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their minds; but rather be emboldened and confirmed. "O my soul, did He not tell me this? Did he not assure me that in the world I should have tribulation-that, as a traveller, I must look for some unfavourable weather and disagreeable road-that there would be a slough, a hill of difficulty, a valley of humiliation-and here they are! I am right. Here David sighed. Here Paul groaned. These are way-marks which they have thrown up. I am journeying the same way; the way everlasting.'
For want of having this truth present to the mind, many Christians who are more advanced in the divine life, have been confound
Let us repair this evening to the lake of Galilee, and behold a vessel in a storm, containing the twelve apostles and the Lord of all. The narrative is every way instructive and useful. And was written for our learned and dismayed. All misery wears the ing. The circumstances are six. They are character of sin, of which it is the consethese-THE STORM AROSE WHILE THE DISCI-quence; it naturally therefore reminds us of PLES WERE FOLLOWING our Lord. WHILE it. God is the source of all light and joy; THEY WERE ALARMED, HE WAS ASLEEP. IN and when we see nothing of the one, and THEIR DISTRESS THEY IMPLORE HIS ASSIST- feel nothing of the other, it is not easy to beANCE. HE REPROVES THEIR FEARS. HE lieve that he is present with us. We are COMMANDS THEIR DELIVERANCE. HE DRAWS ready to say, with Gideon, "If the Lord be with us, why then is all this evil befallen us?' Surely he would have hindered all this. Surely, if he had it in his power, a father would keep a child from every thing hurtful; and a benefactor, a friend. How then can God be my benefactor and father, when, though he could by a single volition cure all my complaints, he suffers me from week to week to struggle with poverty, pine in sickness, and groan under disappointment! If I am his, why am I thus?" But here we err. We do not consider that his thoughts are not our thoughts, nor his ways our ways that though his love be real, it is also wise-that though no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous, nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them that are exercised thereby. Hence it is not said, Blessed is the man that escapes, but "blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive a crown of life." Afflictions are the same to the soul as the plough to the fallow ground, the pruning-knife to the vine, and the furnace to the gold. Let none, on the other hand, conclude that they are right because they are prosperous. Success is flattering not only to our wishes, but to our pride; and when we are very warm in any cause, we are prone to consider every favourable circumstance as expressive of divine approbation. But did God approve of Jonah's flight because, when he came down to the sea-shore, he found a ship just ready to sail? What says poetry?
thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they are quiet so he bringeth them unto their desired haven."
FORTH THEIR ADMIRATION AND PRAISE.
They sailed in a calm, and soon encountered a storm. It is the emblem of life; at least the life of many. They launched forth into the world with fair appearances and high-raised expectations; but they had not proceeded far before the clouds gathered blackness, the sky was overspread, the winds howled, the waves roared, and they said, with Hezekiah, "Behold, for peace I had great bitterness." It is the emblem of many a particular enterprise; for so unanswerable often is the end of a thing to the beginning of it, that prudence as well as Scripture, seems to say, "Boast not thyself of to-morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."
But we are not only taught that we may sail in a calm, and meet with a storm;-we❘ may encounter one even when sailing with Christ. This was the case here. They were acting in obedience to his authority and in compliance with his example: "When he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him; and, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves." How is this? He could have prevented the fury of the elements, and have given them a peaceful and pleasant passage over. But then he would not have taught us so much. Particularly we should have wanted a confirmation of this truth-that prosperous gales do not always attend us in the prosecution of duty. And yet this is a very important lesson. It is of great utility to the young, who are just beginning a religious course. It will prevent their expecting exemption from trials and difficulties; it will lead them to believe that these things may occur, will occur: and thus when the evil day comes they will not think it strange, or grow weary and faint in
"God's choice is safer than our own:
Of ages past inquire
What the most formidable fate?-
What saith the Scripture? "He gave them their heart's desire, but sent leanness into their soul."
