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but sink when he misdoubts it. Our faith gives us, as courage and boldness, so success too: or infidelity lays us open to all dangers, to all mischiefs.

It was Peter's improvidence not to foresee, it was his weakness to fear, it was the effect of his fear to sink: it was his faith that recollects itself, and breaks through his infidelity, and in sinking could say, “Lord, save me.' His foot could not be so swift in sinking, as his heart in imploring: he knew who could uphold him from sinking, and being sunk, deliver him; and therefore he says, “Lord, save me.

It is a notable both sign and effect of true faith, in sudden extremities, to ejaculate holy desires, and, with the wings of our first thoughts, to fly up instantly to the throne of grace for present succour. Upon deliberation it is possible for a man, that hath been careless and profane, by good means, to be drawn to holy dispositions ; but on the sudden a man will appear as he is, whatever is most rife in the heart will come forth at the mouth. It is good to observe how our surprisals find us: the rest is but forced, this is natural. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” O Saviour, no evil can be swifter than my thought ; my thought shall be upon thee ere I can be seized upon by the speediest mischief: at least, if I overrun not evils, I shall overtake them.

It was Christ his Lord whom Peter had offended in distrusting; it is Christ his Lord to whom he sues for deliverance. His weakness doth not discourage him from his refuge. O God, when we have displeased thee, when we have sunk in thy displeasure, whither should we fly for aid but to thee whom we have provoked ? against thee only is our sin, in thee only is our help. In vain shall all the powers of heaven and earth conspire to relieve us, if thou withhold from our succour. As we offend thy justice daily by our sins, so let us continually rely upon thy mercy by the strength of our faith : “Lord, save us.

The mercy of Christ is at once sought and found : Immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him." He doth not say, Hadst thou trusted me, I would have safely preserved thee, but since thou wilt needs wrong my power and care with a cowardly diffidence, sink and drown: but rather as pitying the infirmity of his fearful disciple, he puts out the hand for his relief. That hand hath been stretched forth for the aid of many a one that never asked it: never any asked it, to whose succour it hath not been stretched. With what speed, with what confidence, should we fly to that sovereign bounty, from which never any suitor was sent away empty! Jesus gave Peter his hand, but withal he

gave

him a check: “O thou of little faith, why doubtest thou ?" As Peter's faith was not pure, but mixed with some distrust, so our Saviour's help was not clear and absolute, but mixed with some reproof; a reproof, wherein there was both a censure and an explanation ; a censure of his faith, an expostulation for his doubt; both of them sore and heavy.

But how much more excellent and useful a grace faith is, by so much more shameful is the defect of it; and by how much more reason here was of confidence, by so much more blameworthy was the doubt. Now Peter had a double reason of his confidence, the command of Christ, the power of Christ; the one in bidding him to come, the other in sustaining him while he came.

To misdoubt him, whose will he knew, whose power he felt, was well worth a reprehension.

When I saw Peter stepping forth upon the waters, I could not but wonder at his great faith; yet behold, ere he can have measured many paces, the Judge of hearts taxes him for little faith. Our mountains are but motes to God. Would my heart have served me to dare the doing of this that Peter did ? durst I have set my foot where he did ? O Saviour, if thou foundest cause to censure the weakness and poverty of his faith, what mayst thou well say to mine! They mistake that think thou wilt take up with any thing. Thou lookest for firmness and vigour in those graces, which thou wilt allow in thy best disciples, no less than truth.

The first steps were confident, there was fear in the next. Oh the sudden alteration of our affections, of our dispositions ! one pace varies our spiritual condition. What hold is there of so fickle creatures, if we be left never so little to ourselves! As this lower world, wherein we are, is the region of mutability, so are we, the living pieces of it, subject to a perpetual change. It is for the blessed saints and angels above to be fixed in good ; while we are here, there can be no constancy expected from us, but in variableness.

As well as our Saviour loves Peter, yet he chides him. It is the fruit of his favour and mercy that we escape judgment, not that we escape reproof. Had not Peter found grace with his Master, he had been suffered to sink in silence; now he is saved with a check. There may be more love in frowns than in smiles: “Whom he loves he chastises." What is chiding but a verbal castigation ? and what is chastisement but a real chiding? Correct me, O "Lord, yet,“ in thy judgment, not in thy fury. O let the righteous God smite me," when I offend, with his gracious reproofs; these “ shall be a precious oil that shall not break my head."

CONTEMPLATION VII.

THE BLOODY ISSUE HEALED.

THE time was, O Saviour, when a worthy woman offered to touch thee, and was forbidden : now a meaner touches thee with approbation and encouragement. Yet as there was much difference in that body of thine which was the object of that touch, being now mortal and passible, then impassible and immortal, so there was in the agents: this a stranger, that a familiar; this obscure, that famous.

The same actions vary with time and other circumstances ; and accordingly receive their dislike or allowance.

Doubtless thou hadst herein no small respect to the faith of Jairus, unto whose house thou wert going. That good man had but one only daughter, which lay sick in the beginning of his suit, ere the end lay dead; while she lived, his hope lived; her death disheartened it. It was a great work that thou meantest to do for him, it was a great word that thou saidst to him; “Fear not, believe and she shall be made whole.” To make this good, by the touch of the verge of thy garment, thou revivedst one from the verge of death. How must Jairus needs now think, He, who by the virtue of his garment can pull this woman out of the paws of death, which hath been twelve years dying, can as well, by the power of his word, pull my daughter, who hath been twelve years living, out of the jaws of death which hath newly seized on her. It was fit the good ruler should be raised up with this handsel of thy divine power, whom he came to solicit.

That thou mightest lose no time, thou curedst in thy passage. The sun stands not still to give his influences, but diffuses them in his ordinary motion. How shall we imitate thee, if we suffer our hands to be out of use with good ? Our life goes away with our time:

: we lose that which we improve not. The patient laboured of an issue of blood : a disease that had not more pain than shame, nor more natural infirmity than legal impurity. Time added to her grief; twelve long years had she languished under this woful complaint. Besides the tediousness, diseases must needs get head by continuance, and so much more both weaken nature, and strengthen themselves, by how much longer they afflict us. So it is in the soul, so in the state ; vices, which are the sicknesses of both, when they grow inveterate, have a strong plea for their abode and uncontrollableness.

Yet more, to mend the matter, poverty, which is another disease, was superadded to her sickness; “she had spent all she had upon physicians." While she had wherewith to make much of herself, and to procure good tendance, choice diet, and all the succours of a distressed languishment, she could not but find some mitigation of her sorrow: but now want began to pinch her no less than her distemper, and helped to make her perfectly miserable.

Yet could she have parted from her substance with ease, her complaint had been the less. Could the physicians have given her, if not health, yet relaxation and painlessness, her means had not been misbestowed: but now," she suffered many things from them :” many an unpleasing potion, many tormenting incisions and divulsions did she endure from their hands : the remedy was equal in trouble to the disease.

Yet had the cost and pain been never so great, could she have hereby purchased health, the match had been happy; all the world were no price for this commodity : but alas ! her estate was the worse, her body not the better ; 'her money was wasted, not her disease. Art could give her neither cure nor hope. It were injurious to blame that noble science, for that it always speed not. "Notwithstanding all those sovereign remedies, men must, in their time, sicken and die. Even the miraculous gifts of healing could not preserve the owners from disease and dissolution.

It were pity but that this woman should have been thus sick; the nature, the durableness, cost, pain, incurableness of her disease, both sent her to seek Christ, and move Christ to her cure. Our extremi

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