Изображения страниц

who met Eusebius and shared his spirit of investigation; whose Latin translation of the Scriptures is the foundation of the authorized version of the Roman Church; whose voluminous works, possessing the highest authority in the Catholic Church, give to the careful students of our day the clearest testimony as to the corruptions of that church, which now call for the reform demanded by so many in its bosom.

Jerome's allusions to Peter are numerous; and are scattered through his commentaries, theological treatises, familiar letters and fragmentary writings. In his catalogue of the apostles we have this general history:

Simon Peter, son of Johannis, of the province of Galilee, of the village of Bethsaida, brother of Andrew the apostle, the prince of the apostles after the episcopate of the Church at Antioch, and the preacher of the dispensation to those of the circumcision who believed in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia and Bythinia, in the second year of the emperor Claudius went to Rome to oppose Simon Magus. There for twenty-five years he held a sacerdotal seat (cathedram sacerdotalem), even up to the last year of Nero, that is, the fourteenth ;' from which time, affixed to the martyr's cross, he was also crowned, his head being turned towards the earth and his feet elevated on high; he insisting that he was unworthy to be crucified as his Lord. Buried at Rome in the Vatican, nigh the triumphal way, he is renowned by the veneration of the whole world.

In farther explanation of the character of Peter's authority in the sacerdotal chair,” Jerome says in his treatise against Rufinus (Lib. III), “Peter was eminent (praefuit) in the Roman Church twenty-four years;" his eminence naturally arising from his baptism of the first Roman Christian, A. D. 42; and the twenty-four, as distinct rom the twenty-five years given in the catalogue, probably reckoning from A. D. 43, when he seems to have gone first to Rome. As farther confirmation of the historic fact as to his sepulchre, Jerome writes to Marcella, “ They think the place hallowed in which Peter and Paul, the leaders in the Christian army, poured out their blood for Christ."

Besides these historic facts, Jerome has much to enlighten thought as to the interpretation of those portions of the New Testament, which give prominence to Peter. In several places, Jerome explains Christ's special authority given to Peter. On Matt. xvi. 18, marking the different gender of the name" Petrus," and of the term “petra,

“As he himself gave light to his apostles that they might be called the light of the world” and by other kindred names, so to Simon, who believed in the rock Christ, the name of Petrus was given. And so, in accordance with the figure of the rock, it is

1 Reckoning, doubtless, from his adoption by Claudius.

Jerome says;

[ocr errors]

said to him, 'I will build my church on thee.'” Upon Amos vi. 12, Jerome remarks, "The rock is Christ; who grants to his apostles that they also should be called rocks." On Paul's visit to Peter mentioned Gal. i., Jerome thus comments:

That he might see Peter; not with the desire of learning, since he himself had the same authority in preaching and fourteen days gave little time], but for the purpose of conferring honor on the one before an apostle. It is one thing to confer, another to learn. Between those conferring there is equality. Paul recognizes Peter as a head, though not an exclusive head; for Peter baptized Cornelius while Paul preached in Jewish synagogues.

Representing Paul and Peter as complements of each other in their teaching, Jerome (adv. Pelag.) compares Paul to Aristotle, and Peter to Plato; and again (adv. Rufin. L. III), he asks as to Paul, “Do you not think that he, himself, placed at Rome, if anything was lacking in Peter, could supply it? For," as he adds, “Paul was learned and Peter not.” In commenting on Peter's first epistle, Jerome, who never himself was a bishop, but only a presbyter, calls special attention to the fact that Peter says, when forbidding arrogance, in the officers of the church, “I also am a presbyter” or elder; claiming no higher authority. The reconciling of Paul's statement in his epistle to the Galatians with Peter's apostolic authority, is connected with the controversy between Jerome and Augustine cited below.

