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LUKE V. 8.
“ WHEN SIMON PETER SAW IT, HE FELL DOWN AT
JESUS' KNEES, SAYING, DEPART FROM ME; FOR I AM A SINFUL MAN, O LORD."
Having found, upon a former occasion, that the biography of one, eminent in the writings of the Old Testament, offered many valuable lessons, both to the Christian minister and the Christian hearer, it is my intention, during the present season of Lent, to bring before you some of the remarkable passages in the life of one of the great and good men under the New Testament dispensation.
The individual, whose history I have
selected for this purpose, is Simon Peter -of whom it is not too much to assert, that, after our blessed Lord himself, there is no one for whom a stronger prepossession is excited in our bosoms, no one with whom we more early sympathize, or in the affecting incidents of whose eventful history, we take a more lasting interest.
In the prosecution of this endeavour, I shall confine myself to some of the most striking incidents in the life of Peter, narrated in the Gospels, the length of the present season not being sufficient to admit of our embracing the whole of the instructive details of his eventful biography contained in the Scriptures of truth.
May the divine grace so co-operate with the imperfect attempt, as to render it instrumental, through the power of the Holy Spirit of God, in imparting to us some portion of that fervent love to the person
of the Lord Jesus Christ, that
zealous attachment to his service, that implicit obedience to his commands, which so remarkably characterized this distinguished apostle !
Of the early history of Simon Peter, nothing has been handed down to us by the pen of inspiration : the earliest record which is given of him in the word of God, is contained in the first chapter of St. John's Gospel.
From the period when John the Baptist became acquainted with the Saviour of the world, at the waters of Jordan, he preached him as “the
the truth, and the life,” to his own disciples. Among these disciples of the Baptist, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, the first who, directed by the testimony of John, devoted himself to the service of the Messiah. No sooner had he seen and conversed with Jesus, than, as we find in the forty-first verse of the chapter to which we have already alluded, Andrew, naturally anxious to dispense to those he loved, something of the gratitude and joy with which his own heart was overflowing, “ first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias ; and he brought him to Jesus.”
Here, then, is the commencement of the scriptural biography of Peter—the hour in which he is carried, by the active exertions of a brother's love to the feet of the Redeemer. All that preceded this important event, is considered by the inspired historian, as undeserving of a single word. Let others tell of the early genius and precocious talents of those whose history they narrate : to the Evangelist, the point alone from which the narrative becomes worthy of his pen, , is the hour which beholds the subject of his history, brought to an acquaintance with the Saviour of the world.
What a lesson is this to us, my Christian brethren! That portion of our lives which we, perhaps, are apt
to dwell upon with the greatest delight, the pleasures and follies of our youth, the exploits of our manhood, the unsanctified pursuits in which so many of our later years have been wasted, form in the sight of the saints and angels, no portion of our history. They recognise us only from the time,
being made one with Christ, and Christ with us,
we commence a new life unto the Lord ; and having become members of his blessed family, we become objects of the deepest interest and the tenderest anxiety even to the inhabitants of heaven. They reckon our years not from the day we were born, but from the time we were “born again,” and made heirs of the kingdom : of all prior to that event, the best which we can hope and ask at the hands of God is, that it may be blotted out of the book of his remembrance ; that it may be cast into the depths of the sea, and never be permitted to rise up against us to shame