« הקודםהמשך »
certain cases we shall incur positive guilt by the neglect of this duty; for ministers, magistrates, parents, and masters, are answerable for those sins in others which are owing to their connivance and encouragement.
Q. How should this difficult duty of reproof be discharged?
A. The occasion which calls forth our reproof should be weighty and important; and we should take care that our reproof be always free from passion or self-interest, and dictated only by a desire of doing good. It should likewise be expressed in the most decent and soft language, and at a time when favourable circumstances concur to render it effectual. When we reprehend the vices or errors of others, we should, at the same time, be willing to condemn ourselves; that, by exposing our own faults, we may, with the better grace, rectify those of others. We ought, by the just praises that we bestow, to endeavour to soften the severity of our reproofs; and we should, by our mildness, humility, and affection, prove that we are influenced by an earnest desire to promote the good of him whose errors and faults we point out.
ST. PETER's Day, June 29.
Q. What account is given of St. Peter? Å. St. Peter was born at Bethsaida, a city of Galilee.! His father Jonah was a fisherman, which humble and laborious trade he and his brother Andrew followed. They were the two first disciples whom our Saviour called. St. Peter's original name, Simon or Simeon, was, at his first coming to Christ, changed into that of Cephas, which, in the Syrian language, signifies a stone, or rocks from this it was. derived into the Greek megos, and so termed by us Peter. This name seems to denote the firmness and constancy which St. Peter should manifest in preaching the Gospel, and esta«. blishing the Church.
Q. What general remark do you make concerning the
1 John i. 44, &ce
lessone, epistles, and gospels for this day, and for the other holy days which follow to the beginning of the ecclesiastical year at Advent?
A. The lessons, epistles, and gospels for this day, and for the other holy days which occur in the remainder of the year, either relate some circumstances or events immediately connected with the festival, or convey such useful morai instruction as is calculated to aid us in imitating the virtues of those holy saints whose memories we commemorate.
Q. Why did our Saviour choose many to be his apostles who followed the humble trade of fishermen ?
A. Our Saviour chuse many of his disciples from among fishermen, in order to manifest, in a more striking manner, his divine power in establishing, by such humble instruments, his religion throughout the world.
Q. How was St. Peter called to be one of the apostles ?
A. St. Andrew having had the Messiah first revealed to him by John the Baptist, immediately acquainted his brother Peter with the glad tidings, and brought him to Christ. And some time afterwards, our Lord, by the display of his power in the miraculous draught of fishes, drew from St. Peter the humble acknowledgment, “ depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Our Saviour then com. inanded Peter to follow him, promising to make him a fisher of men ;m and from that time St. Peter became the constant and inseparable disciple of Christ, and, together with the two sons of Zebedee, St. James and St. John, was admitted into the most close and intimate familiarity with his blessed Lord.”
Q. What preparation did our Saviour make before he chose bis disciples?
A. Before he chose his disciples, Christ went into a solic. tary place to implore the direction and guidance of God his Almighly Father.
Q. What may we learn from this conduct of our Saviour?
Å. From this conduct of our Saviour we may learn that it is our duty, in all matters of importance, not only to use. our own reflection and judgment, but to implore the blessing and guidance of Heaven. And hence it appears to be the duty of the Bishops, the governors of the Church, earnestly to implore the divine direction in the choice of fit persons to serve before God in the ministry of the Church.
a Luke v. 9, 10, &c.
#Mark . 37; MM XV
Q. Did not St. Peter and the other apostles steadfastly adhere to our Saviour, when some of his disciples, offended at his doctrine, went away?
A. When some of the disciples, offended at the doctrine of our Saviour, forsook him and went away, St. Peter, with the rest of the twelve, adhered to him with great constancy and resolution, professing that they had no where else to go, but to him, because he had the words of eternal
Q. Did our Saviour give any personal prerogative to St. Peter, as universal pastor and head of the Church?
A. It does not appear that our Saviour gave any personal prerogative to St. Peter, as universal pastor or head of the Church. Though he tells Peter, that on “ this rock I will build my Church;" yet it is elsewhere said, that the Church is built “ on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone." And the promise given, first to St. Peter, on account of his resolute confession that Jesus was the Christ,q is afterwards given to all the apostles ;and the power there promised was actually conferred on them all. There is not a word said in the sacred writings of the superior power of St. Peter; but, on the contrary, in the very first council held at Jerusalem, (where, and not at Rome, was the mother Church) St. James, the Bishop of Jerusalem, presided, and authoritatively delivered the sentence;' while Peter, with Barnabas and Paul, only discussed the question before the council. In the epistles of Ignatius, and in the writings of the early ages of the Church, there is not a word said about the supremacy of the Bishops of Rome. Union with the Bishop was the principle of Church unity. The respect paid to the Bishops of Rome in the subsequent ages, was only a matter of cour. tesy to them as Bishops of the chief city of the empire. Their usurpations by a long course of intrigue, art, and corruption, were always steadfastly opposed and rejected by a great part of the Christian Church. All Bishops, ás successors of the apostles, have equal power and prerogative in Christ's Church.
