« PreviousContinue »
2. Ministers and churches in London particularly ought to care for the souls of sailors.
This cannot be for a moment doubted by those who reflect on the subject, while it is the greatest and most frequented sea-port in the world. Some of the London pastors with their people do generously endeavour to promote their spiritual improvement, and regret their inability to accomplish all the desire of their hearts in this service. Still the number of ministers and churches who are zealous and active in this branch of duty, is comparatively small; and notwithstanding the recently increased agency to diffuse the light of truth among sailors visiting the Thames, and to call their attention to “ the things of the Spirit of God” and eternal salvation by Christ, far too little is done among the 15,000 or 20,000 seamen, constantly in the port of London. () that the ministers and churches of Christ in the metropolis could be duly impressed with their solemn responsibility in this particular, and properly awakened to contemplate and enter upon their evident duty in relation to seamen !
3. Ministers and churches in the great commercial towns ought to care for the souls of seamen.
Who can lie under greater obligations to our mariners than those who, in our manufacturing districts, are enriched by the labours of the seafaring part of the community ?
And how could the manufactories of Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, and other large towns be supported or exist without the labours of seamen? How could commerce be carried on without their arduous services ?
Frequently has it been asked in many of our rural and manufacturing districts, “ What have we to do with sailors ?” Why do not those in the different sea-ports evangelize the sailors ?" These questions have been proposed, not only by the inconsiderate and the ignorant, but by some from whom better things might have been expected -- by intelligent, well-informed persons—and even by some who appear to be sincere Christians.
Great Britain, it ought ever to be considered, flourishes by the labours of her 220,000 merchant seamen ! and she would not only decline from her extraordinary prosperity and unparalleled greatness as a nation, if she were to lose her seamen, but her liberties and glory would perish, and she would cease to exist as an independent empire! While, therefore, continued prosperity and the enjoyment of Gospel
privileges are possessed by Christians in our great inland towns, they are laid under the strongest obligations to care for the spiritual welfare of our mariners.
“ Sailors certainly deserve, and their privations imperatively demand, our generous sympathies,” it will be acknowledged by many who feel the worth of their own souls, and have been led to appreciate the value of the Gospel. But it will be inquired, “How can we promote their spiritual and eternal welfare ? We cannot but be aware that we lie under obligations to that adventurouş class of men, and they ought not to be neglected; but how can they be benefited while traversing the mighty ocean, or paying their uncertain and irregular visits to our different ports ?" Prayer for them, at least, may be offered, that they may be blessed with the saving grace of the Holy Spirit.
Christian ordinances, as these means of grace are regularly attended on land, it is manifest cannot be enjoyed by sailors : but there are means of imparting to them the knowledge of divine truth- by constantly visiting them when in port—by supplying them with Bibles, religious books and tracts-by preaching to them on shipboard and on shore the unsearchable riches of Christ-and by providing them with truly edifying books for their use when traversing the ocean, or when far off upon the shores of strangers in pagan lands. These are the means employed by many of the servants of Christ, and which God has graciously blessed to the regeneration of seamen; and these, with an extensive system of agencies, are those which are provided by the British and Foreign Sailors' Society.
BIRMINGHAM, AND ITS OBLIGATIONS TO
SAILORS; With the Donation of £l to the British and Foreign
Sailors' Society, by " A Birmingham Manufacturer.' BIRMINGHAM, it is hoped, will not much longer be ungrateful to sailors, whose labours add so greatly to its remarkable prosperity; and if the following letter, from the Patriot of Nov. 18, is to be considered as expressing the sentiments of the Christians in that opulent town, they will not long refrain from active solicitude to promote
their immortal interests, by forming an Auxiliary Association to the British and Foreign Sailors' Society.
