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What I Saw in Rome-Coltheart

What I Saw in Rome-Coltheart

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Published by: leory6027 on Aug 18, 2010
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WHAT I SAW IN ROME
BY JOHN F. COLTHEART – 1958CONTENTS1. The Centre of the World2. The Colosseum3. Rome in History and Prophecy4. The "Wonders" of Rome5. An Amazing Revelation6. Strange "Goings On"7. I Asked the Priest Some Questions8. The "Mother" Church9. The Waldenses10. St. Peter's and the Vatican11. A Monk's Eyes Are Opened12. The Jesuit Priest's QuestionAppendix I - Authoritative Quotations on Sabbath And SundayAppendix II – The Origin OF Sunday ObservanceAppendix III – The Seventh Day Through The CenturiesAppendix IV – Rome Speaks About Sunday Sacredness
 
1. The Centre of the World
"All roads lead to Rome," and my road had led me almost there. As I stood gazing over the City of theTiber standing on her seven ancient hills, her new and her old buildings breaking the beautiful blueskyline, I thought of what those words had meant back in the days of Imperial Rome when the legionsof the Empire controlled the world. Then, those great quarried-stone roads reached out in all directionsthrough the length and breadth of the known world like arteries carrying life to the distant provinces or else like the tentacles of an octopus sucking at the wealth of the lands and channelling it to one greatcentre-depending of course on one's political viewpoint and one's vantage point in the stream of Time-second century or sixteenth century.It seemed impossible that this one city could have seen so much. What great happenings hadtaken place within her walls, How much of history had been shaped there and with what strangeauthority had edicts gone forth, from this place, that were to topple thrones or change the fate of distant peoples.The "official" date for the founding of Rome is 753 B.C. but Rome was soon doomed to fallinto the hands of the Etruscan kings (6th Century B.C.).
Republican Rome.
The reign of the kings gave way in 510 B.C. to Republican Rome in whose day Julius Caesar conquered Britain, Caesar and Pompey fought for mastery and Octavian (Augustus) waged war onAntony and the fickle Cleopatra. The Senate House can still be seen in the Roman Forum, where JuliusCaesar, stepping forward to receive the crown, met the twenty three daggers of the conspirators. And sothe age old words of the prophet Daniel were fulfilled, " Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found." Daniel 11: 19.
Imperial Rome
Remarkably enough, the prophet also described Julius Caesar's successor and foretold that he wouldreign in the days of Rome's glory and be remembered in history as a "raiser of taxes." "Then shall standup in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the Kingdom." Daniel 11: 20. The beginning of Augustus' reign saw the beginning of Imperial Rome which lasted from B.C. 28 until 476 A.D.Augustus' reign has been justly styled " The Golden Age " and arts and learning reached their highest peak. The Emperor himself declared that he " found Rome a city of brick, and left it a city of marble."True to Daniel's prediction, Augustus reigned in the " glory of the kingdom." The Bible chapter thatdescribes the birth of Christ, also tells of Augustus' tax-raising propensities."And it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that allthe world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city. And Joseph also wentup from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth, unto the city of David which is called Bethlehem . . . to betaxed with Mary. And so it was that while they were there . . . she brought forth her first-born son . . .and laid him in a manger." Luke 2: 1-7.Daniel predicted that after Julius Caesar, a "raiser of taxes" would "stand up in the glory of thekingdom," and here in these verses we find Luke verifying it all. Augustus' tax plans were the mostambitious that the world had ever seen up to that time. Perhaps our Minister of Finance got his ideasfrom Augustus. At any rate ambitious tax plans apparently did not die with Caesar and it would seemthat others are aspiring to be known in history as "a raiser of taxes."The prophet then went on to foretell the character of Augustus' successor. "And in his estateshall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall comein peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries." Daniel 11: 21. History attests the utter truthfulnessof this prophecy concerning Tiberius. It is recorded that as Augustus was about to nominate hissuccessor,' his wife Livia besought him to name Tiberius (her son by a former husband); but theemperor replied, " Your son is too vile to wear the purple of Rome "; and the nomination went toAgrippa. Agrippa soon died and Augustus was again under the necessity of choosing his successor. Now weakened by age and sickness, he succumbed to Livia's flatteries and the 99 vile one " becameemperor. One writer of history says, " Tyranny, hypocrisy, debauchery and uninterrupted intoxication-if these traits and practices show a man to be vile, Tiberius exhibited that character in disgusting perfection." Not long ago my attention was drawn to a "Digest" article on Tiberius and after referring tohis infamous and dissolute retirement AD. 26 to the Isle of Capri, it drew to a close with these words, "
 
