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THE CHRISTIAN SAILOR.
(Extract of a letter from a pious shipmaster, to a friend in New York.]
“ I have nothing new to offer, but that my school on board goes on favourably, and one of my officers tells me the men have had it in contemplation to propose to me that they desire all to join the temperance society. We have some very interesting seasons on board, deeply interesting to me, inasmuch as I am induced to think from the strict attention paid during our frequent bible lessons, and their improvement in their replies, that the Lord does bless the efforts I have made to instruct and elevate the character of my crew.
“ Almost every soul on board, of the seamen, attended nightly school, and my second officer teaches navigation, ciphering, reading, writing, spelling, and the alphabet, according to their necessity. We have among others a Swede, who could not speak or understand a word of English when we left New York, and he now reads and answers questions in a Bible class, I might almost say with any of them. Just imagine eighteen or twenty seamen, cook, steward, and boys, seated at a long table, headed by the captain, each man his Bible and prayer. book before him, to open a lesson, with a verse alternately, of the Psalms; after which, we take our bibles and read, and so on. Our Sunday services are very interesting, and we sometimes have company from other ships.”
LESSONS FOR SEAMEN.
In a circle of truly christian connexions or acquaintances in any place or neighbourhood, you are like a ship in a good harbour ; you are safe, and not exposed to strong currents; in a worldly one there is always a stream of one kind or another, and frequently undercurrents, which you cannot but feel, and sometimes greatly to your disadvantage.
As the best chart, compass, or other nautical instrument are of little avail, beating through narrow dangerous channels, without a pilot; so the best knowledge of the sacred scriptures will be of little avail in the hour of temptation, unless Christ be on board with his Spirit and presence.
If a ship be ever so ready, with her sails set, and her crew willing for sea, still, without the wind to fill her canvass, and the tide make to lift her up, she must remain immoveable, in spite of all human power. So it is with the sinner. Mercy's tide must flow in, and lift the sinner out of his bed of mire, mud, and filth of sin ; and the wind of the Spirit must blow, and influence all his powers of hope, fear, and love.
DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE.
CAPE OF GOOD HOPE.
The friends at Cape Town, with the full sanction and co-operation of the clergy of different denominations, are now actively engaged in the erection of a SAILORS' HOME and CHAPEL. And we have great pleasure in introducing the following APPEAL, which is immediately addressed to the christian community of that town, in behalf of the spiritual wants of the sailors visiting the port of TABLE BAY; but which may excite the generosity of some of our friends at home, in favour of this particular department of labour :
It was from this ancient class of men that Christ chose his earliest disciples ; but alas ! his followers have sadly neglected to imitate his example, in attending to their spiritual interests. By them, sailors have been viewed as a different race from other men, and have been passed by as unworthy of notice, farther than serviceable beasts and brave tars, extending her commerce, and fighting for old England! And even in the present enlightened age, it is frequently and boldly asserted, that preaching to, and endeavouring to convert sailors, is labour in vain, as if God were not able to convert them as well as other classes of men.
In whatever light they are viewed by prejudiced and unenlightened men, still it is universally admitted, that the world at large derives great advantages from them. We are dependent upon them for many of the comforts and privileges which we possess. They have, therefore, a claim—a strong and just claim-upon the public at large; and more especially upon merchants and ship-owners, who are daily supplied with the means of existence by the exertions of this neglected
class of men.
If persons, notwithstanding these claims, continue to treat them with indifference, and make no effort for the promotion of the temporal and spiritual good of these men, we may rest assured that we shall not be held guiltless by the Creator of the world, but that their blood will certainly be required at our hands.
It is pleasing to the friends of sailors, that it is in contemplation to erect a light-house at Cape Agulhas for the temporal safety of those passing that dangerous cape. The object of this appeal is to endeavour to obtain a light-house in Table Bay for their eternal safety; and surely those who have come forward so promptly and so liberally in behalf of the former object, will not fail to promote the latter. For, important as is the object contemplated, in the erection of a light-house at Agulhas, still every man that possesses right feelings, will see the infinitely greater importance of eternal than temporal safety. The necessity of a Sailors' Home and Chapel, may be seen from the fact that
on an average, from four hundred to four hundred and fifty men (inclu
ding boatmen) in our bay the whole year round. These men would, when they come on shore, be able to obtain a respectable place to lodge in, where no intoxicating liquors would be presented to them, and all temptation to sin be removed as far as possible from them. Captains, also, would know where to find their men, when the “liberty" granted them had expired; instead of having to seek them throughout the town, and having to search canteen after canteen, in order to discover them.
Another advantage would be, that here the sailor could worship his Creator on the Sabbath, as well as other classes of Christians. At present, great difficulty is found in collecting congregations on board ships when ministers go off to preach on the Sabbath, owing to objections which most sailors have to going on board strange ships. This objection will be removed if the Home and Chapel proposed should be erected, as every sailor will then regard that chapel as peculiarly his own.
The establishment of such a place has been attempted for sometime past; but the building, though begun and considerably advanced, upon a piece of ground liberally granted by government for the purpose, cannot be proceeded with for want of funds. For proceeding with the building, £121 have been received, and £276 expended ; and for the purchase of boats, which have been more or less broken, £36 have been received, and above £70 expended at present. And for some time past, the minister has been taken off to ships in tbe trunk of a tree, want of funds preventing a more suitable vessel from being procured. On two occasions has this frail vessel been upset.
