An Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles – Article XXXVII (Part 2)

Section II. — The Supremacy of the Bishop of Rome.

THIS is a most extensive subject, and of primary importance in the controversy between the Churches of Rome and England. For, if once the supreme authority of the Roman Patriarch is conceded, all other Roman doctrines seem to follow as of course. And so it will probably be found, that all converts to the Roman Church have been led to it from a conviction of the necessity of being in communion with the Supreme Pontiff, not from persuasion of the truth of particular dogmas.

The grounds on which the claim rests, are as follows: I. That St. Peter had a supremacy given him over the universal Church. II. That St. Peter was Bishop of Rome. III. That this supremacy is inherited by his successors; those successors being the Bishops of Rome.

I. It is said, that St. Peter had a supremacy given him over the rest of the Apostles, and over the universal Church.

1. We may readily admit that St. Peter had a certain priority among his brother Apostles assigned to him by our blessed Lord.

It is constantly the case that, in a company of equals, one, from greater age, greater energy and zeal, greater ability, or greater moral goodness, takes a lead, and acquires a superiority. This may have been the case with St. Peter. Our Lord certainly appears to have honoured him and St. John, and St. James, with His peculiar love and favour. And, both during our Lord’s ministry and after His resurrection, St. Peter appears to have been signally forward in the service of Christ. The fathers observe much this quickness, boldness, activity, and energy of St. Peter; which naturally brought him into the foremost position, and also qualified him to take the lead among the disciples.[1]

Accordingly, a kind of priority of position or rank was apparently conceded by the other Apostles to St. Peter. This is what St. Augustine observes, that “St. Peter being the first in the order of the Apostles, the most forward in the love of Christ, often alone answers for the rest.”[2] The fathers account for this on the grounds: 1, that he was the first called of the Apostles;[3] 2, that he was the eldest; for which cause St. Jerome supposed that he was preferred to St. John, lest a youth should take precedence of an elderly man;[4] 3, that he outstripped his brethren in a ready confession of faith in Christ.[5] So, St. Peter’s name is ever first in the catalogue; and he seems to take the lead in speaking and writing.

2. But this priority of order involved not a primacy of power, or preeminence of jurisdiction.

(1) If it had done so, we should have found some commission of this kind given to him in Scripture. There is plain enough commission to the Apostleship; but none to a hyper-apostleship, nor any mention of the existence of such an office in the history of the Gospels and Acts, or in the Epistles of the Apostles. (2) There is no title of preeminence given to St. Peter, such as Vicar of Christ, Sovereign Pontiff, or Arch-apostle. (3) There was no office known to the Apostles or the primitive Church higher than that of Apostleship. This, St. Chrysostom tells us, is “the greatest authority, the very summit of authorities.”[6] (4) Our Lord distinctly declared against any such superiority; and said that if any of the Apostles coveted it, he should be counted least of all (Matt. xx. 27; xxiii. 8. Mark ix. 34, 35; x. 44. Luke ix. 46; xxii. 14, 24, 26). (5) St. Peter, in his Epistles, claims no peculiar authority (see 1 Pet. v. 1; 2 Pet. iii. 2); and in the history, there is no appearance of his taking it. The appeal in Acts xv. is not to St. Peter, but to the Apostles and elders; and the decree runs in their names, ver. 22. If any one presided there, it was not he, but St. James. Nay! the other Apostles took upon themselves to send Peter and John into Samaria (Acts viii. 14); and “he that is sent is not greater than he that sends him” (John xiii. 16). (6) If St. Peter had been the visible head of the Church, those who were of Paul or of Apollos might indeed have been factious; but St. Paul as severely reproves for a schismatical spirit those who say, “I am of Cephas” (1 Cor. i. 12; iii. 21). (7) The complete independence of the Apostles in all their proceedings, in their missionary journeys, their founding of Churches, &c. shows the same thing (see 1 Cor. iv. 14, 15; ix. 2; Gal. iv. 19, &c.). (8) St. Paul’s conduct especially proves that he owned no dependence on St. Peter, nor subjection to him. He declares himself, “in nothing behind the very chiefest Apostles” (2 Cor. xii. 11). On his conversion, he took no counsel with men, not even with the Apostles (Gal. i. 16, 17); but acted on his independent commission derived direct from Christ (Gal. i. 1). James, Cephas, and John gave him the right hand of fellowship, as their equal and co-Apostle (Gal. ii. 9). He hesitated not to “withstand St. Peter to the face, because he was to be blamed” (Gal. ii. 11). And St. Chrysostom observes, that thus St. Paul showed himself equal to St. Peter, St. John, and St. James, and that by comparing himself, not to the others, but to their leader, he proved that each enjoyed equal dignity and importance.”[7]

Lastly, all these arguments from Scripture, against a supreme authority of St. Peter over the rest of the Apostles, are fully borne out by the statements of the fathers, who, though they speak much of the high honour of the former, yet declare that the other Apostles were all equal and coördinate with him in power and authority. Thus St. Cyprian: “The other Apostles were what Peter was, endowed with an equal share of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity, that the Church might be shown to be one.”[8] “His was,” says St. Ambrose, “a precedence of confession, not of honour; of faith, not of order.”[9] St. Jerome says that, though the Church were founded on St. Peter, yet it was equally on the other Apostles.[10] So Isidore: “The other Apostles received equal share of honour and power with St. Peter, and dispersed throughout the world preached the Gospel; to whom, on their departure, succeeded the bishops, who are constituted through the world in the sees of the Apostles.”[11]

Let us now, on the other side, consider those passages of Scripture, on which it is contended that a distinct supremacy over the universal Church was granted to St. Peter.

1. The first is Matt. xvi. 18: “I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build My Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Here, say the Roman divines, St. Peter is called the foundation of the Church; and foundation implies government and superiority.

It is observable, that our Lord called St. Peter Πέτρος, in the masculine, which properly signifies a stone, or fragment of a rock; and that He said He would build His Church, ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ, using the feminine noun, which more expressly denotes an entire rock. This has led many commentators, ancient and modern, to believe that the Rock on which the Church should be built, was not St. Peter; since in that case, the Lord would have used the masculine word πέτρῳ.[12]

Accordingly, a large number of the fathers were of opinion that the Rock, on which the Church was to be built, was either Christ Himself, or, which is much the same thing, the faith of Christ thus confessed by St. Peter. Thus, St. Chrysostom interprets “On this Rock,” by “On the faith of this confession.”[13] So St. Augustine says that our Lord meant, “On this rock which thou hast confessed, will I build My Church.”[14] And, in his Retractations, he tells us that he had formerly interpreted the passage of St. Peter, but that he afterwards thought it more correct to understand it of Him whom St. Peter confessed. Non enim dictum est illi, Tu es Petra, sed Tu es Petrus. Petra enim est Christus, quem confessus Simon, sicut tota ecclesia confitetur, dictus est Petrus. Yet he leaves to the reader to choose which is the more probable interpretation.[15] In like manner St. Ambrose had said, that not Peter, but the faith of Peter, was the foundation of the Church;[16] and in another place the same father writes, that “The Rock is Christ, who granted to His disciple that he should be called Petrus, as having from the Rock the solidity of constancy and firmness of faith.”[17]

To the same effect write Hilary,[18] Cyril of Alexandria,[19] Basil of Seleucia,[20] Theodoret,[21] Isidore of Pelusium,[22] Theophylact,[23] and others.

On the other hand, no doubt, a great many of the ancients understood Peter himself to be the rock. Tertullian is the first who so applies the passage; but we shall see hereafter, that he understood no supremacy to be implied in it, and certainly did not consider it to be transmitted to the Bishop of Rome.[24] Origen too applies it to St. Peter, but evidently understood all the other Apostles to have a similar promise.[25] Nay! he declares that every disciple of Christ is a rock, as having drunk from the Spiritual Rock; and on every such rock as this the word of the Church is founded.[26] Next comes St. Cyprian, who also calls St. Peter the rock; and he says: “Though He committed an equal power to all the Apostles, saying, As My Father hath sent Me, so send I you. Receive ye the Holy Ghost; Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto him; and whose soever sins ye retain, they shall be retained; yet, that He might manifest unity, He disposed by His authority the origin of that unity, so that it might take its rise from one. The rest of the Apostles indeed were what Peter was; endowed with an equal share of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity, that the Church may be shown to be but one.”[27]

So Gregory Nazianzen,[28] Epiphanius,[29] Basil the Great,[30] Jerome,[31] and others understand, that St. Peter was the rock.

