian emperors, who imitated the rence. For in that authoritative com- conduct of Hezekiah, by commandpendium of papal law, the Corpus Juris ing the images of Christ and of the Canonici, Canon twenty-two of Dis- Apostles to be broken, when they tinctio lxiii. is thus headed, “The had become objects of worship. Was emperor has the right of electing the not this an exertion of authority of a Pope;" and its text proceeds to tell, different kind from that described how Charlemagne united with Pope in the statement? Or are we to supAdrian in holding a synod in the La- pose that its compilers regard the reteran, where 153 bishops and abbots bellious ecclesiastics, who resisted the were collected; and that Adrian, edicts of those emperors, as constitutwith the whole synod, assigned to him ing the Church, to the exclusion of that the right and authority of choosing portion of the Greek hierarchy and the Pope, and of regulating the apos- people who then acknowledged that tolic see,– tradiderunt Carolo jus et their emperors used their authority potestatem eligendi pontificem, et ordi- aright, in this reforming measure ? nandi apostolicam sedem. And in the But though the subscribers to this very next canon the reader will find Oxford address ought to have known Leo VIII. adverting to this, nearly that this first statement could not be two hundred years afterwards, and true, to the extent to which the ignorant adding, as follows, “I too, Leo, would naturally suppose it to reach, bishop, servant of the servants of God, they seem to have given the comwith the whole clergy and Roman pilers credit for knowing of some people, do constitute, and confirm, strong evidence in support of its asand corroborate, and by our apostolic sertion, as insinuated by their apauthority concede and give to Otho I. pended note, Codex Eccl. Afr. Can. King of the Germans, and to his suc- 104. cessors, for ever, authority to elect a There is no process by which men, successor, and ordain the Pontiff of reputed to be learned, more easily this chief apostolic see;" and the deceive themselves and others, than text proceeds to denounce a sentence by taking an assertion from some of excommunication against any per- ancient book, especially if it be one
of rare occurrence, and receiving it, as to affirm that general usage had
“ Eccl. Afr. Can.” would impress by a synod assembled in 419, be many of its readers with a notion that really so ancient, it can only be ofsomething profound was concealed fered as evidence of the usage of the under them, as under so many hiero- Church for the single century which glyphics. But we may safely venture had then elapsed since Constantine's to strip them of all their imposing beginning to act as a christian emeffect, by translating them into their peror. And it ought to be unnecesfair, though undignified, equivalent, sary to tell the addressers, that fudge. The only thing which the whereas there had been but two genecompilers' reference is sufficient to ral councils in that period, the emprove, is but that they were unable perors had convened them both; and to bring forward any trustworthy evi- that the Church had not only acknowdence for their assertion, and were in ledged their authority so to do, but consequence fain to make its proof had requested the reigning emperor, lean upon a notoriously broken reed. by its representatives, at the later They may have examined, and have council, (that of Constantir: ple, in remained unconvinced, by the argu- 381,) to authenticate its decisions by ments, used long ago by the Fran- his ratification,-“ Ut sciuti literis quiciscan M. Ant. Capelle, to prove the bus nos convocastis ecclesiam honore Codex they cite a downright forgery; prosecutus es, ita etiam finem eorum and it may be more reason able to quæ decreta sunt obsignes. — Labbe. conclude from the arguments stated Concil., tom. ii. 941. This, alone, is by Basnage in his invaluable Annales proof enough that statement the first Politico-Ecclesiastici, tom. iii. p. 297, is at variance with notorious facts in that this order was originally a col- that age, as well as at the later periods lection of the divisions formed or already noticed. But the records of adopted by a synod of African bishops, the Church of Rome will have a assembled at Carthage in A. D. 419; weight with the addressers, which but he allows that the copy now ex they may refuse to allow to anything tant cannot be a genuine record of done at Constantinople; and those those divisions, inasmuch as it incor- records have preserved a remarkable porates what was indisputably of a letter, addressed to the Emperors Îater date. In our own days, the labo- Gratian and Valentinian, by a synod rious Gieseler has assigned its compi- assembled at Rome, in 378. It aplation to Dionysius Exiguus (Compend. pears, from that letter, that accusaEccles. Hist. ch. iii. $ 94, p. 59,) i.e. to tions had been laid against Pope the date of about 533. If therefore Damasus, to entangle him in suits ; the compilers of the address can pro- pending which, his authority would duce a sentence from this codex,affirm- have been in abeyance. The synod ing what they have affirmed, on its therefore reminds the emperors that authority, that affirmation cannot be they had declared, some while before, fastened upon the African bishops, so that the innocence of Damasus was long as the integrity of the codex is satisfactorily proved,
“ Vestre juindefensible. Whilst if they could dieio tranquillitatis probatus est innoprove such a sentence to have been centia memorati fratris nostri, Damasi. part of the original record, they would And it proceeds to request, that this but prove that certain African bishops, imperial decision may be held suffiwho then repudiated the Pope's claim cient; assuring them that Damasus to interfere with their discipline, were did not wish to derogate thereby from so bold, in their aim at independence, their authority, but to uphold it;