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froin heaven to ransom mankind from destruction, and to open the gates of the heavenly Canaan to all believers.
The body of Peter being taken down from the cross, is said to have been embalmed by Mercellinus the presbyter, after the manner of the Jews, and then buried in the Vatican, near the Appian-way, two miles from Rome. Here it remained till the time of pope Cornelius, who conveyed it to the Vatican at Rome, where it rested in an obscure place, till the reign of Constantine, who, from the great reverence he entertained for the Christian religion, erected many churches at Rome, and rebuilt and vastly enlarged the Vatican in honour of St. Peter.
If we consider St. Peter as a man, there will seem to have been a natural eagerness predominant in his temper, which animated his soul to the most bold and generous undertakings: but if we consider him as a disciple of the blessed Jesus, we shall find him exemplary in the great duties of religion. To conclude: if we consider him as an apostle, as a pastor, or a shepherd of the souls of men, we shall find himn faithful and diligent in his office, zealously endeavouring to instruct the ignorant, reduce the erroneous, strengthen the weak, confirm the strong, reclaim the vicious, and turn the children of men into the paths of righteousness. He never omitted any opportunity of preaching to the people and spreading the glad-tidings of the gospel amongst the human race: and so powerful were his discourses, that he converted many thousands at one time. How many painful journies and dangerous voyages did he undertake! With what unconquerable patience did he endure the greatest trials, surmount every difficulty, and remove every obstacle, that he might plant the gospel of his beloved Master! Never refusing even to lay down his life to promote it: nor was he only assidious to perform these duties himself; he was also careful to animate others to do the like, earnestly pressing and persuading the pastors and governors of the church to
feed the fock of God, to labour freely for the good of
ST. JUDE, THE APOSTLE. ST. JUDE is mentioned by three several names in the evangelical history, namely, Jude or Judas, Thaddeus, and Lebbeus. The first he had in common with the other Jews, and in honour of one of the twelve patriarchs; the other two might be added to the former, partly to distinguish him from Judas the traitor, who had rendered the name odious to the Christians, and partiy as a commendation of his wisdom and zeal: for Lebbeus, according to St. Jerom, signifies a man of . understanding, and Thaddeus imports divine favour; and hence some of the fathers called him Zelotes, or Zealous.
This apostle was brother to St. James the Less, af terwards bishop of Jerusalem, being the son of Joseph the reputed father of Christ, by a former wife. It is plot known when, or by what means, he became a dis.
ciple of our blessed Saviour, nothing being said of him, till we find him in the catalogue of the twelve apostles; nor afterwards till Christ's last supper, when discoursing with them about his departure, and comfort. ing them with a promise, that he would return to them again, meaning after his resurrection, and that the world should see him no more, though they should see him; our apostle said to his Master, Lord, how is it that thou wilt munifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? It seems, from this question, that St. Jude expected that the Messiah would establish a secular kingdom; and, therefore, could not reconcile the solemnity and grandeur of it, with the private manifestations of Christ to his disciples only.
It is affirmed by Jerom, that Thomas sent Jude the apostle soon after our Lord's ascension, to Edessa, to heal Abagarus; but this is a mistake, it being Thaddeus, one of the seventy disciples, and not Judas Thaddeus the apostle, who was sent to Abagarus.
We are told by Paulinus, that the province which fell to the share of St. Jude in the apostolic division, of the provinces, was Lybia; but he does not tell us, whether it was the Cyrenean Lybia, which is thought to have received the gospel from St. Mark, or the more southern part of Africa: but however that be, in his first setting out to preach the gospel, he travelled up and down Judea and Galilee; then through Samaria into Idumea, and to the cities of Arabia, and the neighbouring countries, and afterwards to Syria and Mesopotamia. Nicephorus, adds, that he came at last to Edessa, where Abaragus governed, and where Thaddeus, one of the seventy, had already sown the seeds of the gospel. Here he perfected what the other had begun ; and having by his sermons and miracles established the religion of Jesus, he died in peace; but others say that he was slain at Berytes, and honourably buried there.
The writers of the Latin church are unanimous in declaring, that St. Jude travelled into Persia, where, after great success in his apostolical ministry for many years, he was at last, for his free and open reproving the superstitious rites and customs of the Magi, cruelly put to death by the enemics of the gospel.
We do not find that St. Jude left more than one epistle, which is placed the last of those seven, styled catholic, in the sacred canon. It hath no particular inscription, as the other six have, but is thought to have been primarily intended for the Christian Jews, in their several dispersions, as St. Peter's epistles were. In it he he tells them, “ That he at first intended to write to them in general of the common salvation, and establish and confirm them in it: but seeing the doctrine of CHRIST attacked on every side by Hereticks, he conceived it more necessary to spend his time in exhorting them to fight manfully in defence of the faith once delivered to the saints, and oppose the false teachers who laboured so indefatigably to corrupt the truth.”
It is generally understood, the Heretics mcant in this cpistle, were the Nicolatans, the Gnostics, the followers of Simon Magus and others of the same kind whose morals were as corrupt as their doctrine, trusting to a faith without works, as sufficient to their salvation : so that the subject of St. Jude's epistle is nearly the same with that of the second of St. Peter, whose sense he generally follows, and often uses the very same expressions : only as the infection had spread itself further, and had gotten more ground, he seems to oppose those Heretics with more zeal and sharpness than Peter had done : but because true Christian charity, though it be zealous, yet is without bitterness and hatred, he exhorts the Christians to use gentle methods with those deluded people, and to pluck them as brands out of the fire; meaning by fire, their impious principles and practices, which if continued in, would certainly consume them. He seems expressly to cite St. Peter's second
epistle, and to intimate plainly that most of the apostles were dead; so that his epistle seems not to have been written till after Nero's reign and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
This epistle was not at first generally received in the church; the author indeed, like James, John, and sometimes Paul himself, does not call himself an apostle, styling himself only the servant of Christ ; but he has added what is equivalent, Jude the brother of James, a character that can belong to none but our apostie: and surely the humility of a follower of JESUS should be no objection against his writings, but rather a recommendation of them.
One great objection against this epistle, was the apostle's mentioning the tradition of Michael the archangel contending with the Devil about the body of Moses, but he has done no more than St. Paul in naming Jannes and Jambres ; namely, alleging a story which was then current and acknowledged by the Jews, though nothing of it was inserted in the sacred writings, so that St. Jude reasons with the Jews from their own authors and concessions, the more easily to convince and confute them.
We have now, we trust, obviated the difficulties that have arisen, concerning the epistle of St. Jude; and Eusebius tells us, that in his time most churches read it publicly: it is indeed evident, that before the close of the fourth age, it was acknowledged as canonical Scripture, in the councils of Laodicea and Carthage by general consent.