We come now to consider perhaps the most remarkable passage in the New Testament: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whosoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whosoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Here almost every word calls for explanation and occasions controversy. Who or what is the "rock" upon which the church is founded? In what sense is the term "church" used? What is the import of Hades and what signifies, "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it"? What signify the "keys of the kingdom," and the binding and loosing power?
The first thought that I would impress upon the mind is that Christ alone founded his church. I mean that the church was established in the days of his sojourn in the flesh; that the work of its construction commenced with the reception of the material prepared by John the Baptist. That organization commenced with the appointment of the twelve apostles, and that by the close of his earthly ministry there existed at least one church as a model, the church at Jerusalem.
We find in the history immediately succeeding the Gospel account that this church at Jerusalem began to transact business by the election of a successor to Judas; that they were all assembled together in one place for the reception of the Holy Spirit, and that to them were added daily the saved. Hence, we are prepared to ask: On what did Christ found his church? What is the rock?
After mature deliberation and careful examination of all the opposing views, and after a thorough study of the Word of God, it is clear to my mind that the rock primarily and mainly is Christ himself.
If it seems to violate the figure that he, the builder, should build upon himself, the violation is no more marked here than in the famous passage in John where he gives the bread to the disciples and that "bread of life" is himself. I would have the reader note the scriptural foundation upon which I rest my conclusion that the rock is Christ. The first argument is from prophecy:
"Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste" (Isaiah 28:16).
This prophetic scripture clearly declared God's purpose to lay in Zion a foundation, a stone foundation, one that was to be tried, that was assured, a foundation on which faith should rest, without haste or shame.
We next cite Psalm 118:22: "The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing. It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made. We will rejoice and be glad in it."
In fulfilment of these prophecies we cite first the testimony of Peter, unto whom the language of our passage was spoken:"To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God and precious. Ye also as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient the stone which the builders disallowed the same is made the head of the corner. And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed" (1 Peter 2:4-8).The spiritual house of which Peter here speaks is unquestionably the church. The foundation upon which that church as a building must rest, is unquestionably our Lord Jesus Christ himself. He claims this as a fulfilment of the prophecies which have been cited. Our Lord's own words in another connection (Matthew 21:42), claim the same fulfilment: "The stone which the builders rejected, the same was made the head of the corner." With any other construction it would be impossible to understand Paul's statement (1 Corinthians 3:11-17): "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
Here again the church is compared to a building. The foundation of that building is distinctly said to be Christ. It is also worthy of note that any other foundation for the church than Christ himself would be wholly out of harmony with the Old Testament concept, as given by Moses, Samuel, David, and Isaiah, and Paul's New Testament comment in the following passages, which the reader will please note and examine carefully for himself: Deuteronomy 32:4, 15, 31; 1 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 22:2, 32; Psalm 18:2, 31; 61:2; 89:26; 92:15; 95:1; and Isaiah 17:10; 1 Corinthians 10:4. Do not understand me to affirm that all these passages refer to God as a foundation. The thought is that the Bible concept regards God as the rock of his people under every variety of image, and so uniformly that to make a mortal and fallible man that rock on the doubtful strength of one disputed passage, which may easily and naturally be construed in harmony with the others, does violence to the rule of the faith as well as to the usage of the term.
