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Reflections on the inquiry into Peter's love.

479 come, what is that to pressed before, If I will that he tarry, or con- sect. thee?

tinue alive, till I come, what lis that to thee? cci. 94 This is the dis- And this is the disciple who testifies concerning John ciple which testifieth these things, and haih written them as above: XXI. 24. of these things, and wrote these things: and since he was an eye-witness to them, and and we know that his has not failed, in a proper manner, to produce testimony is true.

in the churches the credentials necessary to
prove the veracity and exactness of his writings,
we certainly know that his testimony is true, and
doubt not but every candid reader will receive
it accordinglyf.

IMPROVEMENT.

What if our Lord Jesus Christ should put the same question Ver. to us that he did to Peter, in this remarkable passage, and 15--17 should thus repeat it again and again ? Are there none of us who should be at a loss for an answer ? None of us to whom he might say, I know that you have not the love of Christ in you?-Or are there none of us who apprehend, that, if we had ourselves been thus pressed, we could, at the very best, only have said, Lord, thou that knowest all things, knowest that I cannot tell whether I love thee or not?-Blush, and be confounded, O my soul, if thou must reply with such uncertainty to a question of so great importance, and in a case where all the ardour of the heart might be so justly expected!

But are there not still some of us who through Divine grace 17 could reply with pleasure, Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that, notwithstanding all the unallowed and lamented infirmities of our lives, we do indeed love thee ?--And, if we are thus really conscious to ourselves of such an unfeigned affection, let it be our daily joy, that he who implanted this Divine principle in our hearts, discerns and sees it there; and, knowing all things, he perfectly knows this, however we may be suspected, however we may be censured.

Let us learn also by what method we are to express our love, 16 according to our ability and opportunity; even by feeding his

sheep

We know that his testimony is true.] Rom. vii. 14, and I Thess. ii. 18), it is Grotius would argue from the plural num- evident from the words, I suppose, in the ber in these words | Annot. in John xx, nert verse, that only one person speaks. So 30), that this last chapter was not written that no more appears to be intended here by John himself, but was added to his gos- than if he had said, “ We universally alpel by some other hands. (See note a on low, that what is testified by a credible Jobn xxi. 1. p. 471 ) But it is plainly eye-witness, and asserted by him under said in the beginning of this verse, that it his hand, must be admitted as a valid testiwas he who testified and wrote these things; mony, and pass for unexceptionable evi. and besides, that we have frequent in. dence: this is the case bere; and there, stances of the like change of numbers (see fore regard it accordingly."

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480 ' Jesus appears to five hundred brethren in Galilee: SECT. sheep, and promoting the interest and edification of his church. cch. Let ministers especially do it; and let them not forget those dear Ver. creatures, the lambs of the flock. Jesus the compassionate Shep. 15 herd, as we see, did not forget them ; but taught his servants

with the greatest tenderness both by bis precepts, and by bis example, to gather them in their arms, and carry them in their

bosom. (Isa. xl. 11.) 21 Happy are those ministers who, instead of indulging a vain

curiosity in things wherein they are not at all, or but very little concerned, are spending their lives in such faithful services; feeding the flock of God; and taking the oversight of it, not by con. straint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; that when the chief Shepherd shall appear, they may receive an unfading crown of glory: (1 Pet. v. 2, 4.) A crown which will infinitely more than repay, not only their labours, but their suffer.

ings too! 18 Happy Peter, who, having worn out his better years in the ser.

vice of Christ, courageously stretched out his aged arms to be bound, and, being borne away to tortures and death, shed the last

slow ebb of bis blood as a martyr for him who had loved him and 20--23 given himself for him.-And not less happy the beloved disciple,

so willing to hazard his life in the same cause; though he was not in fact called to lay it down as a martyr! Our gracious Lord, who sees every purpose, and every affection, as it rises in the heart, favourably accepts of the willing inind, and will, through the riches of his grace, entitle them to the reward of equal suffering, who have waited with a like readiness, though they have not been called out to the severity of the like trial.

SECT. CCII.

Christ appears to the whole body of the disciples at the appointed

mountain in Galilee ; and afterwards meets the apostles several times at Jerusalem, and discourses with them concerning the af. fairs of his kingdom. Mat. XXVIII, 16, to the end. Mark XVI. 15-18. Luke XXIV, 44–43. Acts I.-2, 3.

Mat.

Mar. XXVIII. 16.

MAT. XXVIII. 16. $207. NOW, quickly after the late interview which THEN the eleven ccii. W Jesus had with his disciples at Jerusalem, way into Galilee, inte

- disciples went se the eleven disciples went into Galilee, to a certain a mountain where je. XXVIII mountain not far from the sea of Tiberias, where sus bad appointed

16 Jesus had appointed to meet them. “ And he them.

appeared to them, and above five hundred bre.
thren at once, who came together from all parts
of the country on that important occasion."

