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ment to those that have made themselves drunk with their blood. Let cruelty and tyranny do their worst, verily there is a reward for the righteous, verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth. (Psalm lviii. 11.)
SECTION XXXIII. MATTHEW XIV. 13--23. MARK VI. 30–46. LUKE
IX. 10–17. John VI. 1—15. The apostles, when they were returned, gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.
And when Jesus heard of it, (that Herod had heard of his fame,] 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 he took them, and departed thence by ship, and went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethşaida. And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went forth (out of the ship] up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he was moved with compassion towards them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd, and he received them; and began to teach them many things, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.
And when the day was now far spent, his disciples, the twelve, came to him, saying, This is a desert, and the time is now far past, send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and buy themselves victuals; for they have nothing to eat. But Jesus answered, and said unto them, They need not depart, give ye them to eat. And he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat? (And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.) Philip answered him, Two hundred penny-worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little. And his disciples said unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred penny worth of bread, and give them to eat? He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, one of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes; but what are they among so many? He said, Bring them hither to me. Now there was much grass in the place. And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they did so, and made them all sit down. And they sat down in ranks by hundreds and by fifties in a company. Then he took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the multitude; and the two fishes he divided among them all, as much as they would. And they did all eat, and were all filled. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, and of the fishes, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent the multitudes away.
And when he had sent the multitudes away, ceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again, and went himself alone up into a mountain apart to pray.
So evidently true is it that man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God! (Matt. iv. 4.) How wonderful did the power of Christ appear in thus multiplying the food! and how amiable his compassion, in his affectionate concern for the relief of his necessitous fol. lowers ! It is to be esteemed a great happiness when the ministers of the gospel have it in their power to assist men in their temporal as well as spiritual necessities : and it is peculiarly incumbent upon them thus to do good and communicate: for with such sacrifices from their hands God is peculiarly well pleased, and the success of their ministry may be greatly promoted by them. (Heb. xiii. 16.)
The disciples received from the hand of Christ the food they delivered to the people: and so should ministers be concerned that they may receive from Christ, what they dispense to others, as the bread of life, and that they also at the same time may live upon it, as the support of their own souls. How great an honour is it to be employed as stewards of the mysteries of God! Let not immoderate secular cares, let not the desire of worldly riches or greatness interrupt us in this blessed work! Christ withdrew from those who would have made him king : ill therefore does it become his disciples to pursue earthly grandeur ; and most unworthy is it of his ministers to act as if his kingdom were of this world. May we learn in every state to be content. (Phil
. iv. 11.) In want may we cheerfully trust Providence ! In plenty, may we not wantonly abuse it ! but learn, by his command of gathering up the fragments even of his miraculous feast, a wise frugality in the use of our enjoyments; that nothing may be lost, nor a reserve be wanting, by which the streams of future liberality may be fed.
When the day had been thus employed, Christ retired to a mountain to pray. Thus must secret devotion attend our public labours for the instruction and salvation of men, if we would secure that Divine blessing, without which, neither the most eloquent preaching, nor the most engaging and benevolent conduct, can command or promise success.
John VI. 16-21. And when the evening was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea, and entered into a ship, and went over the sea towards Capernaum: and it was now dark, and the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land, and was not come to them: and the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. And he saw them toiling in rowing : for the wind was contrary unto them, and the ship was tossed with
And about the fourth watch of the night Jesus cometh unto them, when they had rowed about five-and-twenty or thirty furlongs, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship, they supposed it had been a spirit; and cried out for fear. (For they all saw him and were troubled.) And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer : it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come to 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, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? Then they willingly received him into the ship. And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased, and immediately the ship was at the land, whither they went. Then they that were in the ship were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered; for they considered not the miracle of the loaves, for their heart was hardened. And they came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth
thou art the Son of God. And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret; and drew to the shore. And when they were come out of the ship, the men of that place had straightway knowledge of him, and they sent out into all the country round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was, and brought unto him all that were diseased.
And whithersoever he entered into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made perfectly whole.
Thus it still pleases Christ to exercise the faith of his people, that he may strengthen their dependance on him, and demonstrate at once his compassion and his power. Thus are storms permitted oftentimes to rise around them, and for a while they are left in darkness, and are tossed with tempests : but he is near at hand, even when they think him at the remotest distance; and when he seems to be passing by them, as regardless of their danger and distress, he has designs of grace and mercy to them, and acts in such a way on purpose to quicken and excite them to a greater earnestness and fervour in their application to him. Happy would the Christian be, could he always discern his Lord and always conceive of him aright! but alas, how often does he appear to the disordered mind as the object of terror rather than of confidence ! and, in a day of darkness, while he may seem to treat his suffering people with neglect, instead of seeking him with a more earnest importunity, how ready are they to be overwhelmed with fears, and to conclude he has forgotten them! At the command of Jesus, Peter ventured to go to him on the
And through what storms and dangers may we not safely venture, if we are sure that our Lord calls us ! Yet the rebuke which he suffered, may warn us not rashly to throw ourselves on unnecessary trials, lest our excess of confidence end in fear and disgrace. Modesty and caution will adorn our other virtues, and render us amiable in the eyes of the humble Jesus.
In how many circumstances of life does the Christian appear to his own imagination like Peter beginning to sink in the waves! But in the time of our distress, like him, let us cry to Jesus for help; and, while we are lifting up the hands of faith and prayer, we may humbly hope that Christ will stretch forth