صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

bidding her to be mindful of our Lord. The apostle is also said to have had a daughter by the name of Petronilla.

Two epistles of Peter are received into the Canon of the New Testament. The authenticity of the first is well established and generally allowed. It is addressed "to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia." By these "strangers" is most probably-meant the Jewish Christians who sojourned in those regions; though some commentators would have the term to apply both to Jewish and Gentile converts. The epistle was written from Rome, which is figuratively denominated Babylon, in the concluding salutation. Its purpose was to strengthen and comfort those to whom it was addressed, who were suffering under the persecutions which had begun to be fiercely waged against them by the heathens. The topics urged in it are equal to its design, and are highly consolatory and animating. Of the whole epistle, Erasmus says: "It is worthy of the Prince of the apostles, and full of apostolical dignity and authority. It is sparing in words, but full of sense."

The genuineness of the second epistle has been called in question from early times. It never was fully disproved, however; and there was good reason for numbering it at last among the sacred

books. The testimony of Eusebius concerning it is as follows: "One epistle of Peter, called his first, is acknowledged. This the presbyters of ancient times have quoted in their writings as undoubtedly genuine. But that called his second, we have been informed by tradition, has not been received as a part of the New Testament. Nevertheless, appearing to many to be useful, it hath been carefully studied with the other Scriptures." Origen, who flourished in the third century, says of the two epistles: "Peter, on whom the Church is built, hath left an epistle universally acknowledged. Let it be granted that he has also written a second; for it is doubted." That it was doubted is no proof of anything more than that the evidence in its favor was not so complete as that which could be produced for other sacred books. And it may be said, both of this epistle and the few other writings of the canon which were not fully received, that they manifest in their history how careful the first Christians were in examining the claims of alleged apostolical compositions, and adopting them as of authority in the Church. The learned and candid Lardner observes, that so well founded was the judgment of those early Christians concerning the books of the New Testament, that no writing which was by them pronounced genuine has, since their time, been found spurious; neither

have we, at this day, the least reason to think any book genuine which they rejected.

We may be authorized, therefore, in accepting the second epistle of Peter as his true work, notwithstanding the rather doubtful character of its evidence. If it was written by him, it was probably written to the same persons, and from the same place, with the first. It was written, also, not long after the first, and not, long before the death of the apostle.

The day consecrated to St. Peter as that of his martyrdom, in the Roman Calendar, to which the Calendar of the English Church corresponds, is June 29.

ANDREW.

OF Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, we are told but little in the sacred writings; not enough, indeed, to enable us to form any estimate of his character. We may be permitted to conjecture, however, from the circumstance of his having been a disciple of John the Baptist, and also from his having gone voluntarily to hear the instructions of Jesus, and thus made himself his first disciple among those who were afterwards his apostles, we may conjecture, I say, from these circumstances, which have already been stated in the life of Peter, that the temperament of Andrew was sober and religious, and that his mind was remarkably open to the reception of truth. So far as we can argue at all, we may argue the existence of everything that is good, from such commendable appearances. We can easily believe that he was a serious, candid, steadfast man; very probably without the shining talents and the burning zeal of his brother, and quite as probably without his brother's prominent faults. That not much is recorded of him is a

proof that he was not very forward or active. among the twelve; but it is by no means a proof that he wanted good sense, discretion, or stability.

We may also confidently deduce the affectionateness of this apostle's character from the circumstance of his seeking his brother, first of all, with that eager exclamation, "We have found the Messiah!" This fact alone would be enough to interest us in him, did we know nothing of him beside. After spending part of a day with Jesus in his place of abode, and being satisfied that he was the long-looked-for Redeemer, he does not shut up this knowledge in his own breast, and feed upon the honor alone; neither does he go and make himself of consequence by blazoning the matter abroad; but he hastens to share the pleasure and the confidence with his brother. "He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah. And he brought him to Jesus." His joy was increased by his thus imparting it; and so will our piety be strengthened by communication. Who, that has truly found Jesus, will not desire, after the example of Andrew, to lead a brother to his blessed abode? And who that succeeds in leading a brother there will not feel that he crosses the sacred threshold with more delight and confidence than before?

« السابقةمتابعة »