Mathew. 16. 18.
And I say also to thee that thou art Peter: and vpon this rocke I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not euercome it.
19 And I will giue vnto thee the keyes of the kingdome of heauen, and whatso∣euer thou shalt binde vpon earth shal∣be bound in heauen, and whatsoeuer thou shalt loose on earth shalbe losed in heauen.
OVR sauiour Christ hath in the 15. verse asked this question of his disciples, whom they did say he was, which que∣stion Peter answered, as it is in the 16. verse, saying, thou art the Christ Page [unnumbered] the sonn of the lyuing God. Whereto our Sauiour Christ hath begun to reply in the 17. verse telling Peter he was the sonne of Iona, not the na∣turall sonne of the liuing GOD, as Christ was, but the sonne of Iona a mortall man: yet that he was the a∣dopted sonne of god, for that he had not this knowledge of Christ from man but from God, not from his na∣turall birth but from his spirituall birth.
Now these wordes are a contynu∣ance of our sauiour Christes speech to Peter.
From hence the papists, would proue that Peter was Prince of tha∣postles, that he was head of the Church, that he had absolute auc∣thority giuen him to remit and re∣taine synnes & that the rest of tha∣postles had this authoritie but by Peters graunt and appointmnt: all which they would deriue to the Pope Page [unnumbered] of Rome by successiō, for they say he is vniuersall and chiefe Bishop, he is head of the catholicke Church, h• hath the keyes to binde and loose & those only that he will appoint, they say the Pope hath the holy ghost and cannot err, & consequently may doe what he list in the Church.
Vpon this place they •ound al the building of Poperie, therefore if this scripture be takē from them, all their religion falles to the ground. For if Peter were not prince or chiefe of thapostles, the Pope who they say is his successor cannot be vniuersall Bishop; if Peter were not head of the Church, the Pope that claimes from him cannot be head of the Catholick Church; if peter had not absolute aucthority to remit & retaine synnes, the Pope cannot haue it, and then it will follow that the pope professeth himselfe to be that he is not, and to be able to doe that he cannot and so that Page [unnumbered] scar the Pope is Antichrist, and that pealet colored beast which saint Iohn fullkes of in the Reuelation, that is • of names of blasphemy.
First the Papists say Peter was cheefe of the Apostles but why doe they say so? he was not the first that was called to be an apostle: Andrew was he. Peter was not the best belo∣ued disciple. Iohn was he. Peter was not the learnedest nor most labori∣ous disciple, Paull was he, as the Iesu∣ites them selues confesse that paull brought moe into the Church, then Peter did, but the papists draw two reasons from the former wordes to proue Peter cheife of the Apostles.
1 Their first reason is, because the other disciples gaue place to Peter to speake first in answering our Sa∣viour Christes question which is a slender reason, for it followes not, be∣cause he spake first, that they gaue place to him to speake first, but rather Page [unnumbered] that he put forth himselfe to speake first, by a kinde of audacity and bould∣nes of speech & dexterity of wit that was in him, which yet was as often vsed to euill as to good.
2 There second reason is, because they say, Peter was the first that con∣fessed* Christ to be the sonne of God, but that is not so: for it appeares in Iohn. 1. that Iohn Baptist, and Natha∣niell and in Mathew. 14. 33. that ma¦ny other had made the same confessi∣on of Christ, before this time, and it appeareth in Iohn. 6. 69. that the rest of the Apostles themselues had also made this confession of Christ before this time, & the confession that Peter made, was not his confession only but of the rest of the Apostles also, who spake by his mouth for the avoyding of confusion, as among twelue Iurors one foreman speakes for them all, for order sake.
Now as their reasons are feble & Page [unnumbered] false, so is the thing that they would proue by those reasons▪ for though all thapostles are cheife among other ministers, yet there was no cheife a∣mong them as appeares in Marke the 9. 34. where they dreaming of an earthly Kingdome of Christ, did dis∣pute* among themselues who should be cheife, which our Sauiour Christ reproues in them as the text shewes and that Peter was not cheife of tha∣postles, appeares by this that thapo∣stles* sent him on their message to Sa∣maria: if he had bin cheife he should rather haue sent some of them. Also that Peter was not cheife, appeares by this that he gaue to Paul the* right hād of fellowship: neither doth Peter call himselfe the cheife shep∣heard but calls Christ so in his first epistle and last chapter. But that we may the better vndermine & throw downe the cheife ground and foun∣dation of the popish religion let vs Page [unnumbered]5 come to the wordes that I haue red.
