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THE BETHEL FLAG !
“ And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me!” These are the words of our divine Redeemer, in the immediate prospect of his last sufferings, and have reference to the efficacy of his death, as an atonement for sin, on the moral and imperishable nature of man. But how are men to be drawn to the Saviour, if he be not still lifted up, by a full and faithful exhibition of the gospel of reconciliation ? How especially are our seamen to be drawn to his cross, and
experience the purifying and healing efficacy of his blood, unless he be preached to them as the Saviour of the lost ? Oh! how beautiful upon the ship's deck are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings-that publisheth salvation! Let the crowded cabin - the eager attention of the hardy hearers - the full heart—the glistening eye-the falling tear, all proclaim. But why are there so few thus to preach? Another question will answer this :—why is so limited a fund placed at the disposal of those who have taken on themselves the deeply responsible duty of providing for the sailors' spiritual necessities? Ships may now be had in hundreds, in which Bethel services may
be held ; and were resources to be supplied equal to the facilities which now exist to prosecute our design, or proportionate to the just claims of those whose good we seek, we think that every ship might soon have its Bethel Flag; and, wherever that sacred colour was displayed, there, we may rest assured, Christ would be lifted up, and draw to himself thousands on thousands of our seamen, till the abundance of the sea should all be converted !
AGENTS' MEETING ;-HELD
N FRIDAY EVENING, 8th JANUARY.
The state of the weather, during part of December and January, was so severe as to prevent the regular discharge of duty on the part of the Missionaries and the other agents. No report, therefore, is now offered of the labours of that period; yet what follows will be read with interest-as having a bearing on the great common cause.
Second Station,-Mr. PALMER.- to send the details. The particulars Having given the outlines of my la- of the meetings at Billingsgate marbours in my last report, I promised ket, I need not enumerate; this has
been done by my brother agent, tion to the favourite standard-the Mr. Rowland, and reported by him. Bethel flag, intermixed with a variety But as the Long-reach station ap- of other colours, all flying at the mastpears to have excited, in the minds heads of the different ships. Reaching of some, a particular interest, I now the spot opposite our vessel, we hailed proceed to give an account of my past her, and a boat was immediately sent engagements there, as a specimen of to shore, for the purpose of taking us the rest.
all on board. I then occupied one I left London, on Saturday, by one half-hour, before the service, in going of the steamers, for Gravesend. All from ship to ship, inviting the sailors, was activity and bustle on board, and many of whom went with us. various were the objects of the dif. On looking around, I saw many boats ferent passengers ;
some going for filled with seamen, and captains at pleasure others for business; and I their heads, from different parts of the perhaps alone endeavouring to pro- Reach, all repairing to the appointed mote the present and eternal happiness place; but before I could reach the of the most interesting class of men ship, my ears were saluted with the with whom we can be connected. We sounds of praise to God, commenced passed at a rapid rate down the river ; by the sailors themselves, who had and at half-past six, I reached the fleet, assembled together. Need I say it was all riding at anchor, where I was to especially delightful to me, as borne preach on the morrow. I felt at the on the breeze. The morning was fine moment inexpressible concern for the -the breeze peculiarly refreshingmen on board the ships, which in- the prospect delightful. The extended creased as we passed on toward Green- moors of Kent, well covered with hithe. At a little before seven, I took grass,--the gently rising hills covered the boat for my lodging on shore, and with trees, at the distance, gave full was met by the friends who were kind. effect to the foreground scenery; while ly waiting on the beach to receive me. the opposite coast of Essex, and its peAt an early hour I retired to rest, culiar flatness—the passing and repasthanking God for his protection and sing of steam-packets and sailing vescare of me. After being refreshed by sels, each and all availing themselves a sound sleep, ("He giveth his beloved of the state of the tide ;-boats with rest,') 1 arose the next morning at six, oars, and sailing yatchts, gave a rich, to prepare, by meditation and prayer, full, and interesting appearance to the for the duties of this holy day. The whole scene. The scriptures were room in which I slept was delightfully read-prayers offered—and the text, situated, having two windows, one of as suited to the season and time-the which looked toward the Thames—the Lord God is a sun,'—was announced. scene of my labours.