of his disciples, and show us that he may be with his people in a storm, and yet seem to be indifferent; seem to see nothing, hear nothing, feel nothing. Thus it was with Abraham: his deliverer did not interpose to say, Forbear, till the hand had grasped the knife, and was stretched out to use it. Thus it was with the Jews in Egypt. He had engaged, at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to deliver them; but he seemed to have for
Secondly. WHILE HIS DISCIPLES WERE PERPLEXED AND ALARMED, "HE WAS ASLEEP. O sleep, thou soft, downy enemy! how much of our time, our short, our uncertain, our all-important time dost thou rob us of!His whole life was an illustration of his remark-"I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day: the night cometh, wherein no man can work." He never spoke an idle word; never spent an idle hour. He was in watchings often: we read of his teach-gotten the promise: the very last day of this long period was arrived--but be awoke in time; and before the returning dawn all the host of the Lord had escaped!-He defers these interpositions to render them the more divine and wonderful. His glory never shines so brightly as on the dark ground of human despair. When creatures have withdrawn, and the eye sees nothing all around but desolation, then, if he approaches us, he must be seen, and be welcomed with peculiar joy and praise: while by such a dispensation he says to his people in all future ages" Never des pond; I can turn the shadow of death into the morning; at eventide it shall be light."
ing early in the temple; of his rising a great while before day and praying; of his going up into a mountain, and continuing all night in prayer to God. Now for once we read of his sleeping. We may take three views of it.
It was a sleep of refreshment. Wearied nature required repose in him as well as in us. For though he was divine, he was also truly and properly a man, and was possessed of all our sinless infirmities. At one time we find him upon the road begging a draught of cold water; at another, he hungered and found no food on the fig-tree. He was now heavy to sleep, and like a labouring mansuch he was his sleep was sweet; and regardless of delicate accommodations, he could lie down and enjoy it even in a fishing ship, and in a storm!
This renders the sleep wonderful. There could have been no fear, no uneasiness within: all was secure and serene. Some of you, it is probable, could not sleep in a storm. Judas was now on board. I dare say Judas could not sleep. What a hell would his avarice produce in his guilty conscience! But see Jacob. He is journeying alone; the shades of the night descend; yet he "takes the stones of the place for a pillow, and lays himself down to sleep!" David abroad in the field, in the rebellion of Absalom, and when he had few troops with him, said, "I will both lay me down and-sleep, for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety." Peter, in the night preceding his designed execution, was "sleeping between two soldiers" so soundly, that the angel was obliged to strike a blow, as well as a light, in order to awake him. "So he giveth his beloved sleep!" Happy they whose minds are tranquillized by the blood of sprinkling. Happy they, who, though sensible of daily infirmities, can say, Our "rejoicing is this, the testimony of our consciences that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world." Happy they who can this evening retire, and feel a comparative indifference to life or death; who can say, If I live, it will be to serve thee; and if I die, it will be to enjoy thee.
Again. The sleep was designed, and our Saviour had a particular end to answer by it. He would try the disposition and dependence
"Just in the last distressing hour
The Lord displays delivering power;
In the mean time he exercises our faith and patience, and calls forth our desires after him. He knew that his disciples would soon apply to him; and so they did.
It is the Third circumstance in the relation. "THEY CAME TO HIM AND AWOKE HIM, SAY ING, LORD, SAVE US: WE PERISH." It has been said that those who would learn to pray should go to sea; and one would suppose that danger so imminent and sensible would produce this effect. But, alas! many have returned from sea without learning to pray. Perhaps indeed they prayed while the storm continued-but their devotion sunk faster than the winds and waves. How many are there who consider prayer as a task to be performed in perilous circumstances, but not their daily duty, their constant privilege! We read of some birds that never make a noise but at the approach of foul weather and there are persons who never cry to God but "when his chastening hand is upon them."
What would you think of a neighbour, who never called upon you but when he wanted to borrow or beg? Would you a selfish wretch he has no regard for me; he thinks of nothing but his own convenience? And what can God think of your religion, if you never seek him but in trouble?
