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that these two expositions are inclusive of each other, I find no warrant. For though they may consist together well enough, if Chist had so intended them; yet unless it could be shewn by some circumstance of the text, or some other extrinsical argument, that they must be so, and that both senses were actually intended, it is but 'gratis dictum,' and a begging of the question, to say that they are so, and the fancy so new, that when St. Austin had expounded this place of the person of Peter, he reviews it again, and in his Retractations leaves every man to his liberty which to take, as having nothing certain in this article: which had been altogether needless if he had believed them to be inclusively in each other; neither of them had need to have been retracted, both were alike true, both of them might have been believed. But I said the fancy was new, and I had reason; for it was so unknown till yesterday, that even the late writers of his own side expound the words of the confession of St. Peter exclusively to his person or any thing else, as is to be seen in Marsitius, Petrus de Aliaco', and the gloss upon Dist. 19. can. 'ità Dominus,' ut suprá. Which also was the interpretation of Phavorinus Camers their own bishop, from whom they learnt the resemblance of the words Пérpoç and Пérpa, of which they have made so many gay discourses. Πέτρα στερεά ἐστι πίστις ἀῤῥαγὴς Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς οἰκοδομὴν ψυχῆς ἐν τῷ ἡγεμονικῷ θεμελίῳ προθεμελιουμένη.
7. Fifthly: but upon condition I may have leave at another time to recede from so great and numerous testimony of fathers, I am willing to believe that it was not the confession of St. Peter, but his person, upon which Christ said he would build his church, or that these expositions are consistent with and consequent to each other; that this confession was the objective foundation of faith, and Christ and his apostles the subjective; Christ principally, and St. Peter instrumentally and yet I understand not any advantage will hence accrue to the see of Rome. For upon St. Peter it was built, but not alone; for it was "upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone:" and when St. Paul reckoned the economy of hierarchy, he reckons not Peter first, and then the apostles; but first apostles, secondarily prophets, &c. And Defens. Pacis, part. 2. c. 28. Recommend. Sacr. Script.
whatsoever is first, either is before all things else, or at least. nothing is before it. So that at least St. Peter is not before all the rest of the apostles; which also St. Paul expressly avers; "I am in nothing inferior to the very chiefest of the apostles," no, not in the very being a rock and a foundation: and it was of the church of Ephesus that St. Paul said in particular it was "columna et firmamentum veritatis;" that church was,-not excluding others, for they also were as much as she: for so we keep close and be united to the corner-stone, although some be master-builders, yet all may build; and we have known whole nations converted by laymen and women, who have been builders so far as to bring them to the corner-stone".
8. Sixthly but suppose all these things concern St. Peter in all the capacities can be with any colour pretended, yet what have the bishops of Rome to do with this? For how will it appear that these promises and commissions did relate to him as a particular bishop, and not as a public apostle? since this latter is so much the more likely, because the great pretence of all seems in reason more proportionable to the founding of a church, than its continuance. And yet if they did relate to him as a particular bishop (which yet is a farther degree of improbability, removed farther from certainty), yet why shall St. Clement or Linus rather succeed in this great office of headship than St. John or any of the apostles that survived Peter? It is no way likely a private person should skip over the head of an apostle. Or why shall his successors at Rome more enjoy the benefit of it than his successors at Antioch? since that he was at Antioch and preached there, we have a divine authority; but that he did so at Rome, at most we have but a human. And if it be replied that because he died at Rome, it was argument enough that there his successors were to inherit his privilege, this besides that at most it is but one little degree of probability, and so not of strength sufficient to support an article of faith, it makes that the great divine right of Rome, and the apostolical presidency, was so contingent and fallible as to depend upon the decree of Nero; and if he had sent him to Antioch there to have suffered martyrdom, the bishops of that town had been heads of the catholic church. And this thing presses the harder,
"Vid. Socrat. l. 1. c. 19, 20. Sozom. 1. 2. c. 14. Niceph. 1. 14. c. 40.
because it is held by no mean persons in the church of Rome, that the bishoprick of Rome and the papacy are things separable, and the Pope may quit that see, and sit in another: which to my understanding is an argument, that he that succeeded Peter at Antioch, is as much supreme by divine right as he that sits at Rome; both alike, that is, neither by divine ordinance *. For if the Roman bishops by Christ's intention were to be head of the church, then by the same intention the succession must be continued in that see; and then let the Pope go whither he will, the bishop of Rome must be the head: which they themselves deny, and the Pope himself did not believe, when in a schism he sat at Avignon. And that it was to be continued in the see of Rome, it is but offered to us upon conjecture, upon an act of providence, as they fancy it, so ordering it by vision; and this proved by an author which themselves call fabulous and apocryphal, under the name. of Linus, in "Biblioth. Patrum de passione Petri et Pauli." A goodly building which relies upon an event that was accidental, whose purpose was but insinuated, the meaning of it but conjectured at, and this conjecture so uncertain, that it was an imperfect aim at the purpose of an event, which whether it was true or no was so uncertain, that it is ten to one there was no such matter. And yet again, another degree of uncertainty is, to whom the bishops of Rome do succeed. For St. Paul was as much bishop of Rome as St. Peter was; there he presided, there he preached, and he it was that was the doctor of the uncircumcision and of the Gentiles, St. Peter of the circumcision and of the Jews only; and therefore the converted Jews at Rome might with better reason claim the privilege of St. Peter, than the Romans, and the churches in her communion, who do not derive from Jewish parents.
