Others went out on the sea in ships;
they were merchants on the mighty waters.
They saw the works of the LORD,
his wonderful deeds in the deep.
For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
that lifted high the waves.
I went to bed that night in my usual security and indifference: but was awaked from a sound sleep by the force of a violent sea, which broke on board us. So much of it came down below as filled the cabin I lay in with water. This alarm was followed by a cry from the deck, that the ship was going down, or sinking. The sea had torn away the upper timbers on one side, and made the ship a mere wreck in a few minutes.
They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
in their peril their courage melted away.
They reeled and staggered like drunken men;
they were at their wits' end.
I was obliged to return to the pump, and there I continued till noon, almost every passing wave breaking over my head; but we made ourselves fast with ropes, that we might not be washed away. Indeed I expected that every time the vessel descended in the sea, she would rise no more. About nine o'clock, being almost spent with cold and labour, I went to speak with the captain.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
Just as I was returning from him, I said, almost without any meaning, "If this will not do, the Lord have mercy on us!" I was instantly struck with my own words, and as Jehu said once, What hast thou to do with peace, so it directly occurred, What mercy can there be for me? I concluded at first; that my sins were too great to be forgiven.
When I saw beyond all probability, there was still hope of respite, and heard about six in the evening that the ship was freed from water, there arose a gleam of hope; I thought I saw the hand of God displayed in our favour: I began to pray. I could not utter the prayer of faith: I could not draw near to a reconciled God, and call him Father. My prayer was like the cry of the ravens, which yet the Lord does not disdain to hear. I now began to think of that Jesus whom I had so often derided: I recollected the particulars of his life, and of his death:- a death for sins not his own, but, as I remembered, for the sake of those who in their distress should put their trust in Him.
They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men.
Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people
and praise him in the council of the elders.
When we came into port, our very last victuals were boiling in the pot; and before we had been there two hours, the wind, which seemed to have been providentially restrained till we were in a place of safety, began to blow with great violence; so that, if we had continued at sea that night in our shattered enfeebled condition, we must, in all human appearance, have gone to the bottom.
About this time I began to know that there is a God that hears and answers prayer.