The Miners' Last Message

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
TWO years ago smoke was seen issuing from the shaft of Hamstead Colliery. Warning was sent swiftly down to the pit. Three or four men, who had just descended, were brought to the surface. They carried the serious report that a fire had broken out and the retreat of twenty-eight comrades was cut off.
Rescue parties made their way into the burning pit, but the task was hopeless, and the brave men returned almost insensible.
But why should such a terrible tale be retold here? We want to remind you of a far greater danger. Terrible as it is to be doomed in a coal-pit, it is infinitely worse to be doomed in the bottomless pit. And yet untold thousands are running this tremendous risk. How gladly would these twenty-eight miners have received a timely warning, and profited by it. Yet we are well assured many will read these lines, who need the warning we give, but alas! will not receive it. Unsaved reader, will you receive this loving entreaty? Will you receive this warning?
The next day another rescue party descended into the mine, only to return with the same story of defeat. Darkness came on, and sobbing women and children, who had hoped against hope, were led gently to their homes.
Again a band of rescuers descended into the mine. Two of them, more determined and venturesome than the rest, penetrated into the working farther than had hitherto been attempted. Realizing their failure they turned back, but one of them—Welby by name—sank down thoroughly exhausted. His companion was forced reluctantly to leave him to his fate in order to escape with his own life. Five days later Welby's body was recovered.
A week passed, and then the worst was known. Fourteen of the missing men were found lying side by side dead. Another day of search, and six more bodies were found. Close by them was a door with their names chalked upon it and their last message:
The Lord Preserves us.
For we are all trusting in Christ.
Thrice men with the greatest desire to rescue the entombed miners had descended the mine only to be baffled. All honor to them. They risked their lives—nay, one of them lost his life in the attempt to save others.
What shall we say of the way the Lord Jesus descended from glory into this dark world of sin and shame, Where, but for Him, our lot would have been far more terrible than for those miners faced with an awful death in Hamstead Colliery. For none but He could save. Nor could He save Himself, if He would save us. How true it is, as the old hymn puts it,
“’Himself He could not save';
He on the cross must die,
Or mercy cannot come
To ruined sinners nigh;
Yes, Christ the Son of God must bleed
That sinners might from sin be freed.”
These entombed miners were faced with death to the body. If unsaved, reader, you are faced with the second death—doom for ever. The first death does not mean cessation of existence. It means a change of condition. Neither does the second death mean cessation of existence.
Aye, and the Lord Jesus died in performing a Savior's part. Welby died in his attempt to save, and failed because he died. The Lord Jesus died in order to save, and succeeded just because He died. What a story of love!
Men risked their lives to save their fellowmen from death in the Hamstead coal mine. The Lord of glory—Jesus, the eternal Son of God—became a Man that He might die to save us, the creatures of His hand, rebels against His authority, sinners who deserved the deepest hell.
The six men, whose names were found written on the door in the ill-fated mine, were indeed happy. A few hours of suffering and then—glory. Thrice happy men, who could say, "We are all trusting in Christ.”
Far better be in the burning pit of Hamstead Colliery with a living faith in Christ, with a hope of sudden glory, than be the gavest worldling, who goes blindly into the burning pit of hell, and who never wakes up to his danger till it is too late forever.
How do you stand, reader?
Remember, it is not sufficient that the Lord Jesus died for you. You may neglect this salvation, and Scripture asks, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?" (Heb. 2:3.) There must be living faith in Christ. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." (Acts 16:31.) There must be conversion. "Except ye be converted,... ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 18:3.) There must be new birth. "Ye must be born again." (John 3:7.)
Let me ask you with deep earnestness, for your soul is unspeakably precious and its destiny is eternal, Are your prospects those of being with the Savior in glory, or are you going to a doom infinitely more terrible than that of the miners in Hamstead Colliery? Face these matters and get them settled according to God and His word, I pray you.
A. J. P.