HAIL & FIRE - a resource for Reformed and Gospel Theology in the works, exhortations, prayers, and apologetics of those who have maintained the Gospel and expounded upon the Scripture as the Eternal Word of God and the sole authority in Christian doctrine.
HAIL & FIRE - a resource for Reformed and Gospel Theology in the works, exhortations, prayers, and apologetics of those who have maintained the Gospel and expounded upon the Scripture as the Eternal Word of God and the sole authority in Christian doctrine.

NOTE: Hail & Fire does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed by the author of this work. "Test all things: hold fast that which is good." 1 Thes 5:21.

HOME > Library > Books > A Treatise on the Pope's Supremacy by Isaac Barrow

A Treatise on the Pope's Supremacy

by Isaac Barrow

1630 - 1677

Originally published: 1670

1834 Edition

Hail & Fire REPRINTS


Summary of a Treatise of the Pope's Supremacy

The Introduction

The Supposition upon which the Pope's Supremacy is grounded

I. That St. Peter had a Primacy over the Apostles

II. That St. Peter's Primacy, with its Rights and Prerogatives, was not a personal, but derivable to his Successors

III. That St. Peter was Bishop of Rome

IV. That St. Peter did continue Bishop of Rome after his Translation, and was so at his Decease

V. That the Bishop of Rome (according to God's Institution, and by original Right derived thence) should have an Universal Supremecy and Jurisdiction over the Christian Church

VI. That in Fact the Roman Bishops continually from St. Peter's Time have enjoyed and exercised this Sovereign Power

VII. That this Power is indefectible and unalterable


Matthew 10:2

Now the names of the twelve Apostles were these;
The first, Simon, who is called Peter.

Among the modern controversies there is scarce any of greater consequence than that about universal supremacy, which the Bishop of Rome claimeth over the Christian Church; the assertion whereof on his side dependeth upon divers suppositions; namely these,

I. That St. Peter, by our Lord's appointment, had a primacy, implying a sovereignty of authority and jurisdiction over the Apostles.

II. That the rights and prerogatives of this sovereignty were not personal, hit derivable, and transmitted" to successors.

III. That St. Peter ivas Bishop of Rome.

IV. That St. Peter did continue Bishop of Rome after his translation, and was so at his decease.

V. That hence of right to the bishops of Rome, as St. Peter's successors, an universal jurisdiction over the whole Church of Christ doth appertain.

VI. That in fact the said bishops continually from St. Peter's time have enjoyed and exercised this power.

VII. That this power is indefectible; such as by no means can be forfeited or fail. In order to the discussion and resolution of the first point, I shall treat upon the primacy of St. Peter; endeavouring to show what primacy he was capable of, or might enjoy; what he could not pretend to, nor did possess.


The first Supposition of those who claim Universal Jurisdiction to the Pope over the Church, is, That St. Peter had a Primacy over the Apostles.

In order to the resolution of this point, we may consider, that there are several kinds of primacy, which may belong to a person in respect of others; for there are,

1. A primacy of worth, or personal excellency.

2. A primacy of reputation and esteem.

3. A primacy of order, or bare dignity and precedence.

4. A primacy of power or jurisdiction.

To each of these what title St. Peter might have, let us in order examine.

I. As for the first of these, (a primacy of worth, or merit, as some of the ancients call it,) we may well grant it to St. Peter, admitting that probably he did exceed the rest of his brethren in personal endowments and capacities, (both natural and moral,) qualifying him for the discharge of the apostolical office in an eminent manner: particularly that in quickness of apprehension, in boldness of spirit, in readiness of speech, in charity to our Lord, and zeal for his service, in resolution, activity, and industry he was transcendent, may seem to appear by the tenor of the evangelical and apostolical histories; in the which we may observe him upon all occasions ready to speak first, and to make himself the mouth, as the Fathers speak, of the Apostles, in all deliberations nimble at propounding his advice, in all undertakings forward to make the onset; being 'pantachou lepmos,' always hot and eager, always prompt and vigorous, as St. Chrysostom often affirmeth concerning him: [1] these things are apparent in his demeanour, and it may not be amiss to set down. some instances.

When our Lord observing the different apprehensions men had concerning him, asked the Apostles, But whom say ye that I am? up starteth he, he skippeth forth, and preventeth the rest, crying Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God. (John 1. 42, 46. Matt. 26:63. John 1:50. Matt 14:33.) [2] The other Apostles were not ignorant of the point; for they at their conversion did take Jesus for the Messias, which (even according to the common notion of the Jews) did imply his being the Son of God; Nathanael (that is, St. Bartholomew, as is supposed) had in terms confessed it; the whole company, upon seeing our Lord walk on the sea, had avowed it; St. Peter before that in the name of them all had said, We have believed, and have known, that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. They therefore had the same faith, but he, from a special alacrity of spirit, and expedition in utterance, was more forward to declare it; [3] He was more hot, saith St. Gregory Nazianzen, than the rest at acknowledging Christ.

When our Saviour walked on the sea, who but he had the faith and the courage to venture on the waters towards him? (Matt. 14:28)

When our Lord was apprehended by the soldiers, presently up was his spirit, and out went his sword in defence of him. (John 18:10)

When our Lord predicted, that upon his coming into trouble all the disciples would be offended, and desert him, he was ready to say, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended; and, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee (Matt. 26:33, 35. John 13:37): such was his natural courage and confidence.

When our Lord was discoursing about his passion, he suddenly must be advising in the case (Matt. 16:22.), and urging him to spare himself: upon which St. Chrysostom biddeth us to consider, [4] not that his answer was unadvisedd, but that it came from a genuine and fervent affection.

And at the transfiguration, he fell to proposing about making an abode there, not knowing what he said (Mark. 9:6. Luke 9:33.); so brisk was he in imagination and speech.

Upon the good woman's report that our Lord was risen from the dead, he first ran to the sepulchre (Luke 24:12, 34. John 20:3.), and so (as St. Paul implieth) did obtain the first sight of our Lord after the resurrection; [5] such was his zeal and activity upon all occasions.

At the consultation about supplying the place of Judas, he rose up, (Acts 1:15) proposed and pressed the matter. At the convention of the Apostles and elders about resolving the debate (Acts 15:7) concerning observance of Mosaical institutions, he first rose up and declared his sense.

In the promulgation of the Gospel, and defence thereof before the Jewish rulers, he did assume the conduct, and constantly took upon him to be the speaker; the rest standing by him, implying assent, and ready to avow his word; Peter, saith St. Luke, standing with the rest, lift up his voice, and said unto them; so did they utter a common voice, saith St. Chrysostom, and he was the mouth of all.

[6] That in affection to our Lord, and zeal for his service, St. Peter had some advantage over the rest, that question, Simon Peter, Dost thow love me more than these? may seem to imply: (although the words 'pleion touton' may bear other interpretations, whereby the seeming invidiousness of the question, according to that sense, will be removed.) However, that he had a singular zeal for promoting our Lord's service, and propagation of the Gospel, therein outshining the rest, seemeth manifest in the history, and may be inferred from the peculiar regard our Lord apparently did show to him.

Upon these premises we may well admit that St. Peter had a primacy of worth; or that in Personal accomplishments he was most eminent among the twelve Apostles; (although afterward there did spring up one, who hardly in any of these respects would yield to him; who could confidently say, that lie did not come behind the very chief Apostles; and of whom St. Ambrose saith, [7] Neither was Paul inferior to Peter - being well to be compared even with the first, and second to none: and St. Chrysostom, [8] For what was greater than Peter, and what equal to Paul?) This is the primacy which Eusebius attributeth to him, when he calleth him [9] the excellent and great Apostle, who for his virtue was the prolocutor of all the rest.

II. As to a primacy of repute; which St. Paul meaneth, when he speaketh of the 'oi doxontes', those which had a special reputation, of those who seemed to be pillars (Gal. 2:2, 6, 9) of the 'huper lian Apostoloi,' the supereminent Apostles; (2 Cor. 11:5, 12:11) this advantage cannot be refused him; being a necessary consequent of those eminent qualities resplendent in him, and of the illustrious performances achieved by him, beyond the rest.

