Page images

The Epifle. Isaiah xl. 1. CO

Omfort ye, comfort ye, my people, faith your God.

Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, That her warfare is accomplished; that her iniquiry is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill fall be made low, and the crooked thall be made straight, and the rough places plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all felh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord harh spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand for ever. O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain: 0 Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid: say unto the cities of Judah, Be. hold your God. Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm thall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He ihall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and thall gently lead those that are with young. The Gospel. St. Luke i.

57 Elizabeth's full time came that the hould be delivered and her coulins heard how the Lord had thewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her, And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called bim Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, Not fo; but he shall be called John, And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have

him called. And he asked for a writing-table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. And fear came on all that dwelled round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all they that had heard them laid them up in their hearts, faying, What manner of child shall this be? And the hand of the Lord was with him. And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophefied, faying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath vifited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up an horn of falvation for us in the house of his servant David; as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: that we thould be saved from our enemies, and from the band of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; the oath which he sware to our father Abraham, that he would grant unto us, that we being delivered cut of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. And thou, Child, shall be called the Prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; to give knowledge of falvation unto his peokle by the remiffion of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the day.spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that fit in darkness and in the lhadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.

St. Peter's Day.

The Collect.
Almighty God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didit

give to thy Apostle Saint Peter many excellent gifts, St. Peter] This Apoftle, when he and his brethren divided themselves to preach the gospel, (if we may credit the latter Greek writers) conftituted a Christian church at Cæfarea Palestinæ, called otherwise Turris Stratonis; from thence he came to Sidon, and placed another bishop chere:

[ocr errors]


and commandedst him earnellly to feed thy flock; Make, we beseech thee, a!! Bishops and Pastors diligently to preach thy holy Word, and the people obediently to fola low the fame, that they may receive the crown of everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. Aets xii. 1.
BOUT that time Herod the king stretched forth his

hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of lolin with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put himn in prifon, and delivered him to four quarternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison; but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought hin forth, the fame night Peter was sleeping between two foldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light thined in the prison:

He next converted many of the inhabitants of Berytus, another town of Phænicia, and settled a bishop likewise in that country. He then extended the gospel to Billos, another city of Phænicia; after that to Tripolis; next to Aotandros, a town of Phrygia; proceeding to the island of Aradus, to Balancza and Panta, he carried on his preaching to Laodicæa, where converting many, and curing the fick, he feded a bishoprick.-Metaph. Surius. But besides St. Peter's preaching in these neighbouring towns of Judea, St. Jerom says, he converted many to the faith in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Bithynia, and at lait settled a bithoprick, where he himfelf some time presided, in Antioch.-Hier. Script. Eccl. Some time after this he came to Rome, as Eusebius, Iræneus, St. Cyprian, Lactantius, and other authors relate, where he was crucified by Nero. Being firit fcourged, he was led out to be crucified upon the hill called Janiculus, deliring to be fastened to the cross with his head downwards, alleging, that he thought himself unworthy to die exactly after the fame manner with his Lord.—Hier. Script. Eccl. Eufeb. Hist. lib. iii. August. de Sanct. The more modern Greek writers describe his personage thus: “His body was indifferently spare, upright, and somewhat tall, his face pale, and in a manner white; the hair of his head and beard curled, though not bushy; his eyes were black, and something bloodthot; his eye-brows were thin, his nose longer than ordinary, being big at the end, and a little bending downwards.”—Niceph. lib. ii. cap. 37.

The Collect] This prayer, for bishops and preachers to be diligent ia their office, was composed 1549. The introitus was pfalm cxliv.

and he fmote Peter on the fide, and raised him up, saying, Arife up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy fandals: and so he did. And he faith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went ont, and followed him; and wilt not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and fecond ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city, which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forth with the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himfelf, he faid, Now I know of a furety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.

The Gospel. St. Matt. xvi. 13.
HEN Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Phi-

lippi, he asked his disciples, faying, Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?' And they said, Some fay that thou art John the Baptist; some Elias; and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He faith unto them, But whom fay ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and faid, Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and faid unto him, Bleffed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not re. vealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven, And I fay alfo 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 heaven; and whatsoever thou fhalt bind on earth, fhall be bound in heaven : and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven,


Thou art Peter] lletpos, (Petros) is Greek for a rock. Cephas is des rived from a Syriac word which signifies a rock. The allusion is retained in the Arabic, Spanish, Italian, and French versions; but not in the English.

Upon this rock} Upon thee, as upon a rock: Peter was the first apos. tle who preached to the Jews, Ads ii.; and he was the first also who

hed to the Gentiles, Acts x. But the other apostles were founden

**s, as well as Peter; Ephes. ö. 20.


I Nichole days came prophets from Jerusalem unto An

St. James the Apostle.

The Collect..
RANT, O merciful God, that as thine holy Apostle

Saint James, leaving his father and all that he had, without delay was obedient unto the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him; so we, forsaking all worldly and carnal affections, may be everinore ready to follow thy holy commandments, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. Aets xi. 27.

(And part of chap. xii.) N

tioch. bus, and signified by the Spirit, that there should be great dearth throughout all the world; which came to pass in the days of Claudius Cefar. Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judea. Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of

St. James] i.e. The Great, or the Elder, the son of Zebedee, and brother of Joho. The Spaniards have a notion that after our Saviour's ascension, he came to preach in their country, upon which account he is acknowledged the tutelar faint of Spain; but that is a story raised without any ground, no ancient author making mencion thereof; and it does not appear that this apostle ever stirred out of Judea during his life, he undergoing marty: dom there very early; för he was killed by Herod in the 2d year of Claudius, about eight years after Christ's afcenfion. He was the first of the apostles that suffered martyrdom, being brought to that trial by the wicked vainglory of Herod Agrippa, who, being newly advanced to his kingdom, was willing to do some popular act to please the generality of the Jewish people, who, being managed by the priests, had conceived a great hatred against the Chriftians; which he taking notice of, thought he could not do them a more obliging favour, than to Nay before their faces one of the ehief teachers of this new sect. This was the occasion of the martyrdom of this bleised faint. Eusebius relates this particular circumstance at his martyrdom, out of Clement of Alexandria. Clement in his aforesaid book afferts a very memorable story of St. James, which he tells as a tradition handed down from his ancestors, viz.:-“ That the person who had given in information against St. James, and had been witness against him at his trial, when he saw him fo readily laying down his life for Christ, he likewise confessed himself a Christian, and so they both together were led to execution. St. James for some li tle time revolving in his mind the strangeness of this accident, accosts him with this evangelical falutation, " Peace be to you;” and he kissed him, and so they were both beheaded together."-Eufeb. Eccl. Hift. lib. ii. cap. 8.

The Collect] This prayer, for grace to attach ourselves to the cause of Christ, was composed in 1549. The introitus was psalm cxlvii.

« PreviousContinue »