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We have now obtained a basis for the investigation. In the first chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians, Paul says that three years after his conversion he, for the first time, went up to Jerusalem to show himself to the apostles, and especially to Peter. This journey Luke also relates Acts 9: 26–30. It took place accordingly in a. D. 42. Therefore in the above named year, Peter had not yet gone away from Jerusalem; the care of the church fixed him continuously to this central point of the Christian church. We now proceed further : :
Directly after Paul's departure from Jerusalem (Acts 9: 26 -30), Luke goes on, vs. 31, 32: “then had the churches rest throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.” Peter's journey, therefore, embraced the three countries of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, i. e, the whole of Palestine up to the Jordan. So we find the apostle at Lydda, verse 32, where he healed Æneas; then at Joppa, 36–42, where he raised Tabitha from the dead. Here "he tarried many days,” and in consequence of a vision he went to Cæsarea, to Cornelius, whom he received, with a number of others, into the Christian fellowship; afterwards he returned to Jerusalem (Acts 11: 1). If we take into view the considerable extent of the provinces over which Peter travelled, and his frequent long abode in particular cities, as for example at Joppa, we must suppose that this journey required at least a whole year, and that therefore Peter could not have returned to Jerusalem (Acts 11: 1), before the end of A. D. 43. Here, too, we find him in a. D. 45. For in the 12th chapter Luke relates the killing of James, and Peter's imprisonment by king Herod, Herod's departure for Cæsarea directly after Peter's deliverance, and his sudden death there, which, as is well known, occurred in the fourth year of Claudius, and so in a. D. 45. Therefore in A. D. 45, Peter had not yet come to Antioch, - to say nothing of his coming to Rome; he had not even crossed the boundaries of Palestine. The opinion, then, that Peter went to Rome in the second year of Claudius, i. e. in A. D. 42, is proved to be wholly false. It is likewise false if we place Paul's conversion in A. D. 34, and allow that Peter was seven years bishop at Antioch; for, even then, he could not have gone to Rome before A. D. 44.
§ 8. Was Peter Bishop of Antioch? . We have proved that Peter did not come out of Palestine up to A. D. 45. How could he, now, have been bishop of Antioch since A. D. 37, and of Rome since A. D. 42? Peter's bishopric at Antioch belongs, at all events, to the nuinerous idle fables which ambition or credulity have invented. Let us examine it more closely :
1. We have seen that, during the persecution by Saul, the gospel was first preached beyond Jerusalem by the disciples scattered abroad, and especially by Philip ; and indeed, according to Acts 8: 1, first of all in Judea and Samaria. According to Acts 9: 31, we likewise find churches in Galilee, and Peter, too, had already gone there. We have seen, also, that this journey lasted at least a year. According to the view of Bellarmin, Baronius, and Natalis Alexander (who place Peter's departure to Antioch in A. D. 38, and certainly after the completion of this circuit), those numerous churches were already founded in A. D. 37, i. e. within three years.
Now the progress could not well have been so rapid, especially among the Jews. Besides, this too is to be considered: Peter, after that circuit, returned again to Jerusalem (Acts 11: 2). How do these writers know that he took a journey, after, to Antioch? It is a mere arbitrary assumption of their own.
2. The preaching of the gospel to the Jews held the first place; not till afterwards, it came to the heathen. First on this circuit, which followed Paul's first visit to Jerusalem (and hence, according to the view of these authors, first in A. D. 38), was it revealed to Peter that the gospel must likewise be preached to the Gentiles. The Jewish Christians took it ill of Peter that he had baptized Cornelius (Acts 11: 2, 3). Can we now suppose that Peter already, in A. D. 38, had left Palestine, i. e. the Jews, and turned to the Gentiles - he who (kat' čoxýv) preëminently was the apostle of the circumcision? We believe that such a supposition is destitute of any foundation.
3. The church of Antioch was formed of Gentile Christians, as we are expressly told in Acts 11: 19, 20. It did not, therefore, belong to the circle of Peter's calling. Besides, it was not founded at all by Peter : in Acts 11: 19, etc., it is related : “ Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen, travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned unto the Lord.” There is no mention at all of Peter. It is expressly said, “ men of Cyprus and Cyrene," and therefore not Peter, had first preached the gospel at Antioch.
To this church (the founding of which took place, according to the reckoning of Baronius, etc. in A. D. 34 or 35, because it happened soon after Stephen's death, placed by them in A. D. 34), the church of Jerusalem, Luke states Acts 11: 22, etc. sent, not Peter, but Barnabas. He (Barnabas), then, was the proper founder and organizer of the church at Antioch, and if any one is to be named a first bishop, it is he, and not Peter.
