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earnestly for his preservation and reformation. In the midst of his parental anxieties, however, intelligence of an appalling character reached him : the “ Arniston,” the ship in which his son had sailed, had been wrecked near Cape Lagullas, with the loss of her whole crew, consisting of three hundred and fifty persons. The news plunged Mr. Richmond and his family into deep affliction, and the father sorrowed for his child, with a grief unmitigated by the communication of any cheering circumstance as to the state of his mind, or his fitness for so sudden a change.
But mark the power of prayer. In the following winter, while he was still wearing mourning apparel for his son, a letter was delivered to Mr. Richmond, in the handwriting of the very son whom he sorrowed over as being dead, explaining that circumstances had prevented him from setting sail in the “ Arniston" on her return voyage. Thus miraculously was he alone, of all that large crew, preserved. The life thus saved was devoted to God; and Nugent Richmond, after living for some years a monument of the preserving goodness of Providence, died, there is reason to believe, a holy and a happy believer in the Saviour.
The efficacy of prayer in warding off perils has been experienced by communities as well as by individuals. To trace out the various instances in which the fervent prayers of Christians could be shown to have exerted a mighty influence upon the destinies of nations, would require more space than our pages will permit ; nor is it needful that we should do this, since there are so many volumes extant devoted to the special purpose of tracing the hand of God in history. He must surely be grossly ignorant, or wilfully blind, who does not see the providential answers to prayer in such events as the destruction of the Spanish Armada, or the scattering of the fleet drawn up to oppose the landing of William III.
The following somewhat similar incident is recorded by the sober-minded and judicious president Dwight, in a sermon on the efficacy of prayer: “I am bound," he says, as an inhabitant of New England, solemnly to declare, that were there no other instances to be found in
any other country, the blessings communicated to this would furnish ample satisfaction to every sober, much more to every religious mind. Among these the destruction of the French armament under the duc D'Anville, in the year
1746, ought to be remembered with gratitude and admiration by every inhabitant of this country. This fleet consisted of forty ships of war, was destined for the destruction of New England, was of sufficient force to render that destruction in the ordinary progress of things certain, sailed from Chebucto in Nova Scotia for this purpose, and was entirely destroyed by a terrible tempest on the night following a general fast throughout New England. Impious men, who “regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of his hands,' may refuse to give God the glory of this most merciful interposition. But our ancestors had, and it is to be hoped their descendants ever will have, both piety and good sense sufficient to ascribe to Jehovah the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory;' and to 'bless the Lord their God for ever and ever.'”
But deliverances to a community, or to an individual exposed to peril of death, do not compose the limits of God's providential interference. In every time of trial, small or great, the Christian is privileged to make known his wants unto God. Striking evidence of the truth of this promise is given in the memoirs of Mr. Meikle, a pious surgeon at Carnwarth, in Scot
land. In the middle of the last century, Mr. Meikle, who was at that time an assistant surgeon in the navy, accompanied the British fleet to Leghorn. While it lay there, he paid a visit to the leaning tower of Pisa; but, on his return, discovered with consternation that during his absence the wind had changed and the fleet had sailed, the latter being already several leagues on its voyage.
He was now in a strange place, ignorant of the language, with little money, without one personal acquaintance, and in danger, from his absence, of losing his appointment, as well as injuring his professional prospects. In his distress he applied to the English consul, but every expedient suggested by him failed. Mr. Meikle, however, was a man of deep and unfeigned piety, and had known from previous experience the value and power of prayer. After spending, therefore, the whole of Friday and Saturday in fruitless contrivances to extricate himself from the embarrassments of his situation, he walked to a field in the neighbourhood of Leghorn, and occupied the sabbath in devotional exercises, pouring out his complaint before God. With a mind much calmed by this employment he returned home, and had scarcely reached it
before the surprising intelligence came that the English fleet had arrived in the roads, having been driven back by a change of wind. With joy he rejoined his vessel, blessing God for a deliverance so manifestly providential, and — fanatical as the expression may appear to the worldling—so evidently an answer to prayer. His rescue appears even to have struck the thoughtless sailors in his ship with surprise ; for, says his biographer, " they hailed him as he approached the vessel in their rough and irreligious manner—'Come along, you praying
-;'adding, that the winds would not permit them to leave Leghorn without him."
In the deliverances in answer to prayer which have been already recorded, the exigency, however formidable, has yet afforded opportunity for deliberation, and allowed of calm, continuous waiting upon God. But in other cases the peril has been so sudden and startling as to leave no time for reflection as to the course best to be pursued, and only admitted of a few brief and hasty ejaculations to God for help in the emergency. As Nehemiah, when standing before the monarch of Babylon, breathed a prayer which was heard in heaven, and answered on the instant, so for our encouragement