Help For The Shipwrecked.
Admiral Sir Thomas Williams, a straight-forward and excellent man, was
in command of a ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean. His course brought him
in sight of the Island of Ascension, at that time uninhabited, and
_never visited by any ship_, except for the purpose of collecting
turtles, which abound on the coast. The island was barely descried on
the horizon, and was not to be noticed at all; but as Sir Thomas looked
at it, he was _seized by an unaccountable desire to steer toward it_.
He felt how strange such a wish would appear to his crew, and _tried to
disregard it; but in vain_. His desire became more and more urgent and
distressing, and foreseeing that it would soon be more difficult to
gratify it, he told his lieutenant to prepare to "_put about ship_" and
steer for Ascension. _The officer to whom he spoke ventured to
respectfully represent that changing their course would greatly delay
them_--that just at that moment the men were going to their dinner--that
at least some delay might be allowed.
But these arguments seemed, to increase Captain Williams' anxiety, and
the ship was steered toward the uninteresting little island. All eyes
and spy-glasses were now fixed upon it, and soon something was perceived
on the shore. "It is white--it is a flag--it must be a signal!" And when
they neared the shore, it was ascertained that sixteen men, wrecked on
the coast many days before, and suffering the extremity of hunger, had
set up a signal, though almost without hope of relief. What made the
captain steer his ship in the very opposite direction to what he and his
crew wanted to go, but the _superhuman Spirit of God_.
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