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DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE.
It must be truly gratifying to every philanthropic and benevolent mind, to hear of the multiplication and results of those means, which, in their operations, promise radically to improve the condition, whether physical or moral, whether intellectual or spiritual, of our fellow-men. Such gratification, then, cannot fail to be possessed and enjoyed in the intelligence embodied in the following communications,
INTERESTING SERVICE AT GRAVESEND.
(Communicated by J. Pitman, Esq., Secretary of the London Christian Instruction Society. ]
The committee of the Christian Instruction Society, have been seeking to revive the practice of open-air preaching, --a practice likely to promote a revival of evangelical religion throughout the country. During the past summer, two services have been statedly conducted every Lord's-day, at Gravesend ; the following report, furnished to the committee by the Rev. W. Glanville, containing the particulars of his visit as their deputation, will be interesting to the readers of the Sailors' Magazine :
On our passage down the river on the previous day, we observed a large ship behind a steam-tug, full of emigrants, bound to Australia, the passengers waved their hats and handkerchiefs as a farewell. On Lord's-day morning, I could plainly distinguish the ship about a mile down the river, and was glad she bad not proceeded on her voyage. At 9 A. M., we made our way to the wharf, where, on board a fishing smack was unfurled a Bethel flag. The attendance was not to the extent of our wishes; but to those who came, Christ was preached, and we found it good to be there.
At about a quarter before 3 o'clock, the Society's pulpit was placed on Wind. mill-hill, and was soon surrounded by hundreds, who seemed to “look with wondering eyes.” The scene was of an imposing and affecting character. There was general attention to the reading of the scriptures and prayer; and when, from Luke ix. 11, they were directed to that compassionate Redeemer who received the people, many seemed impressed, and some expressed their thankfulness for so interesting a mean of grace. Having noticed on the wharf in the morning, that if I could be furnished with religious tracts and suitable arrangements made, I would visit the emigrants ; some of our friends at once most readily took up the case, and at the close of the service on the hill, I was informed that a boat was ready, and tracts provided. We were soon afterwards rowed alongside the ‘ Duchess of Northumberland ;' the mate at once came to the gangway, and on telling him the object of our visit, permission was instantly granted to come on board. We began the tract distribution on the quarter-deck to the officers and cabin passengers, then along the middle deck, and on to the forecastle; we then made our way between decks.
In the midst of these affecting scenes, I was addressed by a man of respectable and religious appearance, to this effect,-"Sir, I doubt not but the providence of God has sent you here to-day in answer to prayer; your visit is the more welcome because quite unexpected. I am a member of an Independent church, and for years have been in the habit of occasionally preaching in villages; on board are my wife and children. I have made a purchase in Australia, and am now leaving the land of my fathers for ever: we have been but a short time on board, and as yet have said little on the subject of religion; this day I have been walking the deck, asking myself,—Can I sail so many thousand miles with this people, and not speak to them on the all-important subject of salvation by Jesus Christ? I know not whether the officers will allow religious meetings on board—I have not yet proposed the question to them, and am at a loss how to introduce it that the Lord would open a way. In thoughts like these, sir, I heard from the gangway,
A minister of religion alongside,' and my heart leaped for joy. Midst tears of thankfulness, I exclaimed, Yes, the Lord heareth prayer. Now, sir, as you are about to address the people, I shall leave it to your better judgment to introduce me, in what way you please, as one willing to spend and to be spent for their good.” My heart was so full, I could hardly answer the dear man; and, beckoning to the mate, informed him that we were now ready for the religious service. The word was at once passed for all on deck.' I took my stand on a high chair, and rested the book on the capstall; behind, on the poop-deck, were the cabin passengers, on each hand the officers and pilots,-before me stood the emigrants and sailors. The sight overwhelmed my soul, not with sorrow, but responsibility, faithfulness, and love; for here, was about to commence a service, which, if blessed of the Lord, would be felt in its results to the ends of the earth. After endeavouring to impress the assembly with the solemnity of the engagement, we gave out the 121st. Psalm, C. m., and soon found that we had around us many who had been accustomed to religious services. The portion of scripture selected as the foundation for the address, was Acts xx. 37, 38. With a view to lead to more important things, reference was made to their having parted with many dear and beloved friends, whom they had kissed, and on whose necks they had fallen and wept for the last time, sorrowing most of all that they should see their faces no more. I can hardly describe the scene which now presented itself; for the moment I could not proceed,-my heart was full,--and “I wept with those that wept." But recovering a little, I said, Dear friends cheer up; I am now going to tell you of a Friend that loveth at all times, a brother born for adversity, who will never part from those who love him ; but will accompany them to all lands, and afford them refuge and strength in every time of trouble, &c. &c. I urged on them the advantages of religious services on board, and to encourage the good brother who would conduct them, assuring them from the ready accommodation afforded by their officers that day, they might calculate on every facility from those under whose control they were to sail. We then commended them to the Lord in prayer, and bade them farewell, until that day when we shall all meet before the judgment-seat of Christ. Seeing us about to leave, the officers and others in most respectful terms expressed their gratitude, and the poor emigrants thronged around us, and those who conld not get hold of a hand, squeezed an elbow; and " Thank you, sir,' and 'God bless you, sir,' amidst tears of joy and grief, were pouring on us more than I could bear -and, beckoning to the boatmen to make way, we hastened, and left the vessel under deep emotion of affection for the dear people, and gratitude to God.
