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for us in the moral or the spiritual world. Thus I desire to see (and am able to see) my Lord doing wonders, and teaching us by his miracles still. Thus the story becomes to me a never-failing well of “strong consolation," and the token of an all-pervading action in the moral state.
Added to which I may say, how we love the relics of those we love! Indeed, the next best thing to the presence of our loved ones is something that belonged to them. Every thing they touched is precious; every thread, every lock of hair-nothing is mean; every thing is sanctified by their touch, is made precious. Memory does wonders with relics. And shall not every action of my Lord be a matter for me to ponder upon ? Or is it true, as some have dared to tell me, rebuking me for too great a disposition to linger over the memory of Jesus, that his sentiment fades from the heart, as his doctrine and his truth, the power and the efficacy of his blood, and his sacrifice, rise on the understanding ? Have you learned to feel reverence for every shadow of Jesus ?-for every trace of his robe ?--for every action of his life ? Reverence and love are the gateways of all knowledge ; and rely upon it you will not know him till you pass through them to him.
1. There are two or three preliminary words here which affect the conduct and intention of the miracle, and which this very spirit of love and reverence will compel us lovingly to ponder.
1. Do you think it was intentionless that we are told “He constrained them to depart ?” Ah, seldom, indeed, did he constrain his disciples to leave him, and seldom does he thus constrain them to leave him. Now, alas ! they need no constraining to leave him. But
be sure that if he ever does thus constrain, it is that they may have some striking confirmation of his power, and their depend
He constrained them to the separation. “It is needful for you that I go away." Yet the evening shadows were falling-night was even then closing in. It is so strange that the Master should leave us now. We need him most now.
We have to cross the sea ; and he !-when shall we behold him again? How will he reach the opposite side? We have seen him break the bread for the thousands, but surely even he cannot divide the waves ; " for as yet they knew
not the Scripture, nor the power of God." Master, abide with us." “Straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship and to go before him to the other side."
2. From the Sea to the Mountains. There was a lofty mountain chain, the sides of which were often trodden by Jesus. In fact, the mountain into which he ascended is the loftiest range of our world. Many men, holy men, have ranged its sides, but Christ alone has reached its loftiest peaks ; that mountain along whose side Jesus was climbing, as the little boat put off from the shore. That mighty giant Andes of the soul is the mountain range of Prayer. “He went up into a mountain apart to pray, and when the evening was come he was there alone." See, even Jesus fortified himself by ascending the lofty heights of prayer, and he came from divine communion to tread the deep beneath him; teaching us, surely, that we also can only master the elements of nature by our contact with heaven, and by laying hold of the strength of eternity.
And so the night came down, solemn and dark, trailing her black garments over the mountains and the sea! Night, dark and stormy upon the bosom of the lake-Night, dewy, and damp, and cold, upon those windy mountain peaks-yet, there continued he; and yonder, they. The Saviour was still among the hills, and they were still in their frail boats. Do you think they did not pray? Do you think they did not cry aloud through the darkness for Jesus? Do you think he did not hear them ? He continued there in prayer. The dews fell on his garments, and bathed his locks. Still he continued on the mountains. He heard the winds roar and chafe angrily. He saw the little struggling bark. Be quiet, be comforted, faithless hearts, the Master sees you, and hears you ; and, unhasting and unresting, he will come to you in that moment which will best blend your salvation with his glory.
3. “And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them walking on the sea.". “Walking on the sea." It is never difficult for me to see our Lord overcoming the strength of nature—it is never difficult, and it is always delightful. It is his appropriate right, and I love to hail it thus. Thus, then, after the prayer in token that “he learned obedience by the things he suffered;" at that hour, when night was at its darkest, although the morning would shortly break; at that hour he who among the mountains was a man ; re-assumed the imperial royalties of his Godhead, and came to them walking on the sea—On the sea! Deep within its bosom lay the rocks, the grim and jagged jaws of darkness; there, too, what tangled sea-weeds twined their long fingers in the ship-wrecked mariners' hair, and unsightly monsters plunged to and fro; over all these he walks. The billows glance, and foam, and howl; the surges lash the rocky shore and the frail bark; but over these he walks. The night is very dark, the winds very high and contrary, the phosphorescent flakes play hither and thither; over these he walks. They dread the wind and the tempest, and shiver as the sail screams, and the cordage creaks, and the mast bends ; but through the wind and over the storm, he walks—he treads the storm beneath him, the tempest knows him, the waves play round the feet of their Master, “ by whom all things subsist.” The tempest that rocks their vessel will not ruffle his robe, or lift his hair. “Thy way, O God, is on the sea; thy pathway on the deep waters, and thy footsteps are not known."
