Restorative Ministry

John 21:1‑25  •  20 min. read  •  grade level: 6
We looked in our last chapter at the occasion when the Lord met Peter after He had risen from the dead. The record is very simple. And what we have had is only told us in Luke 24. When the two disciples from Emmaus entered the room, where the apostles and others of the Lord's disciples were gathered together, they were met by this assurance and confirmation of that which their own souls had witnessed and tasted, "The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon." Where the interview took place, when, how, or in what circumstances, we are not told. God has been pleased to fling a veil over that remarkable scene, when a Master, inimitable in grace, restores the heart of His failing servant to Himself-a servant who had, in a moment of weakness, grieved that Master, and wounded His love as only love can be wounded; but we are sure that Peter's heart was thoroughly restored to the Lord.
Evidently a few days had rolled by between the scene recorded in Luke 24 and those described in John 21, because it says in this chapter, "This is now the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead"(ver. 14). It is said to be the third time, but, historically, it is undoubtedly the seventh time. He was seen five times on the resurrection day, the Lord's Day. First of all by Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:99Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. (Mark 16:9); John 20:1-181The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. 2Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. 3Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. 4So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. 5And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. 6Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. 8Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. 9For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. 10Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. 11But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. 14And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 15Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 17Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 18Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her. (John 20:1‑18)), then by her Galilean friends (Matt. 28:1-101In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. 8And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. 9And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. 10Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me. (Matthew 28:1‑10)), then by Peter (Luke 24:3434Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. (Luke 24:34)), then by the two that went to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-3413And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. 17And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 18And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 20And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. 22Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. 24And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. 25Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? 33And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, 34Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. (Luke 24:13‑34)), and then by the company who were in the room at Jerusalem, " the eleven, and them that were with them " (Luke 24:3333And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, (Luke 24:33); John 20:1919Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. (John 20:19)), which of course takes the company out of merely an apostolic category. There were a good many of the disciples gathered together with the apostles on that interesting occasion, when Thomas was not with them. That was the fifth time. The next Lord's Day the Lord appeared again, and Thomas was then with them (John 20:26-2926And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. (John 20:26‑29)). And now we have come to the seventh time historically.
In the first of the three appearings recorded in John 20; 21, you have that which is specially connected with the Church. Closed doors, a company inside, and the Lord in the midst. In plain language, you get the commission of the assembly to be in this scene, like Him, and for Him.
The next week, when Thomas was with them, the Lord appeared again. There you have really the blessing of the Jew prefigured. Thomas would not believe till He saw the Lord. The Jews will not believe in Him till He is seen coming in glory by-and-by. Then the third scene (21:1-11) gives us pictorially the ingathering of the Gentiles. It is a figure of the millennial scene. Thus we have in these three scenes, the Church of God, the Jews, and the Gentiles.
This seventh appearing becomes the beautiful occasion of the Lord's restoring Peter publicly. Christ not only restores the heart that has slipped away privately to Himself, but, if that servant has had a place for Him, He restores him publicly.
Now you will remember that before the Lord was seen of the company of the disciples, the angel had by the women sent them these words, " Behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you " (Matt. 28:77And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. (Matthew 28:7)). Hastening to carry their message, the women were met by the Lord Himself, who says to them, "Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me" (ver. 10). His disciples were to leave Jerusalem, the spot of ordered religion, and they were to go down to Galilee, a despised place, outside Judaea.
And now, in obedience to the Lord's command, they find themselves down in Galilee, and they also find themselves in old historical scenes, with the old boats, and the old nets (see Mark 1:16-2016Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 17And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. 18And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. 19And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. 20And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him. (Mark 1:16‑20); Luke 5:1-111And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. (Luke 5:1‑11)). And what are they doing there? They are waiting for their Lord to come, and while they are waiting for Him, see what they do. Friends, nothing tests us like waiting. The greatest test of the state of our hearts is time. Nothing tests us like time. Now what were these men doing? Waiting? No! Fishing! And Simon was the ringleader. They thought they would fill up the time. " I go a-fishing," says Simon. " We also go with thee," say the others. It is astonishing how one saint can lead others. It is a great thing to see the way in Scripture in which unconscious influence is described. We all of us affect each other, either for good or evil. You do not need to speak. I will tell you something far more powerful than your speech. It is your life. The spirit of a man is infinitely more important than his communications.
