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been before involved in ignorance, and sin, as all people in general were, till the manifestation of the gospel of Christ. That St. Peter wrote to all christians in those countries, is apparent from the valedictory blessing, or wish, at the end of the epistle, 1 Ep. v. 14, “Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus.” Lewis Capellus, who thought that St. Peter's first epistle was written to Jewish believers, allows that * the second epistle was written to all christians in general, and particularly to Gentiles, induced thereto by the comprehensiveness of the address at the beginning of that epistle: “to them that have obtained like precious faith with us.” He should have concluded as much of the first epistle likewise. For they were both sent to the same people, as is evident from St. Peter's own words, 2 Ep. iii. 1. Moreover, the inscription of the first epistle seems to be as general as that of the second. Let us observe it distinctly. “To the elect,” ex\ectors, says Wall upon the place : “He useth the word ekNekrot, choice ones, just as St. Paul ‘ does the word āquot, saints, for the word christians. And ‘as St. Paul directs almost all his epistles “to the saints,” “ that is, the christians, of such a place; so St. Peter * here, “to the elect,” or choice ones, that is, christians, ‘sojourning in the dispersions of Pontus, Galatia, and ‘ Bithynia.’ “Strangers,” Tapettönuous. Good men, though at home, are strangers, especially if they meet with opposition, trouble, and affliction, as those christians did to whom St. Peter is here writing. For he speaks of their “trials and temptations,” ch. i., ver. 6, 7, and exhorts them, ch. ii. 11, “as sojourners, and strangers, tos Tapouces cat Tapertönues, to abstain from fleshly lusts.” Says (Ecumenius upon ch. i. ver. 1, 2, “He calls y them strangers, either on account “of their dispersion, or because that all who live religiously ‘ are called strangers on this earth, as David also says: “I
* Ad posteriorem autem. B. Petri epistolam. Nec fuit ea scripta, quemadmodum prior, Solis Judaeis roug ex &lag tropag, sed omnibus in universum fidelibus, tum ex Judaeis, tom ex Gentibus, ad Christum conversis. Quod liquet tum ex ver. 1. cap. i. roug tooruov juiv \axeot Tristy, (quod de Gentibus proprie dicitur) tum exeo quod cap. iii. 15, 16. dicit Paulum ad eos scripsisse in omnibus suis epistolis. Atqui pleraeque omnes Pauli epistolae scriptae sunt ad Gentes ad fidem Christi conversas. Capell. Hist. Apost. p. 44.
* Ek\skroic trapstrugmplotc.] To trapetričnuouc, nrot &ua rmv ćuartropav strev, m kat Ört travrég of kara esov Čovréc trapstriðmpiot Aeyovrat rmc yng, dog kas
‘am a sojourner with thee, and a stranger, as all my fathers ‘ were,” Ps. xxxix. 12.” “Scattered throughout Pontus or, of * the dispersion of Pontus, Galatia:—” so he calls them, not because they had been driven out from their native country, but because he writes to the christians of divers countries, who also were but a few, or a small number, in every place where they dwelled. This may suffice for showing, that these two epistles were sent to all christians in general, living in the countries, mentioned at the beginning of the first epistle. I shall now show, that these christians were for the most part of Gentile stock and original. I Pet. i. 14, “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves, according to the former lusts in your ignorance.” This might be very pertinently said to men converted from gentilism to christianity ; but no such thing is ever said by the apostles, concerning the Jewish people, who had been favoured with divine revelation, and had the knowledge of the true God. And ver. 20 and 21, he says, that “ through Christ they did now believe in God.” Therefore they were not worshippers of God, till they were acquainted with the christian revelation. In like manner, ch. ii. 9, St. Peter speaks of those to whom he writes, as “ having been j' out of darkness into God’s marvellous light.” Moreover, they once were not God’s people, ver. 10, “Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God : which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” Words resembling those of St. Paul, Rom. ix. 24, 25, where he is unquestionably speaking of Gentile converts. There are also other expressions, which plainly show, that these persons had been Gentiles, and had lived in the sins of gentilism. Ch. i. 18, “Forasmuch as ye know, that ye were redeemed from your vain conversation, received by tradition from your fathers.” And ch. iv. 3, “For the time past of our life may suffice us, to have wrought the will of the Gentiles: when we walked in lasciviousness, Iusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.” St. Peter does not charge himself with such things. But they to whom he writes had been guilty in those respects. And by way of condescension, and for avoiding offence, and for rendering his argument more effectual, he joins himself with them. Once more, when St. Peter represents the dignity of
