Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

rately kept, they will frequently help inquirers in their attempts to elucidate many of the phenomena of the sea.

Those invaluable institutions, "Sailors' Homes," this Bill declares it to be "expedient to encourage." For this purpose it provides that the Board of Trade may appoint a person connected with any such “Home” to be a shipping master, or the office may be constituted a shipping office for the purposes of the Act; in which case, the fees payable for the business done shall be, in whole or part, appropriated to the use of the “ Home.”

The “Merchant Seamen's Fund” Bill is designed to remedy the many glaring anomalies of the present system. The " Fund” is acknowledged to be insolvent. The appropriation of monies is confessed to be inadequate, uncertain, arbitrary, and inequitable. We, however, greatly doubt if any practical benefit will result from the proposed altered mode of management. The sailor will still be not suficiently represented, and his interests not adequately guarded by the mere substitution of masters in the merchant service on the Trinity Board. Professedly they are already there ; but the “ Fund," even with an addition annually made of £30,000 from the general taxation of the country, and an augmented monthly payment from every master, mate, and seaman, will, ere long, we apprehend, be again placed in an unfavourable aspect, because in an unequal action. Should the remedial measures proposed prove beneficial, we shall heartily rejoice.

In measures so important, and involving such a variety of complicated interests, different estimates will of course be formed as to their intrinsic merits. The intention of the Government we believe to have been pure, patriotic, and praiseworthy. We, however, felt it due to the brave men whose social improvement this Society seeks to promote, to submit to the attention of Mr. Labouchere several points which might still further tend to their professional and general welfare. To the propositions thus made, the following answer has been sent:

“ Board of Trade, March 13, 1850. “SIR, -I am directed by Mr. Labouchere to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 25th ult., and to return you his thanks for the suggestions which you have proposed, and which he desires me to assure you shall receive every attention.

“ I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant, « Rev. Edw. Muscutt.”

“J. S. BARING." One fact must never be overlooked. It is this: the character of seamen must be elevated, ere their condition can be improved. Laws, how numerous soever, or how stringent soever they may be, will prove powerless for this purpose. Happily, the Christian philanthropist has within his reach means which the statesman can never successfully employ. Christianity can accomplish that which mere legislation will never achieve. Religion, conveyed by men “whose hearts God has touched,” will be able to commend such motives of action, and such incentives to improvement, as will render all the external appliances of moral elevation illustrative of the untold power of piety to enlarge the intellect and improve the position, as well as sanctify the heart of its recipients.

Cbituary.

BRIEF MEMOIR OF CAPTAIN J. CLARK, R.N. As a warmly interested friend to every movement for the religious welfare and general improvement of seamen, we regret to have to record the death of Captain John Clark, R.N. After a long and painful illness, he died, at his residence at Tottenham, the 3rd February, 1850, in the 72nd year of his age.

Captain Clark was a brother of the Rev. - Clark, late Independent minister at Ponder's End. He entered the navy, as a midshipman, when very young; but, though surrounded by all the unfavorable influences of the naval service, his mind was early brought under those religions convictions which, for years before his retirement on half-pay, enabled him consistently to testify for Christ. He was chiefly attached to the Wesleyan system, but, having strong objections to some of the proceedings of the Conference, during the greater part of the last fifteen or sixteen years, he had associated, almost entirely, with other denominations of evangelical Christians. Bigotry, even in its most refined form, was no part of his character. He loved good men, whatever they might be called ; hated hollowness and pretence of every description, and was remarkably firm and unwavering in his friendships. For sailors, in particular, his daily prayers were most fervently offered, and nothing afforded him more cheerful solace, in the most painful of his latter days, than to hear that the work of moral and religious improvement was progressing amongst them. As an illustration of the pervading anxiety of his heart to aid and sanction whatever seemed to him likely to improve their condition, he became, during the last ten or twelve years of his life, an entire abstainer from all intoxicating beverages. He had been in the constant use of these until above sixty years of age, but the conviction that intemperance was a prevailing curse among seamen, was a strong reason for inducing him to abandon them; and it is satisfactory to know, that he considered himself amply rewarded, by an improvement in his own health, for the sacrifice he made. Such, indeed, was the general character of Captain Clark, that those who knew him best loved him most; and, having finished the voyage of this life, we doubt not he is safe in the haven of a glorious and an eternal rest. B.

The Bethel Pulpit.

« GOD'S PROPRIETARY OF THE OCEAN." A Sermon preached in the American Church, Havre, France, November

18th, 1849, by Rev. E. E. ADAMS, M.A.

"The sea is His, and He made it."-Psalm xcv. 5. Were you to take a Concordance, and turn to the word “sea,” you would be surprised to find it so often mentioned in the Bible. It is sometimes used in a figurative manner, as an emblem of human strife and tumult, but more frequently, in simple narrative, as the scene of divine wonders, or of the teachings and journeyings of the Son of God. We have all an interest in the sea.

