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one occasion, having invited the emigrants to the service, and waited in vain, I again went to their lodging-house. I found some twenty, and said, “As you will not come to me, I must come to you. I wish to give you some tracts, that you may have to read on the voyage." I commenced with a Jewish family, father, son, and daughter; they would not at first receive the tracts; but after I had set before them the great type of the Messiah, the King of Salem, Priest of the Most High, and explained, they each received a tract. I then gave them all tracts, and addressed them for about ten minutes, commending them to Him who is able to save to the uttermost. One bought a New Testament. I have thus, this month, had two services for the emigrants in the Sailors' Church, and seven at Blackwall, for the
The number of the hearers have been 103. To the Dreadnought I have made five visits, and continued to instruct, exhort, and admonish the poor sufferers of many nations, giving then Bibles or New Testaments and tracts to read. Some I found that could not read; among whom was a young Frenchman, to whom I endeavoured to set forth the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and thus admonished him to endeavour to learn to read, as he was yet young, that he might be able to read about that great salvation. A Portnguese, who was seemingly very ill, also told me that he could not read. I therefore endeavoured to set forth to him the mercy of God in Christ Jesus; and he thanked me, and said he had understood me well. Some Spaniards could read, but wanted no Bibles, but books to amuse them. I found that one, after sometime remaining alone, came and asked me for a Bible and some tracts. Two men acknowledged their forgetfulness of God, and the things that belong to their eternal peace, seemingly in a repenting spirit. Two who had been a long time on board, were rejoicing in the good things they had received, and expressed themselves very thankful.
Finally, I have sold seventeen Bibles, sixty-eight New Testaments, and thirty-three parts of Scripture, and distributed 3419 tracts.
REPORT OF MR. J. TROTTER.
I am happy to state, that, in the midst of much anxiety and many fears, the sailor's cause continues in a healthy and vigorous condition. The Great Head of the Church is pleased still to grant us tokens of his approbation, and often to visit us with refreshing seasons from his presence.
Our Bethel at Falmouth continues to be well attended, and the majority of the congregation are sons of the ocean with their families. Only last Sabbath there were upwards of fifty seamen present, some of whom remained on shore, in our reading-room, until the evening service. At one of our prayer meetings, a short while ago, an old sailor while praying said :—"I
thank God for the lifts I get to the better land in the Bethel on Falmouth Quay.” At another of our prayer meetings, a Welsh captain, with gushing tears, said :—“Thank God for Bethel meetings, for it was through Bethel meetings I was led to my Saviour." I might mention the case of a Dutch captain also, who I trust was benefited at our Bethel. It appears he was standing upon the quay. while we were conducting service, and hearing what he called shanting (singing), was induced to attend. We were improving the death of a sailor on that occasion, and our place was much crowded, so much so that the captain had to stand during the whole of the service. He seemed much interested, and the truth pierced his soul. As soon as we concluded, he hastened on board his vessel to think and pray about what he had heard, and to write down as much of the sermon as he could remember. The following day I was afloat among the vessels, and as soon as the captain saw me, I was asked on board his vessel ; of course, I went, and spent about an hour with him and his mate. I found that during the service of the previous evening he had been deeply impressed: his mate also was a deep inquirer after truth. I endeavoured to instruct them in the way of God more perfectly, and was surprised to find that this foreign captain had nearly the whole of my discourse written in his own tongue; and, thinking it would be of service to his family, he was going to send it home to Holland in a letter, with his earnest prayer that it might have the same effect on the minds of his friends at home as it had produced upon his own. After presenting him with an English Bible in the name of our Society, and commending him and his crew to the protection of God, I left the vessel, “ being confident of this very thing, that he who had begun a good work in him will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
We held a sailors' fellowship meeting not long since in the Bethel, when several seamen stated their Christian experience, referring to the benefits they had received from the adoption of sound temperance principles.
An interesting service has been held on board an emigrant vessel laying in this harbour; the spacious cabin (the use of which was kindly granted by the captain) was crowded with attentive hearers. After my address two or three engaged in prayer. I left several tracts and magazines for the use of the people on board.
A short while ago I had the happiness of being with a Christian sailor during his last hour in this world. It was a solemn time—an hour I shall not soon forget. And what made his case more interesting to me was, that he attributed his conversion to the instrumentality of our Bethel. As soon as our place was opened for worship, he became a regular hearer, and was brought to repentance. It pleased God soon after this to afflict him. I visited him often during his illness, and pointed him to Christ; he believed in the Saviour, and “received the end of his faith, even the salvation of his soul.” His outward man was rapidly decaying, but his inward man increased in spiritual vigour day by day. He often expressed his thankfulness that he had not been hurried into eternity in a storm; and fervently prayed for the salvation of his old shipmates. But now the hour of his departure had arrived; he felt it himselt, but was calm and peaceful. I read to him a portion of the Word of God and a hymn, and prayed; after which, I heard him say, “ Precious Jesus, receive my spirit.” These were the last words he uttered in this world, for in a few minutes his spirit was received into the haven of the skies.
