Imágenes de páginas

notions of a Christian Church are but too prevalent, inducing a feeling more allied to a superstitious veneration than to the spirit of rational liberty.

On the Papal Supremacy, which is the subject of the Third Lecture, it is easy for every unprejudiced mind fully to satisfy itself that this asserted pre-eminence of rank and power is an arrogant and wicked pretence. The supremacy of whom? Of a mortal raised by cabal and intrigue to a station of secular dominion, and to the alleged government of all Christians upon earth! Monstrous supremacy! A supremacy which no man in the possession of his rationality should concede, but as he may disceru the very majesty of God in the unsullied purity of its claimant, and in his control over the agency of all natural causes, to scal up the stars--to launch the thunder--to raise the dead. No: this doctrine of papal supremacy never can bave proceeded from God. In conferring Apostolic powers on a few individuals selected as the instruments of a great purpose, which was to be completely fulfilled within the term of their natural lives, he reconciled them to himself by Jesus Christ, endued them with the spirit of holiness, and purified them from all secular affection, that they might be the models of all sanctity as well as the preachers of the Christian faith. And the Popes of Rome, frequently the most vicious of their race, men supremely eminent in profligacy of morals, in the contempt of all goodness, in the ridicule and despite of religion, breathing out slaughter against mankind, and in the reckless ambition of their inhuman minds, stirring up the passions of secular powers to jealousy and revenge, that discord and blood might agitate and overflow the world ; that men of such a character should be accounted supreme over Christians, is the very perfection of delusion! We renounce and abhor the assumption as an impiety. But we must return to Mr. Fletcher, from whom we perceive we differ in the interpretation of a passage of great celebrity in this controversy, though this variation is not, in our opinion, injurious to his argument on the main point.' We refer to the explication of Matt. xvi. 18, which occurs p. 104.

• The Apostle Peter had confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Şon of the living God; and in return, the Messiah replies, after pronouncing his benediction, “ Aud I say unto thee, Thou art 3 Stone." It is not · thou art the Stone' much less thou art the Rock,' but simply an allusion to his name, as relatively significant of the confession he had just made, to which confession, or the truth confessed, he directly refers, as the rock on which the church is built. There is a change of the word, which every attentive reader of the original will immediately perceive. Had our Lord meant that Peter was the foundation of the church, he would have

retained the same term, in both parts of the declaration : it would have been Thou art a Stone, and on thee as a Stone I will build my church; but it is far differently expressed. It is . Thou art, that is evidently, thou art called a stone, and on this rock, the truth which thou hast confessed concerning myself, I will build my church. It is highly probable that by some appropriate action, our Lord distinctly pointed out himself, as the object of the declaration.'

The whole of this construction is, we think, unnatural and forced, though Jir. Fletcher is by no means singular in maintaining it. The fear of conceding even in appearance to the demands of the Romanists, has evidently turned aside some Protestant'writers from the direct path in their consideration of this passage. Let it however be expounded according to the laws of just criticism, and it will be seen that nothing which it contains is in the least favourable to the views of the Papal abettors. When the Author asserts that there is a change of the word, which every reader of the origioal will perceive, he evidently refers to the difference between πετρος


TETP%, the foriner, a proper name, the latter a noun importing the foundation of the edifice to be erected. That the words are not identical in form, is obvious, and we think that it is not less evident that there is in the use of the Jatter in our Lord's address, an allusion to the import of the former. Though it were admitted that itpos never signifies

rock, yet as tipa denotes frequently lapis, a stone, and agrees in import with mempos, the passage may strictly and properly be rendered, " I say unto thee, thou art stone, and upon this stone," &c. As a proper name tretpos is of course in the masculine gender, it is not therefore by any means decisive of the point to remark that tempos does not signify either . a rock' or 'the rock. Does it derive its meaning from empo, does it import rock? That it does so is indisputable. We prefer therefore the sense of this passage which connects with Peter the declaration of our Lord, “ Upon this rock I will build

