During one of my recent journeys I was led to consider the spiritual condition
of the multitudes around me, people living regardless of their eternal
welfare and in the most open and shameless rebellion against God. I thought
of the millions of people around me given up to drunkenness and pleasure,
business and anxieties, to politics and troubles, and to thousands of
other things. Ignorant of their eternal jeopardy—willfully ignorant,
in many cases—they were continuing on in their blasphemies and devilries.
While pondering this, I had a vision.
I saw a dark and stormy ocean. Over it the black clouds hung heavily,
though every now and then vivid lightning flashed and loud thunders rolled.
While the winds moaned, the waves rose and foamed. In that ocean I saw
myriads of poor human beings plunging and floating, shouting and shrieking,
cursing and struggling and every one of them drowning. As they cursed
and shrieked, they rose and shrieked again, and then sank to rise no more.
Out of this dark, angry ocean I saw a mighty rock that rose up with its
summit towering high above the black clouds that over-hung the stormy
sea. All around the base of this rock I saw a vast platform, and with
delight I saw a number of the poor, struggling, drowning wretches continually
climbing out of the angry ocean onto this platform. I saw that a number
of those who were already safe on the platform were helping the poor creatures
still in the angry waters to reach the same place of safety.
On looking more closely, I found a number of those who had been rescued
using ladders, ropes and boats to deliver the poor strugglers out of this
sea. There were some who actually jumped into the water, regardless of
all consequences, in their eagerness to rescue the perishing. I hardly
know which caused me the most joy—the sight of the poor people climbing
onto the rock and reaching the place of safety or the devotion and self-sacrifice
of those whose whole being was wrapped up in efforts for the deliverance
of their comrades.
What puzzled me, however, was that although everyone on the rock had been
rescued at one time or another from the ocean, nearly everyone seemed
to have forgotten its terror, and the memory of its darkness and danger
no longer troubled them. What was equally strange and perplexing to me
was that these people did not seem to have any concern for the poor perishing
ones who were still struggling and drowning before their eyes, many of
whom were their own family members. This unconcern could not have been
the result of ignorance, because they lived right in sight of it all,
and regularly attended lectures in which the awful state of the poor drowning
creatures was described.
The occupants of this platform were engaged in various pursuits. Some
of them were absorbed night and day in their business, storing up their
savings in banks and safes. Many spent their time amusing themselves with
growing flowers on the side of the rock, painting, playing music, or dressing
themselves up in hopes of being admired.
There were those on the platform who occupied themselves chiefly in eating
and drinking. Others spent their time arguing about the poor drowning
creatures in the sea, discussing what would become of them in the future,
while many contented themselves that they did their duty to the perishing
creatures by the performance of curious religious ceremonies.
Some of the crowd who had reached the place of safety had discovered a
passage leading up the rock to a higher platform which was fairly high
above the black clouds that overhung the ocean. From there they had a
good view of the mainland where they expected to be taken on some distant
day. On this higher platform they passed their time in pleasant thoughts,
congratulating themselves on their good fortune in being rescued from
the stormy deep, and singing songs about the happiness that would be theirs
when they were taken to the mainland. All the while the struggling, shrieking
multitudes were drowning in the dark, angry water in full view of those
who were content to sit and wait for the day when they would leave the
Oh how I wished there had been a multitude of people involved in the rescue
work instead of a mere handful! The few laborers that I saw seemed to
do little else but weep and toil for the perishing people. They gave themselves
no rest, and persistently entreated everyone around them to come to their
assistance. In fact, they came to be seen as a real nuisance by many religious
and upright people. Nevertheless, the rescuers continued on, spending
all they had on boats, rafts, ropes and every other imaginable device
they could find for saving the poor, wretched, drowning people.
And then I saw something most wonderful. The miseries and perils and blasphemies
of the poor struggling people in this dark sea moved the pity of the great
God in heaven—moved Him so much that He sent a Great Being to deliver
them. This Great Being whom God sent came straight from His palace, right
through the black clouds, and leapt right into the raging sea among the
drowning, sinking people. There He toiled to rescue them with tears and
cries until the sweat of His great anguish ran down in blood. As He embraced
the poor wretches, trying to lift them onto the rock, He continually cried
to those already rescued—to those He had already helped up with
His own bleeding hands—to come and help Him in the painful and laborious
task of saving their fellows.
