We shall therefore, in the first place, show from the holy Gospel, that the Pope can assume no authority at all over other bishops and pastors, according to divine right.

I.–Luke 22, 24, 25, 26, Christ forbids, in clear and express terms, one Apostle to have any authority over the others; for even this was the inquiry among the disciples, when Christ had spoken relative to his sufferings: they disputed among themselves who should be lord among them, and future vicar of Christ, after his death. But Christ rebuked this error of the Apostles, and taught them that there should be no authority and superiority among them, but that they should be apostles alike, and preach the Gospel as equal in office. For this reason he also says: "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve." Hence it appears, on examination, that he desired no lordship among the Apostles.

II.–This also clearly appears from the similitude, Matt. 18, 2, in which Christ, on a similar disputation concerning dominion, set a little child in the midst of the Apostles, for the purpose of showing that, as a child neither desires nor assumes any dominion, so also the Apostles and all who should preach the Word, should neither seek nor use authority.

III.–John 20, 21, Christ sent his disciples alike to the office of the ministry, without any distinction, that one should have either more or less power than another. For thus he says: "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you." These words are clear and explicit, that he so sent each one, as he was sent. Here, indeed, no one can assume a special prerogative or power in preference to and above the others.

IV.–Gal. 2, 7, 8, the holy apostle Paul testifies clearly, that he was neither ordained, nor confirmed, nor established by Peter; nor does he in any way acknowledge Peter as necessary to confirm him; and especially does he strive against the idea that his call is dependent, or based on the power of St. Peter, in any respect. Now he should indeed have acknowledged Peter as a superior, if Peter had ever received such primacy from Christ, as the Pope without any grounds presumes. For this reason Paul also says, that he freely preached the Gospel a long time before he consulted with Peter and the other Apostles about it. Again, he says: "But of those who seemed to be somewhat, whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me; God accepteth no man's person: for they who seemed to be somewhat, in conference added nothing to me," Gal. 2, 6. Since, then, Paul clearly testifies that he did not solicit Peter to license him to preach, even when he at last came to him, we are clearly taught that the office of the ministry originates from the common call of the Apostles, and that it is not necessary for all to have a call and confirmation from this one person, Peter.

V.–1 Cor. 3, 5, 6, 7, Paul equalizes all the ministers of the church, and teaches that the church is greater than its servants. For this reason no one can assert with truth, that Peter had any primacy or superior power to other apostles, or over the church and all other ministers. For thus he says: "All things are yours: whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas," 1 Cor. 3, 21, 22; that is, neither Peter, nor other ministers of the Word, have a right to assume to themselves power or superiority over the church. No one shall encumber the church with his own ordinances, and no one's power or reputation shall avail more than the Word of God. We dare not extol the power of Cephas higher than that of the other Apostles, as though they were accustomed to argue at that time, saying, Cephas observes it, who is the chief Apostle, therefore Paul and others must thus observe it also. No, says Paul, and refutes the pretence, that Peter's reputation and authority should be superior to that of the other Apostles, or of the church.


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