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all; and that the honours and powers granted to Peter by name, were conferred on them all equally. For no one will say, that Christ's church was built upon Peter singly. It was built on the foundation of all the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone. As little can any one say that the power of binding and loosing was confined to Peter; seeing it was declared afterwards to belong to all the apostles, Matth. xviii. 18. john xx. 23. See Pref. to 1 Timothy, Sect. 5. Art. 1, 2. To these things add this, that as Peter made both his confessions in answer to questions which Jesus put to the whole apostles, these confessions were certainly made in the name of the whole. And therefore what Jesus said to him in reply was designed for the whole without distinction; excepting this which was peculiar to him, that he was to be the first, who after the descent of the Holy Ghost, should preach the gospel to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles an honour which was conferred on Peter in the expression, I will give thee the keys, &c.
Peter was one of the three apostles whom Jesus admitted to witness the resurrection of Jairus's daughter, and before whom he was transfigured, and with whom he retired to pray in the garden the night before he suffered.-He was the person, who in the fervor of his zeal for his master, cut off the ear of the highpriest's slave, when the armed band came to apprehend him. Yet this same Peter, a few hours after that, denied his master three different times in the high-priest's palace, and with oaths. After the third denial, being stung with deep remorse, he went out and wept bitterly. This offence therefore Jesus pardoned. And, to testify his acceptance of his lapsed but penitent apostle, he ordered the women to carry the news of his resurrection to Peter by name; and appeared to him before he shewed himself to any other of his apostles. And, at another appearance, he confirmed him in the apostolical office, by giving him a special commission to feed his sheep.-From that time forth, Peter never faultered in his faith: but uniformly shewed the greatest zeal and courage in his master's cause.
Soon after our Lord's ascension, in a numerous assembly of the apostles and brethren, Peter gave it as his opinion, that one should be chosen to be an apostle, in the room of Judas. To this they all agreed, and by lot chose Matthias, whom on that occasion, they numbered with the eleven apostles. See Prelim. Essay I. Art. 1.-On the day of Pentecost following, when the Holy Ghost fell on the apostles and disciples, Peter standing up with the
eleven, lift up his voice: that is, Peter rising up spake with a loud voice, in the name of the apostles, as he had done on various occasions in his master's lifetime, and gave the multitude an account of that great miracle, Acts ii. 14.-When Peter and John were brought before the council, to be examined concerning the miracle wrought on the impotent man, Peter spake.-It was Peter who questioned Ananias and Sapphira, about the price of their lands; and for their lying in that matter, punished them miraculously with death.-It is remarkable also, that although by the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were wrought, it was by Peter's shadow alone, that the sick, who were laid in the streets of Jerusalem, were healed as he passed by.-Lastly, It was Peter who made answer to the council, for the apostles not obeying their command to preach no more in the name of Jesus.
Peter's fame was now become so great, that the brethren at Joppa hearing of his being in Lydda, and of his having cured Eneas miraculously of a palsy, sent, desiring him to come and restore a disciple to life, named Tabitha, which he did.-During his abode in Joppa, the Roman Centurion Cornelius, directed by an angel, sent for him to come and preach to him. On that occasion the Holy Ghost fell on Cornelius and his company, while Peter spake.-Peter, by his zeal and success in preaching the gospel, having attracted the notice of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Herod Agrippa, who to please the Jews, had killed James the brother of John, still farther to gratify them, cast Peter in prison. But an angel brought him out; after which he concealed himself in the city, or in some neighbouring town, till Herod's death; which happened about the end of the year. Some learned men think, Peter at that time went to Antioch or to Rome. But if he had gone to any celebrated city, Luke, as L'Enfant observes, would probably have mentioned it. Besides, we find him in the council of Jerusalem, which met not long after this to determine the famous question concerning the circumcision of the Gentiles. -The council being ended, Peter went to Antioch, where he gave great offence, by refusing to eat with the converted Gentiles. But Paul withstood him to the face, rebuking him before the whole church, for his pusillanimity and hypocrisy, Gal. ii. 11. -21.
From the foregoing history, it appears that Peter very early distinguished himself as an apostle: That his master greatly esteemed him for his courage, his zeal, and his other good qua
lities That he lived in peculiar habits of intimacy with Peter, and conferred on him various marks of favour in common with James and John, who likewise distinguished themselves by their talents and good dispositions. But that Peter received from Christ any authority over his brethren, or possessed any superior dignity as an apostle, there is no reason for believing. All the apostles were equal in office and authority; as is plain from our Lord's declaration : One is your master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren. The only distinction among the apostles, was that which arose from personal talents and qualifications; a distinction which never fails to take place in every society. Because, if one distinguishes himself by his superior ability in the management of affairs, he will be respected in proportion to the idea which his fellows entertain of him. In this manner, and in no other, Peter, whose virtues and talents were singularly conspicuous, acquired a pre-eminence among the apostles: But it was only of the sort founded on personal esteem. And therefore, in their meetings to deliberate on any important affair, the brethren may have wished to hear him speak first; and he commonly did so: But that was all. In like manner, in their intercourse with their adversaries, Peter often spake in the name of such of the apostles and brethren as were present: which they willingly allowed, perhaps desired, as thinking him best qualified for the office. The evangelists also, who wrote their gospels a considerable time after Peter had raised himself in the esteem of the apostles and brethren, added their suffrage to his character, by mentioning him first in the catalogues which they gave of the apostles. And as two of them were themselves apostles, by acknowledging, in that manner, their respect for him, they have shewn themselves entirely free from envy. Lastly, It appears from Peter's epistles, that he did not think himself superior in authority to the other apostles. For if he had entertained any imagination of that sort, insinuations of his superiority, if not direct assertions thereof, might have been expected in his epistles, and especially in their inscriptions. Yet there is nothing of that sort in either of his letters. The highest title he takes to himself, in writing to the Elders of Pontus, is that of their fellow elder, 1 Pet. v. 1.
