Sunday, October 3, 2010

MHCC 41: Fox, Lion and Dog

Matthew Henry on Judges 9:

It is an account of the usurpation and tyranny of Abimelech, who was base son to Gideon; so we must call him, and not more modishly his natural son: he was so unlike him....Of this meteor, this ignis fatuus of a prince, that was not a protector but a plague to his country, we may say, as once was said of a great tyrant, that he came in like a fox, ruled like a lion, and died like a dog. "For the transgression of a land, such are the princes thereof."

John Foxe, Acts and Monuments, Vol. 1, p. 503:

Wherefore this Boniface [VIII] was worthily called the eighth Nero; of whom it was rightly said, He came in like a fox, reigned like a lion, and died like a dog.

Boniface VIII, consigned by Dante to the lowest circle of hell in his Inferno, ascended to the papacy by the art of craft (according to legend he engineered the abdication of Pope Celestine V, whom he succeeded, by rigging a tube into his room and persuading him that voice of God was instructing him to resign; Celestine was later captured, and possibly assassinated by Boniface), authored the Unam sanctam, "one of the most extreme statements of Papal spiritual supremacy ever made" (stating that it "is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman pontiff"), fought with King Philip IV of France, was captured and released, suffering the indignity of Sciarrillo Colonna's famous "Slap" in the face, but shortly thereafter died insane, supposedly gnawing off his own fingers.

Andrew Stevenson, The History of the Church and State of Scotland, Vol. 1, p. 115:

Nigh about this same time the good archbishop [George] Abbot died, and was succeeded in the see of Canterbury by [William] Laud bishop of London, of whom it may be said, as of old it was said of Boniface, Intravit ut vulpes, regnavit ut leo, obiit ut canis, "He came in like a fox, he reigned like a lion, and died like a dog."

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