Sermon 2735. Fountains of Repentant Tears
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, JULY 14, 1901.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, OCTOBER 24, 1880.
"And when he thought about it, he wept." Mark 14:72.
TRUE repentance is always the gift of God and the work of the Holy Spirit in the soul. Man, left to himself, continues insin. If he turns from his iniquity, it is because God turns him. By nature, his mind is set on mischief and if that mind ischanged, as it is in genuine repentance, it must be because the Lord Himself has changed it. That repentance which a man worksin himself, without the Spirit of God, will turn out to be a repentance that needs to be repented of! But that godly sorrowfor sin which the Spirit of God produces in the heart is a sure indication of spiritual life and the constant attendant ofsaving faith. Whoever truly repents of sin and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, is a saved man-he shall be among the blessedones in that day when Christ comes to judge the quick and the dead-and he shall be forever among the glorified!
Yet, while repentance is worked in men by the Spirit of God, He generally makes use of means to produce that result. In thecase of Peter, the agency employed was thought-thought about his sin-"When he thought about it, he wept." There is no doubtthat multitudes of sinners have been led to repentance in this way and, in some respects, this must be the universal way bywhich the Spirit of God conducts men to the goal of true penitence. As long as they live carelessly and thoughtlessly, theygo on in their evil ways, but if they are stopped in their mad career, if they are made to consider, if they begin to thinkover their sin-if God, the Holy Spirit, convinces them of the guilt of it-He uses that thought and conviction to lead themto trust in Jesus Christ. The remembrance of sin committed is the Holy Spirit's frequent, if not constant method of bringingmen to weep over their wrong-doing and to turn from it.
I find that the Greek word, which is here rendered, "he thought about it," is rather difficult to translate in order to givethe full meaning of the original. There is, in the expression used by Mark, some idea of throwing or casting, so that somehave even read the passage, "When he muffled up his face," as though they thought it was implied that he cast something overhimself so as to hide his face for shame at his great transgression. But others, and I believe much more correctly, thinkthat our translation comes near enough to the idea of the writer, who wanted to convey the impression that Peter cast histhoughts concerning what he had done, one upon another-brought before his mind the circumstances in which he stood and heapedthem up, one upon another and, as he did this, and considered his sin in detail, and brought out its true and gross guiltiness-thenit was that he began to weep. Without, however, insisting upon the absolute accuracy of this particular translation, we takethe text as it stands-"When he thought about it, he wept."
I. First, LET US STUDY PETER'S CASE AND USE IT FOR OUR OWN INSTRUCTION. The details of this sad story are familiar to you,yet I may remind you of them in order that we may see in how many points we have been like Peter was.
As Peter heard the cock crow, he thought, first, that he had actually done what Christ had said he would do-he rememberedthat he had denied his Lord. That which had seemed impossible to him had, nevertheless, been done three times! He would notbelieve even his dear Lord and Master when He told him that it would be so, but now it was literally the fact that Peter,one of the first to follow Christ, one who had even walked on water to go to Jesus, one who had seen Christ's miracles-Peter,the most earnest and enthusiastic of Christ's followers, always to the front, ready to brave any-
thing for his Lord-Peter, who, with his sword, cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest-he realizes that he is thevery same man and that he has actually denied his Master, declaring positively that he was not one of Christ's disciples."When he thought about it, he wept," as well he might! Ah, what castles in the air had vanished! What self-confidence hadpassed away!
Then, as he looked to the end of the hall where he could see his Master, he reflected upon the excellence of the Master whomhe had denied. Ah, Peter! You have denied the best, the most loving, the most lovely, the most tender, the most generous,the most compassionate, the most self-denying, the most pure, the most heavenly of leaders! If there had been some fault inHim, if He had played you false, if He had been unkind to you, if He had promised you a wage and had not paid you, or if Hehad lied to you, and you had found Him out, or if you had seen some infirmity or imperfection about Him when you watched Himprivately, you might be excused. But to deny such a Master-well may you weep and cover your face for very shame! He is perfection,yet He permitted you to follow Him-you who are such a poor untrustworthy creature! How could you say, "I am not His disciple"-andsay it three times over, so positively and so plainly, when, but a little while ago, it was your joy, your glory, your delightto humbly follow in His footsteps and to call Him Master and Lord?
