Obrazy na stronie

serving, the man standing next him was killed by a ball, and Noscoe himself fell stunned and covered with blood. He was carried to the surgeon, and on recovering from his swoon, was ordered to return to his gun. On reaching it he found that during his brief absence it had been dismounted, and every man in charge of it killed by the deadly fire of the enemy. He then went to the fourth gun, where three men had already fallen. Soon after, a shot came which split the gun-carriage, and took off the leg of a man who stood just behind him. He picked up the sufferer, took him upon his back, and was carrying him below, when, as he reached the hatchway and was descending the ladder, another ball struck the burden from his back. When the engagement ceased, the deck was piled with corpses and drenched with blood; yet was Noscoe's life again spared.

He records many more dangers escaped, sometimes in action, sometimes in his endeavours to desert from the French to the English service, the latter of which he, in common with his countrymen, much preferred. These incidents in his life, however, from want of space we are compelled to omit, with the exception of the following one, which happened

to him when he was escaping from a French ship of war on the coast of Madagascar. Having reached the shore in a boat with a comrade who joined him, they wandered through the wood in the mountains to escape the parties sent in pursuit. Night came on, and they heard the roaring of the wild beasts which fill those solitudes. They therefore resolved to climb a tree, under which at the time they were sitting. They did so, and before long, by the light of the rising moon, they saw two tigers making for the spot which they had just left. “The tree," says Noscoe, was on the


brink of a hill ; its root was grafted in the rock, and a little moss and earth covered it over. As soon as the tigers got under the tree, they could smell where we had been sitting, and began to tear up the ground; we were afraid they would tear up the tree by the roots; but the saine God that preserved me from the watery grave, and from the ball of the cannon, and from the power of the pestilence, also preserved me from the jaws of the tiger; for, behold, God was there, and I knew it not. After they had been scratching and roaring for about half an hour, they went away, roaring as they weňt, and we saw them no more.”

His career of peril was not yet over. Escapes from hunger, from sickness, from drowning, and from fire, still awaited him ; but we need not follow his eventful career to a greater length. It is sufficient to say, that at last the extraordinary dealings of Providence with which he had been visited, led himn to deep selfexamination, which issued, under the blessing of God, in unfeigned repentance. He became “a new creature in Christ Jesus," and for twenty-nine years and a half gave evidence of the reality of the change which had passed upon him by a holy and useful life, crowned at Liverpool by a peaceful and triumphant death.

The narratives which we have hitherto presented to our readers, have detailed deliverances experienced by persons at a time when they were actively engaged in the business of life. New views of our subject open to us, when we consider the numerous instances in which the providence of God has watched over the infancy and youth of those who, by their labours, proved blessings to the world and the church.

The pious Doddridge was, at the moment of his birth, so frail and feeble that he was laid aside as dead. One of the attendants, however, thought that she perceived some faint indi

This fact may

cations of life, and by her fostering care the spark, just flickering on the point of extinction, was preserved; but he always continued to be of so delicate and consumptive a frame, that with each succeeding birthday he expressed his surprise that his frail life should have continued for another year. have proved to him an additional stimulus to diligence and activity, as we know that a similar one did to Richard Baxter, who, to use his own phrase, wrote “ with one foot in the grave.” They both entered upon every engagement with a solemn sense that it might, very probably, prove their last. Whatsoever their hands found to do, they did with all their might; because there was no work, no device, found in the grave; whither they were hastening. But the Most High, contrary to all their expectations, not only gave them this incentive to intensity of daily action, but lengthened out their laborious and useful lives through a long term of years.

John Wesley, like Dr. Doddridge, was only saved from death in childhood by what the world would call the merest chance. His father was aroused from sleep by a cry of fire from the street. He started


little supposing


that it was his own house which was on fire. On opening his bedroom-door he found the place full of smoke, and the roof already burned through. Directing his wife and two daughters to fly for their lives, he hastened to the nursery, where the maid was sleeping with five children. She snatched up the youngest in her arms, and bade the others follow her ; three did so, but John was not awakened by the noise, and still slept on. In the hurry and agitation of the moment he was forgotten. All the rest of the family were in safety, some having leaped from the windows as the only means of escape, while Mrs. Wesley, to use her own expression, " waded through the fire.” At this moment, when they were rejoicing in their deliverance, John, who had not been missed, was heard crying in the nursery. To rush back into the house, and spring upon the stairs in order to rescue him, was the work of a moinent with the father ; but, to his consternation and horror, he found that the staircase was just burned through, and any attempt to pass further was hopeless. In despair of the child's deliverance, the father fell upon his knees in the hall with the flames all round him, and commended its young spirit to God. John had

« PoprzedniaDalej »