A SERMON OF ST. PETER, Preach'd before HER MAJESTY THE Queen-Dowager, In Her Chappel at Somerset-House, on the Twenty ninth of June, 1686. BEING St. PETER and St. PAƲL's Day.

By THOMAS GODDEN D. D. Preacher in Ordinary to Her Majesty.

Published by Her Majesties Command.

LONDON, Printed by Henry Hills, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty, for His Houshold and Chappel. 1686.

A SERMON OF ST. PETER, Preach'd before Her Majesty the Queen Dowager, On St. Peter and St. Paul's Day, 1686.

‘Et Ego dico tibi, quia Tu es Petrus, & super hanc Petram aedificabo Ecclesiam meam.’Matth. 16. 18.‘And I say unto thee, that Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church.’

TWO Years were now elaps'd from the time of their first Vo­cation, that Peter and the rest of the Disciples had been con­stant Auditors in the School of the Word made Flesh, conversing daily with him, [Page 2] hearing the Sacred Oracles, which distill'd from his Gracious Lips, and beholding the great Miracles he wrought for the Benefit of Mankind. And now it was high time they should give some Account of what they had learn'd under so Divine a Master. In order to this, our Lord designs a so­lemn Examination; and having led them into the Coasts of Caesarea Philippi, propo­ses two Questions to them. The First, Preliminary only, to open the way, and lead them (as it were by the Hand) into the Knowledge and Confession of the Truth, Quem dicunt homines esse Filium ho­minis? Whom do Men say, that the Son of Man is? The Second, the Substantial Point, and which was to be the Test of their Pro­ficiency, Vos autem quem me esse dicitis? But you, Whom do you say that I am?

To the First of these Questions the An­swer was easie, because the Judgments of the World are every where to be met with; and so, without any demurring up­on the matter, they readily answer'd, Some said, that He was John the Baptist; some, that He was Elias; others, Jeremias, or some one of the Prophets. These were the Judg­ments [Page 3] the World made of him: But why not one Word of the Messias among the rest, since they knew the term of Years was now expir'd, and his Coming daily expe­cted? No sooner did the Baptist appear Jo. 1. 19. out of his Solitude, but presently a solemn Embassy of Priests & Levites was sent from Jerusalem, to ask him if he were not the Christ who was to come. But when the Messias himself appears, the best Title they can afford him, is of a John the Baptist, or an Elias, or a Jeremias, or some one of the Prophets; but no mention at all of the Messias. O false and deceitful World, how Erroneous art thou in thy Weights, and Unequal in thy Measures, giving to one what is due to another, and always de­viating from Truth, either by Excess or Defect!

That these Judgments the World made of his Person, were such, that is, Erroneous, our Lord sufficiently intimated by leaving them, and addressing himself to his Disci­ples with the Second Question; Vos autem quem me esse dicitis? But you, My Disci­ples, who now for two Years together have been daily Witnesses of my Life and [Page 4] Conversation, and seen the great Works I have done, Whom do you say that I am? Here the rest of the Apostles, not knowing what to answer, (for this Doctrine, as St. Cyril says, was above their reach) re­main'd S. Cyril. Catech. II. silent: Only Peter (whom the same Holy Father calls there the Prince of the Apostles, and Sovereign Herald of the Church) not of his own Invention, or induced by Humane Reason, but illuminated in his Soul by God the Father, answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God: that is, not by Adoption, as others, but by Nature, of one and the same Substance with thy Eternal Father.

And now what was the Reward (as St. Hilary calls it) of this so Noble and S. Hilar. in Matth. c. 16. Generous a Confession? First, He declar'd him Blessed, in having been so highly fa­vour'd by God: And then, as it follows in the Words of my Text, and the Sequel of the Gospel, He said unto him, Et ego dico tibi, quia Tu es Petrus: And I say also to thee, that Thou art Peter, (which is by In­terpretation a Rock) and upon this Rock I will build my Church, and the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give [Page 5] to thee the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon Earth, shall be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon Earth, shall be loosed in Heaven

Had these been the Words of a Chryso­stom, or some other fam'd Orator, in a Pa­negyrick of St. Peter, they might have been look'd upon as Hyperboles, or Exaggerati­ons of Rhetorick. For if they be under­stood to mean as they sound, never was such Honour and Dignity as this, conferr'd upon any of the Sons of Adam, from the Creation of the World. But now that the Eternal Word, who is Truth it self, has been pleas'd to be the Encomiast of our Saint, and to pronounce them with His own Blessed Mouth in so solemn a Manner, our Faith is exempt from all suspicion of Hyperboles, and the Honours given to St. Pe­ter must be his very True and Proper Elogium.

And because this is what (God willing) I shall endeavour to make out in my fol­lowing Discourse, I shall divide my Text and it into Two Parts. In the First, I shall let you see the great Honour conferr'd upon our [Page 6] glorious Saint, by our Lord's confirming to him, on this occasion, the Name of Pe­ter, that is, of a Rock; Et ego dico tibi, quia Tu es Petrus; And I say to thee, that Thou art Peter: In the Second, That this Name was not only a Title of Honour, but sup­pos'd or carried with it a real Communica­tion of the Dignity and Authority import­ed by it; which was to be the Rock or Foundation-stone, upon which the Church should be built, & super hanc Petram aedi­ficabo Ecclesiam meam; And upon this Rock I will build my Church. That I may treat worthily of them, Let us implore the Assi­stance of the Divine Spirit, by the Interces­sion of that Sacred Virgin, who was chosen before all to be the Mother of him, whom St. Peter confessed to be the Son of the Li­ving God.

