Sidor som bilder

and activity communicated to him at once, in so surprising and unsought-for a manner, cast him into the transport of mind natural to a man so benefitted beyond his expectation. So that the amazing instance of a supernatural power ;-the notoriety of the fact, wrought at the hour of prayer ;—the unexceptionableness of the object--that it was no imposture,—for they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the beautiful gate of the temple ;-the unfeigned expressions of an enraptured heart almost beside itself, confirming the whole ;--the man that was healed in the 10th verse) holding his ben. efactors, Peter and John-entering into the temple with them, walking and leaping, and praising God; -the great concourse of people, drawn together by this event, (in the 11th verse)—for they all ran unto them, into the porch that was called Solomon's, greatly wondering. Sure never was such a fair opportunity for an ambitious mind to have established a character of superiour goodness and power.-To a man set upon this world, who sought his own praise and honour, what an invitation would it have been to have turned these circumstances to such a purpose !-to have fallen in with the passions of an astonished and grateful city, prepossessed, from what had happened, so strongly in his favour already, that little art or inanagement was requisite to have improved their wonder and good opinion into the highest reverence of his sanctity, awe of his person, or whatever other belief should be neces. sary to feed his pride, or serve sècret ends of glory and interest !-A mind not sufficiently mortified to the world, might have been tempted here to have taken the honour due to God, and transferred it to

himself. He might not so a disciple of Christ; -for when Peter saw it,when he saw the propensity in them to be misled on this occasion, he answered and said unto the people, in the words of the text-Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this ? or why luok you so earnestly on us, as though by our own power and holiness we had made this man to walk ?--The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus.

O holy, and blessed apostle !

How would thy meek and mortified spirit satisfy itself, in uttering so humble and so just a declaration ?-What an honest triumph wouldst thou taste the sweets of,--in thus conquering thy passion of vain glory,-keeping down thy pride,-disclaiming the praises which should have fed it, by telling the wondering spectators, It was not thy own power,it was not thy own holiness which had wrought this, -thou being of like passions and infirinities ;-but that it was the power of the God of Abraham, the holiness of thy dear Lord, whom they crucified, operating by faith through thee, who wast but an instrument in his hands.-If thus honestly declining honour, which the occasion so amply invited thee to take ;-if this would give more satisfaction to a mind like thine, than the loudest praises of a mistaken people, what true rapture would be added to it from the reflection, that in this instance of selfdenial,—thou hadst not only done well-but, what was a still more endearing thought, that thou hadst been able to copy the example of thy divine master; who, in no action of his life, sought ever his own praise, but, on the contrary, declined all possible

occasions of it ; -and in the only publick instance of honour which he suffered to be given him in his entrance into Jerusalem,-thou didst remember, it was accepted with such a mixture of humility, that the prediction of the prophet was not more exe actly fulfilled in the hosannahs of the multitude, than in the meekness wherewith he received them, lowly and sitting upon an ass !-How could a disci. ple fail of profiting by the example of so humble a master, whose whole course of life was a particular 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 exter. nal pomp, he might have accomplished, by engrossing, as he could have done by a word, all the riches of the world ; and by the splendour of his court and dignity of his person, had been greater than Solo. mon 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 preaching the gospel to the poor, the numberless dangers and inconveniences attending the execution, were all voluntary-This humble choice both of friends and family out 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 nournful 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 pathetick 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 conclusion and great catastrophe of it,--at his crucifixion, the impressions of which could never be forgotten ?-When a life full of so 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 a malefactor, suffering himself to be led like a lamb to the slangh

ter,—dragged to Calvary without opposition or com& plaint, 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 d 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, nor revenged the indignity done him, but patiently suffered himself to be numbered with the transgressors !

It could not well be otherwise, but that every eyewitness of this must have been wrought upon, in some degree, as the apostle, to let the same mind be in him which also was 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, sinking still deeper, from the affecting remembrance 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 sensible nature, as we may collect from the sacred 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 disposition of heart, which is the subject of the discoui'se.

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 knowl. edge.

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 neces

cessarily 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 censure, you will say, ex. presses him a sinful man ;-but so to censure himself,--with such unaffected modesty, implies more

« FöregåendeFortsätt »