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And when it was more than personal, St. Peter did not represent his successors at Rome, but the whole catholic church, say Aquinas and the divines of the university of Paris. • Volunt enim pro sola ecclesia esse oratum,' says
Bellarmine of them: and the gloss upon the canon law plainly denies the effect of this prayer at all to appertain to the Pope ; “Quære de qua ecclesia intelligas quod hîc dicitur quòd non possit errare : an de ipso Papa qui ecclesia dicitur: sed certum est quòd Papa errare potest—Respondeo, ipsa congregatio fidelium hîc dicitur ecclesia, et talis ecclesia non potest non esse; nam ipse Dominus orat pro ecclesia, et voluntate labiorum suorum non fraudabitur." But there is a little danger in this argument when we well consider it; but it is likely to redound on the head of them whose turns it should serve.
For it may be remembered, that for all this prayer of Christ for St. Peter, the good man fell foully, and denied his Master shamefully: and shall Christ's prayer be of greater efficacy for his successors, for whom it was made but indirectly and by consequence, than for himself, for whom it was directly and in the first intention? And if not, then for all this argument, the Popes may deny Christ as well as their chief predecessor Peter. But it would not be forgotten how the Roman doctors will by no means allow, that St. Peter was then the chief bishop or Pope, when he denied his master. But then much less was he chosen chief bishop, when the prayer was made for him, because the prayer was made before his fall; that is, before that time in which it is confessed he was not as yet made Pope : and how then the whole succession of the papacy should be entitled to it, passes the length of my hand to span. But then also if it be supposed and allowed, that these words shall entail infallibility upon the chair of Rome, why shall not also all the apostolical sees be infallible as well as Rome? why shall not Constantinople or Byzantium, where St. Andrew sat? why shall not Ephesus, where St. John sat? or Jerusalem, where St. James sat? for Christ prayed for them all, “ ut Pater sanctificaret eos sua veritate p."
4. Secondly : for' tibi dabo claves,' was it personal or not? If it were, then the bishops of Rome have nothing to do
» 2. 2æ q. 2. a. 6. ar. 6. ad 3 m. Lib. 4. de Rom. Pont. c. 3. sect. 1. Caus. 21. cap. à recta. q. 1. 29. dist. Anastasius 60. dist. si Papa.
. 2 John xvii.
with it: if it were not, then by what argument will it be made evident that St. Peter in the promise represented only his successors, and not the whole college of apostles, and the whole hierarchy ? For if St. Peter was chief of the apostles, and head of the church, he might fair enough be the representative of the whole college, and receive it in their right as well as his own : which also is certain that it was so; for the same promise of binding and loosing (which certainly was all that the keys were given for) was made afterward to all the apostles *, and the power of remitting and retaining (which in reason and according to the style of the church are the same thing in other words) was actually given to all the apostles : and, unless that was the performing the first and second promise, we find it not recorded in Scripture how or when, or whether yet or no, the promise be performed. That promise, I say, which did not pertain to Peter principally and by origination, and to the rest by communication, society, and adherence, but that promise which was made to Peter first, but not for himself, but for all the college, and for all their successors; and then made the second time to them all, without representation, but in diffusion, and performed to all alike in presence, except St. Thomas. And if he went to St. Peter to derive it from him, I know not; I find no record for that: but that Christ conveyed the promise to him by the same commission, the church yet never doubted, nor had she any reason. But this matter is too notorious: I
say no more to it, but repeat the words and arguments of St. Austin; “ Si hoc Petro tantum dictum est, non facit hoc ecclesiab:" If the keys were only given and so promised to St. Peter, that the church hath not the keys, then the church can neither bind nor loose, remit nor retain ; which God forbid. If any man should endeavour to answer this argument, I leave him and St. Austin to contest it.
5. Thirdly: for 'pasce, oves,' there is little in that allegation, besides the boldness of the objectors : for were not all the apostles bound to feed Christ's sheep? Had they not all the commission from Christ and Christ's Spirit immediately? St. Paul had certainly. Did not St. Peter himself say to all the bishops of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, that they should feed the flock of God, and
b Tra. 50. in Joann.
a Matt, xvii.