Ave Maria.

The First Part.

Et ego dico tibi: And I say unto thee, that Thou art Peter.

IN the First Book of Kings, (or, as some 1 Reg. 2. 30. call it, of Samuel) chap. 2. vers. 30. God was pleas'd to make a gracious Decla­ration [Page 7] in favour of his Servants, or rather, to enter into a Solemn League or Cove­nant with them, That if they should Ho­nour him, he would Honour them. Qui­cunque glorificaverit me, glorificabo eum. Whosoever shall Honour me, I will Honour him. Now among all the Honours, with which he has been pleas'd to Honour them, who Honour him, that of foretel­ling the Name, by which they should be call'd, or changing the Name given by o­thers into another more noble, is set forth to us in the Holy Scripture, as a Particular mark of his Favour to his greatest Ser­vants. In the first of these ways he Ho­nour'd the Son of Abraham with the Gen. 17. 19, & 21. 6. Name of Isaac, which is by Interpretation Laughter, to signifie, that he should be the Joy of his Parents; The Son of Amon King 3 Reg. 13. 2. of Juda, with the Name of Josias, that is, The Fire of the Lord, to fignifie the Zeal with which he should take away the High Places, and burn Men's Bones upon the Altars; as also, the Son of Zachary, with Luk. 1. 13. 15. the Name of John, that is, Gracious, to signifie, that he should be fill'd with the Holy Ghost, even from his Mother's [Page 8] Womb. In the Second way, he Honour­ed the Father of the Faithful, by chang­ing his Name from that of Abram into A­braham, which signifies, A Father of many Gen. 17. 5. Nations: In like manner, his Wife, by Gen. 17. 15. changing her Name from that of Sarai in­to Sara, which signifies as much as Abso­lute Lady; and lastly, his younger Grand­son, by changing his Name of Jacob into Gen. 32. 28. that of Israel, which signifies A Prevailer with God: But in both these ways he was pleas'd to Honour the Great and Illustri­ous Subject of my Text, Simon the Son of Jonas; first by foretelling when he first be­held Jo. 1. 42. Marc. 3. 14, 16. him, that he should be called Cephas, or Peter, which is by Interpretation a Rock: then by giving him that Name, when he chose his Twelve Apostles; and lastly, by confirming it to him anew, (after the Confession he had made of his be­ing the true and natural Son of the living God) with the solemn Asseveration of my Text, Et ego dico tibi, quia tu es Petrus. And I say unto thee, that thou art Peter.

And may we not then here make use of those words, (and with far greater advan­tage to our Saint) with which Haman was [Page 9] commanded to Proclaim the Honour done to Mardochaeus by King Assuerus, Sic hono­rabitur, quemcunque voluerit Rex honorare, Esther 6. 9. Thus shall the Man be honour'd whom the King delighteth to honour: For if it were a particular Mark of Honour to the most E­lect Servants and Favourites of the King of Glory, that himself was pleas'd either to design or foretel the Name, by which their Memory should be had in Benedicti­on through all Generations; or change that which had been given them, into another more Noble and Excellent, with how much more advantage do's this Ho­nour shine glorious upon the Memory of our Saint, on whom the Son of God was pleas'd to confer both these Signs of his Fa­vour. First, Tu vocaberis Cephas; Thou shalt be called Cephas or Peter. And then a­gain, Et ego dico tibi, quia tu es Petrus, I say unto thee, that thou art Peter. Such Honour as this have not all the Saints. This (as St. Ambrose says, speaking of St. Lib. 2. in Luc. c. 1. John) is a Priviledge proper to the Merits of the most Eminent among them, Ʋt a Deo nomen accipiant, to receive their Name from God, and in a more especial manner [Page 10] of the great St. Peter. And why? but be­cause he comply'd with the condition of the Covenant, in the Honour he gave to Christ, in a more eminent manner than the rest.

Two things there were, at which the World was scandaliz'd in our Saviour a­bove all others. The first, that he had told them, That to obtain Eternal Life, they must eat his Flesh and drink his Blood, which they could not hear without Horrour. The Second, That he made himself the Son of God, which they look'd upon as the greatest of Blasphemies. And by whom was his Honour vindicated in both these Points, but by St. Peter, in the two most Il­lustrious Confessions he made of these two great Mysteries of our Faith: The First, of the necessity of the true and real eating his Flesh, and drinking his Blood, for the ob­taining of Everlasting Life. The Second, Of his being the True and Natural Son of the Living God.

