Wright - BT300 W8 1788

9 I 98 The NEW and COMPLETE LIFE of our BLESSED on this as on a future occafion, have re- plied, Have I been fo long time with you, and haft thou not knownme, Philifi t But he did not reproach his difciples with their inattention to his former charabìer and condubl, but commanded them to give the multitude to eat. The difciples, not yet understanding the defign of their Matter, repeated the objeaion of Philip, and propofed to go and buy a quantity of provifions : but this was not their Lord's intention, who, without making them a ebrea anfwer, afked them, how many loaves they had. It does not appear, that they had any bread in poffeffion ; for after the difciples hád made a diligent in- quiry, Andrew came and informed his .Matter, that there was a lad ambngfi the multitude, that had five barley loaves and two fmall fifties, a quantity fo incon- fiderable, that they were afhamed to men- tion it ; What are they, faid the difciples. .among fo many ? And what, indeed, would they have been among fuch mul- titudes of people, if they had not been difiributed by the all-creating hand of the Son of God. Jesus, notwithítanding the fmallnefs of the number of loaves, and fcantinefs of the provifion, ordered them tobebrought to him; and at the fame time commanded the multitude to fit down on the grafs, and ordered his difciples to arrange them in companies at convenient difiances, that their number might be afcertained, and that they might be regularly ferved. In obedience to his command, the people fat down as they were ordered, no doubt wondering what would be the confequence of fuch an arrangement, and what bene- volent abtion our great Redeemer was about to perform. The multitude thus feated in order, our Lord, in open view, took the five loaves and two fmall fifties in his hands, and the whole multitude had an oppor- tunity of beholding what a fmall quan- tity of provifions, in the hands of the Creator of all things, were fufficient to provide a repaft for fuch a number of perfons as were then áffembled: The great Mailer of the feaft then looked up to heaven, and returned thanks to his heavenly Father, for his all-preferving and all- fupporting goodnefs, manifefted at all times to his creatures, but particularly for his paternal care, in providing for their prefent refrefhment; he praifed his Almighty Father, for the miracles which he had been enabled to perform for the benefit of mankind, and particularly for that which he was now going- to per- form, for the refrefhment of the multi- tude, who had left their habitations with delires to fee his mighty works, and hear his words, and followed him into the de- fert, where they were weary and faint for want of provifions. Afterwhich, ourgreat Redeemer bleffed the bread, and his di- , vine blefling had fo wonderful an effeEl, that the five fmall barley loaves and two dry fifhes were multiplied to a quantity fufficient to fatisfy the craving appetites of ten thoufand perfons; for the men were five thoufand, and it is very probable, the women and children might not be. lefs. The great Mailer of the feall difiri- bitted to his difciples, and they .ferved the multitude as they fat on the grafs; and fo plentiful were the provifions, that every one was fatisfied, and fuch fulnefs crowned our great Redeemer's board, that, when all the people had eat and were fatisfied, there were twelve bafkets filled with the broken meat. Thus, the great Son of God provided a feaft in the defert,- for the . people who followed him ; and though they had no canopy but the azure fky, no table but the verdant grafs, no better fare than barley-bread and dried fifh, and no drink but the clear fpring; yet they were more honoured by the prefence of the illuf- trious founder of the feaft, than ever was a royal banquet, which was given by