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AN EXPOSITION OF THE APOCALYPSE
Section 1 Subsection 17
The Development of the Romano-Babylonian
Name of Blasphemy
The Name of Blasphemy is the Eye and Mouth, or ecclesiastic element of the Eighth Head. As we have seen, this ecclesiastical constituent of the Beast was working upwards towards enthronization over all, anterior to the establishment of the Ten Gothic Horns upon the Roman Habitable. When the citizens and clergy of Rome were seize with a spirit of patriotism and superstitious zeal, A.D. 536, "they furiously exclaimed," says Gibbon, "that THE APOSTOLIC THRONE should no longer be profaned by the triumph or toleration of Arianism." Belisarius was then at the gates, and the Gothic king in possession of the city. Hence, the people of that day evidently recognized two thrones contemporary existence within the walls - the Secular Throne of the king of Italy; and the Ecclesiastical Throne of the Archbishop and Patriarch of Rome. In Italy, the "Apostolic Throne" was overshadowed by the Secular; and as the Patriarch of Constantinople was in domestic slavery under the eye of his master, the Greek emperor, as he is at this day under the Sultan; so the Patriarch of Rome, occupying a distant an dangerous station amidst the Barbarians of the West, was the enthrone slave of his master, the king of Italy; who, while he professed great reverence for the throne of St. Peter, did not hesitate to chastise his pretended successor when convinced of disloyalty to the Gothic throne.
But as to this Apostolic throne. Whence its origin; by what authority was it established? John was informed that "the Dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and an extensive jurisdiction." This was the constitutional source of all the Bishop of Rome's preeminence. He obtained no honors, privileges, and immunities from the kings of the Seventh Head. He derived all he possessed from the emperors of the East and of the West; who were the great and powerful patrons by whom he was acknowledged as a god of gods upon earth.
His development, however, into an enthroned god was gradual and progressive. In the Canons of the Council of Chalcedon, A.D. 450, the Bishop of Rome is styled, "Beatissimus Papa urbis Rome, qui est capu omnium ecclesiarum," i.e. the most blessed Pope of Rome, who is "THE HEAD OF ALL CHURCHES." About five years before this the western emperor, Valentinian III., and the eastern emperor, Theodosius II., unitedly published an imperial edict, or law, in which the Bishop of Rome is styled, "DIRECTOR OF UNIVERSAL CHRISTENDOM." In this edict, the presumptuousness of resistance to the Holy See was sharply rebuked, the whole body of bishops bidden to do nothing without his approbation and the universal clergy to obey him as their ruler. "From this time (A.D. 445) says Ranke, "the power of the Roman Bishops grew up under protection of the Roman Emperor himself." He was their especial patron, and predicted as such, as we have already seen in what is testified concerning the Dragon in the second verse of this chapter.
We come now to that remarkable epoch of four years, extending from A.D. 529 to 533. This belongs to the earliest years of Justinian, who began to reign in Constantinople, A.D. 527. The Catholics of Italy, then subject to the Arian kings of the Seventh Head, were greatly attached to him as "worshippers of the Dragon and the Beast," because as Gibbon says, "he trod the narrow path of inflexible and intolerant orthodoxy. After a schism of thirty-four years, he reconciled the proud and angry spirit of the Roman Pontiff, and spread among the Latins a favorable report of his pious respect for the Apostolic See. The thrones of the East were filled with (Trinitarian) Catholic bishops devoted to his interests, the clergy and monks were gained by his liberality, and the people were taught to pray for their sovereign as the hope and pillar of the true religion."
In this epoch of his reign, and by his care, the Roman Civil Jurisprudence was digested in what Gibbon styles," the immortal works of the Code, the Pandects, and the Institutes." These, "the public reason of the Romans, have been silently or studiously transfused into the domestic institutions of Europe; and the laws of Justinian still command the respect or obedience of independent nations." "The Code, Pandects, and Institutes were declared to be the legitimate system of civil jurisprudence; they alone were admitted in the tribunals, and they alone were taught in the academies of Rome, Constantinople, and Berytus. Justin-ian addressed to the Senate and provinces his Eternal Oracles; and his pride, under the mask of piety, ascribed the consummation of this great design to the support and inspiration of the Deity."
