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Lives of the Apostles.


St. Peter.


additional title of Cephas was conferred up

on him by his Master, to denote the firm. Account of the Life of St. Peter, prior to ness of his faith ; the word Cephas, in the

his Call to the Apostleshipof the blessed Syriac, the common language of the Jews, · Jesus.

at that time, signifying a Stone or Rock;

and thence it is called in Greek, Petros, T. Peter was born at Bethsaida, a city and by us Peter, which implies the same

of Galilee, situate on the banks of the thing. lake of Genesareth, called also the sea of Galileo, from its being situated in that

With regard to the parents of St. Peter, country, and the lake of Tiberius, from

the evangelists have also been silent, except that city being built on its banks. The par

in telling us that his father's name was Joticular time of this great apostle's birth can

nah, who was highly honoured by our blesnot be known: The evangelists, and other

sed Saviour, who chose two of his sous, writers among the primitive christians, hay

Andrew and Peter, to be his apostles, and ing been silent with regard to this particular.

preachers of the glad tidings of salvation to It is however, pretty certain, that he was

| the children of men. at least ten years older than bis master; the circumstances of his being married, and in

St. Peter, in his youth, was brought up a settled course of life, when he first became

to the trade of fishing, on the lake of Betha follower of the great Messiah, and that au

saida, famous for different kinds of fish, thority and respect the gravity of his person

which excelled all others in the fineness of procured bin among the rest of the apostles,

their taste. sufficiently declare this conjecture to be just.

Here he followed the trade of fishing, As he was a descendant of Abraham, he but afterwards removed to Capernaum. was circumcised according to the rites of where he settled; for we find he had a the Mosaic law, and called by bis parents house there when our Saviour began his Simon or Simeon, a name comnion at that public ministry, and there he paid tribute. time among the Jews. But after his be- 1 Nicephorus tells us that Heles, the mo. coming a disciple of the blessed Jesus, the ther of Constantine, erected a beautiful church over the ruins of St.

CHAP. II. in honour of that apostle.

The Manner by which Peter arrived to the Capernaum was as well situated as Beth | Knowledge of the blessed Jesus; and saida, for carrying no his trade, standing of his Call to the Discipleship. at the influx of the Jordan into the sea of Galilee, and where he might with equal ad. CACRED history bath not ascertained of vantage reap the fruits of an honest and in what sect the apostle was. We know, dustrious diligence. The business of Peter indeed, that his brother Andrew was a fol. was both mean and toilsome; it exposed him lower of John the Baptist, that preacher of to all the injuries of the weather, the tem1 repentance; and it is very unlikely that he, pestuousness of the sea, and the darkness who was ready to carry his brother the early and horror of the night, and all to acquire tidings of the Messiah, that the Sun of Righa mean livelihood for himself and family. teousness was already risen in those parts, But meanness of worldly degree is no obsta should not be equally solicitous to bring him cles to the favour of God; nay, if we review under the discipline and influence of John the state of christianity, from its rise to the the Baptist, the day:star wbich appeared to present period, we shall find that its friends usher in the appearance of the Son of God. and votaries consist rather of persons of hum Besides; Peter's great readiness and curi. ble and lowly stations of life, than of the i losity at the first news of Christ's appearing, great, the diggified, and the opulent.

to come to him and converse with him, shews,

that his expectation had been awakened, and And herein are manifested the wise and some glimmering rays of hope conveyed to admirable method used by Divine Provi. | him by the preaching and ministry of John, dence, in making choice of such mean and who was “the voice of one crying in the unlikely, instruments, in planting and pro- wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, pagating the christian religion in the world make his paths straight." Men who were destitute of the advantages of education, and brought up to the mean He became acquainted with the immacuest employments, were chosen to confound | late Lamb of God, in the following manner : the wise, and overturn the learning of the The blessed Jesus having spent thirty years great. Such were the persons whom the in the solitude of a private life, had lately Almighty sent to propagate the religion of been baptized by Jobn in Jordan, and there bis Son; to silence the wise, the scribe, and owned by the solemn attestation of bearen the disputer of this world, and to make fool. to be the Son of God; whereupon he was imish the wisdom of the earth. For though mediately hurried into the wilderness, and rhe Jews required a sign, and the Greeks there for forty days maintained a personsought after wisdom; though the preach al contest with the devil. But, having coning of a crucified Saviour made no impres- quered this great enemy of mankind, he sion on the former, and wisdom became of returned to the place beyond Jordan, where Jitile avail to the latter; yet by this John was baptizing his proselytes, and en. preaching God was pleased to save them deavouring to answer the Jews, who had that believed, and in the event made it sent a deputation to him to enquire concernappear,' that the wisdom of God passeth ing this new Messiah that appeared among all understanding. That so' the honour them. To satisfy these curious enquirers of of ail may redound to himself, “ that no Israel, John faithfully related every thing flesh should glory in bis presence, but 'he knew concerning bim, gave him the that he that glorieth should glory in the greatest character, and soon after pointed Lord.”

him out to his disciples : upon which two of them presently followed the great Re- , into every part of the country, to seek opdeemer of mankind, one of which was An: portunities of doing good to the children of drew, Simon's brother.

