Page:The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, Volume 16.djvu/24

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16
HISTORY OF ENGLAND.

church and court of Rome, were in those ages risen to such heights, as to be altogether inconsistent either with the legislature or administration of any independent state; the inferiour clergy, both secular and regular, insisting upon such immunities as wholly exempted them from the civil power; and the bishops removing all controversies with the crown by appeal to Rome: for they reduced the matter to this short issue, That God was to be obeyed rather than men; and consequently the bishop of Rome, who is Christ's representative, rather than an earthly prince. Neither does it seem improbable, that all Christendom would have been in utter vassalage, both temporal and spiritual, to the Roman see, if the Reformation had not put a stop to those exorbitancies, and in a good measure opened the eyes of those princes and states, who still adhere to the doctrines and discipline of the church.

While the king continued at Gloucester, Malcolm king of Scotland came to his court, with intentions to settle and confirm the late peace between them. It happened that a controversy arose about some circumstances relating to the homage which Malcolm was to pay; in the managing whereof king William discovered so much haughtiness and disdain, both in words and gestures, that the Scottish prince, provoked by such unworthy treatment, returned home with indignation; but soon came back at the head of a powerful army, and, entering Northumberland with fire and sword, laid all waste before him. But as all enterprises have in the progress of them a tincture of those passions by which they were spirited at first, so this invasion, begun upon private revenge, which is a blind ungovernable passion, was carried on

with