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current to his Divine Master. He felt that his Saviour had appeared unto him, and that the manifestation of the risen and glorious one before him was health to his soul, and the fulness of his joy.
This confession contains the very essence of saving faith. Faith is not the mere acknowledgment of the truth of a system, whose doctrines cannot be denied. If it is genuine, it is appropriating. It is not only the belief that the gospel presents a way of escape, but that it presents the only way for me. It must lead to heart application, to godly sorrow, to hope, to love, to newness of life, or else it is nothing more than “sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.” The language of true faith is ever the same : “ The Lord is my Shepherd :” “ The Lord is my portion :" “ My Lord, and my God :” “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?”
How resistless is the power of Jesus when he speaks to the sinner's soul, as he spake unto the faithless Thomas ! Then no defence of carnal self-righteousness avails—no mountain of unbelief so great, that before him it will not become a plain. Even as he entered into the room where his disciples were assembled, though the “ doors were shut,” so does he enter into the heart, which has closed every natural avenue by which he might come in :—no fetter so strong that he cannot break it; no bondage so oppressive that he cannot lift the prisoner out of the dungeon, and drive forth the usurper and oppressor of the heart of man.
Our Lord, however, while he so graciously drew back his erring child from the path of error in which he was becoming entangled, and restored peace and confidence to his soul, at the same time gently rebuked him for his unbelief, couching his reproof under a promise of blessing to his church : 66 Thomas, because thou hast seen me thou hast believed ; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
Our beloved Master, in retiring personally from this world, did not leave us without a blessing. “ Believe” was the word which he has left written in letters of gold before us, and in that word there lies the germ of every blessing for time and for eternity. We need not to ask of him, “ Hast thou but one blessing?” for by that “one faith” there can be no blessing left unimparted to us. Those are indeed blessed and happy (what tongue can tell the happiness sometimes vouchsafed to them, even here !) who have true faith, for they have in possession now a justifying righteousness, pardon of sin, adoption, freedom of access to God, and security from condemnation; they have spiritual joy, peace, and comfort in their souls, and they have before them a purchased possession of everlasting glory, an "inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.”
The Evangelist, after concluding his account of this the second appearing of Jesus to his disciples, adds, “ And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that, believing, ye might have life through his name.” The apostle here fully declares his object in writing this history of his Master's life, sufferings, death, and resurrection :- that he might prove him to be “the Messiah," or Christ; the long-expected one of the Jews, and “the Son of God :”—to prove that the “ desire of all nations” had come, and that he was none other than “God manifest in the flesh; and that “ believing,” he says, “ Ye might have life through his name." ”
He wrote not for the praise of man-he wrote not for vain glory—not to shew that he was in the confidence of this glorious person, that he was “the disciple whom Jesus ,
“ loved;" but he wrote for the glory of God in the salvation of the sinner's soul. He wrote that he might leave this testimony : “This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son."
May we, beloved, be ever actuated by such a motive as this. In all we do, may our aim be simple, and our wish sincere, “ to do all to the glory of God;" and keeping this steadily in view, may we spend and be spent in the earnest endeavour and unceasing prayer, that all “may believe through his Son's name.”
After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of
Tiberias : and on this wise shewed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore : but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat ? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, 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. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus lored saith unto Peter, 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. 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. A8 soon then as they vere come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. 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. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou ! knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon son of Jonas, lorest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto
him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knovest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lorest 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. 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. 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. 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? This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things : and we know that his testimony is true. 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.
“AFTER these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.” The Evangelist adds in the 14th verse : 6. This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself unto his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead;" that is, the third time of his appearing to them when they were assembled together—first on the evening of the day when he rose from the dead; again when Thomas was with the rest; and now by the sea of Tiberias.
It has been asked, why did not our Lord appear to the whole of the people ;—why only to the “ witnesses chosen of God?” Why did he not shew himself in the crowded street, and go in and out among the people with whom he