Online Bible and Study Tools
Translate || Vine / Schaff || Alts/Vars/Criticism/Aramaic


End Times Chart

Introduction and Key


Church-State Relations and the Book of Revelation
An Introduction to The Parousia: A Careful Look at the New Testament Doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming
by James Stuart Russell (1878) // Written by
Todd Dennis, Curator




Born: Aug. 7, 1831 - Bombay, India // Died: Mar. 22, 1903 - Canterbury, England

Chaplain to Queen Victoria, 1871-1876 | Headmaster of Marlborough College | Canon of Westminster Abbey | Rector of St. Margaret’s, Westminster | Archdeacon of Westminster | Dean of Canterbury.

Life of Dean Farrar | Biographical Information | Farrar Papers

Review By New Englander and Yale review. / Volume 41, Issue 171

Review by Quarterly Review | The Life of Christ | Witness of History to Christ | Gathering Clouds: A Tale of the Days of St. Chrysostom | The Life and Work of St. Paul

Free Online Books

Free Online Books

Apocalyptic | Apocryphal | Archeology | Lectures | Biographies | Dead Sea Scrolls | First Century History | Foreign | Jewish Sources | Josephus

Click For Site Updates Page

Free Online Books Page

Historical Preterism Main

Modern Preterism Main

Hyper Preterism Main

Preterist Idealism Main

Critical Article Archive Main

Church History's Preteristic Presupposition

Study Archive Main

Dispensationalist dEmEnTiA  Main

Josephus' Wars of the Jews Main

Online Study Bible Main


070: Clement: First Epistle of Clement

075: Baruch: Apocalypse Of Baruch

075: Barnabus: Epistle of Barnabus

090: Esdras 2 / 4 Ezra

100: Odes of Solomon

150: Justin: Dialogue with Trypho

150: Melito: Homily of the Pascha

175: Irenaeus: Against Heresies

175: Clement of Alexandria: Stromata

198: Tertullian: Answer to the Jews

230: Origen: The Principles | Commentary on Matthew | Commentary on John | Against Celsus

248: Cyprian: Against the Jews

260: Victorinus: Commentary on the Apocalypse "Alcasar, a Spanish Jesuit, taking a hint from Victorinus, seems to have been the first (AD 1614) to have suggested that the Apocalyptic prophecies did not extend further than to the overthrow of Paganism by Constantine."

310: Peter of Alexandria

310: Eusebius: Divine Manifestation of our Lord

312: Eusebius: Proof of the Gospel

319: Athanasius: On the Incarnation

320: Eusebius: History of the Martyrs

325: Eusebius: Ecclesiastical History

345: Aphrahat: Demonstrations

367: Athanasius: The Festal Letters

370: Hegesippus: The Ruin of Jerusalem

386: Chrysostom: Matthew and Mark

387: Chrysostom: Against the Jews

408: Jerome: Commentary on Daniel

417: Augustine: On Pelagius

426: Augustine: The City of God

428: Augustine: Harmony

420: Cassian: Conferences

600: Veronica Legend

800: Aquinas: Eternity of the World




1265: Aquinas: Catena Aurea

1543: Luther: On the Jews

1555: Calvin: Harmony on Evangelists

1556: Jewel: Scripture

1586: Douay-Rheims Bible

1598: Jerusalem's Misery ; The dolefull destruction of faire Ierusalem by Tytus, the Sonne of Vaspasian

1603: Nero : A New Tragedy

1613: Carey: The Fair Queen of Jewry

1614: Alcasar: Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi

1654: Ussher: The Annals of the World

1658: Lightfoot: Commentary from Hebraica

1677: Crowne - The Destruction of Jerusalem

1764: Lardner: Fulfilment of our Saviour's Predictions

1776: Edwards: History of Redemption

1785: Churton: Prophecies Respecting the Destruction of Jerusalem

1801: Porteus: Our Lord's Prophecies

1802: Nisbett: The Coming of the Messiah

1805: Jortin: Remarks on Ecclesiastical History

1810: Clarke: Commentary On the Whole Bible

1816: Wilkins: Destruction of Jerusalem Related to Prophecies

1824: Galt: The Bachelor's Wife

1840: Smith: The Destruction of Jerusalem

1841: Currier: The Second Coming of Christ

1842: Bastow : A (Preterist) Bible Dictionary

1842: Stuart: Interpretation of Prophecy

1843: Lee: Dissertations on Eusebius

1845: Stuart: Commentary on Apocalypse

1849: Lee: Inquiry into Prophecy

1851: Lee: Visions of Daniel and St. John

1853: Newcombe: Observations on our Lord's Conduct as Divine Instructor

1854: Chamberlain: Restoration of Israel

1854: Fairbairn: The Typology of Scripture

1859: "Lee of Boston": Eschatology

1861: Maurice: Lectures on the Apocalypse

1863: Thomas Lewin : The Siege of Jerusalem

1865: Desprez: Daniel (Renounced Full Preterism)

1870: Fall of Jerusalem and the Roman Conquest

1871: Dale: Jewish Temple and Christian Church (PDF)

1879: Warren: The Parousia

1882: Farrar: The Early Days of Christianity

1883: Milton S. Terry: Biblical Hermeneutics

1888: Henty: For The Temple

1891: Farrar: Scenes in the days of Nero

1896: Lee : A Scholar of a Past Generation

1902: Church: Story of the Last Days of Jerusalem

1917: Morris: Christ's Second Coming Fulfilled

1985: Lee: Jerusalem; Rome; Revelation (PDF)

1987: Chilton: The Days of Vengeance

2001: Fowler: Jesus - The Better Everything

2006: M. Gwyn Morgan - AD69 - The Year of Four Emperors

Print and Use For Personal Bookmark or Placement in Bookstores




F.W. Farrar



 "It has been usual to say that the Spanish Jesuit Alcasar.. was the founder of the Præterist School.. But to me it seems that the founder of the Præterist School is none other than St. John himself."


(1883 Second Edition / 80Mb .pdf File)

(1884 Popular Edition / 19Mb .pdf File)






I complete in these volumes the work which has absorbed such leisure as could be spared from many and onerous duties during the last twelve years. My object has been to furnish English readers with a companion, partly historic and partly expository, to the whole of the New Testament. By attention to the minutest details of the original, by availing myself to the best of my power of the results of modern criticism, by trying to concentrate upon the writings of the Apostles and Evangelists such light as may be derived from Jewish, Pagan, or Christian sources, I have endeavoured to fulfil my ordination vow and to show diligence in such studies as help to the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. The " Life of Christ" was intended mainly as a commentary upon the Gospels. It was written in such a form as should reproduce whatever I had been able to learn from the close examination of every word which they contain, and should at the same time set forth the living reality of the scenes recorded. In the " Life of St. Paul" I wished to incorporate the details of the Acts of the Apostles with such biographical incidents as can be derived from the Epistles of St. Paul; and to take the reader through the Epistles themselves in a way which might enable him, with keener interest, to judge of their separate purpose and peculiarities, by grasping the circumstances under which each of them was written. The present volumes are an attempt to set forth, in their distinctive characteristics, the work and the writings of St. Peter, St. James, St. Jude, St. John, and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. If my effort has been in any degree successful, the reader should carry away from these pages some conception of the varieties of religious thought which prevailed in the schools of Jerusalem and of Alexandria, and also of those phases of theology which are represented by the writings of the two greatest of the twelve Apostles.

In carrying out this design I have gone, almost verse by verse, through the seven Catholic Epistles, the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Revelation of St. John—explaining their special difficulties, and develop­ing their general characteristics. Among many Christians there is a singular ignorance of the Books of Scripture as a whole. With a wide knowledge of particular texts, there is a strange lack of familiarity with the bearings of each separate Gospel and Epistle. I have hoped that by considering each book in connexion with all that we can learn of its author, and of the circumstances under which it was written, I might perhaps contribute to the intelligent study of Holy Writ. There may be some truth in the old motto, Bonus textuarius bonus theologus; but he whose knowledge is confined to "texts," and who has never studied them, first with their context, then as forming fragments of entire books, and lastly in their relation to the whole of Scripture, incurs the risk of turning theology into an erroneous and artificial system. It is thus that the Bible has been misinterpreted by substituting words for things; by making the dead letter an instrument wherewith to murder the living spirit; and by reading into Scripture a multitude of meanings which it was never intended to express. Words, like the chameleon, change their colour with their surroundings. The very same word may in different ages involve almost opposite connotations. The vague and differing notions attached to the same term have been the most fruitful sources of theological bitterness, and of the internecine opposition of contending sects. The abuse of sacred phrases has been the cause, in age after age, of incredible misery and mischief. Texts have been perverted to sharpen the sword of the tyrant and to strengthen the rod of the oppressor—to kindle the fagot of the Inquisitor and to rivet the fetters of the slave. The terrible wrongs which have been inflicted upon mankind in their name have been due exclusively to their isolation and perversion. The remedy for these deadly evils would have been found in the due study and comprehension of Scripture as a whole. The Bible does not all lie at a dead level of homogeneity and uniformity. It is a progressive revelation. Its many-coloured wisdom was made known " fragmentarily and multifariously "—in many parts and in many manners.

In the endeavour to give a clearer conception of the books here considered I have followed such different methods as each particular passage seemed to require. I have sometimes furnished a very close and literal translation; sometimes a free paraphrase; sometimes a rapid abstract; sometimes a running commentary. Avoiding all parade of learned references, I have thought that the reader would generally prefer the brief expression of a definite opinion to the reiteration of many bewildering theories. Neither in these, nor in the previous volumes, have I wilfully or consciously avoided a single difficulty. A passing sentence often expresses a conclusion which has only been formed after the study of long and tedious monographs. In the footnotes especially I have compressed into the smallest possible space what seemed to be most immediately valuable for the illustration of particular words or allusions. In the choice of readings I have exercised an independent judgment. If my choice coincides in most instances with that of the Revisers of the New Testament, this has only arisen from the fact that I have been guided by the same principles as they were. These volumes, like the " Life of Christ" and the " Life of St. Paul," were written before the readings adopted by the Revisers were known, and without the assistance which I should otherwise have derived from their invaluable labours. [I take this opportunity of thanking the Rev. John de Soyres and Mr. "W. R. Brown for the assistance which they have rendered in preparing this book for the press.]

The purpose which I have had in view has been, I trust, in itself a wortby one, however much I may have failed in its execution. A living writer of eminence has spoken of his works in terms which, in very humble measure, I would fain apply to my own. "I have made," said Cardinal Newman—in a speech delivered in 1879—"many mistakes. I have nothing of that high perfection which belongs to the writings of the saints, namely, that error cannot be found in them. But what, I trust, I may claim throughout all I have written is this—an honest intention; an absence of personal ends ; a temper of obedience; a willingness to be corrected; a dread of error; a desire to serve the Holy Church and " (though this is perhaps more than I have any right to say) " through the Divine mercy a fair measure of success."

St. Margaret's Sectary, Westminster, June 11th, 1882.

Volume I.


moral condition of the world.

Degradations which accompanied the Decadence of Paganism—The Slaves—The Rich and Noble—The Emperor—Fatal Degeneracy—Greeklings—Literature, Art, the Drama—The Senate — Scepticism and Superstition—Stoic Virtue—The Holy .Toy of Christians ....

the rise of the antichrist.

The Nemesis of Absolutism—Reign of Nero—Christians and the Roman Government—St. Paul and the Empire—Horrors of Cassarism—The Palace of the Antichrist—Agrippina the Younger—Infancy of Nero— Evil Auguries—Intrigues of Agrippina—Her Marriage with Claudius— Her Career as Empress—Her Plots to Advance her Son—Her Crimes— Her Peril—Murder of Claudius—Accession of Nero . . . .17

the features of the antichrist.

Successful Guilt—Fresh Crimes—The "Golden Quinquennium"—Follies of Nero—Threats of Agrippina—Jealousy of Britannicus—Murder of Britannicus—Nero estranged from Agrippina—Influence of Poppaea— Plot to Murder Agrippina—Burrus and Seneca—Murder of Agrippina—A Tormented Conscience—The Depths of Satan . . . .35

the burning of rome, and the first persecution.

The Era of Martyrdom—The Fire of Rome—Was Nero Guilty ?—Devastation of the City—Confusion and Agony—The Golden House—Nero Sanpeeted—The Christians Accused—Strangeness of this Circumstance— Tacitus—Popular Feeling against the Christians—Secret Jewish Sug­gestions—Poppaea a Proselyte—Incendiarism attributed to Christians— Jisthetic Cruelty—A Huge Multitude—Dreadful Forms of Martyrdom—Martyrs on the Stage—The Antichrist—Retribution—Awful Omens
—The Revolt of Vindex—Suicide of Nero—Expectation of his Return....... 51

writings of the apostles and early christians.

Annals of the Church—End of the Acts—Obscurity of Details—Little known about the Apostles—St. Andrew—St. Bartholomew—St. Mat­thew—St. Thomas—St. James the Less—St. Simon Zelotcs—Judas— Late and Scanty Records—Writings of the Great Apostles—Invaluable as illustrating different Phases of Christian Thought—They Explain the opposite Tendencies of Heretical Development—The Revelation—The Epistle to the Hebrews—The Seven Catholic Epistles—The Epistle of St. Jude—The Epistle of St. James—The Epistles of St. Peter-Catholicity of St. Peter—The Three Epistles of St. John—Genuineness of these Writings—Contrasts between different Apostles—Difference between St. Paul and St. John—Superiority of the New Testament to the Writings of the Apostolic Fathers—The Epistle of St. Clemens— Its Theological and Intellectual Weakness—The Epistle of Barnabas— Its exaggerated Panlinism—Its extravagant Exegesis—The Christian Church was not ideally Pure—Yet its Chief Glory was in the Holiness of its Standard ........... 81

st. peter.

Outline of his early Life—Events recorded in the Acts—Complete Tin-certainty as to his Subsequent Career—Legends—Dom'me quo vadis?— The Legends embellished and Doubtful—Legend about Simon Magus —Was Peter Bishop of Rome?—Improbability of the Legend about his Crucifixion head downwards —His Martyrdom—His Visit to Rome....... 109

special features of the first epistle of st. peter.

Date of the Epistle—Its certain Genuineness—Style of the Epistle—A Christian Treatise—Natural Allusions to Events in the Gospels—Vivid Expressions—Resemblance to the Speeches in the Acts—Allusions to the Law—Resemblances to St. Paul and St. James—Plasticity of St. Peter's Nature—Struggle after Unity—Originality—His View of redemption —His View of faith—His Views upon regeneration and baptism— Not Transcendental hut Practical—Christ's Descent into Hades—Great Importance of the Doctrine—Attempts to explain it away—Reference to the Epistle to the Galatians—Addressed to both Jews and Gentiles— Crisis at which it was Composed—A Time of Persecution—Keynote of the Letter—Analysis

 the first epistle of st. peter.

Title which he Adopts—Address—Provinces of Asia—Thanksgiving—Ex­hortation to Hope—Special Appeals—Duty of Blameless Living—Duty of Civil Obedience—Humble Submission—Address to Servants—To Christian Wives—Exhortation to Love and Unity—Christ Preaching to the Spirits in Prison—Obvious Import of the Passage—Ruthlessness of Commentators—The approaching End—Address to Elders—Conclusion...... 151

peculiarities of the second epistle.

Overpositiveness in the Attack and Defence of its Genuineness—Its Canonicity—Exaggeration of the Arguments urged in its Favour—Extreme Weakness of external Evidence—Tardy Acceptance of the Epistle— Views of St. Jerome, &c.—Cessation of Criticism—The Unity of its Structure—Outline of the Letter—Internal Evidence—Resemblances to First Epistle—Difference of Style—Peculiarity of its Expressions—Difference in general Form of Thought—Irrelevant Arguments about the Style—Marked Variations—Dr. Abbott's Proof of the Resemblance to Josephus—Could Josephus have Read it?—Reference to the Second Advent—What may be urged against these Difficulties—Priority of St. Jude—Extraordinary Relation to St. Jude—Method of Dealing with the stranger Phenomena of St. Jude's Epistle—Possible Counter-con­siderations—Allusion to the Transfiguration—Ancientness of the Epistle—Superiority of the Epistle to the Post-Apostolic Writings— The Thoughts may have been Sanctioned and Adopted by St. Peter.....

the second epistle of st. peter.

page Reasons for offering a Literal Translation of the Epistle—Translation and Notes—Abrupt ConclusionIts Authenticity—Who was the Author?—Jude, the Brother of James— Not an Apostle—One of the Brethren of the Lord—Wby he does not use this Title—Wby he calls himself "Brother of James"—Story of his Grandchildren—Circumstances which may have called forth the Epistle—Corruption of Morals—Who were the Offenders thus Denounced ?—Resemblances to Second Epistle of St. Peter—Translation and Notes—Style of Greek—Simplicity of Structure—Fondness for Apocryphal Allusions—Methods of Dealing with these Peculiarities— "Verbal Dictation"—Rabbinic Legends—Corrupt, Gnosticising Sects.... 220

judaism, the septuagint, etc.

Unity of Christian Faith—Diversity in Unity—Necessity and Blessing of the Diversity—Individuality of the Sacred Writers—Phases of Christian Truth—Alexandrian Christianity—The Jews and Greek Philosopby—Hebraism and Hellenism—Glories of Alexandria—Prosperity of the Jews in Alexandria—The Diapleuston—Favour shown the Jews by the Ptolemies—The Septuagint—Delight of the Hellenists—Anger of the Hebraists—Effects on Judaism—Bias of the Translators—Harmless Variations from the Hebrew—Hagadoth—Avoidance of Anthropomorphism and Anthropopatby—Deliberate Manipulation of the Original—Aristobulus—The Wisdom of Solomon—Semi-Ethnic Jewish Literature—Philo not wholly Original ..... 247

philo and the doctrine of the logos.

Family of Alexander the Alubarch—Life of PhiloClassification of his Works—Those that bear on the Creation—On Abraham—Allegorising Fancies—The Life of Moses—Arbitrary Exegesis—Meanings of the word logos—Personification of the Logos—The High Priest—A Cup­bearer—Other Comparisons—Vague Outlines of the Conception—Con­trast with St. John .......... 266

philonish—allegory—the catechetical school.

Influence of Philo on the Sacred Writers—Sapiential Literature of Alexandria—Defects of Philonism—The School of St. Mark—Motto of the Alexandrian School—Allegory applied to the Old Testament—The Parties of the Kabbalists—History of Allegory in the Alexandrian School—Allegory in the Western Church . . . . . .277

authorship and style of the epistle to the hebrews.

Continuity of Scripture—Manifoldness of Wisdom—Ethnic Inspiration— The Epistle Alexandrian—External Evidence—Summary—Superficial Custom—Misuse of Authorities—Later Doubts and Hesitations—In­dolent Custom—Phrases common to the Author with St. Paul— Differences of Style not explicable—The Epistle not a Translation— Fondness of the Writer for Sonorous Amplifications .... 285

theology of the epistle to the hebrews.

Difference from the Theological Conceptions of St. Paul—Three Cardinal Topics—"The People"—Christianity and Judaism—Alexandrianism of the Writer—Prominence of the Jews—Method of treating Scripture—Indebtedness to Philo—Particular Expressions—"The Cutter-Word"—Stern Passages—Melchizedek-Priesthood of Christ—Superiority to Philo—Fundamental Alexandrianism—Judaism not regarded as a Law but as a System of Worship—"The Pattern shewn thee in the Mount"—Effectiveness of the Argument—A Prae-existent Ideal—The World of Ideas—View of hope—faith, in this Epistle and in St. Paul—righteousness—Christology—redemption—Prominence given to priesthood and sacrifice—Peculiar Sentences—The Author could not have been St. Paul .......... 301

who wrote the epistle to the hebrews ?

Absence of Greeting—Certainties about the Writer—By some known Friend of St. Paul—Yet not by aquila—Nor by titus—Nor by silas—Nor by st. barnabas—Nor by st. ci.emens of rome—Nor by st. mark—Nor by st. luke—Strong Probability that the Writer was apollos—This would not necessarily be known to the Church of Alexandria— Suggested by Luther—Generally and increasingly Accepted—Date of the Epistle—Allusion to Timotby—Addressed to Jewish Christians— Not Addressed to the Church of Jerusalem—Nor to Corinth—Nor to Alexandria—May have been Addressed to Rome—Or to Ephesus—"They of Italy "—Apollos ......... 330

the epistle to the hebrews.


Comparison between Judaism and Christianity—Outline of the Epistle— Its Keynotes — Striking Opening — Christ Superior to Angels— Peculiar Method of Scriptural Argument—Use of Quotations—An Admitted Method—Partial Change of View—The Style of Argument less important to us . ......... 340


Translation and Notes—Christ Superior to Moses—Parallelism of Structure
—Appeal ............ 358


Transitional Exhortation—Qualifications of High Priesthood—Sketch of the great Argument of the Epistle—Translation and Notes—Explanation of Difficulties respecting the Nature of Christ—Digression—Post-Baptismal Sin—Indefectibility of Grace—Calvinistic View of the Passage—Arminian View—Neither View Tenable—Obvious Limita­tions of the Meaning of the Passage—"Near a Curse"—"For Burning"—A Better Hope . ........ 368


Translation and Notes—All that is known of Melchizedek—Salem— El six Eliun—Allusion in Psalm ex.—Hagadoth—Philo—Mystery attached to Melchizedek—Fantastic Bypotheses—Who Melchizedek was—Only Important as a Type—Semitic Phraseology and Modes of Arguing from the Silence of Scripture—Translation and Notes—Argument of the Passage—Superiority of the Melchizedek to the Levitic Priesthood in Seven Particulars—Summary and Notes ...... 391


Grandeur of the Day—Translation and Notes—A New Covenant—Its Superior Ordinances of Ministration—Translation and Notes—Symbolism of Service—The Tabernacle, not the Temple—"Vacua omnia "— Contents of the Ark—The Tliumiaterion—Censer (?)—Altar of Incense—Translation and Notes—Meanings of the word Diutheke—-An obvious Play on its Second Meaning of "Testament"—Translation and Notes— Familiarity with the Hagadoth and the Halacha—Grandest Phase of Levitic Priesthood—Feelings Inspired by the Day—Careful Preparation of the High Priest—Legendary Additions to the Ritual—Peril of the Function—Chosen as the Highest Point of Comparison— Superiority of Christian Privileges in every respect . . . . 409


Translation and Notes—Triumphant Close of the Argument—Summary... 440


Exhortation—Its Solemnity—Translation and Notes ... 446


Faith—What is Faith ?—Exhibited in its Issues—Beginning of the Illustration—Instances from each Period of Sacred History—Translation and Notes ........... 451


Exhortation to Endurance—God's Fatherhood—Translation and Notes— Faith and Patience—Superior Grandeur of Christianity—Moral Appeal of the last Chapter—Translation and Notes—Modern Controversies— "We have, an Altar "—Explanation of the Passage—Exhortation to Obedience—Final Clauses—Their Bearing on the Authorship of the Epistle ........... 461


"the lord's brother."

A New Phase of Christianity—The Name "James "—The Author was not James the Son of Zebedee—Untenable Arguments—Nor James the Son of Alphsous—Untenable Arguments—Alphaeus—He is James, Bishop of Jerusalem, and the Lord's Brother—Is he Identical with the Son of Alphseus?—"Neither did His Brethren Believe on Him"—Paucity of Jewish Names—Helvidian Theory—The Simplest and Fairest Explanation of the Language of the Evangelists—The Language not Absolutely Decisive—Dogma of the Anpartlicnia—The Evangelists give no Hint of it—What the Gospels Say—Utter Baselessness of the Theory of St. Jerome—Entirely Untrue that the Terms "Cousins " and "Brothers" are Identical—The Theory an Invention due to a priori Conceptions—Not a single Argument can be Adduced in its favour—Tendencies which Led to the Dogma of the Aeiparthenia— Unscriptural and Manichaean Disparagement of the Sanctity of Marriage—The Theory arises from Apollinarian Tendencies—Theory of Epiphanius—Derived from the Apocryphal Gospels—Their Absur­dities and Discrepancies—Conclusion ....... 483

life and character of st. james.

Inimitable Truthfulness of Scripture Narrative—Childhood and Training of St. James—A Boy's Education—"A Just Man"—Levitic Precision— The Home at Nazareth—Familiarity with Scripture—"Wisdom"— Knowledge of Apocryphal Books —Curious Phenomenon—A Nazaritc— Scrupulous Holiness—A Lifelong Vow— Shadows over the Home at Nazareth—Alienation of Christ's " Brethren "—Their Interferences—His Calm and Gentle Rebukes—Their Last Interference—Their Complete Conversion—Due to the Resurrection—"He was Seen of James"—Legend in the Gospel of the Hebrews—St. James and St. Paul—Death of the Son of Zebedee—James, Bishop of Jerusalem— Deep Reverence for his Character—Obliam—St. James and St. Peter— Bearing of St. James in the Synod of Jerusalem—Wisdom which he Showed—Importance of the Question at stake—His Decision—Its Results—"Certain from James"—A Favourite of the Ebionites— Judaic Type of his Character and of his Views—The Results of his Training—"The Just"—Title which he Adopts—Unfortunate Advice to St. Paul—Martyrdom of St. James—Josephus—Hegesippus— Narrative of Hegesippus—Talmudic Legends of St. James—Rapid Retribution ............ 510


The World

Chapter I

Moral Condition of the World

“Quem vocet divum populus ruentis
Imperi rebus? 
Prece qua fatigent
Virgines sanctae minus audientem
Carmina Vestam?” 
Hor. Od. I, ii, 25

“Nona aetas agitur perjoraque saecula ferri
Temporibus, quorum sceleri non invenit ipsa
Nomen, et a nullo posuit natura metallo.”
Juv Sat. xiii, 28-30

 “From Mummius to Augustus the Roman city stands as the living mistress of a dead world, and from Augustus to Theodusius the mistress becomes as lifeless as her subjects.”  Freeman’s Essays, ii, 330

The epoch which witnessed the early growth of Christianity was an epoch of which the horror and the degradation have rarely been equalled, and perhaps never exceeded, in the annals of mankind. Were we to form our sole estimate of it from the lurid picture of its wickedness, which St. Paul in more than one passage has painted with a few powerful strokes, we might suppose that we were judging it from too lofty a standpoint. We might he accused of throwing too dark a shadow upon the crimes of Paganism, when we set it as a foil to the lustre of an ideal holiness. But even if St. Paul


had never paused amid his sacred reasonings to affix his terrible brand upon the pride of Heathenism, there would still have been abundant proofs of the abnormal wickedness which accompanied the decadence of ancient civilisation. They are stamped upon its coinage, cut on its gems, painted upon its chamber-walls, sown broadcast over the pages of its poets, satirists, and historians. " Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant! " Is there any age which stands so instantly condemned by the bare mention of its rulers as that which reealls the successive names of Tiberius, Grains, Claudius, Nero, Gralba, Otho, and Vitellius, and which after a brief gleam of better examples under Vespasian and Titus, sank at last under the hideous tyranny of a Domitian ? Is there any age of which the evil characteristics force themselves so instantaneously upon the mind as that of which we mainly learn the history and moral condition from the relics of Pompeii and Herculaneum, the satires of Persius and Juvenal, the epigrams of Martial, and the terrible records of Tacitus, Suetonius, and Dion Cassius ? And yet even beneath this lowest deep, there is a lower deep; for not even on their dark pages are the depths of Satan so shamelessly laid bare to human gaze as they are in the sordid fictions of Petronius and of Apuleius. But to dwell upon the crimes and the retributive misery of that period is happily not my duty. I need but make a passing allusion to its enormous wealth; its unbounded self-indulgence ; its coarse and tasteless luxury; its greedy avarice ; its sense of insecurity and terror;1 its apatby,

1 2 Cor. vii. 10; " Interciderat sortis hmnanae commercium vi metiis," Tac. Ann. vi. 19; " Favor interims occnpaverat animos," id. iv. 76. See the very remarkable passage of Pliny (" At Hercnle homini plurima ex homine mala snnt," S. N. vii. 1).


debauchery, and cruelty;1 its hopeless fatalism ;2 its unspeakable sadness and weariness;3 its strange extravagances alike of infidelity and of superstition.4

At the lowest extreme of the social scale were millions of slaves, without family, without religion, without possessions, who had no recognised rights, and towards whom none had any recognised duties, passing normally from a childhood of degradation to a manhood of hardship, and an old age of unpitied neglect.5 Only a little above the slaves stood the lower classes, who formed the vast majority of the freeborn inhabitants of the Roman Empire. They were, for the most part, beggars and idlers, familiar with the grossest indignities of an unscrupulous dependence. Despising a life of honest industry, they

1 Mart. Ep. ii. 66; Juv. vi. 491.

2 Lucan, Phars. i. 70, 81; Suet. Tib. 69; Tac. Agric. 42; Ann. iii. 18, iv. 26; " Sed mihi haec et talia audienti in incerto jndicinaixest, fatone/ res mortalinm et necessitate immntabili an forte volvantur," Ann. vi. 22; Plin. H. N. ii. 7; Sen. De Benef. iv. 7.

3 Tacitus, with all his resources, finds it difficult to vary his language in describing so many suicides.

4 See my Witness of History to Christ, p. 101; Seekers after God, p. 38. The " tanrobolies " and " kriobolies " (baths in the blood of bulls and rams) mark the extreme sensuality of superstition. See Dollinger, Gentile and Jew, ii. 179; De Pressense, Trois Premiers Swcles, ii. 1—60, etc.

5 Some of the lociclassici on Roman slavery are: Cic. De Bep. xiv. 23; Jnv. vi. 219, x. 183, xiv. 16—24; Sen. Ep. 47 ; De Ira, iii. 35, 40; De Clem. 18; Controv. v. 33; De Vit. Beat. 17; Plin. H. N. xxxiii. 11; Plut. Cato, 21. Vedius Pollio and the lampreys (Plin. H. N. ix. 23). In the debate on the murder of Pedanius Secundus (Tac. Ann. xiv. 42—45) many eminent senators openly advocated the brutal law that when a master was murdered, his slaves, often to the number of hundreds, should be put to death. These facts, and many others, will be found collected in Wallon, De FEselavage dans I'Antiquite ; Friedlander, Sittengesch. Horns ; Becker, Gallus, E. T. 199—225; Dollinger, Judenth.u.Heidenth. ix. 1, § 2. It is reckoned that in the Empire there cannot have been fewer than 60,000,000 •slaves (Le Maistre, Du Pape, i. 283). They were so numerous as to be divided according to their nationalities (Tac. Ann. iii. 53), and every slave was regarded as a potential enemy (Sen. Ep. xlvii.).



asked only for bread and the games of the Circus, and were ready to support any Government, even the most despotic, if it would supply these needs. They spent their mornings in lounging about the Forum, or in dancing attendance at the levees of patrons, for a share in whose largesses they daily struggled.1 They spent their afternoons and evenings in gossiping at the Public Baths, in listlessly enjoying the polluted plays of the theatre, or looking with fierce thrills of delighted horror at the bloody sports of the arena. At night, they crept up to their miserable garrets in the sixth and seventh stories of the huge insulae—the lodging-houses of Borne —into which, as into the low lodging-houses of the poorer quarters of London, there drifted all that was most wretched and most vile.2 Their life, as it is described for us by their contemporaries, was largely made up of squalor, misery, and vice.

Immeasurably removed from these needy and greedy freemen, and living chiefly amid crowds of corrupted and obsequious slaves, stood the constantly diminishing throng of the wealtby and the noble.3 Every age in its decline has exhibited the spectacle of selfish luxury side by side with abject poverty; of—

" Wealth, a monster gorged Mid starving populations :"—

but nowhere, and at no period, were these contrasts so startling as they were in Imperial Rome. There a whole

1 Suet. Net. 16; Mart. iv. 8, viii. 50; jut. i. 100,128, iii. 269, etc.

2 jut. Sat. iii. 60—65; Athen. i. 17, § 36; Tac. Ann. xt. 44, " quo cuncta undiqne atrocia aut pudenda confluunt;" VitniT. ii. 8; Suet. Ner. 38. There were 44,000 insulae in Rome to only 1,780 dom/us (Becker, Gallus, E. T., p. 232).

3 Among the 1,200,000 inhabitants of ancient Rome, eTen in Cicero's time, there were scarcely 2,000 proprietors (Cic. De Off. ii. 21).


population might be trembling lest they should be starved by the delay of an Alexandrian corn-ship, while the upper classes were squandering a fortune at a single banquet,1 drinking out of myrrhine and jewelled vases worth hundreds of pounds,2 and feasting on the brains of peacocks and the tongues of nightingales.3 As a consequence disease was rife, men were short-lived, and even women became liable to gout.4 Over a large part of Italy, most of the freeborn population had to content themselves, even in winter, with a tunic, and the luxury of a toga was reserved only, by way of honour, to the corpse.5 Yet at this very time, the dress of Roman ladies displayed an unheard-of splendour. The elder Pliny tells us that he himself saw Lollia Paulina dressed for a betrothal feast in a robe entirely covered with pearls and emeralds, which had cost forty million sesterces,8 and which was known to be less costly than some of her other dresses.7 Gluttony, caprice,

1 See Tac. Ann. iii. 55. 400,000 sesterces (Juv. xi. 19). Taking the standard of 100,000 sesterces to be in the Augustan age £1,080 (which is a, little below the calculation of Hultsch), this would be £4,320. 30,000,000 sesterces (Sen. Up. xcv.; Sen. ad Helv. 9). In the days of Tiberius three mullets had sold for 30,000 sesterces (Suet. Tib. 34). Even in the days of Pompey Romans had adopted the disgusting practice of preparing for a dinner by taking an emetic. Yitellius set on the table at one banquet 2,000 fish and 7,000 birds, and in less than eight months spent in feasts a sum that would now amount to several millions.

2 Plin. H. N. viii. 48, xxxvii. 18.

3 "Portenta luxuriae," Sen. Up. ex.; Plin. H. N. ix. 18, 32, x. 51, 72. Petron. 93; jut. xi. 1—55, v. 92—100; Macrob. Sat. iii. 12,13; Sen. Up. Ixxxix. 21; Mart. Ep. Ixx. 5; Lampridius, Elagab.20; Suet. Vitell. 13. On the luxury of the age in general, see Sen. De Brev. Vit. 12; Ep. xcv.

4 Sen. Ep. xcv. 15—29. At Herculanenm many of the rolls discovered were cookery books.

5 Juv. i. 171; Mart. ix. 58, 8.

6 £432,000.

7 Pliny, H. JV. ix. 35, 56. He also saw Agrippina in a robe of gold tissue, id. xxxiii. 19.


extravagance, ostentation, impurity, rioted in the heart of a society which knew of no other means by which to break the monotony of its weariness, or alleviate the anguish of its despair.

" On that hard Pagan world disgust
And secret loathing fell; Deep weariness and sated lust
Made human life a hell. In his cool hall, with haggard eyes,
The Roman noble lay ; He drove abroad in furious guise
Along the Appian Way; He made a feast, drank fierce and fast,
And crowned his hair with flowers— No easier nor no quicker past
The impracticable hours."

At the summit of the whole decaying system— necessary, yet detested—elevated indefinitely above the very highest, yet living in dread of the very lowest, oppressing a population which he terrified, and terrified by the population which he oppressed1—was an Emperor, raised to the divinest pinnacle of autocracy, yet conscious that his life hung upon a thread;2—an Emperor who, in the terrible phrase of Gibbon, was at once a priest, an atheist, and a god.3

The general condition of society was such as might have been expected from the existence of these elements. The Romans had entered on a stage of fatal degeneracy

1 Juv. iv. 153; Suet. Vomit. 17.

2 Tac. Ann. vi. 6; Suet. Claud. 35.

3 " Coelum decretum," Tac. Ann. i. 73; " Dis aequa potestas Caesaris," Juv. iv. 71; Plin. Paneg. 74-5, " Civitas nihil felicitati suae putat adstrui, posse nisi ut Di Caesarem imitentur." (Cf. Suet. Jul. 88; Kb. 13, 58; Aug. 59; Calig. 33; Vesp. 23; Vomit. 13.) Lncan, vii. 456 ; Philo, Leg. ad Gaium passim; Dion Cass. Ixiii. 5, 20; Martial, passim,; Tert. Apol. 33, 34; Boissier, La Rel. Bomaine, i. 122—208.


from the first day of their close intercourse with Greece.1 Greece learnt from Rome her cold-blooded cruelty ; Rome learnt from Greece her voluptuous corruption. Family life among the Romans had once been a sacred thing, and for 520 years divorce had been unknown among them.2 Under the Empire marriage had come to he regarded with disfavour and disdain.3 Women, as Seneca says, married in order to be divorced, and were divorced in order to marry; and noble Roman matrons counted the years not by the Consuls, but by their discarded or discarding husbands.4

To have a family was regarded as a misfortune, because the childless were courted with extraordinary assiduity by crowds of fortune-hunters.5 When there were children in a family, their education was left to be begun under the tutelage of those slaves who were otherwise the most decrepit and useless,6 and was carried on, with results too fatally obvious, by supple, accomplished, and abandoned Greeklings.7 But indeed no system of education could have eradicated the influence of the domestic circle. No care8 could have prevented

1 The degeneracy is specially traceable in their literature from the days of Plautus onwards.

2 The first Roman recorded to have divorced his wife was Sp. Oarvilins Ruga, b.c. 234 (Dionys. ii. 25; Aul. Gell. xvii. 21).

3 Hor. Od. iii. 6, 17. " Baraqne in hoc aevo quae velit esse parens," Ov. Nux, 15. Hence the Lex Papia Poppaea, the Jus trium liberorum, etc. Suet. Oct. 34; Aul. Gell. i. 6. See Ghainpagny, Les Cesars, i. 258, seq.

4 " Non consulnm numero sed maritorum annos suos computant," Sen. De Senef. iii. 16; " Bepudium jam votum erat, et quasi matrimonii fructns," Tert. Apol. 6; " Corrumpere et corrumpi saeculum vocatur," Tac. Germ. 19. Oomp. Suet. Calig. 34.

5 Tac. Germ. 20; Ann. xiii. 52; Plin. H. N. xiv. procem; Sen. ad Marc. Consol. 19; Plin. Epp. iv. 16 ; Juv. Sat. xii. 114, seq.

6 Plut. De Lib. Educ.

7 Juv. vii. 187, 219.

8 Juv. Sat. xiv.


the sons and daughters of a wealthy family from catching the contagion of the vices of which they saw in their parents a constant and unblushing example.1

Literature and art were infected with the prevalent degradation. Poetry sank in great measure into exaggerated satire, hollow declamation, or frivolous epigrams. Art was partly corrupted by the fondness for glare, expensiveness, and size,2 and partly sank into miserable triviality, or immoral prettinesses,3 such as those which decorated the walls of Pompeii in the first century, and the Pare aux Cerfs in the eighteenth. Greek statues of the days of Phidias were ruthlessly decapitated, that their heads might be replaced by the scowling or imbecile features of a Grains or a Claudius. Nero, professing to be a connoisseur, thought that he improved the Alexander of Lysimachus by gilding it from head to foot. Eloquence, deprived of every legitimate aim, and used almost solely for purposes of insincere display, was tempted to supply the lack of genuine fire by sonorous euphony and theatrical affectation. A training in rhetoric was now understood to be a training in the art of emphasis and verbiage, which was rarely used for any loftier purpose than to make sycophancy plausible, or to embellish sophistry with speciousness.* The Drama, even in Horace's days, had degenerated into a vehicle for

1 Juv. Sat. xiv. passim; Tac. De Orat. 28,29; Quinct. i. 2; Sen. De Ira, ii. 22; Up. 95.

2 It was the age of Colossi (Plin. H. N. xxxiv. 7; Mart. Up. i. 71, viii. 44; Stat. Sylv. i. 1, etc.).

3 'Panrojpcu/>(a. Cic. AM. xv. 16; Plin. xxxv. 37. See Champagny, Les Cesars, iv. 138, who refers to Vitruv. vii. 5 ; Propert. ii. 5; Plin. H. N. xiv. 22, and xxxv. 10 (the painter Arellius, etc.).

4 Tac. Dial. 36—41; Ann. xv. 71; Sen. Up. cvi. 12; Petron. Satyr, i. Dion Cass. lix. 20.


the exhibition of scenic splendour or ingenious machinery. Dignity, wit, pathos, were no longer expected on the stage, for the dramatist was eclipsed by the swordsman or the rope-dancer.1 The actors who absorbed the greatest part of popular favour were pantomimists, whose insolent prosperity was generally in direct proportion to the infamy of their character.2 And while the shamelessness of the theatre corrupted the purity of all classes from the earliest age,3 the hearts of the multitude were made hard as the nether millstone with brutal insensibility, by the fury of the circus, the atrocities of the amphitheatre, and the cruel orgies of the games.* Augustus, in the document annexed to his will, mentioned that he had exhibited 8,000 gladiators and 3,510 wild beasts. The old warlike spirit of the Romans was dead among the gilded youth of families in which distinction of any kind was certain to bring down upon its most prominent members the murderous

1 Juv. xiv. 250 ; Suet. Nero, 11; Galb. 6.

2 Mnester (Tac. Ann. xi. 4, 36); Paris (Juv. vi. 87, vii. 88); Alitnrus (Jos. Vit. 3); Pylades (Zosim. i. 6); Batbyllus (Dion Cass. liv. 17; Tac. Ann. i. 54).

3 Isidor. xviii. 39.

4 " Mera homicidia sunt," Sen. Up. vii. 2; " Nihil est nobis . . . cum insania circi, cum impudieitia theatri, cum atrocitate arenae, cum vanitato xysti," Tert. Apol. 38. Cicero inclined to the prohibition of games which imperilled life (De Legg. ii. 15), and Seneca (I. c.) expressed his compassionate disapproval, and exposed the falsehood and sophism of the plea that after all the sufferers were only criminals. Yet in the days of Claudius the number of those thus butchered was so great that the statue of Augustus had to be moved that it might not constantly be covered with a veil (Dion Cass. Ix. 13, who in the same chapter mentions a lion that had been trained to devour men). In Claudius's sham sea-fight we are told that the incredible number of 19,000 men fought each other (Tac. Ann. xii. 56). Titus, the " darling of the human race," in one day brought into the theatre 5,000 wild beasts (Suet. Tit. 7), and butchered thousands of Jews in the games at Berytus. In Trajan's games (Dion Cass. Ixviii. 15) 11,000 animals and 10,000 men had to fight.


suspicion of irresponsible despots. The spirit which had once led the Domitii and the Fabii " to drink delight of battle with their peers " on the plains of Gaul and in the forests of Germany, was now satiated by gazing on criminals fighting for dear life with bears and tigers, or upon bands of gladiators who hacked each other to pieces on the encrimsoned sand.1 The languid enervation of the delicate and dissolute aristocrat could only be amused by magnificence and stimulated by grossness or by blood.2 Thus the gracious illusions by which true Art has ever aimed at purging the passions of terror and pity, were extinguished by the realism of tragedies ignobly horrible, and comedies intolerably base. Two phrases sum up the characteristics of Roman civilisation in the days of the Empire—heartless cruelty, and unfathomable corruption.3

If there had been a refuge anywhere for the sentiments of outraged virtue and outraged humanity, we might have hoped to find it in the Senate, the members of which were heirs of so many noble and austere traditions. But—even in the days of Tiberius—the Senate, as Tacitus tells us, had rushed headlong into the most servile flattery,4 and this would not have been possible if its members had not been tainted by the prevalent deterioration. It was

1 Suet. Claud. 14,21, 34; Ner. 12; Calig. 35 ; Tac. Ann. xiii. 49; Plin. Paneg. 33.

2 Tac. Ann. xv. 32.

3 Eph. iv. 19; 2 Cor. vii. 10. Merivale, vi. 462; Champagny, Les Cesars, iv. 161, seq. Seneca, describing the age in the tragedy of Octavia, says:— "Saecnlo premimur gravi Quo scelera regnant, saevit impietas furens/' etc. -Oct. 379—437.

4 Tac. Ann. iii. 65, vi. 2, xiv. 12, 13, etc.



before the once grave and pure-minded Senators of Rome—the greatness of whose state was founded on the sanctity of family relationships—that the Censor Metellus had declared in a.u.c. 602, without one dissentient murmur, that marriage could only be regarded as an intolerable necessity.1 Before that same Senate, at an earlier period, a leading Consular had not scrupled to assert that there was scarcely one among them all who had not ordered one or more of his own infant children to be exposed to death.2 In the hearing of that same Senate in a.d. 59, not long before St. Paul wrote his letter to Philemon, C. Cassius Longinus had gravely argued that the only security for the life of masters was to put into execution the sanguinary Silanian Law, which enacted that, if a master was murdered, every one of his slaves, however numerous, however notoriously innocent, should be indiscriminately massacred.3 It was the Senators of Rome who thronged forth to meet with adoring congratulations the miserable youth who came to them with his hands reeking with the blood of matricide.4 They offered thanksgivings to the gods for his worst cruelties,5 and obediently voted Divine honours

1 Comp. Tac. Ann. ii. 37, 38, iii. 34, 35, xv. 19; Aul. Gell. N. A.i.S; Liv. Epit. 59.

2 This abandonment of children was a normal practice (Ter. Heaut. iv. 1,37; Ovid, Amor. ii. 14; Suet.Ca%.5; Oct. 65; Juv. Sat. vi. 592; Plin. Up. iv. 15 [comp. ii. 20] ; Sen. ad Marciam, 19 ; Controv. x. 6). Angus-tine (De Civ. Dei, iv. 11) tells us that there was a goddess Levana, so called " qnia levat infantes; " if the father did not take the newborn child in his arms, it was exposed (Tac. Hist. v. 5; Germ. 19; Tert. Apol. 9; Ad Natt. 15; Minuc. Fel. Octav. xxx. 31; Stobaen's Floril. Ixxv. 15; Epictet. i. 23; Paulus, Dig. xxv. 3, etc. And see Denis, Idees morales dans I'Antiquite, ii. 203).

3 Tac. Ann. xiv. 43,44; v. supra, p. 3.

4 Tac. Ann. xiv. 13 : " festo cultu Senatum."

5 "Quotiens fugas et caedes jussit princeps, totiens grates Deis actas," Tac. Ann. xiv. 64.


to the dead infant, four months old, of the wife whom he afterwards killed with a brutal kick.1

And what was the religion of a period which needed the sanctions and consolations of religion more deeply than any age since the world began? It is certain that the old Paganism, was—except in country places— practically dead. The very fact that it was necessary to prop it up by the buttress of political interference shows how hollow and ruinous the structure of classic Polytheism had become.2 The decrees and reforms of Claudius were not likely to reassure the faith of an age which had witnessed in contemptuous silence, or with frantic adulation, the assumption by Gaius of the attributes of deity after deity, had tolerated his insults against their sublimest objects of worship, and encouraged his claim to a living apotheosis.3 The upper classes were " destitute of faith, yet terrified at scepticism." They had long learnt to treat the current mythology as a mass of worthless fables, scarcely amusing enough for even a schoolboy's laughter, 4 but they were the ready dupes of every wandering quack who chose to assume the character of a mathemalicus or a mage? Their official religion was a decrepit The-agony; their real religion was a vague and credulous fatalism, which disbelieved in the existence of the gods,

1 Tac. Ann. xvi. 6; Suet. Ner. 25; Dion Cass. Ixii. 27.

2 Suet. Tib. 36.

3 Suet. Calig. 51. See Mart. Ep. v. 8, where he talks of the " edict of our Lord and God," i.e., of Domitian; and vii. 60, where he says that he shall pray to Domitian, and not to Jupiter.

4 "Esse aliquos manes et subterranea regna . . . Nee pneri credunt nisi qui nondum aere lavantnr." —Juv. Sot. ii. 149,152,

5 Tac. H. i. 22; Ann. vi. 20, 21, xii. 68; Juv. Sat. xiv. 248, iii. 42, vii. 200, etc.; Suet. Aug. 94; Tib. 14; Ner. 26; Otho, 4; Vomit. 15, etc.


or held with Epicurus that they were careless of mankind.1 The mass of the populace either accorded to the old beliefs a nominal adherence which saved them the trouble of giving any thought to the matter,2 and reduced their creed and their morals to a survival of national habits; or else they plunged with eager curiosity into the crowd of foreign cults3—among which a distorted Judaism took its place 4—such as made the Romans familiar with strange names like Sabazius and Anchialus, Agdistis, Isis, and the Syrian goddess.5 All men joined in the confession that "the oracles were dumb." It hardly needed the wail of mingled lamentations as of departing deities which swept over the astonished crew of the vessel off Palodes to assure the world that the reign of the gods of Hellas was over —that "Great Pan was dead."

Such are the scenes which we must witness, such are the sentiments with which we must become familiar, the moment that we turn away our eyes from the spectacle of the little Christian churches, composed chiefly as yet of slaves and artisans, who had been taught to imitate a Divine example of humility and sincerity, of purity and love.

1 Lucr. vi. 446—465; jut. Sat. vii. 189—202, x. 129, xiii. 86—89; Plin. H. N. ii. 21; Quinct. Instt. v. 6, § 3; Tac. H. I 10—18, ii 69—82; Agric. 13; Germ. 33; Awn,, vi. 22, etc.

