Friday, April 2, 2010

March 27, 1820

March 27, 1820 - it is with peculiar emotions of adoring grattitude that we acknowledge the distinguishing goodness of God seasonably interposed for our deliverance this day.  While Brother Whitney was assisting in painting the outside of the vessel, which he considered not only as pleasant and profitable, but needful exercise, the rope on which he held by one hand gave way and let him fall from a temporary scaffold into the sea.  His weight, and the force of the ship entirely broke his hold from the rope and left him astern calling for help.  Capt. B's orders were promptly executed, and the Brig, tho' under full sail at the rate of 6 or 7 knots an hour, was "hove to" in less than 5 minutes and stopped sailing.  In the meantime Br. W. whose perfect self-possessed skill in swimming enabled him successfully to buffet the waves after one or two had broken over him happily gained a small bench which had been providentially carried on deck a few minutes before, and was thrown overboard to serve him as a temporary buoy.  On this he was easily sustained after it had once or twice deceived him by rolling, tho' his strength was considerably exhausted.  Never before did the Mission family know how much they loved him.  In 5 minutes more the boat was cleared away and let down, and sent to his relief, which reached him in about 5 minutes at the distance perhaps of 1/6 of a mile.  Before the Boat set off, he raised his hat and waved it, lest his anxious wife should be too much distressed, and then composed himself in prayer; while many on board were, in this "soul-trying hour" lifted up to God in fervent petitions that he would spare his life for his appointed work among the gentiles.  Not far from 21 minutes after he fell, by the blessing of him who had said, "When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee", he was safely returned and joyfully received on board and welcomed with many tears, and with thanksgiving to our strong deliverer who saved the sinking Peter, and who was now equally present with his saving help.  Assembled this evening and presented our united thank offering to our covenant Father who is our "very present help in trouble", who can at once deliver those who trust in him, from the waves and from the monsters of the deep, and with equal care "from the floods of ungodly obligation".

We acknowledge too, our obligation to Capt. B. and others under him,  not only for the kind sympathies which they manifested but for the prompt and efficient aid which they extended to our brother in distress.  As the best return which we can make, may we be enabled to exhibit equal sympathy, promptitude, and efficiency in seeking their salvation.  We hope this interesting providence will do us all good, make us feel more deeply the importance of constant preparation for our unexpected summons, produce in us a more cheerful spirit of laborious diligence in the work which we believe God has designed for our brother and the rest of us to do among the heathen, who without aid must sink in endless perdition.

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