Verse. 16. thou art Peter. &c.
OVr Sauiour Christes purpose is in theis wordes to teach that though the church were now small and there were but few did make a right confession of fayth: yet their should be a great many gathered in∣to the church, and brought to the same profession of Christ that Peter had made by the preaching of the Gospell, which was committed to him and the rest of the apostles, as the keyes to open the kingdome of heauē. Yet the papist gather frō these words because our Sauiour Christe spake so particulerly to Peter, ther∣fore Peter was the head and foun∣dation of the Church; but the scrip∣ture saith Christ himselfe is the head of the church who doth geue life & mouing to it being his body, which* no other man can doe: and is alwaies present with the same and euery mē∣ber Page [unnumbered] thereof which no other man can be; and therefore Peter or any other man can no more be head of the Church then a mans head can be cut from his shoulders, and set on another bodie. Paull would not giue that honor to the angells to be head of the church, much lesse to a mortal man, as ye may se in his letter, to the* Colossians. But the cause of the pa¦pists error in this point is for that they do not mark the reasō of our sauiour christ his speaking thus to Peter: he had mooued this question to all his disciples, whoe doe you say that I am? Peter in the name of the rest answe∣red* the question, therefore as he had spoken to our sauiour Christ he speakes to him againe. Peter had said to him. Thou art christ the sonne of the liuing God, and christ saith to him thou art peter if any of the rest of the Apostles had answered the que∣stion, Page [unnumbered] our sauiour would haue replied to them, and said Thou art Iames, or thou art Iohn, as he doth to Peter.
But here is the force of the point, and speech that our sauiour christ saith. Vpon this rocke I will build my church.*
Peter is called a stone, or as the papists will haue it, a rock which we will not much striue with them a∣bout, for as a rocke is a great stone so a stone may be said to be a little rocke, but as Peter is called a stone,* so our sauiour christ is called a stone, and as the papists will haue it, as Pe∣ter is called a rock, so our Sauiour christ is called a rock, now the que∣stion is vpon which of these two christ said he wou•d build his church for they were both spoken of in this conference, for Peter had said of him, Thou art christ the sonn of the liuing God and christ had said of him; thou art Peter, and the sonne of Ionas.Page [unnumbered] The papists refer these wordes to Pe∣ter, and say Christ built his church vpon Peter, but if christ built his church vpon Peter, then he must ey∣ther build it vpon the person of Peter or vpon his particuler fayth.
And if Christ built his church vpon peters person, he built it vpon a man, yea vpon a weake man, as he present∣ly shewed himselfe verse. 22. and if the church were built vpon Peter, It was built ••on a mortall man, and therefore while he liued, he was not able to vphould the church, that could not vphould himselfe, & then whē he died, the church should haue fallen with him.
And if the church were built vpon Peters particuler faith, it should be built vpon a weake faith, as our Sa∣uiour christ saith to him, o thou of lit¦tle faith. And his faith being a proper adiunct to his person, when he died, his faith ceased, and so the Church* should haue fallen to the ground•, Page [unnumbered] therefore these wordes, vpon this rocke will I build my church, must be vnderstood of that rock, which Pe∣ter had confessed, that is vpon Christ himselfe, who is not only man, but God: who is not weake but strong, who is not mortall but immortall: for though he died, yet he had not a mortall body; but dyed willingly for our sinns, and rose againe the third day for our iustification, it being im∣possible,* that death should hold him as it did Peter. Therefore Christ was the foundation of the church, as be∣fore his coming in the flesh being e∣ternall God, so at this time also; and the church was in no daunger of fal∣ling, when he dyed according to flesh, because then he liued in his de∣vine nature, and now he liues in both his natures, & is able to support the church and all the members of his mysticall body and stones of this spi∣rituall building who are ioyned vnto him by that faith that Peter had made Page [unnumbered] profession of: as appeareth both by the text where Christ saith on this rocke I will build my church, not* thy church, and also by the words of the Apostle Paule, who saith the church must be edified and built on Christ, and also that this building is by faith, and therefore it cannot be vpon Peter in whom we must not be∣leeue, but on christ in whom all the church professeth, to beleeue in the articles of the creede.