And yet we are authorized to say, that trials have frequently been the means of bringing a man to God: he and God first met in affliction; but a friendship for life was the consequence. I cannot therefore but look hopefully towards a man who is brought into trouble; just as when I see a smith putting
a bar of iron into the fire, I conclude that he is going to do something with it, to form out of it some useful implement, which could not be done while it was cold and hard. In his affliction Manasseh sought the Lord. Upon the same principle, thousands have had reason to say, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted."-We may also observe, that as trials are useful to begin, so they are employed to assist a life of prayer. For Christians themselves sometimes grow too careless and insensible. God hears from them less frequently, less fervently than before. Other things amuse them and engage them. But how differently do they feel in the hour of mortification and disappointment! "Where is God my Maker, that giveth songs in the night? Therefore will I look unto the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation, my God will hear me."
"Now I forbid my carnal hope,
My fond desires recall;
not reprove them for their prayer-but their fear. They were in a needless panic. They talked of perishing, not considering who was with them; and that they could not sink without his sinking too. His safety proved their security. Therefore he saith unto them, "Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?" And hereby he shows us that our alarms originate in the want of faith-that faith may indeed be real where it is little-but that being little, it renders us liable to apprehensions and dismay-and that if a small degree of faith will be sufficient for fine weather sailing, a greater is nécessary in a storm-a faith assured of our union with him; clear in its views of his power and love; and firm in its dependence upon his promise.
But oh! in what manner did our Lord utter this reproof? It is impossible to do justice to those lips into which grace was poured, and which spake as never man spake. But had we heard him, I am persuaded his tone of voice would have been more expressive of kindness than severity. It would have been the address of one who pitied while he blamed; who was touched with the feeling of their infirmities; who knew their frame, and remembered they were but dust; who knew the influence outward things have upon the body, and the influence the body has upon the mind. He would not therefore keep them in suspense, but
By this you may judge whether your storms are blessings or curses. Do they make you passionate or prayerful? Are you quarreling with the winds and waves, or spreading the case before the Lord? Are you looking to creatures, or to him who has them all under his command, and "in all our affliction is afflicted?" "I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number."
Fifthly it is said, “THEN-HE AROSE AND REBUKED THE WINDS AND THE SEA, AND THERE WAS A GREAT CALM." What a scene was here! I see him opening his eyes-but not with surprise. Nothing astonished him through life. I see him going upon decknot in haste. Haste is the effect of confusion
Fourthly. OUR Lord reproves HIS DISCIPLES. But observe, I beseech you, for what it is that he censures them. It is not for breaking in upon his repose. Some of you may remember the confinement of one hun--he had always too much to do to be ever dred and forty-six Englishmen in what is in haste. I see him facing the storm.-But called the black hole at Calcutta. It would what said he? He "rebuked" the winds and harrow up the feelings of your souls were I the sea. To rebuke is a word that we apply to relate the sufferings of these brave men, to intelligent creatures only. We talk of redriven into a dungeon, which was a cube of buking a servant or a child-but not a tree eighteen feet, walled up eastward and south- or a stone. Thus the storm is personified ward, the only quarters whence refreshing air and addressed as if it could hear him; and it could come, and open westward by two small did hear him and obey. And "there was a windows barred with iron-all this under a great calm!" Those who are acquainted melting sky and many of the men wound- with the sea know that after a storm is ed! But what I refer to is this. The cries hushed, the deep continues for a consideraof these sufferers at last were such as to pre-ble time to rise and fall and fret. But the sea now immediately subsided from its raging, and spread into a smooth surface. For his work is perfect. He doth all things well. And the execution honours him as much as the design.
