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Multitude of Fishes, that it began to break meat a
ties, which are apt likewise to make deep Impressions upon them. So when great Multitudes that followed our Saviour in the Wilderness, were in great want, and almost famish'd with Hunger, he multiply'd five Loaves and two little Fishes to the feeding of five thousand Men, beside Women and Children; and when they were all filled, there was more left than was at first set before then. Which Miracle fo astonish'd them, that they all cry'd out, Of a truth this is that Prophet, that was to come into the World. This is the first' Remark on this Miracle. The
(20) Is, from St. Peter's and the other Disciples complaining of their bad Success, we may observe the Prone. hefs of Mankind to murmur and distrust God upon very flight Occasions : we find here that when Jesus bid Simon to launch out into the Deep, and to cast out their Net into the Sea, he reply'd that he had done that already, but in vain, and had been fishing all the Night to no purpose ; and if they could not succeed then in the Night, the most proper time for that Employment, there can be but little Hope of speeding better now, it being probably high Noon : as if Christ would put them upon Labour in vain; and could not give Success to the Work which he sets them about. Many are apt to distrust and complain without a Cause, the israelites were still murmuring and complaining, though they were daily fed with Manna and Quails in the Wilderness: and too many still, upon every little Appearance of bad weather, are apt to despond and murmur, as if they were to be starv'd and undone ; which is a great Dirtrust of God Almighty's Providence, and highly provoking to him.
(3.) We may observe hence, that tho good Men may be liable to these Despondencies, yet by a little Consideration they foon deliver themselves from them. We find here that St. Peter was almost discourag'd by the bad Success of one, whole Night's Labour, yet nevertheless at Christ's word, he let down the Net'; and his Obedience was well rewarded, for the Net immediately enclos'd so great a that they were forc'd to call to their Partners, that were in a Ship hard by, to come in to their Asistance; and both the Ships were so deeply laden, that they could hardly keep them from sinking: An Example great enough to keep us from sinking under any Disappointments in the Vol. IV. Part 2.
way of our ordinary Callings, and to encourage us to go on in them according to God's Word; and by waiting God's time, we shall find a Blessing ample enough to reward all our Industry.
But to go on to the Effect of this Miracle : How did Peter behave 'himfelf upon the fight of this miraculous Draught of Fishes? Why, 'the next words tell us, that Imhen Simon Peter Jawott, he fell down at Jesus Feet, saying, Depart from me, for I am ia finful-Man, O Lord!
'He was fo surpriz'd at the Sight, that, reflecting on his former Dir trust and Backwardness, he thought himself unworthy of his Presence ; and fo, with a profound Humility and Dread, desir'd him to depart from him ; for he was aftonished (fay the following words) and all that were with him, at the Draught of the Fimes that they had taken : meaning, that what he said before of his departing from him, proceeded hot from a Défire of being rid of his Company, but from a Senfe of his own Sinfulness, that made him unworthy of it, and a certain Dread and Amazement, which the Sight of the Miracle and his Presence had wrought in him. The Glory of his Person, and the Greatness of his Power had fo dazled and confounded him, that he was not able to bear it, and therefore threw himself down at his feet, and pray'd him to go from him.
In the same degree of Astonishment were also James and John, the Sons of Zebedee, who were Partners with Simon; being all struck with the same Admiration and Amazement at the Lustre of his perfon and Actions.
But to remove St. Peter's Fears, and to deliver him from his Astonishment, Jefus said unto Simon, Fear not, from henceforth thou malt catch Men: Be not frighted or dismaid, for I have higher and better Work for thee, more happy and honourable Employment to set thee about; for thou shalt no longer busy thy felf in catching filty Fifh, but thou fhalt càtch Men, and bring great Shoals of Converts and Profelytes into thy Net: and these too shall be caught, not as the Fifh are, to their Destruction, but they shall be taken and kept alive, and nourish'd to eternal Salvation. From henceforth he dealt no more with thofe mute and filly Animals, bùt convers'd with Men, bringing them in to the Obedience of the Gospel, and catching their Souls to eternal Life. And this miraculous Draught of Fishes, which he faw, done before him, was bat arr Emblen or Presage of a richer and more plentiful Prey, that he should have in
aking of Men; which accordingly came to pass soon after :
But what is here meant by their following of Christ ?
him. 2dly, The following of his Doctrine, by learning of him. And,
3dly, The following of his Example, by imitating of hini. For the
IA, The Disciples were the constant Followers and At. tendants upon his Person; for they went up and down with him wherever he went, they were the Eye-witnesses of his Miracles, and the Ear-witnesses of his Discourses: and tho he sometimes withdrew from them into Places of Solitude and Retirement upon some extraordinary Occafions, yet, for the most part, they were daily Companions
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