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thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they, their minds; but rather be emboldened and go down again to the depths: their soul is confirmed. “O my soul, did He not tell me melted because of trouble. They reel to this? Did he not assure me that in the and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and world I should have tribulation—that, as a are at their wits end. Then they cry unto traveller
, I must look for some unfavourable the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth weather and disagreeable road—that there them out of their distresses. He maketh the would be a slough, a hill of difficulty, a valley storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are of humiliation—and here they are! I am still. Then are they glad because they are right. Here David sighed. Here Paul quiet: so he bringeth them unto their desired groaned. These are way-marks which they haven.”
have thrown up. I am journeying the same Let us repair this evening to the lake of way; "the way everlasting.' Galilee, and behold a vessel in a storm, con- For want of having this truth present to taining the twelve apostles and the Lord of the mind, nany Christians who are more adall. The narrative is every way instructive vanced in the divine life, have been confoundand useful. And was written for our learn- ed 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 He lieve that he is present with us.
We are HE DRAWS ready to say, with Gideon, “ . If the Lord be
with us, why then is all this evil befallen us?' They sailed in a calm, and soon encoun- Surely he would have hindered all this. tered a storm. It is the emblem of life; at Surely, if he had it in his power, a father least the life of many. They launched forth would keep a child from every thing hurtful; into the world with fair appearances and and a benefactor, a friend. How then can high-raised expectations; but they had not God be my benefactor and father, when, proceeded far before the clouds gathered though he could by a single volition cure all blackness, the sky was overspread, the winds my complaints, he suffers me from week to howled, the waves roared, and they said, with week to struggle with poverty, pine in sickHezekiah, “ Behold, for peace I had great ness, and groan under disappointment! If I bitterness.” It is the emblem of many a par- am his, why am I thus ?" But here we err. ticular enterprise; for so unanswerable often We do not consider that his thoughts are not is the end of a thing to the beginning of it, our thoughts, nor his ways our ways that that prudence as well as Scripture, seems to though his love be real, it is also wise that say, ** Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for though no chastening for the present seemeth thou knowest not what a day may bring to be joyous, but grievous, nevertheless afforth."
terward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of But we are not only taught that we may righteousness to them that are exercised sail in a calm, and meet with a storm ;-we thereby. Hence it is not said, Blessed is the may encounter one even when sailing with man that escapes, but “ blessed is the man Christ. This was the case here. They that endureth temptation; for when he is were acting in obedience to his authority and tried, he shall receive a crown of life.” Afflicin compliance with his example: “When he tions are the same to the soul as the plough was entered into a ship, his disciples followed to the fallow ground, the pruning-knife to the him; and, behold, there arose a great tem-vine, and the furnace to the gold. Let none, pest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was on the other hand, conclude that they are covered with the waves.” How is this? right because they are prosperous. Success He could have prevented the fury of the is flattering not only to our wishes, but to elements, and have given them a peaceful our pride; and when we are very warm in and pleasant passage over. But then he any cause, we are prone to consider every would not have taught us so much. Parti- favourable circumstance as expressive of dicularly we should have wanted a confirma- yine approbation. But did God approve of tion of this truth-that prosperous gales do Jonah's flight because, when he came down not always attend us in the prosecution of to the sea-shore, he found a ship just ready duty. And yet this is a very important les to sail? What says poetry? son. It is of great utility to the young, who are just beginning a religious course. It will Of ages past inquire prevent their expecting exemption from trials and difficulties; it will lead them to believe that these things may occur, will occur: and What saith the Scripture? “He gave thus when the evil day comes they will not them their heart's desire, but sent loanncse think it strange, or grow weary and faint in into their soul.”
“God's choice is safer than our own:
What the most formidable fate?
To have our own desire."