What seemed the most strange was that those on the platform to whom He
called were so taken up with their trades and professions, money-saving
and pleasures, families and religious activities, and preparations for
going to the mainland, that they did not attend to the cry of this wonderful
Being they professed to worship—the One who had Himself gone down
into the sea. If they heard it, they did not heed it, or perhaps they
simply did not care. And so the multitude went on struggling, and shrieking,
and drowning in the darkness.
And then I saw something that seemed to me stranger than anything that
had gone before in this strange vision. I saw that some of the people
on the platform whom this wonderful Being had asked to come and help Him
in His difficult task were always praying and crying for Him to come to
them. Some wanted Him to come and stay with them, spending His time and
strength in making them happier.
Numbers of others wanted Him to come and make them feel more secure on
the rock, because it was a well-known fact that some had walked so carelessly
as to miss their footing and fall back again into the stormy waters. These
people would meet and get as high up the rock as they could, and looking
toward the mainland where they thought the Great Being was, they would
cry out, "Come to us! Come and help us!"
All this time, He was down among the poor struggling, drowning creatures
in the angry deep. With His arms around them, He was trying to drag them
out, looking up longingly, but in vain, to those on the rock. His voice
was hoarse from crying, "Come to Me! Come and help Me!"
Interpretation of the Vision
And then I understood it all. It was plain enough. The sea was the ocean
of life—the sea of human existence. The lightning was the gleam
of piercing truth coming from the throne of God. The thunder was the distant
echoing of God's wrath. The multitudes of people who were shrieking, struggling
and agonizing in the stormy sea were the thousands and thousands of poor
sinners of every kindred, tongue and nation.
Oh, what a black sea it was! And oh, what multitudes of rich and poor,
ignorant and educated were there, all so unlike in their outward circumstances
and conditions, yet all alike in onething—all sinners before God,
held by some iniquity, fascinated by some idol, the slaves of some devilish
lust, and ruled by some foul fiend from the bottomless pit!
Not only were they alike in their wickedness, but unless rescued, they
were alike in their sinking, down to the same terrible doom. The great,
sheltering rock represented Calvary, and the people on it were those who
had been rescued. The way they employed their energies and gifts and time
represented the occupations and amusements of those who profess to be
rescued from sin and hell and to be the followers of Jesus Christ.
The handful of fierce, determined rescuers were soldiers of salvation.
The mighty Being was the Son of God, the same yesterday, today and forever,
who is still struggling to save the dying multitudes from this terrible
doom of damnation. His voice can still be heard above the music and machinery
and hue-and-cry of life, calling on the rescued to come and help Him save
Will You Go?
My comrades, you are rescued from the waters; you are on the rock. He
is in the dark sea, calling on you to come to Him and help Him. Will you
go? The surging sea of life, crowded with perishing souls, rolls up to
the very spot on which you stand. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is in
the midst of this dying multitude, struggling to save them. He is calling
you to jump into the sea—to go immediately to His side and help
Him in the holy strife. Will you jump? Will you go and place yourself
absolutely at His disposal? Will you who still linger on the shore lay
aside your pride, your care about other people's opinions, your love of
ease and the other selfish loves that have hindered you so long, and rush
to the rescue of this multitude of dying souls?
Does the surging sea look dark and dangerous? Unquestionably it is so.
There is no doubt that the leap for you, as for everyone who takes it,
means difficulty, scorn and suffering. For some it may mean more than
this—it may mean death. He who calls to you from the sea, however,
knows what it will mean, and He still beckons you and me and bids us come.
We have enjoyed ourselves in safe religion long enough. We have had pleasant
feelings, pleasant songs, pleasant meetings, pleasant projects. There
has been much of human happiness, much clapping of hands, very much of
heaven on earth.
But now we must go to God and tell Him we are prepared if necessary to
turn our backs on it all, and that we are willing to spend the rest of
our days grappling with these perishing multitudes, no matter what it
To go down among the perishing crowds is our calling. Our happiness henceforth
will consist in sharing their misery, our ease in sharing their pain,
our crown in bearing their cross, and our heaven in going to the very
jaws of hell to rescue them.
Will you go? BACK_TO_TOP