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placed in the same world, and with the same nature as ourselves.
Looking to what the Scriptures make known to us respecting him, we find, first, that he had acknowledged Christ Jesus in his true character, as the Son of God, the Saviour of the world. It was he who had stood forward before the rest, when Jesus was discussing the reports which prevailed concerning him, and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Peter discerned him, as the promised Saviour, "the Lord our righteousness:" the completion of that wonderful scheme for the deliverance of man from his ruined, sinful state, which the Bible discloses to our view.
And such understanding of his person and his purpose, must be the groundwork of trust in him to all. In order that we may become holy through his grace, wise through his instruction, and accepted through his ransom, we must know of a truth, and be ultimately convinced, that "it hath pleased God that in him should all fulness dwell," and that God hath made him to us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."
2. Peter, however, had not been content with knowing what Christ was. Though there cannot be faith without knowledge, there may be knowledge without faith. The apostle had both. He had seen that in Christ was life and for the sake of that life he had given up every thing, and resolutely devoted himself to his Lord. When, after a certain time, many of his disciples went back, and
4 Matt. xvi. 16.
walked no more with him, Peter answered and said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life." And having thus resolved, he was prepared to suffer any loss and encounter any difficulty, rather than separate himself from the side of Christ. We read the answer, which his heart prompted, when warned of the malice of Satan, Lord, I am ready to go with thee to prison and to death. He overrated, as we know, his strength but he spoke the settled purpose of his mind, the purpose to which he quickly returned, and which he steadfastly maintained. Being more fully converted by the power of the Holy Spirit, he was enabled to fulfil the command of his Master, and to strengthen his brethren.
In order to be secured against the enemy of our salvation, we must have formed the same resolution. With a like intelligent and undoubting faith, we must have united ourselves to Christ: and with a like determined purpose we must follow the example which he set, and walk in the path which he has prescribed. We are in no danger of prison or of death. But circumstances are sure to arise, by which our state of heart will be tried in which it must be seen, whether we only call him Lord, or obey him as Lord. We must renounce things, in which we might otherwise find pleasure: we must forego things by which we might perhaps increase our worldly advantage: we must have formed a settled plan of life according to his gospel, from which neither inconvenience nor opposition must cause us to turn aside. Our maxim must be, What shall separate us from the faith of Christ, from the
love of Christ, from the precepts of Christ? By him the world is crucified unto us, and we unto the world.
Make these words of Jesus an occasion of in
quiry, how it is with yourselves. Ye perceive your danger. Satan will desire to have you. He allows no man to escape temptation. Christ Jesus is the security against Satan. "For this was he manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." Have ye fully understood both your need of his salvation, and his power to save? And having understood it, have ye sought it, and procured it to yourselves? "The promise is to us, and to our children."
Further, having united yourself to him, by a firm, unhesitating faith, are ye adhering to him through rough ways and smooth, through evil report and good report, in all time of tribulation, in all time of wealth? Then "Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is ever at the right hand of God, shall make intercession for you;" and though Satan may desire to sift you as wheat, he will pray that your faith fail not in the hour of trial.
5 Rom. viii. 34.
JESUS WARNS HIS DISCIPLES OF THE COMING DANGER. HIS PRAYER AND AGONY. HE IS BETRAYED BY JUDAS.
LUKE Xxii. 35–53.
Jesus had now, in this his last discourse, assured his disciples that they who had listened to his call, and followed him, and continued with him in his temptations, should not lose their reward: a kingdom was appointed unto them, though not a kingdom of this world. He had also given to Peter an express assurance which implied, that a power belonged to him which would enable all who trusted in him to prevail against every danger. Now, however, in conclusion, he sees fit to warn them, that for a while his power should be withheld. They had already experienced its sufficiency they had seen that he was able so to dispose the hearts of men towards them, that though "having nothing," they "possessed all things." They should find the same again: but not at the present moment.
35. And he said unto them, when I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.
36. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
37. For I say unto you, That this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.
38. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.
The prophet Jeremiah, when he was foretelling a great destruction of the people, predicts it by bidding them act as they would do if death had brought desolation upon a family. "Call for the mourning women, that they may come; and send for cunning women: and let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids gush out with waters." Jesus uses a similar way of speaking: and in that manner intimates to his disciples, that for a while they must depend upon themselves, and be in the midst of dangers: Now, he that hath a purse, let him take it: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. There are occasions, when a sword is more necessary than a garment and for such they must be prepared. He spoke in the way of figure. But they understood him literally; and said, Lord, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough. I forewarn you to expect evil, but I do not counsel you to resist evil: for "they that take the sword, shall perish by the sword:" and the things concerning me have an end.
1 Jerem. ix. 17, 18. See Campbell in loco.