|Michael G. Maness ~ For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21|
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Surely more than any other metaphor, Charles H. Spurgeonused the marinerto illustrate the voyage and struggle of the Christian in service to God. As the fair trade winds bellow our sails and push us towards our Fair Haven, many spiritual challenges wash our decks. One masterpiece after another, it is no wonder that Spurgeonwas called the Prince of Preachers.
The 366 mariner metaphors were pulled from the first 60 volumes of the 63-volume New Park Street Pulpit & The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, a set of 3,561 sermons delivered between 1855-1872. It is hard to conceive that he preached those in a mere 17 years, an average of about four written sermons a week and 3,500 written pages a year. They published one per week, with enough sermons to continue publishing one per week for 25 years after his death. He rarely repeated himself. That means from his first sermon in 1850 to his death in 1892 so much has been left out!
Most are in chronological order, save about two dozen. We divided several allegories, and shuffled, so that a Scripture did not follow two days in a row. We diligently condensed, but some were too rich for a single page. In two cases, the mariner metaphor was so rich and compounded that it neatly divided into four separate devotions.(2) Spurgeon’s mastery became true genius when he compounded a grand ocean metaphor by seamlessly dressing it with other lesser metaphors of the sea or from something else, as in, “Ah, that is a grand thing, to believe God when the winds are out and the waves howl like so many wild beasts, and follow one upon another like a pack of wolves all seeking to devour you.” Therein, Spurgeon becomes the undisputed Commodore of sailing illustrations—the
Master of Mariner Metaphors.
“The sea resents them and hurls the frail vessel aloft, and tosses it to and fro with watery hands, as though it were a juggler’s ball”
“If one drowns, all drown; if the ship goes down, all go down, the weakest and the strongest”
“Launch out and cross the fathomless deep”
“When the Captain at sea whistles, all the sailors feel more cheerful”
“Lower your pirate flag” — “Never hide our colors”
The mariner braves the ocean deeps until he or she reaches the Fair Haven. Spurgeon mentions the Ancient Mariner several times, referring to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s (1772-1834) classic, The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, which first appeared in William Wordsworth’s (1770-1850) Lyrical Balladsin 1796. The weathered Ancient Mariner tells his story to the “wedding guest” in the ballad. Spurgeonpulled from everywhere, daily affairs, history, science, authors and poets. After a year of sailing and the spiritual lessons from Old Ocean’s schoolhouse, we can say that Spurgeonone of the best of the Ancient Mariners.
What a privilege it has been, what a journey. What it must have been like to hear him preach the messages of which these metaphorsare but very small pieces. In the back, there is another treat:
There Go the Ships,
an entire sermon by metaphor onPsalm
These treasures enriched my life, gave evidence of a man of the world, and revealed the penetrating wisdom of our best depth psychologists and more, connecting the human heart to heaven’s riches. Here, we ride with the richest of spiritual freight as we sail to all corners of the world. Just over the horizon, we can see our Fair Haven and everlasting rest.
Michael Glenn Maness, 2008
 See www.Babylon.com, with immediate point-and-click results, this excellent source can be tailored with hundreds of free dictionaries from the around the world and special licenses to such greats as Webster’s, Britannica, Oxford, and translation software options to the major languages of the world—just outstanding!
 John 3:8, “The wind bloweth where it listeth,” on Jan. 7, May 24, June 23, and Sept. 2; and Romans 13:11, “Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed,” on April 26, July 5, Aug. 10, and Sept. 18. And a few times we used the scripture reference in the metaphor to lead the devotion instead of the one anchoring the original sermon.
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