That the Confession he made of the Real Manducation of the Body of our Lord, was first in time, is manifestly evinc'd from the series of the Acts of our Saviour's Life, Re­corded [Page 11] by the Evangelists. For before his coming into the Coasts of Caesarea Philippi, where he propos'd the Question to his Di­sciples, Whom do you say that I am? he had fed five thousand Men, besides Women and Children, with sive Loaves and two Fishes, which Miracle St. Chrysostom says, Hom. 45. in Jo. he purposely wrought before hand, by it, to prepare them to believe what he should afterwards teach, concerning the giving them his own Body and Blood at his last Supper; Propterea id prius fecit miraculum &c. and accordingly, seeing the Multi­tudes Jo. 6. 26. follow him from place to place, be­cause they had eaten of the Loaves, and were filled, that is, with expectation of being still so fed and entertain'd by him; he took occa­sion from thence to exhort them to labour for a much better Bread, which camedown from Heaven, and which he would give them, viz. His own Flesh, which he would give for the Life of the World. At this, you know, how not only the Jews strove a­mong themselves, saying, How can this Man give us his Flesh to eat? but many of his own Disciples also, were so scandaliz'd, that they withdrew themselves from his Com­pany, [Page 12] and would have no more to do with a Teacher of so absurd a Doctrine, and Commander of so horrible a Practice. And this too, after they had heard him say, The Flesh profiteth nothing; The words that I speak unto you, are Spirit and Life. Rather it was upon hearing these very words, and understanding them to be a confirmation of what he had said before, that they went back, and walked no more with him. And is not all this an evident Sign, that they understood him to speak of giving them his very true Flesh to eat? Otherwise, cer­tainly they would not have quitted him, nor call'd it a hard Saying, that he should say his Flesh was Bread, any more than they did, when they heard him say, He was a Vine or a Door. Nor was it a less evident Sign, that our Lord himself also meant, as he said, that is, to give them his Flesh to eat in very deed; how easie had it been for him, and how would his Goodness, (that Goodness which brought him down from Heaven to save Sinners) have mov'd him in this, as in other Occasions it had done, to have bid them not to be scandaliz'd at what he had said of giving them his Flesh [Page 13] to eat, for that it was spoken only in a Pa­rable, and that he intended no more by it, than to give them Bread and Wine as a Fi­gure of his Body and Blood in remembrance of him? This, I say, had been very easie for him to do, and surely well becoming him, who came down from Heaven to seek what was lost, and not to drive away what was found: And his not doing it, but reprehending them for not believing, and permitting them to depart in their unbelief, John 6. 64 is a convincing Argument, that both he spake, and they understood him to speak of the giving his true Flesh to be eaten by them. This being so, our dearest Lord solicitous now for the Twelve, whom he had chosen Marc. 3. 14. to be constantly with him, and to send them forth as occasion serv'd, to Preach to others, Addresses himself to them with those words full of Tenderness and Love, Num­quid & vos vultis abire? And will you also, you not only my Disciples, but my Apostles and Domesticks, will you also go and leave me upon the same Accounts as these others have done? When Peter stepping forth with his wonted fervour, cries out, Domine ad quem ibimus. Lord, to whom shall we go? [Page 14] Thou hast the words of Eternal Life: As if he should have said, Thou hast promis'd E­verlasting Life to those who believe in thee, and if that be not to be obtain'd but by eating thy Flesh, and drinking thy Blood, tho' we understand not how, or in what manner it can be done, since thou hast said it, be it to us according to thy word. For we have believ'd and are sure, that thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and therefore canst make good whatever thou hast said, as well in this, as in all other things, how hard and absurd soever they may appear to Sense and Reason.

Thus did St. Peter give Honour and Glo­ry to Christ, by his stedfast belief and Con­fession of the Truth of what he had said, of the necessity of eating his Flesh and drink­ing his Blood in very deed, for the obtain­ing of Everlasting Life: In like manner, as Martha afterwards did, when being ask'd by our Saviour, if she believ'd him to be the Resurrection and the Life, she answered with the words of St. Peter, Ʋtique Domine. Yea Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ Jo. 11. 27. the Son of the Living God, and consequently, as being true God, canst by thy Power raise [Page 15] Lazarus again to Life. But why was not St. Peter then presently Honoured by our Saviour with a Beatus es Simon Barjona, Blessed art thou Simon the Son of Jonas? To this Theophylact answers, That our Lord suspended praising him then (tho' he de­serv'd it) least being at a time when others deserted him, it might seem done out of design, and a piece of Artifice to retain him with him; but Euthymius more pro­bably thinks it was, because he answer'd not for himself only, but in the name of all, among whom there was one so far from being worthy of praise, that our Sa­viour presently after (Emendans Petrum, says a learned Expositor) to rectifie Peter's mistake, told them, He was a Devil.

The Second Confession he made, was that of my Text, when our Saviour demanding of the Twelve, Whom they said that he was? He alone answer'd, not in the name of the rest, or as delivering the Faith of them all, (as he had done before, and found he had been mistaken:) but as delivering his own proper Sentiment, (a Sentiment Inspir'd by a particular Revelation from God the Fa­ther to him alone, but to serve as a Formu­lary [Page 16] of Confession to the rest,) Tu es Filius Dei vivi; Thou art Christ, the Son of the li­ving God: Begotten from all Eternity by the Father, coequal, coeternal, and con­substantial with him.

