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The address of the second Epistle, to which I now proceed, is much more comprehensive than that of the first, and, therefore, much more congenial to the great Apostle's mind at the closing scene of life: “ Simon Peter, a servant and an Apostle of “ Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained

like precious faith with us,” that is, to converts of every race and country, grace " and peace be multiplied.” There are, however, some peculiarities with respect to this Epistle of which I must not omit the mention. There was an early period of the Church, antecedent to the fourth century, during which it was not everywhere received as canonical, nor was it universally ascribed to St. Peter. The propositions, however, which I have stated, must be understood in their strictest and most literal sense. When it is said that the Epistle was not everywhere received, it is of course meant that it was very generally received: and with respect to the second proposition, it must be observed, that they who did not ascribe the Epistle to St. Peter ascribed it to some one of Apostolic authority; and on account of its utility it was by them read and studied.

many Jews in the time of Herod *. From hence, therefore, it is most probable that the Epistle of St. Peter was dated.

Lib. xv. c. 2.

At its first appearance there was no doubt either that it was of Apostolic origin and authority, or that St. Peter was the author ; for a writer coeval with the Apostles frequently" alludes to it in the portion of his works which still remains. That writer, whom I have before cited, is thus mentioned by

+ Irenæus and Eusebius: the words of the latter are: μετά των άλλων εσπουδάσθη γραφών *. This writer, who, according to Cave, finished his history A.D. 325, only gives it as hearsay, that some had not esteemed the second Epistle of St. Peter canonical: Tìv pegouévnu αυτού δευτέραν ούκ ενδιάθηκον μεν είναι παρειλήφαμεν. For the word {vdiáİnkov, see Suicer.

Four times. The use of the verb kplvw in 2 Pet. ii. 6. seems to confirm the common reading retained by Wotton in his edition of St. Clement, who is speaking of the same event, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, rñs περιχώρου πάσης κριθείσης δια πυρός και θείου τ.


* Lib. iii. c. 3.

† St. Clem. c. 11.


St. Paul in his Epistle to the Philippians : “ I intreat thee also, true yoke-fellow, help “ those women which laboured with me in “ the Gospel, with Clement also, and with “ other my fellow-labourers, whose names

in the book of life *." In truth a supposed difference in style between the two Epistles seems to have been the sole cause why the latter was attributed to any other writer than St. Peter, and solutions coeval with the doubt appeared to explain the difficulty. More acute and accomplished critics of a later era have professed their incompetence to discover a decided distinction in the second, and have produced multiplied instances of its genuine affinity to the first.

Is there not something affecting in the consideration, that, when we cast our eyes back over a period of nearly eighteen hundred years, and fix them on the records of our faith as they then existed on their first publication, we should find that, while the empires of the world have undergone every

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change which human force or policy could effect, they have descended down the stream of time unaltered and unhurt; effecting under all the forms of government, and amidst all the shades of civilization, their high purpose of converting mankind; and that the book, the sacred book, which the Evangelists and Apostles first gave to their contemporaries, was that which is now placed on our desks, and read in our Churches ?

The arguments, however, by which the Epistle is proved positively to have come from the hand of him to whom it is generally ascribed are: first, the introduction to it: “ Simon Peter, a servant and an

Apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have “ obtained like precious faith.” Next, the declaration that the writer was one of those who witnessed the transfiguration of our Saviour on the mountain, at which only Peter, James, and John were present: “For

we have not followed cunningly devised “ fables, when we made known unto you " the power and coming of our Lord Jesus “ Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his ma




jesty; for he received from God the Father “honour and glory, when there came such

voice to him from the excellent glory, “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am “ well pleased.” Next, the declaration that the writer of this Epistle had sent a former: and lastly, his affectionate mention and

approbation of St. Paul: “ And account that “ the long-suffering of our Lord is salva

tion; even as our beloved brother Paul

also, according to the wisdom given unto “ him, hath written unto you.”

I have never seen it observed, but it appears to me that this short Epistle contains one of those accidental evidences of authenticity which, not being the effect of design, are often of more force in compelling belief than the most formal proofs, and which I hasten to explain. It is very certain that the first propagators of the Gospel were informed by their divine Master that they had nothing to expect in this world, in return for the good which they were to confer on mankind, but insults, persecutions, and probably death: “ Ye shall drink indeed of

my cup, and be baptized with the bap

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