Wright - BT300 W8 1788

LORD and SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST. it,5 in the city, but led the blind man into the fields ; and foon after departed into the territory of Cæfarea-Philippi. Being retired into this country, our Lord thought proper to try the faith of the apoílles not that he did it for his own information, but that it might be manifefi to themfelves, that they believed in the Lord. With this view, he afked them, Whom do men fay that I, the Son of man, am? In anfwer to this queflion, the difciples replied, Some fay, that thou art John the Baptof ; fame, Elias; and others, Jere - mias, or one of the prophets. The people in general, were convinced that JEsus was a great prophet; but, though they were convinced of this, they did not acknow- ledge him as the Melliah. The reafon of their miflake is very apparent: they ex- peéledthat the Meffiah, when he appeared, would affume the honours, grandeur, and power of a temporal kingdom; but, as JEsus difclaimed and declined all earthly honours, they could not receive him under that charaier. Jesus, therefore, gave the difciples an opportunity of declaring what their conceptions were of his perfon and characaer; and, with this view, he afked them, But whomfay ye, that Iam? To this queftion, Peter immediately re- plied, Thou art Chr , the Son of the living God. With a condefcending fmile, our Lord 'accepted the title, and, to teflify his approbation of Peter's faith, immediately replied, Blued art thou, Simon Bar--y'onah : forfly and blood hathnot revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. Our great Redeemer, then alluding to the name of Peter, which lignifies a rock, led him, and the refi of the difciples, to a view of that eternal Rock, on the faith he had before expreffed, and the whole church of CHRIST rells, as on a fure foundation. And Ifay alfo' unto thee, Paid he, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell(hall not Prevail againfl it. It cannot, without great abfurdity, be concluded, that Peter was the rock on which CHRtsT declared he would build his church : weak indeed, and eafily affaulted and overcome by the powers of hell, would the noble fabric be, if' it relied on any creature ; and much more fo, was it fup- ported by a weak, mutable, and fallible man: it is therefore manifefl, that CHRIST himfelf is the Rock, on which his uni- verfal church, containing the whole num- ber of his redeemed, is ereaed ; and this is a foundation which will (land for ever: not all the powers of earth and hell, can (hake the immovable bafis of this rock; and whoever is fo happy as to be fixed on this foundation, need not fear the dreadful earthquake, the ruffling inundation, the raging tempell, or the devouring flame ; not all the rage and confufiou of a tu- multuous world, can hurt fuch a perfon as this ; but he may flared fecure amidi the Taft convulfions of expiring nature, and behold, without fear, " the wrecks of mat- " ter, and the crulh of worlds." But our Lord proceeded to (hew the fa- vourable regard which he had for his dif- ciples, and the gifts which he would bellow upon them; and, therefore, he adds, And Iwill give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven : and whatfoever thou (halt bind on earth, (hall be bound in heaven : and whatfoever thou fhalt loofe on earth, ,/hall be loofed in heaven, Matth. xvi. ag. As Peter had fpoken in behalf of himfelf and the refl of the apoílles, fo our Lord lays down thefe gifts which were common to all ; for the fame words, with very little variation, are applied to the whole number, in Matt. xviii. 18. and in John xx. 23. They cannot be fuppofed to contain a de- claration of any fuperiority affigned to Peter over the refi of the apoflles ; for, it is evident, that, when they afterwards dif- puted on this head, and held any conten- tion amongil themfelves, who fhould be greatefi, they were always reproved by their Mafler : nor can we find, that the refl of' the apoílles ever confeffed any fuch fuperiority, or that Peter ever claimed it. The