There lived a good Christian fisherman in the village of St. Monance, on the coast of Fife.
His name was Andrew Davidson, and he was the owner and captain of a fishing boat called The Rose in June. The herring season came, and Andrew Davidson and his little crew prepared to go to sea. He had but lately been married, and, before leaving home, he knelt down with his young wife, and asked God to keep her safely while he was away; but she noticed, and her heart sunk within her at the thought, that he said not a word about his own safety.
On Monday, 15th December, 1872, the boats started to their grounds, and soon thereafter a strong easterly wind began to blow, which increased to a gale by midnight, at which time the sea was running very high. The gale was accompanied by torrents of rain, and lasted with extreme severity till Tuesday. The most of the St. Monance boats made for Elie harbor, which they reached with great difficulty and danger. An anxious crowd of women and children, made up of the families of the absent fishermen, gathered on the beach and along the shore. Every eye was strained across the waters to catch the first glimpse of the returning boats.
One by one they struggled in, and shouts of joy and thankfulness arose from one and another as a husband, a brother, a father, or a son sprang ashore. But The Rose in June did not come.
Driven by the storm, and dashed upon the rocks, she had become a total wreck. Turned bottom upwards, her crew of six men clung to her sides with desperate energy. No other boat was near to help or save them, and, all around, the wild waves were rolling and roaring, threatening every moment to tear each man from his hold and dash him to pieces on the sharp rocks. Andrew Davidson thought of Jesus in that hour of peril, and, in the face of certain death, that thought did for him what nothing else in the world could have done –it made him happy.
It may have been that he remembered then how Paul and Silas glorified God in the prison of Philippi, for he shouted, loud and clear above the storm, – “Now, boys, let’s sing a hymn of praise to God!” and at once he began and sang this verse, —
“Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high:
Hide me, 0 my Savior, hide,
Till the storm of life be past ;
Safe into the haven guide,
O! receive my soul at last.”
The voices could be heard by those on the shore above the noise of the tempest and the tumult of the waters. Ere the hymn was closed, one of the fishermen became unconscious, and the boat was caught by an immense wave, and carried on the top of it to a considerable distance at a fearful rate. When it left her, she was struck on the broadside by a heavy sea, and thrown on her beam ends, after which, another sea made a breach right over her, and carried away Skipper Davidson, who left this world and entered heaven with a song of praise on his lips.
A sad silence fell upon the men who had been trying to join in that song of praise. For awhile no one spoke. At last, John Allan, the mate of the little vessel, who was also a believer in Jesus, exclaimed, –“Come, my lads,let us go on with the hymn that our skipper is now finishing in heaven.” And then those brave men, rocking on their wrecked boat, with the waves dashing, and the wild winds wailing around them, sang on till they had finished the hymn.
Just as they were finishing these last words, another huge wave burst over the boat, and the young mate was carried away to join his friend and shipmate in that blessed world–
“Where, anchored safe, his weary soul
Shall find eternal rest,
And not a wave of trouble roll
Across his peaceful breast.”
The rest of the crew of that wrecked boat escaped with their lives. But they never forgot the scene they had witnessed during that terrible storm. And no sermon ever preached about the preciousness of Jesus could make such an impression on their minds as was made by that memorable scene. They felt, deep down into their very souls, that the truth in Jesus is the best of all truth, because it satisfies us and makes us happy.
Written by, William Adamson