Luke 5:5


The passage is one of encouragement to-those who have been labouring in the cause of truth and righteousness, and whose success has not been according to their hope. We have a picture of -

I. FRUITLESS TOIL. "We have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing;" words that have not only been on the lips of the unsuccessful fisherman, but often enough on those of the weary Christian workman - the pastor, the evangelist, the teacher, the philanthropist, the missionary. Weeks, months, even years, may go by, and nothing or little may have resulted. Especially is this the case in missionary labour among savages, or where venerable systems of superstition prevail. The workman goes through all stages, of lessened hope, of surprise at non-success, of disappointment, of despondency, until he may get down very near to despair.

II. THE COMMAND TO CONTINUE. Under discouragement and apparent defeat there frequently enters the thought of abandonment. The worker says, "I will lay down my weapon; it is useless to proceed. I must have better soil, or it must have a more skilful hand." But when this thought is being entertained there comes a manifestation of the Master, who by some means and in some language, says, "Go, labour on: toil on and faint not." To the "fisher of men" he says, "Let down your nets for a draught." This command to continue may cause us to reflect upon:

1. Our Lord's own example; for he laboured on most diligently and patiently under heavy and sore discouragements.

2. The ample means placed at our disposal with which to work for Christ and men; the glorious fulness and fitness of the gospel of the grace of God.

3. The near presence and promised aid of the Holy Spirit.

4. The inestimable value of the souls we seek to save. But whencesoever suggested, the voice we hear is imperative, Divine, "Go, labour on.

III. THE SPIRIT AND ACT OF OBEDIENCE.

1. We may be indisposed to resume; we may feel, as Peter evidently did on this occasion, that there is nothing to be taken by our toil; that for all practical purposes we might as well leave the field.

2. But Christ's will is decisive. Against that there is no appeal. At thy word I will let down the net." This is the true spirit of obedience. To work for Christ under every possible encouragement is easy and simple enough; perhaps it may not take high rank in heaven so far as its spiritual greatness is concerned. To continue at our post under every discouragement, because we believe it is the will of our Lord that we should still strive and sow - that is the trying, the honourable, the acceptable thing. It may be remarked that:

3. Obedience to our Lord is not inconsistent with a wise change of method. Launch out "into the deep." They were to cast their net into the likeliest waters.

"Cast after cast, by force or guile,
All waters must be tried." (See Keble's hymn, "The livelong night we've toil'd in vain.") If one method does not succeed, we must try another. We must not ascribe to God a failure which is due to our own inefficiency. We must not ask and expect his blessing unless we are doing our best in his Name and in his cause.

IV. THE LARGE REWARD. "When they had this done," etc. Patient, obedient work wrought for Jesus Christ will certainly meet with its recompense. "Refrain thine eyes from tears, and thy voice from weeping, for thy work shall be rewarded." We may 'go forth weeping," but we shall doubtless "come again with rejoicing." The success may come:

1. After much labour and prayer and waiting.

2. In a way in which we did not expect it.

3. Only in part while we are here to rejoice in it; 'for often "one soweth and another reapeth." But sooner or later, in one form or another, here or hereafter, it will come; our net will "enclose a great multitude of fishes;" our hearts will be full, even to overflow, with joy and gratitude. - C.









Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless, at Thy word
How very much may simple obedience partake of the sublime l Peter here appeals, quite naturally, to one of the grandest principles which rule among intelligent beings, and to the strongest force which sways the universe. Great God, it is "at Thy word" that seraphs fly and cherubs bow! Acting in conformity with "Thy word," we feel ourselves to be in order with all the forces of the universe, travelling on the main track of all real existence. Is not this a sublime condition, even though it be seen in the common deeds of our everyday life?

I. "At Thy word" should apply TO ALL THE AFFAIRS OF ORDINARY LIFE.

1. I mean, first, as to continuance in honest industry (1 Corinthians 7:20). Be diligent. Labour on in hope. Your best endeavours will not of themselves bring you prosperity; still, do not relax those endeavours. God has placed you where you are; move not till His providence calls you. Do not run before the cloud. Let not despondency drive you to anything rash or unseemly.

2. As to seeking for employment, if you have none. Go on seeking. Let men see that a Christian is not readily driven to despair; nay, let them see that when the yoke is made more heavy the Lord has a secret way of strengthening the backs of His children to bear their burdens.