my Church.” We are entirely of Whitby's opinion, that the whole grace of the allusion in πετρα το πετρος, is lost unless this passage be expounded of the person of Peter, and not of his confession, or the object of it. Nothing can be more harsh than the opposite construction. The words “ Thou art Peter," are perfectly unmeaning, and most strangely encumber the passage. In what manner the words ' I say unto thee, Thou art Peter,' can be relatively significant of the confession which that Apostle had just made, is above our comprehension. Does not our Lord intend to designate Peter as a remarkable person, by using such a mode of address as is here employed. á Blessed art thou Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath “ not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven;

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"and I say unto thee, Thou

art Peter, (keepois) and upon this rock (Terpoe) I will build my Church." The change from Simon Barjona to Peter, would certainly revive in the recollection of The Apostle, the language which our Lord bad used in reference to him on the occasion of his first introduction by his brother Andrew : “ Thou art Simon Barjona, Thou shalt be called

Cephas, or Peter;" avd would furnish bim with the reason on v:hich that change of name was founded, but which had oot bitherto been explained. That there is an allusion to the import of the Apostle's name in the promise of our Lord in the passage under notice, is evident from the construction in the Greek Testament, and it would be still more strikingly conveyed in the spoken than in the written lariguage. The Syriac has probably preserved the identical form as it was originally delivered: it'is as follows; We shall give it in the Hebrew character, as it may be more convenient to our readers.

ON? 879 5899 NDR3 19 nux. The meaning of our Lord is, we conceive, no other than this : ' Thou art designated by a name ' which imports rock, and which, as significant of the honour

and service to which I have appointed thee, was appropriated "to thee instead of Simon thy former name on thy first be' coming my disciple, and agreeable to this name shall be • thy office, for upon thee will I build my Church, by making • thy preaching the laying of its foundations among the people.' Mr. Fletcher is clearly unsupported in his remark (p. 105) that in the New Testiment the Messiab is frequently represented as the rock and the foundation on which bis Church rests, if he means that mempé, rock, is so applied to Christ; and unless he intends to give his remark this bearing, it is not pertinent; it is never so applied. Nor indeed does a single instance occur in the New Testament, of the application of of 7cx, or any other word signifying rock, to Christ, in the scrise of foundation, or with any reference to building.

: The interpretation of Matt. xvi. 18, which we adopt, is suptorted by Grotius, Barrow, Le Clerc, Whitby, Doddridge, ('ampbell, Macknight, Dr. Middleton, (Bishop of Calcutta, The arsh, (Bishop of Landaff,) Schleusner, and

' also Michaelis, who properly remarks that in matters of doctrine thir Christian Church rests on the testimony of the Apostles, of whom Peter was one of the most distinguished, and the first in order * No sapremacy, however, over the other Apostles,

• Dr. Adam Clark, in his Commentary on this passage, to which Where is a reference in Mr. Fletcher's Appendix, dogmatically asserts that the interpretation which we have adopted can be advanced only by persons who are blinded by prejudice.' "This rash and discreditable assertion we expect the Dr. will revokc and cancel on

was imparted to Peter by our Lord. It is a pre-eminence in bonour, not in authority, that was conferred upon him. They were independent of bim as the Ministers of Christ, and the wbole of the privilege with which he was invested, is most satisfactorily explained by the part which he took in the transactions which introduced the kingdom of Christ among both Jews and Gentiles.

