Owen - BX9315 O81

WHEREON THE CHURCH IS BUILT. this apostle assures us, 1 Epist. ii. 4, 5. they must be like unto Christ himself, partakingof his nature, quick- ened by his Spirit, so as it were to be bone of his bone, and ,Mesh of his flesh, Eph. v. 10. Nor can any be built on him, but by a living faith, effectual in univer- sal obedience. These things the generality of men like not at all. And therefore the fabric of the living tem- ple on this foundation is usually but small, seldom con- spicuousor outwardly glorious. But ifthe pope be this rock, all the Papists in the world, or all that have a mind so to be, be they ever 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 beobtained at a very easy rate. For theacknowledgment 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 enquire; I have done it elsewhere. Here is fixed the root of the tree, which is grown great, like that in Nebuchadnez- zar's dream, until it is become a receptacle for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of the air, sensual men, and unclean spirits. 1 shall therefore briefly lay an axe un- to the root of it, by evidencing that it is not the person of Peter who confessed Christ, but theperson of Christ whom Peter confessed, that is the rock on whom the church is built. 1. The variation of the expressionsprove undeniably that our Saviour intended that weshould 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 loop also, unto thee, thou art Peter. He had given him this name before at his first calling, John i. 42. Now he givesthe reason ofhis so doing, namely, because of the illustrious confession that heshould make of the rock of the church. As the name of God, un- der the Old Testament, was called on persons, and things and places, becauseof some especial relation un- to him; wherefore, the expression is varied on pur- pose, to declare, that whatever be the signification of the name Peter, yet the person so called was not the rock intended. The words are r s nisgc,, sat lei role,rñ 5 wins. Had he intended the person of Peter, he would have expressed it plainly, reo orirt, sw h; coi; Thou art a rock, and on thee will I build. At least the gender had not been altered, but he would have said, i,r; Tarn so sente, which would have given some colour to this ima- gination. Theexception 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 a- gainst the authentic authority of the Greek original but of their own translation of it, which reads the words, Tu est Feints, et super bane petram. 2. If the church was built on theperson ofPeter, then when he died the church must utterly fail. For no building can possibly abide when its foundation is re- movedand taken away. Wherefore they tell us they do not intend by the personofPeter, that singular in- dividual person alone to be this rock; but heand his successors the bishops of Rome are so. But this story of his successors at Rome is a shameful fable. Ifthe pope of Rome be a true believer, he succeeds in common with all other believers unto the privileges which' belong unto this confession. If he be not, he bath neither lot nor portion in this matter. But the pretence is utterly vainon another account also. Theapostle shewing the insufficiency of the Aaronicalpriesthood, wherein there was a successionof God'sown appointment, affirms that it could not bring the church unto a perfect state, be- cause the high priests died oneafter another, and so were many, Heb. vii. 8, 23, 24. And thereon he shews that the church cannot be consummated or perfected, unless it rest wholly in and on him, wholives for ever, and was made a Priest after thepower ofan 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 suc- cession 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 state 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 offact, we know both what interruptions it hath received, and what monsters it bath produced, both sufficiently manifesting that it is not of God. 3. There is but one rock, but one foundation. There B