Sayfadaki görseller

seamen; and, receiving the highest testimonials as to his character and fidelity, they engaged his services, and he entered upon his work, as your missionary, at Christmas last. As an instance of the pleasing manner in which your

missionaries are sometimes (perhaps for the most part) welcomed on board ship, one of them says:

“One morning, whilst prosecuting my duties, I met the captain of a ship, and said to him, “Will you let us have a Bethel meeting on board to-night?' He said, • I have no objection, if my cabin is large enough for you.' Will you let me look at it?' I said. To this he readily consented. I said, “The place will do, if you will be at a little trouble in making seats.' That I will,' he said, ' we cannot do too much to serve the Lord; he hath done much to serve us.' In further conversation, I found he had a pleasing work of grace in his soul. He said, ' I shall be glad to see you on board any time.' The service was held by my brother missionary, Captain Prynn. I had the pleasure of seeing the captain of the ship afterwards, when I asked him what sort of a meeting they had had. He said, “It did me good,' and repeated his desire, that, when in port, he might be favoured with another visit.”

During the past year, a peculiarly hallowed influence appears to have attended the


held on board ship in the river Thames. The following may be adduced as proofs :

“In conversation with a captain, on board whose vessel I held a Bethel meeting, he said, 'Had you asked me, twelve months since, to hoist a Bethel Flag, and have a meeting on board this vessel, you would have been refused ; but now, Sir, I have much pleasure in obliging you, and am glad you have made the application. This opened a field for inquiry, how this great change had been brought about, when, having gone at his request into the cabin, after a pause of a minute or two, he thus addressed me :~My dear sir, I know you very well, and have dreaded seeing you, when you have been visiting in the tier where my ship has been lying. I recollect you at Bell.wharf Chapel, and often attended there, when a mate of a ship, and at one time I made a profession of religion. I thought very highly of myself, but at this time I was only flattering myself, and deceiving others. When I was appointed master of this vessel, I was led away into the world, and into company that was much opposed to religion; and trusting in my own strength, in an unguarded hour, I gave way to intemperance, and from frequenting the tavern I was led to the theatre, and in short to indulge in sin without restraint. My parents saw it and were grieved, and many a restless hour have they passed, and many a tear has wet their cheeks on my account. Christian friends reproved and admonished, but all appeared in vain ; but the Lord's ways are not as our ways, nor his thoughts as our thoughts. Glory be to God for his mercy towards me! I was arrested in my mad career at a Bethel meeting, on board a vessel in this very tier where we are now lying. I had been invited to attend the meeting by one of my former companions, who had found peace through believing in Christ. After much entreaty, I went to this meeting

with my friend, but not with any desire to receive benefit therefrom. The moment I entered the cabin, and saw the minister, I was seized with a terror I cannot describe. I felt assured he knew all about me, and would of course charge my sin upon me. I sat for a few moments ; the singing commenced ; I attempted to get up and go away, but my knees smote one against another! I had no strength, I felt ill, and could not tell what to do; and when the text was given out, “ The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God,' every joint in me shook. In the character of the wicked, as then described, my case was met. Con. science accused me, and I felt guilty before God. I was too much condemned and cast down to make my case known at that time, but retired with my friend, who faithfully followed up what had been said by the preacher, and poured out his heart in prayer, that God would be gracious to me. I wept, and I trust was sincerely humbled before God; and, on my arrival home, I joined the ranks of total abstinence. On the ensuing voyage I became a member of a Christian church; and now, sir, I can praise God for his mercy and grace, and welcome you as a servant of Christ on board the Eleanor.' We had much conversation together, which tended to strengthen my confidence in the sincerity of his love to God."

