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St. Peter's Denial of His Master.

St. Peter's Denial of His Master.

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Published by glennpease

Matt. xxvi. 69, &;c. Luke xxii. 61, &c,

Matt. xxvi. 69, &;c. Luke xxii. 61, &c,

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Published by: glennpease on Dec 16, 2012
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St. Peter's Denial of his Master.
BY REV. JAMES SAURINMatt. xxvi. 69, &;c. Luke xxii. 61, &c,.Now Peter sat without in the palace ; and a damselcame unto him, sai/in:^. Thou also wast wilh Jesusof Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, Iknow not what thou say est. And when he was goneout into the porch, another maid saw him, and saidunto them that were there, This fellow was also tvitk.Jesus of Nazareth. And a^ain he denied with an,oath^ I do not know the man. And after a whileeame unto him them that stood hy, and said to Peter,Surely, thou also art one of them, for thy speechbetray eth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear^saying, I know not the man. And immediately whilehe yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned,and looked upon Peter ; and Peter remembered theword of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Be-fore the cock crow, thou shall deny me thrice. AndPeter went out, and wept bitterly.T is laudable, my brethren, to form the noble de-sign of not beinsj moved by the presence of danger,and to cherish dignity of sentiment and thought.310 Si. Fetefs Denial of his Master.This virtue distin^uislies the heroes of our age, andit equally distinguishes the heroes of religion andpiety. They defy the whole universe to shake theirfaith ,' amid the greatest dangers, they adopt thislanguage of triumph : Who shall sepm'ate us fromthe love of Christ 1 Shall iribidaiion, or distress, orpersecidion, or famine^ or nakedness, or perd, or thesword? Nay, in all these things we are more than con^fjnerors, through kim that hath loved us, Rom, viii»34—30.But hoR^ laudable soever this disposition may be^it ought to be restricted ; it degenerates into pre-sumption, when carried to extremes. Many, notlinowing how to proportion their strength to theircourage, have fallen in the day of trial, and realizedthe wary maxiin, Thci/ that love the danger, shall per-ish by the danger. Tliis is exemplified in ihe persotiof St. Peter. His heart, gl:)wing with attachmentto his Master, every thing was promised from hiszeal. Seeing Jesus on the waters, he solicited per-mission to walk like the Saviour; but feeling hisfeet sink beneath the surface of tlie unstable waters-,
lie distrusted either the power or the fidelity of hisMaster ; and unless supported by liis compassionatearms, he had made shipwreck, to express myself withSt. Paul, both of his faith and his life togetlier. See-ing Jesus led away to the iiigh-priest's house, he fol-lowed without hesitation, and resolved to follow evento the cross. Here, likewise, on seeing the angryJews, the armed soldiers, and a tiiousand terrific ap-pearances of death, he saved his life by a base deni-al ; and, unless his forfeited faith had been restoredSt. Peter's Denial of his Master, 341by a look from his Lord, the bonds of union hadbeen totally dissolved.In the examination of this history, we shall seefirst, (he cowardice of an apostle, who yielded, for themoment, to the force of temptation. We shall see,secondly* Jesus Christ vanquishing the enemy of oursalvation, and deprivino; him of his prey, by a sinsjleglance of his eyes. We shall see, lastly, a penitentrecoverinoj from his fall : and replying, by his tears,to the expressive looks of Jesus Christ: — -three inex-haustible sources of reflection.We shall consider, Jir si, the fall of St. Peter ; andit will appear deplorable, if we pay attention to theobject whicti excited his fear, and to the circumstan-ces with which it was connected.The object which excited his fear, was martyr-dom. Let us not magnify moral ideas. The fear of martyrdom is inseparable from human weaknesscTiie most desperate diseases afford some fluctuatinghopes of recovery, which diminish the fears of death.It is an awful thing for a man to see tlie period of his death precisely fixed, and within the distance of a day, an hour, a moment. And if it is awful toapproach a death, obvious (so to speak) to our view,how much more awful, when that death is surround-ed with tortures, with racks, with pincers, with cal-drons of boiling oil, and all those instruments invent-ed by superstitious zeal and ingenious malice. Ifjhowever, there were occasion to deplore the weak-ness of man, it is on account of the fears excited bythe idea of martyrdom. Follow us then while weillustrate this assertion-342 St. Fetefs Denial of his Master.That men must die is one of the most certain andevident propositions ever advanced. Neither vicenor virtue, neither religion nor infidelity, nor any
consideration, can dispense with this common lot of man. Were a system introduced of livinsj for everon the earth, we should undoubtedly become ourown enemies, by immolatini^ the hope of future fe-licity, for a life of such inquietude as that we shouldenjoy on the earth. And if there had been such alife, perhaps we should have been base enouj^h togive it the preference of religious hope. If it hadfailed in securing the approbation of the mind, itwould, at least, have interested the concupiscenceof the heart. But, whatever is our opinion, die wemust: this is an indisputable fact, and no one daresto controvert it.Prudence, unable to avert the execution of the?cntencc, should be employod in disarming its ter-rors: destitute of all hope of escaping death, weought to employ all our prudence in the choice of that kind of death, whicii is most supportable.And what is there in the severest suiferings of mar-tyrs, which is not preferable to tlie death we expectfrom nature? If I consider death as an abdication of all I enjoy, and as an impenetrable veil, which con-reals the objects of sense, I see notiiing in the deathof the ujartyr, that is not cotrimon to tds^ry otherkind of death. To die on a bed, to die on a scaf-fold, is equally to leave the world ; and the sole dif-ference is, ihat the martyr linding nothing but trou-bles, gibhr.ts, and crosses, in this life, detaches him-St. Peter's Denial of his Master. 343self with le^s difficulty than the other, who diessurrounded by inviting objecls.If I consider death, with ref^ard to the pains whichprecede and attend its approach, I confess it requirescourage more than hum n, to be unmoved at the ter-rific apparatus exposed to the eyes of a martyr.But, if we except some peculiar cases, in which thetyrants have had the barbarity to prolong the livesof the sufferers, in order to extend their torments,there are few sudden deaths, which are not attendedwith less pain than natural death. There are fewdeath-beds, which do not exhibit scenes more tragicthan the scaffold. Pain is not more supportable, be-cause it has symptoms less striking: nor are afflic-tions the less severe, because they are interior.If I consider death, with regard to the just fear of fainting in the conflicts, in which I am about to bevanquished by the king of terrors, there are supera-bundant aids reserved for those who sacrifice theirlives for religion. The greatest miracles have beenachieved in favour of confessors and martyrs. St.Peter received some instances of the kind ; but I will

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