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him, and that he is confined to love and to admire, since his love and his admiration are fixed upon that which makes him happy, even upon God himself. And in the church of Rome there is in a lower degree, but in a true proportion, as little cause to be troubled that we are confined to believe just so, and no choice left us for our understandings to discover, or our wills to choose, because though we be limited, yet we are appointed out where we ought to rest, we are confined to our centre, and there where our understandings will be satisfied, and therefore will be quiet, and where, after all our strivings, studies, and endeavours, we desire to come, that is, to truth; for there we are secured to find it, because we have a guide that is infallible. If this prove true, we are well enough. But if it be false or uncertain, it were better we had still kept our liberty, than be cozened out of it with gay pretences. This then we must consider.
2. And here we shall be oppressed with a cloud of witnesses : for what more plain than the commission given to Peter ? “ Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my church ;” and, “ To thee will I give the keys:” and again, “For thee have I prayed that thy faith fail not; but thou, when thou art converted, confirm thy brethren.” And again,
If thou lovest me, feed my sheep.” Now nothing of this being spoken to any of the other apostles, by one of these places St. Peter must needs be appointed foundation or head of the church, and by consequence he is to rule and govern all. By some other of these places he is made the supreme pastor, and he is to teach and determine all, and enabled with an infallible power so to do. And in a right understanding of these authorities, the fathers speak great things of the chair of Peter; for we are as much bound to believe that all this was spoken to Peter's successors, as to his person ; that must by all means be supposed, and so did the old doctors, who had as much certainty of it as we have, and no more: but yet let us hear what they have said 9.“ To this church, by reason of its more powerful principality, it is necessary all churches round about should convene." _“In this, tradition apostolical always was observed, and therefore to communicate with this bishop, with this church, was to be in communion with the church catholic.”_"8 To this church error or perfidiousness cannot have access.”_"t Against this see the gates of hell cannot prevail.”—“For we know this church to be built upon a rock.”—“ And whoever eats the lamb not within this house, is profane; he that is not in the ark of Noah, perishes in the inundation of waters. He that gathers not with this bishop, he scatters, and he that belongeth not to Christ, must needs belong to antichrist.” And that is his final sentence. But if you would have all this proved by an infallible argument, * Optatus of Milevis in Africa supplies it to us from the very name of Peter : for therefore Christ gave him the cognomination of Cephas anò tñs kepalñs, to shew that St. Peter was the visible head of the catholic church. ‘Dignum patellâ operculum!' This long harangue must needs be full of tragedy to all them that take liberty to themselves to follow Scripture and their best guides, if it happens in that liberty that they depart from the persuasions of the communion of Rome. But indeed, if with the peace of the bishops of Rome I may say it, this scene is the most unhandsomely laid, and the worst carried, of any of those pretences that have lately abused Christendom.
4 Irenæ, contra hæres. 1. 3. c. 3.'
Ambr. de Obitu Salyri, et l. 1. Ep. 4. ad Imp. Cyp. Ep. 52.
3. First: against the allegations of Scripture I shall lay no greater prejudice than this, that if a person disinterested should see them, and consider what the products of them might possibly be, the last thing that he would think of would be, how that any of these places should serve the ends or pretences of the church of Rome. For, to instance in one of the particulars, that man had need have a strong fancy who imagines, that because Christ prayed for St. Peter, that (being he had designed him to be one of those, upon whose preaching and doctrine he did mean to constitute a church) ' his faith might not fail' (for it was necessary that no bitterness or stopping should be in one of the first springs, lest the current be either sporled or obstructed), that therefore the faith of Pope Alexander VI. or Gregory, or Clement, fifteen hundred years after, should be preserved by virtue of that prayer, which the form of words, the time, the occasion, the manner of the address, the effect itself, and all the circumstances of the action and person, did determine to be personal.
• Cyp. Ep. 55. ad Cornel. · St. Austin in Psal. contra parten Donat. u Hieron. Ep. 57. ad Damasum. * Lib. 2. contra Parmenian.
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.
* 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 a Matt, xviii.
b Tra. 50. in Joann.
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 cùm statutum sit omnibus nobis," &c. "et singulis pastoribus portio gregisc,” &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 me.” 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 himself 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.
d De Agone Christi, c. 50.