Barrow - BX1805 .B3 1852

INTRODUCTION. 27 PopeBoniface III. having, by compliance with theusurper Phocas, obtained a declaration from him concerning the headship of the Roman church, made a considerable step forward toward the height of papal greatness. After that Pope Gregory II. had withdrawn Italy from the ori- ental empire, and Rome had grown in a manner loose and inde- pendent from other secular powers, in the confusions of the west, the pope interposing to arbitrate between princes, trucking and bar- tering with them, as occasion served, for mutual aid and countenance, grew in power, and answerably advanced his pretences. Thespurious Decretal Epistles of the ancient popes, which asserted to the pope high degrees of authority, being foistedinto men'shands, and insensibly creeping intorepute, inspiredthe pope with confidence to invade all the ancient constitutions, privileges, and liberties of churches; and having got such interest everywhere, he might say what he pleased, no clergymandaring to check or cross him. Having drawn tohimself the final decisionof all causes, having got a finger in disposal of all preferments,having, by dispensations, exemptions, and grants of privileges, tied to him so many dependants,what might not he say or do? Pope Gregory VII., being a man of untamable spirit, and taking advantage from the distractions and corruptions of his times, ven- tured to pull a feather with the emperor; and with success having mated him, set up a peremptory claim to sovereignty over all per- sons in all causes. In his footsteps his successors have trodden, being ever ready upon occasion to plead such a title, and to practise according to it. No pope would forego any power which had been claimed by his predecessors; and popes would ever be sure to have dancers after their pipe, numberless abettors of their pretences. No wonder, then, that persons deferring much regard to the authority of popes, and accommodatingtheir conceits to the dictates of them, or of persons depending on them, should in their opinions vary about the nature and extent of papal authority, it having never been fixed within certain bounds, or having in several ages continued the same thing. § XI. Wherefore, intending byGod's help to discuss the pretended authority of the pope, and to show that he by no divine institution, and by no immutable right, has any such power as he claims, by reason of this perplexed variety of opinions, I find it difficult to state the question, or to know at what distinct mark I should level my discourse. § XII. But seeing his pretence to any authority in temporals, or to the civil sword, is so palpably vain that it will hardly bear a