the great Bishop and Shepherd should give them an immarcessible crown ? plainly implying, that from whence they derived their authority, from him they were sure of a reward : in pursuance of which St. Cyprian laid his argument upon this basis, “Nam cum statutum sit omnibus nobis,”. &c. “ et singulis pastoribus portio gregis," &c. Did not St. Paul call to the bishops of Ephesus to “ feed the flock of God, of which the Holy Ghost hath made them bishops or overseers?" And that this very commission was spoken to St. Peter not in a personal, but a public capacity, and in him spoke to all the apostles, we see attested by St. Austin and St. Ambrose", and generally by all antiquity: and it so concerned even every priest, that Damasus was willing enough to have St. Jerome explicate many questions for him. And Liberius writes an epistle to Athanasius, with much modesty requiring his advice in a question of faith, ίνα καγώ πεποιθώς ώ αδιακρίτως περί ών άξιούς κελεύειν μοι, «That I also may be persuaded without all doubting of those things, which you shall be pleased to command mee.” Now Liberius need not to have troubled himself to have written into the east to Athanasius; for if he had but seated himself in his chair, and made the dictate, the result of his pen and ink would certainly have taught him and all the church: but that the good Pope was ignorant their pasce oves' was his own charter and prerogative, or that any other words of Scripture had made him to be infallible; or if he was not ignorant of it, he did very ill to compliment himself out of it. So did all those bishops of Rome, that in that troublesome and unprofitable question of Easter, being unsatisfied in the supputation of the Egyptians, and the definitions of the mathematical bishops of Alexandria, did yet require and entreat St. Ambrose to tell them his opinion, as he bimself witnesses'. If pasce oves' belongs only to the Pope by primary title, in these cases the sheep came to feed the shepherd; which, though it was well enough in the thing, is very ill for the pretensions of the Roman bishops. And if we consider how little many of the Popes have done towards feeding the sheep of Christ, we shall hardly determine which is the greater prevarication,
c Lib. 1. Epist. 3.
De Agone Christi, c. 30.
that the Pope should claim the whole commission to be granted to him, or that the execution of the commission should be wholly passed over to others. And, it may be, there is a mystery in it, that since St. Peter sent a bishop with his staff to raise up a disciple of his from the dead, who was afterward bishop of Triers, the Popes of Rome never wear a pastoral staff except it be in that diocess, says Aquinas 5 : for great reason that he who does not do the office, should not bear the symbol. But a man would think that the Pope's master of the ceremonies was ill-advised not to assign a pastoral staff to him, who pretends the commission of‘ pasce oves' to belong to him by prime right and origination. But this is not a business to be merry in.
6. But the great support is expected from Tu es Petrus, et super hanc Petram ædificabo ecclesiam,' &c. Now there being so great difference in the exposition of these words, by persons disinterested, who, if any, might be allowed to judge in this question, it is certain that neither one sense nor other can be obtruded for an article of faith, much less as a catholicon instead of all, by constituting an authority which should guide us in all faith, and determine us in all questions. For if the church was not built upon the person of Peter, then his successors can challenge nothing from this instance: now that it was the confession of Peter upon which the church was to rely for ever, we have witnesses very credible, St. Ignatius ", St. Basil', St. Hilaryk, St. Gregory Nyssen', St. Gregory the Great", St. Austin ", St. Cyril of Alexandriao, Isidore Pelusiot P, and very many more. And although all these witnesses concurring cannot make a proposition to be true, yet they are sufficient witnesses, that it was not the universal belief of Christendom that the church was built
upon St. Peter's person. Cardinal Perron hath a fine fancy to elude this variety of exposition, and the consequents of it. For, saith he, these expositions are not contrary or exclusive of each other, but inclusive and consequent to each other : for the church is founded casually upon the confession of St. Peter, formally upon the ministry of his person, and this was a reward or a consequent of the former;
# M. 4. Sent. dist. 24. b Ad. Philadelph. i Seleuc, orat, 25. * Lib. 6. de Trinit.
| De Trinitate advers. Judæos. m Lib. 3. Ep. 33.
» In 1. Ep. Joann. Ir. 10. • De Trinit. I. 4.
P Lib. 1. Ep. 235.
so that these expositions are both true, but they are conjoined as mediate and immediate, direct and collateral, literal and moral, original and perpetual, accessary and temporal, the one consigned at the beginning, the other introduced upon occasion. For before the spring of the Arian heresy, the fathers expounded these words of the person of Peter; but after the Arians troubled them, the fathers finding great authority and energy in this confession of Peter for the establishment of the natural filiation of the Son of God, to advance the reputation of these words and the force of the argument, gave themselves license to expound these words to the present advantage, and to make the confession of Peter to be the foundation of the church, that if the Arians should encounter this authority, they might with more prejudice to their persons declaim against their cause by saying they overthrew the foundation of the church. Besides that this answer does much dishonour the reputation of the fathers' integrity, and makes their interpretations less credible, as being made, not of knowledge or reason, but of necessity, and to serve a present turn, it is also false: for Ignatius 9 expounds it in a spiritual sense, which also the liturgy attributed to St. James calls étrì trétpay tñs Tlotewcand Origen' expounds it mystically to a third purpose, but exclusively to this: and all these were before the Arian controversy. But if it be lawful to make such unproved observations, it would have been to better purpose and more reason to have observed it thus: the fathers, so long as the bishop of Rome kept himself to the limits prescribed him by Christ, and indulged to him by the constitution or concession of the church, were unwary and apt to expound this place of the person of Peter: but when the church began to enlarge her phylacteries by the favour of princes and the sunshine of a prosperous fortune,-and the Pope by the advantage of the imperial seat and other accidents began to invade upon the other bishops and patriarchs, then, that he might have no colour from Scripture for such new pretensions, they did most generally turn the stream of their expositions from the person to the confession of Peter, and declared that to be the foundation of the church. And thus I have requited fancy with fancy : but for the main point,
9 Epist. ad Philadelph.
r In c. 16. Matt. tract. 1.