Imagens das páginas

from water, at the marriage in Cana: 1 But our Lord, well knowing the intentions equally seen in the corn, gradually ri- of the multitude, and the inclinations of bis pened, and made into bread for the sup- disciples to second them, ordered the latter port of mankind, as in the bread mira to repair immediately to their boat and sail culously blessed to the support of the five to Bethsaida, while he sent away the former. thousand. But the constant repetition of They would, it seems, gladly have detained these surprising operations render them the people, with whom they fully agreed common, and being common, they are less in sentiments; and even lingered till he observed. Our heavenly Father, therefore, constrained them to get into the boat; so condescends to deviate from the common fully were they still possessed, that their order of things to rouse and awaken our at master was to take the reins of government, tention. But if we are dead and utterly and become a powerful Prince over the inattentive to the work of God in nature, house of Jacob, where we see the divine magnificence and bounty so visible, so richly displayed, there! The people suffered the disciples to depart is too much reason to fear, that outward without the least remorse, as they saw that miracles will not now awaken us. We are, Jesus did not go with them. however, apt to deceive ourselves in this respect, and are often led to conclude, that. Perhaps they imagined he was sending had we been present at so stupendous a them a way to provide such things as they miracle as that we are contemplating, we had need of in the expedition. Nor did they should have adored the divine hand that refuse to disperse when he commanded wrought it, and never have forsaken the them, purposing to return in the morning, blessed Jesus. But, alas! if all the dis as we find they actually did. plays of God's divine power of the works of creation, if all the evidences of his Omnipo I Having thus sent the disciples and the tence, if the continual supplies of his bounty, multitude away, Jesus repaired himself to and the most legible characters of his adora the summit of a mountain, spending the ble love written upon all the creatures of his evening in heavenly contemplations and hand, will not elevate our grateful and ardent prayers to his Almighty Father. rejoicing hearts to him, there is great reason to fear, that had we seen the blessed 1 But the disciples meeting with a contrary Jesus feed five thousand men with five wind, could not continue their course to barley loaves and two small fishes; had we | Bethsaida, which lay about two leagues to ourselves been partakers of this miraculous | the north-ward of the desart mountain, where banquet, we should have acted like many the multitudes were miraculously fed. They, who really enjoyed these privileges, and however, did all in their power to land as have turned away at some of his hard sayings, near that city as possible, and were tossed " and walked no more with him.".

up and down all night by the tempest ; so

that at the conclusion of the fourth watch, or But to return. The people, when they five o'clock in the morning, they were not had seen the Saviour of the world perform so above a league from the shore, stupendous a miracle, were astonished above measure; and, in the height of their tran Their divine Master beheld from the sport, purposed to take Jesus by force, and mountain, the dilemma in which they were : make him a king, concluding that he must but they were ignorant of his presence, then assume the title of the Messiah, whose though he was now coming to their relief. coming they had so long earnestly expected, From hence we should learn, when the and under whose reign they expected all stormy billows of affliction assault, and seein kinds of temporal felicities.


[ocr errors]

pce, it


ed, bis prelm him. Hiened, every

ready to overwhelm us, not to despair of disciple of the weakness of his faitli, and relief; for God beholds every particular of render him more diffident of his own strength, our distress, and hath not forgotten to be our blessed Saviourgranted Peter his request, gracious, but will surely hear our distress, He ordered him to come to him upon the and work our deliverance in a manner alto water. gether unexpected. He often calms the storm of affliction that surrounds us, and 1 Peter joy fully obeyed bis divine Master: coinmands the bellowing waves of distress be left the boat, and walked on the surface to subside. Human wisdom, indeed, is of the sea. But the wind increasing, made often at a loss : it can discover no hopes of a dreadful noise, and the boisterous waves deliverance, nor see any way to escape; but at the same time threatened every moment he can easily effect the one, or point out the to overwhelm him. His faith vow staggerother.

ed, his presence of mind forsook him; he

forgot that his Saviour was at his hand ; and Such was the state of these disciples : in proportion as his faith decreased, the they were tossed by boisterous wares, and | waters yielded, and he sunk. In this extreopposed in their course by the rapid current mity he looked around for his Master; and of the wind, so that all hopes of reaching on the very brink of being swallowed up, the place intended were vanished; when, cried, “ Lord, save me!" His cry was not behold their heavenly Master, to assist them disregarded by bis compassionate Saviour; in this distressful situation, comes to them, “ He stretched forth his hand and caught walking on the foaming surface of the sea. him, and said unto bim, Othou of little Their Lord's approach, filled them with faith, wherefore didst thou doubt ?' Matt. astonishment; they took him for one of the

ok him for one of the xiv. 31. apostate spirits, and shrieked for fear. Their terrors, bowever, soon removed; their great 1 Peter was convinced, before he left the and affectionate Master talked to them, with ship, that it was Jesus who was coming to the sound of whose voice they were per them on the water: nor did he even doubt fectly acquainted. “Be of good cheer | it when he was sinking, because he then (said the blessed Jesus) it is I, be not implored his assistance. But when he found afraid.”

the storm increase, and the billows rage

more horribly than before, his fears sugPeter, a man of a warm and forward tem gested, that either bis Master would be per, beholding Jesus walking on the sea, unable or unwilling to support him amidst was exceedingly amazed, and conceived the the frightful blasts of the tempest. strongest desire of being enabled to perform $0 wonderful an action.

