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This appears, at first the very reverse of what might be expected. Depart from me. Is it to be classed with the entreaty of the unclean spirits in the preceding chapter: "Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth?"
The words of Peter express that sudden sense of awe, which arose from a consciousness of his own unworthiness, contrasted with the divinity before. him. The same feeling appears, on several occasions, in the Old Testament. When Manoah and his wife (Judges xiii.) received a promise of the birth of Samson, the angel, who bore the message, assumed the form of man. Suddenly, as they were engaged in offering sacrifice, "it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God." So, likewise, the prophet Isaiah relates, (vi. 1--5,) that a vision was granted him, in which he "saw the Lord, sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Then he said, Woe unto me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts."
The feeling on the mind of Peter was of the same nature. He perceived in whose presence he stood, and his immediate impression was, Who am I, that I should stand in the presence of God? Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
Why have we not all a like impression of the majesty of God, in whose presence we are constantly standing? "Whither shall we go from his Spirit, or whither shall we flee from his presence?" It is because here on earth "we walk by faith, and not by sight:" and the eye of faith is dim, and gives, at best, a very imperfect view of the divine glory,
The exclamation, therefore, of Peter, was one of self-abasement and humility: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord: and thou art of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. And it will be the feeling of every one, who is acquainted with his own heart, and acquainted with the holiness of God, that he is a sinful man, "unworthy of the least of all God's mercies." But the more truly he is sensible of this, so much the more earnestly will he entreat the Lord not to depart from him, but to be present with him, that his sins may no longer make a separation between him and his God. We must all own ourselves sinful men, and that Jesus Christ might justly depart from us: but we must, therefore, fall down at his knees, to pray him that he should not depart for woe unto us if he leave us, if the Saviour of sinners depart from the sinful man.
The other point of interest, is the comparison between the employment to which our Lord was calling these apostles, and that in which they had been hitherto engaged. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch "The kingdom of God is like unto a net cast into the sea.' The sea is the world, and the
? Henry in loco.
apostles were to cast the net; as this same Simon did, when he offered to his countrymen the invitation of the gospel, saying, (Acts iii. 26,) "Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities." He might reasonably have despaired of success, when we remember, that Jesus, during his own ministry, had toiled long, and taken comparatively nothing. His disciples were a small and obscure band. Simon, however, and his brethren, at his command, let down the net: they became "witnesess to Christ, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea." And the prediction here given was fulfilled. The draught of fishes, which the nets could hardly sustain, was far less astonishing than the effects of the apostle's preaching, when "the word of God increased, and the number of disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly, and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith." Because "God had chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty that no flesh should glory in his presence" and that it might be seen, that the miracle now wrought upon the sea, and the power afterwards exercised over the heart, were the operations of the same hand, and fulfilled the assurance given to Simon, From henceforth thou shalt catch men.
They judged wisely, then, when, in obedience to the summons, they forsook all and followed him. Like the merchantman in the parable, "seeking
3 Acts i. 8.
4 Acts vi. 7.
5 1 Cor. i. 27.
goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it."
A LEPER HEALED. THE SINS OF A PARALYTIC MAN FORGIVEN.
LUKE V. 12-26.
(Matt. viii. 2-4. Mark i. 40-45.)
12. And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy who seeing Jesus, fell on his face, and besought him saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
13. And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.
14. And he charged him to tell no man; but and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 2
15. But so much the more went there a fame abroad of. him and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.
16. And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
"A city of Galilee: perhaps Chorasin or Bethsaida.”— Newcome.
2 Levit. xiv. 4.
"without sin," is
His soul was not
The case of Jesus, who was not the case of ordinary men.
pressed down by the corruption of its nature; he had no evil disposition to mortify: he was subject to none of those distractions, which divert our thoughts from things unseen. Yet, he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. It has been the habit of all those who have advanced to high degrees of piety and usefulness, to follow this example to have their seasons of particular retirement, when they might commune with their own hearts, in their chamber, and be still." Prayer is not the business of life; but it is the prescribed means, by which we may be enabled to perform what is the business of life, the duties assigned us, with fidelity and usefulness, to the glory of God, and with the blessing of God.
(Matt, ix. 2-8. Mark ii. 1-12.)
17. And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town in Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.
18. And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and lay him before him.
19. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the house-top, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. 3
20. And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.
21. And the Scribes and the Pharisees began to reason,
This is explained, Mark ii. 4.