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who sailed with him began to look and long for the shores of Hindostan. But “ before their feet could press that land, now not distant, and before their hands could grasp those of their Christian brethren awaiting their arrival, the Lord, who doeth whatsoever he pleases in heaven and earth, and who doeth all things well, had in reserve for them a trial of portentous magnitude.” On the coast of Pegu, their vessel, the Travers, struck upon some hidden rocks, and soon after the crew had escaped from her, with the exception of sixteen poor creatures who could not be rem
emoved, was swallowed up in the waves. Mr. Thomason describes the danger and deliverance in a letter to his mother, with which we shall conclude our present notice ; leaving his course of life after his arrival in India for a future Number.
Nov. 13, 1808, off the Sand Heads. “O be thankful unto the Lord, for he is gracious, and his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so; Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name.' You will read the narrative of the Lord's mercies to us with tears of joy and thankfulness. Our voyage had been singularly propitious, from Maderia down to the coast of South America, to the Cape of Good Hope, and from thence to the Bay of Bengal. We bad fine weather all the way; no gales to alarm, no calms to detain us. I was chiefly occupied in a diligent study of the Persian language, Mrs. T. in instructing the children : our days passed quickly and profitably. But whatever may have taken place during the voyage, the conclusion of it has been marked by so signal an interposition of Divine Providence, that we have neither time nor inclination to fix our mind on any other object. How will your heart be filled with thankfulness, and your lips shew forth his praise, when you hear that the unworthy writer of the following narrative, with his beloved wife and children, have been almost miraculously saved from destruction.
“Whilst events are still fresh in my recollection, and in order that they may ever continue so, I will endeavour to relate that most wonderful deliverance from shipwreck, by which God has been pleased to preserve myself and family, with many other persons. Early in the morning of the 7th, we approached Cape Negrais. Soundings were made, wbich left us no room to apprehend any immediate danger. At half-past four they were twenty-one fathoms; which being certified to the captain, he immediately came on deck, and gave orders for heaving the ship to. The words were scarcely pronounced, when the ship struck upon a rock. At this time the Earl Spencer was so near, the captain hailed and cried out, they were amongst breakers. The Earl Spencer providentially escaped, and actually passed over the reef without striking, but our own ship, notwithstanding every exertion, continued to strike with violence. The first shock brought down the mizen top-mast; the wind then blowing fresh. In a moment a cry of distress was raised, which was heard by the Spencer, and which it very soon appeared was not made without reason. The passengers and all the ship's company were soon upon deck, and saw with the deepest anguish the danger in which they were. I had previously gone down and informed Mrs. T. tbat the ship had struck, and that none but God could save us. The heeling of the ship was now tremendous, and the blows continued, till the rudder was broken with an awful crash, that seemed to portend that the ship would immediately go to the bottom. Who but those who have actually borne a part in such scenes can conceive the dreadful sensations thus produced. We endeavoured to commit ourselves to the mercy of God, and then Mrs. Thomason snatching up our dear J. followed by Mrs. 0with O—, repaired on deck. Here the confusion was extreme. Through the mercy of God, the wind soon moderated ; a circumstance which gave time to take proper measures for saving the crew. The mainmast was first cut down, wbich fell over the side. After the foremast was cut away, and we were thus left a mere hull, which was momentarily coming to pieces ; at this critical juncture, the cutter unfortunately went adrift ; the jolly boat was dispatched after it, and in the mean time the crew were all employed in clearing and launching the long-boat. This was a long and difficult operation, but as all our lives depended on its success, the men exerted themselves to the utmost. Before they had fairly raised it from its place, the ship's back was broken, and at this moment I felt that nothing but a miracle could save us. I lifted up my heart to God, and exhorted Mrs. Thomason to do so too. I committed myself and all my concerns to Him. Meanwhile, a squall of wind and rain caused the ship to beat violently: we all stood on the deck drenched to the skin, looking with anxious impatience to the launch of the long-boat. The ladies and children having been roused suddenly from their beds, were wet and half naked, and most pitiable objects. I ran down into my cabin to secure something from the wreck which I might preserve,if saved from destruction, as a memorial. In vain
I sought in the confusion
