Summary: A wonderful display of Grace by King David
“I was born in 1725, and I died 1807. The only godly influence in my life, as far back as I can remember, was my mother, whom I had for only seven years. When she left my life through death, I was virtually an orphan.
My father remarried, sent me to a strict military school, where the severity of discipline almost broke my back. I couldn’t stand it any longer, and I left in rebellion at the age of ten. One year later, deciding that I would never enter formal education again, I became a seaman apprentice, hoping somehow to step into my father’s trade and learn at least the ability to skillfully navigate a ship.
By and by, through a process of time, I slowly gave myself over to the devil. And I determined that I would sin to my fill without restraint, now that the righteous lamp of my life had gone out. I did that until my days in the military service, where again discipline worked hard against me, but I further rebelled.
My spirit would not break, and I became increasingly more and more a rebel. Because of a number of things that I disagreed with in the military, I finally deserted, only to be captured like a common criminal and beaten publicly several times.
After enduring the punishment, I again fled. I entertained thoughts of suicide on my way to Africa, deciding that would be the place I could get farthest from anyone that knew me. And again I made a pact with the devil to live for him.
Somehow, through a process of events, I got in touch with a Portuguese slave trader, and I lived in his home. His wife, who was brimming with hostility, took a lot out on me. She beat me, and I ate like a dog on the floor of the home. If I refused to do that, she would whip me with a lash.
I fled penniless, owning only the clothes on my back, to the shoreline of Africa where I built a fire, hoping to attract a ship that was passing by. The skipper thought that I had gold or slaves or ivory to sell and was surprised because I was a skilled navigator. And it was there that I virtually lived for a long period of time. It was a slave ship.
I went through all sorts of narrow escapes with death only a hairbreadth away on a number of occasions. One time I opened some crates of rum and got everybody on the crew drunk. The skipper, incensed with my actions, beat me, threw me down below, and I lived on stale bread and sour vegetables for an unendurable amount of time. He brought me above to beat me again, and I fell overboard. Because I couldn’t swim, he harpooned me to get me back on the ship. And I lived with the scar in my side, big enough for me to put my fist into, until the day of my death.
On board, I was inflamed with fever. I was enraged with the humiliation. A storm broke out, and I wound up again in the hold of the ship, down among the pumps. To keep the ship afloat, I worked along as a servant of the slaves. There, bruised and confused, bleeding, diseased, I was the epitome of the degenerate man. I remembered the words of my mother. I cried out to God, the only way I knew, calling upon His grace and His mercy to deliver me, and upon His son to save me. The only glimmer of light I would find was in a crack in the ship in the floor above me, and I looked up to it and screamed for help. God heard me.