Obrazy na stronie

power of faith and prayer in the season of peril.

A poor miner in Cornwall was down with another miner sinking a shaft. In pursuit of that obscure labour they were blasting thre solid rock. They had placed in the rock a large charge of powder, and fixed their fusee so that it could not be extricated. Their proper course was to cut the fusee with a knife; then one should ascend in their bucket, the other wait till their bucket came down again; then get into it, ignite the fusees, give the signal, and so be at the top of the shaft before the explosion. In the present case, however, they negligently cut the fusee with a stone and a blunt iron instrument. Fire was struck ; the fusee was hissing ; they both dashed to the bucket and gave the signal. The man above attempted in vain to move the windlass. One could escape; both could not, and delay was death to both. Our ininer looked for a moment at his comrade, and slipping from the bucket, said, “Escape! I shall be in heaven in a minute.” The bucket sped up the shaft. The man was safe; eager to watch the fate of his deliverer, he bent to hear. Just then the explosion rumbled below; a splinter came up


the shaft and struck him on the brow. They soon began to burrow among the fallen rock to extricate the corpse. At last they heard a voice. Their friend was yet alive! They reached him ; the pieces of rock had roofed him over : he was without injury or scratch. All he could tell was, that at the moment his friend was gone he sat down, lifted a piece of rock, and held it before his eyes. When asked what induced him to let the other escape, he replied, “I knew my soul was safe—I was not so sure about his.“I look," adds the writer who narrates this incident, “ I look at Peter the Great, who, to build a city called by his own name, sacrificed a hundred thousand men; and at this poor miner, who, to save the soul of his comrade, sat there to be blasted to pieces; and I ask you

which of the two is the hero ?"* Such are some of the illustrations which manifest the watchful care of God over his children, the tenderness with which he hears and answers their prayers, and the sustaining power which faith affords in the hour of danger.

* From a lecture on " Heroes,” by the rev. W. Arthur, delivered before the Young Men's Christian Association. Mr. Arthur states, that a friend of his was intimately acquainted with the individual who performed the heroic act in question,




The remarkable facts given in the preceding chapter must impress every dispassionate mind with the conviction that God does indeed, by his providence, watch over the world which he has created ; that he is not far removed from any one of us, and that he is able to deliver to the uttermost those who put their trust in him. As we advance, however, in the prosecution of the subject, our wonder is raised to a still higher point when we perceive the varied instrumentalities by which the moral Governor of the universe works out the counsels of his holy will; and we are constrained, in the survey, to exclaim with the apostle of old,“ Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"

It is proposed in the present chapter to record some incidents by which the sceptical mode of accounting for deliverances from danger, by ascribing them to chance, will seem still more. unreasonable-cases in which the mode of rescue was such as to point decisively to the agency of a hidden and more than mortal power, and to imply a knowledge of futurity, as well as an access to, and control over, the thoughts and feelings of the mind, on the part of some invisible agent. The recorded and attested instances, it will be found, are numerous, in which thoughts have occurred to the waking or sleeping mind, prompting to measures of precaution, when no danger was visible or previously apprehended. Very frequently, too, the inferior animals will be seen to have acted as the instruments of deliverance, some influence having been exerted upon them, or their blind instinct having been mysteriously overruled and guided. In these cases it seems scarcely possible to avoid the acknowledgment of a Divine Providence anticipating and warding off peril, whilst the person whose life was endangered was as yet ignorant of what was impending.

The Bible contains many instances of the nature alluded to. The patriarch Abraham

goes down into Egypt; his faith fails him, but Abimelech is warned in a dream against doing injury to him. Laban is about to proceed to severities against Jacob, but is prevented by a

dream. Pharaoh is warned, through the same • medium, of an approaching famine, and the

result is that Joseph is raised from the dungeon to power, and thousands are kept alive by the precautions adopted. The prophet, to escape from the rage of his royal persecutor, flies into the wilderness, and there the ravens bring him food morning and evening. Daniel is thrown among wild beasts, but finds that their fierce instincts are restrained or suspended. Ahasuerus one night cannot sleep-a circumstance so trivial as apparently not to be worth noticing; he summons the scribes and commands them to read the chronicles of his reign. Mordecai is thereupon raised to honour, and enabled to assist in the rescue of his nation from an im. pending massacre. These instances belonged, it is true, to a dispensation confessedly miraculous ; but even in our own day events are found to have occurred bearing a strong parallel to them. Whatever theory we may form as to the origin of incidents of this cha. racter, whether we ascribe them to the opera

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