I continue to visit the vessels afloat at every opportunity, distributing tracts, & and dropping a word or two to the men about their souls. I have also preached upon the quay in the open air several times, when great numbers have heard the word of life.
We have been visited lately by our respected Secretary, Mr. Fieldwick, who held meetings and preached sermons in several places in the county on behalf of sailors. I am quite sure the sermons he preached and speeches he delivered will be productive of no little good.
The following is a summary of our operations since my last report :-Services have been held at Falmouth, Durgon, Deveron, Penryn, Hayle, Penzance, and St. Ives. Altogether, 105 services have been held ; 351 visits paid to vessels ; 2,647 English, 460 foreign, 50 Welsh tracts, and 150 old magazines, have been distributed; 1 Portuguese, 1 Spanish, and 3 English Bibles have been sold; and 62 visits have been paid to the sick and dying. While Mr. Fieldwick was in the county, public meetings and preaching services were held at Penzance, Hayle, Tuckingmill, Cambourn, Redruth, Flushing, Falmouth, St. Mawes, Truro, and Scilly.
Our best thanks to Captain A. Wilkins, of South Shields, for the box of useful books he has sent to our reading-room. The present is very acceptable, and we should be much delighted if other friends would remember us in the same way.
Our people here are much pleased with “ The Sailors' Hymn Book," several copies of which have been sold.
REPORT OF CAPTAIN J. LEWIS.
Since my last report, I have had some little pleasing addition to my general work, by the arrival of a number of riggers, &c., from Plymouth dockyard, who were occupied some weeks in removing the moorings from the quarantine ground; they were nearly sixty in number, and remained about six weeks. I visited them frequently for conversation, besides holding several regular services, which were of a very pleasing and interesting character. Many of them were prevailed upon faithfully to promise (by Divine help) to break themselves of the habit of swearing, which I could not but regret to see prevailed amongst them to a fearful extent. The valuable little tract, “The Swearer's Prayer," was read by most of them, and I have reason to believe this awful practice appeared to them as it had not done before. Many of them were most anxious that I should be with them as frequently as possible. A spirit of inquiry after truth was very apparent among them; and in some was awakened a sincere desire to flee from the wrath to come, which was plainly evinced by an increased eagerness to hear the Word. After holding a service with them on the Sabbath morning, I got into my boat to go to - angle," where I had an appointment among the fishermen. I was surprised to find that most of them followed me, and more serious and attentive worshippers I have seldom seen. They have now left, and I trust the gracious seasons we were permitted to enjoy will issue in the sound conversion of many of those hardy tars.
I have also been greatly encouraged in some visits made to the sick and dying. A young shipwright at Pater, who had been some months declining, I found at first very averse to hear anything of death, and the great change which must be wrought in the soul. However, persevering with him, it pleased God to show him his state by nature, and to enable him to cast his soul, by faith, on the atonement. His sufferings were most distressing; but from the time of his being able to trust in Christ, his patience was most exemplary, and all around him were astonished at the change. He died in the full hope and faith of the Gospel, and I trust his death will be blessed to his surviving friends. In no department of my work am I without encouragement. În passing through one of the streets in Pater, a few days ago, a woman stepped out of a house, and asked me if I was the “ Sailor's missionary” at Milford. Answering in the affirmative, “ Then, Sir,” she said, “I have something to show you.” Upon which she produced a letter from her son, dated from the West Indies. It contained a touching account of a work of grace in his soul; and you may guess my feelings when I discovered that this happy change was providentially brought about through my stopping him in the street at Milford, to give bim some tracts, accompanying them with exhortations and advice. The Spirit was pleased to carry it to his heart, and he has yielded himself to the service of God. When this youth left home, the parents, who were pious, had many anxious fears, knowing that he was thoughtless, and addicted to the vices of his age. They did not fail, however, to recommend him to God in prayer; and He has been pleased to answer beyond their expectation.
For the summer season, we have had more than an average number of vessels put in leaky. The crews of each have been duly visited, and books and tracts distributed among thein to the extent of my means. The crew of the Cinderella, of Jersey, bound for Rio, seem to have especially prized the opportunities afforded them ; the captain and mate setting them a noble example. Reviewing the labours of each month, I feel constrained to praise the Lord for his assistance in the work. May he continue to shine upon us, and bless and prosper the work of our hands !
REPORT OF MR. J. VALLINS.
When I wrote my last report, I anticipated holding more Bethel meetings than I have hitherto realised; nevertheless, we have had a few excellent meetings, for the Lord has been in our midst to do us good. On more than one occasion, owing to unfavourable weather, we were obliged to take the cabin, which, being small, was crowded, but still found to be the gate of heaven. At a meeting on board the A- of S--, Captain R---, about sixty persons were present, several of whom were masters; five engaged in prayer. The captain had kindly raised an awning, and fitted up seats for the occasion, but said that the meeting was a sutticient reward for any pains he could take to accommodate us, and hoped he should never be weary of forwarding the sailor's cause while it was in his power to help it.
