Away on the western coast of England there stands a steep rock that is known to everybody as’ the “Lady’s Rock.” At high water it is surrounded by the sea; but at low water it stands upon a sandy beach, and is easily reached.
It gets the name from an accident that occurred years ago. One summer day a lady walked along the beach as this rock, and there sat down and began to read a book that interested her. She read on, never thinking of any danger, when she was suddenly startled by a loud cry from the cliffs. The coast guard had seen her and shouted across the bay. She looked up and in a moment saw her peril. Between herself and the shore there were the curling waves and the white foam spreading over the sands. Her first look showed her nothing but certain death, for the waves were rising every moment; and as she stood hesitating, a huge-breaker dashed its spray over her. Above her frowned the steep, black rock, and even the fisher-lads could scarcely climb to get the sea-birds’ eggs; there seemed to be no way of escape there. She looked across to the crowd that were gathering on the shore, but no boat could live in that tumbling sea. Then, as she stood with the waves creeping up after her like wild beasts that chased their prey, she wrung her hands in agony and burst into tears, crying:
“Can I be saved? Can I be saved?”
A moment before it was nothing to her; now it was everything -- Wealth, luxury, comfort, pleasure-all thought of these were swept away. Her only anxiety was this: “Oh, to be saved!”
Then across from the shore came the cry from the coast-guard again: “You must climb the rock! Your only chance is to climb the rock! She looked at it hanging over her with jagged sides, and steep, slippery front. How could she climb it? But as she delayed, a wave swept up and flung itself over the place where she stood, and below her the waters surged and hissed. Then she grasped the rock desperately, and dragged herself up, and hung to the face of it, tremblingly feeling for a higher foothold, rising, little by little, until she reached a ledge, from where she looked shudderingly on the waves below. Then crept upward until again the spray flew about her.
“Climb higher!” rang from the shore, this time from a hundred voices; for the tidings of her peril had spread to the adjoining village. Again she gathered her strength, and hardly I know how, she crept, little by-little, hanging on with dragging herself through narrow openings, pressing up the steep, slippery places, until now within her reach a tuft of grass; seizing it she fell fainting on the top b the reach of the waves, while the excited people cried shout “She’s saved! Thank Heaven she’s saved!’
A story wild and strange, like the coast, and yet it is very life-true of you, reader. Slowly the sea is chasing you from point to point. The sea is rising about, you. You can look back and see how it has driven you from day to day, from year to year; and yet you are unmindful of it: ‘Taken up with a hundred things, you do not see it. It is the last thing you think of. You have time for everything else. -You can think of business, of pleasure, of politics, of the markets, of friendships-of everything else but this. And yet the time is coming when you will see the peril, when your own eyes shall look upon the threatening danger, and all of these things of today shall be nothing. Suddenly, all in a moment, you will start up with the cry: “ What must I do to be saved? “ and it may be too late.
- Rev. Mark Guy Pearse
Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer - 1893