In a secondary sense, indeed, other things may be called the foundation and are so called, but all these senses support the view that Christ is the rock, primarily and mainly. By examining and comparing Isaiah 8:14; Luke 2:34; Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:8; Luke 20:18, we may easily see how the faith which takes hold of Christ may be compared to a foundation. This accounts for the fact that many of the early fathers of the church understood the rock in this passage to be Peter's faith in Christ, and also explains how others of the fathers understood the foundation of the church to be Peter's confession of that faith. The great majority of Protestant scholars regard the confession of faith as the rock, and it is a notable fact that Baptists particularly make this confession or its equivalent a term of admission into the church. Indeed, in a certain sense, both the faith and the confession may be regarded as the foundation of the church. From Ephesians 2:20-22 and Revelation 21:14, we see that the apostles are called the foundation. But it is only because they teach Christ. They are but instruments in leading souls to Christ, and are not the true foundation. By so much as Peter was more prominent than the others, in this sense the church may be said to be founded on Peter. The scriptural proof of Peter's prominence is very clear. Though not the first apostle chosen, his name heads all the recorded lists of the twelve (Matthew 10:2, Mark 3:16; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13). He also leads the movement in filling the place of Judas (Acts 1:15). He opens the door to the Jews on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14). And he is selected to open the door to the Gentiles (Acts 10; 15:7). By noting carefully Hebrews 6:1-2, we see that the primary or fundamental doctrines concerning Christ may well be called a foundation, and at the close of the Sermon on the Mount, obedience to Christ is compared to building a house on a rock (Matthew 7:24), but all these secondary senses derive their significance from their connection with Christ, the primary and real foundation.
Inasmuch as there are in the world at least 200,000,000 nominal professors of the Romanist faith, constituting over half of Christendom, and as all of these regard Peter as the rock upon which the church was founded, and as they deduce most tremendous and portentous consequences from this interpretation, I think it well to carefully examine this Romanist faith I would not, however, have the reader derive his views of Romanist doctrine from any other sources than those regarded as authoritative by themselves. A natural inquiry of the mind would be, "On what scripture do Papists rely for proof of Peter's primacy"? Only three passages of Scripture are cited by them: Matthew 16:18-19; John 21:15-17; Luke 22 31-32 These are called the "rock-argument," the "keys-argument" the "shepherd-argument," and the "confirmer-argument." In connection with our text, which is the main one cited "Thou art Peter and on this rock I will build my church," they construe John 1:42, where Christ promises that Simon shall be called Cephas, a stone. When they speak of the powers indicated by the keys as conferred upon Peter, they understand that government and jurisdiction are among those powers, in proof of which they usually cite Isaiah 22:22; Revelation 3:7; Job 12:14; Isaiah 9:6; from which they claim that if putting the key upon the shoulder of Jesus implied government, surely it meant as much when applied to Peter; and they interpret the historical usage of giving up the keys of a walled city or fortress to a conqueror, as signifying that the control of that city or fortress is thereby publicly ceded, and that to the one to whom these keys are presented is the province of receiving or excluding.
In the same way they derive the thought of jurisdiction from the shepherd argument, by construing it with 2 Samuel 5:2; Psalm 78:71-72; Ezekiel 34:1-23; Jeremiah 3:15, 23; Nahum 3:18; Isaiah 40:11; Micah 7:14; John 10:1-18; 1 Peter 2:25; 5:4; Acts 20:28. Whoever is able to meet these four arguments, the rock, the keys, the shepherd, the confirmer, is able to answer the whole of the papal system.
On these three scriptures they predicate the stupendous doctrine of the supremacy of the Pope, signifying that the Pope, or Bishop of Rome, as the successor of Peter, possesses authority and jurisdiction in things spiritual over the entire church, so as to become the visible head and the vicar or viceregent of Christ on earth; that, as the universal shepherd, he is the center of unity, with whom all the flock must be in communion or be guilty of schism; that he is the fountain of authority, all subordinate rulers in the church being subject to him, and deriving their limited jurisdiction from him; that all the executive power of the universal church is vested in him. He confirms in the faith; he oversees all; he corrects all; he corrects abuses; he maintains discipline; he possesses all inquisitorial power necessary to evil, and all authority to subdue or excommunicate the refractory. He is infallible in all utterances concerning faith and morals, being God's mouthpiece, and his decrees thereon are absolute and final, being God's viceregent.