Q. When our Saviour offered to wash the feet of Peter, did not he decline the honour
4. From a sense of his unworthiness, Peter sought to prevent our Lord from washing his feet; until, understanding o John vi. 68. p Eph. ii. 20; Rev, xxi, 14. 9 Matt. xvi. 16, 19.
* Acts xv. 7, 10
• Acts xy. 13.
the mystery of the action, and the advantage of it, he desired to be washed all over, rather than lose the benefit of it.
Q. What may we learn from this action of our Saviour ?
A. From this conduct of our Saviour, we may learn the virtues of humility and condescension; we are taught not to decline the lowest acts of kindness and charity, since our blessed Lord thus abased himself.
Q. Did not St. Peter discover, on all occasions, a warm and impetuous temper?
A. St. Peter appears to have been naturally a man of a warm and impetuous temper, and heartily engaged in his Master's service. This dispositic! discovered itself in the zealous professions which he made in the garden, that though all should forsake his Master; yet would not he deny him
; and also in his zealous wish to use the sword in his Master's defence, for which he was rebuked by our Lord.
p. Did not St. Peter deny his Master?
A. Trusting too much to his own strength, St. Peter became a signal example of human frailty, by denying that Master, to whose service he had so zealously pledged himself. The penetrating look of Christ awakened in St. Peter a poignant conviction of his guilt and ingratitude--he passionately lamented his base and ungrateful conduct, and thus became a lively pattern for us when we offend our gracious Lord and Master.
Q. Why did our Saviour appear first to St. Peter after his resurrection ?
A. St. Peter was the apostle to whom our blessed Lord first appeared after his resurrection. This honour was probably first conferred on St. Peter, to comfort him under his great sorrow for his fall, to encourage him with fresh assurances of the favour of Christ, and to confirm him in the great doctrine of the resurrection. And our Saviour required of him, as a farther proof of his love, to “ feed his sheep, faithfully to instruct and teach them, carefully to rule and guide them."
Q. Why does our Saviour inquire so particularly of St. Peter concerning his love for him?
A. In this conference, our Lord thrice questioned St. Peter concerning his love to him, with a view to put him in mind of his thrice denying his Saviour; that from the sense of his weakness, he might be engaged to a better discharga
u Joha xili, 9, Sac.
v Mark xiv, 29, 31.
w John xxi. 16.
of his duty, and give more than ordinary assurance of his sincere affection for his Master. And the pressing inquiries which our Lord made of St. Peter, concerning his love for him, will also teach us, that as nothing but a strong love to Christ will support a man under all the difficulties and dangers of the pastoral function, so the best testimony that can be given of a sincere affection in that great office, is carefully to feed the fock of Christ, and with zeal to endeavour to advance the salvation of men.
Q. What was the success of the first preaching of St. Peter and the rest of the apostles ?
A. At the first preaching of St. Peter and the other apos. tles, after the descent of the Holy Ghost, three thousand souls were converted.
Q. How did St. Peter punish the sacrilege of Ananias and Sapphira?
A. St. Peter punished the sacrilege of Ananias and Sapphira with instant death. They had consecrated some land unto God; and afterwards, through covetousness, they pur. loined part of the price for which it sold, and laid only part of the sum at the apostle's feet. The dreadful punishment which they suffered, should make all men careful not to alienate what is devoted to God; since what is so set apart, in a peculiar manner belongs to him, and the converting of it to other uses is robbing God.
Q. Where was St. Peter's first mission ?
A. St. Peter's first mission was to Samaria; to which place he was sent to confirm those whom Philip the Deacon had converted; and, by prayer and imposition of hands, to communicate to them the gift of the Holy Ghost. He there severely rebuked Simon Magus for supposing that “ the gift of God could be purchased with money.
Q. How were the prejudices of St. Peter against preach. ing the Gospel to the Gentiles removed ?
A. Soon after his return from Samaria, he had his national prejudices concerning the Gentiles removed by means of a special vision, when the relation of what had happened to Cornelius fully convinced him that God was no respecter of persons; and that in every nation, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted with him.a
Q. What was St. Peter's conduct in the dispute between the Jewish and Gentile converts?
X Acts ij. 41.
y Acts v. 5, 10.
2 Acts vili. 14, 15, &c.
a Acts X