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between two bergs which a line could have reached, and soon found the ice more open, but the gale continued.” Dec. 8. “ We are now driving past a tremendous iceberg, Arthur's Seat arrayed in one of its most wintry garbs is not to be compared with it.” November 13. “ We made a narrow escape.
One of the icebergs, mountain high, lay directly in our course. The moment it was beheld, all on board concluded that their destruction was inevitable. They immediately went below deck for prayer, with the exception of the captain, who remained to watch their fate.
Under the impression that they were on the brink of eternity, and that Omnipotence alone could rescue them from impending death, they cried to God to protect and save them. And let it be recorded, to the glory of his name, the Hearer of Prayer graciously heard their agonizing cry for mercy, and afforded a deliverance, truly marvellous : just while they were earnestly engaged in pleading at his throne of grace, the ship glided closely by the huge berg that threatened ruin,
The leak occasioned by the pressure sustained on the 230 December, was over-ruled for the preservation of the crew of the Viewforth. And it happened just at the time when the men stood in need of some powerful motive to bodily exertion. We have seen how prone they were to yield to the torpid influence of the cold, and how inactivity increased their danger. Now ordinary motives to exertion, in the absence of immediate danger, were not of sufficient power over their minds.
Hence the necessity of something to rouse their energies. Now all was activity, the pumpy going at the rate of 270 strokes in the half hour. By those exertions, heat was effectually restored to their chilling frames, and hope to their drooping spirits. And who, on reviewing these facts, can doubt the special interposition of Providence ?
Having thus imperfectly described the sufferings and the dangers of the crew of the Viewforth, I have now a very pleasing duty to perform, namely, to record their religious exercises while detained in the Arctic regions. Disease had entered the ship, and death, occurring so frequently," brought before them, in the most impressive manner, the solemn realities of the eternal world; while the religious instructions communicated to them, and the devotional exercises in which, as oft as possible, they engaged, tended to keep alive on their minds a sense of the
66 Save us,
value of salvation, and the necessity of preparation for heaven.
The sources of their spiritual improvement and comfort were the following:
1. The Word of God. That blessed volume was now felt by them to be the anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast. They perused the sacred page with new and inexpressible delight. Every moment they could spare was devoted to this employment. And truly they found the inspired volume to be " a light to their feet and a lamp to their path.” One of them told me, with tears of joy flowing down his weather-beaten cheeks, “ that in his Bible he always found the sweetest consolation.” This was the case with others. The men were seen, when below decks, eagerly reading the Scriptures of eternal truth, and laying hold of the hope there set before them.
2. I learn that much attention was given to Secret Prayer. This is an indispensable duty. To the performance of it, how many powerful motives now united to lift up the voice of that exhortation, in the ears even of the thoughtless, “ Arise, O sleeper, and call upon thy God." Accordingly the mariners' cry was now heard, O Lord, we perish ;" “ Master, Master, save us.” Nor was the duty felt to be only a matter of necessity. The truly pious felt it to be an unspeakable privilege. At the throne of grace they experienced peace and joy in believing; and reposing all their hopes on their divine Saviour, they were enabled calmly to bear their sufferings, and to acquiesce in the will of their heavenly Father.
3. Social Worship. The sight of a Bethel Flag in the Arctic regions is peculiarly interesting. This, it was their privilege occasionally to enjoy. It was hoisted on board the Jane of Hull, whose mate, a truly pious man, conducted the devotional exercises of the assembled worshippers. Mr. writes, Oct. 18.--"This is the Lord's day, and I believe it has been kept as such by a good many. It was a sublime sight to see the Bethel Flag flying in the Arctic Regions, the scenery around us being such as no person at home can conceive. There was a complete turn-out of all the ships, probably not fewer than one hundred and forty men. His prayer was beautiful, expressing our belief that it is not by the hands of men that the ships are to be relieved, and that we look up to a higher power, whom the winds and waves obey. He said, too, that perhaps a brother, a sister, a father, or an indul
gent mother might then be praying for our safety, and he prayed that their prayers might be heard.
His text was Lam. i, 12. We stood in need of the consolation which he administered. We needed to think of the sufferings of Jesus to keep us from being “ faint and weary in our minds.'