To the Editor of the Patriot. Sir, Birmingham, though not a sea-port town, is intimately connected with the sea, and deeply interested in seamen. Nor can it be otherwise, while it is not only, as Burke said, “ the toy-shop of Europe," but now actually become the toy-shop of the world! It is computed that manufactured goods to the amount of not less than 100,0001. per week are exported from that prodigious toy-shop! and probably foreign goods, to the amount of not less than 25,0001. per week, are imported to that large town for the supply and use of its 150,000 inhabitants! And without this amazing amount of exports and imports, Birmingham, with its vast population, would languish, and become impoverished. British merchant seamen, therefore, have powerful claims
upon the sympathies of the manufaćturers and other inhabitants of Birmingham.
Christians in Birmingham-and I am persuaded there are very many of different denominations - have not surely repudiated those claims ; but I am not aware that any society or association exists in that town, designed to promote religion among seamen, or to aid the funds of the British and Foreign Sailors' Society! I cannot tell the reason of this neglect; but I am assured that there are very many in that town, both ministers and private Christians, who would delight to contribute to so noble and so necessary an object. Perhaps it may arise in part, at least, from the fact of Birmingham being an inland town; and therefore the arduous labours, the frightful dangers, the deplorable religious privations, and the numerous peculiar temptations, inseparable from the occupation of seamen, being in a great degree unknown to Christians dwelling so far from the scene of their labours and perils. But I do not recollect that I have ever heard seamen made the subjects of special or distinct intercession in the thousands of public prayers with which I have been edified by the ministers of Christ åt Birmingham : and this also may arise from the remoteness of that town from the sea coast.
But surely this apathy, or ignorance, or forgetfulness what shall I call it ?-ought no longer to exist and characterize the Christians in Birmingham! Our ministers ought
surely to take up this subject, and include the case of our 220,000 British merchant seamen in their public prayers, for these brave men are the sinews of our national strength and prosperity--teaching their congregations to feel an interest in the religious improvement of that most deserving and most important class of our fellow-countrymen.
Having recently conversed with one of the Directors of the British and Foreign Sailors' Society, in London, I have been much affected by the apathy and neglect of my fellow-townsmen towards our maritime labourers; and I take this method of inviting their consideration to the case of sailors, forwarding my donation of 11. in aid of the funds of that useful institution, trusting that I shall soon hear of the formation of an Auxiliary Society at Birmingham, to help forward that excellent work of evangelizing our British seamen. Apologies for neglect or reluctance, 1 seem to perceive impossible for any of the Birmingham ministers to make, for they are ready to every good work; and they seem bound especially to take up this cause, by every consideration of interest, patriotism, and religion; our national honour—the cause of missions—and the progress of the kingdom of Christ in the world-all conspire to wge the claims of sailors upon the conscience and the most generous sympathies of Birmingham Christians. I have learnt with much satisfaction that an Auxiliary to the British and Foreign Sailors' Society has been formed by the Christians in Manchester; and I hope the same, in an equally liberal spirit, will soon be done among my fellow-townsmen, to the high gratification of
A BIRMINGHAM MANUFACTURER.
THE SAILORS' PRAYER TO THE GOD OF THE
UNIVERSE, For wisdom and courage under all the varieties of Naval
Duty, MR. EDITOR, --Although I am no seaman, I am a friend to seamen; and considering how deeply we are indebted to that hardy, generous class of our country's labourers, I feel anxious to contribute in any practicable manner to promote their welfare. I am a subscriber to the British
and Foreign Sailors' Society, and a reader of your PILOT, which I will endeavour to circulate ; would that I could according to its adaptation for usefulness! At the present time allow me to request the favour of your giving insertion to the following lines, which describe the dangers of seamen, in a manner which cannot fail to interest every reader. They may be presumed also to be written from long acquaintance with the danger they pourtray, as they were written by an officer in the Royal Navy.
May He, who rules the boundless whole,
ALIQUIS, a Naval Lieutenant.
PIOUS COUNSEL OF A BETHEL CAPTAIN TO
HIS NIECE. Bethel captains and praying sailors, through the Divin blessing on the various means of evangelical instruction