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Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.'—S. John iv. 19–24. The only interpretation of this passage which will fairly stand is that it points to the decentralisation and delocalisation of worship under the Gospel, in direct contrast to the usage under the Law. And, as a fact, such decentralisation has actually taken place. It is one of the chief boasts of the Roman Church that no minute of any day from year to year passes during which the highest rite of Christian worship is not being actually celebrated, in one part or other of the world, by her priests; and a popular lithograph print, to be procured in Parisian shops for objets de religion, is the ‘Dial of the Eucharist,' showing at what place Mass is being said as each hour comes round at the meridian of Paris, whether it be Edinburgh, Vienna, Moscow, Damascus, Calcutta, Pekin, Melbourne, San Francisco, Buenos Ayres, or Capetown.
Hence, the chief motive for the peculiar regard paid to Jerusalem no longer exists, for the political accident of its being the capital of the Davidic line of kings had nothing to do with its religious sacredness as the one place of lawful . sacrifice. To retain another city in a similar position, when all monopoly of this peculiar kind has been abolished for nearly two thousand years, would have no adequate motive whatever.
b. Next, what does the letter of the New Testament tell us about Rome? Is there anything which foretells its coming dignity, or its relation to S. Peter? No syllable in the Old Testament supplies so much as a hint on the subject. While there are many prophecies implying that a Gentile nation will succeed to, or partake the privileges of, Israel, there is none to suggest that any Gentile city shall ever supplant Jerusalem. Rome is named exactly nine times in the New Testament, as under :
I. 'Strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes' (included amongst the concourse on the day of Pentecost).—Acts ii. 10.
2. Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome.'Acts xviii. 2, 3.
3. “After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.'Acts xix. 21.
4. 'And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.'-Acts xxiii. 11.
5. “We came the next day to Puteoli: where we found brethren,
and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome.'-Acts xxviii. 13, 14.
6. “And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard : but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.'--Acts xxviii. 16.
7. "To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints :
Christ.'-Rom. i. 7.
8. 'I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.'-Rom. i. 14, 15. • 9. "The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain : but, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.'— 2 Tim, i. 16, 17.
Now seven of these nine passages are exclusively concerned with some relation of S. Paul, not S. Peter, to Rome; and next, of the other two, one is merely intended to explain the presence of Aquila and Priscilla in Corinth, instead of their being at home in Italy; while the remaining one alone, itself the first cited, has any connexion, even indirectly, with S. Peter, and then no more than is equally shared by Cappadocia, Pontus, Egypt, Libya, and the rest of the catalogue. Not one of them so much as hints at any spiritual preeminence, actual or future, attaching to Rome.
And it would be difficult to find a more remarkable contrast than this brief, meagre, cold, and matter-of-fact way in which the imperial mistress of the world is thus casually referred to in Scripture, as compared with the lavish terms of admiration, love, and reverence with which the Prophets greet Jerusalem, nay, even with their recognition of the material splendour and might of Nineveh and Babylon. Not only do the Apostles pass its secular marvels over in utter silence, but no hint of its future spiritual glories escapes from them.
Is there, then, anything lacking ? Does Jerusalem alone of the great Old Testament types find no antitype under the Gospel ? Certainly she does find one, only, as before, the analogy of faith holds good, and the type is eclipsed utterly by the antitype, belonging as it does to the higher spiritual order. Rome, the centre and strength of the carnal world-power, the last stronghold of classical heathenism, where even in the days of S. Leo the Great, in the very middle of the fifth century, professed Christians (the great Pope tells us in his seventh Christmas Sermon), when actually climbing the ascent up to the high altar of S. Peter's own Basilica, used
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to turn round on the steps and solemnly bow down in worship of the Sun God; Rome, the last powerful enemy of the Cross, would, if put in the stead of Jerusalem, have been in one sense a greater declension than Peter put as the Rock instead of God; for Peter was, at any rate, a glorious saint, but all Rome's spiritual memories were of idolatry, cruelty, and lust, contrasting with the glory of Jerusalem not merely in the far distant past, but as the City in which the Great King manifested his countenance, fulfilled His work, and endowed His Church with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
No such degradation from the loftier ideal is to be found. 'Here,' says the Apostle, we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.'-Heb. xiii. 14. And what that is, let him tell us more at length :
'But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.'-Heb. xii. 22.
It is this Jerusalem above (which] is free,' according to S. Paul, 'which is the mother of us all’-Gal. iv. 26: the only mother and mistress of all Churches' known to him. And only to this city are men under the Gospel to go on pilgrimage, because
Now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly : wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God : for He hath prepared for them a city.'—Heb. xi. 16. What it is like S. John tells us in the glowing language at the close of the Apocalypse, wherein the jasper walls, jewelled foundations, gates of pearl, and golden streets of the Heavenly City are depicted.
