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it is, is wrought in them by the power of God, revealing Christ unto their souls. Those who have more abilities of their own unto this end than Peter had, we are not concerned in.
2. He speaks unto the confession itself, acquainting his disciples with the nature and use of it, which from the beginning he principally designed; ver. 18. And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'
From the speaking of these words unto Peter, there is a controversy raised in the world, whether the Lord Christ himself, or the pope of Rome, be the rock whereon the church is built. And unto that state are things come in religion among them that are called Christians, that the greatest number are for the pope, and against Christ in this matter. And they have good reason for their choice. For if Christ be the rock whereon the church is built, whereas he is a living stone, those that are laid and built on him must be lively stones also, as this apostle assures us, 1 Epist. ii. 4, 5. they must be like unto Christ himself, partaking of his nature, quickened by his Spirit, so as it were 'to be bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh;' Eph. v. 10. Nor can any be built on him, but by a living faith, effectual in universal obedience. These things the generality of men like not at all: and therefore, the fabric of the living temple on this foundation is usually but small, seldom conspicuous or outwardly glorious. But if the pope be this rock, all the Papists in the world, or all that have a mind so to be, be they never so wicked and ungodly, may be built upon him, and be made partakers of all that deliverance from the powers of hell which that rock can afford them. And all this may be obtained at a very easy rate. For the acknowledgment of the pope's sovereign authority in the church, is all that is required thereunto. How they bring in the claim of their pope by Peter, his being at Rome, being bishop of Rome, dying at Rome, fixing his chair at Rome, devoting and transmitting all his right, title, power, and authority, every thing but his faith, holiness, and labour, in the ministry unto the pope, I shall not here inquire, I have done it elsewhere. Here is fixed the root of the tree, which is grown great, like that in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, until it is become a recep
tacle for the beasts of the field and fowls of the air, sensual men and unclean spirits. I shall therefore briefly lay an axe unto the root of it, by evidencing that it is not the person of Peter who confessed Christ, but the person of Christ whom Peter confessed, that is the rock on whom the church is built.
1. The variation of the expressions proves undeniably that our Saviour intended we should not understand the person of Peter to be the rock. He takes occasion from his name to declare what he designed, but no more. And I say also unto thee, thou art Peter.' He had given him this name before, at his first calling; John i. 42. now he gives the reason of his so doing, namely, because of the illustrious confession that he should make of the rock of the church; as the name of God under the Old Testament, was called on persons, and things, and places, because of some especial relation unto him. Wherefore, the expression is varied on purpose to declare, that whatever be the signification of the name Peter, yet the person so called was not the rock intended. The words are σὺ εἶ πέτρος, καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ Térpa. Had he intended the person of Peter, he would have πέτρᾳ. expressed it plainly, σὺ εἶ πέτρος, καὶ ἐπὶ σοὶ, ‘Thou art a rock, and on thee will I build.' At least the gender had not been altered, but he would have said, iπì routo tý tétpų, which would have given some colour to this imagination. The exception which they lay hereunto, from the use of Cephas in the Syriac, which was the name of Peter, and signifies a rock or a stone, lies not only against the authentic authority of the Greek original; but of their own translation of it, which reads the words, Tu es Petrus, et super hanc Petram.'
2. If the church was built on the person of Peter, then when he died the church must utterly fail. For no building can possibly abide when its foundation is removed and taken away. Wherefore they tell us they do not intend by the person of Peter, that singular and individual person alone to be this rock; but he and his successors the bishops of Rome are so. But this story of his successors at Rome is a shameful fable. If the pope of Rome be a true believer, he succeeds in common with all other believers into the privileges which belong unto this confession; if he be not, he
hath neither lot nor portion in this matter. But the pretence is utterly vain on another account also. The apostle, shewing the insufficiency of the Aaronical priesthood, wherein there was a succession of God's own appointment, affirms, that it could not bring the church unto a perfect state, because the high-priests died one after another, and so were many; Heb. vii. 8. 23, 24. And thereon he shews that the church cannot be consummate or perfected, unless it rest wholly in and on him who lives for ever, and was made a priest after the power of an endless life. And if the Holy Ghost judged the state of the Jewish church to be weak and imperfect, because it rested on high-priests that died one after another, although their succession was expressly ordained of God himself; shall we suppose that the Lord Christ, who came to consummate the church, and to bring it unto the most perfect estate whereof in this world it is capable, should build it on a succession of dying men, concerning which succession there is not the least intimation that it is appointed of God? And as unto the matter of fact we know both what interruptions it hath received, and what monsters it hath produced, both sufficiently manifesting that it is not of God.