2 Juv. Sat. iii. 144, vi. 342, xiii. 75—83.

3 "Nee turba deonun talis ut est hodie," Juv. Sat. xiii. 46; " Igno-bilem Deorum turbam qiiam longo aevo longa superstitio congessit," Sen. Ep. 110. See Boissier, Les Religions Etrangeres (Bel. Bom. i. 374-450); Liv. xxxix. 8; Tae. Ann. ii. 85; Val. Max. I. iii. 2.

4 Juv. Sat. xiv. 96—106; Jos. Antt. xviii. 3 ; Pers. Sat. v. 180.

5 Cic. De Legg. ii. 8; De Div. ii. 24; Tert. ad Natt. i. 10; Juv. Sat. xiv. 263, xv. 1—32.

6 Plut. De Def. Orac., p. 419. Some Christian writers connect this remarkable story with the date of the Crucifixion. See Niedner, Lehrbucli d. Chr. K. G., p. 64.


There were, indeed, a few among the Heathen who lived nobler lives and professed a purer ideal than the Pagans around them. Here and there in the ranks of the philosophers a Demetrius, a Musonius Rufus, an Epictetus ; here and there among Senators an Helvidius Priseus, a Paetus Thrasea, a Barea Soranus; here and there among literary men a Seneca or a Persius—showed that virtue was not yet extinct. But the Stoicism on which they leaned for support amid the terrors and temptations of that awful epoch utterly failed to provide a remedy against the universal degradation. It aimed at cherishing an insensibility which gave no real comfort, and for which it offered no adequate motive. It aimed at repressing the passions by a violence so unnatural that with them it also crushed some of the gentlest and most elevating emotions. Its self-satisfaction and exclusiveness repelled the gentlest and sweetest natures from its communion. It made a vice of compassion, which Christianity inculcated as a virtue; it cherished a haughtiness which Christianity discouraged as a sin. It was unfit for the task of ameliorating mankind, because it looked on human nature in its normal aspects with contemptuous disgust. Its marked characteristic was a despairing sadness, which became specially prominent in its most sincere adherents. Its favourite theme was the glorification of suicide, which wiser moralists had severely reprobated,1 but which many Stoics belauded as the one sure refuge against oppression and outrage.2 It was a philosophy which was indeed able to lacerate the heart with a righteous indignation against

1 Virg. JEn. vi. 450, seq.; Tune. Disp. i. 74; Cic. De Senect. 73; De Hep. vi. 15; Somn. Scip. 3; Sen. Ep. 70. Comp. Epict. Enchir. 52.

2 Both Zeno and Cleanthes died by suicide. For the frequency of suicide under the Empire see Tac. Ann. vi. 10, 26, xv. 60; Hist. v. 26; Suet. K6. 49; Sen. De Benef. ii. 27; Up. 70; Plin. Up. i. 12, iii. 7, 16, vi. 24. For its glorification, Lucan, Phars. iv.:—

 "Mors ntinam pavidos vitae snbdncere nolles, Sed virtns te sola daret."

Mortes repentinae, hoc est summa vitae felicitas," Plin. H. N. vii. 53, cf. 51. The practice of suicide became in the days of Trajan almost a " national usage " (see Merivale, vii. 317, viii. 107). The variety of Latin phrases for suicide shows the frequency of the crime. On the pride of Stoicism see Tac. Ann. xiv. 57; Juv. xiii. 93.


the crimes and follies of mankind, but which vainly strove to resist, and which scarcely even hoped to stem, the ever-swelling tide of vice and misery. For wretchedness it had no pity; on vice it looked with impotent disdain. Thrasea was regarded as an antique hero for walking out of the Senate-house during the discussion of some decree which involved a servility more than usually revolting.1 He gradually drove his few admirers to the conviction that, even for those who had every advantage of rank and wealth, nothing was possible but a life of crushing sorrow ended by a death of complete despair.2 St. Paul and St. Peter, on the other hand, were at the very same epoch teaching in the same city, to a few Jewish hucksters and a few Gentile slaves, a doctrine so full of hope and brightness that letters, written in a prison with torture and death in view, read like idylls of serene happiness and paeans of triumphant joy. The graves of these poor sufferers, hid from the public eye in the catacombs, were decorated with an art, rude indeed, yet so triumphant as to make

1 On the motion against the memory of Agrippina (Tac. Ann. xiv. 12). He had also opposed the execution of Antistins (id. xiv. 48). It was further remembered against him that he had not attended the obsequies of the deified Poppaea, or offered sacrifice for the preservation of Nero's " divine voice."

2 Suet. Ner. 37.


their subterranean squalor radiant with emblems of all that is brightest and most poetic in the happiness of man.1 While the glimmering taper of the Stoics was burning pale, as though amid the vapours of a charnel-house, the torch of Life upheld by the hands of the Tarsian tent-maker and the Galilaean fisherman had flashed from Damascus to Antioch, from Antioch to Athens, from Athens to Corinth, from Corinth to Ephesus, from Ephesus to Rome.

1 "There the ever-green leaf protests in sculptured silence that the winter of the grave cannot touch the saintly soul; the blossoming branch speaks of vernal suns beyond the snows of this chill world; the good shepherd shows from his benign looks that the mortal way so terrible to nature had become to those Christians as the meadow-path between the grassy slopes and beside the still waters." (Martineau, Hours of Thought, p. 155.)


Chapter II.

The Rise of the Antichrist

" Hie hostis Denm Hominnmque templis expnlit superos snis, Civesque patria; spiritom fratri abstnlit Hausit crnorem matris;—et Incem videt!" —SEN. Octav. 239.

"Praestare Neronem Securum valet haec aetas." —jut. Sat. viii. 173.

All the vice, all the splendour, all the degradation of Pagan Home seemed to be gathered up in the person of that Emperor who first placed himself in a relation of direct antagonism against Christianity. Long before death ended the astute comedy in which Augustus had so gravely borne his part, 1 he had experienced the Nemesis of Absolutism, and foreseen the awful possibilities which it involved. But neither he, nor any one else, could have divined that four such rulers as Tiberius, Gaius, Claudius, and Nero—the first a sanguinary tyrant, the second a furious madman, the third an uxorious imbecile, the fourth a heartless buffoon—would in succession afflict and horrify the world. Yet these rulers sat upon the breast of Borne with the paralysing spell of a nightmare. The concentration of the old prerogatives of many offices in the

1 On his death-bed he asked his friends "whether he had fitly gone through the play of life," and, if so, begged for their applause like an actor on the point of leaving the stage (Suet. Octav. 99).


person of one who was at once Consul, Censor, Tribune, Pontifex Maximus, and perpetual Imperator, fortified their power with the semblance of legality, and that power was rendered terrible by the sword of the Praetorians, and the deadly whisper of the informers. No wonder that Christians saw the true type of the Antichrist in that omnipotence of evil, that apotheosis of self, that disdain for humanity, that hatred against all mankind besides, that gigantic aspiration after the impossible, that frantic blasphemy and unlimited indulgence, which marked the despotism of a Gaius or a Nero. The very fact that their power was precarious as well as gigantic—that the lord of the world might at any moment be cut off by the indignation of the canaille of Rome, nay, more, by the revenge of a single tribune, or the dagger-thrust of a single slave1—did but make more striking the resemblance which they displayed to the gilded monster of Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Their autocracy, like that visionary idol, was an image of gold on feet of clay. Of that colossus many a Christian would doubtless be reminded when he saw the huge statue of Nero, with the radiated head and the attributes of the sun-god, which once towered 120 feet high on the shattered pediment still visible beside the ruins of the Flavian Amphitheatre.2

The sketch which I am now presenting to the reader is the necessary introduction to the annals of that closing epoch of the first century, which witnessed the early struggle of Christianity with the Pagan power. In the thirteen years of Nero's reign all the worst elements

1 Out of 43 persons in Lipsius's Stemma Caesarum, 32 died violent deaths, i.e., nearly 75 per cent.

2 Suet. Ner. 31; Mart. Spect. Ep. 2.


of life which had long mingled with the sap of ancient civilisation seem to have rushed at once into their scarlet flower. To the Christians of that epoch the dominance of such an Emperor presented itself in the aspect of wickedness raised to superhuman exaltation, and engaged in an impious struggle against the Lord and against His saints.

Till the days of Nero the Christians had never been brought into collision with the Imperial Government. We may set aside as a worthless fiction the story that Tiberius had been so much interested in the account of the Crucifixion forwarded to him by Pontius Pilate, as to consult the Senate on the advisability of admitting Jesus among the gods of the Pantheon.1 It is very unlikely that Tiberius ever heard of the existence of the Christians. In its early days the Faith was too humble to excite any notice out of the limits of Palestine. Gaius, absorbed in his mad attempt to set up in the Holy of Holies " a desolating abomination," in the form of a huge image of himself, entertained a savage hatred of the Jews, but had not learned to discriminate between them and Christians. Claudius, disturbed by tumults in the Ghetto of Jewish freedmen across the Tiber, had been taught to look with alarm and suspicion on the name of Christus distorted into "Chrestus;" but his decree for the expulsion of the Jews from Rome, which had been a dead letter from the first, only affected Christianity by causing the providential migration of Prisca and Aquila, to become at Corinth and Ephesus

1 Ps. Clem. Horn. i. 6; Tert. Apol. 5; Euseb. H. K ii. 2; Jer. Chron. Pascli. i. 430. Braun (De Tiberii Christum in Deorwm numerum referendi consilio, Bonn, 1834) vainly tried to support this fable. Tiberius, more than any Emperor, was "circa Deos et religiones negligeiitior" (Suet. Tib. 69).


the hosts, the partners, and the protectors of St. Paul.1 Nero was destined to enter into far deadlier and closer relations with the nascent Faith, and to fill so vast a space in the horrified imaginations of the early Christians as to become by his cruelties, his blasphemies, his enormous crimes, the nearest approach which the world has yet seen to the "Man of Sin." He was the ideal of depravity and wickedness, standing over against the ideal of all that is sinless and Divine. Against the Christ was now to be ranged the Antichrist,—the man-god of Pagan adulation, in whom was manifested the consummated outcome of Heathen crime and Heathen power.

Up to the tenth year of Nero's reign the Christians had many reasons to be grateful to the power of the Roman Empire. St. Paul, when he wrote from Corinth to the Thessalonians, had indeed seen in the fabric of Roman polity, and in Claudius, its reigning representative, the "check" and the "checker " which must be removed before the coming of the Lord. 2 Yet during his stormy life the Apostle had been shielded by the laws of Borne in more than one provincial tumult. The Roman politarchs of Thessalonica had treated him with humanity. He had been protected from the infuriated Jews in Corinth by the disdainful justice of Grallio. In Jerusalem the prompt interference of Lysias and of Festus had sheltered him from the plots of the Sanhedrin. At Caesarea he had appealed to Caesar as hig best security from the persistent hatred of Ananias and the Sadducees. If we have taken a correct view of the latter part of his career,

1 See Tert. Apol. 3; ad Natt. i. 3; my Life and Work of St. Paul, i. 559. I cannot accept the view of Herzog (Real-Encyld., s.v. Claudius), that Chrestus was some seditious Roman Jew.

2 Life and Work of St. Paul, i. 584, fg.


his appeal had not been in vain, and he owed the last two years of his missionary activity to the impartiality of Roman Law. Hence, apart from the general principle of submission to recognised authority, he had special reason to urge the Roman Christians "to be subject to the higher powers," and to recognise in them the ordinance of God.1 With the private wickednesses of rulers the Christians were not directly concerned. Rumours, indeed, they must have heard of the poisoning of Claudius and of Britannicus; of Nero's intrigues with Acte; of his friendship with the bad Otho; of the divorce and legal assassination of Octavia; of the murders of Agrippina and Poppaea, of Burrus and Seneca. Other rumours must have reached them of nameless orgies, of which it was a shame even to speak. But knowing how the whole air of the bad society around them reeked with lies, they may have shown the charity that hopeth all things, and imputeth no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity, by tacitly setting aside these stories as incredible or false. It was not till a.d. 64, when Nero had been nearly ten years on the throne, that the slow light of History fully revealed to the Church of Christ what this more than monster was.

A dark spirit was walking in the house of the Caesars —a spirit of lust and blood which destroyed every family in succession with which they were allied. The Octavii, the Claudii, the Domitii, the Silani, were all hurled into ruin or disgrace in their attempt to scale, by intermarriage with the deified race of Julius, "the dread summits of Csesarean power." It has been well said that no page even of Tacitus has so sombre and tragic an eloquence as the mere Stemma Caesarum. The great

1 Rom. xiii. 1—7.


Julius, robbed by death of his two daughters, was succeeded by his nephew Augustus,1 who, in ordering the assassination of Caesarion, the natural son of Julius by Cleopatra, extinguished the direct line of the greatest of the Caesars. Augustus by his three marriages was the father of but one daughter, and that daughter disgraced his family and embittered his life. He saw his two elder grandsons die under circumstances of the deepest suspicion; and being induced to disinherit the third for the asserted stupidity and ferocity of his disposition, was succeeded by Tiberius, who was only his stepson, and had not a drop of the Julian blood in his veins. Tiberius had but one son, who was poisoned by his favourite, Sejanus, before his own death. This son, Drusus, left but one son, who was compelled to commit suicide by his cousin, Gaius; and one daughter, whose son, Eubellius Plautus, was put to death by order of Nero. The marriage of Germanicus, the nephew of Tiberius, with the elder Agrippina, grand-daughter of Augustus, seemed to open new hopes to the Roman people and the imperial house. Germanicus was a prince of courage, virtue, and ability, and the elder Agrippina was one of the purest and noblest women of her day. Of the nine children of this virtuous union six alone survived. On the parents, and the three sons in succession, the hopes of Borne were fixed. But Germanicus was poisoned by order of Tiberius, and

1 It is characteristic of the manners of the age that Julius Caesar had married four times, Augustus thrice, Tiberius twice, Gaius thrice, Claudius six times, and Nero thrice. Yet Nero was the last of the Caesars, even of the adoptive line. No descendants had survived of the offspring of so many unions, and, as Merivale says, "a large proportion, which it would be tedious to calculate, were the victims of domestic jealousy and politic assassination" (Hist. vi. 366).


Agrippina was murdered in banishment after the endurance of the most terrible anguish. Their two elder sons, Nero and Drusus, lived only long enough to disgrace themselves, and to be forced to die of starvation.1 The third was the monster Grains. Of the three daughters, the youngest, Julia Livia, was put to death by the orders of Messalina, the wife of her uncle Claudius. Drusilla died in prosperous infamy, and Agrippina the younger, after a life of crime so abnormal and so detestable that it throws into the shade even the monstrous crimes of many of her contemporaries, murdered her husband, and was murdered by the orders of the son for whose sake she had waded through seas of blood.

That son was Nero! Truly the Palace of the Caesars must have been haunted by many a restless ghost, and amid its vast and solitary chambers the guilty lords of its splendour must have feared lest they should come upon some spectre weeping tears of blood. In yonder corridor the floor was still stained with the life-blood of the murdered Graius ;2 in that subterranean prison the miserable Drusus, cursing the name of his great-uncle Tiberius, tried to assuage the pangs of hunger by chewing the stuffing of his mattress ;3 in that gilded saloon Nero had his private interviews with the poison-mixer, Locusta, whom he salaried among "the instruments of his government;" 4

1 Tac. Ann. v. 3, vi. 24

2 "The Verres of a single province sank before the majesty of the law, and the righteous eloquence of his accuser; against the Verres of the world there was no defence except in the dagger of the assassin" (Freeman, Essays, ii. 330).

3 Tac. Ann. vii. 23.

4 Tac. Ann. xii. 66, xiii. 5.


in that splendid hall Britannicus fell into convulsions after tasting his brother's poisoned draught ; that chamber, bright with the immoral frescoes of Arellius, witnessed the brutal kick which caused the death of the beautiful Poppaea. Fit palace for the Antichrist—fit temple for the wicked human god!—a temple which reeked with the memory of infamies—a palace which echoed with the ghostly footfall of murdered men!

Agrippina the Second, mother of Nero, was the Lady Macbeth of that scene of murder, but a Lady Macbeth with a life of worse stains and a heart of harder steel. Born at Cologne in the fourteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, she lost her father, Germanicus, by poison when she was three years old, and her mother, Agrippina, first by exile when she was twelve years old, and finally by murder when she was seventeen. She grew up with her wicked sisters and her wicked brother Gaius in the house of her grandmother Antonia, the widow of the elder Drusus. She was little more than fourteen years old when Tiberius married her to Cnseus Domitius Ahenobarbus. The Domitii were one of the noblest and most ancient families of Home, but from the time that they first emerged into the light of history they had been badly pre-eminent for the ferocity of their dispositions. They derived the surname of Ahenobarbus, or brazen-beard, from a legend of their race intended to account for their physical peculiarity. [Suet. Ner. 1; Pint. Mmil. 25.] Six generations earlier, the orator Crassus had said of the Domitius Ahenobarbus of that day, "that it was no wonder his beard was of brass, since his mouth was of iron and his heart of lead." But though the traditions of cruelty and treachery had been carried on from gene-


ration to generation,1 they seemed to have culminated in. the father of Nero, who added a tinge of meanness and vulgarity to the brutal manners of his race. His loose morals had been shocking even to a loose age, and men told each other in disgust how he had cheated in his praetorship; how he had killed one of his freedmen only because he had refused to drink as much as he was hidden; how he had purposely driven over a poor boy on the Appian Road; how in a squabble in the Forum he had struck out the eye of a Roman knight; how he had been finally banished for crimes still more shameful. It was a current anecdote of this man, who was "detestable through every period of his life," that when, nine years - after his marriage, the birth of his son Nero was announced to him, he answered the congratulations of his friends with the remark, that from himself and Agrippina nothing could have been born but what was hateful, and for the public ruin.

Agrippina was twenty-one when her brother Grains succeeded to the throne. Towards the close of his reign she was involved in the conspiracy of Lepidus, and was banished to the dreary island of Pontia. Grains seized the entire property both of Domitius and of Agrippina. Nero, their little child, then three years old, was handed over as a penniless orphan to the charge of his aunt Domitia, the mother of Messalina. This lady entrusted the education of the child to two slaves, whose influence is perhaps traceable for many

1 "The grandfather of Nero had been cheeked by Augustus from the bloodshed of his gladiatorial shows . . . his great-grandfather,' the best of his race,' had changed sides three times, not without disgrace, in the civil wars . . . his great-great-grandfather had rendered himself infamous by cruelty and treachery at Pharsalia, and was also charged with most un-Roman pusillanimity " (see Suet. Ner. 1—5; Merivale, vi. 62, seq).


subsequent years. One of them, was a barber, the other a dancer.

On the accession of Claudius, Agrippina was restored to her rank and fortune, and once more undertook the management of her child. He was, as we see from his early busts, a child of exquisite beauty. His beauty made him an object of special pride to his mother. Prom this time forward it seems to have been her one desire to elevate the boy to the rank of Emperor. In vain did the astrologers warn her that his elevation involved her murder. To such dark hints of the future she had but one reply—Occidat dum imperet! "Let him slay me, so he do but reign ! "

By her second marriage, with Crispus Passienus, she further increased her already enormous wealth. She bided her time. Claudius was under the control of his freedmen, Narcissus and Pallas, and of the Empress Messalina, who had borne him two children, Britannicus and Octavia. The fierce and watchful jealousy of Messalina was soon successful in securing the banishment and subsequent murder of Julia, the younger sister of Agrippina,1 and in spite of the retirement in which the latter strove to withdraw herself from the furious suspicion of the Empress, she felt that her own life and that of her son were in perpetual danger. A story prevailed that when Britannicus, then about seven years old, and Nero, who was little more than three years older,2 had ridden side by side in the Trojan equestrian game, the favour of the populace towards the latter had been so openly manifested that Messalina had despatched emissaries to strangle him in bed, and

1 Suet. Claud. 29.

2 Tacitus says two years; but see Merivale, v. 517, vi. 88.


that they had been frightened from doing so by seeing a snake glide from under the pillow.1 Meanwhile, Messalina was diverted from her purpose by the criminal pursuits which were notorious to every Roman with the single exception of her husband. She was falling deeper and deeper into that dementation preceding doom which at last enabled her enemy Narcissus to head a palace conspiracy and to strike her to the dust. Agrippina owed her escape from a fate similar to that of her younger sister solely to the infatuated passion of the rival whose name through all succeeding ages has been a byword of guilt and shame.

But now that Claudius was a widower, the fact that he was her uncle, and that unions between an uncle and niece were regarded as incestuous, did not prevent Agrippina from plunging into the intrigues by which she hoped to secure the Emperor for her third husband. Aided by the freedman Pallas, brother of Felix, the Procurator of Judaea, and by the blandishments which her near relationship to Claudius enabled her to exercise, she succeeded in achieving the second great object of her ambition. The twice-widowed matron became the sixth wife of the imbecile Emperor within three months of the execution of her predecessor. She had now but one further design to accomplish, and that was to gain the purple for the son whom she loved with all the tigress affection of her evil nature. She had been the sister and the wife, she wished also to be the mother of an Emperor.

The story of her daring schemes, her reckless cruelty,

1 Suetonius thinks that the story rose from a snake's skin which his mother gave him as an amulet, and which for some time he wore in a bracelet (Ner. 6).


her incessant intrigues, is recorded in the stern pages of Tacitus. During the five years of her married life,1 it is probable that no day passed without her thoughts brooding upon the guilty end which she had kept steadily in view during so many vicissitudes. Her first plan was to secure for Nero the hand of Octavia, the only daughter of Claudius. Octavia had long been betrothed to the young and noble Lucius Junius Silanus, a great-great-grandson of Augustus, who might well be dreaded as a strong protector of the rights of his young brother-in-law, Britannicus. As a favourite of the Emperor, and the betrothed of the Emperor's daughter, Silanus had already received splendid honours at the hands of the Senate, but at one blow Agrippina hurled him into the depths of shame and misery. The infamous Vitellius— Vitellius who had once begged as a favour a slipper of Messalina, and carried it in his bosom and kissed it with profound reverence—Vitellius who had placed a gilded image of the freedman Pallas among his household gods —trumped up a false charge against Silanus, and, as Censor, struck his name off the list of the Senate. His betrothal annulled, his praetorship abrogated, the high-spirited young man, recognising whose hand it was that had aimed this poisoned arrow at his happiness, waited till Agrippina's wedding-day, and on that day committed suicide on the altar of his own Penates. The next step of the Empress was to have her rival Lollia Paulina charged with magic, to secure her banishment, to send a tribune to kill her, and to identify, by personal inspection, her decapitated head. Then Calpurnia was driven from Rome because Claudius, with perfect inno-

1 She was married in A.D. 49, and poisoned her husband in October, A.D. 54,


cence, had praised her beauty. On the other hand, Seneca was recalled from his Corsican exile, in order to increase Agrippina's popularity by an act of ostensible mercy, which restored to Rome its favourite writer, while it secured a powerful adherent for her cause and an eminent tutor for her son. The next step was to effect the betrothal of Octavia to Nero, who was twelve years old. A still more difficult and important measure was to secure his adoption. Claudius was attached to his son Britannicus, and, in spite of his extraordinary fatuity, he could hardly fail to see that his son's rights would he injured by the adoption of an elder boy of most noble birth, who reckoned amongst his supporters all those who might have natural cause to dread the vengeance of a son of Messalina. Claudius was an antiquary, and he knew that for 800 years, from the days of Attus Clausus downwards, there had never been an adoption among the patrician Claudii. In vain did Agrippina and her adherents endeavour to poison his mind by whispered insinuations about the parentage of Britannicus. But he was at last overborne, rather than convinced, by the persistence with which Agrippina had taken care that the adoption should be pressed upon him in the Senate, by the multitude, and even in the privacy of his own garden. Pallas, too, helped to decide his wavering determination by quoting the precedents of the adoption of Tiberius by Augustus, and of Gaius by Tiberius. Had he but well weighed the fatal significance of those precedents, he would have hesitated still longer ere he sacrificed to an intriguing alien the birthright, the happiness, and ultimately the lives of the young son and daughter whom he so dearly loved.

And now Agrippina's prosperous wickedness was


bearing her along full sail to the fatal haven of her ambition. She obtained the title of Augusta, which even the stately wife of Augustus had never borne during her husband's lifetime. Seated on a lofty throne by her husband's side, she received foreign embassies and senatorial deputations. She gained permission to antedate the majority of her son, and secured for him a promise of the Consulship, admission to various priesthoods, a proconsular imperium, and the title of "Prince of the Youth." She made these honours the pretext for obtaining a largess to the soldiery, and Circensian games for the populace, and at these games Nero appeared in the manly toga and triumphal insignia, while Britannicus, utterly eclipsed, stood humbly by his side in the boyish praetexta—the embroidered robe which marked his youth. And while step after step was taken to bring Nero into splendid prominence, Britannicus was kept in such deep seclusion, and watched with such jealous eyes, that the people hardly knew whether he was alive or dead. In vain did Agrippina lavish upon the unhappy lad her false caresses. Being a boy of exceptional intelligence, he saw through her hypocrisy, and did not try to conceal the contemptuous disgust which her arts inspired. Meanwhile he was a prisoner in all but name : every expedient was invented to keep him at the greatest distance from his father ; every friend who loved him, every freedman who was faithful to him, every soldier who seemed likely to embrace his cause, was either secretly undermined, or removed under pretext of honourable promotion. Tutored as he was by adversity to conceal his feelings, he one day through accident or boyish passion returned the salutation of


his adoptive brother by the name of Ahenobarbus, instead of calling him by the name Nero, which was the mark of his new rank as the adopted son of Claudius. Thereupon the rage of Agrippina and Nero knew no bounds ; and such insolence—for in this light the momentary act of carelessness or venial outburst of temper was represented to Claudius—made the boy a still more defenceless victim to the machinations of his stepmother. Month after month she wove around him the web of her intrigues. The Praetorians were won over by flattery, gifts, and promises. The double prefecture of Lucius Geta and Eufius Crispinus was superseded by the appointment of Afranius Burrus, an honest soldier, but a partisan of the Empress, to whom he thus owed his promotion to the most coveted position in the Roman army. Prom the all-powerful freedmen of Claudius, Agrippina had little to fear. Callistus was dead, and she played off against each other the rival influences of Pallas and Narcissus. Pallas was her devoted adherent and paramour; Narcissus was afraid to move in opposition to her, because the accession of Britannicus would have been his own certain death-warrant, since he had been the chief agent in the overthrow of Messalina.

As for the phenomena on which the populace looked with terror—the fact that the skies had seemed to blaze with fire on the day of Nero's adoption, and violent shocks of earthquake had shaken Rome on the day that he assumed the manly toga—Agrippina cared nothing for them. She would recognise no omen which did not promise success to her determination. Nothing could now divert her from her purpose. When Domitia, the aunt under whose roof the young Nero had been trained,


began to win his smiles by the contrast between her flatteries and presents and the domineering threats of his mother, Agrippina at once brought against her a charge of magic, and, in spite of the opposition of Narcissus, Domitia was condemned to death. The Empress hesitated at no crime which helped to pave the way of her son to power, but at the same time her ambition was so far selfish that she intended to keep that son under her own exclusive influence.

Many warnings now showed her that the time was ripe for her supreme endeavour. Her quarrel with Narcissus had broken out into threats and recriminations in the very presence of the Emperor. The Senate showed signs of indignant recalcitrance against her attacks on those whose power she feared, or whose wealth she envied. Her designs were now so transparent, that Narcissus began openly to show his compassion for the hapless and almost deserted Britannicus. But, worst of all, it was clear that Claudius himself was becoming conscious of his perilous mistake, and was growing weary both of her and of her son. He had changed his former wife for a worse. If Messalina had been unfaithful to him, so he began to suspect was Agrippina, and he could not but feel that she had changed her old fawning caresses for a threatening insolence. He was sick of her ambition, of her intrigues, of the hatred she always displayed to his oldest and most faithful servants, of her pushing eagerness for her Nero, of her treacherous cruelty towards his own children. He was heard to drop ominous expressions. He began to display towards Britannicus a yearning affection, full of the passionate hope that when he was a little older his wrongs would be avenged. All this Agrippina learnt from her spies.


Not a day was to be lost. Narcissus, whose presence was the chief security for his master's life, had gone to the baths of Sinuessa to find relief from a fit of the gout. There lay at this time in prison, on a charge of poisoning, a woman named Locusta, whose career recalls the Mrs. Turner of the reign of James I., and the Marchioness de Brinvilliers of the court of Louis XIV. To this woman Agrippina repaired with the promise of freedom and reward, if she would provide a poison which would disturb the brain without too rapidly destroying life. Halotus, the Emperor's praegustator, or taster, and Xenophon, his physician, had been already won over to share in 'the deed. The poison was infused into a fine and delicious mushroom of a kind of which Claudius was known to be particularly fond, and Agrippina gave this mushroom to her husband with her own hand. After tasting it he became very quiet, and then called for wine. He was carried off to bed senseless, but the quantity of wine which he had drunk weakened the effects of the poison, and at a sign from Agrippina the faithless physician finished the murder by tickling the throat of the sufferer with a poisoned feather. Before the morning of Oct. 13, a.d. 54, Claudius was dead.

His death was concealed from the public and from his children, whom^Agrippina with hypocritical caresses and false tears kept by her side in her own chamber, until everything was ready for the proclamation of Nero. At noon, which the Chaldseans had declared would be the only lucky hour of an unlucky day, the gates of the palace were thrown open, and Nero walked forth with Afranius Burrus by his side. The Praetorian Praefect informed the guard that Claudius had appointed


Nero his successor. A few faithful voices asked, "Where is Britannicus?" But as no one answered, and the young prince was not forthcoming, they accepted what seemed to he an accomplished fact. Nero went to the Praetorian camp, promised a donation of 15,000 sesterces (more than £130) to each soldier, and was proclaimed Emperor. The Senate accepted the initiative of the Praetorians, and by sunset Nero was securely seated on the throne of the Roman world. The dream of Agrippina's life was accomplished. She was now the mother, as she had been the sister and the wife of an Emperor; and that young Emperor, when the tribune came to ask him the watchword for the night, answered in the words—Optimae Matri ! "To the Best of Mothers!"



"Nero . . . ut erat exsecrabilis ac nocens tyrannus, prosilivit ad excidendum coeleste templum delendamque justitiam." — Lactaut. De Mart. Persec. 2.

"Quid Nerone pejus ?" — Mart. Epig. vii. 34.

From the very moment of her success, the awful Nemesis began to fall upon Agrippina, as it falls on all sinners — that worst Nemesis, which breaks crowned with fire out of the achievement of guilty purposes. Of Agrippina on the night of Claudius's murder it might doubtless have been said, as has been said of another queen on the tragic night on which her husband perished in the explosion at Kirk o' Fields, that she "retired to rest — to sleep, doubtless — sleep with the soft tranquillity of an innocent child. Remorse may disturb the slumbers of the man who is dabbling with his first experiences of wrong. When the pleasure has been tasted and is gone, and nothing is left of the crime but the ruin it has wrought, then, too, the Furies take their seats upon the midnight pillow. But the meridian of evil is for the most part left unvexed ; and when human creatures have chosen their road, they are left alone to follow it to the end."1

From the day that she had won her own heart's

1 Fronde, Hist. vii. 511.


desires, Agrippina found that her hopes had vanished, and that her life was to be plunged in retributive calamities. She found that crime ever needs the support of further crime; that the evil spirits who serve the government of an abandoned heart demand incessant sacrifices at their altar. She had brought about the ruin of the young Lucius Junius Silanus. His elder brother, Marcus, was a man of such a gentle and unassuming character that Gaius had nicknamed him "the Golden Sheep;" and though the blood of the imperial family flowed in his veins, he excited so little jealousy that he had been raised to the consulship, and even sent to Asia with proconsular command. Yet Agrippina dreaded that he might avenge the death of his brother, and, without the knowledge of Nero, sent the freedman Helius, with P. Celer, a Roman knight, who poisoned Silanus at a banquet, so openly that the whole world was aware of what had been done.

The aged Narcissus was her next victim; and more murders would have followed had not Burrus and Seneca taken measures to prevent them. Their influence was happily sufficient, since they were still regarded as tutors of the young Caesar, who was only seventeen years old. They also endeavoured to veil, and as far as possible to cloak, the audacious intrusions into state affairs, which showed that Agrippina was not content with the exceptional honours showered upon her. Of those honours, strange to say, one of the chief was her appointment to be a priestess of the now deified Emperor whom she had so recently poisoned! It is clear that, though she had again and again proved herself to be the most ungrateful of women, she expected from her son a boundless gratitude. Indeed, she so galled


the vanity and terrified the cowardice of his small and mean nature by her constant threats and upbraidings, that he feared her far more than he had ever loved. The consequence was that she had at once to struggle for her ascendancy. It was threatened on the one hand by the influence of Burrus and Seneca, and on the other by the blandishments of bad companions and fawning slaves. Bent on pleasure, fond of petty accomplishments, flattered into the notion that he was a man of consummate artistic taste, Nero occupied himself with dilettante efforts in sculpture, painting, singing, verse-making, and chariot-driving, and was quite content to leave to his tutors the graver affairs of state. His tiger nature had not yet tasted blood. Seneca in his treatise on clemency, written at the close of Nero's first year, had informed the delighted world that the gentle youth, on being required to sign the order for a criminal's execution, had expressed the fervent wish that he had never learnt to write. Seneca also composed for him the admired speeches which he was now and then called upon to deliver. The government of the world was practically in the hands of an upright soldier and an able philosopher; and however glaring were the inconsistencies of the latter, he had yet attained to a moral standard incomparably superior to that professed by the majority of his contemporaries. If the political machine worked with perfect smoothness, if Rome for five years was shocked by no public atrocities, if informers to some extent found their occupation gone, if no noble blood was wantonly shed, if the Senate was respected and the soldiers were orderly, the glory of that "golden quinquennium"—which, in the opinion of Trajan, eclipsed


the merits of even the worthiest princes—was due, not to the small-minded and would-be aesthetic youth who figured as Emperor, but to the tutors who kept in check the wild passions of his mother, and directed the acts which ostensibly proceeded from himself.

But in order to keep him amused, they thought it either inexpedient or impossible to maintain too strict a discipline over his moral character. Nero was nominally married to the daughter of Claudius, but from the first, they were separated from each other, by a mutual and instinctive repulsion. When he entered into an intrigue with Acte, a beautiful Greek freedwoman, his tutors held it desirable to connive at vices which the spirit of the age scarcely pretended to condemn. Agrippina, however, treated him as though he were still a child, and, when she observed his resentment, forfeited all his confidence by passing from the extreme of furious reproach to the extreme of fulsome complaisance. Hence, alike in affairs of state and in his domestic pleasures he was alienated from his mother, and in his daily life he fell unreservedly under the influence of corrupt associates like Marcus Otho and Claudius Senecio, two bad specimens of the jeunesse doree of their day, the dandies of an age when dandyism was a far viler thing than it is in modern times.1 At last the quarrel between Nero and Agrippina became so fierce that she did not hesitate to reveal to him all the crimes which she had committed for his sake, and if she could not retain her sway over his mind by gratitude, she terrified him with threats that she who had raised him to the throne could hurl him from it. Britannicus was the true heir; Nero, but for her, would have re-

1 Niebuhr.


mained a mere Ahenobarhus. She was the daughter of Germanicus ; she would go in person to the Praetorian camp, with Britannicus by her side, and then let the maimed Burrus and the pedagogic Seneca see whether they could prevent her from restoring to the throne of his fathers the injured boy who had been ousted by her intrigues on behalf of an adopted alien. "I made you Emperor, I can unmake you. Britannicus is the true Emperor, not you." She dinned such taunts and threats into the ears of a son who was already vitiated in character, who already began to feel his power, until he too was driven to protect, by the murder of a brother, the despotism which his mother had won for him by the murder of a husband. Thus in every way she became the evil angel of his destiny. She drove him into the crimes of which she had already set the fatal example. It was her fault if he rapidly lost sight of the lesson which Seneca had so assiduously inculcated, that the one impregnable bulwark of a monarch is the affection of his people.1

Nero began to look on the young Britannicus as King John looked on the young Arthur. Even civilised, even Christian ages have shown how perilous is the position of a hated heir to a usurped throne. The threats of Agrippina had deepened dislike into detestation, and uneasiness into terror. Britannicus was a fine, strong, well-grown boy, who showed signs of a vigorous character and a keen intellect. A little incident which occurred in December, a.d. 54, had alarmed Nero still further. The Saturnalia were being celebrated with their usual effusive joy, and at one of

1 "Unum est inexpngnabile munimentum amor civinm" (Sen. De Clement, i. 19, 5).


the feasts Nero—-who had become by lot the Hex bibendi, or Master of the Revel—had issued his mimic commands to the other guests in a spirit of harmless fun; but in order to put the shyness of Britannicus to the blush, he had ordered the lad to go out into the middle of the room and sing a song. Without the least trepidation or awkwardness Britannicus had stepped out, and sung a magnificent fragment of a tragic chorus, in which he had indicated how he was expelled from all his rights by violence and crime. The scene would have been an awkward one under any circumstances; it was rendered still more so by the fact that in the darkening hall a deep murmur had expressed the admiration and sympathy of the guests. Yet no steps could be taken against a young prince whom it was impossible to put to death openly, and against whom there was no pretence for a criminal accusation.

But the first century, like the fifteenth, was an age of poisoners. Locusta was still in prison, and Nero employed the Praetorian tribune Julius Pollio to procure from her a poison which might effect a slow death. There was no need to win over the praegustator, or the personal attendants of the young prince. Care had long been taken that the poor boy should only be surrounded by the creatures of his enemies. The poison was administered, but it failed. Nero grew wild with alarm. Stories, which probably gained their darkest touches from the horror of his subsequent career, told how he had threatened the tribune and struck Locusta for her cowardice in not doing her work well, "as though he, forsooth, need have any fear about the Julian law." Deadlier poison was then concocted outside his own bed-chamber, and tried upon animals, until its effects


were found to be sufficiently rapid. Setting aside these stories as crude exaggerations, all authorities are agreed as to the circumstances of the death of Britannicus. It was a custom established by Augustus that the young princes of the imperial house should sit at dinner with nobles of their own age at a lower and less luxuriously served table than that at which the Emperor dined. While Britannicus was thus dining, a draught was handed to him which had been tasted by his praegustator, but was too hot to drink. He asked for water to cool it, and in that cold water the poison was administered. He drank, and instantly sunk down from his seat silent and breathless. The guests, among whom was the young Titus, the future Emperor of Rome, started from the table in consternation. The countenance of Agrippina, working with astonishment, anguish, and terror, showed that she at least had not been admitted into the terrible secret. Octavia looked on with the self-possession which in such a palace had taught her on all occasions to hide her emotions under a simulated apathy. The banqueters were disturbed until Nero, with perfect coolness, bade them resume their mirth and conversation. "Britannicus," he said, "will soon be well. He has only been seized with one of the epileptic fits to which he is liable." It was no epileptic fit—the last of the Claudii was dead. That night, amid storms which seemed to mark the wrath of Heaven, the corpse was carried with hurried privacy to a mean funeral pyre on the Field of Mars. We may disbelieve the ghastly story that the rain washed off the chalk which had been used to disguise the livid indications of poison; but it seems certain that the last rites were paid with haste


and meanness little suited to the last male descendant of a family which had been famous for so many centuries—to the sole inheritor of the glorious traditions of so many of the noblest lines.

The Romans acquiesced too easily in this terrible crime, because it fell in with the Machiavellian policy which would gladly rid itself of a source of future disturbances. But they were punished for their facile tolerance by the change which every year developed in the character of their Emperor. Agrippina felt that even-handed justice was indeed beginning to commend the ingredients of the poisoned chalice to her own lips. Her enemies began to see that their opportunity was come. Her prosperity was instantly swallowed up in the " chaos of hatreds" which she had aroused by her unscrupulous ambition. The coward conscience of the Emperor was worked upon by a plot, contrived by Silana and Domitia Lepida, which charged Agrippina with the intention of raising Rubellius Plautus to the throne. This plot she overbore by the force of her own passionate indignation. Scornfully ignoring the false evidence trumped up against her, she claimed an interview with her son, and instead of entering on her own defence, demanded and secured the death or exile of her enemies. But she had by this time been deprived of her body-guard, of her sentinels, of all public honours, even of her home in the palace. Her son rarely visited her, and then only among a number of centurions, and he always left her after a brief and chilling salutation. She was living deserted by her friends, and exposed to deliberate insults, in alarmed isolation amid the hatred of the populace. Worse dangers thickened around her. Nero became deeply enamoured of Poppaea Sabina, the


wife of his friend Otho, and one of the most cruel and cold-blooded intriguers amid the abandoned society of Roman matrons. Nero was deeply smitten with her infantile features, the soft complexion, which she preserved by daily bathing in warm asses'-milk, her assumed modesty, her genial conversation and sprightly wit. He was specially enchanted with the soft, abundant hair, the envy of Roman beauties, for which he invented the fantastic, and, to Roman writers, supremely ludicrous epithet of " amber tresses." If Otho was one of the worst corrupters of Nero's character, he was punished by the loss of his wife, and Nero was punished by forming a connexion with a woman who instigated him to yet more frightful enormities. Up to this time his crimes had been mainly confined to the interior of the palace, and his follies had taken no worse form than safe and cowardly outrages on defenceless passengers in the streets at night, after the fashion of the Mohawks of the days of Queen Anne. But from the day that he first saw Poppaea a headlong deterioration is traceable in his character. She established a complete influence over him, and drove him by her taunts and allurements to that crime which, even among his many enormities, is the most damning blot upon his character—the murder of his mother.

That wretched princess was spending the last year of a life which had scarcely passed its full prime in detested infamy, such as in our own history attended the last stage in the career of the Countess of Somerset, the wife of James's unworthy favourite, Robert Carr. Worse than this, she lived in daily dread of assassination. Her watchfulness evaded all attempts at poisoning, and she was partly protected


against them by the current fiction that she had fortified herself by the use of antidotes. Plots to murder her by the apparently accidental fall of the fretted roof in one of the chambers of her villa were frustrated by the warning which she received from her spies. At last, Anicetus, a freedman, admiral of the fleet at Misenum, promised Nero to secure her end in an unsuspicious manner by means of a ship which should suddenly fall to pieces in mid-sea. Nero invited her to a banquet at Baiae, which was to be the sign of their public reconciliation. Declining, however, to sail in the pinnace which had been surreptitiously fitted up for her use, she was carried to her son's villa in her own litter. There she was received with such hilarity and blandishment, such long embraces and affectionate salutations, that her suspicions were dispelled. She consented to return by water, and went on board the treacherous vessel. It had not proceeded far when the heavily-weighted canopy under which she reclined was made to fall with a great crash. One of her ladies was killed on the spot. Immediately afterwards the bolts which held the vessel together were pulled out, and Agrippina, whose life had been saved by the projecting sides of her couch, found herself struggling in the waves. A lady who was with her, named Acerronia, thinking to save her own life, exclaimed that she was the Empress, and was instantly beaten down with poles and oars. Agrippina kept silence, and escaping with a single bruise on her shoulder, she swam or floated safely till she was picked up by a boat sent from the shore, which was glittering with lights and thronged with visitors who were enjoying the cool evening air. The wretched victim saw through the whole plot, but thought it

45 - SENECA.

best to treat the matter as an accident, and sent one of her freedmen, named Agerinus, to announce to Nero her fortunate escape. Nero had already received the news with unfeigned alarm. Would the haughty, vindictive woman fire the soldiery with the tale of her wrongs? would she throw herself on the compassion of the Senate and the people? would she arm her slaves to take vengeance on her murderer? Burrus and Seneca were hastily summoned. To them the Emperor appealed in the extreme agitation of unsuccessful guilt. In silence and anguish the soldier and the Stoic felt, as they listened to the tale, how fatal to their reputation was their prosperous complicity with the secrets of such a court. Seneca was the first to break the silence. He asked his colleague " whether the Praetorians should be ordered to put her to death." In that hour he must have tasted the very dregs of the bitter cup of moral degradation. Perhaps the two ministers excused themselves with the sophism that things had now gone too far to prevent the commission of a crime, and that either Agrippina or Nero must perish. But Burrus replied that "the Praetorians would never lift a hand against the daughter of their beloved Germanicus. Let Anicetus fulfil his promises." Miserable soldier! miserable philosopher ! Stoicism has been often exalted at the expense of Christianity. Let the world remember the two scenes, in one of which the polished Stoic, in the other the Christian Apostle stood—the one a magnificent minister, the other a fettered prisoner—in the presence of the lord of the world!

Anicetus rose to the occasion, and, amid the ecstatic expressions of Nero's gratitude, claimed as his own the


consummation of the deed. On the arrival of Agerinus with the message of Agrippina, Anicetus suddenly flung a dagger at the wretched man's feet, and then, declaring that Agrippina had sent him to murder her son, loaded him with chains. By this transparent device he hoped to persuade the world that Agrippina had been detected in a conspiracy, and had committed suicide from very shame. The news of her recent peril had caused the wildest excitement among the idlers on the shore. Anicetus, with his armed emissaries, had to assume a threatening attitude as he made his way through the agitated throng. Surrounding the villa and bursting open the door, he seized the few slaves who yet lingered near the chamber of their mistress. Within that chamber, by the light of a single lamp, Agrippina, attended only by one handmaid, was awaiting in intense anxiety and with misgivings which became deeper and deeper at every moment, the suspicious delay in the return of her faithful messenger. The slave-girl rose and left the room. "Do you too desert me ?" she exclaimed; and at that moment the door was darkened by the entrance of Anicetus, with the trierarch Herculeius and the naval centurion Obaritus. "If you have come to inquire about my health," said the undaunted woman, " say that I have recovered. If to commit a crime, I will not believe that you have my son's orders; he would not command a matricide." Returning no answer, the murderers surrounded her bed, and the trierarch struck her on the head with his stick. "Strike my womb," she exclaimed, as the centurion drew his sword, "it bore a Nero." These were her last words before she sank down slain with many wounds. There is no need


to darken with further and unaccredited touches of horror the dreadful story of her end. The old presage which she had accepted was fulfilled. She had made her son an Emperor, and he had rewarded her by assassination. Such was the awful unpitied end of one on whose birthday and in whose honour in that very year altars had smoked with sacrifices offered at the feet of the god Honour and the goddess Concordia!

When the crime was over, Nero first perceived its magnitude, and was seized with the agony of a too brief terror and remorse. There is in great crimes an awful power of illumination. They light up the conscience with a glare which shows all things in their true hideousness. He spent the night in oppressive silence. For the first time in his life his sleep was disturbed by dreams. He often started up in terror, and dreaded the return of dawn. The gross flattery and hypocritical congratulations of his friends soon dissipated all personal alarm. But scenes cannot change their aspect so easily as the countenances of men, and there was to him a deadly look in the sea and shore. From the lofty summit of Misenum ghostly wailings and the blast of a solitary trumpet seemed to reach him from his mother's grave. He despatched a letter to the Senate, full of the ingenious and artificial turns of expression which betrayed, alas ! the style of Seneca; and in it he charged his mother's memory with the very crimes of which he had himself been guilty. But though he recalled her enemies from exile, and threw down her statues, and raked up every evil action of her life, and insinuated that she had been the cause

1 As shown by inscriptions of the Fratres Arvales (De Rossi, Bull. Archeol., 1866). See Champagny, Les Cesars, ii. 194.


of the enormities which had disgraced the reign of Claudius, men hardly affected to believe his exculpation, and the very mob charged him with matricide in their epigrams and scribblings on the statues and walls of Rome.1 But yet when he returned to Rome the whole populace, from the Senate downwards, poured forth to give him a reception so enthusiastic and triumphant that every remnant of shame was dispelled from his mind. Feeling for the first time that no wickedness was too abnormal to shake his absolute power over a nation of slaves, he plunged without stint or remorse into that career of infamy which has made his name the synonym of everything which is degraded, cruel, and impure.2

Through the separate details of that career we need not follow him. The depths3 into which he sank are too abysmal for utterance. Even Pagan historians could not without a blush hold up a torch in those crypts of shame.4 How he established games in which he publicly appeared upon the stage, and compelled members of the noblest Roman families to imitate his degradation ; on how vast a scale, and with how vile a stain, he deliberately corrupted the whole tone of Roman society; how he openly declared that the consummation of art was a false sestheticism, corrupt and naked, and not ashamed;6 how he strove to revive the flagging pulse of exhausted pleasure by unheard-of enormities, and strove to make shame shameless by undisguised publicity; how he put to death the last

1 Suet. Ner. 3; Dion Cass. hi. 16. 1 Tac. Ann. xiv. 13.

3 Rev. ii. 24.

4 2 Cor. iv. 2.

