Page images

from fourteen to eighteen Bethel Meetings afloat weekly. which have manifestly been crowned with the blessing of God.

THAMES MISSIONARY.-Captain Prynn, your Society's Thames Missionary, has prosecuted his labours during the past year with self-devotion and zeal, and the report of his operations cannot fail to afford satisfaction to the friends of sailors. But sensible of the impossibility of one man, however devoted and energetic, accomplishing the whole visitation that is requisite in so vast a sphere as the port of London, the Society's Agents, in February, resolved to request your Committee to appoint a colleague to cooperate with their friend, Captain Prynn. Your Committee cordially approved the suggestion; and after prayerful inquiry found a suitable individual, recommended to them by the most honourable testimonials, in the person of Mr. John Welch.

New THAMES MISSIONARY.- Mr. John Welch has been engaged by your Committee for six months, from last Lady-day; and he has entered upon his duties on the river with the confidence and cordial approbation of many Bethel captains, to whom he has been known for years as a faithful servant of Christ.

Captain Prynn, in reporting his labours, writes, “I have this past year been enabled to hold 122 religious services on the River Thames, on board of colliers and coasting vessels, besides 29 public services on board of ships at Greenwich, Deptford, and Limehouse-hole. I have preached 38 times at the Sailors’ Chapel, three times at Cotton-street Chapel, Poplar ; four times at Rehoboth Chapel, Rotherhithe; once at Bethel Chapel, Woolwich; twice at Commercial Dock Chapel ; three times at the Maritime Female Refuge, and 14 times in the open air ; besides giving 43 public addresses at the Sailors’ Chapel. I suppose that I have thus preached the Gospel to at least 3,000 sailors, to whom I have delivered upwards of 5,000 tracts. I have also, on sit occasions during the year, visited ships while detained for a day at Gravesend, bound to China, Calcutta, St. John's, the South Seas, South Australia, and held divine service on board, as a parting exercise of devotion; and on many an occasion I have seen the big tear roll down the cheek of the hardy mariner while he heard of the mercy of God, and was invited to participate in the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

VISITATION OF SHIPPING ON THE RIVER THAMES. “ This labour," says Captain Prynn,“ has pressed very heavily upon me during the past year; yet I have been pleased, cheered, and encouraged by intercourse with pious captains, mates, and sailors, many of whom I have found to be men of deep experience in the divine life. I have thus conversed with about 20,000 sailors, to whom, and to the lightermen, watermen, corn, coal, and fruitporters, at the wharfs, and to the fishermen at Billingsgate, I have delivered about 53,000 tracts; and I am happy to testify, that even amongst the most hopeless of these classes I have found some that feared God and rejoiced in Christ Jesus.

My visits have embraced the London and St. Katherine Docks, and Regent's Canal, where I have boarded 612 vessels in 72 visits, and distributed 2,700 tracts. The total of ships which I have visited during the year is 4,679, and distributed about 60,000 tracts. May the whole be crowned with the blessing of the Spirit of God!"

SAILORS' TEMPERANCE MEETINGS. - Captain Prynn reports further, “ Temperance, so essential to the temporal and spiritual interests of sailors, is progressing, and there are now amongst the colliers with which I am acquainted, upwards of 100 vessels, on board of which no intoxicating liquors are used. Six Temperance Meetings have been held at the Sailors' Chapel during the last few months; and 137 sailors have, on those occasions, signed the Temperance declaration, many of whom have also joined the Church of Christ. During the past year I have attended 17 Temperance Meetings amongst my brother sailors. In closing my report, I would further add, that eleven new Bethel Flags have been furnished the past year to as many captains, and to different ports in the kingdom: 127 vessels have been added this year to the list of Bethel ships, and 58 praying captains have entered the lists in that time for the Bethel cause among sailors. What deserves further remark here is, that on Sabbath afternoon, March 26, above 40 captains met our respected Treasurer, G. F. Angas, Esq., by special invitation, when he gave them an address on 1 Tim. i, 15; and no less than 27 of those worthy masters of vessels sat down with us to tea, as at a feast of love, at the close of which we solemnly covenanted to use our talents and inAuence in bringing sailors to the knowledge of Christ. To all present this was a delightful meeting, and to none more so than to the excellent Treasurer of the Society.”

REPORTS OF THAMES AGENTS.--Your Committee can but glance at the various labours of the Society's Agents among the shipping on the River Thames, as this brief abstract will not allow of extended extracts of their reports, which, in their details, are truly encouraging. Mr. Joyce, one of the oldest of the Society's preachers, reports, that he has held some very interesting meetings during the past year, on board of ships which he had been accustomed to visit several years ago : the masters and some of the men exemplify the saying of Job, “ The righteous shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.” He also reports the testimony of some from Scilly, respecting the pleasing results of the libraries placed on St. Mary's and the off islands, by his means, as executor to the late Mrs. Bayley. Mr. Edwards states, Reviewing the Bethel operations on the river Thames, it is an encouraging fact, that during this year your Agent has had the pleasure of holding Bethel meetings on board of eighty-two vessels, where he never was admitted before.” He also states, I have had the pleasure of hearing seventeen seamen take part in the exercise of prayer at the Bethel Meetings this year, whom I cannot recollect ever having met on any former occasion, and six of these were masters of vessels.” Mr. Maddox writes,

During the past year I have held nearly 200 Bethel Meetings, besides preaching occasionally at the shore stations. Many vessels have received the Flag during the year, for the first time, and the number of these Bethel ships is continually on the increase.” Mr. Waldon writes, “I have held about 120 meetings during the year; nearly 2,000 sailors have attended those meetings, and 208 captains, mates, and seamen, have, on those occasions, led our devotions in prayer. I have distributed, at those services, about 3,000 tracts; and I can testify that the behaviour of the sailors who attend the means of grace is equal in devout seriousness to that of any congregation of Christians.”