3. It may be that you have been endeavouring in your daily life to acquire skill in your business, and you have not succeeded, or you have tried to acquire more knowledge, so that you could better fulfil your vocation, but hitherto you have not prospered as you could wish. Do not, therefore, cease from your efforts. Christians must never be idlers. Our Lord Jesus would never have it said that His disciples are a sort of cowards who, if they do not succeed the first time, will never try again. At His word let down the net once more: He may intend largely to bless you when by trial you have been prepared to bear the benediction.

II. Is MATTERS OF SPIRITUAL PROFITING We must at the word of Christ let down the net again.

III. The great principle of our text should be applied TO OUR LIFE-BUSINESS — soul-winning. Our method of catching men is by letting down the net of the gospel. Each believer has a warrant to seek the conversion of his fellows. The word of the Lord is a warrant which justifies the man who obeys it. It will leave us guilty if we do not obey. This warrant from Christ is one which, if we be in the state of heart of Simon Peter, will be omnipotent with us. It was very powerful with Simon Peter.

1. He was under the influence of a great disappointment. Yet he let down the net.

2. This command in Peter overcame his love of ease.

3. The command of Christ was so supreme over Peter that he was not held back by carnal reason. Reason would say, "If you could not catch fish in the night, you will certainly not do so in the day." But when Christ commands, the most unlikely time is likely, and the most unpromising sphere becomes hopeful.

4. The lesson to you and me is this: Let us do as Peter did, and let down the net personally, for the apostle said, "I will let down the net." Cannot you do something yourself — with your own heart, lips, hands?

5. And you had better do it at once. You may never have another opportunity; your zeal may have evaporated, or your life may be over.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

"At Thy word" — here is the cause of causes, the beginning of the creation of God. "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made," and by that word was the present constitution of this round world settled as it stands. When the earth was fruitless and dark, Thy voice, O Lord, was heard, saying, "Let there be light," and "at Thy word" light leaped forth. " At Thy word" day and night took up their places, and "at Thy word" the waters were divided from the waters by the firmament of heaven. "At Thy word" the dry land appeared, and the seas retired to their channels. "At Thy word" the globe was mantled over with green, and vegetable life began. "At Thy word" appeared the sun and moon and stars, "for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years." "At Thy word" the living creatures filled the sea, and air, and land, and man at last appeared. Of all this we are well assured, for by faith we know that the worlds were framed by the word of God. Nor is it in creation alone that the word of the Lord is supreme, but in providence, too, its majestic power is manifested, for "the Lord upholdeth all things by the word of His power." Snow and vapour and stormy wind are all fulfilling His word. His word runneth very swiftly. When frost binds up the life-floods of the year, the Lord sendeth forth His word and melteth them. Nature abides and moves by the word of the Lord. So, too, all matters of fact and history are beneath the supreme word. Jehovah stands the centre of all things, as Lord of all He abides at the saluting-point, and all the events of the ages come marching by at His word, bowing to His sovereign will. "At Thy word," O God, kingdoms arise and empires flourish; "at Thy word" races of men become dominant, and tread down their fellows; "at Thy word" dynasties die, kingdoms crumble, mighty cities become a wilderness, and armies of men melt away like the hoar frost of the morning. Despite the sin of men and the rage of devils, there is a sublime sense in which all things from the beginning, since Adam crossed the threshold of Eden even until now, have happened according to the purpose and will of the Lord of hosts. Prophecy utters her oracles, and history writes her pages, "at Thy word," O Lord.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

It is wonderful to think of the fisherman of Galilee letting down his net in perfect consonance with all the arrangements of the ages. His net obeys the law which regulates the spheres. His hand consciously does what Arcturus and Orion are doing without thought. This little bell on the Galilean lake rings out in harmony with the everlasting chimes. "At Thy word," saith Peter, as he promptly obeys, therein repeating the watchword of seas and stars, of winds and worlds. It is glorious thus to be keeping step with the marchings of the armies of the King of kings.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