And This is that full and generous Confes­sion which justifies the Wicked, Confirms the Just, triumphs over the World, con­founds the Devil, rejoyces the Angels, and opens the Kingdom of Heaven to all Be­lievers. This is that Confession, which en­courag'd the Martyrs to undergo their Tor­ments; the Confessors, to have their Con­versation in Heaven, even whilst they liv'd upon Earth; And the Virgins to run after the Odours of the Perfumes of all sorts of Vertues, which this Divine Bridegroom of Souls left behind him in this World, whilst he Conversed in it. In a word, This Faith and Confession of S. Peter, that Christ was the Son of God, begotten of his Father from all Eternity, and born in time of his Virgin-Mother, is, in the Language of S. Am­brose, S. Ambr. lib. de Incarnat. cap. 5. no less than a General Definition, or Prae-condemnation of all the Heresies that should ever arise in the Church; Adversus omnes Haereses Generalis est ista Fides.

[Page 17] Thus it was that St. Peter vindicated the Honour of his Master, by confessing him to be the very true and Natural Son of God. And what did our Lord do, or rather, what did he not do, to recompense him for it, and to comply with the Condition of the Covenant on his Part, that is, of Honouring those who honour him? First, He proclaim'd him Blessed whilst yet upon Earth, Beatus es Simon Barjona, Blessed art thou Simon the Son of Jonas. Then confirm'd to him the Name of Peter, which is as much as to say, a Rock or solid Foundation-Stone, such an one, as on it he would not doubt to build his Church, and that so firm, that the Gates of Hell should not prevail against it. Lastly, He promis'd to deliver the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven into his hands, with so full and ample a Commission, that Whatsoever he should bind upon Earth, should be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever he should loose upon Earth, should be loosed in Heaven. And had not St. Hilary then great reason to exclaim upon this Passage, as he do's with these words? O in nuncupatione novi Nominis, S. Hilar. in Matt. c. 16. felix Ecclesiae Fundamentum! O happy Foundation of the Church, in having this [Page 18] new Name of PETER imposed on thee; and worthy Rock for Christ to build his Church upon, which should destroy the Laws of Hell, and break in sunder the Gates of the Abyss, and the Prisons of Death! O BEATƲS COELI JANITOR! O Blessed Door-keeper of Heaven, into whose hands the Keys of the Entrance into Eternity are committed, and whose Judgment upon Earth shall have the Authority of a Rule, or prejudging Sen­tence in the Court of Heaven!

Thus St. Hilary, with whom the rest of the Fathers, both Greek and Latin a­gree, as to the substance of the thing. For tho' some of them, (especially after the Council of Nice) chose rather to affirm the Church to be built upon St. Peter's Faith or Confession, than upon his Person; yet their meaning was to assign the Reason, why our Saviour made choice of him above the rest, to build his Church upon; and not to exclude him from being the Rock on which the Church is built; any more than it was the meaning of St. Peter himself, to deny that God had made him the Instrument of curing the lame Man at the Gate of the Temple, when he said, that not he and John Acts 3. 12, 16. [Page 19] by their own Power or Holiness had made him to walk, but the Faith which is by Jesus Christ: Or than it was the meaning of St. Jerom, to deny that the same St. Peter Ep. 61. ad Pammach. really walk'd upon the Sea, when he said, Super aquas non corpus ambulasse, sed Fidem; that his Body walk'd not upon the Waters, but his Faith.

And thus much I hope may suffice to have spoken of the First Part of my Text, the great Honour conferr'd upon our Saint, by our Lord's confirming to him the Name of Peter. Et ego dico tibi, quia Tues Petrus: And I say also to thee, that Thou art Peter. I shall now proceed to the Se­cond, and let you see, that this Name was not only a Title of Honour, but carried with it a real Communication of the Dig­nity and Authority imported by it, which was, that of being a Rock or Foundation­stone, upon which the Church should be built. Et super hanc Petram aedificabo Ec­clesiam meam.

The Second Part.

Et super hanc Petram, &c. And upon this Rock I will build my Church.

'TIs no very unusual thing among Men, to meet with Titles of Honour without any thing correspondent in the Subject to support them: And the Reason is, Because it is in the Power of Princes to give Titles, but not to give fit qualifications for them; nor yet always to discern, whe­ther the Person be really endow'd with them or no. But when God (who is Truth it self) gives a Title, or imposes a Name, it must be the heighth of Extravagance to call in question the real existence of the Dignity and Authority imported by it, in the Per­son to whom it is given. We read in the second Chapter of Genesis, that after that Gen. 2. 14. God had formed every Beast of the Field, and every Fowl of the Air, he brought them to Adam, to see what he would call them. And the Scripture says, that what Adam called every living Creature, that was its Name, that is, its true and proper Name, [Page 21] as expressing the Nature and Properties of that Creature, as distinct from all others. And if Adam, by the Wisdom infus'd in him by God at his Creation, was so exact, that he gave no Name to any thing, which was not its proper name, shall we think, that He who is the Wisdom of the Father, by whom all things were made, and who gives them their very Natures, would give the Name of Peter, and that in so solemn a manner, as Ego dico tibi, quia Tu es Petrus, I say un­to thee, that Thou art Peter, that is, a Rock, and upon this Rock I will build my Church, to one only of his Apostles, but that he intended by it to signifie some singular Privilege communicated to him, by which he should be distinguish'd and exalted above the rest?

