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and strangers to the covenants of promise. Let us with thankful admiration, remember when we first sought to see Jesus; and when his compassion and tenderness were first touched with our misery, and brought us salvation. Notwithstanding a thousand backslidings and provocations, and through a thou. sand difficulties and dangers, he has brought us bitherto;, and even in the presence of our enemies, has he spread his table before us. Must we not all say, We love him, because he first loved us? Should we ever have proposed, or thought of such a thing, if Jesus himself had not looked up to us, and kindly bidden us to make haste and come down. Ah! Lord, we can never be thankful or humble enough in thy presence. We joyfully receive thee into our destitute, unadorned souls; humbly hoping that thou wilt pity and relieve our wants and distresses. Let love, joy, peace, and the rest of that smiling train, take possession of our minds; and do thou abide in our houses, and in our hearts; not for this day only, but for ever and ever. Let no treachery in us, beget a strangeness in thee: but let the friendship which we now contract and confirm, be mutual and everlasting; and let the fellowship that we now have with the Father, and his Son Christ Jesus, be an emblem and earnest of the happiness of heaven.
Must we now, Christians, go away, and leave Jesus behind ? Must we part company so soon; and will salvation
to no house but this ? Forbid it, gracious God; and let the delightful hour that we have spent here, be again and again repeated after we depart. Let
house be a house for God; and every heart, a temple for the Spirit. Let every day be signalized by some fresh manifestations of the Dia vine Presence and favour; till old things be entirely passed away; and types, and veils, and shadows, be swallowed up in perfect vision, and eternal en joyment.
A MEDITATION ON
MARK vi. 50.
Be of good cheer: it is l; be not afraid.
BLESSED Jesus, if thou art with us, what shall we fear? All we dread is thy removal. Only assure us of thy presence, and let the rains descend, and the waves beat vehemently, none of these things shall move us.
There is something in the situation of the disciples, on that dismal night, so correspondent with the experience of most Christians; and there is something so interesting and engaging in their certain, though long-delayed, deliverance, that a few moments spent in particular consideration of them, may, I hope, be seasonable and useful.
The multitude were so astonished at the miracu. lous manner in which Christ had lately fed five thousand of them, with five barley loaves and two small fishes, that they wished to take him by force, and make him a King. But he, whose kingdom is not of this world, shunned the crown that was of fered him ; despising that worldly honour at which giddy mortals so much aspire.
“ And he straightway constrained bis disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side, unta Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.” We may easily imagine, how unwilling his disciples were to leave him, and might have expected to find them expressing their reluctance. But we hear no such language. Like the good centurion, he said to them, Go, and they went. He sent them from him; but it was only to make his presence more desirable and welcome. God's commands may sometimes seem grievous; and such a path may be marked out for us, as, in our apprehensions, threatens greatly to interrupt our communications with him. But if we have patience to wait, and see the design of his conduct, we shall find that, in reality, his commandments are - merciful and gracious; and that he has taken the best means for the accomplishment of our wishes, and the comfort and salvation of our souls.
And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
How strangely did the blessed Jesus condescend to human infirmities ! He hungered and thirsted; he wept, and he prayed. That we sinful and necessitous creatures, who abound with wants and miseries, and who must have daily pardon as well as daily bread, should retire to pray, is no wonder: yea, that we should pray without ceasing, is not more than is necessary. You find, Christians, that you cannot live without prayer; or enjoy yourselves in å crowd. You cannot go on, from day to day, in a constant hurry of business and pleasure, without retiring to recollect yourselves, and commune with your God! That helpless, dependant, sinful creatures, should need to pray often and long, is not at all strange! But what, blessed Jesus, should induce thee so often to attend to this duty ? Alas! in this, as well as in every other instance, we see that thy thoughts are not as ours. Intercession for others, which makes so small a part of our prayers, was the chief subject of thine. The weather-beaten disciples, we may be certain, were not forgotten. Oye afflicted, tossed with tempests, and not comforted, distant and unregarded as you may apprehend yourselves to be, he is nigh them who are of a broken heart. While you are struggling with troubles, the most formidable and threatening, and all his waves and his billows are passing over you, remember that Jesus is in the mountain, praying for you.
“And when the evening was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone upon the land ; and he seeth them toiling in rowing, for the wind was contrary.”
Every thing seemed to conspire to heighten their misery, and aggravate their distress. The night was dark; the winds were high, and contrary; the sea was boisterous; and, what was worst of all, their Master was absent. Had he been with them, however the elements had raged, they might have thought themselves safe. But the Providence of God many times calls his servants, his most beloved disciples, to walk in darkness, where they can see no light; and cuts them off from all prospect and possibility of comfort from any hand but his own, to teach them to wait upon him, and to convince them, that from him alone come their help and salvation. He could easily prevent 'our sufferings; but he wisely permits them, that he may glorify his mercy in our deliverance, and confirm our faith by the removal of our distress.