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A Farewell.

A Farewell.

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Published by glennpease

"Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what
shall this man do?" St. John, xxi. 21.

"Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what
shall this man do?" St. John, xxi. 21.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 13, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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A FAREWELL.BY FRACIS ST. JOH THACKERAY, M.A., F.S.A."Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and whatshall this man do?" St. John, xxi. 21.THE chapter in which these words havebeen preserved is one of the most pre-cious of the Divine records. When we read apassage like this, standing by itself, so full of interest, so rich in details, so solemn andunearthly in its whole tone and character, weare led to prize more highly than perhaps wehave ever yet done, every page and everyincident, every gracious look or word or act of our Lord, treasured up for us by one or otherof the Evangelists.Above all we are led, in this instance, toreflect how great were our loss, were this fourthGospel removed from our Bibles ; so intimatelybound up as it is with the very heart and coreof the creed of Christendom, the battlefield,as it has been truly called, of the ew Testa-ment ; the record in which are enshrined side1 July 8th, 1883.M1 62 A Farewell. [xnby side the tenderest companionship withJesus, and the strongest witness to HisDivinity ; the rock against which the surgingwaves of scepticism have persistently beaten,
but evermore have beaten in vain.In this concluding chapter, added evidentlyat a later date, after the rest of the Gospel hadbeen completed, the beloved disciple's recol-lections are enshrined of one of the last ap-pearances of Christ before His Ascension :principally, no doubt, to dispel the error grow-ing up about himself that he should not die.But we can trace another object that thewriter had in view. The second miraculousdraught of fishes is narrated with such minute-ness, as to point to a further purpose, andthat is to be found in the whole of the con-versation which grew out of the miracle.We can touch but very rapidly upon theimpressive scene, full of interest and full of instruction as it is.The disciples had gone back to their ownhomes and their own occupations, in trustfulwaiting. They were again fishing in the bluewaters of the Galilean lake, that lake that hadbeen so eventful in the last three years of theirlives. Through the night they had caughtnothing. But as the day was breaking, therestood on the shelving beach One whom theyfailed to recognize, calling to them, "Children,xn] A Farewell. 163have ye aught to eat ? " And then, on Hisbidding them cast the net on the right sideof the ship, the truth flashes instinctivelyon St. John, It is the Lord. Full of greatfishes the net is drawn unbroken to the land,where they find the morning meal already
spread, and the Lord, " Himself their host,waiting to give rather than to receive." * Itwas after that solemn, mysterious meal, asymbol doubtless of the Great Festival to beheld upon the everlasting shore of Heaven,that the searching question was put to Peter," Lovest thou Me ? " Thrice is it put, and inanswer to the reiterated assurance of personalattachment (piMi a-e) the threefold Apostoliccharge is given, and the issues of that personallove are revealed ; the decline of the old im-petuous vigour ; the feeble arms stretched outon the Cross the death by which he shouldglorify God. And then the final commandthat could turn weakness into strength andthe pangs of martyrdom into the joy of self-surrender, Follow thou Me.They were walking along the side of thelake: and we may suppose that St. Peterwith our Lord was slightly in front of therest, when he turns and sees his favouritefriend and chosen companion following behind1 Westcott, "The Revelation of the Risen Lord,"vi.164 A Farewell. [xnthem, as though silently signifying that he toowas ready to follow whithersoever his Mastermight lead him. The question, prompted byloving interest in the fortunes of his brother-apostle naturally rises to his lips, Lord, andwhat sliall this man do? In the original it isstill more brief and rapid, Lord, and this manwhat ? What of him ? what shall he do orsuffer? What glimpse of his destiny, what

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