To the foregoing account of Peter's rank among the apostles, I will add from Lardner on the Can. page 102. that Cassian supposing Peter to be older than Andrew, makes his age the ground of his precedence among the apostles: And that Jero-me
himself says, "The keys were given to all the apostles alike, "and the church was built on all of them equally. But for "preventing dissention precedence was given to one. And "John might have been the person. But he was too young. "And Peter was preferred on account of his age.” See the Pref. to James, Sect. 1. parag. 3.
In the history of the Acts, no mention is made of Peter after the council of Jerusalem. But from Gal. ii. 11. it appears, that after the council, he was with Paul at Antioch. He is likewise mentioned by Paul, 1 Cor. i. 12. iii. 22. from which Pearson infers, that Peter had been in Corinth, before the first epistle to the Corinthians was written. But this does not follow. In these passages Paul speaks of certain Jews in Corinth, who had been converted by Jesus and Peter. But he does not say they were converted in Corinth. Probably their conversion happened in Judea. If Peter had preached in Corinth, before Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he would not have said, I have planted, Apollos hath watered; overlooking the labours of Peter.-When Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans, it may be presumed that Peter was not in Rome. For in that Epistle, Paul saluted many of the brethren there by name, without mentioning Peter. Farther during his two years confinement at Rome, wrote four letters to different churches, in none of which is Peter mentioned. Neither is any thing said or hinted in these epistles, from which it can be gathered, that Peter had ever been in Rome. Probably he did not visit that city, till about the time of Paul's martyrdom.
It is generally supposed, that after Peter was at Antioch with Paul, he returned to Jerusalem. What happened to him after that, is not told in the scriptures. But Eusebius informs us, that Origen in the third Tome of his Exposition on Genesis, wrote to this purpose, "Peter is supposed to have preached to the "Jews of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Bithynia, Cappa"docia, and Asia. And at length coming to Rome, was crucified "with his head downwards; himself having desired that it might "be in that manner." Some learned men think that Peter in the latter part of his life, went into Chaldea, and there wrote his first epistle; because the salutation of the church at Babylon, is sent in it. But their opinion is not supported by the testimony of ancient writers.-Lardner, Can. vol. iii. p. 169. saith, "It "seems to me, that when he (Peter) left Judea he went again to "Antioch, the chief city of Syria. Thence he might go into
"other parts of the continent, particularly Pontus, Galatia, Cap"padocia, Asia, and Bithynia, which are expressly mentioned at "the beginning of his first epistle. In those countries he might
stay a good while. It is very likely that he did so; and that he "was well acquainted with the Christians there, to whom he "afterwards wrote two epistles. When he left those parts, I think " he went to Rome: but not till after Paul had been in that city, "and was gone from it."
Many ancient writers have said, that Peter was crucified at Rome while Nero persecuted the Christians. And their opinion has been espoused by learned men, both Papists and Protestants. Some however, particularly Scaliger, Salmasius, Fred. Spanheim, and others, deny that Peter ever was at Rome. If the reader wishes to see the evidence from antiquity, on which Peter's hav, ing been at Rome, rests, he will find it fully set forth by Lardner, (Can. vol. iii. ch. 18.) who concludes his inquiry as follows: "This is the general, uncontradicted, disinterested testimony of "ancient writers in the several parts of the world, Greeks, Latins, "Syrians. As our Lord's prediction concerning the death of "Peter is recorded in one of the four Gospels, it is very likely "that Christians would observe the accomplishment of it: which "must have been in some place. And about this place, there is "no difference among Christian writers of ancient times. Never 46 any other place was named, beside Rome: Nor did any other "city ever glory in the martyrdom of Peter.-It is not for our "honour, nor for our interest, either as Christians or Protestants, "to deny the truth of events, ascertained by early and well attest"ed tradition. If any make an ill use of such facts, we are not "accountable for it. We are not from a dread of such abuses, ❝to overthrow the credit of all history. The consequence of "which would be fatal."
Of the Authenticity of the Epistles of Peter.
Though some doubts were anciently entertained concerning the second Epistle of Peter, the authenticity of the first was never called in question; being universally acknowledged as Peter's, from the very beginning. In proof of this, Lardner has shewn, Can. iii. p. 216. that Peter's first epistle was referred to by Clemens Romanus, by Polycarp, and by the martyrs of Lyons: That