Incidents in Travel and Soul Winning – By Elmer & Julia Shelhamer

Chapter 11

To the Rescue

A ship is sinking in sight of shore. Lifeboats are filled but all too quickly, for hundreds of passengers are still unrescued and will soon be drowned. Can nothing be done?

The men of the village are off at work, but a clergyman hears of the terrible shipwreck and decides’ to go to the rescue. Leisurely he walks to the beach, and, after taking time to light a cigar and place it properly in his mouth, he fumbles around from pocket to pocket and finally takes out his keys, unlocks his boat and prepares to start. Then he discovers that he is not ready. The water must be bailed out and some fishing tackle removed. All this takes time and a number of persons drown as a consequence.

In a dignified, ministerial manner he rows to the scene of terror and picks up a few who are able to climb into the boat without too much excitement, for “high emotion is uncalled-for. Besides, to attempt to rescue those who are almost sinking would tax his nervous system and likely ruin his clothes.

Time passes! People are screaming, then sinking, but it is now past “tea time” and he has promised to dine at the home of dear Mrs. Silver, who would feel very much hurt if he failed to appear. Besides this, it is “his birthday” and the young people are planning to give him a reception that evening. He must not disappoint them.

Added to this, he has worked a full hour and no soul-saving effort should last longer than that. He will leave the drowning ones in the hands of the Heavenly Father, for in His own good time and way He will save all who are “predestinated.”

That morning at four o’clock, a woman was communing with her God and pleading for the salvation of souls. She felt led to go to the beach and prepare her husband’s lifeboat for service. Just why, she did not know, but God had spoken. She obeyed and. returned home happy.

When she heard of the shipwreck, prompted by a heavenly vision, she flew to the shore, jumped into the boat and was soon at the scene of terror, surrounded by the drowning ones. Quickly she reached down and helped one after another into the lifeboat. She was accustomed to the water and, guided by a Divine Personality, reached the dying ones in the nick of time. Hours pass!

Night is coming on. It is away past tea-time. She is almost fainting, but she will not stop as long as a soul can be saved.

Her boat, is now full to overflowing.

People are hanging to the sides and to the ropes looped around the edges. As they reach the shore they are met by loving hands and hearts who have made all needed preparations for their comfort.

Our lady quickly prepared to go right back, saying that hundreds more were dying and that she promised many who were clinging to boards that she would hurry to help them. Besides, in that number were the near relatives of those she had rescued.

But, just as she was ready to start the clergyman, who had returned from his engagements, walked up and laying his hand on her arm objected, saying that it is not, a woman’s place to be in charge of a lifeboat, for she should not “usurp authority over the man.” Let her husband do it! But he was not there! “Is there no man can go?”‘ No one is found who understands the work fully.

Every moment now meant death to many! This parleying seemed criminal to our lady. She started for her life boat, but was hindered by her minister who would not permit it for “it is a shame for a woman to” and he snatched the key from her hand and locked the boat to the shore.

Heartbroken, she paced the beach, wringing her hands in anguish, while all she could hear were the distant cries of “Help, help !” from those she felt she could rescue if given the chance.

Those she had already saved were reviving wonderfully and were so grateful to her that they made up a purse to show their appreciation and to get her a new suit to replace the one she ruined in their rescue. But the clergyman again interfered and managed the affair, seeing to it that this love offering was given to her husband instead.

Which things are an allegory written for the benefit of women who feel the call of God to work for others.

[Note. — There are but two, passages that seem to forbid women preaching, one being 1 Cor. 14:34. Adam Clarke says, “It was permitted to any man to ask questions to object, to refute in the synagogue; but this liberty was refused every woman.” This same church at Corinth endorsed women “prophesying,” (chap. 11:5) and gives directions as to her attire while so doing.

There are ten passages which sanction her preaching. One unanswerable proof in her favor is that God sets His seal to it by saving sinners and edifying the church. Dost thou believe in women preaching? If so, very well; if not, you have a strong one on your side — the devil, for he always hated it. — E. E. S.]