Some of us are separated by it from home and kindred, and must cross its broad surface to be with them again. Others are thinking of sons and brothers, of husbands and fathers, who have left them for the ocean, to roam on its' bosom, or sink into its depths ; whilst others of us still have made the sea their home, and are familiar with its waves and storms, its

darkness and sunlight, its hardships, attractions, and dangers. Indeed, no one is exempt from a real interest in the sea so long as he walks on its shores, or listens to its deep music, or is related to those who make it their home, or partakes the comforts and luxuries, the art and knowledge, which are borne to him over the “world of waters.” The text, therefore, deserves the attention of all. It contains two truths: First-Thut the sea is the property of God; Second-That it is the work of God. We shall reverse their order, noticing “ the first last, and the last first.

1. GOD MADE THE SEA. We need not dwell on this fact; we wish only to bring before you some of the ends for which it was made; and

Ist. God made the sea as a depository of life. The chief importance of the land is in the life it sustains. All its beauty and grandeur are connected with life. That is its beauty and glory. This life is ever in our view. It is in us and around us; we hear it in the fields and forests, by the lakes and streams. Its voice cheers the spring morning, and gives tenderness to the autumnal eve. It springs in our path, and catches our eye

From the delicate spray, where at dawn of day,

The little downy creatures sing in mirth ;
From the old roof and wall, the solemn poplar tall,
From the sheltering thorn, from fields of golden corn,
From each grand old river, where nature's hand for ever
Strikes her myriad strings, and each recess flings

Echoes that in the distant air expire. But the sea, too, has its life ; and that life is on a scale the most majestic and the most minute. “There is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein." There he tumbles in lazy joy on the sunny waters, and there, as with the might of the billow, does he plunge and leap through the foam. There, too, is the tiny insect, that builds its coral palaces on invisible foundations, and plants its forests in hidden fields; and between these extremes are all the forms of horror and of beauty that ever peopled “fancy's world,” each with its peculiar habits and instincts, its allotment of joy and pain ; each using up the thread, either brief or extended, of its mortal existence, and yielding itself at last to the wants of the great community of life, leaving no trace of its career in the restless element where it lives and dies. The sea is a wonderful depository of life.

2. God made the sea as a grund field for human enterprise. On land we are ever surrounded by the activities of man. They make up his life ; they illustrate his being; they are the source of his subsistence. The science of industry on land is a profound study, but far too little understood. The enterprise of the ocean is equally marked, is equally a profound science, and even less known, although its bearing on the comfort of the world is quite as extensive and indispensable. The soil does, indeed, furnish the largest amount of productions; but they must be transported from country to country, before they can gain their full value. The sailor's hand must be laid upon them, and his life be hazarded for them, ere they attain their highest importance and worth. That must be an extended enterprise which covers an area of one hundred million square miles, employing three millions of men, and three hundred thousand vessels, all on the sca! Now take your stand at some fancied height above London—the representative of the world's commerce—and as you see fleet after fleet leaving and entering the port, follow them outward on their varied courses to their diverse destinations; or trace their way from “regions afar,” to the grand focus of trade beneath your imagined post of observation; and calculate, if you can, all the wealth, action, thought, care, hope, fear, agony, and death! All the relations and extended influences of the commercial life that moves and spreads itself out beneath your eye! Here you behold a ship laden with the riches of the

East, which, as she comes safely into port, shall gladden the heart of the merchant, who counts his large profits,-of the retailer, whose shelves will soon glitter with the new accumulations, -of the man of fashion and refinement, who clothes himself in oriental splendours, and fills his mansion with the decorations, and his table with the delicacies, of brighter climes. There a bark goes down with her costly burden, and a thousand losses and agonies spring, like spectres, from her grave. There a sail is spreading seaward; beneath it tearful eyes look toward the misty shore, and lips breathe farewells to those who hear not, see not, nor shall ever again! Here comes, like a tired giant, a ship from her voyage of months and years, having weathered a hundred tempests, and been held by as many calms; shattered, rusty, and covered with mould, her crew lessened by hunger and toil, and disaster and disease; she comes with a few hearts, weary, but yet hopeful, to learn that in their absence “ gems have dropped from love's shining circle,”:-- to sit again in the home of their boyhood, at once the comforters of those who have waited for them long, and the bereaved, who need the solace their presence imparts.

And when you shall have surveyed all this, and much more that we cannot now recount, descend and walk among the merchants of the city-mark their stores of merchandise, listen to their recitals of gain and loss, go with their goods as they glide from shop to shor, and are again borne piecemeal away by the myriads of consumers, until you shall have entered every palace, every mansion, and every cottage in the land and in the world, and seen the million channels into which the rills of commerce flow, and then tell me if the sea is not a grand field for human enterprise--a field broad enough for the most daring and ambitious, for the widest discoveries, the highest mortal resolves !