vail on one of the enemy's soldiers to go and implore relief of the Suba or Chief. But he soon returned, saying that the Suba was asleep, and that it was upon pain of death any one dared to awake him before the time-and before he awoke many of them had expired! But Finally. What effect had all this upon -But it is not so with thee, O blessed Jesus, his disciples? They are not only convinced, thou Saviour of the world! Thou despisest but impressed: they not only "believe with the not thy prisoners. We cannot by our con-heart," but "confess with the tongue :" and, tinual coming weary thee. Thou hast always filled with ADMIRATION AND PRAISE at such an ear to which misery is welcome. The a peculiar and unexampled display of perfec groans of a broken heart are as delightful to tion, "they marvelled, saying, What manthee as the songs of angels. No: he doesner of man is this, that even the winds and
the sea obey him!" Some persons if known | distress and anguish within, he can say would be abhorred; others would decline upon unto your soul, "I am thy salvation." Fear acquaintance; and where intimacy does not not. reduce our esteem, it commonly diminishes our admiration. In other cases, ignorance is the cause of wonder: but here it is knowledge; for the character is perfect, and the object infinite. The more we know of the Saviour's attributes and works and ways, the more we shall admire and adore. And we are told that when he has ended all our storms, and made all things to work together for our good-then "he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.' We admire him indeed now. He has already fixed and filled our minds. We already see in him such various and numberless excellences, that the world has faded into nothing by the comparison. We see in him every thing to feed our contemplation, every thing to encourage our hope, every thing to excite imitation, every thing to command attachment and praise. But how small a portion is known of him!
"-Nor earth, nor seas, nor sun, nor stars,
Let me conclude, First, by a word to the disobedient. He who addressed the wind and the sea, has often addressed you. He has addressed you by sickness, by affliction, by delivering mercy, by conscience, by friends, by ministers, by his law and by his gospel, by threatenings and by promises. But more insensible, more rebellious than the wind or the sea, you have not heard or obeyed him. And yet you pretend to possess reason! But wherein do you show it? "A prudent man foreseeth the evil and hideth himself, but the simple pass on and are punished." And this will be your case. You are not only his creatures, but his subjects; he has not only given you privileges, but rendered you accountable for them, and he is coming to try you by them. And can you be ignorant of the result? "As for these mine enemies that would not that I should reign over them, bring them forth and slay them before me."
Look to him in all your trials. Surely, in a storm, there ought to be a difference be tween you and others. They have made no provision for the evil day: but you have a friend, a kind friend, an almighty friend with you. You have tried him. You know "whom you have believed;" and he knoweth them that trust in him, and will "never leave them nor forsake them."
Have you evils in prospect? Does a dispensation of Heaven approach you, that, instead of opening like a fine morning in May, seems setting in like a winter's night, with "dark waters and thick clouds of the sky?"
"Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
Are big with mercy, and shall break
"Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land.Amos viii. 11.
SIN is said to be "an evil and a bitter thing." It is evil in its nature, and bitter in its consequences. It is evil with regard to God, and bitter with regard to us. It "brought death into the world, and all our wo." Numberless are the miseries to which it has reduced individuals, families, nations, and the whole human race.
Among these, one of the most dreadful is Famine. It would not be easy even for the imagination to do justice to a calamity so tremendous. What must it be to view "the heavens over us as brass, and the earth be neath us as iron!" What must it be, from the appearances of nature, to exclaim, “Is Secondly. Let me call upon those of you not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy who love the Saviour, to familiarize him to and gladness from the house of our God? your minds as present with you in all your The seed is rotten under the clods, the gardifficulties. You need not say, Oh! if heners are laid desolate, the barns are broken were on earth, I would go to him, and tell down; for the corn is withered. How do the him my grief, and ease my burdened mind. beasts groan! the herds of cattle are per You may do so now; for though he is no plexed because they have no pasture; yea, longer visible, he is still accessible; and if the flocks of sheep are made desolate." What you call, he will answer, and say, "Here must it be to make observations like these: I am." He is a very present help in trouble. "The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth Look to him to tranquillize a stormy world. to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the young The nations are angry-but He who stilleth children ask bread, and no man breaketh it the raging of the sea can also calm the tu- unto them. They that did feed delicately mults of the people. are desolate in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills. They that be slain with the sword are better
Look to him, to pacify a troubled conscience. In the midst of the most painful
We divide our reflections.into three parts: the First of which regards THE NATUre of THIS JUDGMENT. The Second, ITS DREADFULNESS. And the Third, ITS INFLICTION. "To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts."
