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but too human vice of inordinate power, that of endeavouring to monopolize a portion of the divine attributes. Peter also was one of those whom our Saviour took
with him into the mountain for the purpose of witnessing his transfiguration ; a miracle not less stupendous than that which was employed for the conversion of St. Paul, but which was also witnessed by two other of the disciples. It is merely necessary to mention here the unbidden zeal of St. Peter in the defence of his Master when the multitude came out to take him, and his
predicted weakness in the repeated denial of the same Master when arraigned and standing before his judges. It should almost appear that after the execution of our Saviour this disciple had resumed, or thought of resuming in part at least, his previous occupation in life ; for at the conclusion of the Gospel according to St. John, in which is contained the fullest account of our Saviour's re-appearance upon earth, is the following relation : “ There were together Simon “ Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and
Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons
“ of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. “ Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also
with " thee. They went forth and entered into
a ship immediately, and that night they
caught nothing.” But the pathetic injunction of the Saviour three times repeated, and conjuring the disciple by the love he bare him to feed his lambs, to “ feed his “sheep,” must have totally extinguished the design of secular employment, had any
such been entertained, and reclaimed every faculty of body and mind to the work of the ministry.
In the Acts of the Apostles we find St. Peter among those who witnessed the ascension of our Saviour into heaven. He it was who proposed the arrangement by which Matthias the Just was chosen into the place of the unhappy Judas. He made the first sermon on the descent of the Holy Ghost, evinced by the miraculous gift of tongues", the fruit of which sermon was the addition of three thousand souls to the faith in Christ. He baptises, performs miracles, exhorts to repentance, and is the dreadful minister of heaven's vengeance on the mean falsehood of Ananias and Sapphira. He is persecuted, cast into prison, and delivered by an angel. Samaria first received the Gospel from Philip, but when this was known at Jerusalem Peter and John are dispatched thither by the other Apostles to confirm and propagate the accepted faith. This proves that no individual supremacy was exercised by any of the body, but that, according to their Master's injunction, they
d Acts ii. 41. .
lived as brethren." When Paul and Barnabas, after the conversion of the former, come up from Antioch to Jerusalem, to consult with the other Apostles on the propriety of imposing the Jewish ceremonies on the Gentiles, Peter first opposed the imposition of such a work upon the neck of these converts, but James dictated the terms of the letter in which the decision was announced, that they should “abstain “ from meats offered to idols, and from
e Acts viii. 14.
blood, and from things strangled, and from “ fornication."
The history of the Acts of the Apostles closes, as I have said on a former occasion, with St. Paul's arrival and abode at Rome; but it quits St. Peter at a much earlier period of his life, his name, I believe, never occurring in the last thirteen chapters of the work; neither is any thing certain known of him after his delivery out of prison by the angel, except that he was present at the first council of the Apostles, recorded in the fifteenth chapter, and that he was afterwards severely reprehended by St. Paul for his culpable weakness in separating himself from the Gentile converts, through fear of those of the circumcision : “But when Peter
was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed :
for before that certain came from James “ he did eat with the Gentiles; but when
they were come he withdrew and sepa“ rated himself, fearing them which were of
& Acts xv. 20. 29.
“ the circumcision h.” The latter actions of his life, the regions in which he exercised his ministry, and the place in which it was terminated, are unnoticed in Scripture; and therefore, could they be discovered with certainty, they could not form the ground of any important religious conclusion, or challenge the reverence of Christians to his supposed successors.
I now come to consider the brief works of St. Peter, from the latter of which my text is chosen : I shall discourse on them separately, as they will be found to be placed in different circumstances.
The first Epistle general of St. Peter, then, has always been received as the work of the author whose superscription it bears from the time at which it was written and published—from the earliest recorded origin of Christianity. And in the second Epistle, written some time after the first had been in circulation, the author claims the first as
This second Epistle,” says he, “ beloved, I now write unto you; in both
h Gal. ii. 11, 12.