Then, next, he recollected the position in which his Lord had placed him. Peter, you are not only a disciple, you are oneof the 12 Apostles! Your Master singled you out, at least on one occasion, and spoke to you words that put you in a placeof great eminence in His Church. You were endowed with the power to work miracles, you were exalted above the 70 evangelistsand called to be one of the 12 pillars of the future Church to be built upon Christ Jesus. Yet you have denied Him! Oh, howthis thought must have struck his heart, like the point of a dagger, for, by so much as Christ trusts us, by so much is ita shameful thing for us to betray that trust! By so much as Christ puts honor upon us by using us, by just so much is it anintolerable shame that we should put Him to shame and grieve Him by denying that we are His! We can do this by our actionsas well as by our words. You can deny Christ quite as much by acting inconsistently as by standing up and boldly saying, "Iknow not the Man!" O Brothers and Sisters, if Christ has highly favored any of us, and used us in His service in any degree,and yet we have denied Him, the recollection of our sin ought to cut us to the quick!
Moreover, Peter remembered that his Lord had favored him with very special communion with Himself. Christ took only threeof His followers into the silent chamber where the daughter of Jarius lay dead. When he took the damsel by the hand and saidto her, "Talitha cumi," and the maid arose, there were only three pairs of eyes, out of all His disciples, that saw that miracle,for "He suffered no man to follow Him, save Peter, and James, and John." Then, up on the mountain where the Lord was Transfiguredand His garments became whiter than any fuller could make them, and the Glory of the Lord shone upon the Well-Beloved, therewere only three disciples who were permitted to be there-and Peter was one of those who "were with Him in the holy mount."
And in the Garden of Gethsemane, when eight of the Apostles were left as a picket to watch at the gate, there were three whoaccompanied the Savior to within a stone's throw of the place where He agonized and, "His sweat was, as it were, great dropsof blood falling down to the ground." And among the three who constituted the innermost bodyguard of their suffering Kingwas Peter. Yet, with the memories of Tabor and Gethsemane upon him, he had denied that he even knew Christ! Do you wonderthat, as he thought about it, he wept? Ungodly men, if they make a confession of sin, speak of it in the mass, as Pharaohdid when he said to Moses, "I have sinned." But godly men are not content to act like that. They enter into details and intheir confession they dwell upon the minute particulars of their guilt. They seek out that which will aggravate the sin or,rather, will set it in its true light when they are making confession of it before God! And I have no doubt that Peter mentionedthis as a great aggravation of his iniquity, that he had seen the Savior in those choicer moments when only the elect outof the elect, the very elite of the Apostolic band were permitted to be pre-sent-and yet he had denied his Lord!
There was still more for Peter to think of-he recollected that he had been solemnly forewarned by his Master Jesus had saidto him, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for you, thatyour faith fail not." And He had also said to him, "Verily I say unto you, That this day, even in this night, before the cockcrows twice, you shall deny me thrice." No warning could be more explicit than that! If a man plunges into a ditch when heis told where it is, or puts his foot into a trap when it is pointed out to him, or, being warned of his weakness in a particulardirection, nevertheless takes no heed, he really doubles the guilt of his offense, for he has sinned
against special light. You do not often have the full light of the bull's eye lantern turned upon a weakness as Christ turnedit upon Peter's. He told him plainly what he was going to do-yet the boastful man declared that he would not do it and thenwent straight ahead and did it!
This thought might well make him weep! The tones of his confident affirmation that he would never deny his Master must havestill lingered in his ears yet he could also hear the sad echo of the denial which he had so grievously made and, therefore,"when he thought about it, he wept." Why, it must have come to his mind that he had flatly contradicted Christ and that hehad put himself before all his brethren and claimed to be better, more steadfast than they were- "Though all men shall beoffended because of You, yet will I never be offended," and, further, he said, "Though I should die with You, yet will I notdeny You." He had to eat his own words and to confess that he had proved false to his own most solemn declarations-and thatmight well cause him to weep as he thought over it.
