« PoprzedniaDalej »
could tell by this time in what quarter the poor boy had been swept,) were carried far away, and lost on the damp air, all on board was hushed in suspense, while heavily and bodingly, from time to time, and each time less distinctly, arose the echo of the boatman's shout upon the water, “M.Kinnon;" Kinnon;" “ Kinnon.” I had seen the boat lowered, but the time that had elapsed in this bleak and dark night had almost extinguished hope within me! I looked despairingly upon the waves, but remembering that though they are mighty, yet “the Lord who dwelleth on high is mightier,” Psa. xciii. I rushed down to my berth, and in an agony of earnestness, that hitherto I was unconscious of being capable of, fell down on my knees hefore God, and ardently prayed, “That now all human aid was hopeless, he would, for his mercy's sake, for the sake of manifesting his presence and glorifỹing his name, save the youth: would yet uphold him in the waters, direct the boat to find him in this almost entire darkness, and restore him to life; one day to be brought to a full and deep sense of the God who so wonderfully had helped him in his uttermost extremity.” I called to my child to join me in prayer, and we prayed again and again earnestly through the name of Jesus for aid and succour for the boy and the boat's crew, ending with the words, I trust not presumptuously, for there was no intention of presumptuousness, and, indeed, but little cause for else than the most subduing humbleness, “O Lord, my God, O Jesus, my Redeemer, I pray for the life of this boy in this humanly hopeless extremity; and I pray in full faith and confidence, not only, O Lord, that thou canst, but that, for thy name's sake, thou wilt save him; that I may tell of thy greatness, and that we may be assured of thy presence.
Arising from my knees, I went on deck, still mentally (as from the
first, though, then, with far different feelings) lifting up my voice to God, when again were faint sounds borne along the blast across the hushed deck: presently, “There they are” was whispered; then a more distinct echo passed over; another, and another came, and then was clearly heard the joyful tidings, sweeping up from the little dark line of the reappearing boat, now seen at times through the mist, and over the rolling seas, “Got him ;" “Got him ;” “We've got him, sir.”. God Almighty be praised. I now felt, that the Lord had heard the voice of my prayer, that He hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live," Psa. cxvi. 2. But the peril is not even yet passed: how shall the boat come alongside to deliver up the rescued one ? the ship is fearfully rising and falling, pitching and rolling on the heavy seas, as the gale alternately takes
her balanced sails; the boat, too, is alternately cast half way up to the huge vessel's gunwale, and then sunk as if beneath her bottom ! and then, when even this has been accomplished, how safely draw the boat astern, again to renew the hazard of hooking on and swaying into air the gallant hearts who have been the instruments in saving their fellow creature under God's assistance ?
However, God leaves not his mercies unfinished. His work is ever a perfect work. The boy, half dead with cold, and half suffocated by salt water, was safely hoisted on board, the boat was as safely secured, the yards swung heavily round again. “ Let fall the foresail,” passed forward from our good and Christian captain, and once more the ship dashed away gloomily before the increasing and rising sea at nearly seven knots. Since last she so “ rode the waters like a thing of life,” a fearful period had elapsed: but it was a period that elicited trust in God; and that trust brought joy and gladness, as be assured sooner or later it ever will do. *The Lord is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” When the poor lad had been shifted into dry clothes, and had been chafed and carefully attended to, until sleep was about to shed its balm over his shattered spirit, then we had time to inquire the particulars of the accident; and then, and not until then, could we understand the utter hopelessness of this case; and the impossibility of his having been saved by human means, had not God particularly, mark, I speak advisedly-particularly stretched forth his allpowerful hand to uphold and restore him.
