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against every foe. Here was Peter's sealed. He wrestles with bim for error. He rashly rushed into danger, forgiveness. Such conduct awakens although Christ had obtained permiss- our tenderest sympathies. There is jon for bim and the other disciples to something in ingenuous penitence, depart. And again, when in the con- which endears the subject of it to us. flict, Peter did not, as he should have Excellencies of character are then done, look to heaven for aid, but pre- unfolded, which could otherwise nevsumptuously relied on his own er have been discovered. strength ; and how dreadful was the Further; we can hardly imagine result! Let
every self-sufficient a more striking exhibition of the Christian, ignorant of his weak- Love of Christ to the heirs of salvaness, profit by the experience of an tion, than is furnished by his dealings apostle.
with this disciple. Although Peter From Peter's restoration may be forsook Him at a season, when above learnt something of the nature of true all others he should have proved most repentance. “ The Lord turned and constant; yet he was preserved from looked upon Peter.” “ And Peter final apostacy. went out and wept bitterly.” This The greatness of the love and grace look of our Lord carried conviction which restored Peter will be more to his heart. It conveyed feelings distinctly perceived ; if we recollect too big for utterance. No words the aggravating circumstances, which could have been equally expressive; attended his denial of his Lord and no eloquence so powerful. The rays Master. Christ had previously of love and intelligence divine that shewn Peter marks of peculiar fabeamed from his Master's eyes; the vour. He often during his ministry marks of suffering innocence exhibit- staid at his house. This disciple ed in His countenance; the look that with two others were the only ones said, Peter ! my sworn, my often a- of the eleven who were permitted to vowed friend ! hast thou also forsaken witness the interesting scenes that me ? —these were too much for this transpired upon Mount Tabor and in generous, though fallen disciple.- the garden of Gethsemane. He and His heart breaking within him, he John were entrusted with the whole leaves his Lord's presence; but un- preparation of the ordinance of the able to quit him entirely, he stands supper at its first institution. Christ without, and there, sheds floods of had also styled Peter, “ the rock” tears. He has come to himself. He upon which he would build his is now a penitent transgressor ; a re- church, denoting thereby this disciturning backslider ; a humble sup- ple's great instrumentality in estabpliant for forgiveness. He realizes lishing the Gospel of Peace. Again; his guilt. While we hear pothing of Peter knew that the Lord Jesus had the punishment to which he thought made his case the subject of particuhimself exposed; he sorrows mainly lar prayer : “ Simon, Simon, behold! because he has sinned against so much Satun hath desired to have you that goodness, and so much excellence; he may sist you as wheat; but I have and that too, after he had been warn- prayed for thee that thy faith fail not." ed of his danger. This is to some de- Christ had also in the fullest and gree the case with every true penitent. most direct terms forewarned him of He grieves most because he has sin- the approaching danger. And Pened against so good a Being,—so ter had in terms as full and as unqualkind a Father; so bountiful a Bene- ified, time after time, protested his factor. He ingenuously confesses his faithfulness : “ Though I should die sins without disguise and without with thee, yet will I not deny thee.” palliation, and, like Peter, produces But when the moment arrived which fruits "meet for repentance.” He tried his fidelity to Christ, he did decannot rest till his peace with God is ny him, again and again repeating "I