But why should the papists thinke Christ built his church vpon Peter? Was the church built vpon any one of the patriarchs or prophets before Christes comming in the flesh? whie then should it be built vpon any one of the Apostles after?
Was not Christ aswel able to sus∣staine his church himselfe afterward as he had done before? and were any of the Apostles any more able to doe it, towards the end of the world, whē the church was greater, then the pa∣triarchs, Page [unnumbered] and prophets were in the beginning whē it was lesser? The pa∣pistes inforce the wordes of the text, and affirme boldly Christ saith so. To which I answere no, he doth not say so: he saith vpon this rocke I will build my church, but is not Christ himselfe, whō Peter confessed, a rock aswell as Peter? is not Christ another manner of rock then Peter? they are much like those that heard Christ say,* destroy this temple & in three dayes I wil build it againe: they vnderstood it of the temple of Ierusalem, but Christ ment it of the temple of his body. Therefore as one saith when▪ Christ said to Peter: vpon this rock I▪ will build my church; he ment I wil build thee vpon me, and not me vpon thee. Indeed some auncyent deuines haue said the church was built vpon Peter, and in their sence they say trew, that is, as it was built vpon the rest of the Apostles: saint Iohn saith the walles of the Cittie new Ierusalē Page [unnumbered] that is the trew church had 12. Foun∣dations, which were the names of the lambes 12. Apostles: and in that sence* the church was not built vpon the Apostles only but vpon the prophets also: as Paul speakes to the Ephesians and all Christians: ye are saith he built vpon the foundation of the prophets and Apostles Iesus Christ himselfe being the chiefe corner stone: Therefore the church was not built vpon their persons, but vpon their doctrine that setteth forth christ Iesus to the world to be beleeued on, as Peter himselfe saith of Christ; to whom ye come as vnto a liuing stone or rocke, and ye as liuely stones be made a spirituall house. The papists obiect that our sauiour Christ called*Peter a stone, which he did not any of the rest of the Apostles: so he called Iames and Iohn Bonarges, and none but they; yet it follows not that only they two were the sonnes of thunder, but that other of the Apostles did Page [unnumbered] preach zealously aswell as they; as Peter himselfe did thūder against Si∣mon* Magus & others. So though Christ called Peter a stone it folowes not that he was so alone, for Peter himselfe calls all the true members of the church liuing stones. And were* not diuers other of the Apostles as stable and vnmoueable as Peter? nay was not he more weake & wauering then many of the rest? therefore it* followes that not Peter no more then any of the rest of the Apostles, but Christ is the rock whereō the church is builded: as Paul saith, other foun∣dation can no man lay thē that which is laid which is Iesus Christ: and all* that build must build on this founda∣tion: and all that are built must be built on him. This Peter knew well and therefore he did not baptise into his owne name, but into the name of* Christ: he did not preach himselfe but christ. Therefore Paul reproues the Corinthians, because some did hould Page [unnumbered] of Paul, and some of Cephas, & some of Christ: why saith he is Christ deui∣ded? shewing that he is the only foun∣dacion and head of his church, vnto whom all the members must cleaue in one body. Therefore the church is not called by Peters name, but by* Christes name, that is Chrystians: & Christ doth not say to Peter, feed thy sheepe, but feed my sheepe.
Therefore as other comparisons and similitudes of the Scripture, doe* set forth the communion, betweene Christ and his church, as he is called the husband, and the church his spouse: he is called the head, and the church his members: he is called the vine, and the church his braunches: because of the mysticall vnion, and neerenesse that is betweene them, & spirituall vertue, that he conveyes vnto them, and they receiue from him. So by this that he is called the rocke or foundation, and the church the building: and it may as truly be Page [unnumbered] said that Peter was the spouse, to whome the Church is to be maried, that Peter was the vine, into whome the church is to be ingrafted: as it can be said, he is the rock whereon the church is builded.
