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greater difficulty than that of believing the Epistle to have been written during St. Paul's lifetime. They leave absolutely no room for the journey of St. Peter to, and martyrdom at, Rome: none for the writing of the second Epistle, which clearly must not be rejected on such grounds alone. We must therefore adopt the other alternative, and suppose the writing to have taken place during a temporary withdrawal of the great Apostle to some other and distant scene of missionary action between the years 63 and 67.

10. Next as to the place, whence it was written. If words are to be taken literally, this is pointed out with sufficient plainness in the Epistle itself (ch. v. 13), where we read, "She that is elected together with you in Babylon saluteth you," as being BABYLON.

And there does not appear to be any reason to depart from the prima facie impression given by this notice, that St. Peter was at that time dwelling and working at the renowned Babylon on the Euphrates.

11. It is true, that from very early times the name has suggested other interpretations. Eusebius quotes with "they say," and alleges for it generally the authority of Papias and Clement of Alexandria, “that Peter mentions Mark in his first Epistle, which they say he wrote in Rome itself, and that he signifies this by calling that city, figuratively, Babylon." And so also Ecumenius, assigning however a very insufficient reason : “He calls Rome Babylon on account of its eminent notoriety, which Babylon also possessed for a long time.” And Jerome, in the same words as Eusebius above; and elsewhere, commenting on Isa. xlvii., he says that Babylon here is thought by some to mean Rome, as in the Apocalypse of St. John, and in the Epistle of Peter. So also Isidore of Seville. And this has been a very general opinion among not only Roman Catholic but also other Commentators.

12. But there seems to be no other defence for this interpretation than that of prescription. And it is now pretty generally recognized among Commentators that we are not to find an allegorical meaning in a proper name thus simply used in the midst of simple and matter-of-fact sayings. The personal notice too, conveyed in she that is elected together with you," will hardly bear the violence which many have attempted to put upon it, in supplying a church for the subject. No such word has been mentioned: nor is the Epistle addressed to the churches of the dispersion, but to the elect sojourners of the dispersion. And as those are individual Christians, so it is but reasonable to believe that this is an individual also, the term being strictly correlative with that other: and if an individual, then that “ sister-wife" whom, as we know from 1 Cor. ix. 5, St. Peter carried about in his missionary journeys. 13. And this being so, I can see

no objection arising from “in Babylonbeing inserted. The Apostle, in ch. i. 1, had seen fit to localize the Christians whom he was addressing: and he now sends them greeting from one whom indeed he does not name, but designates by an expression also local. To the elect Christians of the dispersion of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, he sends greeting from their sister, an elect Christian woman in Babylon. There might obviously be a reason why he should thus designate her, rather than by her name and relation to himself: but no reason whatever why he should go out of his way to make an enigma for all future readers, if he meant the Church at Rome by these words.

14. But even when we have taken the words literally, we have not yet got their full solution. Some contend, that an insignificant fort in Egypt, called Babylon, is intended. This appears to be the tradition of the Coptic Church, and it is supported by Le Clerc, Mill, Pearson, Calovius, Pott, Burton, and Greswell. The ground seems mainly to be this; that as it is believed that St. Mark preached, after St. Peter's death, in Alexandria and the parts adjacent, so it is likely that those same parts should have been the scene of his former labours with the Apostle.

15. Others again have supposed it to be Ctesiphon on the Tigris, the winter residence of the Parthian kings; or Seleucia, both of which seem to have borne the name of Babylon after the declension of the older and more famous city. So as regards Seleucia) Michaelis, who however adduces no proof that it was thus called in the apostolic age.

16. With regard to the probability or otherwise of St. Peter having laboured in the Assyrian Babylon at this time, we may notice, that that city in its decayed state, and its neighbourhood, were inhabited by Jews, long after other inhabitants had deserted it: that, which is sufficient for us, Josephus and Philo describe it as thus inhabited in their time. It is true that in the last years of Caligula, who died in A.D. 41, there was a persecution of the Jews there, in consequence of which very many of them migrated to the new and rising Seleucia ; and five years after, a plague further diminished their number. But this does not preclude their increase or return during the twenty years, at least, which intervened between that plague and the writing of our Epistle.

17. It is some corroboration of the view that our Epistle was written from the Assyrian Babylon, to find, that the countries mentioned in the address are enumerated, not as a person in Rome or in Egypt would enumerate them, but in an order proceeding, as has already been noticed, from East to West and South : and also to find that Cosmas Indicopleustes, in the sixth century, quotes the conclusion of our Epistle as a proof of the early progress of the Christian religion without the bounds of the Roman Empire : by which therefore we perceive that by Babylon he did not understand Rome. 18. With regard to any journey of St. Peter to Babylon, as recorded or implied by antiquity, we are quite unfurnished with any other evidence than that deduced from the passage under consideration. And the difficulties which beset the conjunction of the various notices respecting our Apostle remain much the same in amount, whichever way we attempt their solution: whether by forcing the words " in Babylon" to some far-fetched and improbable sense, as has been very generally done, or with Weiss and others assigning an early date to our Epistle, contrary to the plain sense of his own words, and the common-sense inferences from the indications furnished by it. That St. Peter wrote this Epistle to churches in Asia Minor mainly consisting of Gentile converts : that those churches had been previously the scene of the labours of St. Paul and his companions: that he wrote from Babylon in Assyria, and at a time subsequent to St. Paul's missionary agency : these are points which can hardly be controverted, consistently with the plain acceptation of language in its obvious and ordinary meaning. That the same Apostle visited Rome and suffered martyrdom there, we would fain believe as the testimony of Christian antiquity. It is difficult to believe it : difficult to assign the time so as to satisfy its requisitions : but in the uncertainty which rests over all the later movements of the great Apostles, it would be presumption for us to pronounce it impossible. There

be means

of reconciling the two beliefs, of which we are not aware. And since this may be so, we are not unreasonable in retaining both, both being reasonably attested.