Yet there was something even worse than this-Peter mourned that he should have denied his Master under such circumstances-thathe should have left Him when He most needed a friend and companion. When everybody else forsook Christ, Peter not only forsookHim, but he denied that he even knew Him. If a man is really a friend, he certainly will stand by his friend when others turnaway from him-yet there stands the blessed Lamb of God, buffeted, mocked, delivered up by cruel men to be crucified, and itis at such a time that Peter denies Him! He denies Him when He is about to lay down His life for Peter and for all His lovedones-denies Him when He is acknowledging us as His own and standing before the tribunal in our place to suffer for our sins!O cruel Peter, if you meant to deny your Master, why did you do it just now when He has no one to cling to Him? Surely, itwould have been more noble on your part to have said, "I am one of His followers. Nail me to a cross at His side, and letme die faithful to my Lord." That would have been a speech more worthy of Peter at his best!
He also thought of the repetitions and aggravations of his offense and this made him weep. In addition to denying his master,he told a positive lie and repeated it again and again. He said to the damsel, "I know not what you say." And twice he said,"I know not the Man." Now, that was an altogether unnecessary lie because I would think that a very large majority of theJews knew Christ. Jesus of Nazareth must have been so famous as a Teacher and as a Miracle Worker that many a man who wasnot one of His followers, could not have said, "I do not even know Him." It was bad enough for Peter to deny that he was Christ'sdisciple, but to say, "I know not the Man," was a needless aggravation of the lie that he had uttered! What is worst of all,"he began to curse and to swear." Liars generally seem to think that they will not be believed upon their bare word. So theyimagine that if they will swear, then they will be believed. This is not the case, by any means, for, if you are wise, themoment you hear a man swear, you will know that he is telling a lie, for a profane swearer practically says, "I need not mindtelling a lie to man, for I am not afraid to swear in the Presence of God."
You never need believe a man who swears-you may know that he also lies. But Peter, having the common notion that to blasphemeand to use strong language would be convincing, began to curse and to swear. Do not alter these words, so as to make it appearthat Peter used gentle and polite expressions. He did nothing of the kind-he used the strongest form of cursing that he could,for the Greek word is tantamount to "anathema." He anathematized himself, invoked upon himself the heaviest curses-as profanepeople usually do-in order that those who stood around might believe him when he said that he did not know Christ.
This cursing and swearing shows how very low Peter had fallen. When a man swears, you may, as a rule, be quite sure that hedoes not know Christ. Peter may have thought within himself, "There never was a disciple of Christ yet who took to swearing,so, if I swear, they will think at any rate that I am not one." So he borrows, out of the mouth of the profane language whichdid not belong to him-and he utters it in order that they may really think that he is no disciple of Christ. When the cockcrew, and he thought of all this, he might well weep. Why, this is the man who said, on the Mount of Transfiguration, "Lord,it is good for us to be here: if You will, let us make here three tabernacles." This is the man who said to Jesus, acrossthe stormy sea, "Lord, if it is You, bid me come unto You on the water." This is the same man, yet he has been cursing, andswearing, and denying Christ! When he turned all that over in his mind, it is no wonder that he wept.
II. Now, in the second place, LET US STUDY OUR OWN LIVES AND USE THE EXERCISE FOR OUR FURTHER HUMILIATION.
I will begin with the backslider. There are, alas, many who have denied Christ in this way. After having followed Him foryears, they have gradually grown cold and have turned aside from Christ, their Lord and Master. I want you, dear Friend, oncea member of this Church, yet now a backslider, to turn this matter over very carefully and prayerfully. You were convertedin a very remarkable manner. You were, by Divine Grace, kept for years from sins into which you had formerly plunged. Youhad much joy and peace in believing and, sometimes, in the services of the Lord's House and especially at the Communion Table,you have felt as if you could sit and sing yourself away to everlasting bliss. You have often talked to your friends and kinsfolkabout the bliss that dwells in the name of Jesus, your Savior-yet now you are a backslider! I cannot go into the details ofyour sins-perhaps it would not be right or profitable to mention such matters in public-but will you think on them? I prayyou, my Brother-my Brother Peter-think of them! Turn over all the details in your mind. This may seem to you to be a verybitter task, but one day the result of it will be sweet. You do not like to remember your sins, but if you remember them,God will forget them-whereas, if youforget them, God will remember them against you!
