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the Scriptures and tracts in their native languages. I found there an Italian, who could also speak and read the German and French languages. I had several conversations with him; he disclaimed the universal bishop and all the Roman saints, whom he considered as dead men, that could neither hear or help anybody, and that Jesus Christ was the only mediator between God and man.
gave him tracts in the different languages, but he preferred to have the German Bible. Among those of other nations, there was an old man, the son of a General, who was very courteous, but seemed to be very unhappy. I took great pains to instruct him, but I cannot say more than that he was very attentive, and did not say anything against it.
I have only had one service in the Sailors' Church, and three at Blackwall, attended by 35 persons; the visits to lodging-houses have been 15; and on shipboard, 192. I have sold 7 Bibles and 25 New Testaments; and distributed 1488 tracts.
REPORT OF MR. PHILLIPS.
From the prevalent easterly winds during the past winter, there has been little shipping in our harbour. I have embraced every opportunity, when vessels came in only for a few days, of boarding them, and have circulated a number of tracts in various languages. The attendance at the sailors’-room increases, and many tracts and magazines have been distributed amongst those who attend. The families of several who reside at Ramsgate are in regular attendance, and are constantly visited at their houses. The sailors have for some time complained because there was no flagstaff to show them where the chapel was. Several pounds have, during the past month, been laid out on the improvement of the room-in the gas, erection of stove, and fixing staff for Bethel flag, in the hope that it will be the means of drawing more to the room. The attendance of sailors has increased from the hoisting of the flag. The principal things we are now in want of are hymn-books, and I should feel obliged to the committee if they could make a grant of three or four dozen. I trust, if spared to labour here another twelvemonth, we shall see great results among the sailors.
Temporal relief has been administered to those who have been wrecked and brought on shore, and also to those left widows, and their orphan children.
In my December visits, I found the captain and his family who were wrecked on the 4th day of March, mentioned in my last report. The captain said :-"I thank you for your attention and prayers, and the tracts you gave us. We have often spoken of you, and remembered you in our prayers in return. The conversation and advice you gave us were deeply impressed on our minds, and I bless God the whole circumstance has led us both to lead a new life; and I have since joined myself to a Christian church. A few hours before the gale, I was cursing and swearing and ridiculing a pious mate I had on board, whom it used to be my delight to persecute. His constancy in the faith, and the kindness and affection shown me in return, often surprised me, and his calmness and composedness of mind in the storm led me to believe there was something in religion I had not yet discovered. In the storm I was led to feel my awful state, and prayed that God would preserve me. The Lord heard my prayers, and the mate just spoken of had the pleasure of introducing me into Christian fellowship. I never could believe such a change could take place in a man. I cannot 1. Well,
describe the joy I now feel and the happiness I enjoy-nothing seems to molest me; and all the displays of God's glory and wisdom around me, open to my mind a subject for meditation, and lead me to praise and glorify him, instead of blaspheming him.” One day, convers
ersing with a group of sailors on the depravity of man, and the consequences of sin-on the punishment of the wicked and the reward of the righteous, one replied, “Can you tell us of any one who came from heaven to tell us about it?" I replied, “Yes, I can. Jesus Christ came from heaven, and he has told us in the Bible of its glories; and also, of the miseries of hell-how we may escape the one, and enjoy the other.” I have asked that question many times before, but never had such an answer. Can you tell us of any one else?” “ We need no other, for God hath sent his Son into the world to die for us, and whosoever believeth,” &c. “I cannot believe the Bible, it is such a mystery.” “ Do
you believe anything to be a mystery? Do you believe anything you cannot understand ?"; "No." "Do you believe the wind blows ? “ Yes; I can see and feel that." “Can you tell me what the wind is ?” “No.” "Now Jesus compares the work of the Spirit to the wind--the wind bloweth,' &c. We see the effect of the wind, but cannot tell what the wind is--s0 we see the men who once blasphemed God turn, and love and honour him---men hear the Gospel preached, and are convinced of sin and converted to God by his Spirit. We cannot tell what the Spirit is, but we see the effects of his work.” He replied, “That's all right enough; your gun is too strong for me. Good day.” And he walked off. The others listened attentively.
In conversing with another company, an intelligent captain said, “A gentleman once asked me how it was my men were not more acquainted with the doctrines of the Bible? I told him, because they had neither time nor opportunity to learn. As for his ship's crew, they spent all the time they had in reading the Bible, that's more than your gentlefolks do; for I think, instead of studying the Bible, to know their duty to their fellow-creatures, they study to know how they may deprive the poor of the blessings of this world, to support themselves in luxury and idleness; and this we find among those who call themselves Christians, and we are now suffering under it. We often thank God, his grace cannot be purchased with money; if it was, we poor sailors would come poorly off. But, thank God, the poor have the Gospel preached them, and every one that thirsteth for it may drink to the full, without money and without price. We have the start of them in this unspeakable gift. And methinks, if they do not take care, we poor sailors will have the start of them at the judgment-day.”