It is hoped that the above representation of the necessity of a Sailor's Home and Ch
at Cape Town, will call forth the assistance of many persons who have not hitherto considered the subject.
“ Cape Town Sailors' Home, Sept. 1840."
PORT OF A BERDEEN.
Extract of a Letter from the Rev. J. Longmuir, A.M.
I have been thinking that, as I find a difficulty in inducing seamen to come to church on Wednesday evening, I might be able to do more by means of a Bethel flag. Pray on what terms could you send me one?
I trust that our labours here for the welfare of seamen are not without success, and I wish to have nothing undone that seems to be calculated for their welfare.
I know not whether I have already stated to you that we have got two of the public-houses along the quay shut, and in one of them we have got a Mariner's Coffee House and Reading Room-to the latter department 1 regularly furnish a of your Magazine.
* During the years 1838 and 1839, 232 sailors were admitted into Somerset hospital.
PROVISION FOR DEATH.
PERPETUAL pleasures surround the throne of God. But what has man to do with themes so high, and so little in harmony with his actual condition ? Look at him in the guise he wears. Does he seem like an aspirant to immortality and glory? Is such a one as He, indeed, on his way to the royal abode of universal dominion? Is not his eye anxiously fixed upon the low path he is treading? Is not his brow knit with care, and soiled with degrading labour? Is he not in heart, ignoble? Is he not emaciate? Are not his garments worn,-his feet lacerated,—his provision corrupted? Yes :-and has not his spirit bowed to the humiliation of his lot, so that he even consents to the scorn that belongs to it?All this is true, and more might be said ; nevertheless, man must not surrender his pretension to the heavens. He has a special reason for his hope,-a reason stronger than all contradictions.
The capital purposes of the present scene of things, demand that even the christian should be left to approach the very verge of another state, in ignorance of what it is that awaits him ; that is to say, of its circumstances-mode of existence
- transactions--society. He is assured of the fact of continued consciousness ; and the spiritual rudiments of that after-state are also made known to him: but nothing more. This ignorance, which, to the irreligious, is the occasion of desperate and stupid insensibility, in treading upon the brink of the invisible world, gives rise, in the heart of the christian, to a trembling awe, and a dread expectation. His firm and matured belief of immortality, quite forbids that he should, as others do, throw himself reckless from the shore of life.
Now this blank ignorance of the world into which he is so suddenly and so soon to enter, is plainly intended to throw the christian ingenuously, and without distraction, upon those very emotions which the unseen world is to call into exclusive activity. What can the dying believer do, uninformed as he is, of the way he is to tread,—his foot advanced, though the ground on which it is next to rest is unseen,—what but recur to the rudiments of his hope? What but look to the PRECURSOR, who is also the Lord of that unseen world ?
As matter of fact, the dying expressions of multitudes of the faithful in every age, have exemplified the fitness of this provision to the occasion. If a solemn renewal of repentance is proper to the hour of death, --if an explicit and fervent challenge of the Divine mercy is proper to it, these acts are not enough to impart confidence and joy, or even always a settled tranquillity. The palpitating heart must appropriate the personal affection of the Redeemer to his people. This APPROPRIATION is the secret of dying. The human mind, when once thoroughly occupied by a benign affection, specially fixed upon its object, can meet any danger,-can brave any dismay. History abounds with illustrations of this fact;it is a capital law of our nature. Men, nay, women, thus animated, have forgotten all fear, and carried themselves through fields of death as calmly as if they had none but an ethereal frame.
Those who would blame, as enthusiastic or presumptuous the fervour and spe. ciality of devout affection, such as eminent christians have expressed in their dying moments, know nothing of christianity beyond the bare story they read in the gospels ; and nothing of human nature (or of human nature as affected by religion,) beyond what belongs to the most servile sentiments. If multitudes of those who receive christian burial, because they have received christian baptism, die joyless, and disappear from the upper air as if sinking in a stagnant pool, it is not the fault of christianity. Christianity meets us when most of all we need its aid ; and meets us too with the very aid we need. It does not tell us of the splendours of the invisible world ; ut it does far better, when in three words it informs us, that to loosen from the shore of mortality, is to be with Christ!
This is precisely the assurance which the occasion demands; for it not only quickens the devout affections, but it fixes them on their object. Whoever has truly admitted the emotions peculiar to christian faith, desires nothing more than is conveyed in this pregnant phrase. All security and all joy are comprised in the idea of beholding and of approaching the Son of God,—the Son of man, now exercising universal dominion ;-and especially ruling the world of spirits.
“ If I go away,
I will come again to receive you to myself :"--this, and some parallel expressions, though they have a primary reference to a future signal event, may, on no very slender grounds, be interpreted as conveying a promise to individuals, -as the Shepherd of the sheep were wont in person to meet the new-coming spirit at its entrance upon the realm of peace. Be it so or not, it is clear that the faithful are authorised to entertain the well-defined hope—the hope of the heart—if the heart be indeed renewed, of coming at death into the sensible presence of the Saviour. What is the dread or reluctance of nature, if the christian in closing his eyes upon the world, can fix them on the Divine DELIVERER, and say: – “ Thou wilt show me the path of life.". Saturday Evening.
THE PRAYER OF THE MARINER'S MOTHER.
By Rev. J. LONGMUIR, A.M., Mariners' Parish, Aberdeen.
“A woman's feeble cry may have overruled the elemental war."
The tempest round the cottage roars,
And bends the aged ash;
And livid lightnings flash.