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society into which they are usually thrown, the trials and temptations to which they are constantly exposed, the impression of the national character and manners which they produce on foreign shores, and the amount of obligation under which our commerce lies to them, all entitle them to our religious care and efforts for their benefit.
With a view to promote this, the society called the Bethel Union was established in London. Of this Society, a branch was established in this port in the year
1821. “ The first efforts made in connection with this branch comprehended occasional preaching, and the distribution of religious tracts only. This series of endeavour's was followed by permanent preaching on board a small vessel provided for that purpose by the kindness, and liberality of the late W. D. Palmer, Esq. This plan was found after a while to involve some inconveniences, and not to afford scope for the prosecution of all the objects contemplated by the Bethel Union societies. Hence arose the suggestion of obtaining a building on shore, that might embrace all the purposes desired by the committee of your Institution.
“ To the same kindness and liberality as before mentioned, the cause of seamen in this port was indebted for the erection, in 1826, of this commodious place of worship. Here, with a view to the religious instruction and benefit of seamen, is a prayer-meeting held every morning and evening. On Thursday evening in every week, there is a lecture delivered in rotation by the ministers who officiate in the town and neighbourhood. On the Lord'sday afternoon a sermon is delivered by various preachers, who kindly undertake the labour of love. Connected with those means, there is a Sabbath-school held here in the morning of the Lord's-day; and there is also a loan library, containing an assortment of volumes adapted to convey, in an attractive style, a knowledge of the great truths of salvation.
“ The Committee of the Bethel union in this port have' called the present meeting of their Christian friends, that they might report to them these simple facts, and by that means awaken their sympathies and engage their
prayers on its behalf. They will be thankful for the countenance and co-operation of those who have at heart the spiritual welfare of seamen; and while it would be to them matter of unfeigned joy to be able to report a greater measure of good as accomplished by means of this Institution, they
would in the mean time thank God for the measure of success with which he has crowned their efforts in the past; and sustained by the hope of his continued favour, and the prayers of their Christian brethren, they would prosecute with redoubled zeal and effort their labours in this good cause a cause which so manifestly unites the salvation of men with the glory of God!
EXTRACTS FROM THE MONTHLY REPORTS OF
THE AGENTS, JUNE 10, 1836.
DILIGENT activity and pious zeal continue to influence the several agents of the British and Foreign Sailors' Society, in their various and diversified labours to promote the evangelization of seamen. Their reports afford pleasing satisfaction, that they are not labouring in vain ; of which the following extracts will supply encouraging evidence, and new grounds for appealing to the servants of Christ to implore on those labours the efficient blessing of the Holy Spirit.
First Thames Station. Rev. W. Benson reports, During the past month, I have had many impediments thrown in my way. Yet waiting until the men were ready, I have generally had very pleasing attendance. I have had some very interesting conversation with the sailors, and find that there is a very great spirit of inquiry among them. When I have been preaching on the deck, inany have listened with intense anxiety; and some, who have been carelessly looking over the sides of the adjoining vessels, have been induced to make a nearer approach--at the close of the service unanimously thanking me, and stating their desire for me to come again while they were in London. Others said, “ At any time we shall be glad to have you on board our vessels.'
First and Third Thames Station. Rev. J. Rowland reports some disappointments; but says,
" Most of the meetings were conducted either in spacious and wellarranged holds, or on decks comfortably covered with awning. The attendance on the means of grace varied from twenty to a hundred seamen. I had the pleasure of meeting twice during the month with the pious and excellent Captain E. of the V.: am happy to find, that he does not relax in his efforts for promoting the best interests of
his brother sailors wherever he may be or may be going. He preached for me once to upwards of eighty Welsh seamen that were present on the delightful occasion, in the hold of the Valiant, Capt. E.” Second Thames Station.-Mr. Edwards states,
6 Here our services have been regular this month. We have had two more ships for Divine worship ; one was her first voyage : the master, as well as ourselves, felt a pleasure in dedicating her to the service of the Lord.
“We held a very interesting meeting on board the H., of Y., twenty-five present; and five sought the Lord by earnest prayer
:---a very delightful meeting. Another was held on board the S., of H. Although only ten were present, we found it good to be there ; as we have many times heretofore on board this little bark The master and mate are God-fearing men.
Mr. Joyce writes, that he had held the first Bethel meeting on board a new ship from the Scilly Islands, the mate of which gave a pleasing report of success attending the circulation of books from the extensive Loan Library under the care of our esteemed and laborious agent, the Rev. C. Rogers. Mr. Joyce also states, he is “receiving from several friends grants of old magazines, books, and tracts, to replenish the library, and various articles of clothing; and trusts a sufficient quantity will be speedily supplied-in answer to the repeated appeals of the Rev. C. R. on behalf of the numerous (almost naked) families, who would gladly attend the places of worship established in the islands, could they be furnished with a covering, to be shipped off forthwith."