DEVONPORT FREE SCHOOLS,
FOR THE INSTRUCTION OF THE CHILDREN OF SEAMEN.
From the eighth annual Report, which we have just received, it appears that this charity was established in 1831, and has prosecuted its benevolent views with greater or less success up to the present time. In the course of the eight years during which the Institution has existed, not fewer than “six hundred and two poor boys have been admitted into the school, a large proportion of whom have entered the navy and merchant service, with the useful acquirements of reading, writing, and ciphering, and a proper sense of moral and religious duty.
In urging the necessity and importance of training up the children of seafaring men, as well as others," in the way they should go,' and employing the language of a gallant officer, the Committee very properly remark :
But our chief business is with the rising generation : and we most earnestly pray, that the widely extended system of scriptural education, which so generally obtains on shore, may be applied to this great purpose ; and that our young seamen may have set before them, on the chart of life, a clear view of the shoals and dangers, on which so many have been wrecked.
We are most happy to find, that though there has been a defalcation in the funds during the past year, the committee have no intention of remitting their exertions, but have resolved to continue the school in full operation; and, if the measure meet with that liberal support to which it is entitled, to establish another, in which the incalculable blessings of religious and useful instruction may be imparted to the poor out-cast female children of seamen and soldiers. Most heartily do we wish the committee God-speed, in their good and laudable undertaking.
EFFORTS AMONG SEAMEN AT BREMERHAVEN.
From Mr. Koeving, who is labouring with so much zeal and devotedness for the salvation of seamen in Bremerhaven, we have been furnished with the following brief, but interesting report. We are in earnest, when we say, that it is to the dishonour of the christian church, that we are compelled, only for the want of adequate pecuniary resources, to turn a deaf ear to such loud and definite demands. We only wait for supplies. Can they be denied ?
From 5th February, 1838, to the same date in the present year, I have distributed 9360 German tracts. Of two parcels of English tracts which I received fiom the Sailors' Society, in London, at the recommendation of the Rev. A. Kavel, the greater part are already distributed, together with the whole of my stock of Danish and Spanish, but of these I know not the precise number. I have also had tracts in the French, Spanish, Swedish, and Dutch languages; the latter, however, are not often required. In these languages, I have likewise distributed 48 bibles and 96 testaments and during the period above mentioned, 283 German bibles, and 293 testaments; xcluseively amongst seamen. I visit every vessel which enters this port, and offer the word of God to the crews; when oppor tunity presents itself, I exhort the latter to think of the salvation of their souls, impress upon them the importance of reading the bible,-and instruct them how they may read it to profit.
Besides this, I hold a meeting in the evening, which is the best attended due ring the winter season; and in the day-time a number of persons often gather round me, whom I instruct in the knowledge of divine truth. I cannot, however, at present, enter more into detail; but I cannot sufficiently thank and praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for the blessed effects he has given me to see, even during this short period. I can say of some, that they are passed from death unto life,-that is, have come to Christ; although, doubtless, much of that blessing which the Lord has promised to his holy word continues hidden. But that which is visible repays me for the ridicule and contempt I receive from the greater part. The minds of the people here, seem dreadfully fettered. I should be glad if the case were here as in dear England; but, alas ! it is otherwise. O that salvation were come out of Zion upon spiritual Israel; and that the Lord would regenerate this degraded people, for the sake of the sufferings and death of Jesus !
