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Peter's Denial and Restoration

Peter's Denial and Restoration

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Published by glennpease
BROOKE FOSS WESTCOTT, D.D., D.C.L.



I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not : and when thou art
converted, strengthen thy brethren. ST. LUKE xxii. 32.
BROOKE FOSS WESTCOTT, D.D., D.C.L.



I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not : and when thou art
converted, strengthen thy brethren. ST. LUKE xxii. 32.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 05, 2013
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PETER'S DEIAL AD RESTORATIOBROOKE FOSS WESTCOTT, D.D., D.C.L.I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not : and when thou artconverted, strengthen thy brethren. ST. LUKE xxii. 32.A old writer has said very truly that if we couldsee the complex and delicate mechanism called intoplay by the least motion of our bodies, if we couldsee the slender threads by which the balance of thelimbs is supported, and the fragile bounds withinwhich the stream of life is contained, we shouldhardly dare to breathe ; and so in spiritualthings, if we could follow out the springs andissues of action, if we could listen to the distantechoes of our words sounding on throughout alltime, and mark the signs of our deeds transmittedto endless generations, we should hardly dare tospeak or act. When, indeed, we first try to formany conception of the worth and destiny of man,we are bewildered. Everything human grows infinite ; everything secular becomes eternal. Buthere, as in all other cases, Holy Scripture comes toour help, and shows us how this is so. If our worldseem but as a grain of sand compared with a boundless universe, it points us to an Incarnate God ; if we are lost in the petty concerns of our individuallife, it points us to a Father in Heaven. And in92x VILLAGE SERMOS 93Scripture everything assumes a practical aspectIf it dwells on the higher affinities of our nature,
 
it is to show that this little earth on which we liveis the battlefield of spiritual powers, and man s soulthe inestimable prize which hangs upon the issue of the great conflict of good and evil. If it describesthe endless consequences of human action, it is tobring out with greater clearness our mutual dutiesas members of one great family which has wanderedfar from its proper home into a strange land. It is,then, to these two thoughts, as affecting the greatLenten lesson of temptation, that I wish now veryshortly to direct your attention. It is not enoughthat we should look into the evil of our own hearts,and the outward dangers by which we are surrounded ; but it is well that our eyes should bedirected to these messengers of light and dark ness which hover about our paths ; and yet higher,to the mighty Adversary and the mightier Advocateever pleading our cause before the throne of God.It is not enough that we should think of ourselvesand of those with whom we are most closely connected ; but it is well that we should extend oursympathy to all for whom Christ died, praying thatas He conquered temptation not for Himself butfor others, so He may impart to us the virtue of His victory.The whole narrative of the Passion is an inexpressibly solemn record of the climax of this struggleof good and evil for the mastery of man. It tellsus how the devil, who had at first left our Lord fora season, returned seeking to shake by terror thatfaith which was unmoved by flattery ; and how94 VILLAGE SERMOS xiChrist met death, man s last enemy, face toface, and conquered. But in no part of it isthe conflict more distinctly represented than in
 
these words from which my text is taken." Simon, Simon/ said our Blessed Lord to theapostle foremost in devoted zeal, " Satan begged youfor himself from God- all of you who have followedMe in my temptations, all of you who shall shareMy kingdom to sift you as wheat ; and his requestwas granted. But /, to whom all secret things lieopen, prayed for thee for thee on whom my Churchshall be built, that thy faith fail not. And so dothou, when at length thou hast turned back from thyflight, strengthen thy brethren." Such is the meaning of my text ; and where can we find a clearerpicture of our position and of our duty ?The awful vision of an accuser appearing againstus before God is revealed to us also in the OldTestament, and under circumstances in some degreesimilar. While Job was living in prosperity, Satanappeared from wandering to and fro throughout theearth, and received permission to visit him with soreplagues. While the apostles were dreaming of aspeedy triumph, their great Adversary was empowered to sift them as wheat. And so it iswith us now. While men sleep the enemy is busy.When we are least suspicious our foes are mostactive. But if we sleep, there is one who watchesfor us ; if our eyes are heavy, there is the record of Gcthsemane ; if we have an unseen enemy, so toohave we an unseen helper. Peter was trusting tohis own firmness when Christ prayed for him. Andthere is One who prays for us as He prayed forxi VILLAGE SERMOS 95St. Peter ; One who will keep our faith fromfailing, though we stumble often ; One who will aidus in our efforts to do right, though He will notcompel us to abstain from wrong.

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