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ON THE SUPREMACY OF PETER. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent be
guiled Eve through his subtlety, 80 your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that
is in Christ. 2 Cor. xi. 3. The whole conduct of the Saviour during his life upon the earth, was in perfect harmony with the good confession he witnessed before Pontius Pilate, when he said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” The humility and condescension he displayed, when, to redeem sinful man, he made himself a little while inferior to the angels, were apparent in every action of his public and private life. In his assumption of the human nature, he allied himself to one of the poorest families in all the tribes of Israel. He pursued his ministry without pomp or ostentation. When the splendour of his miracles drew upon him the popularity he never courted, he charged the multitudes “ that they should not make him known ; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, ... He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.” Matt. xii. 16, 19. In the choice of his immediate
RELIGION OF ROME companions, and first ambassadors to a fallen world, he passed by the noble, the learned, the wealthy, the influential, and selected such obscure persons as the fishermen of Galilee. In all his plans and appointments, even when ordaining a numerous band of apostles and evangelists, there was no exhibition of secular power or worldly grandeur, all was distinguished by simplicity, though invested with profound solemnity. He utterly renounced those principles of worldly policy, on which the maxims and arrangements of civil governments are founded, as incompatible with the nature of his mission, and the spirituality of his kingdom. In all his discourses he inculcated meekness, humility, gentleness, condescension, and love. Pride, envy, ambition, and vain glory, were the objects of his unsparing censure. With unvarying consistency and earnest faithfulness, he enforced selfdenial as the absolute condition of discipleship, and instantly repressed the spirit of unworthy emulation, when it appeared amongst his immediate followers. Such then was the spirit and tendency of the religion he came to promulgate. The apostles, after their erroneous expectations of an universal monarchy had been crushed by the unexpected and violent death of their divine Master, after they had witnessed his glorious resurrection and ascension, and when, having received the promise of the Father, they were endued with power from on high, admirably illustrated the genius of the gospel they were commissioned to proclaim, and proved that they had imbibed the Spirit of Jesus — that they had “the mind of Christ.” Their connection with the Saviour, was so evident from their manner and bearing, that though the Jewish rulers perceived that they were not “fully instructed doctors,” they took “knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus." They pursued their course, in all humility of mind, in all things approving themselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned.” 2 Cor. vi. 6-10.
How soon alas did the gold become dim! Men professing to be the successors of these lowly apostles, of a meek and lowly Master, fascinated by the attractions of worldly splendour, directed a wanton eye towards the See of Rome, as a seducing object of sacerdotal ambition. In the episcopal order, the Bishop of Rome soon became distinguished by the superior magnificence and wealth of the Church over which he presided. Ammianus Marcellinus, a Roman historian, who lived during these times, adverting to the subject says, “ It was no wonder to see those who were ambitious of human greatness, contending with so much heat and animosity for that dignity ; because when they
had obtained it, they were sure to be enriched by the offerings of the matrons, of appearing abroad in great splendour, of being admired for their costly coaches, sumptuous in their feasts, out-doing sovereign princes in the expences of their table.” This led Prætextatus, a heathen, who was prefect of the city, to say, “ Make me a Bishop of Rome and I'll be a Christian too.” It was no wonder that in process of time the Bishop of Rome should be declared universal Bishop and Pope. Then was that “man of sin ” revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped ; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 2 Thess. ii. 3, 4. From this time the history of the church but records a gradually increasing departure from the simplicity and beauty of the original model, until the two systems become more remarkable for the striking contrast in which they stand to each other, than onaccount of any remaining points of resemblance. Who for example, upon comparing the system of Rome, including its Pope, cardinals, archbishops, mitred dignitaries, gorgeous ceremonies, and the various orders of its swarming priesthood, with the touching narrative of the Acts of the Apostles, could, without the aid of church history, discover any such analogy, as should warrant even the conclusion that the latter is but the corruption of the former ? Well may Romanists disclaim the absolute autho
rity of the Bible, and seek the vindication of their various innovations from tradition! . So far as the Scriptures may be required to countenance the claims of a pompous hierarchy, they will ever prove what some Romanists have impiously called them, “a dead letter.”
I shall now proceed to lay before you evidence.
ist. Of the kind of supremacy claimed by the Pope as the successor of Peter. In the 23rd article of Pope Pius's Creed, a true Catholic is taught to say, “I do acknowledge the Holy Catholic and Apostolical Roman Church to be the mother and mistress of all churches; and I do promise and swear true obedience to the Bishop of Rome, the successor of St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, and the Vicar of Jesus Christ,”
What is the Catholic doctrine as to the Pope's supremacy? That St. Peter was head of the church under Christ—That the Pope or Bishop of Rome is at present head of the church, and Christ's vicar upon earth. How do we prove these propositions ? By the unanimous consent of the Fathers, and the tradition of the church. The Bishops of Rome are the successors of St. Peter, who translated his chair from Antioch to Rome, and died Bishop of Rome. Hence the See of Rome, in all ages, is called the See of Peter, the Chair of Peter, and absolutely the See Apostolic; and in that quality has, from the beginning, exercised jurisdiction over all other churches, as appears from