In all the comfort and encouragement which we get from the study of the Gospels nothing perhaps brings to us a greater sense of buoyant hope than does the story of the miraculous draught of fishes recorded by St. Luke. Jesus, after having taught the multitude from the ship belonging to Simon, turned to him and said, "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught." To a fisherman such a command in the daytime must have sounded strange, and Simon answered, "Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing." Then quickly he added, "Nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net." The Master's command was obeyed, and the result was so great that the net brake, and help had to be obtained from another ship in order to handle the multitude of fish that had been caught.

In reading this narrative we too may perhaps remember a command to "launch out into the deep," when fear combined with lack of trust to prevent us from obeying, when we felt more like hugging the shore. We had been toiling all night; we had been working hard and with no success. Would it, then, be wise to act contrary to human reason, contrary to prescribed laws? Perhaps under different circumstances and with different surroundings it might be safe to obey, but—. Let us turn again to the narrative. We find there the same men, the same ship, the same net, and the same place—but a vastly different result. What then was the difference? It was surely the ready obedience to the voice of the Master, who knew that asserted material laws and conditions had in themselves no power whatsoever. Jesus knew man's God-given dominion, and he exercised that dominion. And what about past failures in that very same place, could they prevent success? Surely not. Work undertaken with an enlightened understanding would quickly bring the results of that enlightenment, even in the very same place where, toiling all night under a belief in material law, only failure had been the result.

September 5, 1908

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