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DIATELY, WHILE HE YET SPAKE, THE COCK CREW. AND THE LORD. TURNED, AND LOOKED UPON PETER; AND PETER REMEMBERED THE WORD OF THE LORD, HOW HE HAD SAID UNTO HIM, BEFORE THE ÇOCK CROW, THOU SHALT DENY ME THRICE. AND PETER WENT OUT AND WEPT BITTERLY.

The natural arrangement of topics here presented, will be followed by some observations on the means of Pe-. ter's repentance, the sorrow with which it was attended, and the effects which followed it.

I. The means of his repentance. Though in the unseen movements of his mind and heart, there was a grievous and distant departure from Christ, yet he did not openly forsake him utterly. Many motives of a low and unworthy character, no doubt, had influence in restraining him from such a course. His conscience, his curiosity, and even his pride may have formed an unnatural union, and by their combined power detained him at no great visible distance from the Saviour. He came even into the judgment-hall, and there, in sight of his Lord and master, mingling with his enemies, repeatedly declared that he knew nothing of him, was not one of his followers, and in short was ignorant of all circumstances which led them to suspect him. But here, just as he had uttered this last declaration, a circumstance apparently unimportant occurred, which awaked him from his guilty reverie. AND IMMEDIATELY, WHILE HE YET SPAKE, THE COCK CREW.

To him there was a terrible significancy in this occurrence. An incident, unnoticed by others, had to him the voice of thunder. Only a few hours had elapsed, since in reply to his inconsiderate declaration of a willingness to go with his Master, both into prison, and to death, Christ had said, I tell thee, Peter, the crock shall not crow this day, before thou shalt thrice deny, that thou knowest me. And when this signal occurred, just as he was cursing and swearing, and averring that he knew not the man, how must it have rung in his ears; how must it have pene

PETER.

more

trated his soul; how must it have restored him to himiself; how must it have spread out before his astonished mind, as with the rapidity and vividness of the lightning's flash, the heartlessness of his professions, the infirmity of his purpose, the blackness of his ingratitude, the deep criminality of his whole conduct in thus basely shrinking from an open avowal of himself, and a decided and unwavering defence of his Master, and attachment to his person and kingdom! Though in itself a trifling incident, it was mighty through God. It was as a nail in a sure place. It was as the voice of God echoed, and re-echoed through all the chambers of his soul. It effectually aroused him, and prepared him to be reached and benefited by other means of recovering him from a state of such alarming defection.

2. Among these means, was the interposition of Christ. AND THE LORD TURNED, AND LOOKED UPON

It would be impossible for us to tell what was expressed by that look. Doubtless there was than words could have revealed. In the human countenance is often to be read a language, which no human tongue can utter. What then must the awakened Peter have read at this awful moment, in the countenance of him who spake as never man spake! It was the look of him, whose frown alone is enough to sink the whole universe of created minds to despair. It was the look of him, whose smile can spread joy and gladness as wide as sin and woe extend. But whatever it was, it was a look which Peter could read and understand. He had been familiar with the Saviour's countenance. And though he now beheld expressions there, which he had not before witnessed, yet he was quick to learn the new language, which his own base conduct had there written. Shall we suppose, that the first cast of his countenance towards this offending disciple, was with a view to excite in his mind a clear impression of his deep criminality! O, how then did Peter read there a language to his heart like this" Is it true that you do not

know me, my unhappy disciple? Look me in the face, and then say, if your heart will allow it, that you know not the man." Was there a frown on his sacred countenance, as he TURNED AND LOOKED UPON PETER? How did it pierce his heart, as if he had said, " Falsehearted disciple ! you know with what deep displeasure I regard your conduct—you know I cannot but loathe you on account of this crooked course you have chosen to pursue.

