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him"-there is your strength: leave these aids unsought, and the event is already certain, your defeat is inevitable: seek them constantly, faithfully, fervently, and we do not say you will be invulnerable, but we do not hesitate to say you will be invincible—“ kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation."4

Happy had it been for Peter, if, thus warned, thus counselled, by the awful declaration that there was an enemy full of power, and full of cunning, watching for his halting, and striving for his ruin, he had instantly acknowledged his weakness, and betaken himself to the strong for strength. There was time for reflection, time for self-searching, time for prayer. Had he instantly cast himself at the feet of Jesus, and poured out the heartfelt acknowledgments of his own utter incapacity to struggle with the approaching enemy, he would, doubtless,

3 Isaiah lix. 19.

4 1 Pet. i. 5.

have been saved from the hour of temptation; the shield of celestial temper, would have been thrown over him, and the fiery darts of the wicked one, would have fallen harmless at his feet. But, alas! the warning voice, although it was the voice of his Master and his God, sounded but in vain. "Peter said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee both into prison and to death." Then his Divine Master, clearly perceiving the evidences of that "haughty spirit which goeth before a fall," thus distinctly and solemnly foretold his approaching sin: "I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me." Peter, unsubdued, unsoftened, hurried forward by the tempter, who plies his efforts with such rapidity, that when we have once entered upon the treacherous deep, wave follows wave in incalculably quick succession-" Peter said unto him,

5 Prov. xvi. 8.


Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee;" thus putting the final seal to the sentence which now became O! my brethren, "let him " among you "that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall." Peter firmly believed that he could die for Christ, and yet he lived to deny, and to abjure him. At this moment, then, how can the most sincere, most faithful, most confident among you, be more secure? Every thing of stability which belongs to the creature, vanishes before the tremendous onset of the powers of darkness. You possess nothing in which Peter was deficient; how then can you expect to stand, where Peter fell? Your heart is devoted to your Redeemer—and was not Peter's? your conscience acquits you of any premeditated intention to deny him and did not Peter's? your confidence urges you to declare, that worlds should not tempt you to such an

61 Cor. x. 12.

act-and what was the language of Peter? Alas! it is indeed only the hour of trial which reveals us to ourselves; and that hour shows us, that at our best estate we are nothing, and less than nothing, and vanity. You may now scoff at the probability of danger; you may imagine your rock so strong, that it shall never be removed; but you will find a season, when your solicitations to sin will be urgent, and its pretences plausible, and its opportunities easy, and the hopes of recovery or concealment probable, and the sin itself unusually fascinating; in such an hour, if you are trusting to your own strength, you will assuredly fall. There is not that sin, even to the betrayal of your friend, and the denial of your God, to which, in an hour of presumptuous confidence, the natural heart may not be seduced.

My younger brethren, yours is the age, and yours the state of Christian feeling, when men are most confident of


their stability, and therefore when they are most liable to fall. It is to you, then, we would particularly apply this example. Avoid every thing approaching to self-confidence, and let the constant desire of your heart, and effort of your life be, to maintain a humble, lowly, self-distrusting, prayerful walk with God be assured it is not any grace already received, it is not any resolution made, it is not any experience obtained, which can keep you falling, if you are walking carelessly, or confidently at the same time, be ye equally assured, that it is not any temptation, not all your spiritual enemies, however numerous, or however powerful, who shall prevail against you, if you are depending simply upon your God ; then, indeed, you shall "never perish, neither shall any man pluck you out of his hand." While, therefore, you are thus simple in your trust, and earnest in


7 John x. 28.

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