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In this fifth of seven volumes, readers will find Chapter 45 ("State of Italy Under the Lombards") through Chapter 51 ("Conquests by the Arabs"), which cover the reign of Justin II; the Lombards' conquest of Italy; the Franks' conquest of Italy; the reign of Tiberius II; the life of Gregory the Great; and the rules of Phocas and Heraclius; the development of Christianity in the Eastern Roman Empire and the councils of Ephesus, Chalcedon, and Nice; the Greek emperors of Constantinople; the rule of Charlemagne of France and the division of his empire upon his death; and the clash between the Arabs and the Eastern Roman Empire.
In the connection of the church and state, I have considered the former as subservient only, and relative, to the latter; a salutary maxim, if in fact, as well as in narrative, it had ever been held sacred. The Oriental philosophy of the Gnostics, the dark abyss of predestination and grace, and the strange transformation of the Eucharist from the sign to the substance of Christ’s body, I have purposely abandoned to the curiosity of speculative divines. But I have reviewed, with diligence and pleasure, the objects of ecclesiastical history, by which the decline and fall of the Roman empire were materially affected, the propagation of Christianity, the constitution of the Catholic church, the ruin of Paganism, and the sects that arose from the mysterious controversies concerning the Trinity and incarnation. At the head of this class, we may justly rank the worship of images, so fiercely disputed in the eighth and ninth centuries; since a question of popular superstition produced the revolt of Italy, the temporal power of the popes, and the restoration of the Roman empire in the West.
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