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Lamb of God (John i. 35–43). It was on this occasion that Jesus, looking on him and foreseeing his disposition and worth in the work of His Kingdom, gave him the name Cephas, in Greek Petros, a stone or Rock (John i. 43 &c. Mark iii. 16). He does not however appear to have attached himself finally to our Lord till after two, or perhaps more, summons to do so (compare John, as before : Matt. iv. 18, and parallel in Mark: Luke v. 1 ff. and notes), and to have carried on his fishing trade at intervals.

3. It would be beside the present purpose to follow St. Peter through the well-known incidents of his apostolic life. His forwardness in reply and profession of warm affection, his thorough appreciation of our Lord's high Office and Person, the glorious promise made to him as the Rock of the Church on that account (Matt. xvi. 16 and note), his rashness, and over-confidence in himself, issuing in his triple denial of Christ and his bitter repentance, his reassurance by the gentle but searching words of his risen Master (John xxi. 15 ff.),—these are familiar to every Christian child: nor is there any one of the leading characters in the Gospel history which makes so deep an impression on the heart and affections of the young and susceptible. The weakness, and the strength, of our human love for Christ, are both mercifully provided for in the character of the greatest of the Twelve.

4. After the Ascension, we find St. Peter at once taking the lead in the Christian body (Acts i. 15 ff.), and on the descent of the Holy Spirit, he, to whom were given the keys of Christ's kingdom,—who was to be the stone on which the church was to be built, first receives into the door of the church, and builds up on his own holy faith, three thousand of Israel (Acts ii. 14—41): and on another occasion soon following, some thousands more (Acts iv. 4).

5. This prominence of St. Peter in the church continues, till by his specially directed ministry the door into the privileges of the gospel covenant is opened also to the Gentiles, by the baptism of Cornelius and his party (Acts x.). But he was not to be the Apostle of the Gentiles: and by this very procedure, the way was being made plain for the ministry of another, who was now ripening for the work in the retirement of his home at Tarsus.

6. From this time onward, the prominence of St. Peter wanes behind that of St. Paul. The “first to the Jew” was rapidly coming to its conclusion: and the great spreading of the feast to the Gentile world was henceforward to occupy the earnest attention of the apostolic missionaries, as it has done the pages of the inspired record. Only once or twice, besides the notices to be gathered from this Epistle itself, do we gain a glimpse of St. Peter after this time. In the apostolic council in Acts xv. we find him consistently carrying out the part which had been divinely assigned him in the admission of the Gentiles into the church; and earnestly supporting the freedom of the Gentile converts from the observance of the Mosaic law.

7. This is the last notice which we have of him, or indeed of any of the Twelve, in the Acts. But from Gal. ii. 11, we learn a circumstance which is singularly in keeping.with St. Peter's former character: that when at Antioch, in all probability not long after the apostolic council, he was practising the freedom which he had defended there, but being afraid of certain who came from James, he withdrew himself and separated from the Gentile converts, thereby incurring a severe rebuke from St. Paul (ib. vv. 14-21).

8. From this time, we depend on such scanty hints as the Epistles furnish, and upon ecclesiastical tradition, for further notices of St. Peter. We may indeed, from 1 Cor. ix. 5, infer that he travelled about on the missionary work, and took his wife with him : but in what part of the Roman empire, we know not. If the Babylon of ch. v. 13 is to be taken literally, he passed the boundaries of that empire into Parthia.

9. The best text, and starting-point, for treating of the traditions respecting St. Peter, is the account given by Jerome, after others :

“Simon Peter, the first (princeps) of the Apostles, after being bishop of Antioch and preaching to the dispersion of the believers of the circumcision, in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, in the second year of Claudius, went to Rome to combat Simon Magus, and there held the sacerdotal seat for twenty-five years, even to the last year of Nero, that is, the fourteenth. By this emperor he was crucified and crowned with martyrdom, his head being turned towards the earth and his feet in the air, protesting that he was unworthy to be crucified as his Lord was. He was buried at Rome in the Vatican by the side of the triumphal way, and is honoured with the veneration of the whole city.”

