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Rome was unquestionably wrong in the real point at issue, which was supremacy, but she was as certainly right in the ostensible point of doctrine ; for it is quite certain that the Eastern Church fell into various heresies concerning the personality of the Holy Spirit at a very early age, from which they never have been thoroughly delivered ; and the miserable captivity under which they have for so many centuries groaned may be regarded as a righteous retribution :
“ The Christian world itself being divided into two grand parts, it appeareth by the general view of both that with matter of heresy the West had been often and much troubled; but the East part never quiet, till the deluge of misery wherein now they are overwhelmed them. The chiefest causes whereof do seem to have lien in the restless wits of the Grecians, evermore proud of their own curious and subtile inventions, which, when at any time they had contrived, the great facility of their language served them readily to make all things fair and plausible to men's understanding. Those grand heretical impieties, therefore, which most highly and immediately touched God and the glorious Trinity, were all in a manner the monsters of the East. The West bred fewer a great deal, and those commonly of a lower nature, such as more nearly and directly concerned men rather than God; the Latins being always to capital heresies less inclined, yet unto gross superstitions more” (Hooker, “Ecc. Pol.,” v. iii., 191).
The Greeks have evaded the real point of the question, which is, not whether certain words have been added to the Nicene creed, but whether the doctrine expressed by those words is contained in Scripture. For, it may be that the true doctrine had not been denied or perverted when the creed was drawn up; and so there had been no occasion for inserting such words in the Nicene any more than in the Apostles' creed. But it is quite a shuffle to call this the Nicene creed; for the article in question was not contained in the creed of Nicæa, simply because the heresy it was meant to refute had not troubled the Church when that council met, A.D. 325. And the creed is really of the date of A.D. 381, as this article was added at that time in the council of Constantinople. We call it a shuffle to speak of this as the Nicene creed with reference to this article, because it is done with the sinister intention of charging those who, as they say, have made an addition to this creed, with violating the seventh canon of the council of Ephesus A.D. 431, which ordains that no other faith than the Nicene shall be allowed, and they interpret this to mean no other creed. If this were the true interpretation, it would exclude the whole of the article in question, and not merely the one word they object to; and this interpretation is con
tradicted by the fifth canon of the council of Constantinople, which admits a creed of the Western Church, confessing the unity of the Godhead of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
We may infer the importance of holding right doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit by the fact of its being the subject of the first of our Lord's discourses recorded by St. John, as well as of the last and longest of all his discourses—that on the eve of his crucifixion (John xiv-xvii). These ample instructions were meant for the consolation of the disciples under the appalling bereavement which they were about to undergo, by showing them that it was expedient on all accounts that he on whom they now depended should go away; for he went away in order to send another Comforter, who would do more than supply his place in teaching them many things which they could not possibly understand till he had departed; for his death, resurrection, and ascension, not only gave the explanation of what had already been done by him, but opened Moses, and the prophets and psalms, and all the types of the law; which things, having Christ for their end, it would be the office of the Holy Spirit, to whom alone is given the entire participation of the counsels of the Father and the Son, to show these things to the Church and apply them to the hearts of the believers in Jesus. And it is from this discourse, and not from the canons of councils, that we must ultimately determine the great question concerning the procession of the Holy Ghost, which has been the ostensible cause of the long continued schism between the Greek and Latin Churches.
Heresies regarding the person and office of the Holy Ghost, such as thoes of Macedonius and Eunomius, had arisen in the Eastern Church as early as the middle of the fourth century, and to suppress these the council of Constantinople was called, A.D. 380. But the question concerning the interpolation of the creed of this council, or as a question between the Eastern and Western Churches concerning the doctrine of the procession of the Holy Spirit, was not raised till nearly five centuries after this—and raised, not through religious zeal, but out of hostility which had proceeded from secular causes: it was in the middle of the ninth century that the quarrel concerning supremacy began between Nicholas, one of the most arrogant of the Popes, and Photius, who, though a layman, had been made Patriarch of Constantinople, and was little disposed to yield precedency to any man. It seems, however, to have been accidental rather than intentional on the part of Photius; nor would the act which occasioned it have produced the same effect upon a pontiff less ambitions and presuming than Pope
Nicholas. It is asserted by Dr. Townsend that “Nicholas exercised positive authority over emperors, kings, patriarchs, metropolitans, archbishops, bishops, and councils; or, in other words, he attempted to rule in every part of Christendom, over every native legislature, and every civil and ecclesiastical authority which is entitled to give laws to nations" (Townsend's “Ecc. Hist.” ii. 116).
The quarrel between the East and West began in the question, whether the newly converted Slavi and Bulgarians owed obedience to Rome or Constantinople. The Pope had taken upon himself to reprove Cyril and Methodius, who belonged to the Greek communion, for allowing the Slavi, whom they had recently converted, to perform divine service in their native language instead of Latin. The Bulgarians also had sent messengers to Constantinople desiring the help and counsel of the Greek Church; and Nicholas claimed authority here also, asserting that Rome was head and mistress of all the Churches, and reviving the contest for supremacy between Old and New Rome. Photius, irritated on these accounts, did not make them the prominent ground of offence; but alleged that the Western Church had falsified the orthodox creed, by interpolating the word filioque that Rome was, in short, heretical.