Whatever might be the honour and privileges conferred upon Peter, they were most strictly personub., they lived and died with him. He left nothing to anottier; and it is only by one of the most arrogant and iniquitous arts ever praetised on the credulity of mankind, that a successor in the person of the pope has been provided for him. History bears its strongest attestation to the fact, that for ages Christian churches and pastors knew nothing of papal supremacy, but maintained an undisputed independence. The unimpeachable documents of antiquity confront the daring assertion of the Romanists on this point, and leave us to express our utter astonishinent, if in leed any matier in which they are parties can astonish us, at the boldness of their pretences, and the impiety of their tenets. Jesus Christ called Peter to the apostleship, and mado bim the prinary, instru. ment in the erection of the Christian Church ; but wbại has this to do with Papal government at Rome? How long Are mankind to be abused by the cunning and the fraud of priestcraft? When will they recover their senses and shew themselves to be men, by discarding the grossest impostures, and delivering themselves from the vilest despotism which ever en töroned itself in this part of the creation of God 'to which 'his light and his truth have been sent forth? It is a sufficient and most ainple refutation of all pretensions and claims importing the supremacy of the Pope, as the successor of Peter, that the New Testament is completely silent, on the point ; that Jesus Cbrist never speaks of a successor 10 Peter or any other Apostle; that his promises to the Apostles are strictly and exclusively personal. Jesus Christ promised to send the Holy Spirit, the rapinamos, to be with his Apostles; and the promise was fulfilled; but he never promised a successor to Peter or to any other Apostle.

A more satisfactory demonstration was never made out, thau is presented in the following view of a transaction recorded in ihe Epistle to the Galatians. It is a statement indisputably correct, and it cuts up by tbe roots the doctrine of Peter's supremacy, and the claims of his pretended successors. inspecting the above list of the names of Protestant Divines, whose upright and candid proceedings, he must well know, are not impeachaole.

• It appears that a judaizing faction were endeavouring to pervert the Gospel of Christ in the district of Galatia. They attempted in opposition to the Apostolic decree, to blend the rites of the Mosaic economy with the Christian institution. They were particularly anxious to revive the obligation of circumcision. Aware of their special obnoxiousness to the Apostle Paul, it seems they endeavoured by various insinuations to invalidate his apostolic authority; and because he was not of the first twelve, and had not been one of those who associated with the disciples “ from the beginning of the Gospel,” they represented his authority as inferior to that of the other Apostles. This is evident from the circumstantial details given in the first and second chapters of his epistle, by which he proves, that his authority was derived immediately from Christ himself-that he entered on his apostolic office as soon as he was converted, without a personal conference with any of the Apostles that three years elapsed before he saw the Apostle Peter--that he had received a special commission to be the Apostle of the uncircumcision, or to preach to the Gentiles, from the same authority which ordained Peter to be the Apostle of the circumcisionand that the Apostles at Jerusalem when Paul visited the place, at a subsequent period, distinctly recognized his authority. (Ch. i. 11-23. ii. 1-9.) It appears that after St. Paul had been at Jerusalem, he met St. Peter at Antioch, when the circumstance before 'referred to, took place. I shall cite the passage : “ But when Peter was come to Antiuch, I withstood " him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that « certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles; but when “ they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them “ who were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled « likewise with him ; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away “ with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not “ uprightly, according to the truth of the Gospel, I said unto Peter « before them all; if thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of the " Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gen

tiles to live as do the Jews?' (ii. 11-15.)

“ It is evident from this passage that Paul, so far from acknowledging any supremacy in Peter, when he met with him in the same city, finding that he had been acting with dissimulation, publicly rebuked him. And Peter did not attempt to justify himself, although he might have found very plausible reasons for his conduct; he felt that it was condemned by the spirit of God, speaking in Paul, and he did not resist him. Now let any candid man say, which of these two acted as the superior. Peter follows a certain line of conduct towards the Gentiles; Paul comes, and without consulting Peter upon it, or appealing to the other Apostles, by the wisdom given him from above, judges it to be wrong, and by the authority committed to him, publicly withstands Peter, rebukes him, and then records the transaction in an epistle regarded even by the Church of Rome as written under the influence of inspiration."

* The Rev. James Carlile's “ Examination of the Arguments for the Pre eminency of the Roman Catholic Episcopacy, adduced by the Rev. John Ryan,” &c. p. 47.

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