II. And now, leaving the more literal story, let me point you to the more hidden, and yet certain significance, of our Lord's miraculous energy. You have often noticed (and noticed to receive a rich con. solation) that the trials of faith are represented to us as seas, and waters, and rivers ; and God is spoken of as coming to us over them, or through them. Israel of old was not allowed to pass from Egypt to Canaan without passing through the Red Sea, and that history, as it was representational, so it became to every Hebrew poet full of promise and lofty allusion—"He led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the waters before them to make himself an everlasting name.” “He led them through the deep as an horse in the wilderness that they should not stumble.” “Thou,” says the Psalmist, "didst divide the sea by thy strength; thou breakest the heads of the dragons in the waters ; thou didst cleave the fountain of the flood; thou driest up the mighty rivers." “ Was the Lord displeased against the rivers ?” says Habakuk; was thine anger against the rivers ? was thy wrath against the sea that thou didst ride upon thy horses and chariots of salvation ? The mountains saw thee, and they trembled ; the overflowing of the water passed by; the deep uttered his voice and
up his hands on high.” Now, I read in all this the presencethe perpetual presence of the Lord Jesus in all times of spiritual desolation and sorrow. “ When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee.” “ For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found; surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh him.” So impossible is it to reach our kingdom without passing through the rivers and the seas, that it may be said he hath“ founded it on the seas, and established it on the floods."
In all ages the Lord " has constrained his Disciples and followers to put to sea," but it has always been that in these wanderings over the fearful and wild Atlantic they might meet with him, as they never could meet with him until danger had excited all their fears, and that they might cast a more secure and steady anchor on the Rock of Ages. Thus he constrained Noah to wander lonely in that ark over the waters of a perished world ; thus he met with our fathers in the midst of those awful sands and deserts, more dreadful, if possible, than the ocean, and declared himself to be the “God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob;” thus for his own purpose he breathed on the winds around the vessel in which the prophet Jonah was flying from the presence of the Lord ; thus he constrained Paul to take ship and to pass through the stormy Euroclydons; and thus he walked by the side of that vessel, and for his sake "gave him all that sailed with him ;" and thus we, in life's later age, do know, that, if he has often constrained us to put to sea, he has met us on the sea ; and we never tire of singing such words as “God moves in a mysterious way”—“By prayer let me wrestle”—“Give to the winds thy fears
“Through waves, through clouds, and storms he gladly clears thy way
Wait Him His time so shall thy night soon end in joyous day.” Jesus walks with us on the sea !
1. On the Sea of Human Passion. There is none like Jesus for calming passion. Our passions are a troubled sea, and will not rest; and as long as they rage they will not let us rest. Hence, “The wicked is like a troubled sea.” Hence, David poured forth that plaintive prayer—“ Save me, O God, for the waters are come into my
soul; I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I am come into deep water, where the floods overflow me.” Thus, in the time of passion, when the blood stirs with the wild excitement of sin, when the fever is in the blood, cry to Jesus and he will come and walk upon the waters; when sin will not let thee rest, when thy pillow is drenched with the tears of disappointed hope or love, cry aloud to Jesus, and
you shall see him come a spiritual presence. Oh! very beautiful is the calm of the sea after a storm at early morning or evening-the silence of the woods after the thunders and the lightnings have spent their fury—but what is Nature's calmest calm compared with that peace when the winds of passion have ceased to play through the soul, and Jesus rising a Sun of Righteousness over the waters says, “ It is I be not afraid, only believe !"
2. And Jesus walks over the seas of Temptation, too. In the hour, when fearful of losing his prey, “ the enemy comes in like a flood," and the powers of darkness ally themselves with the baser parts of man's nature. Wonderful are those words of David; and their wailing, but encouraging refrain=“Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone
Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song
shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God? Why art thou cast down, O my soul ? and why art thou disquieted within me ? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God," Psalm xlii. 7-11. Dear friends, in temptation have you ever tried the effect of prayer ? Have you noticed how gradually Jesus seems to approach us-
-to advance to us as we stretched out our hands to him through the light ? -“And he made, as though he would have gone farther,” says Mark, in giving an account of this sacred vision of our text. So to us it has seemed as if he would have gone by us; but no, we feel his advancing strength. He is, indeed, coming to us walking on the sea. Oh! young friends, I prophecy to you that the time will come in your Christian history when “the rains will descend, and the floods beat, and the winds blow." Oh! in that