Matthew 26:73-74. And after a while came they that stood by, &c. When the servants at the fire heard Peter deny the charge, which John has mentioned, they drew near and supported it by an argument drawn from the accent with which he had pronounced his answer: Surely thou art one of them, for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Η λαλια σου δηλον σε τοιει , thy manner of speech (meaning the Galilean dialect or pronunciation) maketh thee manifest Or, as Mark expresses it, Thou art a Galilean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. Peter, being thus pressed from different quarters, and having now quite lost the reins, the government of himself; in order to give his lie the better colour, he profaned the name of God by swearing, and wished the bitterest curses on himself if he was telling a falsehood. Perhaps he hoped by these acts of impiety to convince them effectually that he was not the disciple of the holy Jesus. And immediately the cock crew All the evangelists say, that the cock crew immediately after Peter pronounced the words of the third denial, which they themselves have related. But upon comparing the things said when this third attack was made, it appears that the speeches, at least which John has recorded, did not come from the persons mentioned by the other evangelists. Wherefore the third denial was occasioned by different attacks made in succession; unless the men spoke all at once, which is not very probable. It is more natural to think, that when Peter denied his Master to them who first attacked him, the others, who stood by, supported the charge, with an argument drawn from his dialect or pronunciation, which proved him to be a Galilean. However, as in either case the succession of his answers must have been very quick, the veracity of the evangelists remains unshaken, because thus the cock crew immediately after Peter pronounced the words which they have severally related. Thus through the mere fear of man, a principle from which have sprung many denials of Christ and his truth in different ages, Peter denied his Master three sundry times with many aggravating circumstances, forgetting the vehement protestations he had made a few hours before. He was permitted to fall in this manner to teach mankind several important lessons: as, 1st, That no dependance can be placed on any mere human strength, or on any resolutions man can form, without supernatural aid. 2d, That whatever a person’s attainments may have been formerly, if once he give way to temptation, so as to commit known and actual sin, he frequently, perhaps it may be said commonly, proceeds from bad to worse, one sin naturally drawing on another; for which reason the very least appearance of evil ought always to be dreaded, and the greatest humility and self-diffidence maintained. 3d, The goodness wherewith Jesus treated his fallen apostle, teaches us that no sinner whatever needs to despair of mercy who truly repents.
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