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RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE OF A SAILOR.
"PIOUS seamen" are happily increasing in number; and no doubt can be entertained respecting the efficiency of the means employed to promote their eternal interests, under the blessing of the Spirit of God. The following account of the religious experience of a seaman, recently admitted to Christian fellowship in connection with the Society, cannot fail to interest all who truly sympathize with mariners in their privations and dangers.
In compliance with your request, I present you with a brief detail of the dealings of God with me. I must first tell you, that I was taught to know the Scriptures by a pious mother, until about fourteen years of age, when I went to sea. During my apprenticeship, I used to attend the public worship of God occasionally, until I was out of my time. I then went up the Mediterranean sea, in the transport service, where I remained nearly three years, without ever hearing the sound of the gospel. I came home at the conclusion of the French war, and used to attend the house of God occasionally, and sometimes very regularly. I was frequently much affected under sermons; and I often said to myself, I would go and speak to some gospel minister or Christian friend, and tell him my mind, because I often felt very uneasy respecting a future state. However, 1 never spoke to any one; for whenever I had an opportunity to do so, I always felt a degree of bashfulness, and that bashfulness I now believe to have been the work of the enemy of souls. I went on in a careless sort of way until about six years ago. I was then in a vessel bound to Hamburgh, which remained at Cuxhaven all the winter. There I had much leisure time for reflection. In the spring I got to Hamburgh, and there I met with an afflicting dispensation of Providence. My brother, who was there, was drowned by accidentally falling overboard between the ships in the tier; and the day after that on which he was buried, I was taken ill with a fever, and that was the time I felt the want of genuine piety. I was very ill in body, and had a surgeon to attend me; but the state of my mind can be known only to those who have really been in such like circumstances. 1 think the horrors of a guilty conscience at the approach of death are indescribable. I was in utter despair. I had
no hope. I knew I had sinned against light and knowledge. I sent for a friend, a pious sailor, whom I knew on board another vessel. He was astonished to see and hear me. I told him I thought I was about to die, and if so, sure to go to hell. He pointed me to the Saviour; and talked to me about the impropriety of despair; but it was no use. He then went on shore, and brought the minister of the Independent chapel to me, and it was the Sabbath. I shall never forget it. The man of God talked with me, and said many comfortable things to me, which I believe gave me some faint hope; but previously to that, I positively fancied one night that I was in hell, and that I could see all the lost spirits around me. I said then, if God would but only raise me up this time, I would, by his grace, devote myself more to his service than ever I had done. The minister prayed fervently by me, and the rest of the crew were with me, and he got them to bow their knees along with him; and when the servant of God was going on shore, he endeavoured to persuade them to go with him to the chapel; but such was the depraved inclination of those men, that he could not get one out of the ship with him. He then told them to look at me, and hear what I had to say as an example for them. But they were deaf to all his persuasions. He then asked me if I would not go with him if I were able? I answered, that if all the world were mine, I would part with it if I could thereby be able to go with him to the house of prayer. From that day I began to amend: it pleased the Lord to raise me up again, and I got home to London. Ever since that time I have felt the importance of communion with the people of God; and whatever port I have been at, my first look out' has been for the house of prayer. Feeling the value of your ministry, and an interest in the prayers of the church, I desire to unite with you. My relations being in this neighbourhood, and my voyages being short, I hope very frequently to spend days and weeks among you. Thus far the Lord has led me on; and though since the time the Lord awakened me I have had many difficulties, trials, and afflictions to pass through, and although I have often sinned against him, I can say, Hitherto the Lord has helped me.' Glory be to his holy
DEDICATION OF THE SAILORS' NEW CHAPEL AT APPLEDORE.
REV. E. CORBISHLY writes, 66 I duly received your favour of the 23d instant, with the notice of R. H. Marten's, Esq., donation, the steady friend of the sailors' cause.
"You wish an account of the opening of our Bethel Union Chapel. On Wednesday, August the 17th, in the evening, we took leave of the up-stair room, where we have been accustomed to hold our Bethel Meetings for some years past, by a thanksgiving meeting, in which several sailors were engaged, and by a suitable address on the occasion.