But supposing this latter to be the true interpretation; does it follow thence, that St. Peter had a supreme government over the other Apostles? Foundation does not, of necessity, imply government. Our Lord may have promised to St. Peter, that he should be the first to found His Church; which was fulfilled on the great day of Pentecost, when St. Peter’s noted sermon brought the first-fruits of the Church of Christ.[32] But the fathers say, that the other Apostles were rocks as well as St. Peter, and that the Church was built on them also.[33] The Fathers, in no instance, suppose the other Apostles to have any dependence on, or subjection to St. Peter; and Dr. Barrow justly observes, that the Apostleship itself could not be built on St. Peter, for that had been founded by Christ Himself before this promise was given; and hence the Apostles were all clearly independent of St. Peter, and therefore their successors, the bishops, must be independent of his successors.[34] A passage so doubtful in its interpretation can never be sufficient to the purpose for which it is adduced; especially seeing that none of the most ancient fathers, however they may interpret it, have discovered in it that supremacy of St. Peter which has since been asserted. If St. Peter be called a rock and a foundation, still all the Apostles were foundations, as well as he. “In the twelve foundations of the city are the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb” (Rev. xxi. 14). It is “built on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets” (Ephes. ii. 20). In the highest sense, which indeed points out supremacy, “other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. iii. 11). And, as St. Ambrose says that the Apostle was a rock, as deriving firmness from the Rock; so the Apostles were foundations, as themselves built on the One Foundation: and their qualification, as rocks or as foundations, they received, not from Peter, but from Christ.

2. The next argument for St. Peter’s supremacy is the verse immediately following the last; namely, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven” (Matt. xvi. 19). Here it is said that the power of the keys was given to St. Peter alone, and that the rest of the Church therefore derives that power through him.

We may admit, that the promise being first given to St. Peter was a mark of special honour to him. But the same power was conferred upon the Church as a body; to which our Lord said, “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven” (Matt. xviii. 18). And again, after the resurrection, the same power was given to all the Apostles, when the risen Saviour “breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained” (John xx. 22). It is evident therefore, that neither the Church nor the Apostles received this power through St. Peter, but directly from Christ Himself; and though the promise was first to St. Peter, yet the gift appears to have been simultaneous to all. So then, though St. Peter is honoured by a priority, the whole College of the Apostles is endowed with an equality of power.

The fathers unanimously consent to this view of the case. “Are the keys of the kingdom of Heaven given to St. Peter alone, and shall not all the saints receive them? And if this be common, how are not all the things common which were spoken to St. Peter?” So writes Origen.[35] And St. Cyprian, “Christ, after His resurrection, gave an equal power to all His Apostles, and said, As the Father hath sent Me, so send I you. Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”[36] “On all,” says St. Jerome, “the strength of the Church is equally founded. You will say, the Church is founded on Peter; but in another place this is said to be on all the Apostles; and all receive the keys of the kingdom of Heaven.”[37] St. Ambrose, “What is said to Peter, is said to all.”[38] St. Augustine, “Did Peter receive the keys, and not Paul? Peter, and not John and James and the rest of the Apostles?”[39] Theophylact, “Though it be spoken to Peter alone, I will give thee, yet it is given to all the Apostles. When? Why, when He said, Whose soever sins ye remit they are remitted.”[40] And so St. Leo, himself a famous Bishop of Rome, says, that “This power of the keys is translated to all Apostles and bishops. It was commended singly to St. Peter, because the example of St. Peter was propounded to all pastors of the Church.”[41]

Some indeed considered, that the whole Church received the keys with St. Peter. St. Peter they esteemed as a kind of figure of the Church, and an emblem of its unity; and so that all received the power, even when it was ostensibly given to but one.[42]

And if, notwithstanding this testimony of the fathers, we still esteem some special authority to be implied in the promise, we can only understand it of his being appointed to be the first, who, by preaching of the word and admitting converts to baptism, should unlock the gates of the kingdom, and open them to believers. “So,” says Tertullian, “the event teaches. The Church was built on him, i. e. by him. He first put in the key, when he said, Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, &c. Acts ii. 22. He first opened the entrance to the kingdom of Heaven by baptism, whereby the sins were loosed by which they had been bound; and he too bound Ananias with the bond of death,”[43] &c.

3. The last argument of any weight, for St. Peter’s supremacy, is the command, “Feed My sheep” (John xxi. 16).

This, however, is an injunction and command, not the bestowal of a privilege. Dr. Barrow has observed, that, as well might the elders of Ephesus, whom St. Paul exhorts to “feed the Church of God” (Acts xx. 28), have esteemed, that St. Paul thereby constituted each of them an universal governor of the Church, as St. Peter, that he was made by this command an universal bishop. And so the fathers understood, that what was here enjoined on St. Peter was equally enjoined on all pastors. “When it is said to Peter, it is said to all,” says St. Augustine.[44] “These sheep and this flock,” says St. Ambrose, “not only St. Peter did then receive, but all we pastors received with him.”[45] And so St. Cyprian, “All of them were shepherds; but the flock was shown to be one, which was fed by all the Apostles, with unanimous consent.”[46] The command, too, is to feed the flock, not to feed the shepherds. Hence, whatever authority may be supposed to be given over the people by these words, plainly none is given over the other Apostles. Every pastor is, in some sense, a pastor of the whole flock of Christ; the Church of God is committed unto him. But every pastor has not therefore authority over his brethren, neither can it be shown, that, in thus committing a duty to St. Peter as regards the laity, our blessed Lord assigned him a supremacy over the clergy.

The most then that can be fairly made of the case is, that St. Peter had a priority of honour among the Apostles; that he was primus inter pares. More than this our Lord did not bestow on him; more the Apostles did not concede to him; more the earliest fathers never assigned to him; and especially, more he never claimed or exercised himself. Eusebius quotes, from Clement of Alexandria, a passage markedly illustrative of all these statements. “Peter and James and John,” says he, “after the ascension of the Saviour, contended not for glory, as having been most highly honoured by the Lord, but chose James the Just to be Bishop of Jerusalem.”[47] The writer of this passage could not have believed that St. Peter had, or claimed a supremacy over his brethren; nor, we may observe by the way, could he have thought any bishopric in the Church more honourable, than that of Jerusalem.

II. The next position of the Roman Church is, that St. Peter was bishop of Rome.

It is not to be doubted, that a tradition did exist in early times that St. Peter was Bishop of Rome. But, if that tradition be submitted, like others of the same kind, to the test of historical investigation, it will be found to rest on very slender foundation. In the first place, Scripture is silent about his having been at Rome, — a remarkable silence, if his having been Bishop there was a fact of such vital importance to the Church, as the Roman divines have made it to be. Then, the first tradition of his having been at Rome at all does not appear for more than a century after his death. It is nearly two centuries after that event that we meet with any thing like the opinion that the Roman bishops were his successors. It is three centuries before we find him spoken of as Bishop of Rome. But when we reach three centuries and a half, we are told, that he not only was Bishop of Rome, but that he resided five and twenty years at Rome; a statement utterly irreconcilable with the history of the New Testament.

To begin with the new Testament, the only evidence that can be thence adduced for St. Peter’s having been at Rome, is that he seems to have written his first Epistle from Babylon (1 Pet. v. 13). Eusebius[48] says this meant Rome. He appears to say it on the authority of Papias; though some learned men deny, that he ascribes the tradition to Papias. Jerome follows Eusebius in this statement.[49] The Roman divines generally adopt it. Yet a learned writer of their communion truly observes, that the use of such a metonymy may be very proper in a symbolical book, like the Apocalypse, “but would only be credible in the subscription of an epistle, if arcana nomina Ecclesiarum had existed among Christians.”[50] If the tradition be due to Papias, he is doubtless a very early authority (A. D. circ. 110); but Eusebius himself has given us to understand, that he was a person whose judgment was not to be depended on, and particularly that he was an enthusiast about the Apocalypse. Hence his interpreting St. Peter by the language of the Apocalypse is not of much weight.

