« AnteriorContinuar »
I ask you then, seriously to examine this passage. Do you find in it a syllable which could lead you to imagine that Peter was the prince and ruler of the apostles ? If it were so, how comes it to pass that Paul entered upon his ministry and continued in it for three years, without securing the authority and permission of Peter for that act? (Gal. 18, &c.) What becomes of Peter's headship in view of the fact that Paul withstood him to the face? What becomes of Peter's infallibility in view of the declaration of the blessed and inspired Paul that he was to be blamed? How could Paul, the youngest in office of all the apostles, dare to charge this chief of chiefs, this ruler of rulers, this prince of princes, this foundation of the church, this first infallible Pope of Rome, as he is called by our Roman Catholic friends—how, I repeat, could he dare to charge him with dissimulation ? Brethren, the whole theory which has been built upon this and one or two other texts, is completely exploded by the conduct of the apostles towards Peter. But let us take another view of this
Much as it may surprise you, I am prepared to show that no minister of the Roman Catholic Church can give this interpretation of the passage without a direct violation of his oath. I showed you, last week, that every Catholic Priest has solemnly sworn “not to take or interpret the Holy Scripture, otherwise than according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.” Now, I hold my Roman Catholic brethren to this oath, and say, that forasmuch as the fathers are very far from unanimous on the meaning of Christ in these words, they
have no right to interpret it at all, and much less to build upon
it an essential doctrine of their faith. Tertullian was of opinion that our Lord conferred this authority upon Peter individually, for he says, speaking of the powers and claims of the church :“ I would know from whence you derive this right which
claim for the church? If, from our Lord's saying, or observing to Peter, do you therefore presume this power of loosing and binding to have descended to thee, that is to the whole church which is related to Peter? If so, you are overturning and changing the manifest intention of our Lord who conferred this upon Peter individually. Upon thee, he says, I will build my church : To thee will I give the keys, not to the church." Origen, in his commentary on Matthew, vol. i., says: you suppose
that the church is built by God upon one single rock, Peter, what do you say of John, the son of thunder, and every one of the other apostles ?"
St. Hilary, who also wrote a commentary on St. Matthew's Gospel, speaks of this passage as follows: “The confession of Peter obtained a worthy reward, for that he saw the Son of God in man.
0 happy foundation of the church, in the declaration of this new name! O happy door-keeper of heaven, to whose will the keys of the eternal porch are delivered !"
Ambrose says expressly: "Faith, therefore, is the foundation of the church, for it was not said of the flesh of Peter, but of his faith, that the gates of death should not prevail."
Jerome is the last father, whose opinion I shall quote
respecting this passage :_“You say, says he, that the church is founded on Peter, although the same thing is elsewhere done upon all the apostlcs, and all received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, so that the strength of the church is consolidated upon all alike.”. Need I ask if it be possible to interpret this passage according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers ?
But, supposing we were to admit all that Roman Catholics
say in relation to Peter, they would still have to show us from the testimony of Scripture and the unanimous consent of the Fathers, Ist, That he had authority to confer the same powers upon others; and, 2d, That he actually did confer them upon the Bishop of Rome. Have they done this ? No! Can they do this ! Echo answers " NO!"
Who then is the primate of the Catholic Church ?JESUS CHRIST, and he shares not this dignity with any creature. He needeth no vicar upon earth, for “wheresoever two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst.” He needeth no coadjutor, for "in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," and "to him all power is given in heaven and in earth.” Yes, Jesus is our glorious HEAD—our wisdom, our guide, our life, our beauty, our ALL; “He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in all things he may hold the primacy." He alone is that spiritual king to whose authority we yield : We take upon us HIS yoke and reject every other: We sit at his feet, and refuse to listen to any words which are not according to his gospel. He is our primate, our chief shepherd, the
bishop of our souls. We cast ourselves before this our Divine Head, and were he present with us in body we would kiss his feet in token of our subjection. To be members of his body, to be branches in his vine, to be stones in his temple, to be members of the spiritual apostolic Catholic Church of Christ-this is the highest honour and the greatest happiness that we crave. From Him, as the giver of life, the church derives all her being; from Him, as the Sun of Righteousness, the church derives all her glory; from Him as the King of kings the church derives all her authority. We know no other ecclesiastical crown but that which adorns the brow of our blessed Emanuel; we recognize no other ecclesiastical throne but that upon which the Son of God is exalted a Prince and a Saviour; we submit to no ecclesiastical sceptre, but that which is swayed by Him whose right it is to reign, even Jesus Christ. And, believing, as the Douay Bible reads, that he holds the PRIMACY IN ALL THINGS,” we rejoice to sing
“ All hail the power of Jesus' name,
Let angels prostrate fall;
AND CROWN HIM LORD OF ALL."
THE ONE OBJECT OF RELIGIOUS ADORATION.
That the Bible is the One Source of Religious Truth, and that Jesus Christ is the sole Head of the Universal Church, are propositions whose truth has been proved, I venture to think satisfactorily, in the two preceding lectures.
The ground, then, on which we stand has been disclosed, the foundation has been made bare. The Holy Scripture is the standard of appeal in all matters of doctrine and practice; and in this Protestants only follow the example of the Fathers and the Church in the first four centuries of the Christian era :-The one only Head of the Catholic Church which comprises all the spiritual members of Christ's body, is He to whom all power is given in heaven and on earth,-our glorious Lord, our Divine King, our Almighty Redeemer; and here also, Protestants are supported not only by the Bible, but also by the most illustrious names in the early church, and, I may say also, in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints.
It is not necessary that I should farther recapitulate, but proceed at once to the subject of my present Lecture,
“THE ONE OBJECT OF RELIGIOUS ADORATION," a subject which occupies a prominent place in the