5 Snet. Ner. Loot. 29, 30; Dion Cass. Ixi. 4, 5.


descendant of Augustus,1 the last descendant of Tiberius, and the last descendant of the Claudii; how he ended the brief but heartrending tragedy of the life of Octavia by defaming her innocence, driving her to the island of Pandataria, and there enforcing her assassination under circumstances so sad as might have moved the hardiest villain to tears; how he hastened by poison the death of Burrus, and entrusted the vast power of the Praetorian command to Tigellinus, one of the vilest of the human race; how, when he had exhausted the treasures amassed by the dignified economy of Claudius, he filled his coffers by confiscating the estates of innocent victims; how he caused the death of his second wife, Poppaea, by a kick inflicted on her when she was in a delicate condition; how, after the detection of the conspiracy of Piso, he seemed to revel in blood; how he ordered the death of Seneca; how, by the execution of Paetus Thrasea and Barea Soranus, he strove to extinguish the last embers of Roman magnanimity, and to slay "virtue itself;"2 how wretches like Vatinius became the cherished favourites of his court; how his reign degenerated into one perpetual orgy, at once monstrous and vulgar;—into these details, fortunately, we need not follow his awful career. His infamous follies and cruelties in Greece; his dismal and disgraceful fall—a tragedy without pathos, and a ruin without dignity—all this must be read in the pages of contemporary historians. Probably no man who ever Jived has crowded into fourteen years of life so black a catalogue of iniquities as this Collot d'Herbois upon

1 A son of the M. Jun. Silanus whom Gains called "the golden sheep " (Tac. Ann. xvi. 9). 8 Tae. Ann. xvi. 21.


an imperial throne. The seeds of innumerable vices were latent in the soil of his disposition, and the hot-bed of absolutism forced them into rank growth. To speak thus much of him and of his reign has been necessary, because he was the epitome of the age in which he lived —the consummate flower of Pagan degradation at the time when the pure bud of Christian life was being nurtured into beauty, amid cold and storm. But here we must for the present leave the general story of his reign, to give our attention to the one event which brought him into collision with the Christian Church.




" Mira Nero de Tarpeya A Roma, como se ardia Gritos dan nifios y viejos T el de nada se dolia. Que alegre Tista! "Spanish Song.

Had it not been for one crime with, which all ancient writers have mixed up his name, Christianity might have left Nero on one side, not speaking of him, but simply looking and passing by, while he, on his part, might scarcely so much as have heard of the existence of Christians amid the crowded thousands of his capital. That crime was the burning of Rome; and by precipitating the Era of Martyrdom, it brought him into immediate and terrible connexion with the Church of Christ.

Whether he was really guilty or not of having ordered that immense conflagration, it is certain that he was suspected of it by his contemporaries, and has been charged with it by many historians of his country.1 It is certain, also, that his head had been full for years of the image of flaming cities; that he used to say that Priam was to be congratulated on having seen the ruin of Troy; that he was never able to resist the

1 Tac. Ann. xv. 67 (cf. 38); Suet. Ner. 38; Dion Cass. Ixii. 16; Pliny, H. N. xvii. 1, 1; followed by Orosius, Sulpicius, Severus, Entropius, etc.


fixed idea of a crime ;1 that the year following he gave a public recitation of a poem called Troica, from the orchestra of the theatre, and that this was only the burning of Rome under a thin disguise ;2 and that just before his flight he meditated setting fire to Rome once more.3 It was rumoured that when some one had told him how Graius used to quote the phrase of Euripides—

"When I am dead, sink the whole earth in flames!"

he replied, "Nay, but while I live !" He was accused of the ambition of destroying Rome, that he might replace its tortuous and narrow lanes with broad, regular streets and uniform Hellenic edifices, and so have an excuse for changing its name from Rome to Neropolis. It was believed that in his morbid appetite for new sensations he was quite capable of devising a truly artistic spectacle which would thrill his jaded aestheticism, and supply him with vivid imagery for the vapid antitheses of his poems. It was both believed and recorded, that during the terrors of the actual spectacle, he had climbed the Tower of Maecenas, had expressed his delight at what he called " the flower and loveliness of the flames," and in his scenic dress had sung on his own private stage the "Capture of Ilium." 4 It was said

1 Renan, L'Antichrist, p. 144.

2 Dion Cass. Ixii. 29; Juv. viii. 221. Eutropius says that he burnt Rome: " Tit spectaculi ejus imaginem cerneret quali olim Troja capta evaserat." Ampere says,'' Pour moi j 'incline a 1'admettre " (Hist. Bom. ii. 56). Renan thinks that this poem may have originated the metaphor that he played his lyre over the ruins of his country—which was afterwards taken literally.

3 Suet. Ner. 43.

4 The one circumstance which tends to exculpate him from some of these motives is that he was at Antinm when the fire broke out, and did not arrive in Rome till the third day, when the flames had rolled to the gardens of Maecenas, and his own " Domus Transitoria" (Tac. Ann. xv.). The late Mr. G. H. Lewes attempted to "rehabilitate" the character of Nero; but the evidence against him is too unanimous to be set aside.


that all attempts to quench the fire had been forcibly resisted; that men had been seen hurling lighted brands upon various buildings, and shouting that they had orders for what they did; that men of even Consular rank had detected Nero's slaves on their own property with tow and torches, and had not ventured to touch them; that when the wind had changed, and there was a lull in the conflagration, it had burst out again from houses that abutted on the gardens of his creature Tigellinus. At any rate, the Romans could hardly have been mistaken in thinking that Nero might have done much more than he did, to encourage the efforts made to extinguish the flames. It was remembered that, a few years earlier, Claudius, during a conflagration, had been seen, two nights running, seated in a little counting-office with two baskets full of silver at his side, to encourage the firemen, and secure the assistance of the people and the soldiers. Nero certainly, in this far more frightful crisis, did nothing of the kind. Even if some of the rumours which tended to implicate him in having caused the calamity had no better foundation than idle rumour, or the interested plots of robbers who seized the opportunity for promiscuous plunder, they acquired plausibility from the whole colour of Nero's character and conversation, and they seemed to be justified by the way in which he used for his own advantage the disaster of his people. For immediately after the fire he seized a much larger extent of ground than he had previously possessed, and began to rear with incredible celerity his " Golden House," a structure unexampled in the ancient world for gorgeous magnificence. It was in this amazing structure, on which the splendour of the whole Empire was recklessly squandered,


that Nero declared, with a smirk of self-satisfaction, that now at last he was lodged like a human being!

But whether Nero was guilty of this unparalleled outrage on the lives and fortunes of his subjects or not, certain it is that on July 19, a.d. 64, in the tenth year of his reign, a fire broke out in shops full of inflammable materials which lined the valley between the Palatine and Caelian Hills. For six days and seven nights it rolled in streams of resistless flame over the greater "part of the city, licking up the palaces and temples of the gods which covered the low hills, and raging through whole streets of the wretched wooden tenements in which dwelt myriads of the poorer inhabitants who crowded the lower regions of Rome. When its course had been checked by the voluntary destruction of a vast mass of buildings which lay in its path, it broke out a second time, and raged for three days longer in the less crowded quarters of the city, where its spread was even more fatal to public buildings and the ancient shrines of the gods. Never since the Gauls burnt Rome had so deadly a calamity fallen on the afflicted city. Of its fourteen districts, four alone escaped untouched; three were completely laid in ashes; in the seven others were to be seen the wrecks of many buildings, scathed and gutted by the flames. The disaster to the city was historically irreparable. If Nero was indeed guilty, then the act of a wretched buffoon, mad with the diseased sensibility of a depraved nature, has robbed the world of works of art, and memorials, and records, priceless and irrecoverable. We can rather imagine than describe the anguish with which the Romans, bitterly conscious of their own degeneracy, contemplated the destruction of the relics of their national glory in the days when Rome


was free. What could ever replace for them or their children such monuments as the Temple of Luna, built by Servius Tullius; and the Ara Maxima, which the Arcadian Evander had reared to Hercules; and the Temple of Jupiter Stator, built in accordance with the vow of Romulus; and the little humble palace of Numa; and the shrine of Vesta with the Penates of the Roman people and the spoils of conquered kings ? What structural magnificence could atone for the loss of memorials which the song of Virgil and of Horace had rendered still more dear?1 The city might rise more regular from its ashes, and with broader streets, but its artificial uniformity was a questionable boon. Old men declared that the new streets were far less healthy, in consequence of their more scorching glare, and they muttered among themselves that many an object of national interest had been wantonly sacrificed to gratify the womanish freak of a miserable actor.

But the sense of permanent loss was overwhelmed at first by the immediate confusion and agony of the scene. Amid the sheets of flame that roared on every side under their dense canopy of smoke, the shrieks of terrified women and the wail of infants and children were heard above the crash of falling houses. The incendiary fires seemed to be bursting forth in so many directions, that men stood staring in dumb stupefaction at the destruction of their property, or rushed hither and thither in helpless amazement. The lanes and alleys were blocked up with the concourse of struggling fugitives. Many were suffocated by the smoke, or trampled down in the press. Many others were burnt to death

1 Virg. JEn. viii. 271; Hor. Od., I. ii. 15,16.


in their own burning houses, some of whom purposely flung themselves into the flames in the depth of their despair. . The density of the population that found shelter in the huge many-storied lodging-houses increased the difficulty of escape; and when they had escaped with hare life, a vast multitude of homeless, shivering, hungry human beings—many of them bereaved of their nearest and dearest relatives, many of them personally injured, and most of them deprived of all their possessions, and destitute of the means of subsistence—found themselves huddled together in vacant places in one vast brotherhood of hopeless wretchedness. Incidents like these are not often described by ancient authors. As a rule, the classic writers show themselves singularly callous to all details of individual misery. But this disaster was on a scale so magnificent, that it had impressed the imaginations of men who often treat the anguish of multitudes as a matter of course.

Even if he had been destitute of every human feeling, yet policy and necessity would have induced Nero to take what steps he could to alleviate the immediate pressure. To create discontent and misery could never have formed any part of his designs. He threw open the Campus Martius, the Monumenta Agrippae, even his own gardens, to the people. Temporary buildings were constructed; all the furniture which was most indispensable was brought from Ostia and neighbouring towns; wheat was sold at about a fourth of the average price. It was all in vain. The misery which it was believed that his criminal folly had inflicted kindled a sense of wrong too deeply seated to be removed by remedies for the past, or precautions for the future. The resentment was kept alive by the benevolences and imposts which Nero now


demanded, and by the greedy ostentation with which he seized every beautiful or valuable object to adorn the insulting splendour of a palace built on the yet warm ashes of so wide an area of the ruined city.

Nero was so secure in his absolutism, he had hitherto found it so impossible to shock the feelings of the people or to exhaust the terrified adulation of the Senate, that he was usually indifferent to the pasquinades which were constantly holding up his name to execration and contempt. But now he felt that he had gone too far, and that his power would be seriously imperilled if he did not succeed in diverting the suspicions of the populace. He was perfectly aware that when the people in the streets cursed those who set fire to the city, they meant to curse him.1 If he did not take some immediate step he felt that he might perish, as Grains had perished before him, by the dagger of the assassin.

It is at this point of his career that Nero becomes a prominent figure in the history of the Church. It was this phase of cruelty which seemed to throw a blood-red light over his whole character, and led men to look on him as the very incarnation of the world-power in its most demoniac aspect—as worse than the Antiochus Epiphanes of Daniel's Apocalypse—as the Man of Sin whom (in language figurative indeed, yet awfully true) the Lord should slay with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.2 For Nero

1 Dion Cass. Ixii. 18.

2 See Aug. De Civ. Dei, xx. 19; Lactant. Div. 'Instt. vii. 16; De Mart. Persec. ii. ad fin.; Chrysost. in 2 Thess., Horn, iv; Snip. Sev. Hist. ii. 29 ; 40, 42 ; Dial. ii. ad fin.; Jer. in Dan. xi; Orac. Sibyll. iv. 135—138, v. 362, viii. 1, 153; Yerses of Commodianus, in Spicileg. of Solesmes, Paris, 1852.


endeavoured to fix the odious crime of having destroyed the capital of the world upon the most innocent and faithful of his subjects—upon the only subjects who offered heartfelt prayers on his behalf1—the Roman Christians. They were the defenceless victims of this horrible charge ; for though they were the most harmless, they were also the most hated and the most slandered of living men.2

Why he should have thought of singling out the Christians, has always been a curious problem, for at this point St. Luke ends the Acts of the Apostles, perhaps purposely dropping the curtain, because it would have been perilous and useless to narrate the horrors in which the hitherto neutral or friendly Roman Government began to play so disgraceful a part. Neither Tacitus, nor Suetonius, nor the Apocalypse, help us to solve this particular problem. The Christians had filled no large space in the eye of the world. Until the days of Domitian we do not hear of a single noble or distinguished person who had joined their ranks.3 That the Pudens and Claudia of Rom. xvi. were the Pudens and Claudia of Martial's Epigrams seems to me to be a baseless dream.4 If the " foreign superstition " with which Pomponia Grrsecina, wife of Aulus Plautius, the conqueror of Britain, was charged, and of which she was acquitted, was indeed, as has been suspected, the Christian religion, at any rate the name of Christianity was not alluded to by the ancient writers who had mentioned the circumstance.5 Even if Rom. xvi. was addressed to Rome, and

1 Rom. xiii. 1—7; Tit. iii. 1; 1 Pet. ii. 13.

2 1 Pet. iii. 13—17, iv. 12—19.

3 Snet. Dom. 15.

4 See Life and Work of St. Paul, ii. 569.

5 See Tert. Apol. 29—33.

6 Tae. Ann. xiii. 32.


not, as I believe, to Ephesus, " they of the household of Narcissus which were in the Lord" were unknown slaves, as also were " they of Caesar's household."1 The slaves and artisans, Jewish and Gentile, who formed the Christian community at Rome, had never in any way come into collision with the Roman Government. They must have been the victims rather than the exciters of the Messianic tumults—for such they are conjectured to have been—which led to the expulsion of the Jews from Rome by the futile edict of Claudius.2 Nay, so obedient and docile were they required to be by the very principles on which their morality was based—so far were they removed from the fierce independence of the Jewish zealots—that, in writing to them a few years earlier, the greatest of their leaders had urged upon them a payment of tribute and a submission to the higher powers, not only for wrath but also for conscience' sake, because the earthly ruler, in his office of repressing evil works, is a minister of God.3 That the Christians were entirely innocent of the crime charged against them was well known both at the time and afterwards.4 But how was it that Nero sought popularity and partly averted the deep rage which was rankling in many hearts against himself, by torturing men and women, on whose agonies he thought that the populace would gaze not only with a stolid indifference, but even with fierce satisfaction ?

Gibbon has conjectured that the Christians were confounded with the Jews, and that the detestation universally felt for the latter fell with double force

1 Rom. xvi. 11; Phil. iv. 22; Life and Work of St. Pawl, ii. 165.

2 Suet. Claud. 25.

3 Rom. xiii. 5.

4 It is involved at once in the " subdidit reos " of Tac. Ann. v. 44.


upon the former. Christians suffered even more than the Jews because of the calumnies so assiduously circulated against them, and from what appeared to the ancients to be the revolting absurdity of their peculiar tenets. " Nero," says Tacitus, " exposed to accusation, and tortured with the most exquisite penalties, a set of men detested for their enormities, whom the common people called ' Christians.' Christus, the founder of this sect, was executed during the reign of Tiberius by the Procurator Pontius Pilate, and the deadly superstition, suppressed for a time, began to burst out once more, not only throughout Judaea, where the evil had its root, but even in the City, whither from every quarter all things horrible or shameful are drifted, and find their votaries.5' The lordly disdain which prevented Tacitus from making any inquiry into the real views and character of the Christians, is shown by the fact that he catches up the most baseless allegations against them. He talks of their doctrines as savage and shameful, when they breathed the very spirit of peace and purity. He charges them with being animated by a hatred of their kind, when their central tenet was an universal charity. The masses, he says, called them " Christians ;" and while he almost apologises for staining his page with so vulgar an appellation,1 he merely mentions in

1 l Pet.iv.14; James ii. 7. There can be little doubt, as I have shown in the Life and Work of St. Paul, i. 301, that the name " Christian "—so curiously hybrid, yet so richly expressive—was a nickname due to the wit of the Antiochenes, which exercised itself quite fearlessly even on the Roman Emperors. They were not afraid to affix nicknames to Caracalla, and to call Julian Cecrops and Victimarius, with keen satire of his beard (Herodian. iv. 9; Ammian. xxii. 14). It is clear that the sacred writers avoided the name, because it was employed by their enemies, and by them mingled with terms of the vilest opprobrium (Tae. Ann. xv. 44). It only became familiar when the virtues of Christians had shed lustre upon it, and when alike in its true form, and in the ignorant mispronunciation " Chrestians," it readily lent itself to valuable allegorical meanings (Tert. Apol. 3; Just. Mart. Apol. 2; Clem. Ales. Strom. ii. 4, § 18; Bingham, i. 1, § 11).


passing, that, though innocent of the charge of being turbulent incendiaries, on which they were tortured to death, they were yet a set of guilty and infamous sectaries, to be classed with the lowest dregs of Roman criminals.1

But the haughty historian throws no light on one difficulty, namely, the circumstances which led to the Christians being thus singled out. The Jews were in no way involved in Nero's persecution. To persecute the Jews at Borne would not have been an easy matter. They were sufficiently numerous to be formidable, and had overawed Cicero in the zenith of his fame. Besides this, the Jewish religion was recognised, tolerated, licensed. Throughout the length and breadth of the Empire, no man, however much he and his race might be detested and despised, could have been burnt or tortured for the mere fact of being a Jew. We hear of no Jewish martyrdoms or Jewish persecutions till we come to the times of the Jewish war, and then chiefly in Palestine itself. It is clear that a shedding of blood— in fact, some form or other of human sacrifice—was imperatively demanded by popular feeling as an expiation of the ruinous crime which had plunged so many thousands into the depths of misery. In vain had the Sibylline Books been once more consulted, and in vain had public prayer been offered, in accordance with their directions, to Vulcan and the goddesses of Earth and Hades. In vain had the Roman matrons walked in

1 See, on the crime of being " a Christian," Clem. Alex. Strom. iv. 11,


procession in dark robes, and with their long hair unbound, to propitiate the insulted majesty of Juno, and to sprinkle with sea-water her ancient statue. In vain had largesses been lavished upon the people, and propitiatory sacrifices offered to the gods. In vain had public banquets been celebrated in honour of various deities. A crime had been committed, and Romans had perished unavenged. Blood cried for blood, before the sullen suspicion against Nero could be averted, or the indignation of Heaven appeased. Nero had always hated, persecuted, and exiled the philosophers, and no doubt, so far as he knew anything of the Christians—so far as he saw among his own countless slaves any who had embraced this superstition, which the elite of Rome described as not only new, but "execrable" and "malefic"1—he would hate their gravity and purity, and feel for them that raging envy which is the tribute that virtue receives from vice. Moreover, St. Paul, in all probability, had recently stood before his tribunal; and though he had been acquitted on the special charges of turbulence and profanation, respecting which he had appealed to Caesar, yet during the judicial inquiry Nero could hardly have failed to hear from the emissaries of the Sanhedrin many fierce slanders of a sect which was everywhere spoken against. The Jews were by far the deadliest enemies of the Christians; and two persons of Jewish proclivities were at this time in close proximity to the person of the Emperor.2 One was the pantomimist

1 Mala, venefica, exitiabilis, execrabilis, prava, superstitio (Tac. Ann. xv. 44; Suet. Ner. 16; Plin. Ep. 92).

2 Under previous Emperors we read of the Jewess Acme, a slave of Livia, and the Samaritan Thallus, a freedman of Tiberius (Jos. Antt. xvii. 5, § 7; B. J. i. 33, §§ 6, 7).


Aliturus, the other was Poppaea, the harlot Empress.1 The Jews were in communication with these powerful favourites, and had even promised Nero that if his enemies ever prevailed at Rome he should have the kingdom of Jerusalem.2 It is not even impossible that there may have been a third dark and evil influence at work to undermine the Christians, for about this very time the unscrupulous Pharisee Flavius Josephus had availed himself of the intrigues of the palace to secure the liberation of some Jewish priests.3 If, as seems certain, the Jews had it in their power during the reign of Nero more or less to shape the whisper of the throne, does not historical induction drive us to conclude with some confidence that the suggestion of the Christians as scapegoats and victims came from them ? St. Clemens says in his Epistle that the Christians suffered through jealousy. Whose jealousy ? Who can tell what dark secrets lie veiled under that suggestive word ? Was Acte a Christian, and was Poppaea jealous of her ? That suggestion seems at once inadequate and improbable, especially as Acte was not hurt. But there was a deadly jealousy at work against the New Religion. To

1 According to John of Antioch (Excerpta Valesii, p. 808), and the Chromicon Paschale (i. 459), Nero was originally favourable to the Christians, and put Pilate to death, for which the Jews plotted his murder. Comp. Euseb. H. E. ii. 22, iv. 26; Keim, Rom und Christenthum, 179. Poppaea's Judaism is inferred from her refusing to be burned, and requesting to be embalmed (Tac. Ann. xvi. 16); from her adopting the custom of wearing a veil in the streets (id. xiii. 45); from the favour which she showed to Aliturns and Josephus (Jos. Vit. 3; Antt. xx. 8, § 11); and from the term 0co<r€0^s, which Josephus applies to her.

2 Suet. Ner. 40. Tiberius Alexander, the nephew of Philo, afterwards Procurator of Judaea, was a person of influence at Home (Jos. B. J. ii. 15, § 1; Juv. i. 130); but he was a renegade, and would not be likely to hate the Christians. It is, however, remarkable that legend attributed the anger of Nero to the conversion of his mistress and a favourite slave.

3 Jos. Vit. 3.


the Pagans, Christianity was but a religious extravagance—contemptible, indeed, but otherwise insignificant. To the Jews, on the other hand, it was an object of hatred, which never stopped short of bloodshed when it possessed or could usurp the power,1 and which, though long suppressed by circumstances, displayed itself in all the intensity of its virulence during the brief spasm of the dictatorship of Barcochba. Christianity was hateful to the Jews on every ground. It nullified their Law. It liberated all Gentiles from the heavy yoke of that Law, without thereby putting them on a lower level. It even tended to render those who were born Jews indifferent to the institutions of Mosaism. It was, as it were, a fatal revolt and schism from within, more dangerous than any assault from without. And, worse than all, it was by the Gentiles confounded with the Judaism which was its bitterest antagonist. While it sheltered its existence under the mantle of Judaism, as a religio licita, it drew down upon the religion from whose bosom it sprang all the scorn and hatred which were attached by the world to its own especial tenets; for however much the Greeks and Romans despised the Jews, they despised still more the belief that the Lord and Saviour of the world was a crucified malefactor who had risen from the dead. I see in the proselytism of Poppaea, guided by Jewish malice, the only adequate explanation of the first Christian persecution. Hers was the jealousy which had goaded Nero to matricide; hers not improbably was the instigated fanaticism of a proselyte which urged him to

1 Compare what St. Paul says about the virulence of Jewish enmity in 1 Thess. ii. 14—16; Phil. iii. 2. Yet Christianity grew up " sub umbraculo licitae Judaeorum religionis " (Tert. Apol. 21).


imbrue his hands in martyr blood. And she had her reward. A woman of whom Tacitus has not a word of good to say, and who seems to have been repulsive even to a Suetonius, is handed down by the renegade Pharisee as " a devout woman "—as a worshipper of God!1

And, indeed, when once the Christians were pointed out to the popular vengeance, many reasons would be adduced to prove their connexion with the conflagration. Temples had perished—and were they not notorious enemies of the temples ?2 Did not popular rumour charge them with nocturnal orgies and Thyestsean feasts ? Suspicions of incendiarism were sometimes brought against Jews;3 but, the Jews were not in the habit of talking, as these sectaries were, about a fire which should consume the world,4 and rejoicing in the prospect of that fiery consummation.5 Nay, more, when Pagans had bewailed the destruction of the city and the loss of the ancient monuments of Home, had not these pernicious people used ambiguous language, as though they joyously recognised in these events the signs of a coming end ? Even when they tried to suppress all outward tokens of exultation, had they not listened to the fears and lamentations of their fellow-

1 Sfofff^s (Jos. Antt. xx. 7, § 11). The word means a " monotheist," or proselyte, like <rf$6/>os (Acts xiii. 43, xvi. 14, etc.). See Huidekoper, Judaism at Borne, pp. 462—169.

2 As were also the Jews, who were confounded with them. Rom. ii. 22, " Dost thou (a Jew) rob temples ? " See Life and Work of St. Paul,11. 202.

3 Jos. B. J. vii. 3, § 2-4.

4 As St. Peter and St. John did at this very time. 1 Pet. iv. 17 ; Rev. xviii. 8. Comp. 2 Pet. iii. 10—12; 2 Thess. i. 8.

5 St. Peter—apparently thinking of the fire at Rome and its consequences—calls the persecution from which the Christians were suffering when he wrote his First Epistle a Trvpuxrn, or " conflagration." 1 Pet. iv.

6. Comp. 1 Pet. i. 7; Heb. x. 27.


citizens with some sparkle in the eyes, and had they not answered with something of triumph in their tones? There was a Satanic plausibility which dictated the selection of these particular victims. Because they hated the wickedness of the world, with its ruthless games and hideous idolatries, they were accused of hatred of the whole human race.1 The charge ofincivisme, so fatal in this Reign of Terror, was sufficient to ruin a body of men who scorned the sacrifices of heathendom, and turned away with abhorrence from its banquets and gaieties.2 The cultivated classes looked down upon the Christians with a disdain which would hardly even mention them without an apology. The canaille of Pagan cities insulted them with obscene inscriptions and blasphemous pictures on the very walls of the places where they met.3 Nay, they were popularly known by nicknames, like Sarmenticii and Semaxii—untranslatable terms of opprobrium derived from the fagots with which they were burned and the stakes to which they were chained.4 Even the heroic courage which they displayed was described as being sheer obstinacy and stupid fanaticism.5

1 Tac. Ann. xt. 44; Hist. v. 5; Suet. Nor. 16.

2 The tracts of Tertullian De Corona Militis are the best commentary on these sentences.

3 Tertullian mentions one of these coarse caricatures—a figure with one foot hoofed, wearing a toga, carrying a book, and with long ass's ears, under which was written, " The God of the Christians, Onokoites." He says that Christians were actually charged with worshipping the head of an ass (Apol. 16; ad Natt. i. 16). The same preposterous calumny, with many others, is alluded to by Minucius Felix, Octav. i. 9 : " Audio eos turpissimae pecudis capnt asini . . . venerari." The Christians were hence called Asinarii. Analogous calumnies were aimed at the Jews. Tac. Hist. v. 4; Plut. Symp. iv. 5, § 2; Jos. c. Apion. ii. 7.

4 Tert. Apol. 14.

5 Epictetus, Dissert, iv. 7, § 6; Marc. Aurelius, xi. 3, i


But in the method chosen for the punishment of these saintly innocents Nero gave one more proof of the close connexion between effeminate sestheticism and sanguinary callousness. As in old days, " on that opprobrious hill," the temple of Chemosh had stood close by that of Moloch, so now we find the spoJ.ia.rium beside the fornices—Lust hard by Hate. The carnificina of Tiberius, at Capreaea, adjoined the sellariae. History has given many proofs that no man is more systematically heartless than a corrupted debauchee. Like people, like prince. In the then condition of Home, Nero well knew that a nation " cruel, by their sports to blood inured," would be most likely to forget their miseries, and condone their suspicions, by mixing games and gaiety with spectacles of refined and atrocious cruelty, of which, for eighteen centuries, the most passing record has sufficed to make men's blood run cold.

Tacitus tells us that " those who confessed were first seized, and then on their evidence a huge multitude* were convicted, not so much on the charge of incendiarism as for their hatred to mankind." Compressed and obscure as the sentence is, Tacitus clearly means to imply by the " confession " to which he alludes the confession of Christianity; and though he is not sufficiently generous to acquit the Christians absolutely of all complicity in the great crime, he distinctly says that they were made the scapegoats of a general indignation. The phrase—" a huge multitude "—is one of the few existing indications of the number of martyrs in the first

1 " Ingens multitudo." The phrase is identical with the m>A.{i TrAJjftw of Clemens Romanus (Ep. ad Cor. i. 6), and the $x*°s «>A&s °f Rev. vii. 9, xix. 1, 6. Tertullian says that " Nero was the first who raged with the sword of Caesar against this sect, which was then specially rising at Rome " (Apol. 5).


persecution, and of the number of Christians in the Roman Church.1 When the historian says that they were convicted on the charge of " hatred against mankind " he shows how completely he confounds them with the Jews, against whom he elsewhere brings the accusation of " hostile feelings towards all except themselves."

Then the historian adds one casual but frightful sentence—a sentence which flings a dreadful light on the cruelty of Nero and the Roman mob. He adds, " And various forms of mockery were added' to enhance their dying agonies. Covered with the skins of wild beasts, they were doomed to die by the mangling of dogs, or by being nailed to crosses; or to be set on fire and burnt after twilight by way of nightly illumination. Nero offered his own gardens for this show, and gave a chariot race, mingling with the mob in the dress of a charioteer, or actually driving about among them. Hence, guilty as the victims were, and deserving of the worst punishments, a feeling of compassion towards them began to rise, as men felt that they were being immolated not for any advantage to the commonwealth, but to glut the savagery of a single man."2

Imagine that awful scene, once witnessed by the silent obelisk in the square before St. Peter's at Rome ! Imagine it, that we may realise how vast is the change which Christianity has wrought in the feelings of mankind ! There, where the vast dome now rises, were once the gardens of Nero. They were thronged with gay

1 Compare Ores. Hist. vii. 7, " (Nero) primus Romae Christianos snppliciis et mortibus affecit ac per omnes provincias pari persecutione excruciari imperavit; ipsnm nomen exstirpare conatus beafcissimos Christi apostolos Petrum cruce, Paulum gladio oecidit."

2 Hence < he expressions " qnaesitissimae poenae" and " cmdelissimae qnaestiones" (Snip. Sev. Hist. ii. 96)


crowds, among whom the Emperor moved in his frivolous degradation—and on every side were men dying slowly on their cross of shame. Along the paths of those gardens on the autumn nights were ghastly torches, blackening the ground beneath them with streams of sulphurous pitch, and each of those living torches was a martyr in his shirt of fire.1 And in the amphitheatre hard by, in sight of twenty thousand spectators, famished dogs were tearing to pieces some of the best and purest of men and women, hideously disguised in the skins of bears or wolves. Thus did Nero baptise in the blood of martyrs the city which was to be for ages the capital of the world !

The specific atrocity of such spectacles—unknown to the earlier ages which they called barbarous—was due to the cold-blooded selfishness, the hideous realism of a refined, delicate, aesthetic age. To please these " lisping hawthorn-buds," these debauched and sanguinary dandies, Art, forsooth, must know nothing of morality ; must accept and rejoice in a "healthy animalism"; must estimate life by the number of its few wildest pulsations ; must reckon that life is worthless without the most thrilling experiences of horror or delight! Comedy, must be actual shame, and tragedy genuine bloodshed.2 When the play of Afranius called " The Conflagration " was put on the stage, a house must be really burnt, and its furniture really plundered.8 In the mime called " Laureolus," an actor must really be crucified and

1 See, on this tunica molesta, Luer. iii. 1,017; jut. viii. 235, i. 155, et ibi Schol. Sen. Up. xiv. 5, " Illam tunicam alimentis ignium et illitam et textam." Mart. Spectac. Mp. v., x. 25; Apul. iii. 9, x. 10; Tert. Apol. 15, 50 (sarmenticii . . . semaxii); ad Hart. 5; ad Scop. 4; ad Nat. \. 18, " incendiati tunica-." Friedlander, Sittengesch. Roms, ii. 386.

2 Champagny, lies Cesars, iv. 159. 3 Suet. Calig. 57.


mangled by a bear, and really fling himself down and deluge the stage with blood.1 When the heroism of Mucius Scsevola was represented, a real criminal2 must thrust his hand without a groan into the flame, and stand motionless while it is being burnt. Prometheus must be really chained to his rock, and Dirce in very fact be tossed and gored by the wild bull ;3 and Orpheus be torn to pieces by a real bear; and Icarus must really fly, even though he fall and be dashed to death; and Hercules must ascend the funeral pyre, and there be veritably burnt alive; and slaves and criminals must play their parts heroically in gold and purple till the flames envelope them. It was the ultimate romance of a degraded and brutalised society. The Roman people, " victors once, now vile and base," could now only be amused by sanguinary melodrama. Fables must be made realities, and the criminal must gracefully transform his supreme agonies into amusements for the multitude by becoming a gladiator or a tragedian. Such were the spectacles at which Nero loved to gaze through his emerald eye-glass.4 And worse things than

1 jut. Sat. viii. 187, "Laureolum velox etiam bene Lentulus egit;" the actor " was unable to fly over the cross." Mart. Spectac. vii., " Nuda Caledonio sic pectora praebuit urso. Non falsa pendens in cruce Laii-reolus Vivebant laceri membris stillantibus artns. ... In quo quae fueratfdbula,poenafuit." See Suet. Gains, 57. Josephus (Anit. xix. 1, § 3) alludes to this terrible incident, and so does Tertullian in an obscure but remarkable passage, adv. Valent. 14, "nee habens supervolare crucem . qnia nullum Catulli Laureolnm fuerit exercitata."

2 Mart. -vii. 8, 21, viii. 30, x. 25; cf. 6€a.TPi£6pevoi, Heb. x. 33.

3 The Toro Farnese had been brought to Rome from Rhodes in the days of Augustus, and may have set the fashion for this tableau vivant (Plin. xxxvi. 5, 6; Apul. Metam. vi. 127; Lncian, Lucius, 23; Renan, L'Antechrist, 171; Tert. Apol. 15; Pint. De Sera Num. Vind. 9 : vtp avifVTcs fK tj}s cu>0ivijs fKflv-rjs Ktd Tro\vTf\ovs faOiJTos j Schlegel, Philos d. Gesch. I. ix., p. 332.

4 " Spectabat smaragdo " (Plin. H. N. xxxvii. 57).


these — things indescribable, unutterable. Infamous mythologies were enacted, in which women must play their part in torments of shamefulness more intolerable than death. A St. Peter must hang upon the cross in the Pincian gardens, as a real Laureolus upon the stage. A Christian boy must be the Icarus, and a Christian man the Scsevola, or the Hercules, or the Orpheus of the amphitheatre ; and Christian women, modest maidens, holy matrons, must be the Danaids,1 or the Proserpine, or worse, and play their parts as priestesses of Saturn and Ceres, and in blood-stained dramas of the dead. No wonder that Nero became to Christian imagination the very incarnation of evil ; the Antichrist ; the Wild Beast from the abyss ; the delegate of the great red Dragon, with a diadem and a name of blasphemy upon his brow.2 No wonder that he left a furrow of horror in the hearts of men, and that, ten centuries after his death, the church of Sta. Maria del Popolo had to be built by Pope Pascal II. to exorcise from Christian Home his restless and miserable ghost !

And it struck them with deeper horror to see that the Antichrist, so far from being abhorred, was generally popular. He was popular because he presented to the degraded populace their own image and similitude. The froglike unclean spirits which proceeded, as it were, out of his mouth 3 were potent with these dwellers in an atmosphere of pestilence. They had lost all love for freedom and nobleness ; they cared only for doles and excitement. Even when the infamies of a Petronius

1. l S. Clem, ad Cor. i. 6, Sice tfiXov Siw^Oeiirat yvvatices Aa?af5es fcai Aipxat aiKitr/iara Seii/i Ka! aviffia iraSovaai «rl top ttjs irtffTeus fiefiaiov Spo/iov iral f\afiov yepas yevvaiov al atrOeveis Ty fftfrfjujiTi.

2 2 Thess. ii. 3 ; Rev. xi. 7, xii. 3, xiii. 1, 6, xvi. 13, xvii. 8, 11.

3 Rev. xvi. 13.


had been superseded by the murderous orgies of Tigellinus, Nero was still everywhere welcomed with shouts as a god on earth, and saluted on coins as Apollo, as Hercules, as " the saviour of the world." 1 The poets still assured him that there was no deity in heaven who would not think it an honour to concede to him his prerogatives; that if he did not place himself well in the centre of Olympus, the equilibrium of the universe would be destroyed.2 Victims were slain along his path, and altars raised for him—for this wretch, whom an honest slave could not but despise and loathe—as though he was too great for mere human honours.3 Nay, more, he found adorers and imitators of his execrable example —an Otho, a Vitellius, a Domitian, a Commodus, a Caracalla, an Heliogabalus—to poison the air of the world. The lusts and hungers and furies of the world lamented him, and cherished his memory, and longed for his return.

And yet, though all bad men—who were the majority—admired and even loved him, he died the death of a dog. Tremendous as was the power of Imperialism, the Romans often treated their individual Emperors as Nero himself treated the Syrian goddess, whose image he first worshipped with awful veneration and then subjected to the most grotesque indignities. For retribution did not linger, and the vengeance fell at once on the guilty Emperor and the guilty city.

1 Careless seems the Great Avenger : History's pages but record One death-grapple in the darkness 'twixt false systems and the Word; Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne. Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own."

2 t£ 2aiT$jp« rris oiKovfifriqs. 2 Jjnc. Phars. vii.

3 Tac. Ann. xv. 74, " Tamquam mortale fastiginm egresso."


The air was full of prodigies. There were terrible storms : the plague wrought fearful ravages.1 Rumours spread from lip to lip. Men spoke of monstrous births ; of deaths by lightning under strange circumstances ; of a brazen statue of Nero melted by the flash; of places struck by the brand of heaven in fourteen regions of the city;2 of sudden darkenings of the sun.3 A hurricane devastated Campania; comets blazed in the heavens ;4 earthquakes shook the ground.5 On all sides were the traces of deep uneasiness and superstitious terror.6 To all these portents, which were accepted as true by Christians as well as by Pagans, the Christians would give a specially terrible significance. They strengthened their conviction that the coming of the Lord drew nigh. They convinced the better sort of Pagans that the hour of their deliverance from a tyranny so monstrous and so disgraceful was near at hand.

In spite of the shocking servility with which alike the Senate and the people had welcomed him back to the city with shouts of triumph, Nero felt that the air of Rome was heavy with curses against his name. He withdrew to Naples, and was at supper there on March 19, a.d. 68, the anniversary of his mother's murder,

1 Tac. Ann. xvi. 13, " Tot facinoribus foedum annum etiam dii tem-postatibus et morbis insignivere," etc.; Oros. Hist. vii. 7, " Mox (after the martyrdom of Peter and Paul) acervatim miseram civitatem obortae undique oppressere clades. Nam subsequente auctumno tanta Urbi pestilentia incubuit, nt triginta millia funerum in ratioiiem Libitinae veuirent."

2 Tac. Hist. i. 4, 11, 78, ii. 8, 95; Suet. Ner. 57; Otho, 7; Plut. De Sera Num. Vind. ; Pausan. vii. 17 ; Xiphilin. Ixiv; Dion Chrysost. Orat. xxi.

3 Tae. Ann. xiv. 12.

4 Tac. Ann. xiv. 22, xv. 47; Sen. Qu. Nat. vii. 17, 21.

5 Tac. Ann. xv. 22.

6 Suet. Ner. 36, 39 ; Dion Cass. Ixi. 1C, 18.


when he heard that the first note of revolt had been sounded by the brave C. Julius Yindex, Praefect of Farther Gaul. He was so far from being disturbed by the news, that he showed a secret joy at the thought that he could now order Graul to be plundered. For eight days he took no notice of the matter. He was only roused to send an address to the Senate because Vindex wounded his vanity by calling him " Aheno-barbus," and " a bad singer." But when messenger after messenger came from the provinces with tidings of menace, he hurried back to Rome. At last, when he heard that Virginius Eufus had also rebelled in Germany, and Galba in Spain, he became aware of the desperate nature of his position. On receiving this intelligence he fainted away, and remained for some time unconscious. He continued, indeed, his grossness and frivolity, but the wildest and fiercest schemes chased each other through his melodramatic brain. He would slay all the exiles ; he would give up all the provinces to plunder; he would order all the Gauls in the city to be butchered; he would have all the Senators invited to banquets, and would then poison them; he would have the city set on fire, and the wild beasts of the amphitheatre let loose among the people; he would depose both the Consuls, and become sole consul himself, since legend said that only by a Consul could Gauls be conquered; he would go with an army to the province, and when he got there would do nothing but weep, and when he had thus moved the rebels to compassion, would next day sing with them at a great festival the ode of victory which he must at once compose. Not a single manly resolution lent a moment's dignity to his miserable fall. Sometimes he talked of


escaping to Ostia, and arming the sailors; at others, of escaping to Alexandria, and earning his bread by his " divine voice." Meanwhile he was hourly subjected to the deadliest insults, and terrified by dreams and omens so sombre that his faith in the astrologers who had promised him the government of the East and the kingdom of Jerusalem began to be rudely shaken. When he heard that not a single army or general remained faithful to him, he kicked over the table at which he was dining, dashed to pieces on the ground two favourite goblets embossed with scenes from the Homeric poems, and placed in a golden box some poison furnished to him by Locusta. The last effort which he contemplated was to mount the Rostra, beg pardon of the people for his crimes, ask them to try him again, and, at the worst, to allow him the Prsefecture of Egypt. Bat this design he did not dare to carry out, from fear that he would be torn to pieces before he reached the Forum. Meanwhile he found that the palace had been deserted by his guards, and that his attendants had robbed his chamber even of the golden box in which he had stored his poison. Bushing out, as though to drown himself in the Tiber, he changed his mind, and begged for some quiet hiding-place in which to collect his thoughts. The freedman Phaon offered him a lowly villa about four miles from the city. Barefooted, and with a faded coat thrown over his tunic, he hid his head and face in a kerchief, and rode away with only four attendants. On the road, he heard the tumult of the Praetorians cursing his name. Amid evil omens and serious perils he reached the back of Phaon's villa, and, creeping towards it through a muddy reed-bed, was secretly admitted into one of its


mean slave-chambers by an aperture through which he had to crawl on his hands and feet.

There is no need to dwell on the miserable spectacle of his end, perhaps the meanest and most pusillanimous which has ever been recorded. The poor wretch who, without a pang, had caused so many brave Romans and so many innocent Christians to be murdered, could not summon up resolution to die. He devised every operatic incident of which he could think. When even his most degraded slaves urged him to have sufficient manliness to save himself from the fearful infamies which otherwise awaited him, he ordered his grave to be dug, and fragments of marble to be collected for its adornment, and water and wood for his funeral pyre, perpetually whining, " What an artist to perish!" Meanwhile a courier arrived for Phaon. Nero snatched his despatches out of his hand, and read that the Senate had decided that he should be punished in the ancestral fashion as a public enemy. Asking what the ancestral fashion was, he was informed that he would be stripped naked and scourged to death with rods, with his head thrust into a fork. Horrified at this, he seized two daggers, and after theatrically trying their edges, sheathed them again, with the excuse that the fatal moment had not yet arrived! Then he bade Sporus begin to sing his funeral song, and begged some one to show him how to die. Even his own intense shame at his cowardice was an insufficient stimulus, and he wiled away the time in vapid epigrams and pompous quotations. The sound of horses' hoofs then broke on his ears, and, venting one more Greek quotation, he held the dagger to his throat. It was driven home by Epaphroditus, one of his literary slaves. At this moment the


centurion who came to arrest him rushed in. Nero was not yet dead, and, under pretence of helping him, the centurion began to stanch the wound with his cloak. "Too late," he said; "is this your fidelity?" So he died; and the bystanders were horrified with the way in which his eyes seemed to be starting out of his head in a rigid stare. He had begged that his body might be burned without posthumous insults, and this was conceded by Icelus, the freedman of Galba.

So died the last of the Caesars! And as Robespierre was lamented by his landlady, so even Nero was tenderly buried by two nurses who had known him in the exquisite beauty of his engaging childhood, and by Acte, who had inspired his youth with a genuine love.

But, as we shall see hereafter, his history does not end with his grave. He was to live on in the expectation alike of Jews and Christians. The fifth head of the Wild Beast of the Revelation was in some sort to re-appear as the eighth; the head with its diadem and its names of blasphemy had been wounded to death, but in the Apocalyptic sense the deadly wound was to be healed.1 The Roman world could not believe that the heir of the deified Julian race could be cut off thus suddenly and obscurely, and vanish like foam upon the water.2 The Christians felt sure that it required something more than an ordinary death-stroke to destroy the Antichrist, and to end the vitality of the Wild Beast from the Abyss, who had been the first to set himself in deadly antagonism against the Redeemer, and to wage war upon the saints of God.

1 Rev. xiii. 3, xvii. 11.

2 Hos. x. 7.


Book II



When we turn from the annals of the world at this epoch to the annals of the Church, we pass at once from an atmosphere heavy with misery and corruption into pure and pellucid air. We have been reading the account given us by secular literature of the world in its relations to the Church. In the First Epistle of St. Peter we shall read directions which were written to guide the Church in its relations to the world. We have been reading what Pagans said and thought of Christians ; in the writings of Christians addressed to each other, and meant for no other eye, we shall see what these hated, slandered, persecuted Christians really were. In place of the turbulence laid to their charge, we shall have proofs of the humility and cheerfulness of their submission. We shall see


that, so far from being resentful, they were taught unlimited forgiveness; and that, instead of cherishing a fierce hatred against all mankind, they made it their chief virtue to cultivate an universal love.

But although we are so fully acquainted with the thoughts and feelings of the early Christians, yet the facts of their corporate history during the last decades of the first century, and even the closing details in the biographies of their very greatest teachers are plunged in entire uncertainty. When, with the last word in the Acts of the Apostles, we lose the graphic and faithful guidance of St. Luke, the torch of Christian history is for a time abruptly quenched. We are left, as it were, to grope amid the windings of the catacombs. Even the final labours of the life of St. Paul are only so far known as we may dimly infer them from the casual allusions of the pastoral epistles. For the details of many years in the life of St. Peter we have nothing on which to rely except slight and vague allusions, floating rumours, and false impressions created by the deliberate fictions of heretical romance.

It is probable that this silence is in itself the result of the terrible scenes in which the Apostles perished. It was indispensable to the safety of the whole community that the books of the Christians, when given up by the unhappy weakness of "traditors " or discovered by the keen malignity of informers, should contain no compromising matter. But how would it have been possible for St. Luke to write in a manner otherwise than compromising if he had detailed the horrors of the Neronian persecution ? It is a reasonable conjecture that the sudden close of the Acts of the Apostles may have been due to the impossibility of speaking without


indignation and abhorrence of the Emperor and the Government which, between a.d. 64 and 68, sanctioned the infliction upon innocent men and women of atrocities which excited the pity of the very Pagans. The Jew and the Christian who entered on such themes could only do so under the disguise of a cryptograph, hiding his meaning from all but the initiated few in such prophetic symbols as those of the Apocalypse. In that book alone we are enabled to hear the cry of horror which Nero's brutal cruelties wrung from Christian hearts.

But if we know so little of St. Peter that is in the least trustworthy, it is hardly strange that of the other Apostles, with the single exception of St. John, and —in the wider sense of the word " apostle "—of St. James the Lord's brother, we know scarcely anything. To St. Peter, St. John, and St. James the Lord's brother it was believed that Christ, after His resurrection, had "revealed the true gnosis," or deeper understanding of Christian doctrine.1 It is singular how very little is narrated of the rest, and how entirely that little depends upon loose and unaccredited tradition. Did they all travel as missionaries? Did they all die as martyrs ? Heracleon, in the second century, said that St. Matthias, St. Thomas, St. Philip, and St. Matthew died natural deaths, and St. Clemens of Alexandria quotes him without contradiction.2 The only death of an Apostle narrated in the New Testament is narrated in two words, [Greek]"slew with the sword." It is the martyrdom of St. James the Elder,

1 Clem. Alex. of. Euseb. H. E. ii. 1.

2 Clem. Alex. Strom. i. 4 See Dollinger, First Age of the Church, p. 137.


the son of Zebedee.1 Of St. Philip we know with reasonable certainty that he lived for many years as bishop, and died in great honour at Hierapolis in Phrygia. Eusebius makes express mention of his daughters, of whom two were virgins, and one was married and buried at Ephesus. It cannot be regarded as certain that there has not been some confusion between Philip the Apostle and Philip the Deacon; but there is no reason why they should not both have had virgin daughters, and Polycrates expressly says that the Philip who was regarded as one of the great " lights of Asia " was one of the Twelve.2 If we ask about the rest of our Lord's chosen Twelve, all that we are told is of a most meagre and most uncertain character. The first fact stated about them is that they did not separate for twelve years, because they had been bidden by Christ in His parting words to stay for that period in Jerusalem. Accordingly we find that up to that time St. Paul is the only Apostle of whose missionary journeys beyond the limits of Palestine we have any evidence, whereas after that time we find James the Lord's brother alone at Jerusalem as the permanent overseer of the Mother-Church.

We are told that, after the Ascension, the Apostles divided the world among themselves by lot for the purpose of evangelisation,3 and in the fourth century there was a prevalent belief that they had all been martyred

1 He became the Patron Saint of Spain from the legends about the removal of his body to Iria Flavia. Compostella is said to be a corruption of Giacomo Postolo (Voss). See Cave, Lives of the Apostles, p. 150. The Bollandists still retain the legend first mentioned by Wal. Strabo (Proem. de XII. Apost.) that he was martyred there.

2 Clem Alex. Strom. iii., p. 448; Polycr. ap. Euseb. iii. 31; Dorothens. De Vit. et Mart. Apost.; Isidor. Pelus. Epp. i. 447, etc. Metaphrastes and Niccphorus add various fables.

3 Socrates, H. E. i. 19.


before the destruction of Jerusalem, excepting John. This, however, can have only been an. a priori conjecture, and there is no evidence which can be adduced in its support.

