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us in this world, or to condemn us in that which is to come. But, my brethren, while the real Christian believes, and rejoices to believe this, how does it affect the man of the world? Do I not address some, perhaps even of those advanced in life, who, in this view, are but as infants ? Do I address any who have lived their threescore years and ten, and whose spiritual life has not even now commenced ? Surely here is deep cause for earnest, solemn reflection, for fervent and heartfelt prayer : fifty, sixty, seventy years thrown away upon a worthless and unsatisfying world—not a year, not a day, not an hour, really given to God. You were born a stranger to him, and you are a stranger still. The day of reckoning is at your doors, and you have nothing ready for the account. Would to God that this might be the resolution of
your hearts to-day :-"The time past of my life shall suffice to have wrought the will of the Gentiles;” henceforth I will resolve, in the strength of the Lord, to begin in earnest to live to God. Let your spiritual history now commence,
you have never yet been made acquainted with the Lord Jesus Christ, never yet been brought into the blessed relationship of his family; "today, while it is called to-day, harden not your hearts ;" earnestly and faithfully seek that Spirit of adoption whereby you can alone be enabled to begin, in the children's language, “to cry, Abba, Father,” and in the children's spirit, to look for the children's home.
While commencing the spiritual history of Peter, we cannot but remark the pleasing circumstance, that it was his own brother Andrew who first led him to his Lord and Saviour. If it be true, and who will venture to deny it? that the enjoyment of the social affections is the highest temporal gratification, and the interchange of the kindly offices of love, the most blessed occupation here
below—then how nearly do these approach to the delights of a holier state of existence, and the occupations of a higher order of intelligences, when they are purified by the love of God, and consecrated to the cross of Christ! If it be interesting to the parent, to mark the first opening efforts of the infant mind, and to trace the first springs of thought in the infant breast, how much more delightful is it, to be made instrumental in sowing the first seeds of spiritual knowledge, and in teaching the first lessons of spiritual love! To behold the little countenances of our dear children lighted up, and their eyes sparkling with intelligence, while listening to a theme which angels themselves desire to look into; and to feel, while thus engaged, that we are opening up, in their young hearts, sources of future peace and joy, over which the present changeful state of things shall exercise no control, but which shall continue to flow on, when
time itself has ceased to flow. If there be any thing which can increase those natural feelings of love that exist between the husband and the wife, the parent and the child, the brother and the sister, surely it is, the being thus made the blessed instruments in the hand of God, in bringing these near and dear connexions, within the still closer bonds of the gospel of Christ.
Deeply does the Christian feel for . those who cannot sympathise with him here ; deeply does he pity those to whom such blessings are unknown: even in this world, there is no other real security for the strongest ties, for there is no such love as this engenders. The relationship between the spiritual father and his spiritual children, is the closest, dearest, most enduring, that can be found on earth, and when this is superadded to the ties of natural affection, when the several members of a Christian family are thus, “ knit together in
love ”i in Christ Jesus, then it is, that family union assumes almost a heavenly character, and those who are bound by its sweet influences here, will not be separated throughout eternity.
We have now beheld Simon Peter, by the affectionate efforts of his own brother Andrew, brought to an acquaintance with the Messiah ; but it does not appear, that from this hour he became one of his constant attendants, or that this was the period when he entirely devoted himself, heart and soul, to the labours of the apostleship. We find that for a little period, he returned to the usual avocations of a fisher's life, to his boats and to his nets; and although, doubtless, not forgetful of the high privilege he had once enjoyed, yet obviously requiring a more distinct and decisive command from the Lord of heaven and earth, before he became sensible of the glorious destiny which awaited him.
1 Col. ii. 2.