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Jewish church; this church is represented, in many passages of holy writ, under the image of a walled city, to be entered only at the gates. Under the Mosaic economy these gates were shut, and particular persons only could obtain admittance, Israelites by birth, or by legal incorporation. The locks of these gates, were the rites of the Mosaic law, which obstructed the entrance of aliens. But, after our Lord's ascension, and the descent of the Holy Ghost, the keys of the city were conveyed to St. Peter, by that vision which taught him, and authorized him to teach others, that all distinction, of one nation from another, was at an end. By virtue of this special commission, the great apostle applied the key, pushed back the bolt of the lock, and threw the gates of the city open for the admission of the whole gentile world, in the instance of Cornelius and his family.* To this our Lord prophe
* Our Lord commands Cornelius to send, not to Jerusalem, to James and John, not to Damascus, for St. Paul, expressly styled the apostle of the Gentiles, (though all these apostles exercised their office, independently of St. Peter, and had the keys of the kingdoin of
tically alludes, when he promises to St. Peter, the custody of the keys.
With this, the second article of the promise, the authority to loose and bind, is closely connected. St. Peter was the first instrument of providence, in dissolving the obligation of the Mosaic law, in the ceremonial, and of binding it in the moral part. The proclamation indeed for that purpose, was drawn by St. James, and confirmed by the authority of the apostles in general, under the direction of the Holy Ghost; but the Holy Ghost moved the apostles to this great business, by the suggestion and persuasion of St. Peter, as we read in the fifteenth chapter of the Acts of the apostles. And this was his particular and personal commission, to bind and loose, a commission which the great apostle fulfilled, once for all, in his lifetime: and being ful
heaven, as weli as he,) but to Joppa, for St. Peter. Accordingly, in the synod met at Jerusalem, St. Peter speaks tbus :-"Men and brethren, you know how that a good while ago, God chose me out among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word.” Acts xv. 7.
filled, it cannot be repeated. He handseled the key. He unlocked the kingdom of heaven, to all true believers, of every nation under the sun. He loosed and he bound : loosed or abrogated the ceremonial law; bound or confirmed the moral; and thus laid the foundation of the christian church, on that only rock of refuge, which shall know no failure, Jesus Christ the righteous ; from whence I infer, that the promise to St. Peter, was literally fulfilled, by a primacy of order, and not of power, and that the foundation of the church of Christ, being once laid, St. Peter neither hath, nor can have a successor in this matter.
ON THE SUPREMACY OF THE POPE.
Feed my sheep. John xxi. 16. The sheep, which our blessed Saviour, in his last instructions, commands St. Peter to feed, were not the apostles, his fellow shepherds, who had received the same unlimited commission, to teach all nations the truths of christianity, and feed, with wholesome doctrine, converts to the faith ; but believers in general, whom St. Peter himself calls the flock of God; and concerning whom St. Paul, (who solemnly declares, that he had not hís apostolical appointment from man, neither by man,) gives this pastoral injunction,_" Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers.” Acts xx. 28.
The Catholics, however, who contend for the prerogatives of the Roman See, in
form us, that the authority of Peter over the other apostles, is to be collected from these words, “ Feed my sheep,” for Christ, say they, in the chapter before us, committed to him the care, not only of the lambs, but also of the sheep, or mothers of the flock, that is, of all future pastors and teachers. In opposition to this doctrine, confuted by the whole history of the gospel, and all antiquity, Ambrose (De Dign. Sacerd page 336.) observes, Not Peter only, “ Sed nos cum eo,” but we with him, have received commission, to feed Christ's sheep, and what is said to Peter, feed my sheep, (ad omnes Dicitur) is said to
It is worthy of notice, that the honourable name of Peter, is here dropped, and that of
* Which sleep, and which flock, not only St. Peter, but all other pricsts with hin, did receive. Ainbros de Sacerd.
St. Austin expresses the same sentiment, in these words, St. Peter was a pastor, and Paul a pastor, and the rest of the apostles were pastors, and good bishops are pastors. Aug. in John iv. 6
Let feeding signify what it may, instruction or government, it nevertheless relates to the apostolic charge. To teach was a common duty, to lead and to rule were com