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he take upon him to prepare a table for his Israel in the desert ? the bread shall be the food of angels, the flesh shall be the delicates of princes, manna and quails. Doth he take upon him to make wine for the marriage-feast of Cana? there shall be both store and choice; the vintage yields poor stuff to this. Will he feast his auditors in the wilderness ? if they have not dainties, they shall have plenty ; “They were all satisfied.” Neither yet, O Saviour, is thy hand closed. What abundance of heavenly doctrine dost thou set before us! how are we feasted, yea, pampered with thy celestial delicacies ! not according to our

meanness, but according to thy state are we fed. Thrifty and niggardly collations are not for princes. We are full of thy goodness; oh let our hearts run over with thanks!

I do gladly wonder at this miracle of thine, O Saviour, yet so as that I forget not mine own condition. Whence is it that we have our continual provision ? one and the same munificent hand doth all. If the Israelites were fed with manna in the desert, and with corn in Canaan, both were done by the same power and bounty. If the disciples were fed by the loaves multiplied, and we by the grain multiplied, both are the act of one omnipotence. What is this but a perpetual miracle, O God, which thou workest for our preservation! Without thee there is no more power in the grain to multiply than in the loaf: it is thou that “givest it a body at thy pleasure, even to every seed his own body;" it is thou that “givest fulness of bread and cleanness of teeth.” It is no reason thy goodness should be less magnified because it is universal.

One or two baskets could have held the five loaves and two fishes ; not less than twelve can hold the remainders. The divine munificence provides not for our necessity only, but for our abundance, yea, superfluity. Envy and ignorance, while they make God the author of enough, are ready to impute the sur

plusage to another cause ; as we commonly say of wine, that the liquor is God's, the excess Satan's

. Thy table, O Saviour, convinces them, which had more taken

away than set on: thy blessing makes an estate not competent only, but rich. I hear of barns full of plenty, and presses bursting out with new wine, as the rewards of those that honour thee with their substance. I hear of heads anointed with oil, and cups running over. O God, as thou hast a free hand to give, so let us have a free heart to return thee the praise of thy bounty.

Those fragments were left behind. I do not see the people, when they had filled their bellies, cramming their pockets, or stuffing their wallets ; yet the place was desert, and some of them doubtless had far home.

It becomes true disciples to be content with the present, not too solicitous for the future. O Saviour, thou didst not bid us beg bread for to-morrow, but for to-day ; not that we should refuse thy bounty when thou pleasest to give, but that we should not distrust thy Providence for the need we may have.

Even these fragments, though but of barley loaves and fish bones, may not be left in the desert, for the compost of that earth, whereon they were increased ; but by our Saviour's holy and just command are gathered up. The liberal housekeeper of the world will not allow the loss of his orts: the children's bread may not be given to dogs ; and if the crumbs fall to their share, it is because their smallness admits not of a collection. If those, who out of obedience or due thrift have thought to gather up crumbs, have found them pearls, I wonder not; surely both are alike the good creatures of the same Maker, and both of them may prove equally costly to us in their wilful mispence. But oh, what shall we say, that not crusts and crumbs, not loaves and dishes, and cups, but whole patrimonies are idly lavished away; not merely lost, (this were more easy,) but ill spent in a wicked riot,

upon dice, drabs, drunkards! Oh the fearful account of these unthrifty bailiffs, which shall once be given in to our great Lord and Master, when he shall call us to a strict reckoning of all our talents! He was condemned that increased not the sum concredited to him; what shall become of him that lawlessly impairs it?

Who gathered up these fragments but the twelve apostles, every one his basket full ? they were the servitors that set on this banquet at the command of Christ; they waited on the tables; they took away.

It was our Saviour's just care that those offals should not perish : but he well knew that a greater loss depended upon those scraps, a loss of glory to the omnipotent Worker of that miracle. The feeding of the multitude was but the one-half of the work, the other half was in the remnant. Of all other it most concerns the successors of the apostles to take care, that the marvellous works of their God and Saviour may be improved to the best ; they may not suffer a crust or crumb to be lost, that may yield any glory to that almighty Agent.