19. One personal notice has not been mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs, viz. that of Silvanus having been the bearer of the Epistle (ch. v. 12). And the reason for its omission has been, that it is far too uncertain to found any argument on as to date or locality. Even assuming him to be the same person as the Silas of Acts xv. 22, 32, xvi. 19, 25; xvii. 4, 10, 14 ; xviii. 5, or the Silvanus of 1 Thess. i. 1, 2 Thess. i. 1, 2 Cor. i. 19,-we know absolutely nothing of his history subsequently to that period of his companionship with St. Paul, and all that is founded on any filling up of the gap in his history can only tend to mislead, by giving to baseless conjecture the value of real fact.




1. The object of the Epistle is plainly enough announced by the Apostle himself at its conclusion :

" By Silvanus .... I have written in few words, exhorting and

testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.” 2. But this apparently simple declaration is not easy to track to its


meaning in detail. The "exhorting" portion of it involves no difficulty. The frequent exhortations in the Epistle, arising out of present circumstances, are too evident to be missed as being referred to by this word. And when we come to the testifying portion, our difficulty is not indeed to find matter in the Epistle to which this may refer, but to identify the meaning of this, to which, as being the “true grace of God,” the Apostle's testimony is given. The testimonies in the Epistle are plainly those constant references of practice to Christian doctrine, with which every exhortation terminates: being sometimes Old Test. citations, sometimes remindings of facts in the evangelic history, sometimes assertions of the great hope which is reserved for God's elect.

3. Here there can be but little doubt : exhortation and testimony alternate with and interpenetrate one another throughout the whole. It is only when we come to assign a meaning to the word this, further specified as it is by the expression “ in which ye stand,that the real definition of the object of the Epistle comes before us, and with it, all its uncertainty and difficulty. What is this grace of God in which the readers were to stand-or rather, into which they had been introduced as their safe standing-ground ? Obviously in the answer to this question is contained the Apostle's motive for writing.

4. And as obviously, this answer is not to be found within the limits of the Epistle itself. For no such complete setting forth of Christian doctrine is found in it, as might be referred to in such terms: only a continual reminding, an additional testimony (so the word literally means), a bearing testimony to something previously known, received, and stood in, with such expressions as knowing that,and such assertions as “ whom not having seen ye love," and frequent repetitions of because and for, as falling back on previously known truths.

: 5. And this is further shewn by the words “in which ye stand," referring to a body of doctrinal teaching in which the readers had been grounded. Compare the parallel, which surely is not fortuitous, in 1 Cor. xv. 1: The Gospel which I preached unto you, which ye also received, in which ye also stand,"—and our assurance that such a reference is intended will be further confirmed.

6. But to what body of doctrine does the Apostle refer? Clearly not to one imparted by himself. There is not the remotest hint in the Epistle of his ever having been among the elect sojourners” whom he addresses. As clearly again, not to one fortuitously picked up here and there : the allusions are too marked, the terms used throughout the Epistle too definite for this to be the case. It was not merely the Pentecostal message in its simplicity which these readers had received, nor are they to be sought in the earlier and less definite times of Christian teaching, --nor was the object of writing only general edification : there had been a previous building of them up, a general type of Christian doctrine delivered to them: and it was to confirm this mainly that the Apostle writes to them, exhorting them to holy practice, and “stirring up their pure minds by way of remembrance."

7. It is hardly needful, after what has been already said respecting the churches addressed, to repeat, that this body of Christian teaching I believe to have been that delivered to them by St. Paul and his companions, and still taught among them after his decease by those who had heard him and were watering where he had planted. All the acuteness of such writers as Weiss, who maintain the negative to this, has only the more convinced me that the view is the right and only tenable one.

8. That St. Peter follows out the object not in a spirit dependent on St. Paul's teaching; that he uses, not the expressions and thoughts of that Apostle, but his own, is no more than we should expect from his standing, and personal characteristics; and is not for a moment to be adduced as against the view here maintained, that his object was to build up and establish those churches which had been founded and fostered under the Apostle of the Gentiles. This will be further elucidated in the next section.

9. The contents of the Epistle are summarily but lucidly given by Steiger; which he prefaces by this remark : “It is not easy to give a logically arranged table of the contents, in a case where the Writer himself does not lay down an abstract division of his subject with a main and subordinate plan, but goes from one idea to another, not indeed with violent transitions, but still not according to logical connexion, only according to that of the subjects themselves. Besides, the changes are in general so imperceptibly made, that we can hardly tell when we are approaching them.” 10. He then gives the following table :

ch. Address to the elect of the triune God .

i. 1, 2.
Preciousness of that mercy of God which has thus

chosen them to salvation
manifested even in their temporal trials

Salvation of which prophets spoke, and which
angels desire to look into

Therefore the duty of enduring hope, and of holi-
ness in the fear of God

[considering the precious blood paid as the price of
their ransom] .

and of self-purification [as begotten of God's eter-
nal word]

and of growth in the Truth

. ii. 1-3;
and of building up on Christ as a spiritual priest-

r 2




4, 5 :

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