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had endeavoured to laugh him out of it. Little did they think how soon their scoffs would end. His mind was deeply affected. On concluding prayer with him, he desired to continue supplication, and on rising from his knees, he seemed overwhelmed with joy and praise. Oh that his vows, made that night unto the Lord, may be sacredly performed. I have since heard from him, and bave reason to believe that, hitherto, the Lord hath helped him. The Diana, from Cork, bound to India with troops, having put in by stress of weather, lay here for some time. I bad frequent interviews with the crew and soldiers. Among the latter, I rejoice to say, there were some God-fearing men, whilst the whole company, during their stay, appeared to be well-disciplined and orderly. The captain of the ship and military officers afforded me every facility in communicating with them; and, through the kindness of the vicar and other religious friends in the town, I was enabled to furnish them with a good supply of books, in addition to our own tracts and magazines. It is to be hoped, that those poor fellows who are exposed to danger, and to death, not for their own personal wrongs, but at their country's bidding, will share a greater interest in the prayers and sympathies of the Christian church. A singular instance of preservation of life has just occurred in the mouth of the harbour. The Queen, of Teignmouth, in passing along the coast, struck upon the Crow Rock, and getting off was, to all appearance, in a sinking state. The boat was hoisted out, and everything made ready for leaving her, when a young man (recently converted to God) asked the captain if he should go down into the cabin and get some of bis things up, to which the captain assented. Whilst the rest were at the pumps, on lifting the cabin scuttle, he found the water up to the deck. He immediately fell on his knees, and committed himself to the Lord, imagining that they would all soon be in eternity, feeling, as he said, no fear of death, because his sins were cancelled through the merits of bis Redeemer. They again took fresh courage at the pumps, and by dint of perseverance, to their great surprise, they were enabled to bring her in; and on lodging the vessel on the beach, they discovered a large piece of rock in the hole in her bottom, which had prevented a greater influx of water than the pumps could keep under, and had thus proved the means of their preservation. While some of this crew were in perfect peace in the face of danger, others were in a state of inconceivable fright and alarm. Oh, that all our sailors had obtained the same blessed state of security, that in the hour of danger they might have nought to fear."
The unprecedented success which marked the earlier stages of your Auxiliary at
still attends it in its maturer operations. In the last Annual Report presented to you, a lengthened and interesting detail was given of the strong claims of this important port, and of the strenuous exertions of the local Committee to meet its necessities. The Bazaar, then proposed in aid of the fund for the erection of a Sailors' Home, was held in the month of June, and was the means of realising £300 towards their object. This special fund has since been increased; and it is hoped that, by a second and similar effort this year, a still larger sum will be obtained. Capt. Brotchie, by the assistance of disinterested friends resident in the town, has been enabled very greatly to extend his missionary enterprise on the coast to the north of Cullercoats. With respect to the success of his labours, he says, in one of his reports :
“At Newcastle, we are still going on, having good congregations, and several sailors show reason to believe that they profit by the word. One old man came to me one night, after a meeting, and said, 'I want to give you something to help on the sailors' cause.' I said, we did not want anything from men in his condition, bis earnings being small, and too little to keep himself in comfort; but he said, “I must give a little—it is a duty and a delight-I have got much good at the Bethel. I am sure I can say the Lord has pardoned all my sins,' and he gave me five shillings. One day last week, speaking with a tide-waiter about his soul, he said, “Sir, I shall have a long tug and a great struggle before I can make my peace with God.' 'And do you think, after all your struggles, you will be able to accomplish this work ?' He hoped so. I then told him the fate of Hugh Brown, who, when he was asked if he had made his peace with God, said “No ;' and when the person expressed astonishment that he had not done so, Hugh said, “No, Sir, but Jesus has made it.' This tale seemed at once to change the views of the officer, and to give the atoning work of Christ prominence in his mind, and I trust will lead him to Jesus."
And in another report :
"A sailor, from Gainsborough, came to our meetings on the quay. I was preaching from—- All we like sheep have gone astray, &c.' He became deeply convioced of sin, and continued to attend our meetings for a fortnight, while in port. He came one night, after the meeting, and told me that he had been very wicked. Once, three years ago, when in a boat with the captain and another sailor, the boat was upset, and his two companions were drowned, whilst he narrowly escaped ; but that bad no effect upon him, he went on in his sins, until he heard the sermon on the lost sheep.' He said he thought every word was spoken to him, and bursting into tears, he sobbed aloud in the street, and said, I think God has found me out now.' He has got books and tracts to sea with him, and has been led to know the only ground of a sinner's confidence in Christ, and to enjoy peace with God.”
The Bethel Room at
has been closed for cleaning and repairs, but it is now re-opened ; and your late agent having been removed from this station, his post is now occupied by Mr. Haslitt. The port of
SHIELDS, with its vast fleet of colliers and immense resident seafaring
population, is still favoured with the services of its united Committee, and its enterprising missionary, Mr. Spry. His location seems admirably appointed; as from his natural characteristics, as well as from his nautical experience, he is peculiarly adapted to the requirements of this important sphere of labour. The duties of the missionary consist in a great degree of visitation and personal intercourse, both on board and on shore, and the last annual report of this Auxiliary contains multiplied evidences of his fitness for this particular work. By means of the new boat provided for him last year, he is greatly assisted in his visitation of the shipping. The synopsis of labour given at the close of this Report will show how abundantly successful he has been in the circulation of religious tracts and copies of the Word of God, both in English and foreign languages.