The sum total, then, of what tradition asserts about these Apostles, omitting the worst absurdities and the legendary miracles, is as follows :—

St. Andrew, determining to convert the Scythians,1 visited on the way Amynsus, Trapezus, Heraclea, and Sinope. After being nearly killed by the Jews at Sinope, he was miraculously healed, visited Neo-Caesarea and Samosata, returned to Jerusalem, and thence went to Byzantium, where he appointed Stachys to be a bishop. After various other travels and adventures he was martyred at Patrse by AEgeas, Proconsul of Achaia, by being crucified on the decussate cross now known as the cross of St. Andrew. 2

St. Bartholomew (Nathanael) is said to have travelled to India, and to have carried thither St. Matthew's Gospel.3 After preaching in Lycaonia and Armenia, it is asserted that he was either flayed or crucified head downwards at Albanopolis in Armenia. The pseudo-Dionysius attributes to him the remarkable saying that " Theology is both large and very small, and the Gospel broad and great, and also compressed."4

St. Matthew is said to have preached in Parthia and ^Ethiopia, and to have been martyred at Naddaber in

1 Origen ap. Euseb. iii. 1.

2 See Euseb. H. E. iii. 1; Nicephorus, H. E. ii 39. In Hesychins of. Photium, Cod. 269, is first found his address to his cross. The Acta Andreae (Tischendorf, Act. Apocr., p. 105 fE.) are among the best of their kind.

3 Euseb. v. 10; Sophronius ap. Jer. De Script. Heel. * l)e Mystic. Theol. i. 3.


the latter country.1 According to St. Clemens, he lived only on herbs,2 practising a mode of life which was Essene in its simplicity and self-denial.

St. Thomas is called the Apostle of India, and is said to have founded the Christian communities in India who still call themselves by his name. But this seems to be a mistake. Theodoret says that the Thomas who established these churches was a Manichee, and the " Acts of Thomas" are Manichean in tendency. Origen says that the Apostle preached in Parthia.3 His grave was shown at Edessa in the fourth century.*

St. James the less, the son of Alphseus, who is distinguished by the Greek Church from James the Lord's brother, is said to have been crucified while preaching at Ostrakine in Lower Egypt.5

St. Simon zelotes is variously conjectured to have preached and to have been crucified at Babylonia or in the British Isles.6

Judas, lebbaeus, or thaddaeus, is said to have been despatched by St. Thomas to Abgar, King of Edessa, and to have been martyred at Berytus.7

Scanty, contradictory, late, and unauthenticated notices, founded for the most part on invention or a sense of ecclesiastical fitness, and recorded chiefly by writers like Gregory of Tours late in the sixth century, and Nicephorus late in the fourteenth, are obviously valueless. All that we can deduce from them is the belief, of which we see glimpses even in Clemens Alexandrinus and Origen, that the Apostles preached

1 Niceph. I.e.; Metaphr. ad Aug. 24; Fortnnatns, De Senat. vii. Various fables are added in Niceph. ii. 41.

2 Paedag. ii. 1. s Orig. a/p. Euseb. iii. 1.

3 Chrys. Horn, in Hebr. xxvi.

4 Niceph. ii. 40.

6 Niceph. viii. 30. 7 Dorotheus, De Vit. Apost.; Niceph. ii. 40.


far and wide, and that more than one of them were martyred. It would he strange if none of the Twelve met with such an end in preaching among Pagan and harbarous nations; and that they did so preach is rendered likely by the extreme antiquity and the marked Judaeo-Christian character of Churches which still exist in Persia, India, Egypt, and Abyssinia.

But in the silence and obscurity which thus falls over the personal history and final fate of the Twelve whom Christ chose to be nearest to Him on earth, how invaluable is the boon of knowledge respecting the thoughts, and to some extent even the lives, of such Apostles as St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. John, as well as of St. Jude, and St. James the Lord's brother, and the eloquent writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews. And the boon is all the richer from the Divine diversity of thought thus preserved for us. For each of these Apostolic writers, though they are one in their faith, yet approaches the hopes and promises of Christianity from a different point of view; each one gives us a fresh aspect of many-sided truths.

Let us imagine what would have been our position, if, in the providence of God, we had not been suffered to possess these works, of which the greater number belong to the closing epoch of the New Testament Canon.

The New Testament would then have consisted exclusively of the works of five writers—the four Evangelists and St. Paul.

The Synoptists, in spite of well-marked minor differences in their point of view, present for the most part a single—mainly the external and historical—aspect of the life of Christ. We find in them a compressed


and fragmentary outline of the work of Christ's public ministry, and even this is almost confined to details about one year of His work and one region of His ministry,1 followed by a fuller account of His Betrayal, Passion, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. In the fourth Gospel alone we have a sketch of the Judaean phase of the ministry, as well as the doctrine of the Logos, and a yet deeper insight into the Nature and Mind of Christ. But, with this exception, we should be left to St. Paul alone for the theological development and manifold applications of Christian truth. And yet in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the Epistles of St. Paul himself, we should have found abundant traces that his view of Christianity was in many respects independent and original. Alike from his own pages, and those of his friend and historian St. Luke, we should have learnt the existence of phases of Christianity, built indeed upon the same essential truths as those which he deemed it the glory of his life to preach, but placing those truths in a different perspective, and regarding them from another point of view. We should have heard the echoes of disputes so vehement and so agitating that they even arrayed the Apostles in a position of controversy against one another, and we should have found traces that though those disputes were conducted with such Christian forbearance on both sides as to prevent their degenerating into schisms, they yet continued to smoulder as elements of difference between various schools of thought. Taking the Corinthian Church as a type of other Churches, we should have found that there was a Kephas party, and an Apollos

1 See the remark of St. John " the Elder " (i.e., the Apostle) in Papias ap. Euseb. H. E. iii. 24.


party, and a Christ party, as well as a party which attached itself to the name of Paul; and even if we admitted that the Corinthian Church was exceptionally factious, we should have learnt from the Epistle to the Galatians, and other sources, that there were Jews who called themselves Christians, and claimed identity with the views of James, by whom the name and work of the Apostle of the Gentiles were regarded not only with unsympathising coldness, but with positive disapproval and dislike. We should have felt that we were not in possession of the materials for forming any complete opinion as to the characteristics of early Christianity. We should have longed for even a few words to inform us what were the special tenets which differentiated the adherents of St. James, and St. Peter, and St. John, and Apollos from those of the Great Missionary who in human erudition and purely intellectual endowments, no less than in the vast effects of his lifelong martyrdom, so greatly surpassed them all. We should have been ready to sacrifice no small part of classical literature for the sake of any treatise, however brief, which would have furnished us with adequate data for ascertaining the teaching of Apostles who had lived familiarly with the Lord by the Lake of Galilee ; or of some other early converts who, like St. Paul himself, formed their judgment of Christianity with the full powers of a cultivated manhood. We should, indeed, have known how Christianity was taught by one who had been living for years in Heathen communities, whose Jewish training at the feet of Gamaliel had been modified by his early days in learned Tarsus, and still more by his cosmopolitan familiarity with the cities and ways of men; but we should have asked whether the Faith was taught in


exactly the same way—or, if not, with what modifications—by a Peter and a John, who had known, as St. Paul had never known, the living Jesus, and by a James the Lord's brother, who spent so many years in the rigid practice of every Jewish observance. We should have been lost in vain surmises as to the growth of heresies. If Marcionism and Antinomianism sprang from direct perversion of the teachings of St. Paul, what was the teaching on which Nazarenes, and Ebionites, and Elchasaites, and Chiliasts professed to found their views ? In fact, without the nine books of the New Testament, which will be examined in these volumes, the early history of the Church would have been reduced to a chaos of hopeless uncertainties. We should have felt that our records were grievously imperfect; that only in a unity wherein minor differences were reconciled, without being obliterated— only in the synthesis of opinions which were various', without contrariety—could we form a full notion of the breadth and length, and depth and height of sacred Truth.

Now this is the very boon which the Spirit of God has granted to us. Besides the four Gospels, besides the thirteen Epistles of St. Paul, we have nine books of the New Testament which are the works of five different authors, and every one of these brief but precious documents is marked by its own special characteristics.

1. Earliest, probably, of them all is the book which is unhappily placed last, and therefore completely out of its proper order in our New Testaments, the revelation of St. john the divine. It marks the beginning of the era of martyrdoms. It is in many


respects exceptionally precious. It is precious as a counterpart to the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament, and therefore as furnishing us with a splendid specimen of a Christian, as distinguished from a Jewish, Apocalypse. It is precious as showing the effect produced on the thoughts and hopes of Christendom by the first outburst of Imperial persecution. It is especially precious as a Christian Philosophy of History, and as giving a voice to the inextinguishable hopes of Christians even in the midst of fire and blood. And besides all this it is precious as furnishing the earliest insight into the mind of the Beloved Disciple, in a stage of his career before the mighty lessons involved in the Fall of Jerusalem and the close of the old Mon had emancipated him from the last fetters of Judaic bondage.

2. In the EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS, which is being more and more widely accepted as the work of Apollos, we have a specimen of Alexandrian Christianity. Valuable for its singular dignity and eloquence, for the powerful argument which it elaborates, and for the original truths with which it is enriched, it also possesses a very special interest because it gives us a clear insight into the school of thought which sprang from the contact of Judaism and Christianity with Greek Philosophy. Of this Alexandrianism there are but scattered indications in St. John and St. Paul, but it was destined in God's providence to exercise a very powerful influence over the growth and development of Christian doctrine, because it furnished the intellectual training of some of the greatest of the Christian Fathers. Our loss would have been irreparable if time had deprived us


of the earliest and profoundest Christian treatise which emanated from the splendid school of Alexandrian Theology.

The remaining seven treatises of the New Testament are known by the general name of the seven catholic epistles. Various untenable explanations of the name " Catholic " have been suggested; but in the third century it was used in the sense of " encyclical," 1 and there can be little doubt that these seven letters were so called because they were addressed not to one city, or even to one nation, but generally, to every Christian. In the West they were sometimes called Epistolae Canonicae, but this could not have been the original meaning of Catholic, since Eusebius gives the name to the letters of Dionysius of Corinth.2 Two of these letters—the Epistles of St. James and St. Jude— belong to the Judaic school of Christianity; two others —those of St. Peter—represent the moderate and mediating position of Christians who wished to stand aloof, alike from Paulinists and Judaists, on the more general grounds of a common Christianity; three—those of St. John—represent a phase of thought in which the chief controversies which agitated the first decades of the Church's history have melted into the distance, or have been solved for ever by the Fall of Jerusalem. At that epoch Truth was beginning to be assailed from without

1 Euseb. H. E. vii. 25.

.2 Euseb. H. E. iv. 23; Leont. De Sect. 27. Theodoret says: " They are called ' Catholic,' which is equivalent to encyclical, since they are not addressed to single Churches, but generally (ica6<l\ov) to the faithful, whether to the Jews of the Dispersion, as Peter writes, or even to all who are living as Christians under the same faith." The word itself simply means "general." Some scholars have argued that the Fathers use it in the sense of "canonical," but this is a later usage. See Ebrard's Appendix to his edition of 1 John.


by new forms of opposition, or corroded from within by fresh, types of error.

As we are about to study these Epistles in detail, we may here confine ourselves to a few general remarks respecting them.

3. the epistle of St. Jude is the work of a non-Apostolic writer, but of one who was known as brother of St. James the Bishop of Jerusalem, and who evidently resembled his more eminent brother in intensity of character and vehemence of conviction. His brief letter is interesting from its very peculiarities. It abounds in original and picturesque expressions, and fearlessly utilises both the Jewish Hagadoth and the apocryphal literature, with which the writer's training had rendered him familiar. In the passionate vehemence of its denunciations against Gnostic libertinism it reads like a page of Amos or of Isaiah, and is evidently the work of one who, like so many of the early Jewish Christians, had thought it both a national and a religious duty in entering the Church to remain true to the Synagogue. It is a sort of partial and anticipated Apocalypse, but it rests content with isolated metaphors, instead of continuous symbols.

4. The same stern Judaic character, rendered still more unbending by the asceticism of the writer, marks every page of the epistle of St. James. Living exclusively at Jerusalem, accurate as the Pharisees themselves in the observance of the Mosaic Law—a scrupulosity which had gained him his title of " the Just "—he was only called upon "to be a Jew to the Jews," and this he was by nature, by temperament, and by training. In the Synod at Jerusalem, where St. Peter proposed emancipation, St. James—even in assenting—proposes


restrictions; and while St. Peter, almost in Pauline language, declares that neither Jew nor Gentile can be saved except " through the grace of the Lord Jesus,"* St. James, while holding the same faith, urges the claims of Moses, and follows the indications of the Prophets. St. Peter never mentions "the Law;" St. James never mentions " the Gospel." He accepts it indeed with all his heart, but it still presents itself to him as " the Law," though glorified from " a yoke that gendereth to bondage" 2 into a perfect " law of liberty." A In reading St. James we can realise the sentiments of the Mother-Church of Jerusalem, and feel that there is no discontinuity in the great stream of Divine Revelation. For him, and for the Jewish Christians of whom he was the recognised leader, Christianity is not so much the inauguration of the New as the fulfilment of the Old.

5. It is necessary, and even desirable, that there should in all ages be some whose mission it is to develop one special aspect of truth, and to stamp the whole of their religious system with the impress of their own powerful individuality. Such, respectively, were St. Paul and St. James. Even in their lifetime there were some who exaggerated and perverted the special truths which it was their work to teach. After their death there were Marcionites and Antino-mians who perverted the doctrines of St. Paul, and there were Ebionites and Nazarenes who falsely claimed the authority of St. James. But happily there are Christians in all ages who, while they only acknowledge a heavenly master, are anxious to accept truth by whomsoever it is presented to them, yet at the same time

1 Acts iv. 11. 2 Gal. iv. 24. 3 James i. 25, ii. 12.

95 - ST. PETER.

to strip it of all mere party peculiarities. Such was St. Peter. He can see the side of truth which either of his great contemporaries represents. He is pre-eminently the Apostle of Catholicity. He had shown in his conduct at Caesarea that his convictions leaned to the side of the Apostle of the Gentiles; and at Antioch that he could not wholly emancipate himself from the hahits induced by lifelong training in the principles of St. James. He was neither able nor willing wholly to shake off the spell of personal ascendency exercised over him alike by the great world-missionary and by the unbending Bishop of Jerusalem. In the epistles of St. Peter we are able to trace the thoughts and expressions of both these great leaders. He dwells with all the energy of St. James on the glory of practical virtue, and with much of the fervour of St. Paul on the distinctively Christian motives and sanctions. But it is no part of his object to follow St. Paul in the logical development and formulation of Christian theology, nor yet to dwell with the exclusiveness of St. James on Christian practice. Even when using language which had been seized upon as the shibboleth of partisans, he strips it of all partisan significance. He was out of sympathy with the spirit which leads to disunion and factiousness by the exclusive maintenance of antagonistic formulae.

It is interesting to see that the same distinctive peculiarities are continued in later writers of the first and second centuries. In the Epistle of the pseudo-Barnabas we have an exaggerated Paulinism; in the pseudo-Clementines an exaggerated Judaism, which makes a special hero of St. James. St. Peter, standing between both extremes, was claimed by both parties.


Basilides, the anti-Judaic Egyptian Gnostic, claimed to have been taught by Glaucias, the interpreter of St. Peter; and another apocryphal work, which uttered strong warnings against Jewish worship, was called " The Preaching of Peter." On the other hand, St. Peter shares, though in a degree subordinate to St. James, the admiration of the Ebionite partisans who wrote the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions. In a less objectionable way, but still with something of exaggeration, Hernias, the author of the famous " Shepherd," reflects the teaching of St. James; while St. Clement of Rome, Catholic, like St. Peter, in all his sympathies, " combines the distinctive features of all the Apostolic Epistles," and " belonging to no party, he seemed to belong to all."

6. There remain the three epistles of st. john,® which may be regarded collectively as the last utterance of Christian Revelation in the New Testament. They are the more interesting not only on this account, hut because they are the work of one who had been exceptionally near to the heart of Christ, and had lived for many years face to face with the great heathen world. They are also the work of one who lived to see mighty changes in the growth and fortunes of the Christian Church. He had perhaps been the only Apostle who had seen Jesus die ; he had been last beside the Cross, and first in the empty tomb. As one who had watched the death-bed of the Mother of the Lord, he had been one of the very few depositories of the awful mysteries

1 Lightfoot, Galatians, p. 315.

2 I have gone through every fact and every detail of the Gospel of St. John in the Life of Christ, and for that reason I do not touch upon it here.


which it had been given to St. Luke partly to reveal, after they had been pondered for many years in the holy reticence of the Virgin's heart. He had been one of the scattered despairing band who had spent in anguish the awful day in which they knew that Jesus was lying dead, and did not yet understand that He should rise again. For a quarter of a century he was the sole survivor not only of those who had heard the last discourses of the Lord on the evening of His Passion, but even of any who could say, " That which we have seen and our hands have handled of the Word of Life declare we unto you." But his Epistles have yet a further interest as the writings of one who, in his long and diversified experience, had undergone a remarkable change alike of character and of views ; of one who had passed from the Elijah-spirit to the Christ-spirit—from the narrower scrupulosity of a Judaist, living in the heart of the Jewish capital and attending thrice a day the Temple worship, to the breadth and width and spirituality of Christian freedom. We have in the Apocalypse a work of his in the earlier stage of his Christian opinions, when he stood for the first time face to face with the Heathen world in its fiercest attitude of anti-Christian opposition. We have in his Grospel and Epistles the sweetest and loftiest utterances of Christian idealism; the strains, as- it were, of Divinest music in which the voice of inspiration died away.

It may perhaps be said that our possession of these treasures—especially of some of them—is disturbed by the growing suspicion as to their genuineness. On this score Christianity has little to fear. Every true and honourable man will regard it as a base and a


cowardly unfaithfulness to defend as certain the genuineness of any book of the Bible of which the spuriousness can be shown to be even reasonably probable. In spite of the conflict which has raged around the Gospel of St. John, we are deeply convinced that the arguments preponderate in favour of those who accept it as the work of the Beloved Disciple. I should find no difficulty in regarding the Apocalypse as being the work of another John if, in spite of some acknowledged difficulties, the Johannine authorship did not seem to be all but incontrovertible. The Epistle to the Hebrews is not a work of St. Paul, but it is preeminently worthy of its honoured place in the Canon. The first Epistles of St. Peter and St. John may be said to stand above all suspicion. The Epistles of St. James and St. Jude have less distinctive value as parts of the Christian Revelation, but yet have their own inestimable worth, and derive a deeper interest from being the works of "brethren of the Lord." The second and third Epistles of St. John are almost certainly genuine, but whether they be by the Apostle or not is matter of minor importance, because of their extreme brevity, and because they consist for the most part of recapitulated truths. They are but corollaries to the first Epistle, and contain no doctrine which is not found more fully in the Apostle's other writings. The only one of the seven Catholic Epistles against the genuineness of which strong arguments may be adduced is the Second Epistle of St. Peter, which is in any case the book least supported by external testimony. Its genuineness must be regarded as a question for still further discussion, and the recent discovery of its affinity in some passages to the works of Josephus


requires careful attention.1 In the introduction to each of these Epistles the evidence as to their genuineness is discussed. Many, both in ancient and in modern days, have doubted about some of them. Dionysius of Alexandria and Eusebius, Gaius and Jerome, Erasmus and Cardinal Cajetan, Sixtus Senensis and Luther, 2 Zwingli, Calvin, OEcolampadius, Grotius, and many more, have regarded several of them as being at best deutero-canonical,—authentic (if at all) in a lower sense, and endowed with inferior authority; but though the Church of England has shown herself wiser than the Council of Trent in not binding with an anathema the necessary acceptance of the genuineness of every one of them, we have every reason to rejoice that they were admitted by general consent into the Christian Canon.

Enough, I trust, has been urged to show the varied and exceeding preciousness of the writings which we are now about to examine. St. Paul, as has been said, dwells, not of course exclusively, but predominantly, on Christian doctrine, St. James on Christian practice, St. Peter on Christian trials, and St. John on Christian experience;—St. Paul insists mainly on faith, St. James on works, St. Peter on hope, and St. John on love;—St. Paul represents3 Christian scholasticism, and St, John Christian mysticism;—St. Paul represents the spirit of Protestantism, St. Peter that of Catholicism, while St. James speaks in the voice of the Church of the Past, and St. John in that of the Church of the Future; —St. Peter is the founder, St. Paul the propagator,

1 V. infra, pp. 190-92.

2 Luther was not by any means the only great theologian, either in ancient or modern times, who adopted a subjective test. There were others also who " den Kcmon im Kanon suchten und fanden."

3 See Schaff, Hist, of the Church, 105—110.


St. John the finisher;—St. Peter represents to us the glory of power and action, St. Paul that of thought and wisdom, St. James of virtue and faithfulness, St. John of emotion and holiness.1 Again, to Sb. James Christianity appears as the fulfilment of the Old Law, to St. Peter as the completion of the old Theocracy, to St. Paul as the completion of the old Covenant, to Apollos as the completion of the old Worship and Priesthood, to St. John as the completion of all the truths which the world possessed.2 Such generalisations may he too seductive, and may tend to mislead us by bringing into prominence only one special peculiarity of each writer, while others are for the time ignored. Yet they contain a germ of truth, and they may help us to seize the more salient characteristics. Two things, however, are certain:—One is, that in every essential each of the sacred writers held the Catholic faith, one and indivisible, which is no more altered by their varying individuality than Light is altered in character because we sometimes see it glowing in the heavens, and sometimes flashing from the sea. The other is, that in all these writers alike we see the beauty of holiness, the regenerating power of Christian truth.

But among the writers of the New Testament two stand out pre-eminently as what would be called, in modern phraseology, original theologians. They are St. Paul and St. John. On some of the special differences between them we shall touch farther on. Meanwhile we shall see at a glance the contrast between the dialectical method of the one and the intuitive method of the other, if we compare the

1 See Stanley, Sermons on the Apostolic Age, pp. 4, 5.

2 See Lange, Introduction to Catholic Epistles, Bibelwerk, x.


Epistle to the Romans with the First Epistle of St. John. The richness, the many-sidedness, the impetuosity, the human individuality of the one, are as unlike as possible to the few but reiterated keynotes, the unity, the sovereign calm, the spiritual idealism of the other. The difference will be emphasised if we place side by side the fundamental conceptions of their theology. That of St. Paul is :—

" But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God hath been manifested, witness being borne thereto by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there is no distinction: for all sinned, and are falling short of the glory of God, being accounted righteous freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus " (Rom. iii. 21—24).

That of St. John is :—

"Herein is manifested the love of God in us, because he hath sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him " (1 John iv. 9).

It requires but to read the two formulae side by side to perceive the characteristic differences which separate the theological conceptions of the two Apostles. It is a rich boon to possess the views of both.

We shall be still more inclined to value this precious heritage of Christian thought when we notice that the least important of these Catholic Epistles stands on an incomparably higher level than any of the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. This will be shown by a glance at the Epistle of St. Clemens and the Epistle of Barnabas—writings so highly valued in the Church that the first is found in the Alexandrian Manuscript, and the second in the Sinaitic Manuscript, after the Apocalypse, and both were publicly read in churches as profitable "scriptures."


(1) the epistle of St. Clemens is thoroughly eclectic, hut the eclecticism is as devoid of genius and originality as an ordinary modern sermon. It consists in a free usage of phrases borrowed promiscuously from each of the great Apostles, rather than in a real assimilation of their views. The piety and receptivity of the writer is very beautiful, but it cannot be said that it is vivified by a single luminous or informing idea.

(a) St. Clemens has read St. Paul and St. John, and St. James and St. Peter, and as a pupil of the last he is animated by a genuine spirit of catholicity; but he does not seem to have realised the essential distinctions which separate their writings. The substance of his views is identical with that which we find in St. Peter and St. James, but he clothes them in expressions borrowed from St. Paul. He says with St. Paul, "We are not justified by ourselves, nor by works, but by faith" (c. xxxii.), and he says with St. James, " being justified by works and not by words" (c. xxx.); but he says nothing to bring into harmony the apparent contradictions. His readiness to accept all moral exhortations and all Apostolic phrases acts as a solvent in which the special meaning of these phrases as parts of entire systems is apt to disappear. Three of the sacred writers refer in different ways and for different purposes to Abraham (Rom. iv.; James ii. 21; Heb. xi. 8). In the syncretism of St. Clemens the allusions made by all three are mingled in one sentence. Rahab, in St. Clemens, is saved by her faith and by her hospitality, which is a curious union of James ii. 25 and Heb. xi. 31; and the only original observation which St. Clemens adds is the allegorising fancy that the


red cord with which she let the spies down from the window indicated the eflicacv of the blood of Christ for all who believe and hope in God (Ep. ad Cor. xii.). Thus the mechanical fusion of two quotations is ornamented by a loose, poor, and untenable analogy, which enables him to add "prophecy" to the faith and hospitality which distinguished the harlot of Jericho.

(b) So, too, when St. Clemens speaks of the Resurrection, we see how immeasurably his theology has retrograded behind that of St. Paul. He does not connect it immediately and necessarily with the Resurrection of Christ, but proves it by Old Testament quotations, and illustrates its possibility by natural analogies, especially by the existence and history of the Phoenix ! How much would our estimate of inspiration have been lowered—how loud would have been the scornful laugh of modern materialists—had faith in the Resurrection been founded in the New Testament on such arguments as these ! Tacitus, too, believed in the Phoenix; but Tacitus does not refer to the fable of its reappearance by way of founding on it an inestimable truth. We are not comparing St. Clemens with Tacitus; we love his gentleness and respect his piety; we are only endeavouring to show how far he stands below the level of St. John and of St. Paul.

(c) But still more striking instances might be furnished of the theological and intellectual weakness of this ancient and saintly writer. He never deviates into originality except to furnish an illustration, and his illustrations, even when they are not erroneous, have but little intrinsic value. The worth of his Epistle consists in its earnest spirit, and in its historic testimony to the canonical Scriptures and to


the constitution of the early Church. But how different is its diluted and transitional Paulinism from the force and wealth of the First Epistle of St. Peter !

(2) Nor is it otherwise when we turn to the exaggerated and extravagant Paulinism of the epistle or barnabas. Here the inferiority is still more marked : it even leads to decadent doctrine and incipient heresy.

(a) The writer has learnt from St. Paul the nullity of the Law as a means of Salvation, hut he has not learnt the true and noble function of the Law in the Divine economy. He cannot see that there may he even in that which is imperfect a relative perfection. He does not understand the Divine value of Mosaism as God's education of the human race. Not content with spiritualising the meaning of the Law, he speaks of its literal meaning in terms of such contempt as almost to compromise the authority of the Old Testament altogether. He ventures to say that the circumcision of the flesh was an inspiration of " an evil angel" (c. ix.). When a writer has gone so far as this, he is perilously near to actual Gnosticism. In his attempt to allegorise the distinction between clean and un-clean animals (c. x.) he is seen at his very worst. A single chapter so full of errors and follies, if found in any canonical book, would have sufficed to drag down the authority of Scripture into the dust.

(b) Again, like the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Barnabas—for that may have been his name, though he was not the Apostle—is acquainted with Alexandrian methods of exegesis. But his use of them is indiscriminate and unsatisfactory. The Israelites had been promised a land flowing with milk and honey; Barnabas proceeds to allegorise the promise as follows:—


Adam was made of earth ; the earth therefore signifies the Incarnation of Christ; milk and honey, which are suitable to infants, signify the new birth. Thus the Old Testament is a prophecy of the New! On this demonstration the author looks with such special complacency that he quotes it as a memorable example of true knowledge (ynosis).

(c) Again, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews had proved from Scripture that there still remains a Sabbath-rest (Sabbatismos) for the people of God. Barnabas connects this with what he calls an Etrurian tradition, and originates the notion that the world is to be burned up in the year 6000 after the Creation. Again, he has learnt the general conception of numerical exegesis (yematria) from Jewish and Alexandrian sources, and he is specially proud of pressing Abraham's 318 servants into a mystic prophecy of the Crucifixion, because 318 is represented by IHT, of which IH stands for Jesus, and T for the cross. This is a style of exegesis Rabbinic, but not Christian. No one can read the Epistle of Barnabas after the Epistle to the Hebrews without seeing that the former is not only immeasurably inferior, but that it is so inferior as to tremble on the verge of dangerous heresy. Let the reader compare the reference to the Day of Atonement in the Epistle of Barnabas (c. vii.) with that in the Epistle to the Hebrews—let him contrast the numerous errors and monstrously crude typology of the former with the splendid spiritualism of the latter— let him notice how tasteless are the fancies of this unknown Barnabas, and how absurd are many of his statements—and he will see the difference between canonical and uncanonical books, and learn to


feel a deeper gratitude for the superintending Providence which, even in ages of ignorance and simplicity, obviated the danger of any permanent confusion between the former and the latter.1

We have already seen what the condition of the world was like, let us sum up its points of contrast with the general picture presented by the early Christian Church.

To represent the Christian Church as ideally pure, as stainlessly excellent and perfect, would be altogether a mistake. The Christians of the first days were men and women of like passions with ourselves. They sinned as we sin, and suffered as we suffer; they were inconsistent as we are inconsistent, fell as we fall, and repented as we repent. Hatred and party-spirit, rancour and misrepresentation, treachery and superstition, innovating audacity and unspiritual retrogressions were known among them as among us. And yet, with all their faults and failings, they were as salt amid the earth's corruption ; the true light had shined in their hearts, and they were the light of the world. The lords of earth were such men as Tiberius and Caligula, and Nero and Domitian; the rulers of the Church were a James, a Peter, a Paul, a John. The literary men of the world were a Martial and a Petronius ; the Church was producing the Apocalypse, the Epistle to the Hebrews,

1 The same result would follow from comparing the Shepherd of Hermas with the Apocalypse. On these writings we may refer to Reuss, Theol. Ghret. ii.; Hilgenfeld, Apost. Vdter; Schwegler, Nachap. Zeitalter; Donaldson, Apostolical Fathers; Lightfoot, St. Clement of Rome; Pfleiderer, Paulinismus, ii.; Ritsehl, Altkath. Sirche.


the Gospel of St. John. The art of the world was degraded by such infamous pictures as those on the walls of Pompeii; that of the Church consisted in the rude but pure and joyous emblems scrawled on the soft tufa of the catacombs. The amusements of the world were pitilessly sanguinary or shamefully corrupt; those of the Christians were found in gatherings at once social and religious, as bright as they could be made by the gaiety of innocent and untroubled hearts. In the world infanticide was infamously universal; in the Church the baptised little ones were treated as those whose angels beheld the face of our Father in Heaven. In the world slavery was rendered yet more intolerable by the cruelty and impurity of masters; in the Church the Christian slave, welcomed as a friend and a brother, often holding a position of ministerial dignity, was emancipated in all but name. In the world marriage was detested as a disagreeable necessity, and its very meaning was destroyed by the frequency and facility of divorce; in the Church it was consecrated and honourable — the institution which had alone survived the loss of Paradise—and was all but sacramental in its Heaven-appointed blessedness. The world was settling into the sadness of unalleviated despair; the Church was irradiated by an eternal hope, and rejoicing with a joy unspeakable and full of glory. In the world men were " hateful and hating one another;" in the Church the beautiful ideal of human brotherhood was carried into practice. The Church had learnt her Saviour's lessons. A redeemed humanity was felt to be the loftiest of dignities; man was honoured for being simply man; every soul was regarded as precious, because for every soul Christ died; the sick


were tended, the poor relieved; labour was represented as noble, not as a thing to be despised; purity and resignation, peacefillness and pity, humility and self-denial, courtesy and self-respect were looked upon as essential qualifications for all who were called by the name of Christ. The Church felt that the innocence of her baptised members was her most irresistible form of apology; and all her best members devoted themselves to that which they regarded as a sacred task—the breaking down of all the middle walls of partition in God's universal temple, the obliteration of all minor and artificial distinctions, and the free development of man's spiritual nature.


The early life of St. Peter cannot here be re-written, because in two previous works1 I have followed the steps of his career so far as it is sketched in the sacred volume. After his youth as a poor and hardworked fisherman of the Lake of Galilee, we first find him as one of the hearers of St. John the Baptist in the wilderness of Jordan. Brought to Jesus by his brother Andrew, he at once accepted the Saviour's call, and received by anticipation that name of Kephas which he was afterwards to earn, partly by the stronger elements of his character, and partly by the grandeur of his Messianic confession. We have already tried to understand the significance of the scenes in which he takes part. We have seen how he was called to active work and the abandonment of earthly ties after the miraculous draught of fishes. We have watched, step by step, the " consistently inconsistent " impetuosity of his character, at once brave and wavering — first brave then wavering, but always finally recovering its courage and integrity.2 The narrative of the Gospel has brought before us his attempt to walk to his Lord upon the

1 The Life of Christ, 1874 ; The Life of St. Paul, 1879.

2 " Vrai contraste de pusillanimite et de grandeur, condamne a osciller toujours entre la faute et le repentir, mais rachetant glorieusement sa faiblesse par son huinilite et ses larmes " (Thierry, St. Jerome, i. 176).


water; his first public acknowledgment of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God; the magnificent promises which, in his person, the Church received; the subsequent presumption, which his Lord so sternly rebuked; the many eager questions, often based upon mistaken notions, which he addressed to Christ, and which formed the occasion of some of our Lord's most striking utterances; the incident of the Temple contribution ; the refusal and then the eagerness to be washed by Christ; the warnings addressed to him; the inability to " watch one hour"; the impetuous blow struck at the High Priest's servant; his forsaking of Christ in the hour of peril; his threefold denial; his bitter repentance and forgiveness ; his visit to the Sepulchre ; the message which he received from the Risen Saviour; the exquisite scene at morning, on the shores of the misty lake, when Jesus appeared once more to seven of His disciples, and when, having once more tested the love of His generous but unstable Apostle, He gave him His last special injunctions to tend His sheep and feed His lambs, and foretold to him his earthly end.

Similarly we have studied, in the narrative of the Acts of the Apostles, the leading part which he took in the early days after the death of Christ; his speech on the Day of Pentecost; his miracles; his journey to Samaria and the discomfiture of Simon Magus; his kindness to St. Paul; his memorable vision at Joppa; his baptism of Cornelius ; his bold initiative of living and eating with Gentiles who had received the gift of the Holy Ghost; the dauntlessness with which he faced the anger of the Jerusalem Pharisees; his imprisonment and deliverance ; the manly outspokenness

111 - ST. PETER.

of his opinions in the Synod at Jerusalem, when he declared himself unhesitatingly in favour of the views of St. Paul as to the freedom of Gentile converts from the burden of Mosaic observances. At this point—about a.u. 51—he disappears from the narrative of the Acts. From this time forward he was overshadowed— at Jerusalem by the authority of James the Lord's brother, throughout the Gentile communities by the genius and energy of St. Paul. This was naturally due to his intermediate position between the extreme parties of Paulinists and Judaists. Among the scattered Christian communities of the Circumcision he maintained a high authority, although it is probable that Christian tradition has not erred in indicating that even among the Jewish Christians of the Dispersion St. James still occupied the leading position. All that we can further learn respecting him in Scripture is derived from his own Epistles, and from one or two casual but important allusions in the Epistles of St. Paul. In the Epistle to the Galatians we read the description of the memorable scene at Antioch, which produced upon the Church so deep an impression. Led away by the timidity which so strangely alternated with boldness in his character, St. Peter, on the arrival of emissaries from James, had suddenly dropped the familiar intercourse with Gentiles which up to that time he had maintained. Shocked by an inconsistency of which he would himself have been incapable, St. Paul, the younger convert, the former persecutor, was compelled by the call of duty publicly to withstand the great Apostle, who by his own conduct stood condemned for inconsistency, and had shown himself untrue to his own highest convictions. Further than this, we learn that


the name of Peter was elevated at Corinth (a.d. 57) into a party watchword; and that he was engaged in missionary journeys, in which he was accompanied by a Christian sister, who (since we know that he was married) was in all probability his wife. From his own Epistles we learn almost nothing about his biography. Nearly every inference which we derive from them is precarious, even when it is intrinsically probable. He writes " to the elect sojourners of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia," but we cannot be certain that he had personally visited those countries.1 The question whether his letter is addressed to the Jewish or the Gentile converts is one which still meets with the most contradictory, although at the same time the most confident, replies. He sends his letter by Silvanus; but we are not expressly told that this Silvanus is the previous companion of St. Paul. He sends a salutation from " Marcus my son," but there is nothing to prove that Marcus was not his real son,2 nor have we any certain information that he is referring to St. Mark the Evangelist. In these instances we may, however, accept the general consensus of Christian antiquity in favour of the affirmative suppositions.3 If so, we

1 That he had done so is simply an inference from 1 Pet. i. 1. Origen only says, " He seems to have preached there " (of. Enseb. hi. 1). See Epiphan. Boer, xxvii.; Jerome, Catal. s. v. Petrns.

2 St. Clemens of Alexandria says (Strom. iii., p. 448) that he had sons of his own, but their names are not preserved, and they were therefore probably unknown persons. Tradition tells of a daughter, Petronilla (Ada Sanct, May. 31).

3 Some have supposed that an actual son of St. Peter's is meant, but Origen (ap. Enseb. H. E. vi. 25), (Eeumenius, etc., are probably right in supposing that John Mark (Acts xii. 25), the Evangelist, is meant, especially as Papias, Clemens of Alexandria, Irenaeus, and others, say that he was the follower, disciple, and interpreter of St. Peter (Euseb. H. E. iii. 39, vi. 14, etc.; Iren. Haer. iii. 11).

113 - ST. PETER.

see the deeply interesting fact that the chosen friends and companions of St. Peter were also the chosen friends and companions of St. Paul—a fact which eloquently refutes the modern supposition of the irreconcilable antagonism between the two Apostles and their Schools. But when we come to the closing salutation—"The co-elect in Babylon saluteth you," the conclusions of each successive commentator are widely divergent. It is still disputed whether " the co-elect" is a Christian Church or a Christian woman; and if the latter, whether she is or is not Peter's wife; and whether Babylon is the great Assyrian capital or a metaphorical allusion to the great western Babylon—Imperial Rome.

Eminent as was the position of St. Peter,1 the real details of the closing years of his life will never be known. But Christian tradition, acquiring definiteness in proportion as it is removed from the period of which it speaks, has provided us with many details, which form the biography of the Apostle as it is ordinarily accepted by Romanists. We are told that he left Jerusalem in a.d. 33, and was for seven years Bishop of Antioch, leaving Euodius as his successor; that during this period he founded the Churches to which his letter is addressed; that he went to Borne in a.d. 40, and was bishop there for twenty-five years, though he constantly left the city for missionary journeys. The chief events of his residence at Home were, according to legend, his conversion of Philo and of the Senator Pudens, with his two daughters, Praxedes and Pudentiana; and his public conflict with Simon Magus. The impostor after failing to raise a dead youth—a miracle which St. Peter accomplished—

1 See Excursus I., on the Asserted Primacy of St. Peter.


finally attempted to delude the people by asserting that he would fly to heaven; hut, at the prayer of St. Peter and St. Paul, he was deserted by the demons who supported him, and dashed bleeding to the earth.1 During the Neronian persecution the Apostle is said to have yielded to the urgent requests of the Christians that he should escape from Rome; but when he had got a little beyond the Porta Capena he met the Lord carrying His cross, and asked Him, " Lord, whither goest thou ? " (Domine, quo vadis?) "I go to Borne," said Jesus, "to be crucified again for thee." The Apostle, feeling the force of the gentle rebuke, turned back, and was imprisoned in the Tulli-anum. He there converted his jailer, miraculously causing a spring to burst out from the rocky floor for his baptism. On seeing his wife led to execution he rejoiced at her "journey homewards,"2 and addressing her by name, called to her in a voice full of cheerful encouragement, "Oh, remember the Lord!" He was executed on the same day as St. Paul. They parted on the Ostian road, and St. Peter was then led to the top of the Janiculum, where he was crucified, not in the ordinary position, but, by his own request, head downwards, because he held himself unworthy to die in the same manner as his Lord.

1 There seems to have been a similar legend about Balaam, dimly alluded to by the LXX. in the words iv tj? frowji, Josh. xiii. 22, and in the Targum of Jonathan, Num. xxxi. 6. See Frankl, Vorstudien, p. 187. For the whole legend of Simon Magus see Justin. Mart. Apol. ii. 69; Iren. Haer. i. 20; Tert. Apol. 13 ; Euseb. H. K ii. 14; Const. Apost. yi. 8, 9; Arnob. adv. Gentes, ii.; Epiphan. Haer. xxi.; Snip. Sev. ii.; Egesippus, De Exrid. Hieros. iii. 2 (on Egesippus see Herzog, s. v. Heg.); Nicephorus, H. JS. ii. 14; Acta Petri et Pauli; Ps. Abdias, Acta Apost. From these authors it is taken by Marcossius, De Haereticis, p. 444, and the Church historians.

2 Clem. Alex. Strom. vii.


In the whole of this legend, embellished as it is in current Martyrologies with many elaborate details, there is scarcely one single fact on which we can rely. For instance, the notion that Peter was ever Bishop at Antioch between the years a.d. 33—40 is inconsistent with clear statements in the narrative of the Acts, in which Paul and Barnabas appear as the leaders and virtual founders of that Gentile Church.1 Again, if he had founded the Church of Home, or had ever resided there before a.d. 64, it is inconceivable that neither St. Luke in the Acts, nor St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, nor again in the five letters which he wrote from Rome during his first and second imprisonments, should have made so much as the slightest allusion to him or to his work. The story of his collision with Simon Magus is a romance. It is founded on St. Peter's actual meeting with the sorcerer in Samaria, which is developed in the Clementines into a series of journeys from place to place, undertaken with the express view of thwarting this " founder of all the heresies." The legend is partly due to a mistake of Justin Martyr, who supposed that a statue dedicated to the Sabine god Semo Sancus2 (of whom Justin had never heard) was reared in honour of " Simon Sanctus." s With these elements of confusion there is mixed up a malignant Ebionite attempt to calumniate St. Paul in a covert way

1 Acts xi. 19.

2 Ov. Fast. vi. 213; Prop. iv. 9, 74, &c.

3 He was identified with Dins Fidius. The inscription was actually found in 1574, in the popedom of Gregory XIII., on an island in the Tiber, as Justin said. Justin, ApoL i 26; Tert. ApoL 13; Baronins, Annul, ad an. 44; Giescler, i. 49; Neander, ii. 162; Beiian, lies Apotres, pp. 275— 277. In this island, now called "The Island of Saint Bartholomew," there was a college of Tridentales in honour of Semo Sancus (Orelli, Insm:, 1860-61).


under the pseudonym of Simon Magus, and to imply that St. Peter was at the head of a counter-mission to overthrow the supposed heretical teaching of his brother-Apostle. The notion of this counter-mission is derived from the actual counter-mission of Judaists who falsely claimed the sanction of St. James.1 The circumstance which suggested the legendary death of Simon in an attempt to fly was the actual death of an actor, who was dashed to the ground at Nero's feet while trying, by means of a flying-machine, to sustain the part of Icarus.2 If the youthful actor who was condemned to make this perilous attempt was a Christian, who would otherwise have been executed in some other way, we may well imagine that Christians would not soon forget an incident which sprinkled the very Antichrist with the blood of martyrs.3 But it is possible that the legend may rest on some small basis of fact. Rome abounded in Oriental thaumaturgists and impostors. Simon may have been attracted to a city which naturally drew to itself all the villainy of the world, and there he may once more have encountered St. Peter.4 But if they met at Rome, all the details of their meeting have been disguised under a mixture of vague reminiscences and imaginary details. The assertion that St. Peter was Bishop of Rome, but that he constantly left it to exercise apostolic oversight throughout the world, is nothing but an ingenious

1 Acts xv. 24.

2 On this attempt to fly, see the commentators on Juv. Sat. viii. 186; Mart. Spectac. vii.; Suet. Nero, 12.

3 "learns, primo statim conatn, jnxta cnbiculnm ejus decidit ipsnmqne cruore respersit. Suet." l.c.

4 As asserted in Justin. Apol. i. 26, 56; Iren. contra Boer. i. 23, § 1; Philosophumena, Mi. 20; Constt. Apost. v.; Euseb. If. J3. ii. 13, 14, etc.


theory.1 The statement that he came to Borne in the reign of Claudius, a.d. 42, is first found in the Chronicon of Eusebius, nearly three centuries afterwards, and cannot be reconciled with fair inferences from what St. Paul tells us about the Church. As late as a.d. 52 St. Peter was at Jerusalem, and took an active part in the Synod of Jerusalem (Acts xv. 7); and he was then labouring mainly among the Jews (Gal. ii. 7, 9). In a.d. 57 he was travelling as a missionary with his wife (1 Cor. ix. 5). He was not at Rome when St. Paul wrote to that Church in a.d. 58, nor when St. Paul came there as a prisoner in a.d. 61, nor during the years of St. Paul's imprisonment, a.d. 61—63, nor when he wrote his last Epistles, a.d. 66 and 67. If he was ever at Home at all, which we hold to be almost certain, from the unanimity of the tradition, it could only have been very briefly before his martyrdom.2 And this is, in fact, the assertion of Lactan-tius3 (t 330), who says that he first came to Home in Nero's reign; and of Origen (f 254), who says that he arrived there at the close of his life ;4 and of the Praedicatio Petri, printed with the works of St. Cyprian.5 His " bishopric " at Rome probably consisted only in his efforts about the time of his martyrdom to strengthen the faith of the Church,6 and especially of the Jewish

1 It was first suggested by Baronius (Annal. ad. an. 39, § 25) and Fr. Windischmann (Vindiciae Petrinae, p. 112), and hastily adopted by Thiersch (N. Test. Canon, p. 104).

2 This view is now accepted by Roman Catholics like Valesius, Pagi, Balnz, Hug, Klee. Dollinger, Waterworth, Allnatt. See Waterworth, Engl. and Borne, ii.; Allnatt, Cathedra Petri, p. 114. The Roman Catholic historian Alzog only speaks of the twenty-five years' episcopate as an ancient report (i. 104).

3 Laetant. De Mart. Persec. 2.

4 Origen of. Enseb. H. E. iii. 1.

5 Cypriani, Opp., p. 139, ed. Rigalt.

6 Clemens Romauus, third bishop of Rome, speaks even more of St. Paul than of St. Peter (Up. ad Cor. v.).


Christians. Indeed, there is much to be said in favour of the view that the Jewish and Gentile sections of the Church in Rome were separated by unusually deep divisions, and possessed their separate " presbyters " or " bishops" for some years. Such a fact would account for some confusion in the names of the first two or three Bishops of Borne. Eusebius—following Irenaeus and Epiphanius—says that the first Bishops of Rome were Peter, Linus, Cletus or Anencletus, and Clemens.1 But Hippolytus (a.d. 225) seems to regard Cletus and Anencletus as two different persons, and places Clemens before Cletus; and Tertullian (f 218) says that Clemens was ordained by St. Peter.2

The notion of the Apostle's crucifixion head downwards is derived from a passing allusion in Origen, and seems to contradict an expression of Tertullian.3 It was possibly suggested by an erroneous translation of some Latin expression for capital punishment. At any rate, it stands condemned as a sentimental anachronism, bearing on its front the traces of later and more morbid forms of piety rather than the simple humility of the Apostles, who rejoiced in all things to imitate their Lord.4 Those who accept these legends must do so on the authority of an heretical novel, written with

1 Euseb. H. K iii. 2, 4, and 21; Iren. ap. Euseb. H. K v. 6.

2 Tert. De Praesc. Haeret. 32.

3 " Ubi Petrus passimi dominicae adaequatur," De Praesc. 36.

4 Meander, Planting, p. 377. It is curious to watch the growth of this fiction. It begins with Origen, who simply says that it was done "at his own choice" (ap. Euseb. H. JS. iii. 1). To this Rufinus adds, " that he might not seem to be equalled to his Lord " (ne exaeqnari Domino videretur), which contradicts the saying of Tertullian, that " he was equalled to his Lord in the manner of his death." Lastly, St. Jerome says that he was crucified with his head towards the earth and his legs turned upwards, " asserting that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same way as his Lord" (De Vir. Ihustr. 1).


an evil tendency; not earlier than the beginning of the third. century; or else on that of the apocryphal Acta Petri et Pauli, which appeared at a still later date. All that we can really learn about the closing years of St. Peter from the earliest Fathers may be summed up in the few words, that in all probability he was martyred at Rome.1

That he died by martyrdom may be regarded as certain, because, apart from tradition, it seems to be implied in the words of the Risen Christ to His penitent Apostle.2 That this martyrdom took place at Rome, though first asserted by Tertullian and Gaius at the beginning of the third century, may (in the absence of any rival tradition) be accepted as a fact, in spite of the ecclesiastical tendencies which might have led to its invention; but the only Scriptural authority which can be quoted for any visit of St. Peter to Borne is the one word "The Church in Babylon saluteth you."3

If, as I endeavour to show in the Excursus, there is reasonable certainty that Babylon is here used as a sort of cryptograph for Borne, the fair inferences from Scripture accord with the statements of tradition in the two simple particulars that St. Peter was martyred, and that this martyrdom took place at Borne. These inferences agree well with the probability that Silvanus, of whom we last hear in company with St. Paul at Corinth, and St. Mark, for whose assistance St. Paul had wished during his Boman imprisonment, were also at Borne, and were now acting in conjunction with the

1 See Excursus II., on St. Peter's Visit to Rome.

2 Johnxxi. 19.

3 See Excursus III., on the Use of the Name Babylon for Rome.


great Apostle of the Circumcision. The belief that St. Mark acted as the " interpreter" (l/j/i^ewr^?) of St. Peter may have arisen from the Apostle's ignorance of the Latin language, and his need of some one to be his spokesman during his residence and his legal trial in the imperial city.



