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"This year will have a notoriety among its fellows as the year of calamities. Just as that season when man goes forth to reap the fruit of his labors, when the harvest of the earth is ripe, and the barns are beginning to burst with the new wheat, Death too, the mighty reaper, has come forth to down his harvest; full sheaves have been gathered- the tomb, and terrible have been the wailing which compose the harvest hymn of death. In reading the newspapers during the last two weeks, even the most stoic must have been the subject of very painful feelings. Not only have there been catastrophes so alarming that the blood chills at their remembrance, but column after column of the paper has been devoted to calamities of a minor degree of horror, but which, when added together, are enough to astound the mind with the fearful amount of sudden death which has of late fallen on the sons of men. We have not simply been stunned with the alarming noise of one terrific clash, but another, and another, and another, have followed upon each other’s heels, like Job’s messengers, till we have needed Job’s patience and resignation to hear the dreadful tale of woes."

F. This is not the word of an older preacher in our day. The year was 1861 and the preacher was Charles Spurgeon. On August 25 of that year, a nightmarish train crash in the Clayton Tunnel (a 1.5-mile long tunnel between London...

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