10. In this account, according to Huther, we have the following doubtful particulars :

1) The episcopate of St. Peter at Antioch. This is reported also by Eusebius, who makes St. Peter found the church at Antioch, in contradiction to Acts xi. 19–22.

2) His personal work among the churches of Asia Minor, which seems to be a mere assertion founded on Origen’s conjecture that “ Peter seems to have preached to the dispersed Jews in Pontus,” &c., grounded upon 1 Pet. i. 1?.

3) His journey to Rome to oppose Simon Magus: which, as Eusebius appeals to Justin Martyr for it, appears to be founded on Justin's story of the statue found at Rome, see note on Acts viii. 10: which is now known to have been a statue of the Sabine god Semo Sancus.

* This is granted even by the R.-Cath. Windischmann.

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4) The twenty-five years' bishopric of St. Peter at Rome. This has been minutely examined by Wieseler, and shewn on chronological grounds to have been impossible, and to be inconsistent with Gal. ij. 7—9, according to which Peter, who by this hypothesis had been then for many years bishop of Rome, and continued so for many years after, was to go to the circumcision as their Apostle.

5) The peculiar manner of his crucifixion, which seems to have been an idea arising from Origen's expression, which it has been suggested, might import no more than capital punishment. I have shewn in my Greek Test. that this cannot be, and that the words must be taken literally.

11. The residuum from this passage, which is worth our consideration and elucidation, is, the death of the Apostle by martyrdom, and that in Rome. This seems to be the concurrent testimony of Christian antiquity. I subjoin the principal testimonies.

12. First we have John xxi. 19, which, whether a notice inserted after the fact, and referring to it, or an authoritative exposition of our Lord's words to Peter, equally point to the fact as having been, or about to be, accomplished.

13. Clement of Rome says, Peter, by reason of unrighteous zeal against him, endured, not one or two, but numerous persecutions, and thus suffering martyrdom, went to his deserved place of glory."

Here indeed there is no mention of Rome: but the close juxta-position of the celebrated passage about St. Paul (cited in this Introduction,

§ ii. 20) seems to point to that city as the place of Peter's martyrdom. Besides, I would suggest that these words, “ he went to his deserved place of glory,” are a reminiscence of Acts xii. 17, “ and he went out and departed to another place,which by the advocates of the twenty-five years' Roman bishopric was interpreted to mean Rome.

14. Dionysius of Corinth is cited by Eusebius, as saying in an Epistle to the Romans, that Peter and Paul together founded the church of Corinth, and then went to Italy where they founded the Roman church, taught, and suffered martyrdom.

15. Tertullian says that Peter and Paul left the Gospel to the Romans signed with their blood. And in another place he speaks of Rome as

" That happy church to whom the Apostles poured forth their whole doctrine with their blood, where Peter equalled the passion of the Lord, where Paul was crowned with the death of John [i. e. the Baptist], whence the Apostle John, after being dipped in fiery oil and taking no harm, was banished to an island." 16. Caius the presbyter of Rome is reported as saying, “But I can shew you the trophies of the Apostles: for if you will go to the Vatican or to the Ostian road, you will find the trophies of those who founded this church."

ch. x.

This passage can mean nothing else than that Peter and Paul suffered at Rome, and that either their graves or some memorials of their martyrdom were to be seen on the spot.

17. To these testimonies we may add that of Eusebius himself, who says in more than one place that

Nero was at last uplifted to murder the Apostles, and that Paul is related to have been beheaded at Rome, and Peter to have been crucified also under Nero." 18. And that of Lactantius : “When now Nero reigned, Peter came to Rome, and by working certain miracles by the power granted him of God, converted many to righteousness, and confirmed and established the church of God, which being told to Nero, when he found that not only at Rome, but every where, multitudes were daily falling off from the worship of idols, and going over to the new religion in contempt of antiquity; execrable and noxious tyrant as he was, he determined to destroy the heavenly church, and to abolish righteousness; and first of all men becoming persecutor of God's servants, he crucified Peter, and slew Paul.” 19. In this report later testimonies concur.