And

wor

Mat.

And after that, is seen of James, and then of all the apostles. 481 17 And when they And having seen him, they bowed down and sect. shipped him: but wor

worshipped him ; and though some of the com. ccii. fome doubted. pany had doubted at first, yet they were after. 7

wards fully convinced a “ And the greater XXVIII
part of them continued alive, as witnesses of 17
the truth of his resurrection for several years
afterb; though others of them died in a short
time, and went to their glorified and trium-
phant Lord in heaven." See 1 Cor. xv. 6.
Thus did he manifest himself in Galilee to a con.
siderable number of his disciples at once; and
after that, he appeared to James, and then (as
we shall see hereafter) to all the apostles.” See
I Cor. xv. 7.

But, though he shewed bimself thus openly
to his disciples, “ he did not publicly appear at
any time to all the people; nor indeed did he
shew himself, in any other instance, to so
Jarge an assembly even of his own disciples :
but in the several appearances he made he
chiefy conversed with the apostles, and con-
fined his visits to those witnesses that were
chosen before by God to attest the truth of
his resurrection; who had frequent opportu.
nities of a free conversation with him, and,
as we have seen before (Luke xxiv. 30, 42, 43;
and John xxi. 12, 13), did eat and drink with

him

Though some of the company had b Several years after] It is generally doubted at first, &c.] There is no room granted that the first Epistle to the Corinthi. to think that this refers to some of the ans was written at least twenty years after epostles, when Christ had so lately satis Christ's resurrection; and Paul there tells fied the most incredulous among them; us, that the greater part of these five hundred but we are certainly to understand it (as then continued alive. And by the way it Mr. West has fully shewn) of some that was a wise and gracious dispensation of were in company with them, though Mat- Divine Providence to continue their lives thew bas not mentioned them. (See West's so long, as each of them, wherever Provi. Observ. p. 25, 29.) Yet still it is not easy dence led them, would be an authentic to imagine how any of the rest of this com- witness of that important fact, the resurpany could continue to doubt of the truth rection of our Lord, the great fundamental of Christ's resurrection, when they actually of the Christian faith. saw him, and that in the presence of so c After that he appeared to James.] It many others; a circumstance incompar- is probable this was James the son of Al. ably more convincing to each than if he pheus, who was still living when the apostle had appeared to any one alone. I there. Paul wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians, fore chose to render and paraphrase the whereas the other James, the son of Sebe. words, or de ediçacay, as above. Those dee, had suffered martyrdom some years learned critics, Albert / Observ. p. 163, before. (Acts xii. 2.) But the circum164), and Bos (Esercit. p. 23), have pro- stances of this appearance are no where reduced many instances, in which or is put corded, nor have we any credible account for 71955. And all the difficulty is re- where or when it happened; only we learn moved, if we allow a small change in the from the order in which it is placed by the Jense, and take the rendering of the Prus. apostle Paul, that it was after Christ's apsian Testament, Even they who had before pearance to the five hundred brethren. See doubled; or, which is much the same, note b on Luke xxiv. 34, p. 464. though some had doubted,

d And

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He shews them that the scriptures were fulfilled in him. SECT; him after he rose from he dead.” See Acts ccii.'

X. 41. Acts

And at these times of his conversing with ACTS I. 2.-[And] 1. 2. them", he more particularly opened to them

o them through the Holy Ghost

" [he gave) commandwhat was the nature and design of their office; ments unto the apostles [and] through the Holy Spirit, which was given whom he had chosen ; not by measure to himself, and which he had Jately breathed into them, he gave commandments and instructions to the apostles whom he had 3 chosen, how they were to act: To whom also 3 To whom also he

he gave abundant evidences of the truth of his shewed himself alive resurrection, and shewed himself to be alive after many infallible proofs.

after his passion, by he had suffered death, by many infallible proofs being seen of them and tokens ; being seen of them at various times forty days, and speak

ing of the things per. for the space of forty days after his resurrection, taining to the kingdom and speaking to them of the things which related of God.

to the kingdom of God. Luke And these bis last interviews with them were LUKE XXIV. 44.

