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Fourthly, Efforts will be made to promote the evangelization of Seamen.
While the painfully disadvantageous condition of sailors, in relation to the means of grace, has been scarcely considered by, or entirely unknown to, the churches, it could not be expected that any instrumentality would be employed to convey to them the knowledge of salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. Their unfavourable circumstances being made known, therefore, and pressed upon the attention of Christians, especially of our pastors, means will be devised for the support of Sailor Missionaries, or
to strengthen the hands of ministers labouring in sea-port towns; that the crowds of mariners visiting their localities may be blessed with the gospel, and the abundance of the sea be converted unto the Church of God.
Fifthly, Increased support will be rendered to the British and Foreign Sailors' Society
The Directors are exceedingly anxious to greatly extend their operations, so as to provide for seamen the means of grace in every provincial port of the United Kingdom. Many of the larger ports, especially Liverpool, Hull, and Bristol, are the scenes of most beneficial labours to diffuse the gospel among seamen, through the active zeal of the resident pastors, and of their valuable coadjutors. But still there are many other places around our coasts, in which seamen are deplorably neglected, or where the excellent ministers are unable personally to accomplish the labours required for the evangelization of seamen. The Society employs some of these devoted servants of Christ, in this department of labour, at North Shields, Appledore on the river Ex, the Scilly Isles, Dublin, Belfast, Newry, &c. and pressing appeals are made from other sea-ports for similar aid in the work of the Lord.
Foreign ports also have been aided, as the funds of the Society have allowed, besides local institutions at home; and several times the amount of the Society's present income might be immediately employed, with every prospect of the agency receiving the promised blessing of God. And this increased support is confidently anticipated to result from the publication“ Britannia.”
Sixthly, God will specially bless the labours of his servants among seamen.
God has crowned the labours of his servants with his blessing, in the conversion of thousands of seamen : but if the publication of Britannia be the means of engaging
the whole of our British Israel to supplicate the throne of grace for seamen, “God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him." Psalm lxvii, 7. The churches at home shall prosper, seamen shall arise in the beauty of holiness to praise the LORD, they shall become Christian missionaries to the heathen; and thus, with other appropriate instrumentality, under the Divine blessing, “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Isa. xi, 9.
WONDERS OF CREATION IN THE SEAS.
“ And God called the dry land Earth ; and the gathering together
of the waters called he Seas." Gen. i, 10. “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and
meted out heaven with the span ?” Isa. x], 12. “ OMNIPOTENCE" is a term which is easily expressed, but who can grasp its import as indicating a perfection of the ever-blessed God? Fully to comprehend all that is implied by this word, is perhaps impossible, not only for human minds, but even for Gabriel and his exalted fellows, that stand around the throne of their glorious Creator.
Astronomy furnishes the noblest materials as illustrations of the omnipotence of God; but these are far beyond the reach of ordinary minds. Our earth, though inferior to other planets of the solar system, abounds with illustrations of that perfection of the Deity: and the sacred writers frequently refer to the sea as strikingly indicating the power of the Almighty.
Little as the Psalmist knew of the vast extent of the creation, his intelligent and pious mind could not but exclaim, “O LORD, how manifold are thy works ! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches ; so is that great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships; there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein” (Psal. civ, 24–26).
Dr. Adam Clarke, in his commentary on Genesis i, 10, remarks. These two constitute what is called the terraqueous globe, in which the earth and the water exist in a most judicious proportion to each other. Dr. Long took the papers which cover the surface of a seventeen-inch globe, and having carefully separated the land from the sea, he weighed the two collections of papers accurately, and found that the sea papers weighed three hundred and forty-nine grains, and the land papers only one hundred and twenty-four; by which experiment it appears, that nearly three-fourths of the surface of our globe, from the arctic to the antarctic polar circles, are covered with water. The doctor did not weigh the parts within the polar circles, because there is no certain measurement of the proportion of land and water which they contain. This proportion of three-fourths water may be considered as too great, if not useless; but Mr. Ray, by most accurate experiments, made by evaporation, has proved that it requires so much aqueous surface to yield a sufficiency of vapours for the purpose of cooling the atmosphere, and watering the earth. See Ray's Physico-theological Discourses.
Calculations perfectly accurate cannot be made by our ablest scientific professors. Mr. Mudie, in his interesting volume entitled “The Sea,” remarks, “ With this understanding-that we are relating merely rude affirmations, and not positively determined results -- borne constantly in mind, in order to prevent mistakes, we may state that the entire surface of the globe may, in round numbers, be estimated at 200,000,000 (two hundred millions) of miles, of which 60,000,000 are ocupied by land, and 140,000,000 by sea.
