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Verse 23

Matthew 16:23. But he turned and said unto Peter Mark reads, When he had turned about and looked on his disciples, (who by the air of their countenances, probably, seemed to approve what they had heard Peter say to him,) he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan That is, out of my sight. “He looked at him,” says Baxter, “with displeasure, and said, I say to thee as I did to the devil when he tempted me, Get thee behind me, for thou doest the work of Satan, the adversary, in tempting me, for self-preservation, to violate my Father’s command, and my undertaking, and to forsake the work of man’s redemption and salvation. As thy counsel savoureth not the things that be of God, (namely, his will, work, and glory,) but the things that be of men, (or the love of the body and this present life,) so it signifies what is in thy heart; take heed lest this carnality prevail.” Our Lord is not recorded to have given so sharp a reproof to any other of his apostles, on any occasion. He saw it was needful for the pride of Peter’s heart, puffed up with the commendation lately given him. Perhaps the term Satan may not barely mean, Thou art my enemy, while thou fanciest thyself most my friend; but also, Thou art acting the very part of Satan, both by endeavouring to hinder the redemption of mankind, and by giving me the most deadly advice that can ever spring from the pit of hell. Thou savourest not Dost not relish or desire. We may learn from hence, 1st, that whosoever says to us in such a case, Favour thyself is acting the part of the devil: 2d, that the proper answer to such an adviser is, Get thee behind me: 3d, that otherwise he will be an offence to us, an occasion of our stumbling, if not falling: 4th, that this advice always proceeds from the not relishing the things of God, but the things of men. Yea, so far is this advice, Favour thyself, from being fit for a Christian either to give or take, that if any man will come after Christ, his very first step is, To deny or renounce himself: in the room of his own will, to substitute the will of God, as his one principle of action. We see in this example of Peter, how soon a person favoured with the peculiar approbation of the Lord Jesus may, through pride and self-confidence, fall under his heavy displeasure, and incur a severe rebuke from him. “Our Lord, immediately after pronouncing Peter blessed, on account of his faith and the noble confession which he made of it, and after conferring on him the high dignity before mentioned, did openly, in the hearing of all the disciples, call him Satan, or adversary, and declare that he had then no relish for the divine appointments, but was influenced merely by human views and expectations of worldly interest. If the papists rightly attended to this passage of the history, they would see their fancies about the primacy of Peter, which they build upon it, in a better light than they now seem to do.”

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