Possibly you were not only a member of the Church, but you ware a teacher in the Sunday school. Do you remember how earnestlyyou used to teach the children, how anxious you were to lead the little ones to the Savior, and the intense joy with whichyou heard their first expressions of confidence in Christ? You remember what zeal and devotion to your Lord and His serviceyou manifested in those happy days which have long gone by? But what a change has come over you! Surely, as a wife treacherouslydeparts from her husband, so have you departed from Christ-and in going astray from Him, you have turned aside from happinessand from peace. You know that you are not happy. You also know that you can never be happy while you continue in your presentcondition. You have tasted so much of the joy of true religion that you are quite spoiled for the world. A man who lives insin and loves it, may get some sort of pleasure out of it, but if, by Divine Grace, you have once been brought out of theCity of Destruction, you cannot go back to it-the place would be a house of bondage to you.
There is nothing for you but to go forward because, as John Bunyan says, there is no armor for the Christian warrior's back-andif you turn round, you will quickly be wounded by the great adversary. You must go forward! There is something within youwhich tells you that you must, and I believe you will find that it will help you to go forward if you think over the sinsthat led to your departure from the right road, and that have made you, who used to teach others, now need to be taught yourself!
Is there, in this great throng, one who used to be a preacher of the Gospel, a minister of Christ, and who has turned aside?Such men are not as rare as one could desire. I can, at this moment, recall one who used to be prominent in Christ's service,but who now spends his life in serving Satan. We sometimes meet with men who have the drunkard's brand upon their face andthey tell us that they were formerly ministers at such-and-such places. O my Brother, my Brother Peter! How sad it is thatafter having preached Christ, you have denied Him! Were you sincere in your preaching, or was it a lie? Did you do it forthe sake of the loaves and fishes? God have mercy upon you if you were a whitewashed hypocrite! But now have the whitewashremoved and appear in your true colors! Possibly, however, you can say, "Yes, I did serve the Lord sincerely. I did long todo good in His name." Then, how did you get down to your present condition? A more important question is-Do you not wish toget out of that sad state? Oh, I beseech you, seeing that you have disgraced the name of Christ and put Him to open shame-comeback to Him at once!
May He make you to hear the cock crow this very hour, awakening your slumbering conscience, and may you go out to weep bitterlyover your terrible sin! It is by that watergate that many find entrance into the Haven of Peace. It is by deep convictionof guilt and by true contrition of heart that they come, at last, to the feet of Jesus and find salvation. Out of such a congregationand such a Church as this, it is not possible for anyone to know all that goes on, but we cannot help hearing of one hereand another there who gradually turn aside. Gray hairs are upon them, but they perceive them not, and at last they slip backalmost imperceptibly, and, by-and-by, they fall into some open sin. Return, O backsliding daughter! Return, O weeping one,to your Savior! Return, O prodigal child! Come back to your Father's House and heart! The door of His House is open to receiveyou, and His heart is waiting to welcome you! Return, return, return!
But now I must speak to another class of persons, those who never did come to Christ I wish I had the power to make them thinkof their past lives until they wept over them. Shall I try to recall some things to the remembrance of careless ones who arestill unconverted? I should have to go back a long way with some of you-back to the old house at home,
and to your dear mother-oh how she prayed for you and pleaded with you while you were a curly-headed boy! You remember thename that was written in your Bible, and the request that you would read a portion out of it every day when you first wentaway from home? You little thought, then, that you would ever be a swearer, that you would grow up to be a drunk, that youwould be a Sabbath-breaker and a companion of the wicked! If anybody had foretold that concerning you, in those days, youwould have said, with Hazael, "Is your servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?" You would have been shocked-yetyou have done it!
Do you remember the feelings you had in your early days, those childish prayers that were sincere in their way- those simplehymns that you delighted to sing-the time when you used to get alone and cry out to God? In those days, if you had had a portraitof yourself as you now are, shown to you, and it had been said, "That is what you will grow to be," you would not have believedit, would you? They were happy days, but they are gone, never to return. For years after that, you had a very tender conscience,had you not, my Brothers and Sisters? I want you to remember that fact if it was true in your case. Then, when you first wentinto overt sin you were very frightened and alarmed-but now you can do a great deal that is evil without being at all troubled-butit was not so with you then-you could not feel easy while engaged in wrong-doing.
