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Sabine mountains closing in the prospect on the east, and the waters of the Mediterranean shutting in the horizon on the west. Passing by Pompey's Tomb, he would descend into the plain, crossed in various directions by long lines of aqueducts, that supplied the city with pure water, and some of which are still among the most useful as well as most striking artificial works in Italy. No doubt, the road that Paul took was the Appian Way, lined then with tombs, in which the opulence and pride of Roman patricians, as well as the skill and taste of Roman architects, had full scope for display. Their ruins, though by this word some of them would seem to be incorrectly designated, are yet found by travellers among the most interesting remains of antiquity.
At length the Apostle stood within the gates of the metropolis of the world, and with mingled emotions must have passed along its streets to the place appointed for his residence, which had probably been assigned to him through the good offices of Julian the Centurion, who must, out of gratitude, have given a favourable report to the captain of the guard concerning the man to whose counsel he and his convoy owed their lives. Entering the city by the Porta Capena, it is most likely that Paul, leaving on his left the Circus Maximus, and skirting the south-eastern side of the Palatine Hill, would pass over the spot where now stands the Arch of Constantine, and enter the Forum by the Via Sacra, in the midst of which the Arch of Titus was subsequently erected to commemorate the conquest of Jerusalem. The most celebrated ruin in modern Rome, the Coliseum, was not then erected. Nine years after the Apostle first took up his residence in the Imperial City, Vespasian laid its foundations; and in A.D. 79, Titus completed it. It became famous, not merely as the arena for the gladiatorial combats, where men, whom God had created in his own image, were “butchered to make a Roman holiday,” but also as the scene of the martyrdom of many of the early Christians. Men, "of whom the world was not worthy,” were there tortured to death, in the maintenance of the truth of the Gospel, “not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection." When Paul stood at the extremity of the Forum, and gazed in the direction of the Capitol
, his eye glanced by splendid temples and basilicas, some of whose pillars still remain to attest the beauty of the structures, when they rose in their arehitectural freshness before the admiring gaze of the senators and soldiers of Imperial Rome; while numerous statues of their greatest men attested the estimation in which they had been held by their contemporaries or their descendants.
We have no reason to suppose that the Apostle, though enjoying kind of freedom which was not usually allowed to prisoners, had the opportunity given him, like that which he possessed at Athens, wbere he was his own master, to make himself familiar with the objects of interest with which Rome abounded. One building still remains in the
modern city--the Pantheon--but little altered or injured by time, that had been built about eighty years before Paul came to Italy. On this, with its splendid dome and magnificent portico, it is not improbable his eye may have rested.
But we are sure he was too intent upon his work, as a herald of the Lord Jesus, to lose more time than was necessary, before he sought to make known the Gospel. His first act was to send for the chief men among the Jews, to whom he delivered his message, representing himself as a prisoner for conscience' sake ;-the soldier to whom he was chained stood beside him while he spake--and all this was brought about, he showed them, through the machinations of his brethren in Judea. At the request of his visitors, he expounded to them the truths he was commissioned to proclaim. By some they were received and welcomed; by others rejeeted, though not without “great reasoning among themselves.”
For two years Paul's own hired house was the resort of many who came to hear "those things which concerned the Lord Jesus Christ”; and while the vast crowds that surged around his dwelling-composed of the inhabitants of the city, and different peoples, from all parts of Rome's colossal empire-were intent only on worldly schemes; while senate and soldier were engaged in extending yet further the influence and terror of the Roman name, and laying, as they thought, broader and deeper the foundations, and consolidating the structure, of Roman power, with the fond and ambitious thought that it was to endure for ever; an obscure prisoner among them, a man from a far-distant land, which had cast him from its shores,-one who had been proscribed and hunted by his own people, --was quietly working, with pen and tongue, to establish a kingdom that is destined, according to the words of Daniel, “never to be destroyed ; a kingdom that shall not be left to other people ; but shall break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms, and shall stand for ever.” Already, among the Prætorian guards,--and probably, each day, he had a fresh soldier to whom he was chained, and so continually a fresh auditor of his preaching,--and in Cæsar's household, on the Palatine Hill, where dwelt one of the greatest monsters of wickedness the world ever saw, had the truth found its way; as well as among others, Jews and heathens é for, we find the Apostle, in his letter to the Philippians, written a year after his arrival in Roine, referring to these converts. Here, at this time, beside the Epistle just named, he wrote those sent to the Ephesians, to Philemon, and the Colossians; and had, either at different times, or altogether, the society and co-operation of Timothy, Mark, Luke, and others.