Farther than this, the Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, St. Paul’s four Epistles written from Rome, St. Peter’s two Epistles, are all profoundly silent about St. Peter ever having been at Rome. Indeed, it seems almost certain that, when St. Paul went to Rome, St. Peter had not been there. Not only is there no mention of such a thing, but St. Paul, when writing to the Romans, writes much as if no Apostle had ever been amongst them. (Comp. Rom. i. 10‒15; xv. 15‒24). And, when he was at Rome, it seems clear from the narrative, that the Jews of Rome had had no communication with any chief teacher among the Christians, at least with any who had been converted from Judaism; they were therefore desirous to hear of him what he thought, knowing only that the sect of Christians was everywhere spoken against (Acts xxviii. 22). Now how is this compatible with the alleged fact, that St. Peter, the Apostle of the circumcision, to whom the conversion of the Jews had been peculiarly intrusted, had been the founder of the Church of Rome, and had been resident there for some time? Again, if St. Peter had been at Rome, when St. Paul wrote to the Romans, St. Paul would surely have saluted him. If he had been there when St. Paul was there, it would snrely have been mentioned in the Acts. If he had previously been there, and had been established as bishop of the city, it is utterly incredible that St. Paul should have assumed such authority over St. Peter’s flock, as he does assume over the Romans, and that the Jews of Rome should have been utterly uninstructed in the Gospel.

Of the fathers, the first who speaks to the purpose is Irenæus. He says, that the blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul, founded and established the Church of Rome, and delivered the bishopric to Linus, to whom succeeded Anacletus, and to him Clement.[51] Clement of Alexandria says that St. Peter preached at Rome, and that St. Mark wrote his Gospel at the request of St. Peter’s hearers.[52] ertullian says, Clement was ordained by St. Peter to be Bishop of Rome.[53] Origen tells us, that St. Peter, having preached to the Jews in Pontus, Galatia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, and Asia, at last (ἐπὶ τέλει) came to Rome, and was crucified with his head downwards.[54] The Apostolical Constitutions say, that Linus was made first Bishop of Rome by St. Paul, and that after his death Clement was ordained to the same office, by St. Peter.[55] Lactantius tells us that the time of St. Peter’s going to Rome was the reign of Nero.[56] Eusebius speaks of Linus as the first Bishop of Rome, after St. Paul and St. Peter;[57] and elsewhere, that Linus was first Bishop of Rome after St. Peter, and that Clement was the third.[58] Also he assigns the date of St. Peter’s first going to Rome to the reign of Claudius.[59]

Now here we have a collection of the earliest and best authorities, concerning St. Peter’s connection with Rome, and concerning the bishops that first presided there. Origen says, he went there at last; Lactantius says, in the reign of Nero. Eusebius, later than either of them, and much later than Origen, assigns as a date the reign of Claudius. None of them say, that he was Bishop of Rome. On the contrary, all agree in saying that the first bishop of that see was Linus. All place Linus there during the Apostles’ lifetime. Some say that St. Paul, others that St. Peter and St. Paul, ordained him; whilst some say that Clement, the third bishop, was ordained by St. Peter. The inference is plainly this. At whatever time St. Peter came to Rome, (which most probably was in Nero’s reign, and very shortly before that tyrant put him to death,) there was some one else Bishop of Rome then, and therefore St. Peter was not Bishop of Rome. Linus was bishop first, then Anacletus, then Clement. Very probably all three, one after the other, were bishops before St. Peter’s death. But, whether one or three, some one else, not St. Peter, was Bishop of Rome, in St. Peter’s lifetime. Two bishops were never permitted to preside over one see; and therefore it is quite clear that St. Peter was not Bishop of the see of Rome.

It is very true that St. Cyprian and Firmilian, in the middle of the third century, speak of Stephen, Bishop of Rome, as claiming to be successor to St. Peter; and, though not submitting to his authority, they still appear to acknowledge his claim. Yet they never said that St. Peter was Bishop of Rome; but they acknowledged Stephen’s succession from him, because they considered that St. Peter founded the Church of Rome, ordained the first bishop there, and that therefore the apostolical succession came, through the Bishops of Rome, from that Apostle.

The circumstances of the Roman Church were very remarkable. It was the only Church in the West that could certainly trace its origin to Apostles. The Apostles who were at Rome, were the greatest of all; for there St. Paul undoubtedly taught, there probably both St. Paul and St. Peter ordered the Church, ordained its first bishops, and finally watered it with their blood. There, if the tradition speak truly, St. John too was thrown into boiling oil, and escaped unhurt. The three greatest Apostles then had probably taught and suffered at Rome. St. Peter and St. Paul had ordered the Church, and ordained very probably the first three bishops. No Church but Jerusalem could claim such privileges as this. No wonder then, that throughout the West the Church of Rome and her bishop should be had in high honour. No wonder that St. Cyprian, himself a Western bishop, should have looked up to the see of Rome as the centre of Christian unity, and the depository of sound doctrine. But all this does not make St. Peter the first diocesan bishop there, nor does it prove that Cyprian thought him so.

The explanation of Rufinus is evidently the true, namely, that Linus, Cletus, and Clement were the Bishops of Rome; but that St. Peter, whilst he was there, exercised apostolical authority, which was above every episcopate, and therefore not interfering with it.[60]

And so it is observed, that many churches took their names from the Apostles, and were called Apostolical sees; not because Apostles were Bishops in them, but because Apostles taught and appointed bishops there. Thus Ephesus was so called, because St. Paul founded it, and St. John resided and ordained there. Smyrna, because Polycarp was placed there by St. John or other Apostles. Alexandria, because St. Mark was placed there by St. Peter. Corinth, Thessalonica, Philippi, because founded by St. Paul. Antioch, because St. Peter is said to have resided there, and to have constituted its first bishops.

It is true that, when we get to the later fathers, we find that the story of St. Peter’s Roman episcopate (a fiction eagerly cherished by the prelates of that see) was gaining ground and attracting credit. Epiphanius therefore speaks of St. Peter and St. Paul as the first Apostles, and also bishops of Rome;[61] no very definite statement after all. But Jerome (A. D. circ. 400) positively asserts, that St. Peter, after having been Bishop of Antioch, went to Rome, where he was bishop for five and twenty years. He says this, both in his treatise De Viris Illustribus,[62] and also in his Latin translation of Eusebius’s Chronical Canon;[63] which, however, contains many things not said by Eusebius, and this amongst the rest.[64] The fact, thus stated by Jerome, is simply impossible; and the origin of it is probably to be attributed to a perversion of the account of Lactantius; which account is, that, after preaching five and twenty years in divers provinces, Peter came, in Nero’s reign, to Rome.[65] Thus the tradition was like Homer’s Ἔρις: —

τ’ ὀλίγη μὲν πρῶτα κορύσσεται, αὐτὰρ ἔπειτα

Οὐρανῷ ἐστήριξε κάρη, καὶ ἐπὶ χθονὶ βαίνει.[66]

At first, it was but that St. Peter and St. Paul had constituted the Church in Rome, ordained Linus as its bishop, and there suffered for their testimony. Then they are spoken of as if they might have been bishops themselves; the Roman bishops are then said to be St. Peter’s successors; and lastly, it is roundly asserted that St. Peter was actually Bishop of Rome for five and twenty years. That to fan the spark into a flame was the interest and the wish of such prelates as Victor and Stephen, even charity cannot make us doubt. But, after such a plain history of the rise and progress of the tradition, it is impossible not to see that it has no firm foundation.

There is indeed no good reason to doubt, that St. Peter was at Rome; that he assisted St. Paul to order and establish the Church there; that, in conjunction with St. Paul, he ordained one or more of its earliest bishops, and that there he suffered death for the sake of Christ. But there is no reason to believe, that he was evern, in any proper or local sense, Bishop of Rome; or indeed that, in that sense, any one of the Apostles had a fixed episcopate; with the single exception of St. James (if he were an Apostle), who was appointed to preside over Jerusalem, lest that city, where Jesus died, and rose from the dead, and from whence the Church first took its origin, and thence spread through the world, should lack an Apostle, and witness of the resurrection, to be constantly present there, and to form a kind of centre and home for the first preachers of the faith. All the other Apostles had the world for their diocese; and wheresoever they came, they, as a thing of course, exercised supreme and hyper-episcopal control, discipline, and government. Indeed, if any Apostle could be called Bishop of Rome, St. Paul has more claim to that title than St. Peter. For St. Paul was the Apostle of the Gentiles; whereas St. Peter’s mission was to the Jews. St. Paul wrote an Epistle to the Romans, which St. Peter did not. St. Paul lived two years at Rome, before there is any good ground for believing that St. Peter had been there at all. St. Paul is said to have constituted the first bishop there.[67] Moreover, St. Paul himself speaks of having “the care of all the Churches,” i. e. the Gentile Churches (2 Cor. xi. 28). All this will constitute a better case for St. Paul’s Roman episcopacy, and for his supremacy over the Gentile Churches, than can possibly be made out for St. Peter’s.

III. The third position of the Roman divines is, that St. Peter’s supremacy is inherited by his successors, the Bishops of Rome.

