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proclaim that the like was never seen in Israel, among whom the prophets had wrought miracles in corroboration of their divinely appointed office. one of them had effected a like cure; hence no one could pretend to be the Son of God, but He who performed that which was spoken by the prophets. What could have afforded stronger proof of his true character to the Jews, than this literal fulfilment of prophecy, by giving sight to the blind, and speech to the dumb? What could have equally prepared them for the elevated doctrine, that He was of one Essence with the Eternal Father? Hence too we may learn how little qualified we are fully to decide between what is literal and what is figurative in prophecy, till the event gives to us the interpretation.
In the miracle of the loaves and fishes, by which five thousand persons were fed in a desert place, we have an illustrious instance of Christ's creative power; and if we critically inspect the whole series of miracles, we shall find in each the manifestation of some particular attribute of Divinity. This miracle was as much intended to prove and confirm the faith of the Apostles, and to prepare their minds for higher conceptions of his nature, as it was to convince the multitude, and lead them into the fold of disciple. ship. It was achieved in the neighbourhood of Bethsaida', after Jesus had preached to the multitude concerning the kingdom of God, and performed many miraculous cures. It was at the close of day? that Jesus crowned the miracles which He had previously wrought, by this overwhelming demonstration of his Divinity. We must not suppose that the five barley loaves and the two small fishes were extended by amplification into a quantity equal to the supply of the five thousand, although that extension would have been an equally convincing evidence of Christ's Omnipotence; but we must rather suppose an absolute creation of substance, and we must rather perceive in this miracle a practical exemplification of that divine and energetic attribute, which operated at the beginning of things. Viewing the miracle in this its true light, we cannot fail to see that Christ was very God.
One commentator in a most extraordinary manner supposes that Christ blessed God, not the loaves and fishes, merely because evlóynoe stands by itself in St. Matthew; but had he consulted the other Evangelists, he would have detected his error. For in St. Mark the word is followed by aprovs, in St. Luke by αυτούς, whilst in St. John ευχαριστήσας is the corresponding term. This interpretation we think right to verify, because we account it important; since it authorizes us to connect it, as to the act itself, with those solemn occasions, when He blessed and broke bread at the last Supper, and when after his resurrection He became known to his disciples by breaking bread.
1 Luke ix. 10, 11.
Luke ix. 12.
But what was the sequel of this Almighty miracle? The multitude were convinced; they acknowledged Christ to be the prophet predicted by Moses -the true Messiah : “ Of a truth, said they, this is that prophet that should come into the world.” Yet being still impressed with the popular notion, that the Messiah would be a temporal and victorious King, they from absolute conviction were inclined to revolt from the Roman government, and raise Jesus to the temporal throne of David. Nor till He had taken a ship and crossed from the desert place to Bethsaida, did they desist. It may also be conjectured, that his disciples partook of the popular feeling, for they embarked not till Christ constrained them. But how acted HE, when He had reached the other side? He retired in absolute solitude to a mountain to pray.
Christ's miraculous act of walking on the lake of Genesareth, where storms are of frequent occurrence, was another step by which He prepared his disciples to have a full conception of his Divinity. By suspending the laws of gravitation, He gave an unlimited manifestation of his power. The time of his appearance—the fourth watch, i.e. between the hours of three and six in the morning, was calculated to produce the supposition that they beheld a spirit; to which the tempestuous state of the water, and their exhaustion from long toil may have contributed. We are also informed, that darkness prevailed, and that a contrary wind prevented them from reaching the port. This fear and suspense must have been increased by the appearance of his intention to pass the ship, and have recalled to their minds many of the superstitions of their country
When Jesus had made Himself known to them, their conviction of his Divine Power was proved by Peter venturing on the water to reach Him. Had he not imagined that Christ could communicate that power, he would not have made either the request or the attempt; for, when he began to sink, the cessation of the communicated power was occasioned by his want of faith, and alarm at the fury of the wind.
This miracle comes within the Jewish enumeration of the properties of God'. Those, therefore,
! See Job ix. 8.
who saw Christ walking on the sea, must have inferred his Divinity from the act. This conclusion must have been augmented by Peter's instant preservation, as Jesus seized his hand, by the immediate lulling of the storm as Christ entered the ship, and the sudden arrival of the vessel at its destination. The amazement of the disciples is very conceivable ; nor is it strange that in their previous bewilderment and present amazement, they should not have fixed their thoughts on the miracle of the loaves; for the passage in St. Mark does not, in our opinion, imply that their heart was hardened, to which notion the whole history is opposed, but that it was so stupified with fear, that they could not reflect
it. Their confession that He was truly the Son of God, in which perhaps (Job. ix. 8.) recurred to their minds, shows the effect which it produced upon them; and it is clear that they published the miracle on their arrival at the land, and made known the evidence of his Deity, which they had seen and acknowledged, by the confluence of people who brought the sick to be healed in every village, city, or country, which He entered, and by the faith expressed, that if the sick but touched the border of his garment, they would be healed.
The next miracle is that which was effected on the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman. We