know not the man," and endeavour. Master. This we can all do, although ed to confirm the declaration by add- not in the same manner and under ing oath to oath. Oh! the depth of the same circumstances, in which Pethe depravity of man, even when most ter denied him, because Christ will sanctified. The time too of his de- not be again arraigned before a tribunial, greatly aggravated his guilt. It nal of justice. The season of his was at the awfully interesting season, humiliation is finished. Our once when his Master was about to redeem persecuted and crucified Lord is now his soul from eternal perdition by exalted to an equal throne of glory suffering the accursed death of the on His Father's right hand. The cross. Under such aggravating cir- era of martyrdom too is past. The cumstances, how inconceivably great disciples of Jesus are no longer in then, was the Love which welcomed danger of being obliged to pour out this returning backslider to the bosom, their blood in testimony of their adwhich he had pierced by his ungrate- herence to the truth. This temptaful desertion. But Christ did not tion,—the fear of death,-cannot merely pardon Peter: He restored then be now alleged in excuse by him to his confidence.--Afterwards, those who in their conduct deny the Peter was the chosen one of the dis. Lord Jesus ; and therefore their ciples, to whom Jesus first appeared guilt is the more aggravated. subsequently to his resurrection. There are, however, many ways yet This frail believer was made the great remaining, in which we can all in efinstrument in introducing and estab- fect deny Christ. lishing the Christian Church. After The minister of the Lord Jesus, our Lord's ascension, he was the first who wrests the scriptures from their who was permitted to preach to his true meaning-who handles the word own countrymen the then completed of God deceitfully, and thus eosnares way of salvation through a crucified the souls of bis hearers, virtually deRedeemer. By being divinely sent nies His Lord, and heaps aggravated to Cornelius, he was also permitted condemnation upon his own head. first to unfold the doors of the sanc- The professor of religion who does tuary to the Gentile world, and to pot observe the ordinances of God's publish to them the joyful intelligence house-who does not sanctify the that pardon and acceptance were Sabbath—who does not statedly and without distinction offered to all our with proper feelings commemorate
How great, therefore, is the the dying love of the Lord; every love of Christ shewn to be in his par- such professor virtually denies him. doning Peter, and also in his making So does he who knowingly violates even this frail erring disciple the any precept of Christ. And so also grand instrument in the first intro- does every believer, who does not duction of the religion of the gospel. crucily his ungodly passions, or does From this we also naturally infer that not uniformly exhibit the spirit of the continuance, as well as the estab- christianity, or does not forsake ev. Fishment of the Christian Church, is ery evil way and aim at universal not of man. Flesh and blood are in- obedience to all that is required in deed made instrumental—the sacred the word of God. So likewise, the • treasure” is indeed deposited “in man who does not cheerfully follow enrthen vessels”; but it is only "that bis avowed Lord through “honour the excellency of the power may” and dishonour," through“ evil report thus be seen to be of God."
and good report,” the man, who is at I cannot refrain from observing, any time, on any occasion and under in conclusion, that the example of any circumstances, ashamed of the Peter is to every believer, a warning meek and lowly Jesus and of his relivoice, lest he also bring upon himself gion ;-every such man denies his the guilt of denying bis Lord and Lord, and with peculiar emphasis re
echoes the words of Peter, “I know will not return to us. As all the him not.” If impenitent, how dread- great rivers run ioto the sea, so is the fal will be the doom of all of this broad and rapid current of time bearcharacter ? " Whosoever shall be ing us onward after our friends, into ashamed of me and of my words, of the ocean of eternity. How short is him shall the son of man be asham- a year ;--spring, summer, autumn, ed, when He shall come in His own winter! How uncertain is life! How glory, and in his Father's.”
few and evil are the days which go If the transgressing Peter could to make up three score years and not endure a single glance from Jesus ten! wben in humiliation and disgrace, By meditations similar to these how will they bear to have those eyes perhaps, the Psalmist was led to ofbeaming with heavenly splendour fer up the comprehensive petition, fastened upon them in the day when which we have selected as the theme he shall come to judge the quick and of the present discourse: So teach us the dead? Then there will be no to number our days, that we may apescaping from his presence. Then ply our hearts unto wisdom. Standit will be too late to repent.
ing as we now do, upon the threshC. L. old of a new year,
let us make this petition our own.
