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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VI:
Elucidations.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Elucidations.

(The minister to the Gentiles, p. 43.)

If St. Peter had been at Rome, St. Paul would not have come there (2 Cor. x. 16). The two apostles had each his jurisdiction, and they kept to their own "line of things" respectively. How, then, came St. Peter to visit Rome? The answer is clear: unless he came involuntarily, as a prisoner, he came to look after the Church of the Circumcision,102 which was "in his measure; "and doubtless St. Paul urged him to this, the Hebrew Christians there being so large a proportion of the Church. St. Peter came "at the close of his life," doubtless attended by an apostolic companion, as St. Paul was, and Barnabas also (Acts xv. 39, 40). Linus probably laboured for St. Paul (in prison) among the Gentile Romans,103 and Cletus for St. Peter among Jewish Christians. St. Peter survived all his martyred associates, and left Clement in charge of the whole Church. This most probable theory squares with all known facts, and reconciles all difficulties. Clement, then, was first bishop of Rome (a.d. 65); and so says Tertullian, .

That compendious but superficial little work, Smith's History of the First Ten Centuries,104 justly censures as "misleading" the usage, which it yet keeps up, of calling the early bishops of Rome "Popes."105 The same author utterly misunderstands Cyprian's references to Rome as "a principal cathedra," "a root and matrix," etc.; importing into the indefinite Latin a definite article. Cyprian applies a similar principle, after his master Tertullian (vol. iii. p. 260, this series), to all the Apostolic Sees, the matrices of Christian churches.


Next: On the Trinity.

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