Why, sometimes you have been sitting in the playhouse when there has been some lewd word or action, and you have felt thatyou ought not to be there! You have wondered that the place did not tumble about your ears! But you do not feel like thatnow. Remember, too, how you used to start in your sleep through some alarming dream, and how you awakened in terror and satup in bed, and wondered how you could live as you did, without God and without Christ, and in constant jeopardy of being castinto Hell. I want you to recall all this and to remember how you seared your conscience, as with a hot iron, till you hadburnt out of it the possibilities of sensibility.
I want you also to recollect another thing-and that is, God's mercy to you. Try and think about that for a little while. Godhas been very gracious and kind to some of you. You have prospered in business beyond all your expectations, or you have beenhelped in times of trouble when you could not have thought that God would aid you. For which of these things do you now neglectHim? What has God done to you, or for you, that you should remain His adversary? You remember that long sickness, when youwere brought very low? "Don't talk about it," you say. But I must talk about it, because there was something that happened,then, which ought not to be forgotten. In the middle of that illness, you vowed that if ever you got well again, you wouldlead a very different life. You recollect that you promised that? God registered the vow, though you have broken it!
I do not know how to say all that I have in my heart because there are certain things which I want some of you to think about,yet I can only just mention them in the public service. Remember the sins which you committed in which others were involved-sinswhich have ruined their souls, and which you never can undo. A man may sometimes sin by himself, as Peter did, but some mensin with others, and drag down others as they sink themselves. It is sad enough to go to Hell alone, without having one'sarms clasped about others to be the means of their ruin, also. Yet there are some men, and some women who have dragged scoresdown to Hell with them. O God, have mercy on them for this dreadful crime! If any here have been so guilty, I entreat themto think of their great sin, to look it steadily in the face till their eyeballs burn-and to keep on looking at it until theblessed drops of penitential grief shall distil from their eyes.
Why should you not think of what you have done? Do you fancy, because you forget it, and draw a veil over it, that it is destroyed?No, Sirs-you may blot out your memory of the crime, but it is as fresh in God's Book of Remembrance as if it had been committedonly yesterday! "But," you say, "this wrong was done 50 years ago." That does not make any difference-in the sight of Godit is just as though you did it tonight-and it will be the same with you, one of these days, when stern Justice, like a grimchamberlain with black hands shall draw back the curtains of the bed on which you now securely sleep-and wake you up to seethat your sin, unless Christ has buried it in His tomb-is still alive to curse you forever! Oh, may God help us to think overour sin until we shall realize its guilt and bow before the thrice-holy Jehovah in true penitence!
Some of you, who have been living in sin, and living without God, are doubly guilty, because you have sinned against lightand knowledge. You are not like the ignorant multitude, for you have been well-taught and trained from your very childhood.Moreover, many of you have been endowed by God with good common sense and sound judgment, and it has been a difficult matterfor you to continue in your evil course while your own conscience was accusing you.
Think of this, because it aggravates your sin and makes you more guilty than those who have not had such privileges! Someof you have heard the Gospel till you know all about it. I cannot tell you anything fresh and I never try to do so. When wehave seen the old Truths of God exercising all their possible power over our hearers, then will be time enough to think ofsomething fresh-but they have not reached that point yet, so we still continue telling "the old, old story." Oh, that theLord would cause you to remember the sermons that you have heard, the Prayer Meetings you have attended, the revival servicesyou have passed through-and the resistance to your own conscience and to the Holy Spirit which some of you have dared to carryon! O my God, I cannot break the rock! I cannot make the water flow from it, either with a rod or by speaking to it! You mustdo the work, O blessed Spirit, if it is to be accomplished! Will You now constrain these people to think of their past livesuntil they shall go out of this building to seek a quiet place where they may weep in penitence before the Lord?
III. I have set before you the example of Peter and have tried to transfer it to your own experience. I must now close byasking you to OBSERVE THE RESULT OF THESE THOUGHTS UPON YOURSELVES.
Alas, there are some who can think of sin without emotion. I have tried to make you think of your past sin. Do you find thatsuch thoughts lead you to repentance? Has God blessed this meditation to the breaking of your heart and the humbling of yourspirit? If you answer, "No." If you can think over all your past life and still say, "No, I do not weep. I do not repent,"I am afraid that you are like Judas rather than Peter! I fear lest I have met with the son of perdition and not an heir ofGlory!
