Acts 28:15

Acts 28:15

And from thence
That is, from Rome, whither they were going:

when the brethren heard of us;
when the Christians at Rome heard that the apostle and his friends were landed at Puteoli, and were on their journey to Rome: these were the members of the church at Rome; for there was a church state here before this time. The apostle had before this written a letter to them, called the Epistle to the Romans, in which he treats them as a church. The Papists say that the Apostle Peter was the first bishop of it, and pretend an uninterrupted succession from him; though it is questionable whether he ever was at Rome; and if he was, it is not probable that he should take upon him the care of a single church, which was not consistent with his office as an apostle: in the "first" century, the bishops or pastors of this church were as follow; after the martyrdom of Paul and Peter, Eusebius F12 says, Linus was the first bishop of it, the same that is mentioned in ( 2 Timothy 4:21 ) and according to the same writer F13, Anencletus succeeded him, and then Clement, a fellow labourer of the Apostle Paul's, ( Philippians 4:3 ) ; who wrote two epistles to the Corinthians, which are still extant; though Eusebius {n}, not consistent with himself, makes Clement in another place to succeed Linus; and some make Clement even to be before him; and some place one Cletus before Anencletus and him: such an uncertainty is there, and such a puzzle attends the first account of this uninterrupted succession; and which seems designed in Providence to bring it into contempt: in the "second" century, Euarestus succeeded Clement; and then followed him Alexander, Sixtus, or Xystus, Telesphorus, Hyginus, Pius, Anicetus, Soter, Eleutherius, and Victor: in the "third" century, Victor was succeeded by Zephyrinus; and after him were Calixtus, Urbanus, Pontianus, Anterus, Fabianus, Cornelius, Lucius, Stephanus, Sixtus, or Xystus II, Dionysius, Felix, Eutychianus, and Gaius: in the "fourth" century, Marcellinus succeeded Gaius; who was followed by Marcellus, Eusebius, Miltiades, Sylvester, Julius, Liberius, Felix II, Damasus, and Siricius F15; and further than this age, it is not worth while to follow them; the man of sin began to grow apace, and in a century or two afterwards, proclaimed himself universal bishop:

they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and the Three Taverns;
these were both of them towns that lay in the Appian way to Rome; the former of these Horace F16 makes mention of, in the account of his journey from Rome to Brundusium; first he says, he came to Aricia, or Rizza, which is about 160 furlongs, or 21 miles from Rome, and from thence to Appii Forum: that Appii Forum was further from Rome than the Three Taverns, appears from what Cicero says F17, who dates his letter to Atticus from Appii Forum, at four o'clock, and tells him, that be had sent him another a little before from "Tres Tabernae", or the Three Taverns; and indeed, Appii Forum was one and fifty miles from Rome, and the Three Taverns but three and thirty: so that the sense must be, that some of the brethren from Rome came as far as the Three Taverns, and others as far as Appii Forum; which, as before observed, were two towns upon the road: hence the former of these was not a statue of Appius, near the city of Rome, as some have F18 said; nor a market in the city itself, as says Jerom F19, or a writer under his name; whose words are, Appii Forum is the name of a market at Rome, from Appius, formerly a consul, and from whom the Appian way had its name: but this was a town at some distance; there were several towns in Italy of a like appellation; as Julii Forum, Cornelii Forum, now Imola, Livii Forum, now Forli: Pliny F20 makes mention of an Appii Forum; and there was a town in Calabria, called Taberna: and as the one was not a mere market place, so the other does not design three houses for public entertainment; for the words should not be translated "three taverns", nor indeed translated at all; nor are they by Luke, who retains the Latin name, as the name of a place; and here it was that Severus, the Roman emperor, was killed by Herculius Maximianus {u}; and this, in Constantine's time, was the seat of a bishop; for among the bishops assembled on account of Donatus, mention is made of one "Felix a Tribus Tabernis" F23, or Felix bishop of Tres Tabernae, the same place we call "the Three Taverns":

whom when Paul saw, he thanked God and took courage;
that is, when he saw the brethren that came to meet him, he gave thanks to God for the sight of them, which he had so much desired; and he took heart and courage, and went on cheerfully, and in high spirits, towards Rome; in hope of seeing the rest, and believing that God had some work for him to do there.


FOOTNOTES:

F12 Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 2.
F13 Ib. c. 13.
F14 Ib. c. 4. 15.
F15 Magdeburg. Eccl. Hist. cent. 2. c. 10. p. 165 cent. 3. c. 10. 193 cent. 4. c. 10. p. 736, &c.
F16 Sermonum, l. 1. Satyr 5.
F17 Ad Atticum, l. 2. ep. 11.
F18 Isidor. Pelusiot. Ep. l. 1. ep. 337.
F19 De locis Hebraicis, fol. 95. K.
F20 Nat. Hist. l. 14. c. 6.
F21 Aurel. Victor. Epitome, p. 346.
F23 Optat. de Schism Donat. l. 1. p. 26.
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