Let us all thank God for this Sabbath which has come to us on the sea. How beautifully it bridges the Atlantic! It hovers above every barque and brig and steamer, it speaks of a Jesus risen, a grave conquered, a heaven open. It is the same old Sabbath that blessed our early days. It is tropical in its luxuriance, but all its leaves are prayers, and all its blossoms praise. Sabbath on the sea! How solemn! How suggestive! Let all its hours, on deck, in cabin, in forecastle, be sacred.
Some of the old tunes that these sailors heard in boyhood times would sound well to-day floating among the rigging. Try “Jesus, lover of my soul,” or “Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,” or “There is a fountain filled with blood.” As soon as they try those old hymns, the memory of loved ones would come back again, and the familiar group of their childhood would gather, and father would be there, and mother who gave them such good advice when they came to sea, and sisters and brothers long since scattered and gone.
Some of you have been pursued by benedictions for many years. I care not how many knots an hour you may glide along, the prayers once offered up for your welfare still keep up with you. I care not on what shore you land, those benedictions stand there to greet you. They will capture you yet for heaven. The prodigal after a while gets tired of the swine-herd and starts for home, and the father comes out to greet him, and the old homestead rings with clapping cymbals, and quick feet, and the clatter of a banquet. If the God of thy childhood days should accost thee with forgiving mercy, this ship would be a Bethel, and your hammock to-night would be the foot of the ladder down which the angels of God’s love would come trooping.
Now, may the blessing of God come down upon officers and crew and passengers! Whatever our partings, our losses, our mistakes, our disasters in life, let none of us miss heaven. On that shore may we land amid the welcome of those who have gone before. They have long been waiting our arrival, and are now ready to conduct us to the foot of the throne. Look, all ye voyagers for eternity! Land ahead! Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
What Paul said to the crew and passengers on the corn-ship of the Mediterranean is appropriate here: “Now I exhort you to be of good cheer!” God fit us for the day when the archangel, with one foot on the sea and the other on the land, shall swear by Him that liveth for ever and ever that time shall be no longer!
Your attention is called to a Bible incident that you may not have noticed. Jehoshaphat was unfortunate with his shipping. He was about to start another vessel. The wicked men of Ahaziah wanted to go aboard that vessel as sailors. Jehoshaphat refused to allow them to go, for the reason that he did not want his own men to mingle with those vicious people.