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the Apostles, and not to S. Peter singly, albeit the original text is in the singular. Tertullian (De Fuga) uses the text merely to show that the Devil's power is limited, so that he cannot tempt Christians further than he is expressly permitted. S. Cyprian quotes it twice (Epist. vii. 5, and De Orat. Domini 30), in each case employing it in proof of Christ's intercessory office for all sinners, and making no special application of it to S. Peter.
S. John xxi. 15 is but twice cited, once by S. Cyprian in the passage of the treatise on Unity already quoted above, where he alleges the commission of feeding the sheep to extend to every Apostle alike ; and it occurs again in a very obscurely worded sentence in a letter from the clergy of Rome to those of Carthage, on S. Cyprian's withdrawal during a persecution. After quoting our Lord's words about Himself as the Good Shepherd, in contrast to the hireling that leaveth the sheep to the wolf and fleeth, they go on : ‘To Simon, too, He speaks thus : “ Lovest thou Me? He answered, I do love Thee. He saith to him, Feed My sheep.” We know that these words came to pass by reason of the very act whereby he (Peter) withdrew, and the other disciples did the like.'— Ep. ii. in Opp. S. Cypr. The simplest interpretation of this difficult passage is that the Roman clergy read the text in the light of a rebuke to S. Peter for fleeing and denying his Master, and as a warning not to neglect his pastoral duties another time.
This is absolutely the whole which the Fathers of the three first centuries have to tell us as to the three clauses of the Petrine grant of privilege, and apart from the ominous silence of the great majority, the words of those who do speak are of curiously little help to the claim. There is, of course, a good deal of other evidence in the writers of the early period yet to be considered, but as interpreters of the letter of Scripture, they have no more to give us on this special topic.
If the inquiry be carried down somewhat lower, still con fining it strictly to the interpretation of these three texts, the case for the claim of privilege will not be strengthened :
S. MATT. xvi. 18. S. HILARY OF POITIERS, Doctor of the Church.— Upon this rock of the confession is the building up of the Church®. . . This faith is the foundation of the Church. Through this faith the gates of hell are powerless against it. This faith hath the keys of the heavenly kingdom.'—De Trinit. vi. 36, 37.
S. EPIPHANIUS, Doctor of the Church.—Peter, the foremost of
the Petrine the great majore help to then the writers of the
the Apostles, who became to us a truly solid rock, laying the foundation of the faith of the Lord, on which (faith) the Church is in all respects built. And that first because he confessed Christ, the Son of the living God, and heard that “Upon this rock of unshaken faith I will build My Church." —Adv. Hær. lib. ii. tom. i. 8.
'He also reveals the Holy Spirit (Acts v. 3), for this befitted the first of the Apostles, the strong rock on which the Church of God is built, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'—Ancor. ix.
S. BASIL, Doctor of the Church.—' The Church of God, whose foundations are upon the holy hills; for it is built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets. One of these mountains was Peter, on which rock the Lord promised that He would build His Church. For sublime and lofty minds, lifted high above earthly things, are fitly styled mountains. But the lofty mind of blessed Peter is named a lofty rock, because it was deeply rooted in the faith and abode firmly and unshrinkingly the blows inflicted by temptation. All those who acquire knowledge of the Godhead, through greatness of mind, and of actions proceeding from mind, perfected in sound life, they are the tops of the mountains upon which the house of God is built. ... It may be that he is speaking of an escape from the evils he specified above; to wit, entering into the hole of the rock (Isa. ii. 19), that is, the steadfastness of faith in Christ. That is where Moses was placed when about to see God.... But collate whatever is said in Scripture concerning the Rock, that the passage may be cleared up for thee.'—Comm. in Esaiam ii. 66, 85.
S. GREGORY NAZIANZEN, Doctor of the Church.-'Do you notice how, when all Christ's disciples were lofty and worthy of election, one is called a Rock, and puts his faith in the foundations of the Church (kai toīç tepelious rñg érkanoias TlOTEVETAI), while another is better loved, and rests on the bosom of Jesus, and the remaining disciples admit their superior honour.'-Orat. xxvi. S. AMBROSE, Doctor of the Church :
• Præco diei jam sonat-
Hynin Æterne Rerum Conditor.
