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THE DOCTRINE OF A SPECIAL PROVIDENCE DEMONSTRATED
AND IMPROVED. By W. STOKES, Author of a Prize Essay on War.
Darley, Burton-on-Trent; Simpkin and Marshall, London.
It requires no elaborate treatise to vindicate or establish the doctrine of a special providence. The argument is brought within a very narrow compass. If their be a Power which presides over all, then that very same Power must take cognizance of every individual in the great aggregate, and of every incident which enters into and goes to make up his entire history. But apart from all reasoning on the point, the doctrine rests on the high authority of revelation. It is the doctrine of the bible; and, to us, this is enough.
The Author of the work before us, has taken both grounds,-placed the doctrine in the light, both of reason and revelation. And this too with some success. Though we are decidedly of opinion, that he would have produced a better work, had he subjected his manuscript to a more frequent and rigid revision. Still the book is not without its merits, and may be read with instruction and profit.
Pulpit STUDIES :-or, Aids to Preaching and Meditation, chiefly
Narratives and Facts. 12mo , pp. 234.
London :--T. Ward and Co. Paternoster, Row.
Though this volume professes to be nothing more than “outlines and unfinished sketches,” it yet contains gems of great beauty and worth. The materials which it supplies to the student to elaborate into the dimensions and completeness of sermons, are neither scanty nor common. The subjects selected for thought, are, in some instances, of the highest and most interesting nature. And whether regarded as an aid to the ministrations of the Pulpit, or as a help to private meditations, the volume is justly entitled to our commendation. Its style is not only truly nervous and masculine, but chaste and elegant. We hope that it may meet with that due encouragement which will induce the author to follow it with others embracing the still wider range of subject which he contemplates, in the “prophecies, miracles, and parables, - promises, threatenings, and exhortations, — doctrines and duties” of inspired truth. The prosecution of his plan, and the publication of such a series, will be a positive boon to many.
A QUESTION FOR THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.
A QUESTION FOR THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.
When the extending enterprise and commerce of our country, with the concurrent events of providence, are opening up unnumbered facilities for securing the best good of our seamen, is this great cause to be arrested or even impeded in its triumphant course, merely for the want of adequate funds ? This is our question. And the reply must be given by the christian church. It would be a serious reflection on the tone and character of our national piety, to suppose for a moment that the interests of so deserving and indispensable a class of men, as BRITISH SAILORS, should, by any enlightened and liberal mind, be lightly estimated, or held as comparatively inferior. The fact is, that it is in the power of no other portion of the community to affect so seriously for good or for evil, the moral condition of the whole human family. And who of our countrymen have claims to prefer, so peculiar and powerful-so undeniable and impressive? Or who are so likely efficiently to carry into effect the benevolent design of the church in seeking to compass the salvation of the world? They are known in the remotest regions of the earth, and touch on many a shore, where the foot of no christian teacher has ever pressed. Nor is their instrumentality to be held at a low rate. They have properties and attributes of character, which eminently fit them for some of the more practical departments of missionary labour. And the church will manifest true wisdom in availing herself of these men, and of their exertions in diffusing the knowledge of redemption through the blood of Christ, throughout the world.
