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PROVIDEimAL ESCAPE NATIVES' GRATTTUDE. 155
men soon got aboard, through their matchless skill in swimming. But we had gone so far to leeward of one of them, that it was good part of an hour before we could work up to him against the heavy sea.
At length, however, the men tied all the rope in the canoe to one of the light wili-wili rollers, and one of them launched out with it to meet the struggling swimmer; and they were soon both safe aboard, exclaiming upon the pomaikai o Tce akua (the goodness of God) in their deliverance. In fifteen or twenty minutes more, the life-preserver was recovered, and a book which I had supposed lost, was found in the bosom of one of the men that had been overboard, he having caught and kept it there all the while he had been in the water. I shall keep it as a prized memorial of this narrow escape.
The canoe being got under way again with diminished canvas, two hours more of anxious sailing, with a boisterous wind and heavy sea, brought us to an opening in the coral reef which extends along the inward side of the island; and I breathed more freely as we ran through the surf, and swept into comparatively still water, where we ran before the wind again for ten miles with great velocity, till we reached the station, gladly greeted by friends that had been feeling no little anxiety on our behalf.
It was only He who commandeth and lifteth the stormy waves, who holdeth the winds in his fists, who measureth the waters in the hollow of his hand, that brought us through peril to dry land, in those frail hollowed logs.
'Tis to His power we owe our breath,
I never repeated those lines of Addison and 'Wesley with more significancy—
When by the dreadful tempest borne,
High on the broken wave;
Nor impotent to save.
When passing through the watery deep,
I ask in faith His promised aid,
And shrink from my devoted head.
Good as Thou art, and strong to save;
Upborne by the unyielding wave.
To sing rightly "The Traveller's Hymn," one needs to have met with "hair-breadth escapes by flood and field," to have seen the kind interpositions of Providence, and to have felt underneath him in peril the arm of Omnipotence. We meet with a thousand deliverances that we never know of, from straits and perils that we do not see, both in our natural life, and in the moral and religious life of our souls as pilgrims through a wo.rld of shipwrecks, temptations, pit-falls, and snares. 'What watchful, recollective pilgrim is there, that in the observance of providences, and the LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM DANGER. 157
habitual review of life, is not often singing with thankfulness and grace in his heart,—
A thousand deaths I daily 'scape,
I pass by many a pit;
Where others have been split.
Bound with affliction's chains,
From sickness and from pains.
One such preservation from palpable peril as that we have now experienced, makes the full heart feel deeply God's goodness, and if not sadly hardened, or far out of the way, to gush with unusual emotions of gratitude and impulses of obedience.
It is good for a Christian, or any man, to be arrested and made thoughtful by such exposures and providential deliverances, that he may consider his latter end, and the measure of his days, what it is, to know how frail I am, and to ask himself, Am I ready for the surprise of death? Out of sight, it is too apt with us to be out of mind; and a man needs to be often met with startling providences, in order to make him realize his own exposedness, and to enforce the practical necessity of being ready; for let death once come, and,
Ready or not ready—no delay;
And yet it is a melancholy fact, account for it as we may, that familiarity with danger and death seldom produces a softening, monitory effect, except upon the mind of a Christian, but rather induces a moral hardiness and effrontery, that steels the mind against lessons of mortality, and casts an ominous gloom upon the prospects of the soul.
There is a remark of Butler in the "Analogy," which I have never seen exemplified except in the case of those, whose habits have been formed as the children of God. It is this—that at the same time our own exposure to danger, and the daily instances of men's dying around us, give us daily a less sensible passive feeling or apprehension of our own mortality, such instances greatly contribute to the strengthening a practical regard for it in serious minds; that is, to forming a habit of acting with a constant view to it.
Let me never get so obtusely used to danger and death, as not to mind it; but may I always live looking upward and recollective,
"As ever in my great Task-master's eye;"
calmly self-possessed and ready, through faith in my _ Lord, for his summons, whether it shall come in sunshine or storm, in a form grateful or appalling to the natural man. Death will then have no sting, the grave no victory. And a sepulchre in the sea, till the sea give up its dead, will be as safe and easy, as to die among kindred, and lie peacefully under the sod, till the morning of the resurrection.
A true poet has interpreted, in the Psalm of Life, SAD STORY OF ANOTHER DISASTER.
what the heart of the young man said to the Psalmist, and what is often brought to remembrance by the escapes and vicissitudes of our mortal pilgrimage:
And thou, too, whosoe'r thou art,
That readest this brief psalm,
Be resolute and calm.
And thou shalt know ere long—
To suffer and be strong.
With a heart for any fate;
Learn to labor and to wait.
The channel we have crossed, and all the passages between these Islands, are often the scene of disasters in native canoes. A Frenchman attached to the French sloop of war Bonite, on a visit to this Archipelago in 1836, tells the following story, which we have heard for substance also from a missionary:
One day, a native, accompanied by his wife and two small children, put off in a canoe from the northern point of Lanai, with the design of landing on the southern part of Molokai, a distance of seven or eight leagues. When he had put to sea the weather was fine; but suddenly a dark cloud blackened the sky, a gale commenced, and the sea became very rough. For a long time the skill with which the Islander guided his frail sknT in the midst of the waves preserved it