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and legend obscuring the history of Christianity. Idolatry was invading the Church; saints and relics were hiding Christ and purloining prayer. The great feast of thankful commemoration and brotherly fellowship was sinking into an idolatrous service and a sacerdotal triumph. Priests on earth and saints in heaven were usurping the saving work and mediatorial office of the Son of God, while the bishop of Rome was usurping His kingly place. Around this crowning corruption all these other corruptions naturally gathered themselves together, as subjects around their sovereign or soldiers around their chief, duteously waited upon it, and assiduously advanced it. There is nothing in all history more sad and solemn, more striking and instructive, than this concurrence and co-operation of these manifold corruptions and their consummation in the papacy. About the same time and by the same process the Christian Church became a kingdom of this world, its doctrines a mass of mingled truths and fables, its worship a heap of ceremonies, its table an altar, its ministry a sacrificing priesthood, its bishops prelates, and the bishop of Rome sovereign pontiff.
It is not the smallest singularity about this process, how little this exaltation of the Roman bishopric was aided by any transcendent virtues, eminent abilities, or personal prominence on the part of the Roman bishops. They scarcely furnish forth one among the great names of the early Church. Among the Fathers there is almost a total dearth of Roman bishops; of those great teachers whose genius has inspired the thought and guided the faith of generations, very few were Romans, scarcely one held the office of a Roman pastor. The genius and sanctity of the early Church had but faint manifestation at Rome; her greatest names were connected with the inferior cities rather than with the metropolis of the world. Polycarp sanctified Smyrna; Irenæus adorned Lyons; Africa produced Tertullian; Cyprian illustrated Carthage; Alexandria gloried in Clement, Origen, and Athanasius; Constantinople rejoiced in Chrysostom; the light of Jerome mainly illumines Palestine; the obscurity of Nyssa, Nazianzen, and Cæsarea has been uplifted by the fame of the two Gregories, of Eusebius, and of Basil; the insignificance of Hippo has been gathered up into the immortality of Augustine. How comparatively barren has Rome been! The presence of Peter is very doubtful, and his presidency altogether untenable. The utter silence of Scripture
about this matter has sevenfold more weight and virtue than the buzz of tradition. It is surely inconceivable that the chief business of so eminent an apostle should find no place among the Acts of the Apostles-that the book so full of Peter's life and work in Judæa should give no hint about his life and work at Rome—that the book which so minutely sets forth how Paul got to Rome, and tells how he spent the two years that he lived there, should not contain a single detail about the twenty-five years that Peter is made to have stayed there, nor even mention that he ever went thither-that the two glorious letters wherein the great apostle poured forth his tender and holy soul to the Christians scattered through Asia Minor should make no allusion to his long presidency over the Church at Rome, and no allusion to his residence there, unless Babylon mean Rome.1
1 Ασπάζεται ὑμᾶς ἡ ἐν Βαβυλῶνι συνεκλεκτή, ‘The fellow-elect one in Babylon salutes you,' 1 Pet. v. 13. Whether this fellow-elect one is a church or a woman is very uncertain, but matters not much to us here. Whether Babylon is the plain Asiatic Babylon or the mystic Rome will never be settled. The plainness and directness of epistolary writing seem to demand that Babylon should mean Babylon. The New Testament is just as favourable to the residence of Peter at Babylon as for his stay at Rome, since, save in this place, it says nothing about either; while the direction of the letter to Christians scattered through provinces not far from Babylon supports a Babylonian residence (1 Pet. i. 1). In no apostolical epistle has a city a metaphorical name, except in Paul's allegory (Gal. iv.), and, even though professing himself an allegorist, he takes care to explain that Hagar or Mount Sinai answers to Jerusalem that now is (ver. 25); so that in all likelihood Babylon is Babylon. here. With the prophets it is different. They often speak of Jerusalem as Scdom or as Gomorrah. That Babylon means Rome in so highly figurative a prophecy as the Apocalypse (xiv. 8, xvii. 5, xix. 2) does not at all hinder Babylon from meaning Babylon in a greeting at the end of a familiar epistle. But Peter's Babylon may be twisted into Rome without any profit to