If we have seen that St. Peter had no proper supremacy, and that he was not Bishop of Rome; then, the premises being gone, the consequence must fall with them. If St. Peter had no supremacy, it could not be inherited. If he was not Bishop of Rome, the Popes could not inherit from him.

But farther, whatever priority St. peter had among his brother Apostles was personal, not official. He held no office, which they did not hold equally. There is no mention of an Arch-Apostle; and though St. Paul speaks of the chiefest Apostles (οἱ ὑπὲρ λίαν ἀπόστολοι), he speaks of them in the plural, not as if there were but one of supreme authority; and he says that he himself was “not a whit behind them” (2 Cor. xi. 5). As then St. Peter’s priority was personal, not official, it could not be inherited. It was grounded on personal acts, especially his faithful confession of Christ. It contained some personal privileges; e. g. the first founding of the Church, which, being that on which much stress is laid, is yet incommunicable to his successors, who cannot now be the first founders of the Christian temple or commonwealth. And so Tertullian observes, that the manifest intention of the Lord was to confer this privilege personally on St. Peter, and that the presuming to derive that power to the bishop of a particular see was a subverting of that intention.[68]

Again, we can trace the rise and progress of this supremacy of Rome, and easily perceive the grounds of it. It was not admitted at the first, but crept in by degrees, till it reached its perfect stature. St. Clement, who was Bishop of Rome, writes to the Corinthians in a brotherly tone, and with less appearance of authority than St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch. seems to assume when writing to the Romans. St. Polycarp knew nothing of the supremacy of Anicetus, when he went to consult with him about the keeping of Easter. He yielded in no degree to the Roman Bishop’s authority; but both determined to retain their own customs and sentiments, yet not on that account to divide the Catholic Church.[69] Not very long after this, we find Polycrates, a successor to Polycarp in the see of Smyrna, again at issue with Victor, Bishop of Rome, on the Easter controversy. Victor indeed showed much of the spirit which has since prevailed at the Vatican, and excommunicated Polycrates. But Polycrates and the Synod of Asiatic bishops refused to acknowledge the the authority of that prelate.[70] Several bishops, though agreeing in Victor’s opinion, were much displeased at his violence; and letters were written by them severely reproving him for such conduct. Especially St. Irenæus, Bishop of Lyons, in the name of the Christians of Gaul, over whom he presided, wrote a dignified remonstrance, warning Victor not to break the unity of the Catholic Church.[71]

At the end of the second century, we find from Tertullian that the Bishop of Rome claimed that he, and all other Churches founded by St. Peter, derived through St. Peter the power to bind and to loose.[72] This claim Tertullian disallows; but it is a claim very different from that of universal dominion; for it must have admitted the Bishops of Antioch and others to the like privilege.

In the third century, we have the famous controversy about heretical baptism, dividing the Western Church. It had first begun amongst the Asiatics. Afterwards, Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, being consulted by the Numidian bishops, called several councils at Carthage, A. D. 255, which were attended by large numbers of African bishops.[73] They unanimously decreed the rebaptizing of heretics. This brought them into collision with Stephen, Bishop of Rome; as the Roman Church took the opposite view. Stephen refused to listen to the deputies from the Council, and renounced communion with the African Churches. They, on the other hand, maintained their own views, and expressed their disapproval of Stephen’s attempt to make himself a “bishop of bishops.”[74] A correspondence took place between Cyprian and Firmilian, Bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia; in which both express extreme disapprobation of Stephen’s conduct, and accuse him of schismatically introducing differences throughout the Church. Firmilian says, the power of binding and loosing was given by Christ to the Apostles and the bishops who succeeded them; and blames the manifest folly of Stephen, who gloried in the place of his episcopate, and contended that he was a successor of St. Peter, on whom the Church’s foundation was laid, and yet himself introduced new rocks and new foundations.[75] Again on another occasion, the bishops of Africa, among whom was St. Augustine, not only submitted not, in the case of Apiarius, to the authority of the Bishops of Rome, Zosimus, Boniface, and Celestine, but in the Council of Africa, A. D. 424, wrote strongly to Pope Celestinus, denying his right to interfere with their jurisdiction, complaining that he violated the canon of the Council of Nice, which directed, that causes of the bishops and clergy should be heard by their own metropolitan, and not carried elsewhere.[76] They had even in a previous Council at Milevis, A. D. 416, forbidden appeals to be carried beyond the seas, on pain of separation from all communion with the African Churches.[77]

But above all, Pope Gregory the Great, himself an illustrious Bishop of Rome, so vehemently protested against John Nesteuta, the Bishop of Constantinople, for desiring to have the name of universal bishop, that he pronounced such an assumption a proof that he who made it was the forerunner of Antichrist.[78] “None,” says he, “of my predecessors ever consented to use so profane a word; because if one patriarch is called universal, the name of patriarch is taken away from the rest.”

If we look to the canons of the general councils, we find that they acknowledge the great Patriarchs; that they give them authority according to ancient custom within their own patriarchates; that they put Rome first, not because of St. Peter’s primacy, but because Rome is the imperial city; Constantinople next, because it is new Rome; and afterwards elevate Constantinople to an equality with Rome; and that they specially forbid bishops to interfere with the dioceses of other bishops. Thus, the VIth Canon of the Council of Nice says: “Let those ancient customs be in force which concerned Egypt, Lybia, and Pentapolis, that the Bishop of Alexandria should have authority over them, since the like is customary with the Bishop of Rome. So also in Antioch, and the other provinces, let the dignities be preserved to the Churches.”[79] Balsamon’s gloss on this is, that they confirmed the authority of the four Patriarchs, namely, of Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, over their respective patriarchates.[80] So that this great Council placed the Roman Bishop only on a level with those of Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem; and this too, as a matter of ancient custom, not of divine right.

The second canon of the Council of Constantinople (A. D. 381) especially forbids that bishops should go beyond their dioceses, restrains the Bishop of Alexandria to Egypt, the eastern bishops to the East, and so on; and forbids, that any bishop should go out of his own diocese for ordination, or any other ecclesiastical ministrations.[81] The third canon of the same council decrees, that the Bishop of Constantinople shall take rank immediately after the Bishop of Rome, because Constantinople is new Rome.[82]

The eighth canon of the Council of Ephesus (A. D. 431) forbids any bishop to invade another province, which has not from the beginning been under his own authority.[83]

The twenty-eighth canon of the Council of Chalcedon declares, that the fathers of the Council of Constantinople gave privileges to the see of Rome, because that city was the seat of empire. Wherefore also, moved by the same reason, the fathers assigned the like privileges to the see of new Rome, i. e. Constantinople, seeing that Constantinople was now honoured with the empire and the senate.[84] These decrees of the Council of Constantinople the Council of Chalcedon accordingly confirms.

From all this we plainly learn, that the Roman Patriarch had no more authority given him than the other Patriarchs, of Constantinople, Antioch, and Alexandria; that the first place was assigned to Rome, because Rome was the imperial city, not because her bishop had a divine right to preëminence; that, however, the Bishop of Constantinople had a like honour bestowed upon him, when his city rose to the like position with that of his brother Patriarch; and, above all, that no bishop was ever to invade any diocese, which had not from old times been subject to him or to his predecessors. How any of these considerations will agree with the later claims of the Roman Pontiff, it is hard to say.

The first great step towards supremacy was given to the Pope by the Council of Sardica (A. D. 347). Before this time, when bishops had been deposed and had reason to complain, they appealed to the Emperors to summon a larger synod to review their cause. The great Athanasius had thus appealed to the Emperor, and had been restored, after he was deposed by the Tyrian Synod. The XIIth Canon of the Council of Antioch, supposed to be directed against him, forbade such an appeal. Subsequently Athanasius, ill-used by the Eastern bishops and by Constantius the Arian Emperor, had fled for assistance and support to the Western bishops, especially to the Patriarch of Rome. As there was an Arian Emperor, and there had at all times been a difficulty connected with the imperial interference in doctrinal questions, it was not unnatural for the orthodox bishops to look for some other centre, where appeals might be made; and the see of Rome most naturally presented itself. The bishop there was the most important on every account. Rome was the head of the world, the centre of civilization, the centre of orthodoxy; and the greatest number of bishops and clergy looked up to its Patriarch as their leader and chief. Accordingly, in an unhappy moment, the Synod of Sardica, in its third canon, gave to Julius, Bishop of Rome, “honouring the memory of St. Peter,” the power, if he thought fit, “to appoint the neighbouring bishops of a province to hear” an appeal, “and to send assessors,” such as the emperor used to send.[85] It is added, by the fourth canon, that if a deposed bishop appeal to Rome, his place shall not be filled till the Bishop of Rome has heard the case.[86] And by the fifth canon it is decreed, that, when an appeal has been made to the Bishop of Rome, he may appoint the provincial bishops to try the case, or send legates himself.[87] The whole wording of the canons shows that all this was new. Moreover, the council was not general. But the effect of its decrees was very evil. Pope Zosimus afterwards quoted them as decrees of the Council of Nice, in the case of Apiarius mentioned above; and the African bishops were obliged to investigate the question, as to whether they did really issue from that great synod; and finding that they did not, they utterly rejected their authority.[88] Yet these canons laid the foundation of appeal to Rome, and so of Roman supremacy. And Dr. Barrow calls them “the most unhappy ever made in the Church.”[89]