It is necessary for me to cite the authentic Romanish authyroids from which this monstrous doctrine is gathered. I cite: (1) the profession of the Tridentine faith, which says, "I acknowledge the holy, Catholic, apostolic Roman church as the mother and mistress of all churches, and I promise and swear true obedience to the Bishop of Rome, successor to St. Peter, prince of the apostles, and vicar of Jesus Christ." The Council of Trent met in the Tyrol near the middle of the sixteenth century, lasting off and on for about eighteen years. The language which I have quoted is not a part of the canons and decrees of the Council of Trent, but it is from the profession of the Tridentine faith, issued by the Pope, and to which all Catholics must subscribe. The date of it is 1564. The second authoritative source is the dogmatic decrees of the Vatican Council held in 1870, which declare the following propositions:
1. That our Lord Jesus Christ himself instituted the apostolic primacy at Caesarea Philippi, by setting Peter as prince and chief over the rest of the apostles, and making him, as God's vicar, or viceregent, the visible head of the universal church, which becomes indestructible because founded on Peter, thereby constituting him the center of all ecclesiastical unity and fountain of all directly, in his single person, with supreme jurisdiction over preachers and church. The council expressly denies that this supreme jurisdiction was conferred upon the twelve apostles originally and reached Peter through them, or as one of them, and expressly denies that it was conferred on the church originally and on Peter through the church, but by a variety of expressions set forth the claim that his jurisdiction was direct, immediate, single, original, personal, centripetal, supreme, and, by being transmissible to his successor, perpetual, thus putting him alone in the place of God to all the rest of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, to the end of time, and anathematizes all who deny the claim. This declaration of the institution of the papacy, as I have just said, and as this council expressly declares, is based upon the rock, keys, and shepherd arguments, drawn from Matthew 16:18-19, and John 21:15-17.
2. The second declaration purports to show how this power of Peter was transmitted to his successor as the Bishop of Rome. They declare that Peter founded the church at Rome; became its first bishop, constituted this bishopric the Holy See, and that to this day Peter lives, presides, and judges in his successors in that bishopric, so that whoever obtains the office of Bishop of Rome does by the institution of Christ receive the entailed supremacy conferred on Peter over the whole church. This declaration closes with this clause: "If then any should deny that this be the institution of Christ the Lord, or by divine right that blessed Peter should have a perpetual line of successors in the supremacy over the universal church, or that the Roman pontiff is the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy, let him be anathema."
3. Their next declaration relates to the nature and extent of this power. Let us quote: "Hence we teach and declare that by the appointment of our Lord the Roman church possesses a priority of ordinary power over all other churches, and that this power or jurisdiction of the Roman pontiff, which is truly episcopal, is immediate, to which all, of whatever right or dignity, both pastors and people, both individually and collectively, are bound by their duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience to submit, not only in matters which belong to faith and morals, but also in those that pertain to the discipline and government of the church throughout the world."
The council makes him the supreme judge of the faith, and further declares that recourse may be had to his tribunal in all questions, the discussion of which belongs to the church, and that none may reopen his judgment, nor can any review his judgment. There is no greater authority than his. His office is not merely of inspection and direction, but of full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the universal church. His power is not mediate and extraordinary, but immediate and ordinary over each and all the churches, over each and all the pastors. Whoever denies it, let him be anathema.
4. Their fourth declaration is concerning infallibility. Citing one proof text only, "I have prayer for thee that thy faith fail not" (Luke 22:3). The council declares that this See of Holy Peter remains ever free from any blemish of error, and as through Christ's prayer Peter's faith failed not, so his inerrancy of teaching is transmitted to his successors. Therefore, quoting their precise language: "It is a dogma, divinely revealed: that the Roman pontiff, when he speaks ex-cathedra, that is, when in the discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals, to be held by the universal church, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed that his church should be endowed for defining doctrine regarding faith of morals; and that, therefore, such definitions of the Roman pontiff are irreformable of themselves, and not from the consent of the church. But if any one - which may God avert - presume to contradict this, our definition: let him be anathema."
