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THE SAILOR BOY.

[Abridged from the “Christian Teacher," by Mrs. Young, Berwick-upon-Tweed.] EDWARD BEECHHILL was the only son of a farmer, who lived in the neighbourhood of Dunse, and who was esteemed by those who knew him as a person of strong sense and sound principle, and as being possessed of a warm heart and an open hand. From his cradle, young Beechhill was a wayward boy. There was no day that marked the bent of his mind more than the sabbath. To young Beechhill it was a season of restless uneasiness ; for from early morn till night he was obliged to be engaged in exercises in which his heart had no share.

When young Beechhill was about fourteen years of age, he meditated an escape

from his father's house ; but kept the secret to himself, till, having accompanied his mother to Leith, for sea-bathing, he one morning disappeared, leaving the following note on the parlour table :

“My dear Mother,—When you receive this I shall be at sea. I have long had a desire to visit strange places, and to become acquainted with new things; and I thought if I proposed going abroad, my father would not consent to my wishes. Do not put yourself about on my account. Though I begin my voyage as a common sailor, I am led to expect promotion very soon. At all events I have taken the step, and it cannot now be retraced, Your affectionate son,

E. B."

It were useless to attempt to describe the feelings of the mother on this trying occasion. She was absolutely

stupified with grief, the excess of which threw her into a lingering disorder, which soon terminated her existence. As for the bereaved and disconsolate father, his sorrow, which was at first violent, sunk down at length into a settled melancholy, which ate out the soul of life's best enjoyments, and rendered duty and even life itself burdensome.

Farmer Beechhill having at length learned the name of the vessel in which his son had sailed, wrote to Edward, but received no answer. In the meantime years rolled on, but brought no tidings of the runaway; till, one evening, in the depth of winter, as the icicles hung from the windows, and the drift fell so thick that one could scarcely see a yard before him, a loud knocking came to the door. Not one of the servants heard it; for though the storm raged without, they felt not its fury, and so were all busy as the bee, and cheerful as the lark. The knocking continued, and at length reached the ear of farmer Beechhill, who sat alone in his little parlour, with his Bible open before him, and his dog reposing at his feet.

This is not a night for a human creature to be exposed," muttered the farmer, as he hastily snatched up a candle, and directed his steps towards the door. It proved to be a shipwrecked sailor, hungry and half-naked, and shivering with cold. He told his tale in an artless and touching manner, and begged a morsel of food, and lodging for the night. Have the poor fellow in,” said the farmer to some of the servants who were now in attendance. « Take him to

seen,

66 But

the fire, and let him be warmed and fed. Perhaps,” he added,-and the big tears fell as he spake," he too has a father.”

As Jack sat and smoked his pipe by the blazing fire, round which the servants were ranged, each engaged with some useful piece of employment, he soon forgot both his past sufferings and his present weariness, and joined the loudest in the song, and the merriest in the laugh. He recounted to his wondering audience the perils he had undergone, the feats he had achieved, and the losses he had sustained. He talked too of the different countries he had visited, the various customs he had

and the jolly tars with whom he had met and parted. among them all,” he added, “none of them ever left such a blank in the heart of Jack Trivers at parting, as Ned Beechhill did. Poor Ned ! he was as brave a heart as ever set foot on a ship's deck, or whistled on the top of a mast to the howl of the tempest. But he's moored now. Peace be with his shattered hulk !”

«Ned Beechhill! did you say, young man ?” asked a silver-haired domestic, in the form of an oid shepherd, who till this moment had listened with deep interest to the stories of the sailor, without seeming to enjoy either the merriment or the music. “ Had you a comrade of the name of Beechhill ?” “ That I had,” replied Jack. “ He was a native of Scotland, like myself; and out of pure love for our country, we soon became cronies. He died on a reef of rocks on which our gallant vessel foundered, and on which those of our ship's company were cast who escaped the fury of the waves.

I have in my possession papers of his, which, with his dying breath, he charged me to deliver to his father ; though, poor soul, in the hurry and distress of the moment, he forgot to say, and I to ask, whereabouts his father lived." " You will not refuse to show the papers you speak of to the master ?” asked old Robin, his breast heaving with conflicting emotions. “ Perhaps he may be able to direct you to the lad's father. At least I guess as much.”