In my visits to vessels, I have often been cheered by the eagerness with which many ask for tracts, which they have either seen or heard of among their shipmates, and by their readiness to converse or listen when opportunity serves. I met with a Dutch captain who had recently lost his wife by death; he believed his drinking habits had hastened her end: he possessed a Bible presented to him by bis wife, with her name inscribed, and an earnest request that he would make it bis guide. This book had been submerged in the Thames, and was much dilapidated from being long under water; but since he had been brought to reflection, this Bible had become a treasure which no wealth would buy. I saw him several times, and this was always his theme, as he pressed it to his bosom and wept till utterance was choked. He always finished with, “ Say no more." I spent hours with him at different times in conversation and prayer, for whenever he saw me he would almost force me into his cabin. The ship, which was a fine one, was his own, but he seemed to value nothing but his Bible and his soul.
My visits to the sick and dying have not been in vain, as an instance or two will show. An old captain at sea, and one who formerly led the singing at the Mariners' Chapel, requested that I would visit his wife, whoni he feared was near death, but unprepared for her solemn change. I complied, and found her in great anxiety about her soul; I directed her to the Sinner's Friend—“the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” I had the happiness of seeing her for some weeks calmly resting on that great atonement, and then, in the full assurance of hope, depart to be with Christ, which is far better. The old captain, who had been a mere formal professor, now became deeply conscious of the reality of religion, and his own utter destitution of it, and at once gave bimself unto prayer, for he longed to enjoy the peace he had witnessed in his partner, and to follow her to her rest in heaven. His wish was soon realised, for in ten days after he exchanged mortality for life. So, at least, we are led to hope, for he appeared a true penitent. A few hours before he expired he requested me to make some improvement of this circumstance at the Mariners' Chapel, and especially to mention the tranquil sufferings and death of his beloved wife, and to urge on all, but on sailors particularly, their need of personal religion. I fulfilled his request, and redeemed my pledge, by preaching from Ecclesiastes xii. 6 and 7, to a large and deeply affected congregation. It was a solemn time, and will not be easily forgotten by the members of the family, for a daughter shortly afterwards called to prove the truth of my text-her dust having returned to the earth as it was, and her spirit to God who gave it.
In my visits to the hospital I have been encouraged by seeing those who had been careless brought to reflection, and anxious for religious instruction. One I believe was truly penitent. He has been restored to health, and will, I trust, be useful to his brethren of the deep. In another, I saw complete tranquillity of mind and acquiescence in the will of God, for, like Job, he could say from the heart, " Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” This man had long enjoyed the favour of God, and had been a member of a Christian church several years. May every sailor seek and find the same
REPORT OF MR. J. MILNE.
Having been from home for some time, and previous to that a good deal engaged in a movement for the purpose of closing certain houses harbouring prostitutes and frequented by large numbers of seamen, I am not able to give many statistics of labour at present. But I may say, that more or less of my time is occupied daily in visiting the vessels in the river and docks, and in holding religious meetings in our two Bethels and elsewhere. I am also often visiting among the families in the lanes and streets of our town.
During the year the Sunderland docks were opened, and are now frequented by a number of vessels. Most of these I visited yesterday, conversing with those on board, and leaving behind me some religious tracts for their instruction in righteousness. Our seamen and others have had many a solemn warning this year to prepare to meet their God; and I have paid a number of very affecting visits to those who have been left widows. At Bahia, this summer, a large number of seamen fell victims to the raging fever, and among those were found many belonging to this port, who have left behind them widows and orphans to mourn their loss. There were three especially, who were well known as Bethel captains. They carried with them the Bethel flag, and took a deep and lively interest in the work of God among seamen at home and abroad, but they have ceased from their labours and have gone to their rest. Their names were, Captain Robson, of the William Thomas, Captain Buckhouse, of the Mercia, and Captain Lewer, of the Monarch. On the improvement of such a distressing event I preached a sermon a short time since in our Seamen's Hall. The service was one of a deeply solemn and impressive nature, while the Hall was well filled. The text was, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” – Pbil. i. 21.
On Sabbath last, a brig arrived from Hamburg, and laid close by our North Bethel. On board of that vessel one of the sailors had died very suddenly of cholera, and he was taken straight away to the churchyard and buried. His poor widow, who had been expecting him at home, had not even the opportunity of seeing his corpse. Oh, how many and trying are the disappointments of life. I learned, on going aboard, that previous to sailing I had been on board ; and I remember well holding conversation with the crew, and with him among the rest, solemnly calling their attention to the necessity of being prepared to meet God, seeing that we know not what danger an hour may bring forth.