This may be inferred from that advantageous renown which he hath had propagated from the beginning to all posterity.

This at least those elogies of the Fathers (styling him the chief, prince, head of the Apostles) do signify. (Ath. Disp. cont. Arium, p. 121.)

This also may be collected from his being so constantly ranked in the first place, betore the rest of his brethren.

III. As to a primacy of order, or bare dignity, importing that commonly, in all meetings and proceedings, the other Apostles did yield him the precedence, the 'orongoria', or privilege of speaking first, (whether in propounding matters for debate, or in delivering his advice,) in the conduct and moderation of affairs; that this was stated on him, may be questioned; for that this were a kind of womanish privilege; and that it doth not seem to befit the gravity of such persons, or their condition and circumstances, to stand upon ceremonies of respect; for that also our Lord's rules do seem to exclude all semblance of ambition, all kinds of inequality and distance between his Apostles; for that this practice doth not seem constantly and thoroughly to agree to his being endowed with this advantage; especially seeing all that practice which favoureth it may fairly be assigned to other causes; for that also the Father's authority (if that be objected, as a main argument of such a primacy) in points of this nature, not bordering on essentials of faith, is of no great strength; they in such cases speaking out of their own ingeny and conjecture; and commonly indulging their imaginations no less freely than other men.

But yet this primacy may be granted, as probahle upon divers accounts of use and convenience; it might be useful to preserve order, and to promote expedition; or to prevent confusion, distraction, and dilatory obstruction in the management of things; yea, to maintain concord, and to exclude that ambition or affectation to be foremost, which is atural to men.

For seeing all could not go, speak, or act first, all could not guide affairs, it was expedient that one should be ready to undertake it, knowing his cue; [10] See (saith St. Chrysostom, noting on Acts 2:14 where St. Peter speaketh for the rest) the concord of the Apostles; they yield unto him the speech, for they could not all speak: and, [11] One, saith St. Jerome, is chosen among the twelve, that a head being appointed, an occasion of schism might be removed.

St. Cyprian (Cyp. Ep. 73. de Unit. Eccl. &c.) hath a reason for it somewhat more subtle and mystical, supposing our Lord did confer on him a preference of this kind to his brethren, (who otherwise in power and authority were equal to him,) that he might intimate and recommend unity to us; and the other African doctors (Optatus and St. Austin) do commonly harp on the same notion: I can discern little solidity in this conceit, and as little harm. (In typo unitatis - Aug. de Bapt. iii. 17.)

However, supposing this primacy, (at least in respect to the Fathers, who generally seem to countenance it,) divers probable reasons may be assigned, why it should especially be conferred on St. Peter. [12]

1. It is probable, that St. Peter was first in standing among the Apostles; I mean not that he was the first disciple, or first converted to faith in Christ; but first called to the apostolical office; [13] or first nominated by our Lord, when out of all his disciples he chose twelve, and called them Apostles; Simon, whom he called Peter, and Andrew his brother. He was one of the first believers at large; he was perhaps the first that distinctly believed our Lord's divinity; he was probably the very first Apostle (Luke 6:14. Matt. 4:18. Mark 1:16. Luke 5:3); [14] as the fittest person in our Lord's eye for that employment. [15] He, saith St. Hilary, did first believe, and is the prince (or first man) of the apostleship. He, saith St. Cyprian, was the first whom the Lord chose. [16] He, saith St. Basil, was by judgment preferred before all the disciples. [17] He by other ancients is called [18] the first fruits of the Apostles. And according to this sense St. Jerome, I suppose, doth call him and his brother Andrew, principes Apostolorum, (Hier. in Jovin. l.) that is, (according to frequent usage of the word princeps in Latin,) the first of the Apostles.

So that, as in divers churches, (perhaps when time was, in all,) anciently, priority in ordination did ground a right to precedence, as it is in ours, with some exception; so might St. Peter, upon this account of being first ordained Apostle, obtain such a primacy.

2. St. Peter also might be the first in age; which among persons otherwise equal is a fair ground of preference; for he was a married man; and that before he was called, as is intimated in St. Luke; and may be inferred from hence, that he would not have married after that he had left all, and devoted himself to follow our Lord. Upon which account of age St. Jerome did suppose that he was preferred before the beloved disciple; [19] Why, saith he, was not St. John elected, being a bachelor? it was deferred to age, because Peter was elder, that a youth, and almost a boy, might not be preferred before men of good age.

I know that Epiphanius [20] affirmeth St. Andrew to have been the elder brother; but it doth not appear whether he saith it from conjecture, or upon any other ground. And his authority, although we should suppose it bottomed on tradition, is not great; tradition itself in such matters being, very slippery, and often one tradition crossing another.

3. The most eminent qualifications of St. Peter (such as we before described) might procure to him this advantage.

They might breed in him an honest confidence, pushing him forward on all occasions to assume the former place, and thence by custom to possess it; for qui sibi fidit, dux regjt examen (Hor. Ep. i. 19.) - it being in all action, as in walking, where he that naturally is most vigorous and active doth go before the rest.

They might induce others to a voluntary concession thereof [21]; for to those who indisputably do excel in good qualities or abilities, honest and meek persons easily will yield precedence, especially on occasions of public concernment; wherein it is expedient, that the best qualified persons should be first seen.

They probably might also move our Lord himself to settle, or at least to insinuate this order; assigning the first place to him, whom he knew most willing to serve him, and most able to lead on the rest in his service.

It is indeed observable, that upon all occasions our Lord signified a particular respect to him, before the rest of his colleagues; for to him more frequently than to any of them he directed his discourse; unto him, by a kind of anticipation, he granted or promised those gifts and privileges which he meant to confer on them all; him he did assume as spectator and witness of his glorious transfiguration; him he picked out as companion and attendant on him in his grievous agony; his feet he first washed; to him he did first discover himself after his resurrection (Matt. 16:16., 17:1, 26:37. John 21:6.), (as St.Paul implieth,) (1 Cor. 15:5. John 21.) and with him then he did entertain most discourse, in especial manner recommending to him the pastoral care of his Church: by which manner of proceeding our Lord may seem to have constituted St. Peter the first in order among the Apostles, or sufficiently to have hinted his mind for their direction, admonishing them by his example to render unto him a special deference.

4. The Fathers commonly do attribute his priority to the merit of his faith and confession, wherein he did outstrip his brethren, [22] He obtained super eminent glory by the confession of his blessed faith, saith St. Hilary (Hil. in Mat. Can. xiv. p. 566.). [23] Because he alone of all the rest professeth his love, (John xxi.) therefore he is preferred above all, saith St. Ambrose.

5. Constantly in all the catalogues of the Apostles St. Peter's name is set in the front; and when actions are reported, in which he was concerned jointly with others, he is usually mentioned first, which seemeth not done without careful design, or special reason (Matt 10:2. Mark 3:17. Luke 6:14. Acts 1:13. John 21:2).

Upon such grounds it may be reasonable to allow St. Peter a primacy of order; such a one as the ringleader hath in a dance, as the primipilar centurion had in the legion, or the prince of the senate had there, in the Roman state; at least, as among earls, baronets, &.c. and others co-ordinate in degree, yet one hath a precedence of the rest.

IV. As to a primacy, importing superiority in power, command, or jurisdiction; this by the Roman party is asserted to St. Peter, but we have great reason to deny it, upon the following considerations.

1. For such a power (being of so great importance) it was needful that a commission from God, its founder, should be granted in downright and perspicuous terms; that no man concerned in duty grounded thereon, might have any doubt of it, or excuse for boggling at it; [24] it was necessary, not only for the Apostles, to bind and warrant their obedience, but also for us, because it is made the sole foundation of a like duty incumbent on us; which we cannot heartily discharge without being assured of our obligation thereto, by clear revelation, or promulgation of God's will in the holy Scripture; for it was of old a current, and ever will be a true rule, which St. Austin in one case thus expresseth, [25] I do believe that also on this side there would lie most clear authority of the Divine oracles, if a man could not be ignorant of it without damage of his salvation; and Lactantius thus, [26] Those things can have no foundation, or firmness, which are not sustained by any oracle of God's word.