The ship had been going before the wind greatly above six knots in a heavy sea, of course pitching very considerably. The boy had gone out on the jib-boom to loose the sail, when the gasket giving way to him, he fell, and clung to the foot ropes underneath, on which the men stand. Here he said he held on as long as he could, crying out for help, but no one heard him, so that either none could have been near, or the blast, blowing towards him from the vessel, must have been too high for his weak voice to penetrate. He became exhausted, and fell. How he avoided being dashed against the bows, then rushing onwards towards where he fell is a mystery! Again, the weather had been damp and cold, so that not only had he on his ordinary heavy woollen shirt, trousers, waistcoat, and coat; but over these a very thick woollen jacket, or what the sailors term a pea jacket, and a large cap, fastened. So encumbered, one would think every effort to swim would have been paralyzed, and that the jacket was enough to have sunk the poor boy in the waters; in fact, such was his own feeling; for, while by fits and starts he was unburthening himself when they were chafing and comforting
him, he constantly dwelt on the weight of that heavy covering, saying, “The jacket kept sucking me down ;" “sucking me down under water.” Finally, the night was more than ordinarily gloomy and dark, there not being a single star out, and had there been ever so little more of a sea, or had the sea broken as it rose and fell, it would have been too much for the boat; as it was, the officer said, “He frequently thought she would have been swamped; also, from the time the lad fell, to the time of lowering the boat, about a quarter of an hour must have elapsed, exclusive of the eight or ten minutes during which she was pulling from the ship toward the uncertain direction pointed out by the helmsman; who, himself seeing nothing, could only speak as to the direction from whence he believed he had last heard the poor fellow's cry. Now, in addition to all these, picture to yourself the almost hopeless difficulty of searching out in a dark misty night, and on the waving surface of a boundless and agitated ocean, so small a speck as that of a boy's head and shoulders ! (even at the moment of reaching him a huge wave passed over, and hid him from their sight so that he was nearly lost again ; and when again they caught him he was totally exhausted,) picture to yourself these; and I think you will be compelled to recognize in this rescue, the immediate finger of God.
“The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God,” Psa. xiv.; and this fool, in our modern day, is he who attributes every merciful prevention of evil, escape from danger, or pouring down of benefit, to “chance !” “Oh! it was a lucky chance !" "He has had one chance out of a thousand !” Chance is the idol of the infidel; but he would find it a hard task to answer and explain of what this, his precious chance, consists, which can work, as he imagines in his wilful blindness, out of a thousand obstacles and impracticabilities, such a palpable and saving fact as the one I have related. Better far would it be for him, with child-like simplicity, to receive and believe the promises, the enlivening promises, held out to us by our Creator and Redeemer. “Those who will call upon me, I will hear; while they are yet speaking, I will answer; ask, and it shall be given you; knock, and it shall be opened to you; pray to thy Father in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly,” Isa. Ixv. 24; Matt. vi. 6.
The end I have in view in thus narrating a recent particular act of God's goodness is earnestly to impress on my fellow creatures not only the necessity but the efficacy of prayer, prayer in danger and trouble; and whether from the sinner who hitherto had but seldom lifted up his soul to God, or from the man whose thoughts have been continually
directed towards repentance and his Redeemer, provided only such prayer be made in earnestness of heart, and in confiding faith and belief, both of the power and of the will of their heavenly Father, to hear and grant their petitions. And may God of his loving kindness turn this simple narrative to his glory: if but one prayer is ever put up in consequence of it, then my object will have been accomplished. O let the seaman and the landsman, and him that thinketh he standeth, and the cast-away, pray to God in humble but undoubting faith that he is at hand and will hear them through the mediation of their blessed Redeemer Jesus Christ, and they will soon find that he is, indeed, “a very present help in trouble.”
E-, at Sea, 1st October, 1839.
THE DAIRYMAN'S DAUGHTER. IT is stated by Mr. Dwight, from Constantinople, that an Armenian priest has been brought to an acquaintance with Divine truth, by means of the above-mentioned tract. It was Jeft by an American missionary whom he had never seen, and his influence on others appears to have been very beneficial. This gentleman also mentions, that in a visit to Nicomedia, during the spring of last year, he found that fourteen or fifteen native Armenians had been brought to God by the same instrumentality.
We bring our humble claim;
Assemble in thy name.
Lord Jesus, thou art near;
And feel that thou art here.
In all thy love and power;
A holy, happy hour.
HERE is a tree overlaid with blossoms. It is not possible that all these should prosper; one of them must needs rob the other of moisture and growth. I do not love to see an infancy over hopeful; in these pregnant beginnings, one faculty starves another, and, at last, leaves the mind sapless and barren; as therefore we are wont to pull off some of the too frequent blossoms, that the rest may thrive, so, it is good wisdom to moderate the early excess of the parts, or progress of over-forward childhood. Neither is it otherwise in our Christian profession; a sudden and lavish ostentation of grace may fill the eye with wonder, and the mouth with talk, but will not at the last fill the lap with fruit.
Let me not promise too much, nor raise too high expectations of my undertakings; I had rather men should complain of my small hopes, than of my short peformances.
TRACT MAG., THIRD SERIES, NO. 76. APRIL, 1840.