Hear, I beseech you, the Paraphrase St. Hierom makes upon the Words of my S. Hierom. in Mat. 16. Text. Peter answering, said to Christ, Thou art the Son of the Living God. Christ an­swering, said to Peter, And I say also to thee, That thou art Peter. And what was this, says St. Hierom, but as if he should have said, Quia Tu dixisti, Because thou hast said to me, That I am the Christ, the Son of [Page 22] the Living God, Et ego dico tibi, I say also to thee, That thou art Peter, non sermone casso, & nullum habente opus, not with an empty Word, which has no force or efficacy in it; sed dico tibi, But this I say to thee, quia meum dixisse fecisse est, because my saying is doing, or, for me to say a thing is the same as to do it? From whence it follows, That at the same time that our Saviour said to him, Thou art Peter, that is, a Rock, he made him to be so, by communicating to him those correspondent spiritual Qualities for the support of his Church, which are found in a material Rock, to sustain the Building which is laid upon it. And this St. Hierom shews to have been our Saviour's meaning, by the Example he immediately subjoyns, That as our Lord communicated Light to his Apostles, that they might be called the Light of the World, and the like, in other Names or Titles they received from him, as of the Salt of the Earth, &c. In like manner also to Si­mon, who believ'd in Christ the Rock, he gave the Name of Peter. And then concludes, that ac­cording to the Metaphor of a Rock—Recte di­citur ei; It is rightly and properly said to him, that is, to Peter, Aedificabo Ecclesiam meam [Page 23] super Te; I will build my Church upon thee.

This is the Discourse of that great and famous Doctor St. Hierom, by which it ap­pears, that our Saviour, when he gave to Simon the Name of Peter, that is, a Rock made him the Rock on which he would build his Church, and that in a more Emi­nent manner than any other of the Apo­stles, as is every where affirm'd by the same holy Doctor, giving him the Titles of Prince, Chief, Head, and Greatest of the Apo­stles: And this very agreeably to the Rea­soning of S. Paul in a Point of much higher Concern, in his first Chapter to the He­brews. There this great Apostle being to prove, that Christ our Lord transcended all the Quires of Angels in the Excellency of his Nature, thought it a convincing Argu­ment to alledge, that he had obtain'd a more Excellent name than they, forasmuch Heb. 1. 4. as our Lord had said to him, and to none of them, in the second Psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And those must think this Argument of St. Paul to be of no force, who when they hear our Saviour say to Simon the Son of Jonas, and to none other of his Apostles, Thou art [Page 24] Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church, can think that some singular Prero­gative was not meant by it, to be commu­nicated to him, in which he should Excell the rest of his Brethren.

That the Apostles themselves understood it to be so, at least after the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Four Registers left us of their Names are so many Authentic Testimonies to inform us. The First by St. Matthew, c. 10. v. 2. The Second by St. Mark, c. 3. v. 16. The Third by St. Luke, c. 6. v. 14. And the Fourth by the same St. Luke, in the 1. c. of the Acts of the Apostles, v. 13. For altho' St. An­drew were before St. Peter in divers respects, as in Age, being (according to St. Epipha­nius) his Elder Brother; and also in follow­ing Haer. 51. of Christ, (for St. John says of him, that Jo. 1. 41. he went and found out Peter and brought him to Christ) yet Peter by all the afore­said Evangelists is evermore set before An­drew, and all the rest of the Apostles. And St. Matthew (himself one of the Twelve) not only puts him in the first Place, but ex­presly gives him the Title of Primus. The Names of the twelve Apostles, says he, are Matt. 10. 2. these; Primus, The First, Simon, who is called [Page 25] Peter. And why was this? to observe only the order of numbring? No: For then after he had said, Primus, The First, Simon, who is called Peter, he would have gone for­ward with, The Second, Andrew; the Third, James; the Fourth, John; and so of the rest to the end. But whereas he do's not do this, but sets down their Names, as it were in a List one after another, without any Particle to signifie Precedency in one be­fore another, and only adds the Title of Primus to Peter, 'tis a manifest Indication, that the Word was us'd by him to signifie Peter to be not only the First in Order, nor yet in Place, but the Chief also in Dignity and Authority among them; as when we say of a Foundation, (which S. Peter was) that it is the First thing in a Building, the meaning is not, that it is so only in Prece­dency of Time or Place, but in regard of the Preeminence it hath of Firmness and Soli­dity in order to the rest of the Building, which is to be sustained by it.