After the lapse of five hundred years it was not easy to determine whether the word in question had formed part of the original creed or not, since it was not certain that any original record existed, and the omission in the Eastern copies might be more easily accounted for than the addition in the West
Let us remark also that the omission of the word would be very far from proving the doctrine which Photius maintained—viz., that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone, and not also from the Son. If the word filioque be genuine it would, indeed, carry with it the doctrine maintained by the Western Church; but, if this word were proved to be an interpolation, it would by no means follow from this omission that the doctrine contended for by the Eastern Church was orthodox doctrine; for, supposing filioque to be omitted, it only amounts to silence on this point-it by no means proves the contrary--by no means asserts that the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Son; and, if omitted, the silence might arise from its being a point which no one had as yet disputed. The doctrine of Macedonius was that the Son, though proceeding from the Father, was inferior to the Father; and that the Holy Spirit, though proceeding from the Son, was inferior to the Son, and proceeded not from the Father. The Council of Constantinople met to refute these errors, and the additions it made to the Nicene creed would meet the point in hand by the assertion of the co-equality of the Father and Son with the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father, who, with the Father and the Son together, is to be worshipped and glorified.
Many had been the causes which led to the schism between the Eastern and Western Churches; although, since the time of Photius, it has been made to rest on the doctrinal ground of the procession of the Holy Ghost. The schism had its origin in the rivalry which sprang up between Old and New Rome after Constantinople became the metropolis of the East; and when, on the failure of Augustulus, A.D. 474, there was no longer an Emperor of the West, the Patriarch of Constantinople thought himself entitled to the primacy as occupying that see which had become the only seat of empire ; and in A.D. 590, John the Faster, who was then Patriarch of Constantinople, assumed the title of “universal bishop"--an arrogancy which Gregory the Great regarded as a sign that Antichrist was at hand. Gregory little imagined that in his successor the Antichrist would be manifested, and took to himself the title of Servus Servorum Dei. But Boniface III., in A.D. 606, actually assumed the title of “universal bishop," which his predecessor had so strongly condemned in the Eastern primate, and it was soon after confirmed to the see of Rome by Phocas the Emperor. This, therefore, is the overt act from which the appearing of the Papal Antichrist may with the greatest confidence be dated.
Two years after, the same Emperor bestowed upon the Pope that heathen temple called the Pantheon, which had been built in honour of Cybele, the fabled mother of the heathen gods; and, as if in mockery, Pope Boniface IV., by a blasphemous act of idolatry, dedicated it to the worship of the Virgin Mary and all Saints. This form of idolatry had already taken root in the East, having been countenanced by the second council of Constantinople, A.D.553, which voted that Mary was to be invoked as deotokos, or mother of God. Many vain efforts were made to stem the tide of idolatry which was now flowing in, particularly by the Emperor Leo Isaurus in the East, and some time after by Charlemagne in the West.
Leo Isaurus called a council at Constantinople, A.D. 730, which determined that the intercession of saints was a fiction, and that any species of worship or adoration offered to images or relics was mere idolatry. This so much offended Gregory III. that he assembled a synod of Italian bishops at Rome, A.D. 733, which condemned this decree, and excommunicated the Emperor and all who were parties to it. The Pope also renounced his allegiance to Leo and refused all further tribute—thus causing that open rupture between the East and West which has subsisted to the present time.
The Pope claimed the protection of Pepin and Charlemagne ; and Adrian, who was now Pope, to secure the latter in his interests, caused him to be proclaimed Emperor of the West, A.D. 800. In the meantime, the second council of Nice had been assembled by the Empress Irene to re-establish that idolatry which the Emperor Leo had endeavoured to suppress. It met, A.D. 787; and whether we consider the
way in which it was assembled, or the intimidation under which it was held, or the imposition practised upon it in palming off certain monks as patriarchs of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch—or whether we consider the gross ignorance, superstition, idolatry, violence, and slavish fear, which marked the whole proceeding—it is one of the most disgraceful councils of any
whose acts are recorded in the annals of the Church. Yet this council is received by the Church of Rome, because it sanctioned the idolatry of Rome's Pantheon; and though Charlemagne set himself against its decrees and employed Alcuin to write against idolatry, and assembled a synod of three hundred bishops of Gaul, Spain, and Germany, who met at Frankfort, A.D. 794, and condemned image worship, it continued to gain ground being countenanced by Rome, and at length this
species of idolatry overspread all the Churches, both of the East and of the West.
In the time of Photius, Nicholas was Bishop of Rome. He is the first Pope that made use of the forged decretals to establish his authority, and was the first who imposed an oath of obedience on all who received the pall. He is addressed by Lothaire as “the most holy, most blessed, and angelic Lord Nicholas, sovereign Pontiff, and universal Pope;" and he advanced pretensions to authority over sovereigns, and a power to release subjects from their allegiance, which are substantially the same with those which were afterwards more openly asserted by Gregory VII., or Hildebrande, in his “ Dictates."
The East was at this time, A.D. 858, governed by the Emperor Michael, whom Dr. Townsend characterises as “a rash, drunken, ferocious, cruel, and profligate boy.”
For some offence given to this Michael, Ignatius, the Patriarch of Constantinople had been deposed; and Photius, a favourite of the Emperor, notwithstanding he was only a layman, had been