In another conversation with some fishermen on the observance of the Sabbath, one captain said, “Some years ago, my father was brought to know God. He left off going to sea on Sunday. All his companions mocked him, saying he would ruin himself. His reply was, “I will try it for one year, and see if God's promise is not true-- there shall be no want to those that fear God;'" and at the close of the year he was £100 more in pocket than any year before. Here he had answers to his prayers, and a reward for his faith. I have always walked in his steps, and by constant prayers for His guidance, I have never found His promises fail. I always manage to have done early on Saturday evening, in order to prepare for Sunday.”
The tracts amongst the foreigners have been thankfully received ; and I have not found one vessel without the Scriptures in their own language. Many similar cases I might mention.
I have paid 469 visits to ships since my last report; visited 791 families, and distributed 920 English and 566 foreign tracts.
REPORT OP CAPT. J. LEWIS.
Favoured by a gracious Providence I am once more at my scene of labour at home. I suppose you will expect me to give you some little sketch of how it fared with us among the mountains. I left home on the 7th of January, accompanied by the Rev. John Davies, when we proceeded on our old route through Fishgnard, where we held our first meeting; then through Cardigan, Aberforth, New Quay, and Aberavon, to Aberystwith; in each of those places our success was pretty well on an average with former years ; indeed, considering the intense severity of the weather, the meetings were as well attended as could reasonably be expected. At the latter place we spent three days, and found our good friends untiring in their efforts to promote our comfort, and the welfare of the cause in hand. On leaving Aberystwith for Aberdovy, our direct course would have been to cross the river Dovy, but we were prevented by a severe gale, which gave us a circuitous route of nearly thirty miles, and, in such weather, it was no small trial to Christian patience; indeed, never off Cape Horn did I feel the wind more distressingly cold; however, with a little extra effort, we got in just in time for our meeting. We were cheered and comforted by a fair attendance and kind treatment, and left the next morning with renewed spirits for our work, and reached Towyn in time for a morning meeting. It was but small, but we had fair promises for the future. Our next stage, Barmouth, produced something like disappointment. The auxiliary formed here last year had suffered things to remain rather in statu quo ; but we must hope in the coming year our friends will bestir themselves, and give us a helping hand ; they seem thoroughly kind-hearted, and are mostly connected with seafaring people. Our next stage was through Dyffryn to Harlech ; and in both places we met a few friends to the cause. At this point we werc again obliged to lengthen our journey. Instead of crossing the Sands (a near cut) to Pori Madoc, we had to round the head of the navigation, and in the midst of a heavy snowstorm. Every mile seemed two ; however, through mercy, we arrived safely at Port Madoc, though thoroughly drenched, and stiff with cold. This was the terminus of our journey last year. Our meeting here was rather discouraging, as there was some mistake about the announcement; however, our subscription-list shows our visit was not in vain, and we hope for better things next year. It now became a question with us of some importance as to whether we should pursue our course upwards or return home, as my colleague had been travelling for some days with much indisposition of body, which, added to the intense severity of the season, not a little per plexed me; when suddenly slight indications of a thaw appeared, producing also a salutary effect upon his health, the question was at once decided ; and, with renewed hope, we started for Pwllheli, which place we had heard good things of ; nor were we ultimately disappointed, though I cannot forbear alluding to a rugged reception at first. The good people here had been imposed upon, some two years ago, by a person travelling for some seamen’s society, and suspicion still rested upon their minds, till at our public meeting we were enabled, in Welsh and English, to establish a just claim on their benevolence; and our list of subscriptions, on a first visit, is certainly a respectable indication of their present feelings towards us. The worthy and influential individual who has kindly undertaken the office of treasurer, has espoused the cause very heartily, and rendered us every possible assistance in making our way with the public. Nevin was our next place, a little port on the coast. Our claim seemed very new to the good people here ; yet not a few of them responded very cheerfully, to the best of their ability. Next, Caernarvon, twenty miles distant. Had to contend with very strong prejudices from the before-mentioned unfortunate cause, but persevereil in having a meeting, forming an auxiliary, &c. &c. Though our reception here was by no means very pleasant at first, it soon became quite so, by my falling in with parties who knew me in this neighbourhood. One instance of this kind appeared to be most providential. Whilst pressing the claims of the Society on some masters on the quay, who seemed very strongly imbued with the prevailing feeling, a Captain Levers, belonging to a Liverpool trader, stepping up at the time, in a good-natured manner, asked, “What is all this about?” Before I had time to reply, one of my debaters turned round anxiously to him, when saying, “Do you know this person?” “I should think I do,” was his ready reply; “I have good cause to know him; and so a brother of mine would say, too, if he were here; as he had four men on board his ship greatly blessed during Bethel services lately, at Milford Haven.” I need not tell you how grateful I felt at this timely recognition. The Lord leaves not his servants without witnesses, were the words impressed upon my mind. I shall in future have no difficulty in this neighbourhood, and our auxiliaries here have pledged themselves to do their best. From hence we proceeded to Bangor. Here we had the same thing to contend with, and through our being disappointed in holding a public meeting in consequence of an examination of the British School taking place at the time, we might have failed to remove the impression, but for the timely interference of the Rev. Mr. Phillips, who well knew my companion, Mr. Davies, and opened the way with the public. I afterwards fell in with captains of ships to whom I was known, and who gave me the right hand of fellowship; and two of these worthy men came forward and canvassed the town with us. Our former secretary at Port Madoc residing here now, rendered us good service. The amount of subscriptions in a short time looked very respectable in the collecting-book. In the afternoon, started for Holyhead by train, glad to have an opportunity of giving our useful little pony time for recruiting: On the Saturday evening, my colleague obtained for the Sunday the use of three pulpits, to advocate the claims of the Society, preparatory to our procuring subscriptions on the following day, as no collections were made; whilst I obtained the same favour from the English chapels. I should think our interest at Holyhead is likely to be an increasing one. Indeed, upon the whole, I am very sanguine as to our new northern friends. The subscriptions, though not large, must be considered as an earnest of better things to come.
