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25. It is said indeed, 1 Kings xviii, 1. That in the third year the word of the Lord came to Elijah, namely, concerning the rain. But this third year was computed, from the time of his going to live at Zarephath, which happened many days after the drought began ; as is plain from this, that he remained at the brook Cherith till it was dried up, and then went to Zarephath in the country of Sidon, 1 Kings xvii. 7. 9. Wherefore, the three years and six months must be computed from his denouncing the drought, at which time that judgment commenced.

Ver. 18.—1. And again he prayed, and the heaven gave rain. Of this second prayer there is an insinuation in the history: 1 Kings xviii. 42. where we are told, that he cast himself down on the earth, and put his face between bis knees: for that was the posture of an humble and earnest supplicant. Besides, Moses's praying, is expressed by his falling on his face, Numb. xvi. 4,

Ver. 19.-1. And any one turn him back. This teaches us, that it is the duty of those who persevere in the path of truth, to endeavour, by friendly admonition and by good example, to turn back those who have wandered into error through the viciousness of their own disposition. See 2 Thess. xi. 12.

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20 Let him know, that

20 Γινωσκέτω, ὅτι ὁ επι

he which converteth the ςρεψας ἁμαρτωλον εκ πλα

sinner from the error of

his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide

a multitude of sins.

όδου αυτου, σωσει ψυ

χην εκ θανατου, και καλυ ψει πληθος ἁμαρτιων.

Ver. 20.-1. Will save a soul from death. What greater motive can there be to excite the virtuous earnestly to exert themselves, in accomplishing the reformation of their erring brethren ?

2. And will cover a multitude of sins. The covering of sin is a phrase which often occurs in the Old Testament, and always signifies the pardoning of sin. Nor has it any other meaning here. For surely it cannot be the apostle's intention to tell us that the turning of a sinner from the error of his way, will conceal from the eye of God's justice, a multitude of sins committed by the person who does this charitable office, if he continueth in them. Such a person needs himself to be turned from the error of his way, in order that

20 Let him know that he who turneth a sinner back from the error of his way, will save a soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.2


20 Let such an one know, that he who turneth a sinner back from false doctrine and bad practice, will save a soul from the spiritual death, and will procure him the pardon of all his sins; and for that good office will himself shine as the stars for ever and ever, Dan. xii. 3.

his own soul may be saved from death. St. Peter hath a similar expression: 1 Pet. iv. 8. Love covers a multitude of sins, not, however, in the person who is possessed of love, but in the person who is the object of his love. It disposes him to forgive his sins, see Prov. x. 12.-Atterbury however, (Serm. vol. 1. p. 46.) and Scott (Christ. Life, vol. 1. p. 368.) contend that the covering a multitude of sins includes also, that the pious action of which the apostle speaks, engages God to look with greater indulgence on the character of the person who performs it, and to be less severe in marking what he hath done amiss.







The History of Simon, whom our Lord surnamed Peter.

SIMON was a native of Bethsaida, a town situated on the western shore of the lake of Gennesareth. He was by trade a fisherman, and had a brother named Andrew; but whether he was elder or younger than Simon, is not known. Their father was named Jonah or John; and probably was of the same occupation with his sons. Andrew was a disciple of John Baptist, John i. 35. 41. and heard him point out Jesus as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. This good news Andrew communicated to his brother Simon and brought him to Jesus, who foreseeing the fortitude he would exercise in preaching the gospel, honoured him with the name of Cephas or Peter, which is by interpretation a stone, or rock. John i. 42.

Andrew and Peter, now become the disciples of Jesus, often attended him. Yet they still followed their trade of fishing occasionally, till he called them to a more constant attendance, promising to make them fishers of men, Matth. iv. 19. Afterwards, when he chose twelve of his disciples to be with him always and to be his Apostles, Peter and Andrew were of the number. About that time Peter had left Bethsaida, and had gone to Capernaum with his wife, who is thought to have been of that town. From Andrew's accompanying his brother thither, and living with him in the same house, it may be conjectured that their father was dead. With them Jesus also abode,

after he took up his ordinary residence in Capernaum: for he seems to have been pleased with the disposition and manners of all the members of the family. This house is sometimes called Peter's house, Mat. viii. 14. and sometimes the house of Simon and Andrew, Mark. i. 29.-Thus, as Lardner observes, it appears that before Peter became an apostle, he had a wife, was the head of a family, had a boat and nets, and a furnished house, and maintained himself by an honest occupation. To these things Peter alluded when he told his master, Behold we have left all and followed thee! What shall we have therefore, Mat. xix. 27.-The apostle Paul seems to insinuate, that Peter's wife attended him in his travels, after our Lord's ascension, 1 Cor. ix. 5.

Peter, now made an apostle, shewed on every occasion the strongest faith in Jesus as the Messiah, and the most extraordinary zeal in his service; of which the following are examples. -The night after the miracle of the loaves, when Jesus came to his disciples walking on the sea, they were affrighted, supposing that they saw a spirit. But Peter taking courage, said, Lord if it be thou, bid me come to thee on the water. And he said to him come, Matt. xiv. 28.-The next day, when many of our Lord's disciples, offended at his discourse in the synagogue of Capernaum, left him, Jesus said to the twelve, will ye also go away ? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord to whom should we go, for thou hast the words of eternal life? and we know and are sure, that thou art the Christ, the son of the living God. In returning this answer, Peter was more forward than the rest, because his faith was strengthened, by the late miracle of his walking on the water. The same answer Peter gave, when Jesus in private asked his disciples, First, what opinion the people entertained of him? Next what was their own opinion? Matth. xvi. 16. Simon Peter answered and said, thou art the Christ, the son of the living God. Having received this answer, Jesus declared Peter blessed on account of his faith; and in allusion to the signification of his name, added, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church :-and I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, &c. Many think these things were spoken to Peter alone, for the purpose of conferring on him privileges and powers, not granted to the rest of the apostles. But others, with more reason, suppose, that though Jesus directed his discourse to Peter, it was intended for them 52


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