Spiritual Sailing Part 13: Sailing in Convoy

Ecclesiastes 4:9,10
      Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up the other: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another help him up.

 C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): In the old war time, when the captains of merchant vessels wanted to go to foreign countries, and they were afraid of being captured by the privateers of other nations, they generally went in company under the convoy of a man-of-war to protect them, and that is the way you and I must go to heaven. Satan’s privateers will try to capture us, but we commit ourselves to the protection of Jesus, the Lord High Admiral of all the seas, and we poor little vessels sail safely under His convoy. When any enemy seeks to attack us, we need not be afraid; He can blow them all out of the water if He pleased, but He will never suffer them to injure a solitary vessel that is entrusted to His charge.

 WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): There is nothing―next to Christ and heaven―that the devil grudges believers more than their peace and mutual love: if he cannot rend them from Christ, and stop them from getting to heaven, yet he takes some pleasure to see them go thither in a storm, like a shattered fleet severed from one another, that they may have no assistance from, nor comfort of each other’s company all the way. One ship is easier taken than a squadron.

 GEORGE SWINNOCK (1627-1673): Satan watches for those vessels which sail without a convoy.

JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): We cannot be ignorant how much Satan hath gained, and Christ’s interest hath sensibly lost, by those unhappy divisions and alienations amongst brethren, and fellow-labourers in the work of the Lord. Christ hath shed down variety of glorious ascension-gifts upon them, which are not capable of a full improvement, but in union and conjunction with each other. Gifts are improved in us by prayer and study, but the benefits of those gifts are shared among us by love and unity. Love and union bring every man’s gifts and graces into the common bank, and instead of monopolies, they drive a free and open trade, to the great enriching of the church.

 WILLIAM GURNALL: God hath a design in suffering Satan to trounce some of His saints by temptation, to train them up in a fitness to succour their fellow-brethren in the like condition. He sends them hither to school—where they are under Satan’s ferula and lash—that his cruel hand over them may make them study the Word and their own hearts, by which they get experience of Satan’s policies, till at last they commence masters in this art of comforting tempted souls. It is an art by itself, to speak a word in season to the weary soul. It is not serving out an apprenticeship to human arts [that] will furnish a man for this. Great doctors have proved very dunces here, knowing no more how to handle a wounded conscience than a rustic the surgeon’s instrument in dissecting the body when an anatomy lecture is to be read. It is not the knowledge of the Scripture—though a man were as well acquainted with it, as the apothecary with his pots and glasses in his shop, and able to go directly to any promise on a sudden—[that] will suffice. No, not grace itself, except exercised with these buffetings and soul conflicts. Christ Himself we find trained up at this school.

 SAMUEL RUTHERFORD (1600-1661): Satan is only God’s master fencer to teach us to use our weapons.

 JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Lies are Satan’s chief weapons against God’s saints.

 JOHN FLAVEL: In the fellowship of saints’ assemblies are many joys and many comforts. It is not, however, a bed of roses; for it is in the intercourse of that fellowship that the infirmities and faults of believers especially appear. In the Church’s best state there was always the flesh to be subdued, and Satan resisted. Hence forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, even also do ye, Colossians 3:13.

 J. W. ALEXANDER (1804-1859): Those with whom we hope to spend eternity in heaven are such as we should seek out here. Those who are worthy of Christ’s fellowship, are worthy of ours.

 C. H. SPURGEON: I have heard of some who keep back because the church is not perfect. And you are very perfect I dare say! Why, if the church were perfect we should not endure you in it, my captious friend. I have no doubt whatever that you will find the church quite as perfect as you are. There are others who keep aloof from the people of God because they feel they are not perfect themselves. My dear friend, if you were perfect we should not want you, because you would be the only perfect member among us.

 A. W. PINK (1886-1952): We have lived long enough and travelled sufficiently, to discover that no one church, company, or man, has all the truth, and as we grow older we have less patience with those who demand that others must adopt their interpretation of Scripture on all points.

 J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Keep the walls of separation as low as possible, and shake hands over them as often as you can. But do not dream that you will ever the get the walls down. It is too late.

 C. H. SPURGEON: Dear friend, I congratulate you. We will sail together, as God shall help us, under the convoy of our Lord Jesus, who is the Lord High Admiral of the sea of life. We will keep with His squadron till we cast anchor in the glassy sea.


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