But apparently no such commission is extant in Scripture; the allegations for it being, as we shall hereafter show, no­wise clear, nor probably expressive of any such authority granted by God; but, on the contrary, divers clearer testi­monies are producible derogating from it.

2. If so illustrious an office was instituted by our Saviour, it is strange that no where in the evangelical or apostolical history (wherein divers acts and passages of smaller moment are recorded) there should be any express mention of that institution; there being not only much reason for such a report, but many pat occasions for it: the time when St. Peter was vested with that authority; the manner and circumstances of his instalment therein; the nature, rules, and limits of such an office, had surely well deserved to have been noted, among other occurrences relating to our faith and discipline, by the holy Evangelists; no one of them, in all probability, could have forborne punctually to relate a matter of so great consequence, as the settlement of a monarch in God's Church, and a sovereign of the apostolical college; (from whom so eminent authority was to be derived to all posterity, for compliance wherewith the whole Church, for ever must be accountable;) particularly it is not credible that St. Luke should quite slip over so notable a passage, who had, as he telleth us, attained a perfect understanding of all things, and had undertaken to write in order the things that were surely believed among Christians in his time (Luke 1:1); of which things, this, if any, was one of the most considerable.

3. The time of his receiving institution to such authority can hardly be assigned. For was it when he was constituted by our Lord an Apostle? (Matt 10:1) Then indeed probably he began to obtain all the primacy and pre-eminence he ever had: but no such power doth appear then conferred on him, or at any time in our Saviour's life; at least, if it was, it was so covertly and indiscernibly, that both he himself and all the Apostles must be ignorant thereof, who a little before our Lord's passion did more than once earnestly contest about superiority. And it is observable, that whereas our Lord before his passion did carefully teach and press on the Apostles the chief duties which they were to observe in their behaviour toward each other; the maintenance of peace, of charity, of unity, of humility toward one another; yet of paying due respect and obedience to this superior he said nothing to them. (Mark 9:50. John 13:34. 15:12. 17:21. 13:14.)

The collation of that power could not well be at any time, before the celebration of our Lord's Supper, because before that time St. Peter was scarce an ecclesiastical person; at least he was no priest, as the convention of Trent under a curse doth require us to believe [27]; for it were strange, that an unconsecrated person, or one who was not so much as a priest, should be endowed with so much spiritual power.

After his resurrection, our Lord did give divers common instructions, orders, and commissions to his Apostles, but it doth not appear that he did make any peculiar grant to St. Peter; for as to the pretence of such an one drawn out of the appendix to St. John's Gospel, or grounded on the words 'Pasce oves', we shall afterward declare that to be invalid (Acts 1:2. John 20:21. Matt. 28:19. Luke 24:49. Mark 16:15).

4. If St. Peter had been instituted sovereign of the apostolical senate, his office and state had been in nature and kind very distinct from the common office of the other Apostles; as the office of a king from the office of any subject; as an ordinary, standing, perpetual, successive office, from one that is only extraordinary, transitory, temporary, personal, and incommunicable; (to speak according to distinctions now in use, and applied to this case; whence probably, as it was expedient to be, it would have been signified by some distinct name, or title, characterizing it, and distinguishing it from others; as that of Arch-apostle, Arch-pastor, High Priest, Sovereign Pontiff, Pope, his Holiness, the Vicar of Christ, or the like; whereby it might have appeared that there was such an officer, what the nature of his office was, what specialty of respect and obedience was due to him: but no such name or title (upon any occasion) was assumed by him, or was by the rest attributed to him, or in history is recorded concerning him; the name of an Apostle being all that he took on him, or by others was given to him.

5. There was indeed no office above that of an Apostle known to the Apostles, or to the primitive Church; this, saith St. Chrysostom, was [28] "the greatest authority, and the top of authorities; there was, saith he, none before an Apostle, none superior, none equal to him: this he asserteth of all the Apostles, this he particularly applieth to St. Paul; this he; demonstrateth from St. Paul himself, who purposely enumerating the chief officers instituted by God in his Church, doth place Apostles in the highest rank; Our Lord, saith St. Paul, gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers (Eph. 4:11.); and God hath set some in his Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers; (1 Cor. 12:28.) 'o proton Apostolos'; why not first a pope, an universal pastor, an oecumenical judge, a vicar of Christ, a head of the Catholic Church? Could St. Paul be so ignorant, could he be so negligent or so envious, as to pass by, without any distinction, the supreme officer, if such an one then had been? As put case, that one should undertake to recite the officers in any state, or republic, would he not do strangely, if he should pretermit the king, the duke, the consul, the major thereof? Would not any one, confiding in the skill, diligence, and integrity of such a relator, be induced from such an omission to believe there was no such officer there? St. Chrysostom therefore did hence very rationally infer, that the apostolical office was the supreme in the Christian state, having no other superior to it.

St. Peter therefore was no more than an Apostle; and as such he could have no command over those who were in the same highest rank co-ordinate to him, and who as Apostles could not be subject to any.

6. Our Lord himself, at several times, declared against this kind of primacy, instituting equality among his Apostles, prohibiting them to affect, to seek, to assume, or admit a superiority of power one above another.

There was (saith St. Luke, among the twelve, at the participation of the holy supper) a strife among them, who of them should be accounted the greatest, or who had the best pretence to superiority: this strife our Lord presently did check and quash; but how? not by telling them, that he already had decided the case in appointing them a superior, but rather by assuring them, that he did intend none such to be; that he would have no monarchy, no exercise of any dominion or authority by one among them over the the rest; but that notwithstanding any advantages one might have before the other, (as [29] greater in gifts, or as preceding in any respect,) they should be one as another, all humbly condescending to one another, each being ready to yield help and service to one another: The kings, said he, of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority over them are called benefactors; but ye shall not be so; but he that is greater among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is leader, as he that doth minister; that is, whatever privilege any of you obtaineth, let it not be employed in way of command, but rather of compliance and subserviency, as occasion shall require; let him not pretend to be a superior, but rather behave himself as an inferior: thus our Lord did smother the debate, by removing from among them whatever greatness any of them did affect or pretend to; forbidding that any of them should 'kurieuein,' or 'exosialein', exercise any dominion or authority over the rest, as worldly princes did over their subjects.

Again, upon another occasion, (as the circumstances of the place do imply,) when two of the Apostles (of special worth and consideration with our Lord, St. James and St. John, the sons of Zebedee) did affect a pre-eminence over the rest, requesting of our Lord, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory, (or in thy kingdom, as St. Matthew hath it; that is, in that new state which they conceived our Lord was ready to introduce;) which request doth not seem to import any great matter of authority; nor probably did they desire so much, as our adversaries do give to St. Peter; yet our Lord doth not only reject their suit, but generally declareth, that none of them were capable of such a preferment in his kingdom; which therein differed from worldly dominion, because in it there was no room for such an ambition; especially in that state of things wherein the Apostles were to be.placed; which was a state of undergoing persecutions, not of enjoying dignity, or exercising command; all the preferment which they reasonably could aspire to being to be dispensed in the future state, (whereof they were not aware,) according to God's preparation, in correspondence to the patience and industry any of them should exert in God's service; (upon which account St. Chrysostom saith,) [30] it was a clear case, that St. Paul should obtain the preference.

