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be forgiven, when we consider how much he had done and suffered, ever since that event, in his Master's name, and for his Master's cause.
All that remains to be said of this remarkable man, is to be gathered, not from the Scriptures, but from other early accounts, the authority of which, though not to be compared with that of the Scriptures, should be held in a due degree of respect. We are informed by Eusebius, that Origen wrote of him, that “ he was supposed to have preached to the Jews of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, and Asia. And at length coming to Rome, was crucified with his head downwards." This kind of death he was said to have requested, out of a feeling of humble respect to his Master. If so, it is an affecting conclusion of his eventful life, and another striking exhibition of the ardent character which adhered to him to the last. ceived it too great an honor that such an one as he should meet his death erect, and looking upwards, like his beloved and venerated Lord; and so, with his head in the dust, he closed his labors, his failings, his victories, his sufferings, and his life.
There are Roman Catholic writers, who maintain that Peter was bishop of Rome during a
period of twenty-five years before his martyrdom there. But this assertion, though supported by such high authority as that of Jerome, has been shown by Cave and others to be wholly unfounded. The most authentic account is, that Peter, after having been in Antioch for a season, came to Rome about the year 63 or 64, and suffered martyrdom in the manner above stated, a year or two after, during the persecution of the Christians by the tyrant Nero, and that St. Paul was martyred there at the same time.
It also seems probable, that he was crucified and buried on the Vatican hill, whence his remains were afterwards removed to the Catacombs in the neighbourhood of the city. Caius, a writer quoted by Eusebius, states that in his time, about the year 200, the tombs of Peter and Paul were to be seen at Rome, which is very likely to be true. It is the belief of the Catholics, that the body of Peter now reposes under the splendid church which is called by his name;
“ Christ's mighty shrine above his martyr's tomb!”
Cave inclines to the opinion that neither Peter nor Paul was, properly speaking, bishop of the Roman church. He supposes that by their united exertions they planted it, and that its first bishop was Linus, who, by the Catholics, is placed next to St. Peter in the episcopal see. Irenæus, about 178, speaks of the church of Rome as “ founded and established by the two great apostles, Peter and Paul.” But Epiphanius calls them the first apostles and bishops of Roine; after whom, he says, were Linus, Cletus, Clement.
The following description of the person of St. Peter, by Nicephorus, an ecclesiastical historian of the early part of the fourteenth century, is entitled to very little credence. But it may be regarded as a curiosity, if not a true portrait. “ His body was somewhat slender, of a middle size, but rather inclining to tallness; his complexion very pale and almost white; the hair of his head and beard curled and thick, but withal short; though St. Jerome tells us that he was bald, which probably might be in his declining age; his eyes black, but specked with red; his eyebrows thin, or none at all; his nose long, but rather broad and flat than sharp."
It is certain that he was a married man, and probable that his wife accompanied him in his journeys. St. Paul is thought to intimate as much, when he says, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, (ix. 5.)
“ Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apos
tles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?”
That he was married when he was called to be an apostle, is certain, as the Scriptures mention his “ wife's mother.” But staunch Catholics, with Jerome at their head, will have it, that he left his wife when he left all to follow Jesus. This, however, does not well agree with the testimony of Paul. Clemens Alexandrinus relates, that Peter, seeing his wife going to be martyred, exceedingly rejoiced that she was elected to so great an honor, and that she was now returning home, and calling her by her name, encouraged and exhorted her, bidding her to be mindful of our Lord. The apostle is also said to have had a daughter, by the name of Petronilla.
Two epistles of Peter are received into the Canon of the New Testament. The authenticity of the first is well established and generally allowed. It is addressed “ to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia." By these “strangers” is most probably meant the Jewish Christians who sojourned in those regions; though some commentators would have the term to apply both to Jewish and Gentile converts. The epistle was written from Rome, which is figuratively denomi
nated Babylon, in the concluding salutation. Its purpose was to strengthen and comfort those to whom it was addressed, who were suffering under the persecutions which had begun to be fiercely waged against them by the heathens. The topics urged in it, are equal to its design, and are highly consolatory and animating. Of the whole epistle,
“It is worthy of the Prince of the Apostles, and full of apostolical dignity and authority. It is sparing in words, but full of sense."
The genuineness of the second epistle has been called in question, from early times. It never was fully disproved, however, and there was good reason for numbering it at last among the sacred books. The testimony of Eusebius concerning it is as follows: “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 Scriptures.” Origen, who flourished in the third century, says of the two epistles, “Peter, on whom the church is built, hath left an epistle