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A. D. 726

in the public and private creed of his bishops; and the bold- CHAP.

XLIX. est Iconoclast might assault with a secret horror, the monu

a ments of popular devotion, which were consecrated to the honour of his celestial patrons. In the reformation of the sixteenth century, freedom and knowledge had expanded all the faculties of man; the thirst of innovation superseded the reverence of antiquity, and the vigour of Europe could disdain those phantoms which terrified the sickly and servile weakness of the Greeks.

The scandal of an abstract heresy can be only proclaimed Their per to the people by the blast of the ecclesiastical trumpet; but secution of the most ignorant can perceive, the most torpid must feel, and the profanation and downfal of their visible deities. The monks, first hostilities of Leo were directed against a lofty Christ ...775. on the vestibule, and above the gate, of the palace. A ladder had been planted for the assault, but it was furiously shaken by a crowd of zealots and women: they beheld, with pious transport, the ministers of sacrilege tumbling from high, and dashed against the pavement; and the honours of the ancient martyrs were prostituted to these criminals, who justly suffered for murder and rebellion.21 The execution of the Imperial edict was resisted by frequent tumults in Constantinople and the provinces : the person of Leo was endangered, his officers were massacred, and the popular enthusiasm was quelled by the strongest efforts of the civil and military power. Of the Archipelago, or Holy Sea, the numerous islands were filled with images and monks: their votaries abjured, without scruple, the enemy of Christ, his mother, and the saints; they armed a fleet of boats and gallies, displayed their consecrated banners, and boldly steerel for the harbour of Constantinople, to place on the throne a new favourite of God and the people. They depended on the succour of a miracle ; but their miracles were ineffi

а cient against the Greek fire; and, after the defeat and conflagration of their fleet, the naked islands were abandoned to the clemency or justice of the conqueror. The son of

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barrassed between the interest of a protestant and the duty of an orthodox divine.

21 The holy confessor Theophanes approves the principle of their rebellion, belp Xlighevou Snago (p. 339). Gregory 11. (in Epist i. ad Imp. Leon. Concil. tom. vii. p. 061. 604.) applauds the zeal of the Byzantine women who killed the Imperial officers. VOL. VI.


CHAP. Leo, in the first year of his reign, had undertaken an expe

dition against the Saracens: during his absence, the capital, the palace, and the purple, were occupied by his kinsman Artavasdes, the ambitious champion of the orthodox faith. The worship of images was triumphantly restored: the patriarch renounced his dissimulation, or dissembled his sentiments; and the righteous claim of the usurper was acknowledged, both in the new, and in ancient, Rome. Constantine flew for refuge to his paternal mountains ; but he descended at the head of the bold and affectionate Isaurians; and his final victory confounded the arms and predictions of the fanatics. His long reign was distracted with clamour, sedition, conspiracy, and mutual hatred, and sanguinary revenge: the persecution of images was the motive, or pretence, of his adversaries; and, if they missed a temporal diadem, they were rewarded by the Greeks with the crown of martyrdom. In every act of open and clandestine treason, the emperor felt the unforgiving enmity of the monks, the faithful slaves of the superstition to which they owed their riches and influence. They prayed, they preached, they absolved, they inflamed, they conspired; the solitude of Palestine poured forth a torrent of invective: and the pen of St. John Damascenus," the last of the Greek fathers, devoted the tyrant's head, both in this world and the next. 23 I am not at leisure to examine how far the monks provoked, nor how much they have exaggerated, their real and pretended sufferings, nor how many lost their lives or limbs, their eyes or their beards, by the cruelty of the emperor. From the chastisement of individuals, he proceeded to the abolition of the order; and, as it was wealthy and useless,

22 John, or Mansur, was a noble Christian of Damascus, who held a considerable office in the service of the caliph. His zeal in the cause of images exposed him to the resentment and treachery of the Greek emperor; and on the suspicion of a treasonable correspondence, he was deprived of his right hand, which was miraculously restored by the Virgin. After this deliverance, he resigned his office, distributed his wealth, and buried himself in the monastery of St. Sabas, between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. The legend is fa. mous; but his learned editor, father Lequieu, has unluckily proved that St. John Damascenus was already a monk before the Iconoclast dipute (Opera, tom. i. Vit. St. Joan. Damascen. p. 10... 13. et Notas ad loc).

