Dear young Friend,

                     My sister, Mrs. Henrey, in one of her letters to light­keepers, quotes a hymn composed by David Williams, a Welsh writer. “I believe,” she says, “it is generally known as the Miners' Hymn.”

In the waves and mighty waters

No one will support my head,

But my Saviour, my Beloved,

Who was stricken in my stead.


In the cold and mortal river,

He will hold my head above;

I shall through the waves go singing,

For one look of Him I love.”

In April 1877 a colliery in Wales was flooded. . . . Fourteen miners were entombed in a dark prison below. The rescue party toiled day and night, but only on the eighth day were nine of them found at the point of death, without air or food. When recovered, and able to tell their story, they said that despair would have driven them mad had it not been for the miners' hymn, which they sang over and over again.”

If there be a miners’ psalm, surely it should be the 139th, which tells of God’s presence in darkness and depths. “If I make my bed in hell (Sheol – [the place of the dead where, as disembodied souls, we wait for resurrection]) behold, Thou art there. If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me; yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee.” Or that marvellous prayer of Jonah unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly:‑ “Out of the belly of hell (Sheol) cried I and thou heardest my voice . . . the waters compassed me about, even to the soul . . . I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast Thou brought up my life from corruption, 0 Lord my God.”  

Only confidence in God's presence and pardon for Christ's sake can give true Christian courage. Our blessed Lord sent His disciples out into the great, big, hostile world to preach the Gospel with this one assurance to strengthen and encourage them:‑ “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age,” and many a pilgrim to Immanuel's land has rested his soul on David's sweet words: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for THOU ART WITH ME.”

Yet Bunyan pictures his Pilgrim as sore afraid at first on enter­ing the river:‑ “Then said Christian ‘The sorrows of death have compassed me about. I shall not see the land which flows with milk and honey.’ And with that a great darkness and horror fell, upon Christian, so that he could not see before him . . . and heart fears that he should die in that river, and never obtain entrance in at the gate. Then said Hopeful, ‘these troubles are no sign that God hath forsaken you; but are sent to try you, whether you will call to mind that which heretofore you have received of his goodness, and live upon Him in your distresses . . . Be of good cheer; Jesus Christ maketh thee whole." With that, Christian brake out with a loud voice, "Oh, I see Him again; and He tells me, ‘When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee, and through the rivers they shall not overflow thee’." Then they both took courage, and the enemy was after that as still as a stone, until they were gone over.

Being about to write to you, I asked a dear Aunt from Edinburgh who is staying with us, if she could give you something of her per­sonal experience. She told me that her mother, in her last illness, suffered great pain and spiritual depression:‑  When the pain came on so suddenly,” mother said to me, ‘this'll be my last illness, and it's a’ dark before me . . . I dinna see anything.’ I put my arms round her, and held her, and said, ‘Oh, no, mother.’ But again she whispered, ‘Ay, this'll be my last.’ Soon after, her minister, Mr. Brown, came. ‘I'm awfu' glad to see ye,’ she said, and she caught both his hands in hers. He prayed, standing over her, and repeating the lines from Rock of Ages:‑

‘Nothing in my hand I bring,

Simply to Thy cross I cling,’

she spread her hands in consent, murmuring, ‘Ay, that's true.’  ‘My mother's faith is weak,’ said my sister, but Mr. Brown answered, ‘If it's but as a grain of mustard seed, it's enough.’ And he prayed earnestly for her, that she would get a vision of Christ. He was scarcely out of the door, when she whispered, ‘Put doon the light’ ‑ and gazing upwards, she said, ‘I see Christ ­and he's looking at me’ and she clasped her hands, and cried out, ‘Oh my dear Saviour! Oh my dear Saviour! Do ye no' see Him? Tak' Him ‑ tak' Him into your bosom!’ And after that she was so filled with joy that the pain seemed nothing, and when I said, ‘Mother, you're suffering,’ she answered, ‘Ay, I'm sufferin' but He's gi'en me rest every minute. I'm going, but I'll be waiting for ye a'. Tell them a' to come to me!’

And the darkness never came back.

             Your affectionate friend,

                    HELEN RAMSAY.