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which they had clambered. They fell on their knees and gave thanks to God, and then hastened on board.
There they found that during their absence a great trade had been going on between ship and shore, so that some of the most valuable of the goods that had been laid in for their sea-voyage were gone, and the hold was almost filled with strange productions. Some of their gold, silver, and precious stones, had been paid away for quantities of wood, hay, and stubble; for the crew were under a singular delusion, and thought these latter things of more value; and indeed if they had gone on much longer, every precious thing on board would have been thrown away, and its place supplied with whimwhams and vanities from the country of Self-Conceit.
And now they had great perplexity how to get back to the sea. For the wind continued all the while without any change, blowing up river, so that it was quite impossible, by any use of sails or rudder to move down stream. They were compelled to get out the boats, for there was no time to be spent in waiting for a wind, and indeed they might have been waiting there to this day, had they done it; for the wind in the country of Self-Conceit always blows on shore, and at the season they were then in, the weather keeps the people shut up to themselves; and though sails are often seen passing up the river, they are seldom seen returning. So they made haste to man the boats; and all the long way that they had come up under a fair swift breeze, with all sail set, they had to tow back the ship, with great toil and pains, by rowing. It was slow and fatiguing work, to such a degree, that sometimes they were ready to give up in despair. Moreover, once or twice the inhabitants of the country tried to interfere with them, to stop their progress, and even fired on them; but they took no notice in return, and made all the haste possible towards the sea.
And at length they arrived at the mouth of the river, and were rejoicing to think how soon they would be again upon the King's highway, when all of a sudden the ship grounded heavily on a bar of sand that was not visible even at low water, and with all their efforts, they could not get her off. 1 he winds and storms, together with the strong currents, are continually in that place shifting the sands, so that great shoals had been formed, which were not there when they entered the river, and of which of course they were wholly unconscious, till the ship struck upon them. All these things, as they found to their cost, made it very easy getting into the country of Self-Conceit, but very difficult escaping from it. All the cargo that had been taken in up river, such as hampers of the various productions of the country, they had to throw overboard, and even the water-casks had to be stove, and only the remnant of water retained, which was in the ship before they entered the river.
And even then, the ship was not lightened enough to float; and there they must have remained, getting deeper and deeper imbedded in the sand, had it not been that so near the sea the tide flowed high, and most happily for them was going low when they struck the bar, so that, if it rose high enough, the next tide, after all that they had done in the lighting of the ship, might float her.
And so it came about. The tide rose high, and accomplished for them what no human force could have done without it. They passed over the bar in safety; and now, as the wind began already to veer a little in their favor, they took in the boats, trimmed their sails, and casting themselves on the care of the Great King, whose highway they had gained, in a few hours they were joyfully tossing on the open sea.
EXPERIENCE OF STORMS, AND THE HARBOR OF GOOD HOPE. – THE FRIENDLINESS OF THE PEOPLE THERE, AND THEIR
SINGING OF THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM.
For some days they enjoyed the most serene and lovely weather, and were able to lay their course South, towards the trade-winds, where an old inspired navigator had said that the righteous shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger. Also another navigator in describing the same passage had said, The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” They had now an interval of comparative rest and leisure, which they employed in putting things to rights, for the ship had been sadly neglected while she lay in that river, which they found, on examination, to have been laid down as the River of Vain Confidence. They had some hard work in overhauling their log, and correcting the mistakes that had been made in their reckoning. Both Peter and John kept a separate journal for the sake of mutual comparison and benefit, and it was while they were at work upon these and other matters, that one day on deck, while the vessel was gliding steadily onward under a fine breeze, they had the following conversation :
1 Job xvii. 9.
2. Prov. iv. 18.
I think, said Peter, it is a great wonder and miracle of mercy that we got safe out from that country of Self-Conceit, and still more, that we were not buried for ever among the quicksands of the River of Vain Confidence. O what a narrow escape from destruction! And the sin and the danger were all our own fault, for we might have known better. I'm thinking what we can do to avoid such errors for the future; since we ought to have known by the log and chart together, when we were in the neighborhood of the coast of that country; and if we had known, I hope God would not have left us to such inadness as that of running deliberately into danger.
Well, I don't know as to that, answered John; but I do know that a man will go anywhere, into any folly, if left to himself, so that he needs to have God search him continually, and show him what manner of spirit he is of. It is pretty clear that a more faithful self-examination is needed. My log-book is a sad sight, and it teaches me some very mournful