('Lo, even the very Church's Rock
Melts at the crowing of the cock.') • This is that Peter to whom Christ said, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church." Therefore where Peter is, there is the Church ; where the Church is, there is no death, but life eternal. And therefore He adds : “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” That blessed Peter, against whom the gates of hell prevailed not, did not close the gates of heaven against himself ; but, on the contrary, destroyed the entrances of hell, and made manifest the entrances of heaven. Being, therefore, placed on earth, he opened heaven and closed hell.'-In Psalm xl. Enarr. 30.
This then is Peter, who answered for the other Apostles, yea, before the others, and therefore is called the foundation, because he not only knew how to preserve that which belonged to himself, but that which was common to others. Christ expressed his assent to him, the Father made revelation to him. For whoso speaketh truly of generation from the Father got it from the Father, and not from the flesh. Faith is therefore the foundation of the Church ; for it was 'not said of Peter's person [lit. flesh], but of his faith, that the gates of hell should not prevail against it, but his confession conquered hell:'-De Incarn. Dom. 33, 34.
“The rock is Christ. “For they drank of that spiritual rock which followed them, and that rock was Christ.” However, He did not deny the favour of this epithet to His disciple, that he should be
from the rock. Strive, therefore, that thou, too, mayest be a rock. Look, therefore, for the rock not outside thyself, but within thee. Thine act is a rock, thy thought is a rock. Thine house is built on this rock that it may not be shaken by any storms of spiritual wickedness. Thy faith is a rock : faith is the foundation of the Church. If thou be a rock, thou shalt be in the Church, because the Church is on the rock. If thou be in the Church, the gates of hell shall not prevail against thee.'—Expos. in Lucam vi. 97, 98.
"That starry sky... is the high firmament of heaven, nor is this other firmament unlike it, of which it is said, “Upon this rock will I build my Church.” .. They sucked oil out of the firm rock, for the rock was the flesh of Christ, which redeemed heaven and the whole world.'—Ep. xliii. 9.
S. JEROME, Doctor of the Church.—' I speak with the successor of the Fisherman and a disciple of the Cross. I, following no chief save Christ, am counted in communion with your Blessedness, that is, with the Chair of Peter. On that rock I know the Church is built. Whoso eats the lamb outside this house is profane.'— Epist. ad Damasum Papam, A.D. 376.
Christ is the rock, Who granted to His Apostles that they should be called rocks : “ Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church."- Comm. in Amos vi. 12, A.D. 392.
'But thou sayest the Church is founded on Peter, albeit the very same thing is also done upon all the Apostles, and they all receive the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and the strength of the Church is stablished on them all equally ; nevertheless, one out of the twelve is chosen, that by the appointment of a head, the chance of division might be averted. ...:'-Adv. Fovin, ii. A.D. 393.
Was there any other province in the whole world which admitted the preaching of pleasure, into which the wily serpent crept, save that which the teaching of Peter had founded on Christ the Rock?'Alv. Fovin. ii. circa finem, A.D. 393.
Upon this rock the Lord founded His Church ; from this rock the Apostle Peter derived his name. ... The foundation which
the Apostle, as architect, laid is our Lord Jesus Christ alone. On this foundation the Church of Christ is built.'--Comm. in Matt. vii. 24, 25, A.D. 398.
“As He gave light to the Apostles, that they might be called the light of the world, and they obtained other titles from the Lord, so also to Simon, who believed in Christ the Rock, He gave the name of Peter, and according to the metaphor of a rock, it is rightly said, “I will build my Church on thee.” —Comm. in Matt. xvi. 18, A.D. 398.
S. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, Doctor of the Church.-6"And I say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build My Church,” that is, upon the faith of his confession (rý níotel Tņouo.oyíac).'— Hom. 54 in Matt. xxvi. sect. 2.
S. ISIDORE OF PELUSIUM.—' Christ, Who searcheth the hearts, did not ask His disciples, “ Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” because He did not know the varying opinion of men concerning Himself, but was desirous of teaching all that same confession which Peter, inspired by Him, laid as the basis and foundation on which the Lord built His Church.'—Epist. 235.
' Christ is the Rock, abiding unshaken, when He was incarnate.' -Ep. 416.