Therefore when it is said, on this rocke I will build my church: our sa∣uiour meanes as I said before, on that rocke that Peter had confessed, he would build the rest of his church,* that was to be gathered by the prea∣ching of the Gospel, that was comm∣itted to Peter, and the rest of the A∣postles, as the keyes of the kingdome of heauen.
And the gates of hell shall not ouercome it. our Sauiour saith, the gates of hell shall not preuaile against or ouer∣come the church that is built vpon this rocke: he vses this similitude be∣cause in those times before gunnes were inuented the strength of cities was in their gates, & because they v∣sed to exercise their gouermēt, in the Page [unnumbered] gates: so that he meanes the power and aucthority of hell, shall not pre∣uaile against those that are built on this rocke, that is those that professe and beleeue in Christ, so that this must be vnderstood of the inuisible church, and such as be true members of Christ, & not of the visible church, or those that be members in shew only, for the deuill hath preuailed a∣gainst diuers visible churches: as the 7. churches of Asia, that are now I∣dolaters vnder the Turke, and against diuers perticular persons, that were members of the church in shew one∣ly as Iudas, Magus and others▪ but the inuisible and true members of the church, that beleeue in Christ, shall not be ouercome, but shall o∣uercome. This is the victorie saith* saint Iohn whereby we ouercome the world, euen our faith. The deuill by temptations and his instruments by persecutions, will seeke to ouercome them, but our sauiour hath said, none Page [unnumbered] shal be able to take them out of his* handes. The deuill and his instrumēts did seek to destroy the Iewes in Egypt, & Babylon: but they could not as for o∣ther causes, so because Christ was in their loines: so now he seeks to destroy the people of God, but he cannot be cause they are in Christs loyns, that is v∣nited* vnto him by faith, & made mēbers of his body. Therfore Paul meaning to cōfort the Christians against all tryalls both inward & outward, saith who shal seperate vs from the loue of God in Christ Iesus our lord? shall persecuti∣on? anguish? height? deepth? &c. & at •egth cōcludes, nothing shalbe able to seperate vs, as our sauiour Christ saith here, the gates of hell shall not pre∣uaile against the church: which doth seeme to put that out of questiō that some haue made questionable, that the children of God cannot fall from grace, for those that are regenerate in Christ Iesus are borne*Page [unnumbered] not of mortall seede that may dy, but of mortall that cannot dy, those that haue obteyned the sanctifying giftes* of God, the spirit is in them a well of water springing vp vnto eternall life. For although the first Adam might and did lose his original good∣nes, both to himselfe and his poste∣ritie; yet the second Adam cannot ne•ther to him nor to his. Therfore as our Sauiour Christ, whē he was in the flesh did ouercome the deuill & the power of hell, in his owne persō: so he doth continually ouercome in his members, and his members do ouercome in and by him: therefore Paul saith, we are more then conque∣rers in Christ Iesus, & if the gates of hell should preuaile against the church, Christ should be a head without a body; and if it should pre∣uaile against any true member of the church, Christ should haue a maymed body which cannot be: therefore as Christ the rocke it Page [unnumbered] selfe is firme and stable, so is euery stone and true christian that is built thereupon.
But seeing we se, that by the church here against whom the gates of hell shall not preuaile, is meant not the visible but the inuisible church, and* the papists say, Peters successor is head of the visible Church, this place serues nothing for them and I will giue thee the keyes of &c.
Now our sauiour shewes by what meanes the church should be built vpon that rocke that Peter had confessed, namely by the ministery of the Gospel whereby the elect peo∣ple* of God who are called lyuing stones, should be gathered and ioy∣ned to Christ the corner stone, that they might be made one spirituall house as Peter speakes.
The church was built vpp∣on the rocke Christ Iesus from Page [unnumbered] the beginning: but Christ speakes of thincrease of the church, among the gentiles, who should be called and gathered by the word, that he com∣mitted to Peter, and the rest of the Apostles, as the keyes of the King∣dome of heauen.
