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there are on record many instances which have occurred in our own times, proving that God's ear is not grown heavy that he cannot hear, neither is his arm shortened that he cannot
The history of Mr. Cecil, whose escapes in childhood have already been referred to, affords a case in point.
“ About the year 1778," says his biographer, "Mr. Cecil was appointed to two small livings at Lewes, in Sussex. At this time a very singular providence occurred to him on his way from London to serve these churches. He was detained in town till noon, in consequence of which he did not arrive on East Grinstead cominon till after it was dark. On this common he met a man on horseback, who appeared to be intoxicated, and ready to fall from his horse. Mr. C., with his usual benevolence, rode up to him in order to prevent his falling, when the man immediately seized the reins of his horse. Mr. C., perceiving that he was in bad hands, endeavoured to break away, but the man threatened to knock him down if he repeated the attempt. Three other men immediately rode up, placing Mr. C. in the midst of them. On perceiving his danger, it struck him, “Here is an occasion of faith;" and that direction occurred to him, “Call
upon me in the day of trouble : I will deliver thee.” He secretly lifted up his heart to God, imploring that deliverance which he alone could give. One of the men, who seemed to be captain of the gang, asked him who he was, and whither he was going. Mr. C. told them very frankly his name and profession. The leader said, “Sir, I know you, and have heard you preach at Lewes: let the gentleman's horse go; we wish you good night.” Mr. Cecil had about him 161. of queen Anne's bounty belonging to his churches, which he had been to London to receive, and the loss of which would have been to him at that time a large sum; yet his person and property were alike untouched.
An incident in the early life of Thomas Burchell, a devoted and successful missionary to the West Indies, is even more striking than that just mentioned.
Mr. Burchell was in early life a cloth manufacturer in the west of England. His first piece of cloth he sold to a person in Bristol, who, a few days afterwards, was reported to be on the point of insolvency. With the energy which characterized him throughout his whole life, he determined, if possible, to regain legal possession of his property, of which it ap
peared he was about to be defrauded. It occurred to him, that by walking all night he should be in Bristol some hours earlier than if he waited for the coach, which did not start till morning. He therefore set out at once, and had walked nearly twenty miles by daybreak. He now approached the Severn, at a point where he expected to find some one who would ferry him over. As he reached it, he saw a boat push off hastily from the land. He hailed the crew, but they only plied their oars more vigorously, and were soon out.of hearing.
Looking round he saw another boat just putting out, and feeling that if he did not succeed in gaining a passage in her, he should fail of attaining the object for which he had made such efforts, he used all the means in his power to attract the attention of the boatmen and induce them to return. It soon became evident that they had noticed him, and seemed debating whether they should return or not. He at length had the satisfaction of seeing them pull for the shore. As they approached, it struck him that he had never seen five such desperate looking ruffians. After some objection on their part, they told him to get in. He had not long done so before he found that he
was in most undesirable company. They began whispering together, and the few words he caught showed him that he was in extreme peril. He then perceived that they were steering in the opposite direction to that in which he wished to go. He spoke to them of this, when one of the number, an Irishman, openly and resolutely avowed their desigu of murdering him. They all then set up a loud shout in confirmation of their purpose, and as though to urge one another on to the deed.
From their horrid oaths and avowed intentions he now found that they took him for a spy in the preventive service, and he perceived some kegs of spirits covered with straw in the bottom of the boat. It was in vain he assured them that they were mistaken in their suspicions; they only renewed their imprecations and threats of immediate and signal vengeance. Finding that they scoffed at his protestations, he ceased, and began to speak with them of God, a judgment, and eternity. After speaking in this strain for some little while, he observed the countenance of one of them to relax, and a tremor to pass over the frame of another. Still they did not alter the boat's course, but continued steadily rowing in the wrong direction.
He then addressed each one solemnly and separately, and this with so much evident sincerity and deep feeling, that the captain of the crew cried out, “ I say, I can't stand this. I don't believe he's the man we took him for. We must let him go. Where do you want to be put out, sir ?” The traveller replied that he wished to be taken up the Avon as far as Bristol. The man said that they could not go so far as that, as they dared not pass Pill; but that they would take him as far as possible, and put him in a way to continue his journey by the shortest route. He thanked them, and begged them to make the utmost speed, for his business was urgent. Finding them so subdued, he spoke to them of their sinful lives, and pointed them to Christ as their Saviour. They all appeared impressed by his statements and conduct, and not only refused to receive what he had stipulated to pay as fare, but offered to forward a keg of spirits to any place he would mention an offer which was of course declined. On landing, one of the men accompanied him to a farm-house, and induced the occupant to drive him to Bristol. He, by these means, succeeded in reaching his journey's end at an early hour, and in