My dear Children, 

                  Years ago now a young British lady entered a church in the French seaport of Dieppe, and sat down to think and pray.  A happy holiday week, spent in the neighbourhood with a beloved younger sister, had flown all too quickly, and on this summer afternoon Miss L. (who was herself staying on in France ) had seen her sister comfortably installed on the Newhaven boat, the Seaford, for the homeward journey.  Very lovingly had the elder thought of everything for the comfort of her less-experienced sister, who had never before travelled alone.  Now, as she prayerfully meditated, the words came to her with power: “God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in trouble.” (Ps. 46: 1).  She realized, as never before, the comfort of the omnipresence (the presence everywhere) of Jehovah.  What though her weak human love could neither follow nor protect?  God, the ever-present Help and Refuge, was her sister’s God as well as her own.  A little time back it would have been different, but now her prayers had been answered, and her loved one brought out of unbelief to faith and acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour.  Thus she thought and prayed, though unaware of any special danger threatening.


Meantime the younger sister - Anne - sat awhile on deck in brilliant sunshine.  Thereafter, a headache induced her to go below to the almost deserted ladies’ cabin.  Presently her attention was attracted by a conversation between the stewardess and a passenger.  “We have run into a slight fog,” the former was saying. “Listen, the fog-signal!”  Then, as a mournful wailing        “siren” echoed the Seaford 's: “Now another boat is answering - she must be near  look, look!  There she is!”


Anne looked.  Above the small round port-hole loomed a dark shadow, surely, surely, too dangerously near!  Then a shock.


Anne knew what had happened, for the newspapers lately had reported many collisions at sea, and one ship had sunk only fifteen minutes after being struck.  She tried to gather her wits.  She must go upstairs immediately - there would be no crowding on the stair - that was a comfort!  Arrived on deck, she found that the warm light and blue sky had vanished. Sunshine there was, but it filtered, pale and ghost-like, through white shrouding mist.  On the deck itself the scene was intensely quiet.  (I Strange to say, this picture-page is one of the very stillest in the whole of Anne's memory book!)  There was no panic.  Everyone seemed to speak in whispers, glancing curiously at the heap of wreckage left by the collision.  Life belts were distributed, and Anne saw a boat being lowered; the Lyon - the ship which had collided with the Seaford had disappeared in the fog.  Anne was shy to ask for information or advice lest she should worry the fully occupied officials, and she had no human companion.  She withdrew to the vessel’s side, and looked down into the glimmering water.  Strange to think that in a few minutes she might be in it - drowning - and thereafter no news of her (save through newspapers) would reach the sister whom she had so lately left, or the mother who awaited her!  Anne was frightened,  her knees shook.  Though a Christian, she had been wandering from her God, and thus she felt no free unclouded confidence towards Him.  The consciousness of wrong done, and, yet more, of good left undone and opportunities wasted, overwhelmed her with painful conviction.  But, though solemnly rebuking, her Lord had not left her.  He heard her heart’s silent cry, and placed a rock beneath her feet - even the promise of Isaiah 1: 18: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”  Anne cannot describe, though she remembers with humble gratitude to her merciful God, the sense of peace and safety which this brought her.  She did indeed stand firm upon the Rock of Ages resting upon the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, who bore her sins in His own body on the tree.  With calmness, now, she enquired of an official who directed her to the other side of the ship, where a plank had been laid from the bulwarks of the fast-sinking Seaford to enable passengers to cross to the Lyon, which, though herself injured by the collision, was now standing by.


The Seaford sank, within sight of those on board the Lyon, forty minutes after the collision, and then the latter, a cargo boat, injured and heavily laden took her slow way towards Newhaven.  Fog-sirens from unseen vessels continued to sound through the mist, reminding the passengers of danger, but the sense of forgiveness and reconciliation lay warm at Anne’s heart, comforting and cheering her until, from Newhaven Harbour, she was able to telegraph to her sister the glad news of her safe arrival.


And now, little children, abide in Him; that when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” (1 John, 2: 28).  Blessed the Christian who, having sinned, repents and receives forgiveness from the Saviour in Whom he has been accepted once for all as a child of God.  But let us rather aim so to please our Lord, that He may be able to say to us, “Well done,” in that day when His servants shall “appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one, may receive the things done in his body according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (2 Cor. 5: 10).


                             Your affectionate friend,


                                                                     HELEN RAMSAY.