Here the ministers are compared to porters, the preaching of the worde to keyes, the kingdome of hea¦uen to a house, wherinto men are let in, and shut out.
Keeping the keyes we know doth signifie aucthoritie: therefore in this speech our sauiour Christ giues Peter aucthoritie to receiue in, and shut out of the church, which is often called the kingdome of heauen.
By the keyes we must vnderst and the worde and mynisterie thereof, as it is said the Pharisees kept backe the key of knowledg from the people▪ now because by the ministery of the* worde they were to pronounce aswel gods mercie to some, called loosing, & Page [unnumbered] to open the dore of the church, as also to pronounce gods Iudgmēts called binding, & to shut the dore to others: •herfore our sauiour speaks in the plur∣al nūber. In the 20 chapter of the Gos∣pell* of Saint Iohn, our sauiour Christ expoundes this, whē he saith to al the Apostles; whose sinnes ye remit they are remitted; and whose sinnes ye re∣taine they are retayned. Because all are sinners they were by the preach∣ing of the Gospel to call all men to repent of their sins, and to beleue in Christ the sauiour of the world; and those that d•d so they had aucthority to loose them; that is to pronounce pardon to thē▪ & freedome & deliue∣rance from death and damnation by Christ Iesus, and to open vnto them the dore of the church, & baptise thē & to opē thedore of heauē to thē by seting before thē the promise of eter∣nall life. And on the contrary, those that should continue in their sinnes, and would not repent & beleeue in Page [unnumbered] Christ▪ they were to binde them, that is to pronounce that they bee the bondslaues of satan, and to shut* the dore of the church vnto them, and refuse to baptise them, as Iohn Baptist did to the Pharisees: and to shut the dore of heauen against thē, that is to pronounce that they haue noe parte in the kingdome of hea∣uen and saluation, but doe belonge to death and damnation: yea to binde them more strongly then the* men of Sodome who had not so ma∣ny meanes to bring them to repen∣tance; but marke, this opening and shutting, binding and loosing, re∣mitting and reteyning sinnes must be by the word.
For noe prophet Apostle or minister euer had, hath, or shall haue power and aucthority to o∣pen heauen to him, against whom the Lord will shutt it: nor to shut heauen against him to whome the Page [unnumbered] Lord will open it.
Christ himselfe onely hath the keyes of Dauid, he openeth & noe*〈◊〉 shutteth, he shutteth and noe man openeth; and hath tould vs in his word to whome he will haue the kingdome of heauen opened or shut.
Noe man can open the kingdome of heauen to Caine, to Iudas, to Iulian* thapostata, or to any other impeni∣tent person: because Christ hath shut it against them, as it is said, except ye repent and beleeue yee shall all perish.
Nor noe man could or can shut the kingdome of heauen against Zacchaeus, Marie Magdalen, or any other that doth trulie repent and beleeue: for the Lorde hath said, at what time soeuer a sinner doth repente him of his sinnes from* the bottome of his heart. I will put all his wickednesse out of Page [unnumbered] my remembrance. It is said he that beleeueth shalbe saued; those that in the law were clensed from their leprosie must shew themse〈…〉 to the priest, now the priest must not pronounce him cleane that was a leper; nor pronounce him a leper that was cleane: so the Apostles and ministers of the Gospell, might not nor may not pronounce them, cursed that were penitent; nor them happie that were impenitēt. He that turnes the key the wrong way, we know cannot open the dore, as ye se in the exāple of the pharises who excom∣municated the blinde man: yet our Sauiour Christ for all that did not re¦iect him but receiue him.