I am again in want both of bibles, testaments, and tracts, in the languages above mentioned, so that I was unable to comply with the request of the Danish sailors, for bibles and testaments. May the God of all grace and peace incline the hearts of the Committee not to withdraw their hand from you. Even if they refuse to afford me any support, however much I require it, if they will only continue to send me bibles and tracts, as heretofore, I shall feel deeply indebted to them. I intreat them, on behalf of those who do not possess the word of life. The Lord will abundantly repay it, and bless them. And in the great day it will be sweet to them to hear him say,— What ye have done to the least of these my brethren, ye have done unto me.'
With regard to my temporal support, may the Lord grant me faith ; for he has declared that the labourer is worthy of his hire; and then, bread shall be given me, and my water shall be sure. He bas means and ways enough. I should feel very grateful to the Society, if they would allow me a small sum annually. This I leave with the Lord, who can cause all things to work together for good. May the Lord bless the committee with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, for what they have hitherto done, and may still do; and bestow upon every individual member of it, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
A man imbued with such a spirit, and pursuing such a course, in the midst of " ridicule and contempt," cannot, surely be allowed to lift his voice, and plead with English christians in vain. Providence appears to have opened a wide door before him, and given him the most favourable opportunity of circulating the sacred scriptures among men of various nations and of different professions. If therefore we cannot do more, let us send him a good supply of bibles and testaments in the languages which he specifies. Will not some of our friends respond to this appeal ?
BOMBAY SEAMEN'S FRIEND ASSOCIATION.
The report of this most praise-worthy institution, which was lately published, contains very interesting details of the benefits accruing to the numerous sailors frequenting this port, from the Sailors' Home. The average number of inmates which it contains, is about twenty. They are decently boarded and lodged, in a large airy house on the borders of the esplanade ; the expenses of their entertainment being generally paid by the consignees of the vessels to which they have belonged, or by the government; and they enjoy the advantage of regular daily worship, being conducted in their presence, by the Rev. G. Candy, the Secretary, the Rev. Dr. Stevenson, or some other friend of their conversion and edi. fication, and have access to a select library. There is a temperance tavern con. nected with the Institution, conducted on the responsibility of the manager. The operations of the association, in reference to the distribution of books, and the preaching of the 'gospel, are scarcely so extensive as we have seen them in its early days; but we hope that there will be a renewed zeal connected with them.
TWELFTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CALCUTTA SEAMEN'S FRIEND SOCIETY,
Was held at Union Chapel, Daramtallah, on Wednesday, the 26th December, 1838; when, besides the adoption of the report, the following resolutions were unanimously passed :
That this meeting desires to offer its devout thanks to God, for the success which has attended the operations of the Calcutta Seamen's Friend Society during the past year, and for the happy circumstances under which it commences the operations of a new year; and not less would they render the praise due to His name, for the pleasing intelligence contained in the report of the general prosperity of the cause of religion amongst seamen.
This meeting, in appointing a committee of management for the coming year,would do so with earnest prayer that they may be guided and blessed in all their operations by the evident presence and favour of the Divine Spirit.
This meeting relying upon the faithful promises of God to all men, but especially on those which have direct reference to seamen, would pray this committee, and all similar committees, not to relax in their efforts to preach a crucified Saviour, the necessity of the teaching of the Holy Spirit in order to the conversion and sanctification of the heart; and, with reference to the imperative necessity that seamen, above all others, should be observant of the providence of God, the meeting would pray the committee to continue these efforts, which, under God, must issue in the conversion of the abundance of the sea unto himself.
The meeting closed with singing and prayer. The speeches of the several speakers were distinguished by simplicity and devoutness. The meeting, though by no means crowded, was better attended than on any previous anniversary, and the interest excited, evidently deeper and more influential. The society is out of debt, but commences the year with only about 50 rupees in its treasury. From the report we gathered that the agency had been efficiently kept up, the new ship occupied as a place of worship, services have been regularly conducted, libraries established, bibles and tracts distributed-in fact, that all that could be done by the society, with its present resources, had been effected.