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mission in his last conversation with them on earth. And what was that commission ? To preach the Gospel, and to baptize all nations: To preach the doctrine of Christ, and to admit into the Church of Christ. By the kingdom of heaven, the keys of which were to be given to St. Peter, was meant the Gospel and the Church of Christ.* In his final commission to the Apostles, Christ did not commit the charge of preaching and baptizing to any one Apostle above the rest, but to all. St. Peter had in
this charge no pre-eminence or superior authority. * He was not the foundation, on which the Church was to be built, but a part of it. He was not petra, but Petrus.
That St. Peter was not the rock, on which Christ said he would build his Church, is, I think, evident from the change of terms in the words of our Savi
“ Thou art Petrus (Peter) and on this petra (rock) I will build my Church.” If our Saviour had meant that St. Peter should be the rock, on which he would build his Church, the same term might have been repeated : “ Thou art Petrus, and on this petrus I will build my Church.” For petrus, like its corres
* The different meanings of Caldela Twv ougavwy are thus enumerated by Schleusner, Lex. Nov. Test. a. tempus adventus Christi in his terris ; B. omnis salus et felicitas per Christum hominibus parta; y. futura Christianorum felicitas ; d. religio Christidna s. cætus, societas Christianorum, in his terris; s. imperium spirituale et invisibile, quo Christus cætum sectatorum suorum in his terris tuetur et anget, suamque doctrinum indies magis magisque propagat; n propagatio religionis Christian; 9. regnum Christi terrenum.
ponding Syriack term, sometimes signifies a rock as well as a stone. But the word is changed; and therefore we may conclude, that the second term was not meant to convey the same meaning, as the first.' It has a relative meaning, no doubt. Simon was with great propriety called Petrus for his confession of that doctrine, on which Christ was to build bis Church. “ Thou art Peter, and I have so called
because on the doctrine, which you have now confessed, I will build my Church as on a rock.” The solidity of a Rock is an emblem of the eternal stability of the Gospel and its covenant. The Gospel is an everlasting Gospel.” The covenant of grace is an “everlasting covenant.” Heaven and earth shall pass away, but “ the words of Christ shall not pass away."
The Church of Christ is one thing, the foundation of the Church, another; and the Rock, on which it is founded, another. The foundation of the Church is the testimony of the Prophets and Apostles; and Christ, the subject of this testimony, is the Rock on which it is founded. But the foundation and the Rock are convertible terms; and therefore Christ may be called the foundation; and the testimony of the Apostles, the rock on which the Church is built. But, individually, Christ, and not St. Peter, is the rock of the Christian Church.
The Christian Church, in a general sense, is a 80ciety of believers in Christ. All members of Christ's Church are believers in Christ, but all believers in Christ are not members of Christ's Church.* The
* To believe in Christ is not, of itself, sufficient to constitute
Apostles and Prophets are the foundation of a Christian's faith. (Eph. ii. 20.) Christ also is the foundation: " for other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” The Apostles and Prophets are the foundation; and Christ is the ground, the rock, on which the foundation is laid.
Christ is our spiritual rock.* “ Other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” The words immediately preceding this passage are remarkable, as applying to the Church of Rome, as well as of Corinth. According to the grace of God, which is given unto me, as a wise master-builder, I have laid the foundation." There was a Church at Rome some years before St. Paul went there,' consisting, probably, of his converts, with whom he must have had intercourse by letters before the receipt of the Epistle, which is in our possession. He writes to them with a warmth and interest, and anxiety to see them, which are very suitable to a church of his own foundation. " To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints : Grace to you and peace
from God our Father, and
any one a member of Christ's Chorch. He must be admitted to the Church according to Christ's own will and ordinance; that is, he must believe and be baptized; he must be baptized not only with the Spirit, but with water; he must be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; he must be baptized by persons duly authorized. Christ gave his first commission, not to all the disciples, but to the Apostles alone. * I Cor. x. 4.
+ 1 Cor. iji. U.
you all, that
the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for
faith is spoken of throughout the whole word. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the Gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; making request, (if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God) to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; that is, that I may be comforted together with you, by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that often- · times I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles."*
The Church of Rome was established as a Christia an society, during St. Paul's first visit, by the communication of the spiritual gift, which he intimates. It is evident that no other of the Apostles had any share in this first establishment, but St. Paul, whatever may be said of St. Peter's episcopacy of twentyfive years. For the Epistle to the Romans appears to, have been written not long before the Apostle's fiøst visit. And at that time his language to them certainly implies that no other Apostle had been there before him. “ Yea, so have I strived to preach the Gospel, not where Christ was named lest I should build upon another man's foundation." (Ch. xv. 20.) There
* Rom. i, 7-13,
is no evidence in the Acts of the Apostles, or in St. Peter's own epistles, that he ever was at Rome; and some learned men, and among them Salmasius, maintain that St. Peter never was there. It is more probable, however, that he never was at Rome till the
year of his martyrdom.* The first appointment of a Bishop of Rome seems to have been an act of the joint authority of St. Paul and St. Peter. For so Irenæus the disciple of Polycarp, asserts: Θεμελιωσαντες ουν και οικοδομησαντες οι μακαριοι Αποστολοι την εκκλησιαν Λινω την της επισκοπής λειτουργιας ενεχειρησαν, the blessed Apostles having founded and built the church of Rome, committed the charge of its government to Linus. He mentions the two Apostles by name in another place : TOU Πετρου και του Παυλου εν Ρωμη ευαγγελιζόμενων και θεμελιοντων την εκκλησιαν.t
But this establishment of the Church of Rome was long subsequent to that of the Church of Jerusalem. That the words of our Saviour were not meant to convey any supremacy to St. Peter, is evident not only from St. Paul's not acknowledging such supremacy in his communication with his Roman converts, but also from the steps, which were taken by the Apostles in the establishment of the Christian Church. The first Christian Church was not at Rome but at Jerusalem; the president of the
* See the Testimonia de prima Ecclesice Romane fundatione, in the preceding Advertisement, p. 312; and Stillingfleet's Orig. Br. p. 48.
+ Pearson de Annis priorum Romæ Episcoporum. Cap. 11.