Secondly. WHILE HIS DISCIPLES WERE of his disciples, and show us that he may be PERPLEXED AND ALARMED, “HE WAS ASLEEP. with his people in a storm, and yet seem to O sleep, thou soft, downy enemy! how be indifferent; seem to see nothing, hear no much of our time, our short, our uncertain, thing, feel nothing. Thus it was with Abraour all-important time dost thou rob us of!- ham: his deliverer did not interpose to say, His whole life was an illustration of his re- Forbear, till the hand had grasped the knife
, mark_“I must work the works of Him that and was stretched out to use it. Thus it was sent me while it is day: the night cometh, with the Jews in Egypt. He had engaged, wherein no man can work.” He never spoke at the end of four hundred and thirty years, an idle word; never spent an idle hour. *He to deliver them; but he seemed to have for was in watchings often: we read of his teach- gotten the promise: the very last day of this ing early in the temple; of his rising a great long period was arrived—but be awoke in while before day and praying; of his going time; and before the returning dawn all the up into a mountain, and continuing all night host of the Lord had escaped !-He defers in prayer to God. Now for once we read of these interpositions to render them the more his sleeping. We may take three views divine and wonderful. His glory never shines of it.
so brightly as on the dark ground of human It was a sleep of refreshment. Wearied despair. When creatures have withdrawn, nature required repose in him as well as in and the eye sees nothing all around but desous. For though he was divine, he was also lation, then, if he approaches us, he must be truly and properly a man, and was possessed seen, and be welcomed with peculiar joy and of all our sinless infirmities. At one time praise: while by such a dispensation he says we find him upon the road begging a draught to his people in all future ages~"* Never des of cold water; at another, he hungered and pond; 'I can turn the shadow of death into found no food on the fig-tree. He was now the morning; at eventide it shall be light." heavy to sleep, and like a labouring man
" Just in the last distressing hour such he was—his sleep was sweet; and re- The Lord displays delivering power; gardless of delicate accommodations, he The njount of danger is the place could lie down and enjoy it even in a fishing
Where we shall see surprising grace." ship, and in a storm!
In the mean time he exercises our faith and This renders the sleep wonderful. There patience, and calls forth our desires after h'n. could have been no fear, no uneasiness with He knew that his disciples would soon apply in: all was secure and serene. Some of you, to him; and so they did. it is probable, could not sleep in a storm. It is the Third circumstance in the relation Judas was now on board. I dare say Judas “THEY CAME TO HIM AND AWOKE HIM, SAPcould not sleep. What a hell would his ing, LORD, SAVE US: WE PERISH.” It has avarice produce in his guilty conscience! been said that those who would learn to pray, But see Jacob. He is journeying alone; the should go to sea; and one would suppose that shades of the night descend ; yet he "takes danger so imminent and sensible would prothe stones of the place for a pillow, and lays duce this effect. But, alas! many have rehimself down to sleep!” David abroad in the turned from sea without learning to pray. field, in the rebellion of Absalom, and when Perhaps indeed they prayed while the storm he had few troops with him, said, “I will continued—but their devotion sunk faster both lay me down and-sleep, for thou, Lord, than the winds and waves. How many are only makest me dwell in safety." Peter, in there who consider prayer as a task to be pero the night preceding his designed execution, formed in perilous circumstances, but not was sleeping between two soldiers” so their daily duty, their constant privilege! soundly, that the angel was obliged to strike We read of some birds that never make a a blow, as well as a light, in order to awake noise but at the approach of foul weather: him. " So he giveth his beloved sleep!" and there are persons who never cry to God Happy they whose minds are tranquillized by but “when his chastening hand is upon them." the blood of sprinkling. Happy they, who, –What would you think of a neighbour, who though sensible of daily infirmities, can say, never called upon you but when he wanted Our “rejoicing is this, the testimony of our to borrow or beg! Would you not say,
What consciences that in simplicity and godly sin- a selfish wretch! he has no regard for me ; cerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the he thinks of nothing but his own convenigrace of God, we have had our conversation ence? And what can God think of your in the world.” Happy they who can this religion, if you never seek him but in trouble ! evening retire, and feel a comparative indif- And yet we are authorized to say, that ference to life or death; who can say, If I live, trials have frequently been the means of it will be to serve thee; and if I die, it will bringing a man to God: he and God first met be to enjoy thee.
