Verse 26. They mount up to the heaven. Borne aloft on the crest of the wave, the sailors and their vessels appear to climb the skies, but it is only for a moment, for very soon in the trough of the sea they go down again to the depths. As if their vessel were but a sea bird, the mariners are tossed "up and down, up and down, from the base of the wave to the billow's crown."
Their soul is melted because of trouble. Weary, wet, dispirited, hopeless of escape, their heart is turned to water, and they seem to have no manhood left.
Those who have been on the spiritual deep in one of the great storms which occasionally agitate the soul know what this verse means. In these spiritual cyclones presumption alternates with despair, indifference with agony! No heart is left for anything, courage is gone, hope is almost dead. Such an experience is as real as the tossing of a literal tempest and far more painful. Some of us have weathered many such an internal hurricane, and have indeed seen the Lord's wondrous works.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 26. They mount up to the heaven. There be three heavens.
- Coelum aerium.
- Coelum astriferum.
- Coelum beatorum. It is not the latter now they go to in storms, but the two former. -- Daniel Pell, in "An Improvement of the Sea",
Verse 26. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths.
To larboard all their oars and canvas bend;
We on a ridge of waters to the sky
Are lifted, down to Erebus again
Sink with the falling wave; thrice howled the rocks
Within their stony caverns, thrice we saw
The splashed up foam upon the lights of heaven. --Virgil.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 26. The ups and downs of a convicted sinner's experience.