A few years ago we were spending a happy holiday at the seaside, and took a trip one Saturday afternoon on one of the passenger steamers plying between Gourock and Rothesay.  On the return journey, when nearing Gourock, suddenly a great commotion sprang up among the passengers.  Looking in the direction in which the gaze of the other passengers was directed, we saw an upturned boat with a man hanging on to its keel.  Three men had been out in the bay enjoying themselves, when, though some cause or other, the boat heeled over, throwing its occupants into the water.  Before the steamer came on the scene one of the tree had gone down to rise no more, and the hand of another was seen above the water clutching an oar.  A moment or two later, and the hand disappeared.  Two out of the three had found a watery grave.  As the steamer slowed down, the man who was hanging on to the boat’s keel at a distance of about twenty or thirty yards from the steamer let go with one hand and looked round sideways at the steamer. Oh, what an imploring look! It was an unspoken appeal for help.  We can never forget it.  Just then a brave fellow who had divested himself of his coat, sprang over the side of the steamer into the water and swam with powerful stroke towards him.  In a few minutes he reached him, and caught him from behind by the coat neck.  The drowning man immediately clutched at his rescuer with both hands, and it looked as if he would drag him down.  But his rescuer bravely averted this, and yet at the same time kept him afloat until a boat from the shore, which had been making for the scene of the accident before the steamer arrived, reached the spot and picked them both up.


It was a noble rescue, and the passenger who sprang from the steamer to effect it was worthy of all praise.  He placed his own life in jeopardy and suffered a good deal of discomfort, but the saving of life prompted him to undertake the brave deed.


Yet while men and women are ready enough to praise their fellows for some such brave deed as we have described, and rightly so, praise is denied to Him Who died in our room and stead, denied to Him Who endured the shame and the pain of Calvary, and Who died, “the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God”        

(1 Peter 3:18)