The Storm Made Calm.
At a Sunday morning meeting at Repository Hall, January 25, 1874, a
Christian brother, in illustration of the power and faithfulness of God,
and his willingness to hear and answer prayer, related these facts in
his own experience. An account of them was subsequently published in the
"In 1839 I was a sailor on board the brig Pandora, Captain G----, bound
from Savannah to Boston, with a cargo of cotton. When off the coast of
Virginia, some twenty-five miles distant from Chesapeake Bay, we
encountered a heavy gale. Saturday evening, December 21st, the wind blew
gently from the south. On sounding, we found ourselves in thirty fathoms
of water. At midnight the wind veered to the eastward, gradually
increasing until four o'clock Sunday morning, by which time the brig was
under close-reefed topsails and foresail. The wind still increasing,
every stitch of canvas was taken in, and now the vessel lay helpless and
unmanageable in the trough of the sea, not minding her helm at all,
while the wind blew a perfect hurricane. The vessel being very light,
loaded with cotton, made much leeway, and though we had worn ship four
times during the preceding night, hoping, if possible, to weather some
shoals which the captain judged were near, and to make Chesapeake Bay,
where we might have a clear beach before us in case the vessel should
strand, yet at eight o'clock Sunday morning we were in but seventeen
fathoms of water.
"The gale now increased with fearful violence, waves rising like
mountains, and rain and sleet pouring from the dismal clouds. At ten,
A.M., being then in fifteen fathoms of water, and drifting rapidly
towards the shore, the captain summoned all hands into the cabin to
consult about throwing our deck-load overboard, in order to leave us a
better chance to secure ourselves to the rigging, and thus save our
lives when the vessel should strike, which he judged would be in about
half an hour. Not a gleam of hope appeared, and here our distress was
increased by observing that the captain seemed under the influence of
liquor, to which he had probably resorted in order to stifle his fears
of approaching death.
"The order was given, and we went to work to throw the cotton over,
while the captain, frightened and despairing, went into the cabin to
drown his fears in drink. Seeing the state of things, and believing that
shipwreck was imminent, I found two of my shipmates who were Christians,
and who had prayed daily with me in the forecastle, and I asked them if
they had any faith in God now, that he would hear our prayers and
deliver us? They both said they had; and I told them to pray, then, that
the Lord might rebuke the winds and calm the waves.
"With an unspeakable mingling of fear and hope we applied ourselves to
the task of casting the cotton into the sea, at the same time lifting up
earnest and united prayers to God for deliverance from the threatened
destruction, occasionally gliding in close contact with each other, and
speaking words of hope in each other's ears, and feeling, as we toiled,
a blessed confidence that our prayers were not in vain.
"It did not seem more than five minutes from the time we commenced to
throw the cotton overboard, for we had scarcely tumbled twenty bales
into the sea, when we heard a shout from the quarter deck:
"'Avast heaving cotton overboard! _The wind is coming out from our lee!_
"It was the captain's voice, bidding us stay our hands; we obeyed, and
looking up we saw him clinging to the rigging, apparently so drunk that
he could hardly stand, _while away over our lee-bow we could see blue
sky and fair weather_, and _it seemed that in less than ten minutes from
the time the hurricane was at its height, the wind had chopped around in
shore, and was gently wafting us away from danger, and out into deep
"There were glad souls on board the Pandora that day, as she swung
around in obedience to the helm, and we laid her course again for our
destined port. And some who before had mocked at prayers and blasphemed
the God we loved, admitted then that God had answered prayer, and that
he had delivered us from death.
"And I love to repeat the story to the praise of the Lord, who yet lives
to hear, and bless, and save his trusting children."
Next: No Fear Of Thunder.
Previous: The Rescue From The Ville Du Havre, And The Loch Earn.