In the theological character drawn of him by Gibbon, he says, that he sympathized with his subjects in their superstitious reverence for living and departed saints: his Code, and more especially his Novels, confirm and enlarge the privileges of the clergy; and in every dispute between a monk and a layman he was inclined to pronounce that truth, and innocence, and justice were always on the side of the church. His fancy was amused by the hope or belief of personal inspiration; and that he had secured the patronage of the Virgin, and St. Michael the archangel. Among the titles of imperial greatness, the name of Pious was most pleasing to his ear; to promote the temporal and spiritual interest of the Catholic church was the serious business of his life; and the duty of father of his country was often sacrificed to that of defender of the Catholic faith. Justinian was a bigoted tyrant; and his reign a uniform yet various scene of persecution. He surpassed his indolent predecessors, both in the contrivance of his laws against heretics and the rigor of their execution. He assigned three months for the conversion or exile of all such; and if he still connived at their precarious stay, they were deprived, under his iron yoke, not only of the benefits of society, but of the common birthright of men and religionists. The residue of pagans, Jews, and Samaritans were equally obnoxious to his theological ire. The last were exterminated with fire and sword; and the once fruitful province of Samaria was converted into a desolate and smoking wilderness. It has been computed that one hundred thousand Roman subjects were extirpated in this Samaritan war. "But in the creed of Justinian," says the historian, "the guilt of murder could not be applied to the slaughter of unbelievers: and he piously labored to establish with fire and sword the unity of the Catholic faith."
Such was Justinian, the diademed representative of the Dragon from A.D. 527 to A.D. 565; and of Daniel's Little Horn King, who worked according to his will; to whom the Patriarch of Rome was greatly indebted in the establishment of his self-exaltation "over all called god or sebasma" - an object of veneration. His "policy" was that of an ecclesiastical ruler of the class typified by Constantine the great." "Never prince," says Dupin, "did meddle so much with what concerns the affairs of the Church, nor make so many constitutions and laws upon the subject. He was persuaded that it was the duty of an emperor, and for the good of the State, to have a particular care of the church, to defend its faith, to regulate external discipline, and to employ the civil laws and the temporal power to preserve it in order and peace."
Although the Bishop of Rome had himself claimed supremacy over all other bishops of the Roman earth, including the Patriarch of Constantinople, this claim had not been imperially, or Dragonically, recognized, until the publication of a Decretal Epistle from Justinian to the Pope, dated March, A.D. 533. "It is hence evident," says Gothofred, the editor of the Justinian Code, cited by Cunninghame, "that they who suppose Phocas to have been the first who gave imperial recognition to the primacy of the Roman See over that of Constantinople are in error: Justinian having acknowledged it before."
"And the King (the Dragon-Power of the Apocalypse) shall do according to his own will. . . And in his estate (or empire) he shall honor the god of guardians (the Bishop of Rome): even a god whom his (pagan) fathers knew not shall he honor with gold and silver, and precious stones and things desired. Thus shall he do in the Bazaars of the Guardians (temples dedicated to fictitious saints and angels) with a foreign god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory" (Dan.11:36-39). The form of this acknowledgment is found in the aforesaid Decretal Epistle; from the Latin copy of which, as given in Elliot's Notes, I have translated the following extracts for the information of the English reader.
"Justinian the Victorious, the Pious, &c., always August, to John the Most Holy Archbishop of the Sacred City Rome, and Patriarch.
Rendering honor to the Apostolic Throne and to your Holiness... we hasten to bring to the knowledge of your Holiness all things which pertain to the state of the churches: because we have always a great desire to preserve the unity of your Apostolic Throne, and the state of the holy churches of God which hitherto obtains, and unchangeably continues, nothing to the contrary intervening. Therefore we have hastened both to subject and to unite to the Throne of your Holiness all the priests of the whole eastern region. . . For we neither suffer anything that pertains to the state of the churches, although what is agitated may be man-ifest and indubitable, that may not be known also to your Holiness, who is the Head of All the Holy Churches. For through all, as it is said, we hasten to increase the honor and authority of your throne."
After this follows a statement of certain heresies then existing in regard to the person of Christ; also of Justinian's own belief, and its orthodox agreement with the dogmas of the four preceding General Councils of Nice, Constantinople, Ephesus and Chalcedon, in conformity with the creed of the Roman See - "Accordingly," says he, "all priests, following the doctrine of your Apostolic Throne, so believe and confess and preach." The epistle then proceeds.
"Whence we have hastened to bring this to the knowledge of your Holiness by the Most Blessed Bishops HYPATIUS and DEMETRIUS, that the things be not concealed from your Holiness which are wickedly and judaically denied by some few monks according to the falsehood of Nestorius. We intreat therefore your paternal affection, as by your letters addressed to us and to the Most Holy Bishop of this Sacred City (of Constantine) and your brother Patriarch (and because he has written by the same (bishops), hastening in all things to follow the Apostolic Throne of your Blessedness) made manifest to us that your Holiness may acknowledge all who rightly confess the things aforesaid, and may condemn the falsehood of those who may dare judaically to deny the right faith. For so both the love of all increases more towards you, and the authority of your throne: and the unity of the holy churches which is to you will be maintained undisturbed: when through you all the most blessed bishops of those which pertain to you shall have learned the pure doctrine of your Holiness."