Did his countenance assume the features of earnest expostulation? Then did Peter read there the subduing language,“ Simon, son of Jonas, can it be that

you
forsake

me,
when

you ought to come and testify to my innocence ? Can you deny me, when you were the first to acknowledge me to be the Son of God ? Can you abandon me so soon to the fury of my enemies, when you, but a few hours since, avowed yourself ready to go with me into prison and to death ?». But compassion beamed from that countenance, and it came to Peter's bosom in language more sweet and melting than ever flows from Seraph lips. “ Helpless disciple, satan hath desired to have thee, and thou hast no power to escapé. Already art thou almost in his hand. Nothing can save thee but my own almighty Grace. But my compassion fails not, and you shall yet be rescued from the power of the roaring lion.And think you there was no efficacy in his look? Think you, that no virtue went out of him, as he TURNED AND LOOKED UPON PETER? Suppose ye, that the gaze of Jesus did nothing towards the recovery of Peter ? How could he meet unmoved those eyes that came with the cutting interrogatory-Knowest thou me not? How could he remain unawed, unconvinced, unmelted, beneath the radiance of that countenance which beamed with reproof, expostulation, and compassionate entreaty? O, there was power in that look. Would, that the same look with equal efficacy, might be turned

each wandering disciple, and hardened sinner in this assembly!

upon

3. His own serious reflections were among the means of his repentance.

AND PETER REMEMBERED THE WORD OF THE LORD. The word of the Lord, brought to mind, is the great instrument usually employed in effecting any desirable change in the moral state of man. The word of the Lord here alluded to, was the declaration which our Saviour made to this disciple, but a short time previous to this trying occasion. He had been familiarly discoursing with the eleven disciples respecting the events which were then soon to take place, and, among other things, apprised them that in consequence of the treatment which he should receive, they would be greatly embarrassed, and induced to desert him.

Then said Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night-for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered. Peter answered, and said unto him, though all shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, that this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Now as soon as Peter was aroused from the stupor of sin, and, by a look from the Saviour, was arrested in his guilty course, and convicted of his exceeding criminality, his mind recurred to the words of solemn warning, which before he had presumptuously treated with heedless indifference. And the consideration of the manner in which he had received this warning, the circumstances under which it was given, and the sad fulfilment of the prediction it contained, was of a nature every way suited to touch his heart." His sins, in all respects, were peculiarly against the grace and compassion of Christ. He had regarded with the utmost unconcern, if not with actual contempt, a warning which the Saviour had given him with every mark of tender interest in his welfare—a warning which related to him solely, and in which he had an infinite concern. It was uttered too, at a time and under circumstances, which ought to have secured to it his lively

interest and heart-felt regard. It was spoken when threatening dangers were already visibly clustering about the Saviour's household. Every thing about him seemed to urge a preparation for severe trial. Why did he neglect it? He could have been led to it only by pride and self-confidence. He could not listen to a word which implied a weakness of principle—a feebleness of purpose in himself. Doubtless he felt angry, that his Master should say any thing which proceeded on the apprehension, that he was ignorant of himself, and did not know what he should do, when the trial came. But there was the bitter consequence of his thus treating the warning of Christ-the guilty fulfilment, on his part, of the prediction contained in the warning. This came into his mind associated with the recollection of his other acts of pride and obduracy, and the whole fearful array of recollections, awakened emotions of poignant grief, the pangs of ingenuous regret. It was his heavenly Master that he had proudly disregarded, unreasonably deserted, and most wickedly denied; and when he thought thereon his bosom swelled with the agonies of undissembled sorrow.

II. The nature of the sorrow with which his repentance was attended. No one lives long in this world a stranger to sorrow. It is the inheritance of our fallen

Indications of it, in some of its forms, are ever before us; and pangs of it, in some of its varieties, almost as constantly within us. But there is a sorrow that is to be coveted as the harbinger of peace and joy. And there is a sorrow, which is an earnest and foretaste of eternal sorrows.

There is a sorrow which is unto life, and there is a 'sorrow which works death. The cause of sorrow is remotely the same in all ; but its nature and results are immensely diverse in different individuals. The grand ultimate cause of the sorrow which Judas felt, was the same as that which occasioned that of Peter. But the sorrow of the one drove him to

race.

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