« PreviousContinue »
their dependence on God. It was written by an old Sea Captain, who is now praising God in heaven; but he was himself as a brand plucked from the burning. Hear his lines. 'Tis not a long yarn, but a right good and wise one, and well spun. 'Tis entitled,
OR, PRIDE MUST HAVE A FALL.
Once on a time a paper kite
“See, how yon crowds of gazing people
Admire my flight above the steeple !
“ Were I but free, I'd take a flight,
And pierce the clouds beyond their sight.
It tugged and pulled, while thus it spoke,
Unable its own course to guide,
My heart replied, O Lord, I see How much this kite resembles me! Forgetful that by thee I stand, Impatient of thy ruling hand, How oft I've wished to break the lines Thy wisdom for my lot assigns ! How oft indulged a vain desire, For something more, or something higher ! And, but for grace and love divine, A fall thus dreadful had been mine.
THE MEETING WITH CAPTAIN GAIN-IS-GODLINESS. NEGLECT
OF THE CHART AND THE CURRENTS. -FISHING FOR
PEARLS AND CATCHING ICEBERGS.—THE
PERILS OF AN ARCTIC WINTER.
The change from the South Pole to the North is hardly greater than that which befel our navigators, soon after all this gracious experience. It seemed almost impossible that such a change could come. The mercy of the Lord was now so great, and they enjoyed so much in Christian communion, conversing by the way, their hearts burning within them in love to the Redeemer, with bright anticipations of tho Celestial City, that sometimes, unless their senses deceived them, they thought they could verily see, far, far away over the ocean, at the point where the horizon was lost in heaven, the gates shining and the domes and spires rising. Often and long did they gaze towards the appearance, which sometimes they caught at noon, and sometimes in the evening just at sunset; and sometimes a sound as of very distant heavenly melodies would come floating over the waves, ontrancing all their sensibilities. On such occasions it seemed to them as if they were not far from the end of their voyage, and had no more perils or difficulties to encounter. But as heretofore the lovely weather had thrown them off their watch, so now these fair-enchanting scenes, and continued prosperous breezes, lulled them in security.
A sense of security is always a dangerous and false thing at sea, and the more secure men feel, the less secure they are. An uninterrupted continuance of blessings sometimes provokes an imagination of permanent safety, which is almost as bad as the insensibility produced by prayerlessness and carelessness. Indeed, it may make the soul so dependent upon God's blessing, instead of God himself, and withal so neglectful of prayer, by little and little, as to give the Adversary of the Soul a great advantage in laying snares, or in sudden assaults, or in gradual and unsuspected temptations. By reason of these things, instead of being able to follow our navigators still on their onward progress serenely over the deep, we have to trace them, after no long interval, struggling among icebergs.
The ship went into that peril, partly from neglect of her directions. She was to have kept her course, according to the Chart and required navigation, Southward by the Isles of Contrition, where a warm trade-wind would have taken her on a steady pull for very many leagues, and carried her entirely beyond that danger. But it is well known that North ward from those Isles there are great fishing-grounds for pearls, where, in favorable seasons, much wealth may be made, or cargoes gained, that can be disposed of to great advantage elsewhere. The position of those banks is uncertain, and the Pilgrims did not intend to make for them, and if they had had any such idea, they could never have been aware how far off from their true course a visit thither would take them.
But one day it so happened that they hove in sight of a strange sail, whose course seemed to be in that direction, though they tried all the signals in the King's Book for telegraphing, but could not make her out, and her rig, so far as they could tell by the glass, was not of the Celestial Country. However, as it would cause but little delay, they concluded to trim the ship and put up the helm so as to lay her athwart the strange sail, that they might speak with her. In a little time they got near enough to hail. So they hailed, and the Captain answered that she was a merchantman from the Country of GAIN-ISGODLINESS, seeking goodly pearls.
Now if they had not been thrown off their watch,