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“ tism that I am baptized with "." They were to be ready on all occasions to lay down their lives for the truth of the doctrines which they preached; and with those fearful conditions before them they undertook the duty of converting mankind. Yet I know not that a specific and cruel death was predicted and made known to any of them as his unavoidable lot, except to him to whom this Epistle is ascribed ; and some of them, after a life of toil and suffering, may have expired tranquilly, and in the course of nature.
“ And now behold,” says St. Paul, “I go bound in the Spirit unto “ Jerusalem, not knowing the things that 6 shall befal me there, save that the Holy “ Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying " that bonds and afflictions abide me. With St. Peter the case was different: our Saviour, after his resurrection from the dead, at that awful season when every word must have sunk deeper into the mind than if
pronounced in the ordinary state of existence, our Saviour, I say, at that awful season fore
y St. Matt. xx. 23.
2 Acts xx. 22, 23.
warned St. Petert hat he was to suffer a violent death: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, “ When thou wast young thou girdedst thy« self and walkedst whither thou wouldest; “ but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt “ stretch forth thy hands, and another shall
gird thee, and carry thee whither 'thou “ wouldest not. This spake he, signifying
by what death he should glorify God.” Now if you will refer to the words of my text, you
will find that the writer seems to claim to himself and to his own person the fulfilment of this terrific prophecy; and that therefore could be no other than St. Peter.
Knowing,” says he, " that shortly I must “ put off this my tabernacle, even as our “ Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me.
The words of my text, then, may and must be considered by us as the last words of St. Peter's life: they were spoken or written in the contemplation of his speedy execution, at a time when he knows, as he tells us, that shortly he was to put off this his tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus “ Christ had showed him," by crucifixion. Yet he is calm, he is in the possession of his faculties : his last thoughts are about those whom he is to leave behind him in the world; those who through his preaching “ had obtained the like precious faith
a St. John xxi. 18, 19.
with himself.” What are the sentiments that he breathes, what is the information which he conveys to them at so solemn a moment? That he has devolved his power upon another? that he has left them in the hands of an infallible guide ? Nothing can be more foreign from his thoughts, or more alien to his expressions : on the contrary, his last effort seems to be to enable them to dispense with such a guide,
“ after his decease,” by “stirring “ them up,” by “putting them in remem“ brance” of Gospel truths, though they “ knew them already.” Neither does one vestige appear throughout this whole Epistle of the place at which it was written. What conclusion we should draw in point of doctrine from these undeniable facts, needs no more explanation. Those which we should draw with respect to practice are, that we adhere with fidelity to the only guide which the Apostle here appears to have any anxiety to leave behind him, the word of God. Let us study it zealously, and practise it faithfully, submitting ourselves to its injunctions, controlling our passions by its precepts, in the humble hope of its rewards when our Maker shall see fit to call us hence.
as he says,
ON THE VANITY OF HUMAN PURSUITS.
PHILIP. i. 21.
For to me to die is gain.
WHOEVER considers duly the hardships and sufferings of those persons on whom the duty was imposed of planting and propagating the Christian religion must confess that, except for the accomplishment of the great object which they had in view, life was not to be wished for on the terms on which they had it. Its prolongation could not be desired from those motives which are usually called personal, private, or selfish.
First, if we contemplate their situation during the ministry of their Divine Master, the adherents of one who was himself ex