And (Jesus came, and XXIV. chiefly at Jerusalem, to which they returned soon

voice they recurned soon spake unto them, say4+ after his appearance to them on the mountain in ing), These are the

Galilee ; and Jesus also came thither, and made words which I spake them repeated visits: and on one of these occa- 4

yet with you, that all sions, he spake unto them, saying , These [are] things must be fulfilled the words which I spake to you, and these the which were written in intimations that I often gave you, while I was

mobile I wane the law of Moses, and

in the prophets, and in yet dwelling among you, that all the things must the Psalms, concerning be exactly fulfilled which are written in the me. (Mat. XXVII. scriptures concerning me, both in the pentateuch which is called the law of Moses, and in the books of the succeeding prophets, and in the Psalms and other poetical books of the Old

Testament. 45 And at the same time he not only in words ex- 45 Then opened he pounded to them the sense of the sacred writers, that they might under.

ters their understanding, but also by a secret operation on their intellec- stand the tual faculties opened their minds, that they might

understand the scriptures in their reference to 46 him. And in a most convincing manner he 46 And said unto

enlarged

them,

was

res,

d And at these times of his conversing &c.] I use this indeterminate form of with them.] As I have inserted in the first expression, because I see no mark by paragraph of this section what is said in the which we can particularly ascertain the first epistle to the Corinthians, of our Lord's time when the following discourse was appearance to the five hundred brethren, and delivered; only, I think it very plain it to James, so I have thought it proper to must be after their return to Jerusaler introduce in this and the next section what (see Luke xxiv. 49), and consequently a relates to this story in the beginning of the very few days before our Lord's ascension. Acts (chap. i.--2-12), wbich renders the -I have thrown all that the three ebarnarration more complete, and finishes the gelisls say of these discourses into one account wbich the sacred writers give us of continued discourse, though perhaps some the history of our Lord to the time of his of them might be delivered at different ascension,

times. e On one of these occasions he spake,

Beginning

All power was given them, and they should be his witnesses. 483 them, Thus it is writ- enlarged upon the important subject, and said to SECT. ton, and thus it be

· them, When you consider all these things, you
hem!

ccii. hoved Christ to suffer. Themie, w gen you consid and to rise from the must certainly perceive, that thus it was writ. Luke dead the third day : ten, and thus it was necessary, in conformity to XXIV.

the counsel of God, and for the manifestation 46
of his glory, that the Messiah should suffer ; and

should rise again from the dead, as I have done,
47 And that repen- on the third day ; And that, in consequence 47
tance and remission of of this and on this are

of of this, and on this great foundation, the im-
sins should be preach-
ed in his name, among portant doctrines of repentance and forgiveness
all nations, beginning of sins through faith in him should be preached
at Jerusalem.

in his name, and by bis authority, to all the
nations of the earth, beginning first at Jerusa-
lem itself, though polluted with the blood of

the Prince of life f. M A . XXVIII. You know indeed (added he) how cruelly Mat. 18. All power is given the unto me in heaven and

ed the Jews have treated me, and how ungratefully XXVII in earth,

they have rejected me; but their outrageous 18
malice has now done its utmost, and my heavenly
Father has not only rescued me from their hands
but is exalting me to all that height of dignity
and glory which the sacred oracles bave so pa-
thetically described ; for all authority is now
given unto me, both in heaven and on earth, and,
in accomplishment of wbat was promised to the
Messiah, I am raised to a kingdom which com-
prehends both the upper and the lower worlds,

and entitles me to the homage of angels as well LUKE XXIV. 48.

as of men. And yet, though I could so easily Luke And ye are witnesses

command the ministry of those more glorious. XXIV. of these things.

creatures, it suits best with the scheme of my 48
gospel to make use of you; who shall according-
ly be wisnesses of all these things, by publishing
the certain knowledge that you have of the im-
portant truths of my death and resurrectione ;

and

í Beginning at Jerusalem.) As for the facts being published just on the spot where grammatical construction of the Greek word they happened ; and as the vast concourse aptausyon, it would be foreign from the of people of various nations, present there design of these noles to enter into it far- at the feast of pentecost, would contribute ther than to refer the learned reader to greatly to its more specdy spread. Elsner (Obseru. Vol. I. p. 288. and Raphe- & Fou shall be witnesses of these things. lius Annot. ex. Herod. p. 276, 277.) and That this was the grand business of the to the original of Luke xxiii. 5. xxiv. 27. apostles, is evident; and the ingenious auand Acts x. 37.-It was both graciously thor of Miscellanea Sacra (Essay iii. p.17and wisely appointed by our Lord, that the 23.) has taken great pains to shew how the gospel should begin to be preached at Jerusa. title of witnesses and the office of testifying lem; graciously, as it encouraged the re- is in the sacred writings appropriated to the pentance of the greatest sinners, when apostles. But after all, though it was inthey saw that even the murderers of Christ deed essential to the apostolic office, that were not exempted from the offers of gos. they who bore it should be able to testify pel mercy; and wisely, as hereby Christi- the facts as of their own personal knowanity was more abundantly attested, the ledge; yet it is certain, that a great many

others, Vol. VII,

3 P

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