« PreviousContinue »
LOSS OF THE “ROYAL CHARTER." A FEW weeks ago a gallant ship was flying towards our British shores on her way home from Australia. Many a light and hopeful heart was on board ; seldom was ship’s company in greater glee, for they were homeward bound, many with their fortunes made, some with their entire families around them. And the passage had been wonderfully short; only eight weeks from Melbourne to the Irish coast; and in the fulness of their hearts the passengers had presented a token of regard to their generous, energetic captain. But one night a strong north-east wind began to blow, and, despite of steanı and anchors, drove the mighty vessel close in on the lately Druid. haunted coasts of Anglesea. It was the dead of nightwhen we were enjoying deep slumbers and pleasant dreams, without, perhaps, a single thought of ocean storms
LOSS OF THE
that amidst the wild howls of the hurricane, and the roaring of the billows as they dashed like tumbling mountains over the trembling vessel, the poor frantic passengers learned, by the strange knocking underneath, that the ship was aground! Not a moment was lost-all hands were at work. Through the bravery of a Maltese sailorone of the crew-a hawser was run ashore, and arrangements were made for landing the passengers; and first they were to begin with the helpless women and weeping children. The day was breaking, and most of them were fondly hoping they would reach the shore. But the wild winds grew fiercer and fiercer, and dashed the great ship about from wave to wave like a feather or a toy, until suddenly it broke right in two, and so buried in one dark stormy grave no fewer than four hundred and fifty passengers !
Oh, how sad and affecting, after the long years of absence, and hard toils in a foreign land, thus to get within sight of home and kindred, and then, as it were, to drop dead at the threshold! Some were joyfully thinking, just a little before, of soon meeting with loved friends from whom they had been parted for many years. One young man had written home to his sister to meet him at the railway station, but fearing she might not know him by his looks, he gave her a password in the letter; and so hopeful was he of a happy evening at home, that none were to be admitted to the first tea but his father and mother and only sister. But he never reached his father's dwelling. Others had left England poor; and were returning rich, looking forward to many happy years of ease and comfort as the reward of all their toils. What a lesson to “ trust not in uncertain riches, but in the living God.” One of the few who were saved was glad to cast into the yawning flood his 400
LOSS OF THE
sovereigns, reminding one of what the Bible says, that a man hath will he give for his life.” What a warning to be watchful to the last. The “ Royal Charter" was telegraphed from Queenstown, in Ireland, to the owners in Liverpool, as safe arrived, and all were rejoicing in the prospect of the morrow, when in an hour that they little thought of the tempest burst, and the vessel which had triumphantly escaped the fogs and icebergs, and the dangers of a long voyage, foundered in wellknown waters ; and the brave sailors and strong swimmers who had crossed fifteen thousand miles of ocean perished within fifty yards of English soil !
What an awful moment to Christless -souls who had been allowed twenty or thirty years to prepare to meet their God, but had postponed that preparation till they should have the quiet of a sick room or the leisure of old age!
What a moment, too, for the true followers of the Saviour, who had day by day been laying their sins on the great Sacrifice, when from the midst of the cold engulphing waters their spirits sprang into the arms of Jesus, and the roar of the hurricane, and the crash of the rending irons, and the boom of the breakers thundering over all, were in a moment exchanged for the whispers of angels and the Sabbath of heaven!
Reader, be ye also ready. Remember the words, “In an hour when ye think not.” “ It matters little at what hour o' the day the good man falls asleep;
Death cannot come to him uutimely who is fit to die;
THE LITTLE SOWER. The summer sun was setting, and shedding its golden rays over a quiet village churchyard, where many a white stone told its simple yet solemn tale. In a retired corner of the ground a child bent over a grave, resting her young head on the green turf, while tears chased each other down the sweet face, so touching in its silent grief. This little one had been early called to pass through the deep waters of trouble and sorrow. That grave held all that was dear to her father, mother, lay sleeping there. The next day she was to travel far away from her loved and familiar home to a strange place, and to new and as yet stranger friends, and now she had stolen away by herself to take a last fond look at this spot so sacred. But think not, young reader, that this lonely little one was without comfort; she had a Friend whose eye was ever upon her, whose hand guided all her steps, and led her all her way. She had given her young heart to the Saviour, who did not who could not - forsake her in her sorrow.
An old man in passing through the churchyard saw the little girl, and stopped when he came up to her: “Don't cry so, dear child;" and he laid his rough hand on the sunny curls, while a tear trickled over his weather-beaten cheek; for he, too, had known what it was to part from loved ones, and in another part of that same churchyard lay the child of his old age, his last darling. When the little girl saw that she was no longer alone, she raised herself and looked up inquiringly at her companion. “Don't cry so; it won't bring back the dead from the grave,” said he. They are not there-only their bodies, you know, quickly replied the child. “And where are they, then?” asked the old man. “Oh, in heaven-they are quite happy!” The little girl looked up into the clear, blue sky, with a joy. ful, trusting smile. “How do you know they are there?” said her questioner. “ Because they loved Jesus, to be
Don't you know that he died to save sinners? It's all in the Bible." Well, I can't say I know much about these things. I have a Bible at home, but I'm no sche. lar; still I hope to get to heaven, too, when I die; but I can't
THE LITTLE SOWER.
say I am certain.” “Oh, but you can't go if you don't love Jesus! Don't you love him? don't you? Oh, do go to him! Do love him, then you'll be certain-yes, you will !” and the child stood by her parents' grave, and her blue eyes lit up with love and earnestness. She told the old man in her simple words that all are sinners, and that“ the blood of Jesus Christcleanseth from all sin” (1 John i. 7). Long they stayed there talking together, and the little girl repeated what her dear father used to tell her, when, seated on his knee, she listened while he spoke to her of Jesus—how he came down from heaven and became a little child, and how, when he grew to be a man they crucified him, and how he bore it all to save sinful men. And more than this, how he rose from the grave, and went up again into heaven, and how all that love him and believe in him shall go there, too, when they die, and live with him there for ever. She told him, too, that her father said to her just before he died, " The God of the fatherless will be your God, my own dear child !”-and how her mother grew thinner and thinner after she was a widow, and one day after she had been kneeling in prayer a long time, she was taken very ill and died, and they laid her, too, in that grave. And again the tears would come; and the little girl and the old manthey wept together there, and then they parted.
The next day the child was far away, but the old manwhat of him ? He still lived in his humble cottage, and in the morning when he awoke, and in the evening when he went to bed, and when he was at his work, and at all times, the words of the little girl sounded in his ears-—"Do go to Jesus!” It was a little seed dropped by a tiny hand. And did it grow? You shall hear. A few weeks after that evening in the graveyard, the old man became seriously ill, and unable to go to his daily labour. And now the child's words came with twofold force into his mind. He thought,
Perhaps I am going to die now, but I am not fit to enter heaven; I am a sinner--what shall I do?" “ Do go to Jesus!" seemed to ring in his ear. He started! He almost fancied he heard the silvery voice, and he looked round the room as if he expected to see the little childish