And what was the end of this vile old man? " And so there we have popular writer, historian andAugustus himself all unconsciously verifying Daniel the prophet who, six hundred years before, hadsaid that a "vile person" would obtain the kingdom by " flatteries." The next verse, Daniel 11: 22 toldhow the " Prince of the Covenant " (identified in Daniel 9: 26, 27 as being the Messiah) would dieduring this emperor's reign, and the Book of Luke, chapter 3, and history make it plain that that was thetime of Christ's death.My eyes roved round the skyline trying to absorb in minutes the history of the centuries. Herewas some modern government building and there a famous old arch. Yonder stood the beautiful Victor Emanuel Monument and close by, the traditional tower on which Nero stood when he watched the burning of Rome on the night of 18th June, 64 AD. The fire served a two-fold purpose for Nero; itwiped out the slums of Rome where he had looked forward to building, for despite his megalomania, Nero was a promoter of modern town planning. It also allowed him to put the blame on the Christiansand thus organize a systematic persecution against them.Although the remains of Republican Rome are fairly few, the reminders of Imperial Rome'sgreatness are on every hand. There are monuments to Titus, conqueror of Jerusalem, and to Nerva,Trajan and Hadrian, !he latter being remembered in Britain because of the remains of Hadrian's Wall.There are monuments to the wise Antoninus Pius (A.D. 138-161), builder of mighty Baalbek in Lebanon, to Marcus Aurelius, Septimus Severus (193-211), Diocletian (284-305), Constantine theGreat (311-337), and many others. It was Constantine who, in 3,13, popularised Christianity in theEmpire by professing to have become a convert. There is very real reason to doubt the genuineness of his conversion and many real proofs that his heart still lay with Mithraism, the sun-worshippingreligion of the Roman Legions, but his so-called conversion was elastic enough to keep him popular with his troops and with the Christians as well. For political ends, Constantine sought to weld together these two great religious systems. The Christian Church which had been founded by Christ and theapostles and which had successfully weathered many storms of persecution found herself unable tostand against the compromise that came with popularity. The Church sank quickly into an abyss of corruption and simony, although one must not forget that in more outlying regions of the world primitive Christianity still continued.
Papal Rome
It was during the reign of these last emperors that the Bishop of Rome succeeded in asserting hisauthority over the four bishops of the Christian Church-the bishops of Jerusalem, Antioch,Constantinople and Alexandria. This primacy was further strengthened by the Sack of Rome in 410AD. by the Goths under Alaric the first capture of Rome by a foreign foe in more than eight centuries.Then came the raids of Genseric and his vandals in 455 and finally in 47~6 the deposition of thewestern emperor by the, Teuton, Odoacer. As each barbarian incursion took place, the position of theemperor declined, while the power of the bishop, who became known as the pope, was enhanced. ACatholic writer tells how the Popes of Rome succeeded to the seat of the Caesars: "Long ages ago whenRome through the neglect of the Western emperors was left to the mercy of the barbarous hordes, theRomans turned to one figures for aid and protection and asked him to rule them; and thus commencedthe temporal sovereignty of the Popes. And meekly stepping to the throne of Caesar, the Vicar of Christtook up the sceptre to which the emperors and kings of Europe were to bow in reverence through somany ages." American Catholic Quarterly Review, April, 191 LWith the fall of Western Rome, there was no sudden break with the Eastern emperor atConstantinople, or New Rome. Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths who revered the ancient city, tried toestablish an Italian state to carry on the Roman tradition. After his death in 526 the Eastern emperor Justinian reconquered Italy at great cost. Rome was captured and recaptured five times in eighteenyears and by the middle of the sixth century the city finally came under the control of the Easternemperor and was administered by the Exarch of Ravenna as part of the Byzantine empire.As civic powers waned, the popes gradually gained in authority. Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) assumed very great power and others followed on. Tiring of the restraints of Byzantine rule, PopeLeo III turned to the Frankish king Charlemagne and on Christmas Day of the year 800 crowned himhead of the Holy Roman Empire which, as some wit has remarked, was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.The next few centuries were dark for Rome. The forces of Islam were knocking on her gates.In the ninth century the Saracens plundered two of her outer churches. Then followed years of bitter contest between popes and emperors and popes with rival popes. The sixteenth century dawned brilliantly, with Raphael and Michelangelo both working on their beautiful frescoes in the Vatican, butRome soon again became the pawn in the struggle between rival powers. The French kings and the

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