Page images

use hospitality without grudging," a thing which they were also forward to do.

But here the first thing they did, before coming to anchor, and while sailing into the Harbor, with the town rising in its beauty before them—a sight which made the tears run down their cheeks for gratitude and joy—the first thing they did was to offer up a heartfelt and solemn thanksgiving to God for the great deliverance he had granted them out of so many dangers. They sang a hymn, and the sweet melody had their hearts in it, and went up with so divine a harmony on the quiet air, in the bright day, as they glided over the still waters, that the people on the shore left off their work and listened, and others came down to see what new arrival was thus heralded; for they thought some messenger-ship might have come to them from the Islands of the Angels. The hymn they sang was one that had been written by a shipwrecked mariner, whom God had rescued from the deep, and never were sweeter strains heard upon the ocean.

God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea,

And rides upon the storm.

19 1 Pet. iv. 9.

Deep in unfathomable mines

Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,

And works his sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints fresh courage take;

The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break

In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,

Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,

And scan his work in vain;
God is his own Interpreter,

And he will make it plain.

After the singing of this hymn, there was read a part of the 107th Psalm, which is an exact description of the perils through which God had brought them. O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, and lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths; their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man,

and are at their wit's end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distress. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad, because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men !

At this the heart of every one of them responded, and they said within themselves, When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? And when he hideth his face, who then can behold him ? 20 If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him. They also sang another sweet hymn of praise, which they called the Star of Bethlehem.

When marshalled on the nigh:ly plain

The glittering host bestud the sky, One star alone, of all the train,

Can fix the sinner's wandering eye.

20 Job xxxiv. 29.

21 Job ix. 13.

Hark! hark! to God the chorus breaks,

From every host, from every gem; But one alone the Saviour speaks,

It is the Star of Bethlehem !

Once on the raging seas I rode,

The storm was loud, the night was dark, The ocean yawned, and rudely blowed

The wind that tossed my foundering bark.

Deep horror, then, my vitals froze,

Death-struck, I ceased the tide to stem, When suddenly a star arose,

It was the Star of Bethlehem !

It was my guide, my light, my all;

It bade my dark forebodings cease; And through the storm, and danger's thrall,

It led me to the port of peace.

Now safely moored, my perils o'er,

I'll sing, first in night's diadem, For ever and for ever more,

The Star ! the Star of Bethlehem !






Now while they were singing, the ship drew near the land, and the land-breeze came off upon the water from the King's gardens, laden with such a delicious fragrance, that it seemed as if it must have come to them directly from the trees of life in the Celestial Country. And indeed the change was so great from what they had passed through to such mercy, that it was as if the dark night had been succeeded by one of the Days of Heaven, and all the scenery of the Celestial World seemed to rise up before them. Oh, when the Redeemer unveils his lovely face, and shines upon the soul in forgiving mercy, what joy on earth is to be compared with the assurance of his pardoning love! Thou shalt forget thy misery, exclaimed Peter, and remember it

« PreviousContinue »