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The testimonies of the Fathers, as to the universal acknowledgment of the Supremacy of the Bishop of Rome, by divine right, considered.

After having examined the Scriptural proof of the Pope's supremacy, it remains to take some notice of the argument drawn from the alleged testimonies of the Fathers, as to the universal acknowledgment of his divine right, to watch over and to govern the Church.— And as J. K. L. has done nothing more on this head, than follow Dr. Milner even in his mistakes, as will appear on comparing their productions, I shall confine my observations to what has been brought forward by the latter of these writers.

Dr. Milner's assertion is the following: "That St. Peter (after governing for a time the Patriarchate of Antioch, the capital of the East, and thence sending his disciple Mark to establish that of Africa, at Alexandria) finally fixed his own See at Rome, the capital of the world." We have already observed, that Patriarchates were of a much later origin,-and that St. Peter's residence at Rome must have been of very short duration. Amidst the conflicting testimony respecting Mark, it is most

probable, that his Gospel was written at Rome; and that from Rome, and not from Antioch, he went to Alexandria; but whether sent by Peter, or after Peter's decease, is a question which is not the nearer to decision, for Dr. Milner's magisterial assertion. However, according to this divine, who has a ready way of establishing an hypothesis by overlooking every thing that makes against it, St. Peter is quietly seated in his See at Rome; and that "his successors there have each of them exercised the power of Supreme Pastor, and have been acknowledged as such by all Christians, except by notorious heretics and schismatics, from the Apostolic age down to the present, the writings of the Fathers, Doctors, and Historians, of the Church unanimously testify.!"

It is in vain to reiterate protests against such unfounded assertions. For their complete re

futation in every single particular, as far as regards the Fathers of the first six centuries,

*There is no end of this author's misrepresentations. With proof from the testimony of the Fathers, he mingles the the Scriptural fact of St. Paul's visit to Jerusalem to see St. Peter and this he converts into the necessity of consulting him, as the head of the Church. St. Paul, on the contrary, to prove his independence, says "Immediately," (after his miraculous conversion)" I conferred not with flesh and blood; neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were Apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.-Then, after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter." Dr. Milner says, St. Paul, having been converted, thought it necessary to go up to Jerusalem to see Peter. Which shall we believe, the Apostle, or Dr. Milner?

and for the faithful exhibition of the opinions of these Fathers, as to the primacy of the Papal See, I again refer the reader to the standard works of Protestant divines, and particularly, to Barrow's two Treatises, to Fulke's Remarks on the Rhemish Annotations, to Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History and to his De Rebus Christianorum, &c. to Chillingworth, to Stillingfleet, to Bramhall, and to Wake;-the two last of whom Dr. Milner has had the singular felicity to convert from the most formidable opponents, into candid vouchers for a part, at least, of the Romish claims.* From this, the reader may anticipate the process by which other authorities, less known, will be pressed into this controversialist's service. I shall confine myself to the passages which he has produced from the Fathers of the first three centuries.

Before entering, however, into the examination of these authorities, it may be useful to make some preliminary observations, respecting the principle on which the Fathers are to be interpreted, and to state a few facts from Ecclesiastical History, illustrative of their real opinions.


In all that Dr. Milner and J. K. L. have produced from the Fathers, they seem to have

* See note on Dr. Milner's misrepresentation of Archbishop Wake's opinions, towards the conclusion of this Chapter.

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been equally ignorant of the distinction which is to be made between a primacy of order attributed to St. Peter, and a supremacy of jurisdiction assigned to him by divine institution, and thence derived by succession to the Bishops of Rome ;—or at least, they have studiously kept this obvious, though important, distinction, out of view. But, if the testimonies of the Fathers, and the practice of antiquity, are to be appealed to, they must be consistently explained. The evidence must be taken as a whole, and not by insulated parts, as these writers are wont to use it. If, therefore, the Fathers, in certain passages of their works, extol the superiority of St. Peter over the other Apostles, and manifest a respectful deference to the See of Rome; and in others, place all the Apostles on one footing of authority, and insist upon the independence of national Churches ;-it is plain, that some common principle of interpretation must be found, which will reconcile these seemingly discrepant witnesses with themselves, and with each other, before the Romanists, can be permitted to apply their testimony, in proof of what they wish to establish by it: and this testimony is to be used only so far as it can be explained on that principle. Now, a primacy of order in St. Peter, and the antiquity and importance of the Roman See, will sufficiently account for, and explain, every encomiastic expression in the Fathers, without supposing a supremacy of jurisdiction; and the acknowledgment of such a primacy, and

of the ecclesiastical influence of the Roman Bishoprick, are, at the same time, perfectly consistent with that other class of expressions, which attribute equal jurisdiction to all the Apostles, and with the recorded resistance of Churches and individuals to the encroachments of the Bi

shops of Rome. On this principle, and on no other, the seemingly discordant passages in the Fathers are to be reconciled. The alleged supremacy of jurisdiction, will not account for the phenomena,

That the jurisdiction of the Roman Bishop was not acknowledged by many of the ancient Churches, as far as regarded themselves, is as certain a fact, as any other in ecclesiastical history. And it is not to be expected, that the claim to an universal jurisdiction by divine right, should have been formally denied, before it was ever thought of in the Church, or, at least, put forward by the Bishops of Rome. A virtual denial of it, is implied in the fact of particular Churches having insisted on entire exemption from their sway. It is said, indeed, that the oppugners of the Papal authority were either heretics, or schismatics; but the fact of the early assertion of independence remains undisputed; and it is a mere begging of the question to say, unsupported by other evidence, that it was heretical, or schismatical; when the appeal is made to ancient practice and opinion, in order to determine what was accounted heresy, or schism. But, that a denial of the Pope's supremacy of jurisdiction,

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