While here, Onesimus-the servant of Philemon, to whom the beautiful letter, written by the Apostle concerning bis runaway dependant, was addressed came under the influence of the truth through the preaching of Paul. Here, also, Epaphroditus brought him from the Philippians the token of their remembrance of him in his bonds, which is so touchingly referred to in his letter to that people.
His appeal to Cæsar was prosecuted slowly; but at length he obtained his freedom; and opportunity was thus once more given him to engage in his Master's work. It is not improbable that his projected journey to Spain was, on his acquittal, carried out; although of that fact we have no certain information.
Five years afterwards, he was again brought to Rome, a prisoner. During the interval between his first and second captivity, in the year A.D. 64, Nero had charged the Christians in the city with being the authors of the conflagration, by which a large portion of the capital was destroyed; though there is reason to believe he was himself the incendiary; and then ensued those horrid massacres of the helpless and innocent victims of his fury, which have, in addition to other crimes, covered him with eternal infamy. Some were crucified; others, dressed in the skins of different animals, were hunted to death by dogs; while some, with a fiendish cruelty that has had no parallel in the history of the world, were dressed in garments of the most inflammable materials, and set on fire in the midst of a brutal and jeering mob, who gratified their lust for blood in gazing upon the awful agonies of those martyrs for Christ.
Paul, whose prominent position amongst the Christians could not be concealed, was arraigned a second time before the tribunal of Cæsar. Probably he had to tread the Forum again, as a chained captive, and, in one of the basilicas whose ruins yet remain, to stand before men who were too ready to find him guilty. Sentence of death was soon pronounced, and the last hour of his life rapidly approached. Tradition points to the Mamertine Prison, close to the Forum, and now forming a vault of the church of St. Giuseppe, as the place of his confinement.* Probably, after his condemnation, this might be the prison assigned to him. It is gloomy enough, even on the brightest days, like the one on wbich I paid a visit to it. It is of very great antiquity, built in the Etruscan style of architecture. It consists of two chambers, one over the other, excavated out of the tufa rock on which Rome is built. Steps conduct from the body of the church of St. Giuseppe to the upper chamber, and thence to the lower. In the roof of the latter is a circular opening, through which the prisoners received their food. The chapel, into which the upper chamber has been converted, is dedicated to Peter, and the walls are covered with votive offerings from numerous worshippers.
The Romish Church legends represent the Apostle Peter as a fellow-prisoner with Paul in this place. To have left the former out of the history of the early church in Rome, while it was indisputably the fact that Paul was there, would have been a very awkward difficulty to the partisans of the Papacy, in their attempt to prove the supremacy of Peter and his bishopric of Rome. But there is no satisfactory proof that Peter ever was in the city; certainly none that he was bishop there, or a fellow-prisoner with Paul.
But the time of Paul's departure was at hand. He had “ finished his course, and kept the faith ;” and now all that remained was that he prove himself faithful unto death, that he might receive the crown of life. We have his calm, contemplative view of his approaching end in 2 Tim. iv. The hour arrived; and, unfalteringly, we may well believe, sustained by the blessed hopes of everlasting life,--triumphing in the assurance that, absent from the body, he would be present with the Lord,-he bowed his head to the sword of the executioner.