It was indeed (as our Lord intimateth) incongruous for those who had forsaken all things for Christ, who had embraced a condition of disgrace, who were designed by self-denial, humility, neglect of temporal grandeur, wealth, and honour, by undergoing persecution, and undertaking conformity to our Lord, (being baptized with the baptism with which he was baptized,) to propagate the faith of a crucified Master, to seek or take on them authoritative dignity; [31] for among them there could not well be any need of commanding or being commanded; it was more fit, that all of them should conspire to help and serve one another, in promoting the common design and service of their Lord, with mutual condescension and compliance; which was the best way of recommending themselves to his acceptance, and obtaining from him answerable reward. Such was the drift of our Lord's discourse; whereunto (as in the other case) he did annex the prohibition of exercising dominion; Ye know, saith he, that the princes of nations exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them: but it shall not be so among you; but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be first among you, let him beyour servant (Matt. 20:25-27.); 'Hos ean thele,' whoever among you hath a mind, to special grandeur and pre-eminence, let him understand, that there is none other to be attained, beside that which resulteth from the humble performance of charitable offices to his brethren; the which whoever shall best discharge, he alone will become greatest and highest in the eye of God.

Again, at another time, the Apostles dreaming of a secular kingdom to be erected by our Lord, disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest; and for satisfaction presumed to inquire of our Lord about it; when, as they surely were very ignorant of St. Peter's being their head, so there was a fair occasion as could be of our Lord's instructing them in that point, and enjoining their duty towards him; but he did not so, but rather taught him, together with the rest, not to pretend to any such thing, as preferment above the rest; He sitting down, called the twelve, and said unto them, If any one desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. How could he (considering the occasion and circumstances of that speech) in plainer terms establish equality, or discountenance any claim to superiority among them? Had St. Peter then advanced such a plea, as they now affirm of right belonging to him, would he not thereby have depressed and debased, himself to the lowest degree? (Mark 9:34. Luke 9:46. Matt. 18:1)

To impress this rule, our Lord [32] then calling a little child, did set him in the midst of them, telling them, that except they were converted, (from such ambitious pretences,) and became like little children, (wholly void of such conceits,) they could not enter into the kingdom of heaven; that is, could not in effect be so much as ordinary good Christians: adjoining, that whosoever should humble himself as did that little child, (not affecting or assuming more than such an innocent did,) should be greatest in the kingdom of heaven; in real worth and in the favour of God, transcending the rest; so that St. Peter claiming superiority to himself, would have forfeited any title to eminency among Christians.

Again, as to the power which is now ascribed to St. Peter by the party of his pretended successors, we may argue from another place; where our Saviour prohibiting his disciples to resemble the Jewish Scribes and Pharisees in their ambitious desires and practices, their affectations of pre-eminence, their assuming places and titles importing difference of rank and authority, he saith, But be ye not called Rabbi: for there is one Master (one Guide, or Governor) of you, even Christ; but ye are brethren (Matt. 23:8). How more pregnantly could he have declared the nature of his constitution, and the relation of Christians one to another established therein, to exclude such differences of power, whereby one doth in way of domination impose his opinion or his will on others!

Ye are all fellow-scholars, fellow-servants, and fellow-children of God; it therefore doth not become you to be anywise imperious over one another; but all of you humbly and lovingly to conspire in learning and observing the precepts of your common Lord; the doing which is backed with a promise, and a threat suitable to the purpose; He that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that will abase himself shall be exalted; the which sentences are to be interpreted according to the intent of the rules foregoing.

If it be said, that such discourse doth impugn all ecclesiastical jurisdiction, I answer, that indeed thereby is removed all such haughty and harsh rule, which some have exercised over Christians; that 'authentia,' (arbitrary power;) that 'exosia aneuthunos', (absolute, uncontrollable authority;) that 'turanniche pronomia,' (tyrannical prerogative,) of which the Fathers complain; that 'katakurieuein ton kleron,' (domineering over their charges,) which St. Peter forbiddeth. [33] We, saith St. Chrysostom, were designed to teach the word, not to exercise empire or absolute sovereignty; we do bear the rank of advisers, exhorting to duty. (Chrys. in 1 Tim. 3:1. in Eph. Or. 11. Isid. Pel. Ep. iv. 219. ii. 125. Greg. Naz. Or. 28. 1 Pet. 5:3.)

A bishop, saith St. Jerome, differeth from a king, in that a bishop presideth over those that are willing, the king against their will; [34] (that is, the bishop's governance should be so gentle and easy, that men hardly can be unwilling to comply with it; but should obey, as St. Peter exhorteth, (not constraint, but of their own accord;) and, [35] Let, saith he, the bishops be content with their honour; let them know themselves to be fathers, not lords; they should be loved, not feared.

And, [36] Thou (saith St. Bernard to Pope Eugenius) dost superintend, the name of Bishop signifying to thee not dominion, but duty.

At least those precepts of our Lord do exclude that power which is ascribed to St. Peter over the Apostles themselves, the which indeed is greater than in likelihood any Pharisee did ever affect; yea in many respects doth exceed any domination which hath been claimed or usurped by the most absolute monarch upon earth; for the power of St. Peter in their opinion was the same which now the Roman bishop doth challenge to himself over the pastors and people of God's Church, by virtue of succession to him, (St. Peter's power being the base of the papal, and therefore not narrower than its superstructure;) but what domination comparable to that hath ever been used in the world?

What emperor did ever pretend to a rule so wide in extent, (in regard either to persons or matters,) or so absolute in effect?

Who ever, beside his Holiness, did usurp a command, not only over the external actions, but the most inward cogitations of all mankind; subjecting the very minds and consciences of men to his dictates, his laws, his censures?

Who ever thundered curses and damnations on all those who should presume to dissent from his opinion, or to contest his pleasure?

Who ever claimed more absolute power, in making, abolishing, suspending laws, or imposing upon men what he pleased, under obligation of conscience, and upon extremest penalties?

What prince ever used a style more imperious, than is that which is usual in the papal bulls; [37] Let it be lawful for no man whatever to infringe this expression of our will and command, or to go against it with bold rashness.

What Domitian more commonly did admit the appellation of Lord, than doth the Pope? [38] Our most Holy Lord, is the ordinary style attributed to him by the Fathers of Trent, as if they were his slaves, and intended to enslave all Christendom to him.

Who ever did exempt his clients and dependents in all nations from subjection to civil laws, from undergoing common burdens and taxes, from being judged or punished for their misdemeanours and crimes?

Who ever claimed a power to dispose of all things one way or other, either directly or indirectly? to dispose even of kingdoms, to judge sovereign princes, and to condemn them, to depose them from their authority, absolving their subjects from all allegiance to them, and exposing their kingdoms to rapine?

To whom but a pope were ever ascribed prerogatives like those of judging all men, and himself being liable to no judgment, no account, no reproof or blame: so that, as a papal canon assureth us, let a pope be so bad, as by his negligence and maleadministration to carry with him innumerable people to hell, yet no mortal man whatever must presume here to reprove his faults; because he being to judge all men, is himself to be judged of no man, except he be catched swerving from the faith; which is a case they will hardly suffer a man to suppose possible (Si papa suae, &app;c. Grat. Dist. xl. cap. 6.).

To whom but to a pope was such power attributed by his followers, and admitted by himself, that he could hear those words applying to him, All power is given to thee in heaven and in earth (Concil. Lat.sub Leone x. Sess. xi. p 133. (in Or. Archiep. Patrac.))?

[39] Such power the popes are wont to challenge, and when occasion serveth do not fail to execute, as successors of St. Peter; to whom therefore consequently they ascribe it: and sometimes in express terms; as in that brave apostrophe of Pope Gregory VII, (the spirit of which Pope hath possessed his successors generally;) [40] Go to, therefore, (said he, directing his speech to St. Peter and St. Paul,) most holy princes of the Apostles, and what I have said confirm by your authority; that now at length all men may understand, whether ye can bind and loose: that also ye can take away and give on earth, empires, kingdoms, and whatever mortal men can have.

Now if the assuming and exercising such powers be not that 'katakurieuein', and 'katexosiadzein,' that exalting one's self, that being called rabbi, father, master, which our Lord prohibiteth, what is so? what then can those words signify? what could our Lord mean?

The authority therefore which they assign to St. Peter, and assume to themselves from him, is voided by those declarations and precepts of our Lord; the which it can hardly be well conceived that our Lord would have proposed, if he had designed to constitute St. Peter in such a supremacy over his disciples and Church.