So long as the vessels kept near each other, and the weather permitted, such opportunities of spiritual improvement were frequently enjoyed. What a blessing it is to have pious officers on board these vessels! The Jane was highly favoured in this respect. And when it is stated, that not one of her crew died during the voyage, or so much as had a headache, notwithstanding all their sufferings and perils, we cannot but mark the benign influence which religion exerted over their minds, and the connection subsisting between their preservation and the prayers offered
for their deliverance. The Viewforth was also highly privileged with the means of spiritual improvement. The pious young officer from whose journal so many extracts have been given, but whose name, in deference to his modesty, is withheld for the present, was the main and highly-honoured instrument of good to the crew. His exertions were incessant and unwearied. Every alternate night he met with the men, for reading the Scriptures and prayer. Every occurrence which took place, whether deliverance from impending danger, or the death of a messmate, were carefully improved. Thus: “ October 22. Prayer aboard our ship to-day. It was unanimously agreed by the men, that we should assemble between half-decks, to give thanks to that God who has so mercifully preserved us through the past week. Read also a sermon from the Retrospect on these words of David: - Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.' Sung the 29th Paraphrase, and part of the 107th Psalm. It was truly sublime to hear our voices ascending to the throne of the Most High in such an awful situation, and I am sure many of them sang from the heart.” “ Sunday, January 7th, read the funeral service over another of our shipmates, and assembled on the half-deck embrace the first opportunity to give thanks to Almighty God for his unbounded mercies. All hands were present, the sick lying in their beds. It was most solemn and impressive, and many were deeply
The Viewforth arrived in our harbour on the 22d of February 1836; an event which occasioned intense and universal joy. Thanksgivings were publicly offered to God, in our Church, on the evening of the following Sabbath, when a large congregation assembled. Some of the rescued sailors were also present. And as an evidence of the impression produced on the subjects of the deliverance recorded in these pages, it may be stated, that several of them united with us, for the first time, on the 20th of November last, to commemorate the sufferings and death of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, at the sacramental table, and experienced, we trust, a foretaste of that communion which the redeemed shall enjoy with him for ever in the mansions of celestial glory and felicity!
BETHEL CAPTAINS CO-OPERATING IN THE
WORK OF CHRIST.
SYMPATHY with seamen in their perils and privations ought to be cherished by all the churches, and especially by all the ministers of Christ. And happily, as we confidently believe, this generous feeling is prevailing in a degree far greater than ever, excited in the minds of many by the labours and proceedings of the British and Foreign Sailors' Society.
Landsmen, however, though sympathizing, zealous, and liberal, in seeking the spiritual welfare of seamen,
will feel and labour in vain, without the cordial co-operation of the captains and officers among their men when on board. And the number of pious captains and mates is increasing, we have most satisfactory assurance; it must, therefore, be a wise and kind policy of their friends on land, to strengthen their hands in their noble and godlike efforts to evangelize their men. This, in every practicable way, is done by the Committee of the British and Foreign Sailors' Society. Still much depends on the care and endeavours of captains themselves, as will be strikingly illustrated by the following valuable document, recording the inquiries and resolutions of several Bethel captains and mates.
Saturday, 7th Feb. 1829. At a meeting of captains and mates, held on board the
Floating Chapel, Bristol, to take into consideration the most effectual method of promoting their own welfare and that of their crews : Present, Captain Anthony Landers in the chair. Captains Brass, March, Whitwill, Smith, Lloyd, Evans, Jenkins, Morgan, Phillips, Jardine. Mates, Hogs, Lapidge :
The object of the meeting was stated to be
That, considering the important responsibility attached to our offices on board our respective vessels, as captains and mates, we would unitedly pledge ourselves, in the presence of God, and of each other, to make conscience of watchfulness and prayer, that we may acquit ourselves aright in the several duties devolving upon us. In order to this we would now institute the following inquiries, and establish the accompanying resolutions.
ist. What sin is most liable to overtake us, and to prove most injurious to our interests and character?
Resolved-Making too free with spirituous liquors. i Cor. vi, 10. “6 Drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
2d. What means shall we adopt to prevent this evil, and the consequences thereof?
Resolved–That we will take up our cross, and impose self-denial as much as possible in this respect, by renouncing entirely the practice of drinking with tradesmen, in a way of business; and by keeping from public houses as much as practicable; also, by rejecting the custom of urging each other unnece
ecessarily to drink when we meet. Hab. ii, 15. Esther i, 7, 8.
3d. What duties devolve on us as captains and mates?
Resolved — That we will each make a point to be furnished with articles; and, at the first assembling of our crews together, we impress upon their minds the necessity of the captains enforcing the duties embodied in the articles; and that it is indispensably required of them to comply with those articles. That we make it matter of prayer for direction to ship such crews as we may be enabled to do good to, and to get good from; and not to give characters to undeserving individuals.