I cannot wonder that Peter should fall off, being tempted, who is already, though unquestioned, so far behind; that he should tremble at the terror of death, who cannot endure the trouble of a watch. He must learn more to deny himself, before he can take up his cross. The nights of a resolved martyr must be spent in the studies of patience, not in security and ease; he must first be a persecutor of himself, and exercise a holy cruelty on his own flesh, by crucifying the lusts thereof, before he can be able to overcome the wit, and most exquisite inventions of his tormentors, in a holy and undaunted patience. The soul must be first raised unto heaven, before the body can be willing to go down into the earth. Had Peter watched and accompanied his Master, he might have received further encouragement in his resolution to die for him, and learned from the extremity of his anguish, if not to hate life, which could make a man subject to such expressless sorrow; yet at least willingly to embrace the present opportunity of glorifying God by a constant death; even for this respect, that thereby he might be freed from the capacity and danger of those afflictions, which he should there have seen flesh and blood liable unto. Of how many precious occasions of good, does the too great love of our flesh and ease deprive us! Every man would love God more, if he could be more out of love with himself.
Monday, November 22, 2010
That We Might Love God More, Self Less
Edward Reynolds, Meditations on the Rising and Fall of Peter in Works, Vol. 4, p. 13: