|by Rev. E. B. Saunders
THERE seems to be a natural disposition in men to go with the crowd. There is a kind of mesmeric influence, or perhaps vain curiosity to see, that induces men to run after what everybody else seems to be running after. I once stood upon Table-rock at Niagara and as I gazed at the multitude of waters rushing over the precipice at my feet, I felt a strong influence come over me, to cast myself down with them. It seemed as though every thing was trying to be first to rush headlong down into the abyss, and I felt like going with the crowd.
When a cry of fire is raised in one of our cities, everybody will run themselves nearly out of breath, because every body else does; and often it proves to be only a smoking chimney that has caused the panic: but each one goes because he feels like going with the crowd.
A man visiting New York city not long since, stepped from the city cars and asked to be directed to H. W. Beecher's church. He was told to just follow the crowd.
Many hear of the great inducements which God has held out to all that will keep his commandments, and they feel as though they wanted the prize, and so they start in the race, but are bewildered amid the numerous streets of great Mystery, Babylon, and amid doubts and fears sit down on the cold, stony steps of infidelity: or they will follow the crowd till their hopes will end in vanity and smoke. They have, self-deceived, pursued a bauble and run away from the prize instead of toward it.
Men often see that this life is as a troubled sea, while beyond it they see the goodly land and covet a possession there. So they launch out in their own little boat, fully determined not to lay down their oars till moored safely at rest. For a time they glide along with fair winds and happy hearts till they begin to feel secure and lay down one oar after another thinking perhaps that the impetuosity of their start, and the favoring breeze will land them safely over. Mistaken men! They do not realize the awful whirlpools and gales of head-winds they are to meet before they can touch those shores. Soon their little craft drifts into the whirling waters. Round and round they go amid all the drift and floating rubbish; and as they slowly approach the vortex, they are merry and happy. Why? O they are going with the crowd.
Others, who have no faith in the safety of small craft, take passage in the numerous vessels that profess to be bound for that country; but the commanders of those vessels are covetous, and only think of getting the passage money. Their ships are not provided with the necessary compass. Their charts are all right if understood; but the commanders have only a theoretical knowledge of the way; being educated for the business at the schools, they are illy prepared to face danger. They start at last. For a while their prospects appear to be fine. The whirlpools will not affect their craft, and so they, feeling safe, shout and are merry. But the region of head-winds and rocks is nearing them, and as the sound of the mighty, troubled elements reaches their ears, fear takes hold on all. They ask to be carried around some other way. The captain tries to appear calm, and tells them of "peace and safety" to lull them to sleep till he extricates his vessel from the approaching danger. He at last resolves to seek a more quiet passage and shun the danger. They soon find over six-hundred and three score vessels steering the same course away from the mighty trouble. Then their hearts grow light and sadness vanishes. Why? O they are going with the crowd.
There is another little company gathered on the shore of time, gazing anxiously towards the promised land. They are willing to peril their lives for the prize, but do not dare to trust the small craft, while they easily discover the defects of the numerous vessels with high sounding titles and empty hulls, and dare not risk a passage in them. While anxiety and care are seen in their faces, a stately vessel moves majestically toward them. Its charts are all right, its compass reliable, and above all its commander is experienced and trust-worthy. The hull is well stowed with ballast and provisions, and the captain advertises that they will not go with the crowd. They feel safe in embarking, and the captain steers directly for the storm-region, moving majestically over the troubled waters. They land safely on the banks of the goodly land. Then sorrow and care will not sit on their brows, but eternal joy will cause them to attune their golden harps to sing their great Deliverer's praise.
Reader will you go with the crowd? or will you get on board the ship where the commandments of God are revered?
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