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The forest was a sea of flame
Whose tide was rolling nigher,

While nearer still upon the right
The prairie was on fire.

Across the level wild we sped,

And bridle never drew, Until afar above the waste

The rocks appeared in view.

But who is this amid the grass

So helplessly that lies,
The flush of fever on his brow,

Its madness in his eyes?

He lies disabled on the ground,
Too weak to speak or stir.
"I know him," said the trapper old,
"An Indian missioner.

"He preaches to the redskin tribes.
But what are we to do?
For not your horse, my friend, nor mine
Can ever carry two.

''And yet 'twill never do to go
And leave him to expire
Amid the lurid smoke and flames,
A victim of the fire.

"Off saddles! let the horses go J"

The horses sprang away.
"As for ourselves," the trapper said,
"We'll run the risk and stay.

"Well burn the grass." He lighted it;
The flames rose high and higher,
And soon in front of us there raged
Another prairie fire.

We waited till it swept away,

And left the place all bare,
Then cleared a spot from ashes hot,

And laid the sick man there.

We saw the fire approaching still,
We heard its rush and roar;

'Twas like the sound of breakers wild
Upon a rocky shore.

Near and more near the firetide swept,

It reached the burnt-up grass,
But came no nearer; right and left

We saw it swiftly pass.

And we were safe, the storm of fire

Beside us was assuaged,
While still afar adown the wind

The fiery tempest raged.

I pointed to the sick man then:
"What think you, will he die!"
"Not yet, I trust, if we can help,"
The trapper made reply.

"I carry here a potent drug,
I'll give it to the man;
Full many a life I've known it save;
We'll save his if we can."

We bore the sick man to a stream j

By turns we nursed him there; It was a sad and dreary time

Upon that desert bare.

But at the last he safely came
Out of the fever's strife:
"Tell me," he asked, in whispered tones,
"How you did save my life;

"For I remember nothing more,
But only that I fell.
What happened then?" The trapper looked
At me, and said, "You tell."

I told the story from the first,

Just how it came to pass,— About the prairie fire that raged,

And how we burnt the grass.

And of the billowy sea of flame,

On either side that swept;
And how beside him night and day

We constant watch had kept.

And how, when he lay there, and life

Was hanging on a breath,

The trapper's potent medicine

Had saved his life from death.

E a <

He listened, and a happy smile
Stole o'er the sick man's face:
"I thank you friends; it brings to mind
Another time and place.

"All helpless I as when you found
Me lying in the sun,
A friend came by and saved me then,
Well,—just as you have done.

"He saved me from the raging fire,
He saved me from disease,
And for his sake I left my home
Away across the seas.

"Your name is Fred, you say; and yours?"

"Rufus," the old man said. "Perhaps you'd like to hear His name

Who first came to my aid.

"His name was Jesus. Yes, you know
His life for us He gave;
And died for us on Calvary,
That sinners He might save.

'' He saves from evil's deadly curse,
Which lights the flames of hell;
He saves us from its punishment,
And from its power as well.

"For we are doubly doomed; God's law
Condemns us for our sin:
Meanwhile sin's deadly malady
Is raging still within.

"He takes away the sinner's guilt
That lies upon the soul:
And He removes the malady,
And makes the spirit whole.

"Why was I safe when me you placed

Upon the spot burnt bare?"
"Why," cried the trapper, "just because

There was no fuel there.

*"Twas burnt already. When the flames
In billows past us rolled,
There was not there a single blade
Where fire could get a hold."

""Tis even so, my soul is safe
In Jesus crucified;
Because the flames swept Calvary
They there can be defied.

"The fires of justice and of wrath
Against our human sin,
Can never touch the Christ again,
Nor those that are within.

"Once did they rage there in their might,
But now can come no more:
They pass us by, we only hear
The fiery tempest's roar."

"Why," said the trapper, "this beats all;
I'd rather go to church;
I half wish now we'd gone away
And left you in the lurch.

"Just go to sleep, my friend," he said;
"I don't believe that talk
Is good for you. Fred, keep your watch,
I'll go and have a walk."

The missionary held his peace,

He said no more that day;
The next he said, "Rufus, perhaps

You'd like to go away,

"And take just for an hour or so
A walk across the plain,
Because I'm going now to speak
Of Jesus Christ again?"

"Speak on, my mate, but not too much;
I do not feel alarm
On my account, but you still weak
May do yourself some harm."

He spoke again of Jesus Christ,

And of His goodness told; Then turning to the trapper said, "Friend, you are growing old;

"And can't live very long on earth,
Not very long at best,
And some place then your soul mil need
Of refuge and of rest.

"That's all. Now you may take your walk,
I've nothing more to say."
Nor said he more of Christ on that
Or any after day,

Until he left the place where he

Had health and safety found, When just about to part from us

He gently turned around,

And looking back, "Not thus I quit

The refuge of my souL
Nor will He ever leave me who

Hath made my spirit whole.

"Fred and friend Rufus, different ways
We take across the plain;
There's one way yonder (pointing up);
Say, shall we meet again?"

He waved his hand, we parted then,

For different regions bound; He for the Indian settlement,

We for our hunting ground.

That night as we lay down to sleep,
The trapper turned, "Friend Fred,

Tell me some sinner's prayer to God,"
The old man softly said.

"The Lord's prayer when a little child
Was one I used to know,
But I've forgot it and the rest,
It is so long ago.

"So long ago since any prayer
Fell from these lips of mine,
That now, when I would like to pray,
I do not know a line."

I told him of the publican

Who was from sin set free,
And that his prayer was this, "O God,

Be merciful to me."

That is how sinners need to pray,

For here's another prayer:
'Tis in the Psalms, the cry of one

Entangled in sin's snare:—

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