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PORT OF LONDON.
CAPTAIN PRYNN'S REPORT.
Called upon, at the expiration of another month, to give an account of my labours amongst my brother sailors, I do so with much satisfaction, being assured that the Lord is carrying on his good work in their hearts by the mighly power of his converting grace. It is indeed a cause of rejoicing, when the hard and stubborn heart is subdued, and the powers and influence of the mind yield to the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit, and men, thus renewed in the spirit of their minds, are found seeking in earnest the salvation of their souls.
Of His presence and influence, in our constant labours amongst sailors, we are not without many pleasing manifestations; and it is this, we have reason to believe, which causes our Bethel meetings to be made as the house of God and the gate of hearen to many souls. · At these meetings we have seen the sailor (probably for the first time) listening with rivetted attention to the word of grace, wondering at, and often powerfully impressed with, the earnest supplications of his brother sailors, and at times under such convictions as to cause tears to bedew his manly cheeks.
In this state he is brought, as an humble, contrite sinner, to seek mercy through the blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of his sins, according to the riches of his grace. Thus, the gospel tidings of salvation, taken to sailors, at our Bethel meetings, has proved the power of God, to the salvation of many immortal souls.
In my visitations on the river Thames, the London, St. Katharine, and West India Docks, together with the Surrey and Regent Canals, I have had to employ both prudence and affection, in warning and reproving many a wanderer, and the careless ; and I trust these admonitions have not been given in vain. Circumstances of a pleasing nature have taken place, where I have met pious captains, mates, and sailors, with whom I have taken sweet counsel, and have then howed my knees, and in prayer approached the mercy seat.
A Bethel meeting, held on board the S-, of w was well attended. The pious captain commenced with prayer, and one expression struck me forcibly; it was, "Lord, save my ship's company, I beseech thee; there are some far from holiness. Oh ! Lord, bring them near to thee, and deliver them from the bondage of sin ; for thou hast found a ransom. Oh, Lord ! let thy love rule in all their hearts, and enable me to live before them as becomes the gospel." One ship carpenter, one mate, and three sailors, engaged in prayer at this meeting; and it was, I trust, a profitable season to all present. At its close, a captain said, “Sir, whenever my vessel is in the Pool, I shall be happy to see you on board, to hold a Bethel service; for I much approve of these means of grace."
The following evening, a meeting was held on board the and Aof S--. This also was a very profitable season to many present. Here I met three sailors, who are in attendance at the Sailors' Church, Wellclosesquare, when in London ; and who, in conversation at the close of the meeting,
gave me a brief account of their being brought to a knowledge of the truth. I'wo of them had received their earliest impressions at Bethel meetings, and one had been first awakened by a sermon at the Sailors' Church, about eighteen months since, from the text, “ The great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand ?" To use his own words—“For awhile these words were constantly sounding in my ears, ' The great day of his wrath is come, &c.' I was led to read the Scriptures, and, with many tears and strugglings, to pray in my poor feeble way ; but, on a voyage to Jamaica, God, in his mercy, brought my soul out of bondage, and led me to rejoice in his salvation. I was much strengthened and supported in my mind whilst in Jamaica, by meeting the missionary there, and attending the meetings at the chapel.” This man is now a member of a Christian church at Hull.
At another Bethel meeting I observed one of the sailors, who had exercised much power in prayer; and, at its close, I said to him, “Well,
my brother, how long have you been sailing towards hearen?" 'Why," said the hardy, heaven-bound sailor, “Sir, you ought to know, for you made out my indentures.” “I made out your indentures," I replied ; "why, you never sailed with me.” “Well, Sir," said he, “I'll soon make you sensible how it is ;" and, going to his chest, he brought me a communion ticket, in connection with the British and Foreign Sailors' Society, dated at Bell Wharf Chapel, July 4, 1812, and made out in my handwriting. I was glad to see this, and the following day gave him a new ticket of communion, at the Sailors' Church, Wellclo e-square. I was very happy thus to meet this good old sailor, after a lapse of six years and upwards.
On board the M-S of D--, a very pleasant meeting was held. Several here related their Christian experience, which is sometimes very encouraging to weak believers, and calculated to do good. The captain gave me a hearty welcome to hold a Bethel meeting whenever the vessel was in the Pool, and boped I would come again before he sailed. I did so ; the meeting was better attended than on the former occasion, and, I trust, with better results. In this way, the Lord appears to open our way, and we have reason to praise his name for the manifestations of his grace.
