April 5, 1894
“ROME never changes.” This is the oft-repeated boast of the papacy, and it is true.
IT is true, too, in a much larger sense than many realize, even of those who believe the proposition.
IN its spirit, in its disposition, in its essential nature and characteristics, Rome is the same to-day that it was two hundred or five hundred years before Christ.
BETWEEN Rome’s beginning and our day, between 753 B.C. and 1894 A.D., she has appeared in different outward forms, she has taken on different phases, such as the kingly, the republican, the imperial and the papal, but it has been Rome all the time—Rome in spirit, in nature, and in essential characteristics.
THERE is no world-power that occupies so large a place in the Bible as does Rome. Rome, from its rise in ancient time and in its pagan form, through all its career, its merging into the papal form, and clear on to its impending ruin in our own day, is traced in all its workings, and is marked in its every essential feature, by the pen of inspiration. And it is Rome all the time and always the same—cunning, crafty, insinuating, arrogant, violent, persecuting and bloody—always actuated by the same spirit and pursuing steadily the same policy. So constant, so persistent, and so characteristic is this policy, that it is singled out in the Scripture and distinctly defined as “his policy.”
IN the eighth chapter of Daniel there is a prophecy of the career of Media and Persia, of Grecia under Alexander, and then under Alexander’s successors, and of the power that should succeed these which by every evidence of Scripture and history, is demonstrated to be Rome only. And in that place it is briefly but powerfully sketched thus:—
And in the latter time of their [Alexander’s successors] kingdom when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.
Thus it is distinctly declared that “through his policy also, he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand,” “and by peace shall destroy many.” To know what this “policy” is, is to know Rome from beginning to end. To understand the workings of this “policy,” is to understand the workings of Rome so well, even to-day, that she can never deceive nor get any advantage of him who understands it. IN Rollin’s ancient history there is an analysis of this Romish policy and its workings in the progress of Rome to power and dominion over all the ancient nations. And so entirely is this “his policy” ever, that Rollin’s analysis of it as it was manifested in ancient times is as perfectly descriptive of Rome’s policy and its workings to-day as it is of it in ancient days. Here are the historian’s words:—
The reader may perceive from the events above related, one of the principal characteristics of the Romans, which will soon determine the fate of all the States of Greece, and produce an almost general change in the universe; I mean a spirit of sovereignty and dominion. This characteristic does not display itself at first in its full extent; it reveals itself by degrees; and it is only by an insensible progress which at the same time is sufficiently rapid, that we see it carried at last to its greatest height.
It must be confessed, that this people, on some occasions, show a moderation and distinterestedness, which from a superficial view, seems to exceed everything we meet with in history, and which we feel it incumbent on us to praise.
Was there ever a more glorious day than that in which the Romans, after having carried on a long and dangerous war, after crossing seas and exhausting their treasures, caused a herald to proclaim, in a general assembly, that the Roman people restored all the cities to their liberty, and desired to reap no other fruit by their victory than the noble pleasure of doing good to nations, the bare remembrance of whose ancient glories sufficed to endear them to the Romans? The description of that immortal day can hardly be read without tears and without being affected with a degree of enthusiasm of esteem and admiration.
Had this deliverance of the Grecian States proceeded merely from a principle of generosity, void of all interested motives; had the whole tenor of the conduct of the Romans been of the same nature with such exalted sentiments, nothing could possibly have been more august, or more capable of doing honor to the nation. But if we penetrate ever so little beyond this glaring outside, we soon perceive that this specious moderation of the Romans was entirely founded on a profound policy; wise, indeed, and prudent, according to the ordinary rules of government, but at the same time very remote from that noble disinterestedness so highly extolled on the present occasion. It may be affirmed that the Grecians then abandoned themselves to a stupid joy, fondly imagining that they were really free, because the Romans declared them so.
Greece, in the times I am now speaking of, was divided between two powers; I mean Grecian Republics and Macedonia; and they were always engaged in war; the former, to preserve the remains of their ancient liberty, and the latter, to complete their subjection. The Romans, perfectly well acquainted with this state of Greece, were sensible that there was no necessity of apprehending any difficulty from those little republics, which were growing weak through length of years, by intestine feuds, mutual jealousies, and the wars they had been forced to support against foreign powers. But Macedonia, which was possessed of well discipline troops, inured to all the toils of war, which had continually in view the glory of her former monarchs, which had formerly extended her conquests to the extremities of the globe, which still harbored an ardent, though chimerical desire, of attaining universal empire, which had a kind of natural alliance with the kings of Egypt and Syria, sprung from the same origin and united by the common interests of monarchy; Macedonia, I say, gave just alarm to the Romans, who, from the ruin of Carthage, had no obstacle left with regard to their ambitious designs but those powerful kingdoms that shared the rest of the world between them, and especially Macedonia, as it lay nearest to Italy.