It seems an incalculable thing, an inexplicable thing, that in the latter part of the nineteenth century such a quadruple declaration could be made by the distinguished and educated leaders of any form of religion. We may well inquire just here what proof is necessary to support these stupendous claims. This much proof is absolutely necessary: (1) Scriptural proof that the supreme and absolute power here claimed was conferred on Peter himself. (2) Scriptural proof that it was transmissible and actually transmitted. (3) Scriptural proof that the method of transmission was through a local pastorate. (4) Scriptural proof that the See of Rome was constituted that pastorate.
In his lectures on the church Cardinal Wiseman seems to consider himself able to furnish abundant proof, if not just this proof. The limits of this discussion admit only a suggestion of some things in reply: (1) All the apostles were declared to be a foundation of the church (Ephesians 2:19-22; Revelation 21:14). (2) All the apostles had the same binding and loosing power (John 20:23; 3 John 1:10). So also had Paul (1 Corinthians 5:3-5; 2 Corinthians 2:6-10; 13:2, 10). (3) So had every local church (Matthew 18:18; 2 Corinthians 2:10). (4) For preserving unity and averting schism all the apostles and others were appointed and no human headship hinted at (1 Corinthians 12:25-30; Ephesians 4:11-16). (5) A short time after our Lord used the words, "Thou art Peter and on this rock I will build my church," cited as indubitable proof by Papists of the institution of the office of Pope, none of the disciples knew who was to be the greatest, and our Lord, in reply to their question, was careful not to say that he had just given that office to Peter (Matthew 18:1-4). Indeed he seems to deny that he had given it to any one (Mark 9:38-39). If the Papist claim, that the office of Pope was established in Peter at Caesarea Philippi, as recorded in Matthew 16, is correct, this incident a short time after recorded in Matthew 18, is inexplicable. (6) On a still later occasion we find the question of priority still unsettled. How else account for the fact that James and John, sons of Zebedee, through their mother, asked for the highest places in the kingdom? Why did not Jesus, in answering this request, reply that he had already given the highest place to Peter? Why did he expressly declare that none of them should exercise authority over the others, and that there should be no greatness and no primacy but in humility and service? (See Matthew 20:20-28; Mark 10:35-45.)
On a yet later occasion, up to the institution of the Lord's Supper, we find the question still unsettled (Luke 22-24-40). And again it is declared that there shall be no primacy of authority and jurisdiction, but all are put on an equality, each occupying a throne. On still another occasion we have these words: "One is your master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth, for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters, for one is your Master, even Christ." Now as the word "Pope" means father, this language is equivalent to saying, "And call no man your Pope on earth, for one is your Pope, which is in heaven."
When we examine the history of the apostles, as recorded in Acts, and the references to apostolic authority cited in the letters, we find every reason to suppose that such supreme and absolute authority had not been conferred upon Peter. Take, as an example, the case of Samaria, as recorded in Acts 8:14. When the apostles heard that the Samaritans had received the word, it is not Peter who sends the others, but it is the others who send Peter. And even in the case of Cornelius, where Peter was specially empowered by divine authority for opening the door to the Gentiles, we find that he was held to an account for his action by the others (Acts 11:1-18).
Again in the great consultation on a question of salvation, as recorded in Acts 15, there it not only no indication that Peter exercised Papal functions, but it is evident that the sentence was framed by James and not Peter, and that it was sent out in the name of all the apostles and the church. In Galatians 2:11-12, we find a proof of Peter's deference to James, the half brother of our Lord, utterly inconsistent with the papal office. And the scriptural proof is overwhelming that there was no subordination of Paul to Peter. That Peter was not the fountain of authority to Paul. He did not derive his gospel from Peter. He withstood Peter to his face when Peter was in error. But examine particularly the following scriptures; 1 Corinthians 9:1-5; 2 Corinthians 10:8-15; 9:5-28; Galatians 1:11-12,17; 2:6-14.
