Andrew Thomson John Owen.

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PRINCIPLES OF PAPISTS ON THE UNITY OF FAITH. 289

tion is ascribed to Eiisebius in Chron. lib. i. ; but it is evidently an
addition of Jerome's, in whose days the tradition was increased, for
there is no such thing in the original Greek copy of Eusebius, nor doth
it agree with what he had elsewhere written concerning him. And it
is very well worth while to consider how Onuphrius Panvinus, a very
learned antiquary of your own party, makes up these twenty-five years
of Peter's episcopacy at Rome, Aimotat. in Plat in Vit B. Petr.
^^ £x novem primis annis," saith he, '^ post Christi mortem, usque ad
initiiun secundi anni Imperii Claudii, Petrum Judse^ nunquam ex-
cessisse, ex Actis Apostolorum, et Paul! Epistola ad Galatas, apertis-
sime constat Si igitur, ut inter omnes authores convenit, eo tem-
pore Romam venit, illud certe necessarium videtur eum ante ad ur-
bem adventum Antiochiae septem annis non sedisse; sed hanc ejus
Antiochenam cathedram alio tempore fuisse. Quam rem ex vetustis-
simorum authorum testimonio sic constitui: Secundo Imperii Claudii
anno Romam venit; a quo tempore usque ad iUius obitum, anni plus
minus viginti quinque intersunt, quibus, etsi eum Romse sedisse ve-
teres scribunt^ non tamen prseterea sequitur, ipsum semper in urbe
commoratum esse: nam, quarto anno ejus ad urbem adventus, Hie-
rusolymam reversus est, et ibi concilio apostolorum interfuit ; inde An-
tiochiam profectus, septem ibidem annis usque ad Neronis Imperium
permansit, cujus initio Romam reversus Romanam dilabentem repara-
vit ecclesiam. Peregrinatione inde per universam fere Europam sus-
cepta, Romam rediens novissimo Neronis Imperii anno, martyrium
crucis passus est ;" — " For the first nine years after the death of Christ,
unto the beginning of the second year of Claudius, it is most evident,
from the Acts, and Epistle to the Qalatians, that Peter went not out of
Palestine If therefore, as all agree, he came at that time to Rome, it is
certain that he had not abode at Antioch seven years before his coming
thither (which yet all the witnesses agree in) ; but this his Antiochian
chair fell out at some other tima Wherefore, I thus order the whole
matter from the testimony of most ancient authors'' (not that any
one before him ever wrote any such thing, but this he supposeth may
be said to reconcile their contradictions): "In the second year of
Claudius he came to Roma From thence unto his death were
twenty-five years, more or less: which space of time, although the
ancients write that he sat at Rome, yet it doth not follow thence
that he always abode in the dty; for, in the fourth year after his
coming, he returned unto Jerusalem to be present at the council of
the apostles; thence going unto Antioch, he continued there seven
years, unto the reign of Nero. In the beginning of his reign, he
returned unto Rome, to repair the decaying church thera From
thence, passing almost through all Europe, he returned again to
Rome in the last year of Nero, and underwent martyrdom by the
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290 A VINDICATION OP THE ANIB^ADVEESIONS ON FIAT LUX.

