MARK VI. 30. And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while. For there were many coming and going; and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. And the people saw them departing; and many knew him; and ran afoot thither out of all cities. And when he came out, he saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep, not having a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed ; send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat. He answered and said unto them, Give

ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat ? He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? Go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds and by fifties. And when he had taken the five loaves, and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they did all eat and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. And they that did eat of the loaves were five thousand men.


In one or two instances, and for the relief of a few thousands, was a supernatural provision made. We recognise the benevolence and the power thus manifested, but we pass by unthought of, the same divine attributes, as they are exhibited in the supply of our daily wants. Yet is that goodness which refreshed for a season the weariness of an assembly, more worthy of admiration than that which created and sustains, age after age, millions of happy creatures, nay, worlds and systems without number? If we reverence that power which afforded thus a temporary supply, with what feelings should we contemplate that which created our beautiful world, which brought into being the various races of animals, our own bodies “ fearfully and wonderfully made,” and our thinking and immortal spirits,--which so balanced and harmonized the whole of this magnificent universe, that the daily, hourly wants of its countless members are met by the operation of regular and uninterrupted laws ? We should

[ocr errors]

recognise the Supreme Being more as the God of Providence, acknowledging in the air we breathe, the Sun which gives us light, in our daily food, our social blessings, the goodness and wisdom of the Author of Nature, who established, in the beginning, the unchanging order of the uni




Oh King of earth, and air and sea
The hungry ravens cry to thee;
To thee, the scaly tribes that sweep
The bosom of the boundless deep;

To thee the lions roaring call,
The common Father, kind to all!
Then grant thy servants, Lord, we pray,
Our daily bread from day to day.

Thy bounteous hand with food

can bless
The bleak and lonely wilderness;
And taught by thy dear Son, we pray
For daily bread from day to day.

And Oh, when through the wilds we roam,
That part us from our heavenly home;
When, lost in danger, want and woe,
Our faithless tears begin to flow,

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]



Matt. xiv. 22. And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray. And when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves ; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night, he went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit ; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer, it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him, and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid ; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord save me ! And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, Oh thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt ? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. And

when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about ; and brought unto him all that were diseased, and besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment ; and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.


The apostle was earnest in his request for permission to meet his Lord on the waves; but when the boon was granted, his confidence failed hm. The incident shows the character of the man; ardent, full of confidence, but too susceptible to the impressions of the moment, and therefore liable to fail at the time of trial. It exhibits the character which at one moment prompted him to be foremost in professions of unvarying fidelity, and a short time afterwards left him to deny his master in the hall of the high priest. It is not the part of wisdom to rush into trials beyond our strength to bear. We must not, in vain self confidence, place ourselves in the midst of temptation ; and then forsaken by our faith, sink in the sea around. It is related of William of Orange, the deliverer of Holland, that he would tremble and turn pale at the distant anticipation of danger, but become cool and fearless as it approached. Thus should the christian view the dangers of his moral condition. Let him avoid temptation, even with fear and trembling, while it can properly be avoided; but when it comes, let bim meet it with every power in readiness for exertion. Let him then listen no more to fear or desire, bat hear alone the voice that calls on him to tread the waves; not casting his terrified glance on the dangers around, but having the eye of faith fixed steadily on his Saviour.

« ForrigeFortsett »