Brethren Archive

Restful or Fearful

by Inglis Fleming


A party of gentlemen had steamed down the river on board a vessel which was to carry a much-valued friend across the wide waste of waters to far-off Australia.

When off Greenwich the vessel was hove-to, as the captain was to await there final instructions from the owners before proceeding on the voyage.

Bidding the traveller adieu, the friends one by one descended a rope-ladder attached to the ship’s side, and seated themselves in a pilots boat, which had been signalled to take them ashore. Then bidding a final farewell, the boat was pulled away from the ship.

The tide was running out fast, and the wind was contrary, so that the oarsmen could make but little headway.

When, however, they had laboured some time, one of the oarsmen, who had watched his opportunity, reached out a long boathook, and just as a steam-launch dashed past, caught hold of her stern. The rowboat was now drawn through the water at great speed.

Sitting right in the stern of the smaller boat were two of the gentlemen, one of them seeming quite to enjoy his position, the other nervous, and fearful of danger.

Both were in the same boat, both were under the care of the same boatman—one was happy, the other miserable. What made the difference?

It was this: one had confidence in the strength of the boat and the skill of the boatman, the other doubted both.

“It is no time for enjoyment,” said the latter. “We are in great danger!”

How many of the Lord’s people there are in the same condition! They are in the boat, guided by the same skilled hand, and yet never seem to have settled peace. They continually wonder whether all will be right at last, whether they will ever reach the shore.

On the other hand, there are those whose peace is constant and enduring, who seem calm and quiet whilst in the same boat with those who are so restless and apprehensive.

Those doubt Christ and His finished work; these trust both.

All in that Thames pilot-boat were equally safe; the same planks were between them and the rolling river, the same water-men directed the craft, and though one, at least, of the company was in a state of anxiety and fear, whilst others were peaceful and contented, yet he was as secure as they; for their feelings did not make them secure—their security depended upon the strength of the boat and the skill of the boatman.

So all in Christ are safe, Every believer on Him is secure. His wondrous work upon Calvary’s cross is of such value that God has not only raised Him up from the dead, and given Him glory, but gives to everyone who believes on Him a new place “in Christ,” where there is no condemnation, linking them up with that blessed One, accepting them in Him the Beloved (Rom. 8:1; Eph. 1:6).

All in Him are safe—perfectly safe. But all are not happy. All have not the same assurance. But does that affect their security? No! no, indeed The security of believers depends upon Christ the Son of God, and His glorious, completed work, which can never, never fail. Their feelings do not, cannot, affect that.

What, then, is lacking? They have not simple, restful confidence in His word.

Is it not marvellous, this unbelief? The word of man they believe—the word of God they doubt!

Is it thus with you, my reader? Are you filled with doubts and fears? What is it you doubt? What is it you fear? Do you doubt God’s truthfulness? Do you fear to trust the precious blood of Christ? Can it be so?

May God give you simply, with childlike confidence, to accept what He says because He says it.

I.Fleming

Scattered Seed 1901, p. 158






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