The Last Chance

A TRAVELLER who was pursuing his journey on the Scotch coast, was thoughtlessly induced to take the road by the sands as the most agreeable.  This road, which was safe only at low tides, lay on the beach, between the sea and the lofty cliffs which bound the coast.  Pleased with the view of the inrolling waves on the one hand, and the abrupt and precipitous rocks on the other, he loitered on the way, unmindful of the sea, which was gradually encroaching on the intervening sands.  A man, observing from the lofty cliffs the danger he was incurring, benevolently descended, and arresting his attention by a loud hello, warned him not to proceed.  "If you pass this spot, you lose your last chance for escape. The tides are rising.  They have already covered the road you have passed over, and they are near the foot of the cliff before you, and by this ascent alone you can escape." The traveller disregarded the warning. He felt sure he could make the turn in the coast in good time; and leaving his volunteer guide, he went more rapidly on his way. Soon, however, he discovered the real danger of his position.  His onward journey was arrested by the sea. He turned in haste, but to his amazement he found that the rising waters had cut off his retreat. He looked up the cliffs, but they were inaccessible.  The waters were already at his feet.  He sought higher ground, but was soon driven off.  His last refuge was a projecting rock; but the relentless waters rose higher and higher - they reached him - they rose to his neck - he uttered a despairing shriek for help, and no help was near, as he had neglected his last opportunity to escape. The sea closed over him; and it was the closing in upon him of the night of death.
An incident like this has its pregnant moral.  How many travellers are there on the coast of time, amusing themselves with the surrounding scenery as they pass along!  They are beset with dangers of which they are wholly unmindful.  They are warned and importuned against proceeding in their present course.  One only narrow way of escape is pointed out to them, which they are besought to take before it is too late. They laugh at the predicted danger, and pursue their way.  The crisis at length comes - inevitable ruin stares them in the face. Worse dangers than a roaring sea, inaccessible cliffs, and a relentless tide, surround them. They have disregarded and passed by the cleft rock in which they might have taken refuge; and now, surprised by the sudden and surrounding death, they shriek for help in their bewilderment, and sink hopelessly in the raging flood. - Sel.