He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then they are glad, because they be quiet: so he bringeth them to their desired haven.
JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): What joy is there among seamen, when at last, after a tedious and dangerous voyage, they descry land, and see the desired haven before them? Then they turn out of their loathed cabins, and come up on open deck with much joy…But O! what a transcendent joy, yea, ravishing, will over-run the hearts of saints, when, after so many conflicts, temptations, and afflictions, they arrive in glory, and are harboured in heaven, where they shall rest forever―And how can it be otherwise, when as soon as ever they set upon that glorious shore, Christ Himself meets and receives them a “Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you,” Matthew 25:34.
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): This torments the very soul of the devil―to see the Christian under sail for heaven, filled with the sweet hope of his joyful entertainment when he comes there; and therefore he raiseth what storms he can, either to hinder his arrival in that blessed port—which he most desires, and doth not wholly despair of—or, at least to make it a troublesome winter voyage, such as Paul’s was, in which they suffered so much loss. And this indeed very often he obtains in such a degree, that by his violent impetuous temptations, beating long upon the Christian, he makes him throw over much precious lading of his joys and comforts.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): You know, going into heaven will be like the ships going into harbour. There will be some tugged in almost by miracle―“saved so as by fire;” others will be going in just with a sheet or two of canvas—they will “scarcely be saved!”
JOHN FLAVEL: The seaman’s greatest danger’s near the coast; when we are nearest heav’n, the danger’s most. Though seamen meet with violent storms, yet if they have sea-room enough, they are not much dismayed; but if they find themselves near the shore, they look upon their condition as very dangerous…The greatest straits and difficulties that many saints meet with in all their lives, is when they have almost finished their course―[they] do arrive at last, yet come to heaven (as I may say) by the gates of hell; and put in, as a poor weather-beaten vessel comes into the harbour, more like a wreck than a ship, neither mast nor sail left…Till thou arrive in heav’n, watch, and fear; thou may’st not say, till then―the coast is clear.
C. H. SPURGEON: John Knox on his deathbed was attacked with self-righteousness.
THOMAS McCRIE (1797-1875): The last night of his life on earth, [John Knox] slept some hours together, during which he uttered many deep and heavy moans. Being asked why he moaned so deeply, he replied, “I have during my life sustained many assaults of Satan; but at present he has assaulted me most fearfully, and put forth all his strength to make an end of me at once. The cunning Serpent has laboured to persuade me, that I have merited heaven and eternal blessedness by the faithful discharge of my ministry. But blessed be God, who has enabled me to quench this fiery dart, by suggesting to me such passages as these: What hast thou that thou hast not received? and, By the grace of God I am what I am.”
THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): It was Theodore Beza’s prayer, and let it be ours, “Lord, perfect what thou hast begun in me, that I may not suffer shipwreck when I am almost at the haven.”
C. H. SPURGEON: But there will be some who will go in with all their canvas up, and unto these “an abundant entrance shall be ministered into the kingdom of their God and Saviour.”
RICHARD CECIL (1748-1810): I shall never forget standing by the bedside of my dying mother. “Are you afraid to die?” I asked. “No!” she replied. “But why does the uncertainty of another state give you no concern?” “Because” she said, “God has said, Fear not; when thou passeth through the waters I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.”
WILLIAM GURNALL: Let thy hope of heaven master thy fear of death. Why shouldst thou be afraid to die, who hopest to live by dying? Is the pilot troubled when he sees his harbour? Death is all this to thee. Thy voyage, how troublesome soever it was in the sailing, is now happily finished, and death doth but this friendly office for thee, to uncover and open the ark of thy body, that it may safely land thy soul on the shore of eternity at thy heavenly Father’s door—yea, in His sweet embraces, never to be put to sea more.
SAMUEL RUTHERFORD (1600-1661): Death is Christ’s ferry-boat to carry the Christian home, for in Christ he sets his foot on death’s neck.
JOHN FLAVEL: Never did death meet its overmatch before it met with Christ, and He conquering it for us, and in our names, rising as our representative, now every single saint triumphs over it as a vanquished enemy. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? Thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, I Corinthians 15:55. Thus, like Joshua, they set the foot of faith upon the neck of that king, and, with an holy scorn, deride its power.
EDWARD TAYLOR (1793-1871): And where are you going? Aloft. Aloft! That’s where you are going, with a fair wind, all taut and trim, steering direct for heaven in its glory, where there are no storms or foul weather, and where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest. That’s where you are going to, my friends. That’s it. That’s the place. That’s the port. That’s the haven. It’s a blessed harbour―still water there, in all changes of the winds and tides; no driving ashore upon the rocks, or slipping your cables and running out to sea there. Peace, peace, peace, all peace!―Hark! don’t you hear the bells of heaven over the sea?
BETSY RITCHIE (1752-1835): With all the remaining strength he had, [John Wesley] cried out, “The best of all is, God is with us,” and then, as if to assert the faithfulness of our promise-keeping Jehovah, and comfort the hearts of his weeping friends, [he lifted] up his dying arm in a token of victory, and raising his feeble voice with a holy triumph again repeated the heart reviving words, “The best of all is, God is with us!”―And the last word he was heard to articulate was, “Farewell!”
DUTCH PSALTER 170: In all earth’s habitations, on all the boundless sea,
(Psalm 65) Man finds no sure reliance, no peace, apart from Thee.
REVELATION 21:1: And I saw a new heaven, and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.