D Gibb Mitchell
But Peter follaet faur ahint ti the High Priest's Palace, an gaed in, an sat wi the servants, ti see the end... Nou Peter wis sittin ootby in the coortyaird; an a lassock cam ti him sayin, "Ye wis wi Jesus o Galilee!" But he deny't forenent them aa, threepin, "A kenna what ye'r sayin!" An whan he wis gaen oot inti the porch, anither lassie saw him, an says ti them that wis there, "This ane, tae, wis wi Jesus the Nazarene!" An again he deny't wi a aith, "A kenna the Man." An efter a wee, they that stuid by cam an sayed ti Peter, "O asuith, ye ar ane o them, for yer tongue tells on ye!" Syne he begoud ti curse an sweer, "A kenna the Man." An belyve the cock crew. An Peter caad ti mind the wirds Jesus spak, "Afore the cock craw, ye will thrice disawn Me!" An he gaed oot an grat sair.--Matt. xxvi
Efter thir things Jesus showed Hissel again ti the disciples at the Loch o Tiberias... At the brak o day He stuid on the strand; but His disciples kentna that it wis Jesus. Then sayed Jesus ti them, "Bairns, hae ye ocht ti aet?" They answert Him, "Na." He sayed ti them, "Cast ye yer net on the richt side o the boat, an ye sall finnd." Sae they cuist, an nou they couldna draw't for the rowth o fish... Jesus says ti them, "Come awa an aet." An no ane o them venturt ti spier at Him, "Wha ar ye?" kennin it wis the Lord... Sae whan they haed etten, Jesus says ti Simon Peter, "Simon, son o John, lo'e ye mair than thir daes?" He says ti Him, "Ay, Lord, Thoo kens A treasur Thee." He says ti him, "Feed Ma wee lambs." He says ti him again, a saicont time, "Simon, son o John, treasur ye Me?" An he sayed ti Him, "Lord, Thoo kens A treasur Thee." He says ti him, "Herd Ma sheep." He says ti him the third time, "Simon, son o John, treasur ye Me?" An he sayed ti Him, "Lord, Thoo kens aa things; Thoo weel kens A treasur Thee." Jesus says ti him, "Feed ma puir sheep. Weel-A-wyte whan ye war young, ye girt yersel, an stappit oot whaur ye wad; but whan ye sall be auld, ye sall rax oot yer hauns an anither sall gird ye an cairy ye whaur ye wadna," Thus spak He, ti signify bi whatna daith he should glorify God. An whan He haed sayed this, He says ti him, "Follae ye Me."--John xxi.
Peter an the Maister
Here's a few o the disciples gaithered roond their Maister upon the beach--Peter amang them. They haed been oot on the watter at their auld trade. It haed been a dreich nicht. As the licht glimmert in, they rowed tiwards land, wi empty nets an a clean boat. They wis dowsie an cuisten doun.
As the boat drew in they spied Ane staunin waitin. They kentna wha it wis. They glowered an wondert, an socht in their minds for a clue. There wis something weird in the leuk o the Man; an yet they seemed ti ken Him. The strainger spak: "Bairns, hae ye ocht ti aet?" There wis a unco feelin cam ower the men. What garred this Man fash for them? Hou haed He thocht upo' their wants? The vyce wisna new, an yet they couldna say wha it wis. They leukit, an aye leukit, whan at ance John guessed it wis the Lord. There wis a blythe dirl o gledness ran throu them.
Here wis their Lord ance mair takkin pairt in their life in His ain auld lovin wey. He wantit them ti brakfast an hae a bite. He haed kinlt a fire. There it wis, wi the lowe dancin an the reek curlin up! They hauled their boats in, an lowpit ashore. As they slowly stappit forrit, the Maister bade them come awa an aet. What a quait solemn hush teuk haud o the men as they sat doun. Athoot a wird they helpit themsels ti the breid an the fish. There wis nae spaekin. No ane o them daured spier, "Wha ar ye?"