cross." Tou may easily discern the uncertainty, at least, of that
story, which this learned man can give no countenance unto but
by multiplying improbable imaginations to shelter one another.
For, — (1.) Who evOT said that Peter came from Rome to come up
to the council at Jerusalem, when it is most manifest, from the stoiy
of the Acts, that he had never before departed out of Judea? And
this council being granted to have been in tlie sixth year of Clau-
dius, as here it is by Onuphrius, quite overthrows the tradition of
his going to Rome in his second. (2.) The abode of twenty-five
years at Borne, as thus disposed, is no abode indeed; for he con-
tinued almost twice as long at Antioch as he did at Rome. (3.) Here
is no time at all allowed unto him for preaching the gospel in Gala-
tia, Oappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, which certainly are not pro-
vinces of Europe; in which places Eusebius, Hi^ lib. iii cap. 1,
Origen, and all the ancients, agree that he did attend unto his
apostleship towards the Jews, and his epistles make it evident
(4.) Nor is there any time left for him to be at Babylon, where yet
we know he was. So that this fancy can have no countenance given
it without a full rejection of all that we know to be true in the story.
4 The Scripture is vUerly silent of any such thing cls Peter's going
to Rome. Other joume)rings of his it records, as to Samaria, Lydda^
Joppa^ Csesarea^ Antioch. Now, it was no way material that his
coming unto any of these places should be known but only in refer-
ence unto the things done there by him, and yet they are recorded;
but this his going to Rome, which is supposed to be of such huge
importance in Ohristian religion, and that, according to Onuphrius,
felling out in the midst of his other joumejrings, as it must do if ever
it fell out) is utterly passed by in silence. If it had been to have
such an influence into the veiy being of Christianity as now is pre-
tended, some men will be apt to ihmk that the mention of it would
not have been omitted. 5. Paid, in his Epistle to the Romans,
written a good while after this ima^ary going of Peter to Rome,
makes no m^ition of him, when yet he saluted by name those of
chief note and dignity in the church there; so that^ undoubtedly,
be was not then come thither. 6. The same apostle being at Rome
in the reign of Nero, in the midst of the time allotted unto the abode
of Peter there, never once mentions him in any of the ^istles which
from thence he wrote mito the churdies and his fellow-labourers,
though he doth remember very many others that wex^ witii him in
the city. 7. He asserts that, in one of his epistles from thence,
which, as I think, sufficiently proves that Peter was not then there:
/or he says plainly that in his trial he was forsaken by aU men, that
no man stood by him; which he mentions as their sin, and prajrs f(»*
pardon for them. Now, no man can reaflonabty think tbit Peter



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PBINCIPLES OF PAPISTS ON THE TTNITT OF FAITH. 291

was amoDgst the number of them whom he complained o£ 8. The
story is not consistent with what is expressly written of Peter by Luke
in the Acts, and Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians. Paul was con-
Terted xmto the faith about the thirty-eighth year of Christ, or fifth
after his ascension. After this he continued three years preaching
the gospel about Damascus and in Arabia In the fortieth or forty-
first year of Christ he came to Jerusalem, to confer with Peter, GaL L ;
which was the first of Claudius. As yet, therefore, Peter was not
removed out of Judea. Fourteen years after, — that is, either after his
first going up to Jerusalem, or rather fourteen years after his first
conversion, — ^he went up again to Jerusalem, and found Peter still
there; which was in the fifty-second year of Christ, and the thirteenth
of Claudiua Or if you should take the date of the fourteen years
mentioned by him shorter by five or six years, and reckon their be-
ginning from the passion and resurrection of Christ, which is not im-
probable, then this going up of Paul to Jerusalem will be found to
be the same with his going up to the coimcil from Antioch, about the
sixth or rather seventh year of Claudius. Peter was then yet cer-
tainly at Jerusalem, — ^that is, about the forty-sixth year of Christ;
some while after you would have the church to be founded by him at
Roma After this, when Paul had taken a long progress through
many countries, wherein he must needs spend some years, returning
imto Antioch, Acts xviiL 22, he there again met with Peter, GaL iL
11, Peter being yet still in the east, towards the end of the reign of
Claudius. At Antioch, where Paul found him, if any of your wit-
nesses may be believed, he abode seven yeara Besides, he was now
very old, and ready to lay down his mortality, as our Lord had
showed him; and, in all probability, after his remove fix)m Antioch,
spent the residue of his days in the eastern dispersion of the Jews.
For, — 9. Much of the apostle's work in Palestine among the Jews
was now drawing to an end; the elect being gathered in^ troubles
were growing upon the nation: and Peter had, as we observed be-
fore, agreed with Paul to take the care of the Circumcision, of whom
the greatest number by fiu:, excepting only Judea itself, was in Ba-
bylon, and the eastern nations about it Now, whether these and
the like observations out of the Scripture, concerning the course of
St Peter's Ufe, be not sufiSdent to outbalance the testimony of your
disagreeing witnesses, impartial and unprejudiced men may judge.
For my part, I do not intend to conclude peremptorily firom them
that Peter was never at Rome, or never preached the gospel there;
but that your assertion of it is improbable, and built upon v^ ques- .
tionable grounds, that I suppose I may esiSelj conduda And Cod
forbid that we should once imagine the present £uth of Christians,
or their professbn of Christian religion, to be built upon mok uncer«



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292 A VINDICATION OF THE ANIMADYEBSIONS ON HAT LUX.

