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  • CHARLES SPURGEON'S WRITINGS -
    AT THE SIEGE OF COPENHAGEN.


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    THE QUAKERS IN IRELAND.

    ANAVAL officer tells the following singular story concerning the siege of Copenhagen, under Lord Nelson. An officer in the fleet says: — “I was particularly impressed with an object which I saw three or four days after the terrific bombardment of that place. For several nights before the surrender, the darkness was ushered in with a tremendous roar of guns and mortars, accompanied by the whizzing of those destructive and burning engines of warfare, Congreve’s rockets. The dreadful effects were soon visible in the brilliant lights through the city. The blazing houses of the rich, and the burning cottages of the poor, illuminated the heavens; and the wide-spreading flames, reflecting on the water, showed a forest of ships assembled round the city for its destruction. This work of conflagration went on for several nights; but the Danes at length surrendered; and on walking, some days after, among the ruins, consisting of the cottages of the poor, houses of the rich, manufactories, lofty steeples, and humble meeting-houses, I descried, amid this barren field of desolation, a solitary house, unharmed; all around it a burnt mass, this alone untouched by the fire, a monument of mercy. Whose house is that?’ I asked. ‘That,’ said the interpreter, ‘belongs to a Quaker. He would neither fight nor leave his house, but remained in prayer with his family during the whole bombardment.’ ‘Surely’, thought I, it is well with the righteous. God has been a shield to thee in battle, a wall of fire round about thee, a very present help in time of need.” It might seem to be an invention of mine, only that it happens to be as authentic a piece of history as any that can be found.

    There is another story told, somewhat similar, of that Danish war. “Soon after the surrender of Copenhagen to the English, in the year 1807, detachments of soldiers were, for a time, stationed in the surrounding villages. It happened one day that three soldiers, belonging to a Highland regiment, were set to forage among the neighboring farmhouses. They went to several, but found them stripped and deserted. At length they came to a large garden, or orchard, full of apple trees, bending under the weight of fruit. They entered by a gate, and followed a path which brought them to a neat farmhouse. Everything without bespoke quietness and security; but as they entered by the front door the mistress of the house and her children ran screaming out by the back. The interior of the house presented an appearance of order and comfort superior to what might be expected from people in that station, and from the habits of the country. A watch hung by the side of the fireplace, and a neat book-case, well filled, attracted the attention of the elder soldier. He took down a book: it was written in a language unknown to him, but the name of Jesus Christ was legible on every page. At this moment the master of the house entered by the door through which his wife and children had just fled. One of the soldiers, by threatening signs, demanded provisions: the man stood firm, and undaunted, but shook his head. The soldier who held the book approached him, and pointing to the name of Jesus Christ, laid his hand upon his heart, and looked up to heaven. Instantly the farmer grasped his hand, shook it vehemently, and then ran out of the room. He soon returned with his wife and children laden with milk, eggs, bacon, etc., which were freely tendered; and when money was offered in return it was at first refused; but as two of the soldiers were pious men, they, much to the chagrin of their companion, insisted upon paying for all they received. When taking leave the pious soldiers intimated to the farmer that it would be well for him to secrete his watch; but by the most significant signs, he gave them to understand that he feared no evil, for his trust was in God; and that though his neighbors, on the right hand and on the left, had fled from their habitations, and by foraging parties had lost what they could not remove, not a hair of his head had been injured, nor had he even lost an apple from his trees.” The man knew that “He that taketh the sword shall perish by the sword;” so he just tried the non-resistant principle; and God, in whom he put implicit confidence, would not let him be injured.

    It was a remarkable thing that in the massacre of the Protestants in Ireland, a long time ago, there were thousands of Quakers in the country, and only two of them were killed; and those two had no faith in their own principles; one of them ran away and hid himself in a fastness, and the other kept arms in his house; but the others, unarmed. walked amidst infuriated soldiers, both Roman Catholics and Protestants, and were never touched, because they were strong in the strength of Israel’s God, and put up their sword into its scabbard, knowing that to war against another cannot be right, since Christ has said, “Resist no evil; if any man smite thee on one cheek, turn to him the other also.” “Be kind, not only to the thankful, but to the unthankful and to the evil.” “Forgive your enemies.” “Bless them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you.” But we are ashamed to do that; we do not like it; we are afraid to trust God; and until we do it we shall not know the majesty of faith, nor prove the power of God for our protection. “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.”

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