men; so that by the constancy of preach

ing, and the reputation of his miracles, his Nor did he conceal the joyful discovery fame was spread throughout all Judea; and he had made; for early in the morning he multitudes of people flocked to him from hastened to acquaint his brother Simon that all parts, to bear his doctrines, and be speche had found the Messiah. It is not enough tators of his mighty works. to be happy alone: grace is a communicative principle, that, like the circles in the | But to avoid this prodigious throng of water, delights to multiply itself, and to people, our great Redeemer often retired diffuse its influences all around, especially to some solitary place, to indulge the prion those whom nature has placed nearest to vacies of contemplation. In one of these us. I have, said he, with rapture to his retreats, on the banks of the sea of Galilee, brother, found that eminent person so long the multitude found him out, and ran to and signally foretold by the prophets, and him from the city. Our Saviour, therefore, whom all the devout and pious among the to a void the crowd, stepped into a fishing boat sons of Jacob so earnestly expected.

which lay near the shore, and belonged to Simon, who was one of those who waited

Simon Peter, who, together with his comfor the redemption of Israel, ravished with

panions, were on shore drying their nets the joyful news, and impatient of delay,

after an unsuccessful night spent in toil and presently followed his brother to the place;

labour. The blessed Jesus, who might and, on his arrival, our blessed Saviour im.

have commanded, was pleased to entreat

Peter, who now returned to his boat, to mediately gave him a proof of his divinity; saluting him at first sight by his name, and

thrust off a little from the land, that he

might instruct the people, who were gathertelling him both who he was, his name, and kindred, and what title should soon be con

ing in prodigious crowds on the border of ferred upon him.

the lake. But whether these two sons of Jonah con Peter gladly complied with the request of stantly attended in person from that time his Master, who delivered his heavenly doc. on the great Redeemer of mankind, and trine to the people on the shore. As soon became his disciples, the sacred history is as he had ended his discourse, he resolved silent. It is, however, probable, that they to seal by a miracle, that the people might were instructed in the first rudiments of his be persuaded he was a teacher come from doctrines; and then, by the leave of their God. Accordingly he ordered Simon to great and benevolent Master, returned to row farther from the shore, and to cast his their families, and to their callings; for it net into the sea. To which Simon answer. is reasonable to suppose, that the blessed ed, that they had laboured the preceding Jesus was not at this time willing to awaken night and had taken nothing; and, if they the jealousy of the rulers of Israel, and the

could not then succeed, there were little suspicion of the Romans, by a numerous re hopes of it now, as the day was far less tinue, and therefore dismissed his disciples, proper for fishing than the night. But as and among the rest Andrew and Peter, who

his Master was pleased to command, he returned to their trade of fishing on the would obey; and accordingly he let down lake, and where our blessed Redeemer after. his net, when, to the astonishment both of wards found them.

him and his companions, so great a multiThe holy Jesus had now more than a

tude of fishes were enclosed, that they were year entered on his public ministry, going ' obliged to call their partners to their assist

4 с

ance.- Amazed at this miraculous draught religion in the world for which he himself of fishes; Simon Peter, in an extacy of ad- | left the mansions of heaven, and put on the miration, blended with awe and humility, | veil of mortality. In order to this, he withfell prostrate at his Master's feet, acknow. drew privately, in the evening, to a solitary Jedging himself a vile and sinful person, mountain, where he spent the night in soand thinking himself unworthy of being lemn addresses to his Almighty Father, for admitted into the presence of a person so 1 rendering the great work he was going to immediately sent from God. But the com undertake, prosperous and successful..' passionate Son of the most High, kindly removed his fears; telling him, that this Early the next morning the disciples came miracle was wrought to confirm his faith, to him, out of whom he made choice of and indicate to him that the Almighty had twelve to be his apostles, and the attendappointed a more noble employment for ants on his person. The him, that of saving the souls of the children of men.

These he afterwards invested with the

power of working miracles, and sent them From this time Peter and his companions into different parts of Judea, in order to became the inseparable and constant disci., carry on with more rapidity the great work ciples of the great Messiah, living under the which he himself had so happily begun. , rules of his discipline and institutions.

All the Evangelists in their enumera: Soon after our blessed Saviour returned to tion of these apostles constantly place St. Capernaum with his disciples, where they Peter first. But we must not, on that acfound the mother-in-law of Peter danger. count, suppose that St. Peter was invested ously ill of a fever. But the compassionate with any personal prerogative above bis Jesus, who never omitted any opportunity brethren; none of them ever intimated any of doing good to the human race, rebuked such thing, and St Paul says expressly, the disease, and taking her by the hand, re- that he himself was not inferior to the very stored her in a moment to her former health ;

chiefest apostle. demonstrating at once his power and willingness to relieve the sons and daughters of Soon after this election, the blessed Jesus affliction.

attended by Peter and the two sons of Zebe. dee, followed Jairus, a ruler of the syna. gogue, to his house, in order to restore his

daughter, an only child, who lay at the point CHAP. III.

of death; but before their arrival, a messen

ger arrived with the news that the damsel Peculiar Transactions of this Apostle, was dead, and therefore unnecessary for

from the Time of his being chosen, to his our Saviour to give himself any farther troublessed Master's entering the City of ble. But our blessed Saivour bid the ruler Jerusalem.

not despair; for if he believed, his daugh.

ter should yet be restored to her former THE blessed Jesus having entered upon health. And accordingly, on his arrival, 1 his important mission, thought proper he took the maid by the band, and, with the to select some peculiar persons from among power of a word, recalled her fleeting spirit, his followers, to be constant witnesses of wbich had quitted its earthly tabernacle, his miracles and doctrine, and who, after and restored her again to life and health. his departure, might be entrusted with the care of building his church, and planting that I We have no farther account of St. Peter in

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