« PoprzedniaDalej »
greatly perplexed in his own mind at the obstacles which had hindered him from accomplishing a journey apparently of so much consequence to his mission. In time, however, it was evident that a gracious Hand had planned these interruptions, and that the hyæna had been a providential messenger. When in Malta, Mr. Gobat received a letter from a friend in Lebanon, stating that he had been visited by the chief, who, with much agitation, had spoken to him as follows :-"Your friend is truly a servant of God, and God has preserved him ; for I wished to draw him to my village in order to murder him. Therefore I sent message after message to him ; but God has delivered him from the hand of his enemies." In perusing such a narrative, who can avoid exclaiming, “ This is the finger of God !"
Such of our readers as have perused the interesting narrative of the escape of the Madagascar converts from their persecutors, may remember how that little band of faithful confessors owed their deliverance on one important occasion to the instrumentality of the animal creation. A band of soldiers was advancing to surround the house in which they were sheltered, at a time when they were quite uncon
scious of any such danger impending. The chattering of some crows, however, attracted the attention of one of the party, and going to the door to see what occasioned the noise, he perceived the soldiers advancing, and had time to give an alarm sufficient to enable all to escape.
A singular incident is related in connexion with Mr. Colston, the merchant prince of Bristol, whose name still "smells sweet and blossoms from the dust," in consequence of the munificent character of his charities. One of bis vessels, on her return voyage, struck upon a rock, and so large was the leak that all efforts to save it from foundering seemed ineffectual. Suddenly the water ceased to pour in, and by dint of constant pumping the ship was brought safe to port. When the cargo had been discharged, she was overhauled for repairs, when, to the astonishment of all, a dolphin was found firmly wedged in the leak. inemorial of this singular event, the figure of a dolphin was carved on the staves which are, or were wont to be, carried in annual procession through the streets of Bristol, in commemoration of Mr. Colston's generous philanthropy.
Dr. Calamy, in his "Life and Times," recorda
the preservation in a similar manner of a ship and crew, commanded by captain Stephens,
who resided at Harwich, and was a man of good reputation." Dr. Calamy, in attestation of the truth of the statement, asserts that the fish was preserved in spirits, and might be seen at the time he wrote.
Closely resembling, also, both of the above incidents is the following curious instance of preservation from danger. The Bermudas consist of a multiplicity of islands of various sizes, many of them so small as only to contain and provide food for two or three families. It was usual for the missionaries who laboured in that quarter of the world to cruise at stated intervals from one to another of these islets, visiting the few individuals upon them in succession. A few years ago, the rev. H. Capern was, in this manner, making a tour among the islanders under his pastoral care, when the small vessel in which he usually sailed sprang a leak, and the water poured in 80 rapidly, that all their attempts to keep it down by pumping and baling were fruitless. The nearest land was some miles distant, and it seemed impossible to keep the sloop afloat till they could reach it. Unexpectedly, how
ever, they found that the leak had abated, and that they were rapidly lessening the quantity of water in the hold. The hope of escape inspired them with new energy, and by dint of great exertions they were able to reach the shore. Having drawn the boat up on to the beach, they proceeded to examine her keel, that they might discover what had stopped the leak. To their surprise they found a mass of tangled seaweed, so large as to fill up the hole, and so matted together as effectually to keep out the water.
This deliverance may be considered a parallel to one which occurred to captain Cook in his interesting voyages of discovery. While navigating an unknown ocean, the ship suddenly grounded upon a reef of rocks, and began fast to fill. Alarm filled even the minds of the bravest, and so near did the whole of the party appear to the eternal world, that the most careless and profane were awed by the appalling character of the danger. For some time the water gained upon them, but at last the vessel floated off the reef, and the crew having made some hasty attempts to repair the damage, the ship proceeded on her voyage. On gaining a safe port, an examination of the ship’s bottom was made, when, to the astonishment of all, it was found that the leak had been stopped up in a great measure by a fragment of rock, which had broken off the reef, and served to keep the water from rushing in. With this slight obstruction between them and death they had been sailing for some days. The sensation of the rescued crew on inaking this discovery may be imagined The hand of God will be seen in this deliverance more clearly when we remember that by means of captain Cook were discovered the South Sea Islands, where afterwards missionary enterprise raised so many trophies of the Redeemer's grace.
In a former chapter we have seen how surely the prayer of faith was answered, and how deliverance has been extended to those who have cried to God in the hour of extremity. The instances now given will, we trust, have confirmed the same truth, and at the same time will have shown how manifold are the resources which Omnipotence can employ to work out its providential purposes.