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SERMON I.

2 Pet. iii. 15, 16.

Even as our beloved brother Paul also, according

unto the wisdom given unto him, bath written unto you; as also in' all bis epistles, speaking in them of these things : in which are some ibings hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable, wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction.

Peter, the writer of this and a former epistle, was of Bethsaida, a town in Galilee. He had a brother, Andrew, who, as St. John relates in his Gospel, first informed him of Jesus and brought him to him. These two brothers, with others of their acquaintance, had been in the number of the disciples of John the Baptist, and were of those Israelites who, at

that

VOL.

B

that time, from their ancient prophecies, looked for the great prophet and saviour whom God had promised to send to them. When John the Baptist, therefore, pointed out Jesus to them as the person to whom a divine testimony had been given, they gladly resorted to him, and in time became fully convinced from his miraculous powers, which they heard and saw displayed, and from his declarations and doctrine, that he was indeed the Christ, the Messiah, whom their nation expected.

At his first coming to him, Jesus changed our apostle's name from Simon to Cephas, or Peter ; a thing sometimes done to persons of eminence and designed for important offices; thereby to signify his destination of him to be one of the prime establishers of his religion in the world, the name signifying a stone or rock, Simon Peter was a married

man,
and

upon occasion of his marriage may seem to have removed to Capernaum, a large populous city, where lived his wife's family. There our Saviour miraculously healed his wife's mother of a fever, and made Peter's house his home,

when

when he was in those parts, which was a good part of the time of his public ministry.

It is not necessary to enter here into the well-known history of this eminent person ; his warm and sanguine temper betrayed him into some rash and

very

blameable actions; but they were offences not repeated, but instantly repented of. And it is plain, in the midst of all, that he was a man of serious habitual piety, and of great integrity.

This and the former epistle are the only remaining writings of Peter; and, as far as we know, he never composed any others. The apostles were not men of leisure or learning, but constantly engaged in the dangerous work of preaching the truth and reforming the world: in their situations, the most divine and noble work of all others, and at all times most honourable and useful. But small as the remains of this great apostle are, they are not inferior to any of the finest books of the New Testament, and are noble monuments of divine wisdom, and of a holy and good mind.

The words I have read to you are near the conclusion of his second epistle. It is not needful to point out their connexion with his B 2

fore

foregoing discourse ; what he here says incidentally, as it were, concerning the Scriptures, is what I propose for the present employment of our thoughts; and we cannot fail to be well employed, if we are so happy as to procure any further light to understand the divine truths therein revealed, so as to have our hearts . more impressed, and our lives influenced by them: And

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Very remarkable is the testimony of the passage before us, which, in the former part, our apostle gives to St. Paul's epistles ; where it is obvious that he makes a digression on purpose to speak of them, and to set them right in some matters concerning them.—“ Even as our beloved brother Paul,” says he, “ according unto the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto you:” plainly declaring in these words, “the wisdom given” to be the divine illumination and authority with which St. Paul was endowed. And when he subjoins afterwards," that there were those who wrested these, as they did also the other Scriptures, to their own destruction;" it is no less apparent, that he

puts

St.

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