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that St. Peter's coming to Rome is in contradiction to Holy Writ—and in 1822, the Dominican friars declared that Peter only came to Rome in the reign of Nero.
Well, but perhaps he did not come to Rome in the year 42 A.D. ; a year more or less does not destroy the belief in his coming at all. Let
It is an undoubted fact in history that Herod Agrippa died in the year 45 A.D., and not long before his death (Acts xii. 1, 2, 17) he cast Peter into prison in Jerusalem, whence he was liberated by an angel; as he declared in the house of Mary the mother of John (also in Jerusalem), so that his pretended pontificate in Rome must be shortened by three years at least, “and going out he went into another place,” or 66 elsewhere."
Perhaps this elsewhere was Rome. No, and for this reason.
In Galatians the 2nd, we hear of an Apostolic council held at Jerusalem in 56 A.D., i.e., 14 years after Paul had gone up there to visit Peter, and in this council Peter rising up said, &c.
It may be objected that Peter may have returned from Rome to attend this council, but if so, how is it that he says nothing of Rome and its shining destinies, or of his important pontificate ? Such silence is the more remarkable, as Paul and Barnabas then say so much of their work among the Gentiles. No, certainly this will cut Peter's pontificate in Rome short by another 15 years.
But could he not at least have come to Rome soon after the council at Jerusalem ?
No, for from the Epistle to the Galatians (ch. ii. 11, 14), we gather on the contrary, that he went to Antioch, when he had to endure the grave rebuke of Paul for dissimulation on the matter of the Gentiles.
Well, perhaps he came to Rome after Antioch. Let us see. Towards the year 58 A.D., Paul wrote his sublime Epistle to the Romans. Now surely if Peter had been then in Rome, Paul would have sent him a salutation, when one of his chapters is almost filled with greetings to every person holding Christian office. Perhaps St. Peter was then absent ? Let us see.
But Paul says he longs to impart to the Romans some spiritual grace, “ that he may strengthen them,” and that he was ready to preach the Gospel to them also. What gift could Paul communicate which already had not been imparted by St. Peter? What need of his evangelizing if St. Peter was already in Rome? The supposed pontificate must therefore be reduced by another two years.
But perhaps he came to Rome after 58 A.D. Well, in 61 A.D. Paul came to Rome, and the brethren went out to meet him, but not one word is said of Peter. The Jews of Rome had even to enquire of Paul concerning the sect of the Christians in Jerusalem. They could have learned nothing from Peter, so the pontificate is shortened by another three years.
Well, then, perhaps Peter came to Rome after the year 61 A.D. St. Paul then spent two years there, preaching and teaching in his own hired house, supposed at the edge of the Ghetto *. He wrote hence to Philemon, spoke of Mark, Luke, Demas, and others; also to the Colossians (ch. iv. 10, 11), of Aristarchus, Mark, and Justus, saying, “These only are my fellow-workers unto the kingdom of God.” This is certainly a proof that Peter was not in Rome at that time.
Finally, it is always admitted that Paul wrote his second Epistle to Timothy in the year 66 A.D., when he was again at Rome, just before his martyrdom. In chap. iv. 9–16, he says, “Only Luke is with me;" and adds, that “Demas had forsaken him.” As that was the year in which Peter also had to suffer martyrdom, and at Rome, according to Catholic theolo« gians, is it possible that Paul under these circumstances could have made no mention of him ? No; certainly the Holy Scripture teaches that Peter did not come to Rome to establish himself as Pontiff there.
WHERE SCRIPTURE DOES SAY PETER WAS.
In Galatians ii. 6–9, Paul says, “To me was committed the Gospel of the uncircumcision as to Peter was that of the circumcision ; for He who wrought in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, wrought in me also among the Gentiles.”
St. Peter, therefore, had received a special mission, which he fulfilled ; for God wrought effectually in him, concerning it. He preached the Gospel to the Hebrews, the circumcised. If he had taken up his residence in Rome, he would have disobeyed his mission from his Master, for Rome was a city of the uncircumcised, and of the Gentiles ; but the Acts of the Apostles show clearly his work in Jerusalem, and in the country round about; and his Epistle, written from Babylon to the strangers in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (1 Peter i. 1), shows us that his later residence was in the centre of “ the dispersion of Israel.” We may also observe, in addition, that neither Clement, nor Ignatius, nor Papias (most quoted among the Fathers), ever do say that Peter was in Rome.
