PART“ him, for to touch him, as many as had IV. plagues.”

There are many instances of the like concourse in the gospel, and numberless miracles which have been operated on the fick. by the bare touch of the garment of Jesus. Christ, nay by the very hem. But, as I at. first promised, I shall indiscriminately pass by all those prodigies, and shall only mention fuch as have the clearest marks of certainty. And even of these I have taken notice,, only because they have an immediate connexion with the second increase of loaves;, which carries its own evidence with it, and likewise diffuses a clear and decisive light upon


premo eeding prodigies.


Jesus Christ walks upon the waves;

makes Peter do the same; fills the Lea and the winds, abbreviates the labour of the apostles, and under thesemiracles couches important truthso

FTER the first increase of loaves, AT

Jesus * constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto “ the other side, while he sent the multitude

away. But of the ship was now in the midst. " of the sea, tossed with waves : for the wind:


* Mat. xiv. 22. + Ibid. ver. 24. Mark vi. 48.

[ocr errors]

« fear.

was contrary. And in the fourth watch CHAP. of the night, Jesus went unto them walking 1. upon the sea.

the sea. And when the disciples faw « him walking on the sea, they were troubled; saying, It is a spirit, and they cried out for

But straightway Jesus spake unto “ them saying, | Be of good cheer, it is I, be “ not afraid. And Peter answered him, 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 fink, 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? I And he went

up unto them into the ship, and the wind “ ceased: and they were fore amazed in them“ selves beyond measure, and wondered. For " they considered not the miracle of the

loaves, for their heart was hardened. Then they, that were in the ship, came and wor

shipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the " Son of God.”

The more I examine into this history which contains several miracles, the more fenfibly I am convinced of its truth. First, the whole multitude were witnesses, that the apostles entered the ship alone, and that Jesus tarried to dismiss the people. This induced


C 2

[merged small][ocr errors]

Part the people, who were astonished; to demand IV. of him how he came * thither.

Secondly, None of those circumstances would occur naturally to one's mind; the mic racle of walking upon the waters, at a time when the wind was boisterous, escapes ones thought. More natural it would be to imagine, that he was either conveyed on the wings of the wind, or transported thither by an angel. Saint Peter's demand, who was in safety in the Thip, to walk on the waters like Jesus Christ, could arise only from having ocular demonstration of the marvellous act, and from the firm persuasion he already had of his infinite

power. But if the historian imposed on us with regard to the apostle's walking upon the waters, he would not have given us this additional fiction, that he was afraid of the wind, and that his fear was the occasion of his finking.

Thirdly, If the fact had not been true and public, the evangelist would not have mentioned that term, with which Jesus Chrift rebukes the first of his apostles, as a man t of little faith, and rather would have omitted it at a time, when his reputation was necessary for · the support of the church.

Fourthly, Another Evangelist would have been very far from observing of all the apostles, that through blindness of heart they were un


* “ When they had found him on the other side of the sea, “ they faid unto him, Rabbi, waco camelt thou hither? John

vi. 25.

+ Mat. xiv. 31.

attentive * and less sensible to the miracle ofCHAP. the increase of loaves, than the common peo

1. ple, who through gratitude and interest openly avowed their design of proclaiming him king.

In short, it is an idle insinuation, that an history, which has gained such credit, and is so circumstantiated, which has been examined by the apostles, and wrote with all possible marks of fincerity, is not entituled to a thorough belief; a history that can give no offence, but because it is an evident proof of the christian religion.

Here we must attentively observe, that Jefus Christ did not perform his miracles as the prophets, and his disciples, in the name of another; but to confirm his divine mislion, and to prove that he was the promised Saviour and Messiah ; that he wrought them as the Son of God, having all nature at command, and being powerful by his will alone : in a word, that the intention of these marvellous operations was in order to gain their belief, that they should put an entire confidence in him, and that there should be no limits to the faith and hope, of which he is the term and object. Thus does he find nothing but what was lawful in the adoration paid to him by the apostles, and those that were in the ship; and he not only approved of their ftiling him


C 3

* “ He went up unto them into the ship, and the wind cear“ ed : and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, " and wondered. For they considered not the miracle of the * loaves, for their heart was hardened. ” Mark vi. 52.

Part the Son of God, but also encouraged their IV. opinion of his having sufficiently confirmed it to

them by walking on the tempestuous sea, by enabling Peter to do the same, bý reproaching his distrust in not relying on his word, by suspend, ing him in the abyss with his almighty hand, by causing a dead calmn instantly to succeed an hurricane and tempest, and by making the ship advance immediately to the other side, which could not be effected by rowing, nor by human means during a whole night. Now this circumstance is also to be observed, as it reconciles the seeming contradiction between those evangelists, who affirm that Jesus Christ entered the ship; * and Saint John, who looked upon it as unnecessary, because the ship was instantly at land. Which imports, that he entered it, tho'it was of no use to him.

My design is not to unfold what the miracles of Jesus Christ spiritually and mystically contain, when the history does not derive from thence a new degree of certainty. But when the spirit makes part of the letter, or (to speak more plain) when it not only tends to illustrate but to prove it, I am obliged to make a proper use of this advantage; for I have observed, that when no more than the miracle is shewn to people, who, in other respects, do not want understanding, they have a secret repugnancy to submit to it; but that repugnancy vanishes, and ad


*“ They willingly received him in'o the flip, and immedi" adly the hip was as the land, whither they went.” John vi.

« VorigeDoorgaan »