An Escape From Drowning

DEAR CHILDREN: I will relate to you an

incident which happened while we were living

in the State of Illinois, by the river Wabash,

which at that place separates Indiana from 


At the time of which I speak Mr. E.

was at work on the opposite side of the river.

In the morning he would cross in a canoe, then

fasten it and return at night in the same manner.

But on one occasion on account of some

one's taking his boat and leaving it on the other

side, he requested that our oldest daughter,

about thirteen years old, should come and bring

it. She was pleased with the thought of rowing

a boat across the river, but she soon found

out that she was not so skillful in the

 management of a canoe as she supposed. 

It soon commenced sailing round and round, 

and when about the middle of the river it was

 rapidly carried down by the strong force 

of the current.

My feelings at this moment could hardly

be described. As I followed by the river

side how did I reproach myself for thus venturing

her forth? The boat had also sprang

a leak, and the weather was quite cold, for it

was nearly Winter, and I heard her crying out

that she should freeze. After drifting down

the river in this way for several rods there

 happened to be a bend in the stream which

 brought her nearer the shore. The thought then

struck me that by wading I could reach the

boat, so accordingly I ventured in, but as the

river was deeper than I was aware of, I soon

found myself nearly to my shoulders in water,

which was so cold that I should soon have sank

to rise no more, had not the boat been in reach

at that critical moment, when I providentially

succeeded in drawing it to the shore and so

saved both her and myself.

As I have since thought upon this striking

providence I have been led to the following

reflections: Comparing time to a broad ocean

or river we descry many a thoughtless youth

upon its surface “gliding smoothly along” in a

frail bark of their “own structure.” Others are

struggling and perishing in the dark waves 

below, while their parents are watching their

downward course with feelings that none but

a parent can understand. With what anxious

solicitude do they entreat them to return ere

they are for ever lost? Hard indeed must be

the heart that can remain untouched as they

behold the anguish of their parents who have

watched over them from the period of their

infancy, and would fain lay down their lives

for them. Again we behold thousands launching

forth in the frail bark of carnal security,

with no pilot nor even a light to guide them

amidst the perils of the way; and what makes

their case the more dreadful is, a fearful storm

is gathering, while they perceive no danger.

But alas! Who can depict the horror and dread

solemnity of the scene before them? The

heavens grow blacker and blacker, the waves

dash over their frail bark, the earth trembles

beneath them, whilst the bursting thunders and

red glare of lightnings discover to them their

dangers, when too late.

And now young friends, if you would shun

the impending storm of the impenitent, heed

the last message of mercy that is now going

forth; enter the ark that you may outride the

storm and safely anchor in the haven of eternal



Ashfteld, Mass.