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northwards, about a league or two from the desart mountain, on which the miraculous dinner was given. They rowed therefore against the wind, to keep as near their course as possible. But they were so tossed with the wind and the sea, that they made no way. For in the beginning of the night they were so near the shore, that notwithstanding the day-light was quite gone, which is what John means by its being dark, Jesus saw them from the mountain toiling and rowing. Mark vi. 47. And when even was come, (John, And it was now dark) the ship was in the midst of the sea, i. e. according to the Hebrew idiom, in the sea. See on Matt. xii. 40. § 48. and he alone on the land. 48. And he saw them toiling in rowing, (for the wind was contrary.) Nay, they made so little way, that in the fourth watch of the night, i. e. after three o'clock in the morning, they had gotten only about one league from the shore. But though Jesus beheld the distress of his disciples, and was about to appear for their relief, they did not see him, neither were they expecting deliverance from him. Thus when the stormy billows of affliction beat upon, and are ready to overwhelm God's people, they are apt to think he hath forgotten them, though he is looking at them all the while, takes particular notice of every thing that befals them, and is about to work their deliverance in a manner altogether unexpected. In such cases, he oft-times of a sudden calms the storm, makes every thing serene around them, and happily brings them into safe port. So Jesus, who had left his disciples alone in the present danger, that he might teach them to rely in the greatest extremities on the providence of God, went to save them, walking upon the sea. Mark vi. 48. And about the fourth watch in the night, he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea. John vi. 19. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship. Mark vi. 48. And would have passed by them. This latter circumstance made them all suppose, that what they saw was a spectre or evil spirit, (Partaoke) they therefore shrieked for fear. 49. But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out. 50. For they all saw him, and were troubled. Wherefore, to make them easy, he quickly drew near, and discovered himself to them. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid: re-animating them by his presence and voice, which they were all perfectly acquainted with. The apostle Peter, a man of a warm and forward temper, looking at Jesus walking upon the sea, was exceedingly
struck struck with it, and conceived a mighty desire of being enabled to do the like. Wherefore, without weighing the matter, he im. mediately begged that Jesus would bid him come to him on the water. Matt. xiv. 28. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. He did not doubt but his Master would gratify him, as he thought he paid him a compliment; his request insinuating, that he would uuder, take any thing, however difficult, at Christ's command. *There was so height of obedience to which Peter would not soar, though in the issue it appeared, that the pinions of his faith had not strength to bear him up. Accordingly our Lord, to shew him the weakness of his faith, and bear down that high opinion he seems to have entertained of himself, as well as to demonstrate the greatness of his own power, granted Peter his request. For in supporting him on the water along with himself, he appeared greater than if he had walked thereon singly. Besides, it might be designed to obviate the conceit of the Marcionites, Manicheans, and other ancient heretics, who from this passage of the history pretended to prove, that our Lord did not assume a real human body, but only the appearance of one. 29. And he said unto him, Come. And when Peter was come down ont of the ship, he wales ed on the water to go to Jesus. Peter being thus permitted to walk upon the sea, it Aattered his vanity not a little when descending from the vessel he found the water firm under his feet. Hence, at the first he walked towards his Master with abundant confidence; but the wind becoming more boisterous than before, made a dreadful noise, and the sea raging at the same time, shook him in such a manner, that he was on the point of being over. turned. His courage staggered. In the hurry of his thoughts, he forgot that Jesus was at hand, and fell into a panic. And now the secret power of God, which, while Peter entertained no doubt, had made the sea firm under him, began to withdraw itself. In proportion as his faith decreased, the water yielded, and he sank. In this extremity he looked round for Christ, and on the very brink of being swallowed up, cried to Jesus for help. Matt. xiv. 30. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried, Lord, save mt. Jesus dealt very mercifully with his apostle, in not suffering him
had intended for Capernaum, the wind being somewhat contrary. And because in the issue they actually landed there, John represents them as sailing thither at the first. Mark, however, relating this matter more particularly, tells us, that they set out with a design to go to Bethsaida.
* There was no height of obedience to which Peter would not soar.1 That this was the true language of his action, may be gathered from the following circumstance. It would have been perfectly ridiculous in the apostle, to have asked such a proof of the person's being Jesus who spake to him, as, had it failed, would have become fatal to himself. · No man in his senses can be supposed to have desired a proof of that kind. Peter's request therefore should have been translaied, Matt. xiv, 28. Secing it is thou, command me to come into thee on the water. The particle s being here put for 1778, according to the Hebrew form of using the particles promiscuously. See Acts iv. 9, 11, 17. in the Greck.
