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the Epistle to the Romans appears to have been written not long before the Apostle's first visit. And at that time his language to them certainly implies that no other Apostle had been there before him. “ Yea, so have I strived to preach the Gospel, not where Christ was named lest I should build upon another man's foundation.” (Ch. xv. 20.) There is no evidence in the Acts of the Apostles, or in St. Peter's own Epistles, that he ever was at Rome, and some learned men, and
among them Salmasius, maintain that St. Peter never was there. It is more.probable, however, that he never was at Rome till the year of his martyrdom, or the year inmediately preceding it *
The first appointment of a Bishop of Rome seems to have been an act of the joint authority of St. Paul and St. Peter. For so Irenæus, the disciple of Polycarp, asserts : @eusλιωσαντες ουν και οικοδομησαντες οι μακαριοι Αποστολοι την εκκλησιαν Λινω την της επισκοπης λειτουργίαν ενεχειρησαν, the blessed Apostles living founded and built the Church of Rome, committed the charge of its government to Linus. He mentions the two Apostles by name in another place: του Πετρου και του Παυλου εν
* See the Testimonia de prima Ecclesia Romana fundatione, in the preceding Advertisement, p. viii. and Stil. lingtleet's Orig. Br. p. 48.
: Ρωμη ευαγγελιζομενων και θεμελιεντων την εκκλη
But this establishment of the Church of Rome was long subsequent to that of the Church at Jerusalem. That the words of our Saviour were not meant to convey any supremacy to St. Peter, is evident not only from St. Paul's not acknowledging such supremacy in his communication with his Roman converts, but also from the first steps, which were taken by the Apostles in the establishment of the Christian Church. The first Christian Church was not at Rome but at Jerusalem ; the president of the first Christian Council was not St. Peter, but St. James; and the first Christian Bishop was St. James, the Bishop of Jerusalem. I conclude therefore, first, that our Saviour's words do not mean that the Church should be founded on St. Peter; secondly, that it was not so founded but on the Messiahship of Jesus, the doctrine, which St. Peter had confessed; and thirdly, that St. Paul, and not St. Peter, was the first founder of the Church of Rome.
* Pearson de Annis priorum Romæ Episcoporum, Cap. xi. Sect. 2.
II. St. Paul was not only the founder of the Church of Rome, but of the Church in Britain. Of St. Paul's journey to Britain, a point of great importance in the history of the Gospel, and of the Protestant Church, we fortunately possess as substantial evidence as any
historical fact can require. But though Usher and Stillingfeet * have collected the most unquestionable authorities for it, it seems not to have acquired, generally, that degree of historical credit to which it is entitled. It deserves therefore, on many accounts, to be brought more home to us as a part of our national history t ; and as such, I have endeavoured to make all the use of it I could in the discourse, which I lately delivered to you at Carmarthen.
Some of our most valuable Ecclesiastical historians have no scruple in acceding to the
* Mr. Nelson has given in his excellent work on the Feasts and Fasts of the Church, a summary of Bishop Stillingfleet's observations on this subject; and Collier, in his Ecclesiastical History, has adopted the whole discus. sion. Bishop Gibson, in his Notes on Camden's Brit. tannia, concurs with Bishop Stillingfleet.
4 An inquiry intu the evidences of the foundation of the British Church by St. Paul, is rendered the more necessary by the defective statement of them in a late very learned Analysis of Chronology; of which statement an account is given in a subsequent part of this Letter,
general testimony of the Fathers *, that the Gospel was preached in Britain by some of the Apostles soon after the middle of the first Century, but shrink from the particular evidences of time and person, as fables, which would discredit the dignity and accuracy of history. In which caution there is more, perhaps, to regret than to censure. They are unwilling to affect the general credit of their narratives by the admission of particulars, however interesting, which they think they cannot substantiate. But unfortunately they reject the probable on account of the improbable. And in this rejection, it is certainly much to be regretted, that they have given some advantage to the advocates of popery and infidelity; to the former by the suppression of evidences, which disprove the right of supremacy in the Church of Rome;
* Vulgata est et receptissima Patrum omnium, vixque ab ullo, quod sciam, hodie improbata sententia, Paullum Apostolum, post biennium illud Romæ actum (cujus meminit Lucas Act. xxviii. 30.) vinculis solutum per aliquot annos Occidentem prædicando paragra se. (CAPELLI Hist. Apost. p. 29.) Sophronius Patriarcha Hierosol. disertis verbis asserit Britanniam nostram Paulum invisisse. Nec desunt (Jesuitæ antedicto fidem si adhibeamus, nam librum ab eo citatum videre mihi namquam contigisse fateor) qui tempus ipsum designent adventus ejus, quartum scilicet Neronis annum. (GODWIN de Præsul, p. 8, ed. 1616.)
and to the latter, by withdrawing some strong and tangible proofs of the truth of Christianity.
2. Gildas says that Christianity was introduced into Britain before the defeat of the British forces under Boadicea, (A. D. 61.) and between that event, and some others not long preceding it. He has just mentioned this defeat, and then adds; “ In the mea
66 while the sun of the Gospel first enlightened this Island, which displayed his bright beams to the whole world, as we know, in the latter part of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar * "
In the 18th or 19th of Tiberius the Apostles received their commission to preach the Gospel to all the world ; and in the 23rd the same Emperor gave his publick protection to Christianity throughout the empire.
* Interea glaciali frigore rigenti insulæ (et veluti longiore terrarum secessu soli visibili non proximæ) verus ille Sol (non de firmamento temporali sed de summa etiam cælorum arce tempora cuncta excedente) universo orbi præfulgidum sui coruscum ostendens tempore, ut scimus, summo Tiberii Cæsaris (quo absque ullo impedimento ejus propagabatur Religio, comminata, senatu nolente, a Principe morte dilatoribus militum ejusdem,) radios suos primum indulget, id est, sua præcepta Christus. (Gildæ Hist. p. 3. ed. Gale.) This passage was misunderstood by Camden, Usher, Simson, and others; but is well explained by Stillingtleet in kis Origenes Britannicæ. See a further account of this passage in the Postscript to this Letter,