The sailor made no objections, and rose to accompany Robin. “But wait a little,” added the old man. " I must break the matter to the old gentleman. Hear ye, sirs, the lad ye speak of is his own, his only child, or I am sorely mistaken. He has long mourned over his lost Edward, and I doubt not that the certainty of his death will kill him outright.” So saying, he threw aside his employment, and entering the parlour, told his tale in as delicate a way as possible, and then waited in the doorway for an

" Eh ?" said the farmer, looking up wistfully, “ did you speak of Edward ? Did you say he was dead ? I know not what Edward it may be,” replied old Robin. thought, sir, that as the two names answered, there could be no harm in looking at the papers addressed to his father." “ Bring the lad in ; Robin, bring him in,” repeated the farmer; and as he spoke his frame shook convulsively, and a thick film passed before his eyes, and for a moment interrupted his vision.

" For all sakes,” cried Robin, “ do not be in so much trouble. Perhaps it may not be true. Who knows but the rogue has made the story for the sake of getting charity? At any rate if you make yourself both blind and stupid, you will neither see to read the papers, nor

answer.

“ I only

lost son,

no answer.

be able to comprehend them.” Thus fortified by the shepherd's sage reasoning, farmer Beechhill endeavoured to retain both his sight and his understanding ; but no sooner did he discover on one of two letters that were handed to him his own penmanship and signature, than both again fled, and he fainted away. It was long before his physician allowed him to peruse the papers of his much mourned and now for ever

He, however, was able to give directions about Jack, who was sent away well provided with both clothes and money. Farmer Beechhill, as I before said had written to his son, but received

One of the papers handed to him by the sailor was his own letter, and the other was Edward's reply, written but a short time before the shipwreck, but which, from various causes, never had been forwarded. It was as follows:

“My dear father, I know not in what terms to address myself to you, whom I have so much injured and distressed; but neither my conscience nor my feelings will allow me to remain longer silent. I received your letter, containing the mournful tidings of my dear mother's death. She never, you say, recovered the shock of my disappearance. Ah, what a fool I have been ! I have been the murderer of her who bore me, and the destroyer of my own prospects. I have been most unfortunate at sea, having twice suffered shipwreck, and both times been stript of every thing, not excepting my body clothes and hammock. It was, it is true, not wealth but liberty that lured me from home; but I have got as little of liberty as of wealth. I have got much hard duty to perform,-far at sea, and exposed to every change of weather. But for pride and shame, I would have been with you long ago. These, however, have latterly been made to give way to more powerful feelings ; and while I write this, I am on my way to my father's house.

“No doubt, my dear father, you wish to know what sort of feelings those were, which could influence the determined temper of your unhappy son, to quit for ever a sailor's life, and to endure the scoff of the world in his own neighbourhood. You shall be gratified.

“I have spoken of shipwrecks, but these came and went without bringing me to my senses. No sooner was the danger over, and a glass of grog in my power, than I was the same unreflecting mad fool as before. It pleased Almighty God, however, to speak at length to my soul in language too plain to be misunderstood, and too awful to be forgotten. We were making within the warm latitudes, when a mortal sickness broke out in the ship, during which the lifeless body of many a brave fellow was committed to the deep. I was daily called to assist in this mournful office, which at length became so painful to my feelings, and so depressing to my spirits, as nearly to incapacitate me for active duty. It was at this period that I first began to think seriously on the state of my soul. Where were the departed spirits of my comrades? Alas! their lives but too plainly told me that they were unfit for the regions of purity, and I had but one other conclusion to make regarding them. The thought was dreadful. I shuddered at an eternity of torment, though as yet I felt no inclination to forsake my sins, nor any desires after holiness, without which, the bible says, no man shall see the Lord.