the papal power. The strongest foe of the popedom may allow that Peter went to Rome and died at Rome, while no one who asserts that Babylon is Rome in the epistle can deny her to be Rome in the prophecy. Bellarmine runs the risk, and maintains Peter's Babylon to be Rome (De Summo Pontifice, lib. ii. c. 2, in which book that most accomplished disputant does the best for the residence and primacy of Peter and his self-styled successors, lib. ii. passim, Opera, vol. i. pp. 717-844); but, learned and ingenious as he is, he is no match for the mighty Calvin, who deals with the sovereignty claimed by the pope and thrust upon Peter in his own broad, deep, searching, and overwhelming fashion (Institutio, lib. iv. c. 6), where, besides other weighty strokes, he smites the papacy with the lively stones of Peter (1 Pet. ii. 5, 6), and with Paul's magnificent picture of church unity (Eph. iv.), and finely asks: Cur in illâ commendatione unitatis, postquam dixerat unum corpus, unum Spiritum, unam spem vocationis, unum Deum, unam fidem, unum baptisma, non etiam continuo addidit, unum summum pontificem qui ecclesiam in unitate contineat?' (sec. 10.) See also the very lively, amusing, and conclusive discussion of this matter by Illyricus, a Protestant pastor at Magdeburg, Contra commentitium Primatum Papæ, Basileæ, 1554. See also the overwhelming arguments of Velenus against the presence of Peter at Rome, apud Monarchiam Sacram Melchioris Goldasti, vol. ii. pp. 1-16 (Frankfort, 1621), with whom referring to the omission of Peter's
The spiritual popedom fetches its origin from a residence and a presidency of which there is not the slightest contemporary evidence. The see of Peter leads on the long array of fictions and assumptions which the Church of Rome has drawn around her-the long array of her offences against historical as well as against divine truth. St. Peter, too, is a fellow-sufferer with History and Religion. Never has any one been so wronged and metamorphosed as has the great apostle been by this exaltation. His personal and apostolical greatness, the might and majesty of his soul and of his work, were lost in the ecclesiastical omnipotence and worldly power which the pontiffs and princes who called themselves his successors flung back upon the fisherman. The real and scriptural Peter disappeared beneath the traditional, legendary, and papal Peter. The pilot of the Galilean lake,' the earnest, eager, forward, tender, trembling, fainting, backsliding, penitent, forgiven, and rejoicing lover of his Lord, the speaker in the upper room, the preacher on the day of Pentecost, the confronter of the Jewish priests and pontiff, the welcomer of the Roman soldier into the kingdom, the prisoner of Herod, the apostle of the circumcision and yet the champion of Christian liberty at the council of Jerusalem, the patient taker of Paul's deserved rebuke, the writer of those two most loving, lowly, unworldly, patience-breathing letters, was translated into the lord of the world, the wielder of the two swords civil and ecclesiastical, into a prince-pontiff, and into the founder of a dynasty of prince-pontiffs. That little boat in which he plied his craft upon the little lovely lake, which he left at the voice or lent for the needs of his Divine Master, vanished before that ark of Peter, that papal argosy so gorgeously fitted out, so direly freighted, and so conspicuous on the ocean of history. The apostle who silver and gold had none, whose letters are fuller of the glory of patience and the joy of sorrow than all the apostolical writings, has been endowed with an Italian principality, and been made to cry out in bulls innumerable for nations to unsheath the sword in defence of St. Peter's patrimony.2
name among the fellow-labourers and fellow prisoners at Rome whom Paul commemorates, we may well exclaim, O wretched Peter, if he had been then at Rome and shrunk from Paul in this most glorious work!' 'O infelicem Petrum, si tum Romæ fuerat, et Paulum in hoc honestissimo destituit negotio!' (p. 7).
2 See especially that most amazing epistle of Stephen II. (Baronius, an. 755, n. 21-29) wherein St. Peter is made to summon the Franks to smite the Lombards. Not one of the apos les has been so strangely disfigured as St. Peter, unless it be St. James the Elder. Sacerdotal ambition translated one Galilean
The Reformation in deposing Pope Peter restored the true Peter and righted History while it purified Religion. Spiritual falsehood brings with it historical falsehood. Believers in a religious lie must needs grossly misconceive both men and events. Corrupt Religion led perverted History in her train of captives and put upon her the work of a slave. The purifying of the one was the emancipation of the other.
