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nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto Him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: and so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed Him."
Such was the great faith, great humility, great self-denial of Simon Peter. Great faith, when he said, "Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Thy word I will let down the net." Great humility, when he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man,
O Lord." Great self-denial, when he, and they, "forsook all, and followed Him."
From this time of his call, St. Peter remained with our Lord as His disciple; and was with Him during the time that He preached, and worked many great miracles in Galilee, and, among them, healed Simon Peter's wife's mother of a fever.
Afterwards, when our blessed Lord, after a whole night past in solemn prayer to God, chose from out the number of His disciples twelve, whom also He named apostles, and sent them to preach and work miracles in His name, St. Peter and St. Andrew were chosen to be of that company."
Again, certain of the apostles were suffered to be more with our Lord, to draw nearer to Him than others; and on all such occasions St. Peter was one. Thus it was to St. Peter, St. Andrew, St. James, and St. John, that our Lord discoursed privately, on the Mount of Olives, on the signs of His coming, in the destruction of Jerusalem, and at the end of the world. Again, St. Peter, St. James, and St. John alone were suffered to be with our Lord when He raised from the dead the daughter of Jairus; when He was transfigured on the mount; and,
again, at His agony in the garden; being thus admitted, as it were, to a nearer view of His Godhead, and of His Manhood: from the brightness of His glory on the mount, learning that He was perfect God; from His bitter agony in the garden, learning that He was perfect Man.
But there are also many other places of holy Scripture in which special mention is made of St. Peter, of his great faith, and great earnestness, and great love for our Saviour. Thus, in St. John's Gospel, after our Lord's discourse concerning the Bread from heaven, and the spiritual eating of His Flesh and drinking of His Blood, it is written: "From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life, and we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the Living God." Words which set forth a sure faith and earnest purpose to abide by Christ, at a time when many were offended, and fell away, and left Him.
Again, there is the same, or even yet fuller confession of faith in St. Matthew's Gospel c. xvi., (which has been read as the Gospel for the day,) in which St. Peter again makes answer for all the
apostles, to the question which our Lord put to all; his earnest temper not waiting for others to speak, but causing him to speak both for himself and for them. "When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am? And they said, Some say that Thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said unto Him, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God." And upon this our Lord pronounced him blessed, in that so great faith could have come from no other but God, by the teaching of His Spirit. "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona (son of Jona): for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven." And upon this our Lord made unto him great promises, and assured unto him great powers, (the same powers which He after assured to all the apostles, and bestowed upon. all them after His resurrection): "And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of hea
ven and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." In its highest sense, the rock upon which the Church is builded, is our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the Son of God made man; in its highest sense, it is upon Him alone, (as upon a rock,) and upon the confession of a true faith in Him, that the Church is builded. But there is a lower sense, in which it may truly be said to be builded upon St. Peter and the other apostles, as St. Paul said to the Ephesians: "Ye are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone." And this, inasmuch as it was the will of our Lord, that His Church should be gathered into one, from both Jews and Gentiles, by the labours of His apostles; and in a special manner, as we read in the Acts, by the labours of St. Peter. And so again,-in that His Church is the kingdom of heaven upon earth; and in that it is holy Baptism which admits into His Church, and the sentence of excommunication which casts out of it; and in that it was to St. Peter and to the other apostles that our Lord at the first gave commission to baptize, to bind and to loose, to remit and to retain sins ;-the promise here made