The Faithful Brother

"THE tail of the storm" is in the Channel, and a brave little cutter is speedily making for port and home. But as the morning dawns a dark spot on the horizon is made out by her captain to be a vessel in distress. The cutter is put about, and all sail possible made for the object that has arrested her course. Presently she is alongside a forsaken ship. The vessel rolls heavily, as though waterlogged. The captain boards her with some of his crew. The silence on the deserted vessel is only broken by the rattle of the chains as she rolls to and fro.
They go below—silence still; peer into the berths—still the same; but at last they come to a cabin, and start back, for there, in the silence of death, lies a still form. Once a living, brave man, like themselves, he is now left alone in his wrecked ship, covered with a foreign flag, on the wild waves. What does it all mean? Where is the crew? What caused his death? These and similar questions pass rapidly through the minds of Captain L. and his men. But there is no time to lose; they must try and get the vessel and its dead captain into port, and then solve the mystery.
Some hours after, the cutter and the derelict safely entered harbor. The news of the strange vessel soon spreads, official information is given, and before the day passes a crew of foreign sailors arrive to claim their vessel.
This was the tale they told. Theirs was a merchant ship, trading between their home and London; they had landed their cargo safely, and were on the return voyage, when the awful gale of the previous night had swept down the mainmast, and struck down the poor captain— fatally injured. His brother was with him, and spite of the storm, they, with loving hands, bore him to the cabin, and did all their skill could invent to ease what they saw too plainly were his dying hours.
As the storm increased, and the waves swept over the ship, she began to leak, and the poor captain begged them to launch the boat and try to reach land. His hours were numbered.
Why stay, with the apparent certainty of death, when there was at least a hope if they forsook the ship? But the brother would not leave the dying man alone, neither would any of the crew; they would stay with him, pay him the last act of respect, and then, if there was the possibility, try to make the shore; if not—well, they would not leave. Nor did they.
The storm raged on—all hope of saving the vessel was gone; their captain breathed his last. All they could do was to cover him with their flag, then lower the boat, and, as they thought, leave the vessel to founder. We know what really did happen to it. In broken English, the poor fellows told their tale, and they rejoiced that at least they could lay their captain where his loved friends, so far away, could at some time see his last resting place in the quiet, mossy grave at W—!
As I heard of these men in their nobility risking their lives to stay by their dying comrade and brother, it made me think of a love, deeper and stronger far, shown to me— shown to you, too, dear friends, who read these lines. I could but think of Jesus, my Saviour, who gave His life for me, and who died in my stead. How have you responded to His love? Have you never thought of it? Have you gone on in your business or work, or amusements, and paid no heed to it?
Friends, do you know God loves you? You know what it is for your little boy to love you. You would be sorry if he did not care to run to meet you when you come home at night; you like him to climb upon your knee and tell you all he has been doing, do not you? You understand your mother, or father, or friend loving you? Now, God, the mighty God, gave up His only Son to death for sinners, such as you and I. Could you give up your child to die for your friend? He spared not His own Son, and gave Him for His enemies. Have you ever thanked Him for His love? Down with this paper, and thank Him now, if you never did before.
Remember, it was for sinners that Christ died. Come to Him as a sinner, and trust in His mercy. L. T.