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himself so little trouble about them, or have spoken with so lit, tie power, that they were first converted at the word of Paul? 3. Luke's silence here is actually fatal. If Peter was then at Rome; if he had already been there twenty years, and indeed as bishop of this church; if he held the rank of the head of the whole church, how is it possible that Luke could have been silent respecting it? There is a silence, indeed, from which no negative proof can be adduced: thus, for example, when one Gospel passes over this or that event in the life of Christ. But what one omits, another has; they need not all narrate the same thing; a single one is enough. Besides, the most important, the main fact, is in all. But when Luke is silent as to Peter's presence at Rome, and when he can and, according to circumstances, he must speak of it, we justly conclude that he did not find Peter at Rome. The force of this negative proof appears yet stronger in the following considerations; for Paul, too, is silent.
§ 15. Proof from the Epistles to the FMUppians, Colossians, Ephesians, to Philemon, and the Hebrews.
All these Epistles were written by Paul during his imprisonment at Rome, in A. D. 61 to 63. Of the four first, it is proved, because it stands therein in plain words; of the Epistle to the Hebrews, it is probable : chap. 13: 24, " The brethren from Italy salute you." If these Epistles prove anything, they prove irresistibly that Peter, at the time when Paul wrote them, was not in Rome, and had not been. Let us see:
1. If we go carefully through the first four Epistles, we find the clearest and most varied expressions and notices respecting the state of the church at Rome, of Paul's relations, and of persons and things. In the Epistle to the Ephesians (6: 21, etc.), Paul sends Tychicus to them, that he may make known to them all things respecting his situation and circumstances. In the Epistle to the Philippians (1: 12, etc.) he mentions the progress of the gospel at Rome, how it penetrated to the camp of the Pretorian guards, and even to the imperial court (4: 24). He says (1: 14): "And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident through my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear; that "some indeed preach Christ of envy and strife, and some of good will;" that these preach, inspired by love, knowing he was set for the defence of the gospel; but the others of strife, and not sincerely, to add affliction to his bonds.
We see that Paul had in his eye the Jewish Christian zealots, like those of Antioch whom he met so boldly and so successfully, as is evident from Acts xv. and Galatians ii. This party opposed him in Rome; they could not endure that he should receive the Gentiles without circumcision; they pretended he would abolish the law, and on this account they acted against him.
If we here suppose that Peter was at that time, and indeed for a long time had been, bishop of Rome and governed, as the head, not only this but also the whole church, how could the brethren first be made more courageous by Paul's bonds to preach boldly the gospel? How could it first by Paul, have penetrated to the Pretorian camp and the court of the emperor? And further, could Peter have developed so little power, energy, and authority during his long rule, that under his very eyes, the envy and hypocrisy of the Jewish Christians, his immediate disciples, should rise against Paul, and could they have carried out, openly and unpunished, the foul purpose to add affliction to his bonds? Shall we suppose that he had anew, at Rome, as formerly at Antioch, suffered himself out of weakness to be carried away by the zealots, and had forgotten the decrees at Jerusalem which were given by the Holy Spirit? We cannot allow ourselves to imagine such things of Peter; and had he really been in Rome, with his power, his fiery zeal, he would have carried the gospel to the Pretorian camp and the court of the emperor, and not only protected his beloved fellow-laborer Paul against every conflict and aspersion by the Christians, but would have severely punished them by his power as bishop of the place.
In the second chapter, from ver. 17 and on, Paul makes known to them his purpose to send Timothy, whom he greatly praises (ver. 19—24), to them, in order that he might give them information respecting him; he mentions that he had also sent to them Epaphroditus, of whose activity and loving care for him, and his dangerous illness, he gives a full account (25—30). Similar information respecting his friends Silas and Clemens, and of himself, he gives in the fourth chapter. We see (ver. 10), that Paul in his prison was supported by the church at Philippi; that they sent to him a maintenance directly through Epaphroditus (18), and that before it reached him he had suffered want (11, etc.), which was doubtless occasioned by those zealots. How is this, now? And yet Peter had already lived many years in Rome as bishop, and though there were rich people in his church, had not once cared for the necessities of his beloved fellow-apostle, had not once impelled the Romans to do their utmost to lighten the condition of the prisoner! We cannot believe this of such a man as Peter was.