7. Surveying particulars, we shall not find any peculiar administration committed to St. Peter, nor any privilege conferred on him, which was not also granted to the other Apostles.

Was St. Peter an ambassador, a steward, a minister, a vicar, (if you please,) or surrogate of Christ? so were they, by no less immediate and express warrant than he; for, As the Father sent me, so also I send you, said our Lord presently before his departure; by those words, as St. Cyprian remarketh, [41] granting an equal power to all the Apostles: and, We, saith St. Paul, are ambassadors for Christ; we pray you in Christ's stead, be reconciled to God; and, So let a man esteem us, as the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God (2 Cor. 5;20. 1 Cor. 4:1. 2 Cor. 6:4.).

Was St. Peter a rock, on which the Church was to be founded? (Matt.16:18.) Be it so; but no less were they all; for the wall of Jerusalem, which came down from heaven, had twelve foundations, on which were inscribed the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb; (Rev. 21:10,14.)and, We, saith St. Paul, are all built upon the foundation of the prophets and apostles, Christ himself being the chief corner-stone (Eph. 2:20); whence [42] equally, saith St. Jerome, the strength of the Church is settled upon them.

Was St. Peter an architect of the spiritual house (1 Pet. 2:5.), (as himself calleth the Church?) so were also they; for I, saith St. Paul, as a wise master-builder, have laid the foundation (1 Cor. 3:10.).

Were the keys of the Church (or of the kingdom of heaven) committed to him (Matt. 16:19)? so also were they unto them: they had a power to open and shut it by effectual instruction and persuasion, by dispensation of the sacraments, by exercise of discipline, by exclusion of scandalous and heretical persons; whatever faculty the keys did import, the Apostles did use it in the foundation, guidance, and government of the Church; and did (as the Fathers teach) impart it to those whom they did in their stead constitute to feed and govern the Church.

Had St. Peter a power given him binding and loosing effectually? so had they, immediately granted by our Saviour, in as full manner, and couched in the same terms; If thou bind on earth, it shall be bound in heaven, said our Lord to him; and, Whatsoever things ye shall bind on earth, they shall be bound in heaven, said the same divine mouth to them (Matt. 16:19. 18:18.). [43]

Had he a privilege to remit and retain sins? it was then by virtue of that common grant or promise; Whose soever sins ye remit, they shall be remitted; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained (John 20:23.). Had he power and obligation to feed the sheep of Christ, (all or some?) so had they indefinitely and immediately: so had others by authority derived from them; who were nominated Pastors; who had this charge laid on them: Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood (Eph. 4:11. Acts 20:28.); whom he doth himself exhort (1 Pet. 5:2), Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof: let feeding signify what it can, instruction, or guidance, or governance, or all of them together, (Regio more impera, if you please, as Bellarrnine will have it,) it did appertain to their charge; to teach was a common duty, to lead and to rule were common functions; St. Peter could not, nor would not appropriate it to himself; it is his own exhortation, when he taketh most upon him (2 Pet. 3:2.), Be mindful of the commandment (or precept) of us the Apostles of the Lord and Saviour.

Was his commission universal, or unlimited? so was theirs, by the same immediate authority; for All power (said he to them, when he gave his last charge) is given to me in heaven and in earth; go therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you (Matt. 28:19. Luke 24:47); and, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15. Luke 24:47.).

They, as St. Chrysostom speaketh, [44] were all in common intrusted with the whole world, and had the care of all nations.

Was he furnished with extraordinary gifts, with special graces, with continual directions and assistances for the discharge of the apostolical office? so were they; for the promise was common of sending the Holy Spirit, to lead them into all truth, and clothing them with the power from on high (Luke 24:49. John 16:13-14, 26.); and of endowing them with power to perform all sorts of miraculous works; our Lord before his departure breathed into them and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost (John 20:22. Acts 2:4.); all of them, saith St. Luke, were filled with the Holy Ghost; all of them with confidence and truth could say, It hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us; all of them did abundantly partake of that character which St. Paul respected, when he did say, The signs of an Apostle were wrought among you, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds (Acts 15:28. 2 Cor. 12:12.).

Did St. Peter represent the Church as receiving privileges in its behalf; as the Fathers affirm? [45] so did they, according to the same Fathers; [46] If therefore (saith St. Austin, citing the famous place, Sicut me misit Pater) they did bear the person of the Church, and this was said to them, as if it were said to the Church itself, then the peace of the Church remitteth sins.

What singular prerogative then can be imagined appertaining to St. Peter? what substantial advantage could he pretend to beyond the other Apostles? Nothing surely doth appear; whatever the patrons of his supremacy do claim for him is precariously assumed, without any fair colour of proof; he for it, is beholding, not to any testimony of holy Scripture, but to the invention of Roman fancy; we may well infer with Cardinal Cusanus; [47] We know that Peter did not receive more power from Christ than the other Apostles; for nothing was said to Peter, which was not also said to the others; therefore, addeth he, we rightly say, that all the Apostles were equal to Peter in power.

8. Whereas St. Peter himself did write two Catholic Epistles, there doth not in them appear any intimation, any air or favour of pretence to this arch-apostolical power. It is natural for persons endowed with unquestionable authority, (howsoever otherwise prudent and modest,) to discover a spice thereof in the matter or in the style of their writing; their mind, conscious of such advantage, will suggest an authoritative way of expression; especially when they earnestly exhort, or seriously reprove, in which cases their very authority is a considerable motive to assent or compliance, and strongly doth impress any other arguments; but no critic perusing those Epistles would smell a pope in them. The speech of St. Peter, although pressing his doctrine with considerations of this nature, hath no tang of such authority.

The elders, saith he, which are among you, I exhort, who also am an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed (1 Pet. 5:1.): by such excellent but common advantages of his person and office, he presseth on the clergy his advices.

Had he been what they made him, he might have said, I, the peculiar vicar of Christ, and sovereign of the Apostles, do not only exhort, but require this of you: this language had been very proper, and no less forcible: but nothing like this, nothing of the spirit and majesty of a pope, is seen in his discourse; there is no pagina nostrae voluntatis et mandati, which now is the papal style; when he speaketh highest, it is in the common name of the Apostles, Be mindful, saith he, of the command (that is, of the doctrine and precepts) of us, the Apostles of the Lord and Saviour.

9. In the apostolical history, the proper place of exercising this power, ([48] wherein, as St. Chrysostom saith, we may see the predictions of Christ, which he uttered in the Gospels, reduced to act, and the truth of them, shining in the things themselves,) no footstep thereof doth appear.

We cannot there discern, that St. Peter did assume any extraordinary authority, or that any deference by his brethren was rendered to him, as to their governor or judge. No instance there doth occur of his laying commands on any one Apostle, or exercising any act of jurisdiction upon any one; but rather to the contrary divers passages are observable, which argue, that he pretended to no such thing, and that others did not understand any such thing belonging to him.

His temper indeed and zeal commonly did prompt him to be most forward in speaking and acting upon any emergency for the propagation or maintenance of the Gospel; [49] and the memory of the particular charge which our Lord departing had lately put on him, strongly might instigate him thereto; regard to his special gifts and sufficiency did incline the rest willingly to yield that advantage to him; and perhaps because, upon the considerations before touched, they did allow some preference in order to him; but in other respects, as to the main administration of things, he is but one among the rest, not taking upon him in his speech or behaviour beyond others. All things are transacted by common agreement, and in the name of all concurring; no appeal in cases or difference is made singly to him; no peremptory decision or decree is made by him; no orders are issued out by him alone, or in a special way; in ecclesiastical assemblies he acteth but as one member; in deliberations he doth only propound his opinion, and passeth a single vote; his judgment and practice are sometimes questioned, and he is put to render an account of them: he doth not stand upon his authority, but assigneth reasons to persuade his opinion, and justify his actions; yea sometimes he is moved by the rest, receiving orders and employment from them: [50] these things we may discern by considering the instances which follow.

ln the designation of a new Apostle, to supply the place of Judas, he did indeed suggest the matter, and lay the case before them; he first declared his sense; but the whole company did choose two, and referred the determination of one to lot, or to God's arbitration (Acts 1:15-26. ver. 23.).

