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as a prophet. But when Herod's birth-day was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger. And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel : and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus."
Thus was St. John Baptist called by God, not only to prepare
of the Son of God our Saviour by preaching of repentance, not only to baptize our Lord, and to witness of Him as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world, but also to suffer for IIim and for His truth; to suffer at the hands of a wicked king and an adulterous woman, whom he had offended by his constancy in speaking the truth, by his boldness in rebuking vice.
These, then, are the lessons for us to learn from to-day's Festival of St. John Baptist. To
listen to his preaching, and to repent us truly of our sins; to follow his doctrine and holy life ; constantly to speak the truth; and (when we are called upon by age, or station, or office.) boldly to rebuke vice; and (should God so will) patiently to suffer for the truth's sake. Which may God give us grace to do, for His dear Son's sake, Jesus Christ.
JOHN HENRY PARKER, OXFORD AND LONDON.
Sermons for the Christian Seasons.
ST. PETER'S DAY.
THE GRACES AND FAILINGS OF ST. PETER.
Matt. iv. 18-20. And Jesus, walking by the sea of
Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea : for they were fishers. And Ile saith unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.
And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him.
I PURPOSE this day, which was the day of his martyrdom, to discourse to you of St. Peter the apostle; and to put together such passages of holy Scripture as speak of his life and character ; that so we may learn from it such practical lessons as are suited to our state. The memory of the just is blessed and precious before God. Nor can we better do honour to our Lord, than by dwelling with reverence on what we read, in holy Scripture, of the life and character of a saint so eminent, of an apostle so approved by our Lord, as St. Peter. And, if in it there be
sages which speak of human weakness, the more will it be suited to warn and to teach us; the less danger will there be of our being tempted to take as our all-perfect pattern any other than our Lord Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh.
St. Peter was born at Bethsaida, a town on the shore of the sea of Galilee; his father was
; called Jona, and his brother Andrew,-his own name at the first was Simon; both he and his brother Andrew were by trade fishers; they appear to have usually lived at Capernaum, another town on the side of the same lake; St. Andrew was a disciple of St. John Baptist, and so, perhaps, was St. Peter.
The occasion that first brought St. Peter to our Lord was this : St. John Baptist had witnessed of our Lord as He walked, “Behold, the Lamb of God;" and two of his disciples, who heard him, upon that followed Jesus; and, being come to the place where He dwelt, abode with Him that day. “One of the two ... was An- . drew ... he first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias ... the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, He said, Thou art Simon, the son of Jona, thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation a stone;" i.e.
beside his old name, Simon, our Lord here gave him a new name; and the meaning of that new name (which is Cephas in the Syriac, and Peter in the Greek,) was a rock, or stone.
After this, it would seem, both Peter and Andrew returned, for a time, to their trade as fishers, until our Lord called them to be His companions, as we read in the text; “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea : for they were fishers. And He saith unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets and followed Him :” or, as we read in St. Luke's Gospel, who adds the miracle which our Lord then worked; “And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon Him to hear the Word of God, He stood by the lake of Gennesaret, and saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And He entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And He sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when He had left speaking, He said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your