Coming Tide

LITTLE  boy  was  standing  on  a  rock 

upon  the  sands  of the  sea.  The  rock  was 

dry  and  safe;  the summer  sunshine  was 

playing  on  the  ocean,  whose  quiet  waves 

were rolling inshore with a  ceaseless murmur 

and splash, as they fell  upon the beach.  The 

little  boy was very happy, for there was nothing

to make him sad;  and he jumped up and 

down  on the  ledges  of  the  rock, picked the 

fresh-smelling seaweed  and hunted for shells, 

thoroughly  amused  with  everything  around 

him.  But though the day was so bright, and 

the sea so  peaceful, and the sunlight so pleas- 

ant, the tide was rolling in;—stealing a little at a 

time over the silver sands, and coming nearer 

and nearer on  every side  with every throb of 

its great heaving breast.  But the  little  boy 

was  happy  for  all  that;  he  knew  nothing 

about the tide;  the rock was high  and dry; 

and  he,  healthy  and  amused, had no thought 

of fear.  But  a  gentleman  who was walking 

near,  saw  him  on  the  rock,  and,  knowing 

what was  coming,  called  out to  him  to  leave 

his  chosen  play-ground,  and  get  higher  up 

the  beach.

"Why?" asked the boy.

"Because the tide is rising," said the stranger, 

"and will soon flow over the  place  you 

are standing  on."

I am sorry to say that instead of thanking 

this  gentleman for his kind warning,  and   

instantly obeying  his  counsel,  the  boy did  not 

believe  him,  and, though  he  said  nothing, he

did  not  leave  the  rock.  Pleased  with  the 

place,  and  well  content with  his  little 

treasures  of sea-weed  and shells, he  wanted to

 stay  where  he  was,  and  so  persuaded  

himself  to  think  it was  all  right,  and  that

  even  if the  tide  did come, he  could run when

 it was near  enough  to  make  it  dangerous  to

  stay  any  longer.  Well, he lingered still  a 

 little while  to  take a few more jumps, to pick a

 few more shells,  to  choose  a  bit  more  sea-

weed,  and then,  all  at  once,  a  big  wave

  swept  right round  the  rock,  and  turned  it  

at  once  into an  island  with  water  on  every

 side.  Poor little boy!  How pale he looked! But,

 just at that moment, the big wave rolled  back

 again, and the little boy laughed  merrily at his

 own fears.  Yet hardly had the echo of his 

cheery laugh  died  away  among  the  cliffs,

  when  a heavy wave came in  again with 

greater force, threw  a  shower  of spray  all

  over  him,  and once more turned  the rock into

 an islet,  and not  only so,  but  tossed  its 

watery  arms    toward him,  as if it wanted  to

 wrap him in its cold  embrace.  And  now the

  stranger, who had  patiently waited for him to

 make  up  his mind,  came nearer, from the 

 landward  side, and  called to him to jump into

 his  arms.

"Come'," he cried, "trust to me quick, 

before  the  next wave comes  

and sweeps  you off!"

But the little boy, quite frightened, now be- 

began to cry.  Afraid to jump, for fear the   

Gentleman should let him fall, afraid  to stay, for 

fear  of the  waves,  he  hesitated,  and,  as  he 

did  so,  another  and  a  larger  wave  dashed 

up with a roar and a heavy splash that wetted 

him  all  over,  and  the  little  boy, thoroughly 

terrified,  instead  of springing into the 

stranger’s arms,  leaped  the  other  way,  and

  fell headlong into the sea.

What a lesson this teaches us!  If we neglect 

to hear God's warning voice, some wave 

of sin  will  be sure to sweep us  away.