Sunday, March 6, 2011
God is Faithful to Save His Servants
Life Saved by a Tract
A minister from Exeter stated, that not far from the place where he lived, and quite in the country, there were two young ladies residing, and both were pious. It so happened that a poor American sailor, having taken up the employment of a peddler, passed that way, called at the house of these young ladies, and taking his box of small wares from his shoulders, requested one of them to purchase some tracts. She replied, that there was a certain tract which she was anxious to find, and that she would look over his parcel, and if it contained the one referred to, she would take it.
She did so, and finding the tract she wanted, paid the man, and ordered the servants to provide him some refreshments, and went in haste to the door to receive a friend who had come from a distance to visit her. The poor man, in the mean time, gathered up his scattered wares, proceeded a considerable distance on his way, and having reached a very retired spot, sat down by the side of the road, and taking his jack-knife from his pocket, began to appease his hunger with the food so kindly provided for him.
It so happened that in the course of the day a most horrible murder and robbery had been committed near this spot, and officers had been dispatched to seek out the criminal and bring him back to justice. A party of them approached this poor sailor, and finding him employed with the jack-knife (the very instrument with which the murder was supposed to have been perpetrated), they seized him at once and put him in prison, where he remained three months awaiting his trial.
During the whole period of his confinement he was employed in reading the Bible and religious books to his fellow-prisoners, and was so exemplary in his whole conduct as to attract the attention of the jailer, who kindly interested himself for him, listened to his tale of woe, and believed him innocent.
When the trial came on, the case was of such an interesting nature that it drew together a vast concourse of people, and after the examination had been passed, and the judge had called for the verdict of guilty or not guilty, a voice was heard to issue from the crowd, “Not guilty!”
Every eye was directed to the spot from whence the sound proceeded, and immediately a young lady advanced, with a paper in her hand, and appeared before the judge. Her feelings at first overcame her, and she fainted, but recovering herself, and being encouraged to proceed, if she had anything to say in defense of the prisoner at the bar, she stated to the judge the circumstances of having the tract of the poor man, presenting it at the same time, bearing the date of the day and hour when it was purchased.
She stated further, that just as the man was about to leave her, a sister whom she had not seen for many years arrived from a distance, and as she was anxious for a particular reason, to remember the day and hour of her arrival, she made a memorandum of it upon this tract, which she happened to have in her hand.
While she was making this statement to the judge, the poor prisoner bent forward with earnestness to discover what gentle voice was pleading in his behalf, for he had thought himself friendless and alone in the world, and was comforted that anyone should take a part in his sorrows, even though it could not avail to the saving of his life. But it did avail, for the hour of the murder having been ascertained, and being the same as that recorded upon the tract, it was evident the prisoner must have been in a different place at the time it was committed. He was accordingly discharged, and in a moment was upon his knees, pouring forth the grateful feelings of his heart to his kind benefactress. “And this,” said the reverend gentleman, holding up a tract, “is the very tract which saved that man's life.”