I have also had the happiness of holding a religious service on board the barque Calcutta, off Gravesend. This vessel is commanded by one of my sons, and is bound to Port Adelaide, with passengers and cargo. This service was held on Sabbath afternoon last, when about seventy passengers and the crew, twenty-nine in number, met in the twixt-decks. There were several pious persons amongst the passengers, and three pious sailors amongst the crew, who kindly assisted in the singing, and listened most attentively to the word spoken, from the words, “Oh! that they were wise ; that they understood these things; that they would consider their latter end." I trust the word was applied by the Spirit's power to the hearts of those who heard it. I gave tracts to the passengers and the crew, which were thankfully received. After a kind aird hearty shake of the hand, I bade my brother sailors farewell; and, when in the boat, and leaving the ship, the crew, with some of the passengers, stood up, and with one voice exclaimed, Gooci-bye, Sir; good-bye.' I felt their kindness, as I have often done on similar occasions ; but here my son was amongst them, as the commander, and I felt the circumstances more keenly. I could only say, in return,“ May the blessing of God rest upon you all. Adieu!"
SAILORS' CHURCH. The services at the Sailors' Church continue to be encouraging, and several persons have been of late admitted as members of the church. During the past month, a society has been formed, for the purpose of visiting and relieving the sick and infirm. The funds are low for this purpose, but we trust pecuniary uid will be obtained.
SAILORS' BOARDING-HOUSES. A far greater number of sailors' boarding-houses are now under visitation than heretofore, there being an arrangement amongst us for this particular labour; and we trust, by strict application to this department, much good will result. Our foreign-going sailors thus receive more of the benefits of our labours. Tracts are freely distributed (sometimes thankfully received), the Scriptures of truth circulated amongst them, and much religious conversation held with them. We look to the Lord to crown our labours with success.
MR. S. LONSDALE'S REPORT. In giving a brief account of my labour during the last month, it is pleasing to my own mind to reflect on the soul-refreshing seasons we have had on various occasions. Our Bethel services afloat have been generally of an encouraging nature, and I have been led to hope that God has blessed the preaching of his word to many who have attended them. On the 17th, I held a service on board of the R--H--, where I hope, through the influence of the Spirit, impressions were made which will be lasting. We had an awakening time, and some appeared much affected. There has been an anxiety manifested to attend our meetings. I held three that week, near the same place, which were crowded. I trust that the word preached on these occasions may be “ like bread cast upon the waters, to be seen after many days." We are glad when we see in any way our feeble efforts owned of God Our work is not all cheering ; we sometimes have to say, “Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" But, though we do not see so much good done as we could wish, yet we know that our labour is not in vain in the Lord, At one service, which I lately held on board of the G-C--, of WI felt much interested. The cabin was filled with attentive hearers, and I felt great liberty in speaking to my brethren of the love of God to them, especially in the gift of his Son. My own soul was much blessed ; and, if we may judge from appearances, the affecting tale of the Cross did not fail to reach their hearis. At the close of the service, according to custom, I gave the sailors tracts, and offered my Bibles for sale. The captain's wife was present; and she said, addressing two fine lads belonging to other ships, “ Have you Bibles, my boys?” They answered, “No.” She observed it was a pity for them to be without, so she bought each of them one, and gave them some kind Christian advice, wishing them to promise to read a portion every day, saying, at the same time, she would pray that God would bless His word to their souls. I felt pleased with the answer the lads made to her request. They very cautiously said they would read the Bible every day when they had opportunity. I know something about the privations of poor sailors in this respect. There are days when they cannot have this privilege, bad weather compelling them to have all the hatches battened down. I trust these lads may keep their promise, and that the pure word may be made a blessing to them.
Our services afloat, during the last month, with the exception of two or three, have been well attended, and the Word of God has been listened to with serious attention. I have also had the pleasure of attending a public meeting for the benefit of the sailors' cause, at St. Alban's. I felt much encouraged by the kindness which was manifested towards the sailor on that occasion ; and í
trust that the public will render our society all the help which is necessary to enable it to carry out the work of God more fully amongst the important class it is labouring to benefit.