From this time, the power of the see of Rome rapidly gained ground. It would be long to trace its progress, and the opposition which was raised to it by wise and far-seeing men, as it advanced towards its zenith.[90] Such a survey of history would indeed be instructive, as showing how different were the pretensions of Gregory VII. and Innocent III. from those of such prelates as even Victor or Stephen; though the latter were amongst the most imperious of the early “successors of the fisherman.” Suffice it to have given some proof, that St. Peter had no proper supremacy; that he was never Bishop of Rome; and that the Roman Patriarchs had not jure divino, nor from the earliest ages, a jurisdiction over the universal Church.

IV. There is one other ground, besides that of universal Primacy, on which the Pope claims jurisdiction in England; namely, that England was in the Patriarchate of Rome.

When patriarchates first arose is uncertain. The name is first used by Socrates (about A. D. 440[91]). But the office was evidently more ancient. It probably arose from the gradually apparent usefulness of such an order in the government of the Church. Their authority was confirmed, as we have seen, to the great patriarchs, by the Council of Constantinople, and afterwards by those of Ephesus and Chalcedon.[92] All bishops indeed were esteemed equal, as bishops, by the primitive fathers; i. e. they were of equal authority, jure divino;[93] but, for the sake of a more orderly Church-government, metropolitans were placed over provinces, and patriarchs over those still larger divisions which were then called dioceses, corresponding with the civil divisions of the Empire.[94]

As to the limits of the Roman Patriarchate, much depends on what is meant by the term Suburbicary Churches. Rufinus, in his translation of the Nicene Canons, gives us the sixth of these in the words: “The custom of Alexandria and of Rome shall still be observed, that the one shall have the care of the Egyptian, the other of the suburbicarian Churches.”[95] The very word suburbicarian clearly points to churches not far distant from Rome; and it has been proved, that the suburbicarian Churches meant those within the district, which belonged to the Vicarius Urbis; i. e. the greater part of middle Italy, all lower Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica.[96] It has been shown that the Bishop of Rome did not in early ages exercise authority in Spain, or Gaul, or Africa, nor even over the Bishops of Milan and Aquileia.[97] Far less could he have had patriarchal rights in the more distant isles of Britain. And, though the Synod of Arles, A. D. 314, speaks of the Bishop of Rome as “holding the larger dioceses,”[98] which Roman divines have construed to mean all the great divisions of the Western Empire, yet there is good proof, that the word diocese had before this time been assigned to the ordinary provinces of the empire, and that it was even used of single episcopal Churches; so that it must by no means be inferred that the Synod of Arles meant to speak of the Roman patriarchate as including all the West.[99]

Again, it has been proved, beyond a question, that the British Church was of very early origin: founded as early as, perhaps earlier than, the Church of Rome.[100] It clearly acknowledged no obedience to the Pope; for, when Augustine met the British bishops, and pleaded with them for subjection to Rome, they replied, “that they owed no obedience to the Bishop of Rome, but were under the government of the Bishop of Caerleon upon Uske, who was their overseer under God.”[101] They refused too to alter their time for keeping Easter, to suit the Roman custom;[102] and show no intention whatever of submitting to papal authority. Indeed, the only reasonable claim which the Roman Pontiff can put in, to a superiority over our English bishops, is derived from the mission of Augustine, A. D. 599. But it is to be observed that, as there was already a Church and several bishops in Britain, so there were Christians, before his arrival, even among the Saxons; that he converted only a small portion of England, namely, Kent, and a few adjacent counties; other parts being converted by Irish and Scots missionaries, not sent from Rome;[103] that he did not receive his appointment to the see of Canterbury from Gregory the Pope, but from Ethelbert the King.[104] Besides all this, the benefit conferred, of converting a nation, does not necessarily involve a supreme jurisdiction over it. Such a jurisdiction was not conceded by the earlier Saxon kings; and if it had been so, a power, which did not originate till the seventh century, whereas there had been a Church in Great Britain in the first century, cannot be a power of that inviolable character, that to throw it off is to separate from Christ, and from the communion of Christ’s holy Church. We maintain, that Britain and British Churches were not within the patriarchal rule of Rome in the earliest ages, nor at the times of the four great general Councils. And we deny that, by right of conquest, the Bishop of Rome could obtain authority over them, since it was to Christ, and not to Gregory, that Augustine was sent to conquer the Saxons. We assert therefore that, by claiming patriarchal jurisdiction in England, the Roman Patriarch violates the eighth Canon of the third general Council, which forbids a bishop to intrude into any province which was not under his authority from the very beginning (ἄνωθεν καὶ ἐξ ἀρχῆς).

If the Pope had been contented to exercise jurisdiction within his own patriarchate, and to take precedence of rank over all the other bishops of Christendom, without attempting to exercise an unwarranted control over bishops and Churches not within the limits of his own lawful government; it is probable that his privileges would never have been objected against, nor his precedence denied him. But when he wishes to be sole Vicar of Christ on earth, the head of the whole Church, and to be above all earthly power and dominion, we believe that he arrogates to himself a title which belongs not to any human being, and claims a power which is only Christ’s.[105]

Section III.

IT will be necessary to give but a small space to the concluding paragraphs of this Article. The first is, —

I. “The laws of the realm may punish Christian men with death for heinous and grievous offences.”

The chief arguments against capital punishments in a Christian state, must be drawn from general considerations of benevolence, and from the evil of taking away from the sinner the time for repentance. To these may be added our Lord’s cautions against revenging ourselves, and His injunctions that we should not resist evil (Matt. v. 38, 45, &c).

On the other side, it is truly said, that punishments inflicted by public authority are not for revenge, but for the suppression of evil. More benevolence is shown in punishing violence, and so repressing it, than in suffering it to prevail. We may not indeed altogether reason from Jewish precedent; because the character of the Jewish commonwealth was peculiar: and some crimes were then visited with capital punishment, which in any other commonwealth must be left almost without public condemnation. But, before the Law, God gave to Noah a command, which seems applicable to the whole human race: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made He man” (Gen. ix. 6). And under the Gospel, St. Paul maintains the authority of the civil sword. He speaks of the higher powers as ordinances of God, forbids Christians to resist them, and, speaking of the magistrate, says: “He beareth not the sword in vain; for he is the minister of God; a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Rom. xiii. 1‒4).

So then in the patriarchal ages, and under the Gospel, we have authority for capital punishments. Whether such sentence should be pronounced on any but murderers, or virtual murderers, is another question. But for murder, at least, there seems full Scripture authority, that nations should inflict the punishment of death.

II. The last paragraph in the Article is: “It is lawful for Christian men, at the commandment of the magistrate, to wear weapons and serve in the wars.”

Tertullian, in his treatise, De Corona Militis, argues against the lawfulness of a Christian’s engaging in the military profession.[106] But in his Apology, he says, that Christians were in the habit of enlisting both in the Roman armies and the Roman navies.[107] The well-known story of “The Thundering Legion” proves, that, in the year 174, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius, there were many Christians among the imperial troops, even if we hesitate to believe that there was a whole Christian legion, or that their prayers brought down thunder and rain.[108]

When we come to Scripture, we find one or two passages in the new Testament which seem to some persons decisive against the lawfulness of war altogether, and therefore against the lawfulness of serving in war. They are especially, Matt. v. 38‒41, where our Lord forbids us to “resist evil,” bidding us turn the left cheek to one who smites us on the right; and Matt. xxvi. 52, “All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” What applies to individuals may be thought equally applicable to societies of individuals, and therefore to whole nations. Indeed we may justly apply the argument, so far as to say that no Christian nation or governor is justified in making war upon a principle of revenge. Revenge is an unchristian feeling, and therefore forbidden to nations as well as to individuals. Therefore, not only are wars for mere glory unquestionably wholesale murder, but. wars for any end save necessary preservation, and protection of life, liberties, and independence, are clearly against the will of God, and the spirit of the Gospel of Christ. Yet we may press doctrines and passages of Scripture so far as to overturn the whole fabric of society. If Christian nations may never resist aggression, or defend the weak, civilization and religion would be hourly exposed to destruction from the invasion of barbarians and unbelievers. In such a case, the Gospel would have established the supremacy of the violent and the ungodly.

