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These are now literally waiting for the Gospel, and inquiring for the doctrine and ordinances of Christ.
“ Tarshish” is, by some, supposed to mean Tartessus in Spain, or Tarsus in Cilicia, the native city of Paul, and both of these places have been conjectured, by different commentators, to have been the Tarshish whither Jonah had paid his fare to be conveyed. But the word used by the prophet seems rather to denote the sea itself; and 6s the ships of Tarshish,” mentioned with such emphasis also by the Psalmist, Psalm xlviii, 7, evidently intend the larger merchant or trading vessels, such as are capable of enduring the boisterous raging, not only of the Mediterranean, but of the mighty Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, or the Polar Seas. Divine Providence directs us in these terms evidently to the majestic and commodious merchant ships of Great Britain.
Ancient Jewish commentators regard this prophecy as referring principally, if not exclusively to the people of their own nation; and suppose that in the times of the Messiah, the Jews from distant parts of the world shall be brought in transport ships to Judea, to inherit the land of their fathers. They think that the text should be read with the particle as, of similitude; and that it should be rendered, " And the ships of Tarshish, as at first :" that is, as they had been used in the time of Solomon for bringing gold and silver and other precious things to that prosperous king from remote regions, so shall they be hereafter employed in promoting the wealth and prosperity of Israel.
Ships of Tarshish” are ships of the sea,” as some ancient Jews interpret the phrase; and no vessels of any nation or country have so fair a claim to be regarded as designed to fulfil this gracious promise, as those of Great Britain, so famous for merchant shipping, whose registered vessels of this description exceed 24,000! These have been employed not in commerce only, but in conveying many converts to Christ, sons of the church, as missionaries to heathen lands, and to the islands far remote, as well as in bringing their converted Christian far."
Dr. Gill, in his voluminous commentary on Isaiah, asks, at this passage,
" What ships can be better understood than ours of Great Britain, so famous for shipping, and which claims the sovereignty of the seas ? These
may be principally employed in bringing great number of con
verts from different parts to the church of God; and as Israel, when they came out of Egypt, came forth with silver and gold; and when they came out of Babylon, they were furnished with gold and silver, and every thing convenient for their journey, and for the rebuilding of their city and temple, Psalm cv, 37, Ezra i, 46; so when they are gathered from their dispersion, and are called and converted, they shall come with their riches to the church of Christ, and honour the Lord with their substance, and promote the interest of religion by it, as it follows; unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel; that is, their persons shall be brought unto him, and their riches also; they shall give up themselves and all they have to the Lord, and devote themselves and their substance to his glory and the good of his interest; even to Him whose name was detestable to them, but now precious; and whom they will own with the church to be the Lord their God, their Redeemer and Sanctifier: because he hath glorified thee, the church-caused such a glory to arise upon her, and upon that a defence; so that it will continue, and be so visible and manifest as to draw persons from all parts, though the most distant, to come unto her, and join themselves with her.”
Expressive and instructive as are the terms here used to describe the future triumphs of the Gospel, they are of a general nature; and may not be limited and applied exclusively to any one nation or country. They are, beyond all possibility of doubt, intended to represent the enlargement, the prosperity, `and glory of the church, under the blessed and peaceful reign of Messiah, and to show that commerce shall be honoured as the handmaid of religion. Merchants, shipowners, and mariners, with all their varied engagements, even the prodigious investments of those connected with “ the shipping interests
of Great Britain, are identified with the progress of the Gospel, as instrumental in extending the kingdom of Christ.
Ceylon, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, New Zealand, Van Dieman's Land, New South Wales, and the multitude of the isles of the sea, were doubtless contemplated by the Spirit of God. Let every true believer then receive “ the sure word of prophecy” with meekness of wisdom and humble faith, imploring the effusion of the Holy Spirit upon our missionaries and our mariners, that their several labours may be crowned with the Divine blessing, and thus be efficient in accomplishing the gracious purposes of God!
A YOUNG CHRISTIAN SAILOR OUTWARD
BRITISH colonies are now so numerous, and intercourse with them has so increased, that almost every one has a relative or friend residing in or visiting some of them. The following is from a lady.- EDITOR.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE PILOT.
In compliance with your request, I send you two or three short extracts from letters I have received from a young friend who recently joined his ship in one of our northern ports, where the vessel lay for some weeks previously to sailing. It certainly never was expected that these remarks should meet the public eye, but if you think their feeble testimony will give the least encouragement to those who generously exert themselves to provide religious instruction for our sailors, you are welcome to use them for that purpose.