9. Seventhly if the words were never so appropriate to Peter, or also communicated to his successors, yet of what value will the consequent be? what prerogative is entailed upon the chair of Rome? For that St. Peter was the ministerial head of the church, is the most that is desired to be proved by those and all other words brought for the same purposes, and interests of that see. Now let the ministerial head have what dignity can be imagined, let him be the first (and in all communities that are regular and orderly
x Vid. Cameracens. Qa. vespert.
there must be something that is first upon certain occasions, where an equal power cannot be exercised, and made pompous or ceremonial): but will this ministerial headship infer an infallibility? will it infer more than the headship of the Jewish synagogue, where clearly the high-priest was supreme in many senses, yet in no sense infallible? will it infer more to us than it did amongst the apostles, amongst whom if for order's sake St. Peter was the first, yet he had no compulsory power over the apostles? there was no such thing spoke of, nor any such thing put in practice. And that the other apostles were by a personal privilege as infallible as himself, is no reason to hinder the exercise of jurisdiction, or any compulsory power over them; for though in faith they were infallible, yet in manners and matter of fact as likely to err as St. Peter himself was: and certainly there might have something happened in the whole college that might have been a record of his authority, by transmitting an example of the exercise of some judicial power over some one of them. If he had but withstood any of them to their faces, as St. Paul did him, it had been more than yet is said in his behalf. Will the ministerial headship infer any more, than that when the church, in a community or a public capacity, should do any act of ministry ecclesiastical, he shall be first in order? Suppose this to be a dignity to preside in councils which yet was not always granted him: suppose it to be a power of taking cognizance of the major causes of bishops when councils cannot be called: suppose it a double voice, or the last decisive, or the negative in the causes exterior: suppose it to be what you will of dignity or external regiment, which, when all churches were united in communion, and neither the interest of states nor the engagement of opinions had made disunion, might better have been acted than now it can: yet this will fall infinitely short of a power to determine controversies infallibly, and to prescribe to all men's faith and consciences. A ministerial headship or the prime minister cannot, in any capacity, become the foundation of the church to any such purpose. And therefore men are causelessly amused with such premises, and are afraid of such conclusions which will never follow from the admission of any sense of these words, that can with any probability be pretended.
10. Eighthly I consider that these arguments from
Scripture are too weak to support such an authority, which pretends to give oracles, aud to answer infallibly in questions of faith, because there is greater reason to believe the Popes of Rome have erred, and greater certainty of demonstration, than these places give that they are infallible; as will appear by the instances and perpetual experiment of their being deceived, of which there is no question, but of the sense of these places there is. And, indeed, if I had as clear scripture for their infallibility, as I have against their half communion, against their service in an unknown tongue, worshipping of images, and divers other articles, I would make no scruple of believing, but limit and conform my understanding to all their dictates, and believe it reasonable all prophesying should be restrained: but till then, I have leave to discourse and to use my reason. And to my reason it seems not likely that neither Christ nor any of his apostles, not St. Peter himself, not St. Paul writing to the church of Rome, should speak the least word or tittle of the infallibility of their bishops: for it was certainly as convenient to tell us of a remedy, as to foretell that certainly there must needs be heresies, and need of a remedy. And it had been a certain determination of the question, if, when so rare an opportunity was ministered in the question about circumcision, that they should have sent to Peter, who for his infallibility in ordinary, and his power of headship, would not only with reason enough, as being infallibly assisted, but also for his authority, have best determined the question, if at least the first Christians had known so profitable and so excellent a secret. And although we have but little record that the first council of Jerusalem did much observe the solemnities of law, and the forms of conciliar proceedings, and the ceremonials; yet so much of it as is recorded, is against them. St. James, and not St. Pe ter, gave the final sentence; and although St. Peter determined the question pro libertate,' yet St. James made the decree and the assumentum' too, and gave sentence they should abstain from some things there mentioned, which by way of temper he judged most expedient: and so it passed. And St. Peter shewed no sign of a superior authority, nothing of superior jurisdiction. Ὅρα δὲ αὐτὸν μετὰ κοινῆς πάντα ποιοῦντα γνώμης, οὐδὲν αὐθεντικῶς οὐδ ̓ ἀρχικῶς”.
11. So that if the question be to be determined by Scripy St. Chrysost, hom. 3. in act. Apost.