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ND when be was entred into the Ship, 23. Jesus Mark iv.
( after ha- 35.
ving done the Miracles before related in Capernaum) was disposed, towards the Evening, to go into the Country, that lies on another part of the Lake of Genefareth : And, finding some Vessels lie ready for his purpose, He and his Disciples went on board one of them : the rest of the Ships Ver. 36. bearing him Company in the Voyage.
24. And bebold! there arose a great tempest in the 24. Pre- Mark iv. fea : insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves; fently
af- 57, 58. but be was asleep.
ter they Luke vii,
launched 23. out, (as he was a seep, upon a pillow, in the hinder part of the Ship) a Storm arose so violent, that the ship took in a great quantity of Water, and was like to be caft away.
25. And bis disciples came to him, and awoke bim, 25, 26. Hereupon his saying, Lord save us, we perish.
Disciples ran to him, 26. And be faith unto them, Wby are ye fearful, 9 ye and awoke him in terms of little fairb Tben be arose, and rebuked the wind and of the utmost consteribe sea, and ibere was a great calm.
nation, and distrust,
Which he reproved them for; and then said to the Wind and the Water, Peace, be still. This powerful Word was immediately obeyed : for the Wind ceased, and the Sea was smooth, as soon as he had spoken it.
27. But the men marvelled, saying, wbat manner of 27. Which sudden man is tbis, obat even the winds and i be seas obey him ? change, and the cause
of it, when they of his own and the other Ship's company understood, they were astonished at his Power, and concluded, thar he must needs be a very extraordinary Person, who by this Miracle plainly made it appear, that the Winds and the Seas were absolutely at his own disposal.
28. And when he was come unto the other fide into the 28. Upon Mark v. country of tbe Gergasenes, there met him two poplied with his landing Luke viii. Devils, exceeding fierce, so ihat no man might pass by in the Gero 26, 27.
Country, in Tómas, that part adjacent to Gadara, two Men poffeffed with Devils met him, (One of them having an unclean Spirit, and himself a Gadarene, so very fierce, that no Chains or Fetters could bind him, but he was night and day naked among the Tombs, crying and cutting himself with Stones) this
Man, or the Spirit in him, upon Jesus demanding his Name, said it was Legion, because many Devils had entred into him. Com.
29. And tbey cried out, saying, Wbat bave we to do Mark v. Men with tkee, Jesus, ibcu Son of the most bigb God; Art Luke viii. Jesus, and thou come bither to torment us before the time :
the Spirits (in that fierce one) desired him not to punish them before their time, (nor to send them out of that Country, or into the Deep.)
30, 31. But (fince 30. And there was a good way of from them an berd of they had been
many swine feeding manded to
31. Soibe devils besought him, saying, If thou caffus of the Man) to per- out, suffer us to go into the swine. mit them to enter into a herd of Swine, which (to the number of two thousand) were feeding at some distance (in the Mountains near the Sea.)
32. Jesus, having 32. And be said unto tbem, Go. And when tbey were Shewed his Mercy in a come out, they entered into the herd of swine; and bebold miraculous Restraint of tbe wbcle berd of swine ran violently down a fileep place intheir Power over Men, to the sea, and perished in the waters. suffered them to use it upon the Swine, ( by which the force, the possession, and the number of these Devils, and consequently his Power over them was rendered more unquestionable ; and the Owners of those Creatures punished, for the contempt of the Jewish Law) whereupon the whole herd streight ran down a Precipice, and were choak'd in the Water.
33. The Keepers here- 33. And they that kept them, fled, and went tbeir way upon made haite to give into the city, and told every thing, and wbat was befallen notice of this whole mat- to tbe poress'd of the Devils. ter, in all neighbouring Places. 34.
This News 34. And behold the wbole city came out to meet Jefus Wrought a vast Con- and when they saw him, they bejorugbe bim tbat be would courte of People toge- depart out of their coasts, ther, ( who found the date fierce poliess's Man, fitting clothed, and in his perfect Senses, at Jesus Feet, and were fully informed by those that had been Eye-witnesses of the
whole Transaction, how so fudden and wonderful a Change had Luke viii. been wrought) and (partly from a dread of his Power, 35, 36, 37. partly from Grief for the loss they had sustained by the
Swine) they entreated Jesus, not to make any longer Stay among them.
Mark iv. 35.