of the moment for my Pocket Bible ; at length, hastily snatching up my Hebrew Psalter, with a volume of the Greek Testament, and my mother's last and valued present, the Golden Treasury, I put them into my bosom, and flew to my dear Mrs. Thomason and the children on the deck. In passing through the cabin to the ladder, it was painful to hear the rushing of the water in the hold, and to see the decks giving way, and the boxes floating about on all sides. Arrived on deck, I remained with my dear B—, and had the pleasure of seeing the long-boat launched into the water. The captain then called for the ladies, who were one by one conveyed into the boat by a rope. The gentlemen followed, and the crew, to the number of ninty-one : more could not be admitted with safety. In the cutter were eighteen, in the jolly boat eleven. A sail was hastily thrown into the boat, and we left the wreck with mingled sensations of joy, regret, and apprehension. New dangers indeed were now before
Our consorts were out of sight, and though we could see the land from the ship, it was at a great distance; our boat was crowded, the sea high, the weather boisterous, and the shore, when reached, barbarous and inhospitable. This was a trying situation. How little did we think, a few hours before, that we should in such circumstances cast a longing lingering look on the Travers. The wreck afforded a distressing spectacle ; we turned our heads from the scene, and looked before us, and committed ourselves to the guidance of Providence. Dangerous as our situation was, I found it extremely difficult to realize the nearness of death. I kept lifting up my heart to God, and relied on his gracious protection. We bad brought a little sail from the wreck, which, with the help of our oar, kept our boat before the wind. It was about seven o'clock when we committed ourselves to the boat; soon after a heavy squall of rain came on, which rendered our situation still more gloomy and distressing. At the end of an hour and a half we saw the other two ships at a great distance, and they, after we perceived them, made sail from us. This was a distressing moment, as our last resource seemed to fail us. Meanwhile a tremendous squall involved us in darkness, and drenched us with sheets of water. The boat shipped much water, and it was extremely difficult, on account of her being so heavy loaded, to keep her before the wind; at length, however, by the good providence of God, the weather
cleared up, and we saw the other two ships heave to, in order to receive us.
This was a cheering sight, and with inexpressible joy, we looked toward them, and thanked God as we observed the lessening distance. However, a third heavy squall came on, and hid them from our view: through this we were preserved by the same gracious Providence, and as we approached the Earl Spencer, we saw the poop and
decks covered with spectators, beholding our progress, and longing to receive us. Passing under the stern, I felt quite overpowered: it was indeed an affecting sight. Above a hundred fellow-creatures rescued from a watery grave, were joyfully received aboard, cheered by the loud and cordial congratulations of their deliverers. It was a feast to the benevolent captain of the E. Spencer and the crew, to be instrumental in the preservation of so many lives, and it was on our part a deliverance never to be forgotten. The continued emotions of joy, surprise, cordiality, gratitude, cannot be described ; the thing must be seen to be felt. It was half-past ten when we arrived at the ship, having been three hours and a half exposed in an open boat on a heavy sea, during which time we had sailed about ten miles. Before we arrived, a gentleman on board the E. Spencer saw the Travers break in the middle, and the fore part go down. It afterwards blew very hard, and there can be no doubt but that before the afternoon, every vestige had disappeared. I have omitted to say that my dear E. awakened by the violence of the shock, immediately fell on her knees, and prayed with much earnestness that God would pardon her soul. It was with difficulty she could be torn from the bed. On deck she renewed her cries, saying, “Let me die with papa. Lord, forgive my sins, for Christ's sake. B.'s agitation at first was very great, afterwards it subsided. We stood all by one another, and solemnly gave ourselves up to God: and neither then, nor now, nor at any preceding moment, did we feel the smallest regret at having left our native country. I had almost forgotten to mention the attention of passengers towards us. One of them ran hastily down and recovered my watch, the alarum which you gave me several years ago, and which will be one hundred times more valuable than ever. That, with the trifling articles above-mentioned, are all the riches that remain to us. When we were obliged to leave several of our fellow-creatures on board, it was out of the question to encumber a boat already overloaded. One of the servants seeing Mrs. Thomason standing in the heavy rain, without shoes or stockings, approached her, saying, “ You have no shoes; take mine :: I never can forget this. Another brought her a coat ; a third a blanket for J. and a coat for E. But I cannot convey an adequate idea of the scene." pp. 145-149.
(To be continued.)
PUBLICATIONS ON CHURCH REFORM.