Another observation in this connection will be regarded as just. There is abundant New Testament proof of Paul's presence and work in Rome, but not a hint in that Holy Book about Peter's ever being there. It is equally true that Paul's argument in 1 Corinthians 1:12 and 3:4-23, is adverse to the papal claim. But what is more remarkable still, Peter himself not only never claimed such authority, but exhorts against its exercise (1 Peter 5:1-4).
We may add this pertinent fact: Inasmuch as Peter died before John (that is, as John was the last surviving apostle), if Peter's succession in the papal authority was transmitted through his pastorate at Rome to his successor, that uninspired successor would become the fountain of authority for the apostle John, yet alive, and John, who derived his authority directly from the Lord, would be under the absolute jurisdiction of one who had never known the Lord in the flesh, nor received authority from him.
The true history of that Vatican Council would make interesting reading. It was a secret conclave. Its program was dictated by the Pope. It was neither free nor ecumenical. The awful subordination of intelligent human conscience to such a dictum, and the horror it excited in the minds of even true and long-tested papists, may be gathered largely from a speech of the late Archbishop Kenrick, prepared to be delivered before this coun-cil, in which he sets forth some views very little different from those I have advocated as to the rock being Christ, and to the utter insufficiency of any scriptural proof for the papist claim, based on any of the other passages. It may be well to cite a few statements from this famous speech of Archbishop Kenrick. After combating the papal argument based on the several scriptures which have been cited, Archbishop Kenrick says: The natural and primary foundation, so to speak, of the church, is Christ, whether we consider his person, or faith in his divine nature. The architectural foundation, that laid by Christ, is the twelve apostles, among whom Peter is eminent by virtue of the primacy. In this way we reconcile those passages of the fathers, which understand Him on this occasion (as in the instance related in John 6, after the discourse of Christ in the synagogue of Capernaum), to have answered in the name of all the apostles, to a question addressed to them all in common; and in behalf of all to have received the reward of confession. In this explanation of the word rock, the primacy of Peter is guarded as the primary ministerial foundation; and the fitness of the words of Paul and John is guarded, when they call the apostles by the common title of the foundation; and the truth of the expression used with such emphasis by Paul is guarded: "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, even Christ Jesus" (1 Corinthians 3:2); and the adversaries of the faith are disarmed of the weapon which they have so effectively wielded against us, when they say that the Catholics believe the church to be built, not on Christ, but on a mortal man.
Again referring to the fallacy of the usual modern Romanist interpretation of Luke 22:31-32, he cites his own "Observations," from which we extract the following paragraph:
Neither is there any more value as a proof of papal inerrancy in those words of Christ to Peter (Luke 22:31-32), in which the advocates of this opinion think to find their main argument. Considering the connection in which Christ uttered them, and the words which he proceeded to address to all the apostles, it does not appear that any gift pertaining to the government of the church as then granted or promised to Peter, much less that the gift of inerrancy in Christ's prayer for him that his faith might not fail - that is, that he might not wholly or forever lose that trust by which thus far he had clung to Christ. The words of Christ, then, are to be understood, not of faith as a body of doctrine, in which sense it is never used by our Lord.
In another part of the speech he says: "I believe that the proofs of the Catholic faith are to be sought rather in tradition than in the interpretation of the scriptures." And again,
We have in the Holy Scriptures perfectly clear testimony of a commission given to all the apostles, and of the divine assistance promised to all. These passages are clear, and admit no variation of meaning. We have not even one single passage of scripture, the meaning of which is undisputed, in which anything of the kind is promised to Peter separately from the rest. And yet the authors of the Schema want us to assert that to the Roman pontiff, as Peter's successor, is given that power which cannot be proved by any clear evidence of Holy Scripture to have been given to Peter himself, except just so far as he received it in common with the other apostles; and which, being claimed for him separately from the rest, it would follow that the divine assistance promised to them was to be communicated only through him, although it is clear from the passages cited that it was promised to him only in the same manner and in the same terms as to all the others. I admit, indeed, that a great privilege was granted to Peter above the rest; but I am led to this conviction by the testimony, not of the Scriptures, but of all Christian antiquity.
