Which stills the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.
I. THE BODY OF THE PEOPLE, LIKE THE BODY OF WATERS, IS NEVER ABSOLUTELY AT REST; AND WHEN IT IS MOST SO, IT IS ALWAYS DISPOSED TO BECOME OTHERWISE.
1. Dissatisfactions with measures of government are most easily conceived; and, when they begin to operate, are extremely productive of those murmurs and rumours amongst the people, which are the forerunners of troubles, and sure signs of approaching tempests in the State.
2. They are further subject to be moved either by affluent, or by desperate, circumstances in their private fortunes. It should seem strange that two so directly opposite causes should concur in producing the same bad effect; but so it does happen, that the very prosperity of those who mistake the use of it, instead of begetting in their minds that content and thankfulness which one should expect as its most natural consequence, is apt to excite in them those turbulent and unruly passions, from whence wars arise.
3. It must be confessed with regret, since it cannot be denied with truth, that the sacred name of religion, which one might have hoped would have contributed to allay these troubles, has but too frequently conspired to foment them.
4. The discontents which arise from these different causes are excellent instruments in the hands of factious and ambitious men, who, under the profession of seeking public interest, are better able to promote, while they conceal, their own.
5. A very superficial view of human nature may serve to convince us, that any one passion adds wings to a man in the progress he makes towards accomplishing his end. It is natural, therefore, to suppose, that when all these different and even contradictory impulses to action, like so many boisterous and contrary winds, have raised the ferment in a people, it must be "like the troubled sea when it cannot rest."
II. AND THIS MIGHT HAVE BEEN, MUST INEVITABLY HAVE BEEN, OUR CASE; IF THE ALMIGHTY, WHO ALONE CAN GOVERN "THE RAGE OF THE SEA, AND THE MADNESS OF THE PEOPLE," HAD NOT PROVIDENTIALLY PRESCRIBED THE SAME RULE TO ONE, WHICH HE HAS, NATURALLY, PRESCRIBED TO THE OTHER. "Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed."
1. Let us learn to distinguish, as much as we can, between our own preservation and the destruction of our enemies; and though we cannot ever be sufficiently thankful for one, let us not show an unmanly triumph in rejoicing over the other.
2. Since, by the good providence of God, we are now entirely free from the danger, let us not be weak enough to imagine that we never were in any.
3. As we now commemorate a day which "the Lord hath," undoubtedly, "made, we ought," indisputably, "to rejoice and be glad in it"; but let not that gladness be shown in a giddy round of mirth and wantonness, in successive scenes of intemperance and excess and riot; but in a sober and modest complacency, in the consciousness of having had God for our protector; in contemplating His adorable power; in addressing our thanks to Him for His unmerited goodness, and in supplicating the continuance of His protection to us.
4. Let not our gratitude end with the day; let it live as long as we have hearts to conceive, and breath to express it.
(T. Ashton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.