At the institution of deacons, the twelve did call the multitude of disciples (Act 6:2.), and directed them to elect the persons; and the proposal being acceptable to them, it was done accordingly; [51] they chose Stephen, &c. whom they set before the apostles, and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.

In that important transaction about the observance of Mosaical institutions, a great stir and debate being started (Acts 15:2), which St. Paul and St. Barnabas by disputation could not appease, what course was then taken? did they appeal to St. Peter, as to the supreme dictator and judge of controversies? Not so; but they sent to the apostles and elders at Jerusalem, to inquire about the question: when those great messengers were arrived there, they were received by the Church, and the apostles, and elders; and having made their report, the apostles and elders did assemble to consider about that matter (Acts 15:2, 4, 6-7). In this assembly, after much debate passed, and that many had freely uttered their sense, St. Peter rose up, with apostolical gravity, declaring what his reason and experience did suggest conducing to a resolution of the point; whereto his words might indeed be much available, grounded, not only upon common reason, but upon special revelation concerning the case; whereupon (Acts 15:13-18.) St. James, alleging that revelation, and backing it with reason drawn from Scripture, with much authority pronounceth his judgment; [52] Therefore, saith he, I judge, (that is, saith St. Chrysostom, I authoritatively say,) that we trouble not them, who from among the Gentiles are turned to God; but that we write unto them, &c. And the result was, that according to the proposal of St. James, it was by general consent determined to send a decretal letter unto the Gentile Christians, containing a canon, or advice directive of their practice in the case; [53] lt then seemed good to (or was decreed by) the apostles and elders, with the whole Church, to send - and the letter ran thus, The apostles, and elders, and brethren, to the brethren of the Gentiles. - Now in all this action, (in this leading precedent for the management of things in ecclesiastical synods and consistories,) where can the sharpest sight descry any mark of distinction or preeminence which St. Peter had in respect to the other Apostles? Did St. Peter there anywise behave himself like his pretended successors upon such occasions? what authority did he claim or use before that assembly, or in it, or after it? did he summon or convocate it? No; they met upon common agreement. Did he preside therein? No; but rather St. James, [54] to whom, (saith St. Chrysostom,) as Bishop of Jerusalem, the government was committed. Did he offer to curb or check any man, or to restrain him from his liberty of discourse there? No; there was much disputation, every man frankly speaking his sense. Did he more than use his freedom of speech becoming an Apostle, in arguing the case and passing his vote? No; for in so exact a relation nothing more doth appear. Did he form the definitions, or pronounce the decree resulting? No; St. James rather did that: for, (as an ancient author saith,) [55] Peter did make an oration, but St. James did enact the law. Was, beside his suffrage in the debate, any singular approbation required from him, or did he by any bull confirm the decrees? No such matter; these were devices of ambition, creeping on and growing up to the pitch where they now are. In short, doth any thing correspondent to papal pretences appear assumed by St. Peter, or deferred to him? If St. Peter was such a man as they make him, how wanting then was he to himself, how did he neglect the right and dignity of his office, in not taking more upon him, upon so illustrious an occasion, the greatest he did ever meet with? How defective also were the Apostolical College, and the whole Church of Jerusalem, in point of duty and decency, yielding no more deference to their sovereign, the vicar of their Lord! Whatever account may be framed of these defailances, the truth is, that St. Peter then did know his own place and duty better than, men do know them now; and the rest as well understood how it became them to demean themselves. St. Chrysostom's reflections on those passages are very good; that indeed then [56] there was no fastuousness in the Church, and the souls of those primitive Christians were clear of vanity; the which dispositions did afterward spring up and grow rankly to the great prejudice of religion, begetting those exorbitant pretences which we now disprove.

Again, when St. Peter, being warned from heaven thereto, did receive Cornelius, a Gentile soldier, unto communion (Acts 10:28. Acts 11:12.); divers good Christians, who were ignorant of the warrantableness of that proceeding, (as others commonly were, and St. Peter himself was, before he was informed by that special revelation,) did not fear 'daixrinesthai oros auton,' to contest with him about it (Acts 11:2. Bellarmine de Pont. Rom. 4:3-4. Acts 11:18.); not having any notion (as it seemeth) of his supreme unaccountable authority, (not to say of that infallibility, with which the Canonists and Jesuits have invested him;) unto whom St. Peter rendereth a fair account, and maketh a satisfactory apology for his proceeings [57]; not brow-beating those audacious contenders with his authority, but gently satisfying them with reason. But if he had known his power to be, such as now they pretend it to be, he should have done well to have asserted it, even out of good will and charity to those good brethren [58]; correcting their error, and checking their misdemeanour; showing them what an enormous presumption it was so to contend with their sovereign pastor and judge.

Farther; so far was St. Peter from assuming command over his brethren, that he was upon occasion ready to obey their orders; as we may see by that passage, where, upon the conversion of divers persons in Samaria, it is said, that the Apostles hearing it, did send to them Peter and John, who going down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost (Act. 8:14.). The Apostles sent him: that, had he been their sovereign, would have been somewhat unseemly and presumptuous; for subjects are not wont to send their prince, or soldiers their captain; to be sent being a mark of inferiority, as our Lord himself did teach; A servant, said he, is not greater than his lord; nor he that is sent greater than he that sent him (John 13:16). St. Luke therefore should at least have so expressed this passage, that the Apostles might have seemed to keep their distance, and observed good manners; if he had said, they beseeched him to go, that had sounded well; but they sent him, is harsh, if he were Dominus noster Papa, as the modern Apostles of Rome do style their Peter. The truth is, then among Christians there was little standing upon punctilios; private considerations and pretences to power then took small place; each one was ready to comply with that which the most did approve; the community did take upon it to prescribe unto the greatest persons, as we see again in another instance, where the brethren at Antioch did [59] appoint Paul and Barnabas (the most considerable persons among them) to go up unto Jerusalem. They were then so generous, so merciful, so full of charity, as, rather than to cause or foment any disturbance, to recede, or go whither the multitude pleased, and do what was commanded by it.

10. In all relations which occur in Scripture, about controversies incident of doctrine or practice, there is no appeal made to St. Peter's judgment, or allegation of it as decisive; no argument is built on his authority: dissent from his opinion, or disconformity to his practice, or disobedience to his orders, are not mentioned as ground of reproof, as aggravation of any error, any misdemeanour, any disorder; which were very strange, if then he was admitted or known to be the universal prince and pastor of Christians, or the supreme judge and arbitrator of controversies among them; for then surely the most clear, compendious, and effectual way to confute any error, or check any disorder, had been to allege the authority of St. Peter against it: who then could have withstood so mighty a prejudice against his cause? If now a question doth arise about any point of doctrine, instantly the parties (at least some one of them, which hopeth to find most favour) hath recourse to the Pope to define it; and his judgment, with those who admit his pretences, proveth sufficiently decisive, or at least greatly swayeth in prejudice to the opposite party. If any heresy, or any opinion disagreeing from the current sentiments, is broached, the Pope presently doth roar, that his voice is heard through Christendom, and thundereth it down; if any schism or disorder springeth up, you may be sure that Rome will instantly meddle to quash it, or to settle matters as best standeth with its principles and interests; such influence hath the shadow of St. Peter's authority now: but no such regard was then had to poor Pope Peter himself; he was not so busy and stirring in such cases: the Apostles did not send hereticks to be knocked down by his sentence, nor schismatics to be scourged by his censure; but were fain to use the long way of disputation, striving to convince them by testimonies of Scripture, and rational discourse. If they did use authority, it was their own; which they challenge as given to them by Christ for edification, or upon account of the more than ordinary gifts and graces of the Divine Spirit, conferred on them by God (2 Cor. 13:10. 10:8. 12:21. 1 Cor. 4:2. 2 Thess. 3:14. 1 Cor. 7:25, 40. 1 Thess. 4:8.).

