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was proclaimed : “ Go, tell his disciples and Peter, that he is risen from the dead.” How singularly striking is this message of the heavenly minister ! We should not have been surprised had he said, 'Go, tell his disciples and John, whom our Lord so dearly loved, or his sorrowing mother, or the affectionate Mary ; but that Peter, the erring, fallen Peter, should have been selected as of all the little company of believers the most deeply interested in this great truth, the only individual, to whom an express message should be transmitted, is indeed a most remarkable and most affecting instance of that “ love which beareth all things, endureth all things,"& and even under the deepest provocations “never faileth.” He who best knows the heart of man, well knew that Peter's heart was bleeding at that hour, from the effects of his late transgression; and he also knew, that no balm could be applied so

61 Cor. xiii. 7, 8.

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truly healing and consolatory, as one word of kindness and love from his risen Master; therefore did our Lord select the sinning, repenting, broken-hearted Peter, as the only individual to whom he sent a particular announcement, that as he had died for his sins, he had now risen for his justification.

My brethren, if you have ever felt the weight of unforgiven sin, or “ the plague of your own hearts," the misery, I might almost

say,
the
agony,

and the anguish, of having offended God, grieved his Holy Spirit, denied by your words or actions the Lord your Redeemer, you will be able to appreciate the blessedness of that short message, that single word of kindness,

66 Tell PETER that I am risen ; you will yourselves have felt that there is no such cure for a spirit wounded by transgression, a heart broken by the consciousness of sin, as one word of forgiveness from your Redeemer and

+1 Kings viii. 38.

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your God. I would fain believe that there are many among you, who, having themselves experienced the blessedness of such an act of mercy, can deeply sympathize with Peter; you who have prayed in the words of the Psalmist, “ Lord, pardon my sin, for it is great ; and have heard from the lips of your offended Maker, “ I, eren I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy you who, when

you

deserved and expected only words of wrath, have found promises of mercy, and words of love, carried home by the Spirit of God to your grieving hearts; you, and you only, can tell what must have been the joy of Peter at finding himself still the object of the affectionate recollection of his Lord, at learning that he was still remembered by name as one who was written in the Lamb's book of life.

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sins;

8 Psalm xxv. 11.

9 Isaiah xliii, 25.

Pleasing is it to behold in the Gospel of this day,' the natural ardour with which Peter ran to visit the empty sepulchre ; and not content with merely looking upon these vestiges of him, who for so short a time had made the

grave his bed, enters at once into the cavern, that his own eyes might see, and his own hands handle, all that now remained on earth of one so doubly dear to him.

But we may not dwell upon these things; we must hasten forward to the consideration of the last meeting which sacred history has bequeathed to us, of the penitent apostle, and his risen Saviour; that interview in which our Lord so tenderly reproved, and at the same time so affectionately instructed Peter, in his future conduct, and so plainly predicted his future fate.

Peter and the rest of his disciples had departed unto Galilee, in pursuance of our Lord's declaration, that he would

1 Preached on Easter Sunday.

manifest himself to them there. While waiting for this promised interview, so forgetful, do they appear to have been, of all those brilliant prospects of temporal glory, in which they had lately indulged, that they are actually returned to their original occupation, and are to be found once more engaged with their boats and their nets. What an astonishing instance of humility in men, to whom the word of their Lord was pledged, that “ in the regeneration, they should sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” While engaged in the laborious occupation to which we have alluded, our Lord appeared to them standing on the shore, and having made himself known to them by a miracle, we are informed that that disciple whom Jesus loved said unto Peter, “ It is the Lord.”

What a moment of extreme anxiety must not this have been to the penitent apostle! He had, as we have seen, re

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