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THAT the miracle of "the walking on the water" (Matthew xiv. 25-32.) actually took place is not to be doubted, because it is so closely and beautifully connected with an illustration of the character of Peter. It may seem however, at first sight, to militate against the views I have advanced in this chapter. But in fact it confirms them. As soon as they who were in the vessel recognised Jesus, Peter cried, "Lord! if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water." And Jesus said "Come!" Now if his word broke the laws of Nature, could Peter have sunk, however great his terror? But as soon as he began to be afraid-as soon as his faith wavered-he began to sink. "And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt ?" thus intimating very clearly that it was by the power of faith-by force of mind-this miracle was to be wrought. The walking upon the water was not an infraction of the laws of nature, but a demonstration of the natural sovereignty of mind that spiritual power upon which the mighty law of gravitation is in the nature of things dependent, and to which it must of course be subordinate.




I do not know whether any illustration I have adduced of the foreknowledge of Jesus be more striking than that presented in his answers to those who, on different occasions, demanded of him a sign. When he drove the money-changers from the Temple, and was immediately asked to produce the sign of his authority for doing what he had done, his reply is, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will build it up." In this obscure allusion to his death and resurrection, how undesignedly is his foreknowledge of these events revealed! Again, when at another time a sign was demanded, his answer is, "an evil and adulterous generation is seeking after a sign, but no sign shall be given it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Here again how unconsciously is his knowledge of his death and resurrection implied! Had the narrators designed to ascribe to him a foreknowledge which he did not possess, they never would have wrapt up the evidences of it in such obscure allusions. The reference to the prophet Jonah, by the way, is wonderfully pointed; if, as we may with great probability suppose, those, who asked for a sign, desired to witness some dazzling exhibition of miraculous power. It is as if he had said, 'You are seeking a luminous and overpowering display of my authority. I tell you that the true sign of my authority will be given in events shortly to occur-(my death and resurrection,) which, so far from corresponding to your ideas of the Messiah's glory, can be likened to nothing among all the splendid signs and wonders of your history, so appropriately as to the humiliation of the prophet Jonah.'


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