"On the morrow, August 18th, the day for opening the new Bethel, we held a prayer-meeting in the morning, at seven o'clock, the first religious service held there, designed chiefly to implore the influence of the Holy Spirit on the proceedings of the day. Rev. G. Smith, of Plymouth, preached two well-adapted discourses on this interesting occasion, assisted by ministers of different denominations in the devotional exercises; that in the morning in the Bethel Chapel, which was crowded (many not able to get in), from Hebrews ii, 16; that in the evening from Luke xiv, 22, in the Independent Chapel, as it was contemplated that the Bethel would not hold the large concourse of people that would attend on the occasion; and the attendance on the evening service answered their expectations, the chapel being well filled. A prayermeeting was also held in the afternoon in the Bethel, to keep up the savour of piety and devotion the services seemed to have diffused among the people.
"A cold collation and a public tea were provided; upwards of one hundred sat down to the latter repast, which was closed with singing and prayer.
"The collections of the morning and evening services amounted to nearly eleven pounds. The new Bethel Chapel, capable of holding upwards of two hundred people, will much enlarge the field of our operations. It still continues well attended at the different times of service, namely, Friday evenings at seven o'clock, and on the Sabbath seven o'clock in the morning and three o'clock in the afternoon. May the blessing of the God of Bethel' rest on such services, and may the Spirit of Peace preside amongst us. I must not forget the kind tokens we have
received from our female friends, showing the deep interest they take in the cause. A Bethel Flag was presented by Mrs. S. T. and the Misses W. previous to the opening of the chapel, and which was hoisted for the first time on an elevated staff, in the front. A Bible and a cushion have also been presented through the contributions of a few.
"I have thus fulfilled your request. I shall feel happy in forwarding to you any communications which may be of use to you and to the cause; that cause which forms so interesting a field of labour, which is the connecting link through the whole chain of religious institutions, having the promise of the prophecy, The abundance of the sea shall be converted unto the Church of God.' None can calculate upon the good resulting from the Bethel institution, from the agency or instrumentality of converted sailors. When I came through Bristol, on my way home, Lieut. Campbell, an active agent in the Bethel cause in that city and seaport, informed me that one of our sailors in church fellowship with us had been the instrument of good to a young man there, who had recently come to their communion."
SAILORS' FEMALE ORPHAN HOME.
THIS interesting institution, in its nature, bears a near affinity with the British and Foreign Sailors' Society. Several of the gentlemen who constitute the Directors of the one, form the Committee of the other. This institution was formed in the year 1829; but from various obstructions, arising out of its subsequent associations, it was resigned to the care and management of a Ladies' Committee, who laboured with zeal and benevolence to extricate it from its difficulties.
Mrs. How, a member of the Society of Friends, residing in Fore Street, Cripplegate, came forward as its efficient patroness; and in her own immediate circle of friends advocates the cause of the orphans with such success, giving it four years of unwearied exertion, in connection with the Committee, and Mrs. Orton, the superintendent of the establishment, that under the blessing of God the institution has been placed in its present promising condition. Isolated as it has been, it cannot but be expected that difficulties have attended its progress, arising from
various pressing claims, and the limited amount of its funds.
Twenty female orphans of mariners are now boarded, clothed, and educated in the principles of Christianity, under the care of the Committee and the Superintendent of their "Home;" but the friends of the institution desire that their benevolence should embrace many more, if not to receive every applicant for admission. They therefore take this method of bringing their claims before the public, in the hope that God, in whom "the fatherless find mercy," will raise up friends who shall care for and assist the destitute female orphans of British seamen.
Surely none will disregard the claims of the little ones, whose fathers have bravely sacrificed their lives in the immediate labours of the sea, procuring the rich blessings of foreign lands to supply our necessities.
Subscriptions and donations will be thankfully received by Rev. W. Benson, 19, Great Guildford Street, Southwark; by Mrs. Orton, Superintendent at the Asylum Great Prescott Street, London; or by Rev. T. Timpson, Secretary to the British and Foreign Sailors' Society, at their office, 2, Jeffreys' Square, St. Mary Axe, London.
MONTHLY MEETING OF THE AGENTS,
AT THE SOCIETY'S OFFICE,
2, Jeffreys' Square, St. Mary Axe, London.
Monthly Meetings of the Agents of the British and Foreign Sailors' Society, in London, are found productive of the happiest results in the prevalence of harmony and brotherly love. By this means of conference and prayer they are mutually encouraged in their arduous duties; and in answer to their supplications their labours are crowned with the blessing of God. The following are extracts from their Reports of the past month :