(Continued from page 306.) IX. “ Principles of Church Reform; by the Rev. Thomas Arnold, D.D.,
Head Master of Rugby School." In resuming our notices of works upon Church Reform, we first take up Dr. Arnold's pamphlet, which we laid down as we concluded the former list in our last Number. If our object were to review the publications now before us, and not merely to announce their general plan, serious would be our task in regard to Dr. Arnold's propositions; for while we admire his honesty, his boldness, his Christian spirit, and his anxiety for the glory of God and the salvation of mankind, we cannot too strongly express our dissent from several of his most urgent proposals. His work is to the following effect. We are told, he says, that there is now a universal wish for Church Reform. This he denies; and he doubts whether the real friends of reform are powerful enough to get their object effected. There is, on the one side a desire, for church robbery; and there is, on the other, an unwilling, ness to correct church abuses; but of those who love the Church and yet wish for a searching reformation, the number, he fears, is few. We are not sure that he not right in this calculation. If we might judge from our own experience we should say that he is : for while, on the one hand, we have received no little opposition, and we might say abuse, on account of the zeal with which we have long advocated large measures of Church Re. form; and while, on the other, we have been equally denounced as bigots because we have opposed measures of spoliation and subversion ; we have found an unwillingness on the part of the majority of the clergy-by no means excluding what are called the Evangelical Clergy—to follow up with unflinching vigour this great work of ecclesiastical purgation. It may be that there are interests, or prejudices, or prepossessions, or honest alarms; but whatever may be the cause, the fact is, we lament to say, as Dr. Arnold has described it to be; and in proof of it we might notice the petitions which have been presented, either to the King or to Parliament, on the part of the friends of the Church, praying for efficient reform. There has been no lack of abuse of the church on the part of its enemies ; nor has there been wanting much zeal on the part of its friends in denouncing the government plans of Irish ecclesiastical arrangement; but how few petitions and how few signatures have attested the zeal and affections of those sons of the Church who love her but hate her abuses ! To put the matter to the test, has every clergymen, every episcopalian layman, who reads these lines, without fear or favour signed a petition urging in Christian simplicity and sincerity the cleansing of the Church from all those abuses which have encrusted around it, and restoring it to a state of pastoral and spiritual usefulness as an instrument in the hands of God for the salvation of the souls of men? If not, why?
Dr. Arnold, while he pleads for reformation, is justly anxious to conserve church property, which he holds to be “an enorinous benefit;" something saved out of the scramble, which no coveteousness can appropriate, and no folly waste. It is, moreover, so happily divided, that every part of the kingdom shares in the benefit. He reprobates, therefore, every notion of church spoliation. His great object is to promote comprehension. Our fathers, he remarks, rightly appreciated church unity, but took the wrong way to secure it: they drew up, he says, "a statement of what they deemed important truths”—(does not Dr. Arnold, then, deem the doctrines of the Church of England to be really such?)-" and in appointing a form of worship and a ceremonial which they believed to be at once dig
nified and edifying "—(does Dr. Arnold consider them in the main otherwise ?)—" but, forgetting their own fallibility, they erred in obliging every man by the dread of legal penalties or disqualifications to subscribe to their rites and practices.” Dr. Arnold proposes a new scheme of union, with a view to constitute a church thoroughly national, thoroughly united, thoroughly Christian; which should allow great varieties of opinion, and of ceremonies, and of forms of worship, according to the various knowledge and habits and tempers of its members, while it truly held one common faith, and trusted in one common Saviour, and worshipped one common God.” To this end his project is to “make our language general and comprehensive ;” so general and comprehensive as to exclude all mention of the Divinity of Christ and the Godhead of the Holy Ghost; with many other less essential but not unimportant matters. He does not despair of uniting the Roman Catholics ; but he is still more sanguine with regard to the “Unitarians ” (who are they? we thought the orthodox worshipped only one God ?), in whose case, he thinks, “ an alteration of our present terms of communion would be especially useful.” The comprehensive" creed which hespecifies as uniting “all Christians," as respects the knowledge of the Almighty is, that “we all believe”—(all—that is, including Arians and Socinians)—"in one God, a spiritual and all-perfect Being, who made us and all things, who governs all things by his providence, who loves goodness and abhors wickedness; we all believe that Jesus Christ, his Son, came into the world for our salvation ; that he died, and rose from the dead to prove that his true servants shall not die eternally, but shall rise as he is risen, and enjoy an eternal life with him and with his Father.” And to some such emaciated, truncated, eviscerated, creed as this would Dr. Arnold, as we understand him, reduce the services of our venerable Church ! We can only say of such a proposition, that we are lost in astonishment in reading it, and especially as coming from such a man as Dr. Arnold. Christianity is, and must be, an exclusive religion; and to lower it to a common standard, in which all sects can unite, is to deprive it of its essential character, which will not bend to human devices or imaginings. General language to convey only general ideas—in which even the Socinian might unite with those who honour the Son as they honour the Fatherbesides the dishonour done to God, would be a fatal snare to the souls of multitudes, who would think that their creed was scriptural, and their hopes of heaven well founded, because they could use the conventional formularies of a church which had cast off all recognition of the peculiarities of Christianity. Why not carry the matter further still, and seek to comprehend, not the Socinian and heretic only, but also the Jew, the Turk, and the Infidel? The principle is the same; for if we relinquish any one doctrine which we believe to be a portion of the essential truths of God, there is no barrier to our relinquishing all. If we do not believe the doctrine of the Trinity to be a portion of essential truth, then indeed the case is altered, but in a way very different to that intended by our author.
