There go the ships…
JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): This world’s a sea, wherein a num’rous fleet of ships are under sail. Here you shall meet of ev’ry rate and size; frigates, galleons, the nimble ketches, and small pickeroons: some bound to this port; some where winds and weather will drive them, they are bound they know not whither. Some steer away for heaven, some for hell; to which some steer, themselves can hardly tell…The saints are now fluctuating upon a troublesome and tempestuous sea; their hearts sometimes ready to sink, and die within them, at the apprehension of so many and great dangers and difficulties.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Take the case of the sailor. If he regards winds and clouds, will he ever be put to sea? Can you give him a promise that the wind will be favourable in any of his voyages, or that he will reach his desired haven without a tempest? He that observeth the winds and clouds, will not sail; and he that regardeth the clouds will never cross the mighty deep.
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): He said well who was employed to relieve the city of Rome with corn, who, when the master of the ship would have had him stay for fair weather, answered, “It is necessary that we sail, not that we live.”―We must not spread our sails of profession in a calm, and furl them up when the wind riseth…The hypocrite shifts his sails, and puts forth such colours as his policy and worldly interest adviseth. If the coast be clear, and no danger at hand, he will appear religious as any; but no sooner he makes discovery of any hazard it may put him to, but he tacks about, and shapes another course, making no bones of juggling with God and man. He counts that his right road which leads to his temporal safety.
C. H. SPURGEON: Some desire to be Christians, but they harbour some darling lust. We know some who used to feel under the Word, but do not feel now. The voice which once was like a trumpet, now lulls them to sleep. Some have made a compromise; and one day they will serve God and another day they will serve their sins; like the Samaritans who feared the Lord and served other gods.
JOHN FLAVEL: Thy soul is shipwreck’d if thy lusts do stay. A little leak neglected, dangerous proves: one sin connived at, the soul undoes―What such a leak is to a ship, that is the smallest sin neglected to the soul; it is enough to ruin it eternally. For as the greatest sin discovered, lamented, and mourned over by a believer, cannot ruin him; so the least sin indulged, covered, and connived at, will certainly prove the destruction of the sinner. No sin, though never so small, is tolerated by the pure and perfect law of God, The commandment is exceeding broad, Psalm 119:96; not as if it gave men a latitude to walk as they pleased, but broad―extending itself to all our words, thoughts, actions, and affections.
C. H. SPURGEON: What is the harbour for but that storm-tossed barques may there find refuge? What is Christ for but that poor guilty ones like ourselves may come to Him and look and live, and afterwards may have all our needs supplied out of His fulness?
WILLIAM GURNALL: If once pardoned, thou mayest then sail to any port that lies in God’s dominions, and be welcome. All the promises stand open with their rich treasure. Take, poor soul, full lading in of all the precious things they afford, even as much as thy faith can bear, and none shall hinder thee.
JOHN FLAVEL: No sooner is a ship built, launched, rigged, victualled, and manned, but she is presently sent out in to the boisterous ocean, where she is never at rest, but continually fluctuating, tossing, and labouring, until she be either overwhelmed, and wrecked in the sea; or through age, knocks, and bruises, she grows leaky and unserviceable; and so is hauled up, and ript abroad. No sooner come we into the world as men, or as Christians, by a natural or supernatural birth, but thus we are tossed upon a sea of troubles…Neither doth our new birth free us from troubles, though then they be sanctified, sweetened, and turned into blessings to us.
Ships make much way when they a trade-wind get…Although the people of God meet with many seeming rubs and setbacks in their way to heaven, which are like contrary winds to a ship; yet they are from the day of their conversion to the day of their complete salvation, never out a trade-wind’s way to heaven. We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, that are the called according to His purpose, Romans 8:28.
C. H. SPURGEON: Now, beloved fellow-believer, wherever you are, wherever you dwell, God will be to you a constant place of refuge. You shall flee from sin to God in Christ Jesus. You shall flee from an accusing conscience to his pardoning love. You shall flee from daily cares to him who careth for you. You shall flee from the accusations of Satan to the advocacy of Jesus. You shall flee even from yourselves to your Lord, and He will be to you in all senses a place of refuge. This is the happy harbour of all saints in all weathers. Hither come all weather-beaten barques, and cast anchor in placid waters.