Here was not any morsel or bone that was not worthy to be a relic, every the least parcel whereof was no other than miraculous. All the ancient monuments of God's supernatural power and mercy were in the keeping of Aaron and his sons. There is no servant in the family but should be thriftily careful for his master's profit ; but most of all the steward, who is particularly charged with this oversight. Woe be to us, if we care only to gather up our own scraps, with neglect of the precious morsels of our Maker and Redeemer !

CONTEMPLATION VI.

THE WALK UPON THE WATERS. ALL elements are alike to their Maker. He, that had well approved his power on the land, will now show it in the air and the waters ; he that had preserved the multitude from the peril of hunger in the desert, will now preserve his disciples from the peril of the tempest in the sea.

Where do we ever else find any compulsion offered by Christ to his disciples? He was like the good centurion ; he said to one, “Go, and he goeth.” When he did but call them from their nets, they came; and when he sent them by pairs into the cities and country of Judea, to preach the Gospel, they went. There was never errand whereon they went unwillingly : only now he constrained them to depart. We may easily conceive how loth they were to leave him, whether out of love or of common civility. Peter's tongue did but (when it was) speak the heart of the rest ; “Master, thou knowest that I love thee.” Who could choose but be in love with such a Master? And who can willingly part from what he loves ? But had the respects been only common and ordinary, how unfit might it seem to leave a master now towards night in a wild place, amongst strangers, unprovided of the means of his passage! Where otherwise therefore he needed but to bid, now he constrains. O Saviour, it was ever thy manner to call all men unto thee: “Come to me, all that labour and are heavy laden.' When didst thou ever drive any one from thee? Neither had it been so now, but to draw them closer unto thee, whom thou seemest for the time to abdicate;

in the mean while, I know not whether more to excuse their unwillingness, or to applaud their obedience. As it shall be fully above, so it was proportionably here below; "In thy presence (O Saviour) is the fulness of joy.” Once when thou askedst these thy domestics whether they also would depart, it was answered thee by one tongue for all ; " Master, whither should we go from thee? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” What a death was it then to them to be compelled to leave thee! Sometimes it pleaseth the Divine goodness to lay upon his servants such commands as savour of harshness and discomfort, which yet, both in his intention and in the event, are no other than gracious and sovereign. The more difficulty was in the charge, the more praise was in the obedience. I do not hear them stand upon the terms of capitulation with their Master, nor pleading importunately for their stay, but, instantly upon the command, they yield and go. We are never perfect disciples till we can depart from our reason, from our will: yea, O Saviour, when thou biddest us, from thyself

Neither will the multitude be gone without a dismission. They had followed him while they were hungry, they will not leave him now they are fed. Fain would they put that honour upon him, which to avoid, he is fain to avoid them : gladly would they pay a kingdom to him, as their shot for their late banquet ; he shuns both it and them. O Saviour, when the hour of thy passion was now come, thou couldst offer thyself readily to thine apprehenders ; and now, when the glory of the world presses upon thee, thou runnest away from a crown. Was it to teach us that there is less danger in suffering than in outward prosperity ? What, do we dote upon that worldly honour which thou heldest worthy of avoidance and contempt?

Besides this reservedness, it was devotion that drew Jesus aside : he went alone up to the mountain to pray. Lo, thou, to whom the greatest throng was a solitude, in respect of the fruition of thy Father ; thou, who wert incapable of distraction from him with whom thou wert one, wouldst yet so much act man, as to retire for the opportunity of prayer ; to teach us, who are nothing but wild thoughts and giddy distractedness, to go aside when we would speak with God. How happy is it for us that thou prayedst ! O Saviour, thou prayedst for us, who have not grace enough to pray for ourselves, not worth enough to be accepted when we do pray. Thy prayers, which were

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