Acts 28:15

And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.

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 {l} says, Linus was the first bishop of it, the same that is mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:21 and according to the same writer {m}, 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 {o}; 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 {p} 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 {q}, 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 {r} said; nor a market in the city itself, as says Jerom {s}, 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 {t} 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" {w}, 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.

{l} Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 2.
{m} Ib. c. 13.
{n} Ib. c. 4. 15.
{o} Magdeburg. Eccl. Hist. cent. 2. c. 10. p. 165, &c. cent. 3. c. 10. 193, &c. cent. 4. c. 10. p. 736, &c.
{p} Sermonum, l. 1. Satyr 5.
{q} Ad Atticum, l. 2. ep. 11.
{r} Isidor. Pelusiot. Ep. l. 1. ep. 337.
{s} De locis Hebraicis, fol. 95. K.
{t} Nat. Hist. l. 14. c. 6.
{u} Aurel. Victor. Epitome, p. 346.
{w} Optat. de Schism Donat. l. 1. p. 26.