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Instantly the boisterous winds were hushed, and the roaring billows silenced
Though at other times the waters after a storm remained in a perturbed state, at his command they subsided to a perfect calm
Such is the effect his word produces on "the tempest-tossed soul"
Terrors that appalled the conscience, are dissipated as a cloud_
Temptations, that agitated the frame, are disarmed of their powerf
And afflictions, that overwhelmed the soul, are made to yield "the peaceable fruits of righteousness"
Well might they marvel on an occasion like thisNothing seems so much beyond the control of man as the winds and waves
But even these heard the voice and obeyed the will of the Lord Jesus
Well therefore might the disciples exclaim, "What manner of man is this!"—]
So stupendous a miracle should lead us to consider II. What views of Christ will naturally arise from this display of his power
The disciples, through their ignorance and perplexity, scarcely knew what to think
But to us his conduct naturally suggests the following truths
e Acts xvi. 29-34.
8 Prov. xxx. 4. Ps. lxv. 7. VOL. III.
1. Christ is the true and living God
[His sleeping, through fatigue, shewed him to be a man like ourselves
But his exercise of such power proved him to be God alsoMoses had opened the sea by his wonder-working rodAnd Elijah had made a path through Jordan by his mantleBut both confessedly wrought their miracles in dependence on God
Jesus, on the contrary, performed this miracle by his own power
And who, but God, is sufficient for such things?
It is spoken of as the peculiar prerogative of God to rule the seag
Let us then bear this in mind in all our addresses unto Jesus
Let us indeed make this the ground of our application to him-]
f 2 Cor. xii. 9.
Isai. xlv. 22.
2. He is never unmindful of his people's troubles however he may appear to be so
[The apostles rather reflected on him as though he "cared not" for them
But his providential care was not the less exerted because he was asleep
We also are ready on some occasions to think him unmindful of us
We too often adopt the impatient language of the church of oldi
But the answer he gave to them, is equally applicable to
We never need to be afraid if we be embarked with himHis ark may be tossed about and driven by tempestuous winds-
But though every thing else should perish, that will outridė the storm-]
3. He will not withhold his aid on account of the weakness of our faith
[The excessive fears of his disciples shewed their want of
He therefore reproved them for having so little confidence in him
But he would not on that account refuse their request
In us also he too often sees the workings of unbeliefBut he will "not be extreme to mark what is done amiss"He frequently when on earth relieved those who doubted his power or his willingness to help them1
And it is well for us that he still exercises the same pity and forbearance
Doubtless, however, the stronger our faith, the more speedy and effectual, for the most part, will our deliverances be]
4. He is as able to save us out of the greatest difficulties as from the least
[We are ever prone to limit him in the exercise of his goodness
Nor are even the most signal manifestations of his power sufficient to correct this propensity
But he who created and upholds all things can overrule them as he pleases
And his promises to his people are fully commensurate with their wants
Let us then go to him under our most pressing difficulties
i Isai. xlix. 14.
1 Matt. viii. 2. Mark ix. 22.
k Ib. ver. 15, 16.
m Ps. lxxviii. 19, 20.
And rest assured, that he is both able and willing to save us to the uttermost"-]
1. To the disobedient
[God has been pleased to bestow on man the gift of
And to leave him a free agent in all which he does
Alas! how vilely do the generality abuse this transcendent mercy!
They are more regardless of the divine command than even winds and waves—
And is this the end for which God has so distinguished us?Is the privilege of volition granted us to encourage our revolt?
Is it not rather, that our obedience to God may be a rational service?
Let the disobedient stand amazed at their impiety—
Let them wonder that the divine forbearance is so long exercised towards them
Surely they have abundant need to offer that petitionO that they may be more impressed with their danger than ever the disciples were!-]
2. To those who truly endeavour to serve the Lord Christ
[All seasons are not alike in the spiritual, any more than in the natural world
The greatest difficulties may encompass you, when you have the clearest evidence that you are in the way of duty
But know that your Lord is an all-sufficient, ever-present help
Do not then shun the path of duty because of any trial that may beset you
In the midst of all, possess your souls in faith and patienceAnd let the triumphant words of former saints be your songP
Thus shall you have richer discoveries of your Saviour's care and love
And from personal experience attest the truth of that poetical description]
Heb. vii. 25.
P Ps. xlvi, 1, 2, 3, 5.
• Ver. 25.
a Ps. cvii. 23-30.
Mark v. 16-18. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil, prayed him that he might be with him.
THE GADARENE DÆMONIAC.
MANY of our Lord's miracles have been cavilled at by infidels:
This has afforded much scope for their profane objections
Our modern Sadducees supposed the man to have been only cured of an epilepsy
But their is abundant proof in the parable that he was really possessed
And that the swine were driven into the sea, not by two diseased men, but by the devils themselves
The healing of the dæmoniac, the destruction of the swine, and the different conduct of the dæmoniac and Gadarenes on that occasion, are all adverted to in the
They may be illustrated by, and will reflect light upon, the following observations
I. Satan is a malicious and powerful enemy to man
Satan had formerly more power than now over the bodies of men
And dreadful was the tyranny he exercised over this poor Gadarene—
[There were two dæmoniacs; but one is noticed as the more remarkableb.
Satan drove him from the converse and society of menSatan enabled him to break the chains and fetters with which he was bound
Satan made him a source of terror to others, and of misery to himself-]
His power over the souls of men is still exerted as much as ever
[His agency is not the less real because it is invisible
a No two men could drive twenty, much less two thousand, swine into the sea. b Matt. viii. 28.
We may discern it, as we do the wind, by its outward effects
The scripture represents him as leading men captive at his willc
He keeps them from all converse with God and his peopleHe causes them to break through all the restraints of reason and conscience
He stimulates them to a conduct injurious to themselves and others
He is the god of this world, and the promoter of all iniquityd-]
But, however powerful he is, there is One superior to him
II. Jesus is ever able and ready to control him
The man, who had fiercely assaulted others, approached Jesus with reverence—
And Jesus immediately displayed his power over the unclean spirit
[There were many evil spirits in this unhappy manBut as they acted under one leader, they are spoken of as
The spirit was constrained to acknowledge the august cha racter of Jesus
And to deprecate the wrath he had so much reason to expect
Nor could he retain possession of his vassal any longerHe could not even enter into the swine without our Lord's permission
Satan asked permission, in order that he might destroy the swine, and thus incense the Gadarenes against our Lord
Jesus suffered him to do it, in order that the Gadarenes might see how great a deliverance had been wrought for the poor dæmoniac
Instantly the swine, possessed by the devils, rushed into the sea and perishedh
But the man delivered from them was restored to his right mindi
Thus was the divine authority of Jesus undeniably manifest to all-]
d 2 Cor. iv. 4. Eph. ii. 2. f Ver. 7.
c 2 Tim ii. 26. e Ver. 9.
Ver. 7. He was afraid lest Jesus should command him to go into the deep, that is, the abyss of hell, where his punishment will at the last day be greatly increased. Compare Luke viii. 31. and Matt. viii. 29. b Ver. 13. ¡ Ver. 15.