Yet again he says, with reference to the proposed declaration of infallibility:
I boldly declare that that opinion, as it lies in the Schema, is not a doctrine of faith, and that it cannot become such by any definition whatsoever, even by the definition of a council. We are the keepers of the faith committed to us, not its masters.
God only is infallible. Of the church, the most that we can assert is, that it does not err in teaching the doctrines of faith which Christ has committed to its charge; because the gates of hell are not to prevail against it. Therefore, infallibly, absolute and complete, cannot be predicated of it; and perhaps it would be better to refrain from using that word, and use the word "inerrancy" instead.
What need would there be to a Pope who accepted this notion, of the counsel of his brethren, the opinions of theologians, the investigations of the documents of the church? Believing himself to be immediately led by the divine Spirit, and that this Spirit is communicated through him to the church, there would be nothing to hold him back from pressing on in a course on which he had once entered.
At the close of his speech, arguing against undue haste, and meeting the objection of the Archbishop of Dublin that an examination into the facts would last too long, in that it would reach to the day of Judgment, he says,
If this be so, it were better to refrain from making any definition at all, than to frame one prematurely. But it is eaid the honor and authority of the Holy See demand a definition, nor can it be deferred without injury to both. I answer in the words of Jerome, substituting another word for the well-known word auctoritas: Major est calus orbis quam urbis.
["It is better to save the world than the city."] I have done.
Let the reader understand that the authoritative pronunciamento of papal infallibility issued by the Vatican Council in July, 1870, is retroactive. It means that every ex-cathedra utterance of every Pope of the past ages is infallible and irreformable. As this decree of infallibility is retroactive, I will illustrate its awful significance by citing only four things out of many thousands:
1. In 1320, Pope Boniface VIII issued ex-cathedra a bull, entitled Unum Sanctum, which, under pain of damnation, claims for the Pope what is called the "double sword"; i.e., the secular as well as the spiritual, over the whole Christian world, and the power to depose princes and absolve subjects from their oaths of allegiance. If we would know whether this power has ever been exercised we should ask history to tell us what Pope Paul III did for Henry VIII; Pius V for Queen Elizabeth; how Henry IV of Germany on demand of the Pope went to Canossa, and there barefooted and clad in a hair shirt, waited in penitence, for days, in an outer court, until Pope Gregory VII condescended to receive and absolve him; how Pope Innocent III treated Raymond VI of Toulouse; and others too numerous to mention. Connect all this with the papal declaration that the Popes have never exceeded their powers.
2. In September, 1713, Pope Clement XI issued the bull called Unigenitus, which condemns 101 sentences in a book of the Jansenist, Pasquier Quesnel. Among the sentences condemned are some that assert the total depravity of fallen human nature, others the renewing power of the free grace of God in Christ, but particularly some that assert the right and duty of all Christians to read the Bible for themselves. In the bull of condemnation the following terms are indiscriminately employed to describe the condemned sentences: "False, captious, ill-sounding, offensive to pious ears, scandalous, rash, injurious, seditious, impious, blasphemous, suspected of heresy and savoring of heresy itself, near akin to heresy, several times condemned, and manifestly renewing various heresies, particularly those which are contained in the infamous propositions of Jansenius."
I will cite now the condemned sentences that assert the right and duty of the people to read the Bible, and that there may be no mistake I give them in both Latin and English, retaining the original number of each condemned proposition:
(79). Utile et necessarum est ornni tempore, omni loco, et omni personarum generi, studere et cognoscere spiritum, pietatem et mystheria sacrae Scripturae. (80). Lectio sacrae Scripturae est pro omnibus. (81). Obscuritasi sancti verbi Dei non est Jaicis ratio dispensandi se ipsos ab ejus lectione. (82). Dies Dommicus a Christianis debet sanctificari lectionibus pietatiset super omnia sanctarum Scripturarum. (83). Damnosum est, velle Christianum ad hac lectione retrahere. (84). Abripere e Christianorum manibus Novum Testamentum seu eis illud clausum tener auferendo eis modum istud intelligendi, est illish Christi os obturare. (85). Interdicere Christianis lectioneum sacrae Scripturae, praesertim Evangelii, est interdicere usum luminis filis lucis et facere, ut uatiantur speciem quamdam excommunicationis.
