"Yea, it shall be at an instant suddenly."—Isaiah 29:5.
"The Lord sent out a great wind into the sea."—Jonah 1:4.
About in the
afternoon of Lord's-day, March 24th, the inhabitants of
Just at the moment when landsmen were terrified by the threatening storm,
her Majesty's training ship "Eurydice," which had returned from a
cruise to the
"Toll for the brave!
The brave that are no more!
All sunk beneath the wave,
Fast by their native shore!"
Great is the peril of the ocean, but there are also dangers on the land, and at any moment we also may be summoned to appear before our God. Since this cannot be questioned, let each prudent man foresee the evil and prepare himself for it.
Another lesson which lies upon the surface of this sad event is this—never
feel perfectly safe till you are in port. Many
awakened souls are almost within the haven of peace, and are at this time
rounding the headland of thoughtfulness, with the sails of earnest enquiry all
displayed to the breeze. Their condition is very hopeful, but it is not
satisfactory to those who are anxious about their eternal welfare, nor should
it be satisfactory to themselves. They are 'steering
for the harbour, they enjoy favouring winds, they have all sails set, but still
they have not quite believed in Jesus, nor surrendered themselves to his grace.
We who watch them can see that their ports are open, and we dread lest they
should be overtaken by a sudden temptation and should suddenly be overturned at
the very moment when our hopes are at their best. Is the reader in such case?
Then let us beseech him not to be content till he has found Christ, and so by
faith has anchored in the harbour of "eternal salvation." Do not be
happy, dear friend, till you are moored to the Rock of Ages, under the lee of
the everlasting hills of divine mercy, through the atoning blood. It seems very
wonderful that a ship which had been to sea so many times and had just
completed a long winter's cruise in safety should at last go down just off the
coast in a place where danger seemed out of the question. It is doubly sad that
so many men should be within sight of a shore upon which they must never set
their foot. To perish in mid ocean seems not so hard a lot as to die with the
white cliffs of
A further lesson should be gleaned from the scant wreckage which as yet has floated up from the sunken vessel. Leo us all take warning, and remember that we cannot tell when fierce temptations may assail us.
"Be watchful, be vigilant, danger may be At an hour when all seemeth securest to thee."
As the wind bloweth where it listeth, and we cannot tell whence it cometh, our want of foresight keeps us in constant jeopardy, and should therefore induce unceasing watchfulness. The gale may burst upon us either from the north or from the south, and if we make ready for an easterly breeze we may be assailed from the westward instead. He who has sailed upon the sea never trusts it; he who has been at the mercy of the wind never depends upon it. Beloved believer, you have had a long stretch of fair sailing; let a brother whisper in your ear," Keep a good lookout." Those who are familiar with spiritual navigation know that there is never more likelihood of storm than when the barometer stands at "set fair."
"Whene'er becalmיd I lie,
And storms forbear to toss;
Be thou, dear Lord, still nigh,
Lest I should suffer loss:
Far more the treacherous calm I dread
Than tempests bursting o'er my head."
The danger of a foreseen tempest is comparatively little, for your ship with close-reefed sails, and bare poles, is ready for whatever comes; but the perils of the calm lie in the temptation to security, and the liability that sudden temptation may find us unprepared. "What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch": for if the good captain of the ship had known at what hour the storm would come he would have lowered all his sails, and have weathered the gale. He did all that a brave man could do, but all was little enough, for the huge ship was tossed over and sucked down, and but two remained to tell the tale. Be ye always ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the danger will be upon you.
One other warning let us collect from the wreck while yet it lies beneath
the wave. Always be most afraid of sudden temptation token all sails are
filled with a fair wind. Personal experience teaches some of us that our
gladdest times attract perils to us. The temper of the placid may readily be
ruffled when they have newly come from solitary communion with God: the rude
shock of the world's rough speech tells most upon a mind which has been bathed
in heaven. Even the love of Jesus may lead us in the heat of our spirit to wish
that we could invoke fire from heaven on his foes. Great power in prayer,
unless we guard ourselves well, may be followed by a fit of depression, even as
Elijah fled from Jezebel very soon after his wrestlings upon
Let the self-exalting professor specially beware; but remember, dear
brother, that you may soon become such a character. When your sails are big
with the wind, and you are flying over the waves, clap your hands if you
please, and hope soon to have perfected your voyage; but take care to have all
hands ready for an emergency. Perhaps one of the best things that could happen
to you would be that when you are sailing along so bravely, confident and at
ease, your topsails of pride should be carried away; you would be all the
better for losing such lofty gear. Plenty of ballast must be stowed away, or
our royals may be our ruin. Better have our glory rent to ribbons by the gusts
than for the ship itself to be blown over. Mark this. Are you prospering in
business? Keep your eye on the weather, and expect a change. Is all going well
with your family? Be grateful, but rejoice with trembling. Is every desire
gratified? Thank God, but do not suffer the watch to go below. Are you
progressing in the spiritual life? Doubtless Satan has told you that you are
somebody now, strong in faith, exceedingly earnest, wonderfully busy, and quite
an example to others! Do you not see that the storm-fiend is near you?
"What a wind he can raise! He slew Job's children by a wind which smote
all the four corners of the house, and he reserves those four-cornered
hurricanes for men in high estate as Job was; therefore beware. Brother, reef
sail, for the weather is dirty, and cannot be relied on for five minutes. As
you dread shipwreck, cultivate holy jealousy, maintain godly fear, and evermore
look to him that keepeth
—Bible and the Newspaper, The