And this is yet farther confirm'd from another remarkable Circumstance in the a­foresaid Catalogues, which is, that whereas the other Apostles are never nam'd in order, [Page 26] but differently, not only by different Evan­gelists, but by one and the same. For Exam­ple, Andrew next after Peter by S. Matthew, Matt. 10. 2. James by S. Mark, and both James and John Mark 3. 17. by S. Luke, Acts 1. 13. before Andrew, whom Acts 1. 13. he had plac'd before them in his Gospel: Luke 6. 14. And so in like manner Thomas and Bartho­lomew before Mathew, Acts 1. whereas in his Gospel Bartholomew and Matthew are Luke 6. 14, 15. nam'd before Thomas; yet Peter is every where set in the Head of the Catalogue, and preferr'd before them all; which cer­tainly cannot be imputed to Chance, or the Will of the Writer, (for then his Name might have been put sometimes in one place, and sometimes in another, as well as those of the other Apostles) but to the par­ticular Direction of the Holy Ghost, and the Appointment of Christ himself, which no Evangelist could change or alter. Hence it is, that when S. Paul says of himself, Gal. 1. 18. that he went to Jerusalem on purpose to see Peter, S. Ambrose, (or the Au­thor In Ep. ad Gal. c. 1. v. 18. of the Commentaries upon the Epi­stles of S. Paul, commonly ascribed to S. Ambrose, and as ancient, if not ancienter than He, and of whose Authority S. Austin [Page 27] makes use upon occasion) gives this Reason for it; Because he was Primus inter Apo­stolos, cui delegaverat, Salvator curam Ec­clesiarum; The First among the Apostles, to whom our Saviour had committed the care of the Churches. The same Reason also is gi­ven by S. Chrysostom and others; Because he Hom. 86. in Jo. was the Mouth and Prince of the Apostles. And S. Austin says of him, That he repre­sented Tract. 124. in Jo. the whole Church, Propter prima­tum Apostolatus, by reason of the Primacy or Preeminence of the Apostleship, which was conferr'd on him. So that if the Judgment of these Fathers, who speak the Sense of the Church in those Primitive Times, (S. Austin being the youngest of them) be to be taken, when S. Matthew in reciting the Names of the Apostles, says, Primus Simon, The First, Simon, who is called Peter, his meaning was not, that He was so in Order only or Place, but that He was Princeps, or Chief; or as S. Hierom calls him, Maximus, the Greatest of the Apostles in Dignity and Authority; in like manner as S. Paul says of himself, that he was Peccatorum Primus, the First of Sin­ners, 1 Tim. 1. 15. In Ps. 70. non tempore, (as S. Austin expounds it) sed malignitate; not in order of Time, but [Page 28] in the Greatness and Enormity of his Of­fence.

But that which must needs weigh down the Scale in this matter, with all imparti­ally-considering Men, is the solemn Promise Mat. 16. 19. (and no less solemn Performance) which our Saviour made to St. Peter, and to him alone, that he would give to him the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven: Tibi dabo Claves Regni Coelorum; To thee will I give the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. And what was this, but the Supreme Power and Authority of Governing his Church? For the word Keys being a metaphorical Expression, is frequently us'd in the Holy Scripture to signifie that Superiority or Supreme Power with which a Person is invested to Govern a Family, a City, or a Kingdom; and there­fore when a City is surrendred, 'tis the usu­al Custom to deliver up the Keys to the Prince, or Principal Person, in acknowledg­ment of his Power, and as a sign of Sub­jection to it. Our Saviour then, when he promis'd to give to Peter the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, that is, of his Church upon Earth, at the same time design'd him to be that Faithful and Prudent Servant or [Page 29] Steward, whom he would set over his Houshold, to feed and govern it. And how­ever we read that the Power of binding and Matt. 18. 18. loosing, which is an Effect of the Keys, was promis'd to all the Apostles in common, Matth. 18. 18. yet it was not till after the Keys had been promis'd to Peter, Matth. Matt. 16. 19. 16. 19. Nor is it any where read in Scrip­ture, that the Keys themselves, the proper Token and Badge of the Supreme Stew­ardship over the Church, were promis'd to the rest, but to Peter alone.

And when did our Lord perform this Pro­mise, but when, a little before his Ascension into Heaven, being now to withdraw his own Visible Presence from his Church, af­ter a second Examination, or, as Origen calls it, Confession how much he lov'd him, and this in the presence of the rest of the Disciples, he deliver'd to him, as the same Origen expresses it, (in his Fifth Book upon In Ep. ad Rom. c. 6. l. 5. the Sixth Chapter to the Romans, which St. Hierom thought worthy his translating) Summam rerum de pascendis ovibus, the Su­preme Charge or Superintendency of things, in order to the feeding of his Flock; not only of his Lambs, but of his Sheep; in [Page 30] which Expressions all the Faithful, of what Degree or Preeminence soever, are inclu­ded? And to take away all suspicion as if he meant not to give him an Authority above that of the rest of his Brethren, he ask'd him not only if he lov'd him, but if he did not love him more than They; ma­nifestly declaring, by the Excess of Love he requir'd from him, a proportionable Ex­cess or Superiority in the Power he com­mitted to him.

Nor was this any way inconsistent with their being All Equal, as they were Apostles, (in which regard it is, that S. Cyprian, S. Hie­rom, and others, affirm them to have been so.) But on the contrary it was necessary, that one should be endow'd with a Preemi­nence of Authority above the rest, for the preservation of Ʋnity, and consequently of the Church, its Safety consisting in Ʋnity, its Ruin in Division, according to the known Saying of our Saviour, Every Kingdom di­vided against it self, shall be brought to destru­ction; Matt. 12. 25. and every City or House divided a­gainst it self, shall not stand. And this is the Reason which S. Hierom gives, (with whom Lib. 1. adv. Jovinian. the rest of the Fathers agree) why One [Page 31] (meaning Peter) was chosen among the Twelve, Ʋt capite constituto Schismatis tolla­tur Occasio; viz. That a Head being consti­tuted, the Occasion of Schism might be taken away.