The seamen's attention was fixed and After breakfast and family prayers, solemn; and, after a hymn, fitting the at nine o'clock, with books and tracts, subject, was sung, two captains briefly I passed through Greenhithe toward united in fervent prayer, that God my destination. Having reached the would more abundantly communicate Flamer, (which is the name of the His Spirit and grace to their seafaring government ship, where the revenue brethren, throughout the world. I officers are stationed,) several persons then closed with the benediction; and joined to accompany me along the sea. after distributing books, tracts, etc.,
to wall, a winding course, to the ship them all, left the ship to attend, on where the morning service was to be shore, the public services of the afterheld, occasionally directing our atten- noon and evening,
In addition to former cases, I have lately met with pleasing instances of good effected on the river. One in the conversion of a captain's son, for whose soul's salvation his father had prayed for many years. And another, that of a captain, on board whose ship several successive Bethel services have been
held. Also at the Sailor's Chapel, Bell Wharf, in the decided piety of a shipcarpenter's wife, through the instructions given there: and likewise of a pilot's widow, both of whom are steadily and constantly attending the means of grace in that place of worship.
In our December number, we had the pleasure of introducing so much of Captain Butchardt's narrative as was then in our possession. Since then, we have been favoured with important communications, both from Capt. Reed, and several other captains, which we have no doubt will be read with equal interest. When, oh! when, will every captain be a man of God, and live for Christ ?
Letters from Capt. Reed, to Capt. B. Prynn, Thames Missionary.
When I had the pleasure of being with you in London, you expressed a wish that an account of Bethel proceedings in foreign ports, should be transmitted to you. I now, with heartfelt pleasure, as also my fellow-workmen in the good cause, transmit you an account of our endeavours to promote the spiritual interests of our brother sailors in this port.
Our operations commenced on Sunday, 11th October, when I displayed the Bethel flag which was kindly presented me. In the morning I was earnest at a throne of grace, that one might be sent me to aid in the good cause. I pleaded not in vain with Him who heareth prayer. Captain Newby of the Patriot, of Hull, came, and kindly offered to take part in the service. On the deck of the Georgiana,
I addressed about one hundred from Genesis xlv. and on God's power in raising his people ; when Captain Newby concluded with prayer.
On the following sunday, (18th,) in the hold of the Georgiana, I again addressed about 150 from Joshua xxiv. 15, -As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.' On this occasion., Captain Walker, of the Sunbeam, of Whitby, and Capt. Newby, assisted in the devotional exercise. At the conclusion of the service, Captain Reid, of the Helena, of Limekiln, came forward and kindly offered his services, to aid us in the singing, or in any other way that would promote the good cause. In the evening a prayer-meeting was held on board the Sunbeam ; I again ad. dressed them from Acts xxvii. 23.Paul's faith in God.--The latter named
gentlemen took part in the exercises. men :--services conducted in the usual
John LONGMUIR, of brig 'GeorMonday evening, the 19th. We had a friendly meeting on board of the
giana,' of Aberdeen. Maria, of Stockton, Captain Baxter.
John Newby, of the schooner Before parting, Messrs. Newby, and
‘Patriot,' Hull. Reid, and myself united in prayer.
John Reid, of brig ‘Helena,' Tuesday evening, we met in the
Limekilns, cabin of the Georgiana for prayer ;service conducted in the same man- The annexed statement of our rener as on the former evening. Wed. ligious services in Riga was drawn up nesday evening, we met in the cabin of conjointly by the individuals whose sigthe Patriot, Captain Newby, when we natures are attached, which was intrustwere addressed by Capt. Reid, from ed to me to forward you upon my arrival John ii, 1–11-on Christ's first mi
at this port.