Outside the gate of San Paoli, and four miles distant from it, is the basilica of the same name, erected over the tomb of the Apostle. In 1824, the structure, which had been built by the Emperor Theodosius, on the site of a still more ancient one, that owed its origin to Constantine, was, after having stood for 1,500 years, accidentally burnt. Since then another magnificent temple has been begun, and is gradually advancing towards completion, as the liberality of Catholicssovereigns and peoples--enable its builders to proceed. Two alabaster columns of the high altar were the gift of a Mussulman—the late Mehemet Ali. Timothy is said to be buried in a tomb a little in front of that of the Apostle.
Near the gate of St. Sebastian is the principal entrance to the Catacombs--one of the most interesting sights in Rome. They are of immense extent, reaching even to Ostia, sixteen miles distant. Originally excavations made to obtain sand, they became the haunts of thieves; and, subsequently, the hiding-place of the early Christians, during the persecutions. Many were buried here; and the inscriptions found upon their tombs are expressive of the faith and hope of the persecuted ones, of which not all the fiery trials to which they were subjected could deprive them. Among these inscriptions, singularly enough-and the fact is terribly fatal to Popish pretences--you look in vain for any reference to the principal heresies of the Romish Church. Mariolatry, purgatory, prayers for the dead, the supremacy of Peter, or the efficacy of the intercession of saints or angels, appear utterly unknown to the Christians of the first four centuries.
As these notes have been written primarily to illustrate the journeys of the Apostle, and not as descriptions of the places and objects referred to, except cursorily, I make but a brief reference to the chief temple of the Roman Catholic world, -St. Peter's. I must confess I saw little of the footprints of the Apostle there. It is a magnificent structure, unquestionably; but the perfunctory character of all the performances I saw going on, and the godless irreverence of some of the chief performers,—somewhat as Luther describes them, in his day, -only awakened disgust; and led me to feel thankful that I could take out my Bible, and read, as I did, under the shadow of the domes, the words of truth and love which Paul and Peter had both written, but the spirit and letter of which their so-called successors so flagrantly ignore. In some of the churches there are favourite images, which are generally surrounded by crowds of worshippers, who throng these places just as people do in England where a favourite preacher is to be heard. Anything more like idolatry could not be witnessed in India or China, than I saw in the church of S. Agostino on the occasion of a grand festival, held in honou of the saint.
To wander among the ruins of temples, tombs, baths, palaces, basilicas, the Coliseum, the Forum; to watch the flashing of the waters in some of the grandest fountains in Europe ; to stroll in the gardens of some of the beautiful villas outside the city, or on the Pincian Hill,—are pleasures which every traveller can enjoy ; excelled only by the delight felt in contemplating the rich treasures of art, in the private collections of the Roman nobles and cardinals, such as are found in the Borghese and Doria palaces, and the villas Albani and Borghese, and especially those of the Capitol and the Vatican. It was a perfect luxury to sit before the glorious pictures of Raffaelle and Domenichino, the frescoes of Michael Angelo, the inimitable statuary of the Cortile de Belvedere; to inspect the curiosities of the Etruscan room, and the manuscripts for wbich the Library is famous; and especially to muse in the Galeria Lapidaria,-a corridor nearly a thousand feet long, on the walls of which are ranged inscriptions in Greek and Latin, taken from the Catacombs; on the right hand, such as are unquestionably Pagan; on the left, those which belong to the Christians. The contrast of the bright hopes recorded on the one class of monuments, with the dark and sorrowful expressions of the other, is most striking and significant.
Yet how little in advance of the olden faith is the modern religion, that finds its central home in this city! Popery, with its penances and purgatory, its misrepresentations of God and the Gospel, is very little better, scarcely more capable of meeting the wants of immortai souls, than Paganism. How unlike are its cumbrous rites, and all its cunningly-contrived spiritual machinery, to the simple Gospel which Christ and his Apostles preached! Saints, rather than the Saviour, are sought; Mary, the mother of Jesus, far, far more than Christ the Lord, is trusted in. Surely, if Paul were again to visit Rome, it would be to upbraid the degenerate descendants of the Christians of the first ages who are now found there, and to warn the deluded votaries of that wide-spread superstition as he did the Colossians (Col. ii. 18-23): “Let no man beguile you of your reward, in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the HEAD, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Wherefore, if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the