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    November 18, 1897

    “After the Creed was Made: How the Papacy Ruled and Ruined. The Papacy an Element of Evil” The Present Truth 13, 46, pp. 726, 727.

    ATJ

    LET us notice further the influence of the papal system over the barbarians who overran the empire.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 726.1

    Into the “converted” barbarians, the Catholic system instilled all of its superstition, and its bigoted hatred of heretics and unbelievers. It thus destroyed what of generosity still remained in their minds, while it only intensified their native ferocity; and the shameful licentiousness of society under the papal system likewise corrupted the purity, and the native respect for women and marriage which had always been a noble characteristic of the Germanic nations.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 726.2

    “It is difficult to conceive a more dark and odious state of society than that of France under her Merovingian kings, the descendants of Clovis, as described by Gregory of Tours.... Throughout, assassinations, parricides, and fratricides intermingle with adulteries and rapes.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 726.3

    “The cruelty might seem the mere inevitable result of this violent and unnatural fusion; but the extent to which this cruelty spreads throughout the whole society almost surpasses belief. That King Chlotaire should burn alive his rebellious son with his wife and daughter, is fearful enough; but we are astounded, even in these times, that a bishop of Tours should burn a man alive to obtain the deeds of an estate which he coveted. Fredegonde sends two murderers to assassinate Childebert, and these assassins are clerks [sic.]. She causes the archbishop of Rouen to be murdered while he is chanting the service in the church; and in this crime a bishop and an archdeacon are her accomplices.” (Milman.)PTUK November 18, 1897, page 726.4

    WHOM SHE COULD NOT CORRUPT THE PAPACY DESTROYED

    AT the fall of the empire, the bishopric of Rome was the head and center of a strong and compactly organized power. And by deftly insinuating itself into the place of mediator between the barbarian invaders and the perishing imperial authority, it had attained a position where it was recognized by the invaders as the power which, though it claimed to be not temporal but spiritual was none the less real, had succeeded to the place of the vanished imperial authority of Rome.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 726.5

    And in view of the history of the time, it is impossible to escape the conviction that in the bishopric of Rome there was at this time formed the determination to plant itself in the temporal dominion of Rome and Italy. The emperors been absent from Rome, that the Bishop of Rome had assumed their place there, and we have seen how the church had usurped the place of the civil authority. The Bishop of Rome was the head of the church; and now, as the empire was perishing, he would exalt his throne upon its ruins, and out of the anarchy of the times would secure a place and a name among the powers and dominions of the earth.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 726.6

    The barbarians who took possession of Italy were Arians, which in the sight of the bishop of Rome was worse than all other crimes put together. In addition to this, the Herulian monarch, Odoacer, an Arian, presumed to assert civil authority over the Papacy, which, on account of the riotous proceedings in the election of the pope, was necessary, but would not meekly be borne by the proud pontiffs.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 726.7

    And as these elections were carried not only by violence, but by bribery, in which the property of the Church played an important part, Odoacer, by his lieutenant at this same assembly, A.D. 483, “caused a law to be read, forbidding the bishop who should now be chosen, as well as his successors, to alienate any inheritance, possessions, or sacred utensils that now belonged, or should for the future, belong, to the church; declaring all such bargains void, anathematising both the seller and the buyer, and obliging the latter and his heirs to restore to the church all lands and tenements thus purchased, how long soever they might have possessed them.” (Bower.)PTUK November 18, 1897, page 726.8

    By the law of Constantine which bestowed upon the Church the privilege of receiving donations, legacies, etc., by will, lands were included; and through nearly two hundred years of the working of this law, the Church of Rome had become enormously enriched in landed estates. And more especially “since the extinction of the Western empire had emancipated the ecclesiastical potentate from secular control, the first and most abiding object of his schemes and prayers had been the acquisition of territorial wealth in the neighborhood of his capital.” (Bryce.)PTUK November 18, 1897, page 726.9

    The Church of Rome had also other lands, scattered in different parts of Italy, and even in Asia. As the imperial power faded away in the West, the Bishop of Rome, in his growing power, came more and more to assert his own power of protection over his lands in Italy. And when the imperial power was entirely gone, it was naturally held that this power fell absolutely to him. When, therefore, Odoacer, both a barbarian invader and a heretic, issued a decree forbidding the alienation of church lands and possessions, this was represented as a presumptuous invasion of the rights of the Bishop of Rome, not only to do what he would with his own, but above all as protector of the property and estates of the church.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 726.10

    For this offence of Odoacer, there was no forgiveness by the bishop of Rome. Nothing short of the utter uprooting of the Herulian power could atone for it. The Catholic ecclesiastics of Italy began to plot for his overthrow, and it was soon accomplished.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 726.11

    There were at that time in the dominions of the Eastern empire, unsettled and wandering about with no certain dwelling place, the people of the Ostrogoths under King Theodoric. Although in the service of the empire, they were dissatisfied with their lot; and they were so savage and so powerful that the emperor was in constant dread of them. Why might not this force be employed to destroy the dominion of the Heruli, and deliver Rome from the interferences and oppression of Odoacer? The suggestion was made to Theodoric by the court, but as he was in the service of the empire, it was necessary that he should have permission to undertake the expedition.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 726.12