3. There is but one rock, but one foundation. There is no mention in the Scripture of two rocks of the church. In what others invent to this purpose we are not concerned. And the rock and the foundation are the same; for the rock is that whereon the church is built, that is the foundation. But that the Lord Christ is this single rock and foundation of the church, we shall prove immediately. Wherefore, neither Peter himself, nor his pretended successors, can be this rock. As for any other rock, it belongs not unto our religion: they that have framed it, may use it as they please. For they that make such things, are like unto the things they make. So is every one that trusteth in them; Psal. cxv. 8. But their rock is not like our rock, themselves being judges,' unless they will absolutely equal the pope unto Jesus Christ.
4. Immediately after this declaration of our Saviour's purpose to build his church on the rock, he reveals unto his disciples the way and manner how he would lay its foundation, namely, in his death and sufferings; ver. 21. And thereon this supposed rock, being a little left unto his own.
stability, shewed himself to be but a reed shaken with the wind.' For he is so far from putting himself under the weight of the building, that he attempts an obstruction of its foundation. He began to rebuke Christ himself for mentioning his sufferings, wherein alone the foundation of the gospel church was to be laid; ver. 22. and hereon he received the severest rebuke that ever the Lord Jesus gave unto any of his disciples; ver. 23. And so it is known that afterward, through surprisal and temptation, he did what lay in him to recall that confession which here he made, and whereon the church was to be built. For that no flesh might glory in itself, he that was singular in this confession of Christ, was so also in the denial of him. And if he in his own person manifested how unmeet he was to be the foundation of the church, they must be strangely infatuated who can suppose his pretended successors so to be. But some men will rather have the church to be utterly without any foundation, than that it should not be the pope.
The vanity of this pretence being removed, the substance of the great mystery contained in the attestation given by our Saviour unto the confession of Peter, and the promise thereunto annexed, may be comprised in the ensuing asser
1. The person of Christ, the Son of the living God, as vested with his offices, whereunto he was called and anointed, is the foundation of the church, the rock whereon it is built.
2. The power and policy of hell will be always engaged in opposition unto the relation of the church unto this foundation, or the building of it on this rock.
3. The church that is built on this rock shall never be disjoined from it, or prevailed against by the opposition of the gates of hell.
The two former of these I shall speak briefly unto, my principal design being a demonstration of a truth that ariseth from the consideration of them all.
The foundation of the church is twofold. (1.) Real. (2.) Doctrinal. And in both ways Christ alone is the foundation. The real foundation of the church he is, by virtue of the mystical union of it unto him, with all the benefits whereof from thence, and thereby it is made partaker. For
thence alone hath it spiritual life, grace, mercy, perfection, and glory; Eph. iv. 15, 16. Col. ii. 19. And he is the doctrinal foundation of it, in that the faith or doctrine concerning him and his offices is that divine truth, which in a peculiar manner animates and constitutes the church of the New Testament; Eph. ii. 19-22. Without the faith and confession hereof, no one person belongs unto that church. I know not what is now believed, but I judge it will not yet be denied, that the external formal cause of the church of the New Testament, is the confession of the faith concerning the person, offices, and grace of Christ, with what is of us required thereon. In what sense we assert these things will be afterward fully cleared.
That the Lord Christ is thus the foundation of the church, is testified unto, Isa. xxviii. 16. 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 believ-. eth, shall not make haste.' It is among the bold inroads, that in this late age have been made on the vitals of religion, that some, in compliance with the Jews, have attempted the application of this promise unto Hezekiah. The violence they have offered herein to the mind of the Holy Ghost, might be evidenced from every word of the context. But the interpretation and application of the last words of this promise by the apostles, leaves no pretence unto this insinuation. 'He that believes on him, shall not be ashamed or confounded;' Rom. ix. 33. x. 11. 1 Pet. ii. 6. that is, he shall be eternally saved; which it is the highest blasphemy to apply unto any other but Jesus Christ alone. He therefore is alone that foundation which God hath laid in and of the church; see Psal. cxviii. 22. Matt. xxi. 42. Mark xii. 10. Luke xx. 17. Acts iv. 11. 1 Pet. ii. 4. Eph. ii. 20-22. Zech. iii. 9. But this fundamental truth of Christ being the only foundation of the church, is so expressly determined by the apostle St. Paul, as not to need any farther confirmation; 1 Cor. iii. 11. For other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.'