"At Thy word" has been the password of all good men from the beginning until now. Saints have acted upon these three words, and found their marching orders in them. An ark is builded on dry land, and the ribald crowd gather about the hoary patriarch, laughing at him; but he is not ashamed, for, lifting his face to heaven, he saith, "I have builded this great vessel, O Jehovah, at Thy word." Abraham quits the place of his childhood, leaves his family, and goes with Sarah to a land of which he knows nothing, crossing the broad Euphrates, and entering upon a country possessed by the Canaanite, in which he roams as a stranger and a sojourner all his days. He dwells in tents with Isaac and Jacob. If any scoff at him for thus renouncing the comforts of settled life, he lifts also his calm face to heaven, and smilingly answers to the Lord, "It is at Thy word." Ay, and even when his brow is furrowed, and the hot tear is ready to force itself from beneath the patriarch's eyelid, as he lifts his hand with the knife to stab Isaac to the heart, if any charge him with murder, or think him mad, he lifts the same placid face towards the majesty of the Most High and saith, "It is at Thy word." At that word he joyfully sheathes the sacrificial knife, for he has proved his willingness to go to the utmost at the word of the Lord his God. If I were to introduce you to a thousand of the faithful ones who have shown the obedience of faith, in every case they would justify their acts by telling you that they did them " at God's word." Moses lifts his rod in presence of haughty Pharaoh, "at Thy word," great God! Nor does he lift that rod in vain at Jehovah's word, for thick and heavy fall the plagues upon the children of Ham. They are made to know that God's word returneth not to Him void, but fulfilleth His purpose, whether it be of threatening or of promise. See Moses lead the people out of Egypt, the whole host in its myriads! Mark how he has brought them to the Red Sea, where the wilderness doth shut them in. The heights frown on either side, and the rattle of Egypt's war-chariots is behind. How came Moses so to play the fool and bring them here? Were there no graves in Egypt that thus he brought them forth to die on the Red Sea shore? The answer of Moses is the quiet reflection that he did it at Jehovah's word, and God justifies that word, for the sea opens wide a highway for the elect of God, and they march joyfully through, and with timbrels and dances on the other side they sing unto the Lord who hath triumphed gloriously. If in after days you find Joshua compassing Jericho, and not assailing it with battering rams, but only with one great blast of trumpets, his reason is that God has spoken to him by His word. And so right on, for time would fail me to speak of Samson, and Jephthah, and Barak: these men did what they did at God's word; and, doing it, the Lord was with them.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Peter only let down one net, and there was the pity of it. If John and James and all the rest had let down their nets, the result would have been much better. "Why?" say you. Because, through there being only one net, that net was overstrained, and broke. If all the nets had been used, they might have taken more fish, and no net would have been broken. I was reading some time ago of a take of mackerel at Brighton; when the net was full, the mackerel slicking in all the meshes made it so heavy that the fishermen could not raise it, and the boat itself was in some danger of going down, so that they had to cut away the net and lose the fish. Had there been many nets and boats, they might have buoyed up the whole of the fish; and so they might have done in this case. As it was, many fish were lost through the breaking of the net. If a Church can be so awakened that each individual gets to work in the power of the Holy Spirit, and all the individuals combine, then how many souls will be captured for Jesus l Multitudes of souls are lost to the blessed gospel because of our broken nets, and the nets get broken because we are not well united in the holy service, and by our unwisdom cause loss to our Master's cause. Ministers need not become worn out with labour if all would take their share: one boat would not begin to sink if the other boats took a part of the blessed load.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

" We have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing." This complaint is often heard nowadays, also. Although many poor people may assert, with perfect truth, that they have laboured hard, yet there are many others whose poverty is through their own fault. Some of the faulty occasions are the following.

I. LAZINESS. Many show neither zeal nor industry in the discharge of the duties of their calling. Poverty is the necessary consequence.

1. According to the testimony of Scripture (Proverbs 18:9; Proverbs 21:5).

2. Reason and experience. How can he catch fishes who will not let down his net?

II. LAVISHNESS.

1. Many dissipate their property through folly.

(1)They have not learned how to save.

(2)They do not live according to their means.

(3)They attempt rash speculations, through greed of gold.

2. Through extravagance in food and dress (Proverbs 21:17; Proverbs 23:11).

III. WANT OF FEAR OF GOD.

1. God deprives those who do not fear Him of His blessing.

2. He visits them with sickness, and all kinds of misfortune.

(J. J. Haubs.)

"Sir," said the Duke of Wellington to an officer who urged the impossibility of executing the directions he had received, "I did not ask your opinion; I gave you my orders, and I expect to have them obeyed." Such should be the obedience of every follower of Jesus Christ. The words which He has spoken are our law, not our judgment or fancies.

