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most affectionately say,—let this be your immediate resource ; fix your thoughts, and your heart, earnestly and steadily upon your Redeemer, for he, and he alone, has both the power and the will, to restore your soul, and to reconcile you to your heavenly Father. Let this be your instant, fervent prayer-Lord, “ look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.'
» 2 Your wanderings cannot have been too wide, your sins too heinous, your denials too repeated or too aggravated, to hinder the effect of that look of power, that look of guidance, that look of love : through the influence of divine grace, it will not only speak to
, your heart, but change your heart, and bring you, in penitence and contrition, back to the fold, from which you have wandered.
Observe, in conclusion, the immediate effects of Peter's repentance : "he went out and wept bitterly.” He no longer
remained among the enemies of his Lord; he instantly forsook a scene of so much temptation, and to him of so much sin. We are not again told that he continued ' warming himself in the high priest's palace,” or “waiting to see the end." That single glance of power from the eye of his Redeemer, had driven Satan from his prey, and dissolved the chains
, which he had wound about his captive; the “snare was broken, and he was delivered.”3
My beloved brethren, if you are really in earnest in your penitence, this also will be your course; you will immediately, and for ever, forsake those scenes, and those habits, and those companions, who have induced you to deny your Lord; cost what it may, of ease, or pleasure, or comfort, like Peter, you will instantly go out from them; worlds would not tempt
1 ; you back, to tread that path of danger from which, by the preventing grace
of God, you have been so mercifully extricated. But although the first proof, this was not the only proof, of Peter's penitence. “He went out and wept bitterly;" not in expiation of his sin, for all the tears which sinning, suffering mortality has ever shed, are utterly unavailing to wash away the faintest trace of guilt ; he wept from very bitterness, from anguish of soul that he had so deeply offended One, so gracious and so merciful. He was assured of his forgiveness, for that look had told him that no anger língered in that pure and perfect bosom. But did this thought arrest his tears? No; it was this, which bade them doubly flow; he could hear his Master say, 'You have denied me and disgraced me; the tongue of my friend has wounded me far more deeply than all the thorns and nails of my enemies ever can ; I freely forgive you, I have prayed for you, and this moment demonstrates that I have not prayed in vain ; you have escaped the destroyer; go, and sin no more.
3 Psalm cxxiv. 7.
speaks to you, as his silent glance then spoke to Peter. He offers
He offers you a free and full forgiveness, deeply as you have wounded him, if you will but “ look on him whom you have pierced, and mourn because of him; if
will Peter, forsake your sins, and deeply deplore them, you shall hear of them again no more for ever. But let not the assurance of the Saviour's pardon diminish the tide of the sinner's tears ; this is the mourning upon which your Lord has pronounced a blessing; this is the short-lived sorrow which ushers in, the everlasting joy: be willing with a broken and a contrite heart, now “to go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, "5 and the word of your God is pledged to you,
" shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing your sheaves with you.” 4 Zech, xii. 10.
5 Ps. cxxvi. 6.
JOHN XXI. 18.
“ VERILY, VERILY, I SAY UNTO THEE, WHEN THOU WAST
YOUNG, THOU GIRDEST THYSELF, AND WALKEDST WHITHER THOU WOULDEST; BUT WHEN THOU SHALT BE OLD, THOU SHALT STRETCH OUT THY HANDS, AND ANOTHER SHALL GIRD THEE, AND CARRY THEE WHITHER THOU WOULDEST NOT."
At the close of the last Lecture, we beheld Peter fully convinced of the guilt of his distressing act of cowardice and apostacy, and going forth, in the bitterness of his anguish, to pour into the bosom of his heavenly Father, the confessions of a broken and contrite heart. Who can describe the feelings of this affectionate disciple, during the whole of the dreadful day which succeeded the act of his denial? that day which saw the meek and perfect