" I go a-fishing," carried the whole seven from shore to sea, but "that night they caught nothing" (ver. 3). In Mark 1:1717And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. (Mark 1:17), the Lord had said, "Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him." They had then turned their back on their boats and nets; they had left all to follow Jesus. Now, when the morning had come, the Lord stands on the shore (ver. 4), but they did not know Him. Why? Because, beloved friends, a very little bit of distance from Christ, a little working of the will, will render the sight so feeble that I do not know the Lord, even when He comes near me. They were but two hundred cubits from Christ. They were only one hundred yards from the shore, and yet they did not know who He was. I think that is why the Lord tells us the distance. Ah, my dear friends, if I am going to be useful to the Lord, I shall need to be nearer to Him than that. " I will instruct thee, and teach thee, in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye" (Psa. 32:88I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. (Psalm 32:8)), is God's way of guidance. You could not see the turn of my eye at the end of the hall. You could see it if you were near me. " I will guide thee with mine eye" is a most touching way of the Lord's saying, Keep near me. However, John knows Him by His word.
Then Jesus saith unto them, " Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No" (ver. 5). All they gave Him was a cold, No! Oh, the coarse, rough, cold answer, that comes from a saint's lips sometimes. Yes, brethren, we get coarse away from Christ. Oh, you say, they did not know it was the Lord. That is no excuse. It was not even, No, Sir! This lack of courtesy does not affect Him, as He says: " Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes" (ver. 6).
John immediately gets his eyes opened, and says: " It is the Lord. Now when Simon 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" (ver. 7). He made for the shore as fast as ever he could. He wanted to get near the Lord. He had once, when called (see Matt. 14. 28-32), stepped out on the water to meet the Lord. This time he does not wait for an invitation. He seems to say, " I know He would like to have me near Him." And in a minute he is near the Lord. If he had not been all right in his conscience, as well as in his affections, he would have kept away a little bit. This action shows me here that he was all right. All had been forgiven, and the Lord had spoken peace to his troubled heart. And now when he is alive to the fact that it was the Lord, he says, I will get near Him.
" 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. As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread " (vers. 8, 9). I have no doubt that that fire of coals spoke to Peter's conscience, because it must have brought to his memory the fire of coals in the high priest's hall, when he denied the Lord. He was then warming himself by the world's fire, and of course he got his fingers burned. And, beloved, if you and I are hail-fellow-well-met with the world, there must come sorrow and distress.
And now the Lord bids them bring of the fish which they had caught, so " Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three; and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken " (ver. 11). I do not doubt, I may say in passing, that this is just a beautiful sort of figurative illustration of what will be in the millennial day. In Luke 5 the net broke. Here the net does not break. It is the perfection of all that Christ will bring in by-and-by.
And now, when they have brought the fish to land, the next word is, " Come and dine." The Lord prepared that which was necessary for the body, a figure surely of what He gives for the soul. He has the necessary food, and ministers just what we want. And look at the lovely invitation: " Come and dine! And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord " (ver. 12). Now why do you think the Spirit of God put that in? Because I believe every one of them was longing for an assurance that it really was their Lord. I cannot get away from Christ without there coming an indescribable effect on the soul. Things become misty in the soul's apprehension, and clear spiritual vision is lost.
" Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise " (ver. 13). He is the Master of the feast. He is the Host. With His own peculiar grace He makes them eat. He puts all His guests at perfect ease. When He gave a feast once before, that none might be missed over, He made His guests sit down in ranks of fifty on the green grass (Mark 6:39, 4039And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. 40And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. (Mark 6:39‑40)), and the record is " there was much grass in the place" (John 6: 10). Christ's way of meeting the soul is always perfect in tenderness and careful consideration. There is nothing lacking in it.
