on Matthew 4 :18
Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother - Why did not Jesus Christ call some of the eminent Scribes or Pharisees to publish his Gospel, and not poor unlearned fishermen, without credit or authority? Because it was the kingdom of heaven they were to preach, and their teaching must come from above: besides, the conversion of sinners, though it be effected instrumentally by the preaching of the Gospel, yet the grand agent in it is the Spirit of God. As the instruments were comparatively mean, and, the work which was accomplished by them was grand and glorious, the excellency of the power at once appeared to be of God, and not of man; and thus the glory, due alone to his name, was secured, and the great Operator of all good had the deserved praise. Seminaries of learning, in the order of God's providence and grace, have great and important uses; and, in reference to such uses, they should be treated with great respect: but to make preachers of the Gospel is a matter to which they are utterly inadequate; it is a, prerogative that God never did, and never will, delegate to man.
Where the seed of the kingdom of God is sowed, and a dispensation of the Gospel is committed to a man, a good education may be of great and general use: but it no more follows, because a man has had a good education, that therefore he is qualified to preach the Gospel, than it does, that because he has not had that, therefore he is unqualified; for there may be much ignorance of Divine things where there is much human learning; and a man may be well taught in the things of God, and be able to teach others, who has not had the advantages of a liberal education.
Men-made ministers have almost ruined the heritage of God. To prevent this, our Church requires that a man be inwardly moved to take upon himself this ministry, before he can be ordained to it. And he who cannot say, that he trusts (has rational and Scriptural conviction) that he is moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon himself this office, is an intruder into the heritage of God, and his ordination, ipso facto, vitiated and of none effect. See the truly apostolic Ordination Service of the Church of England.
Fishers - Persons employed in a lawful and profitable avocation, and faithfully discharging their duty in it. It was a tradition of the elders, that one of Joshua's ten precepts was, that all men should have an equal right to spread their nets and fish in the sea of Tiberias, or Galilee. The persons mentioned here were doubtless men of pure morals; for the minister of God should have a good report from them that are without.
on Matthew 4 :18
Sea of Galilee - This was also called the Sea of Tiberias and the Lake of Gennesareth, and also the Sea of Chinnereth, Numbers 34:11; Deuteronomy 3:17; Joshua 12:3. Its form is an irregular oval, with the large end to the north. It is about 14 miles in length, and from 6 miles to 9 miles in width. It is about 600 feet lower than the Mediterranean, and this great depression accounts for some of its special phenomena. There is no part of Palestine, it is said, which can be compared in beauty with the environs of this lake. Many populous cities once stood on its shores, such as Tiberias, Bethsaida, Capernaum, Chorazin, Hippo, etc. The shores are described by Josephus as a perfect paradise, producing every luxury under heaven at all seasons of the year, and its remarkable beauty is still noticed by the traveler. "Seen from any point of the surrounding heights, it is a fine sheet of water a burnished mirror set in a framework of surrounding hills and rugged mountains, which rise and roll backward and upward to where hoary Hermon hangs the picture on the blue vault of heaven." The lake is fed mainly by the Jordan; but besides this there are several great fountains and streams emptying into it during the rainy seasons, which pour an immense amount of water into it, raising its level several feet above the ordinary mark. See The Land and the Book (Thomson), vol. ii. p. 77. Lieutenant Lynch reports its greatest ascertained depth at 165 feet. The waters of the lake are sweet and pleasant to the taste, and clear. The lake still abounds with fish, and gives employment, as it did in the time of our Saviour, to those who live on its shores. It is, however, stormy, probably due to the high hills by which it is surrounded.
Simon called Peter - The name "Peter" means a rock, and is the same as "Cephas." See the Matthew 16:18 note; also John 1:42 note; 1 Corinthians 15:5 note.
on Matthew 4 :18
4:18 Mark 1:16; Luke 5:1.