those to whom he writes, upon account of their christian vocation, ch. ii. 9, “as a chosen generation, a peculiar people, a royal priesthood :” certainly, the expressions are most pertinent, and emphatical, if understood of such as had been brought from gentilism to the faith of the gospel, as indeed they plainly were. For he there says, “they were to show forth the praises of him, who had called them out of darkness into his marvellous light.” To all which might be added, what was hinted before, that the persons to whom Peter writes were, for the most part, the apostle Paul’s converts. This must be reckoned probable from the accounts which we have in the Acts of St. Paul’s travels and preaching. Whence we know, that he had been in Galatia, and the other countries, mentioned by St. Peter at the beginning of his first epistle. Moreover he observes, 2 Ep. iii. 15, that “his beloved brother Paul had written unto them.” We may reasonably suppose, that he thereby intends St. Paul’s epistles to the Galatians, the Ephesians, and Colossians, all in those countries, and for the most part gentile believers. Nor do I see reason to doubt, but that Peter had before now seen and read St. Paul’s two epistles to Timothy. And if we should add them, as here intended also, it would be no prejudice to our argument. For those epistles likewise were designed for the use and benefit of the churches in those parts. To me these considerations appear unanswerable. I shall therefore take notice of but one objection only, which is grounded upon ch. ii. 12, “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles : that whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” Upon the first clause in that verse Beza says, that " this place alone is sufficient to show, that this epistle was sent to Jews. But I think not. From St. Paul may be alleged a text of the like sort, I Cor. x. 32, “Give no offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, [kat “EX\mat, nor to the church of God.” It might be as well argued from that text, that the Corinthians were by descent neither Jews nor Greeks, as from this, that the persons to whom St. Peter wrote, were not originally Gentiles. In the text of St. Paul, just alleged, by Jews and Gentiles, or Greeks, are intended such as were unbelievers. So it is likewise in the
* Inter Gentes. 8v roug søveaw.] Vel unus hic locus tribubus illis dispersis proprie fuisse inscriptam hanc epistolam convincit. Bez. in loc.
text of St. Peter, which we are considering : as is apparent from the latter part of the verse, above transcribed at large. St. Peter had a right to distinguish those, to whom he writes, from the gentile people among whom they lived : as he had at the beginning of his epistle called them elect, or choice ones, and strangers, and they likewise went by the name of christians, as we perceive from ch. iv. 16. St. Peter's two epistles then were sent to all christians in general, living in those countries: the greatest part of whom had been converted from gentilism, or heathemism. III. Our next inquiry is, concerning the place where these epistles were written. At the end of the first epistle St. Peter says: “The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you.” Which text understood literally, has been thought by some to denote Babylon in Assyria, or Babylon in Egypt. By others it is interpreted figuratively, and supposed to denote Jerusalem, or Rome. So that there are four opinions concerning the place where this epistle is dated. All which must be considered by us. 1. Pearson by Babylon supposes to be meant" a town, or city, of that name in Egypt. But it seems to me, that “ little can be said for this opinion. Babylon in Egypt is an obscure place. It was a frontier town, or strong castle, with a garrison, as it is described by "Strabo: in whose time, the reign of Tiberius, was quartered there one of the three Roman legions, appointed to keep the Egyptian people in order. In such a place, as may be supposed, there" were but few Jews and not many inhabitants of any sort, beside soldiers. This opinion likewise is altogether without the authority of ancient christians. If St. Peter had written an
* Explodatur figurata, admittatur literalis expositio. Non opus erit, ut in Assyriam nos conferamus, si nudo urbis nomine standum esse arbitremur. Alia enim erat urbs Babylonis nomine insignita, eague Judaeae multo vicinior, a Babyloniis, post dira prophetarum vaticinia, Ptolomaeorum permissu condita et habitata. Pearson. de Succ. Rom. Episc. Diss. i. num, vii. &c. * Duas enim vetus terrarum orbis habuit Babylones, alteram clarissimam illam Chaldaeorum regiam, alteram castellum quoddam AEgypti a Babyloniis conditum. Posteriorem hic nominari, nemo crediturus fuisse videtur, nisi fama fuisset vulgata, prioris Babylonis &tate nihil superfuisse, certe nullos prorsus ei fuisse incolas. Heumann. Nova Sylloge Dissertat. P. II. p. 106. * AvatAsvgavro 5' est Bağv\ov opeptov spupivov vvvi 6 set sparots&ov o: * Tayuarww row opapavrov rmv Alyvtrov. Strab. l. 17. p. 807. al. p. e * Abundasse Judaeis AEgyptiacam Babylonem, vix probabile videtur, propter et constitutum in ea civitate Romanorum praesidium, cum signis et aquilis suis quae Judaeis odio erant, et vicinitatem Alexandriae, in quâ libentius degebant. Basnag. Ann. 46. num. xxvii.