The papistes would tye these keyes to Peters girdle, because our Sauiour* Christ said to Peter; to thee I giue the keyes of the kingdome of heauen: they confesse the rest of the Apostles had also aucthoritie to bind & loose, but they say it was by Peters graunt. Page [unnumbered] But our Sauiour Christ himselfe in the xx. chapter of Iohn, gaue the same* power and aucthority to the rest of the Apostles that he gaue here to Pe∣ter, yea as the prophets had the same power of binding and loosing before Christes cōming: as apeares by the* speeches that are vsed to them of planting and rooting vp, of building and pulling downe. So Christ or∣deyned not onely Apostles and E∣uangelistes but pastors and teachers for the worke of the ministery, ther∣fore to them also that the preaching of the gospell is committed vnto, power and aucthority is cōmitted to binde and to loose, to remit and retaine synnes, aswell as to Peter. Paul saith the same of himselfe and Apollo, we are, that is our ministery is the sweete sauour of God both to them that are saued and to them that perish: to the one we are the sauour of life vnto life, and to the other we are the sauour of death vn∣to Page [unnumbered] death. Therefore our Sauiour Christ speakes here, to Peter in the name of all the rest, because he tooke vpon him to answere this questio• for all the rest of the apostles.
All this power and aucthority, not onely that was indeede giuen to Pe∣ter, but that the papists doe Imagine was giuen to Peter, they would de∣riue to the Pope of Rome: they say the Pope is vniuersall Bishop, they say he is head of the church, and that to him belongeth the keyes of the kingdome of heauen: they say the Pope hath power to binde and loose, to remit and retaine sinnes, to excō∣municate & absolue whome it plea∣ses him, and those onely to whome hee will giue this power, and they say he cannot erre &c.
But if all that were trew which the papists affirme of peter, as we haue seene it is not, let vs see by what right they can conuey it to the Pope they say the Pope is Page [unnumbered]Peters successor at Rome, they say Pe∣ter conueyed his aucthority to his successor Lynus, and Lynus to Ana∣cletus, and Anacletus to •••••t, & so from one to another▪
But there is no testimony nor pro∣bability of scripture, that Peter euer was at Rome, but diuers probabili∣ties to the contrary. When our Sauiour Christ was risen and ascen∣ded, Peter was at Ierusalem with the rest of the disciples, as it is re∣ported* in the first of the Acts, and their tarried: sometime he conuer∣ted three Thousand at one sermon as it is in the second of the Acts: he was brought before the Gouer∣ners there and imprisoned & threat∣ned for preaching Christ as it is in 4. of the acts.
He detected Ananias and Sapphi∣ra* of hipocrisie, as it is in the fi•• of the Acts.
He was by the rest of the A∣Postles sent to Samaria, to assist Page [unnumbered] assist Philip, their he discouered the iniquity of Simon Magus as it is in the 8. of the acts: he was at Lydda &* their he healed Aneas of the palsie as it is in the 9. of the Actes.
He was at Ioppa and their raised Ta∣bitha or Dorcas from the dead, as it is in the same chapter, from thence he* went to Caesar•a, and there he con∣uerted Cornelius a captaine, as it is in* the tenth of the acts: from thence he went to Ierusalem againe, when the Iewes contended with him for going in to Cornelius being a gen∣tile, as it is in the 11. of the acts: whē*Iames was slaine by Herod, Peter was put in prison there, and was deliue-by an angell, and came to the house of Mary, where they were praying,▪ as it is in the 12. of Acts.*
He was at Ierusalem at the coun∣sell that was houlden their about the question of indifferent things, as it is in the 15. of the acts,
Three yeares at least, after Paules Page [unnumbered] conuersion, Peter was at Ierusalem, whether Paul went to visit him, and abode with him 3. dayes as it is in* the. 1. to the Galatheans: fourteene yeares after that, Paul went againe to Ierusalem, where Peter gaue him the right hand of fellowship, as it is in the. 2. of the Galathians. Peter* was after this at Antiochia, as it is in the. 2. to the Galathians, & their*Paul withstood him to his face. He was also at Babilon when he wrote his first epistle, which is a great way* from Rome; still bending his course to those places, where the Iewes that were the circumcision, might be his auditorie.
When then shoule Peter be at Rome? when Paul writes his epistle* to the Romans, it is probable he was not there: for if so sufficient a teacher had beene their what needed Paul haue written to them? and yet this makes it more probable that then he was not their; for in the last chap∣ter Page [unnumbered] of that epistle Paul salutes a▪ great many other; and makes noe mention of Peter.