It was now time to think of retracing our steps homeward. We left per train, in the evening, to be ready for a long journey on the following day. On our route downward, we had to contemplate several instances of the awful uncertainty of life. The landlady of the Dovey, whom we left in good health as we passed upward, was being carried to the silent tomb as we entered the town. The son of the respected vicar, and friend to our cause, was called to an early but happy rest; and a worthy captain, who was at our meeting, was also before our return numbered wiih the silent dead. How loudly do these events say to each of us, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might," &c.
As we continued our downward course, we called on those friends we had omitted on the way up; to all of whom we would heartily tender our Christian regards and thanks, for their kind hospitalities and continued support of the good cause in which we are engaged.
Under the gracious superintendence and care of our heavenly Father, we were again permitted to enter our beloved homes, after an absence of thirtyone days, during which time, I humbly hope that all that was said and done for the cause we advocated, He may condescend to crown with an abundant blessing, and that at all times we may feelingly say, “Not unto us, not unto us, but to thy name be all the praise.”'
THE GOVERNMENT MERCHANT SERVICE BILLS.
A new era dawns upon British seamen. They are destined ere long to occupy that status in society, from which, by their own voluntary degradation and the general indifference to raise them, they have been long excluded. Henceforth, it will be their own fault if they stand not in one of the most commanding positions. With opportunities for self-culture, observation, and intercourse with other countries, possessed by few of any other class of the community, they ought to be, and speedily, we hope, will be, distinguished by whatever is skilful in profession, vigorous in intellect, honourable in morals, and fervent in religion. Not that legislation will in itself produce these effects, any more than it will induce in others a taste for music or an aptitude to acquire languages. Still, legislation may legitimately seek to remove whatever civil impediments prevent social improvement: such we apprehend will be the result of the Bills recently introduced into the House of Commons by the Right Hon. Henry Labouchere, President of the Board of Trade. With one of these Bills--that relating to the tonnage of vessels--we do not trouble ourselves or our readers; with the other two, the “Mercantile Marine,” and the “Merchant Seamen's Fund” Bills, we propose now to deal.
The “Mercantile Marine" is a wisely conceived, and an admirably drawn Bill. It is free from technical jargon, and, taken as a whole, must produce mighty national results. It comprehends masters and mates, as well as seamen. The professional skill of the former it seeks to improve by grant, from the Trinity Board, of first, second, and third-class certificates, “ according to the skill, merit, conduct, and general qualifications of the applicants." These certificates may be suspended or cancelled, "if the Board of Trade shall have reason to apprehend that any such master or mate is grossly incompetent, or habitually drunken, or of tyrannical habits."
To help masters and mates to obtain these certificates the Society will henceforth devote itself. It will do this by means of that “ nautical instruction,” which forms a part of its enlarged plan of operations. The “ College of Navigation and Practical Science will here be found of high importance. Why should not a religious Institution, designed to improve “the intellectual” condition of seamen, have associated with its operations such an apparatus ? Oxford, Cambridge, and the various Dissenting Colleges are established for the purpose of giving professional training to theologians ; and we see no reason why Christian philanthropists should not enlarge their sphere of usefulness, by providing the means by which professional knowledge may be acquired by seamen.
Another important provision in this Bill relates to " Official LogBooks," to be kept on board ship—which, in respect of foreign-going vessels, are to be delivered to the comptroller or collector of the Customs at the port where the ship arrives. These log-books may turn out most valuable records. The want of such books for general reference has long been deplored by scientific nautical men. APRIL.