GERMAN BETHEL MEETINGS IN THE PART OF LONDON.--Foreign sailors are necessarily numerous in the Port of London; and your committee have been aided in seeking their spiritual welfare, by Rev. Mr. Kavel, a clergyman from Prussia. In his report, addressed to


your Treasurer, he says, Foreign sailors have occasion to praise the Lord that they are not entirely left destitute with regard to their immortal souls, while staying in England; for your late blessed brother, Rev. W. 8. Angas, as well as yourself, and the British and Foreign Sailors' Society, have made provision, not only for distributing tracts among foreign sailors, but also for preaching the gospel to them, especially Germans. For your generous aid enabled me to go on board German vessels to preach the word of God, for about twelve months. Many à German sailor, and many German captains, have expressed their gratitude for hearing the word of salvation

on board their vessels. There is a service every Sunday • afternoon on board a German vessel, and tracts are distri

buted among Swedish, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, and German sailors, by a friend of mine, Mr. Lauder. Besides, five German captains have been willing to form an auxiliary German Bible and religious book society, to be established in Germany itself. I am at present transiating two English tracts, “The Seaman's Friend,' and · The Seaman's Spy Glass,' to be printed in a few weeks at Bremen.”

BLACKWALL AND POPLAR.—Rev. J. Upton continues his valuable labours for the Society at Blackwall and Poplar, preaching afloat and ashore, visiting the East and West India Docks, and supplying the sailors and ships with tracts, and libraries. Until Christmas last, Mr. Upton was assisted in that great field of labour, especially in visiting the shipping and the sailors' boarding and lodging houses, by Mr. Saxby, who then entered the service of the City Mission Society ; but his loss has been more than compensated by the appointment of the new Thames Missionary.

ROTHERHITHE SHORE STATION.-Mr. Maddox has had the principal superintendence of this station; which, though good has been done at it among seamen, is not so eligible as could be desired; and it is contemplated to procure a more suitable preaching place nearer the river.

Bethel CHAPEL, COMMERCIAL Docks.—This chapel is conveniently situated for the attendance of sailors, and many from time to time attend divine service here. A Bethel Flag, a Sailors' library, and a supply of tracts, have recently been furnished to it for the benefit of seamen; and improved arrangements have been made for more efficient labours in this chapel.

PROVINCIAL AGENTS OF THE SOCIETY.-Your Committee most cordially rejoice in the real and efficient labours of the Local Societies, to evangelize sailors in Liverpool, Hull, Bristol, Plymouth, Leith, and some other places, by whose services in the cause of Christ many a sailor has been led in the way of life everlasting, and found, to his soul's peace, an almighty Saviour and a Bethel. But much remains yet to be done for seamen in many of our ports, and your Committee cannot be satisfied until the sailor shall find a Bethel in every port of Great Britain and Ireland. To promote this desirable work is one great object of your

Committee. SUNDERLAND.—At this populous port your Committee have had an agent employed, preaching the Gospel of Christ to sailors : but during the last six months, preceding Lady Day, he had ceased to labour in connection with your Society. Your Committee are desirous of establishing a Missionary among the seamen of the Tyne and the Wear, impressed with the correctness of the representation of your late agent, who thus expressed himself in one of his last letters :

“ There is work enough for two Missionaries in Sunderland, and the neighbouring ports of Newcastle, Shields, Hartlepool, &c. It is greatly to be deplored, that a sea population so numerous, perhaps nearly 20,000, should be neglected.”

North SHIELDS.- Rev. J. Bilson continues his valuable labours for your Society, among the seamen of North Shields. In his last report, Mr. Bilson writes, “ I have been kindly received on board of their ships, by both master and mates, and the tracts and books have been thankfully received by them. Through my affliction in the winter, part of my labour seems to have been lost: yet I have visited during the year, 960 ships, containing probably 9,000 sailors. I preached 53 sermons, specially to seamen, besides holding 52 Bethel prayer-meetings on shore. I have exchanged 720 volumes of books, and distributed 2,600 religious tracts afloat. I have 50 children of seamen and watermen in our Sunday school, 13 sailors in church fellowship, and the average attendance of sailors at the chapel has been about 260. If I am blessed with health this year, Ifwill work while it is called to-day.”

South SHIELDS.-Rev. S. Tapscott has, since the last anniversary, emigrated to Canada; but his services have, in a measure, been supplied by the Rev. Mr. Bilson of North Shields.

« PreviousContinue »