Obrazy na stronie

wounding his face. The other pistol missed fire, and the challenger immediately intimated that he was so well satisfied with the honourable conduct of Mr. Haldane that he was willing that the affair should terminate. Thus was he preserved from a double danger, either of which threatened to be almost certainly fatal—the deadly aim of his antagonist, and the bursting of his own pistol.

“ In pleasing contrast to the spirit manifested in this affair, was Mr. Haldane's conduct about ten years afterward, his conversion having occurred in the interval. Being at Buxton, in the public room of one of the large hotels, he was treated with marked insolence and rudeness by a young man present. Mr. Haldane calmly said, “There was a time, sir, when I should have resented this impertinence, but I have since learned to forgive injuries, and to overlook insults.' He had lived to exemplify Solomon's words, ' Better is he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.'

66 Mr. Haldane found in his brother Robert an able and energetic partner in his pious enterprises. The earnest and successful labours of the latter in Scotland and at Geneva are too well known to need description here. He was

providentially preserved, as his brother had been, at a time when, like him, he was unmindful of God's tender care. When skating one day, the ice broke; he fell in, and was, with the utmost difficulty, extricated. This event, seconded by his brother's influence, seems to have been one of the links in the chain of second causes which led to his dedication to God of the life thus preserved."

We have referred, in our introduction, to the mode in which Luther and Pascal's deliverance operated upon them, at a time when they had just begun to be awakened to the realities of eternal things. The same truth is ably illustrated in a work recently published, entitled "A Testimony to the Truth,” which contains the account of several remarkable deliverances which the writer of it experienced in Australia, at a time when he was emerging from the dark and dreary blank of atheism, into a life of faith in Christ. We select the narrative of one of the escapes which happened to its author, just as speculative infidelity was on the point of giving way, because it illustrates the coincidence which so often is found to occur between escape from peril and a peculiar state of mind, existing at the moment of deliverance in the person rescued.


" Something," observes the author in ques tion, "was required to stir me up into practical activity. And I think nothing more remarkable in itself and its adaptation can be instanced in the history of human life than what took place. A series of providences followed, the overwhelming tendency of which will be allowed to have been just what was needed. And what they tended to, they accomplished, For a series of years I met with such striking deliverances in imminent hazards of life, that, unless I had done it wilfully, and had obstinately resisted their admonitions, I could not but be aroused to the most distinct feeling of the necessity of determining what was truth, and of acting in conformity to it.

“ One summer evening, as I walked alone through the woods, a noise, some yards off to the left, suddenly arrested my attention. I was walking where I had no expectation of meeting with any human being, yet I thought I heard the voices of people conversing. I stopped short, and looked round, and saw a party of travellers, with a pack-horse, passing along among the trees, in an opposite direction to myself, about fifty paces on my left. Just at that part a pack-horse was an unusual thing, bullocks

[ocr errors]

being generally used for this mode of conveying baggage. My curiosity being thus excited, I still continued to gaze. Suddenly I heard the peculiar rustling that a large snake makes in passing through very dry grass. It was as distinct as if my ear were laid close to it. I looked. It was at my very feet.

A long brown snake was uncurling himself, and stretching away his lithe and hateful shape from off the very spot on which my right foot would have been placed at the very step I was about to make. The bite of the species is considered to produce death in two or three hours, and to be so rapid in extending itself through the system, as scarcely to leave any hope from the most speedy excision of the part. My consciousness was instantly all about me. that there had been but a sound between me and all that comes after death, be that what it might. It was coming very close to the brink of the void abysm, that I as yet had as the only representation of futurity. It compelled me to look fairly into it. I could not help thinking whether I might not have a soul, and whether that soul might not have a God to answer to for the deeds done in the body."

These are solemn thoughts and questionings,

I saw

and such as ought to suggest themselves to every rational mind, under similar circumstances. Yet, alas ! what multitudes are there, whose hearts are so besotted and blinded by sin, that the most imminent dangers fail to arouse them to serious thoughts !

The late sir Thomas Fowell Buxton was so impressed by his own numerous and striking deliverances from positions of extreme danger, that he began to write a narrative of them ; but the manuscript, unhappily, remains unfinished. Some of them, however, are recorded in his Memoirs. The testimony of an intellect such as his--so clear, manly, and vigorous, so free from the least taint or suspicion of fana-. ticism-to the fact that we do experience the interposing care of Providence, is of singular value. Seldom, indeed, has there been a more obvious and unmistakeable instance of providential interference, than the subjoined narrative of the escape of the future philanthropist.

“In the year 1806," he wrote, “I was travelling with the Earlham party in Scotland. I left them to return to the college of Dublin. In consequence of some conversation about the Parkgate vessels with my present wife, then Hannah Gurney, she extracted from ine a

« PoprzedniaDalej »