I. Let us consider the NATURE OF THIS JUDGMENT. It takes in the loss of the Gospel, as a judgment administered by preaching. It is a famine, not of reading, but "of hearing the words of the Lord."
than they that be slain with hunger, for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field."-"Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, she may forget." Yes! even mothers have dressed and devoured their own offspring. The horrible fact is mentioned three times in the history of a people once peculiarly dear to God. In the siege of Jerusalem by Titus, Josephus tells us that the daughter of Eleazer had fled from beyond Jordan to the me- We may consider this famine as eternal. tropolis, in the general distress: she had The means of grace, and the ordinances of been wealthy, but was now reduced to the religion, are exclusively confined to this life. last extremity after a heartrending address, If you die strangers to the power of godliness, she killed her infant at the breast for food- so you must continue. Your mistake will and when some ruffians entered the house, indeed be discovered, but cannot be rectified. and demanded whatever provision she had, There no throne of grace. There no messhe presented a dish, and throwing by the sengers of mercy. There no invitations to napkin-showed them the remains of her turn and live. There no sabbath smiles upon child-the other part she had eaten! Refer- you; no temple opens to receive you; no altar ring to the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchad- spreads before you the hallowed emblems of nezzar, says the prophet Jeremiah: "The the Saviour's death. "Behold, now is the hands of the pitiful women have sodden their accepted time; behold, now is the day of salown children: they were their meat in the vation." Hence it is that we urge you to destruction of the daughter of my people."" seek the Lord while he may be found, and In the siege of Samaria, by Benhadad the to call upon him while he is near:" and reSyrian, we read: "As the king of Israel was mind you of our Lord's admonition, "Strive passing by upon the wall, there cried a wo- to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say man unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king. unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not And he said, If the Lord do not help thee, be able. When once the master of the house whence shall I help thee? out of the barn- is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye floor, or out of the winepress! And the king begin to stand without, and to knock at the said unto her, What aileth thee? And she door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and answered, This woman said unto me, Give he shall answer and say unto you, I know thy son, that we may eat him to-day, and we you not whence ye are: then shall ye begin will eat my son to-morrow. So we boiled to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy premy son, and did eat him: and I said unto sence, and thou hast taught in our streets. her on the next day, Give thy son, that we But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not may eat him: and she hath hid her son. And whence you are; depart from me, all ye it came to pass when the king heard the workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see and he passed by upon the wall, and the peo- Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the ple looked, and, behold, he had sackcloth prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you within upon his flesh." yourselves thrust out."
Who is not ready to say-Let us turn from these scenes of horror, and falling upon our knees, pray, "O Lord, correct us, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring us to nothing."
And yet there is a famine infinitely more dreadful than all this: and to keep you no longer from our subject, it is the very judgment here denounced: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it."-We need not inquire to what periods the prophecy immediately refers. It was to be accom- not willing that any should perish, but that plished at different times, and in various de-all should come to repentance." While grees. therefore there is life, there is hope. But
We may consider this famine as spiritual. And thus it refers to the state of the mind; and takes place when souls are reduced to such indifference and insensibility as to be morally or judicially incapable of improvement by the institutions of religion, even should they be continued among them. When a man can no longer use food, or turn it into nourishment, it is the same with regard to himself as if all provision was denied himdeath must be the consequence. The case of many who have long been favoured with the Gospel, is, according to this view of the subject, alarming. Much has been said, very incautiously, of the termination of a day of grace. In a sense every day is a day of grace; and "God is longsuffering to us-ward,