This letter was written to the Bishop of Rome then subject to the king of Italy, while Justinian was meditating the reconquest of the country. Three years after, Rome was besieged by Belisarius. The letter was exceedingly flattering to the Bishop's pride and ambition, in that he found himself authoritatively seated upon the Seven Hills as enthroned head over all ecclesiastical affairs of the Roman world. But the Seventh Head, which was Arian, did not coincide with Justinian in the acknowledgment of the Pope as the Head of all churches. The Arian Catholic churches repudiated his headship; they were therefore, being heretics, the natural enemies of Justinian and his Universal Bishop, whose policy could not be established until the Seventh Head was abolished, and the Arians suppressed. Hence, the invasion of Italy; the sympathy of the Trinitarians in Rome with the invader; and the persecution of heretics of every variety of belief; and the location of the Dragon's Viceroy in Ravenna, instead of Rome. The settlement of Italy by Justinian according to the Pragmatic Sanction, granted at the Pope's request, A.D. 554, by reducing Rome to the second rank, left the Apostolic Throne therein free from the overshadowing and blighting presence of a sovereign temporal authority; and thus "the Dragon gave to him his power and his throne and an extensive jurisdiction," saying in the 131st of the Novels, we ordain that the Most Holy Pope of the Elder Rome be the first of all priests" even in that Rome, which in the 9th of the Novels he styles, "the native country of the laws, the fountain of the priesthood."
The Seventh Head being destroyed, and the Bishop of Rome acknowledged by the Catholic Dragon of the East, as the Pontiff of the empire, the next desideratum was that he should be acknowledged by all the Horns of the West. This implied their conversion from paganism and Arianism to what Justinian styles "the right faith," and the "pure doctrine of his Holiness." These Horns belong to the times of Imperialism, which was worshipped by them in the Western Emperor while there was one, and afterwards in the Eastern. They were the Diademed Viceroys of Rome, and Constantinople, being Masters-General and Patricians of the empire - a political relation to Imperialism which legitimized their governments in the estimation of their Roman subjects, who greatly exceeded the number of their barbarian conquerors. The beginning and the ending of this political relationship, with but slight recognition of them in the long interval of 1335 years, are the subject of Apocalyptic symbolization. The beginning was the seed or elements of things in the period of politico-ecclesiastical organization; the ending, the ripe harvest and vintage (Apoc. 14) in the period of analysis or dissolution: so as that in some sort, the beginning was typical of the ending.
The rude-Horn Governments holding this relation to Imperialism, with the Lawyers and Clergy of their kingdoms practitioners and professors of Roman law and Roman Theology, easily accepted the legislation of Justinian in favor of the Pope and their own interests legal and ecclesiastical. A clergy the great majority of whom were Trinitarian, and Viceregal administrations, partly pagan and partly Arian, were the constitutional elements of the situation in the sixth century. The clergy of the kingdoms recognized and sympathized with the Pope and his patrons the Emperor of the East: and operated upon the barbarian kings and governments as imperial and papal missionaries for their conversion to "the right faith," and "the pure doctrine of his Holiness," in other words, to the Roman Catholic Trinitarian Superstition.
Here, then, in this beginning were the Little Horn of the East (Dan. 8:9,12,23-25), the Catholic Dragon of Constantinople; and the Papal Eyes and Mouth, occupying the so-called Apostolic Throne upon the Seven Mountains, the Name of Blasphemy; and the Gothic Horns. Of these, the Vandal Horn, which was Arian, and defiant both of the Pope and the Emperor, had been "plucked up by the roots" by the forces of Justinian under Belisarius. The horn of the Gepidae was transferred to the Chagan of the Avars, the representative for two hundred and thirty years of the modern kingdom of Hungary. These were hostile to the Apostolic Throne. The opposition of the rest was gradually overcome. Clovis(*) king of the Franks, on occasion of a victory, embraced the faith of Rome, A.D. 496; and so being the first, received the title, which has been handed down through more than thirteen centuries, to his successors the kings of France, of Eldest Son of the Church. In the sixth century the rest of the Horns gave in their adhesion to the Papal Faith. Recared was the first papal king of Spain. He reigned from A.D. 586 to A.D. 589. "The royal proselyte," says Gibbon, "immediately saluted and consulted Pope Gregory, surnamed the Great, a learned and holy prelate, whose reign was distinguished by the conversion of heretics and infidels. The ambassadors of Recared respectfully offered upon the threshold of the Vatican his rich presents of gold and gems; they accepted, as a lucrative exchange, the hairs of St. John the Baptist, a cross which enclosed a piece of the true wood, and a key that contained some particles of iron, which had been scraped from the chains of St. Peter."