The visiting part of our work has been attended to. Our mornings are spent in going from ship to ship, giving a word of Christian advice, and circulating vast numbers of religious tracts; and where the Word of God is not, we supply it. Our Bibles and religious books are now sailing over all seas; and thus instruction is afforded to the sailor in those things which belong to his peace, when far away on the sea, and shut out from all means of grace. I have heard it remarked in prayer, by seamen, at our Bethel meetings, “We remember the time that no man cared for our souls; but it is not so now." No! their spiritual wants are met as far as the means will extend. The last month, I have paid one visit to the West India and Commercial Docks, and to the Surrey Canal. St. Katherine's and the London Docks have also been attended to. Many sailors there have been supplied with Bibles. I have paid many visits to the sailors' lodging-houses. We need much patience and perseverance in this part of our work; for, whilst there are some who are very kind, and allow us free access to the sailors, there are others who are very loth to permit us to converse with them. Notwithstanding this, we trust that one day it will be seen that good has resulted from our visits. One thing we know, that many copies of the Word of God have been sold there, and numbers have been brought to the Sailors' Church, where they have heard the gospel preached, and where God is owning the labours of his servants in the conversion of sinners.
During the last month, I have held thirteen services afloat, with 212 sailors in attendance; and ten on shore, attendance 132. I have paid 572 visits to ships, and 287 to sailors' lodging-houses. I have sold 91 Bibles, and 71 Tes. taments"; and have distributed 2,700 tracts, and 50 old magazines.
May God, in his infinite goodness, crown every effort with abundant success, which is inade for the extension of his kingdom amongst seamen.
MR. H, V. BAILEY'S REPORT. For the last five years I have been engaged as a missionary to seamen, but have now, for the first time, to report my labours in connexion with the British and Foreign Sailors' Society. A sphere of Christian labour, into which, I trust, I bave been called by the great Head of the Church. May the same holy motives and ardent zeal, that dwelt so richly in my highly esteemed predecessor (Captain Lowther), influence my heart, so that I may spend, and be spent, in the cause of our Divine Master, whose meat and drink it was, while upon earth, to go about doing good. I wish at the onset to express my gratitude for the kind and Christian reception I have met with from the Directors and Secretaries of the Society, and also from my excellent colleagues, Captain Prynn and Brother Lonsdale.
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 also pervaded by a gracious influence. Two or three of these services I may more particularly refer to. 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 wel. fare, but have been present at this service, and heard the simple, fervent, and Scriptural prayers offered by these babes in Christ, while tears of peniterice, mingled with tears of joy, were shed by them, 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 service he wished me to hold a service, during the week, on board his vessel, which I did. He then informed me he had never hoisted a Bethel Flag before. I will only refer to one more, 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-doivg, 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. At two of my services Captains Sleightholm and Goodchild have given appropriate addresses.
During the month I spent one day at Barking, visiting fishermen and their families. I met with a kind reception from the Independent minister, who kindly offered the use of his chapel for preaching any Tuesday evening; one of his deacons kindly offering to inform us when a number of smacks were up. I waited upon several of the smack owners, and was informed that no fewer than 180 smacks belong to this place, and the men who sail in them very seldom have the opportunity of hearing a sermon, “during the month."
I have held 14 services afloat, attended by 221 seamen, out of whom 59 engaged in prayer; also 7 services on shore ; I have visited 617 vessels and paid 185 visits to lodging-houses and seainen's families, distributed 4,150 tracts, and 51 old magazines; I have also sold 60 English Bibles, and 39 Testaments, 1 French Bible, 8 Swedish Testaments, and 13 of the Sociely's Magazines.
MR. J. MILNE'S REPORT3. During the past month, my time has been fully occupied in my regular work, together with the needful arrangements for the public meeting and tea on the north side of the river. The meetings were well attended, and considerable interest excited, while the claims of the sailor were advocated and enforced by the various speakers. The collection at the public meeting was 41. 145. 1}d., and the proceeds of the tea amounted to 91. 5s. 2d. I find, on referring to my daily journal, that there have been held 26 services, 273 vessels visited, 50 families visited, 900 tracts distributed, 8 Bibles and 12 Testaments distributed, together with about 30 old magazines. The services generally have been well attended, and the gospel preached. Several temperanee meet