صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

person for "the God of our salvation." If we do so, all will be well.

2. This miracle proves that the Redeemer never forgets his people, though he sometimes appears to do so. The disciples reflected on Christ, as if the storm and his sleeping had been evidences that he did not care for them: but he was by no means unmindful of them. He might have prevented the storm altogether, or he might have remained awake, to lay it, before they applied to him; but he did neither: and yet he was truly mindful of them, both in the storm and in his sleeping; for thus an opportunity was afforded to try their faith, to lead them to prayer, and to enable him to interpose for their safety. By his providence, he was even caring for them all the while he was asleep: in respect of his divine nature, he knew what was passing, and was ready to prevent the foundering of the ship.

So he often appears, as it were, to stand by for a time, and to take no part in the trying affairs of his people. He allows, it may be, imminent perils to press on them, or painful and dangerous disease long to afflict them; so that they are ready to think, and to say, that he has forgotten them. Thus the Psalmist: "How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?"-"I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me?" But the truth is, that he never forgets his people, however he may appear to do so. He is ever watching over their interests. He never slept, in this sense; and he never did, and never can, sleep at all, in respect of his divine nature. "He that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel, shall neither slumber nor sleep." "He fainteth not, neither is weary." If there be any forgetfulness, it is on their part, and not on his. Nothing but weakness of faith can lead any of his children to suspect that he has, strictly speaking, forgotten them. Hear, on this subject, the Psalmist again: "Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High." Hear, too, the words in Isaiah : "Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me."

3. This miracle proves that the Redeemer will certainly deliver his people at last. What should hinder him ?-not want of power, for he is "the mighty God," as this history abundantly shows-not want of knowledge, for he is infinitely wise to know how to save-not want of will, for he loves them, and delights to help them. He might prevent their trials altogether, or cut them very short; but he often brings them into trouble, and leaves them long in it, to let them feel their own weakness, to humble them, to wean them from the world, to teach them to look to him, and to get himself greater glory, and bring them to greater happiness, when he at last gives deliverance. He may delay long, but he will not delay too long. He will work for them at the proper time. Their extremity will be his opportunity. When they seem about to be cut off, then he will show himself. Therefore, "though the vision tarry," they may well wait for it, because "at the end it will speak and not lie; it will then surely come, and will not tarry."

Should any of the Saviour's true disciples feel tempted to fear that their great unworthiness may provoke him to leave them to perish for ever, let his conduct on this occasion convince them that neither the weakness of their faith nor any other infirmity will prevent him from delivering them. On this occasion he reproved his disciples for their fearfulness and little faith; but he did not, therefore, allow them to perish in the tempest. So still, when he sees the partial unbelief of any of his people, he is offended with it; but he does not therefore utterly forsake them. We read of his miraculously helping several who were by no means so confident in his power and love as they ought to have been. He cleansed the leper, who only said, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." He cast the deaf and dumb spirit out of the son of him who began with saying: "If thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us;" and who was then led to cry out, with tears: "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief!" In like manner, the soul of every one who can, we do not say merely repeat the words, but who can, in truth, and from the heart, say, "Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief," is safe. Let not this remark, however, be mistaken and abused. Wherefore is it that we thus speak? Is it that unbelievers may feel secure, or that those who are fearful and of little faith may be satisfied? Far from it. It is that no true believer, however weak, may despair; and not only so, but that every true believer may be ashamed of the

remainder of unbelief with which he is chargeable, and see good reason to put it away from him. A strange and a gross mistake it is, if any shall consider this remark as an apology for distrust in any degree. Surely, the truth that Christ will not leave the weak in faith to perish in sin, if rightly understood, implies that their fears are groundless, and, if sent home to their hearts, and properly followed out, must have a great effect in delivering them from these fears, and in leading them to be "strong in faith, giving glory to God."