tain conjectures, or to be concerned in them, whether they be true or
false. Nothing can be spoken with more reproach unto it than to
say that it stands in need of such supportment And yet, if this one
supposition {bH you, all your building falls to the ground in a mo-
m^it Neyer was so stupendous a fabric raised on such imaginaiy
foundationa But, that we may proceed, let us suppose this also, that
Peter was at Rome, and preached the gospel there, what will thence
follow unto your advantage? what towards the settlement of any
man in religion, or bringing us imto the unity of fedth, — the things
inquired after? He was at, he preached the gospel at, Jerusalem,
Samaria, Joppa, Antioch, Babylon, and sundry other places; and yet
we find no such consequences pleaded from thence as you uige from
his coming to Rome. Wherefore you add, —

IV. "That St Peter was bishop of the Roman church; that he
fixed his seat there, and there he died." In gathering up your prin-
ciples I follow the footsteps of Bellarmine, Baronius, and other great
champions of your church, so that you cannot except against the
method of our proposals of them. Now, this conclusion is built on
these three suppositions: — 1. That Peter had an episcopal office dis-
tinct from his apostolical; 2. That he was at Rome; 3. That he fixed
his episcopal see there; — whereof the second is very questionable, the
first aod last are absolutely false: so that the conclusion itself must
needs be a notable fundamental principle of fiaitL It is true, and I
showed it befoore, that the apostles, when they came into any church,
did exercise all the power of bishops in and over that church; but
not as bishops, but as apostles: as a king may, in any of the cities of
his dominions where he comes, exercise all the authority of the mayor
or particular governor of that place where he is, which yet doth not
make him become the mayor of the place, which would be a dimi-
nution of his royal dignity. No more did the apostles become local
bishops, because of their exercising episcopal power in any particular
church by virtue of their authority apostolical, wherein Uiat other
was included, as hath been declared. And " cui bono ?" to what
purpose serves this fictitious episcopacy? All the privileges that you
contend for the assignation of unto Peter were bestowed upon him
as an apostle, or as a believing disciple of Christ; as such he had
those peculiar grants made unto him. The keys of the kingdom of
heaven were given unto him as an apostle (or, according to St Austin,
as a believer) ; as such was he commanded to feed the sheep of Christ
It was unto him as an apostle, or a professing believer, that Christ
promised to build the church on the faith that he had professed.
You reckon all these things among the privil^es of Peter the apostle;
who as such is said to be ^ vpZroiy or first in order. As an apostle
he had the care of all the churches committed unto him; as an apostle



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miNCIPLES OF PAPISTS ON THE UNITY OP FAITH. 293

he was divinelj inspired and enabled infallibly to reveal the mind of
Christ. All these things belonged unto him as an apostle. And what
privilege he could have besides as a bishop, neither you nor I can
tell, no more than you can when, how, or by whom he was called
and ordained unto any such office; all which we know well enough
concerning his apostleship. If you will, then, have any to succeed
him in the enjoyment of any or of all these privileges, you must
bespeak him to succeed him in his apostleship, and not in his bishop-
ria Besides, as I said before, this imaginary episcopacy, which
limits and confines him unto a particular church, as it doth if it be
an episcopacy properly so called, is destructive of his apostolical
office, and of his duty in answering the commission given him of
preadiing the gospel to eveiy creature, following the guidance of
Gknl's providence and conduct of the Holy Ghost in his way. Many
of the ancients, I confess, affirm that Peter sat bishop of the church
of Rome: but they all evidently use the word in a large sense, to
imply that during his abode there (for that there he was they did
suppose) he took upon him the especial care of that church; for
the same persons constantly affirm that Paul also was bishop of the
same church at the same time, which cannot be otherwise understood
than in the large sense mentioned. And Bufinus, Prsefat Becog.
Clement ad Gaudent.., unriddles the mysteiy. " Linus," saith he, " et
Cletus fiierunt ante Clementem episcopi in urbe Roma, sed superstite
Petro; videlicet, ut illi episcopatus curam gererent, iste vero aposto-
latus impleret officium -" — " Linus and Cletus were bishops in the
city of Rome before Clemens, but whilst Peter waa yet alive; they
performing the duty of bishops, Peter attending unto his office apo-
stolical" And hereby doth he utterly discard the present new plea
of the foundation of your faith; for though he assert that Peter the
apostle was at Rome, yet he denies that he ever sat bishop there, but
names two others that ruled that church at Rome jointly during his
time, either in one assembly or in two, — ^the one of the Circumcision,
the other of the Gentile converts. And if Peter were thus bishop of
Rome, aod entered, as you say, upon his episcopacy at his first coming
thither, whence is it that you are forced to confess that he was so
long absent from his charge ? Five years, saith Bellarmine ; but that
will by no means salve the difficulty. Seven, saith Onuphrius, at
once, and abiding at one place; the most part of his time, besides,
being spent in other places, and yet allowing him no time at all for
those places where he certainly wa& Eighteen, saith Cortesiua
Strange, that he should be so long absent from his especial cure, and
never write one word to them for their instruction or consolation,
whereas, in the meantime, he wrote two epistles unto them who, it
seems, did not in any special manner belong imto his chaigel I wish



