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12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath : but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay ; lest ye fall into condemnation. 13

13 Is any among you afflicted ?14 let him pray. Is any merry ? let him sing psalms.

13 into hypocrisy. Co. Ma. Cr. Ham. in heaviness. Rh.

them, nor forsake them ; for thou art a gracious and merciful God. Ps. li. l: Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness : according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. do. Ixix. 13:0 God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation. do. ciii. 8, 13: The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. do. cxvi. 5 : Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. Jer. iii. 12: Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you : for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever. JOEL, ii. 13, 18: Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. Mic. vii. 18: He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delightetb in mercy, Luke, i. 77, 78: To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God. do. vi. 36 : Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 1 Pet. i. 3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope.

* Mat. v. 34, &c: But I say unto you, Swear not at all ; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne, &c. . .

u 2 CHR. xxxiii. 12: And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. Ps. 1. 15: Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. do xci. 15: He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble ; I will deliver him, and honour him. Jon. ii. 2, &c: And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.

See on Eph. v. 19.

14 Is any sick among you ? let him call for the elders of the Church; and let them pray over him, "anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up ; and if he have * committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.***

16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. * The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

MARK, vi. 13: They cast out many devils, and avointed with oil many that were sick. do. xvi. 18: They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

* ISA. xxxiii. 24: The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick : the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity. See on MAT. ix. 2.

Ý GEN. xx. 17 : So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children. Numb. xi. 2: And the people cried unto Moses ; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched. Deut. ix. 18—20: And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights : I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the LORD was wroth against you to destroy you. But the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also. And the LORD was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him : and I prayed for Aaron also the same time. Jos. x. 12: Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon ; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. 1 SAM. xii. 18: So Samuel called unto the LORD; and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day : and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel 1 Kings, xiii. 6 : And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king's hand was restored him again, and became as it was before. 2 Kings, iv. 33: He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD. do. xix. 15, 20 : And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O

17 Elias was a man 'subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly 15 that it might not rain : and bit rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.

18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gaye rain, and the earth brought forth 16 her fruit.

19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;

20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall e save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

son of thou hast even thou avellest betwe

15 in prayer, A. V. 16 yielded. Rh. LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth ; thou hast made heaven and earth. Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. do. xx. 2,4: Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying, And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him. See on John, ix. 31.

2 See on Acts, xiv. 15.

• 1 Kings, xvii. 1: Elijah the Tishbite-said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. Rev. xi. 6: These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy.

bLUKE, iv. 25: Many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land.

c1 Kings, xviii. 42, 45: Elijah went up to the top of Carmel ; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees. And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. ; . See on LUKE, xvii. 3.

e See on Rom. xi. 14. . See on I Cor. xiii. 4.

Peter.

Peter, the apostle, born at Bethsaida, in Upper Galilee, was son of John, Jonas, or Joanna, and brother of Andrew (John, i. 42, 43). His first name was Simon, to which our Saviour afterwards added that of Cephas, which in Syriac signifies a stone, or a rock ; and hence he was called Peter, from the Latin word Petra. He was a married man, and dwelt with his mother-inlaw, and his wife, at Capernauin, on the lake of Genesareth (Mat. viii. 14; MARK, i. 29; Luke, iv. 38). Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist; and, hearing him declare Jesus to be the Lamb of God, he followed Jesus, and continued with him the rest of that day. Andrew, having found his brother, took him to Jesus ; and it appears that they both became fully convinced that Jesus was the true Messiah (JOHN, i. 41). After this Peter became a most zealous apostle of Christ. He preached the Gospel with great success, and at last sealed the truth of it with his blood. All ancient writers concur in asserting that St. Peter suffered martyrdom at Rome, in the first persecution of the Christians, in the reign of Nero, probably in the year 65; but at what time he went thither, and whether this was his first visit to that city, is not certain. As he is not mentioned in any of St. Paul's epistles written from Rome, it has been concluded that he was not there during St. Paul's first imprisonment in that city; and upon the whole it seems probable, as Lardner thinks, that St. Peter did not go to Rome till the year 63 or 64.

As St. Peter, says Bishop Tomline, had been the first apostle that preached to the Jews immediately after the descent of the Holy Ghost, so, about eight years afterwards, he was also the first that preached to the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius at Cæsarea. By these means he may be said to have founded the universal Church of Christ ; and this is supposed to have been the meaning of our Lord's words, “ Upon this rock will I build my Church, and I will give thee the keys of heaven;" for by being the first person that explained the Gospel both to the Jews and Gentiles after the ascension of our Saviour, he, as it were, opened the doors of heaven to all mankind. He seems to have performed more miracles than any other of the apostles, for the people “ brought their sick for the purpose of having his shadow pass over them.” (Acts, v. 15). When he was imprisoned by Herod Agrippa, prayer was made for him without ceasing by the Church, and he was miraculously delivered out of prison by an angel, though Herod had been permitted to put. James the Great to death (Acts, xii. 1, &c). The speech of Peter, at the council of Jerusalem, so often mentioned, is recorded, but of no other person except of James the Less, Bishop of Jerusalem (Acts, xv. 6, &c); and St. Paul tells us, that to St. Peter was committed the Gospel of the circumcision (Gal. ii. 7), whence he is called the apostle of the Jews, as St. Paul is called the apostle of the Gentiles ; and lastly, in all the catalogues of the apostles, and whenever he is mentioned in conjunction with others, in the Gospels or Acts, the name of Peter stands first. Though these facts may lead us to consider Peter as the chief, or the most distinguished, of the twelve apostles ; yet they by no means prove that he had any superior dignity or jurisdiction over the rest ; “ One is your Master, even Christ; but all ye are brethren (Mat. xxiii. 8).”

The genuineness of this first Epistle of Peter has been acknowledged by the whole Church of Christ. Great doubts, however, have arisen, with regard to the persons who are meant by the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, &c. to whom this epistle is addressed. If we suppose them to be converted Jews, there are several expressions in the epistle which are not applicable to them as such; as when he reminds them of their having once lived in ignorance, chap. i. 14, of not having been the children of God in time past, but who were then his people, chap. ii. 10; and, chap. iv. 3, of their hav'ng walked in abominable idolatries. These expressions do not seem applicable to them if they were of Jewish extraction; for such could not be said to have lived in ignorance, viz. of the true God; nor could it be said of such, that in time past they were not the people of God. : On the other band, there are some objections against understanding them to be converts immediately from Heathenism. Probably this epistle was addressed to such Christians who, from idolaters, had first become worshippers, with the Jews, of the true God; but without submitting to circumci. sion, and other peculiarities of the Mosaic law. These, when they resided within the land of Judæa, were called strangers within the gates; and it is probable that all such living among the Jews, in foreign countries, were called by the Jews, strangers, in allusion to the title such went by in Judæa.

St. Peter had particular reasons for addressing himself to these, because he had in particular received a divine commission to preach the Gospel to such ; being the first who preached it to them; for Cornelius and his friends, to whom St. Peter was sent, as we read, (ACTs, x.) seem to have been Gentiles, who had joined the Jews in worshipping the true God ; but without submitting to circumcision, or the other ceremon nial institutions of the Mosaic law.

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