23 After sending Leo to the devil, he introduces his heir.... To hiagor & γεννημα, και της κακιας αντε κληρονομος εν διπγω γενομενος (Opera Damascen. tom. i. p. 625). If the authenticity of this piece be suspicious, we are sure that in other works, no longer extant, Damascenus bestowed on Constantine the title of νεον Μωαμεθς Χρισομαχον μισαγιον (tom. i. p. 306).


his resentment might be stimulated by avarice and justified CHAP.

XLIX. by patriotism. The formidable name and mission of the Dragon, his visitor-general, excited the terror and abhorrence of the black nation: the religious communities were dissolved; the buildings were converted into magazines, or barracks: the lands, moveables, and cattle, were confiscated; and our modern precedents will support the charge, that much wanton or malicious havock was exercised against the relics, and even the books, of the monasteries. With the habit and profession of monks, the public and private worship of images was rigorously proscribed; and it should seem, that a solemn abjuration of idolatry was exacted from the subjects, or at least from the clergy, of the Eastern em. pire. The patient East abjured, with reluctance, her sacred State of

Italy. images; they were fondly cherished, and vigorously defended, by the independent zeal of the Italians. In ecclesiastical rank and jurisdiction, the patriarch of Constantinople and the pope of Rome were nearly equal. But the Greek prelate was a domestic slave under the eye of his master, at whose nod he alternately passed from the convent to the throne, and from the throne to the convent. A distant and dangerous station, amidst the Barbarians of the West, excited the spirit and freedom of the Latin bishops. Their popular election endeared them to the Romans: the public and private indigence was relieved by their ample revenue; and the weakness or neglect of the emperors compelled them to consult, both in peace and war, the temporal safety of the city.

, In the school of adversity the priest insensibiy imbibed the virtues and the ambition of a prince; the same character was assumed, the same policy was adopted, by the Italian, the Greek, or the Syrian, who ascended the chair of St. Peter; and, after the loss of her legions and provinces, the genius and fortune of the popes again restored the supremacy of

24 In the narrative of this persecution from Theophanes and Cedrenus, Spanheim (p. 235...238.) is happy to compare the Draco of Leo with the dragoons (Dracones) of Louis XIV. and highly solaces himself with this controversial pun.

25 Προγραμμα γας εξεπιμψε κατα πασαν εξαρχιαν την υπο της χειρος αυτε, παντας υπογραψαι και ομνύναι και τα αθετησαι την προσκυpr11 TWY OETTWY BIROUWv (Damascen. Op. tom. i. p. 625). This oath and subscription I do not remember to have seen in any modern compilation,

CHAP. Rome. It is agreed, that in the eighth century their domiXLIX.

nion was founded on rebellion, and that the rebellion was produced, and justified, by the heresy of the Iconoclasts; but the conduct of the second and third Gregory, in this memorable contest, is variously interpreted by the wishes of their friends and enemies. The Byzantine writers unanimously declare, that, after a fruitless admonition, they pronounced the separation of the East and West, and deprived the sacrilegious tyrant of the revenue and sovereignty of Italy. Their excommunication is still more clearly expressed by the Greeks, who beheld the accomplishment of the papal triumphs; and as they are more strongly attached to their religion than to their country, they praise, instead of blaming, the zeal and orthodoxy of these apostolical men.26 The modern champions of Rome are eager to accept the praise and the precedent: this great and glorious example of the deposition of royal heretics, is celebrated by the cardinals Baronius and Bellarmine ;27 and if they are asked, why the same thunders were not hurled against the Neros and Julians of antiquity? they reply, that the weakness of the primitive church was the sole cause of her patient loyalty, 28 On this occasion, the effects of love and hatred are the same; and the zealous protestants, who seek to kindle the indignation, and to alarm the fears, of princes and magistrates, expatiate on the insolence and treason of the two Gregories against their lawful sovereign.29 They are defended only by the moderate Catholics, for the most part, of the Gallican church,30 who respect the saint, without approving the sin. CHAP. These common advocates of the crown and the mitre cir

26 Και την Ρωμην σον παση Ιταλια της βασιλείας αυτ8 απεστηση, says Theophanes (Chronograph.p. 343). For this Gregory is styled by Cedre. nus aume 6050 Noxos (p. 450). Zonaras specifies the thunder, arcompati ouvodixq (tom. ii. l. xv. p. 104, 105). It may be observed, that the Greeks are apt to confound the times and actions of two Gregories.

