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and in John xxi., restored in heart as well as in conscience, he starts on his new course, as indicated by the words, “ Follow me.
How wonderful and beautiful to contemplate, and, in a measure, to apprehend the immense moral dignity to which Peter was promoted from that day when his brother Andrew announced to him the presence of the Messiahthe growth, the exercises, the sorrows and the joys; the humiliations on the one hand, and the great moral heights to which he was advanced on the other, until we now find him following Him " who left us a model that we should follow His steps.”
We have to bear in mind the nature and scope of the work of God in his soul before the day of Pentecost, and then we have to apprehend the fulness of power in which he entered into and enjoyed what already had been given to him. The divine greatness of the work of grace in his soul could not be apprehended or enjoyed but by the Spirit of God. No one could enjoy the life of Christ but by the Holy Spirit indwelling, yet the work of God was wrought in his soul in a new way beyond any one before him, because Christ had come, and he could be in the presence of Christ without fear. Before Christ came, all before were subject to fear. Now, Peter, sensible of his own unfitness, can leave everything for the One who had removed all his fear before God. There is real love to Christ in Peter's heart. Never before could a man know the power of God to enable him to walk superior to all the power of evil here. Never before could it be revealed to any one that Jesus is the Rock; and the revelation did not come before there was a work in Peter's soul preparing him for it. So at this time he could say, “Lord, to whom shall we go ? thou hast the words of eternal life.” Never before could any one have seen Christ's glory—the power and coming of the Son of Man-eyewitnesses of His majesty. Never before did any one know or could have known that combination of sorrow and distress through which Peter passed when Christ was condemned to die, and he at the very time denying Him. The corruption of man's heart exposed in the most poignant way, at the very moment that the Lord was about to die to set us for ever free from it. Never before had the risen Man, the last Adam breathed into man and said, “Receive ye Holy Spirit :"-no doubt, life in divine power. Never be. fore was man's mind opened to understand the scriptures. But Christ being glorified, the Holy Ghost descended, and each was filled with the Holy Ghost. Every divine work in Peter's soul, which could not be before Christ came, was now brought into distinction and splendour. The work of God is seen and enjoyed in divine power
and freshness. The work is there, but divine power is required to set forth the beauty and magnificence of the work. Man's works, the more they are magnified, the less perfect they appear; but with the blessed God, the more any of His works are magnified, the more
beautiful and perfect they are proved to be. Hence when the Holy Ghost dwells in me, not only is all His work in me illuminated and declared in its divine grandeur, but our relation to the Son and the Father is made known(John xiv.)-a communication boundless in its nature, and incomprehensible save to the Spirit of God. By Him we are introduced into a region of blessedness and delight unspeakable, ever enlarging and ever more entrancing " The draught which lulls our thirsting,
Awakes our thirst anew."
J. J., Reading, asks me to withdraw the passage
in page 271 of Voice to the Faithful, September, 1884, where I say, referring to the times previous to the coming of Christ, “We constantly find its (the flesh) use was sanctioned, even when it was morally degraded."
I did not think I was stating anything new; but I readily withdraw the sentence, as it has been misunderstood, because I meant no more than that in the old dispensation man in the flesh was still under trial, and acts were permitted which would necessarily be condemned after Christ had come—the immense differerence between them
J. B. S.