There wis ae man whase thochts wis troublt. He wis huddled up, an could scarce lat ower a morsel. His mind wis rinnin back ti a oor whan he haed been fause--a oor whan his Maiter wis seek wi cruel sorrae. It wis the mirkest day the Saviour breathed throu. In ae room stuid the Perfete Man, amang a crew o deevils. The soond o jibes an scoffin an ill-witit jokes fyled the air. In the niest room, in a neuk, clashed an claivert a wheen servants. Peter, the grand promiser, scouged amang them. He wis watchin an waitin ti see what wad come ower the Captive!
He didna want ti spaek. He wantit ti be lat alane. Ane luit faa a wird aboot the men that cronied wi Jesus o Nazareth. They jabbered on, whan ane clappit her een upo' Simon, that wis haudin his tongue. In a twinklin they cuist it up ti him that he wis a freend o the Prisoner. The disciple wis taen bi surprise, an blurtit oot, "Na, A dinna ken Him." Thrice he threepit wi them that he didna ken Him.
"Man, what ar ye sayin? Ye dinna ken Him! It's a shamefu lee; staun an think! Did ye no leave aa ti gang His road? Hae ye no been His neebor for years? Hinna ye seen Him dae wonders? an heard Him spaek wirds o life? Wis it no His form that cam throu the nicht as yer ship wis tossin amang the brekkers? Awn up the truith: isna He the Man ye ken better than the lave? The Man ye blythely serred? Wae's me, man; what gars ye say ye dinna ken Him?"
As he wis still airgyin an flamin at the hizzies for meddlin wi him, the cock crawed. In a jiffy he mindit what his maister haed warned him o. He glowered ben, an there wis the Man he wis disawnin, leukin straucht at him. It awoke him, an he kent what he haed duin. He ran ti the door an grat his een baith bleart an blinnd.
He gaed furth leavin the soond o a thrice denial in the ears o God's Son. The Cross teuk the guid Maister, an "A dinna ken Him," wis the fareweel o the disciple.
Whan wis thae awfu wirds ti be wipit oot? Whan could that horrible nicht be forgotten? Whan could he confab wi his Lord again on the auld fittin? He alloued himsel ti be cuisten oot o the gallant clan: wad he be luitin bide ootside? Wad there be nae back-spierin on this day's wark? wad Jesus gang Hame an ne'er aese His sair hert?
Whiles they haed a passin glint o ane anither. Ance a meanin message haed come. "Gang, tell Ma men--an Peter--that A am oot o the grave again." "Tell Peter,"--hou the wirds maun hae dirled throu the man. That wis a blink in the gloom, that wis hope efter the lanely nichts he haed pit throu. There wis nae sang or lichtsome oor for the man that haed broken his troth. He wis in the black beuks wi the holy Nazarene. He haed nae hert for onybody else; nae ither vyce wad hae ony meanin for him. Nae company, nae pleasur-ploy could droun the moan in his riven sowel. A man that haes faan oot wi the Almichty is oot wi aa men! The hert that's broken aff frae God finnds itssel agley wi aa!
We canna tell what duil oor brither cairies. There wis Peter, stravaigin oot an in--whiles fittin the grund--whiles boued an thinkin. Aiblins, his cheeks runnelt wi tears, or his breist heavin wi his sabs. Puir cratur, he wis nae cauld stane: his hert wis leal an lovin. He wis ramstam, an whiles haed muckle ti rue. But this wecht wadna budge, He could get nae aese, an there wis only ae Man that could set him up again, an the Man wis bidin His time.
The day haed dawned, the oor wis come. The meal wis etten, the quaitness wis broken as the Maister turns ti Peter. There's nae miscaain, nae flytin, nae skaithin wirds. Juist a spierin at him, three times ower: "Dae ye lo'e me? Is yer hert wi me?" Three times the quaisten cam straucht at him. It stang him sair; his Maister is still misdoutin his lealness. It wis wrackin his breist ti staun ablo sic tortur!
It wis suin by: the probin wis ower, an the disciple kent that the past wis buried. He wis a shriven man, an his Lord poued him inti His hert again. The jiltin wis set by, an the quarrel wis sowthered up atween the twa.