But He, who in the old Testament repeatedly calls Himself “the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel,” can hardly have altogether forbidden just war. John the Baptist, when the soldiers inquired of him what they should do to prepare for the kingdom of Christ, did not bid them give up serving in the armies, but required them to do no violence, and to be content with their wages (Luke iii. 14). Nowhere in the new Testament is there any injunction against the military profession, although our blessed Lord and His Apostles are frequently brought into contact with soldiers, and are led to speak of war. Thus the centurion, whose servant our Lord healed, received high commendation for his faith, but no rebuke for his vocation (Matt. viii. 5‒13). Cornelius, another centurion, has visions and miracles vouchsafed to him, and an Apostle is sent to instruct and baptize him; but no hint is given, that he ought to give up serving in the Roman armies after his baptism and adoption of the faith (Acts x.). Our Lord and St. Paul both refer to the customs of war, as illustrations of the Christian’s warfare, and commend the prudence and wisdom of the worldly warrior to the imitation of the soldier of the Cross, without any reservation or intimation that this world’s warrior is to be condemned for following his calling. (See Luke xiv. 31, 32. 2 Tim. ii. 4.) The rebuke to St. Peter, “They that take the sword shall perish with the sword,” was evidently directed against an individual’s voluntarily taking on himself to fight; and also against using carnal weapons in a spiritual cause. It is not therefore applicable to serving as a soldier, in defence of our country, and at the command of the magistrate, who, by God’s own ordinance “beareth the sword,” and “is a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Rom. xiii. 4).


