Author: B. Staples
Ships sailing the sea once observed the custom of saluting vessels that came in hailing distance. The captain raised a trumpet to his lips and shouted, “WHITHER BOUND?”
Oh soul, you are on a voyage that must end somewhere; “WHITHER BOUND?”
Oh man of the world, full of business from early morning until late at night, with “no time” to think of eternal realities, and the destiny of your immortal soul; “WHITHER BOUND?” The ship of Zion has come within hailing distance of your frail vessel which is making its way swiftly, but surely, over the tempestuous Sea of Life. Our Captain of the nail-pierced hand and the thorn-crowned brow puts the trumpet to His lips and cries out to you in tones of infinite entreaty and yearning, “WHITHER BOUND?” And His redeemed passengers echo, “Whither Bound?”
Oh, woman of fashion and pride, frittering away your precious God-given hours, your voyage is swiftly nearing its end, and a trumpet voice from the old ship of Zion cries out to you, “Whither Bound? WHITHER BOUND?”
Oh, careless, neglectful soul, young, old or middle-aged; white, black, brown, or any other color; rich or poor; educated or uneducated; living in hovel, cottage, palace, or behind prison bars; deep down in sin, or covered with a cloak of morality and respectability, you are on a voyage that will never stop until it lands you on some eternal shore, but where? In the name of Him who “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” in the name of Him who is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” in the name of Him who died that you might live, we cry out, “Whither Bound? Whither Bound? Who is your pilot? The voyage is tempestuous; the storms of eternal wrath are gathering; there are rocks and shoals on either hand, and any moment, without Christ on board, you are liable to make eternal and irretrievable shipwreck. There is only one Captain who is able to guide you over the sea and bring you into the glad haven of eternal rest and everlasting blessedness. In the Providence of God, we are in hailing distance now, and the old ship of Zion salutes you and cries out with great solicitude, “Whither Bound? Whither Bound?”
There is room for you on Zion’s vessel, thank God! The Pilot of Galilee is both Captain and Pilot of this glorious ship of Salvation. If tempests come, He has only to say, “Peace, be still,” and lo, there is a great calm. He knows the waters over which we sail. He knows every rock and every shoal, and with His pierced hand upon the wheel there is no danger of shipwreck. Christ loves His passengers with a tender love, and they have delightful fellowship with Him. There is a banqueting house on board, and His love is so great for His passengers that with His own hand He spreads the table with the richest of viands and then sits down and sups with them. “His banner over them is love.” He has given us a wonderful Guide Book which tells how to meet every emergency of the voyage, and of the fair land to which we are going; for we know whither we are bound, thank God! We have only to go by the Book, trust our Captain, and obey His voice and we shall make a safe landing.
But not only does the Book tell of the glorious country that lies just beyond the Sea; but our Captain, in wondrous, condescending love and mercy, sits down by us and tells us Himself of its beauties, and He lets us look through a glass that brings it near! Oh sailor on the sinking ship, if you could see what we can see, you would not wonder that we sing and shout for joy. Shall I tell you just a little of what our Guide Book tells us, and what our Captain whispers, and what we see of that fair country through the glass?
No storms ever beat upon its shining strands. None ever say they are sick; no funeral processions are ever seen there. Not a trace of sin or its blighting effects are there. No tears ever fall, for God Himself wipes them all away. There is no night there; but all is one continuous, everlasting, glorious day, and “the Lord God and the Lamb are the light thereof.” He who is our glorious Pilot over life’s sea is also King of that country, and in His hallowed presence there is fullness of joy and “at His right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” He dwells among His own, feeds them, and “leads them unto living fountains of waters.”