And now to advance one step farther, and so draw to a Conclusion: If it be true, as most certainly it is, what our Saviour said, that Every Kingdom divided against it self, shall be brought to ruin; and on the o­ther side, that The Gates of Hell shall never prevail against his Church, which is his King­dom, it manifestly follows, That as the Church is to continue for ever, so also the Authority given to Peter was not to die with him, but to descend to his Successors, and to remain for ever in the Chair of Peter. Of which Chair St. Austin speaking, says, In Psal. cont. part. Donati. Ipsa est Petra, quam superbae non vincunt In­ferorum Portae; This is the Rock, which the Proud Gates of Hell do not overcome. And therefore S. Hierom, when three unhappy Ep. 56. ad Damas. Factions brake out at the same time, and each endeavour'd to gain him to their Party, cries out to them, Si quis Cathedrae Petri jungitur, meus est; Let me know which of you holds Communion with the Chair of Peter, [Page 32] and him I shall acknowledge for mine: Super illam Petram aedificatam Ecclesiam scio; Id. Ep. 58. I know the Church to be built upon that Rock. I know, that whosoever eateth the Lamb out of that House is Prophane, and whosoever shall not be in the Ark of Noe, when the Deluge comes, peribit regnante diluvio, shall perish in the Waters.

Some perhaps may think this to be a dreadful Saying, and so indeed it is: for as St. Austin says, Nihil sic debet formidare Christi­anus, quam Tract. 27. in Jo. separari a corpore Christi; A Chri­stian ought to dread nothing so much, as to be separated from the Body of Christ, which is his Church: For if he be separated from the Body of Christ, he is no Member of Christ; And if he be no Member of Christ, he is not quickned by the Spirit of Christ. The Spirit quickens only the Members which are united to the Body.

How much then are They bound to give thanks to Almighty God, whose good Lot it has been, either to have been brought up from their Infancy in the Communion of this Chair, upon which the Church is built, or after having been bred otherwise, to have been powerfully, and yet sweetly drawn [Page 33] and incorporated into it! Who can re­count all the Graces and Blessings which those enjoy, who are in this happy Com­munion, and of which those remain desti­tute and depriv'd who are out of it! I shall give a brief Account of some of them in the words of the Great S. Austin, and so conclude.

First then, by being Members of this Holy Communion, it is, as the same Fa­ther In Ps. 42. says, that we are Inhabitants in that Holy Mountain, of which David foretells in his 42. Psalm, that when God has brought us into it by his Light and Truth, he graci­ously hears the Prayers and Supplications we offer up to him, in order to our own Eternal Salvation. Mons Sanctus ejus, Ecclesia ejus est; This Holy Mountain is his Church. There it is that, as himself has promis'd, Every one Matt. 7. 8. that asks, shall receive; Every one that seeks, shall find; and that knocks at the Gate of Heaven, shall have it open'd to him. Happy Condition, to be thus assur'd of being heard, when we pray for our selves!

And then again, of being Partakers also of the Prayers and good Works of others. For the Soul of all true Believers, as the [Page 34] same S. Austin says, being One Soul, per unam In Ps. 103. Fidem, by the Ʋnity of the same Faith; and all the Faithful One Man, by reason of the unity of the Body of Christ; As the Functions of the several Parts in the Natural Body, so also the Prayers and good Works of each Member of this Mystical Body, redound to the benefit 1 Cor. 12. of the Whole. Every one has a share in the Prayers and good Works of all, and may say with holy David, Particeps ego sum omnium Ps. 118. timentium te; I am a partaker of all those that fear thee, and keep thy Commandments.

And this not only whilst they were la­bouring in this Life to gain Heaven for themselves, but after that they are reigning in it with Christ. Their Charity by change of State, is not diminish'd but increas'd. Se­curi, (says St. Cyprian) de sua salute, de nostra sunt soliciti; Being now secure of their own Salvation, they are solicitous for ours; And the Prayers they offer up for us, are so much more efficacious and available, by how much the Saints in Glory are in great­er union and favour with God.

Nor do we reap this benefit of partaking the Prayers and good Works of others only whilst we are in this Life, but also after we [Page 35] are departed out of it: for as the same St. Au­stin In Enchirid. c. 109. (speaking of the Custom of the Catholic Church in his Time, (as in ours) of Praying for those who were departed in the Com­munion of it) says, Neque negandum est; It is not to be deny'd, but that the Souls of the Faithful deceased, are reliev'd by the Pie­ty of their living Friends, when the Sacrifice of the Mediatour (that is, of the Body and Blood of Christ) is offer'd, or Alms given for them in the Church.

These, dear Catholic Brethren, with many others, too long to be insisted on at pre­sent, are great Advantages, which those only can be partakers of, whom the Grace and Goodness of God has plac'd in this Holy Mountain, his Church. Quisquis praeter hunc montem erat, non credat, se exaudiri ad salutem aeternam; Whoever Prays out of this Mountain, says St. Austin, let him not flatter himself with a vain belief, that he In Ps. 42. shall be heard to Eternal Salvation. Many who Pray out of the Church, have their Peti­tions granted in many things, as for Health, Wealth, Children, and the like; But he that will obtain Eternal Salvation for him­self, must Pray in this Holy Mountain, if he [Page 36] will be heard. There, says he, let him Wor­ship, In Ps. 44. who will be accepted; there let him Pray, who will be heard; and there let him Confess, who will obtain remission of his Sins.