From unavoidable cirracle — when we all again joined in cumstances, I was detained at Riga prayer. That evening we resolved, until the second of November : on the trusting in divine aid, to make these first we were again privileged with the meetings more public. Thursday even- means of grace, in the hold of the ing, at the request of Captain Skeny, * Thistle,' Captain Alexander, where of the Wilberforce of Scarbro', these excellent preparations were made, and meetings were hell in the cabin of his
to whom the cause is under great obli. vessel, up to Monday the 26th : attend
gations, for his kind and attentive exance every night, about from thirty to ertions to promote our comfort. In forty. Masters and seamen we addressed the morning, I addressed from 2 Kings, alternately, as also in the devotional
iv. 8-37, "Is it well with thee?" and exercises. On Sunday morning, 25th, in the afternoon Mr. Longmuir addressthe Bethel flag was hoisted on board ed us on 'Panl's confidence in God, and of the "Marion Ann of Dundee,' Cap. His care over his people.' Mr. Newby tain Guthrie, who kindly offered his addressed us in the evening, and joined vessel for this purpose, having made in the devotional exercises of the day, excellent preparations for our accommo- when I took an affectionate farewell of dation in the hold. Captain Reid ad- my brethren, and sailed early the foldressed us from Prov, i. 10,“ My son, lowing morning. if sinners entice thee, consent thou My dear Sir,–let us trust that those not.” In the afternoon, I addressed days which are predicted in God's about one hundred and fifty, from John word, respecting the bringing in of i. 5, on the Divinity of Christ; and those who go down to the sea in ships, Captain Newby took part in the devo
have in some measure begun ; and the tional exercises, and in the evening, in prayers offered up in their behalf been the · Wilberforce's' cabin, addressed us answered, for those days will assuredly from Proverbs iv. 7,“ Get wisdom, and come to pass. Oh! let us therefore with all thy getting get understanding." strive earnestly for the faith once deOn Tuesday evening, we held most livered to the saints. Trusting the encouraging meetings on board of the above will go safely into your hands, "Thistle, of Aberdeen, Captain Alex- when I shall be glad to hear from you ander, who very kindly offered his to acknowledge its receipt, I remain, cabin, which has, up to this date, been
Your christian friend, crowded to excess, by masters and sea
Letter addressed from Capt. Butchardt, to the Secretary.
(We are pained to record, that fears are entertained that Capt. B. has recently
been called to suffer shipwreck. His life spared, but his vessel lost.]
As my last letter did not contain all the particulars of our voyage, I hereby, according to promise, send you a few more, which I hope will not be altogether without interest. I mentioned the excellent meetings which we enjoyed, while crossing the Atlantic. When I say excellent meetings, I mean meetings marked with the special bles. sing and presence of God. How it would have cheered the heart of many a friend to the spiritual welfare of sailors, to have beheld a solitary vessel in the midst of the ocean far from land -necessarily cut off from having communion with the saints on shore, yet having fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ — joining together, with cheerful hearts, in praising Him,
“ Who plants his footsteps on the sea,
And rides upon the storm;"
saying to my men, before we arrived, “If we be spared to arrive, we will make the barren hills of Newfoundland echo with the songs of Zion,”—which was literally fulfilled one evening. After holding our service below the deck, we repaired upon deck, and, with our own crew, there were several captains and their crews, joined together in singing a favourite hymn, called the
Gospel Ship.” The effect produced was excellent, and a powerful impression made; which will appear when I mention the words of a preacher of the Gospel, who said, ' He never saw such a sight in his life: a number of those men who go down to the sea in ships assembled, with their captains at their head, singing, in transporting melody, one of Zion's sweetest songs.
I remember, when on our passage to Mirimachi, after having been enveloped in fogs and darkness for several days, the fog providentially broke away, and in consequence thereof, we avoided danger which might have proved fatal to the loss of the ship. In this I could see the hand of God, and was a matter of unfeigned thankfulness. The clouds and mists gradually dispersed, the sun broke forth in splendour, cheering us with his beams; and, towards the close of the evening, the winds hushed into calm, and the sea was perfectly smooth.
We met together upon the deck, to hold our evening service; we commenced by singing an appropriate hymn and prayer, after which, I spoke from Rom. xii. 1.-“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,” &c. The scene was truly sublime and inspiring. No object to be seen, as far as the eye could reach, but the sun declining in the western sky,--tinging the clouds with his golden
and also pouring out their souls in prayer to Him“ who is the confidence of all the ends of earth, and to them who are afar upon the sea.”
The meetings we held at St. John's were of a truly interesting character. The people would frequently come down to see if we intended to hoist the fag that day, that they might have an opportunity to hear and join with the praying sailors. To satisfy the desire of the people, I have been obliged to hoist the flag, even on a Saturday.
You must not, however, suppose that our meetings were confined to people on shore, several captains, with their crews, frequently attended also. I received a copy of “ Britannia,” the prize essay, which was presented to me by Captain Harris, of the brig. Amity,' of Whitehaven, at St. John's. I recollect