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His History doubtful.
Probable time of his visit to Rome.
in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God; which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain,” &c. In this passage, the term “ elect,” which is obviously characteristic of the Jewish people considered as the original “ elect,” is transferred to these converts, in order to denote that they were now equally so.
In the performance of his ministry, St. Peter is represented by the early writers as the most active and influential of the apostles, which well agrees with the ardent character left of him in the Gospels. But as to the details of that ministry, it would be as unprofitable as it is vain to attempt to separate what is palpably false from what is probable or possible. Much is said concerning his disputes with Simon Magus, his victory over that renowned magician, and the various occasions in which the apostle's activity prevented the growth of those wild theological fancies, which the artful impostor was disseminating, from his native country Samaria even to Rome. 9 Some of this must be authentic, else it would hardly be so unhesitatingly sanctioned by Eusebius. On the other hand, so much ground is there for suspicion in every point, that many have plausibly doubted whether St. Peter ever visited Rome at all. The time of his being there, and the period of his martyrdom, are, of course, by no means easy points to be settled. It would seem on the whole most probable that he accompanied Paul in his last apostolical journey to Rome. For this there would be much reason.
The apostle to the idolatrous Gentiles had, ever since his open declaration at Jerusalem, become peculiarly odious to all the judaizing party; so much so, that he could hardly hope for success in his ministry amongst them. It would seem but natural prudence in him to have abstained from addressing the Jews, and, perhaps, even the proselytes of the gate; lest he should again expose himself to the accusation of seducing them from the law of Moses altogether, and thus raise some uproar, which, at Rome especially, would have sorely impeded his work. What more likely than that, under these circumstances, Peter should become his companion; and should undertake the ministry of the circumcision, and of those allied to the Jews by partial proselytism, while Paul confined his labours to the converts from idolatry? It is indeed not very improbable that this was the apostle's second visit to Rome. It is asserted by Eusebius, that he followed Simon Magus thither during the reign of Claudius... Now, considering how St. Paul was at that time circumstanced with respect to the Jewish part of the Church, the presence of another apostle at Rome, for their sake especially, is likely to have been even
92 Eusebii Hist. Lib. II. C. 14. Toy was his faith in confessing Christ, which αρετής ένεκα των λοιπών αταντών σροήγορον. The historian might here mean however 93 Clementis Recognitiones, Lib. III. that Peter was the first employed in the work of conversion, and then his ageri 94 Eusebii Hist. Lib. II. C. 13.
was so rewarded.
C. 63, 69.
then peculiarly requisite. The occasion then may be allowed to support not a little the assertion of the historian. Peter might on this account have come to Rome about the period of Paul's release ; and if so, in attributing the foundation of the Church of Rome to St. Peter, the Romanists may not be wholly in the wrong. That Church, like almost all the other primitive Churches, was composed of three distinct classes of converts; those who had been Jews, those who had been devout Gentiles, and those who had been idolaters. The foundation of the Church at Rome among the first two might have been the work of Peter, as its establishment among the last evidently was the work of Paul.
With this too agrees the assertion of an old ecclesiastical writer, 95 quoted by Eusebius, that they were joint founders.
Peter's martyrdom took place at Rome during the Neronian persecution; and is said to have been embittered by the execution of his wife before his
eyes. Many works were circulated among the early Christians under St. Peter's name, of which the two Epistles preserved in our Canon alone appear to have been genuine.” Of these the former was always admitted as canonical: but the latter appears, from some accidental circumstances, not to have been so early acknowledged by the whole Church. Of the spurious works, his so called Gospel was the most celebrated. 98
ST. JAMES THE LESS. James the Less, as he has been styled, to distinguish him from the Son of Zebedee, was a kinsman of our Lord. Notwithstanding this connexion, he was of all the apostles the least odious to the Jews. It was, probably, before his conversion, that he acquired the popular title of the Just, but he continued to enjoy it even until his death.