To balance, therefore, the power of Macedon, and to dispossess Philip of the aid he flattered himself he should receive from the Greeks, which, indeed, had they united all their forces with his, in order to oppose his common enemy, would perhaps have made him invincible with regard to the Romans, they declared loudly in favor of those republics, made it their glory to take them under their protection, and that with no other design, in outward appearance, than to defend them against their oppressors; and farther, to attach them by still stronger ties, they hung out to them the specious bait, as a reward for their fidelity. I mean liberty, of which all the republics in question were inexpressibly jealous, and which the Macedonian monarchs had perpetually disputed with them.
The bait was artfully prepared and as eagerly swallowed by the generality of the Greeks, whose views penetrated no farther. But the most judicious and most clear-sighted among them discovered the danger that lay concealed beneath this charming bait, and accordingly, they exhorted the people from time to time, in their public assemblies, to beware of this cloud that was gathering in the West; and which, changing on a sudden into a dreadful tempest, would break like thunder over their heads, to their utter destruction. 
Nothing could be more gentle and equitable than the conduct of the Romans in the beginning. They acted with the utmost moderation towards such States and nations as addressed them for protection; they succored them against their enemies, took the utmost pains in terminating their differences, and in suppressing all troubles which arose among them, and did not demand the least recompense for all these services done for their allies. By these means their authorities gained strength daily and prepared the nations for entire subjection.
Under the pretense of manifesting their good will, of entering into their interests and of reconciling them, they rendered themselves as sovereign arbiters of those whom they had restored to liberty, and whom they now considered, in some measure, as their freedmen. They used to depute commissioners to them to inquire into their complaints, to weigh and examine the reasons on both sides, and to decide their quarrels; but when the articles were of such a nature that there was no possibility of reconciling them on the spot, they invited them to send their deputies to Rome. But afterwards they used to summon those who refused to be reconciled, obliged them to plead their cause before the Senate and even to appear in person there. From arbiters and mediators having become supreme judges, they soon assumed a magisterial tone, looked upon their decrees as irrevocable decisions, were greatly offended when the most implicit obedience was not paid to them, and gave the name of rebellion to a second resistance. Thus there arose, in the Roman Senate, a tribunal, which judged all nations and kings, and from which there was no appeal. This tribunal, at the end of every war, determined the rewards and punishments due to all parties. They dispossessed the vanquished nations of part of their territories, to bestow them on their allies, from which they reaped a double advantage; for they thereby engaged in the interest of Rome such kings as were in no way formidable to them, and weakened others whose friendship the Romans could not expect, and whose arms they had reason to dread.
We shall hear one of the chief magistrates in the republic of the Acheans inveigh strongly in a public assembly against this unjust usurpation, and ask by what title the Romans were empowered to assume so haughty an ascendant over them; whether their republic was not as free and independent as that of Rome; by what right the latter pretended to force the Acheans to account for their conduct, whether they would be pleased should the Acheans, in their turn, officially pretend to inquire into their affairs, and whether there ought not to be an equality between them. All these reflections were very reasonable, just and unanswerable, and the Romans had no advantage in the question but force.
They acted in the same manner, and their politics were the same with regard to their treatment of kings. They first won over to their interests such among them as were the weakest, and consequently, the less formidable; they gave them the title of allies, whereby their persons were rendered, in some measure, sacred and inviolable, and was a kind of safeguard against other kings more powerful than themselves; they increased their revenues and enlarged their territories, to let them see what they might expect from their protection which had raised the kingdom of Pergamos to such a pitch of grandeur.
After this the Romans invaded, upon different pretenses, those great potentates who divided Europe and Asia. And how haughtily did they treat them even before they had conquered. A powerful king, confined within a narrow circle by a private man of Rome, was obliged to make his answer before he quitted it; how imperious was this! But how did they treat vanquished kings? They commanded them to deliver up their children, and the heirs of their crowns, as hostages and pledges of their fidelity and good behavior; obliged them to lay down their arms; forbade them to declare war, or to conclude any alliance without first obtaining their leave; banished them to the other side of the mountains, and left them, in strictness of speech, only an empty title and a vain shadow of royalty, divested of its rights and advantages.
We have no room to doubt that Providence had decreed to the Romans the sovereignty of the world, and the Scriptures had prophecied their future grandeur; but they were strangers to those divine oracles; and besides, the bare predictions of their conquests was no justification with regard to them. Although it be difficult to affirm, and still more so to prove, that this people had from their first rise, formed a plan, in order to conquer and subject all nations; it cannot be denied, if we examine their whole conduct attentively, that it will appear that they acted as if they had a foreknowledge of this, and that a kind of instinct determined them to conform to it in all things.
