Page images

he gives us to the furtherance of his kingdom in the hearts of those for whom we labour. Hoping to be sustained by your prayers, and aided by your counsels, I remain, gentlemen, very respectfully and truly yours,

6 Join DIELL."

Correspondence and Proceedings of the British

and Foreign Sailors' Society.

BRIXHAM, IN SOUTH DEVON. BRIXHAM is rapidly rising in importance as a sea-port of South Devon. "Its population at the last census, in 1831, was 5,015 inhabitants; and its shipping has greatly increased during the last few years. The committee of the British and Foreign Sailors' Society have felt warranted therefore, during the past month, to pass a vote granting aid to the friends of seamen in the port of Brixham, in promoting among them more diligently the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They have cheerful confidence, therefore, that they shall, in due time, be able to make some encouraging reports of the work of evangelization in that part of South Devon.


Jan. 13, 1837,

2, Jeffreys' Square, St. Mary Axe, London.


Rev. W. Benson. Mr. Barclay. Captain Prynn.
Rev. J. T. Rowland. Mr. Edwards. Mr. Waldon.
Mr. Abbott.

Mr. Maddox.
Mr. Edwards offered prayer.

Melancholy indeed have been many occurrences of the past month in regard to seamen, and the labours of the Society's agents in their favour. Notwithstanding, amidst dangers, sickness, and death, they have been enabled to continue their operations, with great acceptance on the part of many mariners, and they believe under the blessing of God.



First Thames Station.-Rev. W. Benson reports, “The inclement season has been productive of several failures in obtaining ships in my station. Nevertheless, I have had several pleasant meetings, and the sailors have shown their grateful feelings in every way possible. I have met with several very devoted captains, and many praying


On one occasion I went on board the vessel appointed ; but the captain being too unwell to admit the meeting, I was able only to converse with him in the cabin, and left him some Tracts, which he readily received. I then went on deck, and found the mate also very unwell. Two or three men were with him. I spoke to them also, and gave them some Tracts. These expressed their regret in my not being able to hold the meeting; and stated, at another opportunity, they should feel very happy in attending a Bethel service.

“ Seamen increasingly appreciate the privilege of hearing the Gospel. May the Lord of the harvest give us an abundant increase of his grace, to persevere through every difficulty, and crown our labours with his blessing !"

Third Thames Station, Welsh. - Rev. J. T. Rowland reports, “ I held three good meetings during the past month on this station, though the attendance was unusually small, there being but very few Welsh in port. The attendance in all did not exceed fifty seamen.

“On one evening, after going on board the E., Captain 0., I found captains and men all thrown into mourning; owing to so many ships having been damaged, or totally lost, during the awful storm that had prevailed during the week, which had caused the sacrifice of so many human lives to the fury of the ocean. sorry, in particular, to hear them mention the loss of one ship, on board of which I had held many delightful Bethel meetings, and was on board of her a few days before she left port last. This ship was washed ashore without a hand on board.

On this evening, it being so near the close of another year, I embraced the opportunity of improving its termination from Dan. xii, 13. Some, if not all present, were in tears. Enjoyed much pleasure and satisfaction inwardly, as well as much freedom of speech in preaching the glad tidings of the Gospel on the occasion. One master was particularly affected, who came to me after the meeting was over, and said, '(), Sir, I felt keenly

I was very for a

66 In

during the time you were speaking.' I asked, Why?' ‘O, your address bore so close on a melancholy circumstance that happened to one of my hands yesterday. Had I informed you before the meeting as indeed I ought to have done-it could not have been more appropriate. I asked him to what circuinstance did he refer? His answer was, “0, Sir, truly did you say," Though we are almost come to the end of another year, yet we may not be permitted to enter on a new year, though there be but a few hours ere its dawn will burst upon the universe;". very promising young man, between nineteen and twenty years of age, and an apprentice of mine, had come within three days to the termination of the year, and within a few weeks to the conclusion of his apprenticeship: but, ah! yesterday he fell overboard in the twinkling of an eye, and his body has not yet been discovered.'

How precarious is the life of a seaman! Surely no opportunity should be neglected, nor any effort withheld, from endeavouring to promote the moral and eternal happiness of those that go down to the sea in ships, and that do business in great waters.

Fourth Thames Station. Mr. Edwards reports, this station, through the density of the weather, we have been prevented this month from holding our meetings regularly. Those which have been held have not been without interest. Many have been the thanks presented to your agents for coming to instruct them in the things which make for their everlasting happiness.