When they had dined, the Lord deals with Peter. It was not when he was cold and hungry. He will feed and warm you first, if He have to correct you after. " Come and dine," He says to them. They were near a warm fire now, but they had been out in the cold all night, and doubtless were hungry and cold. The cure for hunger and cold, is food and warmth. That is the nature of divine ministry,-the ministry of love. Hence we read, " No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ the Church " (Eph. 5:2929For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: (Ephesians 5:29)). We are nourished by food, and cherished by warmth. Both are in view by the Sea of Galilee.
Now if I have got away from the Lord, it is when He has got me back to His side, and I have known the restorative effect of His ministry that breaks the heart by its grace, it is then that He can ask me any question He likes, and the heart responds. And now all needed in Peter's case comes out.
" So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?" Peter had boldly said long ago, " Though all shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended" (Matt. 26:3333Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. (Matthew 26:33)). He now answers, "Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I am attached to thee." It was quite true, and the Lord accepted it. The fruit of His blessed grace was perfectly clear to His eye, and " He saith unto him, Feed my lambs."
Then a second time, He said, " Simon, son of Jonas, tallest thou me?" You will observe the question is different in each case, and so is the commission. The first question is, "Lovest thou me more than these?" The next is, "Lovest thou me?" Do you love Me? Again Peter replies, "Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I am attached to thee." Then the Lord saith unto him, " Shepherd my sheep." He was going away, and He puts into Peter's care those that were dearest to Him. It shows the confidence of Christ in this now broken-down man. " 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 that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep" (ver. 17).
Here you observe the Lord changes His query by changing the word which expresses love. In the first two questions He had said, αγαπὰς με. Peter, on each occasion, replies, φιλῶ σε. The Lord's word for " love " is that used for divine love, which never fails; Peter's, that which expresses brotherly affection-which often fails, as in his own case towards the Lord. On the third occasion the Lord comes down to Peter's word, and says, φειλείς με, i.e., Are you attached to Me? " Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Are you attached to me? " And now, as it were, he flings open the doors of his heart. He says, As I look back at what my path has been, others might well doubt, but " Thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee." He, so to speak, opens the doors of his heart, that Christ may look down into the deep recesses of that heart. He acknowledges that it required divine penetration to discover that he, who had boasted of more love than any for Christ, had any love at all.
The other apostles might have thought he was a hypocrite. But he was not. Self-confidence was the root of his failure, and the Lord here reaches the root. He speaks not of his fault, but of what produced it, and He did not leave his conscience alone till Peter had really judged the root himself. Self-confidence in Simon Peter was completely broken, but in order to this God let him have such a fall that he never forgot it.
There is scarcely a verse in either of his epistles that has not an allusion to his fall, while " Kept by the power of God through faith " (1 Peter 1:55Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:5)), seems to be his motto ever afterward. Go through his epistles, and you will find in nearly every verse a sort of allusion to this sad episode in his history. His self-confidence was utterly broken up, and in place of it there sprang up a simple confidence in Christ, a confidence that the Lord saw and delighted in. When Peter says, " Thou knowest all things," then Jesus replies, " Feed my sheep." He says, I am going away, Peter, but I will now put into your hands that which is most precious to my heart. Here the Lord shows His deep affection for, and confidence in Peter, as He says, " Feed my lambs-shepherd my sheep-feed my sheep." He was restored fully to the Lord, in every sense of the word, and I judge also sweetly reinstated in the confidence of his brethren. I have no doubt that on the day when Peter denied the Lord, and ran away, there sprang up a feeling in the rest of the disciples' hearts, He has disgraced the whole company. I am afraid we are sometimes not a little hurt at the tumble of a brother, because we are disgraced. But have we the sense in our souls that it is the Lord who has been dishonored? That is far more important for us to feel. But the Lord here restores Peter fully, and he is then commissioned to care for those who are so dear to the heart of Christ, during His absence.