"Dae ye lo'e me? Is yer hert wi me?"--thae wirds comes ti ane an aa. Think wha it is that spiers this at ye! Lat the siftin be thoro. Gar yersel say ootricht hou ye staun ti yer Saviour. It's no: "Dae ye think muckle o me? Dae ye dreid me? Dae ye respeck me?" God kens weel the best wey ti mak the tie siccar. Lat Him get the hert, an the lave o the man is His. For--
We Scotch folk likes lugic, an it's a aesy conclusion ti draw, that whaur the hert is the man is--the hale man. Gin a man be entire wi his Makar, he'll be a willin servant, an a eident, richt-daein disciple. Lealty an obedience gangs haun in haun wi fondness for the Guid-Man. Its no a smaa quaisten; it settles yer weird. It's the first an the hinmaist worth bein shuir o. It lays doun the road ti traivel bi, an maks a man dae an say what's richt!
It's oor love the Creator wad fain hae. We'v naething better ti gie Him, an nocht less will He tak. It maks nae odds what rank the man haes. It's aa ane tho ye'v siller or no. Puir an freendless an slichtit--yer love is as muckle thocht o, is as eagerly socht for, as tho ye haed rowth o this warld's gear. Clever chiels, the beuk-lairned, the weel-faured an bonny--lat them gie their affections ti Heeven, an they'v fand the richt store-hoose for their treasur. Aa their lear an mainers an gowd ranks saicont ti their love ti God. He leuks for their love--for it's aa the haurder ti gie because o what they hae!
Folk maks their love kent in mony weys. The Man o Love understauns them aa. He disna haud us aa inti ae rut. There's the man o few wirds, an the man o mony. Ane can spaek; anither canna: God finnds love in baith, gin it's true. Whaure'er there's a spark o likin it'll be fand an coontit His ain.
There's some that bides at the Maister's fit an herkens blythely ti His newsin; there's ithers that likes ti wirk an ca throu; aa sorts o folk can lo'e the King an lat HIm ken o't--be they canny or pushin. It maitersna what turn ye hae--there buid be the love-licht ti begin wi. It maitersna what turn yer rank or titles be--yer hoose, yer wark, yer cleedin--the faur-seein God lifts aa, an leuks ben ti the hert, gin it hauds Him or no. A man maun be keen ti like his Redeemer oot an oot--hale-hertit. This is the stamp o man that sayed, "A masel am naething; A am as guid as deid: Anither fills ma place." It's aesy kent wha we lo'e whan we can say this.
"Dae ye lo'e me?" wis a canny wey ti begin. Wis there ti be nae splore? nae lowsin o wirds? nae howkin up o byganes? Peter haed gien the Maister a sair hert. It wis a stab frae a freend. The lees an slichts frae His faes He could thole, but for His cronie ti disawn Him--it wis cuttin; it nar cloured Him!
Nou wis His chance, if sic a Man could hoose a spitefu feelin! Nou wis His chance ti draw His dirk. Aiblins, nae man kent o what haed befaan that nicht, barrin the twa that wis reddin up the by-past. Nou wis a time whan the Son o God could hae shamed His traitor loun, an brocht ti the licht the fauseness o His man. He could hae tuimed oot His wrath, garred him stoiter wi a bleeze o anger, an sindered their freendship for aye.
But the Divine Sowtherer didna come ti pairt folk, but ti leuk ower their fauts, an weise them ti Himsel. He wis kind an tender-wice wi the waesome chiel that haed lee'd. He luit His een faa quaitly on Peter's, an leukin strecht at him, He eithly spiered, "Dae ye lo'e Me?" Peter is the only man that kens what his Maister means, what He's ettlin at. "Dae ye lo'e Me?" comes three times ower, an ilka time it wis waur ti thole. It wis ti mind him o the three stabs upo the nicht afore the Cross, an it wis ti dicht oot his faa, an droun the soond o his denial, "A dinna ken Him."
His fareweel ti the saviour--the Saviour that's fit wis liftin frae aff this warld--wis nou, "A lo'e Ye; Ye ken A div." His hinmaist crack wis fou o love. Heeven's Man wis gaein back, happy an at rest, that Peter could be lippened ti licht the warld wi the Guid News. He haed fouled the chain an haltit the speed o the Gospel chariot. God wis keepit waitin for this man ti come back. Nou that his hert cried, "Christ, an forrit!" the air wis waftin fresh wi the breeze o Salvation's tidins. The day wisna faur awa whan crouds wad hear Peter spaek, an shout, "Hallelujah!" as their herts catched the love o Heeven!