WHAT WAS SAID BY THE OPPONENT IN REPLY,
CANON FABIANI allowed the erudition displayed, but declared that the Biblical statements did not belong to the question ; they reduced themselves to chronological difficulties, and with the silence observed in Scripture as to the fact disputed. He then dwelt on Rome as the capital of the Empire, to which all men at some time came, and on the declaration of the Fathers, one after another, that Peter thus occupied the Episcopal chair, adding that no heretics, not even the Nestorians, had dared to deny it for 1,560 years, and that no other city or Church than that of Rome had pretended to show his tomb. He said that every year the Protestants reconstructed the chronologies of Scripture, and were never in accord with one another. The coming of St. Paul to Rome was variously dated, from 55 A.D. to 63 A.D. Signor Fabiani declared that he had himself been studying Scriptural chronology for forty-one years, and had only a more profound idea of the great difficulty of ascertaining anything trustworthy concerning that difficult subject.
* See May number of “ Missing Link,” p. 146.
He adduced abundant testimony from the mysterious authority of the Church, from the fathers, from poets, artists, orators—to the great fact of Peter's pontificate, which he admitted to be the foundation of the whole Roman Hierarchy, and declared that ancient heretics and ancient Catholics - learned and unlearned, east and west, pontiffs and schismatics-had all agreed to it. How then was it now to be questioned merely by the silence of the Bible ?
Signor RIBETTI, the Vaudois pastor, now took up the argument, saying that if the arrival of Peter in Rome was mysterious, he was an enemy of mystery, and student of history, and he desired to prove that the Papal edifice was not built by either Jesus Christ or His Apostles. Signor Fabiani had not been able to quote even from the first fathers of the Church, any declaration in his favour, only " insinuations,” which had been amplified into facts. He could not possibly assert that the coming of St. Peter to Rome was proved by those who had seen him there. The capital fact in the history of Roman Catholicism ought not to be based on "insinuations” merely. An insinuation is less than even the point of a needle. “Give me a positive assertion of St. John, St. Luke, or St. Paul, or a single word of Peter's own, that he did come to Rome, and I will believe it; but all that is supreme in the authority of Rome's Church must bow before the Bible, the supreme ruler of all Churches. Besides, Rome quotes no eye-witnesses, and summons only those from the fourth century, when the doctrine had been well “ insinuated.'”
M. Ribetti then went on to note the other very interesting question, Whether St. Peter wrote the Epistles to the Hebrews of the dispersion from Babylon or from Rome. “My opponent,” said he, “ maintains that the two letters were written from Rome. I maintain that they were written from Babylon. The only proof that could be found that Babylon is Rome would be in the Apocalpyse, and the consequence would be that the Rome there described is 'THE GREAT BABYLON'—the Church which has apostatized and persecuted the saints. But the structure of the Apocalypse is different to that of St. Peter's Epistles. In the Apocalypse you find metaphors, figures, and visions. St. Peter's letters are in quite a different style. They deal with simple and straightforward facts. He addresses his Hebrew brethren in the places to which they were really scattered—and as literally from the place whence he wrote. The literal Babylon did exist at that time, as Josephus and other authors declare—not the ancient splendid Babylon, but still a Parthian centre of many provinces where dispersed Israelites dwelt, and that was the natural place for the Apostle of the Circumcision.
“Rome was never this centre, although many Jews dwelt there. Still, if Peter had come to Rome for them, he would have been a pastor of the Hebrews, not head of the Universal Church. Let us then leave Peter to his work, which he fulfilled in Jerusalem, Samaria, Babylon, and Galatia, and in the countries where the greatest number of his co-nationalists, the Israelites, were found. He fulfilled his mission in the East, and St. Paul his in the West; and one laboured chiefly among his people Israel, the other among the Gentiles. But this historical fact, while it causes the base of the colossal Roman Church to crumble, is comparatively of little consequence to me. I have no need of St. Peter or of the successor of St. Peter. I have the Master of Paul and Peter. His religion is not localized ; it has neither capital nor centre in this world at present. He is everywhere, 'near to all who call upon Him in truth.”'
