The Draw-Net

IT is such a pleasant sight to see the draw-net brought to shore, that I am sure all of you, who have been at the seaside when the fishermen have been hauling it in, have run down close to the water's edge, and have watched the treasure out of the ocean brought to land. But as some of our young readers have not been to the seaside, we must explain that a draw-net is very long and some ten to fifteen feet broad. When fishing with it, a man on shore holds one end of it fast by a rope, as the boat, in which the net is, is quickly rowed round in a half circle to the shore again; then the other end is landed, and thus the net encloses a large space of water. The top of the net is kept floating upon the water—the bottom of it almost touches the ground beneath—so that the net is like a wall, shutting in all the fishes that it has encircled. The men wait a little before they begin to haul it in, which they do at both ends at once. Slowly it comes in—very slowly at first—for the work requires gentle handling to begin with, lest the fish should be frightened, and, the net being also heavy, the water holds it back. Bit by bit, yard by yard, the brown net is dragged through the blue sea, and over the white fringe of breakers. Now a shining white object is seen—now another, looking like pieces of bright silver sticking into the net. As about half the net is got in, the men work more quickly, and more and more of the silver-like looking fishes sparkle in the brown meshes. When almost all is on land, and a space of water only about the size of a large room remains encompassed by the dark line of the floating top of the net, then there is a splashing and a bustling evident, for the fishes do not know which way to swim, and they dash about in vain to escape, and now, with strong, hearty pulls, and as quickly as possible, the rest of the net is brought to shore, and all the fish are leaping about and gasping on land.
See, they are of all sorts, for no one could tell what the result of that cast would be; every kind is gathered together. Some are good; some are worthless. And the Lord Jesus, whose eyes often beheld this casting of the net into the sea, shows us that it is but a picture of the preaching of the word of God, which, like a net, encircles all who hear it. And you, dear young friends, are in that net. Had you been heathen children, it would not have been so. The floating top of the wall of net and its weighted bottom made all the difference to the fish, some being inside, others outside the waters encompassed. So some people are just outside the sound of the gospel; others are within. Those who are within are of every kind; some are good, some bad.
Now, when the net is drawn to shore, the fishermen look over what they have caught. There are, as we have said, all sorts captured. And as it was in the days when Jesus was here, so it is now—the fishermen just cast the bad away. The good they keep.
Are you among the good, or among the bad? Do you love God and the Lord Jesus Christ, or do you not? Those who believe on the Name of the Lord, are the good; those who do not are the bad. Each of us is of one sort or of the other sort. Every reader of this page is encompassed by the gospel—the careless, the prayerless, the rejecter of Christ, as well as the repentant and the seeking soul, and those who love the Lord.
When the fishing time is over, the sorting out time comes. Now is the fishing time. At present the gospel net is still in the sea, but it is being drawn to shore, and really it seems as if it were being quickly drawn in by willing, loving hands, and as if the Lord must soon, very soon, be here. The work of gathering together of every kind in the gospel net cannot last much longer, and then the sorting out time will begin. And thus does the Lord speak of that coming time, "So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." (Matt. 13:49-5049So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:49‑50).) Consider very earnestly whether you are the good or the bad.