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blamed.” Gal. i. 11. This referred to a solemn rebuke publicly administered, v. 14, and not arising from any matter of private dispute. How utterly inconsistent is the conduct of Paul with the supposition of Peter's supremacy? Who would have been more ready to grant it, alike from the noble disinterestedness of his character, as from the remembrance that he himself was the last of the apostles, had it existed. Peter had done wrong. He deserved blame. His dissimulation had discouraged the friends of truth, and greatly strengthened the opposition of their enemies. Where then are we to look for papal infallibility? If it is not to be found in the first Pope, in vain shall we look for it in any of his successors; most things deteriorate, and the history of the Popedom presents no exception to the general rule.
But if we admit, for the sake of argument, that our Lord, as supreme head of the church, delegated his power to Peter ; and allowed him some kind of authority over the other apostles, the admission affords no support to the claims of the papacy. It is even to this day a question, whether Peter ever was at Rome. The only shadow of evidence we have, points to the conclusion that he suffered martyrdom there, under Nero. But even this has been denied. Allowing however that Peter really did exercise a supreme authority over his brethren, and yielding, at the
same time, that in the language of the Catholic Catechism, “he removed his see from Antioch to Rome,” what proof have we that he possessed more than a personal supremacy?
We ask in vain for a single word authorizing the succession. Why should this ecclesiastical jurisdiction be assigned to Rome? It is evident that there could be strictly speaking no succession to the apostolic office. The miraculous powers which they possessed and exercised, to confirm their testimony as witnesses of their divine Master, were no longer required, and therefore no longer continued after their personal ministrations had ceased.
The Roman Catholics assert that the present Pope is the successor of Peter in a direct line. To succeed in proving this assertion would be the greatest miracle the church has ever wrought.
“Since every link of this long chain's succession
And yet it is affirmed by them, that whatever affects the proof of the papal succession, equally affects the validity of ordinances and sacraments in the church. It would appear as John survived his fellow apostles many years, that the first successor of Peter must have exercised authority over that venerable man, the intimate companion of our Lord—the disciple whom Jesus loved and the inspired author of the last of the sacred books. As soon could we believe that the holy and humble-minded John himself, claimed to be regarded as the Vicar of Christ on earth, as that a pastor over one church-a mere local bishop, would be regarded by him or any of his contemporaries, as exercising a supreme control over themselves, and over the whole church of Christ. Certainly we have a right to demand some explanation of so strange an hypothesis. Nor is this the only difficulty that requires satisfactory solution. Romanists should, if they are to maintain the saving efficacy of their sacraments, be well prepared to show, where was the centre of Catholic unity, apostolicity, and infallibility during the great schism; when two Popes, the one residing at Rome and the other at Avignon, were constantly employed in thundering excommunications and anathemas against each other? How stood the matter we naturally inquire, when three or four Popes reigned during the same period? Upon the election of Pope Urban the VI., by, some of the cardinals at Rome, the French cardinals being desirous to have a French Pope resident at Avignon, convened a sufficient number of their order, gained the consent of Charles V. of France, and declaring Urban VI. a usurper, elected another Pope under the title of Clement VII. Then commenced one of the most disgraceful of all religious feuds ; which continued till it was found necessary by the European Princes, to put an end to it as a public nuisance. The belligerents stigmatized each other, as children of iniquity, sons of perdition, vipers, wicked wretches, animated with the spirit of the devil, schismatics, apostates, conspirators, blasphemers, &c, &c. Urban excommunicated all those who believed and received the defenders and favourers of his rival—and absolved all the subjects of those princes who espoused his cause from their oaths of allegiance. Clement was not at all his inferior either in malevolence of spirit, or vehemence of abuse. Boniface IX, succeeded Urban at Rome, and Benedict XIII. Clement at Avignon. Meantime Boniface, and his successor, Innocent VI. died at Rome. The cardinals elected Gregory XII. and he and Benedict furiously assailed each other. The cardinals of both parties determined to convene a general council at Pisa ; where in 1409 they deposed both Popes, and elected Alexander V. But though deposed by the council, each of these Popes was acknowledged by his respective partizans in different countries ; so that at length when the council of Constance was assembled to end this great schism, its first duty was to depose three Popes, John XXIII, Gregory XII. and Benedict XIII. each of whom claimed the rank and office of sovereign pontiff. The broken chain of the succession was welded together by the election of Martin V. as legitimate Pope. On this instructive fragment from church
history, it is unnecessary to make any further comment.
2nd. It is not possible that any human being can exercise a constant and universal superintendance over the whole church of Christ. No man is omnipresent. It would follow thence that the chief duties of the office must be intrusted to deputies. Such a proceeding is inconsistent with the nature of the ministerial office. The work of the Christian pastor or bishop, is personal, and not vicarious. The apostles themselves laboured as pioneers, introducing the gospel by the faithful preaching of the word in the first instance, in all places, where they afterwards planted churches; and in their subsequent visitations, they ordained others to accompany them, and aid in their work. With all the assistance the great apostle of the gentiles obtained from his brethren, though himself divinely inspired, and peculiarly sustained by heavenly consolations, be found the daily anxiety arising from the “ care of all the churches" an almost insupportable burden ; yet the labours of this illustrious servant of Christ were light as the dust of the balance when compared with the onerous duties devolving on the individual who undertakes the supreme and absolute government and care of the whole Christian church in all lands. The infinitely wise God, would never institute an office, the duties of which no mortal could discharge; we therefore conclude that the papacy is