What can be said for the man who is aware of his sin, but who tries to pass it upon somebody else? I have known some who havecharged the guilt of their wrong-doing to their constitution. They were so constituted, they say, that they could not helpsinning as they did-this is trying to pass upon God the guilt of their transgression. "Oh," says one, "it is my trade thathas made me sin! If you had been in my position, you would have been no better than I am." Perhaps so, but you mean that youare not the sinner, it is your tradethat is guilty? It does not appear that you are one of those whom Christ came to save,for He came to save sinners, the lost. He came not to call the righteous, but sinners, and I do not think His call will beextended to your trade-it is you, yourself, who must be saved-and none but Christ can save you!
"Oh!" says one, "my sin is the result of my circumstances." Whatever your circumstances may have been-whether you were richor poor, or whatever your condition may have been-if you try to lay the blame of your guilt on your circumstances, I havelittle hope concerning you. There is no mercy for you and there will be no forgiveness for you until you take the blame ofyour sin upon yourself. "Oh, but I was so tempted!" Yes, I know-that was the old excuse of Adam and Eve. "The woman gave methe fruit of the tree," said Adam. "The serpent beguiled me," said Eve. Perhaps you also lay the guilt of your evil-doingupon the devil-he is a beast of burden that carries many saddles that never belonged to his back. But I must tell you thatas long as you lay your sin at the devil's door, there is no mercy for you! Plead guilty, I implore you, for you arethe guiltyparty, and then shall you receive the pardon of your transgression! It is the sign of a sad condition of heart when a man,instead of confessing his sin, and admitting, straight away, that he is guilty of it, and lamenting before God that he shouldhave been so wicked, turns round and casts the blame upon chance, or upon anyone but himself!
I hope, however, that I am addressing some who are moved to penitence by thinking of their sin. I hear one say, "As I thinkover my sin, I am moved to great sorrow. I desire to have that sin put away, for I long to be wholly delivered from it andI do want to be reconciled to God." I am glad to hear you say that and I will tell you something that ought to move you evenmore than the thought of your sin, something that ought to make your heart leap within you. Do you ask, "What is that?" Why,it is this-that, though you have denied Christ, as Peter did, with many aggravations of your guilt, He still loves you andHe bids you come to Him, for He has blotted out all your transgression! God told Jeremiah to say that when a wife treacherouslydeparts from her husband, when she commits adultery and falls into all manner of wickedness, he cannot be expected to receiveher back again-yet God says to the soul that has gone astray from Him, "I am married unto you, says the Lord; come back toMe and I will forgive you, however much you have defiled yourself."
It was not many days after Peter had denied his Master, that the Master, having died and risen from the dead, sent a specialmessage to him. The angel said to the women, "Go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goes before you into Galilee:there shall you see Him, as He said unto you." And it was not many days after that that Peter stood by the
seashore and his Master said to him, "Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me?" And Peter was able to answer, "Lord, You knowall things; You know that I love You." Christ had always loved him, and He loves you, too, poor penitent soul! You have deniedHim, but He has never denied you. No, backslider, you have been false to Christ, but He has never been false to you. Comeback to Him who still loves you! The marriage tie is not broken! The Covenant of Peace is not cancelled, though you have sogrossly transgressed!
What a mercy it was for Peter that, within a short time of his great fall, his Master gave him work to do! And that same Peterwho had shamefully denied his Lord was standing up in Jerusalem, filled with the Holy Spirit, preaching to the multitudesand bearing the standard of the Cross in the very front of the battle, the bravest of the brave! And Peter ended his careerby dying for his Master, as Christ foretold that he would, by being crucified upside down, thinking himself unworthy to diein the same position as his Lord had done, and asking as a favor that if he must be crucified, it might be in that fashion.Peter yielded up his whole being, in life and in death, to Christ out of intense loyalty to his Lord who had so freely forgivenhim his great transgression.
That same Master is here, at this moment, seeking you poor prodigals! And He would have you come to Him and receive this graciousmessage from His lips-"I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and, as a cloud, your sins: return untoMe, for I have redeemed you. Behold, I have cast all your transgressions behind My back, and will remember them against youno more forever. Go forth and serve Me, and rejoice in Me all your days. Love Me much, for you have had much forgiven." Godgrant that many of you may have Grace given to you to enable you to obey that blessed word, and to the name of Jesus shallbe praise for evermore! Amen.
