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with him the glories of his kingdom-you will be ever with the Lord.
Hell is a dreadful sound. But if this sound awakens you to flee from the wrath to come, it will to you be a happy sound. Life and death-heaven and hell are set before you. Death is set before you that you may choose life-hell, that you choose heaven. Make a right choice, and you have nothing to fear, but every thing to hope. Entertain no prejudice against the gospel on account of its threatenings. These do not create your danger-they only warn you of it. Your sins create your danger. The warnings are sent, that you may flee from the danger which threatens you. If the gospel had never said a word about future punishment, still it would be as true as it is now, that a sinful course and impenitent death must terminate in misery. Hell though a terrible, is a necessary sound. The design of it is to alarm the sinner and excite him to seek safety by repentance toward God, and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. If the misery of hell is the fruit and result of sin indulged in the heart and practised in the life, then the sound which seems so dreadful is from yourselves. Let your fear come home to yourselves. Let it operate where it ought to operate, against your own iniquities. There is your danger. It is not from the character, or from the threatenings of God—but from your opposition to his character, and disregard of his threatenings. His word sets hope before you; lay hold on it and live. He is long-suffering to sinners, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repent
Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound. They shall walk in the light of God's countenance. In his name shall they rejoice all the day. In his righteousness shall they be exalted.
Let none despise the awful sound which they hear from the law, the judgment and the threatenings of God-but all hear and take warning. They are words of truth and soberness. Awakened by these sounds, let them dread the consequence of impenitence and unbelief; and hear and obey the joyful sound, which eálls to repentance, promises pardon and offers grace to help in time of need.
There is an accepted time—there is a day of salvation. The salvation offered was purchased by the blood of Christ. It is promised by the faithfulness of God. It is proclaimed in your hearing by a voice speaking from heaven. You may obtain it by a seasonable and diligent application. But how will you escape, if you neglect so great salvation, which began to be spoken by the Lord himself and was confirmed by them who heard.
If you finally neglect this salvation, which is proclaimed in such encouraging sounds, you will sink into regions of darkness and despair, where these delightful sounds will be reverberated in dismal echoes.
It will be no small part of the misery of condemned sinners, that they neglected the day of grace-despised a dying Saviourtrampled on the warnings of God's word, and resisted the energies of a striving spirit.
If the dreadful sound now in your ears, makes no impression on your hearts, nor calls their attention to the offers of deliverance and safety; they must one day hear a sound more dreadful from the final sentence of the Judge-Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
Know in this your day the things which belong to your peace, before they are hidden from your eyes.
REFLECTIONS ON THE CHARACTER OF PETER.
JOHN XXI. 7, 8.
Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved, saith unto Peter, It is
the Lord. Now when Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked) and did cast himself into the sea. And the other disciples came in a little ship (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits) dragging the net with fishes.
OUR blessed Lord, after his resurrection, seems not to have been constantly with his disciples, as he was before his crucifixion; for they were now dispersed to follow their several occupations, only meeting at proper times for friendly conversation and social devotion. But he visited them occasionally to give them evidence of his resurrection, and to impart to them such instructions, as their present circumstances and future employments might require. These visits were made sometimes to two or three of them, and sometimes to a greater number, when they happened to be together.
John, in this chapter, relates the appearance of Jesus to seven of his disciples at the sea of Tiberias. He says, “ This is the
third time, that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead." He means, that this was the third time of his shewing himself to them in a body; for the evangelists mention five or six other times before this, when he shewed himself to some, or all of them.
Seven of the disciples being now together in a house near the sea of Tiberias, Peter proposed to his brethren to go a fishing ; to which they agreed, and immediately took a boat, went out with a net on the water, and labored through the following night with
In the morning Jesus came and stood on the shore. They saw a person, but knew not who he was. It is probable that day-light was not yet perfect. He might appear in a dress, in which they had not been accustomed to see him. They had no expectation of meeting with him at this time and in this place. It therefore is not strange, that they did not immediately recognize him. Probably they supposed him to be so:ne man, who came to buy fish of them. They were within call from the shore. The stranger asked them if they had any meat. They answered, that they had none, for they had caught nothing through the night. He directed them to cast their net on the right side of the ship, which they did, and caught such a number of fishes, that they were hardly able to draw the net toward the shore.
John, who is here and elsewhere called the disciple whom Jesus loved, astonished at this wonderful draught of fishes, thought of Jesus, and looking more attentively, as it grew lighter, perceived that it was certainly He. And he said to Peter, It is the Lord. Peter, hearing that it was the Lord, was in haste to be with him; and impatient to wait the slow progress of the boat, put on the loose garment which he had thrown off for labor, stept into the sea and waded to the shore. The water so near the shore was shallow enough for a man to wade. Had he intended to swim, he would not have put on his outward garment. He hastened to land, and left his brethren to drag along the rich booty, which they had taken.
We will make some remarks on John's information to Peter; and on Peter's behavior in consequence of its
John says, It is the Lord.
It is an expression of surprize. The personal presence of Christ, at this time, was wholly unexpected.
He had before appeared to his disciples, once and again, when' they were met together for devotion; but now they were on the lake employed in a secular calling. Their minds were occupied in their labor, and exercised with their ill success. An interview with their Lord was little thought of. His appearance so near them, and his advice so friendly and seasonable in their business, was matter of surprize.
Pious souls may enjoy the presence of Christ in their secular occupations, as well as in their sacred devotions. No real duty will separate between him and them. It was the duty of these disciples to attend to their secular employment at proper times, no less than to engage in devotional exercises at other times. And when they were in the place, and at the work, to which providence called them, they might enjoy communication with their Lord, whether the place were an oratory, or a fishing boat, and whether the work were mental, or manual.
God requires us to spend a portion of time in his worship. There are certain seasons sequestered for social worship. These we must statedly observe without unnecessary omissions. We are required to pay our morning and evening sacrifices in our families and closets. These stated religious exercises are adapted to form in our minds an habitual reverence of God and constant sense of his presence. That our devotions, whether secret, or social, may be useful to ourselves and acceptable to God, we are to banish from our minds all inordinate worldly affections, and all malevolent and unfriendly passions, and to come before God with reverence toward him, and with good will toward all men ; we are to engage our hearts to seek unto him and to attend upon him without distraction. The reason why we are to perform devotional duties with a pious and benevolent spirit, is that we may carry this spirit with us into all the duties of common life. Every one sees, that it would be absurd only to make our prayers with reverence to God and benevolence to men ; and then imme