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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
From the Sermon ‘Upon the Unity of the Church’
By Jacques Bénigne Bossuet (1627–1704)
 
WHEN the time had come at which the Roman Empire of the West was to collapse and Gaul was to become France, God did not allow such a noble part of Christendom to remain long under idolatrous princes; and wishing to hand over to the kings of the French the keeping of his Church, which he had formerly intrusted to the emperors, he gave not to France only, but to the whole Western world, a new Constantine in the person of Clovis. The miraculous victory which he sent from heaven to each of these two princes in their wars was a pledge of his love, and the glorious inducement which attracted them to Christianity. Faith triumphed, and the warlike nation of the Franks knew that the God of Clotilda was the true God of armies.  1
  Then Saint Remi saw that by placing the kings of France and their people in the bosom of Jesus Christ, he had given to the Church a set of invincible protectors. This great saint, this new Samuel called to anoint the kings, anointed these, in his own words, “to be the perpetual defender of the Church and the poor”: a worthy object for royalty to pursue. After teaching them how to make churches flourish and populations thrive (believe ye that he himself is now speaking to you, as I only recite the fatherly words of this apostle of the French), day and night he prayed to God that they should persevere in His faith and reign according to the rules he had given them; assuring them at the same time that in enlarging their kingdom they would enlarge the kingdom of Christ, and that if they faithfully kept the laws he prescribed in the name of God, the empire of Rome would be given to them, so that from the kings of France would issue Emperors worthy of that title, through whom Christ would reign.  2
  Such were the blessings which a thousand and a thousand times the great Saint Remi poured upon the French and their kings, whom he always called his dear children; unceasingly praising God for his kindness, because, with a view to strengthen the incipient faith of this God-blessed nation, he had deigned, through his own sinner’s hands (these are his own words), to repeat, before the eyes of all the French and of their king, the miracles which had burst upon the world in the early foundation of Christian churches. All the saints then living rejoiced; and in this decline of the Roman Empire, it seemed to them that there appeared in the kings of France “a new Light for the whole West.” “In occiduis partibus novi jubaris lumen effulgurat;” and not for the West alone, but for all the Church, to which this new kingdom promised new advances. This is what was said by Saint Avitus, the learned and holy bishop of Vienne, the weighty and eloquent advocate of the Church of Rome, who was directed by his colleagues, the revered bishops of Gaul, to recommend to the Romans in the cause of Pope Symmachus the common cause of the whole episcopacy; “because,” so said that great man, “when the Pope, the chief of all the bishops, is assailed, then not one bishop alone, but the whole episcopacy is in danger.”  3
 
 
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