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CHAPTER XIII.

THE STORM.

“ And there arose a great storm.”—Mark iv. 17.

A solemn darkness veils the skies,

The winds with fury roar;
The sea in lofty billows rise,

And bounds from shore to shore.

A MARINER’s life is checquered, and full of apprehension; wherever he goes, uncertainty attends him, and dangers beset him. Though he frequently glides smoothly over the mighty ocean, there are times when he is the complete sport of the deep, and knows not what will become of him. Passing by a detail of the various calamities which assail a mariner, it will be sufficient to dwell on the horrors of a storm.

Only a few hours past, he was pursuing his course with delight, and dreamt only of security and joy; but now he is all anxiety and alarm. The gentle breeze is gone; the clouds rise with threatening haste, and the seafowl which hovered round without fear, fly away screeching with fright. Heaven shuts itself up in gloom; the winds fiercely roar, the thunders rattle; the sea is terribly agitated; and all around is one boisterous expanse of fury. Oh! how the poor vessel is tossed about; every moment she appears to be reeling into destruction, dashed so dreadfully amongst the vast undulations.

Presently, she is struck with a tremendous wave, which sweeps away her masts, and carries into the foaming abyss an immortal soul. The severe lashings of the sea now shake her so much, that her timbers yield their compactness, and the troubled waters make their way into her hold. To all she appears lost; but, behold, the distant sky! it breaks forth in milder aspect; streams of azure shine in cheerful radiance; the winds lose their rage, and the sea its fury; each mariner greets his shipmate with a smile, and saysthe storm is past. Occasionally, however, it is not so: instead of congratulations, they address one another in the language of despair. The storm rages with greater violence; and the poor mariners, on looking round them, find that they are driving towards a terrific shore: the frail vessel nears it rapidly ; destruction is inevitable_alas ! she is dashed upon a rock; oh! what a frightful crash. Now, all are struggling with the engulphing deep: in a few moments, they are gone for ever!

Storms vary in their severity and consequences: many pass away without mischief, but some are truly dreadful. Oft times, mariners are at their wits' end, for death appears in every wave; but after a perilous and trying season, they gain the tranquil harbour of their native home, and soon forget all that's past.

This life in its best forms is very stormy, and very few pass through it, without finding it so; but it is a lamentable truth, that the majority are insensible to the design God has in view, in causing it to be so. Troubles

and dangers affect powerfully while they last, but no sooner are we exempt from their influence, than we pursue our accustomed courses. Men in afflictive circumstances or perilous situations, resemble metals cast into the furnace; while there, they are softened down, but when removed, they become as callous as ever. How fervent have been the prayers of a sailor in danger ! But oh! how soon does he forget every thing. A serene sky and placid deep have quieted his fears, and ended his devotion. There was a time, when the breath, so oft employed in curses, was spent in supplication ; when his soul, so long neglected, was his chief concern; and the God he had so long despised was in all his thoughts. But he is now pursuing his old round of evil; be has forgotten the Being which

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