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authority given to the church, and especially to the Popes. But I find no Bible warrant for this assertion. Christ does not say that he gave the keys to Peter to give to somebody else, and Peter does not say that he gave them to any body else, and no body since Peter has been able to produce the keys. This settles the matter in my mind. I want to know where the keys are.
But some suppose that Peter took them to heaven with him, and that he stands with them at the gate of heaven, as porter, to admit and keep out whom he will. But this notion does not tally very well with certain passages of Scripture. Christ tells his disciples that he goes to prepare a place for them, and that he will come again and receive them unto himself: John, 14:3. He will do it. He will not trust the business to Peter. “He that hath the key of David, he that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth, and no man openeth, is not Peter, but Christ." Rev. 3: 7.
But the Catholics will have it that Peter is the one; and he, having the keys, they think that they will all be admitted, while never a soul of us, poor Protestants, will. They may be mistaken, however. I do not know what right they have to put in an exclusive claim to Peter. I see no resemblance between Peter and a Roman Catholic-none in the world. I never care to see a truer and better Protestant than I take him to be. But if he does stand at the gate of heaven with such authority as the Catholics ascribe to him, yet I suppose he will not deny that he wrote the Epistles called his. Well, then, if he shall hesitate to admit Protestants, we shall only have to remind him of his Epistles. He does not say any thing in them about his being Pops. No, he says, “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder.” Not
Ι a word says he about the Mass, or the Seven Sacraments, or Transubstantiation. Let the reader turn to his Epistles, and see just what he does say; I think he will not find any thing in those Epistles to frighten Protestants.
But there is still another supposition, viz. that Peter is not perpetual porter of heaven; but each Pope, as he dies, succeeds to that office-one relieving another. I do not know how it is, but I judge, if all the Popes have been in their day porters of Paradise, many of them must have tended outside. They have not been universally the best of men, I think history informs
But I will not mention any names. One thing more. In Catholic pictures and prints (for that very spiritual religion abounds with these) you will see the keys of which we have been speaking represented as made to suit all the complicated modern wards, as if fresh from some manufactory at Birmingham or Sheffield ! I do not suppose the keys Peter received answered exactly to this ingenious representation of them.
14. T'he Head of the Church.
The church is represented in the Scriptures as a body. Of course, therefore, it must have a head; and that same blessed book tells us who the head is. And
who, think you, is the head of the church? Who but Christ himself? Who else is fit to be its head-its source of influence and government? I will produce the passages of Scripture in proof of Christ's headship presently.
But the Catholics say that the Pope is the head of the church. Ah, is he? Where is the proof that he is ? Now there is nothing which irritates a Catholic so soon as to ask him for proof. “Proof, indeed !” he says. “Do you ask proof of an infallible church? What is the use of infallibility, if we must prove every thing? These are truly most degenerate days. The time was when nobody demanded proof; but now every little sprig of a Protestant must have reasons to support assertions. He calls for proof. And he must have it from the Bible. He will not believe any thing in religion unless some text can be cited in support of it. Things have come to a pretty pass indeed.” It is even so. We plead guilty to the charge. For every thing alleged to be a doctrine of Christianity, we confess we do require some proof out of the writings of some evangelist or apostle. And since our Catholic brethren will not gratify us by adducing the scriptural warrant for believing the Pope or Bishop of Rome to be the head of the church, we will do them the favor of consulting the Scriptures for them. Well, we begin with Genesis, and we go through to Revelation, searching all the way for some proof that the Pope is the head of the church. But so far are we from finding any evidence that he is the head of the church, that we find not a particle of proof that he is that or any thing. We find no account of any such character as a Popenot a word about him. The subject of the proposition,
that is, the Pope, does not seem to be known to that book at all. I really do not wonder that it frets a Catholic when we send him to the Bible for proof that the Pope is the head of the church.
But though we discover nothing in the Bible about a Pope, yet we find much about the head of the church. In Ephesians, 1: 22, 23, Christ is said to be “the head over all things to the church, which is his body.” Now, if the church is his body, surely he must be the head of it, as well as head over all things to it. Will any one say that the Pope of Rome is the head of Christ's body? That is shocking. And yet the Catholics are told that they must believe it; and seeing they cannot help it, they do somehow or other contrive to believe it. In Eph. 5:23, it is explicitly declared that “Christ is the head of the church.” The same is repeated in Col. 1:18—“He (Christ) is the head of the body, the church."
Our brethren of the Catholic church have long been in the habit of asking where our religion was before the Reformation. They may see where one doctrine of it was fifteen hundred years before the Reformation. One would suppose, from the way they talk, that they supposed the Bible was written a considerable time after the Reformation, and that it was then got up to support the Protestant heresy! I might ask them, but that they do not like to be asked questions, lest they should not be able to answer them, where their doctrine of the Pope's headship of the church was when the New Testament was written, i. e. some seventeen hundred and fifty or eighteen hundred years ago. But I will withdraw the question. It may seem unkind to press it.
Now, since the Bible says that Christ is the head of the church, if the Pope also is, there must be two heads of the church. But there is only one body. Why should there be two heads ? Is the church a monster ? Besides, if there had been another head, Christ would have been spoken of in the Scriptures as one of the heads of the church, or as a head of the church. But he is called the head of the church. The article is definite, denoting only one. There is not a syllable in the Bible about another head. Indeed the language of the Bible does not admit of there being another. Yet the Catholics say there is another; and it is their Pope. “ Christ being absent, they say, it is necessary there should be a visible human head to represent him on earth.” Now the Pope, they say, is this visible head of the church--the head that you can see. But is their assumption correct, that Christ is absent? Is he absent? Hear: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Was he absent from Paul ? He says: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." A visible head! What do we want of a visible head? Of what use to us—the part of the body hereis a head a way off at Rome? It is no better than a caput mortuum to us.
But what if we admit the possibility of a visible human head of the church, who made the Pope that head ? Did he inherit this also from St. Peter ? Was Peter head of the church? He, more modest than his pretended successors, does not any where claim that title. I know the Catholics hold him to be the rockthe foundation of the church; but I really did not know