At the close of a meeting held on board the S-, the master of the C- (after asking our names) put into the hand of Mr. A. something for the benefit of the Society; stating that he read the Pilot regularly, and the agents' reports with much pleasure.

Your agent has conducted two services alone, his worthy colleague being prevented attending, through circumstances over which he had no control.

“ We have had three new Bethel ships on this station during this month."

“In consequence of the inelemency of the weather, the labours of the past month have been partially suspended ; but the meetings that have been held have not been void of interest. On board the S- for the first time, four captains were present. This was a solemn service, a lad of an adjoining vessel having been drowned the day before.

« On board the J-, for the first time, the captain spoke very favourably of our agent at Scilly. One captain prayed. At the close of a very interesting meeting, the captain of the C asked us our names; and then informed us that he was a constant reader of the Pilor, and gave four shillings as a donation to the Society; observing, that the Institution ought to be encouraged and assisted in its labours. Another captain did likewise, the captain of S-

Fifth Thames Station.--Mr. Maddox reports, "Through the inclemency of the weather, and indisposition, your agent has done but little during the past month.

“ However, I held several very interesting meetings in the early part of last month. A master of a vessel expressed himself particularly grateful for the Bethel service, having (he said) been a long time on a wrong tack, till he found himself nearly on a lee shore. He had recently been enabled again to weigh anchor, and set sail afresh, hoping to be favoured with the auspicious gales of divine grace.' He said he dreaded the thought of again returning to the world. He took some Tracts, and heartily thanked me for my visit. So did also the crew.

At another meeting I was particularly encouraged by the piety of the master and some of his crew; who prayed most fervently for the work of the Lord to prosper among their brother seamen. The Tracts and Magazines were thankfully received." Mr. Edwards reports,

“ Here the fogs have also prevented some of our meetings, they being so thick it was not safe to go on the river.

“ In this station your agent has also conducted two services alone, my brother being unavoidably prevented from accompanying me.

“ On board a new ship, on the 10th instant, your agent had a goodly number present. Two seamen took part in the services. After the service, the master desired me to go forward and see the cook, an old man, who was dangerously ill. I found him in a very bad state of body and mind. After conversing with him a little.time, I commended him by prayer to the care of that Physician who is able to heal the diseases of body and soul. The Lord has seen fit, since then, to remove him to the world of spirits. May he have cut short his work in righteousness, and saved his soul from the pangs of eternal death !

“ Last evening, Mr. W. improved his death on board the T. and M. in the same tier. May it prove beneficial to those that were present!

“ Four ships have displayed our fiag for the first time in this station this month. Mr. Waldon reports,

" This month the weather has been such, that it was suggested to our Thames Missionary, by many captains, that it would be necessary to suspend the meetings afloat, as they did not think it advisable for the agents to come off shore: therefore I have not been able to hold many this month. But those that I have held have been very satisfactory to my own mind; and I trust, through the agency and blessing of the Holy Spirit, they have been profitable to the seamen. Death has been making great inroads among seamen already this new year: but I have witnessed a calm composure of mind, while the sentiment appeared to say very generally, “Ah, I shall soon be dying ! Time, swift Time, is carrying me onward to yonder world of disembodied spirits !' But then this sentiment was not attended with that gloom, which is the case with those who have no hope. No: but these have a good hope through grace. One pious mariner, in his addressing God in prayer, said, It matters not how, or when, or where we die, we shall be with Jesus.'

“On Thursday evening your agent received a note from Captain Prynn, wishing me to improve the death of an aged man, who had been cook of one of the ships in the tier. I accordingly did so; and I chose, as the foundation of

my address, Jeremiah xxviii, 16- This year thou shalt die. The service was truly a solemn one, I trust, to all present. And I hope, by the blessing of God's Spirit, the impressions then felt may be productive of much good. After the service, many seamen present expressed their grateful acknowledgments for the service.”

Sixth Thames Station. - Captain Prynn reports:On this station, in consequence of the state of the weather, being at times very tempestuous, and the evenings very dark and foggy, together with several days of severe indisposition, I have been enabled to hold only six meetings on board of ships, and three extra meetings with seamen in my own house, when my health would not admit of going on board ship. The whole of those meetings have been well attended. Six instances have taken place of sailors engaging in public prayer who have not done so before ; and if I might judge from their prayers and tears,

« PreviousContinue »