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Food For The Lambs Or Helps For Young Christians by Charles Ebert Orr

INTRODUCTION.

Out upon the sea of human life sails many a bark. But, alas! how few are sailing tranquil waters. Ascend with me to some solitary height and let us take a view of the innumerable human crafts as they sail out upon life's broad ocean. Many are being tossed to and fro upon the angry billows. Hope is almost gone. As they look forward into the distance all is dark and uncertain. In the early days of their voyage all was peaceful. They looked out over the broad expanse and saw only calm, contented waters, and hope beamed bright. They fancied themselves anchoring, in a ripe old age, in a beautiful haven of rest somewhere behind the setting sun. But they sailed only in the strength of human art. Storms unexpected arose, and winds adverse beat upon them.

The high, wild, angry billows threaten their destruction, and they despair of ever entering their fancied golden port. Above the blackness of the raging storm there is extended a delivering hand, but they see it not. Their eyes are not upward; they are upon the turbulent waves. Oh, how sad! How pellucid would have been the waters and how serene in glory their voyage, if they had embarked in the strength of Him who at their request would have said to the angry waves, |Peace, be still,| and all would have been at rest.

Yonder in the distance we see gay, glittering crafts sailing about in a state of unrest. Some are sailing out upon the sea of worldly pleasure in search of happiness. See them rush wildly about. Yonder they seem to see bright, golden waters and hope that true pleasures are to be found there. But, alas! just beneath the surface all is dark and murky and bitter. Some are sailing out upon the highways of worldly fame and honor, others upon the wild stream of worldly riches, all searching for rest and finding none. See the surging, tossing mass of human barks and hear their wail of disappointment as the sweet, golden waters turn to bitter wormwood and gall. The rainbow-colored bubbles, from their hoped-for fountain of joy, burst upon the air, leaving them empty-handed and restless-hearted. Above the wild din of their clamor speaks a soft, tender voice, saying, |Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.| But their ears are not turned to catch sounds from above; they hear only the siren song of an enchanting goddess -- the world.

Down toward the setting sun we see many shattered vessels going down in a wild vortex. The waters are closing over them. They found that human strength was inadequate to life's voyage. They, having weathered many a storm, hoped to gain the peaceful harbor. But, alas! they are overcome at last, and, lamenting the day they ever set sail, they go down without hope. From the ethereal heights of inspiration I hear a chiding voice saying, |O had ye hearkened unto me, then had your peace been as a river, and your righteousness as the waves of the sea.|

You, my dear young Christian reader, have just embarked upon life's untried ocean. You have laid hold upon One who is mighty to save and strong to deliver. Underneath you are the everlasting arms. Push out, then, boldly into the broad expanse, fearing nothing. You can escape the perils of the deep, only by making God your refuge. Anchor your faith in him and see to it that your faith never breaks anchor. The billows may threaten, the storms may rage; but by faith you can beat them back, and sail out on unruffled seas. God pity the one who attempts life's voyage without the aid, cheer, and comfort that Heaven gives.

Make the Word of God your compass, and obedience the rudder that steers your little bark in all the ways God's commandments point you; and make faith the mighty cable, and you will be towed safely past the dangerous rocks and reefs and threatening billows into the peaceful haven of eternal rest.

Across the deep and wide unknown
The bark of life sails on:
Who thinks to trust to human art
Shall perish mid the storm.

The other shore far distant lies,
Wild billows intervene,
And dangers little known arise
To try the strength of men.

Man lays his purpose and his plan,
He fixes sail to-day;
But winds adverse sweep o'er the main
And turn him from his way.

Man's wisdom can not know the end,
Nor future courses see:
Whoever sails in human strength
Sails mid uncertainty.

Man has a strong inveterate foe,
So subtle in his art;
He tries the strength of human craft
And finds the weakest part.

By human strength man can not sail
O'er ocean's troubled breast:
God's hand alone can e'er prevail
And bring him into rest.

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