After lamenting that those around him are so addicted to swearing and filthy speaking that they cannot converse without it, he adds, “ It is with the greatest pleasure I inform you that Sunday is entirely our own, not a stroke of work to do on that day; and though this is a sad place, there are a great many places of worship, both belonging to the established church and to dissenters. The first Sabbath that I spent here I went in the morning to the principal church, but there was no such preaching here as l had been used to at HChapel; in the evening I went to the Floating Chapel for Seamen, which lay very near our vessel, and think what was my delight at hearing the good servant of Christ give out that beautiful hymn, “ Jesus, lover of my soul,' and the wooden walls of Old England echoing with the praises of the Redeemer ! The old hulk was crowded, and such was the discourse delivered, that not many dry eyes were to be seen.
I quite longed for the return of another Sabbath; when it arrived, I went in the morning to the Mariners' Church, there also the Gospel was preached, but there was not much of a congregation. In the afternoon I went to the Floating Chapel, and heard another affectionate addıess to all classes ; I attended there again in the evening, and thus ended the day, thinking of you at home.”
In another letter he writes, 66 We have still had the
Sabbaths quite our own, and they have been happy days with me.
I have been to several of the churches and chapels; the Floating Chapel is very well attended." After reaching the Downs he writes, “ The first Sabbath that we lay at anchor here we had morning and evening service; our doctor, who I believe is a good and pious man, officiated as chaplain ; nearly all the crew attended in the morning, with the exception of about half a dozen, and not above three or four less in the evening. When we get to sea we are to have prayers every evening, and regular services on the Sabbath.” I have thus, my dear Sir, given you a short sketch of the manner in which he has availed himself of the religious opportunities which his situation afforded, and which must be calculated, under the blessing of God, to counteract the evil influence of the depraved society to which a seafaring life too generally introduces our youth. May the Lord abundantly own and bless every exertion that is made for the spiritual advantage of our brave seamen, until tl:ey shall be as noted for their piety as they have been for their profanity, and their example and influence shall be a blessing to every nation they visit.
DANGERS OF THE DEEP.
On Thursday last it blew fresh from the northward. On Friday the gale increased, and blew tremendously. At noon the Active, Captain Dalrymple, and the Plywell, Gibson, Dumfries traders, left that port for Whitehaven, and were overtaken by the storm of the same night. After contending with the gale for some time, the Active ran for, and reached this port in safety. The Plywell was not so fortunate. The last time Captain Dalrymple saw her was at sunset: she was then standing to windward, evidently with a view of keeping off until the tide would permit of her entering the harbour, and nothing more was heard or seen of her until the next morning, when parts of her wreck and cargo were seen floating off the mouth of the port. It was soon ascertained that the Plywell had been driven on shore between Parton and Harrington, abreast of Mickleham Pitt, one of the most rugged places along the whole coast : that the captain and crew had perished, and that the vessel became a complete wreck. The bodies of two of her crew, a man and boy, were found near the place where she had struck. The body of Captain Gibson has not yet been cast up, nor can it be correctly ascertained whether there were any more than three persons on board.-Cumberland Packet.
Who that has the heart of a Briton or a Christian will not feel in conscience and honour bound to aid the British and Foreign Sailors' Society in promoting the spiritual welfare of seamen, by spreading among them the saving
nowledge of the Redeemer?
FIRE AT SEA AND LOSS OF LIFE.
INFORMATION reached Lloyd's on Saturday, of the loss of the schooner Water Lily, of Limerick, from London to Limerick. The only particulars reported are, that on Sunday evening, about six o'clock, when abreast of Horse Island, the crew perceived some smoke coming out from the fire-hatchway, which they opened, and found that th vessel was entirely on fire. The captain and crew then went below to try and save their clothes, and when they came on deck, the vessel was so completely in flames; that they had no time to get out the boat, and jumped overboard; when the whole of them, melancholy to relate, perished, with the exception of one of the seamen, who clung to a piece of the wreck and was picked up at two o'clock on Monday morning, by a schooner which was passing up to Limerick. The Water Lily was laden with a general cargo of oils, vitriol, turpentine, and other combustibles. They smelt fire a few days before, but took no particular notice of it, which leads me to suppose she was completely burnt before they were aware of it. Her destruction was so instantaneous, that the circumstance was not known along the coast éven by the boat which had put a pilot on board. The name of the seaman saved is Rogers, of Lyme, who was picked up by the Eliza of Rothesay, from a plank to which he had clung for eight hours. It was understood that the sufferers amounted to nine in number, including the river pilot. The latter had hold of the same plank to which Rogers clung, but was obliged to let it go. Captain Ruby, the master, was seen floating on a bundle of hoops, by Rogers, who lost sight of him soon after.' For nearly two days before it is said