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ther, and organized another institution, under the designation of THE BRITISH AND FOREIGN SEAMEN'S FRIEND SOCIETY AND BETHEL UNION; at the formation of which, Sir G. M. Keith, Baronet, Commander in the Royal Navy, presided. These two societies were carried on under the management of distinct and separate boards of direction. And though they could not be said to occupy different spheres, or move in separate lines, yet each was instrumental of much positive good. For years they existed and acted apart. But in presenting their claims to the christian public, and soliciting that aid without which the operations of both must have been suspended or abandoned, they came, not only theone to be confounded with the other, but to be viewed in the light of rival institutions. This evil came at length to press with equal force on either side; their movements were retarded, and their motives suspected. It was therefore deemed advisable that there should be a union of the two societies :-in many directions the wish on this subject was generally and strongly expressed ; and a deputation being appointed by each committee, a conference was had, which resulted in determining that the two institutions should henceforth act together, and combine all their energies to carry into full effect their common design. To perfect, by public ratification, this proposed union, a general meeting was held in February, 1827, at which the Right Hon. . Admiral Lord Gambier, G. Č. B. presided, and at which the announcement was carried with much gratification, "That the Port of London Society, and the British and Foreign Seamen’s Friend Society and Bethel Union, will in future act as one society, under the designation of THE PORT OF LONDON AND BETHEL UNION SOCIETY, FOR THE PROMOTION OF RELIGION
AND FOREIGN SEAMEN.' The union thus formed, at first promised to lead to the most favourable and important consequences. In October of the same year, under the sanction and patronage of this newly-organized institution, was commenced the MERCHANT SEAMEN'S ORPHAN Asylum, the immediate object of which was to board, clothe, and educate the children of seamen in the merchant service, particularly those whose fathers had died by shipwreck, accident, or war. These and other schemes of enlightened benevolence marked the progress of the society for several years, till, through some unhappy influences, which most prejudicially affected the public mind, the
interest which had hitherto been manifested in the sailor's cause greatly abated, and efforts were proportionably weakened and restricted.
Next in the series of those benevolent and christian movements which were made in favour of seamen, arose the EPISCOPAL FLOATING CHURCH SOCIETY, espoused chiefly by members of the national church ; but which nevertheless obtained favour and support among the pious of other communities. Our estimable and venerable friend, R. H. Marten, Esq., then Treasurer to the • Port of London and Bethel Union Society,' was present, and took part in the proceedings of the first public meeting. The avowed object of the society was to provide a Floating Church for the accommodation of the sailors, and by this and other means, to bring them within the purifying and saving influence of the christian faith. The design was greatly facilitated by the then existing government granting to the society a ship of war to be converted into a sanctuary, and the bishop giving his sanction to the appointment of a stated chaplain. Early in the following year, the repairs were all completed, and this second Ark thrown open for the reception of our seamen.
Some time prior to this, an ASYLUM was opened for destitute seamen, by some enlightened and estimable naval officers. This had respect more especially to the temporal relief and comfort of sailors, in circumstances which called for every art of human kindness to alleviate. But the noblest effort in this department that has ever yet been attempted, was the erection of the Sailors' Home, in 1830. We speak not of what was done or attempted to be done preceding this time. It was not till the year specified that this great institution was placed on a foundation to warrant the confidence and support of the public. Our readers, no doubt, are generally aware that the Home is erected on the site of what was formerly the Brunswick theatre, a large portion of the materials of which, with the ground, was purchased for the purpose. It is a beautiful and stately erection, and offers to the sailor a safe and comfortable retreat. The original design of the institution was, and we believe still is, to receive shore-coming sailors, and provide them with lodging and board on very moderate terms ;-put their money into a savings’-bank ;-take care of their chests and bedding, -(having which a sailor is rich indeed, possessing in these all that he requires in the way of personal property,)-assist him in all that concerns his interest in receiving his wages ;-find and recommend him employment with all convenient speed, and send him away in a respectable state with his character in his hand ;-but, above all, to be
especially careful to improve his habits, by bringing him under religious discipline, and seeking to impress on his mind the all-important truths of christianity. Such an institution exactly meets the condition of the sailor.
From various causes, to which it is not necessary here even to allude, the Port of London and Bethel Union Society, began, about this time or soon afterwards, to decline in interest and efficiency. It was therefore conceived by some of the more spirited and active friends of the seaman's cause, that something should be still attempted to carry on the work of evangelization among sailors. While there was much in the past that could not fail to excite regret and sorrow, the idea came to be entertained of founding an entirely new institution. This was done in May 1833, under the designation of “The BRITISH AND FOREIGN SAILOR'S SOCIETY,' at a public meeting, at which the Right Hon. the Lord Mayor, Sir Peter Laurie, presided ; but the constitution and plans of which were finally adopted at a subsequent meeting in July, (the Right Honourable Lord Henley in the chair,) when John Pirie, Esquire, and one of the Aldermen of the city, was appointed Treasurer. This then came to take the place of the previously existing institution, or rather, it consented to include in its constitution the Port of London and Bethel Union Society. So that now the one is lost in the other ;—the latter has immerged into the former, and the British and Foreign Sailor's Society is at present among the chief instrumentality which is employed to secure the attention of seamen at home and abroad, to the things which belong to their peace.