Concerning his ministry Scripture contains but little. By ecclesi- Bishop of astical writers he is said to have been the first Bishop of Jerusalem ; and the narrative of the Acts alone would lead us to suppose that Acts xv. 13. he had some especial jurisdiction in that Church.99 While the rest of the apostles dispersed themselves abroad, none would be so likely to preserve peace at Jerusalem as he whom the unbelievers themselves honoured as James the Just. Eventually his popularity may His have occasioned his martyrdom. Festus, who had succeeded Felix Martyrdom. in the government of Judæa, died very soon after Paul's appeal and departure to Rome. The Jews took the opportunity of satiating their disappointed vengeance on the Christians who remained. The
38 Ibid. Lib. VI. C. 12; see also the extracts from it in Jones's Ścript. Canon, Part III. C. 31.
99 In St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians there is an apparent allusion to it. Speaking of “ certain who came from the Church at Jerusalem," he describes them as “ coming from James.”—Gal. ii. 12.
Feast of the Passover came, and numbers, as usual, attended. The occasion seemed a fit one for exposing the whole body of Christians to the fury of the mixed multitude of Jews assembled from all parts. To effect this, it was proposed that James should be prevailed on, either by threats or persuasions, to ascend a conspicuous part of the temple, and there publicly to make a disavowal of Christ as the Messiah. Deserted by their bishop and their most respected apostle, the Christians would have seemed thus most likely to be ruined. James consented. On the appointed day he presented himself
the upper part of the temple to the crowds below, and in that situation was addressed, by the conspirators, with the fatal question. Why askest thou me,” he replied, “ about Jesus the Son of Man, whose abode is on the right hand of the power on high, and who is coming himself hereafter in the clouds of heaven ?” The infuriated zealots perceiving that their scheme was likely to end in a contrary impression on the multitude, to that which they had designed, rushed up and cast him headlong. His fall disabled him, and he was immediately assailed with stones. Strength enough was yet left him to imitate his dying Lord, and to pray aloud for the forgiveness of his murderers. A priest who was looking on, was so affected at hearing him, that he made an attempt to save him: but before he could effect his purpose, the apostle received a blow from a club, which ended his sufferings.
Of all the atrocities which the Jews from time to time committed, or caused to be committed, against the Christians, this alone seems to have been regarded by them with remorse and horror. Their historian, who was apparently no friend to Christianity, remarks, that the siege and destruction of Jerusalem was long afterwards currently spoken of as a visitation of God for this crime more espe
cially. His Epistle.
One Epistle is all which has been preserved of James's scriptural labours. For no other reason, as far as can be ascertained, than because it had not been so frequently alluded to as the generality of Scripture, by the writers immediately succeeding the apostolic age, it, at one period, laboured under some suspicion. Its authenticity is nevertheless unquestionable. It is addressed to the Jews in the dispersion, an expression which, by its obvious contrast to that of strangers in the dispersion, confirms the interpretation assigned to this latter phrase in the catholic Epistle of St. Peter.
ST. JAMES, THE BROTHER OF JOHN. A.D. 42.
The martyrdom of St. James is noticed in the narrative of the Acts xii. 1,2. Acts. It is there simply stated, that Herod put forth his hands to
afflict the Church, and slew James, the brother of John, with the sword. Uninspired history furnishes little in addition to this account. All that Eusebius has thought worthy of retaining is, that his accuser became his convert and fellow-sufferer; in the
course of his trial was convinced of his victim's innocence, and the truth of his doctrine; and, by openly expressing that conviction, was included in the sentence of death passed on him.
St. ANDREW. Andrew is said to have selected Scythia for the scene of his labours, but with what success we have no authentic testimony either of ancient history or of modern researches.
ST. THOMAS. Parthia is named as the district allotted to Thomas. Tradition has further ascribed to him the foundation of the Church among those interesting people, known by the name of the Christians of St. Thomas. Some have, however, disputed the truth of this account, and suppose the Thomas from whom they derive this name to have been a bishop, who lived some centuries subsequent to the apostolical era.
