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been aroused by the light, had uttered the cry of terror which had informed his parents of his danger, had endeavoured to escape by the door, but found all egress impossible; he had then climbed upon a chest up to the window, and he was seen from the yard. There was no time to procure a ladder, for the flames were already leaping towards him, and seemed to be lapping at him with their forked fiery tongues. In a few moments more it would have been all over; but He to whom “belong the issues from death” had a work for that child to accomplish. One man was instantly hoisted upon the shoulders of another; the window was thus reached, and the child was saved. A moment afterwards, the roof fell in. When he was saved the father
Come, neighbours, let us kneel down together, and give thanks to God! He has given me all my eight children; let the house go, I am rich enough.” Could he but have foreseen the future of that child, so wonderfully preserved from the flames, the good old man’s gratitude would have been even more intense. Mr. Wesley himself always looked back with special feeling towards this deliverance. Under one of the portraits of him, published during his lifetime, is a representa
tion of the house in flames, with the motto, “ Is not this a brand plucked from the burning ?”
Philip Henry, father of the commentator, and one of the most devoted and useful preachers of his day, had, in his boyhood, an escape from fire scarcely less remarkable than that of John Wesley. He was at Westminster school, where he had formed the dangerous habit of reading in bed. One night, as he was thus occupied, he was overcome with sleep; and the candle having fallen, the bed took fire, and was partly consumed before he awoke. Nothing but the arrival of speedy and sufficient help saved him from death,
Dr. Adam Clarke, in his boyhood, escaped from danger even more imminent. He rode a horse down to a large river, which flowed near his father's house, and attempted to cross it; the stream proved both deeper and stronger than he anticipated. The horse lost its footing and was swept down the current. speedily carried off its back, lost his consciousness, sank, and continued in the water he knew not how long ; for the next thing he could remember was his recovering from insensibility on the bank of the river. He must have been drifted there by the stream, and the hot summer
sun must have acted as a restorative to the system. Sixty years afterward he related this fact in a sermon preached before the Royal Humane Society.
A providential escape of a similar character was experienced by the excellent and devout Cecil. Whilst quite a youth he was playing in a yard at the back of his father's house, in which were several large tanks of water. One of these, which was sunk in the earth, was frozen over, and a hole had been made in the ice for the purpose of watering the horses. At this hole Richard Cecil was playing with a stick, when suddenly his foot slipped, he plunged into the hole, and was carried under the ice. The workmen in his father's employ had received particular orders over-night to go to work in a part of a dye-house from which this piece of water was not visible; but without any assignable reason, they disobeyed the orders given them, and were at work near the tank in question. So sudden and so noiseless had been the plunge, that none of them perceived it at the time; but a few minutes afterward one of the men thought he saw a scarlet cloak appear at the hole, and resolved to go and see what it
In attempting to get it out he discovered
it to be the scarlet cloak of his young master. The boy was drawn from the freezing water apparently dead, but proper means being used to restore animation, after long efforts life returned.
Some time after this Cecil was caught by the coat in the wheel of a horse-mill, and was on the point of being drawn in and crushed to atoms. With marvellous quickness and presence of mind, he noticed that the head of the horse which worked the mill was within reach of his feet; he therefore dashed them violently into the animal's face, and thus checking its progress, stopped the mill, and then succeeded in extricating himself.
He lamented in after life that these events, so fitted to arrest the mind, and lead hiin to a grateful dedication of himself to God, should have produced no more than a mere temporary excitement of feeling. For years afterwards he lived in sin, and sought to silence the accusations of conscience by scepticism; till at length God, who had guarded his life amidst these perils, in great mercy delivered him from that fearful condition of spiritual darkness, and made him "a burning and a shining light."
Instances similar to those adduced in this
chapter might be indefinitely multiplied, but the truth intended to be enforced has been, perhaps, sufficiently illustrated. We have seen, in the course of our narrative, many individuals rescued from imminent danger by means the most obviously providential in their character. At the time of their escape they have been ignorant, or uninindful, of the great Deliverer who rescued "their souls from death;" but in after life they have, with adoring gratitude, owned “the good hand of God upon them.” There are few lives, however, in which at some period or other remarkable deliverances have not been enjoyed. Yet bow rare the instances in which the life forfeited by sin, threatened by danger, yet preserved by God, is devoted to his glory! Still, as with the lepers healed by our Lord,
“ Ten cleansed, and only one remain!
Was dyed so foul, so deep in grain?” Alas! that life should be spared only to give space for the man to fill up the measure of his iniquities to the uttermost!-only that he, by despising the riches of His goodness and forbearance and long-suffering, may treasure up unto himself wrath against the day of wrath