The society has at present in active operation, two Thames missionaries, whose whole time and energy is devoted to the visitation of the ships in the river and in the docks, and to the work of moral and religious instruction ; also seven stipendiary agents, whose duty it is individually to hold two or more services afloat each week, by acts of devotion and the reading and expounding of the word of God. Besides these, it has agencies established in various provincial ports throughout the kingdom, on the continent of Europe, and in foreign lands. But still, comparatively little has been done for the sailor. And to meet the exigency of his case, efforts on a far higher and nobler scale must yet be made. To use the powerfully eloquent language of an attached and cordial friend, in an address which he delivered at one of the early meetings of the society under its former constitution:
If we consider the large waters of our globe as the field of our labours, what a large field have we for our exertions! Our sailors are exposed to many storms and many dangers ; and when we hear of shipwrecks at sea, or hear the winds of heaven rattle round our well-protected dwellings; when we see the elements in awful conflict, the lightning flashing, the thunder roaring, and telling us that the seamen are in danger, or are perhaps ingulphed in the waters, which do not come to us because we stand at a distance from the awful conflict : how can we reflect on those who are exposed to it, and think what we might have done for seamen, and feel a conscience quite at ease, if we have not done our duty to them? But let it be recollected, that we have done our duty; and that while upon the bosom of the ocean, and while exposed to these storms, there sails not a vessel nor a sailor without that word of truth which is able to make him wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus, and who, should these stormy waves put a period to his existence in this world, will carry him unsullied by the storm through which he has passed, to the presence of the eternal Jehovah with exceeding joy. Then with calmness can we reply to heaven's thunder as it rolls, and say, let your peals tell us that nature is in awful conflict, and that our sailors are sinking in the deep; yet when the raging waves shall cast up their dead,
, we shall view them on our shores with the joyful reflection that they are only the remains of immortal men, whom, by the power of the Word, we have rescued from eternal death, and who have now taken their seat before the throne of God; and though the waves should not cast them up again, yet we know that they repose amid the billows of the ocean, only to start from the waters at the resurrection of the just.**
It is no mean object the Society proposes; and therefore it should draw to itself no common measure of public support. It has taken its place among the various philanthropic institutions of the age, and why should it not hold that place? May we not hope (we would fondly anticipate) “ that among the various stately vessels which float upon the ocean of British kindness, this society will continue its onward voyage, till at last, decorated with the colours of all nations, and displaying amongst its crew men of every colour, and of every name, it shall ride into the port of its desires and hopes, singing, -HALLELUJAH !”
Speech of the Rev. John Burnet, at the First Anniversary Meeting of the Port of London and Bethel Union Society, 1827,
TRAVELS IN PALESTINE.
By E. ROBINSON, D.D., PROFESSOR, THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, New YORK.
[Fronu Dr. Robinson's own intimation, we learn that a tour through the Holy Land had entered into all his plans of life for the last fifteen years. In his journey he was accompanied by the Rev. Eli Smith, a gentleman equally learned and accomplished with himself, and from their united researches the cause of biblical science may anticipate a very large and important contribution. The following is but a brief report of the learned Professor's travels, as he is now diligently engaged in preparing a lengthened journal for the press. But the sketches here given will be read with much interest.---Ed.)
FROM CAIRO TO MOUNT SINAI, AKABAH, AND JERUSALEM.
Just without the city, near the splendid but now neglected tombs of the Kalifs, we halted for a time, to adjust the loads of the camels for the journey, which could not so well be done in the narrow streets of the city. Then we launched forth into the desert; and travelling onward until darkness overtook us, we pitched our tent for the night in a shallow wady, or bed. It was a new and exciting feeling, to find ourselves thus alone in the midst of the desert, in the true style of oriental travel; carrying with us our house, our provisions, and our supply of water for many days; and surrounded by camels and the wild sons of the desert, in a region where the eye could find nought to rest upon but dreary desolation. It was a scene which had often taken possession of my youthful imagination, but which I had not dared to hope would ever be realized.
The desert of Suez is not sandy : its surface, for the most part, is a hard gravel, often strewed with pebbles. During the present season there had been no rain, and the whole appearance of the desert and its wadys was dry and parched.
Nor did the desert change its character for the better as we approached Suez. Hills and mountains, and the long narrow strip of salt water were indeed around and before us; but not a tree, nor scarcely a shrub, and not one green thing was to be seen in the whole circle of vision. Nor is a drop of fresh water to be obtained. All the water with which Suez is supplied for personal use, is brought from three hours' distance across the gulf, and is so brackish as to be scarcely drinkable. In the desert we had frequent instances of the mirage, presenting the
of lakes of water and islands; and as we began to descend towards Suez, it was difficult to distinguish between these appearances and the distant real waters of the Red Sea.
We reached Suez on the fourth day, from Cairo; pitched our tent on the shore without the walls ; and remained there twenty-four hours. Our attention was naturally directed to the circumstances connected with the passage of the Israelites through the sea. We saw the gulf here twice at low water. Extensive shoals, apparently of coral, stretch out into it for two miles or more below Suez. These are left bare at