Spiritual Sailing Part 11: Safe Harbours

Proverbs 21:31
      The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.

 WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): Life to the Christian is a warfare, all the way. He is safe, but his safety is not the peace of home; it is the protection of a strong tower in the presence of enemies. The children of the kingdom are safe though weak; not because none seek their hurt, but because greater is He that is for them than all that are against them. This is the condition of all who have turned to the Lord, and have not yet entered into [their heavenly] rest. They are out of the kingdom of darkness, but have not reached the presence of God. In all this middle region they are safe, but their safety cometh from the Lord.

 JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): And that men―especially seamen―may be convinced of this, God hath many times cause those stately and strong-built ships to perish, and be dashed all to pieces, and preserved those that were not safe in them, upon a plank or broken piece of the ship, Acts 27:44. And will you not yet see that means signify nothing without God? I am persuaded there would not be half so many shipwrecks and disappointments as there are, if your carnal confidence in the means were less, and your reliance upon the Lord more. Therefore it is that you so often receive the sentence of death in yourselves, that you may learn not to trust in yourselves, but in God.

 WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): We see, therefore, of what importance it is to strengthen our faith on the care and providence of God, for our provision and protection, which is the cause why God hath made such abundant provision to shut all doubting and fear of this out of the hearts of his people. The promises are so fitly placed, that as safe harbours, upon what coast soever we are sailing—whatsoever condition we are in—if any storm arise at sea, or enemy chase us, we may put into some one or other of them, and be safe.

 JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): When God promises that He will be propitious to us, He gives us a sufficient reason for joy. We ought then to be satisfied with the plain word of God when He declares that He will be a Father to us, and when He promises that our salvation will be the object of His care…For it is certain that faith cannot stand, unless it be founded on the promises of God.

 TIMOTHY CRUSO (1657-1697): Though providences run cross, though they move backwards and forwards, you have a sure and faithful word to rely upon. Promises, though they be for a time seemingly delayed, cannot be finally frustrated. Dare not to harbour such a thought within yourselves as Psalm 77:8: Doth his promise fail for evermore? The Being of God may as well fail as the promise of God.

 THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): God is to be trusted when His providences seem to run contrary to His promises…The Lord does oftentimes, by cross providence, bring to pass His promise. God promised Paul the lives of all that were with Him in the ship; but now the providence of God seems to run quite contrary to His promise. The winds blow, the ship splits and breaks into pieces; and thus God fulfilled His promise. Upon the broken pieces of the ship, they all come safe to shore. Trust God when providences seem to run quite contrary to promises.

 THOMAS WILCOX (1622-1687): Judge not Christ’s love by providences, but by promises.

 HULDREICH ZWINGLI (1484-1531): He has promised that if we pray He will hear us: and that which He has promised He will surely perform.

 C. H. SPURGEON: When the storm winds are out, the Lord’s vessels put about and make for their well remembered harbour of refuge. What a mercy that the Lord will condescend to hear our cries in time of trouble, although we may have almost forgotten him in our hours of fancied prosperity…As the ships when vexed with tempest make for harbour, so do the oppressed hasten to the wings of a just and gracious God―he flies to prayer in all times of need, as a pilot speeds to the harbour in the stress of tempest.

 EDMUND CALAMY (1600-1666): The promises are the wings of prayer.

 STEPHEN CHARNOCK (1628-1680): Prayer is nothing else but a pleading of God’s promises.

 C. H. SPURGEON: There are some promises in the Bible which I have never yet used; but I am well assured that there will come times of trial and trouble when I shall find that that poor despised promise, which I thought was never meant for me, will be the only one on which I can float.

 THOMAS GOODWIN (1600-1679): Those ships that have been in long voyages at sea, three or four years out, have gone through hot climates and cold, passed the equinoctial line again and again, and have run through many a difficulty, and great storms, and yet have been kept alive at sea, as they speak, when these shall meet one another at sea near the haven, how will they congratulate [each other]? And old disciples should do so―that God hath kept grace alive in their souls…O bless God you are so near the haven, and lift up your hearts, your redemption draws near; and, withal, raise your confidence, that that God of grace, who hath called you into His eternal glory, will keep you for it, and possess you of it shortly.


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