The speech of Ribetti was cleverly answered by the repetition in a varied form of the arguments of Signor Fabiani, by Signor Cipolla. Our space does not allow us to give them, but they can be read in the pamphlet referred to, in the note of p. 181.
In the discussion of a second evening, Signor Gavazzi powerfully showed that the SILENCE OF THE BIBLE was not merely a negative proof, but a positive and explicit one that St. Peter did not come to Rome. · What," he said, “ are the Acts of the Apostles? The principal end of the book is to narrate their labours and journeys, of which Luke is the inspired historian. Luke speaks of Peter on all occasions-speaks of him in Samaria, in Lydda, in Joppa, in Cesarea, in Jerusalem. Why not in Rome also? In the primitive apostolic college the figure of Peter is primary till that of Paul becomes com-primary, with a special delegation--'a chosen vessel to bear the name of Christ before the Gentiles.' If Peter came to Rome, why did Luke neglect to write his journey ? If he did not narrate it, it is because he did not come. The silence of the Bible on the subject is positive proof; because in the only history that ought to have recorded it, it is not noticed--therefore, Peter never came to Rome. If he had come, Luke would have recorded it in justice to the Apostle, to the Primitive Church, to the Church of Rome, and to himself.
“But here is another Scripture proof. There is a prophecy of our Lord's in Matt. xxiii., where He reproaches the Pharisees, and tells them that, as their fathers did, they will crucify some of His apostles. Then the Jews were to do this! Now we hear of only two crucified apostles-one by tradition, Andrew, another from the Bible, Peter. The Jews could not have crucified Peter in Rome, for there they had no power. It must have happened in some country where they had power, and this must have been in Chaldea, where the King of the Parthians had granted the Jews to have a Prince of the Captivity, and a High Priest, and all the forms of their Mosaic Law. In Babylon, during the persecution of Nero, they had an opportunity to excite the governors against Peter, and to procure his crucifixion, just as the Jews had obtained from Pilate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. Eusebius tells us that the Babylonian provinces were subjugated by Nero.
“Peter was not, however, put to death according to Roman usage, but according to that practised by the Parthians. The Romans did not crucify with the head downwards, but upwards, that the suffering might endure longer ; and, as we know, the sufferer's legs were obliged to be broken. The other mode might seem more ignominious, but death was speedier, and also hastened by the Parthian mode of kindling straw under the head, which induced suffocation. The manner, therefore, of Peter's crucifixion is an historical proof that he was not crucified at Rome.
“Notwithstanding this, I do not shut out Peter from having a part, by means of the converts under his great sermon, in the foundation of the Church of Rome ; since at the Pentecost, the Romans who were present, having left Jerusalem, probably carried the Gospel to Rome. The disciples of both Peter and Paul, especially Priscilla and Aquila, carried the Gospel to Rome before St. Paul came there ; but when St. Paul wrote to the Romans, they do not seem to have had the preaching of an Apostle. When Paul came to Rome the Jews at least gathered around him, and showed him that no one had given them information concerning the new Christian sect.
“And now with regard to the statements of our opponents, that the chronology of the Scriptures is so obscure that we cannot settle the date of Paul's arrival in Rome. I beg pardon, we can. It is in the year 61, A.D. ; and this is an ascertained date, from the arrival of Festus, the Governor, which we know occurred in 61, A.D. It is fixed by the consular and imperial acts in profane history, and in that year Paul was sent a prisoner to Rome.
“Of course the steps of the Apostles were regulated by their Divine Master, and the good rule of wisdom dictated by Jesus Christ was that the Gospel must be preached first in Jerusalem, then in Judea, then in Samaria, and finally to the ends of the earth ; first to the Jews at home, then to the scattered Israel, and then to the Gentiles. In a certain sense Peter was an Apostle of the Gentiles as well as of the Hebrews, as Paul was an Apostle of the Hebrews as well as of the Gentiles. But I insist that each had his special commission, and by this special commission, I find, that Peter should primarily and almost exclusively labour for the Jews. He who had obtained, as Ambrose says, “a primacy of faith and speech among the Jews on the day of Pentecost, a primacy which God had promised him,' and which he so maintained that Peter was the first to publish the Gospel in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost to him also was granted, if you will, a primacy of action as well as a primacy of word, in the first announcement of the Gospel to the Gentiles in Cesarea, and in the baptism of the first from amongst them, which is a great