Who among us
does not need to be taught how to A SERMON.
make the most of time? Who can Ps. xc. 12.—So teach us to number say that he has fully learnt the heav.
enly art of living for eternity ? our days, that we may apply our Wisdom seems in the text, and hearts unto wisdom.
elsewhere, to be put for the whole of Another year of our short life, religion-comprehending experience, where is it :-Gone forever. Gone doctrine and practice. To apply our are its joys and its sorrows; its hopes hearts unto wisdom, is to devote the and its disappointments. Gone are
best of our time and talents to the its fifty-two Sabbaths, with all its study and practice of vital godliness. sermons and prayers—with all its So numbering our days as that we public opportunities and private in- may do this, is making the most of structions. We have now one year every day as it passes. Instead of more to account for, one less to live, burdening to-morrow with present one less to prepare for our great duties, it is doing whatsoever our change. How solemn the thought!
hand findeth to do, with our might. Gone too with the past year, are In inculcating the duty of nummillions of the human family:-shiv. bering our days aright, we shall conering poverty and sumptuous inde sider, pendence ; sparkling wit and idol- The Necessity of divine teaching ized beauty ;-the master and his in order to the proper performance of slave-the tenant and his lord-smil. the duty; ing infancy, blooming youth, and The Manner of performing it. grey decrepitude :-wisdom and fol- Its Practicability in all conditions ly, genius and stupidity, fading lau- of life; rels and budding honours. Gone And some of the principal Moalas! are some of our dearest friends, tives to its performance. parts of ourselves——the wife of our 1.-Let us consider the Necessity youth, a parent, a son of many of divine teaching, in order to a propprayers and hopes-a daughter, a er performance of this duty. sister, a babe sweetly smiling even in Sin has made dreadful havoc of the arms of death and laid quietly those noble powers and faculties with by the side of its unconscious moth- which man was originally endowed er. We shall go to them, but they by his Creator. It has inverted that
beautiful subordination, which con- ceed a step without referring the stituted the perfection of our first matter to God in the words of Paul, parents in paradise; and thus brought “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to in anarchy and ruin. It has poison- do ?” Who can trust himself with ed the fountain of the moral affec- the numbering of his days for one tions, perverted the will, darkened month, or even for one week ? the understanding, and excited the I must not omit to add in this conpassions to a turbulent and trium- nection, that we need that effectual phant insurrection. Naturally blind to teaching, which changes the nature our best interests, “wandering and of the moral affections, and influences
, loving to wander,” we are so far from the will. We are not by nature inapplying our hearts unto wisdom, clined to make the best use of time, that we waste life in the pursuit of and to apply our hearts unto wisphantoms, and are as prodigal of our dom, though we should see ever so probation, as if we knew it would clearly how it might be done. We last thousands of years. How much do not love God, nor shall we, till then do we need the teachings of the this love is shed abroad in our hearts Holy Spirit on the subject before us ? by the Holy Ghost. Our stubborn Who, left to himself, ever realized wills must be bowed, and our affecthe immense value of time? And tions must be made to flow in a new how obvious is it, that something channel, before we can number our more than speaking to the outward days aright. In other words, we ear, and through that to the under- must be effectually taught by the standing, is necessary. What in transforming influences of the Holy general avail the most striking repre- Spirit. sentations of the uncertainty and 2. The Manner of numbering our brevity of life? How soon are the days aright. This is a widely differmost solemn warnings forgotten? ent thing, from carefully noticing the Though death is always digging his days of a month or a year, for graves around us, our deceittul hearts
amusement, profit, or convenience. whisper that they are for others and Many are scrupulously particular in not for ourselves; why then should these respects, who are total strapwe be alarmed ? Heaven and hell gers to that divine art for which the are thus kept out of sight. Nothing Psalmist prays in the text. And so reaches the heart, till it is made ef- are they, who impatiently and unfectual by the Spirit of God. Hours thankfully count the weeks and days and minutes are never estimated ac- that lie between them and some excording to their intrinsic value, inde pected worldly gratification. pendently of divine teaching.