epistle in Egypt, in all probability, it ' would have been dated at Alexandria. - But there is mot in early antiquity any intimation, that & the apostle Peter was at all at Alexandria, or in any part of Egypt. If St. Peter had been at Babylon in Egypt, and had founded a church there, it would have been a church of great renown among christians : whereas" there is not for the first four centuries any notice taken of a church, or bishop in that place. Le Clerc, who ' follows Pearson, says, in his notes upon 1 Pet. v. 13, * Thereby * is to be understood, not Babylon, * which lay on the east side of the Euphrates, and where * Peter mever was, but a city in Egypt, so called, and Iy* ing mot far from the place where now is Cairo.' But what proof is there of Peter's ever having been in Egypt, more than of his having been in Assyria ? 2. Lewis Capellus conjectured, that' by Babylon is to be understood Jerusalem. But it is a mere conjecture, quite destitute of foundation in antiquity. And therefore, in my opinion, no more to be received, than the preceding interpretation. 3. I)ivers other learned men think, that by Babylon is
f Si Petrus in Ægyptiacâ Babylone versatus est, cui probabile fiet, non petivisse Alexandriam, civitatem totius orbis secundum Romam nobilissimam, magnoque Judæorum numero frequentem ; cum Alexandriæ in viciniâ exstaret Babylon, et moris esset apostolorum, aliquâ in regione vestigium ponentium, metropoles adire, ut majus theatrum haberet evangelii prædicatio, quæ inde veluti ex fonte manabat urbibus provincialibus irrigandis. Id. ibid. 8 Quod vero in Ægypto unquam versatus fuerit, ne levissima quidem antiquitatis umbra obtendi potest. Cav. de Petro, H. L. p. 6. Quis vero veterum dixit, Petrum se Alexandriam contulisse ? Hoccine dissimulâssent tot eruditi scriptores, quos Alexandrina peperit ecclesia ? Basnag. ib. * Liquet omnes ecclesias apostolicas magnæ existimationis fuisse veteribus. Hinc illud Tertullianum: * Percurre ecclesias apostolicas, apud quas ipsæ * adhuc cathedræ apostolorum suis locis præsident.' Proindeque ecclesia, quæ Memphiticâ Babylóne fuit, apostolicis esset inferenda, et multo honore cumulata fuisset, utpote a Petro fundata. Jam vero tam obscura fuit Babylonica illa ecclesia, ut labentibus quadringentis amplius annis, in antiquitatis monumemtis nullo vestigio reperiatur : mullà fuit episcoporum successione, nullâ martyrum passione nobilis. Quod de ecclesiâ apostolicâ, et in Imperio Romano constitutâ, vix cogitatione fingi potest. Basn. ubi supra. * Vid. ejus H. E. anno. 61. num. vii. et Annot. ad Hammondi Præmonitionem in 1 Petri epistolam. * Il fautentendre, non la Babylone, qui étoit à l'orient de 1'Euphrate, et où S. Pierre n'a jamais été; mais une ville d'Egypte, qui se nommoit ainsi, et qui n'étoit pas loim de lieu ou est-bâti le Caire. Le Clerc. sur. l. ep. de S. Pierre, v. 13. ' Ego potius conjicerem Jerosolymæ fuisse scriptam, et Jerosolymam a Petro fuisse dictam figurate Babylonem ; quod tum temporis Jerusalem non esset amplius urbs, sed spiritualis quædam Babylon, in quâ ecclesia Dei captiva quasi tenebatur, et gravi servitute premebatur, quâtenus pridem a Judæis persecutionem pati cœperat. Cap. Hist. Ap. p. 42.