“From the great depths which have actually been ascertained in some places, and the great extent of sea in which no bottom has been found, we may, however, conclude that we are under the estimate, when, including banks and shallows, we allow one mile in depth for the whole. Even this gives us a most enormous quantity of water- -a quantity which estimated in tons of weight, which may be considered about horse-loads for draught, we have the entire quantity of sea-water, with all its saline ingredients, amounting to the enormous weight of 600,000,000,000,000,000 (six hundred thousand billions) of tons ! Of this enormous quantity, between three and four per cent. consists of different saline ingredients. Taking the average of those saline ingredients in the usual state in which they are naturally found, dry or crystallized, though even in this state they contain a considerable portion of water, their specific gravity may be taken at the average as about 18, that of water being 10, and the cubic foot of the saline matters will weigh 1,800 ounces, or very nearly
100 lbs. weight; so that the total number of cubic feet will be just 20 that of the tons, or 400,000,000,000,000,000 (four hundred thousand billions) of cubic feet; now if we reduce this to one cube, we shall have, by a rude estimate, a cubical lump of salt contained in the sea, measuring every way about 140 miles, or as much, at all events, as would build up Europe over its whole surface, islands, seas, and all, as high as the summit of Mont Blanc, its most elevated mountain !” Mont Blanc is estimated to be 15,662 feet in height.
Rev. C. Williams, in his instructive volume, entitled “The World of Waters," speaks thus of the bottom of the
“ The bottom of the basis of the sea seems to have inequalities like those of the surface of continents. Were it dried up, it would present mountains, valleys, and plains. It is covered almost throughout by an immense quantity of testaceous animals, or those which have shells, intermixed with sand and grain. . A celebrated diver, employed to descend into the Straits of Messina, saw there with horTor, enormous polypi attached to the rocks, the arms of which, being several yards long, were more than sufficient to strangle a man. In many seas, the eye sees nothing but a bright sandy plain at bottom, extending for a hundred miles, without an intervening object. But in others, particularly the Red Sea, it is very different; the whole body of this extensive bed of water is a forest of submarine plants, canals formed by insects for their habitations, branching out to a great extent. Here are seen the madrepores, sponges, mosses, sea-mushrooms, and various other things, covering every part of the bottom. The bed of many parts of the sea near America, presents a very different, though a beautiful appearance.
This is covered with vegetables, which make it look green as a meadow; and beneath are seen thousands of turtle and other sea-animals feeding thereon. The mountains of continents seem to correspond with what are called the abysses of the sea. The highest mountains do not rise above 25,000 feet ; and allowing for the effects of the elements, some suppose that the sea is not beyond 33,000 feet in depth. Lord Mulgrave used, in the Northern Ocean, a very heavy sounding lead, and gave out along with it cable rope of the length of 4,080 feet without finding the bottom. But the greatest depth hitherto sounded was by Captain Scoresby, wbo, in the Greenland seas, could find no bottom with 1,200 fathoms, or 7,200 feet of line. According to La Place, its mean depth is about two miles, which, supposing the generally received estimate to be correct, as to the proportion the extent of the water bears to the dry land or earth's surface, would make about 200 millions of cubic feet of water."
CLAIMS OF THE MERCHANT SEAMEN'S BIBLE
The Merchant Seamen's Auxiliary Bible Society have just made public the fifteenth Annual Report of their proceedings. Having been one of the active originators of that useful undertaking, and very much interested in our seamen's best welfare, I look at its results with gratitude for the past, and with a growing hope for time yet to come.
Allow me then to mention, for the gratification and edifying of your readers, who, I cannot but conclude, are the well-wishers of the sailor-cause, that, since its commencement in 1818, and up to the end of last May, it has distributed (some given, but most sold)
27,677 Bibles, 38,641 Testaments; together, 66,318 copies of Bibles or Testaments; of which,
9,435 Bibles, 4,567 Testaments, were sold at Gravesend
13,476 Bibles, 22,689 Testaments, were sold in London to seamen.
423 Bibles, 244 Testaments, were supplied to men when at sea.
692 Bibles, 1,690 Testaments, were supplied to emigrants.
What a noble report of succesful efforts to promulgate the oracles of truth! May not great good be reasonably expected to follow from such a large distribution of the Word of God ? Has not the Divine promise asserted, that “the word shall not return void, but that it shall accomplish that to which it is appointed?
Shall faith in Divine verity be disappointed ?
In the beginning of this institution, there were many given to those who could not or would not purchase. The whole given were 3,637 Bibles, and 9,347 Testaments.