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A SHIP ON FIRE.
persons from the captain's boat, which was overladen. He then pulled under the bowsprit of the ship, and picked the poor fellow up. “ Are you all safe ?-Yes, we have got the man: all lives safe. Thank God! Pull off from the ship. Keep your eye on a star, Sir Stamford.— There's one-scarcely visible.”
We then hauled close to each other, and found the captain fortunately had a compass, but we had no light except from the ship. Our distance from Bencoolen we estimated to be about fifty miles, in a south-west direction. There being no landing place to the southward of Bencoolen, our only chance was to regain that port. The captain then undertook to lead, and we to follow, in a N. N. E. course, as well as we could: no chance, no possibility being left, that we could again approach the ship; for she was now one splendid flame, fore and aft, and aloft, her masts and sales in a blaze, and rocking to and fro, threatening to fall in an instant. “There goes her mizen mast: pull away, my boys: there goes the gunpowder, Thank God! thank God!"
You may judge of our situation without further particulars. The alarm was given at about twenty minutes past eight, and in less than ten minutes she was in flames. There was not a soul on board at half-past eight, and in less than ten minutes afterwards she was one grand mass of fire.
My only apprehension was the want of boats to hold the people, as there was not time to have got out the long-boat, or to make a raft. All we had to rely upon were two small quarter-boats, which fortunately were lowered without accident, and in these two small open boats, without a drop of water or grain of food, or a rag of covering, except what we happened at the moment to have on our backs, we embarked on the ocean. thankful to God for his mercies! Poor Sophia, having been taken out of bed, had nothing on but a wrapper, neither shoes nor stockings. The children were just as taken out of bed, whence one had been snatched after the flames had attacked it. In short there was not time for any one to think of more than two things. Can the ship be saved ?-No. Let us save ourselves, then. All else was swallowed up in one grand ruin.
To make the best of our misfortune, we availed ourselves of the light from the ship to steer a tolerable good course towards the shore. She continued to burn till about midnight, when the saltpetre, which she had on board, took fire, and sent up
A SHIP ON FIRE.
one of the most splendid and brilliant flames that ever was seen, illuminating the horizon, in every direction, to an extent of not less than fifty miles, and casting that kind of blue light over us, which is of all others most horrible. She burned and continued to flame in this style for about an hour or two, when we lost sight of the object in a cloud of smoke.
Neither Nilson nor Mr. Bell, our medical friend who had accompanied us, had saved their coats; but the tail of mine, with a pocket handkerchief, served to keep Sophia's feet warm, and we made covering for the children with our neckcloths. Rain now came on, but fortunately it was not of long continuance, and we got dry again. The night became serene and starlight. We were now certain of our course, and the men behaved manfully: they rowed incessantly, and with good heart and spirit; and never did poor mortals look out more for daylight and for land than we did. Not that our sufferings or grounds of complaint were anything to what has often befallen others: but from Sophia's delicate health, as well as my own, and the stormy nature of our coast, I felt perfectly convinced we were unable to undergo starvation, and exposure to sun and weather, many days; and aware of the rapidity of the currents, I feared we might fall to the southward of the port.
At daylight, we recognised the coast and Rat Island, which gave us great spirits; and though we found ourselves much to the southward of the port, we considered ourselves almost at home. Sophia had gone through the night better than could have been expected, and we continued to pull on with all our strength. About eight or nine we saw a ship standing to us from the Roads. They had seen the flames on shore, and sent out vessels to our relief; and here certainly came an agent of Providence in the character of a minister of the Gospel, for the first person I recognised was one of our missionaries. They gave us a bucket of water, and we took the captain on board as a pilot.
The wind, however, was adverse, and we could not reach the shore, and took to the ship, where we got some refreshment, and shelter from the sun. By this time Sophia was quite exhausted, fainting continually. About two o'clock, we landed safe and sound; and no words of mine can do justice to the expressions of feeling, sympathy, and kindness, with which we were hailed by every one. If any proof had been wanting, that my administration had been satisfactory
A SHIP ON FIRE.
here, we had it unequivocally from all. There was not a dry eye; and as we drove back to our former home, loud was the cry of “God be praised !"
This affecting and singular narrative, naturally suggests some serious reflections ;
1. How soon may the most promising and hopeful worldly prospects be blasted.
The crew of this vessel were all in good cheer-the wind was favourable—the cargo complete, and the vessel in trim condition; in short, all was as well fitted for a prosperous course, as human vigilance could well effect or desire. But, alas ! how speedily was the scene changed! How soon was all an awful spectacle of confusion, dismay, and ruin ! So it often is with men in their voyage through life. They have secured themselves at every point; they are indulging prospects of the future, and counting on long years of pleasure. When, alas, some accident occurs which frustrates their plans, and disappoints their hopes. Those hopes only are secure which are built on the promises of God, and lay hold on eternal life.
2. How important is a constant preparation for death.
The concerns of eternity should never rest on the casualties of time. When accidents are daily sending many of our race, both suddenly and unexpectedly, to the tomb, what security have we? How much happier are they who are prepared. They are ready for every extremity, and are tranquil in surrendering themselves daily to the disposal of Heaven. Seek, O reader, for this preparation. Repent of all thy sins. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. He suffered, and died, and rose again for you. He is able and willing to save all that trust in him.