His fears were therefore both unreason

able and culpable; unreasonable, because Accordingly, without the least reflection, the same power that had enabled him to he immediately begged that his Master walk on the surface of the deep, was abunwould bid him come to him on the water. dantly sufficient to support him there, He did not doubt but that Jesus would gra notwithstanding all the horrors of the storm ; tify his request, as it sufficiently intimated culpable, because he considered his Master that he would readily undertake any thing, as unable to preserve him, or that he paid however difficult, at the command of bis no regard to his promise ; for Jesus had Saviour. But it appeared, that his faith virtually promised him his assistance, when was two weak to support him to that height he granted his petition. This circumstance of obedience to which he would have wil. should teach us not to be presumptuous and Jingly soared. To convince this forward | self-sufficient ; not to rush on danger, and

sondertake any action, lepon crucifixion might

because Jesus willed i

Bly in the face of opposition, unless there is The virtue of that power by which he a necessity for so doing. We should never wrought these things, lay not in his garment,

for then the soldiers who seized them at his difficult, when the cause of Christ calls upon crucitixion might have wrought the same us ; or abandon the paths of virtue from a miracles, but it was because Jesus willed it fear of the resentment of the children of this to be so. It was now the acceptable time, world ; but we should, at the same time, the day of salvation, foretold by Isaiah, and be careful not to go farther than necessity Christ's volition was sufficient to remove any obliges us, lest, like Peter, we repent our | distemper whatsoever. own temerity.

It has been mentioned that our blessed This miracle alarmed the disciples, for Saviour, after miraculously feeding the peo. though they had so very lately seen the mira. ple, ordered them to disperse and retire to cle of the five loaves, they did not seem to their places of abode. have before formed a proper idea of his power ; but being now fully convinced that The former command they obeyed, but he could be no other than the expected instead of complying with the latter, they Messiah, they “ came and worshipped him, stayed in the neighbourhood of the desart saying, of a truth, thou art the Son of God." mountain ; and observing that no boat had Matt. xiv. 33.

come thither since the disciples had left

their Master, they concluded that Jesus Our Saviour seems to have confirmed this still continued in that place, and had no miracle, by working another ; for the evange- design of leaving his attendants. Hence list tells us, that he had no sooner entered they were persuaded, that though Jesus had into the ship, and hushed the horrors of the modestly declined the honour of being made storms, than they arrived at the place whi a king, he would accept it the next day ; ther they were going.-" Then they willingly ! especially as they might fancy his disciples received him into the ship; and immediately were dispatched to the other side, with no the ship was at the land whither they went." other intention than to prepare every thing John vi. 21.

necessary for that purpose. Hopes like these

animated them to continue in this solitary When our Lord disembarked, the inha

wilderness, and take up their lodgings, in bitants of the neighbouring country ran to

the caverns of the rocks and mountains, him, bringing with them all those that were

notwithstanding their difficulties were greatly sick, and they were all healed. It must be

increased by the raging of the storm. remembered, that though Jesus ordinarily resided in the neighbourhood of Capernaum, But no sooner did the cheering rays of . yet he had been absent ever since bis visiting light appear, than the multitude left their Nazareth ; and therefore it is natural to think, retreat, and searched for Jesus in every part that the inhabitants, on his return, would of the mountain, to the summit of which not omit the opportunity of bringing their they had seen him retire. Finding their sick in such crowds, that it was impossible search in vain, they concluded that he must for Jesus to bestow particular attention on have departed for the other side, in some each of them ; and this was the reason for boat belonging to Tiberius, which had been their beseeching him, " that they might only forced by the storm to take shelter in a touch the hem of his garment: and as many creek at the foot of the mountain. Accord. as touched were made perfectly whole." ingly, they repaired to Capernaum, where Matt. xiv. 36.

they found him in the synagogue teaching

the people ; and could not help asking him

with some surprize, “ Rabbi, when camest | asked him what they should do to erect the thou hither ?” John vi. 25.

Messiah's kingdom, and obtain that excel

lent meat which he said God had authorised To this question our Lord replied, that him to give to his followers. they did not seek him, because they were convinced by his miracles of the cruth of The Jews were elated with the prospect his mission, but because they hoped to be of the mighty empire the promised Messiah continually red in the same miraculous man- | was to establish, and, doubtless, expected, per as before. “Verily, verily, I say unto that Jesus would have bidden them first to you, ye seek me, not because ye saw the | rise against the Romans, vindicate their miracles, but because ye did eat the loaves own liberties, and then establish in every and were filled." These are the views country, by the terror of fire and sword, the which induce ye to follow me ; but ye are | authority of that powerful Prince so long entirely mistaken ; for happiness does not promised to the Jewish nation. To conconsist in the meat that perisheth, nor is it vince them, therefore, of their mistake, and that sort of meat ye must expect to receive | inform them what God had really required from the Messiah.

