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and his walking upon the sea seems to have been a prelude of the amazing progress of his gospel, which crossed the wide ocean *, and reached the remotest lands.
Popular tumults are often compared to tempests and to a troubled sea, and Cicero often mentions
fluctus concionum, and fluctus civiles.
Κινήθη δ' αγορά, ως κύμαια μακρα θαλάσσης, says Ilomer. Who stilleth the noise of the seas; the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people. Psal. Ixv. 7.
As in the Old Testament God's power is set forth by his commanding the sea to rage, and to be still, and to keep its bounds, fc. so the dominion which our Lord exercised over that unruly element is an indication of the dignity of his nature, and that by him all things were made ; and none besides himself ever wrought this miracle.
St Matthew says; The ship was in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves; for the wind was contrary,—~7.d the wind ceased. xiv. There arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with waves : but he was asleep. Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. viii.
Tertullian says: Caeterum navicula illa figuram Ecclesiæ præferebat, quod in mari, id est, seculo, fluctibus, id est, persecutionibus et tentationibus inquietatur, Do:nie no per patientiam veluti dormiente, donec orationibus suinctorum in ultimis suscitatus, compescut seculum, et tran
* To use the words of Pindar:
Πίταται δ' επί τε χθόνα και δια θα-
Nem. vi. 81,
quillitatem suis reddat. De Bapt. c. 12. The little ship tossed up and down in the sea, represented the Christian church, which suffers affliction and persecution in this world, whilst the Lord sleeps, and seems patiently to overlook it, till being awakened by the prayers of the saints in the latter days, he shall check the raging world, and restore tranquillity to his servants. His observation is ingenious.
Some persons have spoken of this miracle as of one which had the appearance of the least and most ambiguous of Christ's miracles, because it might have happened by chance, since storms are succeeded by calms, and calms by storms: but they are mistaken ; a sudden calm is contrary to the course of nature; for in a violent storm, the tossing and rolling of the waves continues after the wind is laid ; and in this miracle, not only the wind fell, but the waters were immediately smoothed, επιτίμησε-τη θαλάσσης και εγένετο γαλήνη μεγάλη. Γαλήνη is a smooth water.
Seneca de Tranquill. 2. Sicut est quidam tremor etiam tranquilli maris, aut lacus, cum ex tempestate requievit.
De Brev. Vit. 2. Velut in profundo mari, in quo post ventum quoque volutatio est. Herc. Fur. 1089.
sed ut ingenti Vexata Noto, servat longos Unda tumultus, et jan vento
Cessante tumet. Herc. Oet. 710.
Ut fractus Austro pontus etiamnum tumet,
Quamvis quiescat languidis ventis dies. Lucan. v. 217.
ut tumidus Borece post flamina pontus Rauca gemit. Statius, Theb, vii. 86.
Ut si quando ruit, debellatasque reliquit
jam volvit hiems. Claudian, In Ruf. i. 70.
ceu murmurat alti Impacata quies pelagi, cum flamine fracto Durat adhuc sævitque tumor, dubiumque per æstum
Lassa recedentis fluitant vestigia venti. He raised the dead, a miracle peculiarly suiting him who at the last day should call forth all mankind to appear before him ; and therefore, when he raised Lazarus, he uttered those majestic words: I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.
He performed some miracles upon persons who were not of his own nation, and it was so ordered by divine providence, that these persons, as the Centurion, the Syrophænician woman, the Samaritan leper, should shew a greater degree of faith and of gratitude than the Jews to whom the same favours were granted. This was an indication that the gospel should be more readily received by the Gentiles than by the Jews; and this our Saviour intimates, saying, when he had commended the Centurion's faith, Many shall come from the east and
from the west, from the north and from the south, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven ; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into utter darkness.
He cured some persons at a distance, without visiting and seeing them, to shew that he should convert and save by his sacred word those who should not sce and converse with him here on earth.
The darkness which was spread over the land, shewed the spiritual blindness of the Jews, which contia R 3
nued when the gospel shone in the Gentile world, and was an omen of their destruction.
The veil of the temple which was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, portended the abolition of the ceremonial law, and of the separation between Jews and Gentiles, and an entrance for believers by the death of Christ into the holy of holies.
The earthquakes at the death and resurrection of Christ shewed the great revolutions which should come to pass in the establishment of the gospel, and in the fall of Judaism and Paganism ; for in the sacred wri, ters great changes in the political world are foretold and denoted by earthquakes, by shaking heaven, and earth, and sea, and dry land.
If Christ never wrought a miracle, and his disciples, mean and illiterate persons, feigned all these things, they were extremely ingenious to fix upon miracles, which so exactly suited the character that he assumed; and amazingly fortunate to invent miracles which so aptly prefigured events that came to light in later times.
We have false legends concerning the miracles of Christ, of his apostles, and of ancient Christians; and the writers of these fables had in all probability as good natural abilities as the disciples of Christ, and some of them, as the author of the Recognitions, wanted neither learning nor craft ; and yet they betray themselves by faults against chronology, against history, against manners and customs, against morality, and against probability. A liar of this kind can never pass undiscovered ; but an honest relater of truth and matter of fact is safe, he wants no artifice, and fears no examination, and if the miracles related by him are found to be indications of future and remote events, this circumstance adds no small strength to his testimony.
Of the same prophetic kind was also one of St Paul's miracles : At Paphos they found a certain sorcerer, a Jew—Then Paul set his eyes upon him, and said— The hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind for a season.—Then the deputy, when he suw what was done, believed. Acts xiii.
By this miracle of the apostle was confirmed the prediction of Christ, I am come into the world that they who see not may see; and that they who see may be blind. The
eyes of the wicked Jew are closed, and the understanding of the Pagan Proconsul is illuminated. The one represents the impenitence and the rejection of the Jews, the other the docility and the calling of the Gentiles; and as the false prophet is only condemned to blindness for a season, so the Jews are to remain in darkness for a certain period, and to be converted in God's appointed time.
Origin, therefore, who was ever inclined to judge candidly, and Chrysostom, were of opinion, that the punishment which St Paul inflicted upon the sorcerer Barjesus, brought him to a sense of his guilt, and to a sincere repentance. And indeed a man must have been hardened to a strange degree, upon whom a double miracle, first of severity, and then of clemency, would have no effect. See S. Basnage, Annal. i.
The miracles by which St Paul was instructed and converted have been thought by some to be of the emblematic and prophetic kind, and to indicate the future calling of the Jews; so that Paul the persecutor, and Paul the apostle, was a type of his own nation.