In forming an estimate of its trustworthiness, some discrimination is necessary. The whole of that which relates to the earlier visits under Claudius, and the controversy with Simon Magus, fails us, as inconsistent with what we know, or are obliged to infer, from Scripture itself. This being so, is the rest, including the martyrdom at Rome, so connected with this fabulous matter, that it stands or falls with it? When we find in this, as in other matters, that the very earliest Christian writers might and did fall into historical errors which we can now plainly detect and put aside,-when we find so prevalent a tendency even in early times to concentrate events and memorials of interest at Rome, how much are we to adopt, how much to reject, of this testimony to St. Peter's martyrdom there?

20. These are questions which it would far exceed the limits of this Introduction to discuss, and which moreover do not immediately belong even to collateral considerations regarding our Epistle. They have been very copiously treated, and it seems almost impossible to arrive at even reasonable probability in our ultimate decision upon them. Their own data are perplexing, and still more perplexing matters have been mixed up with them. On the one hand, ancient tradition is almost unanimous : on the other, it witnesses to particulars in which even its earliest and most considerable testimonies must be put aside as inconsistent with known fact. Then again we have on the one hand the patent and unscrupulous perversion of fact to serve a purpose, which has ever been the characteristic of the church of Rome, in her desperate shifts to establish a succession to the fabulous primacy of St. Peter, and on the other the exaggerated partisanship of Protestant writers, with whom the shortest way to save a fact or an interpretation from abuse has been, to demolish it.

21. So that on the whole it seems safest to suspend the judgment with regard to the question of St. Peter's presence and martyrdom at Rome. That he was not there before the date of the Epistle to the Romans (about a.d. 58), we are sure: that he was not there during any part of St. Paul's imprisonment there, we may with certainty infer: that the two apostles did not together found the churches of Corinth and Rome, we may venture safely to affirm: that St. Peter ever was, in any sense like that usually given to the word, Bishop of Rome, is we believe an idea abhorrent from Scripture and from the facts of primitive apostolic history. But that St. Peter travelled to Rome during the persecution under Nero, and there suffered martyrdom with, or nearly at the same time with, St. Paul, is a tradition which does not interfere with any known facts of Scripture or early history, and one which we have no means of disproving, as we have no interest in disproving it.

22. It may be permitted us on this point, until the day when all shall be known, to follow the cherished associations of all Christendom-to trace still in the Mamertine prison and the Vatican the last days on earth of him to whom was committed especially the feeding of the flock of God: to "witness beside the Appian way the scene of the most beautiful of ecclesiastical legends ®, which records his last vision of his crucified Lord: to overlook from the supposed spot of his death' the city of the seven hills: to believe that his last remains repose under the glory of St. Peter's dome ?."

SECTION III.

FOR WHAT READERS IT WAS WRITTEN.

1. The inscription of the letter itself has on this point an apparent precision : “ to the elect sojourners of the dispersion of Pontus, Galatia,

Stanley, Sermons and Essays on the Apostolic Age, p. 96. The legend referred to is that related by Ambrose, that St. Peter not long before his death, being overcome by the solicitations of the faithful to save himself, was flying from Rome, when he was met by our Lord, and on asking, “Lord, whither goest thou ?” received the answer, “I go to be crucified afresh.” On this the Apostle returned and joyfully went to martyrdom. The memory of this legend is yet preserved in Rome by the Church called “ Domine, quo vadis ?” on the Appian way.

9 « The eminence of S. Pietro in Montorio on the Janiculum.” Stanley, note ib.

1 “ The remains of St. Peter, as is well known, are supposed to be buried immediately under the great altar in the centre of the famous basilica which bears bis name.” Stanley, ib. See in the same work an interesting account of the Judaizing party which gathered round the person of Peter, p. 96 ff.

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