Your objects were carried out at
by Mr. G. R. Paul, until Christmas last; when, with the concurrence of that gentleman, this station was abandoned, in consequence of the very small number of vessels now frequenting that harbour. Of the resources thus placed at their disposal, the Directors propose to avail themselves to aid in meeting the additional expenditure incurred by the Cornish coast mission.
The Directors have much pleasure in reporting the formation of an Auxiliary Committee at the fast-increasing port of
SOUTHAMPTON. For many years, the principal efforts made here for seamen were those of the honoured minister of Christ, the Rev. T. Crabb; but, on account of his increasing years and infirmities, he has at length been compelled to resign that sphere of usefulness in which he has so long laboured. With a view to establish a permanent agency in connection with your Society, a deputation visited the town in the autumn of last year, and held a public meeting ; at which the attendance was so encouraging, and the expressions of general interest so lively, that a number of gentlemen at once consented to act as a Committee to promote the establishment of an efficient Association, and the
support of a permanent missionary. From local difficulties, the appointment of the agent has not yet been made, but there is good reason to hope that, in a short time, Southampton will be adding its quota to the important operations which at this day are being carried forward for the moral and religious improvement of seamen on every part of our coast.
through the enterprising spirit of its inhabitants, has rapidly risen to an extensive and flourishing seaport town, having nearly 1,000 sail of vessels, and about 10,000 seamen, together with a vast number of pilots and rivermen; and it is gratifying to know that, for the last six years, your Auxiliary there has been labouring for the benefit of this large seafaring population, with many encouraging evidences of the Divine favour. Your missionary has just concluded another year of diligent and diversified effort, and though in so large a sphere the results of Christian exertion may not be immediately apparent, yet, after many days, it not unfrequently happens that the fruit is seen with joy and thankfulness to God.
Under date Dec. 6th, Mr. Milne writes,
"I visited to-day among the seamen along the river-side, distributing tracts, and giving invitations to attend the Bethel service. A sailor stopped me, and reminded me of a conversation I had with bim during the spring of this year, on board of his vessel, previous to his sailing for America, which had proved truly beneficial to his soul. I had felt considerable interest in him, in consequence of his being, at that time, a backslider, and had besought him, with all possible earnestness, to return to the Lord without delay. I had also furnished him with tracts, which he had read, and which appear, in connexion with the few words of exhortation, under the blessing of God, to have been instrumental in his subsequent conversion. He had had a very comfortable voyage, and, on his return home, he joined the church of which he was formerly a member. At parting, he said he had determined to let me know of the change, the first time he had an opportunity.”
The Committee at Sunderland are now seriously directing their attention to the establishment of Day and Sunday schools for the children of sailors and rivermen, and they entertain the hope that ere long they will be in a condition to enter vigorously upon this interesting and important sphere of Christian effort.
From the port of
SWANSEA the Directors receive the most gratifying intelligence. The missionary says, in his last report,
“I am convinced that the bulk of our coasting sailors have made a far greater advance in morality, if not in religion, than many who are anxious for their improvement have been led to believe. I have compared the coasting sailors coming into this port with the men employed about the river, and also with the workmen at the copper-works in this neighbourhood, and, in both instances, the result is in favour of the sailors. And I am fully persuaded that the means by which this change has been produced are none other than those adopted by the Sailors' Society, attended with God's blessing, more especially the distribution of the Bible and religious tracts.”
The Sailors' Home, in connection with this Auxiliary, has been well filled during the past year; 275 seamen have made it their home while on shore, and a great many others have lodged there for a night. This institution is conducted entirely on temperance principles.
Mr. Roberts adds,
" The Bethel is well filled on the Sabbath afternoon; sometimes it is densely crowded, and many are unable to enter—being obliged to stop outside, or go away. We hold a meeting for prayer every Tuesday evening at the Bethel. The attendance is irregular. There are some religious sailors who regularly attend when in port. At one of these meetings, a short time since, five sailors engaged in prayer. There were three from the same ship; one of them stood up of his own accord, and gave us an account of himself and shipmates. He said that all the crew were religious. He spoke particularly of a young man then in the meeting, who had just engaged in prayer. He had lately joined their ship, not knowing anything of religion ; but having been with them for some weeks, the conversation and example of the crew, and the prayers morning and evening, were blessed of God, and he became seriously impressed; he was brought to feel himself a sinner, and to look for salvation in Jesus Christ. He had since made a public profession of religion.”
Since the last Report, Mr. J. Nicholson has been appointed by the Directors to act as your agent at
TORQUAY ; and by the visitation of the vessels, and the circulation of the Scriptures amongst the seamen frequenting that harbour, as well as by embracing every available opportunity of holding Bethel meetings, to promote the general objects of this Institution.