We leave Peter, gled that he's by wi the quaistenin, an that he haes come oot richt. But bide a wee. Wha'll tak the leear's saet an front the Maister? Wha's wyteless? Wha haes nae ill ti awn up? Is Peter the only miscreant ti lee ahint Christ's back? What hae we duin? Is there ocht that we dinna like ti mind o? Is there ocht we think God disna ken o? Dis yer conscience hod some misdeed? Ar ye happin it up, an daurin ti be in the circle forby?
There's few tokens o grief for fauts an ill deeds. We sit here cauld an fushionless. Ne'er a tear wats oor cheek nor a sab wins oot fae the breist. There's nae brak in the vyce, nae fidgin nor fashin o the body. Hae we no skirtit aff, then joukit roond corners, ti be nar, yet awa? Hae we no mocked at some holy thing? an miscaad His name? Is there nane at the brakkin doun? Is there naething ti greet sair for? Rax roond an meet that Face leukin inti yours--that Face wi its pain an weary sorrae!
Gin that Face o Love leukit inti oor ain, wha could say he wis skaithless? See the Maister facin ye? Tho yer hert is at the brakkin, tho ye'r chokin wi sabs, leuk up an see Him. He'll be the same as He wis that day. He'll no gar ye ryce up an tell yer sin. Yer past'll no be rakit oot afore the lave, an ye winna hae ti staun blushin an hingin yer heid. Na, that's no His wey. Herk-ye: what is't He spiers? Laich an tender comes the wirds, "Dae ye lo'e Me?" There's nane sall hear Him askin. There's nane will get a glint o yer strucken sowel. Nane sall ken yer rush o shame an throbbin breist. Kneel doun an tell aa. Awn up yer wrang, an lat Him ken ye'r grieved. He'll no haud ye waitin lang for a blessin. He'll lift ye wi His ain haun, an rink ye roond wi promises, mony an swaet!
His is a love that bores richt throu. It is nae toy ti be haunled at pleasur. It is nae flichtsome acquantance--aff an on. It comes like a wave o the ocean; it soops aa afore it. Ance win in on that tide an nocht can haud it back.
Aathing's aesy that's duin for love. Love is a grand Maister. It gaithers in aa ti its employ, rich an puir, lairned an unlairned, auld an young. It maks the day's darg a joy, be the toil licht or heavy. Love maks us gang oot o oor wey an dae mair than the set job. Irksome tasks tines their stang. Nesty shifts becomes oors o honour whan it is the Maister's biddin. Smaa things taks on guid value, an drudgery is Heeven's wark. Love'll dae aa, an thole aa, will gie aa, an mak life a sang!
The lad o pairts will quat his scholar's howf, his beuks an clesses, his student billies, an quait hame. He will sail across the sea an traivel inti mirky lands. His sowel on fire, he'll gang throu mony perils, he'll dree haurdness, laneliness, danger--ti tak hauns wi men o savage weys an tryst them God-ward! Love will ettle the denty lady ti leave her chair, her fou-spreed buird, an weel-born freends. Love will gar her fit the road ti crouded streets, ti wynds, ti stairs, ti garrets. Love will gar her clasp hauns wi her faan sister. Love will mak her teach the tattert bairns, feed the stervin, an cleed the nakit. We canna wyle in the wanderer, we canna wauken the sinfu, we canna hael a broken hert gin love be na the driver!
Love is afore aathing; love bides aye. At the hinnerend we'll no be spiered, "Hou aften hae ye prayed? Hou muckle hae ye read the beuk? What siller hae ye gien? Whatna kirk did ye sit in? Wis ye hiegh or low? Braid or nairae?" Thae things is like the ootward settin o yer faith. The main thing is, what wis yer hert fixed on? That richt, aa is weel. "Hae ye lo'ed Me? Haes love been afore man, an aa the wark been duin for Me! Answer that, an there's nae mair ti spier."