In the latter parte of Paules life, when he had trauailed so many coun∣tries▪ planted so many churches, wrought so many miracles and suffe∣red* so many afflictions▪ being infor∣ced by the iniury of the Iewes, he ap∣pealed to Caesar, & was brought to Rome, and was there prisoner full 2▪ yeares, in a house by himselfe, as it is in the 8. of the Acts. All which* time Peter was not at Rome, for in Paules epistle to the Philippians, which he writes from Rome, as the conclusion thereof doth shew, in the secōd chapter he speakes of Timothie, & saith I haue non like minded who wil faithfully care for your matters▪ if Peter had beene there he would not haue preferred Timothie before him. In Paules epistle to the Colosi∣ans, which also was written from Rome, he saith of Tith•cus, Onesemus, Page [unnumbered] Marcus, Aristarcus, and Iustus, that they onely were his workefellowes vnto the kingdome of God: which* could not haue beene said, if Peter had beene there. In Pauls second E∣pistle that he writes to Timothy from Rome, he saith at my first answering all men forsooke me: if Peter had* beene there would he not haue assist∣ed Paul but forsaken him?
You se i• all the story of the scrip∣ture vnto this time of Paules death, who in his epistle to Philemō written also from Rome saith, he was Paul aged: there is noe proofe nor proba∣bilitie but great vnlikelyhood that Peter was at Rome.
Now seeing all the religion of popery hanges vpon Peters being at Rome, this at least had neede bee cleerely and euidently proued by the Scripture, or else he is a foole that wil be a papist. But if Peter had beene •t Rome, what is that to the Pope?Page [unnumbered] he was at many places.
The papists say the Pope is Peters successor at Rome; but the Apostles had noe successors, but Iudas onely, who fell before he entred into the full possession of that office, for be∣traying his Maister, in whose roome Mathias was chosen, as Dauid had pro¦phesied: let another take his charge. But after Christes resurrection, when* they were fuly inuested in their ofice whē Iames was slaine with the word, there was non chosē to suc•ede him.
But the papists doe not say the Pope succeedes Peter in his aposto∣licall office (but by the way) why then doe they call Rome the sea A∣postolike? & whie doth the Pope chal¦lenge a general authority ouer the whole church? frō Peter he had no ge∣neral authority ouer the whol church but as he was Apostle: but the papists say that Peter was Bishop of Rome 25. years & the Pope succeeds him in his Bishoprick: but first mark the folly of Page [unnumbered] this saying, and then the vntruth of it; for the folly of it, ye haue hearde before the papistes say, Peter was prince of the Apostles, now if he should become a Bishop, he should make himselfe inferior to all the A∣postles, and so leaue the greater off∣ice and take the lesse, which were to be exalted out of the hall into the kitchin, as we say.
Now see the vntruth of it, if he had beene Bishop of Rome, he shoulde haue left the calling of an Apostle that Christ apointed him vnto; and taken to him selfe a calling, that he* was not apointed vnto. Againe if he had beene Bishop of Rome, he should haue left the circumcision▪ which Paul said was committed to Peter, and chosen to himselfe the Gentiles* who were specially comitted to Paul. Now when they say Peter was Bi∣shop of Rome fiue and twenty yeares, it must needs be vntrew, as apeares by these two reasons, drawne from Page [unnumbered] the age of his life. When he wr•ot his second epistle, he saith in the first chapter, the time is at hand when I must lay▪ downe this my tabernacle: if they say he might write that epist∣le when he was Bishop of Rome, I an∣swere, in that epistle •e cal•s himselfe an apostle, and not Bishop of Rome which he would haue done, if hee had taken vpon him an office of such high excellencie and great conse∣quence, as the papist speake of. The •. reason to proue Peter could not be Bishop of Rome▪ fiue and twen∣ty yeares, as the papists say, is for that the former▪ times and circumstances considered▪ he must haue liued ra∣ther the length o• two mens liues then one: whereas he liued not the time that nature affords to one man, for he died not a naturall death, but a violent death by persecution, as the papistes themselues confesse.
And if they would deny it, yet the Scripture confirmes it, our Sauiour Page [unnumbered] Christ saith to him when thou werte* younge thou▪ girdedst thy selfe, and went whether thou wouldest, but when thou art old another shall g••de the and lead thee whether thou wouldest 〈◊〉
〈…〉 this he spake signi∣f••g by •h•• death he should glori∣•y 〈◊〉
But ••Peter had beene Bishop of Rome, what makes that for the pa∣pists that cla•me so great thinges from thence▪
They say the Pope is Peters success∣or, & doth succeede him not onely in p•ace but in dignity, to be vniuersall Bishop and head of the Church: & in aucthority to binde & loose, and in vertue not to er•e &c. But Peter nor the rest of the apostles could not cōuey the prerogatiues they had be∣stowed vpō the, to others; much lesse those that they had not. Peter & the Apostles had power & aucthority Page [unnumbered] to binde & loose thorough all the world: as their office extended gene∣rally to all nations, which other haue not but in their owne dioces, & charge only. And if the Pope had the keyes of the word of God (which yet he castes from him) & did vse thē a∣right; yet he could binde and loose but in the cittie and sea of Rome only: but in taking vpon him to sēd out his bulls, curses, pardons, and indulgēces to all countries, as (they write) in the name and behalfe of God and by the aucthority of saint Peter: he chal∣lenges that kindnes from Peter, that he neither did not could afforde him. Yea he challenges from Peter that which Peter himselfe neuer had; power to forgeue sinnes of his owne absolute aucthority, to canonize & make saintes, and set their names in red letters, which power none euer had or hath but God: as the grosse* Iewes could say who can forgeue sinnes but god onely? Page [unnumbered]Peter also & the rest of the Apostles, could not erre in preaching & wri∣ting the scripture; because the holy ghost was promised them, to bring all thinges to their remembrance: & was geuen vnto them in clouen tongues, and by our sauiour Christes* breathing vpon them: but this prero∣gatiue and impossibility of erring, they could not conuey to any other, for all other since their time do build* some hay, and stubble, with gold & precious stones. Yet the papists or popistes are bould to say the pope cannot erre. Why they confesse he may sinne, for as Paul saith he is the man of sinne: if they should deny* that, Pope Ione would confute them who plaid the whore and trauailed with childe when she went a pro∣cession.
They confesse also that the pope may be damned, for if say they hee should leade thousandes to •ell it were not lawfull for men to say why Page [unnumbered] doth he so? &c▪
It is true he may be damned, & as some thinke must be, for the A∣postle*Paul calles him the childe of perdition.
Why then he may erre; if they had said, the Pope cannot but erre, they should haue said trew: for the* Apostle saith, he shall deceiue the people with strong delusions, and cause them to beleeue lies.
As for the title and dignity of v∣niuersall Bishop, Peter had no graūt of it from Christ, nor made any graunt of it to any other: he had in∣deede aucthority to ordaine Bish∣ops,* as the rest of the Apostles had: but to ordaine an vniuersall Bishop was not in his power.
Neither did Lynus, Anacletus, Clement, nor the antientest Bishop of Rome, that the papists speake of, receiue this title from Peter: but Boneface the eight a late Bishop of Rome, in comparison, receiued it Page [unnumbered] from Phocas the Emperour of Rome, who slew his Maister Mauritius.
Then began the vsurped supremasie of the Pope, not onely ouer the whole clergie, but ouer Kinges and Emperours themselues; which swel∣ling title of vniuersall B. other bish∣ops condemned as Antichristian.
But if Peter could, and would cō∣uey his preuiledges to his successors; why should the Bishop of Rome haue them more then the Bishop of Ie∣rusalem, Antioch? &c. where it is more certaine Peter was thē at Rome.
The papists say, because Peter was martired at Rome; that is a straunge parado• that the sheading of innocent bloud, that pollutes o∣ther places, should sanctify Rome: that Ierusalem, for sheading the bloud of the prophets, should be destroyed, and Rome for sheading the bloude of the Apostles should be exalted. God respects noe persōs, and will he respect places?Page [unnumbered]
Therfore to conclude, the Pope is not the head of the church; he is not Christs vicar, Peters successor, nor vniuersall Bishop: but he is An∣tichrist, that beast, that S. Iohn speaks of, that is full of names of blasphe∣my.