EXPOSITIONS BY C. H. SPURGEON: MARK 14:27-31; 53,54; 66-72; JOHN 18:15-18;25-27.
Mark 14:27-29. And Jesus said unto them, All you shall be offended because ofMe this night: for it is written, I will smite the Shepherd,and the sheep shall be scattered. But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. But Peter said unto Him, Althoughall shall be offended, yet I will not There was love in that utterance and so far it was commendable. But there was also muchself-trust in it. And there was great presumption, for Peter dared even to contradict his Master to His face and, at the sametime, he contradicted the Inspired Scripture, for Jesus had told the disciples that it was written that the sheep should bescattered! Yet Peter boldly denied both what God had written and what Christ had said. Alas, there is nothing of evil whichproud self-confidence will not make us do! God save us from such a spirit as that!
30, 31. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto you, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crows twice, youshall deny Me thrice. But he spoke the more vehemently, If I should die with You, I will not deny You in any wise. See howpositive he was, how reliant upon the strength of his own love! It was well to feel such love, but it was ill to mix withit such self-confidence.
31. Likewise also said they all Whenever a man who is called to be a leader, goes astray, others are pretty sure to followhim. It was so on this occasion, for when Peter made his boastful speech, "Likewise also said they all"-all the rest of hisbrethren chimed in and so shared in his sin-but Peter was chief in the wrong-doing, for he led them all. In the 53rd versewe read what happened after Christ's agony and betrayal in Gethsemane.
53, 54. And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and thescribes. And Peter followed Him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmedhimself at the fire. Meanwhile, Christ was being put to the utmost derision and contempt. In the 66th verse, we are told moreconcerning the boastful Apostle.
66-70. Andas Peter was beneath in thepalace, there came one of the maids of the high priest: and when she sawPe-ter warminghimself, she looked upon him, and said, And you also were with Jesus of Nazareth. But he denied, saying, I know not, neitherunderstand I what you say. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. And a maid saw him again, and began to say tothem that stood by, This is one of them. And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter,Surely you are one of them: for you are a Galilean, and your speech agree thereto. He could
not hold his tongue, you see. He was always fast and forward in speech-and no sooner did he begin to speak than the peoplesaid, "That is the Galilean's brogue! You come from that part of the country, your speech betrays you."
71, 72. But he began to curse and to swear, saying, Iknow not this Man of whom you speak. And the second time the cock crew.And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, you shall deny Me thrice. And whenhe thought about it, he wept
John 18:15. And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. That is John, of course. He never mentions his own name ifhe can help it.
15, 16. That disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest But Peterstood at the door outside. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spoke unto her thatkept the door, and brought in Peter. I always fancy that John had a greater tenderness for Peter because he was the meansof getting Peter into the palace of the high priest. Peter could not have got in if he had been alone, but John was knownto the high priest, and so secured his admission. He must always have felt sorry that he took Peter into a place where hewas so strongly tried. Hence John sought him out after his great fall when, perhaps, the other Apostles were inclined to leavehim by himself. John cheered him up and brought him back to the faith.
17, 18. Then said the damsel that kept the door, unto Peter, Are not you also one of this Man's disciples? He said, I am notAnd the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: andPeter stood with them, and warmed himself That was a very dangerous place for Peter to be-he would have been safer out inthe cold.
25. And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself Twice over, we are told that while his Master was being buffeted, Peter stoodin the midst of the ribald throng and warmed himself.
25-27. They said therefore unto him, Are not you also one of His disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not One of the servantsof the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, said, Did not I see you in the Garden with Him? Peter thendenied again: and immediately the cock crew. Thus was Christ's prediction literally fulfilled and thus, by what seems thehumble instrumentality of a cock crowing, was Peter brought to repentance. There is many an eloquent divine who has missedthe mark when he has been preaching, but God has spoken by a very humble voice. You, dear Friend, though you have no giftsof speech, may go and tell the story of Jesus Christ to someone and God may bring him to repentance through you, as he broughtPeter back to himself through the agency of this bird. May God make us all useful and keep us from falling into transgressionas Peter did! Amen.