3. God made the sea to illustrate his glory.

By the glory of God we mean his perfections, the harmony of his attributes, the visible manifestation of his being, his character, and his government. Whatever bears the impress of these illustrates his glory. This impress is on the sea ; it is, therefore, a symbol of his glory. Mystery is a perfection of God. “ It is the glory of God to conceal a thing." Our worship, our faith, our very nature, require such mystery. The sea is its fit emblem. There it lies, wide, deep, ever-flowing; concealing a world of life and treasure, and infinite volumes of truth. We stand on the shore, and lay our hand on the restless element; we listen to its deep voices, and admire many of its revelations; but there is the depth, the silence of the Infinite.

It illustrates the eternity of God. Fathomless and boundless to man, it stretches away, like that which has ever been, and shall ever be, taking the whole heaven for its canopy, and sporting with the glory of their starry heights.

Do we speak of the power of God? There is it illustrated. Even at rest there seems a terrible might in the sea; and when that rest is past, and the "four winds blow on it,” until the “deep is boary,” do there not arise before us the might and the majesty of Him who wraps the occan in swaddling bands," as if it were an infant, “holding it in the hollow of his hand ? »

Talk we of the wisdom of Jehovah? We find it in the perfect adaptations of marine life. The eye and fin of the fish are fitted for their peculiar element, as are the eyes of man, and the wings of the bird, to the air. The saltness, depth, and extent of the ocean are such as its living inhabitants, the purposes of commerce, and the health of the human race require. Wisdom is in it all. And that which tells of wisdom is also eloquent with the love of God. All tends to enhance the happiness of the living world. All is radiant with the beauty and glory of the great Creator. Love is on all the mystery ; it smiles over and directs the power; it pervades, like a law, all the wisdom.

II. We come now to the other truth, that GOD OWNS THE SEA. The sea is His.” All things belong to God; for his pleasure they are and were created. The sea is therefore his

1st. Because he made it. We claim a property in what we have made. God made the sea-all its waves, all its life. He gave the creatures that roam therein all their strength, and greatness, and beauty. It is his rightful property.

2nd. It is his because he governs it. “ He raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof." He also “maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.” He appointeth bounds which it cannot pass. His law penetrates the depths, and pervades the whole expanse. He governs all that “ pass through the paths of the seas.”

3rd. It is his because he preserves the life that is within and upon it. Every creature there lives on the divine bounty. “He openeth his hand, they are filled with good.” The monsters that dwell there sport in his sunlight, and hide themselves in caverns which he has formed. Man, also, who has made the sea his home, lives there equally on the gifts of God. All are, therefore, the property of God. He created, he controls, he preserves the sea, and all its living forms. It is his to do with it as it may please him, to spread a calm over its broad fields, or to break up its deep fountains. Its riches are his; all the ships and their cargoes. His earth produced them, his winds waft them, his waves bear them to us. His goodness enables us to gain them, and to use them. And if he sink them in the sea, he only does what he “ will with his own." There is not a more fatal error than the thought that the wealth of this world is our own. God tears it from us when we worship it and trust in it. He shows us its comparative worthlessness, by sending the flame to destroy it, or by casting it into the depths of the sea.

And he does it that we may turn from the riches of time to the treasures of eternity; that the energies of our being may not be wasted upon things so far beneath us, but find a field of worthiest everlasting activities in piety and heaven.

REMARKS.–1. The sea is the work and property of God. therefore, who sail on it acknowledge Him. Do not think that when you have left your home, and are far from the scenes of your early instruction and care, you are beyond the dominion of Jehovah. No; he is with you still; he hears your words, and notes your acts, and knows your secret purpose and thought. “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit, or whither shall I fee from thy presence? If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me,He is there to save you in the hour when danger comes and hope flies. He walks on the sea. Presume not on your own strength and skill.

Thy hand may spread the flowing sails abroad;

Snatch not the quivering helm away from God!

Let all,

2. God made the sea, and it is His. Let those, then, who live on the land, seek the glory of God in doing good to those who go down to the sea. They are there for you ; be ye here for them. They bring to you what you desire from other shores; carry ye to them what they need from heaven! They suffer for your comfort and entertainment; make ye sacrifices for their salvation. Merchants, statesmen, men of “the Word," men of science and the arts, men of pleasure, men of prayer, fathers-whose sons are on the sea, or may soon be there-mothers, whose watchings for the departed are long and sad !-sisters, wives, children,--listen to the voice that comes from " the wide and solemn main,the voice of souls !–“Give us the Bible! Send us the Missionary! Erect for us the chapel, the hospital, and home! Visit us with your love and your benedictions, or follow us with your

« ÖncekiDevam »