Master, Carest thou not that we perish?
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith! Matthew 8:26. You see the leak at which the water came in to sink their spirits: they had “little faith.”
JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): The smallest leak, if not timely discovered and stopped, is enough to sink a ship of the greatest burden. Therefore seamen are wont to frequently try what water is in the hold; and if they find it fresh, and increasing upon them, they ply the pump, and presently set the carpenters to search for it and stop it; and till it be found they cannot be quiet. What such a leak is to a ship, that is the smallest sin neglected to the soul; it is enough to ruin it eternally.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): We are also reminded that we are slow of heart to believe, and that faith is no easy thing. They who think otherwise, evince that they have never yet seriously made the trial. There is not a Christian upon earth but in the attempt has often cried out with tears, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” Even the apostles, who had been so long with Him and had seen His glory, said unto the Lord, “Increase our faith.” These disciples had already believed, or they would not have left all to follow Him; but it seems they did not believe sufficiently. Faith therefore admits of degrees. Accordingly we read of “little faith,” and of “great faith;” of those that are “weak in the faith,” and of those that are “strong in faith.”
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): A little faith is a faith which does not lay hold of all the promises of God…Peter talked about the “exceeding great and precious promises.” It is amazing and astounding. There is no aspect of life that is not covered by these extraordinary promises of God…Little faith, if you like, can also be described as a failure to take scriptural statements at their face value and to believe them utterly.
JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): Little faith, limiting God, is derogatory to God; but strong faith that dares to hazard on God, especially in a strait, argues much estimation of God, and gives much honour to God.
MARY WINSLOW (1774-1854): Little faith will bring the soul to heaven; great faith will bring heaven into the soul.
WILLIAM GURNALL: It is not what God is in Himself, but what our apprehensions at present are of God, that pacifies and comforts a soul in great straits…David was famous for his hope, and not less eminent for his care to observe and preserve the experiences he had had of God’s goodness. He was able to recount the dealings of God with him; they were so often the subject of his meditation and matter of his discourse, that he had made them familiar to him. When his hope is at a loss, he doth but exercise his memory a little, and he recovers himself presently, and chides himself for his weakness. I said, this is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High, Psalm 77:11.
WILLIAM JAY: And like David, we should draw confidence from reflection. We have not only His promise to encourage us, but our experience.
JOHN FLAVEL: O ’tis no small advantage to a soul in a new distress, to be able to say, “This is not the first time I have been in these deeps, and yet emerged out of them.” Hence it was, that Christ rub’d up His disciples memories with what Providence had formerly wrought for them in a day of straits, Matthew 16:8-11: O ye of little faith, why reason ye among your selves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember?―“Were ye never under any strait for bread before now? Is this first difficulty that ever your Faith combated? No, no, you have had straits, and experienced the power and care of God in supplying them before now; and therefore I cannot but call you men of little faith; for a very ordinary and small measure of Faith, assisted with so much experience as you have had, would enable you to trust God.” There is as much difference betwixt believing before, and after experience, as betwixt swimming with bladders, and our first venture into the deep waters without them…Unbelief objects against the will of God, and questions, whether He will now be gracious, though He hath formerly been so. But after so many experiences of His readiness to help, what room for doubting remains? Thus Paul reasoned from the experience of what He had done, to what He could do, II Corinthians 1:10.
WILLIAM JAY: He who has delivered, will deliver, II Corinthians 1:10.
WILLIAM GURNALL: Weak faith will as surely land the Christian in heaven as strong faith; but the weak, doubting Christian is not likely to have so pleasant a voyage thither as another with strong faith. Though all in the ship come safe to shore, yet he that is all the way seasick hath not so comfortable a voyage as he that is strong and healthful.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): What sails are to a ship, that faith is to all holy duties and services. Have faith, and all other graces will follow and continue to hold their course.
WILLIAM SECKER (d. 1681): When the wind of faith ceases to fill the sails, the ship of obedience ceases to plough the seas.