« 이전계속 »
in all times of grief, than pray to him who slept from very weariness during the raging of a violent storm. He will surely feel for us.
Awakened by the cries of his disciples, Jesus "arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still; and the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
The scene is marvellous to the extreme. A small ship is caught in a fearful storm. As though their Lord were asleep, the winds rage and roar, and the waves cover and fill the vessel. The seamen, accustomed to this same sea, in intense alarm and agitation, declare that they must perish. Notwithstanding the uproar and confusion, there is one in that ship who is so completely exhausted as to be fast asleep in the hinder part of the vessel. It was no common weariness which kept a man soundly asleep amid the tumult of raging winds, and the noises and confusion made by sailors who are fearing a speedy wreck and destruction. Not until the men went to Jesus and employed means for the sole purpose of waking him, did he arise. Having arisen from the couch and “pillow,” he “rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still; and there was a great calm.” That Sleeper has compelled the winds to cease their tumult, and the waves to be so calm that there is not even a swell after the storm. Now there is nothing so human as sleep. Hunger is not so declarative of the real nature, the feebleness and frailty of our mortal life, as sleep. Even weeping is more dignified than sleeping. Slumbering is the last weakness of a weak being. In hunger certain powers—as appetite—are excited and active; in shedding tears there is exertion. Sleeping is the only state in which there is no conscious putting forth of our energies. It is their lull. Rest indeed, but the rest of perfect inactivity and unconsciousness; the state of doing-nothingness; a temporary but constantly returning death. Sleep forbids any effort of will—at least, in most cases ; if a man attempts to sleep, the very attempt prevents sleeping. It must come to us; we are absolutely passive; we simply do not resist it. Sleep, again, is necessary, because our powers of endurance are soon exhausted. Weariness, which implies feebleness of nature, demands sleep. And we presume that when our being is perfected in heaven, like the angels, we shall serve ever, and cease working never. Sleep is the final result of a mortal life spent in the shades and scenes of a perishing world. If there be nothing more human than sleeping, there is nothing more Divine than stilling tempests. It is the work of God to hush roaring winds and calm swelling seas. There are few, if any, events in the life of Jesus in which the God shines more clearly through the man. The scene at the raising of Lazarus possibly surpasses this in the Divine power revealed, but this exceeds that in the human weakness displayed. Blessed Jesus, we thank thee
that thou canst sleep thus soundly, and thus sublimely put forth all power.
Christ “rebuked the wind, and the raging of the water.” If there be any meaning in the word “rebuked,” used by all the three evangelists, and in the address, “ Peace, be still,” “there is here a distinct recognition of Satan and the powers of evil as the authors of the disharmony in the outward world; a tracing of all these disorders up to their source in a person, a tracing of them back to him as to their ultimate ground.” And in the instantaneous and perfect obedience of the elements to the word of Jesus, we have taught the complete subjection of all the forces of Nature to Him who has come to “reassert man's dominion over all the powers of evil which hold Nature in thrall.” Nor is there any thought more consoling, amid the sorrows of life, than this, that our “elder Brother," "our great Brother," is the supreme Disposer of all things. The Sleeper is the Stiller of all tempests. Our Brother is our God. Thou storm-tossed mariner, remember thy Saviour can be sorely wearied; therefore he feels for thee : remember he is Almighty, therefore will deliver thee. Let who will hold, or try to hold, that there is no personal God interposing in the individual concerns of men, thou art rejoiced to know that he who was in all points as thyself is the Lord of heaven and earth, and so fully does he take charge of all things pertaining to thee that he numbers the “hairs of thy head.”
Having stilled the tempest, Jesus said to the disciples, “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith ?" According to Matthew, before he calmed the raging forces of Nature he spake to the disciples, calming the storm of fear in their minds; but according to Mark and Luke, he reproved them after the miracle had been performed. Probably he did both. “He spoke first to them, quieting with a word the tempests in their bosoms; and then having allayed the tumults of the outward elements, he again turned to them, and more deliberately blamed their lack of faith in him.” We remark, further, that our Lord, in Matthew, chides the disciples for "little faith ;” in Mark, for “no faith ;' and in Luke, asks, “Where is thy faith ?” Some faith they had, or they could not have prayed to Christ; but it was so feeble as to be overcome by fear; it was not equal to the present emergency. The shield was not available for present use. They had a weak faith and strong fear ; not a mighty assurance of deliverance, though clearly apprehensive of their danger.
The feebleness of the faith of the disciples did not cause the storm on the sea; but many of our tempests are the result of want of faith. In this is found the reason of no inconsiderable number of our sorrows and shortcomings, and even sins. At the same time it must be said, that there are difficulties which arise from causes we cannot control. The confidence which completely enthrones Christ in the heart will not exempt from spiritual warfare. The last achievement of faith is to blend the joys of heaven with the sufferings of earth. Whatever the power of his trust, so long as the Christian remains in a land of painful sickness, distressing disappointment, crushing grief, dark death, its greatest result will be to preserve the mind calm and composed in the storm. Faith delivers from all fear, save that which is necessary to prevent the “supine security of the flesh creeping over us." Faith mitigates pain; repels the sword of sorrow; preserves the mind ever peaceful ; saves always and everywhere. The darling of the family dies—faith assures that a loving Father has taken it to his home; grim poverty stalks through the land-faith declares that bread shall be given, and water be sure; mighty evils assail—faith affirms that we are in the hands of the best of all friends. Faith in Jesus Christ is the antidote to the ills of earth.
The Lord rebuked the disciples not for fearing, but for the excess of their fear—“ being so fearful”—and the weakness of their faith. But surely, with people who are on a barque, caught in a terrible storm, filling with water, and in danger of going down at once, exciting fear is of all emotions the most reasonable ; yet the Saviour reproves his followers for their alarm. Now the only thing Christ reproves is sin; he has a limitless sympathy for whatever does not partake of the nature of sin. And verily it was sinful in those apostles to be so exceedingly alarmed by the tempest; for were they not doing what the Master had commanded ? and was not he with them? Nay, they declared that he too would perish: all on board be lost. Is it not a sin even to suppose that He who measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, can sink in them ? or that his people can sink while he is with them? The faith of many Christians of the present day is as blameworthy; they over anticipate some overpowering evil; they fear that some day they will fall by the hand of the enemy; their business will fail ; or their family be in want; or their comfort be destroyed. Such distrust must grieve the Divine Spirit, who has told us that the great God is a Father, a Providence, and a Saviour. Nothing in earth or hell can harm Christians; no power or person can truly hurt them. Hence the fear which is strong enough to agitate the heart, is a sinful distrust of the Almighty Father; it calls for the reproof of Jesus. “Because the waves rise, the ship may be tossed; but because Christ is in it, it cannot sink.” The Christian should know this, and “ fear not.”
The miracle was a perfect marvel to those who were in the storm. “And they, being afraid, wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this? for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.” The Evangelist Mark tells as that they
of man-are opges, transcend the that the elementshown his
feared exceedingly—“feared a great fear.” Matthew declares that they who so greatly marvelled were “the men :" that is, the people who were with the disciples. We cannot agree with Neander that the disciples had seen too many of our Lord's wonders, to ask such a question ; they were not so apt scholars; besides, they had never seen the like of this miracle. While it is not advisable to compare “the mighty works” with each other, yet it may confidently be said that none before performed appeared, to witnesses, to display so great power as this—of stilling a furious tempest. The wonder was that “even the waves and water obey him.” - This was, too, the first occasion when men exclaimed, “What manner of man is this?" So stupendous was the miracle that all then present—the apostles, the crew, and “the men” in the “other little ships"-were alike afraid. A cowardly fear of the storm gave place to a noble fear of a person ; timidity was dispelled by profound awe.
No ordinary admiration possessed the men. The design of the miracle was to reveal in the most impressive manner Christ's absolute authority over all the forces of Nature. Having already shown his power over all diseases, he now shows that the elements—which, more than all other forces, transcend the comprehension and defy the power of man-are wholly subject to him. This will he do in a manner which shall for ever establish the fact that all Nature, even the uncertain and apparently ungovernable winds and waves, he directs and governs. Hence the severity of the storm, the greatness of the danger, the excessive timidity of the disciples; hence, too, the sound sleep, the forcible awaking; hence, also, the suddenness and completeness of the miracle. Nothing could more clearly demonstrate that the man Christ Jesus is Lord of air, and earth, and sea, than for him to be suddenly disturbed in sleep, and as suddenly and perfectly calm a raging storm. No wonder the men wondered “what kind of a man " the Saviour was; the marvel had been, had they not marvelled.
It is most profitable to the spiritual life, at times to be so excited by some mighty work as to marvel ; it is a real misfortune never to be so deeply impressed by the grandeur of some act, as to be lost in wondering amazement. The awe of the disciples would quicken their insight into the greatness of the life of Jesus; henceforth they must regard the sleeping stiller of the storm with different eyes. Marvelling often prepares for keener study, and stronger faith.
It is an exceeding pity that, in our day, men wonder so feebly at the present works of Jesus. He is now doing grander things than his greatest while upon earth; for however mighty may be the power required to quell a storm at sea, a higher power is required to make the storm in a man's heart a calm. In the heaven of heavens there sitteth a Man who beareth the marks of a cruel and
deepenses all ban,” is exalbat One why this truth the earth? man is
bitter death. He speaketh, and the enormous sins of a lifetime are forgiven; he speaketh, and every troubled heart is comforted; he speaketh, and stills all our tempests. “What manner of man is this” who speaketh in the heaven, and saveth on the earth? Would to God that we were duly impressed by this truth! Did we ponder the greatness of the fact that One who ever delighted to call himself the “Son of Man,” is exalted to the throne of supreme power, and dispenses all blessings, temporal and spiritual, we should bow with deepest admiration at the footstool of Jesus : and this very awe would better qualify us for a fuller investigation of the grand life.
There is a special reason for heartiest thanksgiving that this miracle was performed. Nothing is more perplexing to the mind and heart than the operations of Providence, as these are connected with the powers of Nature. Do all things take place according to fixed rule? or does some personal being, a Father and Friend, direct and dispose all the events of life? These are the questions which at times distress the heart; the miracle has a direct bearing upon them. Nothing appears so uncertain as the wind and the waves; these rage and roar so long as Christ permits, then cease at the word; if so, then has he supreme power over all the issues of life. How we should bless God that One who can sleep as we sleep-not all men could have slept in the exceeding commotion—is the sole Sovereign of all things !
And so the lesson of the mighty work is trust—trust in that God-man who could sleep soundly, and still the storm.
December 31, 1870.
Joshua iii. 4. [This address comes late to hand, and is on that account rather out of date; but there are many good thoughts in it, and we therefore insert it.
The chapter before us introduces us to a very interesting scene in Israel's history—one well calculated to suggest a variety of reflections appropriate to the last hour of 1870. Israel was now placed in new circumstances of difficulty and danger. They had passed through many trials before, but not this way. They had journeyed long in the wilderness, and had seen mercy mingled with judgment. They had been refreshed with water from the rock, and sustained by manna from heaven; yet their present circumstances were new, entirely new. Before them was the river, and it must be crossed; but how, and where, no human eye could discover. And beyond