Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

injury when a cart-wheel went over his arm. The cause which led to his preservation, was the fact of one of the causeway stones being higher than the others around it, and the wheel in consequence being lifted up by it, passed over Mr. Cecil without crushing him.

In the instances of the preserving care of God already adduced, that care has been exercised on occasions when the danger impending was beheld by his watchful eye alone, and they whose lives were threatened were unconscious of it. But it is in answer to fervent and believing prayer that we are warranted to expect deliverances. As to the mode in which prayer is answered without disturbing the natural laws of the world it is unnecessary to speak again, as we have already alluded to the subject in the introduction to this work. His command niakes the duty clear, and his promise makes the answer certain ; “ Call upon me in the day of trouble : I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” A few illustrative instances will set this truth more clearly and forcibly before us.

Our first illustration will be one of an answer vouchsafed to prayer in its lowest form, if we may so express it-prayer wrung by extreme

A few years

danger from lips unaccustomed to utter it, but mercifully listened to by Him who waits to be gracious. The incident is narrated by the rev. H. Cheever, of Americà. ago, the captain of a whaler cruising in the Pacific despatched two out of his three boats in pursuit of a whale. They were very speedily drawn by it out of sight of the ship. Another whale having been seen, the captain ordered the remaining boat to be lowered, and with the remainder of the crew sprang into it, leaving only a man and two boys in charge of the vessel. Having harpooned this monster of the deep, they were carried by it with fearful velocity to a distance of fifteen miles from where their ship lay. The whale then, wrought into frenzy by the pain of the wound, and his inability to detach himself from the weapon, or. shake off his pursuers, rushed upon the boat, struck it in the centre of the keel, dashed it into atoms, plunged into the deep again, and disappeared. The captain and the crew were now in the water, clinging to the scattered fragments of the demolished boat. They were, as we have mentioned, fifteen miles from the ship, and could not be seen from it. The other boats were gone they knew not whither ; every

It was

chance or possibility of escape seemed cut off, and they were left to a watery grave. twelve at noon. The lours of one, two, three, four, five, six, passed slowly away, and still they were floating, almost exhausted, upon the heaving billows of the Pacific.

"Oh! how fervently I prayed," said one of these mariners, when afterwards relating the scene,

" that God would in some way providentially interpose and save our lives! I thought of my wife, of my little children, of my prayerless life, of the awful account I had to render at the bar of God for grieving the Spirit and neglecting the Saviour. All the horrors of this dreadful death were forgotten in the thought, that in one short hour I was to render up an account to God for years of ingratitude and disobedience."

The sun had now disappeared behind the distant waves, and the darkening shades of a dreary night were settling down over the ocean. Just then they descried, dim in the dusky distance, one of the absent boats returning to the ship. It was, however, far off, apparently beyond the reach of their loudest outcries. Impeiled by the energies of despair, they simultaneously raised a shout, which blended

with the wash of the waves and the sighing of the breeze ; still, however, the boat continued her course. Again they raised another shout, and it too was unavailing.

The shades of night were deepening, and the boat was rapidly passing by them; almost frenzied at their terrible condition, they raised another cry.

The sound of that distant shriek fell faintly upon the ears of the boatmen, and they rested on their oars.

Another shout, which almost lacerated their throats as they uttered it, and the boat turned in pursuit. They were taken nearly lifeless from the water, and carried to the ship. In this very striking narrative, we cannot but observe that the cry was heard in heaven before it was heard on earth. They prayed when there was no helper near save God, and “he inclined unto them, and heard their cry.”

Our next illustration will also be drawn from the perils of the deep, but it illustrates another fact besides the efficacy of prayer in gaining deliverance. It shows how prayerful trust in God can give tranquillity and peace in the hour of utmost peril. The incident in question is extracted from a little volume entitled, “ God our Refuge," and is the narrative of a home

ward voyage across the Atlantic by Leonard Strong. It is too long for transcription into our pages, or we would gladly have given it entire. The author being about to sail for England in the steamer “T—" was, in common with the other passengers, startled to hear that the vessel in which they were to embark had been lying for eight days on a reef of rocks off Cuba, by which nearly twenty feet of her keel had been torn away.

She had, however, been repaired and pronounced seaworthy. “ There was still general consternation among the passengers, and much question as to the safety of proceeding in such a crippled ship. For myself, I felt much perplexity as to my path, and whether I should construe this as a providential hindrance to delay my voyage, or simply an occasion for the exercise of faith in God for special preservation. Giving myself to prayer, I felt a calm persuasion in my mind that all was well, and ordered for our good and his glory." This was no wild presumption on the part of the writer, for so secure was the steamer now considered that a valuable freight of silver and pearls was placed on baard of it.

It appeared that the rent in the vessel's keel had been repaired by a water-tight deck being

« AnteriorContinuar »