As I know of no English version of Quesnel's book, I submit a reasonably accurate translation of the foregoing Latin propositions:
(79). It is useful and necessary at all times, in every place, for all sorts of people, to study and investigate the spirit, piety, and mysteries of the Holy Scriptures. (80). The reading of the Holy Scriptures is for all. (81). The obscurity of the Holy Word of God is not a reason why laymen should excuse themselves from reading it. (82). The Lord's day ought to be hallowed by Christians by readings of piety, and, above all, of the Holy Scripture. (83). It is injurious to wish that a Christian draw back from that reading. (84). To snatch the New Testament from the hands of Christians, or to keep it closed to them by taking away from them this manner of understanding it, is to close to them the mouth of Christ. (85). To forbid to Christians the reading of the Holy Scriptures, especially the Four Gospels, is to forbid the use of light to the sons of light, and to cause them to suffer a certain kind of excommunication.
Let the reader fix the solemn and awful fact in his mind that all the foregoing propositions were expressly anathematized
by a so-called infallible Pope, claiming to be God's viceregent, and delivering himself ex-cathedra in a sentence of condemnation which, according to the Vatican Council, is irreformable.
3. On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX, issued ex-cathedra, the bull entitled Ineffabilis Deus, declaring it to be a divinely revealed fact and dogma, which must be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful on pain of excommunication, "that the most blessed Virgin Mary, in the first moment of her conception, by a special grace and privilege of Almighty God, in virtue of the merits of Christ, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin." The reader will understand that this Romanist dogma of "the immaculate conception" has no reference to our Lord's immaculate conception referred to in Luke 1:35, but to Mary's own conception and birth, concerning which the Scriptures are entirely silent. And to further show what is meant by this unscriptural and antiscriptural dogma, I now cite a paragraph of an encyclical letter, dated February 2, 1849, and sent out to the world by Pope Pius IX:
You know full well, venerable brethren, that the whole ground of our confidence is placed in the most holy Virgin. henceforth, if there be in us any hope, if there be any grace, if there be any salvation, we must receive it solely from her, according to the will of Him who would have us possess all through Mary.
4. On December 8, 1864, Pope Pius IX, issued another encyclical letter, entitled Quanta Cura, and a Syllabus of Errors which he anathematized. It was this Syllabus that roused Mr. Gladstone to issue his pamphlet entitled "Vaticanism."
As an encyclical letter of Pope Gregory XVI, in 1831, condemned the liberty of the press, so this encyclical letter, together with the Syllabus condemns liberty of conscience and worship, liberty of speech, free schools under secular control, the authority of the state to define the civil rights of the church, the binding force of any marriage not performed by Romanist authority, the right of a state called Catholic to tolerate any religion but the papal system. Not only are these and many like things condemned, but there are affirmed: The union of church and state, provided it be the Romanist church only; the right of the Romanist church to employ force. Those also are condemned who hold that Roman pontiffs have ever transgressed the limits of their lawful power. Hence I say that these four things, to wit: The bull Unum Sanctum, 1320; the bull Unigenitus, 1713; the bull Ineffabilis Deus, 1854; the Syllabus of Errors, 1864, serve as well as a thousand things to show what papal infallibility, decreed in 1870, means and involves. The dogma certainly places any Pope, however ignorant or immoral, in the place of God to the whole world, and substitutes a sinful and fallible woman for the immaculate Son of God.
[B. H. Carroll, An Interpretation of the English Bible, 1913; reprint: Broadman Press, 1942, "The Four Gospels - Volume 2", pp. 15-32. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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