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294 A VINDICATION OF THE ANIMADVERSIONS ON FUT LUX.

we could once find our way out of this maze of uncertainties. This
is but a sad disquisition after principles of faith, to settle men in re-
ligion by them ; and yet, if we should suppose this also, we are £ur
enough from our journey's end. The present bishop of Rome is as
yet behind the curtain, neither can he appear upon the stage until
he be ushered in by one pretence more of the same nature with them
that went befora And this is, —

y. " That some one must needs succeed Peter in his episcopacy.''
But why so ? why was it not needful that one should succeed him in
his apostleship ? Why was it not needful that Paul should have a
successor as well as Peter? and John as well as either of them?
"Because," you say, "that was necessary for the church ; not so these."
But who told you so? Where is the proof of what you aver? Who
made you judges of what is necessary and what is not necessary fco-
the church of Christ, when himself is silent? And why is not the
succession of an apostle necessary as well as of such a bishop as you
fancy ? Had it not been better to have had one still residing in the
church of whose infallibility there could have been no doubt or ques-
tion, — one that had the power of woiidng miracles, that should
have no need to scare the people by shaking fire out of his sleeve, as
your Pope Gregory VII. was wont to do, if Cardinal Benno may be
believed? But you have now carried us quite off from the Scripture,
and story, and probable conjectiu'es, to attend unto you whilst you
give the Lord Jesus prudential advice about what is necessary for his
church. " It must needs be so, it is meet it should be so," is the best
of your proof in this matter; only, your " Fratres Walenburgici " add,
" that never any man ordained Uie government of a community more
weakly than Christ must be supposed to have done the government
of his church, if he have not appointed such a successor to Peter as you
imagma" But it is easy for you to assert what you please of this nature,
and as easy for any one to reject what you so assert, if he please.
These things are without the verge of Christian religion,— chimeras,
towers and palaces in the air. But what must St Peter be succeeded
in? "His episcopacy." And what therewithal? " His authority,
power, jurisdiction over all churches in the world, with an unerring
judgment in matters of faith." But all these belonged unto Peter, as
far as ever they belonged unto him, as he was an apostle, long before
you &ncy him to have been a bishop: as, then, his episcopacy came
without these things, so, for aught you know, it might go without them.
This is a matter of huge importance in that system of principles which
you tender unto us to bring us unto settl^nent in reUgion and the
unity of faith. Would you would consider a little how you may give
some tolemble appearance of proof unto that which the Scripture is so
utterly silent in; yea, which lies against the whole economy of the



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PEINCIPLES OF PAPISTS ON THE UNITY OF FAITH. 295

Lord Jesus Christ in his ordering of his churchy as delivered unto
us therein. '^ Die aUquem, die, Quintiliane, colorem/' But we come
now to the pope, whom here we first find " latentem post principia,"
and coming forth /uireb voXKn^ favraaiai with his claim. For you