As the student so numbers his days Again ; after we begin to realize as to apply his heart to the acquisihow precious time is, we still need tion of knowledge, when he devotes further teaching, with respect to the himself daily and steadily to his best possible use and improvement of books; and as the labourer so numit. That man makes the most of his bers his days as to apply his heart to time, who does most for the glory of the accumulation of wealth, when he God, for the good of his fellow-men, rises early, sits up late, and eats the and for his own soul. But who is bread of carefulness : so does the there, that, left to himself, can "or- christian apply his heart unto wisder his steps aright;" can give the dom, when he diligently and persebest and most profitable direction to veringly devotes his best faculties to the various faculties with which he is the study and practice of true religion. endowed? Who in making choice While he is necessarily busied with of his profession, trade, or other em- things seen and temporal, he keeps ployment in life;—or in fixing upon his eye steadily fixed upon things unthe plan of his abode, can safely pro- seen and elernal. He feels that he
has a great work to accomplish, and love and honour your parents. Whattbat the time is short.
ever else you may do, if you fail Thus, would we number our days here, God will not accept you. Thus aright during the present year, or that also masters inust treat their servants portion of it which may be aloted to with kindness, gentleness, and chrisus, we must begiu in the fear aod ser- tiap benevolence: and servants must vice of God. We must make the obey their masters, 'not with eye serbest possible use of every hour, and vice as men pleasers; but as the serof all our talents. We must strive to 'vants of Christ, doing the will of God grow in knowledge and grace daily, from the heart.' Thus likewise, pasdoing all the good in our power, and tors must devote their time and tallooking to God continually for teach- ents to the appropriate and momenting and for strength. And as we ous duties of their office, giving at. begin to-day, so must we proceed to- tention to reading, to exhortation and morrow, and the day following, and to doctrine; be instant in season and as long as we live. Some, who out of season, that they may save set out with great apparent zeal, soon themselves and them that hear them. falter in their course, and by yield. The focks committed to their care ing to sloth or discouragement, lose must also on their
princthe prize. Whoever would secure tually and seriously upon all divine it, must be faithful to the end. institutions. They must receive the
As it respects personal religion, all word into good and honest hearts and have the same duties of faith and re- bring forth the fruits of it, in a steady pentance and new obedience to per- course of christian obedience. Age form : while our relative duties are must speak; experience must cheeras various, as our talents, relations, fully impart instruction, and youth employments and opportunities; and must listen and learn. upon the faithful discharge of these, In a word, every person who the numbering of our days according would so number his days as to apto the spirit of the text, greatly deply his heart unto wisdom, must acpends. Neither diligence, nor zeal, quaint himself with the duties of his in other spheres of action than those station, and perform them, as in the which providence has assigned us, presence of that God who has enjoincan make any atonement for the ed them and who trieth the heart. neglect of appropriate duties. We In like manuer humbly looking to must do the very things which belong God for the teachings of his Spirit, to us, or we can never receive the re. he must strive daily to gain some new ward of good and faithful servants. victory over himself, to become more Are you a parent, and have you a holy as well as more useful, that number of immortal beings commit- whether his life be longer or shorter, ied to your particular care? Would he may at the close of it look back you oumber yonr days aright, you with thankfulness, and forward with must, on no consideration, neglect a hope full of immortality, relying the religious education of your chil- wholly on the merits of the Redeemer. dreo. You must train them up in 3. Let us now briefly consider the the way they should go, that when Practicability of so numbering our they are old, they may not depart days as to apply our hearts unto wisfrom it. You must not relax in your dom, or to the study and practice of exertions, but hold on in a steady true religion, in whatever condition course of duty, giving “line upon of life we may be placed. Some line and precept upon precept;" ep- may be ready to enquire, how it is forcing all your iustructions by a possible in a world where so much blameless example, and looking to is to be done for the body, and espeGod for his grace to make them ef- cially in employments such as theirs, lectual. Are you a child ? You must to comply with the spirit of the text? Vol. 4.-No. I.