Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Boy Who Put His Finger In The Dike

In 1865, Mary Mapes Dodge wrote a popular fictional tale about some children who lived in the Netherlands in the Old Days. 

You may have read it in your schooldays: "Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates."

Apart from the main story-line was a short segment that took on a life of its own and made its way permanently into American culture. 

It is called, "The Hero of Haarlem," or "The Boy Who Put His Finger in The Dike."
Here is the story that Mrs. Dodge told (abridged):
"Many years ago, there lived in Haarlem, one of the principal cities of Holland, a sunny-haired boy of gentle disposition. His father was a sluicer, that is, a man whose business it was to open and close the sluices, or large oaken gates, that are placed at regular distances across the entrances of the canals, to regulate the amount of water that shall flow into them. The sluicer raises the gates more or less according to the quantity of water required, and closes them carefully at night, in order to avoid all possible danger of an oversupply running into the canal, or the water would soon overflow it and inundate the surrounding country.

As a great portion of Holland is lower than the level of the sea, the waters are kept from flooding the land only by means of strong dikes, or barriers, and by means of these sluices, which are often strained to the utmost by the pressure of the rising tides. Even the little children in Holland know that constant watchfulness is required to keep the rivers and ocean from overwhelming the country, and that a moment's neglect of the sluicer's duty may bring ruin and death to all.

One lovely autumn afternoon, when the boy was about eight years old, he obtained his parents' consent to carry some cakes to a blind man who lived out in the country, on the other side of the dike. The little fellow started on his errand with a light heart, and having spent an hour with his grateful old friend, he bade him farewell and started on his homeward walk.

Trudging stoutly along the canal, he noticed how the autumn rains had swollen the waters. Even while humming his careless, childish song, he thought of his father's brave old gates and felt glad of their strength, for, thought he, 'If they gave way, where would Father and Mother be? These pretty fields would all be covered with the angry waters - Father always calls them the angry waters. I suppose he thinks they are mad at him for keeping them out so long.'

And with these thoughts just flitting across his brain, the little fellow stooped to pick the pretty flowers that grew along his way. Suddenly the boy looked around him in dismay. He had not noticed that the sun was setting. Now he saw that his long shadow on the grass had vanished. It was growing dark, he was still some distance from home, and in a lonely ravine, where even the blue flowers had turned to gray. He quickened his footsteps and, with a beating heart recalled many a nursery tale of children belated in dreary forests.

Just as he was bracing himself for a run, he was startled by the sound of trickling water. Whence did it come? He looked up and saw a small hole in the dike through which a tiny stream was flowing. Any child in Holland will shudder at the thought of a leak in the dike! The boy understood the danger at a glance. That little hole, if the water were allowed to trickle through, would soon be a large one, and a terrible inundation would be the result.

Quick as a flash, he saw his duty. Throwing away his flowers, the boy clambered up the heights until he reached the hole. His chubby little finger was thrust in, almost before he knew it. The flowing was stopped! Ah! he thought, with a chuckle of boyish delight, the angry waters must stay back now!

"Haarlem shall not be drowned while I am here! "

This was all very well at first, but the night was falling rapidly. Chill vapors filled the air. Our little hero began to tremble with cold and dread. He shouted loudly; he screamed, 'Come here! come here!' but no one came. The cold grew more intense, a numbness, commencing in the tired little finger, crept over his hand and arm, and soon his whole body was filled with pain. He shouted again, 'Will no one come? Mother! Mother!'

Alas, his mother, good, practical soul, had already locked the doors and had fully resolved to scold him on the morrow for spending the night with blind Jansen without her permission. He tried to whistle. Perhaps some straggling boy might heed the signal, but his teeth chattered so, it was impossible.

Then he called on God for help. And the answer came, through a holy resolution: 'I will stay here till morning.' The midnight moon looked down upon that small, solitary form, sitting upon a stone, halfway up the dike. His head was bent but he was not asleep, for every now and then one restless hand rubbed feebly the outstretched arm that seemed fastened to the dike - and often the pale, tearful face turned quickly at some real or fancied sounds.

How can we know the sufferings of that long and fearful watch - what falterings of purpose, what childish terrors came over the boy as he thought of the warm little bed at home, of his parents, his brothers and sisters, then looked into the cold, dreary night! If he drew away that tiny finger, the angry waters, grown angrier still, would rush forth, and never stop until they had swept over the town. No, he would hold it there till daylight - if he lived!

He was not very sure of living. What did this strange buzzing mean? And then the knives that seemed pricking and piercing him from head to foot? He was not certain now that he could draw his finger away, even if he wished to.

At daybreak a clergyman, returning from the bedside of a sick parishioner, thought he heard groans as he walked along on the top of the dike. Bending, he saw, far down on the side, a child apparently writhing with pain. 'In the name of wonder, boy,' he exclaimed, 'what are you doing there?' 'I am keeping the water from running out,' was the simple answer of the little hero. 'Tell them to come quick.'

It is needless to add that they did come quickly.
I find myself standing where our young hero stood - looking at a treacherous breach in the dike. Everything that once kept the world out of the Church of the Living God has been breached.

Christianity has been compromised. Evil men and seducers have infiltrated the Holy Places in the Church and have brought teachings and spirits that are intended to destroy the very levees that hold the world out.

The modern Church's sacred legacy of holiness preaching, spanning the last five centuries, is being methodically dismantled by men who demand that there is nothing wrong with bringing the world into the Church.

The angry waters are mad at the Church for keeping them out for so long.

The doctrine of separation is being discredited and held in contempt by many of the most prominent and influential of all "Christian" voices in this generation.

But make no mistake about it. If the world floods the Church with its movies, its music, its sports, its entertainment, its comedy, its dances, its liquors and habits, its sacrilege and mockery, its...

There will be no Church remaining if it is left only to the devices of these arrogant, self-serving impostors who bill themselves as ministers of the Gospel.

I may never be able to single-handedly stop the breach in the levee, but one thing I know.

"Haarlem shall not be drowned while I am here!"

I will pursue every breach with the loudest declaration of the Word of God that I can muster.

I will preach holiness and separation from the world until my dying breath.

I will hold up the Word of God and everything I can find in it as the ultimate standard for living. Let God be true and every man a liar.

The Apostle Paul said, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ, But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him," 2 Corinthians 11:2-4.

Paul fought against all odds to protect and preserve the Church's virginity.

May Almighty God raise up an army of mighty men today who will "make up the hedge, and stand in the gap" before the Lord that He will not allow the Church to be destroyed.

Oh, there WILL be a Church when Jesus comes. But it will not be so without a fight.

If a teen-age boy named David could stand in the gap for all of Israel and destroy the terrifying Giant Goliath, then maybe, just maybe, you and I can stand in the gap for our generation.

"Haarlem shall not be drowned while I am here!"

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