" Then all himself, all joy and calm, Though for a while his hand forego, Just as it touched, the martyr's palm, He turns him to his task below."—keble.

The previous chapter has led us to conclude that the First Epistle of St. Peter was written at Rome. The date at which it was written cannot he fixed with certainty. The outburst of the Neronian persecution took place in a.d. 64, hut it is difficult to suppose that St. Peter arrived accidentally in Rome on the very eve of the conflagration. It seems more probable that he was either brought there as a prisoner, or went to support the Jewish Christians during the subsequent pressure of their terrible afflictions.1 In that case he wrote the First Epistle shortly before his death, and he must have been martyred in the year 67 or 68, about the same time as his great brother-Apostle, St. Paul, with whom he is always united in the earliest traditions.

1 St. Paul seems to have been absent from Rome for two full years before his second imprisonment, and during this time the Christians must still have been liable to oppression and martyrdom, even after the first attack upon them had spent its fury. Tertullian asserts that laws were for the first time promulgated against the Christians by Nero, which rendered Christianity a " religio iliicita" (ad Natt. 74; Apol. 5; Sulp. Sev. Hist. ii. 29, § 3). This is rendered very doubtful by Pliny's letter to Trajan.


That the First Epistle of St. Peter is genuine— a precious relic of the thoughts of one of Christ's most honoured Apostles—we may feel assured. Its authenticity is supported by overwhelming external evidence. The Second Epistle, whether genuine or not, is at any rate a very ancient document, and it unhesitatingly testifies to the genuineness of the first. " The First Epistle is," says M. Renan, " one of the writings of the New Testament which are the most anciently and the most unanimously cited as authentic." Papias, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Clemens of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Origen,1 all furnish indisputable evidence in its favour.2 The proof that the writer was influenced by the Epistle to the Ephesians is in accordance with the character of the age, for the early Christians, as was perfectly natural, were in the habit of echoing one another's thoughts. Modern writers do exactly the same. The words and thoughts of every writer who makes any wide or serious impression are, consciously or unconsciously, adopted by others exactly as if they were original and independent; and this is true to such an extent that an author's real success is often obliterated by its very universality. The views which he originated come to be regarded as commonplace simply because all his contemporaries have adopted them. But this was still more the case in days when books were very few in

1 See Euseb. H. E. iii. 25, 39; iv. 14, v. 8, vi. 25; Polycarp, Up. ad Philip.; Iren. contra Haer. iv. 9, § 2; Clem. Ales. Strom. iii. 8, iv. 7; Tert, Scorp. 12. Besides this, there are many distinct allusions to it in the Epistle of St. Clemens to the Corinthians. Little importance, therefore, can be attached to its absence from the Muratoriau Canon, and its rejection by Theodore of Mopsuestia.

2 Keim (Bom und Christenthum, p. 194), without deigning to offer a reason, assigns it to the time of Trajan. [In this he follows Hilgenfeld.


number. The writings of the Apostles are marked by mutual resemblances, and the works of men like Ignatius, and Polycarp, and Clemens of Rome, consist in large measure of a mosaic of phrases which they have caught up from their predecessors.

The style of St. Peter in this Epistle resembles in many particulars the style of his recorded speeches. It is characterised by the fire and energy which we should expect to find in his forms of expression; but that energy is tempered by the tone of Apostolic dignity, and by the fatherly mildness of one who was now aged, and was near the close of a life of labour. He speaks with authority, and yet with none of the threatening sternness of St. James. We find in the letter the plain and forthright spirit of the man insisting again and again on a few great leading conceptions. The subtle dialectics, the polished irony, the involved thoughts, the lightning-like rapidity of inference and suggestion, which we find in the letters of the Apostle of the Uncircumcision, are wholly wanting in him. His causal connexions, marking the natural and even flow of his thoughts, are of the simplest character; and yet a vigorously practical turn of mind, a quick susceptibility of influence, and a large catholicity of spirit, such as we know that he possessed, are stamped upon every page. He aims throughout at practical exhortation, not at systematic exposition; and his words, in their force and animation, reflect the simple, sensuous, and passionate nature of the impulsive Simon of whom we read in the Gospels. Even if the external evidence in favour of the Epistle had been less convincing, the arguments on which its authenticity has been questioned by a few modern theologians have been


so amply refuted as to establish its authorship with completer certainty.

1. It is not so much a letter as a treatise, addressed to Christians in general. It is mainly hortative, and its exhortations are founded on Christian hope, and on the effects of the death of Christ. It is not, however, a scholastic treatise, hut rather a practical address, at once conciliatory in tone and independent in character. It may with equal truth he called Pauline and Judseo-Christian. It is Judseo-Christian in its sympathies, yet without any Judaic bitterness. It is Pauline in its expressions, yet with no polemic purpose. In both respects it accords with the character and circumstances of the great Apostle. It is completely silent about the Law, and enters into none of the once vehement controversies about the relation of the Law to the Grospel or of Faith to Works. There is no predetermined attempt to reconcile opposing parties, but all party watchwords are either impartially omitted, or are stripped of their sterner antitheses.1

2. One proof that it was written by St. Peter results from the natural way in which we can trace the influence of the most prominent events which occurred during his association with his Lord.2 He does not mention them: he does not even in any marked way refer to them; and yet we find in verse after verse the indication of subtle reminiscences such as must have lingered in the mind of St. Peter. Christ had said

1 See Schwegler, Nachap. ii. 22; Pfleiderer, Paulinism. ii. 150, E. T.

2 Matt. xvi. 18 ; 1 Pet, ii. 4—8. This peculiarity of the Epistle has been worked out and illustrated by no one so fully or with such delicate insight as by Dean Plumptre in his edition of the Epistle in the Cambridge Bible for schools, p. 13, seq.


to him, " Thou art Peter, and on this rock will I build my Church," and he speaks of Christ as " a rock," the corner-stone of a spiritual house, and of Christians as living stones built into it. Christ had sternly reproved him when he made himself a stumbling-block, and he sees how perilous it is to turn the Lord's will into a rock of offence,1 using the two very words which lie at the heart of those two consecutive moments which had been the crisis of his life.2 When he had rashly pledged his Master to pay the Temple didrachm, our Lord had indeed accepted the obligation, but at the same time had taught him that the children were free; and St. Peter here teaches the Churches that, though free, they were still to submit for the Lord's sake to every human ordinance.3 Bound by the quantitative conceptions of Jewish formalism, he had once asked whether he was to forgive his brother up to seven times, and had been told that he was to forgive him up to seventy times seven; and he has so well learnt the lesson as to tell his converts that " Love shall cover the multitude of sins." * In answer to his too unspiritual question, " what reward the Apostles should have for having forsaken all to follow Christ," he had heard the promise that they should sit on thrones; and throughout this Epistle his thoughts are full of the future glory and of its " amaranthine crown."5 He had heard Jesus compare the " days of Noah " to the days of the Son of Man,6 and his thoughts dwell so earnestly upon the comparison that he uses the expression in a way which

1 1 Pet. ii. 8, irerpo

2 Matt. XVI. 18, «rl raVTTI TTJ TTCTplf \ 23,

3 Matt. xvii. 24—27; 1 Pet. ii. 13—16.

4 Matt, xviii. '22; 1 Pet. iv. 8. 6 Matt. xix. 28; 1 Pet. i. 5, v. 4.

5 KavSa\6v ftou ef.

6 Matt, xxiv 37.


unintentionally limits the fulness of his revelation.1 He had seen his Lord strip off His upper garment and tie a towel round His waist, when, with marvellous self-abasement, he stooped to wash His Disciples' feet;2 hence, when he wishes to impress the lesson of humility, he is led insensibly to the intensely picturesque expression that they should " tie on humility like a dress fastened with knots."3 Perhaps, too, from that washing, and the solemn lessons to which it led, he gained his insight into the true meaning of Baptism, as being not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the intercourse of a good conscience with its God.4 At a very solemn moment of his life Christ had told him that Satan had desired to have him and the other Apostles, that he might sift them as wheat,5 and he warns the Church of the prowling activity and power of the Devil, using respecting him the word "adversary", which occurs nowhere else in the Epistles, but more than once in the sayings of the Lord.6 Again and again on the last evening of the life of Christ he had been bidden to watch and pray, and had fallen because he had not done so; and watchfulness is a lesson on which he most earnestly insists.7 He had been one of the few faithful eye-witnesses of the buffets and weals

1 Compare 1 Pet. iii. 20 with iv. 6.

2 John xiii. 1—6.

3 1 Pet. V. 5

4 1 Pet. iii. 21. For the " answer" of the A. V. the Revised Version suggests " interrogation," " appeal," " inquiry," v. infra, p. 138. The verb firsparrav is common in the Gospels, and always means "to ask further,'"' but the substantive does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament.

5 Luke xxii. 31. Here the common danger of the Apostles, " Satan has desired to have you (vitas), . . . but I have praj«i for thee (ire)," is restored by the Revised Version.

6 1 Pet. v. 8; Matt. v. 25; Luke xii. 58, xviii. 3.

7 1 Pet. v. 8, seq.


inflicted on Christ in His sufferings, and of His silence in the midst of reviling, and to these striking circumstances he makes a very special reference.1 He had seen the Cross uplifted from the ground with its awful burden, and respecting that Cross he uses a very peculiar expression.2 He had heard Jesus warn Thomas of the blessedness of those who having not seen yet believed, and he quotes almost the very words.3 He had been thrice exhorted to tend and feed Christ's sheep, and the pastoral image is prominent in his mind and exhortations.4 Lastly, he had been specially bidden when converted to strengthen his brethren, and this from first to last is the avowed object of his present letter.5

3. Again we recognise the true St. Peter by the extreme vividness of his expressions. It has been a unanimous tradition in the Church that the minute details recorded by St. Mark are due to the fact that he wrote from information given him by St. Peter. Picturesqueness is as evidently a characteristic of the mind of St. Peter as it is of the mind of St. Mark. In St. Mark it is shown by touches of graphic description, in St. Peter by words which are condensed metaphors.6

4. Such is the close analogy between the thoughts and expressions of the Epistle and those which the Gospel story of the writer would have led us to expect. Nor is the resemblance between the speeches of the St. Peter of the Acts and the style of the St. Peter of the Epistle less striking. As in the Acts so in the Epistle, he refers

1 1 Pet. ii. 20

2 1 Pet. ii. 24 V. infra, p. 128.

3 1 Pet. i. 8.

4 1 Pet. ii. 25, v. 2. '

51 Pet. v. 12.

6 1 Pet. ii. 2, " guileless, unadulterated milk; " iv. 4, " outpouring" (excess of riot); iv. 15, " other-people's-bishop " (busybody in other men's matters).


to Isaiah's metaphor of the rejected corner-stone;1 in both the witness of the Holy Ghost is prominent;2 in both he speaks of the Cross as "the tree";3 in both he dwells on the position of the Apostles as " witnesses ;" * in both he puts forward the death of Christ as the fulfilment of prophecy;5 in both the Eesurrection is made the main ground of faith and hope;6 in both we find special mention of God as the Judge of quick and dead;7 in both the exhortation to repentance is based on the fact of man's redemption;8 lastly, in both, as a matter of style, there is a prevalence of simple relatival connexions, and as a matter of doctrine there is the representation of God as one who has no respect for persons.* 5. Is it not, further, a very remarkable circumstance that in the Acts St. Peter, in one of his outbursts of impetuous boldness, ventures to call the Law " a yoke which neither our fathers nor we were strong enough to bear;" and in the Epistle—though he was a Jew, though he was closely allied to St. James in many of his sympathies, though he strongly felt the influence of the Pharisaic Christians at Jerusalem, though he borrows the symbols of the theocracy to a marked extent10—does not so much as once mention or allude to the Mosaic Law at all? -Even if any of these peculiarities standing alone could be regarded as accidental, their aggregate force is very considerable; nor do we think it possible that a forger—even if a forger

1 1 Pet. ii. 7; Acts iv. 11.

2 1 Pet. i. 12; Acts t. 32.

3 1 Pet. ii 24; Acts v. 30, x. 39.

4 1 Pet. i. 8, v. 1; Acts ii. 32, iii. 15, x. 41.

5 1 Pet. i. 10; Acts iii. 18, x. 43.

6 1 Pet. i. 3, 4, 21, iii. 21; Acts ii. 32—36, iii. 15, iv. 10, x. 40.

7 1 Pet. iv. 5 ; Acts x. 42.

8 1 Pet. ii. 24; Acts iii. 19—26.

9 1 Pet. i. 17 ; Acts x.

10 1 Pet. i. 2 (" sprinkling "), 18—20, ii. 9,10 (Ex. xix. 5, 6),


could otherwise have produced such an epistle as this —could have combined in one short composition so many instances of subtle verisimilitude?1

6. A very remarkable feature of the Epistle, and one which must have great prominence in leading us to a conclusion about its date, characteristics, and object, is the extent to which the writer has felt the influence both of St. James and of St. Paul.2 No one can

1 To these might be added 1 Pet. i. 13 (" girding up the loins of your mind"): compared with Luke xii. 35; i. 12, " to stoop and look " ; compared with Luke xxiv. 12; ii. 15, "to put to silence", compared with Luke iv. 35; and the use of the word (ii. 18), as compared with his use of the same word in his recorded speech (Acts ii. 40).

2 I pass over as very possibly accidental and independent the few points of resemblance between the language of St. Peter and St. John (cf. 1 Pet. ii. 19, 22 with 1 John i. 7, iii. 3, iv. 11, and 1 Pet. ii. 9 with Rev. i. 6); nor do I think that much importance can be attached to the few coincidences between 1 Pet. and Hebrews (e.g., 1 Pet. i. 2 and Heb. ix. 13; 1 Pet. ii. 2 and Heb. v. 12, etc.). I regard the attempt of Weiss, in his elaborate Petrinisehe Lehrbegriff, to prove the early date of the Epistle, and the indebtedness of St. Paul to its expressions, as misleading and untenable, if not as " altogether futile " (Pfleiderer, Paulimsm. ii. 150). He has found very few followers in his opinion. The resemblances are mainly to the Epistles to the Romans and Ephesians :—

I Pet. i. 1 Eph. i. 4—7  
I Pet. i. 3 Eph. i. 3  
1 Pet. i. 14 Eph. ii. 8 Rom. xii. 2
IPet. ii. 6—10   Rom. ix. 25—32
1 Pet. ii. 11   Rom. vii. 23
1 Pet. ii. 13   Rom. xiii. 1—4
1 Pet. ii 18 Eph. vi. 5  
1 Pet. iii. 1 Eph. v. 22  
1 Pet iii. 9   Rom. xvi. 17
1 Pet. iii. 22 Eph. i. 20 Rom. viii. 34
IPet. iv. 1   Rom. vi. 6
1 Pet. iv. 10   Rom. xii. 6
 IPet. v. 1   Rom. viii 18
 IPet. v. 5 Eph. v. 21  


The chief resemblances between St. Peter and St. James will be found in the following passages—

1 Pet. i. 6—7 James i. 2—4
1 Pet. i 24 James i. 10
1 Pet. iv. 8 James v. 20
1 Pet. v. 5, 9 James iv. 6, 7,10.

  The supposed parallels between the Epistle and those to Timothy and Titus are not real parallels, but arise from similarity of subject (1 Pet. iii. 1, v. 1, seq.). There is nothing in these similarities to discredit the authenticity of the Epistle, and the absence of Johannine phrases is another proof of its antiquity.


compare the number and peculiarity of the identical expressions adduced in the note, without the conviction that they can only be accounted for by the influence of the earlier writers on the later. At this epoch, both among Jews and Christians, there was a free adaptation of phraseology which had come to be regarded as a common possession. That St. Peter has here been the conscious or unconscious borrower may be regarded as certain, alike on chronological and on psychological considerations. If the Epistle was written from Home, we see the strongest reasons to conclude that it was written later than the Epistle to the Ephesians, and therefore after the death of St. James. The manner in which St. Peter writes shows that he is often accepting the phraseology of others, but infusing into their language a somewhat different shade of meaning. When we consider the extreme plasticity of St. Peter's nature, the emotional impressiveness and impetuous receptivity which characterise his recorded acts; when we remember, too, that it was his habit to approach all subjects on the practical and not on the speculative side, and to think the less of distinctions in the form of holding the common faith, because his mind was absorbed in the contemplation of that glorious Hope of which he is pre-eminently the Apostle,—we find an additional reason for accepting the Epistle as genuine. We see in it the simple, unsystematic, practical synthesis of the complementary—but not contradictory—truths insisted on alike by St. Paul and St. James. St. Peter dwells


more exclusively than St. Paul on moral duties; he leans more immediately than St. James on Gospel truths.

7. There is no material difficulty in his acquaintance with these writings of his illustrious contemporaries. Among the small Christian communities the letters of the Apostles were eagerly distributed. The Judaists would have been sure to supply St. Peter with the letter of the saintly Bishop of Jerusalem; and such companions as Mark and Silvanus, both of whom had lived in intimate relationship with St. Paul, and of whom the former had been expressly mentioned in the Epistle to the Colossians, could not have failed to bring to St. Peter's knowledge the sublimest and most heavenly of the Epistles of St. Paul. The antagonism in which St. James and St. Paul had been arrayed by their hasty followers would have acted with St. Peter as an additional reason for using indiscriminately the language of them both. It was time that the-bitterness of controversies should cease, now that the Church was passing through the fiery storm of its first systematic persecution. It was time that the petty differences within the fold should be forgotten when the howling wolves were leaping into its enclosure from without. The suffering Christians needed no impassioned arguments or eager dialectics; they mainly needed to be taught the blessed lessons of resignation and of hope. These are the keynotes of St. Peter's Epistle.1 As they stood defenceless before their enemies, he points them to the patient and speechless anguish of the Lamb of God.2 Patient endurance in the present would enable them to set an

1 Resignation, 1 Pet. i. 6, ii. 13—25, iii. 1, 9—12, 17, 18, iv. 1—4, t. 6; Hope, 1 Pet. i. 4, 12, 13, iv. 6, 7, v. 1, 4, 6, 10,11.

2 1 Pet. i. 19, ii. 22—25.


example even to their enemies ; the hope of the future would change their very sorrows into exultant triumph.1 In the great battle which had been set in array against them, Hope should be their helmet and Innocence their shield.2

8. And yet in teaching to his readers these blessed lessons St. Peter by no means loses his own originality. The distinctions between the three Apostles—distinctions between their methods rather than their views —may be seen at a glance. They become salient when we observe that whereas St. James barely alludes to a single event in the life of Christ, St. Peter makes every truth and exhortation hinge on His example, His sufferings, His Cross, His Resurrection, and His exaltation;3 and that whereas St. Peter is greatly indebted to the Epistle to the Romans, he yet makes no use of St. Paul's central doctrine of Justification by Faith. Thus even when he is influenced by his predecessor's phraseology, he is occupied with somewhat different conceptions. The two Apostles hold, indeed, the same truths, but, to the eternal advantage of the Church, they express them differently. Antagonism between them there was none ; but they were mutually independent. The originality of St. Peter is not only demonstrated by the sixty isolated expressions (hapax legomend) of his short Epistle, but also by his modification of many of St. Paul's thoughts in accordance with his own immediate spiritual gift. That gift was that power of administrative wisdom which made his example so valuable

1 Joy, 1 Pet. i. 6, 8, iv. 13,14.

2 Innocence, 1 Pet. i. 13—16, 22, ii. 1, 2, 11,12, iii. 13,15, 21, iv. 15.

3 1 Pet. i. 3, 7, 13, iii. 22, iv. 11,13.


to the Infant Church. It was worthy of his high position and authority to express the common practical consciousness of the Christian Church in a form which avoided party disagreements. The views of St. Paul are presented by St. Peter in their every-day hearing rather than in their spiritual depths; and in their moral, rather than their mystical significance. St. Peter adopts the views of his great brother Apostles but he clothes them in simpler and in conciliatory terms.1 And if these phenomena, from their very delicacy, constitute an almost irresistible proof of the genuineness of the Epistle, how decisive is the evidence which they furnish that there was none of that deadly opposition between the adherents of Kephas and of Paul which has been assumed as the true key to the Apostolic history! How certain is it that " the wretched caricature of an Apostle, a thing of shreds and patches, which struts and fumes through those Ebionite 'romances, would not have been likely to write with thoughts and phrases essentially Pauline flowing from his pen at every turn."2

9. It is important and interesting to illustrate still more fully this indebted yet independent attitude of the Apostle ; this tone at once receptive and original, at once firm and conciliatory, by which he was so admirably qualified to be the Apostle of Catholicity.3

i. We see it at once in the language which he uses about Redemption. St. Peter, of course, held, as definitely as St. Paul, that " Christ suffered for sin,

1 1 Pet. i. 12, 25, v. 12 (comp. 1 Cor. xv. 1).

2 Plumptre, 8t. Peter, p. 72.

3 Weiss's Lehrbegriff is entirely vitiated by his capricious effort to make out that St. Peter was the original author of the thoughts which he adopted from others.


once for all, the just on. behalf of the unjust ;"1 that " He Himself, in His own body, took up our sins on to the cross ;"2 that we were " ransomed with the precious blood as of a lamb blameless and spotless, even of Christ."* But divine truth is many-sided and infinite; and whereas St. Paul mainly dwells on the death of Christ as delivering us from the Law, and from the curse of the Law, and from a state of guilt, St. Peter speaks of it mainly as a liberation from actual immorality;4 a ransom from an empty, traditional, earthly mode of life;5 a means of abandoning sins and living to righteousness:—and these are to him the consequences which are specially involved in that more general conception that Christ died "to lead us to God."6 And besides this different aspect of the object of the death of Christ, the means by which that object is effected are also contemplated from a different point of view. In St. Paul's theology the Christian so closely partakes in the death of Christ that, by that death, the flesh—the carnal principle of all sin—is slain within him ;7 the old man is crucified with Christ, and the new man, the hidden man of the heart, the spiritual nature, lives the life of Christ by mystical union with Him. Now, St.

1 1 Pet. ill. 18

2 1 Pet. ii. 24; on this difficult verse, vide infra, p. 161.

3 1 Pet. i. 18,19.

4 1 Pet. i. 18, ix.

5 1 Pet. ii. 24, Mark alike the resemblance to, and the difference from, the words of the discourse which the Apostle had heard from the lips of St. Paul at a moment of deep personal humiliation (Gal. ii. 19, 20), " for I, through the Law, died unto the Law that I might live unto God. I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live." We have in St. Peter the essential Pauline thought without the intensity of the Pauline expression.

6 1 Pet. iii. 18; cf. Rom. v. 2; Eph. ii. 18; Heb. x. 19. T Rom. vi. 12—14, viii. 3; Gal. v. 24; 2 Cor. v. 14.


Peter uses expressions which at once remind us of those used by St. Paul, but he uses them with a different scope. He too speaks of " a communion with the sufferings of Christ,"l but it is only in the literal sense of suffering;2 and he never distinctly touches on (though he may doubtless assume and pre-suppose) the mystery of the Christian's identity with, incorporation with, the life and death of the Saviour. Christ's sufferings are set forth as producing their effect by the moral power of example, so that His life of suffering and obedience is as the copy over which we are to write, the track in which we are to walk; and so we are to be released from sin by the imitation of Christ.3 " He that hath died," says St. Paul, "hath been justified from sin,"4 meaning by this that he who by baptism (vi. 4) has been buried with Christ into His death, has also by baptism risen with Him into a new life of communion, in which God's righteousness has become man's justification. St. Paul means, in fact, all the deep truth which he sets forth mystically in Rom. vi. 1—15, and which he explains through the remainder of that chapter by more popular metaphors. Now, St. Peter, in words which are doubtless an echo of St. Paul's language, says that " he who hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;"5 but the practical intellect of St. Peter had no resemblance to the deeper genius of St. Paul, and the meaning of his words, as developed in the following verses, is simply the truth that the suffering

1 1 Pet. iv. 13.

2 As in Rom. viii. 13.

3 See Rom. vi. 1 ; 1 Peter ii. 21, with the Contest of these passages.

4 Rom. vi. 7. s 1 Pet. iv. 1.


life of the Christian has in it all the blessedness of trial; and that, just as the luxury and surfeit of heathen life (verse 3) is essentially a state of sin, so the trials borne by the Christian warrior who is armed with the mind of Christ, naturally put an end to the seductiveness of sin. St. Paul dwells most on deliverance from guilt, St. Peter on deliverance from sin. With St. Paul the death of Christ is the means of expiation; with St. Peter it is more prominently a motive of amendment. St. Paul, in Rom. vi. 1—15, writes like a profound theologian. St. Peter, in iv. 1—4, is using the simpler language of a practical Christian. The union between the Christian and the death of Christ, in St. Paul is an inner union. In St. Peter the connexion is more outward—a connexion which rather invites our obedience than modifies our inmost nature.1

ii. We shall see similar differences in the use of other words. Faith, for instance, is a prominent word with St. Peter,2 but neither he nor any other writer of the New Testament uses it in that unique and transcendent sense which is peculiar to St. Paul. With St. Paul, as we have already seen, it comes to mean an absolute oneness with Christ? St. Peter, like the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and like St. Clement, uses it as "the substance of things which are hoped for—the conviction of unseen realities."4 It is, in fact, " a confidence in the promises of God."5 It is hence

1 See Reuss, Theol. Chret. ii. 300.

2 1 Pet. i. 5,  7; 9; 21; V. 9

3 See Life and Work of St. Paul, ii. 209, seq.

4 1 Pet. i. 8; Heb. xi. 1; Clem. Ep. ad Cor. xxvi., xxvii.; Pfleiderer, Pawlinism. ii. 140.

5 1 Pet. i. 3, 13, iii. 15.

137 - BAPTISM.

nearly allied to Hope. In the Epistle to the Romans the main object of faith is God's redeeming favour evidenced by Christ's death;1 in St. Peter faith is mainly directed to the future salvation, of which Christ's resurrection is a pledge, and to which His sufferings are a means. And although St. Peter dwells so much on good works, that "to do good" (arfadoiroieiv) occurs no less than nine times in his Epistle,2 yet he is not in the least endeavouring to prove any theory of Justification by works, but simply regards good works as St. Paul does, namely, as the natural issue of the Christian calling. Nor, when he speaks of fear, in i. 17,3 is there intended to be any opposition to Rom. viii. 15,4 any more than there is in 1 John iv. 18.5 The " fear" spoken of by St. Peter is only a fear of falling away from grace. There is no contradiction between the Apostles, but there is a different gleam in their presentation of the "many-coloured wisdom" of God.

iii. Again, we see a difference respecting Regeneration and Baptism, and here once more St. Peter's view is predominantly moral and general, St. Paul's is mystic and dogmatic. Regeneration with St. Paul means a new creation, the beginning of a life which is not the human and individual life, but which is " Christ in us.'' But St. Peter, like St. James, regards this new birth as produced by the living and abiding word of God, producing the purification which springs from obedience to the truth, and having as its objects a

1 Rom. iv. 25.

2 1 Pet. ii. 14,15, 20, iii. 6,11,13,16,17, iv. 19.

3 " Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear."

4 " Ye received not the spirit of bondage again to fear."

5 " Perfect love casteth out fear."


living hope and a sincere brotherly love.1 And whereas Baptism is, with St. Paul, the beginning of the new birth, and the communication of the Spirit, with St. Peter., on the other hand—whatever may be the exact meaning of the difficult expression which he uses2—it is clear that his thoughts are mainly fixed on the moral obligations which enter into baptism as being a type of our deliverance by means of the resurrection of Christ.

10. But while St. Peter brings down, as it were, the transcendental divinity of St. Paul from heaven to earth—from the regions of a sublime theology to those of practical Christian life—while the diversities of gifts imparted by the same Spirit thus meet the individual needs of every Christian—while the contemplation of truth from many different points of

1 1 Pet. i. 22, 23; Jas. i. 18.

2 1 Pet. iii. 21,  It has been taken to mean (1) "pledge," " contract", as Tertullian calls baptism obligatio fidei, sponsio salutis, fidei pactio, but this seems only to be a later Byzantine meaning of the word; or (2) "the question, and answer of baptism"—the promise to renounce the devil, etc., and so to keep a good conscience (" Anima non lavattone sed responsione sancitur," Tert. de Besurr. Cam. 48)—but cannot bear this sense; or (3) joining, and taking the phrase in 2 Kings xi. 7 as explaining it—"the inquiry after God of a good conscience;" or (4) " request to God for a good conscience." Taking in this its natural sense, (the sense it bears in the only passage of the LXX. in which it occurs, vide Dan. iv. 14,) I believe this last view to be correct; but if taken with, as in Acts xxiv. 16, then it will be " the entreaty for a good conscience towards God." This, indeed, may seem an inadequate explanation of the saving power of baptism, but so (at first sight) is every other sense which the words will at all bear; and when we remember the practical and non-mystical character of the Apostle's mind, much of the difficulty disappears, and -the entreaty involves its own fulfilment. [The Revised Version renders the word " interrogation," and in the margin suggests the alternatives of " inquiry " or " appeal." Archbishop Leighton says, " The word intends the whole correspondence of the conscience with God. . . . The word is judicial, alluding to the interrogation used in law, etc."]


view enables us to understand its solidity and perfectness—St. Peter has one doctrine which is almost peculiar to himself, and which is inestimably precious. In this he not only ratifies some of the widest hopes which it had been given to his brother Apostle, if not to reveal, at least to intimate, but he also supplements these hopes by the new aspect of a much-disregarded, and, indeed, till recent times half-forgotten, article of the Christian creed;—I mean the object of Christ's descent into Hades.1 In this truth is involved nothing less than the extension of Christ's redeeming work to the dead who died before His coming. Had the Epistle contained nothing else but this, it would at once have been raised above the irreverent charge of being " secondhand and commonplace."2 I allude of course to the famous passage in which St. Peter tells us (iii. 19, 20) that "Christ died for sins once for all that He may lead us to God, slain indeed in the flesh but quickened in the Spirit, in which also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, once disobedient, when the long-suffering of God was waiting? in the days of Noah, during the preparing of the ark, by entering into which few, that is, eight souls, were brought safe through water." * So far is this from being a casual allusion, that St. Peter returns to it, as though with the object of making its meaning

1 Minor original specialities are " into which things the angels desire to look" (i. 12); Christ, " the chief Shepherd " (v. 4) ; the presentation of Christ's sufferings as an example (ii. 21), etc. See Davidson, Introd. i. 423, and for peculiarities of phraseology, id. p. 433.

2 Schwegler.

3 Leg.

4 In my Mercy and Judgment (pp. 75—81) I have given (with original quotations) a full history of the exegesis of this passage in the Christian Church. What may be called the mythological inferences from it, apart from the blessed truth which it generally indicates, may be found in the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus.


indisputably plain. When he speaks of the perishing heathen who shall, after lives of sin and self-indulgence, give account to the Judge of quick and dead, he says —" For, for this cause also, even to the dead was the Gospel preached; " adding, as though to preclude any escape from his plain meaning, " that they may be judged according to men in the flesh, but may live according to God in the spirit." 1 Few words of Scripture have been so tortured and emptied of their significance as these. In other passages whole theological systems, whole ecclesiastical despotisms, have been built on the abuse of a metaphor, on the translation of rhetoric into logic, on the ignorance and incapacity which will not interpret words by the universal rules of literary criticism; and yet every effort has been made to explain away the plain meaning of this passage. It is one of the most precious passages of Scripture, and it involves no ambiguity, except such as is created by the scholasticism of a prejudiced theology. It stands almost alone in Scripture, not indeed in the gleam of light which it throws across the awful darkness of the destiny of sin, but in the manner in which it reveals to us the source from which that gleam of light has been derived. For if language have any meaning, this language means that Christ, when His Spirit descended into the lower world, proclaimed the message of salvation to the once impenitent dead. In the first indeed of the two allusions to this truth the preaching is formally limited to those who had died in the Deluge. This is due to two causes. St. Peter's mind is full of the Deluge as a type of the world's lustration, first by death and then by deliverance, just as baptism is a type of death unto sin

1 1 Pet. iv. 6.


and the new life unto righteousness. Also he is thinking of Christ's comparison of the days of Noah to the days of the Son of Man. But it is impossible to suppose that the antediluvian sinners, conspicuous as they were for their wickedness, were the only ones of all the dead who were singled out to receive the message of deliverance. That restricted application is excluded by the second passage. There the Apostle shows that he had only referred to those who perished in the Deluge as striking representatives of a world of sinners, judged as regards men in the flesh, but living as regards God in the spirit. For, in referring to the judgment which awaits the heathen, he attempers the awful thought of their iniquities and of the future retribution which awaited them by saying that, with a view to this very state of things the Gospel was preached to the dead;—in order that, however terrible might be the judgments which would befall their human nature, the hope of some spiritual share in the divine life might not be for ever excluded at the moment of death. Of the effects of the preaching nothing is said. There is no dogma either of universalism or of conditional immortality. All details, as in the entire eschatology of Scripture, are left dim and indefinite; but no honest man who goes to Holy Scripture to seek for truth, instead of going to try and find whatever errors he may bring to it as a part of his theological belief, can possibly deny that there is ground here to mitigate that element of the popular teaching of Christendom against which many of the greatest saints and theologians have raised their voices.1 That teaching rests with the deadliest weight on all who have sufficient imagination

1 See Mercy and Judgment, pp. 16—57.


to realise the meaning of the phrases in which they indulge, and sufficient heart to feel their awfulness. If Christ preached to dead men who were once disobedient, then Scripture shows us that the moment of death does not necessarily involve a final and hopeless torment for every sinful soul. Of all the blunt weapons of ignorant controversy employed against those to whom has been revealed the possibility of a larger hope than is left to mankind by Augustine or by Calvin, the bluntest is the charge that such a hope renders null the necessity for the work of Christ! As if it were not this very hope which gives to the love of Christ its mightiest effectiveness! We thus rescue the work of redemption from the appearance of having failed to achieve its end for the vast majority of those for whom Christ died. By accepting the light thus thrown upon " the descent into Hell," we extend to those of the dead who have not finally hardened themselves against it the blessedness of Christ's atoning work. We thus complete the divine, all-comprehending circuit of God's universal grace! In these passages, as has been truly said, " we may see an expansive paraphrase and exuberant variation of the original Pauline theme of the universalism of the evangelic embassage of Christ and of His sovereignty over the world; and especially of the passage in the Philippians,1 where all they that are in heaven and on the earth, and under the earth, are enumerated as classes of the subjects of the exalted Redeemer."

But alas! human perversity has darkened the very heavens by looking at them through the medium of its own preconceptions ; and the clear light of

1 Phil. ii. 9,11.


revelation has streamed in vain upon the awfulness of the future. The attempts to make the descent of Jesus into Hades a visit merely to liberate the holy patriarchs, or to strike terror into the evil spirits, are the unworthy inventions of dogmatic embarrassment. The interpretation of Christ's " preaching" as only a preaching of damnation1 is one of the most melancholy specimens of theological hardness trying to blot out the hope of God's mercy from the world beyond the grave. " It was," as Reuss says, " far better than all that: it was for the living a new manifestation of the inexhaustible grace of God; for the dead a supreme opportunity for casting themselves into the arms of His mercy; and finally, for Christian theologians, so skilful in torturing the letter, and so blind at seizing the spirit, it might have been the germ of a sublime and fruitful conception, if instead of compressing more and more the circle of life and light by their formulae and their anathemas, they would have learnt from the teaching of the Apostle that this circle is illimitable, and that the life-giving rays which stream from its centre can penetrate even the most distant sphere of the world of spirits.''

Having thus seen the authenticity, and the characteristics of the first Epistle of St. Peter, we may proceed to ask, What was its object ? Clearly it was not meant as a system of theology. Some have supposed that its scope was directly conciliatory—that by borrowing alike from St. Paul and St. James, and

1 It is needless to say that in the N. T. mifiiatra has no such meaning, and the parallel passage, iv. 6, has eftiryyexfirfli). See Clem. Alox. Strom. vi. 6.


endeavouring, as it were, to make them both speak with the same mouth,1 St. Peter wished to calm the controversies which had arisen, and to show that the Christian faith, whether preached by Judaists or Paulinists, was essentially the same. Now there may have been in the mind of St. Peter some such undercurrent of intention. For he was addressing, among others, the Churches of Galatia, which had been the scene of burning controversies; and he may have wished by his silence about the Law, and his omission of such phrases as " Justification by Faith,5' to show that the essential truths of Christianity might be disengaged from polemical bitterness. There must have been something intentional in this silence, for no one can read the words of St. Paul in Gal. v. 13—

(1) "For ye were called for freedom, brethren,

(2) Only not freedom as a handle for thejlesh,

(3) But by love serve (SovXeuere) one another." side by side with those of St. Peter, in ii. 16—

(1) "Asfree,

(2) And yet not using your freedom as a veil of baseness,

(3) But as slaves of God,"— without seeing that the resemblance is more than accidental.2 The identity of structure, the similarity of rhythm, the echo of the thought, prove decisively that St. Peter had read the Epistle to the Galatians. It could not, therefore, have been without deliberate purpose that, in addressing Galatians among others,

1 Renss, La Theol. Ghret. ii. 294.

2 The quotation is further interesting as being made from an Epistle in which his own conduct is condemned.


he assumes, without the least controversial vehemence, the once-startling proposition that faithful Gentiles are the true Jews,1 an elect race, a holy nation, the true heritage of (rod, and even the true priesthood,2 while yet he says no word about Mosaism, or about the terms of communion between Jews and Gentiles. Here, again, we may recognise the exact attitude of Peter as seen in the Acts of the Apostles. He is a sincere and even a scrupulous Jew; yet he had been divinely taught that the practices which he might himself continue to adopt as matters of national obligation were in no sense binding on the Gentiles, and that their freedom did not place them in a lower position in the eyes of God, who is no respecter of persons. But though such thoughts may have been in his mind, they did not furnish the motive of his address, which was, as he himself says, essentially hortatory. He wrote to testify and to exhort;3 to confirm the converts in the truths which they had already learnt from the missions of St. Paul and his companions, and to comfort them under persecution by encouragements, founded on the hopes of which they were partakers, and on the example and effect of the sufferings of Christ.

As in other instances, the question has been raised whether St. Peter intended to address Jews or Gentiles; —and, as in other instances, the true answer seems to be—neither class exclusively. The Dispersion of which he is mainly thinking is a spiritual one. He is writing

1 1 Pet. iii. 6.

2 1 Pet. ii. 5; 1 Pet. ii. 9,  (cf.  Ex. six. 5, 6, and LXX.), k.t.a.  (Acts xx. 28).

3 1 Pet. V. 12,


to all Christians in the countries which he mentions.1 Why he selected the Churches of Asia Minor, and did not include the Churches of Syria, Macedonia, and Achaia, is a question which we cannot solve, seeing that both in Greece and in Syria he was personally known. That he is addressing Gentiles as well as Jews cannot be doubted by any unconventional reader ;2 but he regards them as alike pilgrims and sojourners on earth, common members of the ideal Israel, common heirs of the heavenly inheritance.3 Yet we need go no farther than the first line of his letter, with its two distinctively Jewish expressions of " sojourners" (To-shabim) and " the dispersion " (Galoothd), to show that even to Gentiles he is writing with the feelings and habits of a Jew.

It seems likely that the Epistle was written after the final imprisonment of St. Paul, during whose activity St. Peter would hardly have written to any of the Churches which had been exclusively founded by the Apostle of the Gentiles. The condition of the Churches addressed accords well with such a supposition. He is

1 Weiss, in the interests of his arbitrary theory that the letter is one of the earliest documents of Christianity, tries to prove that it was addressed exclusively to Jews. His arguments (Petr. Lehrbegr. 115, 116) are entirely inconclusive, and are sufficiently answered in the text. This view has, however, found many supporters in all ages, as Eusehius, Didymus, Jerome, Theophylaet, and in modern times Erasmus, Calvin, Grotius, Bengel, etc.

2 See 1 Pet. i. 14, 18, iii. 6, ii. 9, 10, iv. 3, 4. Many doubtless of these Gentiles had passed into the Church through the portals of the Synagogue. Hence they would find no difficulty in the casual allusions to the Old Testament (i. 15, 16, 23—25, ii. 6, 19, iii. 10, iv. 18, v. 5), which, as Immer remarks (N. Test. Theol., p. 477), are not introduced with any Rabbinic refinements.

3 1 Pet. i. 1, iii. 6, v. 9 (ef. Heb. xi. 13; Phil iii. 20; Gen. xlvii. 9; •a Ps. xxxix. 14); "nachalath Jehovah," Jos. xiii. 23, etc. Similarly, Clemens Romanus, though a Gentile, talks of " our father, Abraham."


writing to those who, although their faith was undergoing a severe test like gold tried in the fire,1 were yet mainly liable to danger rather than to death. They were exposed to false accusation as malefactors,2 to revilings,3 threats,4 and a general system of terrorism and suffering.5 Now this is exactly the state of things which must have existed in the provinces after the Neronian persecution. That crisis marked out the Christians for a special hatred above and beyond what they experienced as being, in the eyes of the world, a debased Jewish sect. It even brought into prominence that name of " Christians," which, though invented by the jeering populace of Antioch as early as a.d. 44, had not until this time come into general vogue.6 It is true that Orosius7 is the first writer who asserts that the persecution extended " through all the provinces," and there is no authority for the assertion of Tertullian that Nero had made the repression of Christians a standing law of the Empire.8 Some have attempted to prove that the

1 1 Pet. i. 7, iv. 12.

2 1 Pet. ii. 12,15.

3 1 Pet. ii. 23, iii. 9, iv. 14.

4 1 Pet. iii. 16, .

5 1 Pet. iii. 9,14,17, iv. 15,19. Tacitus counts Christianity among the shameful things (pudenda) which flowed Romewards (comp. Rom. i. 16).

6 See my Life and WorTc of St. Paul, i. 298. Tacitus (Ann. xv. 44) uses the word " Christianas " with something of an apology. It is well known that in the N. T. it only occurs three times, and always involves a hostile sense (Acts xi. 26, zxvi. 28), as it does in iv. 16.

7 Oros. vii. 11, "per omnes provintias pari persecutione cruciari imperavit." The Lnsitanian inscription (Grnter, p. 238; Orelli, 730), which thanks Nero for purging the province of some foreign superstition (novam hnmano generi superstitionem), is now given up. See Merivale, i. 450; Gieseler, i. 28.

8 Ad NaM. i. 7, " sub Nerone damnatio invaluit." In the martyrolo-gies, we read of martyrs during the Neronian persecution at Milan, Aquileia, Carthage, etc.; and St. John mentions the martyr Antipas by name, at Pergamum (Kev. ii. 13). besides alluding to others (Rev. zvi. 5).


state of things referred to could only have existed during the persecution of Trajan (a.d. 101),1 which is of course equivalent to saying that the Epistle is spurious. But considering that we find the traces of trials at least as severe as those to which St. Peter alludes some time before the Neronian persecution had broken out,2 and in the Apocalyptic letters to the seven Churches of Asia after it had broken out,3 the whole argument is groundless. The members of a sect which was " everywhere spoken against," and for which even the worthiest Gentile writers can find no better epithet than " execrable "—a sect which from the first was supposed to involve a necessary connection with the deadliest crimes4—a sect which from the earliest days seems to have been exposed to the insults of the vilest mural caricatures5—were certainly as liable in the later years of Nero as they were in the days of Trajan to suffer such troubles as those to which St. Peter alludes.6 It ought to have been regarded as decisive

1 See especially Schwegler, Nachap. Zeit. II. 2—29; Kostlin, Johann-Lehrbegr. 472—181; Baur, First Three Centuries, i. 133.

2 For instance, in 1 Thess. ii. 15, iii. 4; 2 Thess. i. 4, iii. 2; Phil. i. 28, 30, etc.

3 Rev. i. 9, ii. 9,10,13, vi. 9,11, xviii. 24, xx. 4.

4 Plin. ISp. x. 97, " flagitia cohaerentia nomini;" Tac. Ann. xt. 44, " qnos, per flagitia invisos, vulgus Christianos appellabat."

5 A celebrated graffito of the Palatine, representing an ass on a cross, has been supposed to be a mockery of the Crucifixion. It was found in. 1856, and is now in the library of the Collegio Romano. P. Garucci supposes that it was drawn towards the close of the second century. Similar insults to Christians have been found on various gems and wall-inscriptions at Pompeii, etc. See Renan, L'Antechrist, p. 40. Meri-vale, Hist. vi. 442. These graffiti and calumnies are alluded to by Tertullian, Apol. 16; ad Natt. i. 11; Minnc. Felix, Octav. ix. 28; Celsus, of. Orig. c. Gels. vi. 31.

6 Renan rightly says, " L'epitre de Pierre repond bien a ce quo nous savons, surtout par Tacite, de la situation des Chretiens a Rome vers I'an 63 ou 64 " (L'Antechrist, p. xi.).


against the later date thus suggested for the Epistle, that, like all the Epistles in the New Testament, it is anterior to that rapid development of the power of the Episcopate which is so prominent in the earliest of the extra-canonical writings. The Churches of the Spiritual Dispersion are still under the government of Presbyters, and St. Peter addresses them as their " fellow-presbyter." The word " episkopos" occurs hut once in his letter, and that in its purely general and untechnical signification.1 Hence the letter is addressed to the converts in general, with only a special message to Presbyters at the end. Hope is the keynote of this Epistle. Its main message is, Endure, submit, for you are heirs of salvation?

1 1 Pet. ii. 25, to the Bishop (or Overseer) of your souls.

2 The letter falls, like most of St. Paul's letters (see Life and Work of St. Paul, i. 605. 606), into two great divisions—doctrinal and practical. I. i. 1— ii. 10, the blessings of Christians. II. ii. 11—v. 14, the duties of Christians. More in detail the outline of the letter is as follows:—(I.) Greeting (i. 1,2); thanksgiving, intended to console the readers with the living Hope of that future inheritance on which, through God's mercy and Christ's resurrection, they should enter after their brief sorrows on earth—that salvation, to which all prophecy pointed, and into which angels desire to look (i. 3—12); exhortation (a.) to holy living in hope and obedience (i. 13—17), founded on the price paid for their redemption (18—21); ()8) to brotherly love, founded on their new birth by the eternal word of God (22—25); and (y) to Christian innocence, as babes desiring spiritual milk, and as living stones of a spiritual house (ii. 1—10). Then (II.), after a special entreaty to them to abstain from fleshly desires, so as to win their heathen neighbours to glorify God by seeing their honourable mode of life — an entreaty specially applicable to a period when " Christian" was regarded as a synonym of " malefactor " (11,12), he passes to a second series of exhortations, which have direct reference to the trials by which they are surrounded (ii. 13—iii. 7): namely, to the spirit of submission (a) generally (ii. 13—17) ; (0) in the position of servants (18—20) bearing in mind the meek example of Christ their Redeemer (21—25); (7) in the position of Christian women, who, in meek simplicity, are to imitate Sarah, their spiritual ancestress (iii. 1—6), and (S) of Christian husbands (7). Then follows a third series of exhortations (iii 8—iv. 19), (a) to forgiveness and peaceful self-control as in God's sight (iii. 8—12); (0) to calm endurance


of wrongful suffering—again with reference to the example of Christ (13—18), who preached even in Hades to those who were once disobedient (in the days of that deluge from which Noah and his family were saved as we are saved by baptism)—but who is now exalted at God's right hand (19—22); (7) to the abandonment of the old heathen life, which would bring inevitable judgment (iv. 1—6); (8) to sobriety, love, hospitality, a right use of gifts, that God may be glorified (7—10); (e) to the cheerful, innocent, even thankful endurance of sorrow as a normal part of the Christian life (11—16), and one in which, being far less to be pitied than the unfaithful, they might safely entrust their souls to God (17—19). Then follow special exhortations (a) to Presbyters (v. 1—t); (ft) to younger members of the Church (5—7); and (7) to all alike, to watch and strive (9,10). The Epistle ends with a blessing (10, 11) and a few parting words about Silvanus and the letter of which he is the bearer (12), and greetings (13,14).



"Mirabilis est gravitas et alacritas Petrini sermonis, lectorem gnavis-sime retinens."—Bengel.