Augustine born in Africa, A. D. 354, twenty-three years younger than Jerome, bishop of Hippo in Africa from 395, presents in his allusions to Peter and to the controverted opinions there prevalent about him, much to give light to the men of the Roman Church now seeking it. In commenting on Christ's expression, “I give unto thee the keys," etc. (Diver. Serm. 108), Augustine says, “These keys, indeed, not one man but the united church (unitas ecclesia) received.” Again (Evang. Joan. Tract 124):

Peter the apostle, on account of the primacy of his apostulate, represented the personality of the church as a figurative generality. . . For the rock was Christ upon which, as a foundation, even Peter was built. ... Not, indeed, from Peter was the rock so called, but Peter from the rock; as, indeed, Christ is not named from the Christian, but the Christian from Christ.

It is apparent that these words of Augustine, a great authority in the Roman Church, do not favor the modern claim that the Pope in person is supreme authority; but rather the view of those who contend that the church as one, met in Ecumenical Council, held the keys.

[ocr errors]

The common views of Jerome and Augustine, made more apparent by their exceptional differences, come out in their controversial letters on the second chapter of the epistle to the Galatians. Both had written commentaries on the epistle; when afterwards, about A. D. 405, six letters from each were interchanged. To read through all these commentaries and epistles, in the untranslated Latin, is more than can be expected of most scholars. The points of difference, however, most valuable because of their agreement on principles vital now to those seeking a reform in the Roman Church, can be readily stated. Augustine mentions that he has received Jerome's volume; he blames him for saying that both Paul and Peter falsified (mentiri) in their observance of Jewish rites as saving, Peter at Antioch, and Paul at Jerusalem; and he contends, “It is one thing to say that good men may falsify, and another to say a writer of the sacred Scriptures could falsify." He asks whether it is more satisfactory to believe that Paul did not write correctly, or that Peter, who denied his Master, did not act correctly. Augustine contends that Origen and Cyprian accord with his view. Jerome replies, blaming Augustine for regarding Paul's condemnation of Peter as authoritative rather than advisory; and also for asserting that Paul observed the Law “without any necessity relating to salvation.” He contends that in the circumcision of Timothy, Paul falsifies; and thinks that writers, from Origen to Eusebius, are agreed in this opinion. Paul himself recognized superior authority in Peter by visiting him, and deferring to him at the Council at Jerusalem. He adds


You say Paul was a Jew; but being made a Christian, he did not relinquish the sacraments of the Jews which that people, appropriately and in the legitimate way when they ought, had received; and therefore he understood that they were to be celebrated when now he was an apostle of Christ; that he taught, too, that they were not pernicious to those who wished to guard what they had received from their parents, through the Law. I, on the contrary, say, the world also echoing it, and with a frank voice pronounce: That the ceremonies of the Jews are both injurious and deadly to Christians; and whoever shall have observed them, either from among the Jews or Gentiles, that he has fallen into the pit of the devil. For the end of the law for justification to every one believing, is Christ. On the contrary, the law and the prophets were only until John.

He suggests that Paul, having been trained as a lawyer, carried the spirit of the advocate into this controversy. Augustine, replying, is equally extreme, declaring: “I believe, indeed, that Peter thus did that he might compel the Gentiles to become Jews. For this, as


I read, Paul has written, whom I believe did not falsify. And therefore Peter did not rightly require this.” The important fact to observe at our day is, that neither Jerome nor Augustine regard Peter infallible; that both regard it inconsistent with inspiration to suppose that Paul did not state the fact as to Peter's actual dissimulation; while they disagree in their view of Paul's motive in his conforming to the law, Jerome thinking he showed the same spirit as Peter and therefore erred in reprimanding Peter. Two incidental facts, illustrative of the opinions of this age, just preceding the extravagant claim of the Roman Church, are deserving of special attention. Jerome returning to this controversy of the two apostles in writing against Pelagius, says: "For if the apostle himself said concerning Peter that he had not walked uprightly, according to the truth of the gospel, so that even Barnabas was led into his dissimulation, who shall think it proper to deny as to himself that which the prince of apostles had not attained ?” While thus directly arguing universal depravity, and, aside from the heat of controversy, giving a balanced interpretation of Paul's language, Jerome shows that even Roman writers of his day preserved the same distinction which Cotelier has found observed by the Greek writers, in their allusions to the two apostles. Paul, standing alone in the esteem of the early church, is "nd atostodos” in Greek, and in Latin “ipse apostolus ;" while Peter is among the twelve tpwros or "princeps.”