The fishermen at Mentone keep on fishing with their great net; ay, by the score these fishermen take it out and haul it in again, and frequently they get no more than one little sardine for their pains. Many and many a time no more than they can hold in their hand is the produce of the casting of a net which covers acres of the sea. But why do they go on? Because they are fishermen, and cannot do anything else. Now, we are praying men, and there is nothing else we can do but wait upon the Lord. So if, after many a throw of the net of prayer, we get but one small answer, we will try again, for this is all we can do. Let us continue instant in prayer.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

These fishermen are not the men who could be charged with originating the gospel. Yet let us not suppose that there was no fitness in them for the work they had to do. Their very occupation was one which bred and nourished those very qualities which would stand them in good stead as the apostles of Christ. Their calling was one which demanded observation, that they might discern the times most favourable. They had to scan narrowly the sky, and discern whether there were signs of a coming tempest, for the Sea of Galilee was treacherous, and would often rise into fury in a few moments. Hence they needed both prudence and courage. And they needed both patience and perseverance too. The previous night had been one of no new experience to them. The new day was to be the greatest in their lives. They were to be clothed with a new mission, and strengthened for it by a new experience. The secret of their success was to be revealed to them by a miracle, the memory of which would nerve and strengthen them in the days to come. The command, "Launch out," &c., was a strange one, but still it was the command of the Lord.

I. OBEDIENCE TO THE WORD OF CHRIST. Wise to have authority for every work we undertake. Enough for the soldier that he has the authority of his officer, for the officer that he has the authority of his general, for the ambassador that he has the authority of his king, and for the Christian labourer that he has the authority of Christ. "Nevertheless," said Peter — that is, not because of success, but in spite of failure — "at Thy word I will let down the net." And still the word "nevertheless" is on the lips of the Church. Difficulties in the way of missionary enterprise. Arguments of those who hold that heathen races should be allowed to remain undisturbed in their religions. The slow progress we are making. "Nevertheless, at Thy word," &c. We must walk by faith, not by sight, not only in our own personal life, but in looking at the progress of the kingdom of Christ. " It is not given to you to know." These are the Saviour's words. It is enough for us to feel assured that patient labour cannot, will not, fail, and to say, amid all discouragement and delay, "Nevertheless," &c.

II. THE RESULT OF THIS OBEDIENCE. It had in it not much of cheerfulness, nor perhaps, any faith, but it was obedience under trying circumstanses, and as such it was crowned with success. The failure of the previous night was not unforeseen or unarranged. Christ was in that failure as much as in the success that followed it. The lesson was — empty nets without His blessing and full nets with it. And this lesson they were to remember henceforth when they should become fishers of men. Be sure that Peter would remember that morning on the day of Pentecost, when at the first casting of the gospel-net he enclosed 3,000 souls; and a few days after, when, on casting the net again, there were added to the Church 5,000 souls. The night of failure was not without its lesson and benefit. We can do worse than fail — we can succeed and be proud of our success, and burn incense to our net, and despise those who fail, and forget the Hand whose it is to give or to withhold.

(E. Mellor, D. D.)

First, the state of the world, which is as the sea. Secondly, the state of the Church, which is as a ship or boat in the sea. Thirdly, the state of men by nature, who be as fishes, ranging after their own disposition uncaught. Fourthly, the state of ministers, who be as fishers. Fifthly, the state of the gospel preached, which is the hook, or bait, or net to take souls.

I. AND THE STATE OF THE WORLD IS AS THE SEA IN A FOUR-FOLD RESPECT.

1. Because of the general unstableness of the things thereof. The unsettledness of that vast creature, the sea, is well known. It is in a continual motion (it cannot rest), it ebbs and flows perpetually: sometimes (at a spring tide) it swells to that bigness that the banks cannot contain it; sometimes, again, it falls back so low, that a man must go far from the bank before he can come near it. It is (under God) chiefly governed by the moon, the which there is no one thing more subject unto chance, it being never beheld two nights together in one proportion. Thus is the world, whether we look upon the general states of kingdoms or the personal estates of particular men, either for their goods or for their bodies, we see nothing but a continual alteration. Crowns are translated from head to head, and sceptres pass from one hand to another; fenced cities are made heaps, and walled towns become as the ploughed fields; they which were once fastened as with a nail in a sure place, and having set their nests on high, dreamed of nothing but perpetuities for them and theirs, are suddenly thrown out of all, and rolled and turned like a ball.

