And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven.
And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.
And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them.
So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.
And they that had eaten were about four thousand. – Mark 8:5-9

*   *   *

Matthew 15:38 adds to this story, “And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.” In Matthew 16:9-10, Jesus mentions both “five loaves of the five thousand” and “the seven loaves of the four thousand,” which is confusing until looking at Luke 9:14-17: “For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company. And they did so, and made them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude. And they did eat, and were filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.”

*   *   *

And in Verses 31, 32. Christ saith, The Kingdom of Heaven is like to a Grain of Mustard-seed, which a Man took and sowed in his Field; which indeed is the least of all Seeds; but when ’tis grown, ‘is the greatest among Herbs, &c. ‘Tis truly so indeed, the Seed, or Grace of God, is small in its first Appearance, even as the Morning Light; but as it is given Heed to, and obeyed, it will encrease in Brightness, till it shine in the Soul, like the Sun in the Firmament at its Noon-day Height. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

 

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