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gospel to the Jews, and indeed, by a special vision, to the Gentiles also; and the centurion and his family, converted and baptized by him, were the first fruits of Christianity out of the Jewish pale. He was therefore the foundation of the church; the rock on which its beginnings were laid. But there is nothing transferable in this part of his dignity, at least. The foundations of the church are not to be laid twice and thrice, and over and over again, because a series of men calling themselves popes, claim to be his successors. Neither is there any promise of transmitting the keys of the kingdom of heaven, which signify only that authority which Peter, as an accredited apostle of Christ, was to have in his ministry. He was empowered to act in general as an ambassador from Heaven ; to enact regulations, to establish and to break down, to do and to undo, with the concurrence and power of the Head of the Church himself. And this authority, let it be remembered, was committed to all the rest of the apostles in precisely the same words; for they also were to preach their Master's doctrine to the world, and needed his delegated power in things pertaining to his kingdom. To them also did he say, therefore, “ Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.” The preeminence of Peter, then, appears to be simply a precedence among his brethren and equals, which was conceded to his abilities and energy; and a preference which was bestowed on him as a teacher of the religion of Christ. But there is no promise, no intimation, in the Scriptures, that even this preëminence was to descend on other men; nor does the similarity between the popes of Rome and Simon Peter of Bethsaida, between the triple crowned sovereigns of Christendom, who once set their feet on kings' necks, and the plain fisherman of the sea of Galilee, seem to be, in any point of view, very close or striking.
Whatever elation of heart may have been produced in Peter by the praise of a beloved Master, it was almost immediately doomed to be checked and mortified by the same impartial voice; for in the very chapter which records this last occurrence, we are told that the disciple drew upon himself one of the severest rebukes which Jesus ever uttered. 6. From that time forth," says the evangelist," began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day." Intimations of this kind were always peculiarly unwelcome and enigmatical to the disciples; and on this occasion Peter came forward as usual, and with even more than his usual warmth, took
his Master, and began to rebuke him, saying, “ Be it far from thee, Lord; this shall not be unto thee." Though he had so lately acknowledged Jesus to be the Messiah, and had adhered to him in his humble and unkingly condition, yet even he had not wholly disjoined the ideas of worldly power and dignity from the person and office of the expected Saviour; and the thought of his violent and shameful death was altogether shocking to him. But Jesus was particularly anxious to crush these misapprehensions, and to familiarize his followers to his real situation and his approaching and inevitable fate. He therefore thought proper, before them all, to express in a manner which might make them feel, how earnest his disapprobation was of their temporal expectations and fancies. “ He turned, and said unto Peter, get thee behind me, Satan; (tempter, adversary;] thou art an offence unto me; for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” The disciples had yet to learn,
Simon Peter had yet to learn, how
pure, unearthly, and immortal that religion was, which they were appointed one day to promulgate; how it associated itself more with human suffering than with human glory and pride; more with the secret sympathies and internal affections, much more, than with the outward adornments of our nature; and the early death of their Master an event which they could not bear to think, and could hardly conceive of, but which he, the divine Master, saw with a clear and steady visionyet to teach them, that the infant doctrine which was to go through the world, consoling the sorrows of the mourner, and pouring balm into wounded bosoms, was itself first to be nurtured with tears, and baptized in blood.
There is no doubt that Peter received his Master's rebuke properly, for we find that he was still distinguished and confided in by him. He, together with James and John, was selected to witness the transfiguration on the mount; and in the same company, he had also witnessed the resurrection of the daughter of Jairus. It appears, moreover, that about this time he and his Lord dwelt together at Capernaum, in the same house; for when the gatherers of the annual tribute came to Peter, he went into the house,
and was there told by Jesus how he was to obtain a piece of money which would pay for them both. It would appear, therefore, that they lived together, and if so, that the disciple was high in the favor and confidence of his Master. He seems also to have exercised a sort of conceded preëminence among the twelve, as we often find him speaking in their name and behalf, both in asking and in answering questions. His rank is now evidently fixed. He is honored by his Master, notwithstanding his imperfections, and he is the head of the apostles, both from appointment and character.
But his fault of impetuosity is not yet mended. It is one of the last faults, perhaps, which ever is mended, because it is constitutional. On that most solemn night of the last supper, Jesus, in order that he might at once testify his affection for his disciples, whom he loved. unto the end, and show them also an example of practical humility, began to wash their feet, as if he had been their servant. When he came to Peter, that disciple, hurt and grieved that his Master should undertake so menial an office, gives way to his feelings, again presumes to dictate to that very Master, and exclaims, “Lord, dost thou wash my feet ?” Jesus condescends to expostu