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“ Be thou my shield and hiding place!
That, shelter'd near thy side, I may my
fierce accuser face, And tell him, Thou hast died.
“ 0, wondrous love! to bleed and die,
To bear the cross and shame, That guilty sinners such as I,
May plead thy gracious name.
“ • Poor tempest-tossed soul, be still,
My promis'd grace receive;' 'Tis Jesus speaks—I must, I will,
I can, I do believe.”
CHRIST AND HIS DISCIPLES OVERTAKEN BY A
MATT. VIII. 23—27.
“And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed
him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves; but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us ; we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him ?”
This short narrative presents us with several lessons, all of which we shall do well to learn. May the Holy Spirit teach and apply them all to our understanding and our heart.
First, we may observe the state of the disciples' minds in the difficulties and dangers that now assailed them. They had embarked and put to sea, in compliance with their blessed Lord's commands; and hence they were in the path of duty; a consideration of no small comfort, when troubles overtake us.Whenever we
are out of the path of duty, we have every reason to expect trouble, and certainly, we are always running into danger when we are out of our path. But in the path of duty various and unexpected trials may come; nay, they frequently do thus come, for the profitable exercise of our faith and obedience; for the good and instruction of the soul. Our greatest enjoyments are often followed by trials, as here. The disciples had been enjoying much of their Lord's company throughout the day, and had witnessed many displays of his power and mercy in behalf of those who surrounded him; but now these pleasing scenes are to be exchanged for the storm and the tempest ; for difficulties and dangers. Scarcely had they got an offing from the land, ere “ there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves; but Jesus was asleep.” Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ was perfect man as well as perfect God; and the human nature of Christ was subject to weariness and fatigue, even as ours is. And when we read how he had been occupied all the day, we are not surprised that he should fall asleep so soon, as he was, in some measure, left in quiet, and free from the multitude. Oh, the condescension and humility of the Son of God thus to act, and thus to stoop, that we might be saved! But to return to the disciples; the storm continued to increase, and the sea to rise, and break into the vessel ; meanwhile the disciples do all they can to bale or pump out the water, as they ship sea after sea, until, at length, they are, to all human appearance, on the point of going down ; the sea flew over, and broke into them, so as to defy all their skill and labours. In this state of things, full of alarm and impatience, they came to their Lord, and said, “ Lord, save us, we perish!” Here, undoubtedly, was a mixture of faith and
fear; of belief and of unbelief; Christ Jesus, the Lord and Creator of heaven and earth, and of the wide sea also, was present with them in the vessel, and yet they feared: here was their want of faith. When, however, they despaired of all human aid, they fled to Christ as the only one they still believed could save them. Here was their faith, though it was not so strong and tranquillizing as it should have been. Oh, how much of this mixed state of mind is found in most of Christ's disciples at this present day! Alas, while, in the general, we believe that Jesus is with us, and while we feel sure that he is able to save us, yet how often, in the time of trial and danger, does our faith sadly droop. Yet it is well for us, under all our deficiencies, and laden with all our infirmities, to do
the disciples did, to go to Christ with their cry, Lord, save us, or we perish!
Secondly, let us notice how Christ immediately interfered for the diciples' deliverance.