The Lombard Horn was the last of the ten to renounce Arianism, for "the pure doctrine of his Holiness" of Rome. This occurred A.D. 600, through the instigation of Gregory the Great, who encouraged his co-religionist, Theodelinda, the Queen of the Lombards, to propogate the Nicene faith among her victorious savages(*). "Her devout labors," says Gibbon, "still left room for the industry and success of future missionaries; and many cities of Italy were still disputed by hostile bishops. But the cause of Arianism was gradually suppressed by the weight of interest and example, and the controversy, which Egypt had derived from the Platonic school, was terminated, after a war of three hundred years, by the final conversion of the Lombards of Italy."
Thus was the Bishop of Rome developed into "the Mouth" of the great VICEREGAL REPUBLIC OF THE WEST; and after this manner was fulfilled the oracle, saying, "And there was given to him (the Beast of the Sea) a Mouth." It was a mouth like the mouth of the symbol of Babylon, "the mouth of a lion." When it spoke it roared forth thunderings and blasphemies, far more hideous than ever defiled the ears of pagan or Mohammedan - a Mouth that still gives utterance to "blasphemies against the Deity to blaspheme his Name and his Tabernacle, and them that dwelleth in the heaven."
But, notwithstanding Justinian's Decretal Epistle, and the professed desire of his servant, the Patriarch of Constantinople, "in all things to follow the Apostolic Throne" of Rome's Blessed One (!), the emperors and patriarchs, their immediate successors, did not partake of this desire. As the political stability and ecclesiastical organization of the West increased and progressed, the influence of the Oriental Catholic Power, enfeebled and almost extinguished by the victorious Persians and Avars, was greatly impaired; and had become in Italy little more than an ancient name, venerable chiefly for its antiquity and past renown. This emboldened the Pope in his schemes of absolute independence, and generated a spirit of rivalry and hostility between Rome and Constantinople. The patriarchs of Constantinople, who were scarcely less arrogant and ambitious than the popes, perceiving the advantages accruing from universal ecclesiastical supremacy, refused to acknowledge the Headship of "the Most Holy Archbishop of the Sacred City of Rome," and claimed it for themselves. These equal pretensions of the rival episcopal thrones of the East and West involved them in continual strifes, which were very considerably augmented by the course of John "the Faster(*)," who, in a council held in the sixth year of the reign of the Emperor Maurice, A.D. 588, assumed the title of UNIVERSAL BISHOP, which was confirmed to him by the council. This assumption was equivalent to a claim of spiritual lordship over the pope and over all the Gothic Horns, as well as over the countries now embraced in the Ottoman empire. This had been decreed by Justinian to the Bishop of Rome fifty years before, and was now a part of the constitution of the empire, which a council had neither the power nor the right to reverse. This invasion of his rights, Pelagius II., then pope, vehemently opposed as an execrable, profane and diabolical procedure. Though Rome was no longer an imperial city, and "Mistress of the World," she was supposed to be the Throne of St. Peter, which Pelagius regarded as a better foundation for the seat of an universal bishopric than the enfeebled and tottering imperiality of Constantinople; but his invectives and arguments were equally despised, and his indignation was soon after quieted in death. He was succeeded in the A.D. 590, by Gregory the First, surnamed "the Great," a voluminous writer, and, though superstitious in the extreme, not entirely untalented. His works are still extant, and in great repute with the worshippers of the Beast. The following artful epistle, written by him to his imperial master, Maurice, at Constantinople, in consequence of John the Faster assuming the title of Universal Bishop, casts considerable light upon the history of the times, and may, therefore, with advantage to the reader be inserted here, illustrative also of the deceitful and lying utterances of the Babylonian Mouth.
