Thousands of Wrecks

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 8
A luxury liner with many noted passengers aboard was steaming across the Atlantic. Seated at the captain's table was a young woman who casually inquired, "How far are we now from the nearest land?"
The general consensus among the passengers was that it was about eight hundred miles to land, but the captain turned the matter over to a quiet gentleman sitting near him. This gentleman looked at his watch and at a chart, and then he amazed his listeners by replying: "Just about seventy yards."
"The land I speak of," he continued, "is only thirty-six fathoms beneath this ship. It is the summit of an under-water elevation known among oceanographers as the Laura Ethel mountain, and rises about twenty thousand feet above the lowest known level of the Atlantic basin. This mountain, part of a great submarine elevation, or range, was discovered in 1878, and was charted as the highest of its peaks.
"Further west, towards America, lies Sainthill, the first underwater mountain discovered in the Atlantic in the year 1832. It has the doubtful honor of being in a region where many ships have been lost. It is estimated that at its base must lie about seven thousand wrecks.
"A rather gruesome distinction this! Still, of course, it is no fault of the mountain in question. Some parts of the ocean appear to be, from various causes, like death traps to ships."
What an analogy to the course of humanity through this life! If a great chart could be constructed to depict the journey from birth to the grave, and on into the vast eternity beyond, it would in many respects remind us of the map of the Atlantic. We should find marked upon the great ocean of life many a submarine mountain—sunken peaks, yet sufficiently near the surface to be of grave peril to souls in transit. And at the base of these underwater elevations, what wrecks should we find!
A danger spot is that marked vice—much ruin and loss are to be found in its neighborhood. Rocks a n d whirlpools abound. Still, for the most part they are plainly visible, and they who strike here and go down to perdition do so usually with their eyes open. Vice has its gilded palaces as well as its slums. Its road may lie as often through scenes of luxury and splendor as through a slum or a prison, but destruction is at the end of it all. At the base of the hill of vice innumerable wrecks are to be found.
Not far from that spot on the chart we should find the sunken hill of pleasure. Indeed, many would call it the hill of innocent pleasure, and by this very fact its danger and fatality may be measured. Who can tell how many are to be found cruising in its vicinity?
And how harmless it all looks! What more pleasant than to gratify one's every desire and continually indulge oneself according to taste! You ask: "Why should I not? What harm is there in it?" These are questions continually heard.
It is, however, a fact that the line between the pleasure that is innocent and that which is ensnaring and poisonous is very elusive and, therefore, very hard to draw. It is also a fact that all the pleasures of sin have the effect of shutting God out of our calculations. Can any of them therefore be harmless or innocent? Hardly; but divine and lasting pleasures there are, thank God! But around the base of the sunken hill of pleasure lie far more wrecks than ever have foundered at the hill of vice.
Another glance at the great chart of life, and we should see the submarine hill of false or nominal religion. This would, we suspect prove to be the "Sainthill" of the map, judged by the souls which, in these more enlightened lands, have been misled and ruined by this means.
A true "saint," according to Scripture, is one who has been "born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God," 1 Peter 1:2323Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Peter 1:23), one who has been "redeemed... with the precious blood of Christ." 1 Pet. 1: 18, 19. To imagine that one can be a "saint," a "child of God," by any other process is the most dangerous deceit imaginable, and there is no more certain way of courting disaster and spiritual shipwreck.
No religious ceremonies nor observances can put one into right relations with God and into vital connection with Christ; and these are the two things needed. Religion may be false, disguising the fact of sinfulness and need. It also hides from the sinner what is for the true glory of Jesus as God and Man, and the absolute sufficiency of His atoning work on the Cross and the value of His resurrection. On the other hand, profession of religion may be true as far as it goes; but is it only a nominal thing with you? Then it will be fatal indeed. Only faith in Christ—a living and personal faith in Him—can save the soul.
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Cor. 6: 9-11.