If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,…
When the tide is out you may have noticed, as you rambled among the rocks, little pools with little fishes in them. To the shrimp, in such a pool, his foot depth of salt water is all the ocean for the time being. He has no dealings with his neighbour shrimp in the adjacent pool, though it may be only a few inches of sand that divide them; but when the rising ocean begins to lip over the margin of the lurking place, one pool joins another, their various tenants meet, and by-and-by, in place of their little patch of standing water, they have the ocean's boundless fields to roam in. When the tide is out — when religion is low — the faithful are to be found insulated, here a few and there a few, in the little standing pools that stud the beach, having no dealings with their neighbours of the adjoining pools, calling them Samaritans, and fancying that their own little communion includes all that are precious in God's sight. They forget, for a time, that there is a vast and expansive ocean rising — every ripple brings it nearer — a mightier communion, even the communion of saints, which is to engulf all minor considerations, and to enable the fishes of all pools — the Christians — the Christians of all denominations — to come together. When, like a flood, the Spirit flows into the Churches, Church will join to Church, and saint will join to saint, and all will rejoice to find that if their little pools have perished, it is not by the scorching summer's drought, nor the casting in of earthly rubbish, but by the influx of that boundless sea whose glad waters touch eternity, and in whose ample depths the saints in heaven, as well as the saints on earth, have room enough to range.
Parallel VersesKJV: If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,