"Our Most Religious Lord," says he, "whom the Deity hath placed over us, among other weighty cares belonging to the Empire, labors, according to the just rule of the sacred writings, to preserve peace and charity among the Clergy. He truly and piously considers that no man can well govern temporal matters, unless he manages with propriety things divine also; and the peace and tranquillity of the commonwealth depend upon the quiet of the universal church. For, Most Gracious Sovereign, what human power or strength would presume to lift up irreligious hands against your Most Christian Majesty, if the clergy, being at unity among themselves, would seriously pray to our Saviour Christ to preserve you who have merited so highly from us? Or what nation is there so barbarous as to exercise such cruelty against the faithful, unless the lives of us who are called priests, but in truth are not such, were most wicked and depraved? But whilst we leave those things which more immediately concern us, and embrace those things for which we are wholly unfit, we excite the barbarians against us, and our offences sharpen the swords of our enemies, by which means the commonwealth is weakened. For what can we say for ourselves, if the people of God, over whom, however unworthily, we (the pope) are placed, be oppressed by the multitude of our offenses? - if our example destroy that which our preaching should build, and our actions, as it were, give the lie to our doctrine? Our bones are worn with fasting, but our minds are puffed up!" This is a hit at John the Faster. "Our bodies are covered with mean attire, but in our hearts we are quite elated! We lie groveling in the ashes, yet we aim at things exceedingly high! We are teachers of humility, but patterns of pride, hiding the teeth of wolves under a sheep's countenance! The end of all is to make a fair appearance before men, but God knoweth the truth!
"Therefore, our Most Pious Sovereign hath been prudently
careful to place the church at unity, that he might the better
compose the tumults of war and join their hearts together.
This verily is my wish also, and for my own part I yield due
obedience to your sovereign commands" - the pope still
a subject, and without temporal power. "However, since
it is not my cause, but the Deity's it is not myself only
but the whole church that is troubled, because religious laws,
venerable synods, and the very precepts of our Lord Jesus
Christ are disobeyed by the invention of a proud and pompous
speech" - alluding to John the Faster's title of Universal
Bishop. "My desire is, that our most religious sovereign
would lance this sore, and that he would bind with the cords
of his imperial authority the party affected, in case he (John)
makes any resistance. By restraining him the commonwealth
will be eased; and by the paring away of such excrescences
the empire is enlarged. Every man that has read the gospel
knows that, even by the words of our Lord, the care of the
whole church is committed to St. Peter, the apostle - the
Prince of all the apostles." Then follows the quotation
of John 21:15-17; and Matt. 16:18,19. "Behold! He hath
the keys of the kingdom, and the power of binding and loosing
is committed to him. The care and principality of the whole
church is committed to him; and yet he is not called 'Universal
Apostle' - though this holy man, John my fellow-priest, labors
to be called 'Universal Bishop!' I am compelled to cry out" -from
jealousy, envy and vexation, doubtless - "0 the corruption
of times and manners! Behold the barbarians (the Gothic Horns)
are become lords of all Europe; cities are destroyed, castles
are beaten down, provinces depopulated, there is no husbandman
to till the ground, idolators rage and domineer over christians;
and yet, priests, who ought to lie weeping upon the pavement
in sackcloth and ashes, covet names of vanity, and glory in
new names and titles. Do I, Most Religious Sovereign, in this
plead my own cause?" - doubtless nobody else's. "Do
I vindicate a wrong done to myself, and not maintain the cause
of Almighty God and of the church universal? Who is he who
presumes to usurp this new name against both the law of the
gospel and of the canons? I would to God there might be one
called UNIVERSAL without doing injustice to others!" -
that is, the Bishop of Rome. We know that many priests of
the church of Constantinople have been not only heretics,
but even the chief leaders of them. Out of that school proceeded
Nestorius, who, thinking it impossible that God should be
made man, believed that Jesus Christ, the Mediator between
God and man, was two persons, and went as far in infidelity
as the Jews themselves. Thence came Macedonius, who denied
the Holy Ghost, consubstantial to the Father and the Son,
to be God. If, then, every one in that church assumed the
name by which he makes himself the Head of all good men, the
Catholic Church, which God forbid should ever be the case,
must needs be over-thrown when he falls who is called UNIVERSAL.
But, far from christians be this BLASPHEMOUS NAME, by which
all honor is taken from all other priests, while it is foolishly
arrogated by one. It was offered to the Bishop of Rome by
the reverend council of Chalcedon, in honor of St. Peter,
Prince of the Apostles; but none of them either assumed or
consented to use it, lest, while this privilege should be
given to one, all others should be deprived of that honor
which is due unto them. Why should 'we refuse this title when
it was offered, and another assume it without any offer at
all? This man (John the Faster) contemning obedience to the
Canons, should be humbled by the commands of our Most Pious
Sovereign. He should be chastised who does an injury to the
Holy Catholic Church; whose heart is puffed up, who seeks
to please himself by a name of singularity, by which he would
elevate himself above the emperor! We are all scandalized
at this. Let the author of this scandal reform himself, and
all differences in the church will cease. I am the servant
of all priests, so long as they live like themselves; but
if any shall set up his bristles (bristles belong to swine;
so that by implication the Clergy are admitted by Gregory
to be a swinish multitude) contrary to God Almighty and the
Canons of the Fathers, I hope in God that he will never succeed
in bringing my neck under his yoke - not even by force of
arms. The things that have happened in this city in consequence
of this new title, I have particularly declared to Sabinianus,
the deacon, my agent.