But before our seamen can be thus employed, they themselves must be instructed, and be brought to experimentally know the love of Christ. Nor can there exist a greater misconception than what is involved in the idea, that it is scarcely possible to reach a sailor, or make any impression on his mind, by the great truths of our holy religion. Of all men, seamen are the most accessible; and if we take the right avenue to their hearts, no men are more impressible. Only speak to their feelings,-and you have them at your disposal. The experiment has been tried, and there are not to be found on earth finer specimens of manly virtue and piety. And were more attention bestowed on their improvement-physical, intellectual, and moral—we should have a much greater number of such exalted characters to hold up for imita
tion. They are willing to be counselled and directed. And oh! it is a perfect luxury to see how the sailor's eye brightens and glistens when he is told that there are those who care for him, and who are exerting themselves to provide for his comfort and happiness. Nor is the sailor, as formerly, so indifferent to his own condition and circumstances. He begins to feel that it is not with him as it ought to be, and he casts a longing eye to those, who alone can answer his anxious enquiries, and lifts his imploring voice for their direction and assistance; while those who have been brought to reflection and decision, are calling aloud on behalf of their brethren, and refuse to leave our feet, till we betake ourselves to the work of their salvation. Can we, christian brethren, oh! can we spurn them from us? Can we turn a deaf ear to their importunate and reiterated cry? Can we be indifferent to their claims ? Can we slumber undisturbed, over their ascertained condition, and their probable destiny ? God forbid! The mercies of God beseech us, the love of Christ constrains us ;--We must rise to action.
A wide field is now open before us, but FUNDS are wanting. At this moment we have the most urgent and interesting applications from several of our provincial ports, both in England and Ireland, -from various places on the Continent of Europe-from the Cape of Good Hope—from Canton and other ports in the East, as well as from the Southern Pacific. In some of these localities there exist small bands of holy and devoted men, who are bending their full energy to advance and secure the interests of the poor sailor. And shall these noble few be left to stand weak and unsupported ? Shall their zeal be damped, and their energies repressed, merely for the want of money? Can the christian church allow even the idea of this ? We are persuaded better things of the church, and therefore we make this appeal. Let christians, irrespective of the little distinctions of name and party, come forward and give their support to the sailor's cause; and we hesitate not to affirm, that the influence brought to bear on the sailor's character, will be such as will most beneficially affect, at once, all our commercial interests-national honour and christian missions. Thousands, and tens of thousands are perishing ;-we have it in our power to save them;- shall we let them perish? Church of the living God, from you we demand the reply!
AGENT'S MEETING:-HELD ON FRIDAY EVENING, 11th OCTOBER.
Burdened with the weight of the claims now pressing on us, and knowing how totally inadequate are all the present resources to meet even one half of the applications which are being made, this was a season devoted to special intercession at the throne of God. There is power, --there is efficacy in prayer; and prayer offered in faith, cannot but be answered.
The reports which were read, were, as will be found on perusal, highly interesting and encouraging. May God still succeed our humble efforts with his own blessing !
Senior Thames Missionary.CAPT. PRYNN.-It is of the mercy and lovingkindness of the Lord, that I am spared to recount his gracious dealings towards me during the past two months. Engaged as I am in dispensing the word of divine truth to my brother-sailors, and most affectionately warning them to flee from the wrath to come, many pleasing instances of good come before me. The arm of the Lord has been displayed in saving sinnersma ransom has been found—the eyes of the blind have been opened-the ears of the deaf unstopped- the tongue of the dumb loosened and the heart of the mourner has been made to rejoice. God is making known his power, in the ingathering of many immortal souls to the church of Christ—such as he will (I trust) own and honour in that day when he shall number up his jewels.
