Once more, I was impressed greatly on the other side the sea with the wonderful triumphs of the Christian religion. The tide is rising, the tide of moral and spiritual prosperity in the world. I think that any man who keeps his eyes open, traveling in foreign lands, will come to that conclusion. More Bibles than ever before, more churches, more consecrated men and women, more people ready to be martyrs now than ever before, if need be; so that instead of there being, as people sometimes say, less spirit of martyrdom now than ever before, I believe where there was once one martyr there would be a thousand martyrs if the fires were kindled—men ready to go through flood and fire for Christ’s sake. Oh, the signs are promising! The world is on the way to millennial brightness. All art, all invention, all literature, all commerce will be the Lord’s.
These ships that you see going up and down New York harbor are to be brought into the service of God. All those ships I saw at Liverpool, at Southampton, at Glasgow, are to be brought into the service of Christ. What is that passage, “Ships of Tarshish shall bring presents”? That is what it means. Oh, what a goodly fleet when the vessels of the sea come into the service of God! No guns frowning through the port-holes, no pikes hung in the gangway, nothing from cut-water to taffrail to suggest atrocity. Those ships will come from all parts of the seas. Great flocks of ships that never met on the high sea but in wrath, will cry, “Ship ahoy!” and drop down beside each other in calmness, the flags of Emmanuel streaming from the top-gallants. The old slaver, with decks scrubbed and washed and glistened and burnished—the old slaver will wheel into line; and the Chinese junk and the Venetian gondola, and the miners’ and the pirates’ corvette, will fall into line, equipped, readorned, beautified, only the small craft of this grand flotilla which shall float out for the truth—a flotilla mightier than the armada of Xerxes moving in the pomp and pride of Persian insolence; mightier than the Carthaginian navy rushing with forty thousand oarsmen upon the Roman galleys, the life of nations dashed out against the gunwales.
Rise, O sea! and shine, O heavens! to greet this squadron of light and victory! On the glistening decks are the feet of them that bring good tidings, and songs of heaven float among the rigging. Crowd on all the canvas. Line-of-battle ship and merchantmen wheel into the way. It is noon. Strike eight bells. From all the squadron the sailors’ songs arise. “Surely the isles shall wait for thee, and the ships of Tarshish to bring thy sons from afar, their silver and their gold with them, to the name of the Lord thy God, and the Holy One of Israel.”
“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found.”—Isa. lv: 6.