say,—

YI. '' That the bishop of Rome is the man that thus succeeds
Peter in his episcopacy; which, though it were settled at Rome, waa
over the whole catholic churcL'^ So you say, and so you profess
yourselves to believe. And we desire that you would not take it
amiss, if we desire to know upon what grounds you do so; being un-
willing to oast away all consideration, that we may embrace a fana-
tical " credo" in this imlikely business. We desire therefore to know
who appointed that there should be any succes^on? who, that the
bishop of Borne should be this successor ? Did Jesus Christ do it ?
We may justly expect you should say he did ; but if you do, we desire
to know when, where, how, seeing the Scripture is utterly silent of
any such thing. Did St Peter himself do it ? Pray, manifest unto
us that by the appointment of Jesus Christ he had pow^ so to do;
and that, secondly, he actually did sa Neither of these can you prove,
or produce any testimony worth crediting in confirmation of it
Did it necessaxUy follow firom hence, because that was the place where
Peter died ? But this was accidental, a thing that Peter thought not
of; for you say that a few days before his death, he was leaving that
place. Besides, according to this insinuation, why did not eveiy
apostle leave a successor behind him in the place where he died, and
that by virtue of his dying in that place ? Or produce you any patent
granted to Peter in especial, that where he died, there he should
leave a successor behind him ? But it seems the whole weight of
your fedth is laid upon a matter of fact accidentally fallen out, yea,
and that very uncertain whether ever it fell out or no. Show us
any thing of the will and institution of Christ in this matter; as that
Peter should go to Bome, that he shoidd fix his seat there, that he
should die there, that he should have a successor, that the bishop of
Bome should be his successor, that unto this successor I know not
what nor how many privileges should be conveyed. All these are
arbitrary wfrifiMra, inventions, that men may multiply "in infinitum"
at their pleasure; for what should set bounds to the imaginations of
men when once they cast off ail reverence of Christ and his truth ?
Once more: Why did not Peter fix a seat and leave a successor at
Antioch, and in other places, where he abode, and preached, and
exercised episcopal power without all question ? Was it because he
died at Bome ? This is to acknowledge that the whole Papacy is
built, as was said, upon an accidental matter of fact, and that sup-
posed, not proved. Farther: if he must be supposed to succeed



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296 A VINDICATION OF THE ANIMADVERSIONS ON FIAT LUX.

Peter, I desire to know what that succession is, and wherein he doth
succeed him. Doth he succeed him in all that he had and was, in
reference unto the church of Ood ? Doth he succeed him in the
manner of his call to his office ? Peter was called immediately by
Christ in his own person: the pope is chosen by the conclave of
cardinals; concerning whom, their office, privil^es, power, right to
choose the successor of Peter, there is not one iota in the Scripture,
or any monuments of the best antiquity; and how, in their election
of popes, they have been influenced by the interest of powerful
strumpets, your own Baronius will inform you. Doth he succeed
him in the way and manner of his personal discharge of his office
and employment ? Not in the least Peter, in the pursuit of his
commission, and in obedience unto the command of his Lord and
Master, travelled up and down the world preaching the gospel, plant-
ing and watering the churches of Christ in patience, self-denial, hu-
mility, zeal, temperance, meekness; the pope reigns at Rome in
ease, exalting himself above the kings of the earth, without taking
the least pains in his own person for the conversion of sinners or
edification of the disciples of Christ Doth he succeed him in his
personal qualifications, which were of such extraordinary advantage
unto the chiuxh of God in his days, — ^his faith, love, holiness, light,
and knowledge ? You will not say sa Many of your popes, by your
own confession, have been ignorant and stupid; many of them flagi-
tiously wicked, to say no more. Doth he succeed him in the way
and manner of his exercising his care and authority towards the
churches of Christ ? As little as the rest Peter did it by his prayei's
for the churches, personal visitation, and instruction of them, writing
by inspiration, for their direction and guidance, according to the ¥rill
of God: the pope by bulls, and consistorial determinations, executed
by intricate legal processes and officers, unknown not only to Peter,
but all antiquity; whose ways, practices, orders, terms, St Peter him-
self, were he upon the earth again, would very little understand.
Doth he succeed him in his personal infallibility f Agree among
yourselves if you can, and give an answer unto tins inquiry. Doth
he succeed him in his power of working miracles t You do not so
much as pretend thereimto. Doth he succeed him in the doctrine
that he taught ? It hath been proved unto you a thousand times
that he doth not; and we are still ready to prove it again, if you call
us thereunto. Wherein, then, doth this succession consist that you
talk of? In his power, authority, jurisdiction, supremacy, monarchy,
with the secular advantages of riches, honour, and pomp that attend
them; things sweet and desirable unto carnal mind& This is the
succession you pretend to plead for. And are you not therein to be
commended for your wisdom ? In the things that Peter really en-



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PRINCIPLES OP PAPISTS ON THE UNITY OF FAITH. 297

joyed, and which were of singular spiritual advantage unto the church
of God, you disclaim any succession imto him, and fix it on things
wherein he was no way concerned, that make for your own secular
advantage and interest You have certainly laid your design veiy
well, if these things would hold good to eternity; for hence it is



Online LibraryAndrew Thomson John OwenThe works of John Owen, Volume 14 → online text (page 36 of 67)