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instant before the chimneys fell. The girl bore a consistent Christian character, and afterwards made an affidavit to the truth of the statement before the high bailiff of the town.
Mr. Wilberforce, in his diary, 'records with deep thankfulness an escape from drowning which occurred to himself under the following circumstances. During one of his trips to the country he was reading on the banks of a river, having drawn his chair close to its margin, and being seated with his back to the stream. Suddenly, and without any reason that he was conscious of at the time, he removed his chair to a distance from the bank ; scarcely had he done so, when his seat broke beneath him and he fell to the ground. Had the accident occurred when he was in his former position, he must have fallen on his back into the river and been drowned, as he was unable to swim.
Of a similar character was an incident which befel a relative of the writer's, when a little child. He was entering a room with his nurse, when the latter suddenly put out her hand and drew him back; at that instant a large and heavy chest of drawers fell, with a loud crash, on to the very spot where he stood but the moment before, and where he would still have
been standing had he not been drawn away. The nurse declared that she could not assign any reason for what she did, or give any account of it whatever. The chest of drawers too had stood there for years, nor was any danger apprehended from them.
A striking case of providential presentiment is recorded in the seventy-first number of the periodical accounts of the Moravian missions for November 4, 1810. Johanna Julius had laid her child down to sleep, and gone to work in the garden.
When she had been there some time, it suddenly came into her mind that the child was in danger. The impression became so strong that she at length left her work and went to see, when to her horror she found a huge and deadly puff-adder so coiled round the sleeping child, that on its first moving the reptile would have stung it to death. The venomous creature was killed by the women who followed her, and the infant escaped the danger.
Equally, if not more striking, however, is the following well-authenticated anecdote of the late sir Evan Nepean, which carries the mind back to the sleepless night of Ahasuerus, in the palace of Shushan. Sir Evan, when under
secretary of state, related to a friend of his, that one night after retiring to rest he experienced an unaccountable degree of wakefulness. He was in perfect health, had dined early and moderately, had nothing to brood over, and was perfectly self-possessed. Still he could not sleep, and from eleven till two in the morning never closed an eye. It was summer, twilight was far advanced ; and, to dissipate the ennui of his wakefulness, he resolved to rise and breathe the morning air in the park. There he saw nothing but sleepy sentinels, whom he rather envied. He passed the home office several times, and at last, without any particular object, resolved to let himself in with his pass-key The book of entries of the day before lay open on the table, and in sheer listlessness he began to read. The first thing appalled him-"A reprieve to be sent to York for the coiners ordered for execution the next day.” It struck him that he had had no return to his order to send the reprieve ; and he searched the minutes, but could not find it. In alarm he went to the house of the chief clerk, who lived in Downing-street, knocked him up (it was then long past three,) and asked him if he knew anything of the reprieve being sent. In greater
alarm, the chief clerk could not remember. “You are scarcely awake,” said sir Evan ; “collect yourself; it must have been sent.”
The chief clerk said he did now recollect; he had sent it to the clerk of the crown, whose business it was to forward it.
" Good !” said sir Evan; “but have you his receipt and certificate that it is gone?”
" Then come with me to his house; we must find him, though it is so early."
It was now four, and the clerk of the crown lived in Chancery-lane. There was no hackney coach, and they almost ran. The clerk of the crown had a country house, and meaning to have a long holiday, he was at that moment stepping into his gig to go to his villa. Astonished at the visit of the under-secretary at such an hour, he was still more so at his business.
With an exclamation of horror, the clerk of the crown cried, “The reprieve is locked up in my desk!" It was brought. Sir Evan sent to the post-office for the trustiest and fleetest express, and the reprieve reached York at the moment the unhappy people were ascending the cart.
Impressions of the character now under
consideration seem on some occasions to have been the means of preserving individuals from committing the crime of suicide.
William Howitt, in his Year-Book of the Country, gives a curious narrative taken down from the lips of an octogenarian relative, a member of the Society of Friends, as having happened about fifty years ago to a member of the same religious body named Thomas Waring, a staymaker by trade. Led by a strong impression providentially made on his mind, he visited the town of Ross, and by a singular train of circumstances was the means of saving the life of a young woman who was on the point of committing self-destruction.
Startling as such a circumstance appears, yet a coincidence exists between it and one of a similar character related by Flavel, in his treatise on Divine Providence. He states in that work that his friend and brother minister, Mr. Dod, was in his study late one night, when he found himself strangely impelled to visit a gentleman living in the neighbourhood. The hour was most unseasonable, but the impulse was so strong that he at length determined to yield to it. At the door he met the gentleman, accosted him, and they returned into the