Another of Dr. Arnold's propositions for Church Reform is, that as all classes of society require the services of the ministers of religion, the ministry should contain persons taken from all, The English Church, he says, fails in reaching down to the capacities and habits of the poor; it is too aristocratical in its composition; whereas the Scottish Church fails in not reaching up to the higher classes. The Roman Catholic Church, he thinks, has duly combined the two. He considers the arguments urged against an order of ministers chosen from the poorer, and less educated classes of society as unreasonable: he laments that, if an uneducated man of serious impressions feels that he can be useful to persons in the same rank of life as himself, he finds no place for his labours in the Established
Church. The clergyman of the parish would tell him to go to church and learn himself, instead of setting up to teach others : and no doubt, adds Dr. Arnold, he has enough to learn, and so have we all ; but it does not follow that he is unfit to teach some, because there are others that might teach him. But whether fit or not, he does teach ; the Toleration Act has settled this point; he may teach what he pleases, so that he does not belong to the Establishment: and of what use is it, asks our author, to say that the church does not suffer from his ignorance and does not encourage it, when the nation does suffer from it, so far as it is ignorance; and the church leaves it unchecked and undirected, instead of “incorporating it" (namely, his ignorance) "into its system, where it would be immediately subject to controul.” Now it cannot have escaped the mind of Dr. Arnold, that there is a vast difference between bearing what cannot be helped, and voluntarily incorporating it into a system. If, however, Dr. Arnold only mean that the Church of England might advantageously make use of catechists or readers from among those who may not be qualified for being ordained ministers, and could not, from their numbers and other circumstances, procure a subsistence as such, it is only carrying into fuller effect the admirable system of District Visiting by laymen under the inspection of the parochial minister ;-a system which even Mr. Southey has scrupled not to recommend, and which would be an inestimable blessing to the country. But Dr. Arnold, as we shall see, goes much further than this ; for he actually proposes to employ, to pay, and to recognise as belonging to the Established Church, all the Christian ministers of every denomination ”- (he does not say that he means to exclude even Socinians from the title of “ Christian ministers,” or from his new National Omnibus)—and he thinks that the assistant ministers” of his “comprehensive system,” “ whether their opinions were in exact agreement with the present Articles or not,” would be “ easily and cheerfully maintained by Easter offerings, levied upon all the members of the Church.” We believe differently: we think that no sound and well-judging Churchman would “cheerfully countenance" this latitudinarian proposition ; or be willing, with our author, to consider “all equally members of the National Church,” whether they believed “her present Articles” or not; unless, indeed, under the new name of “National Church” was meant a company of persons of all creeds, or no creed, as would be the case under Dr. Arnold's proposed system.
The next head of ecclesiastical reform, and that which the author considers “ the most essential step to every improvement in the church,” is, “ to give the laity a greater share in its ordinary government.” Dr. Arnold remarks, that the bishop stands alone in his diocese, and the minister in his parish; and so little are the laity associated with them officially in their operations, that the very word Church has lost its proper meaning, and is constantly used to express only the clerical members of it. This distinction between the clergy and the laity—as if the former alone were the Church-the author justly denominates “unchristian;" and one considerable evil arising from it is, that it annihilates church discipline. We will quote Dr. Arnold's own words, as best expressing his meaning. There is much important and unquestionable truth in a portion of his statement; for in our national communion there is a grievous dearth of “social organization,” the want of which is felt by all who are anxious for Christian discipline —and would that the evil were remedied ! but we do not see that it arises from undue notions of the “ Divine right of episcopacy, or that a suitable or scriptural remedy would be found in the proposed amalgamation of all sects and parties. His statement is as follows :
“ As long as the clergy have the whole administration of the Church in their own hands, their power over other men must be neutralized, or else we incur all the dan
Christ. OBSERV. No. 378. 3 B