Fourth Thames Station.—Mr. Edwards reports, “Here we have had one disappointment; but three ships have exhibited our flag for Divine worship for the first time.
“ Seven meetings have been held, which were well attended, affording great encouragement to persevere in this work of mercy and labour of love. The masters, mates, and men, are constantly expressing their gratitude to us for coming among them, to teach them the way of life ; and they appear to strive which can show the greatest attention in assisting us into the boat, and taking us on shore.”
Fifth Thames Station.- Mr. Maddox reports, meetings during the past month, which were well attended. Three of them were new ships, never having had the Bethel flag before. Upon one occasion, four young sailors called upon the name of the Lord in prayer, and gave in
dication of genuine piety. They had, apparently, been but recently enabled to put on Christ.
“ The offer of the Flag was to one master very season able, he having just received the painful intelligence of the loss of his wife, who had died in giving birth to her first child. Though nature and affection constrained him to weep, yet he did not ‘sorrow as those without hope.' He said he believed she was prepared, and hoped to meet her again in another and better world. After giving out a verse, commencing, ' And must this body die,' he engaged in prayer, particularly dwelling on his loss, and earnestly imploring God to sanctify the afflictive dispensation.
"Thus our Bethel services are not only useful and important in awakening sinners, and ' gathering in the outcast,' but a variety of circumstances transpire in the experience of the Bethel sailor, which render our devotional efforts sometimes singularly acceptable and valuable.”
Mr. Edwards writes, In this station I have held five meetings. A lad, who went over the tier to invite the seamen to our Bethel, being presented with a back number of the Pilot, said, 'I suppose you do not remember me, Mr. E.' I replied, “I have some recollection of your person, but not your name.' He mentioned his name, and said, “Sir, I was under your instruction at the Sea-boy's School until I came on board this ship.' I replied, “I hope you have not forgotten what you learnt at school. I have not, and hope I never shall,' was his answer. The lad appeared cheerful and happy; and I have no doubt he increased our congregation by his active exertions in going over the tier.
“ Two more masters have granted us the use of their ships for Bethel service this month in this station.”
Mr. Waldon reports, “I have to mention, that, through a kind and gracious Providence, I have held seven meetings this month. Nine sailors have engaged in prayer, and 150 have attended them. I have been again favoured this month with two new ships, and also with pleasing incidents, showing the importance of sending the Gospel to the perishing thousands of sailors, and of the power of that Gospel, by the Holy Spirit, in bringing poor sailors to cry for mercy at the feet of Jesus. At one of these meetings, two sailors for the first time engaged in prayer in the midst of their brethren.
“I have not been so highly favoured this month as in
some former, in meeting with our old Bethel captains and pious sailors; and therefore the most of my congregations have chiefly been of those who seldom or never attended such means of grace.”
Captain Prynn reports, “In the past month, I have held seven meetings in the sixth station, the whole of which have been well attended. Earnest indeed have been the supplications offered up to the throne of grace on those occasions, and the deepest attention has been paid to the word spoken. Five young sailors have engaged in prayer, who acknowledged they had been till very lately utter strangers to the power or duty of prayer. May the Lord keep those dear young men faithful!
“1 bave held two meetings on the seventh station, one off Deptford, the other at Limehouse-hole. meetings of great interest. On one occasion, six sailors engaged in prayer in the most solemn, earnest, and devotional manter; when an address was given from these words, ‘Ye did run well: who did hinder you ? Tears flowed from almost all that were present.
On board the other vessel, the meeting being held on the quarterdeck, under a spacious awning, the deck was well crowded. I had, previous to our meeting, taken a waterman, and visited
many tiers of ships, soliciting the sailors to attend. Many were the excuses; but I persuaded several to come, whom I brought with me. Amongst the many that attended, there were three Christian females, wives of captains of vessels who came with them. One of our female friends broke out in supplication, and most fervent were the breathings of her soul. Truly she was a woman mighty in prayer. I left them at nine o'clock, singing the praises of God apparently with one heart and one voice.
“ It is worthy of remark, that, whilst we were thus engaged on board the S. off Deptford, some pious sailors and friends from the shore, who had promised to accompany me, were on board a vessel at Limehouse-hole. On calling for them, the sailors said, “We have just begun our prayer-meeting; and here we are, with one accord, to make our prayers into God. We cannot go with you.' On my return, I called on board to make inquiry about their meeting. The captain, before I could speak, in an extacy, cried out, “Come on board ! I'll tell you what the Lord has done for us to night. This meeting was the cause of rejoicing to many.
• I have also held one meeting in the fourth station,