Spiritual Sailing Part 4: The Infallible Pilot

Psalm 1:6
      The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous.

 JOSEPH SYMONDS (died 1652): We are not like a ship rigged and fitted and sent out to sea, and so left to shift for itself; but God is our continual pilot.

 C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): I have heard some say, “Well, a sailor in the sunshine knows his reckoning, and can tell where he is, he has no doubt; but if the sun withdraws, he cannot tell his longitude and latitude, and he knows not where he is.” That is not however a fair description of faith. Always wanting the sun is wanting to live by sight; but living by faith is to say, “I cannot tell my longitude and my latitude, but I know the Captain is at the helm, and I will trust him everywhere.”

 J. H. MERLE d’AUBIGNÉ (1794-1872): Like passengers standing upon the bow of a ship in mid-ocean, to us the sea appears a trackless void. But when we stand upon the stern and look back, we view an equally vast ocean already traversed, and close upon us we see a short white wake that curves away in a half-moon arc—the undeniable evidence that our ship has made a turn in the sea, and we know, without doubt, that the Captain is piloting the ship according to His chart, and in his wisdom, and at the proper time, merely adjusting his course to current and wind.

 C. H. SPURGEON: Christian, if thou wouldest know the path of duty take God for thy compass; if thou wouldst know the way to steer thy ship through the dark billows, put the tiller into the hand of the Almighty. Many a rock might be escaped, if we would let God take the helm; many a shoal or quicksand we might well avoid, if we would leave to His sovereign will to choose and to command.

 CLEMENT of Alexandria (150-220): If thou be a seaman, follow thy calling, but call upon the heavenly Steersman.

 WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): When at any time thou art sick of thy work, and ready to think with Jonas to run from it, encourage thyself…Fall to the work God sets thee about, and thou engagest His strength for thee. The way of the Lord is strength, Proverbs 10:29. Run from thy work and thou engageth God’s strength against thee; He will send some some storm or other after thee to bring home His runaway servant.

 JOSEPH SYMONDS: God has devised the best way for your good. His wisdom and goodness have conspired to prepare that way which might be best for you. Therefore, to follow your own counsels and affections rather than His counsel is folly. See all that God has done; look into this visible world; who could have by wisdom framed and ordered everything in that order and beauty as all things now stand by His hand? Yet this is the great foolishness of the world: men think they can order things better for themselves than God has done; and this very principle is the main root of all the strayings of men. But suppose a ship were at sea in the winds among many rocks. Would it be better for the pilot, who is skillful, to steer her, or the passenger who knows not his way?

 HUDSON TAYLOR (1832-1905): The good Lord has hitherto led me blindfold as it were—shown me step by step and not one in advance. His way of getting me out of difficulties has ever proved far better than any I could devise.

 SAMUEL RUTHERFORD (1600-1661): Let not the Lord’s dealings seem harsh, rough, or unfatherly, because it is unpleasant. When the Lord’s blessed will bloweth across your desires, it is best in humility to strike sail to Him and to be willing to be laid any way our Lord pleaseth: it is a point of denial of yourself, to be as if ye had not a will, but had made a free disposition of it to God―and to make use of His will for your own is both true holiness, and your ease and peace. Ye know not what the Lord is working out of this, but ye shall know it hereafter.

 RICHARD CECIL (1748-1810): A Christian must stand in a posture to receive every message which God shall send. He must be so prepared as to be like one who is called to set off on a sudden journey, and has nothing to do but to set out a moment’s notice; or like a merchant who has goods to send abroad, and has them all packed up and in readiness for the first sail.

 ALEXANDER COMRIE (1706-1774): It is not to be wondered at, that the soul should do this, for the advantages are exceeding great; to name them only: Whoso commits his way to God, commits first his person. All things shall work together for good, Romans 8:28. Such shall have large experience of God’s deliverances, Psalm 9. They will be able in all things to live in a great measure of calm. God is at the helm—no danger of suffering shipwreck.

 SAMUEL RUTHERFORD: My shallow and ebb thoughts are not the compass Christ saileth by. I leave His ways to Himself, for they are far, far above me―there are windings, and to’s and fro’s in His ways, which blind bodies like us cannot see.

 JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): But let us not forget that we have an infallible Pilot.


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