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account.--Where, upon the desertion of several other disciples-our Saviour puts the question to the twelve,-- Will ye also go away?Then, says the text, Péter answered and said,-Lord! whither shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life,—and we believe, and know that thou art Christ the son of God. Now, if we look into the gospel, we find what our Saviour pronounced on this very confession.
Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for fleth and blood hath not revealed it unto thee,—but my father which is in heaven. That our Saviour had the words of eternal life, - Peter was able to deduce from principles of natural reason; because reason was able to judge from the internal marks of his doctrine, that it was worthy God, and. accommodated properly to advance human nature and hụman happiness.
But for all this,--reason could not infallibly determine that the messenger
of this doctrine was the Messias, the eternal son of the living God: to know this required an illumination ;—and this illumination, I say, i seems to have been vouchsafed at that instant as a reward, as would have i been sufficient evidence by itself of : the disposition of his heart.
I have now finished this short essay upon the character of St. Peter, not with a loud panegyric upon
power of his keys, or a ranting encomium upon some monastic qualifications,
with which a popish pulpit' would ring upon such an occasion, without doing 'much honour to the saint, or good to the audience ;-but have drawn it with truth and fobriety, representing it as it was, as consisting of virtues the most worthy of imitation,--and grounded, not upon apo. cryphal accounts and legendary inven. tions, the wardrobe from whence popery dresses out her saints on these days, but upon matters of fact in the facred Scriptures, in which all christians agree. And since I have mentioned popery, I cannot better conclude than by observing, how ill the spirit and character of that church resembles that particular part of St. Peter’s which has been made the fub
ject of this discourse. Would one think that a church, which thrusts itself under this apostle's patronage, - and claims her power under him, would presume to exceed the degrees of it which he acknowledged to porfefs himself. But how ill are your expectations answered, when instead of the humble declaration in the text,
-Ye men of Israel, marvel not at us, as if our own power and holiness had wrought this ;--you hear a language and behaviour from the Romilh court, as opposite to it as.infolent words and actions can frame.
: So that instead of, Ye men of Ifrael, marvel not at us,-Ye men of Israel, do marvel at us--hold us in admiration ;--Approach our sacred pontiff,
-(who is not only holy--but holiness itself)--approach his person with rea verence, and deem it the greatest honour and happiness of your lives to fall down before his chair, and be admitted to kiss his feet.
Think not, as if it were not our own holiness which merits all the homage you can pay us. - It is our own holiness,—the superabundance of it, of which, having more than we know what to do with ourselves,-from works of fupererogation, we have transferred the surplus in ecclesiastic warehouses, and in pure zeal for the good of your souls, have established public banks of merit, ready to be drawn upon at all times,