  1. θερμότερος τῶν ἄλλων εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν Χριστοῦ. — Greg. Naz. Orat. 34. Tom. I. p. 549. Colon. See several passages to a like effect in Barrow, On the Pope’s Supremacy, pp. 30, 31.
  2. “Ipse enim Petrus in Apostolorum ordine primus, in Christi amore promptissimus, sæpe unus respondet pro omnibus.” — August. De Verbis Evangelii, Matt. xiv. Serm. 76, Tom. V. p. 415.
  3. “Quem primum Dominus elegit.” — Cypr. Ep. 71.
  4. Hier. In Jovin. I. Tom. IV. part II. p. 168.
  5. “Supereminentem beatæ fidei suæ confessione gloriam promeruit.” — Hilar. De Trin. Lib. VI.
  6. ἀρχὴ μεγίστη…κορυϕὴ ἀρχῶν. Chrys. De Utilit. Lect. Script. in Princip. Actorum iii. Tom. III. p. 75. Edit. Benedict.
  7. δείκνυσιν αὐτοῖς ὁμότιμον ὄντα λοιπὸν, καὶ οὐ τοῖς ἄλλοις ἑαυτὸν, ἀλλὰ τῷ κορυϕαίῳ συγκρίνει, δεικνὺς ὅτι τῆς αὐτῆς ἕκαστος ἀπέλαυσεν ἀξίας. — Chrys. In Gal. ii. 8.
  8. “Hoc erant utique et cæteri Apostoli quod fuit Petrus, pari consortio præditi et honoris et potestatis; sed exordium ab unitate proficiscitur, ut Ecclesia una monstretur.” — Cyp. De Unit. Eccles. p. 107.
  9. “Primatum confessionis utique, non honoris; primatum fidei, non ordinis.” — Lib. de Incarn. T. IV.
  10. “At dicis super Petrum fundatur Ecclesia, licet id ipsum alio loco super omnes apostolos fiat, et ex æquo super eos Ecclesiæ fortitudo solidetur.” — Hier. In Jovin. I. Tom. IV. part. II. p. 168.
  11. “Cæteri Apostoli cum Petro par consortium honoris et potestatis acceperunt, qui etiam in toto orbe dispersi evangelium prædicaverunt, quibusque decedentibus successerunt episcopi, qui sunt constituti per totum mundum in sedibus Apostolorum.” — Isidor. Hispal. De Offic. Lib. II. c. 5.
  12. It is thought that the Syriac version refutes this opinion; since our Lord spoke Syriac, and in that version the words are the same, both being [could not transcribe]. It is, however, justly observed by Bp. Beveridge on this Article, that the second [could not transcribe], where it means a rock, is shown to be feminine, by the use of the feminine pronoun [could not transcribe]; whereas the first must be masculine, since it is a man’s name. Hence the difference between Πέτρος and Πέτρα is not quite lost in the Syriac; though that language does not admit of the same changes of termination as the Greek has.
  13. ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ…τουτέστι ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει τῆς ὁμολογίας. — Hom. LVI. in Matt. xvi.
  14. “Super hanc Petram, quam confessus es, ædificabo ecclesiam meam.” — August. In Johan. tr. 124, Tom. III. par. II. p. 822, and De Verbo Evangelii, Matt. xiv.; Serm. 76, Tom. V. p. 415.
  15. Retractat. I. 21, Tom. I. p. 32.
  16. “Fides ergo est Ecclesiæ fundamentum. Non enim de carne Petri, sed de fide dictum est, quia portæ mortis ei non prævalebunt, sed confessio vincti infernum.” — Ambros. De Incarnat. Domin. Sacrament. c. 5.
  17. “Petra est Christus; qui etiam discipulo suo hujus vocabuli gratiam non negavit, ut et ipse sit Petrus, quod de Petra habeat soliditatem constantiæ, fidei firmitatem.” — Ambros. Lib. VI. In Evangel. Lucæ.
  18. “Super hanc confessionis Petram Ecclesiæ ædificatio est.” — Hil. De Trin. Lib. VI.
  19. In cap. xliv. Jesaiæ, p. 598; Id. Dial. IV. De SS. Trinit. p. 507.
  20. Orat. XXV. p. 142.
  21. Epist. 77.
  22. Epist. 235, Lib. I.
  23. In Matt. xvi. 18.
  24. De Pudicit. c. 21; De Præscript. Hæret. c. 22.
  25. εἰ δὲ ἐπὶ τὸν ἕνα ἐκεῖνον Πέτρον νομίζεις οἰκοδομεῖσθαι τὴν ἐκκλησίαν μόνεν, τὶ ἂν ϕήσαις περὶ ωάννου τοῦ τῆς βροντῆς υἱοῦ καὶ ἑκάστου τῶν ποστόλων. — Origen. In Matt. Tom. XII. 11.
  26. Πέτρα γὰρ πᾶς ὁ Χριστοῦ μαθήτης, ἀϕ’ οὗ ἐπίνον οἳ ἐκ πνευματικῆς ἀκολουθούσης πέτρας, κ. τ. λ. — Ibid.
  27. “Super unum ædificat ecclesiam suam. Et quamvis Apostolis omnibus parem potestatem tribuat et dicat; Sicut misit Me Pater, et Ego mitto vos, accipite Spiritum Sanctum; si cui remiseritis peccata, remittentur illis, si cui remiseratis peccata, remittentur illis, si cui tenueritis, tenebuntur: tamen ut unitatem manifestaret, unitatis ejus originem ab uno incipientem sua auctoritate disposuit. Hoc erant utique et cæteri Apostoli quod fuit Petrus, pari consortio præditi et honoris et potestatis; sed exordium ab unitate proficiscitur, ut una ecclesia monstretur.” — Cypr. De Unitate, p. 106. Fell.
  28. Orat. XXVI. Tom. I. p. 413.
  29. Hæres. LIX. Tom. I. p. 500.
  30. In Cap. ii. Jesaiæ, Tom. II. p. 869.
  31. Hieronym. Ad Marcellam adv. Montanum, Epist. 27. Tom. IV. part II. p. 64.
  32. “Petrus dicitur, eo quod primus in nationibus fidei fundamenta posuerit.” — Pseudo-Ambros. De Sanctis, Serm. 2.
  33. See Origen, as above. So Jerome: “Dicis super Petrum fundatur Ecclesia, licet id ipsum in alio loco super omnes Apostolos fiat.” — Hieron. In Jovin. Tom. IV. par. II. p. 168. So Basil. M.: ἐκκλησία ᾠκοδόμηται ἐπὶ τῷ θεμελίῳ τῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ προϕητῶν · ἓν τῶν ὀρέων ἦν καὶ Πέτρος, ἐϕ’ ἧς καὶ Πέτρας ἐπηγγείλατο ὁ Κύριος οἰκοδομήσειν αὐτοῦ τὴν ἐκκλησίαν. — Basil. In Isai. ii. p. 869.
  34. Barrow, Supremacy, p. 62.
  35. ρα οὖν τῷ Πέτρῳ μόνῳ δίδονται ἀπὸ τοῦ Κυρίου αἱ κλεῖδες τῶν οὐρανῶν βασιλείας, καὶ οὐδεὶς ἕτερος τῶν μακαρίων αὐτὰς λήψεται; εἰ δὲ κοινόν ἐστι καὶ πρὸς ἑτέρους τὸ δώσω σοι τὰς κλεῖδας τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν, πῶς οὐχὶ καὶ πάντα τὰ τε προειρημένα καὶ τὰ ἐπιϕερόμενα ὡς πρὸς Πέτρον λελεγμένα. — Origen. In Matt. Tom. XII. 11.
  36. “Christus Apostolis omnibus post resurrectionem suam parem potestatem tribuit et dicit: Sicut misit me Pater, et Ego mitto vos, accipite Spiritum S. Si cui remiseritis peccata, remittentur ei, si cui retinueritis, tenebuntur.” — Cyprian. De Unitate, p. 107. Fell.
  37. “Dicis, super Petrum fundatur Ecclesia; licet id ipsum in alio loco super omnes Apostolos fiat, et cuncti claves cœlorum accipiant; et ex æquo super eos ecclesiæ fortitudo solidetur.” — Hieron. C. Jovinian. Lib. I. Tom. IV. part II. p. 168.
  38. “Quod Petro dicitur, cæteris Apostolis dicitur.” — Ambros. In Ps. xxxviii.
  39. “Numquid istas claves accepit Petrus, et Paulus non accepit? Petrus accepit, et Joannes, et Jacobus non accepit, et cæteri apostoli?” — August. Serm. CXLIX. Tom. V. p. 704. So, again, “Ecclesia quæ fundatur in Christo, claves ab eo regni cœlorum accepit, i. e. potestatem ligandi, solvendique peccata.” — Aug. Tract. 124, in Joh. Tom. III. par. II. p. 822.
  40. εἰ γὰρ καὶ πρὸς Πέτρον μόνον εἴρηται τὸ δώσω σοι, ἀλλὰ καὶ πᾶσι ἀποστόλοις δεδόται · πότε; ὅτε εἶπεν ἂν τινῶν ἀϕῆτε τᾶς ἁμαρτίας ἀϕίενται. — Theophyl. in loc.
  41. “Hæc clavium potestas ad omnes etiam apostolos et Ecclesiæ præsules est translata. Quod autem sigillatim Petro sit commendata, ideo factum est, quod Petri exemplum universis Ecclesiæ pastoribus fuit propositum.” — Leo. I. Serm. de Nativ.
  42. “In typo unitatis Petro Dominus dedit potestatem.” — August. De Bapt. III. 17. Tom. IX. p. 117. “Quando ei dictum est, Tibi dabo claves . . . .universam significavit ecclesiam.” — Tract. 124 in Johan. Tom. III. pt. II. p. 822. “Ecclesiæ claves regni cœlorum datæ sunt, cum Petro datæ sunt.” — De Agone Christi 30, Tom. VI. p. 260.
  43. “Sic enim et exitus docet. In ipso Ecclesia extructa est, id est, per ipsum: ipse clavem imbuit; vides quam — viri Israelitæ, auribus mandate quæ dico; Jesum Nazarenum, virum a Deo destinatum et reliqua. Ipse denique primus in Christi baptismo reseravit aditum cœlestis regni, quo solvuntur alligata retro delicta, et alligantur quæ non fuerint soluta secundum veram salutem, et Ananiam vinxit vinculo mortis.” — Tertull. De Pudicitia, c. 21.
  44. “Cum ei dicitur, ad omnes dicitur, Amas me? Pasce oves meas.” — August. De Agone Christi, 30, Tom. VI. p. 260.
  45. “Quas oves et quem gregem non solum tum B. suscepit Petrus., sed et cum eo nos suscepimus omnes.” — Ambros. De Dignitat. Sacerd. 2.
  46. “Pastores sunt omnes, sed grex unus ostenditur, qui ab apostolis omnibus unanim consensione pascitur.” — Cypr. De Unitate Eccles.
  47. “Euseb. H. E. II. 1, quoting Clement from the sixth book of the Hypotyposes.
  48. H. E. Lib. II. c. 15.
  49. De Viris Ill. c. 8.
  50. Hug, Introduction to the New Testament, part II. sect. 165.
  51. Iren. III. 3.
  52. Hypotyp. Lib. VI. apud Euseb. H. E. II. 14.
  53. De Præscript. c. 32.
  54. Ap. Euseb. H. E. III. 1.
  55. Constitut. Apostol. VII. 46. Here Clement is made the second bishop of rome; Anacletus, whom Irenæus mentions as second, being omitted.
  56. De Mortibus Persecutorum, c. 2.
  57. III. 2.
  58. III. 4.
  59. II. 14.
  60. “Linus et Cletus fuerunt quidem ante Clementem episcopi in urbe Roma, sed superstite Petro; videlicet ut illi Episcopatus curam gererent, ipse vero Apostolatus impleret officium.” — Rufin. in Præf. Clem Recog.
  61. ν ώμῃ γὰρ γεγόνασι πρώτοι Πέτρος καὶ Παύλος οἱ ἀπόστολοι αὐτοὶ καὶ ἐπίσκοποι, εἶτα Λῖνος. — Epiph. Hær. XXVII. num. 6.
  62. “Post episcopatum Antiochensis Ecclesiæ … romam pergit, ibique viginti quinque annis cathedram sacerdotalem tenuit.” — De V. I. c. 1.
  63. Chron. p. 160.
