The way of a ship in the midst of the sea.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): The other day I was at Deptford, and saw a ship launched: she slipped easily into the water; the people on board shouted; the ship looked clean―she was fresh painted, and her colours flying. But I looked at her with a sort of pity: “Poor ship,” I thought, “you are now in port and in safety; but ere long you must go to sea. Who can tell what storms you may meet with hereafter, and to what hazards you may be exposed; how weather-beaten you may be before you return to port again.”
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The sail is spread; the soul is launched upon the deep. How long will be its voyage? How many wearying winds must beat upon the sail ere it shall be reefed in the port of peace? How long shall that soul be tossed upon the waves before it comes to that sea which knows no storm?…
Ah! what were we, men and brethren, if we were left to chance! We should be like poor mariners, put out to sea in an unsafe vessel, without a chart and without a helm; we should know nothing of the port to which we might ultimately come; we should only feel that we were now the sport of the winds, the captives of the tempest, and might soon be the victims of the all-devouring deep. The Bible must be your chart, and you must exercise great watchfulness that your way may be according to its directions.
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): The Christian that would not be continually running aground in his spiritual voyage, must have his channel well buoyed, his mind well stored with clear definitions.
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The Word supplies us with an unerring chart by which to steer through the dangerous sea of life. If we sincerely and diligently follow, it will deliver us from disastrous rocks and submerged reefs―and direct us safely to the heavenly harbour. That Word has all the instructions we need for every problem, and every trouble we may be called upon to face.
THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): The Scripture is the standard of truth, the judge of controversies; it is the pole-star to direct us to heaven, Isaiah 8:20. The commandment is a lamp, Proverbs 6:23. It is the compass by which the rudder of will is to be steered―it shows us what rocks we are to avoid; it is the map by which we sail to the new Jerusalem.
C. H. SPURGEON: But let a man question, or entertain low views of the inspiration and authority of the Bible, and he is without a chart to guide him, and without an anchor to hold him.
A. W. PINK: It is to be the traveller’s guide as he journeys through the maze of this world, the mariner’s chart as he sails the sea of life. Therefore, whenever we open the Bible, the all-important consideration for each of us to keep before him is, What is there here for me today? What bearing does the passage now before me have upon my present case and circumstances—what warning, what encouragement, what information? What instruction is there to direct me in the management of my business, to guide me in the ordering of my domestic and social affairs, to promote a closer walking with God?
R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): A careless reader of the Scriptures never made a close walker with God.
A. W. PINK: The Scriptures are not given us, primarily, for our intellectual gratification, nor for emotional admiration, but for life’s regulation. Nor are the precepts and commands, the warnings and encouragements contained therein, simply for our information. They are to be reduced to practice, they require unqualified obedience. He who treasures the divine precepts in his heart, and diligently seeks to walk by their rule, will escape those evils which destroy his fellows. Thus the great business of the Christian is to regulate his life by, and conform his conduct―to the precepts of the written Word, and the example left us by the Incarnate Word.
C. H. SPURGEON: Voyaging in that fashion, we shall be safe indeed. But to try to cross such a sea, without rudder, or chart, or compass—this is a venture—some piece of sailing which we had better not undertake…
We may say of THE BIBLE: “He cannot miss of endless bliss, that takes this chart to steer by.” Ah, my dear friend! if you start on the voyage of life, by divine grace, with the resolve that you will follow the track marked down on the chart by the Lord your God, you will find that you have chosen a course to which the Lord’s hand alone can keep you true. The current does not run that way. Before long you will find that the wind is dead against you, and the course to be followed is hard to keep. What will you do then if you have not faith? When duty is contrary to your temperament, what will you do without faith? When it involves loss of money, or ease, or honor, what will you do then if you have no faith? If you believe that God is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek him, you will persevere; but not else.
JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): The Lord Jesus Himself be your steersman and pilot, that you by His skilful conduct may [make] the port, and hold off these rocks, on which thousands of souls split, and make shipwreck.