A retentiue, to stay good Christians, in true faith and religion, against the motiues of Richard Bristow Also a discouerie of the daungerous rocke of the popish Church, commended by Nicholas Sander D. of Diuinitie. Done by VVilliam Fulke Doctor of diuinitie, and Maister of Pembroke hall in Cambridge.
Fulke, William, 1538-1589.

The first Chapter.

THE state of the Question concerning the supremacie of Sainct Peter and of the Byshoppes of Rome after * him.

VPon our denyall of the supremacie of the Pope, and of S. Peter, he sayth we deny all primacie and * chiefe gouernment in the Church. Wherevpon he ray∣seth three questions to intreate of.

Whether it be against the worde of God, that there * should be in his Churche any primacie or chiefe au∣thoritie?

Whether S. Peter had the same primacie or no? *

Whether the Byshop of Rome had it after S. Peter. *

To which we aunswere with distinction of the words primacie and Church, that we affirme, there is a spiri∣tuall and eternall primacy of the vniuersall Churche, which is proper onely to our Sauiour Christ, which ne∣uer was giuen to Peter, nor to any mortall man. Like∣wise Page  173 we arffime that in particular Churches, there is & must be a primacie of order, which is temporall ac∣cording to the disposition of the Church. And such primacie in the Colledge of the Apostles might Peter haue for sometime, but that he had it not alwayes, it ap∣peareth in the councell of the Apostlesin the 15. of the Actes of which Iames in a manner by all writers con∣sent, was President and Primate: and vpon the contro∣uersie beeing throughly debated, pronounced the de∣finitiue sentence 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 &c according to which the synodall Epistle to the Churches of Antiochia, Syria, and Cilicia, was written in the name of the Apostles, Elders and brethren.

But concerning S. Peter, M. Sander moueth newe questions. First whereas Christ promised that Simon should be called Cephas or Peter, whiche is a stone or Rock. Ioh. I. and afterward performed his promise, whē he chose him to be an Apostle, Mar. 3. Luk. 6. And third∣ly when Simon confessed his godhead, the reason of the promise was declared that he would builde his Church vpon that Rocke: the question is, whether Peter him∣selfe be that Rock, vpon which Christ woulde builde his Church, or Christ himselfe, or the fayth and confessi∣on of peter.

M. Sander the spokesman for the Papists, passing o∣uer the second question, that is whether Christe him∣selfe whom Peter confessed, by this rock, denyeth the fayth or confession of Peeter to be the perfect sence of that promise, affirming the Rock on which the Church is builded to be S. Peter, not barely confirmed, but in re∣spect of the promise past, the present confession, and the authoritie of feeding Christes Sheepe giuen him after his resurrection, of which foure conditions the Protestantes (hee sayth) doe lack no lesse then three. But what doe the Papists lack, when in there sence they exclude the rock Christ, the only foundation, then the which none other can be layde. 1. Cor. 10. 4. 1. Cor. 3. 11. by any wise builder of the Church. Yet seeing M. Sand. Page  174 is so desirous to haue Peter to bee the stone whereof Christ speaketh, laying first Iesus Christ to be the head corner stone, I wil franckly yeelde vnto him, that which he coulde neuer win by force, that Christ saying to Pe∣ter, thou art Peter, and vpon this Rocke or stone will I builde my Church, meaneth euen Peter him selfe vpon whome he would build his Church, but so that he ma∣keth not Peter a singular Rocke or stone to beare the whole building, (for then hee should put him selfe out of place) but one of the prncipall stones of the foun∣dation, euen as all the Apostles and Prophetes were, for so the holy Ghost speaketh, Ephe. 2. vers. 20. beeing builded vpon the foundation of the Apostles and Pro∣phets, Iesus Christe beeing the head corner stone in whome all the building beeing compacted, groweth vn∣to an holy temple vnto the Lord.

Nowe let vs consider, whether any singular authority was committed to peter, when hee was willed to feede the sheepe of Christ. M. Sand. saith yea, because it was sayd to him alone, feede my sheepe, and no particular flock named, it must needes be ment the whole flocke. Marke these maine pillers of the popishe Rock. Christ saide onely to Peter, come after me Satan, for thou art an offence to me &c. Therefore Peter onely was an e∣nemie of Christe. If the Pope must needes haue the one texte as peculiar to him, let him take the other also. Againe Peter himself sayth to the elders, feede as much as in you lyeth the flocke of Christe 1. Peter. 5. Heere is no particular slocke named, therefore he mea∣neth the whole vniuersall flocke. But he vrgeth far∣ther, that as Peter loued Christe more then the rest, so he did feede the flock of Christ aboue all other pastors. But if labouring in preaching the gospel, be the feeding of Christes flock, not Peter, but Paule laboured more then he, and all the rest of the Apostles. 1. Cor. 15. The answere of the Protestants to his demande, Why Peter alone in presence of other Apostles was commaunded thrise to feede the sheepe, that by thrise confession and Page  175 iniunction to feede, he might abolishe the shame of his thrise denying, and knowe that hee was restored to his Apostleship, from which he deserued to be depriued) M. Sand. liketh not for three causes. First he sayth, hee had not lost his Apostleship, because his fault was not externally proued, nor confessed in iudgment, nor stub∣bernly defended &c. as though Christ which knew and foretolde his infirmitie before he fell, had neede of ex∣ternall proues, or a Commissaries court to depriue Pe∣ter of his office, O blockish reason. Although neither Caluine nor Beza doe affirme, that hee was altogither excluded from his office, by his fault, but that he deser∣ued so to be, and therefore had neede especially to bee confirmed by our Sauiour Christ more then the rest as his offence was more shamefull then of any of the o∣ther. Therefore the seconde reason that hee bringeth of his restitution, if he had lost it is superfluous. Ioh. 20 For he was none otherwise restored then the rest were, but at this time especially confirmed, as his speciall case required.

His last reason is, that admit Peter had not beene re∣stored before this time, yet nowe he was restored to a greater authority, then any other Apostle had receued at any time, and whereas we reply that all the Apostles were equall by testimonie of Cyprian and Hieromes, he aunsweareth by distinction, forsooth that they were equall in Apostleship, and yet Peter was chiefe of te Apostles, and an ordinary chiefe shepheard or high ••y∣shop, wherein they were all inferiours to him, and ••ee was their Primate and their heade, and this distinction he promiseth to proue exactly heereafter. In the meane time it is a monstrous Paradox, that all the Apostles should be equall with Peter in Apostleshipp, and yet Peter be the chiefe of the Apostles. He that can proue inequalitie to be where he graunteth equallitie to be, and in the same respecte, is a straunge Logition. Fy∣nally where as some men graunting Peter to bee the rock, deny the honor to his successors, he will proue that Page  176 the Byshop of Rome and none other, hath all that au∣thoritie which Peter sometime had, and consequently that the Protestants come neerer to the nature & con∣dition of Antichrist, then any pope of Rome euer did or can doe.