Among the humble and holy men assumed to be the earlier successors of that Peter who almost certainly never set foot in Rome, and so amusingly dubbed popes, Clement alone is at all memorable; and he, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, does not profess himself the head of the Christian community at Rome, whereof he was simply an influential member;3 and for centuries the list of Roman pastors contains not one name which stirs the heart and imagination, or which holds a great place in the memory of men, save that of good Sylvester, unpleasantly memorable without any fault of his, the guiltless hero of a pious fraud, the famous recipient of a fabulous donation, the unconscious beneficiary of the unconscious Constantine, who founded Constantinople out of pure love for the greatness of the Roman See, who withdrew from Rome to enthrone Sylvester there, and who, not satisfied with this bestowal of the metropolis, included Italy, Spain, Gaul, and Britain in the mighty gift. The
fisherman into a prince and a pontiff; superstition and chivalry have made a knight of the other. Spain has appropriated and metamorphosed St. James. As the victim of Herod Agrippa was too undeniably killed in Jerusalem to be put to death in Spain, his body was miraculously conveyed thither. He became the champion of Spain and the patron of her chief order of knighthood, went forth mounted on a white steed before her hosts, and led them on to more than one victory over the Moors. St. Paul and St. John escaped metamorphosis better than the other apostles. Craft and superstition have least overlaid with fables the apostle whose life was most fraught with mighty deeds, and the apostle whose life was most hidden and contemplative.
3 The letter does not mention either the name or the office of Clement, but gives prominence to the Church, not to any individual member thereof. It begins, The Church of God sojourning at Rome to the Church of God sojourning at Corinth,' ἡ ἐκκλησία τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡ παροίκουσα Ῥώμην, κ.τ.λ. Jacobson, Patres Apostolici, vol. i. p. 1. 4 This amazing fabrication could not of course live when learning lived again, and found a most vigorous demolisher in Laurence Valla, the secretary of Pope Eugenius IV., born 1415, died 1465, and whose tractate on this matter, In Donationem Constantini Declamatio (Opera, Basileæ, 1540, pp. 761-795), is a potent piece of argumentation, as well as a most lively piece of declamation. It is especially well worth reading at this time; never has the temporal popedom been more fiercely assailed than by this papal secretary, who puts into the mouth of the Romans of his day words exactly such as the Romans of our day address to their priest-king: 'Tu gubernare invitos vis, quasi pupilli simus, qui te ipsum forsitan sapientius gubernare possemus. Adde huc injurias quæ aut abs te aut a tuis magistratibus huic civitati frequentissime infe
donation of Constantine, though not a more unsupported invention, is a more easily refuted and a more audacious and glaring fabrication than the see of Peter. The papacy built its spiritual dominion upon a fable, and its worldly dominion upon a forgery. The most conspicuous apostle was bound to be the first pope; the first Christian emperor was bound to make the pope a prince. History endured another and still more monstrous wrong for the profit of the Roman See; both Sylvester and Constantine suffered utter disfigurement. The worthy Christian pastor became a great prince; the mighty conqueror and ambitious sovereign became a lowly renouncer of empire.
The insignificant series of Roman bishops was broken only by Leo I. (440–461), not unworthily entitled Great, at once personally noble and historically memorable; mighty as a pillar both of church and state; a faithful subject of the empire, and a true pastor; a master of theological lore, and a master of the human heart; influential in Christian councils, and potent in barbarian camps; who guided the deliberations of the fathers of Chalcedon, and pleaded not in vain for helpless and trembling Rome before Attila and Genseric; who turned away the wrath of the Hun and softened the fury of the Vandal; and who bequeathed a noble name to posterity, and a worthy inspiration to the genius of Raphael."
But not only were the Roman bishops effaced among the saints and luminaries of the Church by Ambrose and Augustine, by Chrysostom and Jerome; they were not less completely overshadowed by the mighty men of the Roman and Teutonic world, by the sages who adorned, by the statesmen and heroes who delayed, by the warriors who effected
runtur. Deum testamur, injuria cogit nos rebellare. . . . Nec in tuum caput ultorem stringimus gladium, sed te abdicato atque summoto alterum patrem dominumve adoptabimus. Tu vero, quæ sacerdotis opera sunt, cura' (pp. 793-4). 'Nec amplius horrenda vox audiatur: "Partes contra ecclesiam, ecclesia contra Perusinos pugnat, contra Bononienses "' (p. 795)-witness the storming of Perugia in 1859.
5 Of the bishops between Sylvester and Leo, the least obscure were Damasus, who won the Roman See after a fierce fight between his partisans and those of his competitor Ursicinus, in which many persons perished (Platina, de Vitis Pontificum, p. 50, ed. 1626; Baronius, an. 366); and Zosimus, Boniface, and Celestine, who supported a profligate African priest who, deposed by his bishop, had appealed to the Roman bishop against the Sixth Council of Carthage, about 420, at which Augustine assisted, and who vainly endeavoured to establish the necessity of appeals to Rome by the help of a forged copy of the Nicæan canons (Illyricus, de Certamine inter Pontifices et Sextam Carthaginensem Synodum, Basileæ, 1554). For Leo I. see Platina, pp. 59, 60; Baronius, an. 440-61 passim.