« PreviousContinue »
neighborhood, which was under the charge of two men greatly honored by the King, whose names were Humility and Self-Distrust, for they had found before-time a defect in the ship's sailing, and a consequent danger, in case of any sudden squalls, by reason of her great lightness; a thing of much importance to be guarded against; besides, that they could not, without proper ballast of this kind, turn the vessel advantageously to the wind.
Furthermore, by advice of the authorities of the place under charge from the King, because a part of the seas they would have to pass through were infested with pirates, they put on board out of the King's Armory five great guns, called by five inscriptions engraven upon them, as follows:-RESIST THE
FROM You."1_ Who SHALL LAY ANYTHING TO THE CHARGE OF GOD'S ELECT? 12—WHO SHALL SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF CHRIST ? 13_WHO IS HE
CONDEMNETH ? 11_And, IF GOD BE FOR US, WHO BHALL BE AGAINST US ? 15_-They had also a great mortar, called Promise, with bombs and ammunition, and a fire engine called GRACE TO HELP IN TIME OF NEED. 16
And besides all this, an epitome, or omnium gatherum of all the promises, in the words of Paul, so wonderful, He that spared not his own Son, but freely
DEVIL AND HE WILL
11 James iv. 7.
12 Rom. viii. 33.
13 Rom. viii. 35.
gave him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things ? 1
Two of the best boats ever builded in the Harbor were also presented to them, with oars for sweeps made out of a strong elastic wood called Prevailing Prayer, which grew in great abundance in the King's forests, and was the best stuff that ever could be used for such purposes.
These oars were for use in very long calms, as well as in the neighborhood of dangerous reefs, when they might be compelled to take to the boats; and they could neither be broken nor lost, for they were linked to the very keel of the boats by stanchions of iron, that could not be drawn out, and so the boats themselves were the King's life-boats.
17 Rom. viii. 32.
A DEAD CALM. -THE FLOATING WRECK OF A SHIP, CALLED
SINLESS PERFECTION.—THE VILLAIN PRIDE. —GOD's
METHOD WITH GOLD IN THE CRUCIBLE.
Now the people of the place would gladly have had them prolong their stay in the Harbor, but * seeing they were determined to sail, they bade them God speed. Then the grave elders of the place gave them some parting instructions as to divers uncertain winds of doctrine, that they might know how to meet them, and not be tossed to and fro by them. They warned them also concerning faith and a good conscience, and told them of some who, having put away the good conscience, concerning faith had made shipwreck.And they said to them, The good things committed to you keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. So the wind being fair, they set sail, and the last thing said to them was this, namely, In everything by prayer and supplication | Eph. iv. 14. 2 1 Tim. i. 19.
3 2 Tim. i. 14.
with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. It was a sweet benediction, and the sound of it seemed to whisper in the wind long after the Harbor and the Bay were lost sight of.
And in truth the experience of this blessing came upon them; for heaven and the sea seemed one harmonious scene of loveliness and peace, and for many days they sailed with sweet content before the breeze that God sent them. The air was clear and invigorating by day, and by night the new moon and the stars shone brightly, till it seemed as if the weather had got such a habit of serenity and beauty that it could not change. So they began to relax a little in their diligence, and the discipline on board ship grew somewhat careless. But they were soon made to see that even with every other thing just as favorable as ever, they might perish, if the Lord should but a little while withhold his Spirit. For the wind, that had been so favorable, died gradually away, till at length it was a perfect dead calm.
And now the sails flapped idly against the masts, and the helm swayed from side to side with the roll of the ship, without any onward motion, and now and then the whole canvas would come thrashing and thundering with a lazy thwack against the yards and spars, as if it had no other object or use, but just to wear itself out by flapping. The crew hung idly about, endeavoring at intervals to make work where nothing seemed necessary to be done, picking the shreds of old rope into oakum, burnishing the guns, leaning over the sides of the ship, and gazing down into the silent waters. Once or twice they got a sail overboard to bathe, but the sharks' fins appeared so clearly in the neighborhood, that they did not dare enjoy themselves, even with that expedient.
4 Phil. iv. 6, 7.
Their souls at length melted for heaviness, and such a weight and stupor seemed to pervade the air, that a lassitude of body and spirit came over them, which made it a weariness to move. And still the calm continued so long, that it seemed as if they were fastened there for ever. The sun looked down at noon, exceeding hot, for they were now in warm latitudes, and the sea was a great mirror, reflecting the heat and light, and yet they could not stir. Peter and John walked the deck and whistled, and now and then gazed long and steadfastly at the horizon, but it would not do. The boats were got out, and manned with sweeps, but it was useless. All they could do was to cast themselves on God, and groan over their condition.
Now and then a puff of wind started them a little,