"Peter, an Apostle of Jesus Christ"—such is the simple and authoritative designation which he adopts. He does not need to add any of the amplifications of his title, or assertions of his claim to it, which were often necessary to St. Paul, whose Apostolic authority had been so fiercely questioned. Nor does he need to adopt St. Paul's practice of associating the names of his companions with his own, although both Mark and Silvanus, so well known to the Asian Churches, were at this time with him in Rome. His dignity as an Apostle was unquestioned. His words needed no further weight than they derived from his acknowledged position. It is not insignificant that he uses the name which Christ had given him, and uses it in its Greek, not its Aramaic, form. Had he been writing with any exclusive reference to the Jewish Christians, it is more probable that he would have used his own name, Symeon, by which James speaks of him to the Church of Jerusalem, or the Aramaic " Kephas," by which St. Paul designates him, because


he was so called by the Judaists of Galatia and Corinth.1

" To the elect sojourners of the Dispersion of Pontus,2 Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia." The Dispersion—in Greek, Diaspora; in Aramaic, Galoofha—was no doubt an essentially literal and geographical expression ; but as St. Peter uses the unusual word "sojourners" (parepidemoi) in a metaphorical sense for "pilgrims" in ii. II,3 he probably uses it in the same sense here, and not in its narrower sense of scattered Jews. The Churches which he was addressing were composed of Jewish and Gentile converts. Many of the latter had doubtless been proselytes. Even those who had been converted direct from heathenism would have been made familiar from the first with the existence of the Old Testament, and with the truth which St. Paul had so powerfully established in his letter to the Galatians, that the converted Gentiles constituted the ideal Israel. Nothing, therefore, is more natural in a Jewish writer than the half-literal, half-metaphorical expression, " the expatriated elect of the Dispersion." The word "elect" marks them out as Christians, being one of the terms by which Christians used to define themselves.4 Many of them, being Jews by birth, were literal members of "the Dispersion;" all of them were strangers upon earth, exiles from heaven their home, dwelling in Mesech and

1 That he wrote in Greek is certain from the style, which is far too animated to be a translation. It is a most narrow view which assumes that St. Peter could not address Gentiles without violating what is called " the Apostolic compact" (Gal. ii. 9).

2 Hence sometimes known as the Epistle ad Ponticos (Tert. Scorp. 12).

3 Ps. xxxix. 13, cxx. 5. Of. Heb. xi. 13; Judith v. 18; 2 Mace. i. 27. Comp. John xi. 52, and in Acts vii. 6, 29.

4 1 Thess. i. 4.


amid the tents of Kedar. It is natural that the phrases of a Jewish writer should he predominantly Jewish. Even the language of St. Paul, cosmopolitan as were his views, is largely coloured by theocratic images and metaphors belonging to the older dispensation.1

There seems to be no traceable significance in the order in which the provinces of Asia Minor—to use a convenient later term—are mentioned. Writing from Rome, he begins with the most distant, Pontus, flinging as it were to its farthest cast the net of the fisher of men. The order of the rest, from north-east to south and west, must be due to some subjective accident. The Churches of two of the provinces, Gralatia and Asia2—including some so important as Ancyra, Tavium, Pessinus, and the famous Seven Churches—had been founded by St. Paul or his companions. Jews of Pontus and Cappadocia had been present at the great discourse of St. Peter on the day of Pentecost,3 and these districts contained, among others, such wealthy towns as Tyana, Nyssa, Caesarea, and Nazianzus. The Churches of Bithynia, which St. Paul had been hindered from visiting by a Divine intimation, were forerunners of the communities to whose simplicity and faithfulness, forty years later, Pliny bore his impartial and memorable testimony in his letter to the Emperor Trajan.

Having thus named the converts whom he meant specially to address, he describes their election as due in its origin " to the foreknowledge of God the Father,"

1 The Galatian Churches, for instance, were largely composed of Gentiles, yet St. Paul's arguments to them are of a Judaic and sometimes even of a Rabbinic character.

2 Proconsular Asia, which included Mysia, Lydia, Oaria, Phrygia,
Pisidia, and Lycaonia. 3 Acts ii. 9. Of. Jos. Antt. xvi. 6.


in its progress " to the sanctifying work of the Spirit," and as having for its end " obedience, and sprinkling by the blood of Jesus Christ."1 Thus, no less than St. Paul, he describes each of the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity as co-operant in the work of man's salvation. In his salutation, " Grace unto you and peace," he follows St. Paul in the comprehensive formula by which he unites the Hellenic greeting of "joy" with the Hebrew greeting of "peace "—both of them used in their deeper Christian sense,2 of a " peace " which passeth understanding, and a " joy " which the world could neither give nor take away. From the Book of Daniel, with which he was evidently familiar, he adopts the expression " be multiplied," which is found in the letters of Darius and Nebuchadnezzar there recorded3 (i. 1-3).

Then follows the rich and full thanksgiving, with its comprehensive glance at the future (3—5), the present (6—9), and the past (10—12):—" Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,4 Who, according to His great mercy, begat us again6 to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ

1 Heb. xii. 24, " Sprinkling," i.e., " Your being sprinkled." The allusion is to the sprinkling of the people at the inauguration of the Mosaic Covenant (Ex. xxiv. 8); but there may be also the conception of purifying, as the vessels of the sanctuary were purified by sprinkled blood. Of. Heb. ix. 13,18—28; Ex. xxiv. 6—8; Lev. xvi. 14 and 19, etc. Any allusion to the Lord's Supper, which Weiss (Petr. Lehrbegr. 273) assumes as certain, is more than doubtful.

2 See my Life and Work of St. Paul, i. 580.

3 Dan. iii. 31, iv. 1, vi. 25, whence the Rabbis probably derived it (Wetst. ad Cor.). Of. Jnde 2; 2 Pet. i 2.

4 Of. Eph. i. 3.

5 A word peculiar to St. Peter. But compare  James i. 18 ; James iii. 3 ;   Tit. iii. 5 ;  Eph. ii. 10.

155 - ADDRESS.

from the dead,1 to an inheritance incorruptible and stainless and unwithering,2 which has been reserved in heaven for you,3—who by the power of God are being guarded4 by faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed5 at the last season. In which thought ye exult,6 though for a little while at present, if need be, ye have been grieved in various trials, that the tested genuineness of your faith—a far costlier thing than gold which perisheth, and yet is tested by means of fire7— might prove to be for (your) praise and honour and glory8 at the revelation of Jesus Christ; Whom though ye never saw ye love;9 on Whom—though ye still see Him not—yet believing, ye exult with joy inexpressible and glorified; carrying off as a prize10 the end of your

1 Here he strikes the key-note of the Epistle, Hope founded on the Resurrection; not a dead, but an energising Hope, such as the Resurrection had wrought in the Apostles by dispelling their despair; a Hope living, life-giving, and looking to life (De Wette) of which the Resurrection was " not only the exemplar, but the efficient cause " (Leighton).

2 Eir. The Hope will end in the fruition of heritage, which is salvation and glory (1 Pet. i. 5, v. 1); Wisd. vi. 12 not the same as in v. 4.

3 And therefore beyond the reach of danger.

4 " Haeredttas servata est, haercdes custodiuntur " (Bengel). Of. Phil. iv. 7. The MSS. throughout the Epistle vary between " us " and " you," as is so often the case. Here, as in almost every instance, ipas is the right reading («, A, B, 0, K, L, etc.), though the E. V. usually adopts " us " and " we.* The " you " is characteristic of the Apostolic authority of the teacher.

5 Draw the curtain at the last time (Jud. 18), and the salvation is already there, behind the veil. See 1 Pet. iv. 5, 7.

6 Here he passes from the future to the present. The " salvation " in its completeness is future, the " exultation" (a word characteristically Petrine; cf. 1 Pet. i. 8, iv. 13; Matt. v. 12) is present, and the epithets applied to it are anticipatory only in their fulness.

7 Hennas, Pastor, i. 4, p. 440; ed. Dressel.

8 " Well done, good and faithful servant!" (Matt. xxv. 21).

9 John xx. 29.

10 The prize is carried off by anticipation now; in reality hereafter. It is " glory begun below." " The moods of the New Testament converge towards the present."


faith — the salvation of souls.1 Respecting which salvation the prophets diligently sought and searched, who prophesied concerning the grace which was coming to you ; — searching as to what or what kind of season the spirit of Christ in them2 was indicating, when it testified beforehand the sufferings which were to fall upon Christ,3 and the glories that should follow them ; to whom it was revealed that not [mainly] for themselves,4 but for you they were ministering these things,5 which have now been proclaimed to you6 by means of those who preached to you the Gospel by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven;7 into which things angels desire to stoop and look." 8

"Therefore, girding up at once the loins of your understanding,9 being sober, lean with perfect hope

1 1 Pet. i. 6 — 9. The " salvation " is not from the sorrows and trials of life, bnt from all sin.

2 The remark in the Ep. of Barnabas (cap. v.) still remains the best comment on this expression, " The prophets, having their gift from Him, prophesied about Him." St. Peter was not likely to enter into such scholastic refinements as those which separate the idea of " Christ " from that of " the Eternal Son."

3 1 Pet. i. 11, ret fis Xpurrb

4 " As little children lisp and talk of Heaven, So thoughts beyond their thoughts to those high bards were given." I insert the word "mainly" after "not" in accordance with a well-known idiom.

5 See Acts ii. 17, 31, iii. 24.

6 "You" and "ye "(not "us "and "we," as in the E. V.) are the best authorised readings throughout the Epistle, except in i. 3, iv. 17, and ii. 24 (from Isaiah). This seems to have been St. Peter's method (Acts xv. 7).

7 Mark the emphatic testimony to the teaching of St. Paul, by whom, directly or indirectly, most of these Churches had been founded.

8 1 Pet. i. 10 — 12. For the word xapaicfyai see James i. 25 ; Luke xxiv. 12 ; John xx. 5, 11. Cf. Heb. ii. 16.

9 Luke xii. 25 ; Eph. vi. 14.


upon the grace that is being borne to you in the revelation of Jesus Christ; as children of obedience,1 not fashioning yourselves in conformity2 with the former desires in your day of ignorance."3

This pregnant exhortation is supported by the motives, (i.) of God's holiness (15, 16); (ii.) of the fear due to Him as a Father and impartial Judge (17) ;* and (iii.) of the fact that they were ransomed from their empty traditional mode of life, not by mere corruptible silver and gold,5 but by costly blood, as of a lamb blameless and spotless, even of Christ;6 Who was pre-ordained before the world was, but has been manifested at the end of the time7 for the sake of them who through Him believe on God, who raised Him from the dead, and gave Him glory, so that our faith is also hope towards God.8

The exhortation to Hope founded on these motives is followed by an exhortation to sincere and intense Love, as the natural result of the purification of the soul

1 Cf.  Eph. ii. 3;  Kardpas, 2 Pet. ii. 14.

2 Rom. xii. 2.

3 " Ignorance; " cf. Rom. i. 18 ; Acts iii. 17, xvii. 30.

4 "If ye call on Him as ' Father,' Who," etc. Perhaps with reference to the Lord's Prayer. In these verses notice " mode of life," " conversation " in its old sense, used also to render " citizenship," in Phil. i. 27. The adv. occurs here only, but the conception is thoroughly Petrine (Acts x. 34). The "fear" here recommended is not the fear reprobated in 1 John iv. 18; Bom. viii. 15; 2Tim. i. 7, but "godly fear," awful reverence mixed with love, which " drowns all lower fears, and begets true fortitude" (Leighton).

5 Notice the Petrine contempt for dross (Acts iii. 6, viii. 20).

6 With special allusion to the deliverance secured by the Paschal Lamb (Ex. xii. 36); general reference to the whiteness and harmlessness of the Lamb. See Life of Chris^i. 143.

7 1 Pet. i. 20,  (Gen. xlix. 1).

8 Or, "so that your faith and hope are in God," who raised Christ from the dead, etc. Acts ii. 22 (i. 13—21).


by the Holy Spirit1 in the path of obedience; and of that new birth—not by human engendering, but by means of the living word of God, which is not transient, as is the flower of human life,2 but is an utterance which abideth for ever—" And this is the utterance preached to you as the Gospel."3

This is the starting-point to fresh exhortations. There were evidently divisions between the members of the Churches, which led St. Peter to impress on them the duty of fervent love. He proceeds to urge them to lay aside,4 like some stained robe, all that is ruinous to brotherly union—malice, guile, insincerities, envies, backbitings, which may easily have arisen from such conditions as we have seen existing in the Churches of Galatia.5 Born again, let them, as newborn babes, desire to be nurtured into perfect growth by the unadulterated spiritual milk,6 since they knew by tasting that the Lord is sweet.7 And then, changing the metaphor,8 he bids them " come to Christ,8 a living stone, and be built upon Him—as living stones upon a

1 Cf. Acts xv. 9, where, however, the verb is not ayvifa, us here and in James iv. 8; 1 John iii. 3. (See John xi. 55; Acts xxL 24.)

2 Gnomic aorists—i.e., aorists expressive of a general fact. See my Brief Greek Syntax, § 154.

3 1 Pet. i. 22—25. The " Logos" of this passage, if it has not yet risen to its Johannine sense, hovers on the verge of it, as in Heb. iv. 12.

4 1 Pet. ii. 1.

6 See Life and Work of St. Paul, ii. 129, seq.

6 Rom. xii. 1, 1 Pet. ii. 2, 2 Cor. iv. 2.

7. Ps. xxxiv. 8, Xpijoris, " sweet" (Aug. dulcis, Vulg. suavis). Cf. Luke v. 39, vi. 35. Some have supposed a pleasant play of words, founded on itacism, between ehrestos (sweet) and Christog (Christ). See Life and Work of St. Paul, i. 301.

8 There is the same sequence of the same metaphors in 1 Cor. iii. 1,10.

9 " Come as true proselytes." Though St. Peter here uses " stone," not petra, he is perhaps thinking of the great promise to himself (Matt. xvi. 18).


corner-stone—into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up1 spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."2 The rejection of that precious stone by men, and its choice by God had long been prophesied.3 The preciousness of it should belong to those who believed on Him;4 to the others—"for which they were also appointed"—He should be a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence.5 " But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood,6 a holy nation, a people for special possession,7 in order that ye may proclaim the excellence8 of Him Who called you from darkness into His marvellous light: once not a people, but now a people of God; once uncompassionated, but compassionated now."9

Having thus laid the sure foundations of Hope and Comfort in the great doctrinal truths of Christianity,

1 "to offer once for all" (aor.), Rom. xii. 1.

2 Heb. xiii. 15.

3 Is. xxviii. 16. This citation, divergent from the LXX. in the two same particulars (" I lay in Sion " and " on Him ") as in Rom. ix. 33, is a striking instance of the use of that Epistle by St. Peter; Eph. ii.20.

4 1 Pet. ii. 7, rendered in E. V." he is precious." " The honour " is that involved in the fvnpav, "honourable" (E. V., " precious "), of the previous verse. For the O. T. reference see Ps. cxviii. 22; Is. viii. 14. (Heb. and Rom. ix. 33.)

5 See Ps. cxviii. 22 ; Is. viii. 14; Luke xx. 17, 18; Rom. ix. 32, 33; Matt. xvL 23. The allusion is to the course of God's earthly dealings, e.g., as Roos says, "If Caiaphas, Judas, etc., had been born in a different century, they could not have acted as they did." There is no decree of reprobation, nor is the future world even alluded to, in Acts i. 16. On the whole subject see Life and Work of St. Paul, ii. 242 —244,590.

6 Ex. xix. 6, LXX.

7 Eph. i. 14; 1 Thess. v. 9; Rev. i. 6; Acts xx. 28); Is. xliii. 21; Ex. xx. 5

8 ipereks (a rare word, 2 Pet. i. 3), Is. xliii. 20, LXX.; in Hebr.,

9, " my praise " (Is. xlviii. 9). 4 1 Pet. ii. 1—10. Lo Ammi and Lo Ruhamah (Hos. ii. 23; Rom. ix. 25).


he devotes the rest of the Epistle to the enforcement of the moral duties which result from our Christian profession.

(1) First comes the appeal to live purely and blamelessly.

" Beloved ! I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims to abstain from the carnal desires which make war against the soul,1 keeping fair your mode of life2 among the Gentiles, that, in the matter in which they speak against you as malefactors,3 they may, in consequence of your fair deeds, as they witness them, glorify God in the day of visitation."4

(2) A second special duty of Christians in those days was due respect, in all things lawful, to the civil government. By Messianic exultation, by eschatological enthusiasms, by the sense of the glory and the dignity of redeemed manhood, by the revealed equality of all men in the sight of Him Who is no respecter of persons, by the conviction of the dwindling littleness of human distinctions in the light of eternal life, they might, if

1 Jas. iv. 1 ; Bom. vii. 23.

2. Occur ten times in 1 and 2 Pet.

3 At first the Christians were mainly charged with turbulence, moroseness, "incivisme," detestable superstition (Tacitus and Suetonius), and hard obstinacy (Pliny and Marcus Aurelius). The charges of infant murder, cannibalism, and gross immorality (Tert. Apol. 16, etc.) belong to a later age, when the Lord's Supper and the Agapae were misunderstood, and, perhaps, when Gnostic sects had really fallen into vile Anti-nomianism.

4 1 Pet. ii. 11, 12. "Day of visitation," when God comes to offer mercy (Gen. 1. 24; Wisd. iii. 7; Luke i. 68, xix. 44), or to judge (Is. x. 3); not " when the heathen make judicial inquiry into your conduct " (OEcumen., Bengel, etc.), nor " on the Judgment Day " (Bede). Notice the large-hearted absence of any spirit of revenge. He only desires that the heathen, when they find how base were their calumnies, how cruel their conduct, may be led to glorify God ! No anathemas here. Pliny's celebrated letter to Trajan (Ep. x. 93) is the best comment on this passage.


they were not warned, be naturally tempted to a demeanour which would seem contemptuous towards earthly authority. Nay, more; the fearful spectacle of the power of the world wielded by those who were but too manifest servants of the power of darkness—the sight of Antichrist seated in his infamy upon the world's throne— the daily proof of odious wickedness in high places—the constant expectation of that archangelic trumpet which would shatter the solid globe, and of that flaming epiphany which should destroy the enemies of Christ— might lead them into defiant words and contumacious actions. Occasions there are—and none knew this better than an Apostle who had himself set an example of splendid disobedience to unwarranted commands 1-i-when " we must obey (rod rather than men." But those occasions are exceptional to the common rule of life. Normally, and as a whole, human law is on the side of divine order, and, by whomsoever administered, has a just claim to obedience and respect. It was a lesson so deeply needed by the Christians of the day that it is taught as emphatically by St. John2 and by St. Peter as by St. Paul himself.3 It was more than ever needed at a time when dangerous revolts were gathering to a head in Judaea; when the hearts of Jews throughout the world were burning with a fierce flame of hatred against the abominations of a tyrannous idolatry; when Christians were being charged with " turning the world upside-down ;"4 when some poor Christian slave led to

1 Acts iii. 19, 31, v. 28—32, 40—42.

2 John xix. 11.

3 And yet Volkmar sees in St. Paul the False Prophet of the Apocalypse, mainly because he taught that " the powers that be are ordained of God"!

4 Acts xvii. 6.


martyrdom or put to the torture might easily relieve the tension of his soul hy bursting into Apocalyptic denunciations of sudden doom against the crimes of the mystic Babylon; when the heathen, in their impatient contempt, might wilfully interpret a prophecy of the Final Conflagration as though it were a revolutionary and incendiary threat; and when Christians at Rome were, on this very account, already suffering the agonies of the Neronian persecution.1

Submission, therefore, was at this time a primary duty of all who wished to win over the Heathen, and to save the Church from being overwhelmed in some outburst of indignation which would be justified even to reasonable and tolerant Pagans as a political necessity. Nor does St. Peter think it needful to lay down exceptions to his general rule. In his days the letter of Scripture had not yet been turned into a weapon wherewith on every possible occasion to murder its spirit. He could not have anticipated in even the humblest Christian convert that dull literalism which in later ages was to derive from such passages the slavish doctrine of " passive obedience." He felt no apprehension that an unreasoning fetish-worship would fail to see that " texts" of Scripture are to be interpreted, not as rigid and exclusive legal documents, but in accordance with the general tenor of revelation. He was writing to Christians who had not yet invented a dogma about "verbal dictation," which necessitated ingenious casuistry on the one hand, or unreasonable folly on the other, and which turned both into a deadly engine of irresponsible tyranny.

1 Tertullian and other apologists were greatly aided in their appeals to heathen clemency by referring to such passages as this. See Tert. Apol. 29—34.


"Submit, therefore," the Apostle says, "to every human, ordinance,1 for the Lord's sake, whether to the Emperor as supreme,2 or to governors,3 as missioned by him for punishment of malefactors and praise to welldoers ; for this is the will of (rod, that by your welldoing ye should gag* the stolid ignorance of foolish persons ; as free, yet not using your freedom for a cloak of baseness,5 but as slaves of God. Honour all men," as a principle ; and as your habitual practice,6 " love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king." 7

(3) These being the general rules, he applies them first to domestics* whether slaves or freemen, bidding them with all fear to be submissive, not only to kindly but even to perverse masters, and that as a matter of conscience 9 even in cases of unjust suffering. " For what kind of glory is it if doing wrong and being buffeted ye shall bear it ? but if doing well and suffering ye shall bear it, this is thankworthy with God.10 For to this

1 lit. "Creature."', k.t.a. (OEcumen.).

2 The name " king " was freely used of the Emperor in the Provinces.

3 Proconsuls, Procurators, Legates, Propraetors, etc.

4 iuivr, Deut. xxv. 4, and in the Gospels.

5 "License they mean when they cry Liberty" (Milton). Calvin speaks of some who "reckoned it a great part of Christian liberty that they might eat flesh on Fridays " !

6 The first verb is an aor.. The others are presents, to imply continuance. " All men," see Acts x. 28.

7 1 Pet. ii. 13—17.

8  The prominence given to this class shows how numerous they were in the early Church, and is an additional proof that St. Peter must be addressing Gentiles as well as Jews. The Jews were rarely slaves, because their religion rendered them almost useless to heathen masters.

9 Some would here render  consciousness, or cognisance of God (tnitwissen, not erwissen). Cf. Col. iii. 23.   as in Luke vi. 32. Cf.  Gen. vi. 8.


ye were called, because Christ too"—Who was also " a servant"1—" suffered on your behalf, leaving you a copy,2 that ye may follow in His track ; Who did no sin, nor was guile found in His mouth; Who being reviled reviled not again, suffering threatened not, but gave up3 to Him Who judgeth righteously;4 Who Himself carried up our sins in His own body on to the tree,6 that becoming separated from our sins6 we should live to righteousness ; by Whose bruise we were healed.7 For ye were as wandering sheep, but ye are now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls."8

(4) But a word was also necessary on the subject of social as well as political submission. Christian wives married to heathen husbands might be led to treat them as inferior to themselves. The elevation of their

1 Is. liii. 9 ; Acts iii. 13.

2 Tthe letters OTer which children write. (Clem. Alex. Strom. v. 8—50.)

3 irapeSiSou Se. The subject is not expressed, but probably the verb has a quasi-middle sense—" entrusted Himself and His cause.'"

4 Luke xxiii. 46. The Vulg. reads " injuste," so that there seems to nave been a reading referring to Christ's submission to Pilate.

5 I do not think that " He bore "  can here have its sacrificial sense (which it has in James ii. 21, Heb. ix. 28, and in the LXX.). Christ is, indeed, the High Priest, and the Cross may be metaphorically described as the Altar (Heb. xiii. 10). But in what possible sense can " sins " be called a sacrifice ? The only way to save this sense is to connect very closely, making the sacrifice His own body, in which He bare our sins (Is. liii. 12) : " Ita tulisse peccata nostra ut ea secnm obtulerit in altari "(Vitringa). But avafytpu often has its ordinary sense in the New Testament (Mark ix. 2; Luke xxiv. 51, etc.), and there is no sacrificial sense in the verbs sabal and nasa of Is. liii. 11, 12. The use of the word " tree " for " cross " is Hebraic (Dent. xxi. 23; Gal. iii. 18).

6. This is, however, sometimes an euphemism for "being dead," Hdt. ii. 85 (cf. Horn. vi. 2). " Righteousness is one; sin is manifold." 7 Is. Iii. 5, "weal."

8 1 Pet.ii. 18—25, Cf. Ez. xxxiv. 11. Hitherto they had been the other sheep, not of this fold (John x. 16).


whole sex by the principles of the new revelation might tempt them to extauvagances of ornament or demeanour. To them therefore St. Peter extends his exhortations, that, even if (to suppose the worst) any of them be married to heathens who obey not the Word (i.e., the Gospel), they may without word1 (i.e., by the eloquent silence of deeds) be won by the chaste humility, the " delicate, timorous grace," of wives whose adornment should not consist in elaborately braided hair,2 golden jewels, or splendid robes, but in the inner soul,3 in " the incorruptibleness of the meek and quiet spirit, which is in God's sight very precious." It was thus that the holy women of old, hoping Godwards, adorned themselves, submissive to their husbands as Sarah was,* whose spiritual children they would prove themselves to be by calm and equable well-doing, and by not living in a state of nervous scare.5 Christian husbands too are to be gentle and considerate to their fellow-heirs of salvation, that no jarring discords might cut short their prayers.6 What we have said in the first

1 An interesting antanaclasis or intentional variation of meaning, in the use of \6fos which the E. V. has missed. The Christian woman was not to be a preacher in her own house.

2 1 Tim. ii. 9. Coins and allusions show how elaborate in this period was the adornment of the hair among women of the world; how many were their jewels, and how extravagant their robes. See supra, p. 5.

3 " The hidden man of the heart"—a striking expression independently borrowed in a different sense (for St. Peter never alludes to " the Christ within us," Gal. iv. 19) from Rom. ii. 29, vii. 22 ; 2 Cor. iv. 16; Eph. iii. 16. For classical analogies see Plut. Gonjug. Praecept. 26; and see Clem. Alex. Paedag. iii. 4.

4 Gen. xviii. 12.

5 On Sarah's spiritual race see Rom. iv. 11; Gal. Hi. 7. The word  "scare," is probably borrowed from Prov. iii. 25 (LXX.). St. Peter was evidently familiar with the Proverbs.

6 IPet.iii. 1—7. For (Rom.xi.22,etc.),A,B, " be hindered." Cf. 1 Cor. vii. 5.


chapter will throw into relief the beauty and wisdom of these exhortations. By the flagrancy of immorality, the frequency of divorce, and the disgust for marriage which prevailed in Rome, we may measure the blessedness of Christian matrimony. The meanest Christian slave who was imprisoned in an ergastulum, and would be buried in a catacomb, had no need to envy the splendid misery of a Nero or the pathetic tragedy of an Octavia's life. The life of many a Christian couple in the squalor of a humble slave-cell was unspeakably more desirable than that of the Roman profligates in their terror-haunted palaces.

" O if they knew how pressed those splendid chains How little would they mourn their humbler pains ! "

(5) Finally, it was the duty of all to be united, sympathising, fraternal, compassionate, humble-minded,1 requiting good for evil and blessing for abuse, as being heirs of blessing. This lesson is enforced by a free citation of David's eulogy of government of the tongue, and of a peaceful disposition as the secret of a blessed life, as well as by the truth that, whether just or evildoers, we live under the eye of Grod.2 Who then could harm them if they proved themselves zealots of the good ?3 Let them fear nothing, for there is a beatitude in persecution for the sake of righteousness if the will of God should so decree. Inward holiness,* outward readiness to

1 Leg. Tcnrtivfypoves, », A, B, C.

2 Ps. xxxiii. 12—16, LXX.

3 1 Pet.iii.l3, On the thought, see a magnificent passage in Chrysostom (Ep. ad Cyriacum)  " Should the Empress determine to banish me, let her banish me. The earth is the Lord's. If she should cast me into the sea, let her cast me into the sea. I will remember Jonah," etc.

4 1 Pet. iii. 15, leg. " But sanctify the Christ in your hearts as Lord."


vindicate to everyone their grounds of hope with meekness and fear,1 together with a good conscience, would in the long run make the heathen blush at their insulting and threatening calumnies against the holiness which they accused of criminality. For, contrary to the common opinion of men, it is better to suffer (if such be God's will) unjustly than to suffer when we deserve to do so. If we suffer for sins which we have not committed, so did our great Example.2 " Because Christ also, once for all, suffered for sin, just for unjust, that He may lead you to God; slain in the flesh but quickened to life in the spirit, wherein also He went and preached3 to the spirits in prison4 who once were disobedient when the long-suffering of God awaited5 in the days of Noah while the Ark was a-preparing; by entering wherein, few, that is, eight souls,6 were saved through water:7 which (water, leg. ») also as an antitype now saveth you— namely, baptism—(not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the entreaty for a good conscience towards God 8)—by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is on the right hand of God, having gone into Heaven,9 angels

1 1 Pet. iii. 15. The notion that legal trials are intended by atroXoyia, and with it the inference that the days of Trajan are alluded to, are excluded by the words " to everyone that asketh," etc.

2 1 Pet. iii. 8—17.

3 lKiipv(fe—ein)-yyf\iaa.TO, " preached the Gospel."

4 i.e., in Hades. Jude 6; 2 Pet. ii. 4.

5 1 Pet. iii. 20. The reading "once for all" of Erasmus and the E.V. is quite untenable.

6 This indicates the motive of Christ's Descent into Hades. It was because few only had been saved from perishing. And this is the view of such Fathers as Clem. Alex. (Strom. vi. 6), Origen, Athanasius, Jerome, and even, in his milder moods, Augustine (Ep. ad Evod. clxiv.).

7 Perhaps this means " by water as an instrument," i.e., because the water floated the Ark.

8 See supra, p. 135, note 2.

9 Of. 1 Tim. iii. 16. Perhaps, as Dr. Plumptre says, the precious fragment of an early baptismal profession.


and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him."1

The general meaning of this passage—Christ's descent into Hades to proclaim the Gospel to the once disobedient dead—is to every unobscured and unsophisticated mind as clear as words can make it. Theologians have attempted to get rid of this obvious reference by explaining it of Christ preaching in the person of Noah ; or by making "He preached" mean "He announced condemnation;" or by limiting " the spirits in prison " to Adam and the Old Testament saints; or by rendering "on the watchtower of expectation" (!) ; or by supposing that Christ only preached to those spirits who repented while they were being drowned! These attempts arise from that spirit of system which would fain be more orthodox than Scripture itself, and would exclude every ground of future hope from the revelation of a love too loving for hearts trained in bitter theologies. What was the effect of Christ's preaching we are not told. Some, perhaps, may like to assume that the preaching of Christ in the Unseen World was unanimously rejected by the once disobedient dead, though the mention of their former disobedience seems to imply the inference that they did hearken now. Others can, if they choose, assert that this proclamation of the Gospel to disembodied spirits was confined to antediluvian sinners. With such inferences we are unconcerned. " It is ours," says Alford, " to deal with the plain words of Scripture, and to accept its revelations as far as vouchsafed to us. And they are vouchsafed to us to the utmost limit of legitimate inference from revealed facts. The inference every intelligent reader 1 1 Pet. iii. S—22. Cf. Col. ii. 10—15.


will draw from the fact here announced: it is not purgatory; it is not universal restitution; but it is one which throws blessed light on one of the darkest enigmas of divine justice : the cases where the final doom seems infinitely out of proportion to the lapse which has incurred it." On the other hand, we do not press the inference of Hermas and St. Clemens of Alexandria by teaching that this passage implies also other missions of Apostles and Saints to the world of spirits. We accept the words of Scripture, and leave the matter there in thankful hope.

Thus—continues the Apostle—as a preliminary to His exaltation, did Christ suffer for us, and we should therefore gird on the armour of the same resolve. Suffering (of course Christian suffering is implied) is a deathblow to concupiscence. In past times they had perpetrated the will of the Gentiles in " wine-swillings and roysterings,"1 in lives of wanton excess, and idolatries that violated the eternal law of heaven; and now the Gentiles reviled them in astonishment that they would no longer run with them into " the same slough of dissoluteness." 2 But these Gentile opponents " shall give an account to Him that is ready to judge the living and the dead. For to this end, even to the dead was the Gospel preached, that, as regards men, they may he judged in the flesh, but may live as regards God in the spirit."

In the last verse we again encounter the ruthlessness of commentators. " The dead" to whom the Gospel was preached are taken to mean something quite different from " the dead " who are to give an account. The dead to whom the Gospel is preached are explained away into

1 1 Pet. iv. 3

2 1 Pet. iv. 4


" sinners" or "the Gentiles," or "some who are now dead." Augustine, as might have been expected, leads the way in one wrong direction, and Calvin in another. Another view — which makes this verse mean that " Christ will judge even the dead as well as the living, because the dead too will not have been without an opportunity to receive His Gospel"—is indeed tenable. To me, however, judging of the feelings of the Apostle, from his boundless gratitude for the opportunities of obtaining forgiveness, and from the love which he inculcates towards all mankind, the connexion seems to be, " The heathen, in all their countless myriads, who seem to be hopelessly perishing around you, will be judged;— but the very reason why the Gospel was preached by Christ to the dead was in order that this judgment may be founded on principles of justice, that they may be judged in their human capacity as sinners, and yet may live to God as regards the diviner part of their natures ;"—if, that is, they accept this offer of the Gospel to them even beyond the grave.1

(6) " But the end of all things "—and therefore of calumny and suffering and heathen persecution in this transitory life—" is at hand. Be sound-minded, therefore, and be sober unto prayers, before all things having intense love towards one another, because love covereth a multitude of sins."2 Then come fresh exhortations to unmurmuring hospitality (so necessary for poor and wandering Christian teachers), and to a right steward-

1 Analogous elements of thought as to the disciplinary intent of even the severest punishments may be seen in 1 Cor. v. 5; xi. 31, 32.

2 Prov. x. 12 (cf. xvii. 9), where it is " all sins." James v. 20 quotes the same words but perhaps in a different sense; not, as here, of love throwing a covering over the sins of others by forbearance (cf. 1 Cor. xiii. 5, 6), but of love hiding our own sins from view.


ship of God's various gifts for the common benefit to the glory of God through Jesus Christ. They were not to regard the conflagration1 which was burning among them to serve as their test, as though it were something strange. They ought rather to rejoice because a fellowship in Christ's sufferings would in the same proportion involve a fellowship in His glory. Reproach in the name of Christ is a beatitude. Let none of them suffer as a murderer, thief, malefactor, or intrusive meddler; but punishment for refusing to disown the name of Christian2 is not a thing for which to blush, but rather to glorify God. It showed them to be, as it were, under the very shadow of the wings of the Shechinah. The time for judgment had come. If it began from the house of God, what would be the end of those who disobeyed the Gospel of God ? And if the righteous be saved with difficulty, the impious and sinner—where shall he appear ?3 So then let even those that suffer commit their lives unto God, as to a faithful Creator, in well-doing.4

1 Were it not that this word occurs in the LXX. of Proverbs (ixvii. 21), a book with which St. Peter shows himself so familiar, we might suppose that he and St. John (Rev. xviii. 9,18) were reminded of it by the burning of Rome.

2 Perhaps we should read the ignorant heathen distortion, Chrestian (see Life and Work of St. Paul, i. 301) with n.

3 Prov. ix. 31. The words "upon earth" of the original Hebrew show that temporal judgments (as in Matt. xxiy. 22) were prominent in the writer's mind (ef. Jer. xxv. 29). Christians were suffering under the Neronian persecution, but the destruction of Jerusalem and the disintegration of the Roman Empire were not far off.

4 1 Pet. iv. 7—19. The latter verses (12—17) are not a repetition of iii. 13, iv. 6, because there the afflictions were spoken of in relation to their persecutors, and here in relation to their own feelings (cf. Matt. v. 11). The ptii £fi>l{f(r8e is equivalent to " make yourself at home in," " regard as perfectly natural." In ver. 15, St. Peter seems to have coined the picturesque word a\\oTpu>ciri<rKoiroi, "other people's bishops." (The nearest


The remainder of the Epistle is more specific. It is addressed to the elders by St. Peter — as a fellow-elder and witness of the sufferings of the Christ, and therefore also a partaker of the glory about to be revealed. He exhorts them to tend the flock of God1 among them with willing and self-denying oversight, " not as lording it over their allotted charge,2 but proving themselves examples of the flock; then, at the manifestation of the chief Shepherd, they should carry off as their prize " the amaranthine chaplet " of the conqueror's glory.3 The younger, too, were to be submissive to the elders, " yea, all of you, being submissive to one another, tie on humility like a knotted dress,4 because God arrays Himself against the overweening, but to the humble He giveth grace.5 Be humbled, then, under the strong hand of God, that He may exalt you in season, casting, once for all, all your anxiety upon Him, because He careth for you. Be sober ! watch 1 because your adversary,6 the Devil, like a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may approach to the word is Plato's "meddlesomeness.") The attempt (Hilgenfeld, Einleit. 630) to render this "informers" (delator), because informers were legally punishable in the days of Trajan (Plin. Paneg. 34, 35), has nothing in its favour. The word is a needful warning against the temptation to a prying religiosity. The Spjiwfla' of ver. 17, proving as it does that Jerusalem was not yet destroyed, is another death-blow to all hypotheses as to the late date of the Epistle.

1  John xxi. 16.

2 i. e., their " parishes," not " the clergy."

3 As in i. 4 : — " Their crowns inwove with amaranth and gold, Immortal amaranth . . ." — milton. not like fading Nemean parsley, or Isthmian pine.

4 Col. iii. 12,  — " an apron " worn by slaves.

5 " Humility is a vessel of graces," Aug. Prov. iii. 34.

6 Matt. V. 25.


swallow up. Against whom take your stand, firm in the faith, knowing that the very same sufferings are running their fall course for your band of brethren in the world. But the God of all grace, Who called you unto His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, Himself shall perfect, establish, strengthen, place you on a sure foundation. To Him be dominion for the ages of ages. Amen.1

"By Silvanus, your faithful brother, as I esteem him,2 I write to you in few words, exhorting, and confirming by my testimony, that this is the true grace of Grod.3 In this take your stand !4

" She, who is co-elect in Babylon, saluteth you,5 and Marcus, my son. Salute one another with a kiss of love. Peace to you all in Christ Jesus. Amen."

1 1 Pet. v. l-ll.

2 Fronmiiller (in Lange's Commentary) strangely supposes that this can mean, " I conjecture that you will receive this Epistle by the hands of Silvanus!"

3 This which I have written to you. It is very doubtful whether there is any intention here to ratify the orthodoxy of St. Paul's teachings, though all the Epistle shows how deeply the true St. Peter (so unlike the fictitious Peter of the Clementines) reverenced them.

4 1 Pet. v. 12, ffrn-rt, » A, B.

5 Some take this to mean "the co-elect lady"—i.e., Peter's wife (cf. 1 Cor. xiv. 5). But surely a Jew would hardly have sent a greeting from his wife—a poor Galilean woman—to all these Churches. It is much more natural to understand meaning the Church of Rome. It is true that St. Peter has not used that word, even in his salutation, but it might none the less be in his thoughts, just as St. Luke (in Acts xxvii. 14) says  of the ship. On Marcus and Babylon, see ante, p. 113.



" Petrns magis magisque opus esse statuit admouitione propter ingruentem corruptionem malornm hominum."—Bengel.

in reading the First Epistle of St. Peter, we are reading a book which even a critic so advanced as M. Eenan admits to be "one of the writings of the New Testament which is the most anciently and the most unanimously cited as authentic."1 In turning to the Second Epistle we are met by problems of acknowledged difficulty, and have to consider the claims of a document which the same writer pronounces to be " certainly apocryphal," and of which he says that " among true critics he does not think that it has a single defender." Such a remark is easy to make; but critics like Schmid, Guericke, Windischmann, Thiersch, Alford, and Bruckner are in learning, if not in genius, as much entitled to decide such a point ex cathedra as M. Renan, and they, after deliberate examination, do accept the Epistle as genuine, and offer in its defence not a contemptuous dictum, but a serious argument. On the other hand, although it is discourteous and unwarrantable to pronounce the Epistle to be so certainly spurious that nothing but prejudice or ignorance could maintain its genuineness, neither

1 L'Antechrist, p. vi.


ought its defenders to argue as though any hesitation as to its genuineness was an impious arraignment of the Spirit of God. To say that " there is scarcely a single writing of all antiquity, sacred or profane, which must not he given up as spurious if the Second Epistle of St. Peter be not received as a genuine writing of the Apostle, and as a part of Holy Writ;"—to assert that we receive it on " the testimony of the Universal Church," which is " the Spouse and Body of Christ enlightened by the Holy Ghost;"—and that if it be " not the Word of God, but the work of an impostor, then, with reverence be it said, Christ's promise to His Church has failed, and the Holy Spirit has not been given to guide her into all truth,"—is to use a style, I cannot say of " argument," but of dogmatising traditionalism, which perilously confuses a thousand separate issues. Such assertions, if listened to, would end in making all criticism impossible, and in reducing all inquiry to mediaeval torpor. They can serve no purpose but to damage in many minds the cause of religion. They confound the eternal truths of Christianity with uncertain details. They imperil the impregnable fortress of Revelation by identifying its defence with that of its weakest and most uncertain outposts. To talk of the Second Epistle of St. Peter— if, indeed, it was not the work of that Apostle—as " a shameless forgery," and of its writer as " an impostor," and of his motives as showing "intentional fraud" and "cunning fabrication,"1 is to use language which only tends to obscure the critical faculty. Such a style of statement is an anachronism. It cannot be said too strongly that it is " inexpedient to encumber

1 Wordsworth, Introd.; Fraumuller, § 3.


the discussion by an attempted reductio ad horribile of one of the alternatives."1

The question of the genuineness of this Epistle must be regarded as unsettled until the arguments adduced against it by a serious criticism can be met by counter-arguments of a criticism equally serious. Its acceptance cannot be founded upon assertions to which criticism, as such, can pay no heed. That the writing known as the Second Epistle of St. Peter is canonical— that for fourteen centuries it has been accepted, and rightly accepted, by the Church as a part of the Canon of Holy Scripture — is not denied. I say rightly accepted, because the Church would not have so received it if she had not felt that it .was "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." But to say that in its present form it is absolutely the work of St. Peter—and that, if not genuine, the Church has " been imposed upon by what must, in that case, be regarded as a Satanic device" (!), is to claim a monopoly of the critical faculty which is refuted by every page of the history of exegesis. On all such questions Churches have erred, and may err. The Second Epistle is accepted as St. Peter's mainly on the authority of the Church of the fourth century;2 but the Church of the fourth century had not the least pretence to greater authority, and had a far smaller amount of critical knowledge, than the Church of the nineteenth. The guidance of the Holy Spirit of God was promised not to one age only, but to the Church of all ages, even to the end of the world; but the lessons of century

1 Bp. Ellicott's Commentary, iii. 437.

2 It was admitted into the Canon by the Council of Laodicea, a.d. 363.


after century ought to have taught us that guidance into all necessary spiritual truth is a very different thing from critical infallibility. Theologians who usurp the right to speak with inspired positiveness on questions which are still unsettled, not only render their own pretensions liable to defeat, but seriously endamage a sacred cause. Nothing has gone farther to shake my conviction of the genuineness of the Epistle than the dangerous plausibility of many of the arguments adduced by its defenders. They have so obviously approached the question with their minds made up beforehand; they have shown themselves so eager to establish a case at all costs ; they have treated as so unimportant the absence of that evidence to which in other cases they attach such extreme importance; they have been tempted to use arguments so painfully inconclusive, and to make light of counter-considerations so undeniably strong, that any one who takes the same side with them may well fear lest he too should sink into the advocate, and forget the love of simple truth. The supporters of the Epistle have done far more than its assailants to deepen my own uncertainty whether it can be regarded as the direct work of the Apostle.

For what are the facts with which we must start in considering the Second Epistle of St. Peter ? Surely common honesty compels us to acknowledge that of all the books of the New Testament it is the one for which we can produce the smallest amount of external evidence, and which at-the same time offers the greatest number of internal difficulties.

As regards the external evidence, the Epistle is not quoted, and is not certainly referred to, by a single writer in the first or second century. Neither in


Polycarp, nor Ignatius, nor Barnabas, nor Clemens of Rome, nor Justin Martyr, nor Theophilus of Antioch, nor Irenseus, nor Tertullian, nor Cyprian can be proved even to allude to it. It is not found in tbe Pesbito Syriac, nor in the Vetus Itala. It is unknown to the Muratorian Canon. During the first two centuries the only traces of it, if traces they can be called, are to be found in the Pastor of Hermas,1 and in a recently discovered passage of Melito of Sardis ; but even these are of so distant and general a nature that it is impossible to determine whether we should regard them as reminiscences of the language of the Epistle, or accidental approximations to it. But even if we grant all the parallels adduced by Dietlein, the concession would be unfavourable rather than otherwise to the genuineness of the Epistle;—he ruins his own case by proving too much. For if the writers of the first and second centuries did indeed know the Epistle, it is inconceivable that not one of them should have hinted at the authority which it derived from the name of its author. When we come down to later writers, we find that, in all his learned works, it is not once alluded to by St. Clemens of Alexandria, who even seems to exclude it by the expression, " Peter in the Epistle."a Origen knew of it, but, since he uses the same expression as St. Clemens, seems—when writing accurately—to question its genuineness;3 although, if we may trust

1 Hermas, iii. 2; 2 Pet. ii. 20.

2 Clem. Alex. Strom. iii. p. 562, ed. Potter. Ensebius (H. E. vi. 14) says that Clemens, in his Hypotyposes, commented both on the acknowledged and the uncertain books of the N. T., not even passing by " the Apocalypse of Peter:" but that can hardly mean this Epistle.

3 " Peter has left only one generally acknowledged Epistle—perhaps also a second, for this is considered doubtful, (Orig. of. Euseb. H. E. vi. 25.)


the loose Latin translation of Rufinus, he refers to it as St. Peter's when he alludes to it popularly in a casual quotation. Firmilian (f 270), a friend of Origen, is the first person who, in a letter to Cyprian, extant only in a Latin version, refers to it; but neither is this letter beyond suspicion, nor is the reference decisive.1 Didymus, in a Latin translation of his commentary, calls the Epistle "falsata," and says that " it is not in the Canon." 2 Eusebius knew of it, but only recognised one genuine Epistle.3 It was rejected by Theodore of Mopsuestia, and was still uncertain in the times of St. Gregory of Nazianzus.4 It must, therefore, be admitted that the evidence in its favour is exceptionally weak. The First Epistle was almost universally recognised by the ancient Church; the Second was partly controverted, partly ignored— and among those who ignored or rejected it were some Fathers of the greatest learning, and of the keenest critical acumen.

These doubts were so far silenced, that it was on the whole passively accepted by men like Athanasius, Basil, Jerome, and Augustine, and towards the close of the fourth century was declared to be canonical by the Councils of Laodicea (a.d. 363), Hippo (a.d. 393), and Carthage (a.d. 396). But surely this tardy recognition is a suspicious circumstance. If the repeated references to most of the other books of the New Testament Canon by Fathers of the first three centuries be rightly regarded as proofs of their genuineness,

1 Epp. Cypr. 75.

2 The word which he used was probably, "has been accounted spurious."

3 Euseb. H. E. in. 25.

4 Greg. Naz. Garm. 33, vs. 36;


then the ahsence or uncertainty of any reference during the same period must so far he unfavourable. Importance is sometimes attached to fourth century decisions by saying that evidence was then extant which has not come down to us. The proposition might be disputed; but whatever such evidence may have been, it did not remove the doubts which prevailed in the great schools of Alexandria and Antioch, as represented by such eminent scholars as Clemens of Alexandria, Origen, and Theodore of Mopsuestia. The intrinsic value of the Epistle, and the growing habit of loosely referring to it as "St. Peter's," would lead to its gradual admission without any further debate, at a period when competent critics were few and far between. St. Jerome did more than any man to hasten the acceptance of the Epistle by admitting it into the Vulgate. Yet he was too able not to observe, and too candid not to admit, that it differs from the First Epistle in style, character, and structure of words.1 Further than this, he tells us that " most men " in his day denied that St. Peter wrote it, " on account of the dissonance of its style with the former." He is the only person in the first four centuries who offers any intelligible theory of that striking divergence. This he does by saying that " from the necessity of things he made use of different interpreters." This is indeed to accept the Epistle as genuine, but with the important modification that it is either a translation from an Aramaic original, or that the thoughts only are St. Peter's, while the words belong to some one else. If this be admitted, what becomes of recent attempts

1 Jer. Ep. ad Hedib. ii. Compare De Virr. Illustr. 1.


to show that the style and phraseology are exactly what we should expect ?

It is idle to lay much stress on the fact that no further doubt as to the authorship of the Epistle was expressed during long centuries of critical torpor. During those centuries there was no criticism worth speaking of, because criticism could only register the dictated conclusions of a Church which punished original inquiry as presumptuous and heretical. If any one expressed an independent opinion, however true, the Church and the world combined against him. But the moment that " the deep slumber of decided opinions " was broken by the Reformation—the moment that criticism ceased to be confronted by " the syllogism of violence "—then the doubts as to the genuineness of the Epistle began to revive. Erasmus, Luther, and Calvin freely express them, and they were shared by Cajetan, Grotius, Scaliger, and Salmasius. In modern times, since the days of Semler, an increasing number of critics have decided against the genuineness of the Epistle, including not only Baur, Schwegler, Hilgenfeld, Mayer-hoff, Bleek, Davidson, Messner, Reuss, but even such conservative theologians as Neander, Weiss, and Huther, while Bertholdt, Ullman, Bunsen,1 and even Lange2 hold that, though genuine in part, it has been largely interpolated.