3. How proper it is that the deliverances we experience should have a lasting effect on our minds.
Some have so remembered them as to give themselves up to God. They have dated the commencement of their religion to such merciful interpositions of the hand of God. But too many, alas, forget their God and his mercy. How has it been with the reader ? Have you forgotten or remembered God? Have you given yourself up to his will and are you walking in his ways, or not? Remember that if the mercy of God does not humble us, and lead us to repentance, his judgment will overtake us,
and we shall fall without remedy.
ANECDOTES, SELECTIONS, AND GEMS.
THE GOSPEL WAY. "I am the way ;-10 man cometh unto the Father but by me.”—John xiv. 6. “Neither is there salvation in any other : for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.--Acts iv, 12.” Jesus, the friend of sinners, said,
To God, your Father, straightway go; “I am the way!"
Christ is the way!
No comfort can this world bestow;
Its honours gay,
Your Father says, “Give me thy heart!" Flee from all earth's enticing charms; Bid satan and the world depart, Flee now, this day!
This very day!
Again He calls you ! lend an ear!
Christ is the way;
You never need denial fear;
He'll not say nay!
Seek, seek, I seek His blessing now;
Before His mercy-seat, O bow,
This very day!
Before the day of grace is fled, If now, you would be cleans'd from guilt,
Through Christ the way; Christ is the way! For sinners His heart's blood was spilt ;
Before you're namber'd with the dead,
Rise quickly, say,
“ To Thee, O Father, I draw nigh; Arise, and to thy Father flee!
Low at Thy mercy-seat I lie;
O save me, save me, lest I die;
Save, Lord, this day !" “Come now, this day!"
And if you'd rise to thrones above, Whoever comes, you need not doubt,
Christ is the way!
Through Jesus pray !
Death, judgment, heaven, and awful hell, "Turn, turn, O turn, why will ye die!" Concern all who on earth now dwell! Into His open arms ( fly!
Then quickly go; for God we tell,
Can save, this day !
Anecdotes, Selections, and Gems.
Anecdotes. The DOLLAR AND THE BIBLE, OR, “LENDING TO THE LORD.”About the year 1797, Mr. M. was travelling from a town on the eastern borders of Vermont, United States, to another on the western side of the same state. Passing over the mountainous parts of the country between the Connecticut and Onion rivers, he perceived the heavens to be gathering blackness, the sound of distant thunder was heard, and a heavy shower of rain was seen to be fast approaching. The traveller was then in a forest-no place of shelter appeared, and he hastened on until he arrived at a small cottage on the extreme borders of the woods. The rain just then began to rush down with power. He sprang from his horse, pulled off the saddle, and without ceremony darted into the ANECDOTES, SELECTIONS, AND GEMS. house. Surprised to see no family but a single female with an infant child, he began to apologise for his sudden appearance, hoped she would not be alarmed, but permit him to tarry until the rain abated, it was so violent. The woman replied that she was glad that any one had happened to come in, for she was always much terrified by thunder. “But why, madam," said he, “should you be afraid of thunder ? it is the voice of God, and will do no harm to those who love him, and commit themselves to his care.” After conversing with her awhile on this topic, he inquired whether she had any neighbours who were religious. She told him she had neighbours two miles off, but whether they were religious or not she knew not; only she had heard that some man was in the habit of coming there to preach once in a fortnight; her husband went once, but she had never been to their meeting. In regard to everything of a religious kind she appeared to be profoundly ignorant. The rain had now passed over, and the face of nature smiled; the pious traveller, about to depart, expressed his thanks to the woman for her hospitality, and his earnest desire for the salvation of her soul; he earnestly besought her to read her bible daily, and to give good heed to it, as to a light shining in a dark place. She, with tears, confessed that she had no bible. They had never been able to buy
“Could you read one if you had it?” “Yes sir, and would be glad to do so." “ Poor woman,” said he, “I do heartily pity you: farewell." He was preparing to pursue his journey; but he reflected—“This woman is in very great need of a bible, O that I had one to give her; but I have not. As for money to buy one, I have none to spare. I have no more than will be absolutely necessary for my expences home. I must go; but if I leave this woman without the means to procure the Word of God, she may perish for lack of knowledge. What shall I do ?". A voice seemed to whisper, “He that hath pity on the poor lendeth to the Lord. Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many days.” His heart responded, “I will trust the Lord.” He took a dollar from his purse, went back and desired the woman to take it, and, as soon as possible, procure for herself a bible. She promised to do so, saying that she knew where one could be obtained. He again took leave and set off. As there were then but few taverns on the road, he asked for lodgings at a private house near which he found himself when night overtook him. He had yet a few pieces of change in his pocket: but as a journey of two more days was before him, he purposed to make his supper on a cold morsel which he happened to have with him. But when the family came round the table to take their evening repast, the master of the house very urgently invited the stranger to join with them, not only so, but to crave God's blessing on their meal. He now began to feel himself among friends, and at liberty to speak freely on divine things. The family appeared gratified in listenirg to his discourse till a late hour; it was a season of refreshing to their thirsty souls. In the morning