    His proposition was gladly accepted by the Emperor Zeno, and in the winter of 489, the whole nation took up its march of seven hundred miles to Italy, and the Herulian kingdom was destroyed.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 727.1

    And that this was in no small degree the work of the Catholic Church is certain; for, “Throughout the conquest and establishment of the Gothic kingdom, the increasing power and importance of the Catholic ecclesiastics, forces itself upon the attention. They are ambassadors, mediators in treaties; [they] decide the wavering loyalty or instigate the revolt of cities.” (Milman.)PTUK November 18, 1897, page 727.2

    The bishop of Pavia bore to Theodoric at Milan the surrender and offer of allegiance of that great city.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 727.3

    Another thing which makes this view most certainly true, is the fact that no sooner was order restored in Italy and in Rome, and the Church once more felt itself secure, than a council of eighty bishops, thirty-seven presbyters, and four deacons, was called in Rome by the pope, A.D. 499, the very first act of which was to repeal the law enacted by Odoacer on the subject of the Church possessions. Nor was the law repealed in order to get rid of it; for it was immediately re-enacted by the same council. This was plainly to declare that the estates of the Church were no longer subject in any way to the authority of the civil power, but were to be held under the jurisdiction of the Church alone. In fact, it was tantamount to a declaration of the independence of the papacy and her possessions.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 727.4

    This transaction also conclusively proves that the resentment of the bishopric of Rome, which had been aroused by the law of Odoacer, was never allayed until Odoacer and the law, so far as it represented the authority of the civil power, were both out of the way. And this is the secret of the destruction of the Herulian kingdom of Italy.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 727.5

    It was the first of those three powers “plucked up” (Daniel 7:8) to make way for the full development of the papal supremacy. It is true, Theodoric himself was an Arian, but the Papacy has never hesitated to use one enemy to destroy another, and having secured the overthrow of one could trust to time and influence to subject or destroy the one remaining. And as the story will show, she did not rest until the Ostrogothic power was destroyed.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 727.6

    PEACE UNDER A “BARBARIAN HERETIC.

    Theodoric ruled Italy thirty-eight years, A.D. 493-526, during which time Italy enjoyed such peace and quietness and absolute security as had never been known there before, and has never been known since until 1870.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 727.7

    But not alone did civil peace reign. Above all, there was perfect freedom in the exercise of religion. Theodoric and his people were Arians, yet at the close of a fifty-years’ rule of Italy, the Ostrogoths could safely challenge their enemies to present a single authentic case in which they had ever persecuted the Catholics.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 727.8

    The separation between Church and State, between civil and religious powers, was clear and distinct. Church property was protected in common with other property, while at the same time it was taxed in common with all other property. The clergy were protected in common with all other people, and they were likewise, in common with all other people, cited before the civil courts to answer for all civil offenses. In all ecclesiastical matters they were left entirely to themselves.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 727.9

    Nor was this merely a matter of toleration; it was in genuine recognition of the rights of conscience. In a letter to the emperor Justin, A.D. 524, Theodoric announced the genuine principle of the rights of conscience, and the relationship that should exist between religion and the State, in the following words, worthy to be graven in letters of gold:—PTUK November 18, 1897, page 727.10

    To pretend to a dominion over the conscience, is to usurp the prerogative of God. By the nature of things, the power of sovereigns is confined to political government. They have no right of punishment but over those who disturb the public peace. The most dangerous heresy is that of a sovereign who separates himself from part of his subjects, because they believe not according to his belief.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 727.11

    Similar pleas had before been made by the parties oppressed, but never before had the principle been announced by the party in power. The enunciation and defense of a principle by the party who holds the power to violate it, is the surest pledge that the principle is held in genuine sincerity.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 727.12

    The description of the state of peace and quietness in Italy above given, applies to Italy, but not to Rome; to the dominions of Theodoric and the Ostrogoths, but not to the city of the pope and the Catholics, as we shall see.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 727.13

    A. T. JONES.

    “The Set Time Is Come” The Present Truth 13, 46, p. 729.

    ATJ

    “THE time to favour Zion, yea, the set time, is come.” The time is here for all the people to receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Do you want it?—Of course you do. Come then, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.” These things grieve the Holy Spirit. The two spirits cannot dwell together. Abandon the spirit of bitterness, malice, and evil-speaking, and the Holy Spirit will gladly take possession.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 729.1

    The Holy Spirit is God’s seal of His own righteousness, upon him who receives it. But God never will put His seal upon sin for righteousness. And no person need ever ask Him to do so. Yet for any person to ask for the baptism, or the gift, of the Holy Ghost, while he has not the righteousness of God, this is in itself, though ignorantly and unintentionally, to ask God to put His seal upon sin for righteousness.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 729.2

    Therefore every one who would have the gift of the Holy Spirit must have such righteousness as that Spirit may approve as righteousness indeed. And the righteousness of God is the only righteousness known in the universe which the Spirit of God will approve.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 729.3

    Then let every soul “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” as the divinely appointed preparation for receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit.PTUK November 18, 1897, page 729.4

    A. T. JONES.

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