in affliction; but a friendship for life was the Again. The sleep was designed, and our consequence. I cannot therefore but look Saviour had a particular end to answer by it. hopefully towards a man who is brought into He would try the disposition and dependence trouble ; just as when I see a smith putting
a bar of iron into the fire, I conclude that he | not reprove them for their prayer—but their is going to do something with it, to form out fear. They were in a needless panic. They of it some useful implement, which could not talked perishing, not considering who be done while it was cold and hard. In his was with them; and that they could not sink affliction Manasseh sought the Lord. Upon without his sinking too. His safety proved the same principle, thousands have had reason their security. Therefore he saith unto them, to say, “It is good for me that I have been " Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith ?" afflicted."-We may also observe, that as And hereby he shows us that our alarms trials are useful to begin, so they are employ- originate in the want of faith—that faith may ed to assist a life of prayer. For Christians indeed be real where it is little—but that béo themselves sometimes grow too careless and ing little, it renders us liable to apprehensions insensible. God hears from them less fre- and dismay-and that if a small degree of quently, less fervently than before. Other faith will be sufficient for fine weather sailing, things amuse thein and engage them. But a greater is nécessary in a storm-a faith ashow differently do they feel in the hour of sured of our union with him; clear in its views mortification and disappointment! "Where of his power and love; and firm in its dependis God my Maker, that giveth songs in the ence upon his promise. night? Therefore will I look unto the Lord, But oh! in what manner did our Lord utter I will wait for the God of my salvation, my this reproof? It is impossible to do justice to God will hear me."
those lips into which grace was poured, and “Now I forbid my carnal hope,
which spake as never man spake. But had My fond desires recall;
we heard him, I am persuaded his tone of I give my mortal interesi up,
voice would have been more expressive of Aud make my God my all."
kindness than severity. It would have been By this you may judge whether your storms the address of one who pitied while he blamed; are blessings or curses. Do they make you who was touched with the feeling of their inpassionate or prayerful? Are you quarreling firmities; who knew their frame, and rememwith the winds and waves, or spreading the bered they were but dust; who knew the case before the Lord? Are you looking to influence outward things have upon the body, creatures, or to him who has them all under and the influence the body has upon the mind. his command, and in all our affliction is He would not therefore keep them in sus. afflicted?” “I would seek unto God, and
but unto God would I commit my cause: which Fifthly: it is said, “ THEN—HE AROSE AND doeth great things and unsearchable; marvel- REBUKED THE WINDS AND THE SEA, AND lous things without number.”
THERE WAS A GREAT CALM.'
What a scene Fourthly. Our LORD REPROVES HIS DISCI- was here! I see him opening his eyes—but PLES. But observe, I beseech you, for what not with surprise. Nothing astonished him it is that he censures them. It is not for through life. I see him going upon deckbreaking in upon his repose. Some of you not in haste. Haste is the effect of confusion 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 vail on one of the enemy's soldiers to go and sea now immediately subsided from its raging, implore relief of the Suba or Chief. But he and spread into a smooth surface. For his soon returned, saying that the Suba was work is perfect. He doth all things well. asleep, and that it was upon pain of death any | And the execution honours him as much as one dared to awake him before the time—and the design. 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 perfecgroans of a broken heart are as delightful to tion, “they marvelled, saying, What manthee as the songs of angels. No: he does Iner 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 Look to him in all your trials. Surely, in our admiration. In other cases, ignorance is a storm, there ought to be a difference bethe cause of wonder: but here it is know-tween you and others. They have made no ledge; for the character is perfect, and the provision for the evil day: but you have a object infinite. The more we know of the friend, a kind friend, an almighty friend with Saviour's attributes and works and ways, the you. You have tried him. You know whom more we shall admire and adore. And we you have believed ;" and he knoweth them are told that when he has ended all our that trust in him, and will “never leave storms, and made all things to work together them nor forsake them.” for our good—then“ he shall come to be glo- Have you evils in prospect? Does a disrified in his saints, and to be admired in all pensation of Heaven approach you, that, inthem that believe.” We admire him indeed stead of opening like a fine morning in May,
He has already fixed and filled our seems setting in like a winter's night, minds. We already see in him such various with “dark waters and thick clouds of the and numberless excellences, that the world sky ?" has faded into nothing by the comparison. “ Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; We see in him every thing to feed our
The clouds yeso much dread contemplation, every thing to encourage our
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head. hope, every thing to excite imitation, every
"Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, thing to command attachment and praise.
