صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

ticular lecture to this virtue, and, in every instance of it, shewed plainly he came not to share the pride and glories of life, or gratify the carnal expectation of ambitious followers; which, had he affected external pomp, he might have accompiilhed, by engrossing, as he could have done by a word, all the riches of the world; and by the fplendour of his court, and dignity of his person, had been greater than Solomon in all his glory, and have attracted the applause and admiration of the world :—this every disciple knew was in his power;---so that the meanness of his birth, --the toils and poverty of his life,--the low offices in which he was engaged, by preach, ing the gospel to the poor—the numberless dangers and inconveniencies attending the execution,—were all voluntary.--This humble choice both of friends and family out of the meanest of the people,-amongst whom he appeared rather as a servant than a master, coming not, as he often told them, to be ministered unto, but to minister,-and as the prophet had foretold in that mournful description

of him, having no form nor comeliness, nor any beauty that we should desire him.-

How could a disciple, you'll say, reflect without benefit on this amiable character, with all the other tender pathetic proofs of humility, which his memory would suggest had happened of a piece with it, in the course of his master's life ;-—but particularly at the conclufion and great cataltrophe of it,-at his crucifixion; the impressions of which could never be forgotten.-When a life full of fo many engaging instances of humility, was crowned with the most endearing one of humbling himself to the death of the cross,—the death of a slave and malefactor,--suffering himself to be led like a lamb to the slaughter,—dragged to Calvary without opposition or complaint, and as a sheep before his shearer is dumb, opening not his mouth.

O blessed Jesus! well might a disciple of thine learn of thee to be meek and lowly of heart, as thou exhortedst them all, for thou wast meek and lowly:-well might they profit, when such a lesson was seconded by such an example !-It is not to be doubted what


force this must have had on the actions of those who were attendants and constant followers of our Saviour on earth ;-saw the meekness of his temper in the occurrences of his life ,and the amazing proof of it at his death, who, though he was able to call down legions of angels to his rescue, or by a single act of omnipotence to have destroyed his enemies; yet suppressed his almighty power,-neither resented-or revenged the indignity done him, but patiently suffered himfelf to be numbered with the transgressors.

It could not well be otherwise, but that every eye-witness of this must have been wrought upon, in some degree, as the apostle, to let the same mind be in him which was also in Christ Jesus.--Nor will it be disputed how much of the honour of St. Peter's behaviour in the present transaction might be owing to the impressions he received, on that memorable occasion of his Lord's death, finking still deeper, from the affecting rememberance of the many instances his master had given of this engaging virtue in the course of his life.

St. Peter certainly was of a warm and fen

fible nature, as we may collect from the facred writings,-a temper fittest to receive all the advantages which such impressions could give ; and therefore, as it is a day and place sacred to this great apostle, it may not be unacceptable, if I engage the remainder of your time, in a short essay upon his character, principally as it relates to this particular dispofition of heart, which is the subject of the difcourse.

This great apostle was a man of distinction amongst the disciples,—and was one of such virtues and qualifications, as seemed to have recommended him more than the advantage of his years, or knowlege.

On his first admission to our Saviour's acquaintance, he gave a most evident testimony that he was a man of real and tender goodness, when being awakened by the miraculous draught of the fishes, as we read in the fifth of St. Luke, and knowing the author must necessarily be from God, he fell down instantly at his feet, broke out into this humble and pious reflection ;-Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord !—The cenfure, you

will say, expresses him a sinful man,—but so to censure himself,--with such unaffected modeity, implies more effectually than any thing else could,—that he was not in the common sense of the word,-a sinful, but a good man, who, like the publican in the temple, was no less justified, for a self-accusation extorted merely from the humility of a devout heart jealous of its own imperfections.-And though the words, depart from me, carry in them the face of fear,—yet he who heard them, and knew the heart of the fpeaker, found they carried in them a greater measure of desire.- For Peter was not willing to be discharged from his new guest, but fearing his unfitness to accompany him, longed to be made more worthy of his conversation.-A meek and modelt diftrust of himself, seemed to have had no small share, at that time, in his natural temper and complexion; and though it would be greatly improved, and no doubt much better principled by the advantages on which I enlarged above, in his commerce and observation with his Lord and master,-yet it appears to have been an early and distinguishing part of his

« السابقةمتابعة »