“And in those days," Luke directly proceeds to say, “came prophets from Jerusalem to Antioch.” And among them was Agabus (verses 27, 28). Would Luke, who mentions the arrival of these prophets, have omitted to mention the arrival of Peter happening, as pretended, precisely at this time, the man who founded the church of Antioch, and had set up in it his first Episcopal chair? We trust that no one will admit so absurd an opinion.
Now Luke further relates, immediately after, in verse 28, that Agabus at that time foretold a famine, which came to pass in the days of Claudius Cæsar." Hereupon, i. e. on account of the famine which followed, the Christians at Antioch sent alms to those of Jerusalem by the hands of Barnabas and Paul (ver. 29, 30). Baronius places this famine in the second year of Claudius, and so in a. D. 42, relying, as his authority, on Dion Cassius, Lib. ix. in Claudio. But since, now, the sojourn of Paul and Barnabas in Jerusalem (as is evident from Acts 11: 30 and 12: 1, 25) was precisely at the time when Peter was shut up in prison by Herod, Baronius himself must admit that Peter was at Jerusalem in A. D. 42, and therefore had not yet acted as bishop of Antioch.
We now advance further : After Luke had mentioned the return of Paul and Barnabas to Antioch, Acts 11: 25, he goes on immediately, 13:1: “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch, certain prophets, and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have called them.” Directly after, verse 3, the journey of Paul and Barnabas among the Gentiles is mentioned.
Whether, with Baronius and Natalis Alexander, we place this event in A. D. 43, or at a later period, it is sufficiently evident that Peter was not in Antioch, else Luke must have named him among those teachers and prophets who, by the impulse of the Holy Spirit, sent away Paul and Barnabas ; and the more so too, since he, as bishop, must have held the first place among them.
We see, therefore, that even in case Paul's conversion is placed in A. D. 34, yet no time can be gained for Peter's being bishop at Antioch, to say nothing of a six or seven
Luke, in Acts 11:30, mentions Paul and Barnabas's arrival at Jerusalem, and in Acts 12: 1-19, relates Peter's imprisonment and deliverance, and then verse 25th, the return of Paul and Barnabas to Antioch.
years' office, and that this is a pure fiction. For, according to this reckoning, Paul's visit to Peter occurred in a. D. 37; Peter's circuit in Palestine, in A. D. 38; and, in the same year, the founding of the church of Antioch (Acts 11:19), to which not Peter but Barnabas was sent, A. D. 39, who at first sojourned a while in Antioch without Paul for a companion (Acts 11: 22—24); then brought Saul from Tarsus, ver. 25, 26, A. D. 40 ; remained a year with him in Antioch, A. D. 41 ; and, according to the view of those authors, in A. D. 42 travelled with Paul to Jerusalem, verse 30, where they were present during Peter's imprisonment (Acts 12: 1 and 25). But if (as, by our reckoning above, we must do) we place Paul's conversion in A. D. 37 or 38, then that idea of Peter's bishopric is nothing but folly. For then Paul's first visit to Peter would take place in A. D. 41, and Peter's circuit in Palestine in A. D. 42, in which year those authors place his departure to Rome.
As a specimen of the arbitrariness and superficial way in which the Ultramontanists, and even the most celebrated of them go to work when they are aiming to attain their object, we will examine more closely the method of proof adopted by Baronius and Natalis Alexander :
Baronius, to establish an apparent ground for Peter's bishopric at Antioch, maintains that, on the above-mentioned circuit, he came to Antioch, and there founded a church and placed himself as bishop at its head ; although Luke, as we have shown above, limits that circuit expressly to Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, and ascribes the founding of the church at Antioch to the men of Cyprus and Cyrene, scattered abroad precisely at this time, and to Barnabas and Paul.
I That the story of a bishopric of Peter at Antioch assuredly from A. D. 38 to 44 is absolutely untenable because it cannot be harmonized with the Acts of the Apostles, the very learned Jesuit Halloixius admits in the life of Ignatius, Vol. 1. c. 2. “Si S. Petrus," he says, “ ante haec tempora fuisset Antiochae, ibique ecclesiam fundasset, sedemque suam statuisset, S. Lucas capite XI. actorum facta proxime Petri mentione debuissct non tantum de viris illis Cypriis et Cyrenaeis loqui" (i. e. those who first preached the Gospel at Antioch), "sed multo magis de Petro, si quidem tamdiu ibi fuisset, ut jam tum haberetur Antiochenus episcopus. Itaque nondum eo venerat. Vol. XV. No. 59.