N treating of this Day's Gospel, I must again con
tent my felf, with speaking of the Former only, of Two Miracles, which it offers to our Consideration. In This our Blessed Lord allerted his Authority, not over the Minds of Men only, but over Subjects in appearance much less likely to be at its disposal; The Winds and the Seas. Of which we have here a very amazing and particular Account, from the 23d to the 27th Verse of the Chapter inclufively.
An Account, capable of very good Improvement, from these Three Things (if diligently observed) in it.
I. First, The Danger here described.
II. Secondly, The Behaviour of our Lord's Disciples under it: And,
III. Thirdly, The Deliverance from it.
1. First. In order to a juft Apprehension of the Danger, the following Circumstances should be attended to. That, presently upon their lanching forth, there arose a Tempest in the Sea, and this so furious, that the Ship was even covered with the Waves: That all this happened, notwithstanding Christ himself was present ; and that, as a farther Aggravation of their Terrorand Danger, he was asleep too, when it thus threatned their immediate Destruction.
Now, from these several Circumstances laid together, I have a fair occasion for making fome Reflections upon the Providence of Almighty God, with regard to the Difficulties and Afictions, in which Good Men in general so often find themselves involved. For those Disciples may be very reasonably look'd upon, as at that time the Church Representative, and the Hazard They were in, as a Figure of
those Extremities, to which any of Christ's faithful Followers shall, in any after Ages, be reduced. The Reasonableness whereof I must now consider, not in its utmost latitude, but so far only, as the case in hand suggests matter for it.
1. First then. I take it from hence to be very evident, that no Man, though never so holy, never so acceptable and dear to God, hath reason to promise himself uninterrupted Peace or Prosperity. Nay nor shall even those Actions of his Life, which best express a steady and zealous regard to his Duty, be always a Security from Trouble and Hazard. Could a dependence like This be justified in any Man, our Lord's constant Companions seem to have had the fairest Title to it. And yet, if from the several Relations of this Miracle, we may be allowed to form ConjeCtures ; though other Vessels were engaged in the fame Voyage, the Storm seems to have born more hard upon none, than that, in which a God incarnate, and his Disciples, were embarked. Thus his Divine Wisdom faw fit to permit it then, and thus he often does now. And, to take off all vain Imaginations, of Good Men being perfectly exempted from Dangers and Calamities, he did, in much Humility, condescend to be himself toft and driven about, by the Force and Fury of that Tempest. So justly may the Best of his Disciples, in all the stormy Cares, and raging Billows of a fickle and boisterous World, apply to their own Circumstances, the Warning elsewhere left to the first Planters of the Christian Faith :
The Servant is not greater than his Lord. John xv. 20. If they have persecuicd me, they will also
persecute you. Christ promises, 'tis true, to be with his Church
always, oven to the end of the world. And
he is actually and properly present, with every faithful Christian, in every innocent and vir
Mat. xxviii. 20.
tuous Action. He is yet in a more peculiar manner so, in the discharge of those Duties, which have a more eminent and inmediate tendency, to the Advancement of Religion and his own Glory. Not present now indeed, as when conversing in the days of his Flesh upon Earth ; yet so, as ministers an equal assurance of his Readiness and Power, to help and to protect us. But still Experience proves, that both the Church in general, and good People in particular, have laboured under fore Tryals, and suffered many hard things. Nor were such Hardships only on the account of private Faults or Failings, where some Offence might be given ; Nor merely in matters of indifferent temper, where perverse Minds are apt to take Offence, even when none was given ; But in their best and most praiseworthy Actions ; nay, not only in them, but for them too. Their very Virtues have sometimes been so far from a Defence, as to expose and render them a Prey. And Matters have come to such extremity, that in the noise of the Waves, and the overflowing of Ungodliness, Mens Persons and their Fortunes have been swallowed up in a Storm, for no other reason, but their constant refusal to make Sbitwrack of Faith and of a good Conscience.
For all this we can easily account; so far as the Malice of the Devil, and the Instruments of it, wicked Men, are concerned. It is but natural to suppose, that these should unite, and bend their utmost Endeavours, against Persons of Integrity and Piety. But, in regard there is a God, who sees and over-rules all things ; a God, who hath declared himself and his Honour interessed in the Cause of righteous and excellent Men ; How comes it to pass, that He does not espouse such more visibly, and interpose more powerfully; that He does not controul and defeat their Enemies, and make them know, to their Cost, that all their Spight is impotent, and their Devices vain?