This artful epistle, so replete with the finesse of the politician, and the envy of the priest, does not appear to have produced the desired effect. John the Faster, whose fasting had worn his bones and puffed up his mind, soon afterward vacated his "blasphemous name" by death; but this did not relieve Gregory of his distress; for Cynacus, who succeeded him as Patriarch of Constantinople, adopted the same superimperial and pompous title as his predecessor. Having had occasion to dispatch some agents to Rome, in the letter which he wrote to Gregory, he so much displeased him by assuming the title of "Universal Bishop," that the pope withheld from the agents somewhat of the courtesy to which they considered themselves entitled, and, of course, complaint was made to the emperor Maurice of the neglect which had been shown them. This caused the emperor to write to Gregory, advising him to treat them in future in a more friendly manner and not to insist so far on punctilios of style, as to create a scandal about a title and to fall out about a few syllables. To this Gregory replied, "that the innovation in the style did not consist much in the quantity and alphabet; but the bulk of the iniquity was weighty enough to sink and destroy all. And therefore I am bold to say," says this pontifical representative of infallibility, "that whoever adopts or affects the title of 'Universal Bishop,' has the pride and character of Antichrist, and is in some manner his forerunner in this haughty quality of elevating himself above the rest of his order. And indeed both the one and the other seem to split upon the same rock; for, as pride makes Antichrist strain his pretensions up to godhead, so whoever is ambitious to be called the only, or Universal Prelate, arrogates to himself a distinguished superiority, and rises, as it were, upon the ruins of the rest."
But, notwithstanding the good words and fair speeches of his former letter, Gregory's heart was full of venom and bitterness against Maurice and his family. Neither of these epistles caused the obnoxious title to be suppressed; and if Maurice had not been moved out of the way by a revolution, the "blasphemous name" would have adhered to Constantinople as the Apostolic Throne. But the heart of Gregory, the last of the "sainted popes," was made glad by the murder of Maurice, his wife and nine children, by a rebel and orthodox usurper named PHOCAS, who was peaceably acknowledged in the provinces of the east and west. Gibbon describes him as a monster, of diminutive and deformed person, grossly ignorant and steeped in lust, drunkenness and brutality. Such was the abandoned villain of the baser sort, who occupied the throne of the Catholic Dragon about eight years from A.D. 602 to A.D. 610. "As a subject and a christian," says Gibbon, "it was the duty of Gregory to acquiesce in the established government; but the joyful applause with which he salutes the fortune of the assassin has sullied, with indelible disgrace, the character of the saint. The successor of the apostles might have inculcated with decent firmness the guilt of blood and the necessity of repentance: he is content to celebrate the deliverance of the people and the fall of the oppressor; to rejoice that the piety and benignity of Phocas have been raised by Providence to the imperial throne; to pray that his hands may be strengthened against all his enemies; and to express a wish, perhaps a prophecy, that, after a long and triumphant reign, he may be transferred from a temporal to an everlasting kingdom." In his epistle to Phocas he says, "We are glad that the benignity of your piety hath arrived at the imperial dignity. Let the heavens rejoice, and the earth exult, and the people of the universal republic until now vehemently afflicted become hilarious on account of your benignant deeds." This base flattery, doubtless, predisposed the sanguinary tyrant to favor and promote the ambitious views of the pope, at the expense of the Patriarch of Constantinople. Such a biophthoros drakon, life-destroying Dragon, as he was styled, the worthy rival of the Caligulas and Domitians of the first age of the empire, was a very fit and proper patron to legislate the Bishop of Rome into the Universal Bishop of the world, the All-Overseeing Eye of the Apostasy.
"In A.D. 604, just before the death of Gregory," Dr. Barton says, "Phocas wrote to him, proposing an orthodox confession of faith, acknowledged the supremacy of the Roman See, was very liberal to the Roman churches, and allowed the Pantheon to be converted to christian purposes: all which must have been extremely gratifying to a pope in the seventh century." But Gregory did not long rejoice in "the benignity of Phocas' piety," being removed by death this year. He was succeeded by Boniface III, who had no scruple about adopting the proud and "blasphemous name." His election was confirmed by Phocas (an imperial privilege which was formally abandoned A.D. 684) whom he importuned to bestow upon him the exalted title of Universal Bishop, with the privilege also of transmitting it to all his successors. "The profligate emperor," says Jones, "to gratify the inordinate ambition of this court sycophant, deprived the bishop of Constantinople of the title which he had hitherto borne, and conferred it upon Boniface, at the same time declaring the Church of Rome to be Head of all other churches." Thus Phocas confirmed what Justinian had ordained seventy-five years before. Justinian had given the pope his power, throne and jurisdiction; Phocas confirmed the same with the original and additional gift of the imperial title, UNIVERSAL OVERSEER; by which he attained a rank ecclesiastically superior to the emperor; and at the prospect of which Gregory professed to be greatly scandalized.
