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Written by T.S. Dalton   


C H A P T E R  XVII.

In this chapter I want to give two instances, in which I have often thought, God favored me with special providences, and perhaps saved my life.

I held a six day’s debate with a man (a Campbellite), by the name of W. A. Crum, of Ripley, Mississippi. After the debate closed I had some appointments ahead. (This debate was held at Middleton, Tennessee.) The train that I was to go on was due at 1 o’clock a.m. The man with whom I was staying told me to go to bed and sleep and that he would sit up and call me in good time for the train, so I felt easy and went right off to sleep, and slept until he called me. Strange to say, just about an hour before train time he went to sleep sitting in his chair, and slept on until nearly time for the train. He ran into my room and woke me and told what he had done. I jumped up as quickly as I could and dressed. He gathered my valise and we ran for the depot. When we got in about two hundred yards of the station, the train sailed by and made no stop; so I was left, and very much grieved. I went back to the house and to bed, but not to sleep. Next morning we were out very early, and heard that the train had run past a few miles and had been ditched; several persons killed and many others injured; so I was made to rejoice that the Lord had been so good to me as to preserve me as unworthy as I was, from this dreadful disaster. This I have received as a special providence in my preservation, for a purpose known alone to God.

At another time I had some appointments at Water Valley, Mississippi. I boarded the train at Union City, Tennessee, and ran down to Jackson, Tennessee, where I was to change cars. Our train on the Mobile & Ohio was fifteen minutes late, and the engineer on the Mississippi Central, who knew me and was one of my warmest friends (he was a Baptist in faith), begged the conductor to wait for me. He knew that I was on that train and was due at Water Valley that evening; but the conductor told him he could not, for he had orders to make another connection at Grand Junction, and could not wait. The engineer told him if he would wait for me, he would make the time before he reached Grand Junction; but still he said he could not, so they pulled out and left me. When I got to Jackson and found the train had gone, I was torn to pieces, really I was angry; but I tried to pass away the time as best I could. I said some rough things, and perhaps ugly things to the agent; but he took it all good naturedly and smiled. I presume he was used to being blessed in that way by passengers. In about an hour he called me. I went to see what he wanted and he said, "If you knew what I do, you would be rejoicing instead of frowning." I asked him what it was. He said, "That train you tried so hard to get on has gone through a trestle down here in the edge of Mississippi. The whole trestle fell and all the train went down except the engine, and nearly everybody on the train are killed, even the conductor and flagman. Nearly all the passengers are killed outright. The engine leaped out on the dump, and saved the engineer and fireman.

I burst out crying, I could not keep from it, and said to the agent, "God has again favored me with a special providence, and has preserved my life. Oh, how good the Lord is to me, and I am unworthy of His notice!"

There are many other special providences that have favored me along the journey of life, but we will only mention these two that our readers may see that we have nothing in which we may trust, even for temporal preservation along life’s journey, except the sovereign hand of Providence.

I was once traveling through the state of Kentucky and had to change cars at a little place called Nortonville, a very small dismal looking place. I found on my arrival there that I would have a seven-hour wait; so I began walking up and down the platform trying to kill time as best I could. After a while an Irishman, ragged and dirty, came into the depot and took a seat. I noticed he was all the time watching me, and I at last made up my mind that perhaps he was after no good; and so I watched him with a very suspicious eye.

Finally he spoke, as I was passing the door, and said to me, "Come here and sit down. I want to talk to you." I thought, "I am not afraid of you," so I went and sat down. The first thing he did was to reach over and push my hat back. He remarked, "I like your countenance, and feel like I want to talk to you." I said to him, "Talk on then; I will listen to you." He began quoting Scriptures and applying them. I soon found out that he was well versed in the Scriptures and that he understood what they meant, if I did; so I became very much interested; and after he had talked on for some time on that line, he began to tell his experience. He went on to tell what a sinner he felt himself to be, and how he tried to beg the Lord to have mercy on him. At  last he said he was down on the railroad not far from that place, and he thought his time had come; he was shoveling dirt and trying to pray, until at last he felt that it was a case made out, there was no mercy for him; yet he felt that God was just, and it was but right that he should be banished from His presence forever. But he said that all at once the trouble left him, light flashed all around him, and the first thing he knew, he was standing between the rails, praising the Lord at the top of his voice, and the other hands all laughing at him; but he said that he did not care for their laughing, he loved the Saviour, and for him.

When he got through I was crying for joy. I loved him and could not help it. I felt like he was my brother, so I told him what I hoped the Lord had done for me; and ere I was aware the train ran up and I had no ticket, and could only run and get on the train, I reached back, after I had got on the step of the car, to shake hands with him, and he kissed my hand before he would turn it loose. I went in and took my seat, was still crying, could not quit, and the conductor came around taking up tickets. When he came to me I told him I had no ticket, but I would pay him the money; and while we were changing the money, he asked me what I was crying about? I tried to waive the subject by telling him that I didn’t suppose he would know anything about it if I should tell him; so he went on. But after he had taken all of the tickets, he came back and sat down beside me, and asked me again what I was crying about. I tried to waive it off again by saying that it would be of no interest to him; but he urged me, saying, "I want to know, anyhow." So I told him about the Irishman, and our talk; and before I was done, he was crying, and remarked to me, "I have been wanting to talk to someone on that subject for sometime," and he began and told me his experience. Then I was filled with joy again; and before I reached my destination, he came and handed my money back and told me any time I could strike his train not to get any ticket; "For" he said, "you are the first man I ever talked with that knew my feelings."

I never was permitted to meet either of them any more; but I felt then, and I feel now, that after a while I will meet them both in heaven, if I should ever be permitted to get to that good world; for no man ever taught those two men that lesson. They had never heard it, but they had learned it alone by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 September 2006 )
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