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Feeding the People.

Feeding the People.

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*' So they did eat and were filled."--ST. Mark viiL 8.

*' So they did eat and were filled."--ST. Mark viiL 8.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Aug 28, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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FEEDIG THE PEOPLE.BY THE REV. D. WILLIAMS, RECTOR OF LLADVROG,DEBIGHSHIRE.*' So they did eat and were filled."--ST. Mark viiL 8.We are come together to-day to express our gratefulrecognition of the Divine goodness in the fruitful andwell-conditioned harvest which has been so graciouslyand bountifully vouchsafed to us this year. It is a veryright and proper thing that we should do this. We,so dependent, the frail creatures of an hour ; so ignorantof the vast forces of this mysterious universe in whichwe are placed, and its ceaseless activities for good andevil, for the perpetuation and the destruction of life;ignorant of the conditions remote and near of the ripen-ing of one grain of com, of its myriad enemies in earthand air and water, of how near universal famine we mayhave been this very year, — we, I say, should feel deeplygrateful to Almighty God in words of blessing, in deedsof kindness, in charity of heart and mind, for the goldenharvest which has just been received for the sustentation,during another year, of ourselves and those dear to us.Let us pray, with a fuller meaning and deeper knowledgeof their spiritual and unifying import, " Our Father whichDigitized by VjOOQICFEEDIG THE PEOPLE. 225art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name." We are entirelydependent on a power higher and wiser than ourselves,and in nothing are we taught this more fully and clearly•than in the harvest-field; and when we feel there is aprovision secured for another year, we cannot but feel
grateful, it is the instinctive movement of the humanheart ; but the nature, direction, and extent of that grati-tude our Church has impressed upon us by the frequencyshe has introduced the account of this miracle into thecycle of her services during the year.It has been finely remarked by those who have tracedthe operations of the Gospel narratives on the history of the moral forces at work in the moulding and spreadingof political principles and Christian practice during thelast eighteen hundred years, and on the universal mindof Christendom in religion, in dogma, in philosophy, thatthe value and influence of any miracle or parable, andthe force they gain in the onward roll of time, dependon the frequency and the setting of the account givenof them in the four Gospels. If we find, for instance,a saying or deed of our Lord only once recorded, wemay attach to it a certain unit or measure of influence,be that what it may ; but if we find the same recordedby two Evangelists, we may take it for granted that ithas a twofold value and meaning in developing thethoughts of the Church, and showing the ultimate unityof scientific and revealed truths, and also in cherishingthe hopes of suffering and sorrowful hearts in the neces-sary struggles of the spiritual life against sin, despond-ency, and unbelief.ow all the surroundings of this miracle, and theDigitized by VjOOQIC226 FEEDIG THE PEOPLE.detailed record we have of it, — and, by the by, it is theonly miracle recorded by the four Evangelists, — showthat our blessed Lord attached a peculiar importance to
it, as if it were intended to last and grow in spiritual*force and clearness of teaching for ever, according to thedemands of science and politics on the resources of. theChurch as the repository of divinely revealed truth.Every age gets from Scripture as much teaching as it iscapable of receiving and digesting for its good. Everynew discovery in nature, and every advancement in moralgoodness, bring a fresh meaning out of Scripture, and wefind the Bible to be as exhaustless of spiritual as theuniverse is of scientific truths. And the supposed ir-reconcilableness or incompatibility of the Bible withscience is simply due to the ignorant handling of both,and the imperfect apprehension of their respective facts.The minuteness of the description here given has undoubt-edly a practical meaning — manifold meaning for us, forour own age, for every age.We have given us our Lord's conversation with thedisciples — His questionings, their replies; their per-plexities, and His reassurances ; the lad, the basket, theamount of bread and its quality, and number of fishes — barley loaves small, and a few small freshwater fish;the aspect and actions of Jesus; the work of the dis-ciples ; the order, the number and arrangement of themultitude ; of whom composed, and the nature of theground upon which they sat ; their complete satisfaction ;the number of baskets which the fragments filled; bywhom collected, and for what reasons. ow we cannotbut feel that there is a deep and abiding lesson in allDigitized by VjOOQICFEEDIG THE PEOPLE. 227this ; for the first postulate of inspiration excludes chanceand random writing.

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