Again :

“ The services I have held during the month have been to my own soul, and, I trust, also to the souls of others, refreshing seasons from the presence of the Lord. They have not only been generally well attended, but have also been pervaded by a gracious influence. Two or three of these services I may more particularly mention. I refer, first, to one on board the Britannia, of Whitby ; nineteen were present, ten of whom, after I had preached a short sermon, engaged in prayer. In visiting this vessel, a few months since, the whole of the crew, with the exception of the mate, were living without God, and without hope in the world; but our services have been made a blessing to them,-five of them now professing to enjoy peace with God. Could our friends, the subscribers and collectors, who are interested in the sailor's spiritual welfare, but have been present at this service, and heard the fervent and Scriptural prayers offered by these babes in Christ, amidst tears of penitence, mingled with tears of joy, their hearts would have been melted and their zeal inflamed. The captain of this vessel is, I believe, under deep impressions, and nothing seems to afford him greater pleasure than to hoist the Bethel flag. The next I refer to was held on board the Fairy Queen, of Sunderland. The cabin and steerage were well filled, several pious captains being present. Some of the men seemed much affected under the word; one captain was observed to weep much. At the close of the meeting he wished me to hold a service, during the week, on board his vessel, which I did. He then informed me had never hoisted a Bethel flag before, I will only name one other, which was held on board the Reward, of Sunderland, Twenty-three were present, and among them were eight captains. After addresses had been given by an esteemed captain and myself, nine engaged fervently in prayer. One present, formerly distinguished as a man of prayer and zeal, but who had grown weary in well-doing, at this service was quickened and encouraged. In the presence of this company he confessed his backslidings of heart,' and earnestly prayed for restoring grace.

"And it is not long since one of our missionaries met with two Christian captains, in whose society he found great encouragement and delight. But what was the additional pleasure of the encounter, when he discovered that they had both


been converted by his own ministry; one having been a notorious swearer, and the other debased by continual drunkenness.”



has continued his labours amongst his countrymen with much success, of which you may accept the following as testimonies.

He says:

At one meeting I observed a sailor on board the B-, of N-, much agitated by the discourse from Prov, i. 24-26. After distributing tracts, some stayed behind for private conversation. I asked this sailor whether he was a member of the Church of Christ anywhere; he said, “No; but I am, by God's help, determined to cast myself to-night at the feet of Jesus, and amo gst his people. At the conclusion of this interesting service, we all united in commending this new convert to the grace of God, as he was about to sail that week. On another occasion, on board the B- where I preached from Luke xix. 42, I observed three young sailors under deep impression, and the tears rolling down their cheeks. After service they stopped for further conversation. One said, “Oh! I am a great sinner; I have sinned against the light of gospel knowledge. I have been brought up under the careful instruction of a pious parent, and Sunday-school teachers; and you have reminded me to-night of the many urgent prayers of my father and mother, and my teachers, for my salvation. As you observed, that “the effectual ferrent prayer of the righteous man availeth much," I am encouraged to hope that the impressions I now feel will never be erased from my mind.' The others were so deeply affected by his expressions that they could not give utterings to their feelings, but expressed their hope that I would not forget them when before the throne of grace.”'

The labours of your

FOREIGN MISSIONARY in London have been continued, with some brief intermission, through the failure of his health, in the several departments of his sphere. The foreign vessels entering the Port of London receive the benefit of his visits, and, in discharging this part of his duty, he circulates large numbers of foreign Scriptures and religious tracts. This is the more important, as it is peculiarly gratifying to find that most of these foreigners are able to read well. He preaches weekly, in one of the languages of northern Europe, both in the Infant School, at Blackwall, and also in the Sailors' Church, Wellclose Square. He has continued the regular visitation of the Dreadnought hospital-ship, for the purpose of conveying religious instruction and consolation to its sick and dying foreign inmates. These labours are frequently of a deeply interesting character, as the following extracts from his reports will show :

“I have had some very cheering instances there. Thus, a young Dutchman, who bad been there a long time, and was always very desirous to hear, and diligently searched the Scriptures, uttered great joy and thankfulness. A German, whom I found ready to leave the hospital, came and thanked me, telling me that he blessed God for having come on board the Dreadnought, for he had there been brought to know himself as a poor sinner, and to hate his old ways. A young Swede, who expected to be able to leave in a few days, when I saw him last, was all thankfulness, meekness, and joy in Christ Jesus. I gave each a parting exhortation, and the two last each a New Testament in his native tongue.”

