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to do with a superstitious people, who regarded him as an almost divine person, he changed his tone to that of threatening and command. In this he only acted upon the invariable policy of his church through all ages. Where Rome has dared, she has been insolent and defiant; when she has been firmly opposed, she has ever been crouching and servile. She has been the slave, the rebel, and the usurper, by turns ; licking the dust beneath the feet of kings, or plunging the dagger into their hearts.
That the appeal now made might have greater urgency and force, it was presented in the name of the apostle Peter. The letter is a startling example of mingled arrogance and impiety. It is to the following effect: “I, Peter the apostle, who regard you as my adopted sons, exhort you to defend against the hands of my adversaries, and to pluck from their polluting touch, this Roman state and people, who were committed to me by God, and which is the home where I live after the flesh. I therefore admonish you to deliver the church of God committed to me by Divine authority. Our lady the virgin Mary, the mother of God, moreover, beseeches, admonishes, and commands you together with us-as likewise do the thrones, dominions, and all the hosts of heaven, and the holy martyrs and confessors, ioining their adjurations and entreaties with ours. Afford help, therefore, to the utmost of your power
ту. Roman people, so that I, Peter, the apostle of God, may afford defence to you both
in this life and at the day of judgment; that I may prepare for you splendid mansions in the kingdom of God, and assign you eternal blessedness and the infinite delights of paradise. Be not separated from my Roman people, if you would not be separated from the kingdom of God and eternal life. For whatsoever ye shall ask from me I will succour you in. But should you prove unwilling, know that by the authority of the Holy Trinity committed to me by Christ the Lord, you, as the penalty of disobedience to our commands, shall be excluded from the kingdom of God and immortal life.” It has been asserted that the
pope, in writing thus, had no intention of passing off the letter as the veritable production of the apostle whose name it bears, and that the use of Peter's nanie is simply a rhetorical embellishment. But it is difficult to see how language could be made more explicit and precise, or why the pontiff should have used such phraseology except in order to impose upon the credulity and superstition of those to whom it was addressed. The question whether he did or did not palm off the document as St. Peter's genuine letter is, however, one of very small consequence. If he did, he stands convicted before us of forgery and fraud. If he did not-if he wished it to be understood that the letter emanated from himself, and himself alone—what are we to think of the monstrous pride and profanity of the man, who could thus arrogate to himself authority to deliver the souls of men, both now and in the
day of judgment, and to prepare heavenly mansions for all who were obedient to his commands?
Pepin, thus adjured, came again to the relief of the Romans, and compelled Aistolphus to lay the keys of the conquered cities on the altar of St. Peter.
On the death of Aistolphus, Desiderius succeeded to the throne of the Lombards, and subsequently Charlemagne became sole monarch of the Franks. We have already spoken of the causes of quarrel between the two kings, the breaking out of war between them, and its resulting in the entire destruction of the Lombard power. Toward the close of the campaign, Desiderius, having been completely defeated in the field, was compelled to shut himself up within. the strongly fortified walls of Pavia. The city having been closely invested, and all the approaches to it secured, Charlemagne left the prosecution of the siege to his generals, and visited Rome. His approach and entrance combined the pomp and magnificence of an old Roman triumph with the sanctity of a religious ceremonial. At thirty miles distance from the city, the judges and senators met him, to offer him welcome and escort for the remainder of the journey. He reached Rome on Holy Saturday, 1st of April, 774. Whilst yet a mile from the gates, the Flaminian Way, by which he approached, was lined with Greek, Saxon, Lombard, and Spanish youths, and at the same place the noblest families in Rome attended him, equipped in common armour. Others o
tender years, together with the young maidens of the city, strewed flowers in his
chanting as they did so, “ Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” On meeting this triumphal procession, the king dismounted from his horse, and with his retinue entered the city on foot. The pope, attended by his suffragan bishops, awaited his arrival at the entrance of the church of St. Peter, which they entered together, and knelt side by side at the altar. It was remarked, however, that Charlemagne assumed the most honourable position, walking at the right hand with the pope on his left. * This may seem trivial and unimportant, but such trifles are of consequence, since they show that he undertook the defence of the city as its lord and ruler.
Whether Charlemagne had any political object in view in making this visit we cannot now determine. The pope, however, contrived to turn it to good account. He read to the young conqueror the grant of territory made by Pepin to the church, and urged him to imitate so pious an example. If we may believe the papal historians, a new grant was made, in which not only was the old one confirmed, but the greater part of the newly conquered kingdom of Lombardy was added.
It seems that when Charlemagne had returned to his own dominions, and escaped the seductions
* This resembles Napoleon's conduct when he met the pope. As the pontiff entered the carriage on one side, Napoleon entered it by the door on the other, so that there might be no loss of dignity on either side!
of the papal presence, he repented of the unthinking generosity which had led him to give away so valuable a territory, and he evinced no little reluctance to surrender it. The pope, therefore, began to ply him with the most earnest entreaties and adjurations. He reminds him “how formidable a creditor St. Peter must be, who is prince of the apostles and doorkeeper of heaven." Truly good, inild, and excellent son, I implore, I entreat thee, to surrender that which thou didst promise to St. Peter, keybearer of heaven, so that he may help and second thee with the Divine Majesty.” These entreaties proving unavailing, the pope proceeded to urge the request by appealing to the ambition of Charlemagne, who aspired to be regarded as successor of the old Roman ernperors.
" As in the times of the blessed pontiff Sylvester, the holy catholic and apostolic church was elevated and honoured by the most pious emperor Constantine, of holy memory, and by him deemed worthy to possess authority in these western regions, so also in these your most happy times, let the holy church of God flourish and stand exalted inore and
It is thus we hear for the first time of the famous donation of Constantine, by which, as was pretended, the city of Rome and the surrounding country, now known as the states of the church, or the patrimony of St. Peter, were ceded in perpetual sovereignty to the bishop of Rome. From the very important influence