to drop to the bottom at once. 31. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt ? Peter did not doubt that it was Jesus who walked upon the water. He must have been convinced of that before he left the vessel; nay, must have been convinced of it while he was sinking, else he would not have called to him for assistance. But he was afraid that Jesus could not, or would not support him against the wind, which blew inore fiercely than before; a doubt most unreasonable and culpable, since it was as easy to support him against the storm, as to keep him up on the water, which Jesus had virtually promised to do in his permission, and which he had actually performed when Peter first left the vessel. The people of God, warned by this example, should beware of presumption and self-sufficiency, and in all their actions should take care not to be precipitate. Wherever God calls them, they are boldly to go, not terrified at the danger or difficulty of the duty; his providence being always able to support and protect them.' But he who goes without a call, or proceeds farther than he is called, who rushes into difficulties and temptations without any reason, may by the unhappy issue of his conduct, be made to feel how dangerous a thing it is for one to go out of his sphere. John vi. 21. Then they willingly received him into the ship. Being convinced by the miracle of making Peter walk upon the sea, that it was no spectre, but their Master, they received him into the ship with joy, in expectation perhaps that he would make the wind and the sea calm. Nor were their hopes frustrated. For as soon as he came into the boat, the storm ceased so suddenly, that they were all sensible it was the effect of his power and will; an opinion which they would be confirmed in, if, as on other occasions, he now rebuked the wind and the sea. Mark vi. 51. And he went up unto them into the ship, and the wind ceased. On this occasion Jesus seems to have wrought another miracle also; for no sooner had he hushed the storm, than, driven by his power, they found themselves with their boat, in an instant safe at land. John 21. Then they willingly, received him into the ship, * and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went. John tells us, ver. 17. that " they went over the sea fowards Capernaum.” The country of Gennezareth therefore, where they landed, as Matthew and Mark tell us afterwards, was not far from Capernaum. According to Josephus, Bell. iii. 18. the land of Genne zareth ran thirty fur
Ver. 21. And immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.7 That there was a miracle here is probable; for when Jesus came to the disciples walking upon the sea, they had rowed only twenty-five or thirty furlongs from the desert mountain, John vi. 19. that is, but half the distance between the mountain and the town of Capernaum, nigh to which they landed, the breadth of the lake, which lay between the two places, John vi. 17. being forty-eighi furlongs, 25.
longs along the shore of the lake, and was in breadth twenty. When Jesus came to the disciples, they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs; wherefore, as the lake was forty furlongs broad, the boat was miraculously driven in an instant, at least ten furlongs. The hushing of the storm, and their instantaneous arrival at the land, astonished the disciples exceedingly, and made them wonder at the greatness of their Master's power. For though he had so lately performed the miracle of the loaves; nay, though they had the sensible proof thereof before their eyes, in the baskets of fragments which they had taken with them into the ship, and perhaps had been talking of it before the storm came on, they were so stupified with their fear, that they did not reflect on that miracle. Mark vi. And they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. 52. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves; for their heart was hardened, We need not therefore be surprized, that they did not call to mind a similar exertion of his power, which they had beheld while they sailed to the country of the Gadarenes. Matth, xiv. 33. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth, thou art the Son of God, i. e. the Messiah. See ğ 15. Though on many occasions formerly, Jesus had given equal if not greater evidences of his power, the disciples did not till now make open confession of his dignity. It seems, when his miracles came thus to be multiplied, but especially when they followed upon one another so close, the apostles were more deeply affected with them, than by seeing him perform a single miracle only. No wonder, therefore, that they were now perfectly confirmed in the opinion which they had so justly conceived of him.--Mark vi. 53. And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennezareth, and drew to shore, kat dianipar RITES 27.10y 870, Thu ynu remoægst, and having passed over, they arrived at the land of Gennezareth. See on John, ver. 16. nuo sporuguest nocy, and they came to anchor; they fixed the ship in her station, a little while after she came to the land whither they went (John, ver. 21.) for between her arrival at land, and her being fixed in her station by casting anchor, the particulars happened which are told by Mark, ver. 52. and Mathew, ver. 33. LXII. Jesus arrives at Capernauin. The sermon and conversation in the synagogue there, occasioned by the miracle of the loaves, During our Lord's stay in Capernauin, many miraculous cures are received by touching his clothes. Mat. xiv. 35, 36. Mark vi. 54, 55. John vi. 22,-71.
The evangelists Matthew and Mark, omitting the conversation in the synagogue of Capernaum, which happened the day after the miracle of the loaves, and consequently on the very day that Jesus arrived at Capernaum, give us, in a few words, the transac
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tions of several days, perhaps weeks, that is to say, the transactions of the whole space which passed between our Lord's arrival in Capernaum after the miracle of the loaves, and his departure to the passover, which John tells us was then at hand. These passages therefore naturally come in after the 6th chapter of John, because the miracles described in them were performed some days after the conversation in the synagogue, recorded in that chapter. Nevertheless, as the two evangelists have narrated these miracles in connection with our Lord's arrival at Capernaum, it will not be improper to speak 'of them here. Mark vi. 54. And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they (Matt. the men of that place) knew him. 55. And ran (Matt. They sent out) through that whole region round about. And began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. Jesus ordinarily resided in this neighbourhood; but he had bren absent for some time. Wherefore, the inhabitants being well acquainted with him, knew him immediately on his landing to be that great prophet who commonly resided in the neighbouring town of Capernaum, and who had done numberless miracles among them. Being therefore glad that he was returned, they sent messengers to all their friends and acquainfance in the country round about who were sick, desiring them to come and be cured. This happened immediately on his landing, and before he entered Capernaum. The people rejoicing at the opportunity, came after a few days in great crowds, carrying their sick in beds, and bringing them to Jesus, whether he was in Caa pernaum or in the neighbouring country. For he tárried here till he took his journey to the passover. The number of the sick brought to him to be cured was so great, that he could not bestow particular attention upon each of them. They and their friends, therefore, besought him to grant them the favour of touching, if it were but the extremity of his clothes, being cer. tain of obtaining thereby a complete cure. Nor were their ex. pectations disappointed, for as many as touched him were made perfectly whole, whatever the distemper was which they laboured under. Mart. xiv. 35. And brought unto him all that were diseased. 36. And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment; and as many as touched were made perfectby whole, and that vi hether they were good or bad people ; not because there was any virtue in his garments, otherwise the sola diers who gat them at his crucifixion might have wrought miracles, but because Jesus willed it to be so. For it was now the acceptable time, the day of salvation foretold by Isaiah, (chap. xliv. 8.) and Christ's volition was sufficient to remove any distemper whatsoever. This pitch of faith scems to have been wrought in the sick multitude, by the instance of her who had lately been cured of a flux of blood at Capernaum, upon touching the hem of