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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.
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 conspicu, ous, 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 Jerome
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, Paul 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 having 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 66 no difference among Christian writers of ancient times. Never
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
it was received by Theophilus Bishop of Antioch, and quoted by Papias, Irenæus, Clemens Alexandrinus, and Tertullian; which last calls it, The Epistle to the inhabitants of Pontus. Wherefore there can be no doubt that the first epistle of Peter was all along received as an inspired writing, by the whole Christian church.
Eusebius seems to refer to the testimonies, just now mentioned in the following passage: E. H. Lib. II. c. 3. "One "epistle of Peter, called his first, is acknowledged. This the "presbyters of ancient times have quoted in their writings, as "undoubtedly genuine. But that called his second, we have "been informed by tradition, has not been received as a part of "the New Testament. Nevertheless, appearing to many to be "useful, it hath been carefully studied with the other scrip"tures." It is evident therefore, that in the time of Eusebius, great regard was shewed even to the second epistle of Peter, by many Christians who esteemed it genuine. For as Le Clerc, quoted by Benson, very well observes: "If it had not been "Peter's, it would not have seemed useful to any man of tolera"ble prudence; neither ought it to have been carefully studied "with the other scriptures, seeing the writer in many places "pretends to be St. Peter himself. On the very account that "it was a forgery, it would be noxious; as it is a thing of the "worst example, for any man to forge another's name, or pre"tend to be the person he is not; and what ought not to be "pardoned." The reader will find another passage in the Preface to James, Sect. 2. paragr. 2. in which Eusebius has spoken of the epistles of Peter.
From a passage in Origen's commentary on Matthew, quoted by Eusebius: E. H. L. VI. c. 25. it appears that Origen acknowledged Peter's second epistle. "Peter, on whom the church "is built, hath left an epistle universally acknowledged. Let it "be granted that he also wrote a second; for it is doubted of." -Jerome, in his book of illustrious men, Art. Peter: says, "Peter wrote two epistles called catholic, the second of which "is denied to be his, because of its differing in style from the "former."-This difference shall be examined in the Preface to the second Epistle, Sect. 1. towards the end.
Estius observes, that whoever desires to know the agreement of Peter's doctrine with Paul's, ought to examine the sentiments