Also in the Epistle to the Colossians, there are not wanting similar notices. They stand in the fourth chapter, 7th verse. Here, too, Paul gives them information, by Tychichus, of his situation, his welfare, etc. If, now, we cast back a glance on what we have cited, the conviction forces itself upon us, that Peter was not, at that time, in Rome. Of his own merits in spreading the gospel, Paul speaks ; of Peter, v)ho yet founded that church, carried it forward, and must at that time have long governed it, he is wholly silent. Of himself, and his friends, he often gives full information; of Peter, the head of the church and of Peter's disciples, not one word. Is it possible that Paul, during two years' abode at Rome, where he must have met Peter innumerable times, and where he could not but take notice of him, in so many Epistles makes mention in not a word, not a syllable, of him, if Peter really was there? We must suppose that Peter and his friends were wholly indifferent to Paul, yea, that he looked on him with envious eyes; and hence Paul passed over them and their labors in silence.
But this stands out yet more strongly in the following: In most of these Epistles, Paul gives information of his disciples and fellow-laborers; he names a multitude of them; he conveys to those to whom he is writing, salutations from them. We have already seen this above. Let us look at it further.
Philippians 4: 21, " Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you." Colossians 4: 10—14, "Aristarchus my fellow-prisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas (touching whom ye received commandments; if he come unto you, receive him), and Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellow-workers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. Luke the beloved physician, and Demas greet you." Philemon, ver. 23, 24, "There salute thee Epaphras, my fellow-prisoner in Christ Jesus; Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow-laborers." Hebrews 13: 24," Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you."
From all these friends and acquaintances he conveys salutations ; from Peter anil his disciples, none; from them, not a word. How is this? Were not the two apostles and their disciples on terms of mutual friendship? Were they estranged? Had they no intercourse together? Were they excluded from each other? Was there enmity and jealousy between them? Or were the churches of Colosse, Philippi, Ephesus, and in Palestine so much strangers to Peter and his friends, so indifferent, that they had no testimonies of Christian friendship and sympathy, i. e. salutations for them? Or did Paul suppose in ihose churches such an indifference and want of sympathy in respect to Peter and his friends, that, he believed nothing ought to be said by way of information or salutations from them? Indeed, we must have lost all common sense and regard for truth if we maintain, under these circumstances, that Peter and his disciples were with Paul at Rome in A. D. 61—63, when he wrote these Epistles.
And when now Paul says (Col. 4: 10, 11), that at Rome Aristarchus, Mark, and Justus were his only fellow-laborers of the circumcision,' is it not thus clearly enough said that he had neither Peter nor his Jewish disciples for fellow-laborers in the world's capital? Or must we call in to our aid the assertion that Paul speaks here only of his own disciples, but makes no mention of Peter and his disciples because he had no occasion for it? We leave any one who will, to satisfy himself with such an excuse. •
But Baronius, Natalis Alexander, Rothensen, etc., object: From the silence of Paul, in these Epistles, nothing follows against Peter's abode at Rome; he was not wont always to be at Rome; "he was not, like Prometheus, on the Caucasus, so tied down to his see;" and sat in it not idly, " as an Emeritus," but he went from Rome into all the surrounding countries; he penetrated even to Britain to preach the gospel. Why not then suppose that when Paul wrote, in A. D. 58, to the church at Rome, and abode there from A. D. 61 to 63, he (Peter) was on these apostolic travels? Why may we not assume this to explain those temporary absences that are proved by the silence of Paul?
Answer: We may not, because of these travels not a single one of the credible authorities mentions a syllable; and they are but empty hypotheses which are foisted into the history, as foolish as they are presumptuous. Then, again, because in the authorities named, there is not a trace of Peter's relations at Rome, or of his activity there; as we shall fully adduce hereafter. We may therefore justly conclude that Peter was not in Rome in A. D. 61—63.
1 Namely, at Rome; otherwise it is untrue, for in other regions Paul had helpers enough of the circumcision.