S. AUGUSTINE, Doctor of the Church.—' At the same time while I was a priest (A.D. 392–395), I wrote a book against the Letter of Donatus ... in which book I said in a certain place of the Apostle Peter that the Church was founded on him as on a rock, an interpretation which is also sung by the lips of many in the verses of blessed Ambrose, where he speaks of the cock, “Lo, even the very Church's Rock melts at the crowing of the cock.” But I know that afterwards I most frequently (sæpissime) have thus explained what the Lord said, “ Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church,” that it should be understood as upon Him Whom Peter confessed, saying, “ Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," and that Peter, named from this Rock, represented the person of the Church, which is built on the Rock, and received the keys of the kingdom of heaven. For it was not said to him, Thou art the rock (petra), but thou art Peter. For Christ was the Rock, Whom Simon confessing, as the whole Church confesses Him, was called Peter.'— Retract. i. xxi., A.D. 428.
"The first of the Apostles . . . signified the Church universal ... because it is founded upon the rock, whence Peter received his name. For the rock is not from Peter, but Peter from the rock, just as Christ is not called from Christian, but Christian from Christ. Therefore it is that the Lord saith, “ Upon this rock will I build My Church,” because Peter had said, “ Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Upon this rock, this rock which thou hast confessed, I will build My Church. For Christ was the rock, on which foundation Peter himself was built. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus. Therefore the Church, which is founded on Christ, received from Him the keys of the kingdom of heaven in Peter, that is, the power of binding and joosing sins.'-Tract. in Evang. Joann. cxxiv. 5.
S. CYRIL. OF ALEXANDRIA, Doctor of the Church.—' That which He named a rock, referring to his name, was nought else, I think, than the unshaken and most firm faith of the disciple, on which also the Church of Christ was founded and established.”
THEODORET. For this reason Christ our Master suffered the first of the Apostles, whose confession he laid as the kind of basis or foundation of the Church, to be shaken and to err, and to raise him up again, teaching two things by the one act, not to trust themselves and stablish the wavering.'- Epist. lxxvii.
S. LEO THE GREAT, Pope and Doctor.—' The solidity of the foundation on which the lofty building of the whole Church is erected, fails not by reason of the mass of the temple which rests upon it. For the solidity of that faith which was praised in the Prince of the Apostles is perpetual. And so, as that abides, which Peter believed in Christ, so that too abides which Christ instituted in Peter. . . . Therefore the appointment of the Truth abides, and blessed Peter persevering in that strength of the rock which he received, hath never quitted the governance of the Church which he received. For so he was ordained before the others, that whilst he is called the Rock, whilst he is declared the foundation, whilst he is constituted doorkeeper of the kingdom of heaven, and arbiter of things to be bound and loosed ... we should know by the mystery of these titles what is his fellowship with Christ. ... That confession which, inspired by God the Father in the Apostle's heart, rises above all the uncertainties of human opinions, received the firmness of the rock, which cannot be shaken by any impacts. For, throughout the Church Universal Peter daily saith, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," and every tongue which confesses the Lord is imbued with the authority of this voice. This faith conquers the Devil, and looses the bonds of his captives. This delivers men from the world and places them in heaven, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. For it has been divinely established with such firmness that neither heretical pravity was ever able to corrupt it, nor pagan unbelief to overcome it.'- Serm. ii. on Anniversary of his Consecration.
S. GREGORY THE GREAT, Pope and Doctor.— The Son of God is the Beginning. In this beginning the earth was founded, because the Church is founded on Him. Hence the Apostle saith, “ Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, Jesus Christ.” Hence He Himself, the mediator of God and man, saith to the Prince of the Apostles, “ Thou art Peter, upon this Rock I will build My Church.” For He is the Rock from which Peter derived his name, and on which He said that He would build the Church.'-Comm. in Ps. ci. 27.
VENERABLE BEDE, Doctor.— He received the name of Peter from the Lord, because he chose faith from a steadfast mind to Him of Whom it is written, “And that Rock was Christ,” and “ Upon the Rock," that is, upon the Lord the Saviour, who gave to Him, knowing, loving, and confessing Him faithfully, a share in his own Name, so that he should be called Peter, from the Rock on which the Church is built.'—Hom. in Matt. xvi. 18.