“I ’spose I might have jumped
In thought of saving sinew and bone,
And left them women and children
To take the ride alone.
“But I thought on a day of recknin’,
And whatever old John done here,
The Lord ain’t going to say to him there,
‘You went back as an engineer.’”
History of life on the ocean tells us of a ship doomed to go down with four hundred human beings on board. The pumps were not equal to the task of holding the water down to the safety line. The captain said: “We will draw lots for the life-boats, one hundred and twenty will go in them and the remainder must go down with the ship.”
One after another drew his lot. A sailor, who had drawn the lot of death, walked to the railing and said to a comrade in a life-boat: “When you reach the shore, see my wife, tell her good-bye for me and help her in getting my back pay, for she will need it,” and he stepped back and took his place with the doomed.
Finally the old mate thrust in his brawny hand and drew a lot for the life-boats. He stepped aside to watch those to follow in the drawing, when a very popular officer of the ship drew his lot. He was doomed to go down with the ship. Though a brave man, the thought of his loved ones at home overcame him, and dropping upon his knees he said: “O God, have mercy upon my wife and little children.”
The old mate went up to him and taking his hand said: “We have been in many storms together and have been good friends for years. You have a wife and three sweet little children, while I have no one that will rejoice at my coming, nor will any one weep if I never return. It might have been my fate to go down instead of you, and it shall be. You take my lot, and I’ll take yours.”
The offer was refused, but the mate forced his friend into a boat saying, “Good-bye, I’ll die for you like a man.”
The greatness of this world doesn’t all belong to your Solons, Solomons, Washingtons, Napoleons, Grants, Lees or Gladstones, but yonder in the humbler walks of life are heroes and heroines, who in the final reckoning day, will pale the lustre of some whose names are engraved on marble monuments and whose praises are perpetuated in poetry and song.
If you ask me to point you to greatness I do not direct your minds to historic heights, but that you may win your share of greatness I close this address by saying, wherever your lot in life be cast,
“In the name of God advancing,
Plow, sow and labor now;
Let there be when evening cometh,
Honest sweat upon thy brow.
Then will come the Master,
When work stops at set of sun,
Saying, as He pays the wages,
‘Good and faithful one, well done.’”
A searchlight of the twentieth century.