THE Work, which I now offer to the Public, I undertook some years since at Rome, and brought it down to the Pontificate of Victor, that is, to the close of the Second Century. As I was then a most zealous champion for the Pope's Supremacy, which was held as an article of Faith by the body I belonged to, my chief design, when I engaged in such a work, was, to ascertain that Supremacy, by shewing, century by century, that, from the Apostles times to the present, it had ever been a cknowleged by the Catholic Church. But alas! I soon perceived that I had undertaken more than it was in my power to perform. Nay, while, in order to support and maintain this cause, I examined, with particular attention, the writings of the Apostles, and of the many pious and learned men who had flourished in the three first centuries of the church, I was so far from finding any thing that seemed the least to countenance such a doctrine, that, on the contrary, it appeared evident, beyond all dispute, that, during the above-mentioned period of time, it had been utterly unknown to the Christian world. In spite then of my endeavours to the contrary, Reason getting the better of the strongest prejudices, I began to look upon the Pope's Supremacy, not only as a prerogative quite chimerical, but as the most impudent at tempt that had ever been made: I fay, in spite of my endeavours to the contrary; for I was very unwilling to give up a point, upon which I had been taught by Bellarmine, that the whale of Christianity depended(a); especially in acountry, where a man cannot help being afraid even of his own thoughts, since, upon the least suspicion of his only calling in question any of the received opinions, he may depend upon his being soon convinced by more cogent arguments, than any in Mood and Figure. But great is the power of truth; and at last it prevailed: I became a proselyte to the opinion which I had proposed to confute; and sincerely abjured, in my mind, that which I had ignorantly under taken to defend.
LIBRO: The History of The Popes (3)