Acts 29 - Authorities
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Authorities [E. Raymond Capt]
1. St Clement of Rome (A.D. 30 - 100) wrote: “Saint Paul, also having seven times worn chains, and been hunted and stoned, received the prize of such endurance. For he was the herald of the Gospel to the West, as well as in the East, and enjoyed the illustrious reputation of the faith in teaching the whole world to be righteous. And after he had been to the extremity of the West, he suffered martyrdom before the sovereigns of mankind; and thus delivered from this world, he went to his holy place, the most brilliant example of steadfastness that we possess.” [Epistle to the Corinthians, Chapter 5]
St. Clement belonged to the first century, knew St. Pul personally, and was the third Bishop of Rome. St. Paul speaks of him in his Epistle to the Philippians, 4:3: “With Clement also and other of my fellow labourers whose names are in the book of life.” Irenaeus (born about A.D. 130) himself a pupil of polycarp (the friend of St. John) thus speaks of him: “Clement, who had seen the blessed Apostles and conversed with them; who had the preaching of the Apostles still sounding in his ears, and their traditions before his eyes.”
2. Theodoret the Blessed, Bishop of Cyrus neat Antioch in Syria (born about A.D. 390), noted as an accomplished man of letters and learned Church historian, writing about A.D. 435 said of St. Paul (the leather-worker):
a. “Our fishermen and tax gatherers and the leather-worker have brought unto all men the laws of the Gospel, and they persuaded not only Romans and their tributaries, but also the Scythians and Sauomatian nations (or Cimrians), and Germans, to accept the laws of the Crucified. (Graed. Aff. Cur. Sermo. IX)
b. St. Paul reached Spain and brought salvation to the Islands of the Sea.” (Bishop Edwards of St. Asaph’s “Landmarks in the History of the Welsh Church,” page 4) This fits in with St. Jerome’s statement that, besides visiting Spain, St. Paul went from “ocean to ocean,” and St. Chrysostum’s teaching writings that Paul went “from Illyricum to the very ends of the earth.”
3. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem (A.D. 633 – 637 wrote: “ ….. the unwearied champion of the orthodox faith against the monotheistic heresy, not worthy to be ranked with Athanasius and Cyril among the defenders of the truth against successive depravations.” (Smith and Wace, Dic. Christ. Biog., Vol. IV, p. 719) Robert Parsons in his “Three Conversions of England (p. 22) cites Sophronius as saying, in his sermon on “The nativity of the Apostles,” that St. Paul came to Britain. Parsons also cites –
4. Venantius Fortunatus, Bishop of Poitiers (born about A.D. 530), well-known Christian hymn-writer, author of “Vexilla Regis” (The Royal Banners forward go), speaks of St. Paul, “crossing the ocean” and visiting “Britain and the extreme West.” Although a Frenchman, this cultivated literary man must have met many of the refugee Britons who had fled to France before the Saxon invader and would have learned many traditions from them.
5. A very ancient tradition assigns the foundation of Bangor Abbey (in Britain) to St. Paul. Its rule was known as the “Rule of Paul.” The Abbots claimed to be his successors. Over every gate of the Abbey was Paul’s command, “If any will not work, neither shall he eat.” (a paraphrase from II Thess. 3:10)
6. The correspondence of Paul and Seneca (mentioned by Jerome in the fourth century A.D.) This ancient manuscript in Merton College, Oxford, which purports to contain a series of letters between St. Paul and Seneca, makes more than one allusion to St. Paul’s residence in Siluria, Britain,
These early documentary statements cannot lightly be dismissed. When considered together with the Biblical account of Paul’s life and teaching, and the archaeological evidence of the early Britons’ relationship with the so-called Lost Tribes of Israel (see King Solomon’s Temple - Capt) they afford convincing proof of St. Paul’s long sojourn in Britain and support the authenticity of the Long Lost Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.