2001-08-31 - Deliverance
The following was published in the Scottish Christian Herald, November 17, 1838. It is reproduced here because of the content, but also so that as Christians we continue to hold onto and learn about how God has worked in the past. I hope you enjoy it. I found it moving. I have edited it some.
The following narrative was related by Mr. Dudley, at the meeting of the Brighton Auxiliary Society, August 14, 1817:
Many years ago, a man was seen, one dark night, walking on the Point of Portsmouth, leading by his hand his little boy, who, being half-starved by the idleness and drunkenness of his father, craved for some food with great earnestness. The Father, (who had before occasioned the death of his wife by ill treatment) enraged, pushed the boy from him with such violence, as to throw him over the Point into the ocean that rolled beneath. The father, being then in a state of intoxication, was unable to assist his boy. The boy seemed lost. But that God, without whose permission not a sparrow falls to the ground, and by whom the very hairs of our heads are numbered, provided for his deliverance.
The boy came up alongside a small boat and climbed in. The boat drifted until it struck against the side of a warship. The seamen let down a rope and the poor boy was drawn up. He was asked his name, to which he replied, "Poor Jack." Jack began to work on the ship. He was now well-fed. His main job was to carry powder to the guns on the ship. One of the officers asked if he could read, and learning he could not, began to teach him. He took to it, and whenever he had a spare moment, he read what he could find. These were not religious books, but rather light reading.
One day after a great battle, Jack was sent below deck to assist the surgeon in dressing wounds. He was ordered to carry some blankets to a man who lay in a hammock. He found the man, who had been picked up two days before, with a fever and in great distress. He shook the man's arm to get him to take his medicine, and the man said to him, "Who are you?" "Poor Jack," he replied.
"How old are you?" "Eighteen." He had now been on the boat for many years. "I might have had a boy just such as you, if I had not thrown him over the Point at Portsmouth, and he would have been just your age, too." Poor Jack quickly recognized the dying man as his once drunk, but now repentant father.
The man began to pray and thanked God that his heavy load of guilt had been lifted by having his sin removed through Christ. The man thought his child, who now stood before him, had died and that he was guilty of murder. When he finished praying, he gave the boy his Bible and told him that the loss of his child had driven him to the Scriptures, where he found that God had sent a Savior to pardon him for his great sins. He then breathed his last and Poor Jack was left looking at his father's lifeless body, holding his Bible. The father never knew that his son was standing before him.
Several years passed and during those years, Jack read his Bible and found himself to be a sinner, and the blood of Christ his only hope and remedy. As the teller of this story drew to a close, he said the following, "He is now a minister of that Gospel of which he was once so ignorant. And I will only add, that the once profane and profligate, but now, I trust, corrected, Jack, stands before you, the relater of his own story."