And as those only Prayers which are of­fer'd in the Communion of the Church, are by vertue of this Communion efficacious to Eternal Life; so also those good Works only which are done in it, and those Sacra­ments which are received in it. Multi, says S. Aug. in Ps. 36. he, quasi exercent bona Opera; Many exer­cise themselves in Works seemingly good, but they belong not to that Husbandman whom our Lord calls Father, because they dwell not in the Land, which he Cultivates and Wa­ters. Ipsam formam habet Sarmentum, &c. In Ps. contr. part. Donat. Ipsam formam habet Sar­mentum, quod praecisum est de vite, Sed quid illi pro­dest forma, si non vivit de radice? A Branch cut off from the Vine, has the same Form it had whilst it was in it; But what will it avail it to have the same Form (of Godliness) if it live not from the Root? What more glorious State of Life than that of perpetual Continency! a State so high and sublime, that our Saviour do's not enjoyn it to any, but only exhorts to it with a Qui potest capere, capiat; Let him that can take it, take it. And yet the same holy Father speak­ing of some Religious Women in his Time, In Ps. 44. [Page 37] who had oblig'd themselves to that holy State, but out of the Church, says, they are Virgins indeed, Sed quid proderit eis, nisi ad­ducantur in Templum Regis; But what will it avail them to be so, unless they be brought into the Temple of the King? that is, into the Communion of the Catholic Church.

And then again, for the Sacraments, (those Conduits or Channels, which our Lord has instituted, as the ordinary means to derive his Grace into our Souls) tho' they may be administred and received out of the Church, yet the Vertue and Benefit of them cannot be had but in the Church. As the Water (says he) which took its rise Ecclesia Para­diso compara­ta. S. Aug. l. 4. de Bapt. contr. Donat▪ c. 1. in Paradise, staid not there, but went forth from thence into the adjoyning Countries; so also Baptism (and it is the same of other Sacraments) may be administred not only in the Church, but out of it. But, as the Hap­piness of Paradise went not forth with the Water, but could be enjoy'd only by those who remain'd in it; so also the Vertue of the Sacraments, which is the Gift of Eter­nal Life, is not found but within the Church. In a word, the same Holy Father tells us, Extra Ecclesiam Catholicam totum habere [Page 38] potest praeter salutem: A Man may have all Ser. super Ge­sta cum Eme­rito. Lib. 1. de Baptis. c. 49. Ep. 48. ad Vincentium, & alibi pas­sim. things out of the Catholick Church, besides Salvation. He may have Faith, Baptism, and the rest of the Sacraments; He may have the Word of God; He may believe and preach in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; He may distribute his Substance to the Poor, and give his Life for the Name of Christ: But when all is done, Nusquam nisi in Ecclesia Catholica salutem poterit inve­nire; He can find Salvation no where, but in the Catholick Church; no other, in his Judgment, than that in Communion with the Chair of Peter, of which you heard him before affirm, Ipsa est Petra, This is the Rock, which the proud Gates of Hell do not overcome.

Had I advanc'd these things of my self, I might perhaps have been condemn'd of Ʋncharitableness by some: But the Respect and Veneration which All have for the Great Saint whose Words they are, will, I hope, protect both him and me from un­dergoing, and also prevent them from pronouncing so uncharitable a Censure. But if any will be yet so severe, I only desire them to consider, whether it be want of [Page 39] Charity, when we see a Person sailing se­curely (as he thinks) in a new-trimm'd Ves­sel, but leaky at the bottom, to warn him of the danger he is in of never coming to his Port. This was the Case of St. Austin with those who were out of the Church. He saw the danger they were in (tho' they saw it not themselves) in venturing to Sea in any other Vessel than that of St. Peter; and his Charity mov'd him to warn them of it. He saw the certain Ruin they were expos'd to, for want of true Charity, which if they had had, they would neither have rent the Ʋnity of the Church themselves, nor been Followers or Adherents of those that did.

And now, dear Catholic Brethren, what remains for us, but that giving Thanks to Almighty God, for having brought us by his Light and Truth into his Holy Moun­tain, and humbly begging for the like Grace and Mercy upon those who are yet out of it, we Contend earnestly for the Faith which was once deliver'd to the Saints, labouring S. Jude Cath Ep. v. 3. diligently (as the Chief and Head of the Apostles, St. Peter himself, exhorts) to make our Vocation and Election sure by good Works. 2 Pet. 1. 10. [Page 40] For as none can be sav'd out of the Church; so such only shall be sav'd in it, who shew their Faith by their Works. As it was not enough for the Jews to vaunt that they Jo. 8. 39. had Abraham for their Father, when they did not the Works of Abraham; So neither will it avail us to glory, that we have St. Peter for our Father, unless we do the Works of St. Peter. Our Faith must be accompanied with our Works. Both toge­ther in the Communion of the Church, (that Church which our Saviour promis'd to build upon Peter) will give us an assured Title to that Everlasting Glory in the Kingdom of Heaven. Which I beseech him graciously to bestow upon your Sacred Majesty, and all here present, &c.

FINIS.

ERRATA.

PAge 12. line 21. for how easie, read Otherwise how easie. p. 13. l. 24. for Accounts, r. Account.

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