St. JUDE, ALSO CALLED LEBBÆUS, AND THADDÆUS.I Among the incidents recorded of St. Thomas is one, that he was inspired to send Thaddæus the apostle to Edessa for the cure and baptism of Abgarus. The circumstance of his being sent by Thomas alone, seems strong against the identity of the Thaddæus who preached at Edessa, and the apostle who was also called Jude. This tradition, however, whether true or false, is nearly all (besides his Epistle) which we know of his history. The authenticity of the His Epistle. Epistle itself, too, was subject for a time to suspicion; which A.D. 70. gradually cleared up, as a freer intercourse between the several members of the Christian body caused those Scriptures which had a confined circulation to be better known, and their original history to be more certainly ascertained.
The mission to Edessa is connected with an event, the impro- Letter of bability of which has been generally contended for, notwithstanding Abgarus. the grave testimony by which the main incidents, at least, of the story are supported. It is said, that while our Lord was yet alive, the fame of his miracles spreading beyond Judæa was reported to Abgarus, king of Edessa. This prince, who was labouring under some grievous malady, sent accordingly to Jesus, to desire that he would come and heal him. His letter, and one pretended to be returned by our Lord, excusing his personal attendance, and promising to send one of his disciples to him, were long preserved in the archives of Edessa. In fulfilment of this promise, it is added, that after Christ's death Thaddæus went thither, and that his testimony was commonly appealed to for the existence of these records. Some add, that our Saviour sent also his portrait.
100 It seems probable that the two latter names were applied to him during our Lord's lifetime, in order to distinguish him from Judas the traitor.
It is evidently somewhat suspicious, that no notice should have been preserved of so remarkable an incident in any of the Gospel narratives. And yet this is hardly a conclusive argument, inasmuch as many things we know were omitted ;101 and this, however gratifying to our curiosity, cannot be considered as peculiarly important for our instruction in Christian truth, the great principle, we may presume, which guided the Evangelists in their selections. Some foundation there might be for the story, however fabulous the detail. Eusebius relates it without scruple, omitting what is the most improbable circumstance, the sending of the portrait. What more likely, after all, than that the fame of Jesus, and his healing miracles, should reach the sick prince of Edessa, and that he should send, according to the custom of the East, to bid the prophet come and heal him ? 102 Equally probable is it, that the substance of the correspondence should be registered in the archives of Edessa, and afterwards shown to an apostle of the same Jesus; although that correspondence may not have passed between them in the form of Epistles, but of messages. There is nothing certainly in the character of our Lord's reply which appears derogatory from, or inconsistent with the tone and substance of his discourses. 103
At the same time, it would be somewhat at variance with the strict rule of his ministry, to suppose that the correspondence was carried on with a view either of healing or converting one who was a Gentile. 104
St. BARTHOLOMEW. That Nathanael is the person better known as an apostle by the name of Bartholomew, may be fairly inferred from the Scripture narrative. Otherwise we can hardly understand why Bartholomew should not be numbered among the apostles by St. John, nor Nathanael by the other Evangelists; or again, why, in relating the same event, St. John should speak of Philip and Nathanael coming together to Christ, the others, of Philip and Bartholomew. It seems strange, too, that Nathanael should not have been a qualified candidate for the apostleship made vacant by Judas's death, unless he were already an apostle.
Nathanael, then, might have been called Bartholomew, or the son of Tholmai, as Peter was Barjona, and Joses, Barnabas. The indiscriminate use of these names, and the gradual adoption of one
101 An event so important as the raising tory, like our knowledge of all religious of Lazarus was omitted by the three subjects, may be not the less sufficient earliest Evangelists. No doubt a reason because it is in part.” may be suggested in the danger to which 102 See the account of the king of Syria's the living object of the Saviour's friend- embassy to Jerusalem, to procure assisship and power might have been exposed, tance of Elisha for Naaman the leper,by calling attention to him. But other 2 Kings v. reasons, less obvious, may have occasioned 103 See Appendix [G.] the total suppression of many parts of our ..104 See Horsley's Sermon on Matthew Lord's life. Our knowledge of his his- vii. 26.