But trust him for his grace; But how small a portion is known of him!
Behind a frowning Providence
He hides a smiling face.” " --Nor earth, nor seas, nor sun, nor stars,
Nor heaven his full resemblance bears :
FAMINE. and the sea, has often addressed you. He has addressed you by sickness, by affliction, by Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God,
th delivering mercy, by conscience, by friends,
I will send a famine in the land.by ministers, by his law and by his gospel, by
Amos viii. 11. threatenings and by promises. But more in- Sin is said to be “an evil and a bitter sensible, more rebellious than the wind or thing.” It is evil in its nature, and bitter in the sea, you have not heard or obeyed him. its consequences. It is evil with regard to And yet you pretend to possess reason! But God, and bitter with regard to us. It “ brought wherein do you show it? “ A prudent man death into the world, and all our wo.” Numforeseeth the evil and hideth himself, but the berless are the miseries to which it has resimple pass on and are punished.” And this duced individuals, families, nations, and the will be your case. You are not only his crea- whole human race. tures, but his subjects; he has not only given Among these, one of the most dreadful is you privileges, but rendered you accounta- Famine. It would not be easy even for the ble for them, and he is coming to try you imagination to do justice to a calamity so treby them. And can you be ignorant of the mendous. What must it be to view " the result? “ As for these mine enemies that heavens over us as brass, and the earth bewould not that I should reign over them, neath us as iron!" What must it be, from bring thein forth and slay them before me."" the appearances of nature, to exclaim, “ Is
Secondly. Let me call upon those of you not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, jog 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 he ners 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 griet, and ease my burdened mind. beasts groan! the herds of cattle are pero You may do so now ; for though he is no plexed because they have no pasture ; ; 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 11 the raging of the scă can also calm the tu- unto them. They that did feed delicately mults of the people.
are desolate in the streets: they that were Look to him, to pacify a troubled con- brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills science. In the midst of the most painful They that be slain with the sword are
than they that be slain with hunger, for these We divide our reflections into three parts: pine away, stricken through for want of the the First of which regards THE NATURE OF fruits of the field.”—“Can a woman forget THIS JUDGMENT. The Second, ITS DREADher sucking child, that she should not have FULNESS. And the Third, ITS INFLICTION. compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, To-day if ye
will hear his voice, harden not she may forget.” Yes! even mothers have your hearts. dressed and devoured their own offspring. I. Let us consider the NATURE OF THIS The horrible fact is mentioned three times in
It takes in the loss of the Gospel, the history of a people once peculiarly dear as a judgment administered by preaching. It to God. In the siege of Jerusalem by Titus, is a famine, not of reading, but “of hearing Josephus tells us that the daughter of Elea- the words of the Lord.” zer 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, Thère 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 We
consider this famine as spiritual. these scenes of horror, and falling upon our | And thus it refers to the state of the mind; knees, pray, “O Lord, correct us, but with and takes place when souls are reduced to judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring such indifference and insensibility as to be us to nothing."
morally or judicially incapable of improveAnd yet there is a famine infinitely more ment by the institutions of religion, even dreadful than all this: and to keep you no should they be continued among them. When longer from our subject, it is the very judg- a man can no longer use food, or turn it into ment here denounced: “ Behold, the days nourishment, it is the same with regard to come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a himself as if all provision was denied himfamine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor death must be the consequence. The case a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of many who have long been favoured with of the Lord. And they shall wander from the Gospel, is, according to this view of the sea to sea, and from the north even to the subject, alarming: Much has been said, very east; they shall run to and fro to seek the incautiously, of the termination of a day of word of the Lord, and shall not find it.”—We grace. In a sense every day is a day of need not inquire to what periods the prophecy grace; and “God is longsuffering to us-ward, 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."
therefore there is life, there is hope. But