« IndietroContinua »
of an immense fortress, erected by nature herself on her own grand scale, and designed to imprison an unmolested solitude within its walls, and to frown back all attempts on the part of man to disturb her here. It is no wonder that it never has been inhabited. It seems from a distance as though it were clad in some hard and impenetrable covering, saving the snows on its ridges and slopes, of one uniform russet brown colour. “I have not felt disturbed by any means.
This I must attribute to the grace of God only, and to no resolution or constancy of my mind; for who can delight more than I in sunny scenes ? But, praise God, I feel I can well forego all earthly joys, if the Lord will graciously vouchsafe to bless my soul, and endow me with the riches of his grace. I was greatly strengthened while in
prayer this morning. At this the uttermost end of the earth, and where there is less in climate, land, or people, to cheer the mind, than at almost any other spot of the world, if God has a work for me to do, and his blessing rests upon me whilst engaged therein, then God's holy will be done in me and by me, let the circumstances surrounding, or the events awaiting me, be what they will. At the time of writing this it is blowing hard, and the thermometer in the cabin, shut up around me, stands at 52°. I am indeed glad to wrap up now.
Saturday, November 30.–Our twelfth week at sea. At four o'clock this morning, our ship
having worked about all night, with a strong head wind from the S.S.W., we were in the same position; and our bearings off Cape San Diego, at the entrance of the Strait of Le Maire, were much the same as they were yesterday morning at eight o'clock. Wind and tide against us had beaten us back from all attempts hitherto made to enter the Strait; but now, taking advantage of an ebb-tide and a strong wind, the Captain carried on a heavy canvas, and finally about mid-day we got through the Strait. It was a hard contest, and we did but just escape the lee-shore of Staten Island, as we weathered Cape St Bartholomew. All the day long we have continued to beat about under single-reefed topsails, having, especially during the night, very violent squalls and a tremendous sea, shipping heavy seas on our poop.
What with the extreme gloom of the weather, snow, sleet, hail, and rain, and fogs, intermixed with a driving cold S.S.W. wind, blowing hard, with the dashing of the billows over us, and the rolling and pitching of the vessel, our position was by no means agreeable. Such was the pitching and constant motion of the vessel, that it induced a momentary attack of sea-sickness with me, whilst my poor friend Mr Maidment suffered very severely, as indeed he has done throughout the voyage whenever the weather has been rough.
“ The following day, Sunday, was passed beating about, with much the same weather prevailing,
the thermometer in the cabin standing most of the day at 42° and 44° Fahr.
Surely Fuegia is the land of darkness, the country of gloom, a scene of wild desolation, both land and climate agreed as to character, the one frowning and desolate, the other black and tempestuous. A few, and only a few, cheering smiles has the sun beamed upon us, and the cold snows upon the rough masses of Staten Island put on an unnatural appearance, and looked more and more pale under the reviving influences of the light. If such the land, and such the climate, we have reason to expect the people will not fall short of congruity with either. Well, and how do I bear up under these not very flattering prospects? Have I had my expectations pointed to such an agreeable picture? What shall I say? I will own the truth. I have not been ignorant of the fact, that such was the character of the region to which I was bound. Captain FitzRoy, and especially Mr Darwin, in his · Journal,' had made this sufficiently clear, yet I certainly had not in any degree realised it. How different is the acquaintance we get by reading, from that which we acquire by personal experience of things! In our parlours at home we do not shiver at the cold scenes we read of, but rather enjoy by contrast our present comforts. It is singular that amidst all the working of my mind in connexion with this great undertaking, I never contemplated it in the character of one of
great suffering and great trial. I was not ignorant that such it would assuredly prove itself to be, but I troubled not myself with the thought of it. I have all along felt that it was required at my hand to make the sacrifice of everything to God; but I have had some such feeling as was suggested by Abraham to his son Isaac, when he was on his way to the altar, with the wood on his back whereon he should be offered, that though thus palpably going to the fiery ordeal, yet God would provide for himself a lamb for the sacrifice. The truth is, I could in anticipation cast all my care so entirely upon the Lord, that I took no other care but to ascertain that it was his will that I should thus serve him, assured that in the hour of my need he would strengthen my heart, and be with me to sustain me. Have I then been taken unawares? No. Have I been disappointed ? No. The hour has come; and though I have never painted to my mind all that I should have to encounter, yet I am not any the less unprepared for the trial, because I have not to grapple with it in my own strength, nor to prepare myself for the encounter. I verified this yesterday (Sunday) morning in a remarkable manner, whilst engaged in reading the 12th of Romans. God's Holy Spirit engaged my soul in fervent prayer for grace to help me. I was led to offer up my body as a living sacrifice unto God, and with my whole heart consenting, with my entire will
prostrate and subjected to the will of God, that I might prove what is His good, and acceptable, and perfect will. I surrendered myself into the hand of the Lord Jesus, with so complete a trust in him, and love to him, as it was indeed delightful to feel; and how shall I praise the mercy and grace, and condescending goodness of God! I felt a sensible manifestation of God to my soul, accepting my offer. My heart was broken by a sense of God's love, that streamed in upon it, and my tears and upheaving breast alone could speak my gratitude and praise. Praise, praise to the Lord !
“To-day, Monday, December 2, after a somewhat more favorable night, though making but little headway, at eleven o'clock we were off Cape Hall, Cape Good Success bearing north (true), and we now expect to weather Cape Pio, and this afternoon make Picton Island.
Tuesday, December 3.—Made little advance upon yesterday, the wind being right ahead.
Wednesday, December 4.-Since Monday, we have been making laborious efforts to weather Cape Pio, in Slogget Bay, but until this evening we have been unsuccessful, the wind blowing right ahead, and wearing ship and tacking about being both in vain. This evening we have, however, succeeded, and but for hazy weather we might soon have our anchor down. Each day has been cold and squally, with hail and sleet and rain; the sun has only occasionally been visible : at sunset he has been