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The New Zealand Evangelist

General Remarks

page 120

General Remarks.

The fearful violence of the shocks,—the ruinous destruction of property—the frequency and long continuance of the danger, inspired universal alarm, and in the case of many besides females, produced an undefined sensation of terror. So exclusive was the concern for life, that the loss of property was scarcely thought of We should not envy the feelings of those who were not awed and solemnized by such instantaneous displays of unseen and irresistible power—who were not more or less alarmed, when the solid earth was not simply trembling, but shaking terribly, as if convulsed with paroxysms, and the strongest buildings rocking like ships in a storm. In these circumstances, fear and alarm were certainly natural emotions; and considering the suddenness and greatness of the dangers we can fully sympathize with the feeling of terror, so extensively felt. But in the whole of this visitation, mercy has been so conspicuous over judgment, that we have no sympathy with those who would doubt and despond; we can look at nothing scarcely but the mercy. The distinction between life and property has been so marked,—the destruction of the one and the preservation of the other, appear in such striking contrast,—the upsetting of a single boat has often caused more loss of life,—the spirit of prayer has been so extensively poured out—the ground of our past deliverance, the free mercy of God through Christ remains still the same,—the whole circumstances of the visitation resemble so much the chastisement of a loving Father, rather than the punishment of an inexorable Judge, that we cannot but think that God's preserving us so signally, amid so many danger, is a token that he has further mercies yet in store for us. If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not thus far have accepted our sacrifices of prayer and thanksgiving, nor shown us this deliverance, (Judges 13, 23.) If this calamity had been deferred till ten years hence, how awfully disastrous the consequences should have been, when brick buildings would have generally superseded those of wood! If the third shock had come first, how many lives might have been lost! But mercy hath triumphed over judgment! Our prayer is that temporal loss may in every case be spiritual gain, and that the destruction of property may in every case lead to the salvation of souls!