27 Sce Baronius, Anna!. Eccles. A. D. 730, No.4, 5.: dignum exemplum! Bellarmin, de Romano Pontifice, 1. v. c. 8. : mulctavit eum parte imperii. Sigonius, de Regno Italia, 1. iü. Opera, tom. ii. p. 169. Yet such is the change of Italy, that Sigonius is corrected by the editor of Milan, Philippus Argelatus, a B. lognese, and subject of the pope.

28 Quod si Christiani olim non deposuerint Neronem aut Julianum, id fuit quia deerant vires temporales Christianis (honest Bellarmine, de Roin. Pont. 1. v.c.7). Cardinal Perron adds a distinction more honourable to the first Christians, but not more satisfactory to modern princes...the treason of heretics and apostates, wlio break their oath, belie their coin, and renounce their allegiance to Christ and his vicar (Perroniana, p. 89).

29 Take as a specimen, the cautious Basnage (Hist. de l'Eglise, p. 1350, 1351.) and the vehement Spanheim (Hist. Imaginum), who, with an hun. dred more, tread in the footsteps of the centuriators of Magdeburgh.

XLIX. cumscribe the truth of facts by the rule of equity, scripture, and tradition; and appeal to the evidence of the Latins, 31 and the lives32 and epistles of the popes themselves.

Two original epistles, from Gregory the second to the Epistles of emperor Leo, are still extant ;33 and if they cannot be prais- 11. to the ed as the most perfect models of eloquence and logic, they emperor,

A. D. 727. exhibit the portrait, or at least the mask, of the founder of the papal monarchy. “ During ten pure and fortunate “ years," says Gregory to the emperor, “ we have tasted " the annual comfort of your royal letters, subscribed in “ purple ink, with your own hand, the sacred pledges of

your attachment to the orthodox creed of our fathers. “ How deplorable is the change! how tremendous the scan“ dal! You now accuse the Catholics of idolatry; and, by “ the accusation, you betray your own impiety and igno“ rance. To this ignorance we are compelled to adapt the

grossness of our style and arguments: the first elements of holy letters are sufficient for your confusion ; and were

you to enter a grammar-school, and avow yourself the ene“ my of our worship, the simple and pious children would

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30 See Launoy (Opera, tom. v. pars ii. epist. vii. 7. p. 456...474), Natalis Alexander (Hist. Nov. Testamenti, secul. vii. dissert.i.p. 92...96), Pagi (Cri. tica, tom. ïi. p. 215, 216), and Giannone (Istoria Civile di Napoli, tom. i. p. 317...320), a disciple of the Gallican school. In the field of controversy I always pity the moderate party, who stand on the open middle ground exposed to the fire of both sides.

31 They appealed to Paul Warnefrid, or Diaconus (de Gestis Langobard. 1. vi. c. 49. p. 506, 507. in Script. Ital. Muratori, tom. i. pars i), and the nominal Anastasius (de Vit. Pont. in Muratori, tom. iii. pars i. Gregorius II. p. 154. Gregorius III. p. 158. Zacharias, p. 161. Stephanus III. p. 165. Paulus, p. 172. Stephanus IV.p. 174. Hadrianus, p. 179. Leo III. p. 195). Yet I may remark, that the true Anastasius (Hist. Eccles. p. 134. edit. Reg), and the Historia Miscella (1. xxi. p. 151. in tom. i. Script. Ital), both of the ixth century, translate and approve the Greek text of Theophanes.

32 With some minute difference, the most learned Critics, Lucas Holstenius, Schelestrate, Ciampini, Bianchini, Muratori (Prolegomena ad tom. ii. pars i), are agreed that the Liber Pontificalis was composed and continued by the apostolical librarians and notaries of the vižith and ixth centuries ; and that the last and smallest part is the work of Anastasius, whose name it bears. The style is barbarous, the narrative partial, the details are trifling...yet it must be read as a curious and authentic record of the times. The episiles of the popes are dispersed in the volumes of Councils.

33 The two epistles of Gregory II. have been preserved in the Acts of the Nicene Council (tom. viii. p. 651...674). They are without a date, which is variously fixed, by Baronius in the year 726, hy Muratori (Annali d'Italia, 120), in 729, and by Pagi in 730. Such is the force of prejudice, that some papists have praised the good sense and moderation of these letters.

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