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from the land; and he sat down, and taught the people out of the vessel.
4. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
Having had the use of the vessel, Jesus now proceeded to reward the owners, in the only way, probably, in which he was able to do it, by procuring them a miraculous draught of fishes, which might afford them a suitable compensation, and, at the same time, give them fresh and more striking proofs of his divine mission.
5. And Simon, answering, said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing; nevertheless, at thy word I will let down the net.
6. And when they had done this, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes; and their net brake; rather," was going to break:”
Had it been actually broken, the fish would have been lost, and there would have been no occasion to call for the assistance of their companions. So large a draught of fishes was not a thing absolutely impossible, in the common course of nature, so far as we know; yet, as it was by the desire of Jesus that the net was let down, after he had been informed that they had caught nothing the preceding night, it is evident that he entertained an intention of working a miracle; and there is every reason to think that the event which took place was the effect of his extraordinary power.
7. And they beckoned unto their partners, who were in the other vessel, that they should come and help them; and they came, and filled both the vessels, so that they began to sink.
8. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
Peter, perceiving by the great draught of fishes that Jesus was possessed of a miraculous power, of the most extraordinary nature, was greatly alarmed, lest, discerning the imperfections of his character, he should be induced to employ this power to inflict some signal punishment upon his person or his property; he therefore intreats him, with the strongest expressions of veneration, to depart from his vessel. Peter's idea of the danger of being near a prophet of the Lord, seems to have been the same with that of the widow of Zarephath, with whom the prophet Elijah resided, who, when she had lost her son, said to him, O thou man of God, art thou come to call my sins to remembrance; and to slay my son? 1 Kings, xvii. 18. It would be unjust to conclude, from the apostle's calling himself a sinful man, that he was now, or had been before, more wicked than other persons: it is rather a proof of his piety and humility; since the best characters are the most ready to acknowledge their imperfections.
9. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken.
10. And so was also James and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon; and Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not, from henceforth thou shalt catch men ; or, alive.”
Christ makes use of this phrase, to point out the su
66 catch men
periority of his future to his present employment: he now caught fish for their destruction; but he should hereafter catch men for their preservation.
11. And when they had brought their vessels to land, they forsook all and followed him.
They were so impressed with the extraordinary powe er of Christ, from seeing this miracle, that they concluded him to be some great prophet, and perhaps the Messiah : without staying, therefore, to dispose of the valuable prize which had been brought them, by selling the fish, they resolve to forsake all, and to follow him; not doubting that he who had procured such a draught of fishes, could provide for their support.
In the re
1. The miracles of Jesus, in curing an apprehended dæmoniac, an epileptic madman, and in the great draught of fishes, justly excited the admiration of the spectators: they were striking evidences of divine
power, which could thus controul and alter the course of nature; yet many things, in the common course of Providence, not less wonderful, produce not in us the same admiration, and are hardly noticed. storation of reason to a man who had been deprived of it, the Jews saw and acknowledged the hand of God; yet the gift of this faculty at first, and the continued exercise of it, although much more surprising, are viewed without emotion. We admire the power which could bring together so many fishes by a mere act of the will; yet we overlook that wonderful instinct, no less a proof of divine operation, which brings to our coast, at stated seasons, immense shoals of fish, for the
support and benefit of man. So true is it that men are struck with what is new and extraordinary, while they pay no attention to the wonders of nature, which are open to their view every day. Let us endeavour to guard against this inconsistency of behaviour, and, while we read with pleasure in the Bible, the history of miracles performed by God at different times, let us be equally ready to acknowledge and admire his power in the daily and familiar occurrences of life.
2. Let us remember that while we are hearing the discourses of Christ, we are listening to the word of God, and let us receive them with that attention and reverence which so high an authority deserves. He himself assures us, that he speaks what he heard of his Father, and that the words that he speaks are not his, but the Father's who sent him. These general expressions, indeed, are to be limited to what he speaks upon the subject of religion, and upon the objects of his divine mission : for in regard to other topics, there was no occasion for extraordinary divine illuminations; the common reason of mankind being sufficient for their direction in the common affairs of life; nor does it appear that Jesus was possessed of any such illumination. While he spoke to his hearers the word of God, well might the people press in such crowds to hear him, and justly might Peter and his companions forsake all to
follow him. Let the zeal of these men never reproach · our indifference. Let us eagerly inquire after what he
has said, and bow to his authority in all things.
3. In the distress which Peter discovers at the apprehension of being punished for his sins, we may learn the value of the assurances which revelation gives of pardon to the penitent. Those who are conscious of guilt and expect punishment are in danger of perpetual alarms. A thousand circumstances will occur to awaken apprehensions in their breasts, and to fill them with the greatest distress, which, to other persons, ap). pear to afford no foundation for fear, Peter, in an agony of fear, falls down at the feet of Jcsus, and intreats him, with the utmost earnestness, to depart from
him, and hereby to save him fiom those evils which he knew that he had but too justly merited. In this he represents to us the sufferings of other sinful men in innumerable other instances. Let us be thankful to God for informing us that he is merciful, and for affording us so many examples of forgiveness.
4. Let us learn to admire the force of truth and the influence of divine power, in making the gospel triumph over all opposition, when it was taught only by fishermen.
Luke v. 12–15. corresponds with Matt. viii. 2- 4. 17
ix. 2-17. vi. 1-11.
xii. 1-15. 13-16.
X. 1- 4. 17-19.
iv. 23-25. v. 1. 20—26.
vii. 3-5. 49-.
16—49. vii. 1-10.
Luke vii. 11-17.
11. And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain, and
many of his disciples were with him, i. e. many of his stated followers, and much people.
12. Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow; and much people of the city was with her.