The authorities for this are Paul the Deacon, who says of Phocas, "Being entreated by Pope Boniface, he ordained that the throne of the Roman and apostolic church be the Head of All Churches; because the Constantinopolitan church declared that it was first of all churches"; and Anastasius who in his Ecclesiastical History on the A.D. 606 observes, "This (Boniface) obtained from Phocas the Prince, that the Apostolic Throne of the Blessed Apostle Peter should be the Head of all churches; because the Constantinopolitan church declared that she her self was the first of all churches."
Gordon and Baronius make the date of the edict, A.D. 606; Muratori, A.D. 607.
In addition to Paul and Anastasius, Ado in his Chronikon, repeats their testimony, and adds, "Phocas, being entreated by Boniface the Roman Pontiff elsewhere, the rabble of idolatry in the old temple which was called the Pantheon being removed, ordered that it be dedicated a church of the Blessed Mary always a Virgin, and of All the Martyrs: that, where at one time the worship not of the Gods but of the Demons was performed, there continually the memory of all the saints might be preserved."
The "Annals of Italy" assign the decree of Phocas to the A.D. 607; upon which as a Note, Gieseler adds the following curious versified notice of Phocas' grant by Godfrey of Viterbo, in his Pantheon, about A.D. 1186.
Tertius est Papa Bonifacius ille benignus
The following version is Close enough to give the mere English reader the sense;
Pope Boniface the third is he benign
This title, or name of spiritual power, was regarded by the popes as a splendid gift. It was, as Gregory the Seventh remarked, "unicum nomen in mundo, the only name in the world. There was no other name like it, distinguishing one son of pride from another. Father and Universal Bishop exalted the Bishop of Rome to the rank of "God of the earth," a title always coveted by those who filled the imperial office of the Seven Hills. Until the tide of successful villainy turned, the pope adored the Piety of the execrable monster; and a pillar was erected cal-ed "the Pillar of Phocas, " to commemorate his "innumerable benefits," conferred upon his Italian subjects; in other words, upon the Pope and his clergy. It was a Corinthian fluted column of Greek marble, standing upon a pyramid of seven steps. "In 1813, the Duchess of Devonshire having made an excavation around it, an inscription," says Elliott, 'was discovered on the base, stating that a gilt statue had been placed on the top of it to the emperor Phocas, by the then Exarch of Italy, in the A.D. 608." Dr. Burton in his book on Rome, gives the inscription at full. The date is thus defined. "Die Prima Mensis August. Indict. Und. ac Pietatis ejus Anno Quinto;" the 11th of the Indiction, and the 5th of the reign of Phocas. Now of that indiction the first was the year 598; the eleventh, the year 608: and as Phocas began his reign A.D. 602 or 603, its fifth year comes also to A.D. 608. The occasion of the honor is stated to be, "Pro innumerabilibus Pietatis ejus Beneficus, et pro Quiete procurata Italiae, ac conservata Libertate" - For the innumerable benefits of his Piety, and for the Repose procured for Italy, and Liberty preserved. Dr. Burton justly refers this to his concessions to the Pope. Thus the four years from A.D. 604 to A.D. 608, are notable in the history of Phocas' aggrandizement of the Papal See: and from A.D. 529 to A.D. 604, are seventy five years; and from A.D. 533 to A.D. 608, are also seventy five years:" or the difference between Daniel's 1335 of ch. 12:12, and "the time, times, and the dividing of a time," of his ch. 7:25, and 12:7.