2. Because of the tumultuousness of it. Who is ignorant of the storms and grievous tempests which are at sea?

3. The world resembles the sea by the oppression that is in it. At sea the lesser fishes are a prey to the great ones; and in the world the rich and mighty swallow up the poor; one man bites and devours another.

4. In respect of the sway the devil bears in it. Observe what is in the Psalm, "The sea is great and wide, there is that leviathan whom the Lord hath made to play therein." Now, look how this monster domineers in the sea, so doth Satan here in the world; therefore he is called the god of this world.

II. The next thing is touching the Church. THE STATE THEREOF IN THE WORLD IS LIKE THE STATE OF A SHIP OR BOAT UPON THE SEA; and that especially in this respect — because it is subject to continual tossings.

1. The troubles of His Church and the afflictions of His people do make His power and mercy to be known; even as the skill of a pilot is most to be seen in a storm: "My power is made perfect through weakness."

2. For their good. First, it makes them to look upward with the greater fervency. The second use serves to teach us (because the Church of God is as a ship in this sea of the world) the necessity of furnishing ourselves with such things as appertain to this spiritual voyage. Not to insist upon many, two things especially must be looked to.

III. THE THIRD THING IS CONCERNING THE STATE OF MEN. The fish to be catched out of this sea and to be brought into this ship are men. "Thou shalt catch men from henceforth." And well in this arc we compared unto the fish. For as the fishes skip and play and take their pleasure in the sea and are unwillingly taken in the net, and labour to get out, and, being in the boat, would fain, if they could, leap back into the sea, so naturally we take pleasure in our sinful ways.

IV. THE FOURTH THING IS OF THE STATE OF THE MINISTER. Here are two things.

1. The state of the minister.

2. The labour, business, and work of the minister. Of the first thus we see: That is no superfluous or needless function, but a calling of great necessity for the winning and saving of men's souls. Secondly, thus: That the calling of the minister is no idle calling, but a calling of labour, a calling of much business and of great employment.

V. The last thing is, THAT THE NET IN WHICH MEN MUST RE TAKEN IS THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL. The comparison agreeth fitly after this manner. The preaching of the gospel is like to a net —

1. In the general drift and use. The use of a net is to take fish, the drift of preaching is to bring in souls.

2. In the ordering of it. It is not that net lapped up together that bringeth in the draught, but hailed out at length, and spread forth, that closeth the fish; it is the opening and unfolding of the gospel, the stretching it out by preaching, which doth encompass souls. There may a fish or two hang in the net, being let down on a heap, but that is a chance, and is no wise adventuring. The Word read, and so brought in (as it were) in gross, may (by the mercy of God) take some; but we have no warrant from thence to make a rule general. Again, it is need that the net be strong, otherwise the greater kind will break through and make all the labour and charge to be in vain; so it is meet that the doctrine he well strengthened out of the Word of God, that if it be well proved, that it be well pressed and applied, that the consciences of the hearers may be convicted, and that they may see it is God and not man with whom they have to do: for, a man shall meet with many froward and wilful and violent natures that will not be held in, but when they feel themselves within the net will cry, "Let us break their bands, and cast their cords from us ": so that even a kind of violence may be used to keep them from destruction.

3. In the success of it. Many a draught the poor fisherman makes and taketh nothing, yet he leaveth not off. Many a time is the net of preaching shot forth, and yet none converted thereby; so it pleaseth God to exercise the patience of His servants. Yet still the work must be followed, and the Lord's leisure must be waited for. Often doth the net enclose many which yet after break away, and many are at first drawn in by the power of the gospel which yet afterwards slide back and return again to their own profaneness.

(S. Hieron.)

I. CONSIDER THE FAILURE INDICATED.

1. They had "toiled." Everything in this world comes to be a "toil" after a time. Any kind of labour, whether of mind or body, and even pleasure, is devoid of permanent satisfaction.

2. "All the night." Incessant labour, with no result but failure. The process is familiar —(1) In personal life. After all our efforts and struggles, we confess with a sigh that we do not seem to grow any better.(2) In work for God in various spheres. Only failure seems to meet us. No decrease in moral evil; little advance.

II. THERE MUST BE REASON FOR SUCH FAILURE. The general reason is the absence of Divine blessing. "Except the Lord build the house," &c. He alone is the Author of all good. But there are further considerations to be taken into account.

1. Perhaps God has not been present in our efforts. They may have lacked —

(1)Simplicity of motive.