It is farther to be noted that, in Jerome's day, the term "papa", or pope, was applied, not to the bishop of Rome exclusively, but to any bishop. Thus Jerome, in addressing Augustine, uses this form: Domino vere sancto ac beatissimo pape Augustino, Hieronymus in Christo salutem," although Augustine was bishop of Hippo, in Africa. On the other hand, Jerome calls himself a presbyter, and Augustine addresses him as “compresbyterio." or fellow-elder.

A new age dawned at the era of the death of these two men; whose errors were personal and belonged to their times; but whose common truth, held in all ages, is that to which the aspirants for truth in the Roman Church now wish to return. Leo, a man of towering personal ambition, held the position of bishop of the Church at Rome, from A. D. 440 to 461. In their addresses (see Gieseler's quotations), to the Council at Ephesus, the Roman delegates put in this claim for their bishop's supremacy; “There is no dispute, rather it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, the chief and head of the apostles, the pillar of the faith, the foundation of the Catholic Church, received from our Lord Jesus Christ the keys,” etc. On the other hand the Church at Jerusalem urged as

[ocr errors]

strongly their claim; even saying, “ Peter was a haranguer, James a lawgiver.” From Leo, to the present day, the Roman Church has been a separate and special claimant for supreme and Catholic authority; while two-thirds of Christendom, all the Oriental churches, have from the first denied this.

Among the reformers and Protestants of Western Europe, for the last three centuries views more or less comprehensive as to Peter's relation to the Roman Church have been advanced just proportioned to the comprehensiveness of each writer's investigation. Luther, and the first German and English reformers, misled by a presupposed inference as to the interpretation of the epistle of James, did not appreciate the fact that on the historic testimony of the early Christian writers all faith in the inspired records is dependent. Antagonism against the Roman Church led to a similar forgetfulness as to the historic testimonies about Peter. A check to this tendency was given early in the seventeenth century, when in the healthful disccussion between Scotch Presbyterians and English Puritans, and in little Holland between Romanists, Calvinists and Arminians, the master minds of Poole and Grotius took that balanced view which is now controlling German and French, as well as English and American Biblical scholars. Poole, in his thorough reading and collating in his Synopsis Criticorum of all Hebrew, Greek and Latin commentators on the Old and New Testament, as well as his contemporary, Grotius, with whom he generally agrees, finds himself compelled to these results. In Christ's address to Peter, it is neither the person Peter nor Christ, but the sentiment and its fundamental truth, to which the word petra in the feminine gender properly refers. As to Peter's subsequent life the same testimony, perfectly in accord with the New Testament narrative, leads to the conviction that he went to Rome after the baptism of Cornelius, visited Asia Minor and Greece after the Council of Jerusalem, wrote his first epistle from Rome, called Babylon as by John, under Nero, indited his second epistle in companionship with Paul shortly before their united martyrdom, and was crucified and buried, according to the universal historic testimony, at Rome. Windischmann in his "Vindiciæ Petrinæ " takes substantially the same view; concluding especially that Peter went to Rome A. D. 44, and left about A. D. 49, because of the persecution of Jews under Claudius, alluded to by Luke, Acts xviii. 2. Cotelier, in his Patres Apostolicæ, finds, by careful and extended research, that the Greek fathers generally, and the Latin fathers down to Jerome, make Paul to be independent and special in authority among Gentiles, while Peter is chief of the twelve among

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »