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WALK THE THIRTEENTH.-Luke viii. 22; Mark iv, 36.
A BARK is launched for the Lord Jesus upon the sea of Galilee-and we are following in one of “the other little ships ” belonging to the fishermen. We sail in comfort and enjoyment. The loveliness of the scenery around, mountains with their bold projecting masses of rock, and their deep shadows reflected in the waters—the glistening of the sunlight upon the sharp edges of the rippling waves ; and above all, the consciousness that we are following the Lord and Giver of Life, pervades' the whole soul with delight and peace—that delight and peace which the works of creation are calculated to inspire. But even the fairest of these works, the loveliest remains of Eden, share in the defacement which sin has brought upon this debased world.
But we must learn not to rest upon created delights of any sort: we may, as at this moment, in quietness possess them, but we may not fondly imagine that they will be for ever ours. Even now, in a frail boat, exposed to the mercy of the first gale which may spring up, or the first rapid which we may approach, we seem upon the point of forgetting that we are strangers and voyagers, seeking another and a better shore. We glide smoothly over the placid. waters, and say in spirit, if not in words, “I have found a rest.” But alas! great may be our mistake, there is no rest here—it is far away, and so distant does it sometimes seem, so dreary does unbelief make the way appear, that the heart sickens, and the weary soul is ready to fear, that the appointed rest may never be attained.
Absorbed in the contemplation of the surrounding objects,-given up to this enjoyment, and, perhaps, pot sufficiently mindful of Him whom we follow, we are on a sudden roused by an unusual stir among the boatmen, and observe that the light blue of the sea assumes a darker bue- tbe waves swell, and gradually lose their sharp bright edges. the shade of the hills is lost in the over-spreading gloom, and “a storm of wind comes down upon the lake," the heaving vessel fills with water, “and the ship is covered with the waves,”- the hardy mariners are trembling and in jeopardy.
“ The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm.”—“ Darkness was under his feet: the Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice. His pavilion round about him were dark waters: thick clouds of the sky” intercept from distinct view the ship which contains the sacred person of Jesus. We have taken Him for our portion, our hope, our salvation ; and helpless indeed would be our state, were he not nigh in this our hour of need. We felt at ease while all was bright around us. And is he less our safety, our shield, and our defence in this hour of darkness and dismay? O Lord, “thou who rebuketh the sea and maketh it dry," where art thou ?
But whence this marvellous change! In that part
of the sea where the ship, which contained our Lord, was struggling with the storm, the waves at once were calmed, and the wind ceased to blow, and perfect stillness now pervades the whole expanse of waters, which again is smooth as a polished mirror, and our vessels which but now seemed doomed to be engulfed, are safely moored under a sheltering cliff on the shore of Gadara.
Approaching his disciples, who have just left the ship in which Messiah was, we hear one say, while fear is still depicted on his countenance, “ What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
These words are sufficient to inform us, that the sudden and miraculous calm was from the Lord of the storm and of the calm.
As these men recover from terror, I receive from them an account of the miracle by which the Lord had delivered us.
When the stormy wind arose they, in their alarm, sought him, but could not at once find bim. At length he is perceived “in the hinder part of the ship asleep on a pillow.” Yet they were equally under the protection of his divine power. Is he not the great Watchman of Israel, who neither slumbers nor sleeps ? His watchful care is at all times upon his little flock. When they saw him, they cried in haste, “ Master, Master, we perish.” And undeserving of his care, they nevertheless experience that he is indeed “slow to anger,” as well as of “great power.”- !_“He arose and rebuked the wind, and the raging of the water, and they ceased; and there was a great calm.”
How great is his tenderness! When we deserve only reproof, in moments of uncontrolled dismay, he mercifully withholds it: he first quells the storm and saves us from the dread of being swallowed up, and then utters his mild rebuke, inquiring, “ Where is your faith?” He reproves but does not forsake.
And now in this safe and peaceful harbour, reached after peril and alarm, we may form some faint conception of the perfect satisfaction which awaits us, in that blissful haven of repose upon which our hearts are fixed. We will for ever, then, sing of his mercy and love.
From the example of Jesus may we learn to exercise tenderness. May we smooth by our sympathy those rough surges of anguish which ofttimes pass over the heads of our fellow-voyagers. And may we all be enabled, even bile among the billows, to send forth songs of praise and thankfulness, from a deep sense of the care of the Great Captain of our Salvation.
H. V, H.
His particular views of Christian doctrine may be gathered from his work on that subject—they were evangelical, wise, moderate on doubtful questions, and eminently practical. He was no Calvinist, if by that be meant a strong opinion on predestination, and the order of the divine decrees; but he was a sound, heart-felt believer in the revelation of the gospel, according to the articles and homilies of the Church of England, of which he was, through life, a sincere member. I remember, only a few years since, his walking with me up and down his drawing-room, some time beyond midnight, discoursing on some of these subjects. His figure is now in my mind-his benevolent eye-bis kind, considerate manner of speaking-his reverence for scripture-his address— the pauses he made in bis walk, when he had any thing emphatic to say. I recollect one sentiment was, that the passages so frequent in scripture, importing the unwillingness of the Almighty that the sinner should perish, the invitations addressed to him to return, the remonstrances with him on his unbelief, &c. must be interpreted strictly and literally, or they would
appear to be a mockery of man's misery, and to involve the most fearful imputations on the Divine character. Evasions of the force of such passages were, he thought, highly injurious, and went to sap the whole evidence and bearing of the Christian revelation.-Christian Keepsake, for 1836.