Ae blink mair at the sowtherin bi the lochside. Did we catch the hinmaist bit o the quaisten? "Mair than thir?" What dis He mean! Peter leukit at the men, an then at Jesus. "Div A lo'e Ye mair than thae lads, ma fellae-craftsmen? They ar fine staunch chaps--manly, honest, toilin fishers. But mair than Yersel: na, na, A treasur Ye abuin them. There's no a man haes mair likin for Ye than A hae."
Or sall we pictur Him leukin ower His shouther at the nets an fishin gear? "Div A lo'e Ye mair than thir? thae deid, brakkin things? thae precarious tools an tirin needcessities? Forsuith--na, Lord; A lo'e-them-na. It is yersel A treasur. Blythe am A ti lay them by, or haun them ower ti ithers, an staun forrit for Yer ain wark. A'll herd Yer sheep an Yer lambies. Whan Ye ar no here ti fend for them, A'll vyce Yer wirds, an tak ma clue frae Yer ain life. Frae nou, till daith caas me Yont, A'll be Yer man!"
Lat's aa be roused an waukened. There's muckle ti dae. The wark is staunin for want o men wi herts. Lat love woo ye, win an shepherd ye. Latna life skliff by athoot this gowden glow! Lat it well up an warm ye; lat it brim ower an seek on ti ithers. Keepna a grudge agin ony. Cast up nae byganes. Be big-herted, an try an seek the best in aa. The day will come whan the Lord winna need ti spier, "Lo'e ye Me?" for we'll aa be leal an true, wirkin haun in haun, oor een set on ae Face, an answerin bi oor life, "We lo'e Ye."
A life spent in the company o Jesus means a man rycin ti God!
Prayer: At Nichtfaa
God Abuin,--The day is fadin an the gloamin comes doun. It's a oor that we aa lo'e. We like ti gaither roond the ingle-neuk wi ane anither an quaitly crack. Afore we lie doun ti sleep we come ti Yersel at the e'enin time. We lang for a sicht o the Freend that's the best. It's You Yerlane that can spaek ti man an see ben ti his hert. The oors haes been fou o wark, an we'v haed little time ti turn oor thochts Your airt. It is guid ti get a lown neuk an be free o the warld's dirl. Gin it warna for thae blinks bi Yer side we wad suin dwine awa an growe weary o life.
The gloamin aye maks a trystin time for man wi his God. Ye'v been guid ti Yer bairns. Ye'v thocht on us aa frae the mornin richt on ti nichtfaa. We'r thankfu, an we'r pleased ti tell Thee. Ilka day brings its blessins, an we never tire liltin Yer praise day efter day, an year efter year. We dinna think eneuch o Yer dawtin love. we haunle Yer boonties an say ower little. Whan we haes nae thocht on the flicht o the day, Ye hae it ordered an set, an hing ower us ilka oor as it wins by. We gang shochlin on, unheedin an careless, but ye ar aye carin an fendin for us throu aa.
The day haes haed mony slips an faas: we canna brag ower oor guid. The mornin cam ti us fresh an bonny. Ilka dawn comes saft an pure frae the wame o time; ilka waukenin finnds us startin on a sinless day. But it's mair than man can dae ti keep ae day clean an gie it back athoot a flaw. There's no a nicht but we maun cry, "Forgie us oor ill deeds! hap them ower, an come ti oor side, an help us."
Bless oor hearth-stane. The herts o this hame hungers for Thee, an caas on Thee ti bide near. Ye ken the faces: there's some awa. But there's nae faur-land ti Thee. The hame-bield an the log hut in the backwids, is close thegither in Your sicht. Ye can haud Yer hauns ower baith an gaird them. Ye ken oor failins, an Ye ken the liftin up o oor thochts ti the sky. Bless ane an aa, an tuim inti oor herts Yer love an licht, an mak us guid.
Bide wi us throu the mirk o the nicht as oor een is steekit in sleep. We will be happit in daithlike quaitness; but Ye slumberna nor growe weary. An we lippen ti the God-Watchman, sae leal an great, that rowes the mirk awa, whan it's time for man ti ryce an gang furth. AMEN.