The steam ship, Central America, on its maiden voyage from New York City to San Francisco harbor, sprang a leak in mid-ocean and began to go down. A distress signal was sent out over the airwaves. A rescue vessel rushed to the scene. Upon reaching the scene, the captain of the rescue vessel sent a message to the Central America asking, “What is your problem, and how can we help?” To which the captain of the Central America answered, “We are going down, wait along side until morning.” The captain of the rescue vessel answered. “Send your passengers now.” Again the captain of the Central America answered, “Wait along side until morning. The captain of the rescue vessel again radioed, “Please, send your passengers now, send your passengers now.” The captain of the Central America, perhaps concerned that his passengers might be injured in the darkness, or concerned about their safety in the transfer between ships answered once again, “wait along side until morning.”
Dawn showed the rescue vessel an empty sea. During the night the Central America had gone down with all of her passengers and all of her crew. They had waited too long. (Knight’s Master Book of New Illustrations).
From Gene Gregory’s Sermon: The Great Invitation