In April, 1877, the colliery at Tynewydd was flooded. The men had just ceased their toil and were leaving the workings, when suddenly, without warning, the waters burst in upon them. The greater part of the miners succeeded in escaping to the surface, but no less than fourteen hands were missing.
A volunteer party was formed, who descended the shaft, but soon it was found that all the accessible workings were filled with water. When almost giving up the search as hopeless, faint knockings were heard from the other side of the black wall which everywhere enclosed them, and soon the nearest point to the part whence the sounds proceeded was reached, and then, without delay, a score of men threw off their jackets and began to cut through the coal. All through the night they toiled with unabated energy, urged on by the danger they knew their comrades were in, and cheered as they found the knockings grow more distinct. At last their efforts were crowned with success, they reached the shaft, and released five of their mates who had been imprisoned there by the rush of waters. But only five.
Again and again all the workings were searched, and every possible means taken to find the still missing men, but not till the Friday, succeeding the Wednesday when the inundation occurred, were faint sounds of knocking again heard. This time from “Thomas Morgan’s stall,” which was known to be some eight and thirty yards from where they now stood—a solid mass of coal between them. But the brave “search party” bared their arms and, nothing daunted, commenced their task—dangerous as it was—for the waters might any moment rush in upon them, or an explosion of imprisoned gas occur; but their comrades lived, and they would reach them if they could;—and on and on they toiled, and hour by hour the distance was lessened as the shaft of escape was formed.
How anxiously must those imprisoned miners have awaited their release. How their hopes would rise as the pickaxes were plied with undiminished speed.
Reader, have you learned that by reason of your sins you are in a “horrible pit,” and without strength to deliver yourself. There is but one who can rescue you: “Salvation is of the Lord.” All your efforts are vain, your exertions useless—“He alone can save you.”
We have thought of the toil of those brave Welsh miners to free their fellow-workers, and now I would have you pause and think of the toil of the Lord Jesus—that exceeding sorrow and travail through which He went to rescue the sinner: I mean the awful, untold agonies of Calvary. There, forsaken of God on account of sin—laden with that burden which He alone could bear; all this and more than tongue can tell to make a way of escape for sinners—and a way of approach to God. Hear His own words: “I am the door”—the door of escape from judgment; “I am the way”—the way to the Father.
By dint of unceasing toil those thirty-eight yards of coal were pierced, and the poor, famishing, exhausted captives freed. Great, great indeed was the joy and thankfulness at the pit’s mouth when the lost ones were safely drawn up, and many were the praises due and given to those who had rescued them.
Many are now telling, and will forever tell, with joyful tongues from glad hearts “what great things the Lord hath done.” His praise shall sound eternally, and He is worthy of it all, and more. He has done all.
Can you say with the psalmist: “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings; and He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.”
“Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust.”
Scattered Seed 1886, p. 37