Papists and Protestants seem to agree in assigning the constitutional beginning of the Papacy to this epoch of the reign of Phocas. Luther, in his Table Talk, says, 'the Pope and Turk both began almost at one time under the emperor Phocas." Osiander dated from the same, "a Foca Imperatore, qui Papatum, seu Primatum, publico edicto stabilivit" - by the emperor Phocas, who established the Papacy, or Primacy, by a public decree. And Bullinger, an early protestant, speaks of the Papacy having been established by Gregory I, and the Decree of Phocas. In fact, an imperial decree was indispensable to its establishment. The Bishops of Rome had made pretensions of a high and lofty character before the times of Justinian and Phocas; but their claims to supremacy, however approved by clerical adherents and canons, were of no account in a legal or constitutional point of view. Their pretensions to supremacy over all, only demonstrated the pride of their hearts, and the spirit of Antichrist therein, which, as Gregory truly said, would make him who was possessed of it "strain his pretensions up to Godhead". But an Italian or Roman subject of the empire, lay or clerical, might have strained to bursting after godhead, they could never have attained it without the sanction of an imperial edict which had the force of law. The reader will perceive this readily, aided by the illustrative supposition, that Pope Brigham Young of Utah, as respectable a pretender to godhead as Boniface the third, or any other blasphemer before or after him should proclaim himself Universal Overseer and Father of this consolidated despotism, the United States; his proclamation would only be the subject of ridicule and contempt with all the names and denominations of the day; but, if the factions in Congress, with the idea that in some way their interests would be promoted, were to pass a bill constituting said Brigham, Father of all men and Universal Overseer, with the approval of the President, the case would be wonderfully altered! The power and authority of Brigham would be enthroned in every family; he would be ex officio Judge of the Faith, and Head of all the churches of "The Union." This would be no matter of ridicule; but a subject of great fear and trembling to all not of his church; for all "the names and denominations" in relation to Mormonism being heretical, the bill or decree constituting him Pope and Universal Bishop, would place them all at his disposal. All this we can comprehend, feel, and appreciate; and would be thoroughly convinced that there was more in the name than "punctilio of style and a few syllables". If such a decree were promulgated in this country, it would convulse society from one end of it to the other. We should feel that our liberty had taken to itself wings and fled. This was the unrest and the apprehension of the Italians and citizens of Rome, when the emperor Maurice tacitly permitted the Byzantine Brigham, John the Faster, to proclaim himself, with the aid and consent of a council of Constantinople, Universal Bishop. The murder of Maurice by Phocas was therefore regarded as a joyful and auspicious event; especially when it was discovered, that he could be used in putting down Byzantine arrogance, and in transferring the "Blasphemous Name," as Gregory styled it, to the city of Rome. This gave repose to Italy, and restored liberty to the adherents of THE ANTICHRIST in Rome.
And who else, even upon Romish principles and upon Papal authority, could the Bishops of Rome from Boniface downwards be than the Antichrist Name? Gregory the First, whom Papists surname "the Great," the last Bishop of Rome they have decreed to be "a saint," and with them a great authority, says, as already quoted, "I am bold to say, that whoever adopts, or affects the title of 'Universal Bishop' has the pride and character of Antichrist, and is in some manner his forerunner in his haughty quality of elevating himself above the rest of his order." John the Faster adopted the title and held on to it, and Cynacus, his successor, also. They were therefore either the Antichrist, or his Forerunner; they could not have been the Antichrist however much like him; be-cause Paul, who styles him ho Anomos, the Lawless One, teaches that he will be in supremacy till the reappearance of Christ to destroy him; and their supremacy fell under the dagger of Phocas: they must, therefore, have been his Forerunner; and he who obtained the coveted title, Boniface the Third, the first Bishop of Rome who wore it, and their successor in it, and all of whose successors adopt it and glory in it, must be, according to Gregory, an incarnation of papal infallibility, the first of the order and name termed in Scripture, "THE ANTICHRIST." And doubtless Gregory was correct; and, like Caiaphas the High Priest, prophesied the truth without believing or knowing it. The Man-of-Sin Power, born of the Woman about two hundred and ninety five years previous, was now transferred by this Decree of Phocas from the successors of Constantine to the Universal Bishop upon the Seven Hills. This "Only Name in the World" was now the Eyes and Mouth of the Man of Sin. So long as Italy remained a province of the Greek empire it was politically allied with the Eastern Roman Horn of Dan. 8:9; but, as the power of this receded, that of the Universal Bishop advanced; until, Constantinople losing all dominion in Italy, the Bishop became the Eyes and Mouth of the Little Western Horn of Dan. 7:8; when, in its after-growth, it reached the fullness of the stature of the Man-of-Sin Power, as we shall hereafter see.
The Antichrist who in A.D. 312, was a babe of sin, was now, in A.D. 604-'8, a young man, and still in his growth. He was not yet of full age; nor would he be, until the Two Horned Beast should rise up out of the earth among the already existing ten horns. The development of this Lamb-Horned Beast and the Image of the Wounded Head, would consummate the healing of that head. We have not yet quite arrived at that point in the vision. I must therefore pause again in tracing the development of "the Name of Blasphemy upon the Heads," and proceed to consider the period allotted to the Mouth, during which it is Divinely permitted to "speak great things and blasphemies; and to open in blasphemy concerning the Deity (!,ros ton Theon) to blaspheme his Name and his Tabernacle, and the dwellers in the heaven."