The last supposition, which might remove many difficulties, can hardly be accepted. The body of the Epistle must stand or fall as a whole, for it is singularly compact and homogeneous.3 The writer has

1 Ignatius, p. 175.

2 Apostol. Zeit. i. 152.

3 Mayerhoff's remark, that the Epistle is clumsy and illogical, is quite false. See Bruckner, Einl. § 1; Hofmaun, p. 121; Huther, p. 306.


stated his twofold object in the last two verses. One of these objects was warning : it was that, by being put upon their guard, the readers might not fall away from their firm position through being misled by the error of the lawless. The other object was exhortation :. " But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." These objects are kept steadily in view, and the structure of the letter is more distinctly articulated than that of the First.

The outline of the letter is as follows:— After the greeting (i. 1, 2) the writer enforces his hortatory object by urging the attainment of full knowledge, which is the consummation of Christian growth, and the essential of final salvation (3 —11). Hence it is his wish to utilise the brief time which remains to him for reminding them of this truth (12—15), a truth of which they might be convinced, because Peter, with others, had been, as it were, an initiated eye-witness of the Transfiguration, and had heard the voice which was then borne from heaven (16—18); and because they all possessed the word of prophecy as a surer witness, to which they would do well to listen as to the voice of inspiration (19—21).

He thus passes quite naturally to the topic of warning. False teachers would bring in "sects of perdition," and he describes these false teachers in their successful blasphemies and their certain punishment, like that which fell on the world at the time of the Flood and on the inhabitants of the Cities of the Plain (ii. 1—9); though, as in all such instances, the pious should be delivered (5, 7, 9). None, however, were more deserving of God's vengeance than these


impure, disdainful, self-corrupting railers—fools who rushed in where angels feared to tread (10—12), whose vileness and perniciousness are described (13, 14), and whose apostasy resembles that of Balaam (15, 16). After using various indignant images (17), to illustrate their insolence, wantonness, and cunning—which, while it promised liberty, only involved a deadly servitude (18, 19)—he says that their previous knowledge of Christ is the worst aggravation of their horrible apostasy (20—22).

He is therefore writing once more to remind his readers of previous lessons (iii. 1, 2), and especially to warn them against those scoffers who sneered at the promised coming of Christ (3, 4), and ignored the fact, that as the world had perished by water, so should it hereafter perish by fire (5—7). Let the brethren remember that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and that His delays are due to His mercy. But the dreadful day of dissolution should come (8, 9). On this thought he bases the exhortation to them to be blameless, as those who look for new heavens and a new earth, and to make a right use of God's longsuffering, in accordance with the teaching of St. Paul—whose writings they must be careful not to wrest into a wrong sense (10—16). Then into two final verses he compresses his recapitulation of the two chief topics of the letter, together with the final doxology (17, 18).

Such, then—so marked by unity and coherence—is this remarkable letter, which the Church could ill afford to lose, and which is full of impassioned warning and eloquent exhortation. We have seen how weak is the external evidence in its favour; are there any decisive


phenomena to which we can appeal by way of internal evidence of its authenticity ?

That it resembles the First Epistle in the use of some peculiar expressions is certain. The word for "conversation," i.e., general mode of life;1 the remarkable word for an eye-witness, which is also the word for one initiated into the mysteries;2 the expressions "to carry off as a prize,"8 "spotless and blameless,"4 and " to walk in lusts,"5 are common to both Epistles, and are almost unknown to the rest of the New Testament.6 If the general style were the same, these would have weight. Their weight is small when we remember (i.) that the writer of the Second Epistle must, on any supposition, have been well acquainted with the First,7 and when we find (ii.) that the Second Epistle abounds in expressions peculiar to itself, and (iii.) that it is confessedly written in a style of marked difference.

The peculiarity of many expressions, of which the majority are unique,8 must strike the most careless reader of the original. " To acquire faith by lot ;"9 " to give things which tend to life and piety ;"10 " to bring in all haste;"11 "to furnish an abundant supply of

1 1 Pet. i. 15, 18, etc.; 2 Pet. ii. 7, iii. 11.

2 1 Pet. ii. 3, iii. 2 ;' 2 Pet, i. 16).

3 1 Pet. i. 9; v. 4; 2 Pet. ii. 13).

4 1 Pet. i. 19; 2 Pet. iii. 14).

5 2 Pet. ii. 10).

6 To these may be added 1 Pet. iii. 21; 2 Pet. i. 14); (1 Pet. IT. 1; 2 Pet. ii. 12) ;  (1 Pet. iv. 3, 2 Pet. ii. 7, iii. 17).

7 2 Pet. iii. 1.

8 There are twenty hapax legomena in this brief Epistle.

9 i. 1.

10 (act.), i. 3.

11 i. 5.


virtue;"1 "to receive oblivion;" "to furnish an abundant entrance ;"  " the present truth ;"  " to bring in factions of perdition ;"  " the judgment is not idle, the destruction is not drowsily nodding;" "to walk in desire of pollution;" " to walk behind the flesh; ""to esteem luxurious wantonness in the daytime as a pleasure ;" " eyes full of an adulteress ;" " insatiable of sin ;"" " a heart trained in covetousnesses ;" " the mirk of the darkness;" "treasured with fire;" "to fall from their own steadfastness ;" " chains of darkness ;" " to calcine to ashes ;" " to hurl to Tartarus ;" " to blaspheme glories ;" " the heavens shall pass away hurtlingly ;" " the elements being consumed melt away." Such are a few of the striking and even startling phrases which in the course of three short chapters stamp the style with an intense peculiarity. Nothing analogous to these phrases is found in the First Epistle. It may be pleaded that, as in the case of the Epistle to the Colossians, some of these words are due to the new subjects with which the Apostle has here to deal. That answer might be sufficient for three or four of them, but most are of a kind which do not arise from speciality of subject. They show a peculiarity of structure rather than of topic. Some of them are eccentricities of language adopted to clothe conceptions which would have been capable of a perfectly simple and commonplace expression.

Independently of this distinctiveness of verbiage there is a wide difference between the two Epistles in the general form of thought.1 This is a fact too obvious to be denied. Obvious as it is to us—for besides minor differences, there is a ruggedness and tautology in the Greek of the Second Epistle very different from the smoothness of the First — this difference of style must have been far more obvious to those to whom Greek was a spoken language, and who were therefore more sensitive than we can be to its delicate refinements. It was pointed out by St. Jerome, and he assigns it as one of the causes which had led to the general rejection of the Epistle.

But it is answered, and again with perfect truth, that the style of a writer differs under differing circumstances. The style of the Epistle to the Ephesians is not the same as that to the Gralatians, and both differ from the Pastoral Epistles. The style of St. John's Gospel is very unlike that of the Apocalypse. I grant this to the utmost. I have even insisted upon it and illustrated it in other instances.2 But differences of

1 This is admitted even by Scliott.

2 " See my Life and Work of St. Paul, ii. 610.


style must not he so wide as to show a difference of idiosyncrasy. They must be accompanied with resemblances of structure; and they must be partially accounted for by a long interspace of years. The difference between the styles of the First and the Second Epistle of St. Peter does not admit of these modifying circumstances; it is deeper than can be accounted for by a difference of mood and object. The Apocalypse and the Gospel of St. John were separated by an interval of perhaps thirty years spent in the most polished cities of Asia. The earlier and later Epistles of St. Paul were divided from each other by many years subjected to the intense influence of ever-varying conditions. But the two Epistles of St. Peter, if both are genuine, must have been written, so far as we can learn, under identical external conditions, and written within a very short time of each other.

For this reason I set aside as irrelevant the instances adduced by the industry of critics to prove that the same writer may adopt different styles. It is true that the style of Plato's Epinomis is inferior to that of the Phffidrus ; that Virgil's Ciris is unworthy of the author of the .^Eneid; that the De Oratoribus of Tacitus is marvellously unlike his Annals; that the Paradise Lost is in a loftier key than the Paradise Regained; that the style of Twelfth Night is widely separated from that of Hamlet; that the Eacine of the Alexandre is much below the Eacine of the Phedre and Athalie; that Burke on the Sublime and Beautiful is incomparably tamer than Burke's Orations; and that there are marked distinctions between the first and the second part of Goethe's Faust. But these analogies, which might easily be multiplied, do not touch the problem


before us. There is not one among them which offers a parallel to the phenomenon of total difference, not only in language, but in thought, presented by two works of the same writer dealing in great measure with the same subjects, and written from the same place, within a very short time of one another. And the differences between the two Epistles go further than this. Many are adduced, which I pass over as unimportant. But it is not easy to explain why there should be such and so many variations as those which follow. Thus—(1) In the first the writer calls himself Peter, and in the second Symeon Peter. (2) In the first he writes "to the elect sojourners of the Dispersion ;" in the second to those who " obtained like precious faith with us." (3) In the first Christ's descent into Hades is a point of capital importance ; in the second, where there would seem to be every reason for such an allusion, no reference is made to it. (4) In the first the writer's mind is full of the Epistles to the Romans and Ephesians, and the Epistle of St. James; in the second, though he makes a special reference to St. Paul, there is scarcely a single thought, and barely two expressions,1 which can with any plausibility be referred to those two Epistles, and there is only one word2 which can be derived from St. James. (5) Again, in the first he constantly enweaves without quotation the words of Isaiah, the Psalms, and especially the Book of Proverbs ;3 in the second there is not a single certain quotation, and if

1 2 Pet. i. 2, etc., (Rom. i. 28, etc.); iii. 15, (Rom. ii. 4).

2 2 Pet. ii. 14; James i. 14.

3 1 Pet. i. 7, ii. 17, iv. 8,18.


ii. 22, iii. 8 be meant for quotations they are introduced in a wholly different way.1 (6) Of the first the keynote is Hope; of the second, though also written in days of persecution, the leading conception is the totally different one of "full Knowledge."'1' (7) In the first our Lord is usually called Christ, or " the Christ," or " Jesus Christ;" in the second the simple title is never used, but He is always called "our Lord," or " our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (8) In the first (a) the Coming of Christ is called "a Revelation;" in the second the " Presence " or " Day of the Lord;" (ft) in the first this Advent is expected as near at hand, while in the second we are warned that it may be indefinitely distant; (-y) in the first Christ's coming is regarded as the glorification of the Saints ; in the second as the destruction of the world. (9) In the first the sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord are prominent; in the second no allusion is made to them. (10) In the first there is a prevailing tone of sweetness, mildness, and fatherly dignity; the second is, as a whole, denunciatory and severe. Further difficulties have been caused to some minds (11) by the manner in which the writer of the Second Epistle, unlike the author of the First, seems anxious to thrust into prominence his own personality; (12) by the expression, " the command of your Apostles," in iii. 2; (13) by the manner in which the false teachers seem to be treated of sometimes as future (eaovrai, ii.

1 It has been supposed that i. 19, "as a lamp shining in a squalid place," is borrowed from 2 Esdr. xii. 42, " Of all the prophets thou only art left us . . . as a candle in a dark place." But so obvious a comparison need not have been borrowed.

2 This is made to consist in the knowledge of the Power and Parousia of Christ. See Huther, p. 306.


1—3), sometimes as present (ii. 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, &c.) -,1 (14) by the growth of a feeling which they consider to he later than the Apostolic age in the allusion to Mount Hermon as " the Holy Mount;" (15) by the unparalleled reference to St. Paul and the apparent placing of his letters on a level with the Scriptures of the Old Testament ;2 and (16) by the curious allusion to "the world standing out of water and amidst water."

(17) But we have not even yet exhausted the list of serious difficulties. An entirely new and very for-midahle one has just heen brought to light by Dr. Abbott. It is nothing more or less than the certainty that either the author of the Second Epistle had read Josephus—in which case, of course, he could not have been St. Peter, since the earliest of Josephus's writings were not published till a.d. 75, and the Antiquities not earlier than a.d. 93; or (an alternative which Dr. Abbott does not discuss) that Josephus had read the Second Epistle, which, it must be confessed, is a difficult supposition. One thing is indisputable—namely, that the resemblances between the writer and the Jewish historian cannot be accidental.

a. The proof rests partly on single words and phrases, such as " tardiness " applied to the Divine retribution (iii. 9) ; "to which ye do well if ye take heed " (i. 19); " assuming oblivion" (i. 9) ; " bringing in besides all diligence " (i. 5) ; " condemned with an overthrow " (ii. 6) ; " equally precious; " " epangelma" for " pro-

1 The same strange phenomenon meets us in the third chapter

2 These differences might be greatly multiplied. See Davidson, Introd. i. 492^94.


mise" (i. 4); "sesophismenos" for "cunningly elaborated" (i. 16); and "from of old" (ii. 3). These are not found elsewhere, either in the New Testament or in the Septuagint, or not in the same senses; but they occur in Josephus, often in very similar allusions.

But the proof becomes far more striking when we consider groups of words, cases in which several unusual words occur together in similar passages.

Of these there are two most marked instances:— ' In the Preface to the Antiquities (§ § 3, 4) Josephus tells us that Moses thought it necessary to consider " the Divine nature" (Qeov 0iW), without which he would be unable to promote the " virtue " of his readers; that other legislators "followed after myths" but Moses, having shown that "God was possessed of perfect virtue," thought that men should strive after virtue; and that his laws contain nothing derogatory to the "greatness " of God.

In this single section, then, there are several very striking expressions, but they occur quite naturally, and betray no deviation from the historian's usual style. It is, however, surprising that we find them occurring as absolutely isolated expressions—hapax legomena as far as the New Testament is concerned—in this Epistle. Thus we have "that ye may become partakers of the Divine nature" (i. 4), where both the phrase and its context strongly recall Josephus; we have the "greatness" (megaleiotes) of Christ (i. 16), and in the very same verse "following after cunningly elaborated myths." This would alone be sufficient to attract notice; but how much more amazing is the word " virtue " applied to God! The word " virtue" in this sense is itself very rare in the New Testament, which uplifts the higher


standard of holiness. But no one can read that God called us " by His own glory and virtue " (for such is the true reading) without something like a start of surprise, We should be struck with the singularity of the expression in any writer ; but in Josephus it is at once explained and justified by the context in which it occurs. For Josephus is not making an abstract allusion, but expressly contrasting the Ideal of Virtue in God's revelation of Himself to Moses with the shameful vices which degraded the heathen ideal of their false deities.1

But this is not the only group of words.

1. In the last words of Moses (as recorded by Josephus in Antt. iv. 8, § 2) there occur no less than eight or nine phrases, some of which either do not occur, or scarcely ever occur, in the New Testament, and some of which are not found even in the Septuagint, but every one of which occurs in this brief Epistle, and some of them in similar collocations.2

To me I confess that the evidential force of this fact — and Dr. Abbott informs me that further evidence is forthcoming — seems to be very strong.3 If, then, the

1 Only occurs in 2 Pet. i. 3, 5; Phil. iv. 8. In 1 Pet, ii. 9 the plural opera! is indeed applied to God, but in a very different sense. It there means " excellencies."

2 They are, (i. 17) ; (i. 4) ; " but I think it just " (i. 13) ; " so long as " (id.) ; " in the present truth " (i. 12) ; " mention " or " memorial " (i. 15) ; " departure " for " death " (id.) ; " recognising that " (i. 20 ; iii 3), and others. Besides these groups of words, we have phrases in 2 Pet. i. 19 and ii. 10, which occur in Jos. Antt. xi. 6, § 12, and B. J. iii. 9, § 3, but not elsewhere in the N. T. or LXX.

3 Since these pages have been in the press Dr. Abbott has published his very interesting discovery in the Expositor for January, 1882. Some parts of his second paper are so similar to my own remarks, that I think it right to say that these pages were in print before I had read it. Besides the coincidences of phrase, he points out that the allusions to Noah and Balaam in 2 Pet. ii. 5, 8 point to Hagaduth found in Jos. Antt. i. 3,§1; iv. 6, §3.


Epistle be genuine, it cannot be questioned that it was known to Josephus. Here, however, we are met by the difficulty that the same argument does not apply to the First Epistle, so that once more we have a marked distinction between the two.

(18) Once again, if the Second Epistle of St. Peter be genuine, it was written within a short time of the Apocalypse; yet how different is the tone of the two writings with respect to the Coming of Christ! In the Apocalypse the belief in its immediate imminence " blazes out in its brightest flame, and takes its most concrete form in the idea of the Millennium : " on the other hand, in the Second Epistle of St. Peter, we hear of scoffers, who are already beginning to point out that in their opinion the nearness of the Parousia is a mere delusion, and to ask, "Where is the promise of this coming ? " Now, how does the writer meet their objections? Not by thundering forth with yet deeper conviction maranatha, but by showing that, as far as human calculations of time were concerned, the coming might be still indefinitely delayed, because with the Lord a thousand years are as one day. There is not another passage in the whole New Testament which implies that the Parousia—for which the early Christians looked with such intense earnestness—so far from being manifested in that very generation, might not take place for even a millennium hence. However we explain the phrase, " Since the fathers fell asleep," the point of view seems to mark an age later than that of the true St. Peter.1 It seems to point to an epoch in which those who, like the Montanists, still expected

1 Even in Justin Martyr's time there was still the expectation of an immediate Parousia (Vial c. Try ph. 80).


the instant close of the age (in another sense than that in which it had already been accomplished by the fall of Jerusalem) were few in number.1

The last chapter of the Epistle is devoted to the correction of two errors—namely (i.), the acceptance of the scoff about the delay in Christ's Second Coming, and (ii.) the misuse of the Epistles of St. Paul. The first error is dealt with at some length (iii. 1—13); the second is dismissed in a few words (15—16). It cannot be said that either of these topics necessarily indicates an age later than that of St. Peter. They would, however, have been very suitable to the second century, when even the Fall of Jerusalem—in which men failed to recognise a true Coming of Christ—had not been followed by the expected Advent in flaming fire; and when, as we know, some Gnostic sects, like that of Marcion, were beginning to make a dangerous use of the arguments of St. Paul.

No doubt as regards every one of these difficulties something more or less possible, probable, or plausible may be urged. It may be said, for instance, that after St. Peter had written the First Epistle the letter of St. Jude was brought to him, and threw him into such a state of indignant alarm as to alter his whole frame of mind, and to account for many of the differences above mentioned. The non-allusion to Christ's preaching in Hades may be referred to this indignation of mind, and it may be pointed out that St. Peter, if the Second Epistle be genuine, shows

1 See Baur, First Three Centuries, i. 247, ii. 45 (E. Tr.). The Mon. tanist view was no doubt that of the primitive Church. See Mr. De Soyre's excellent Essay on Montanism, and Bonwelsch, Die Niihe des Wettendes, p. 76.


the same interest as before in events to which other Apostles have made little or no allusion. The absence or presence of certain marked influences, and modes of quoting Scripture, may be regarded as having in it nothing decisive. The expression "your Apostles " may merely mean " St. Paul and those who preached to you." " The Holy Mount," though not a phrase which we should have expected, may be defended on Old Testament analogies,1 and may hardly involve its modern connotations. The allusion to St. Paul's Epistles may not be to all of them which we possess, but only to those, whether lost or extant, which may have been made known to St. Peter by Silvanus or Mark ; and doubtless the power of the Holy Spirit was recognised in them from the earliest age. Whether these answers be regarded as sufficient to support the cause in which they are urged, must depend on the feelings of the reader. They mitigate some of the difficulties; few, I think, would pretend to say that they are adequate to remove them all. It must be remembered that objections which might be overruled if they stood alone, may acquire from their number and variety a cumulative force. Nor are all these objections easy to meet. The mixture, for instance, of presents and futures in the description of the False Teachers, is a difficulty which has been met by untenable remarks about the "Prophetic style." That St. Jude's Epistle was prior to that of St. Peter seems to me an irrefragable conclusion; and if so, it is an unsolved—though I will not say insoluble—difficulty that St. Peter should have described in prophetic futures the teachers whom St. Jude had already denounced as active workers.

1 Is. xxvii. 13.


There is no known reason why he should have mingled predictions of their appearance with traits of their existing physiognomy. If it be urged that St. Peter merely prophesies the worse development of contemporary germs of evil, the answer is that it would be impossible to imagine anything more pernicious than the apostates whom St. Jude had scathed with his terrible invective.1 Before we can acquiesce in these methods of defence let us ask ourselves whether they would have had the least weight with us if no predisposition to side with the popular opinion were involved. Would they have been held sufficient to prove the genuineness of a classic treatise, or even of a tract of any of the Fathers ?

(19.) But we have not even now exhausted the peculiarities of this weakly-authenticated letter. We have still to consider the extraordinary phenomenon which it presents in its relationship to the short Epistle of Jude. On the facts of this relationship each successive writer comes to a different conclusion; but, after careful consideration and comparison of the two documents, it seems to my own mind impossible to doubt that Jude was the earlier of the two writers.2

1 Dean Alford and others point out resemblances in this Epistle to the style and phraseology of St. Peter's speeches in the Acts of the Apostles, snch as the word " piety "  (Acts iii. 12), " the Day of the Lord" (iii. 10; Acts ii. 20), and a few others. Bat they seem to me too few and too shadowy for their purpose; nor can we observe in the Second Epistle (with one marked exception, vide infra, p. 204) that influence of events narrated in the Gospels on the character and views of St. Peter, which may be so strikingly traced in the First Epistle (supra, p. 124,/jr.).

2 The notion of Luther, Wolf, &e., that 2 Peter was the earlier, though still supported by Thiersch, Dietlein, Fronmuller, Hofmann, Wordsworth, &c., is being more and more abandoned. The priority of St. Jnde is accepted by Herder, Hug, Eichhorn, Credner, Neander, De Wette, Mayerhoff, Guerike, Reuss, Block, Weiss, Wiesinger, Bruckner, Hnther, Ewald, Alford, Plnmptre, Dr. S. Davidson


If so, the fact that such an Apostle as St. Peter should, without even referring to him by name, have incorporated successively so many of the thoughts and expressions of one who, like St. Jude, was not an Apostle, is yet another extraordinary circumstance.1 To talk of " plagiarism" would be to import modern notions into the enquiry; and if St. Peter were the borrower, we shall see that he deals with his materials in a wise and independent manner. But as to any further questions which may arise from the relationship of the two writers, we must be content to say that we have no data on which to furnish an answer.

The closeness of the relationship will be seen at a glance by comparing the parallel passages side by side. The characteristics of the "impious persons" of Jude and that of the " false teachers " of St. Peter are identical. Both are marked by those insidious and subterranean methods which seem to be inseparable from the character of religious partisans (Jud. 4; 2 Pet. ii. 1—3); by impious wantonness (id., and Jud. 8; 2 Pet. ii. 10); by denial of Christ (id.}; by slander of dignities (Jud. 8 ; 2 Pet. ii. 10); by corruption of natural instincts (Jud. 10 ; 2 Pet. ii. 12); by greed (Jud. 11; 2 Pet. ii. 14, 15); by pompous assertions and scoffing mockery (Jud. 16— 18; 2 Pet. ii. 18, iii. 3). Both are doomed to swift judgment; are described by very similar metaphors; are threatened with the same punishments; are compared to Balaam; and are warned by the example of the Cities of the Plain. But if the two passages are read side by side, it can hardly be denied that the language of St. Jude is the more eloquent and impetuous, while that of

1 Bertholdt and Lange suppose that this chapter was subsequently interpolated into the Second Epistle of St. Peter.


St. Peter is the more elaborate and restrained. The burning lava of St. Jude's indignation has evidently poured itself through the secondary channels of a temperament which would probably have been more congenial to its reception at an earlier period. St. Peter, if it be he, catches something of the Judaic fire and heat of his contemporary, but he modifies, softens, and corrects his vehement phrases. His language is but an echo of the thunder. He throws the description, in part at least, into the future, as though to indicate that those against whom he warns his readers have not yet burst into the full blossom of their iniquity.

Travelling through Christian communities as one of " the brethren of the Lord,"1 St. Jude seems to have come into personal contact with bodies of corrupt, greedy, and subtle Antinomians closely resembling those " Gnostics before Gnosticism "'whose appearance had been noted by the prescient eye of St. Paul. Having actually witnessed their baleful influence, he can depict them with startling power and clearness, and he rolls over them peal after peal of Apocalyptic denunciation. St. Peter, now perhaps awaiting his death at Home, has not personally seen them—not, at any rate, in their worst and most undisguised developments. Startled by the language of St. Jude—such is a perhaps admissible hypothesis—finding that the very words and thoughts and sentences of that brief but strange and powerful letter keep ringing with ominous sound in his memory—in his heart too the fire burns and he speaks with his tongue. The mystery of iniquity, he implies, is already working, but he cannot

i 1 Cor. ix. 5.


bring himself to believe that it has invaded all the Churches to which he writes, and therefore he predicts even while he is describing, and describes while he predicts. The language of his second chapter seems to show that the author was writing from vivid and even verbal memory of St. Jude's letter, but not with its words, lying actually before him. In some cases he presents the curious but familiar phenomenon of the memory being magnetized rather by the sounds of the words than by the words themselves.1 Thus from external similarity St. Jude's " sunken reefs" (spilades) become " spots " (spilof),2 and St. Jude's " love-feasts " (agapai) become "deceits" (apatai). But, besides this, it is evident that both in greater and smaller matters a spirit of conscious modification is at work, both in the way of addition and omission. Where St. Jude speaks of " clouds without water" St. Peter, to avoid any scientific cavil—since a cloud without water is a thing not conceivable—speaks of " wells without water." Where St. Jude refers to the profanation of the Agapse St. Peter's allusion is more distant and general. St. Jude in three successive clauses speaks of the fall of the angels through fleshly lusts; of Sodom and Gromorrha as " undergoing a judgment of seonian fire;" of a peculiar form of ceremonial pollution familiar to all who were trained in the Levitic law; of the dispute between Michael the Archangel and the Devil about the body of Moses; and of the corruption of natural and instinctive

1 Weiss says that "St. Peter" has here been influenced by the " worfklang."

2 I am aware that some take mnXifttcf to mean the same as <nrZ\oi, and it is so understood in the ancient versions. See Bishop Lightfoot on Revision, p. 137. Dr. Abbott points out (Expositor, Feb. 1882, p. 145) that a group of words in this paragraph is also found in Is. Ivi. 7—Ivii. 5.


knowledge. He then proceeds to compare these evildoers to Cain, to Balaam, and to Korah, and after an impassioned outburst of metaphors applies to them a prophecy from the apocryphal Book of Enoch. It is instructive to see how the writer of this later Epistle deals with the burning material thus before him. To the fall of the angels he only alludes in the most general manner, excluding all reference to the Rabbinic tradition, which sprung out of inferences from Gen. vi. 2. Omitting St. Jude's allusion to the Israelites in the wilderness, he substitutes a reference to the Deluge. Omitting, perhaps as liable to be misunderstood, the aeonian fire of Sodom and Gromorrha, he only says that these cities were reduced to ashes, while he is careful to add, by way of encouragement to the faithful, that Lot was saved. He omits as painful, and to Hellenic readers hardly intelligible, both of St. Jude's allusions to certain forms of Levitic pollutions.1 He omits, as being derived from the apocryphal Ascension of Moses, all allusion to the legend about the dispute of Michael and Satan, and even the name of the Archangel, and, in a passage which, apart from the parallel in St. Jude, would be extremely obscure, he gives to the reference a general turn, which, if it conveyed to the readers any distinct conception, would remind them rather of the accuser of the Brethren in the Book of Zechariah. St. Jude, speaking throughout rather of vicious livers than of false teachers, describes them with great clearness as blaspheming in subjects about which they know nothing, and corrupting the knowledge which comes to them instinctively, as it does to animals without reason. The later writer remembers the words " as the animals

1 Lev. xv. 16,17; Jude 8, 23.


without reason," but by an ingenious figure of speech, in which the same word serves a double purpose,1 applies it to compare the hopeless end of the false teachers to that of animals. Omitting the instances of Gain and of Korah, but amplifying that of Balaam, which was more germane to his purpose, he tones down the exuberance of St. Jude's rhetoric. Perhaps because he is only writing from impressions without the original manuscript before him, while substituting " wells without water" for "clouds without water," he adds the clause " clouds chased by the hurricane." He omits St. Jude's " wandering stars," and yet applies directly to the teachers the powerful metaphor " for whom the gloom of darkness has been reserved for ever." Again, he omits the prophecy of Enoch, probably because it is taken from an apocryphal book; and lastly, he mentions—as a specific instance of the scoffs to which St. Jude only alludes—the mocking questions which were suggested by the delay of Christ's return. I must confess my inability to see how any one who approaches the enquiry with no ready-made theories can fail to come to the conclusion that the priority in this instance belongs to St. Jude. It would have been impossible for such a burning and withering blast of defiance

1 This figure of speech is called amtanaclisis, and consists in the use of the same word twice in different senses in the same passage, (see supra, p. 165, the note on 1 Pet. iii. 1). Here <p8opa is first "destruction," and then "corruption." Compare 2 Pet. ii. 12, "But these, as reasonless animals, creatures of nature (Quanta), born for capture and destruction (<j>9ofmv), blaspheming in things of which they are ignorant (ayroovaiv), shall be destroyed in their own corruption," with Jude 10, " These, in all things which they know . not (owe oiSa.aiv), blaspheme; bat all the things which, like the reasonless animals, they know naturally (fyvaiKus), in these they corrupt themselves


and invective as his brief letter to have been composed on principles of modification and addition.1 All the marks which indicate the reflective treatment of an existing document are to be seen in the Second Epistle of St. Peter. In_ every instance of variation we see the reasons which influenced the later writer. The instances of Cain and Korah did not suit his purpose, which dealt rather with secret corruption than flagrant violence, and with errors of theory than with undisguised revolt. But, had St. Peter written first, there is no reason why St. Jude should have omitted so striking and apposite an example as was furnished by the Deluge. It is inconceivable that St. Jude should simply have taken a paragraph of a longer Epistle, have added apocryphal illustrations to it, and flashed lightning into it by a process of reflective treatment. All literary probability decisively shows that the more guarded, more dignified, more exclusively authoritative composition—the one less liable to excite offence and cavil—would be the later of the two. There is nothing absurd in the supposition that a later writer, powerfully moved by the state of things revealed in the letter of St. Jude, should, in a longer and in some respects weightier epistle, have utilised, while yet he modified, that powerful utterance, abandoning its triplicity of structure,2 and omitting those Hebraic references which would have been a stumbling-block to a wider circle

1 The genius and fine literary instinct of Herder saw this at once: " Siehe welch ein ganzer kraftiger, wie ein Feuerrad in sich selbst zuruck-lauf ender Brief: man nehme das Schreiben Petrus dazu, wie es einleitet, mildert, auslasst, &c." So, too, Weiss, Huther, &c.

2 See infra, p. 236.


of readers. The notion that St. Jude endeavoured to "improve upon" St. Peter is, I say, a literary impossibility; and if in some instances the phrases of St. Jude seem more antithetical and striking, and his description clearer, I have sufficiently accounted for the inferiority—if it be inferiority—of St. Peter by the supposition that he was a man of more restrained temperament; that he wrote under the influence of reminiscences and impressions; and that he was warning against forms of evil with which he had not come into so personal a contact.

Having now examined—fairly, I trust, and as fully as my limits will allow—the peculiarities of the Epistle before us, and the serious difficulties which lie in the way of our regarding it as the work of St. Peter, I will state one or two of the reasons why, in spite of these difficulties, I cannot regard it as certainly spurious. They are mainly three:—

1. First, we must not wholly ignore the similarity in expression and tone of thought between this Epistle and the First,1 nor the slight resemblances which it offers to St. Peter's speeches recorded in the Acts.2 The resemblance of the writer to St. Peter in tone of

1 Words common to both Epistles are " precious ", " abundantly furnish", " brotherly love", " eye-witnesses ", " wautonness ", " spotless ", In both there is a prominence of the Deluge and of Prophecy. See Plumptre, Introd., p. 75. I have pointed out that in both occurs a specimen of the figure called antanaclisis (" word" in 1 Pet. iii. 1, " corruption " in 2 Pet. ii. 12). This has, I believe, escaped the notice of previous inquirers. See supra, pp. 165, 201.

2 This is fully worked out by Prof. Lumby in the Expositor, iv. 372-399 and 446-469. But in any case the writer of the Second Epistle would be very familiar with the language of the First. Differences, in a question of this kind, furnish a far more serious consideration than identities and resemblances.


mind1—as, for instance, in his large heartedness to the Gentiles,2 in his fondness for the less trodden paths of Biblical illustration and enquiry, and in his tendency to soften instances of doom by the parallel of instances of deliverance—must also be allowed their due weight. Under this head I may refer to the subtle reminiscences of the Transfiguration. Of the appeal to the Transfiguration as a source of the writer's conviction, it may of course be said that it would naturally occur to any one assuming the name of St. Peter; but the casual subsequent introduction of the word "tabernacle,"3 and of the most unusual word for " decease,"4 not in any formal connexion with the appeal, but by an inimitably natural association of ideas, has always seemed to me an important item of evidence. To this must be added the little-noticed indication that the Transfiguration probably took place at night, though it is not so stated in the Gospels. This would at once account for the following comparison of the word of prophecy to "a light shining in a squalid place."

2. Another important consideration is the ancientness of this Epistle. If we cannot infer this from the vague resemblances to it adduced from passages in the Apostolic Fathers, we may infer it from three circumstances—namely, the want of all specific features of later Gnosticism in the heretics here described; the absence of allusions to ecclesiastical organisation; and the absence of any traces of the

1 Compare 2 Pet. i. 17, 21; ii. 1, 13; with Acts iii. 12; ii. 2; iv. 24; ii. 15.

2 2 Pet. i. 1.

3 Matt. xvii. 4.

4 "departure," i.e., death, as in Jos. Antt. iv. 812. Wisd. iii. 2.


fall of Jerusalem. As to the first point, is it not certain that a later writer would have aimed his remonstrances at something more distinctly and definitely resembling the heresies of Cerinthus or Ebion, or, later still, of Carpocrates and Valentinus? As to the second point, it is probably better known to us than it was even to many writers in the second century, that there had been a rapid tendency to de-synonymize the words " bishop " and " presbyter," and that the consequent development of " episcopal " power was due to the growth of heresy, against which it was designed to be a bulwark.1 If, then, the writer of this Epistle was a falsarius, writing late in the second century, it is difficult to imagine that he would not have adopted the same tone in reference to this subject as the other writers of his age. As regards the fall of Jerusalem, it may, of course, be said that any reference to it would have betrayed the pseudonymous character of the writer; but I am now only arguing that there are no traces of the state of mind produced by the Jewish catastrophe. Is it not probable that a falsarius of the ability pre-supposed by this Epistle would have seized the grand opportunity of introducing as a prediction an illustration which would have been in all respects so overwhelmingly apposite ? But in any case the end of the Jewish polity was an event so stupendous that no writer dealing with such subjects as those before us could have succeeded in excluding every trace of an occurrence which so radically modified the tone of Christian thought.

1 In the First Epistle the word episJcopos only occnrs once, and that in ite general sense of " guardian " (1 Pet. ii. 25), and each Church has only its " presbyters," with whom the Apostle ranks himself (1 Pet. v. 1).


3. One more consideration remains, which seems to me of capital importance. It is the superiority of this Epistle to every one of the uncanonical writings of the first and second centuries. If we are to accept the theories of modern critics, that the Epistles of the Captivity, and the Pastoral Epistles, and the Gospel of St. John, and the Second Epistle of St. Peter are the works of " forgers," then—seeing the indescribable superiority of these writings to all others which saw the light during the epoch at which they are supposed to have been written—we are driven to the extraordinary conclusion that the best strength and brilliancy and spiritual insight of the second century is to be found in its pseudonymous writings! Who will venture to assert that any Apostolic Father—that Clemens of Rome, or Ignatius, or Polycarp, or Hernias, or Justin Martyr could have written so much as twenty consecutive verses so eloquent and so powerful as those of the Second Epistle of St. Peter ? No known member of the Church in that age could have been the writer; not even the author of the Epistle to Diognetus. Would a writer so much more powerful than any of these have remained uninfluential and unknown ? Would one who could wield his pen with so inspired a power have failed to write a line in his own name, and for the immediate benefit of his own contemporaries ?

In the face, then, of these counter-difficulties, I see no solution of the problem but the one which St. Jerome indicated fourteen centuries ago.1 I believe that we may perhaps recognise in this Epistle the

1 " Stilo inter se et charactere discrepant structuraque verborum. Ex quo intelligimus pro necessitate rerum diversis eum usum interpretibus." —Sf. ad Sedib. 120,11.


opinions, the influence, the impress, direct or indirect, of the great Apostle of the Circumcision. If we cannot find his individual style, if we are faced by many peculiarities, if we miss characteristic expressions, if we recognise a different mode of workmanship, some of these difficulties would he removed by the supposition of a literary amanuensis. The supposition of an Aramaic original, as supported by Mr. King, seems to me untenable.1 This Epistle is addressed quite as much to Gentiles as to Jews ; and even if the Jews of the Dispersion understood Aramaic, the Gentiles did not. This suggestion, moreover, does not remove the most serious difficulties. The Epistle, though it does not show the mastery of Hellenistic Greek possessed by some of the New Testament writers, has yet an energy of its own which excludes the possibility of its being a translation.2 I believe there is much to support the conclusion—at which I had arrived before I became aware of the resemblances to Josephus—that we have not here the words and style of the great Apostle, but that he lent to this Epistle the sanction of his name and the assistance of his advice. If this be so, it is still in its main essence genuine as well as canonical, and there is a reason both for its peculiarities and for its tardy reception. On this hypothesis we may rejoice that we have

1 A translation would not have such a figure as that involved in the use of 4>flop& (first " destruction," then " corruption ") in ii. 12, or such an alliteration as vfo^rov impoQpovlav in ii. 16.

2 "Diese ist fast ohne alle Ansnahme sehr fein Griechisch, voll der freiesten aeht Griechischen Wbrtstellungen nnd Satzbildungen," &c.— Ewald, Sendschr. ii. 110. It may, however, be best described as the poetic Greek of one who had partly learned the language from the tragedians. The repetitions of words are due to the same sparse but sonorous vocabulary of the amanuensis.


preserved to us both the encouragements addressed to the Church by St. Peter, and his warnings against anti-Christian heresies. These heresies, as we see from the Second Epistle to Timothy, had also occupied a large space in the last thoughts of St. Paul. St. Peter speaks of them mainly in the future, as St. Paul had done in his farewell to the Ephesian elders at Miletus. It is said that when Charlemagne first saw the ships of the pirate Norsemen he burst into tears, not because he feared that they would give him any trouble, but because he foresaw the miseries which they would inflict upon his subjects in the future. So it was with the Apostles. The errors of which others only saw the germ, loomed large on the horizon of their prophetic insight, although it was not until after their death that they assumed their full proportions as the perilous heresies of Gnostic speculation.




Instead of following the plan which I have hitherto adopted, of endeavouring to take the reader through each Epistle by explaining and epitomising its general purpose in language which may counteract the deadening effect of over-familiarity, I have thought it best to re-translate the whole of this Epistle. I have done so for several reasons. In previous instances I have given a literal version of every passage which was obscure, or specially remarkable, or in which the English Version seemed incorrect, or difficult of apprehension, or dependent on inferior readings. This Epistle has given rise to so many controversies, it is so remarkably compact in its structure, its expressions are so unusual, and sometimes even so astonishing, that I have thought it best to retranslate the whole of it as closely as I could, appending in the briefest form such notes as seemed most necessary. I know that the reader may feel inclined to leave the translation unread, under the notion that he is already familiar with a version not only infinitely more dear to him, but also more euphonious, more smooth, more literary, and (as it will perhaps seem to him) more easy to understand. I would, however, ask him to follow me in this version,


because our English Bible, with all its splendid merits, constantly misses the peculiarities of the writer's diction through its besetting fondness for needless variations. My translation, made, I ought to say, before the Revised Version appeared, and with a different object, is meant throughout to be not only a literal version, but also a running commentary.1

Symeons Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained3 a like precious faith with us, in the righteousness of our God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ,4 grace to you and peace be multiplied in the full knowledge5 of God and of Jesus our Lord. Seeing that His Divine power hath given us all things that pertain to life and piety,6 by means of the full knowledge of Him Who called us by His own glory and virtue f by means of which He hath given us His greatest and precious promises,8 that by their means ye may become partakers of Divine nature, having escaped from the corruption which is in the world in lust. And on this very

1 I may perhaps be allowed to remark that, though this book, no less than my Life of Christ and Life of St. Paul has been written without the aid which I should have derived from the Revised Version, I find that there is scarcely a single instance in which the corrections I had ventured to make, and the readings which I had selected, were not in accordance with those of the Revisers. The fact that the renderings which I have given are often those which the Revisers place in the margin, may serve to illustrate the exact reproduction of the peculiarities of the original, at which I have always aimed.

2 The adoption of this form at once marks a Hebraist.

3 Acts i. 17 (St. Peter).

4 " Of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ" would also be grammatical, but see on Tit. ii. 13, Life and Work of St. Paul, ii. 533; and the next verse seems to show that the Father and the Son are here meant.

5 " full knowledge," is the leading word of this Epistle (as "hope" is of IPet.).

6 The word only occurs elsewhere in Acts iii. 12 and the pastoral Epistles. 0«<w, " divine," is peculiar to this Epistle. (Of. Acts xvii. 29.)

7 In 1 Pet. ii. 9 the word is which is quite different. Leg.,  The writer is fond of using the emphatic (2 Pet. ii. 22; iii. 3, 16, 17; 1 Pet. iii. 15).

8 As in 2 Pet. iii. 13.


account, adding all earnestness,1 abundantly furnish2 in your faith virtue, and in your virtue knowledge, and in your knowledge self-control, and in your self-control endurance, and in your endurance piety, and in your piety brotherly affection, and in your brotherly affection love.3 For these things, when they exist and abound, render you neither idle nor unfruitful unto the full knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.4 For he in whom they are not is blind, wilfully closing his eyes,6 assuming oblivion6 of his purification from his olden sins.7 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make sure your calling and election, for by so doing ye shall never stumble.8 For there shall be richly furnished to you the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (i. 1— II).9

Wherefore I will not neglect to remind you always about these things, though ye know them, and have been firmly fixed in the present truth.10 But I consider it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to arouse you by way of reminder, knowing that swiftly shall come the laying aside of this my tabernacle,11 as even our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.12 But I will be diligent, that you may

Jos. Ant. xx. 9, § 2.

2 The E. V. " Add to your faith virtue, &c. " is quite untenable.

3 For these virtues see the first Epistle, where every one of them is mentioned, even the less common words  (1 Pet. ii. 9, plur.), (1 Pet. i. 22), and (1 Pet. iii. 7).

4 Comp. Col. i. 10.

5 There is a gloss " fumbling his way." If the meaning " shortsighted " (Arist Probl. xxxi. § 16) be adopted (as in E. V.), it may mean " blind to the far-off heavenly things, able only to see the near earthly things."

6 Comp. Jos. Antt. ii. 6, § 9.

7 I.e., by Baptism. — Chrysost., &c.

8 Ja. ii. 10, iii. 2.

9 "Furnish knowledge, self-control, &c. (ver. 5), and you shall be rewarded in kind ; for so the entrance into Christ's eternal kingdom shall be furnished richly to yon."

10 Ver. 12,  Cf. Jude 5; Rom. xv. 14; 1 Pet. v.12.

11 A mixture of the metaphors of a robe and a building, as in 2 Cor. v. 1 (De Wette).

12 John xxi. 17, 18 (but of course that was written long afterwards, if the Epistle be genuine).


be able1 even on every occasion after my departure, to make mention of these things.2 For it was not by following in the track of elaborated myths3 that we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but by having been initiated,4 as eyewitnesses, into His Majesty. For having received honour and glory from God the Father when a voice such as this was borne to Him* from the magnificent glory,6 " My Son, my Beloved is this,7 in whom I am well pleased — "8 And this voice we heard borne from Heaven, when we were with Him in the Holy Mount.9 And still stronger is the surety we have in the prophetic word,10 whereunto ye do well if ye take heed11 as to a lamp shining in a squalid place,12 until the day

1, as in Lk. vii. 42.

2 This is the ordinary meaning.

3 See on 1 Tim. i. 4, iv. 7, Life of St. Paul, ii. 517 ; but each commentator guesses differently as to the kind of myths alluded to. The best comment is Jos. Antt. Prosm. § 4 : " All other lawgivers following on the track of their myths, transferred to the gods the shame of their human sins."

4 einform, a technical word of the Eleusinian mysteries (used in 2 Mace. iii. 39).

5 A most unusual expression, found also in 1 Pet. i. 13. Perhaps it may be explained of the rushing wind accompanying the Bath Kol Cf . Acts ii. 2. It is analogous to to (Is. ix. 8). The Evangelists  (Lk. ix. 35 ; John xii. 30).

6 The glory is " the Shechinah " which uttered the voice (inr6).

7 The variations from the Gospel narrative are in favour of the genuineness of the Epistle. " In whom," lit. " unto whom."

8 The sentence is unfinished in the original (Anakoluthori).

9 The inference from this expression, as showing a post- Apostolic date, is not unreasonable, but the epithet may be fairly explained by Jewish conceptions (Ex. iii. 5; Josh. v. 15).

10 Ver. 19, Peptutrfpov. Why "more sure1?" Because wider in its range, and more varied, and coming from many, and bringing a more intense personal conviction than the testimony to a single fact. The reference to prophecy is prominent in both Epistles (I Pet. i. 11, seq.). Perhaps, too, we may trace the early tendency to underrate the force of individual visions, which we find existing in St. Paul's day (see Life of St. Paul, i. 193), and which is so strongly marked in the Clementines (Horn. xvii. 13). The " prophetic word " may surely include New Testament as well as Old Testament prophecies (Acts xxi. 10, 1 Cor. xii. 10, 1 Thess. v. 20 ; 1 Tim. i. 18).

11 Jos. Antt. xi. 6, § 12


dawn, and the morning star arise in your hearts ;* knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture proves to be of private interpretation.8 For prophecy was never borne along by will of man, but being borne along by the Holy Spirit, men spoke from God (i. 12—21).

But there rose false prophets also among the people, as also among you shall be false teachers, of a kind3 who shall secretly introduce factions of perdition,4 denying even the Master that bought them,5 bringing upon themselves swift perdition. And many shall follow in the track* of their wantonness,7 on whose account the way of the truth shall be railed at.8 And in covetousness, with fictitious speeches, shall they make trade of you, for whom, since long ago,

1 The meaning seems to be that the lamp of prophecy will become needless in the full noonday blaze of perfect conviction.

2 Of the many possible explanations of these words, I accept that which makes them mean " that the prophets did not speak by spontaneous knowledge, and spoke more than they could themselves interpret," as where Philo says, " the prophet utters nothing of his own." If his utterance is not his own, his interpretation may also well be inadequate. The remark then resembles 1 Pet. i. 10 — 12. The word would then mean that History proves the truth of this remark. It only occurs in Aquila's version of Gen. xl. 8, and means " I explain " in Mk. iv. 34. The verb ivi\vu occurs in Geu. xl. 8, xli. 12, and the explanation of the thought must be looked for in Gen. xli. 15, 16 (comp. Jer. xxiii.26). [Since writing this note I see that Dr. Abbott points out that several words are here borrowed from the passage in Philo, Her. Div. Haer. p. 52, viz. :  This seems to be decisive as to the meaning.]

3  The transition from the true to the false prophets, and so to existing false teachers, is very natural.

4 The meaning " heresies " is later (cf . 1 Cor. xi. 19, GaL v. 20, Tit. iii. 10).

6 Peter's mere momentary " denial " at a moment of strong temptation differs wholly from this persistent negation and apostasy.notice the clear expression of Christ's death for all. In the participial constructions of this chapter (which I have faithfully reproduced) the sentences sometimes have an unfinished look.

7 Lecheries," Wiclyf.

8 This furnishes us with an important historical hint. The strange and odious calumnies which were rife from the earliest days against the Christians, originated in the antinomian heresies of Gnostic and other sects in which perverted doctrine led to impure life. See Jer. Ado. Lutif. p. 53 ; Epiphan. Haer. 23.


their doom idleth not, and their destruction drowseth not.1 For if God spared not angels who sinned,2 but, hurling them to Tartarus,3 committed them to dens4 of darkness, as reserved for judgment—and spared not the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness,5 with seven others, bringing a sudden flood on the world of the impious; and calcining the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha, condemned them with overthrow, having made them a warning for those who should hereafter be impious; and righteous Lot, utterly distressed by the wanton life of these offenders,6 He rescued—for by sight and hearing the righteous man, dwelling among them day after day, was torturing his righteous soul with their lawless deeds—the Lord knoweth how to rescue the pious from trial, but to reserve the unrighteous, under punishment, for the day of judgment; and especially those who walk after the flesh in the lust of pollution, and despise dominion. Daring, self-willed, they tremble not when they rail at glories,7 in cases wherein angels, greater though they are in strength and might,8 do not bring against them9 before the Lord a railing judgment. But these

1 The sentence of judgment;  the act.   lit. "nods," " dormitat" (Matt. xxv. 5). 2 Gen. vi. 2.

3 Ver. 4. ; a strange classic hapax legomenon. Tartarus is the Hebrew Gehinnom. St. Peter does not follow St. Jude in specifying the traditional sin of the angels; still his allusion is to Jewish tradition. Cf. Book of Enoch v. 16; x. 6; xiv. 4, etc. On such allusions see Life of St. Paul, i. 58, ii. 48—51, etc.

