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gracious unto us this day, and grant us his blessing? So they besought God in prayer, with greater faith and earnestness than they had for a long time put to this work; and again they got out the king's lifeboats, so light and strong and buoyant, and almost self-propelling, and manned them with the sweeps of prevailing prayer. And they all worked with a will, according to the direction, Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. God's working for us only makes us more earnest and fervent in working for ourselves and others. So, hoping for the breeze, they worked just as diligently as if they feared it never would come, and they would have to work on without it.
Now this was the very essence of a living faith, not presumptuous, but doing all things to the glory of God, in entire submission to his word and will. They were just like the Prophet Elijah at the top of Mount Carmel, looking over the sea, and waiting and praying for the promised wind and rain. So now the rain came, and the wind that brought the water-laden clouds, swooped down upon the sea like a living animating inspiration. About sunset they saw at a distance a dark shadow as it were winging the air with flashing drops, and then rippling the surface of the ocean, though it had been so long time far and wide as smooth as glass, and the ship as stationary. Now they knew their prayers were answered, and the breeze was coming. So the boats were hoisted back upon the deck. And oh with what eagerness they stood and watched the progress of the gale, till the ship began to feel it, and as soon as she caught it what a change! The very ocean seemed glad of it, and the foam kissed the sides of the ship as she danced along, and the sails that before were almost dropping to pieces, now bellied out upon the taut cordage, and all hands were active with a cheerful courage and life, so that it seemed as if she had just started from the harbor.
19 Joel ii. 14.
And indeed it was a most lovely, animating sight, this activity, after such sleep, and gloom, and drooping. The freshness of the wind, before which they now seemed to be flying from death to life; the sparkle and foam of the waves, racing as if they too had a glad intelligence; the splendor of the evening sky, where they seemed about to sail into heaven; the invigorating elasticity suddenly diffused through the air, as if it were a new creation; what a blissful change in all things! Ever
Every sense felt its influence; their heaviness of spirits was all gone, a burden was lifted from the soul, and they were filled with such rejoicing of heart, that they could not help breaking forth spontaneously into a hymn of praise expressive of their feelings. They sung with their whole soul, as birds escaped from prison; it seemed as if they never had known what it was to sing before; and it was with such a deep sense of the presence and goodness of the Saviour, his loving kindness and tender mercy, and their entire dependence upon him, out upon the wide ocean, that nothing could be more suitably melodious.
Jesus, at thy command,
Where sin lulls all asleep.
Thou art my Pilot wise,
While I have such a Lord.
Though rocks and quicksands deep
And guide me with thine eye.
By faith I see the land
And fly to Jesus' breast.
Whene'er becalmed I lie,
And keep me near thy side.
Come, heavenly wind, and blow
To heaven my destined place.
Now when they had finished singing, it chimed eight bells, and the watch was set for the night, and every one on board went with a glad and grateful heart to his duty, and Peter and John resumed, in the quiet of the evening, beneath the stars, the conversation which the ominous sight of the wreck had led them into.
MOURNING OVER SIN AND GAINING GRACE AFTER GRACE.
GOD'S DISCIPLINE FOR THE BRIGHTENING AND PROOF
OF HIS OWN JEWELS. THE SUFFERINGS AND
YET THE BLESSINGS OF THE CRUCIBLE.
-THE DANGER OF
AND CONCEALED CURRENTS.
My brother, said Peter, did you ever know a truly good man who did not daily mourn over his own sins? I am sure the more there is of such sorrow, the more proof there is of God's work. And sometimes afflictions themselves may be given as a reward of such sorrow for sin, and a means of taking the sin more effectually away. The sparing of the rod would spoil God's children. There is a perfection in reserve for them, in the righteousness of Christ. And we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.2 The righteousness of Christ is ours now, to stand upon, and be justified and forgiven on the ground of it; and if we hold fast, it will be ours by and by
i Prov. xiii. 24.
2 Heb. iii. 14.