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Narratives, Anecdotes, &c.
AN INFIDEL IN A STORM.
It is generally known that the French writer, Volney, was a confirmed infidel, and laboured, in all his writings, to instil the vilest principles of infidelity into the minds of his readers.
As the late Mr. Bancroft, accompanied by Mr. Isaac Weld, jun. was traversing one of the extensive lakes of the northern states of America in a vessel, on board of which was Volney, a very heavy storm came on, insomuch that the vessel, which had struck repeatedly with great force, was expected to go down every instant, the mast having gone by the board, the helm being quite ungovernable, and the whole scene exhibiting confusion and horror. There were many female as well as male passengers on board; but no one shewed such strong marks of fearful despair as Volney; now throwing himself on the deck, now imploring, now imprecating the captain, and reminding him, that he had engaged to carry him safe to his destination, vainly threatening, in case any thing should happen. At last, however, as the prospect of their being lost increased, Volney began loading all the pockets of his coat, waistcoat, and every place he could think of, with dollars to the amount of some hundreds; and thus, as he thought, was preparing himself to swim for his life should the expected wreck take place. Mr. Bancroft remonstrated with him on the folly of such acts, saying, that he would sink like a piece of lead with so great a weight on him; and, at length, as he became so very noisy and unsteady as to impede the management of the ship, Mr. Bancroft pushed him down the hatchway. Volney soon came up again, having lightened himself of the dollars, and in the agony of his mind, threw
the deck, exclaiming with uplifted hands and streaming eyes__"My God! my God! what shall I do!” This so surprised Bancroft, though the moment did not very well accord with flashes of humour, that he could not refrain from addressing him,-“Well, Mr. Volney, what! you have a God now?” To which Mr. Volney replied, with the most trembling anxiety—“O yes, yes !”
The ship, however, got safe, and he made every company which he got into echo with this anecdote of Volney's acknowledgment of God. Volney, for a considerable time, was so hurt at his weakness, as he called it, that he was ashamed to shew himself in company at Philadelphia, &c. but afterwards, like a modern French philosopher, said, that those words escaped him in the instant of alarm, but had no meaning. And he again utterly renounced them.
Reader, such is the support infidelity furnishes in times of danger and distress!
THE POWER OF THE WORD OF GOD.
Mrs. Fry, the prisoners' friend, to whom so much of the humane improvement in our prison system is due, had great faith in the power of the simple word of God. She read it almost always to prisoners, and often with so affecting a manner, that a whole room full of them, turnkeys too, would be weeping; especially when she read her seemingly favourite portion—The Prodigal Son, in the 15th of Luke.
With the same views she published and extensively circulated a book of texts for each day in the year; of the usefulness of which many instances came to light; and others doubtless occurred which will be unknown till the day of judgment. A pleasing one is mentioned in her deeply interesting life, by her daughters. One of her grandsons dropped, at the Lynn Mart, one which she had given him. child was very sorry to have lost his grandmother's present; but not a great while after, a minister was sent for to the wife of a man living on a common at the outskirts of his parish, a notorious character, and his wife no better than himself. The doctor who brought this mes. sage, described her as most strangely altered, and added, “you will find the lion become a lamb.” And so it proved; she who had been wild and rough, and violent in language, lay on a bed of exceeding suffering—humble, patient, and resigned.
Her child had picked up the book; He whose spirit inspired the texts it contained, blessed them to her soul. She could hardly describe how, but their effect was evident. Sin had become hateful to her. Blasphemy was no longer heard from her lips. She drew from her pillow “her precious book,” her “dear little book," which had “taken away the fear of death.” She died soon after filled with joy and hope in believing. These detached portions of Scripture had shewed her a Saviour all sufficient to bear her heavy burden of guilt, and had led her, through faith in Him, from the very gates of hell, to the holy joys of the presence of Christ in heaven.
Reader, study the Word of God, and may it, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, be a like blessing to thee!
OBEYING GOD. When God says, “Sun, shine in the skies!” the sun directly answers, not in words, but in deeds, “Here am I to do my Maker's will, to light up earth and heaven with my glory, to gild all things with gold, and to make the whole creation rejoice."
When God says to the moon, “Appear!” the moon replies, “Here am I with my silver light, to scatter the darkness, and render the night lovely."