(2)Earnestness of devotion.

(3)Humble dependence and prayerfulness.

2. Human perversity may for a time be permitted to have its way. The reason for this is hidden now; we shall know one day why it is so. Or —

3. God may have withheld His blessing —

(1)To try our faith.

(2)To teach us how better to labour.

(3)In order to some greater and more blessed result, e.g., Jacob.

III. NOTE THE PERSEVERING OBEDIENCE OF FAITH. In spite of failure the apostles did not despair. So should it be with us.

1. The command of Christ is our warrant for labour.

2. And suggests the better performance of work.

(1)Better preparation "cleaning nets."

(2)Greater skill and care.

(3)Deeper humility. Thinking less of our own part in the work.

(4)More perseverence.

(5)Stronger faith in the Great Worker whose instruments we are.

3. Such labour is bound to be ultimately successful. Because of His Word and our obedience. When, and how, we know not. In His time and way. But surely and certainly.

(George Low, M. A.)

Now, if we search into the grounds and reasons of these disappointments by the hand of Providence, we shall find them reducible to a threefold cause and reason.

1. The sovereign pleasure of God so disposes it.

2. The good of the people of God requires it.

3. The manifold sins of men in their callings provoke it.

1. The sovereign pleasure of God so disposes it. He is the Rector of the universe, and as such will still assert His dominion. If Providence had alike prospered every man's designs, and set them upon a level, there had been no occasion to exercise the rich man's charity or the poor man's patience. Nay, without frequent disappointments, itself would scarcely be owned in successes, nor those successes be half so sweet to them that receive them, as now they are. The very beauty of Providence consists much in these various and contrary effects.

2. And if we consider the gracious ends and designs of God towards His own people, it appears needful that all of them, in some things, and many of them in most things (relating to their outward condition in this world), should be frustrated in their expectations and contrivances. For if all things here should succeed according to their wish, and a constant tide of prosperity should attend them —(1) How soon would sensuality and earthliness invade their hearts and affections! Much prosperity, like the pouring in of much wine, intoxicates, and overcomes our weak heads and hearts. Can a Christian keep his heart as loose from the smiling, as from the frowning world?(2) How soon would it estrange them from their God, and interrupt their communion with Him I He had rather you should miss your desired comforts in these things, than that He should miss that delightful fellowship with you which He so desires.(3) How loth should we be to leave this, if constant success and prosperity should follow our affairs and designs here!

3. And as disappointments fall out as the effects of sovereign pleasure, and are ordered as preventive means of such mischief, which prosperity would occasion to the people of God; so it comes as a righteous retribution and punishment of the many evils that are committed in our trading and dealings with men. It is a hard thing to have much business pass through our hands, and no iniquity cleave to them and defile them. And, from among many, I will here select these following evils, which have destroyed the estates and hopes of many.(1) Irreligious and atheistical neglect and contempt of God and His worship, especially in those that have been enlightened and made profession of religion.(2) Injustice and fraud is a blasting sin. A little unjust gain mingled with a great estate will consume it like a moth.(3) Oppression is a blasting sin to men's estates and employments.(4) Falsehood and lying is a blasting sin to our employments; a sin which tends to destroy all converse and disband all civil societies.(5) Perjury, or false swearing, is a blasting sin. The man cannot prosper that lies under the guilt thereof. It now remains that we apply it.Inference 1. Doth God sometimes disappoint the most diligent labours of men in their lawful callings? Then this teacheth you patience and submission under your crosses and disappointments.Consideration 1. And, in the first place, if thou be one that fearest God, consider that disappointments in earthly things fix no mark of God's hatred upon thee. The bee makes a sweeter meal upon two or three flowers, than the ox that hath so many mountains to graze upon.Consideration 2. And what if by these disappointments God be carrying on the great design of His eternal love upon thy soul? This may be the design of these providences; and if so, sure there is no cause for thy despondencies.Consideration 3. Be patient under disappointments; for if you meekly submit and quietly wait upon God, He can quickly repair all that you have lost and restore it by other providences double to you.Consideration 4. And why should it seem so hard and grievous to you for God to disappoint your hopes and purposes, when you cannot but know that you have disappointed His expectations from you so often, and that in greater and better things than these?Inference 2. If it be so, then labour to make sure of things eternal, lest you be eternally disappointed there also.

(J. Flavel.)

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