  64. The Greek of Eusebius is, Πέτρος ὁ κορυϕαῖος τὴν ἐν ντιοχείᾳ πρώτην θεμελιώσας ἐκκλησίαν εἰς ωμὴν ἄπεισι κηρύττων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον. — Κρον. Καν. ad Num. M. T.
  65. “Apostoli per annos XXV usque ad principium Neroniani imperii per omnes provincias et civitates Ecclesiæ fundamenta miserunt. Cumque jam Nero imperaret, Petrus Romam advenit,” &c. — De Mortibus Persecutorum, c. 2. Pagi gives this explanation, Critic. in Baron. Ann. 43, num. III. quoted by Lardner, Works, VI. p. 547.
  66. Il. Δ. 442.
  67. Constitut. Apostol. VII. 46, as above.
  68. “Qualis es evertens atque commutans manifestam Domini intentionem personaliter hoc Petro conferentem.” — De Pudicit. c. 21. See also Bishop Kaye’s Tertullian, pp. 236, 237.
  69. Euseb. H. E. IV. 14, v. 24.
  70. “Si qui discrepabant ab illis Victori non dederunt manus.” — Hieronym. De V. I. s. v. Irenæus.
  71. Euseb. H. E. v. 24; Hieronym. De V. I. Irenæus indeed in one place says, that, “in the Church of Rome, on account of her more powerful principality, the faithful everywhere must meet, in which, by the resort of so many, Apostolical tradition is preserved.” — Adv. Hær. III. 3. All that we can gather from this is, that the city and the Church of Rome had a great preëminence, that it was the great centre or focus of the Christian world, and so the truth was best preserved there.
  72. “Idcirco præsumis et ad te derivasse solvendi et alligandi potestatem, id est, ad omnem ecclesiam Petri propinguam.” — De Pudicit. c. 21. The De Pudicitia is a Montanist tract, but its evidence as to the claims of Rome is as good as if it were Catholic.
  73. Seventy-one were present at the second, and eighty-seven at the third Council.
  74. “Neque enim quisquam nostrum episcopum se episcoporum constiuit; aut tyrannico terrore, ad osequendi necessitatem collegas suos adegit; quando habeat omnis episcopus pro licentia libertatis et potestatis suæ, arbitrium proprium, tamque judicari ab alio non possit, quam nec ipse potest judicare.” — Cyprianus In Concil. Carthag.
  75. Epistol. Firmilian. Oper. Cyprian. Epist. LXXV. p. 225, E.
  76. Concil. Tom. II. p. 1674; Justelli, Cod. Can. Eccle. Afric. p. 408.
  77. “Non provocent nisi ad Africana concilia, vel ad primatas provinciarum; ad transmarina autem qui putaverit appellandum, a nullo intra Africam in communionem suscipiatur.” — Concil. Milev. Can. 22; Barrow, On the Supremacy, p. 248. See also Bingham, IX. i. 11; Hussey’s Rise of the Papacy, pp. 40‒46.
  78. “Ego autem fidenter dico quia quisquis se universalem sacerdotem vocat, seu vocari desiderat, in elatione sua Antichristum præcurrit, quia superbiendo se cæteris præponit.” — Gregor. Magn. Epist. VII. 33. So again, “Nullus unquam decessorum meorum hoc tam profano vocabulo uti consensit, quia videlicet si unus Patriarcha universalis dicitur, patriarcharum nomen cæteris derogatur.” — Ibid. v. 43. “Indignant as Gregory was at the Bishop of Constantinople calling himself Œcumenical Patriarch, that title had been given him by law from the time of Justinian, and was therefore no new thing in Gregory’s time.” — See Bingham, E. A. XVII. 21.
  79. Bevereg. Synodic. Tom. I. p. 66.
  80. Ibid.
  81. Ibid. p. 87.
  82. διὰ τὸ εἶναι αὐτὴν νέαν ώμην. — Ibid. p. 89.
  83. ὥστε μηδένα τῶν θεοϕιλεστάτων ἐπισκόπων ἐπαρχίαν ἑτέραν, οὐκ οὖσαν ἄνωθεν καὶ ἐξ ἀρχῆς ὑπὸ τὴν αὐτοῦ ἠγοῦν τῶν πρὸ αὐτοῦ χεῖρα, καταλαμβάνειν. — Bevereg. Synodic. Tom. I. p. 104.
  84. Καὶ γὰρ τῳ θρόνῳ τῆς πρεσβυτέρας ώμης διὰ τὸ βασιλεύειν τὴν πόλιν ἐκείνην οἱ πατέρες εἰκότως ἀποδεδώκασι τὰ πρεσβεῖα. Καὶ τῷ αὐτῷ σκοπῷ κινούμενοι οἱ ἕκατον πεντήκοντα θεοϕιλέστατοι ἐπίσκοποι τὰ ἴσα πρεσβεῖα ἀπένειμαν τῷ τῆς νέας ώμης ἁγιωτάτῳ θρόνῳ εὐλόγως κρίναντες τὴν βασιλείᾳ καὶ συγκλήτῳ τιμηθεῖσαν πόλιν, καὶ τῶν ἴσων ἀπολαυούσαν πρεσβείων τῇ πρεσβυτέρᾳ βασιλίδι ώμῃ, καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἐκκλησιαστικοῖς, ὡς ἐκείνην, μεγαλύνεσθαι πράγμασι, δευτέραν μετ’ ἐκείνην ὑπάρχουσαν. — Ibid. p. 145.
  85. Bevereg. Synodic. Tom. I. p. 485.
  86. Ibid. p. 487.
  87. Ibid. p. 488.
  88. See Hussey’s Rise of the Papacy, pp. 44‒47.
  89. See Barrow, p. 250; Stillingfleet’s Origines Britan. ch. III., near the end; Palmer, On the Church, II. pp. 520, 548.
  90. The progress is well traced by Professor Hussey in the small volume already referred to.
  91. Socr. H. E. V. 8. Conc. Chalced.
  92. Bing. E. A. II. xvii. 1, 9.
  93. “Episcopatus unus est, cujus a singulis in solidum pars tenetur.” — Cyprian. De Unitate, p. 108. “Ubicunque est episcopus, sive Romæ, sive Eugubii, ejusdem est meriti, ejusdem sacerdotii; potentia divitiarum et paupertatis humilitas sublimiorem vel inferiorem episcopum non facit.” — Hieronym. Ad Evagrium, Epist. 85.
  94. A bishop’s jurisdiction was over a παροικία, a metropolitan’s over an ἐπαρχία, a patriarch’s over a διοίκησις, corresponding with the civil jurisdiction of imperial officers. In the Empire there were seven dioceses in the East, and six in the West, besides the Prefecture of Rome. Hence, in the Church there were fourteen dioceses or patriarchates. In the East, 1. Egypt, under the Patriarch of Alexandria. 2. The East, under the Patriarch of Antioch. 3. Asia, under the Patriarch of Ephesus first, — afterwards under Constantinople. 4. Pontus, under Cæsarea. 5. Thrace, under Thessalonica, — afterwards under Constantinople. 6. Macedonia. 7. Dacia. In the West, 1. Rome, containing the suburbicarian provinces, under the Patriarch of Rome. 2. Italy, under Milan. 3. Africa, under Carthage. 4. Illyria, which afterwards fell under Constantinople. 5. Gaul, under Treves, — afterwards under Arles. 6. Spain, under Seville, — afterwards under Toledo. 7. Britain, under York. In the fourteen dioceses of the empire there were 118 provinces; and there was the like number in the Church. But, as in the civil government there were three chief cities, Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, so the bishops of these were called Patriarchs by preëminence (as was afterwards the Bishop of Constantinople); the bishops of the other great dioceses being called Primates, though with patriarchal powers, — Primates of dioceses, not merely metropolitans of provinces. See Crackanthorp, Defensio Eccles. Anglican. cap. XXII. §§ 64, 65.
  95. “Ut apud Alexandriam, et in urbe Roma, vetusta consuetudo servetur, ut vel ille Ægypti, vel hic suburbicarium ecclesiarum sollicitudinem gerat.” — Rufin. Hist. Lib. I. c. 6.
  96. Bevereg. Synodicon. Annotat. in Can. Concil. Nic. Prim.; Stillingfleet, as above; Bingham, IX. i. 9, 10.
  97. Stillingfleet, Origines Britan. ch. III.; Bingham, IX. i. 11; Dr. Allix (Churches of Piedmont, ch. XIII.) shows, that the diocese of Milan was independent of rome to the middle of the 11th century.
  98. “Qui majores diœceses tenes.” — Conc. Arelatens. I.; Epist. Synod. Concil. Tom. I. p. 1426.
  99. Bingham, IX. i. 12; Palmer, On the Church, II. p. 543.
  100. Stillingfleet, Orig. Britann. ch. I. See the Introduction to Soames’s Anglo-Saxon Church, where in two pages a summary of the evidence for Britain’s early conversion is given.
  101. Spelman, Concil. Britan. An. 601, Tom. I. p. 108; Bingham, IX. i. 11; Stillingfleet, ch. V., near the end; Bramhall I. p. 160.
  102. Bede, Hist. Lib. II. c. 2, 19; III. 25; V. 16, 22; Bingham, Ibid.
  103. See Bramall, Works, I. 266, 267 · II. 94. 133, 300.
  104. Ibid. I. 132; Bed. H. E. I. 25.
  105. Dr. Barrow, On the Supremacy of the Pope, is a complete storehouse of information and argument on this subject. Crackanthorp, Defensio Eccl. Anglic. ch. XXII. contains an excellent summary of arguments. Palmer, On the Church, Part VII. has also much information in a small compass. For the antiquity and independence of the British Churches see Usher, De Primord. Eccl. Britan.; Stillingfleet, Origines Britannicæ; Bramhall and Bingham, as referred to above; Beveridge, Note on VI. Can. of the Nicene Synod, Tom. II. Annotat. pp. 51‒60; Hales, Origin and Purity of the British Church; Burgess’s Tracts; Williams’s Antiquities of the Cymry, &c.
  106. De Coronâ, c. 11.
  107. Apol. c. 42. See Bp. Kaye’s Tertullian, p. 364.
  108. Concerning the Thundering Legion, see Mosheim, De Rebus ante Constant. Mag. sec. II. § 17; Lardner, VII. p. 438. Many later sects, whose doctrines and practices were very rigid, seem to have opposed capital punishments and the lawfulness of war; as the Waldenses (see Mosheim, Cent. XII. part II. sect. V. 12) and the Anabaptists. Mosh. Cent. XVI. sect. III. pt. II. ch. III. 16.


E. Harold Browne

(Edward) Harold Browne was an English bishop, born at Aylesbury and educated at Eton and Cambridge. He was ordained in 1836, and two years later was elected senior tutor of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. From 1843 to 1849 he was vice-principal of St David’s College, Lampeter, and in 1854 was appointed Norrisian professor of divinity at Cambridge. His best-known book is the Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles (vol. i., Cambridge, 1850; vol. ii., London, 1853), which remained for many years a standard work on the subject and is still beloved today. In 1864 he was consecrated bishop of Ely.

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