When God says to the stars, "Shine forth!” they instantly answer, "We are thy servants, and gladly do thy bidding. Already we are in the skies, and there will we watch till thou givest leave to retire.”
Thus do the sun, and the moon, and the stars, obey their Almighty Maker.
When God says to the spring, “Come forth with thy flowers!” does she tarry, or refuse to answer? No. “I come,” says the spring. " Here are my greenest leaves. Here are my freshest flowers. The snow.drop is in the garden, and the primrose on the bank, and in the coppice." When God says to the summer,
Gladden the earth!” the answer is this: "At thy voice I spread my influence abroad; the birds are warbling, the flowers are blooming, the trees are blossoming, and nature is rejoicing.”
When God says to the autumn, “ Withhold not thy fruits !” “They are here,” is autumn's reply. “ The bush is laden with berries, and the trees with fruit, and the fields are waving with golden grain, ready for the sickle of the husbandman.”
When God says to the winter, “Where art thou, and where are thy storms?" They are abroad at thy command,” replies winter. "Frost has bound up the earth and the waters, snow has covered the ground, the wings of the howling wind are flying through the air.”
Thus do spring, summer, autumn, and winter, obey the command of the Holy One.
And shall the sun with his glory, the moon with her beams, and the stars with their light, obey their Maker? Shall spring with her flowers, summer with his blossoms, autumn with his fruits, and surly winter with his storms, gladly hasten to do the commandment of the Lord, and thou refuse to obey him ? Oh! let thy language be
“While sun, and moon, and stars are seen,
THE MARTYR, POLYCARP.
When Polycarp was brought to the tribunal, the proconsul asked him, “If he were Polycarp?” to which he assented. The proconsul then began to exhort him, saying, “Have pity on thine own great age; swear by the fortune of Cæsar, repent; say, take away the atheists,” (meaning the christians.) Polycarp, casting his eyes solemnly over the multitude, waving his hand to them, and looking up to heaven, said, “Take away these atheists,” (meaning the idolaters around him.) The proconsul still urging him, and saying, “Swear, and I will release thee; reproach Christ.” Polycarp said, “Eighty and six years have I served him, and he hath never wronged me; and how can I blaspheme my King, who hath saved me?” “I have wild beasts," said the proconsul, “and I will expose you to them, unless you repent.” “Call them," said the martyr.
“I will tame your spirit by fire,” said the Roman. “You threaten me,” said Polycarp, “ with the fire which burns only for a moment, but are yourself igno. rant of the fire of eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly.” “Soon after," it is added, “being bound on the burning stake, he exclaimed, “O Father of thy beloved and blessed Son, Jesus Christ! O God of all principalities and of all creation! I bless thee that thou hast counted me worthy of this day and this hour, to receive my portion in the number of the martyrs, in the cup of Christ. I praise thee for all these things. I bless thee, I glorify thee, by the Eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ, thy well-beloved Son, through whom and with whom, in the Holy Spirit, be glory to thee, both now and for ever-Amen!'”
THE BLASPHEMER'S DOOM. It was near the close of one of those storms that deposit such a volume of snow upon the earth, that a middle-aged man, in one of the southern counties of Vermont, seated himself at a large fire in a log house. He was crossing the Green Mountains from the western to the eastern side; he had stopped at the only dwelling of a man in a distance of more than twenty miles, being the width of the parallel ranges of gloomy mountains; he was determined to reach his dwelling on the eastern side, that day. In reply to a kind invitation to tarry in the house, and not dare the horrors of the increasing storm, he declared that "he would go, and that the Almighty was not able to prevent him.”
The words were heard above the howling of the tempest. He travelled from the mountain-valley where he had rested, over one ridge, and one more intervened between him and his family. The labour of walking in that deep snow must have been great, as its depth became near the stature of a man; yet he kept on and arrived within a few yards of the last summit, from whence he could have looked down upon his dwelling. He was near a large tree, and partly supported by its trunk; his body was bent forward, and his ghastly intent features told the stubbornness of his purpose to overpass that little eminence. The Almighty had prevented him—the currents of his life's blood were frozen. For more than thirty years that tree has stood by the solitary road, scarred to the branches with names, letters, and hieroglyphics of death, to warn the traveller that he trod over a spot of fearful interest.