Such is all that is directly obtainable from the clear letter of Scripture.
There is one isolated fragment of testimony adducible, and adduced, on the Ultramontane side, namely, this verse of the first Epistle of S. Peter :· The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.—1 S. Peter v. 13. The received opinion in the Roman Church, based on very early tradition (beginning with S. Papias of Hierapolis and, as Eusebius says, S. Clement), and also on arguments
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which have some weight and cogency, is that Babylon here stands for Rome. On the whole, there is much to be said for this view, and against the alternatives of the Mesopotamian Babylon and of Cairo, which have been suggested (and, in the former instance, supported with very cogent arguments) by Protestant controversialists (though at best there is only conjecture, not proof), while the Sinaitic MS. supplies the word 'church, formerly supposed to be missing in the Greek, and thus refutes the theory of Calvin that S. Peter is speaking in this verse, not of the Church, but of his wife, as she who is elect at Babylon.' But the passage, nevertheless, cannot be pleaded in evidence of privilege, because (1) it is unquestionably obscure and ambiguous, not clear and manifest; because (2) it does not specify any official connexion between S. Peter and the Church at Babylon, wherever that may have been ; and be'cause, (3) even if these two facts were otherwise, the adjective Select together,' OUVEKNEKTÝ, Vulg. coëlecta, denotes absolute equality of spiritual condition with those other Churches of · Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,' enumerated in the opening words of this Epistle as those to which it is addressed. And, lastly (4), it is the evil case of Babylon that, whether in the Old Testament or the New, there is not one word ever spoken in its favour. Egypt and Assyria, often condemned, have, at any rate, some sets-off to show, as Isaiah xix. 18–24; Ps. lxviii. 31; Micah vii. 12; but for Babylon, from Isaiah to Revelation, there is nothing but denunciations of judgment, destruction, and woe: no hint of so much as a remnant to be delivered out of it, save of such as, being mere exiles and captives there, are not of its citizens (Rev. xviii. 4, cf. Isa. xlviii. 20, Jer. li. 6, 45); no promise of a spiritual growth to spring up when the earthly one is cut down. And therefore, if the types of the Old and New Testament are to count for anything in the evidence, this identification of Babylon and Rome is fatal to any claim of privilege urged on behalf of the latter on the ground of Divine favour and revelation.
The last item of the evidence is that, in the closing book of the Sacred Canon, there is total silence as to any central court of appeal for the Seven Churches, any supreme visible authority to which each Angel is subject. The visitation, so to speak, of each Church is made directly by Christ Himself, and not by any Vicar of His upon earth; and even the Apostle S. John acts as merely communicating a message, not as personally enforcing it.
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Scriptures, regarded in the legal point of view as a single document proffered in evidence of the Petrine privilege, and as the chief item of that evidence, since being the most authoritative and indisputable form of Divine revelation; and therefore unless it can be conclusively shown that this primâ facie failure to prove the claim thereby is fully repaired by evidence of equivalent weight, as marked in its broader outlines, and as cumulative in its minor indications, as that which has been marshalled above, it remains that Christ as the Rock, and the Heavenly Jerusalem as the Mother of all the Churches, are alone set forth and recognised in these capacities by the inspired writers of the New Testament. And that because the one possible plea in bar of judgment which might be adduced under other circumstances, that of Development, is inapplicable here, first, because a 'charter of privilege' cannot be developed at all, but must have been clearly granted from the first in explicit terms, unlike a mere right by prescription, which may grow through user in course of time; and next, because in this particular instance the comparison of the evidence shows that there is nothing to develope.
So far, then, as the Papal claim is alleged to be of Divine privilege, given by revelation, the Scriptures, treated as the chief document in evidence of claim, fail to satisfy the requirements of Roman Canon Law; for (1) they afford no testimony whatever as to the annexation of privilege to the Roman See, or its transmission from S. Peter to any of his successors; (2) the evidence as to his own primacy is obscurely and enigmatically worded ; (3) so far as its wording does go, it is a personal, not an official grant, and thus dies with the original grantee ; (4) if continued in the Ultramontane sense, it encroaches on S. Paul's privileges, which are more clearly worded.
Wherever the proof may be found, therefore, it is certainly not in the Scriptures.
Although the investigation of the letter of Scripture yields such extremely slender results in favour of the privilege of Peter, yet it may be, and in fact is, argued that there is such a body of other incontestable evidence on its behalf in existence, proving its recognition and acceptance from the very first, as to amount to proof of Divine revelation ; on the principle that the universal prevalence of a certain interpretation of Scripture at the hands of the body which is the custodian and witness of Scripture, and of an unbroken practice based on that interpretation, is as truly proof of its