But, be this as it may, we see, by the event, to what this so much boasted lenity and moderation of the Romans was confined. Enemies to the liberty of all nations, having the utmost contempt for kings and monarchies, looking upon the whole universe as their prey, they grasped with insatiable ambition, the conquest of the whole world; they seized indiscriminately all provinces and kingdoms, and extended their empire over all nations; in a word, they prescribed no other limits to their vast projects than those which deserts and seas made it impossible to pass.—Book XVIII., chap. I., section VII., under “Reflections on the Conduct of the Romans,” etc.
THIS statement of Rome’s policy and its workings is as true and as appropriate in the case of the Roman Church and the American Republic to-day, as it is in the case of the Roman State and the Grecian Republics in all time. It describes the policy of Leo XIII. and the ultimate purpose of it toward the Government and people of the United States; toward the workingmen; as the self-appointed intermediary between capital and labor; and the would-be world’s arbiter, to-day, as truly as it describes the policy of the Roman Senate and its ultimate purpose toward the governments and peoples of Grecia and the other nations of antiquity. Nor is the identity of this policy in Rome to-day, and in Rome of old, denied by the papacy. In fact, it is asserted by the papacy, and the continuance of this policy from ancient Rome is the acknowledged inspiration of modern Rome.
WHEN Imperial Rome was falling to ruins under the violent inroads of the barbarians of the North, the spirit and policy of Rome not only survived but was deepened and perfected in papal Rome. And this spirit and policy were consciously and intentionally continued by the popes of the time and was conscientiously received and diligently cultivated by each succeeding pope.
INNOCENT I., A.D. 402-417, was pope when the barbarians first overran the Western Empire and attacked, and even sacked, the city of Rome. And “upon the mind of Innocent appears first distinctly to have dawned the vast conception of Rome’s universal ecclesiastical supremacy, dim as yet, and shadowy, yet full and comprehensive in its outline.” He was succeeded by Zosimus, March 18, A.D. 417—December 26, 418, who asserted with all the arrogance of Innocent, all that Innocent had claimed. He not only boasted with Innocent that to him belonged the power to judge all causes, but that the judgment “is irrevocable;” and accordingly established the use of the dictatorial expression, “For so it has pleased the apostolic see,” as sufficient authority for all things that he might choose to command. And upon this assumption, those canons of the Council of Sardica which made the bishop of Rome the source of appeal, he passed off upon the bishops of Africa as the canons of the Council of Nice, in which he was actually followed by Leo, and put tradition upon a level with the Scriptures. He was succeeded by Boniface I., 419-422, who added nothing to the power or authority of the bishopric of Rome, but diligently and “conscientiously” maintained all that his predecessors had asserted, in behalf of what he called “the just rights of the see,” in which he had been placed. He was succeeded by Celestine I., 422-432, who, in a letter written A.D. 428, plainly declared: “As I am appointed by God to watch over his church, it is incumbent upon me everywhere to root out evil practices, and introduce good ones in their room, for my pastoral vigilance is restrained by no bounds, but extends to all places where Christ is known and adored.” It was he who appointed the terrible Cyril his vicegerent to condemn Nestorius, and to establish the doctrine that Mary was the Mother of God. He was succeeded by Sixtur III. 432-440, who, as others before, added nothing specially to the papal claims, yet yielded not an iota of the claims already made. He was succeeded by Leo I., “the Great A.D. 440-461. Such was the heritage bequeathed to Leo by his predecessors, and the arrogance of his own native disposition, with the grand opportunities which offered during his long rule, added to it a thousandfold. “All that survived of Rome, of her unbounded ambition, her inflexible perseverance, her dignity in defeat, her haughtiness of language, her belief in her own eternity, and in her indefeasible title to universal dominion, her respect for traditionary and written law, and of unchangeable custom, might seem concentrated in him alone.” At the very moment of his election he was absent in Gaul on a mission as mediator to reconcile a dispute between two of the principal men of the empire. He succeeded in his mission as mediator to reconcile a dispute between two of the principal men of the empire. He succeeded in his mission and was hailed as “the Angel of Peace,” and the “Deliver of the Empire.” In a sermon, he showed what his ambition embraced. He portrayed the powers and glories of the former Rome as they were reproduced in Catholic Rome. The conquests and universal sway of heathen Rome were but the promise of the conquests and universal sway of Catholic Rome. Romulus and Remus were but the precursors of Peter and Paul. Rome of former days had by her armies conquered the earth and sea: now again, by the see of the holy blessed Peter as head of the world, Rome, through her divine religion, would dominate the earth.
THIS is Rome; Rome always, and Rome ever the same. This is “his policy”—craft and hypocrisy, hypocrisy and craft, always employed to feed an insatiable ambition for universal dominion. “Rome never changes,” that is true. In “policy,” in spirit, in working, in essential nature, it never has changed and it never can change. In all this, Rome is just as bad as it can be, and yet thinks itself better than God, and therefore how would it be possible to change? No, sir, Rome never changes,—That is the truth. She never can change,—And that is the truth.
A. T. J.