On one occasion, going through the tier, inviting the seamen to a Bethel meeting about to be held on board the
of S-, I met with five sailors, who, for a while, resisted all the kind persuasions I could urge. At last one of them said, “Well, sir, I'll come; and I hope you'll see us all there.' On my return to the Bethel ship, I found these five sailors, with many others, waiting; we commenced the meeting — and, of a truth, it may be said God was in our midst to bless our waiting souls. The word was brought powerfully home to the minds of three out of the five I have mentioned, and they were led earnestly to enquire after the things that pertain to their salvation. I had much conversation with them at the close of the meeting, and gave them suitable advice and tracts-pointing
them to Christ as the only remedy for sin-sick souls. I have since had the pleasure of meeting them at the Sai. lors' Chapel ;-still more, of hearing them engage in prayer,—their prayers were the cries of new-born souls. There was scarcely one present, but was deeply affected. They referred to the circumstance of being first awaken. ed at the meeting on board the
Another circumstance deserving notice, was that of a captain, with whom I held a long conversation on the necessity of attending our Bethel meetings. After a while he consented, observing, "If I don't like it, I'll not stay. The happy result was, we had many of our praying sailors present, and I hope the Lord was in our midst. The captain, who, at first, was so reluctant to attend, went away with very different feelings and impressions. He said, “If these are your meetings, I should like one to be held on board of my ship to-morrow evening; and I'll take care my people shall attend. The following day the Bethel flag was seen waving at the mast-head of the J— and M-, for the first time. The captain himself during the day, took great pains to invite many sailors and others to the meeting, so that by the time I got on board, (about half past 6, P. M.) there were a great many assembled. The praying sailors who were with us on the former evening, were again present; and such a solemn and powerfully-awakening season I have not often experienced. There were about thirty-five present and an address was given from the words :- Have ye received the Holy Ghost?' After the meeting closed, the captain said, “Sir, I shall always feel
highly honoured in hoisting the Bethel Watermen, lightermen, coal and ballast flag for you, and hope whenever you heavers, although many of them are see the J— 'and M-, you will come dreadfully opposed to our efforts, have on board,
been the objects of our solicitudeMy meetings, in general, on the fifth sought out, and directed to the Saviour. and sixth stations, have been nume- Some of them have violently spurned rously attended, and an anxious seek- both the tracts and 'my observations ing after salvation has been evinced on madly rushing the downward road, on the part of many I have held twenty- everlasting ruin bent!' May mercy seven religious meetings afloat, where stop them in their fearful and desperate upwards of 587 have attended-have course! distributed 2037 tracts with magazines, &c.
Sailor's Chapel.-Amidst the many
difficulties which appear to thwart our Visitation of Shipping.-The desire way, arising partly out of the unsuitamongst sailors for religious tracts is able nature of the place, and other greater, more earnest and pressing, causes, yet the Lord is owning and hothan at any former period; and the nouring his word. Our numbers in at. benefits arising from their perusal, tendance are much the same as heretohave appeared more' evident. Many fore. During the last two months I instances have come within my notice have held eighteen religious services, within these last two months. I shall preaching the kingdom of God, and briefly mention only two of them, teaching those things which concern Conversing with the sailors on board the Lord Jesus Christ.' the C-, and recommending the reading of some of the tracts I held in my Sailors' Boarding Houses. - Altho' hand, a sailor said,—'Have you a tract I have much to contend with at times called — My Own Way?" I found I from the conduct of sailors, who have had not. “Ah !' said he, 'the reading been indulging in inebriety and vice, of that tract first led me to seek mer- yet my visits have not been altogether cy through Christ; and for the first in vain. Many have been induced to time, after twenty-three years in sin leave their polluted dens, and follow and folly, I began to ask myself some me to the sailors' chapel; they have serious questions about my eternal state. there heard the humbling and awakenI have been led to read the scriptures ing truths of the gospel, and from what since, and attend divine worship when- I have observed, I hope some have been ever I have an opportunity; and I hope
touched to the heart. The distribution I have not read and heard in vain.'- of tracts amongst them, I trust, is not Another case was that of a sailor, who without some good effect. Last sabwas very anxious to obtain a few tracts, bath I prevailed upon an old sailor to having received much spiritual benefit accompany me, who had been fifty-four therefrom; dating his first religious im- years at sea. He at first made many pressions from their perusal. He said, objections, although he had not been that after reading them himself, he took (as he himself stated) to a place of worcare to distribute them among his bre- ship for fifteen years. I was not a little thren, with a word of recommendation. delighted to see the tears roll down his
In conversation with my brother sai. furrowed cheeks. May the word be lors, I have found some of them well rendered a blessing to his never-dying informed on sacred subjects. My heart soul ! has rejoiced on these occasions, and my spiritual strength has been renewed. Visitation of Shipping at Gravesend.