4 Leg., ffipols, m, A, B, C. Here again St. Peter substitutes a word of similar sound for aeiftus, " chains," which may have been a variation of memory for Jude's Secriois. There is, however, an epic daring in the expression "chains of darkness;" "fetter of darkness" is found in Wisd. xvii. 17.

5 That Noah was a preacher was a natural Jewish inference (Jos. Antt. i. 3, § 1).

6 Implying that they violated the most sacred and natural laws.

7 Glories, that is, at " glorious beings."

8 " Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread."

9 This can only mean ''against glories"—i.e., against angelic dignities even after their fall—and the verse would be perfectly inexplicable without the allusion of Jude to Michael refraining to rail at Satan. He and the fallen angels were 8<(|oi once, just as they may still be called " angels." Compare Milton's— " Less than Archangel ruined, or excess Of glory obscured." "Unwilling to adduce Jude's reference to the dispute between Michael and


as mere irrational animals, born for capture and destruction,1 railing in things which they, know not, in their own corruption shall be utterly destroyed,2 suffering wrong as the hire of doing wrong.3 Thinking that luxuriousness in the day4 is pleasure, spots6 and blemishes, luxuriating in their own deceits6 while they banquet with you, having eyes full of an adulteress,7 and insatiable of sin, luring with a bait unstable souls, having a heart trained in covetousness, children of malediction ! Abandoning the straight path they wandered, following in the path of Balaam the son of Bosor,8 who loved the hire of wrongdoing, but received a rebuke for his own transgression: a dumb beast of burden9 uttering a human voice checked the prophet's infatuation. These are waterless springs, and mists driven by a hurricane, for whom the mirk of darkness has been reserved. For uttering inflations of foolishness they lure with a bait10 in the lusts of the flesh, in wantonness, those who

Satan about the body of Moses, which was only recorded by apocryphal writings from Jewish tradition, the writer makes the reference general, so that the reader who was familiar with the Old Testament would rather he reminded of Zech. iii. 1, 2.

1 A sacrificial calf ran to Rabbi Judah and wept in his bosom. But "go," he said, "you were created for this purpose" (Bahha Metsia, 85 a).

2 The acceptance of Jude's words, and their application in a totally different sense, is very remarkable. St. Jude's language reads like a keen epigram; on the other hand, we have in St. Peter a remarkable play on the two senses of the word, viz., " corruption" and " destruction," v. supra, p. 201.

3 The common text has " about to carry off," A, G.

4 I.e., for life's brief day. " Voluptatem aestimantes diei delicias " (Vulg.).

5 Where Jude has  " sunken reefs."

6 For Jude's aydirais, " love feasts" (cf. 2 Thess. ii. 10).

7  cf. Rev. ii. 20). But if the reading be right (for /ioi^a\ia:> », A,) the allusion is uncertain.

8 St. Paul (1 Cor. x. 8), St. Peter, and St. John (Rev. ii. 14, &c.) alike allude to this false prophet as a type of false teachers in their own day. Bosor, perhaps a Galilean corruption of Beor, with an intentional assonance (in the Jewish fashion, as in Kir Seres, Baal Zebub, &c., see Life of Christ, i. 456) to Bashar, " flesh."

9 The New Testament writers, like the LXX., seem to avoid (ass) which led to Gentile jeers, and use the more euphemistic>.

10 As in ver. 14; only found in Ja. i. 14.


were scarcely1 escaping them who spend their lives in error,—promising them liberty, though being themselves slaves of corruption.2 For by whatever any one has been worsted, by that has he also been enslaved. For if, after having escaped the pollutions of the world by full knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are worsted by being again entangled in them, the last things have become worse to them than the first.3 For it had been better for them not to have fully known the way of righteousness, than, after fully knowing it, to swerve aside from the holy commandment delivered to them. But there has happened to them the fact of the true proverb, " The dog turning to his own vomit," and " A sow that had bathed to its wallowing-place of mire"4 (ii. 1—22).

This is now, beloved, the Second Epistle I am writing to you, in both of which I am trying to arouse your sincere understanding, by reminding you,—that you may remember the words spoken before by the holy prophets, and the command of the Lord and Saviour, through your Apostles;5 recognising this first, that there shall come at the end of the days scoffers in their scoffing, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for from the day when the fathers fell asleep6 all things are continuing as they now are, from the beginning of creation. For this they wilfully choose to forget—that there were heavens from of old, and earth comp&sed out of water,

1 Leg. 6\iyas, A, B, &c.

2 John viii. 34; Rom. viii. 21; 1 Pet. ii. 16; Gal. v. 13 (Iron. Boer, xxi. 3). An old way with false teachers (Gen. iii. 5). Their argument was, that the Spirit was so supreme and etherial that indulgence of the flesh could not harm it.

3 Matt. xii. 45.

4 Vs. 22, Matt. xxi. 21. The language differs so much from Prov. xxvi. 11 that probably this is merely a current proverb (leg.,).

5 " Your Apostles "—i. e., those who first preached to you. Cf. 1 Cor. ix. 2.

6 Cf. Mal. ii. 17; Ps. xlii. 4. The exact reference to " the fathers " is difficult to determine. It may mean those well-known Christian teachers and others (1 Thess. iv. 15) who, like St. James the elder, had died between a.d. 33 and a.d. 68. But it may naturally include the patriarchs and prophets to whom the promise came (Rom. ix. 5). St. Peter refutes this taunt about "the status quo of the world" (a) by the deluge of water, which shall be followed by the deluge of fire (5—7); and (8) by the difference between God's conception of time and man's (8—10).


and by means of water,1 by the word of God, by means of which (water)2 the then world being overwhelmed with water perished; but the present heavens and earth by this same word have been stored with treasuries of fire,8 being reserved for the day of judgment and destruction of impious men. But do not ye forget this one thing, beloved, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.4 The Lord is not tardy concerning His promise as some reckon tardiness, but is long-suffering towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.6 But the day of the Lord shall be upon us as a thief, in which the heavens shall pass hurtlingly away, and orbs of Heaven, being scorched,7 shall be dissolved, and the earth and the works in it shall be burnt up.8 Since, then, all these things are in course of being dissolved,9 what kind of men ought ye to be in holy ways of life and piety, awaiting and hastening10 the coming of the day of the Lord, because of which the heavens being

1 The allusion seems to be to water, as the matter out of which the world was made (as in Clem. Horn. xi. 24)—the material cause of the world, as Thales also thought;—and to water as also the instrumental cause of the world, Gen. i. 6. Of. Pss. xxir. 2; cxxxvi. 6.

2 Gen. vii. 11.

3 Lit., " treasured with fire," alluding to the subterranean fires. But it may be " treasured up (i. e., reserved) for fire." We find the same conception in the Book of Enoch, i. 6. See Clem. Alex. Strom. v. 9; Hippol. Eef. Haer. ix. 28.

4 " The dial of the ages—the aeoniologium—differs from the horologe of time."—Bengel, Ps. xc. 4.

5 His seeming delay is not delay, but mercy and forbearance (Aufge-sehoben, nicht aufgehoberi): " Patiens quia, aetemus" (Aug.). See Habbak. ii. 3; Ezek. xviii. 23, xxxiii. 11; Ecclus. xxxv. 22; Heb. x. 37; 1 Tim. ii. 4.

6 One of the AEschyleau expressions (rfippairas, rapTopdffas, inrfpoylta, AaiAai//, of this Epistle.

7 (TToixria may mean the heavenly bodies, as in Justin Martyr, Apol. ii. 5 (Matt. xxiv. 29). First found in Dioscorides, in the sense of feverish.

8  B, K read, " shall be found." This makes very dubious sense, unless the clause be interrogative. It had occurred to me, before I saw it remarked elsewhere, that it might be some accidental confusion with the Latin urentivr.

9 This is the praesens futuraseens, the grand prophetic present which assumes the progressive realisation of the fixed decree.

10 Just as the Jews believed that by faithful obedience to the Law they would speed the Advent of the Messiah (see Life of St. Paul, i. 65, 66).


set on fire shall be dissolved, and the scorching orbs of Heaven shall be melted?1 But, according to His promise, we expect new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwelleth.2 Wherefore, beloved, since ye expect these things, give diligence, to be found spotless and blameless for Him in peace, and account as salvation the long-suffering of our Lord, even as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him,3 wrote to you,4 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them about these things;—in which are some difficulties which the unlearned and unstable distort, as also the rest of the Scriptures,5 to their own perdition. Ye, then, beloved, knowing these things beforehand, be on your guard, lest, being carried away by the error of the lawless, ye fall away from your own steadfastness. But increase in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to Whom be the glory both now and unto the day of eternity."

So—abruptly—the Epistle ends. There are no salutations, there is no benediction. The absence of the former is easily understood, because the letter was obviously intended to be (Ecumenical in character; and perhaps this, or the indignant agitation which was shaking the heart of the writer, or even that share in the composition which I have supposed to belong to another, may also account for the absence of the blessing. No conclusion, it seems to me, can be drawn

1 Is. xxxiv. 4; Mic. i. 4.

2 Is. xxxii. 16 ; Ixv. 25.

3 1 Cor. iii. 10.

4 Even if it is assumed that this can only refer to letters addressed to Asia, we can still refer it to Rom. ii. 4, ix. 2 ("not knowing that the goodness of God is leading thee to repentance "), for it is nearly certain that the Epistle to the Romans was addressed, among other Churches, to Ephesus (see Life of St. Paul, ii. 170). The allusion to this Epistle would at once account for the remark that some things in St. Paul's writings were " hard to be understood." The doctrines of Freedom and Justification by Faith were peculiarly liable to ignorant and dangerous perversion, as St. Paul himself was well aware (Rom. iii. 8; v. 20 ; 1 Cor. vi. 12—20; Gal. v. 13—26). Others explain the reference by 1 Thess. iv. 13—v. 11, &c.

5 The writings of Christian Prophets, Apostles, and Evangelists would soon acquire a position on the same level as the Old Testament Scriptures. See Rev. xxii. 18,19.

6 " All Eternity is one Day."—(Estius.)


from this circumstance, either for or against the genuineness of the letter. But whether it be genuine or not, or genuine only in a partial and secondary sense, no one can read it without a recognition of its power, or without a conviction that the " grace of super-intendency " was at work when, in the fourth century, it was finally admitted into the Canon of the Church.1 We do not possess in it a letter of the intense and touching personal interest which attaches to the Second Epistle of St. Paul to Timothy, because it gives us far less insight into the writer's personal feelings, and because its absolute genuineness is not above suspicion; but if we do not hear in this Epistle, but rather in its predecessor, the last words of the great Apostle of the Circumcision, there is at least a reasonable probability that we hear the echo of some of his latest thoughts.

1 I entirely disagree with Dr. Abbott in his very slighting estimate of the value of the Epistle. " In omnibus Epistolse partibus," says Calvin, " spiritus Christi majestas se exserit."



the authenticity of the brief but interesting Epistle of St. Jude is more strongly supported hy external evidence than that of St. Peter. This circumstance alone tends to establish its priority of origin. It was indeed ranked by Eusebius, as were five of the Catholic Epistles, among the " disputed " books ; but it was accepted by Tertullian,1 Clemens of Alexandria, Origen, Jerome, and Ephraem Syrus, and though absent from the Peshito, is recognised in the Muratorian Canon. This acceptance is the more remarkable, because in the brief space of twenty-five verses it presents so many peculiarities. It startled many Christian readers even in the first three centuries alike by its allusions to strange Jewish legends unauthorised by Scripture, and by its quotation from a book which was acknowledged to be apocryphal. On these grounds, as St. Jerome tells us, most men in his day rejected it, and the triumph of its canonicity over such prejudices can only have been due to the strong reasons for its acceptance. One of those reasons is the absence of any motive for a pseudonym so little known as that of Jude, and one which even in the early Church furnished no

1 He is the earliest who mentions it. De habit, mul. 3.


certainty as to the identity of the writer. Apocryphal literature was busy from the first with the name of St. Peter;1 and any one who wished to secure recognition for his own opinions by introducing them under the shadow of a mighty name, would also have had every temptation to give them the weight of authority which they would derive from the name of James, the Bishop of Jerusalem. But there existed no such reason for adopting the name of Jude. The Jude who was believed to have written this Epistle was not one of the Twelve Apostles. He is never expressly spoken of as an Apostle, even in the wider sense. His name is barely mentioned in the New Testament, and only mentioned at all in connexion with the unbeliet which he shared with his three brothers during the years of our Lord's ministry, previous to that conversion which, as we may conclude from various indications, was eifected by the overwhelming evidence for the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. So little, indeed, is known of St. Jude, that even tradition, which delights to furnish particulars respecting the Apostles and leaders of the early Church, is silent about him. Apart from a few uncertain inferences, no Christian legend, no pious martyrologist, no learned enquirer can tell us one single particular about the life, the labours, or the death of Jude. The only story in which his name occurs is the one told us by Hegesippus, and preserved in Eusebius. He says that Domitian's jealousy was excited by rumours that some of the earthly family of Him Whom Christians adored as the King of the

1 Serapion— (Roiltil, Bel. Saor. i. 470). Euseb. H. E. iii. 3. We know that there was a " Gospel" and an " Apocalypse " of Peter.


Universe were still living in Palestine. Prophecies about the advent of a great kingdom which was to take its rise in the East had been prevalent in the days of Nero, and were not entirely set at rest by the elevation of Vespasian to the Empire from the command of the army in Syria. Timid from the sense of his own manifold crimes, Domitian determined to enquire into the matter, and ordered some of these "relations of the Lord," or Desposyni, as they were called, to be brought into his presence. They were grandsons of the " Jude the brother of James" who wrote this Epistle, and when Domitian ascertained that they only possessed a few acres of land, and saw that they filled no higher rank than that of peasants of Palestine, whose hands were horny with daily labour, he dismissed them to their homes unharmed and with disdain,1—content with their assurance that the kingdom of Christ was neither earthly nor of this world, but heavenly and angelical.2

I have here assumed that the author of this short Epistle was the person whom he describes himself as being—" Jude the brother of James." That Jude was not one of the Twelve may be regarded as certain. He does not profess to be an Apostle, and speaks of the Apostles as of a class to which he did not belong.3 The only Apostle besides Judas Iscariot who bore that very common name was Judas (the son) of James,4 surnamed Lebbseus or Thaddaeus. But early tradition says that this Apostle laboured in Syria, and

1 Hegesipp. ap. Euseb. iii. 20. They told Domitian that they only had between them about seven acres of land, which they farmed themselves.

2 See Routh, Eel. Sacr. 196, and notes; Fleury, Hist. Eecl. ii. § 52.

3 Ver. 17,18. 4 Luke vi. 16.


died at Edessa; and if he had been the author, it would be impossible to account for that non-acceptance of his Epistle in the early Syrian Church which is proved by its absence from the Peshito Version.1 But, besides this, when the writer calls himself "the brother of James " it is unanimously admitted that he can only mean one James—the James who, after the martyrdom of the son of Zebedee, was universally known throughout the Church—that " pillar " of the Church of Jerusalem who was the undisputed head of Judaic Christianity, and was distinguished as " the brother of the Lord."

I shall not here enter into the disputed question as to who were " the brethren of the Lord," at which I must again glance in speaking of the Epistle of St. James.

All that need here be said is, that Jude, though not an Apostle, was a brother of James, and therefore a brother—or, at least, a brother in common parlance— of the Lord. If it be asked why he does not give himself this title, the simplest answer is that neither does James. Those who had a right to it would be the least likely to employ it. None were so well aware as they that from the moment when Christ began His ministry His whole relations to them and to His Mother had been essentially altered. On more than one occasion, when they aspired to control His actions and direct His movements, He had tried to make clear to them that they must henceforth recognise the Divine mystery of His Being. He had even classed them as children of the world, whom it was

1 The " Jude of James," who was one of the Twelve (Luke vi. 16; Acts i. 13), is called a son of James in Tyndale's, Cranmer's, and Luther's versions, and in the text of the Revised Version.


therefore impossible for the world to hate as it hated Him.1 And if this was the case during His earthly ministry, how infinitely more was it the case after His Resurrection, and when He had ascended to the right hand of the Majesty on High ! It was natural that the early Church should speak of those holy men— who, if they were not the sons of the Mother of Jesus, had at any rate been trained under the same roof with Him—as " the brethren of the Lord." It was still more natural that, knowing Him at last, and believing on Him after He had risen from the dead, they should themselves shrink from the adoption of a title which pointed to a partial and earthly relationship, of which they could not but feel themselves transcendently unworthy. As for the later term adelphotheos, or " brother of God," which arose to describe this relationship,21 believe that St. James and St. Jude would have repudiated it with indignant energy, as arising from a reckless confusion of earthly relationships and Divine mysteries. They could not prevent their fellow-Christians from speaking of them as the " brethren of the Lord," but scarcely even for purposes of identification would they have been willing to use such a title of themselves. Like St. Paul, they must have felt that though they had known " Christ after the flesh," yet henceforth they knew Him " after the flesh" no more. To have been, in any sense,

1 John ii. 4 (I have shown, however, in the Life of Christ (i. 165) that neither these words, nor the address " "Woman!" involved any of the harshness or want of the most delicate reverence which the English translation seems to imply); vii. 7 ; Luke xi. 28; Matt. xii. 50.

2 It is found in the superscription of the cursive Manuscript f, , which also has a superscription to the Epistle of St. James.


brothers of Jesus of Nazareth in the humiliation of His earthly life gave them no right to speak of themselves authoritatively as brothers of the Eternal Son of God now sitting on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

On the other hand, nothing was more natural than that Jude should describe himself as "the brother of James." His object was to tell his readers who he was, and how they might distinguish him from thousands of other Jews who bore his name. He was personally unknown to all but a few. If he called himself " the brother of James," his identity would be recognised by all. He would have some influence as a brother of the great " Bishop " of Jerusalem, whose fame had spread through every community of the Christian Church, and whose authority, as a sort of Christian High-Priest, was recognised by the myriads of Jewish Christians1 who still went up to the Holy City at the great yearly feasts.

Further than this we only know the single fact that St. Jude was married. This we learn from the curious anecdote of Hegesippus which I have quoted on a previous page. It gives us an interesting glimpse of the simplicity and poverty which continued to the last to be the earthly lot of those who were connected with the Holy Family of Nazareth; and it is the more interesting because it is the last glimpse of them afforded to us by either secular or sacred history. Hegesippus says that they lived till the days of Trajan, and perhaps implies that the race of the Desposyni ended with them.2 This anecdote also accords with the

1 Acts xxi. 20

2 Euseb. H. E. iii. 20.



incidental allusion of St. Paul, which, in contradiction to Ebionite traditions, speaks of the brethren of the Lord as being not only married men, but even as travelling about with their wives or Christian sisters on various missions.1

In the latter allusion we can see the possibility of circumstances which may have called forth the Epistle of St. Jude. If he travelled as one of the early preachers of Christianity, many years could not have elapsed before he learnt by painful experience that it was possible to accept the profession of Christianity without any participation in the holiness which it required. The imaginative sentiment which dwells with rapture on the supposed perfection of the early Christian Church, is one which is cherished in defiance of history and Scripture. Hegesippus2 says that till the days when Symeon, son of Clopas,3 was Bishop of Jerusalem, the Church was a virgin, and that then " Thebuthis " began to introduce heresies because he had not been elected bishop. He is, however, probably taking a Hebrew word for a person. True Christians did indeed preach a standard of ideal holiness, and approached that standard in lives more noble and more innocent than any which the world had ever seen. But from the first the drag-net of the Church contained fish both bad and good, and from the first the tares sown by the enemy began to spring up thickly among the growing wheat. Many

1 1 Cor. ix. 5. "A sister, a wife," appears to mean, as it is rendered in the Revised Version, " a wife who is a believer."

1 Ap. Euseb. H. E. iv. 22. For " Thebuthis," Rufinus has " Theobutes quidam "; see Routh, i, 237. It may be connected with nwi, and may mean " filth."

2 Rnfinus has Cleopas.


of the converts had barely extricated themselves from the vices of the heathendom by which they were surrounded.1 Some openly relapsed into pagan practices.2 Others, as time went on, betrayed a Satanic ingenuity in making their spiritual freedom a cloak for their carnal lusts.3 The Epistle to the Corinthians exhibits to us a Church of which the discipline was inchoate and the morality deplorable. The Epistle to the Colossians proves that there had been an influx of gnosticising heresies, which illustrated the fatal affinity of religious error to moral degradation. The Pastoral Epistles show that these germs of sinful practice and erroneous theory had blossomed with fatal rapidity. In the Epistle of St. Jude and the Second Epistle of St. Peter we see perhaps still later developments of these tendencies. The former denounces the atrocities of conduct, the latter the audacities of opinion, which displayed themselves in men who, in the still tentative organisation of Christian discipline, and before the Church had perfected the bulwark of her episcopate, were by the outer world identified with Christians, and had crept in unawares among the faithful. If Jude in one of his mission journeys came into personal contact with any of these deadly hypocrites, and was brought face to face with their extending influence, we can well imagine that one one who had lived from childhood in a home of spotless purity, would have sat down in a flame of zeal to wrap such infamous offenders in the whirlwind of his

1 This is even more apparent in the original of such passages as 1 Thess. iv. 6 and Eph. v. 3, than it is in the English version, where it is happily obscured by the rendering of " covetousness."

2 See 1 Cor. v. 1—11; 2 Cor. xii. 21. s IPet. ii. 16; Gal v. 13.


wrath. The anger of a pure-hearted Jew might sometimes burn against the heathen who knew not God; but here were Christians—Christians who claimed yet loftier privileges than Israel of old, Christians who had received a grander law and a diviner spirit, Christians who had been admitted into a holier sanctuary only to become guilty of a more heinous sacrilege! They were doing the deeds of darkness while they stood in the noon-day. They claimed higher prerogatives than the Jew, yet they lived in viler practices than the Gentile. The fulness of their knowledge aggravated the perversity of their ignorance; the depth of the abyss into which they had sunk was only measurable by the glory of the height from which they had fallen.

" Oh, deeper dole, That so august a spirit, shrined so fair, Should, from the starry session of its peers, Decline to quench so bright a brilliancy In Hell's sick spume ! Ah me, the deeper dole ! "

Filled with the burning indignation which was inspired alike by the Law and by the Gospel, Jude determined to warn the infant Church against their perilous influence. It was his object to expose and to denounce them;—and he did not spare.

But though the intention of the Epistle, as he himself tells us, is thus distinct, we know nothing of the date at which it was written, or of the place from which it was sent, or of the Churches to which it was addressed. That it was written in Palestine, and addressed to Corinth or to Alexandria, are conjectures, which may be correct, but which rest on no adequate foundation. St. Jude merely addresses his warnings to faithful Christians. The notion that his


letter was dictated by animosity towards St. Paul or his followers, may be mentioned as a curiosity of criticism.1 It is obvious that bad men, whether Paulinists or Judaists, might fall into grievous aberrations. Truths can always be distorted by headstrong partisans. There may have been nominal Paulinists—indeed, we know that there were2—who wrested St. Paul's language into the wicked inferences that we may sin in order that grace may abound; and that, since we are justified by faith, works are superfluous ; or even, as we are told in modern revivalist hymns, that " works are deadly." But that Judaists were capable of heresies no less disastrous is proved by the way in which they and their adherents are addressed in St. Paul's Epistles.3 There is no reason for asserting that the one class are here denounced more than the other; and how little St. Jude was likely to think of St. Paul with bitter feelings is happily, though most incidentally, revealed, not only by the analogous tone of St. Paul's own warnings, but also by the impress of the Epistle to the Romans on the form which St. Jude adopts for his final benediction. We reject the theories of M. Renan and the more extravagant followers of the school of Tubingen, not from any a priori views—for we know that in that epoch, as in all others, theological differences were wide and deep, and theological controversies, even between men of the

1 Renan, who accepts many of the theories of the Tubingen School in the fullest development which they have received at the hands of Schwegler and Volkmar, sees in the Epistle of St. Jude one of those venomous compositions, full of deadly hatred, which he supposes to have been circulated through the Judseo-Christian communities by emissaries of St. James, to counteract the growing influence of St. Paul! See these views ably criticised by Bitschl, Studien u. Krit. 1861, p. 103/.

2 Rom. Hi. 8; 2 Pet. iii. 15.

3 Gal. i. 9; v. 12; vi. 12; 2 Cor. xi. 20, &c.


Apostolic age, could be bitter and impassioned1—but we reject them because they rest on no foundation, and because they are contradicted by facts of which all can judge.

For purposes of exact comparison with the cognate paragraphs of the Second Epistle of St. Peter, it may be well to translate this letter also in a style more literal than that of our English Version, and then to consider the main problems which it presents. It is only by the aid of a literal translation that the English reader can really estimate the wide divergence of St. Jude's style from the ordinary style of the New Testament writers. In order that all may take in at a glance the affinity between this Epistle and the Second of St. Peter, I have here printed in italics those identical or closely analogous words and phrases which occur in both.

Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, to them that are beloved in God the Father and have been kept for Jesus Christ,2 being elect, mercy to you, and peace, and love lie multiplied?

Beloved,4 in giving all diligence to write to you respecting our common salvation,51 felt a necessity to write at once6 exhorting you to fight in protection' of the faith once for all delivered to the saints. For there slank in8 certain persons9 who have long ago

1 Acts XV. 2.

2 See John xvii. 11.

3 Compare Eph. vi. 23.

4 Only as an opening address in 3 John 2.

s Cf. 2 Pet. i. 1. Even where the words of the two writers are not identical there is often a close analogy between the meanings which the words express.

6  The word previously used is ypdipfiv. The sudden change of tense certainly seems to imply that St. Jude had intended to write a more general letter, but felt compelled by the present necessity to write this immediate warning.

7 Super-certare.

8 cf. 2 Pet. ii. 1, Ttapftird^ouffiv. Gal. ii. 4; tmpeuraXTOvs, irapft<rTJ\Oov.

9 rives and AvOpunroi are both depreciative (Gal. ii. 12).


been fore-described (in prophecy) as doomed for this sentence, impious men, changing the grace of our God into wantonness,1 and denying the only Master, and our Lord Jesus Christ* But I desire to remind you, though ye know all things, once for all,3 that Jesus,4 after saving a people from the land of Egypt, secondly destroyed such as believed not.5

And angels, those who kept not their own dignity,6 but abandoned their proper habitation, he hath kept for the judgment of the great day in everlasting chains under mirky gloom* Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities around them, giving themselves to fornication in like manner with these,9 and going after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, undergoing a penalty of eternal fire.10

1 Hoyr prevalent was this dangerous possibility we see from 1 Cor. vi. 9—18 ; 1 John iii. 7—10; 2 Pet. ii.

2 Or " our only Lord and Master." », A, B, C omit i*6v; but probably (as in Luke ii. 29; Acts iv. 24; Rev. vi. 10, &c.) Semnfnjj refers to God, though it is used of Christ in 2 Pet. ii. 1.

3 I.e., though ye have once for all received all necessary instruction in matters pertaining to salvation.

4 "Jesus" is the more difficult, and therefore more probable, reading of A, B. It is explained by 1 Cor. x. 4, and the identification of the Messiah with the " Angel of the Lord " (Ex. xiv. 19; xxiii. 20, &c.) and with the Pillar of Fire in Philo.

5 " Whose carcases fell in the wilderness " (Heb. iii. 17).

6 Vulg., principatum.

7 I cannot see any intentional play of words here, though it is in contrast with the to

8 The word used by Hesiod of the imprisoned Titans (Theogon. 729). 'AfSios is stronger than in the conception of permanence, yet, as we see here, it is used for a limited period, viz., in Enoch, to which Jude is referring, we find " Bind them for seventy generations under the earth until the day of judgment." (See Enoch xii. 4, xiv. 5, xv. 3, xxi. 10, &c.). I do not think it needful to enter into curious enquiries how these fallen angels, if kept in chains, dwell in the air and go about tempting men (Eph. ii. 2, vi. 12), or whether the tempting spirits are a different class from the fallen angels. See Excursus on the Book of Enoch and Rabbinic allusions of St. Jude.

9 Clearly " with these angels." To refer it to Sodom and Gomorrha as though it were " Even as Admah and Zeboim like Sodom and Gomorrha," or " Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, in like manner with these ungodly Christians," is to introduce impossible explanations in order to get rid of St. Jude's plain intimation that he, Like the Jews of his day, attributed the fall of the angels to sensuality.

10 See 3 Mace. ii. 5, where the words are closely parallel; so, too , unknown to the N. T., is found in 2 Maec. iv. 48. The fire of retribution which destroyed the Cities of the Plain burnt but for a day ; but it is called aeonian, or eternal, because the smoking ruin of it remains (corap. Wisd. x. 7), and because it is the fire of God's retributive wrath which burns eternally against unrepented sin. " AEonian " expresses quality, not duration. Libanius uses the same expression, in the same meaning, of the fire which burnt Troy.


Yet, notwithstanding, in like manner, these persons also in their dreamings defile the flesh,1 and set lordship at naught, and rail at glories 2 But Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil, he disputed about the body of Moses,4 dared not bring

1 See Is. Ivi. 10 (LXX.). They are dreamers because they take the substance for the shadow and the shadow for the substance, and their dreamy speculations are mixed up with immoral practices.

2 What " glories " are meant is very uncertain. Wiesinger and Luther explain it of evil angels, as the context seems to imply. There is no trace of any early sect of heretics (whether in conduct, as those spoken of by St. Jude, or in teaching, as those spoken of by St. Peter) railing at angels, but rather the reverse (Col. ii. 18). In Enoch vi. 4 we read, " Te calumniate [God's] greatness;" and in xli. 1, "The sinners who denied the Lord of glory ; " and in xlv. 2, " Who deny the Name of the Lord o/ Spirits ; " and in i. 8, " The splendour of the Godhead shall illuminate them." But we can hardly imagine that any who blasphemed God would be suffered to remain even nominal members of the Christian community. Immorality, however flagrant, would not necessarily exclude them from Churches of which the discipline was lax or weak, as we see not only from 1 Cor. v. 2, but also from the warnings which St. Paul finds it necessary to utter to even faithful communities. We see, however, from 1 Cor. xii. 3 that in the wild abuses of the " Tongues " some even dared to say " Anathema be Jesus ! " See my Life of St. Paul, ii. 56.

3 "Archangel" onlyin 1 Thess. iv. 16 (Dan. xii. 1, LXX.). Michael — " the merciful, the patient, the holy Michael " (Enoch xL 8) — only in Dan. x. 13 ; Rev. xii. 7. Origen says that the allusion is taken from an apocryphal book called The Ascension of Moses (JDe Princ. iii. 2). See Rampf, Der Brief Juda. In Targ. Jonath. on Dent, xxxiv. 6 he is the guardian of the grave of Moses.

4 The Scriptural account of the death of Moses is very simple, but the Jews had many legends about it ; especially how he — " Died of the kisses of the lips of God."

The Angel of Death dared not take his life, and so God drew away his soul with a kiss. One legend was that Satan claimed his body as " lord of matter" (&s rrjs saijs SetrrAfom). (Ecumenius says he churned the body because Moses had murdered the Egyptian.  " Because of Satan's former greatness." It can hardly be because the language of stern denunciation should never be used, seeing that Jude himself is here using it in the most impassioned form. In the Catena is a strange story that Satan, seeing Moses at the Transfiguration, taunted Michael with the violation of God's oath that Moses should not enter Canaan.


against him a railing judgment,1 but said, The Lord rebuke thee ! ! But these rail about such matters as they know not,3 and such things as they understand * naturally, like the irrational animals, in these they corrupt themselves.5 Woe to them, because they went in the way of Cain,6 and poured themselves forth in the error of Salaam for hire, and perished in the gainsaying of Korah.7 These are the sunken reefs* in your love feasts? banqueting with you fearlessly,10 pasturing themselves;11 waterless clouds,™ swept hither and thither by urinds,™ autumn-withering trees,14 fruitless, twice dead,15 deraci-

1 Literally, " dared not bring against him a judgment of railing."

2 The very words used by the Angel to the Accuser in Zech. iii. 1 — 3.

3 This shows that the " railing " of these impious men was employed against spiritual or celestial beings of some kind. We have no materials for entering into further details.

4 The E. V. does not keep up the distinction between attain and

5 See on 2 Pet. ii. 12 supra, pp. 201, 215.

6 The allusion to Cain is obviously to the Cain of Jewish hagadofh, for St. Jude can hardly be charging these teachers with murder (see Excursus).

7 " Gainsaying," Heb., Meribah ; Numb. xx. 13, " the water of strife "

8 Etym. Magn. In 2 Pet. ii. 13, " spots."

9 Agapae are mentioned under that name in this place alone.

10 Perhaps mvevuxovnevoi refers to some such insolent selfish greed as that of the rich Corinthians (1 Cor. xi. 21) ; a<t>dpais, not fearing either the rebuke of Presbyters (who are themselves afraid in poor communities to do their duty) or the consequences which they may bring upon themselves (1 Cor. xi. 30).

11 Ez. xxxiv. 1, " Woe to the shepherds that feed themselves."

12 Prov. xxv. 14 ; " carried about by every wind of doctrine," Eph. iv. 14.

13 Here St. Peter's " being driven by a hurricane " is the more energetic phrase. The metaphors and expressions are here as .ZEschylean as St. Peter's, e.g.,  ; cf. ,Bsch. Ag. 1067.

14 " Spatherbstliche." Grot, frugiperdae.

is 'Twice dead," merely a proverbial expression for " utterly dead," as in "


nated;' wild waves of the sea, foaming out their own shames f wandering stars, for which the mirk of darkness has been reserved for ever. Yea, and with reference to them8 did Enoch, the seventh from Adam,4 prophesy, saying, " Lo, the Lord came, among His saintly myriads, to execute judgment against all, and to convict all the impious about all the deeds of their impiety which they impiously did, and about all the hard things which they spake against Him, impious sinners as they are. These are murmurers, blamers of their destiny,5 walking according to their lusts; and their mouth utters inflated things, admiring persons for the sake of advantage.6

But ye, beloved, remember the things spoken before by the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they used to tell you, that, in the last time there shall be scoffers, walking according to their own

1 I take the unique equivalent from Shakespeare— " Bend and deracinate The unity and wedded calm of states."

2 Is. Ivii. 20.

3 Or, " to these also " (as well as to others).

4 We should say the sixth, but the Jews counted inclusively. The only object in mentioning this is the mystic significance of the number seven. Thus the Jews spoke of Moses as the seventh from Abraham; of Phinehas as the seventh from Jacob, &e. In Enoch xii.—xvi. the prophet is sent on a mission to the Fallen Angels. They fell from Heaven to earth, he was exalted from earth to Heaven (Iren. Haer. iv. 2,16). See Excursus, " The Book of Enoch."

5 " blamers of their own lot." Philo, Vit. Mas. i. 33,  " and they began again to blame their lot." Theophrastus, 13th. Char, xvii.,  " discontent following in the wake of self-indulgence."

6 A Hebrew phrase : comp. Acts x. 34. In Gen. six. 21, " Lo! I have accepted thee," the LXX. r. The best comment is in the words of Shakespeare—" And not a man for being simply man Hath any honour, but honour for those honours Which are without him, as place, riches, favour, Prizes of accident as oft as merit."

And as to the cause which St. Jnde assigns for this partiality—  " Plate sin with gold And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks."


lusts of impieties.1 These are the separatists,2 egotistical,3 not having the spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto life eternal. And some, indeed, try to convict of error when they dispute with you f and try to save some, snatching them from the fire ;5 and pity some in fear,6 hating even the tunic that has been spotted1 by the flesh.

Now to Him that is able to guard you8 unstumbling, and to set you before His glory blameless in exultation, to the only God9 our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, might,

1 Is. iii. 4 (LXX.). Warnings against such apostates, blasphemers, and ungodly men must have occurred often in the teachings of the Apostles (see Acts xx. 29 ; 1, 2 Thess.; Col. i. ii.; Tim.; Tit.; Rev., passim). It seems a most idle argument to refer 'this prophecy to 2 Pet. iii. 1, 2, and thence to assume the priority of that Epistle!

2 The word is only found in Arist. Polit. iv. 4, § 13. Separatists = Pharisees. But here the Pharisaism is Antinomian and apostate (Hooker, Serm. v. 11).

3 "egotistical." If this rendering be not accepted, there is nothing for it but to naturalise the word "psychical" as a translation of this word. It expresses those who live in accordance with the mere natural views of a limited and selfish life. They are not necessarily " carnal"—-i. e., devoted to the basest fleshly impulses nor have they become " spiritual". They live the common life of men in simple worldliness, and the slightly expanded egotism of domestic selfishness.

4 Head for (which spoil the continuity of the structure), eApyxere, A, C, which can only be fully rendered by " try to convict of error; " see ver. 9 for the meaning of the word. Elsewhere it means " doubting" (Acts x. 20, Ja. i. 6, &c.).

5 Zech. iii. 2, " Is not this a brand plucked from the burning ? " '(Am., iv. 1.)

6 The omission of this clause by the E.V. (following K, L) spoils the triple structure. The first class of these impious men is to be refuted in argument; the second to be saved by vigorous personal influence and exertion; the third, which is the most obstinate and degraded class, shun, for fear they should defile and corrupt you; yet pity them in Christian love.

7 comp. Rev. iii. 4

8 It is only found in A it may be a mere slip. The doxology evidently recalls Rom. xvi. 25.

8 The word " wise," omitted in , A, B, C, &c., is probably interpolated from Rom. xvi. 27.


and power Amen.

before all the aeon,1 and now, and to all the aeons.

I. The style of the Greek—which was no doubt the language in which this letter was originally written— is exactly such as we should expect from one to whom Greek was not so familiar as his native Aramaic, but who still writes with a passion which gives force and eloquence to his words. It is the language of an Oriental who knows Greek, partly by reading and partly by having moved among Hellenistic communities, but whose vocabulary is far richer and more powerful than his grammar.2 The words are Greek words, and sometimes rare, forcible, and poetic ; but the whole colouring and tone of thought recall the manner of the Hebrew prophets, in whose writings St. Jude must have been trained during his youth in the humble and faithful house of Joseph at Nazareth.

The most remarkable trace of this Hebraic structure is shown in the extraordinary fondness of the writer for triple arrangements. In pausing to tell us that Enoch was the seventh from Adam he at once shows his interest in sacred numbers, and throughout his Epistle he has scarcely omitted a single opportunity of throwing his statements into groups of three. Thus

1 I. e., " as it was in the beginning."

2 The number of the hapax legomena is remarkable, and some of them are full of pieturesqueuess and force—e.g., besides others which are only found here and in 2 Peter, or are exceedingly rare in the New Testament. The semi-poetic colouring of these words is a phenomenon of ten observable in writers who are using a foreign language. " The diction," says Davidson, " is round and full, not neat or easy, but rather harsh. It shows one acquainted with Greet, yet unable to express his ideas in it with ease."—Introduction to New Testament, i. 450.


those whom he addresses are sanctified, kept, elect,1 and he wishes them mercy, love, peace;2 the instances of divine retribution are the Israelites in the wilderness, the fallen angels, and the Cities of the Plain;3 the dreamers whom he denounces are corrupt, rebellious, and railing;4 they have walked in the way of Cain, Balaam, and Korah;5 they are murmurers, discontented, self-willed ; they are boastful, partial, greedy of gain;6 they are separatists, egotistic, unspiritual.7 Lastly, they are to be dealt with in three classes, of which one class is to be refuted in disputation, another saved by effort, and the third pitied with detestation of their sins.8 But saints are to pray in the spirit, keep themselves in the love of God, and await the mercy of Christ;9 and glory is ascribed to God before the past, in the present, and unto the farthest future.10

Some of these triplets—those, for instance, in the twenty-third and last verses—are missed, in consequence of the adoption by the English Version of inferior readings; but as regards the rest, even if we might otherwise suppose that some of them were accidental, the recurrence of this arrangement no less than eleven times in twenty-five verses is obviously intentional, or, at any rate, characteristic of the writer's mode of thought. It could not be paralleled from any other passage of Scripture of equal length.11 It is unlike anything which we should find in classic Greek, and accords with the professed authorship by indicating the Hebraic tinge of the writer's mind. We shall notice

1 Ver. 1.

2 Ver. 2.

3 Vers. 5—7.

4 Ver. 8.

5 Ver. 11.

6 Ver. 16.

7 Ver. 19.

8 Vers. 22, 23.

9 Ver. 20. 10 Ver. 25. II There is something which partially resembles it in the half-rhythmic triplets of Eph. v. 14.


hereafter that a similar antithetic balance and rhythmic flow is characteristic of the style of St. John. In both of these sacred writers it is the result of their Semitic origin and Jewish education.

2. But a far more remarkable characteristic of the writer is his fondness for alluding to remote and unrecorded incidents of Jewish tradition. In the brief space of nine verses he introduces current Rabbinic views in a manner to which, in the New Testament, there is scarcely a parallel. He accepts, for instance, the strange notion respecting the fall and fate of the angels through fleshly lusts. Alone of the New Testament writers, except St. John in the Apocalypse, he mentions and names an Archangel.1 He introduces, probably from the apocryphal Ascension of Moses,2 a personal contention between this Archangel and the Devil about the body of Moses, to which there is not in Scripture the remotest allusion.3 He tells us that Michael " did not dare" to bring a "judgment of railing" against the Evil Spirit. He refers to Cain in a manner which seems to imply something more than the murder of Abel. He makes a quotation, which has since been discovered in a book confessedly apocryphal.4 How are we to explain these peculiarities? Do they need any apologetic treatment ?

1 In the Apocryphal books and the Talmud we read of seven Archangels—Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Sealthiel, Jeremeel, and Sammael.

2 'See Hilgenfeld, Mess. Jud. Ixxii. He may, however, be merely introducing the Jewish legend in his own way. (See Lieffert in Herzog. E. Enc., s. v.)

3 Schottgen, Menschen, and others adduce in exact parallel to this, that in the Jalkut Reubeni (f. 43, 3) there is a contest between Michael and Satan about Isaac and the ram. In Hilgenfeld's Messias Judaeorum, p. 461, various fragments are quoted of the Ascension of Moses, from which the reference was taken. (Orig. De Princip. iii. 2, § 1; see, too, (Ecumenius ad loc.; Cramer's Catena, p. 160.) * Jude 14.


There are two ways of treating them, which I shall content myself with stating, leaving every reader of unbiassed mind and fearless sincerity to choose between them.

i. There are many writers who endeavour by various explanations to minimise whatever contradicts their theories of " verbal dictation," and who insist that every allusion which cannot be explained out of the Old Testament must be accepted as a literal fact divinely revealed to St. Jude himself. It would, indeed, be a matter of no small difficulty to accept the Jewish legend that angels fell from their heavenly dignity by sensual impurities with mortal women. Hence these writers interpret the " sons of God" in Gen. vi. 2 to mean men of the righteous race, and they suppose that the " giants" in that passage were the offspring of inter-marriages between the race of Seth and the race of Cain.1 They therefore explain St. Jude's allusion as a reference to the expulsion of Satan's angels from Heaven because of their revolt,—a notion very familiar to us from ' Milton's Epic, but of which there are in Scripture only the dimmest and most disputable traces. They take it as a divinely revealed fact that the body of Moses was really an object of personal contention between the Archangel Michael and the Devil, and they boldly conjecture that Satan desired to seize the body that he might induce the Jews to treat it as a relic to be worshipped.2 Lastly, although the

1 As was done even by St. Augustine. See, too, Milton, Paradise Lost, xii. 580, seq.

2 Philippi supposes that the fact was revealed to the disciples, to account for the appearance of Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration. Of what use are such conjectures ?


prophecy attributed to Enoch really does occur in almost the same words in the apocryphal book of that name—and although it is certain that the book in whole or in part existed in St. Jude's time—they refuse to admit that St. Jude could have used a quotation from a book confessedly apocryphal, but assume either that he received this particular passage " by independent revelation ; "l or that it was a genuine prophecy of the antediluvian prophet correctly handed down by tradition for two thousand five hundred years;2 or, lastly, that the writer or interpreter of the Book of Enoch borrowed it from St. Jude, and not St. Jude from him.

ii. To others the rare phenomena of the Epistle present no difficulty which requires such a congeries of harsh suppositions—suppositions which, in their opinion, need no refutation, because they rest on no basis. They do not think it necessary to support the authority of this certainly canonical, but as certainly non-apostolic, writer by hypotheses so extraordinary. They know that at this epoch Apocryphal literature was widely current among the Jews, and that a dense multitude of Kabbinic legends had sprung up around their early literature and history. Many of these are of an absurd and objectionable character, and they see a superintending guidance in the wisdom which excludes all trace of these from the sacred page. Every Jewish Christian, trained in the lore of Palestine, would be familiar with many such Hagadoth; and it was perfectly

1 " Apostolum Henochi verba ex singular! divina revelatione habuisse." —Pfeiffer, Decas, it. § 8.

2 See " Enoch Restituins: An attempt to separate from the Books of Enoch the book quoted by St. Jnde," by Rev. E. Murray, 1838.


natural that in writing to his countrymen St. Jude should refer to such beliefs by way of passing illustration, just as St. Paul refers to the traditional names of the Egyptian magicians,1 and to the legend of the wandering rock.2

St. Jude's quotation from the apocryphal Book of Enoch3 no more stamps the book of Enoch, or the passage quoted from it, as a Divine revelation than do St. James's references to the Wisdom of Solomon, or St. Paul's quotations from Epimenides, Aratus, or Menander. From those pagan writers, and even from the last—deeply dyed as he was with the vicious morality of a decadent age—St. Paul quotes without hesitation a religious truth, or moral aphorism, or historical allusion which happens to illustrate his general purpose. It is in no wise strange that St. Jude should make analogous use of the Book of Enoch and the Ascension of Moses, which were current among the Hebraists whom he was addressing, and whose views he shared. Some have supposed that he used them because they were accepted by those against whom he is writing, and because any consideration derived from these would have the force of an argumentmn ad hominem. It seems to be a more

1 2 Tim. iii. 8.

2 1 Cor. x. 4. See Life and Work of St. Paul, i. 48,638.

3 The direct quotation is in Jiide 14, 15, but there are several other traces of St. Jude's acquaintance with the book; for instance, the pseudo-Enoch, no less than Jude, refers to " wandering stars" (xviii. 14, 16; xxi. 3), and comes near the very remarkable expression " chains of darkness " (Jude 6; 2 Pet. ii. 4, 5; " Bind Azazel . . . cast him into darkness " (xii. 5—7); " Fetters of iron without weight" (liii. 3). Hofmann and Philippi try to prove that the Book of Enoch was written by a Jewish Christian. Locke, Ewald, Weiszacker, Dillmann, Kostlin, &c., only admit later interpolations of a Jewish book.


natural supposition that he alluded to current conceptions for a particular object, just as all writers do in all ages, without entering into any discussion as to their literal truth.

Such are the conflicting opinions of different commentators. They affect questions which lie in that neutral region of uncertainty where all true Christians should respect their common freedom. They touch on questions of literature and criticism. They hinge upon definitions of inspiration which the Scriptures themselves do not furnish, and which the Church has in consequence withheld. They may be safely left to the influence of time, and the widening thoughts of mankind. All that we need say respecting them is, " Let there be in things necessary unity; in things doubtful liberty; in all things charity."

iii. If we ask, lastly, who were the evil-doers against whom the parallel denunciations of St. Jude and the Second Epistle of St. Peter were hurled— St. Jude exposing their unnatural wickedness and blaspheming presumption, the Second Epistle dwelling mainly on their corrupting influence and specific faithlessness—the answer is that neither of the sacred writers is dealing with a definite sect, but that the errors and malpractices which they denounce afterwards came to a head in the mysteries of iniquity which characterised many sects. These errors contained the germ of the systems which were subsequently known as Antinomian Gnosticism. Very shortly after the period with which we are dealing, the Nicolaitans drew on themselves the indignant anathemas of St. John. The second century saw the rise of other defilers of the Christian name and profession. Such were the


Ophites, who lauded the Serpent of Paradise as their benefactor ; the blasphemous Cainites, who made their heroes out of all the vilest characters mentioned in the Old Testament ;2 the Carpocratians, who taught licentious communism ;3 the Antitactae, who regarded it as a duty to the Supreme God to violate all the commandments, on the ground that they had been promulgated by His enemy the Demiurgus; 4 the Adamites, who taught men to live like brutes.5 None of these sects as yet existed as sects, but in the wild opinions attributed to Nicolas and Cerinthus we see the seething elements of reckless speculation which sprang from a common fountain, but under the subsequent name of Gnosticism split into the two opposite streams of a reckless immorality and an extravagant asceticism.6

1 Iren. Haer. i. 30, § 5.

2 Epiphan. Haer. xxxviii. 2.

3 Clem. Alex. Strom. iii. 2; Theodoret, Haer. i. 6.

4 Clem. Alex. Strom. iii. 4.

5 Epiphan. Haer. Iii.

6 Clem. Alex. Strom. iii. 5, § 40).


What do YOU think ?

Submit Your Comments For Posting Here
..Will Be Spam Filtered and Posted Shortly..





Click For Index Page

Free Online Books Historical Preterism Modern Preterism Study Archive Critical Articles Dispensationalist dEmEnTiA  Main Josephus Church History Hyper Preterism Main

Email's Sole Developer and Curator, Todd Dennis  (todd @ Opened in 1996