11. St. Peter no where doth appear intermeddling as a judge or governor paramount in such cases; yea, where he doth himself deal with hereticks and disorderly persons, confuting and reproving them, (as he dealeth with divers notoriously such,) he proceedeth not as a Pope decreeing, but as an Apostle warning, arguing, and persuading against them.

It is particularly remarkable how St. Paul, reproving the factious which were among Christians at Corinth, doth represent the several parties, saying, I, am Paul, I am of Apollos, l am of Cephas, I am of Christ (1 Cor. 1:12. 3:21.). Now supposing the case then had been clear and certain, (and if it was not so then, how can it be so now?) that St. Peter was sovereign of the apostles, is it not wonderful that any Christian should prefer any apostle or any preacher before him? as if it were now clear and generally acknowledged that the Pope is truly what he pretendeth to be, would any body stand in competition with him, would any glory in a relation to any other minister before him!

It is observable how St. Clemens reflecteth on this contention; [60] Ye were, saith he, less culpable for that partiality; for ye did then incline to renowned Apostles, and to a man approved by them; but now, &c.

If it be replied, that Christ himself did come into the comparison; I answer, that probably no man was so vain as to compare him with the rest, nor indeed could any there pretend to have been baptized by him, (which was the ground of the emulation in respect of the others;) but those who said they were of Christ, were the wise and peaceable sort, who, by saying so, declined and disavowed faction; whose behaviour St. Paul himself in his discourse commendeth and confirmeth, showing that all indeed were of Christ, the Apostles being only his ministers, to work faith and virtue in them (1 Cor. 3:5.). [61] None, saith St. Austin, of those contentious persons were good, except those who said, But I am of Christ.

We may also here observe, that St. Paul, in reflecting upon these contentions, had a fair occasion of intimating somewhat concerning St. Peter's supremacy, and aggravating their blameable fondness, who compared others with him.

12. The consideration of the Apostles proceeding in the conversion of people, in the foundation of Churches, and in administration of their spiritual affairs, will exclude any probability of St. Peter's jurisdiction over them.

They went about their business, not by order or licence from St. Peter, but according to special instinct and direction of God's Spirit, (being sent forth by the Holy Ghost; going by revelation,) or according to their ordinary prudence, and the habitual wisdom given unto them (Acts 13:4. 16:6,9. Gal. 2:2.); by those aids (without troubling St. Peter or themselves more) they founded societies, they ordained pastors, they framed rules and orders requisite for the edification and good government of churches, reserving to themselves a kind of paramount inspection and jurisdiction over them; which in effect was only a paternal care over them (2 Pet. 3:5. 1 Cor. 7:17. 11;34. 16:1. Tit. 1:55. Isid. Pel. 1 Thess. 2:7, 11.); which they particularly claimed to themselves upon account of spiritual parentage, for that they had begotten them to Christ; If, saith St. Paul to the Corinthians, I am not an Apostle to others, I am however so to you (1 Cor 9:2. Acts 18:1.): why so? because he had converted them, and could say, As my beloved sons I warn you: for though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet ye have not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel (1 Cor. 4:14-15. Gal. 4:19.). This paternal charge they did exercise without any dependence, or regard to St, Peter, none such appearing, it not being mentioned that they did ever consult his pleasure, or render him an account of their proceedings; but it rather being implied in the reports of their actions, that they proceeded absolutely, by virtue of their universal office and commission of our Lord.

If it be alleged, that St. Paul went to Jerusalem to St. Peter (Gal 1:8); I answer, that it was to visit him out of respect and love; or to confer with him for mutual edification and comfort; or at most to obtain approbation from him and the other Apostles, which might satisfy some doubters, but not to receive his commands or authoritative instructions from him; it being, as we shall afterwards see, the design of St. Paul's discourse to disavow any such dependence on any man whatever. So doth St. Chrysostom note, [62] What, saith he, can be more humble than this soul? after so many and so great exploits, having no need at all of Peter, or of his discourse, but being in dignity equal to him, (for I will now say no more,) he yet doth go up to him, as to one greater and ancienter; and a sight alone of Peter is the cause of his journey thither. And, He went, saith he again, not to learn any thing of him, nor to receive any correction from him, but for this only, that he might see him, and honour him with his presence.

And indeed that there was no such deference of the Apostles to St. Peter, we may hence reasonably presume, because it would then have been not only impertinent and needless, but inconvenient and troublesome. For,

13. If we consider the nature of the apostolical office, the state of things at that time, and the manner of St. Peter's life; in correspondence to those things, he will appear uncapable, or unfit, to manage such a jurisdiction over the Apostles as they assign him.

The nature of the apostolical ministry was such, that the Apostles were not fixed in one place of residence, but were continually moving about the world, or in procinctu, ready in their gears to move whither divine suggestions did call them, or fair occasion did invite them (2 Cor. 11:25), for the propagation or furtherance of the Gospel [63].

The state of things was not favourable to the Apostles, who were discountenanced and disgraced, persecuted, and driven from one place to another, (as our Lord foretold of them;) Christians lay scattered about at distant places, so that opportunities of despatch for conveyance of instructions from him, or of accounts to him, were not easily found (1 Cor. 4:9. 2 Cor. 4:8. 6:4. 11:25. Matt. 24:9. Luke 21:12.).

St. Thomas preaching in Parthia, St. Andrew in Scythia, St. John in Asia, Simon Zelotes in Britain (Euseb. iii. 1. Niceph. ii. 38-40. Tertul. adv. Jud. cap. 7.), [64] St. Paul in many places; other Apostles and apostolical men in Arabia, in Ethiopia, in India, in Spain, in Gaul, in Germany, in the whole world, and in all the creation under heaven (Col. 1. 6, 23. Rom. 10:13), as St. Paul speaketh, could not well maintain correspondence with St. Peter; especially considering the manner of his life, which was not settled in any one known place, but moveable and uncertain; for he continually roved ever the wide world, preaching the Gospel, converting, confirming, and comforting Christian people, as occasion starting up did induce: how then could he conveniently dispense all about his ruling and judging influence? how in cases incident could direction be fetched from him, or reference be made to him by those subordinate governors, who could not easily know where to come at him, or whence to hear from him in any competent time? To send to him had been to shoot at rovers; affairs therefore which should depend on his resolution and orders must have had great stops; he could but very lamely have executed such an office; so that his jurisdiction must have been rather an extreme inconvenience and incumbrance, than any wise beneficial or useful to the Church.



1. Cyrill in John xxi. 15. He was a very active and stirring man, exceedingly spurred on with much promptness and alacrity in doing and speaking. Chrys. in Joh. Or. xii. (13, 24.). Chrys. tom. v. Or. 59.

2. Licet caeteri Apostoli sciant, Petrus tamen respondet pro caeteris. Ambr. in Luc. lib. vi. cap. 9.

3. Greg. Naz. Or. 34.

4. Tom. v. Or. 69.

5. 1 Cor. 15:5. And that he appeared to Cephas, after that to the twelve.

6. Aug. in Joh. Tract. 124. Chrys. tom. v. An extreme lover of Christ.
Saepe diximus nimii ardoris, amorisque quam maximi fuisse Petrum in Dominium. Hier. in Mat. 16:22.
We have often said that Peter was transported with too much heat, and extraordinary great love of our Lord.
Ipse enim Petrus in Apostolorum ordine primus, in Christi amore promptissimus, saepe unus respondet pro omnibus. Aug. Serm. xiii. de verb. Dom. in Matt. i.
For Peter himself being first in the order of the Apostles, and most prompt and forward in the love of Christ, answered oftentimes alone for all the rest.

7.Nec Paulas inferior Petro - cum primo quoque facile conferendus, et nulli secundus. Ambr. de Sp. S. ii. 12.