“I was sitting one day on deck watching the movements of the vessel, and ruminating on the forlorn condition to which I had brought myself, when a young gentleman, a passenger on board, perceiving, I suppose, my dejected look, accosted me in a friendly manner, and took a seat by my side. He proved to be a missionary, sent out by a society in Scotland for the propagation of the gospel among the heathen. We got into conversation, which was at first of a general character; but on my using the word bad luck, he looked at me with an air of pity mixed with severity, and said, ' My dear fellow, there is not such a thing in God's universe as bad-luck. Every thing is conducted under the superintendence of the Almighty, whose care extends to that very surf on the brim of the ocean.' "The more then, said I,“is the wonder that there is so much suffering in the world.' "That there is so little, rather,' he replied. "Man is a sinner, and as such deserves God's wrath and curse. Should we then wonder, that he at times allows us to feel the power of his anger? Should we not rather wonder that ever he permits us to experience his mercy and favour?' 'God knows, Sir,' said I, that feeble flesh cannot stand constant suffering.' 'Yes,' answered the missionary firmly; 'God knows it, and blessed be his name! he has provided against it. He has sent his own Son to suffer in our stead ; and any mental or bodily infliction with which he is pleased to visit us here, is neither to atone for our offences, nor to punish our guilt, but to correct our faults and to fit us for heaven.' 'I know at least,' said I, that my faults have occasioned my troubles ; for if I had not foolishly run off from the best home ever a boy had to leave, I might have escaped much fatigue of body and more of pain to my feelings than I can express. And if sincere repentance for the step I have taken be any evidence that my troubles have corrected my faults, I have every reason to hope well of myself; for rather than live another month as I have lived, and do the duty that I have done, I shall submit to the meanest employment and the hardest fare on land.' 'It would appear, my dear fellow,' said my companion, 'that your troubles have indeed shown yon the evil consequences of sin in this world; but before you can become the object of saving repentance, they must show you more-they must teach you not only that your faults have made your earthly condition bad, but also that they have hazarded the happiness of your precious soul for eternity,--not only that you have offended and grieved your earthly parent, but also that you have dishonoured your Father in heaven, and vexed his Spirit. If you feel in this way, the result will be the same with regard to your spiritual state, as it is now with your earthly condition. As you have resolved, come what will, to leave off a sailor's life, and to return to your friends ; so, in God's strength, you will determine to quit for ever your sins which have separated you far from your Maker, and return to your duty and to God.'

“ The limits of a letter, my dear father, will not suffer me to tell you more of what passed between us; but I may add that I became every day more and more attached to my spiritual instructor, though it was some time before I could say that the load was taken from my heart and the vail from my mind. I hope, however, that I have now obtained that peace which passeth understanding, and become in some measure acquainted with that joy of which the world knows nothing, but which constitutes in some measure the felicity of heaven. Such are my present views and feelings which I pray God to deepen in my mind. Pray for your once rebellious but now penitent son, who would, with deep contrition for past faults, subscribe himself, His father's in the bonds of the gospel,

E. B."

“ Let me praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men !'” exclaimed farmer Beechhill, on the first reading of this letter. “ Poor Edward !” he added, “ he has indeed been on his way to his Father's house, and he has now, I trust, reached it, for God never leaves his own work imperfect. O Robin, Robin !'' he continued, " what a miracle is the salvation of the sinner! and how useless are the best means, till once the Spirit of God begins his work in the heart! I think I have erred there, Robin. I have trusted too much to human power, and too little to infinite mercy; and I have been shown my error. Certainly the medicine has tasted bitter, but I hope the effect will be good. I shall try to be more humble for the future, more dependent on divine grace, and more afraid of offending Him whose eyes are as a flame of fire, to discern the slightest blemish in his creatures.”

A PLEA FOR SEA MEN.

(Part of an Address in behalf of the Glasgow Seaman's Friend Society, by W. FLEMING, D. D.,

Professor of Oriental Languages in the University of Glasgow.]

I. From the very nature of their employment, they are frequently and long removed from the ordinary and appointed means of grace.

It has sometimes been said, that there is no sabbath in five fathoms' water. Not that the commandment of God can be bounded by the shore, but that, when a vessel is fairly at sea, the seamen must attend, above all things, to the speeding of their voyage; and, although there are many masters of vessels desirous to sanctify the sabbath, it is not always that the state of the weather will permit them to do so. Even under the most favourable circumstances, a sabbath at sea is a sabbath destitute of many of its most powerful and affecting associations. We are very much the creatures of sense and of fancy; and it is not till we have been removed from all opportunities of public worship, that we feel the full value and impression of them. David tells us, “ that he was glad when they said unto him, Let us go into the house of God." And when he was persecuted by Saul, and had to flee like a partridge to the mountains, we find him pathetically lamenting his absence from the tabernacle of God, and exclaiming, “ Wo is me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar.” In another Psalm, his desire to rejoin the multitude who kept holy-day, and to go up with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, is expressed in the following ardent language ; “ As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God; my soul thirsteth for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God ?" It is true, that, when his soul was thus cast down and disquieted within him, for want of consolation and joy which the public services of religion might have communicated, he could “ remember God from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, and from the hill of Mizar,” which was his hiding-place. He trusted,“ that God would command his loving-kindness in the day-time -that his song would be with him in the night, and that he would make his prayer to the God of his life.” In like manner“ they who go down to the sea in ships, and do business in the mighty waters-

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