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The Rocky Island and Other Similitudes   By: (1805-1873)

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THE ROCKY ISLAND, AND OTHER SIMILITUDES.

BY SAMUEL WILBERFORCE, D.D. LORD BISHOP OF OXFORD.

"Fed my lambs." S. JOHN xxi. 15.

TENTH EDITION

LONDON: FRANCIS & JOHN RIVINGTON, ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD, AND WATERLOO PLACE. 1849.

{The Rocky Island: p0.jpg}

PREFACE.

The advertisement to a work of similar character to the present expresses the author's principle and wishes as to this little volume. It is constructed on the same plan, and, like the former, has had the test of the observations of his own children before it was given to the public. The reception of "Agathos" has shewn that many parents have felt the want which these little volumes are intended to supply, and leads the author to hope that he has in some measure been able to meet it.

It is a peculiar gratification to him to be able thus to enter many a Christian household, and fulfil, in some measure, his Master's charge, "Feed my lambs."

May it please God to give His blessing to this new attempt.

S. W

Winchester , Sept. 29, 1840.

The Rocky Island.

I saw in my dream a rough rocky island rising straight out of the midst of a roaring sea. In the midst of the island rose a black steep mountain; dark clouds rested gloomily upon its top; and into the midst of the clouds it cast forth ever and anon red flames, which lit them up like the thick curling smoke at the top of a furnace chimney. Peals of loud thunder sounded constantly from these thick clouds; and now and then angry lightning shot its forked tongue, white, and red, and blue, from the midst of them, and fell upon the rocks, or the few trees which just clung to their sides, splitting them violently down, and scattering the broken and shivered pieces on all sides. It was a sad, dreary looking island at the first view, and I thought that no one could dwell in it; but as I looked closer at its shores, I saw that they were covered with children at play. A soft white sand formed its beach, and there these children played. I saw no grown people among them; but the children were all busy some picking up shells; some playing with the bright coloured berries of a prickly dwarf plant which grew upon those sands; some watching the waves as they ran up and then fell back again on that shore; some running after the sea birds, which ran with quick light feet along the wet sand, and ever flew off, skimming just along the wave top, and uttering a quick sharp note as the children came close upon them: so some sported in one way, and some in another, but all were busily at play. Now I wondered in my dream to see these children thus busy whilst the burning mountain lay close behind them, and the thunder made the air ring.

Sometimes, indeed, when it shone out redder and fiercer than usual, or when the thunder seemed close over their heads, the children would be startled for a little while, and run together, and cry, and scream; but very soon it was all forgotten, and they were as full of their sports as ever.

While I was musing upon this, I saw a man appear suddenly amongst the children. He was of a noble and kingly countenance, and yet so gentle withal that there was not a child of them all who seemed afraid to look in his face, or to listen to his kind voice when he opened his mouth, for soon I found that he was speaking to them. "My dear children," I heard him say, "you will all be certainly killed, if you stay upon this rocky island. Here no one ever grows up happily. Here all play turns into death the burning mountain, and the forked lightning, and the dreadful breath of the hill storm, these sweep down over all that stay here, and slay them all; and if you stay here, for these childish pleasures of yours, you will all perish."

Then the children grew very grave, and they gazed one upon another, and all looked up into the face of the man, to see if he spoke in earnest. They saw directly that he did, for that kind face looked full of care as well as of love: so from him they looked out upon the waves of the sea, and one whispered to another, "Where shall we go? how shall we ever get over that sea? we can never swim across it: had we not better go back, and play and be happy, until the time comes for us to die?"

"No," said the man, looking round kindly upon them all; "you cannot swim over; you never could get over of yourselves: but you need not stay here and die; for I have found a way of escape for you... Continue reading book >>




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