8. Chrys. tom. v. Or. 167.

9. Euseb. Hist. ii. 4.

10. Chrys. in Acts 2:14.

11. Inter duodecim unus eligitur, ut capite constituto schismatis tolleretur occasio. Hier. in Jovin. i. cap. 14.

12. Petrus - natura unus homo erat, gratia unus Christianus, abundantiore gratia unus idemque primus Apostolus. Aug. in Joh. Tract. 123.
Peter was by nature one man, by grace one Christian, by a more abundant grace one and the same prime Apostle.
Ipse enim Petrus in Apostolorum ordine primus, in Christi amore promptissimus, saepe unus respondet pro omnibus. Aug. de verbis Dom. sup. Matt. i. Serm. 13.
For Peter himself being the first in the order of the Apostles, the most forward in the love of Christ, he alone ofttimes answers for all the rest.

13. Theoph. in Matt x.

14. Epiph. Haer. 51.

15. Primus credidit, et apostolatus est princeps. Hil. in Matt. Can. 7.

16. Quem primum Dominus elegit. Cypr. Ep. 71.

17. Bas. de Judicio Dei., tom.ii. p. 268.

18. Modest. apud. Phot. Cod. 275. Clem. ad Jac.

19. Sed cur non Joannes electus est virgo? aetati delatum est, quia Petrus senior erat; ne adhuc adolescens et pene puer progressae aetatis hominibus praeferretur. Hier. in Jovin. i. 14.

20. Epiph. Haer. 51.
Peter being the younger in age.

21. Chrys. in Act. ii 14. They yield unto him, &c.

22. Supereminentem beatae fidei suae confessione gloriam promeruit. Hil. de Trin. lib. vi. p. 21.

23. Ideo quia solus profitetur amorem suum (John xxi.) ex omnibus, omnibus antefertur. Ambr. in Luc. cap. ult.

24. It was a reasonable demand, which was made to our Saviour, Tell us by what authority than doest these things, or who is he that gave thee this authority? (Luke 20:2.) and the reasonableness of it our Lord did often avow, declaring that if by his doctrine and works be had not vouched the divinity of his authority, it had been no sin to disbeliave or reject him, (John 5:31, 36. 10:25, 37. 15:22, 24.)

25. Credo etiam hinc divinorum eloquiorum clarissima authoritas esset, si homo sine dispendio promissae salutis ignorare non posset. Aug. de Pec. Mer. et Rem. ii. 36.

26. Nullum fundamentum aut firmitatem possunt habere, quae nullis divinarum vocum fulciuntur oraculis. Lact. vii. 2.

27. Si quis dixerit, illis verbis, Hoc facile in meam commemorations, Christum non instituisse Apostolos sacerdotes - anathema sit. Conc. Trid. Sess. xxii. Can. 2.
If any one shall say that in those words, Do this in remembrance of me, Christ did not ordain his Apostles priests - let him be accursed.

28. Chrys. tom. viii. p.114. Chrys. tom. v. Or. 33. Chrys. tom. viii. ubi supra.
We have heard Paul himself reckoning up powers or authorities, and placing the apostolical in the highest place.

29. Clem, ad Corinth. i. apud Clem. Alex. Strom. vi.
Let a man be faithful, let him be powerful in declaring knowledge, let him be wise in discovering reasons, let him be strenuous in works, by so much the more ought he to be humble minded, by how much the more he seems to be greater than others; and to seek the common benefit of all, and not of himself.

30. Chrys. tom, v. Or. 33.

31. Chrys. in Act. 1:6. Then the government was not an honour, bat a provident care of the governed, &apm;c.

32. Clem. Alex. Strom. v. "And to those familiar friends striving for the pre-eminence, he commends equality, together with simplicity, saying, that they ought to become as little children ('hos ta paidia autous genesthai')."

33. Chrys. in Eph. Or. 11.

34. Ille enim nolentibus praeest, hic volentibus. Hier. Ep. 3. ad Nepot.
Chrys. in Tit. 1:7. "He ought to rule them so as they may be willing to be ruled, &c.

35. Sed contenti sint honore suo; patres se sciant esse non dominos - Hier. Ep. 62. ad Theoph. cap. 3.
Amari parens, et episcopus debet, non timeri. Ibid cap 1.

36. Inde denique supeintendis, sonante tibi Episcopi nomine non dominium, sed officium. Bern. de Confid. ii. 6.

37. Nulli hominum liceat hanc paginam nostrae voluntatis et mandati infringere, vel ei ausu temerario contra ire.

38. Sanctissimus Dominus noster. Concii. Trid. Sess. xxii. cap. 11, &c.

39. Hac itaque fiducia fretus, &c. Excommun. Henrici R. in Concil. Rom. iii. sub Greg. VII. apud Bin. tom. vii. p. 484.

40. Agite Apostolorum sanctissimi principes, &am;c. Plat. in Greg. VII. In Coucil. Rom. vi. apud Bin. p. 491.

41. Et quamvis Apostolis omnibus post resurrectionem suam parem potestatem tribuat et dicat, Sicut, &c. Cypr. de Un. Eccl.

42. Ex aequo super eos Ecclesiae fortitudo solidatur. Hier. in Jovin i. 14.

43.Phot. Cod. 280. p. 1600. "Those who, by succession from them, (viz. the Apostles,) were endowed with episcopal authority, we believe to have the same power of binding and loosing.

44. Chrys. tom. viii. p. 115 tom v. Orat. 47. in 2 Cor. 11:28.

45. Cui totius ecclesiae figuram gerenti, &c. Aug. Ep. 165.

46. Ergo si personam gerebant Ecclesiae et sic eis hoc dictum est, tanquam ipsi Ecclesiae diceretur, pax Ecclesiae dimittit peccata, &c. Aug. de Bapt. cont. Don. 3:18.

47. Scimus quod Petrus nihil plus potestatis a Christo recepit aliis Apostolis; nihil enim dictum est ad Petrum, quod aliis etiam dictum non est. Ideo recte dicimus omnes Apostolos esse aequales cum Petro in potestate. Card. Cus. de Conc. Cath. iii. 13.

48. Chrys. in Act. 1.

49. Chrys. in Act. 1:15. "As being a man hot and earnest, and as intrusted with the flock by Christ, and as the foreman of the company, he ever begins to speak." In Act. 1:26. "Probably so it fell out by reason of the signal virtue of the man."

50. Chrys. in Act, 1:16. "Behold him doing all things by common consent; nothing authoritatively nor imperiously."

51. Acts 6:5.

52. Acts 15:19. Chrys.

53. Acts 15:22. Acts 16:4. Acts 21:25.

54. Chrys. tom. v. Or. 59. Chrys. in loc. "For he had the government committed to him - he was empowered."

55. Hesych. apud Phot. Cod. 275.

56. Chrys. ibid.

57. Chrys. "See how free he is from pride and vain-glory; see how he excuses himself, and thinks himself not worthy to have the honour of a master."

58. Ita ut Petrus quoque timens ne culparetur ab ipsis. Iren. iii. 12.
N. In the matter at Antioch, St. Peter did comply with St. James and the Judaizers, which did not beseem such authority.

59. Acts xv. 2. xiii. 2. Clem. ad Cor. p. 69. "Who among you is noble and generous? who has bowels of compassion? who is full of charity? Let him say, If for my sake there be sedition, and strife, and divisions, I will depart, and go whither you would have me, and do what shall be enjoined me by the multitude.

60. Clem, ad Corinth. p. 61.

61. Falsum est quod illi boni erant, exceptis eis qui dicebant, Ego autem Christi.

62. Chrys. in Gal. 1:18.

63. Chrys. in Joh. 21:23. "For seeing they were to take upon them the inspection and superintendency of all the world, it behoved them not any longer to be mixed or conjoined together, for this had been a great loss and hinderance to the world."

64. Bas. Seleuc. Or. 2. "He that run his race through the whole universe, and by his so eager running for the faith made the world, as it were, too narrow for him."

more to come . . .

"They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them." Joh 16:2-4 KJV
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