And again, One German seems to have had the truth impressed on him, and also two Danes, two Norwegians, and one Swede, who have been very attentive; and in the good hope of furnishing them with something they had now begun to value, I gave each of them a New Testament. One German, who has been long ill, and for more than a fort. night unconscious of anything, has now recovered, and seems to have very serious impressions of the truth; praising God for his mercy, in again raising him to life. I have had much conversation with him ; he told me he lived at Blackwall; and on telling him of my preaching there, he said, “Well; you shall certainly have me for one of your hearers.' There are also two Frenchmen, who are seriously impressed, and diligently attend to what I say to them, acknowledging themselves poor sinners, and looking to Jesus Christ for salvation. Thus, then, I am encouraged in the good hope that my labour is not in vain, but is blessed to the salvation of souls."

As evidences of the need for the labours of such an agent, and as conveying sad proofs of the too widely-spread and awful scepticism of the Continent, take the following. He says,

“ I visited a vessel which had been held up to me as having service on board every Lord's day. I found the two mates, and addressed them ; but it was in vain for me to say anything; they said they had service on board, and were much better edified by hearing a good sermon read, than by going to a church, where they might hear some foolish nonsense from a pulpit.' My reason tells me,' was the preface to everything they said. I called again, and found the captain on board. I presented him with a circular about the appointed time of service. We have church on board,' was his abrupt answer, turning, and walking away. Going into the cabin of another vessel, I found the captain and another of the same nation, to whom I com. municated the object of my visit. They had many objections to the contents of the Bible, and at last the captain of the vessel told me he was a Deist,' although he adhered to the Lutheran Church. You are quizzing me, I suppose,' he said.- 'I can sympathise with you,' I answered, 'for I know what it is to be without God and without hope in the world.' _' Oh, I know all about it,' he said ; 'we have a man of learning and understanding shown us tha Bible but a fabrication of priests ;' and, running up on the deck, he swore that a Deist he was, and that as a Deist he would live and die.”

Since the alteration in your agency in London, consideralyb more attention has been devoted to the visitation of seamen at their

LODGING-HOUSES ; and, indeed, one missionary is employed daily in this part of your operations. It is found to be a most interesting and extensive sphere, and one demanding constant and diligent care, as it is here that we chiefly come in contact with our foreign-going seamen, with whom it is difficult to meet, for religious conversation, under other circumstances. Your missionaries are cordially welcomed to some of these houses by the keepers ; from others, they are as obstinately excluded ; but persevering kindness frequently prevails where every other means would prove futile. Large numbers of Bibles, magazines, and tracts have been circulated at these houses, and, not unfrequently, a poor sailor is found lying upon a sick-bed, who gladly welcomes your messengers of gospel tidings. A missionary writes :

"I was much affected, on the 30th of August, when in company with my brother Lowther, and seeking out houses that we had not visited before, we met with a woman who told us she had a sailor lodging with her, who was very ill; we asked if we might be allowed to see him, and were readily admitted. We found him very ill; we spoke to him about his soul, and about Jesus, and salvation ; he seemed conversant with his Bible, and all the while the big tears rolled down his cheek. He spoke very affectionately of his poor old mother, and the religious instruction she had given him. We knelt down and prayed with him, and for him, and he then called earnestly upon God. When we were leaving him, he prayed that our visit might be made a blessing to his soul. It was an affecting season ; he begged se would call again, which we promised him we would do, and left him, trusting that God may sanctify our visit to his spiritual and eternal good.”

But, perhaps, the most striking feature in your operations, this year, is the astonishing increase in the sale of copies of The WORD OF GOD, as well in the Welsh and foreign, as in the English language. Being supplied with them by the Bible Societies at reduced prices, your missionaries, both in London and the provinces, have given more than ordinary attention to this branch of their work, and their success, as will appear from the appended statistics, has been proportionately encouraging.

The Directors have much pleasure in repeating their grateful

« ÖncekiDevam »