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that he knows all your wants, laid down his life for you, and will not lose one of you, if you will be found of him.
16. He saith again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me ?He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me ? Peter was grieved, because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? and he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Jesus had no doubt of Peter's love, but he must call for this proof of it, and inculcate the sacred charge to feed his sheep, old and young, however the repetition of it might grieve and search his heart. Lord, it is a memorable instance of thy tender compassion for souls, a most awakening admonition to those who are concerned in feeding them, and a solemn warning to all of the worth of them.
Chap. xxi. ver. 18-25.
CHRIST'S CHARGE TO PETER.
18. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
When young, thou wast thy own master, and free from danger, having no world to provoke. Speaking according to nature, Peter should be carried whither he would not. In the power of divine grace he was not only willing to die, but de ed to be crucified with his head downward, affirming the he was unworthy to suffer in the same posture wherei his Lord had suffered before him.
19. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow
1st. Christ signified by what death he should glorify God. This might seem but poor encouragement to Peter to be diligent in his duty, as well as an ill return for his love to Jesus. But the apostles were taught to call that glorifying God, which the world would think a hard service. That was the happiest death to them which brought the most glory to God, and most good to men. Let us learn from them to give glory to him, by a thankful submission to his will in all things, in life and in death.
"He saith to him, Follow me." It is the glory and great blessedness of us all, to follow him. For this end we have been reading of him, and we are come to a happy conclusion of it, if we resolve to take him as our teacher, and tread in his steps, as God shall enable us and we believe on him in vain, if we do not.
20. Then Peter turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
21. Peter seeing him, saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
22. Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.
Let us take particular notice of this. Our business is at home, and our own work is plainly before us; let us mind that, without prying too curiously into the will of God concerning others. The gentle reproof here given to Peter should keep us all in the right way.
23. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die; yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die: but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
The meaning is that St. John should not die till the coming of Christ to destroy Jerusalem, and put a final period to the Jewish economy. This is sometimes called
his coming, and was a prelude to his coming to judgment. The brethren seem to have understood Jesus as if he spake of the last. In the main, their mistake was harmless; but be a caution to us to look narrowly to the words of
24. This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
25. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
If so little has been recorded by the Holy Spirit of the deeds of Jesus, and so many more might have been set down, that comparatively speaking the world could not have contained the books that should have been written, how inexcusable must we be, if we neglect to read and understand the few which he has set down for our instruction. Lord, do thou open our eyes that we may behold wonderous things out of thy law. Amen.-Edit.
The MS. of the Rev. T. Adam is dated 1759.
IBOTSON AND PALMER, PRINTERS, SAVOY STREET, STRAND.