Narrow Escape Of A Miner
( Originally Published 1902 )
IN talking with Rev. S. Parkes Cadman, D. D., about providential escapes from danger, he related to me the following incidents connected with his personal history :
" There is an old saying that ` a man is immortal till his work is done.' How true this is may be questioned, but it has always been a sort of conviction with me, and I found myself acting upon it as a working faith when I was in moments of peril. During my life as a miner these moments were frequent, for mining is a dangerous business. But I always believed I should live to preach the Gospel ; even when I was not yet a Christian, this impression stayed with me. On one occasion, the chain in which I was sitting to ascend a deep shaft, slipped up my body and caught under my shoulders. The caretaker at the surface was absent from the mouth of the pit, and did not hear my shouts as I swung higher and higher yet into space, afraid to let go, and knowing it was certain death to hold on. But the thoughts I have mentioned above flashed into my mind. They took the form of a certain Scripture which says, ` Thou shalt not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord.'
" While dangling over the fearful abyss, with the slimy fetters, all muddy and damp, slowly moving beyond my effectual grasp, I knew I should not perish. I heard the man return, and the engines were stopped. I was lowered back fully two hundred feet, faint and exhausted, but safe.
" On another occasion, I was sitting under the timbered spaces which uphold the rock and shale roofing the coal. Everything seemed perfectly secure, but suddenly some monition within me said, ` Get away from here!' It came so unexpectedly and yet distinctly, it was as though a voice had audibly spoken. I did not obey at first, and tried to reason away my desire to leave. But it would not be put down. More imperatively still I felt, move I must, and I walked thirty feet to the rear. I had scarcely halted, when, without the slightest creak or jar, the whole place caved in. There was running overhead a fissure in the strata which threw all the ponderous mass on the timbers, and they gave way. My faithful horse was buried and killed, and for forty-eight hours the workmen were busy removing the debris. ` We never hoped to find you alive,' said one of the miners. ` Nor should I have been,' I replied, ` but for the providence of God.'
" As I reflect upon these and other circumstances of deliverance in my youthful days, I am constrained to believe in the overwatching providence of God."
Almost every minister, man and woman of faith, has had experiences similar to those related by Dr. Cadman.