How delightful, then, to think that Jesus will certainly deliver his people at last; and that he is able to save them, and will save them to the uttermost. Whatever storms may be raised against them by sin, Satan, and the world; and however insufficient they may be in themselves, he will help them, and bring them safe through. Well may they, therefore, thus express their confidence: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the moun-tains be carried into the midst of the sea, though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof."- "God is in the midst of his Church, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, and that right early."

4. This miracles proves that Jesus is a being whom it is impiety and ruin to resist, but duty and happiness to obey. Let those who are resisting Jesus, by neglecting his great salvation, and disobeying his commandments, consider that they heed not him whom the elements obey, and let them feel rebuked by the submissive winds and waves. What daring and desperate wickedness is theirs! How can they escape? How vain to contend with Him who can both raise and still the sea! O that they may become properly affected with their danger, and cry out, "Lord, save; we perish."

How becoming and safe, on the other hand, are the situation and demeanour of Christ's obedient people. Submitting to his righteousness and to his laws, obeying from the heart the form of doctrine he has delivered to them, let them study to become still more and more submissive, and desire that their every thought may be brought into captivity to his obedience. They are not indeed to expect exemption from trouble in the way of duty; but they may count on his cious presence and assistance, and it will be their privilege to have their heart stayed, trusting in him. Embarked in his cause, they will find that he will be the pilot, and will


guide the ship. Though their spiritual ark may be tossed with the tempest, it will never sink. Other vessels will be seen going to the bottom, or dashed in pieces on the rocks; but theirs will outride the storm. Many of life's voyagers will make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience; but they will all reach Immanuel's land; and, safely moored in the port of heaven, they will know, to their unspeakable happiness, that the Lord Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him.

As the whole of this subject is peculiarly appropriate to seafaring people, so a few words directly addressed to them may be a suitable conclusion. You, then, whose employment it is to go down to the sea in ships, and do business in the great waters, and who are so often deprived of the benefit of public ordinances, be thankful that you are now here, and do not pass over this history without getting some good from it. The age of miracles is past; but it is still the age of providence and of grace, and there is much in the account of this miracle which ought to impress you. You are here, then, to-day; but to-morrow, or soon, you may be far at sea. Need I remind you of the thousands who have gone to sea, and never returned? Need I speak to you of the large addition which will be made to the rising throng, when the sea shall give up the dead which are in it, or of the bodies which, having been cast on shore, are mouldering in the earthy bed, whence the whistling winds shall no more rouse them? Need I say a word to you, who know so well of the deceitfulness of the deep, or recall to you, who have often seen it, how, though this hour it may be smooth as glass, the next it may be swelling into mountains? Though you may put to sea in fine weather, none can tell how soon a mighty storm of wind may come down upon you, and you may be reeling to and fro, and be at your wits' end: nay, none can tell how soon you may be in a watery grave. But tell me this-Are you ready? Do not shift the question. Let conscience give the answer. Most certainly, every man who is chargeable with such crimes as profane swearing, wilful neglect of ordinances, impurity, and intemperance, unrepented of, unforgiven, and unforsaken, ought at once to confess that he is not ready and so also ought every man of you, who, though more decent, is yet in his natural state; that is, ignorant, unbelieving, and unrenewed. O Listen to the warning voice now addressed to you-a voice which, if disregarded but this once, you may never hear again. Listen to


the voice which now entreats you in the name of God, and of Christ, and of all that is dear to you through eternity, to be reconciled to God through the blood of the cross, to repent and be converted, before you venture to go to sea again. Begin, even now, thus earnestly to pray, "Lord save; we perish." Yield yourselves up to his grace and guidance; and begin to live to his glory. Thus, when the time of sailing comes round again, you will go to sea, not indeed with the fool-hardy boasting and profane merriment so unbecoming in those who have only a plank between them and eternity, but with the rational, calm, cheerful, Christian courage of those who trust in the Lord, and who feel that, whatever may happen during the voyage, all will be well with them for ever.

« السابقةمتابعة »