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of no other passages that clearly contradict it. When the names of the twelve apostles are given in Matt. x, 244, and Mark iii, 16—19, it is said of Simon that he is called Peter," that is, was so called at the time when the epistle was written, and “whom he called Peter.” The time, however, when this name was given to him, is not specified, by cither of the evangelists.
The next question which arises is, why was this name given, and if it was not for the first time given, at least so emphatically applied to Simon, on this occasion ? Particular names were, in the early ages of the world, given to individuals for an almost endless diversity of reasons. Among these, this one only need to be specified, on the present occasion, to wit, some remarkable act or saying, a remembrance of which there was a desire to preserve.
Thus Scipio received the name Africanus, because he had conquered Carthage. Chrysostom received his name, which signifies golden mouth, on account of his divine eloquence. Why then did Simon receive the additional name Peter, on the occasion under consideration? He had just announced the great foundation truth of the gospel—Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." This was the first time this great truth had been affirmed of Christ by human lips. Christ had been at special pains to draw that annunciation from his disciples. As it did indeed shadow forth the great foundation truth of the gospel, to fasten that truth as the basis truth and principle of Christianity, upon all minds, the Savior gave the name Peter, that is, rock, the most appropriate emblem of that which sustains to other things the relation of foundation, to the individual who first announced it to the world. It was not in honor of Peter that this name was given him, but as a memorial or emblem of the value of the great truth which he had announced, and of its position relatively to the entire system of revelation.
Verse 18 now admits of a ready explanation. "And I say unto thee, thou art Peter," that is, this shall hereafter be thy name, “and upon this rock,” this great foundation truth which you have announced, and for announcing which you shall henceforth be designated by this name, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall never prevail against it.” Thus explained, the whole passage has entire consistency, and most impressive meaning throughout. There are other additional reasons, why we prefer this explanation to any others hitherto given.
1. Christ, as the Son of the living God, is every where else, throughout the bible, represented as the only and exclusive foundation on which the church is built. This passage, that it may be consistent with fact, and with other parts of the bible, should, if its phraseology permits, be so explained as to announce the same great truth. Its phraseology throughout does, as we have seen, admit of this explanation. It should therefore be regarded as the true one.
2. This explanation alone falls in with the manifest design of Christ in this whole transaction, which undeniably was, to fix attention upon the truth announced by Peter, as the foundation truth of the Christian system. To this end, he first asks his disciples the question, “ Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am ?” When he has received their answer, he puts the question directly to them; “But whom do ye say that I am?” Peter then announces the great truth under consideration. To turn all minds, and fix them permanently upon that announcement, ,Christ tells Peter that in the possession of the knowledge of that one great truth, he is indeed a happy man, and evinces to the world, that he has, in a very superior sense, been taught of God. Now to suppose that Christ, in verse 18, turns aside to give Peter the name rock, for any other reason than that under consideration, and especially to announce any thing elsc, as the rock on which his church was to be built, would make him take the most effectual means conceivable to direct attention and interest from the truth upon which he evidently intended to fasten all minds, as the great foundation truth of the gospel.
3. This explanation, and this alone, falls in with the manifest design of Christ in another important respect, which was, to impress the disciples with a deep conviction of their relations and duties as preachers of the gospel, in respect to the great truth announced by Peter. It would be their duty, ever after his resurrection, to announce this one truth as the exclusive rock of the true church. This fact Christ would impress upon their minds, assuring them at the same time, that while that truth was thus preached, and the church rested upon it, “the gates of hell would never prevail against it.” How true to fact is this view of the passage. Wherever the doctrine of the cross has been faithfully proclaimed, in connection with the truth under consideration, no artifices or assaults of the
powers of darkness have ever prevailed against the church. The weapons of her warfare have been “mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.”
4. There is still another consideration which has a very decisive bearing in favor of the present construction of this passage. The original term here rendered - Peter" is in the masculine, while that rendered “rock” is in the feminine gender. It would be strange indeed, for Christ to use the same word in such a connection, in two distinct genders, when he designed to designate precisely the same thing in each gender. According to the construction under consideration, there is very great propriety in the form of speech adopted by our Savior. “Thou art Petros, and upon this petra,” this foundation truth which you have announced, and for announcing which the name Petros is given you, “I will build my church.” Thus construed, there is meaning and beautiful consistency in the passage throughout.
Some of the explanations commonly given the passage, now demand a passing consideration.
It is very commonly supposed that the name Peter was given to the apostle, on account of the instrumentality which he was to use in building up the church. The meaning of verse 18, according to such a construction, is this; “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock," that is, upon thee, upon thy instrumentality, “I will build my church,” &c. Aside from the considerations above presented, this one is sufficient to show, that this cannot be the true construction of the passage.
It makes the Savior assert, what was by no means true of Peter. The phrase " this rock” designates the rock, and not one among many, upon which the church was to be founded. The instrumentality of Peter, on the other hand, was only one among many, and that not the chief of the instrumentalities, (Paul having accomplished far more than he did,) in building up the church. What a strange explanation is that, which makes Christ affirm of a subordinate instrumentality, and that only one among many, in building up his church,“ upon this rock will I build my church,” and this especially when he was in the immediate presence of the true and only real rock upon which the church does in fact rest, and was aiming to fasten all minds upon it as such.
According to another explanation, our Savior, by the words “this rock,” is understood to designate himself. It is supposed that he indicated his meaning by pointing to himself, when he pronounced the words. This explanation, renders the verse under consideration, void of all appropriate meaning. What could have been the design of Christ, in saying to the disciple, “ Thou art Peter,” a rock, and upon myself, “ this rock, I will build my church!” Besides, it is not upon Christ, irrespective of his character, but upon him, exclusively, as here announced, as “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” that the church is built.
Another explanation still asserts, that by the words, “ this rock," the faith which Peter had manifested in Christ, on the occasion, is designated. Christ is accordingly understood to say, “ Thou art Peter,” a rock, and upon the faith which you have just manifested in me, upon that faith, as a rock,
I will build my church.” It is sufficient to say, in reply to such a construction, that faith is nowhere represented in the bible, as the rock on which the church is built, but “Christ, the Son of the living God,” as an object of faith. We may safely conclude, then, that the explanation which we have given, paesents the only true construction of this passage.
“There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body."-PAUL.
The object of this article is to project certain inquiries, and advance some specific views in respect to the mode of our future being, and especially to investigate the relations which mind and body will sustain to each other in that unseen world whither we haste.
Leaving to others the discussion of all questions relative to the nature of the resurrection, and the part the material composing the mortal is to play in the immortal body, we shall proceed,
I. To show that our spirits after death will reassume a material body
II. Consider some of the facts the Bible reveals in regard to that body
III. Contrast the immortal body with this we now inhabit.
In advancing any definite views in regard to the powers and susceptibilities of the spiritual body, we are quite aware that we expose ourself, to the charge of being “ wise above what is written,”-of attempting things too high for us, and things too which God has wisely secluded from human vision by an impenetrable veil.
We shall be followed, if at all, with the hesitation and caution of one who is led along an almost untrodden path, by a guide whom he half suspects knows not the way himself
. In such a case it were natural and just that he should proceed with deliberation, frequently looking back to his starting point, and suspicious of the minutest deviation from the line prescri