And now there is yet deeper grace on the Lord's part to His dear servant. Peter had had a wonderful chance of witnessing for Christ, but he had missed it. He had saved his life at the expense of denying the One he really loved. And now he might feel poignant sorrow at having missed that opportunity at a great crisis. The Lord seems to say to him, You had a chance before, Peter, but you lost it; I am going to give you another opportunity of witnessing for me, and more than that, you shall not turn aside. " 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. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me" (vers. 18, 19). He would give him an opportunity of again being a witness for Him, and this time His grace would sustain him. What he had failed to do by his own will, he was yet to do by the will of God. He had said he was ready to die for his Lord in his own strength. In a day to come he should die for his Lord, energized and sustained of God thereto.
Beloved, there is nothing like the grace of Christ. Get your hearts strengthened in the unfailing grace of Christ. Indeed, " it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace" (Heb. 13:99Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. (Hebrews 13:9)). Well might Paul say to his son in the faith, " Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus " (2 Tim. 2:11Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:1)). There is nothing so blessed as the grace of Christ. And although we may have often grieved that grace, thank God the grace is there still.
It is important to notice that these words of the Lord to Peter were spoken in the presence of his brethren. He was restored publicly. Whatever they may have thought about him, it was manifest that the Lord thought a great deal of him. We are slow-too slow-to trust a saint who has fallen. Not so Christ. If a servant fall, we 'say, I can never trust him again. " Never trust a horse with broken knees" is an old saying in the world, and ofttimes saints act on it with a failing brother. Why? Because we have so little of the sense, in our own souls, of what grace is. On the other hand, God cannot trust us till we are broken.
If you study Peter's history, you will see that the breaking of that man was the making of him. God has to bring many a saint down to the very gutter, to break the springs of self-confidence that are there, for He will have reality, and always exposes the reverse, sooner or later. Then He lifts them up, and carries them on, and makes them the vessels of His grace as they never were before.
This charming scene concludes by the Lord saying to Peter, " Follow me " (ver. 20). Precious words of gracious encouragement! " 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? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me " (vers. 20-22). John was doing what Peter was told to do. The
latter, curious as to his companion's future, inquires, " Lord, and what shall this man do?" How apt we are to be heedless of our own command, and be occupied with that of others-their service and their ways. You had better leave your brother alone, was the Lord's rejoinder. " Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me." Follow Me, and let your brother alone, says Christ. I believe it is a great principle. That is the last word He said to this dear man in the Gospels.
The Lord help us each one to get the sense of the immensity of the grace of Christ. And if there is a fallen brother, may we have grace to help him. And then if the Lord pick up and restore that soul, He can make him a most useful vessel. One cannot but be struck with how remarkably Peter ranks in the Acts of the Apostles. As a servant he was really sustained by grace. The bitter, terrible fall that he had was the means of making him follow quietly and simply after the Lord. May we know what it is to keep near Him, because if we follow Him we are safe.
And let me, in conclusion, quote to you young Christians a few words of this beloved and restored servant: " Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear " (I Pet.1:13-17).
The day that I fall is always the day that I cease to fear to fall. As long as I am fearing I never shall fall. May the Lord keep each one of us, with fear in our hearts, and following Him simply, for His name's sake.
O Lord, Thy love's unbounded,
So sweet, so full, so free:
My soul is all transported
Whene'er I think on Thee!
Yet, Lord, alas, what weakness
Within myself I find;
No infant's changing pleasure
Is like my wandering mind.
And yet Thy love's unchanging,
And doth recall my heart
To joy in all its brightness,
The peace its beams impart.
Yet sure, if in Thy presence
My soul still constant were,
Mine eye would, more familiar,
Its brighter glories bear.
And thus Thy deep perfections
Much better should I know,
And with adoring fervor
In this Thy nature grow.
Still sweet 'tis to discover,
If clouds have dimmed my sight,
When passed, Eternal Lover,
Towards me, as e'er, Thou'rt bright.
O guard my soul, then, Jesus,
Abiding still with Thee;
And if I wander, teach me
Soon back to Thee to flee.
That all Thy gracious favor
May to my soul be known,
And, versed in this Thy goodness,
My hopes Thyself shalt crown.