of them, towards erecting the Messiah's

kingdom, Jesus told them, that they should Mere animal food, which please and de believe on the person sent to them from the .. light the body only, are not the gifts he God of Jacob; but at this answer they were came down from heaven to bestow ; it is exceedingly offended. They were persuaded the meat that endureth to everlasting life, that he could not be the Messiah, promised divine knowledge and grace, which, by by the prophets, who took no care to erect invigorating all the faculties of the soul, a temporal kingdom. And some of them make it at once incorruptible and immortal ; more audacious than the rest, had the conneither ought ye to follow the Son of man fidence to tell him that since he assumed with no other intention than to obtain the the character of ihe Messiah, and required meat that perisheth ; but in hopes of being them to believe in him as such, notwithrewarded with the meat that endureth to standing his character was entirely different everlasting life ; “ Labour not for the meat from the great deliverer described in the which perisheth, but for that meat which sacred writings, it was necessary that he endureth unto everlasting life, which the should perform greater miracles than either Son of man shall give unto you : for him Moses, or any of the old prophets, if he was hath God the Father sealed.” John vi. 27. desirous of convincing them that they ought

to believe him the long.promised Messiah. The Jews, who were accustomed to the “ They said, therefore, unto him, What sign metaphors of meat and drink, as they are shewest thou then, that we may see, and frequently found in the writings of their own believe thee? What dost thou work ? Our prophets to signify wisdom and knowledge, Fathers did eat manna in the desart; as it is might have easily understood what our bles written he gave them bread from heaven to sed Saviour meant by the meat “ enduring eat." John vi. 30. to everlasting life.” They, however, entirely mistook him ; imagining that he spake By extolling the miracles of the manna, of some delicious healthful animal food, by calling it bread from heaven, and by which would render them immortal, and | insinuating that this miracle was wrought wnich was only to be procured under the by Moses, the Jews endeavoured to depreguvernment of their great Messiah. It is | ciate both Christ's mission, and bis miracles therefore no wonder that his exhortation of the loaves. They considered his miracles should so greatly affect ihem, that they as a single meal of terrestrial food, at which

of some

encender them immunder the

by Mwash Christ's mis

not above nine or ten thousand had been you expect a temporal prince who shall fed ; whereas Moses had supported the raise the Jewish kingdom above all the whole Jewish nation, during the space of l'empires of the earth: and because I do not forty years in the wilderness, by celestial affect the authority and pomp of an earthly food. To this objection the blessed Jesus monarch, you reject me as an impostor. replied, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Your infidelity, therefore, does not proceed Moses gave you not that bread from hea. from want of evidence, as you vainly preven; but my Father giveth you the true bread tend, but from the perverseness of your own from heaven.” John vi. 32. Moses did dispositions, which perhaps may in time be not gire you the manna that fell around the overcome ; for all those that the Father hath camp in the wilderness, nor did it descend given me, however obstinate they may be from heaven ; it was formed in the regions for a season, will at last believe on the Son of the air, by the Omnipotent hand of the of God. Nor will I ever reject any who God of Jacob. But by the miracles of the may at any time come to me, however low loaves, my heavenly Father hatt typified their circumstances may be, however vile the true, the spiritual, the heavenly bread, they may appear in their own eyes, or howwhich he himself giveth to the sons of men, ever greatly their violence against my docand of which the manna was only a symbo trines may have been exerted. I came lic representation; the food that sustained down from heaven not to act according to the Israelites in the wilderness was sufficient the common method of human passions, only for a single nation ; but this is for all the which excite men to return evil for evil, children of men.

but to bear with them; to try all possible

means to bring them to repentance; and Many of the Jews, who listened with lead them in the strait paths of virtue, which pleasure to his doctrine, and having heard terminate at the mansions of the heavenly him describe the properties of the celestial Canaan. bread, were animated with an earnest desire of being always fed with it. « Lord ( said It is the fixed determination of my Father, they ) evermore give us this bread." To to bestow eternal life on all who truly believe which Jesus answered, “I am the bread in me : and therefore I will raise them up at of life : He that cometh to me shall never the last day. hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." John vi. 35.

As the prospect of the greatest part of the

Jews, extended no farther than temporal Having made this answer to those who privileges and advantages, it is no wonder listened attentively to his doctrine, he turned that they were offended at this doctrine : himself to such as had heard him with pre especially at his affirming that he was the judice, and took every advantage of wrestling bread of life, and that he came down from his words. You asked me, said he, to heaven. Was not this Man, said they, bora shew you a sign that ye may see and believe into the world like other mortals? And are me to be the true Messiab. Surely you we not acquainted with his parents? How have seen it: you have seen my character then can he pretend to come down from and mission in the many miracles I have heaven: performed; miracles abundantly sufficient to convince you that I am really the Messiah But these degrading thoughts could not so often promised by the ancient prophets, escape the censure of him, to whom nothing so long expected by the whole Jewish is secret ; you need not, said the blessed nation. But not withstanding all these Jesus, object to my birth, and meanness proofs, your hearts are still hardened ; 1 of my relations, nor consider them as incon.

« AnteriorContinuar »