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THE MERCHANT-SEAMEN’S AUX- even the loftiest and most extensive ILIARY BIBLE SOCIETY, FOR
plans of benevolence, we are not to SUPPLYING BRITISH MERCHANT SHIPS WITH THE HO.
neglect the claims of country and LY SCRIPTURES,
of kindred. We have no right to
calculate on the continuance of the We most readily lay before our blessing of God, in the diffusion readers an Address which has been even of his own Word, if, in the circulated with a view to the pro- imposing splendour of our foreign inotion of the above object, sin- operatious, we should overlook the cerely hoping that it will not plead urgent wants of our own country. in vain,
men, and especially of those a6 Among the charitable institu- mongst us, who, by ibe peculiarity tions of this country, it would be of their circumstances, are necesdifficult to point out one so simple sarily shut out from the full benefit in its nature, and so important and of the religious instruction which beneficent in its object, as the others enjoy. British and Foreign Bible Society. “It was, doubtless, from a sense The only purpose of this Society is of the duties which, as Christians, to circulate the word of God; and we owe to persons thus unfavourthe blessing of God has rested ably situated, that the Naval and largely upon it. In the course of a Military Bible Society derived its very
few years, it has excited the existence. This excellent instituattention of many nations, and has tion was formed with an exclusive extended the light of Divine know- reference to the destitute condition ledge to many distant lands. After of that deserving class of men who a period which might seem hardly were engaged in fighting the bat. sufficient to accredit a new institu- tles of their country by sea and tion, even in the country which land; and to them it has proved, gave it birth, the Bible Society by the blessing of God, a distinfinds itself surrounded by a large guished instrument of good. family of kindred institutions, which “ But there is another class of have sprung up not only in Great men, whose claims on the public Britain and Ireland, but in almost regard (and this is saying much) every region of the earth--all are not inferior even to those of formed on the same principle, all our navy and army, but whose animated by the same spirit, and spiritual necessities have hitherto all occupied in the same righteous been either wholly neglected, or
If in the comparative in- very inadequately provided for : we fancy of this goodly tree, it has mean the seamen belonging to the thus struck its roots' deep into the mercantile marine of Great Britain. soil, and thus extended its branches, These can derive no advantage what may we not hope from the from the Naval and Military maturity of its growth ? Are we not Bible Society. On tbe contrary, justified in believing that the same numbers, who, during the late propower which has bitherto so won. tracted war, were the constant obcontinue to bless' it;---thatjects of its Christian care, having,
this on the peace, been discharged from Vine, which,' we trust, the Lord the navy, necessarily ceased to hath planted,' will still be visited participate in its bounty. These, by the influences of Heaven, until we may presume, have since entere the farthest hills shall be covered ed into the mercbant service.se with its shadow, and every desert 5." The attempts which have been of the earth shall rejoice and blos- made, both in London and soine som beneathi itidin
of the outports, to supply the “But we must always bear in mercantile" seamen withi Bibles, mind, that, in the prosecution of althongh highly laudable, have con
fessedly proved unequal to the ob.. binding claims of our inercantile ject. A Society formed under the seamen should hitherto have so name of “The Tbaines Union Bible feebly arrested the regard of ChrisSociety,” undertook this task as its tians. exclusive department; and the re- “ The city of London, in parsult of its labours, wbile it has com- ticular, bas a most sacred obligapletely established the practition to fulfil towards this neglected cability of the design, as well as its class of ber.population. She is beneficial tendency, has at the same deservedly considered as the metime demonstrated the necessity of tropolis of the Christian world i ampler means, and increased ex. and it would be a lamentable deertions, in order to meet the press reliction of the duty which that ing exigencies of the case.
exalted station imposes upon her, " Of this fact the conductors of if, after having been honoured as that meritorious institution were so the instrument of spreading the fully persuaded, that several months light of Revelation to the banks of ago they resolved to call together so many distant rivers, she should some known friends of their under- coldly turn away from the thoutaking, with a view to lay before sands and tens of thousands of them the destitute condition of the British seamen who navigate her objects of their benevolence, and The very palace of Greento obtain their counsel as to the wich, that splendid testimony of best means of more effectually national gratitude to the decayed discharging the obligations of the sailor, which adorn's its banks, community towards them; of pay- would appear to the reflecting ing its sacred debt of gratitude and mind, but as the monument of a justice to these intrepid assertors of stinted charity, if, in providing for their country's freedom, these in the worldly wants of the individuals valuable instruments of its coin- who have been disabled in their mercial greatness.
service, Englishmen should forget “ After many meetings and much the eternal interests of the multianxious deliberation, it was
the tudes who are still toiling for their opinion of the gentlemen who were benefit. By a slight exertion of thus convened, that measures should benevolence, every ship that quits forthwith be taken to establish in the port of London may possess in London an Auxiliary Bible Society the Bible a pledge, at least, of our for the supply of British merchant Christian solicitude for the souls ships with the Holy Scriptures ;
of those on board. Nor would this and that this Society, while more
be all: for as she is beyond coinimmediately occupied in supplying parison the largest emporium of the wants of the seamen belonging commerce in the world, so, by to the port of London, should also means of the proposed institution, endeavor to procure the formation she would be furnished with opof similar institutions in every out- portunities peculiar to herself for port of the empire.
ibe universal diffusion of holy truth • The simple meption of such and heavenly consolation. a plan seems to be all the recom- “How different might have been mendation which it requires : and the scenes which have afflicted hu, so obvious, and even so imperative, manity, in various regions of the seems to be the obligation wbich it earth, if our seamen in times that involves, that it may well excite are past-instead of propagating some surprise that, in an age fertile vice and misery, or extending the beyond all former example in hand of ravage throughout the schemes for relieving the spiritual range of their discoveries, and thus no less than the bodily wants of blighting as breath of a
nye bye our fellow creatures, the strong and pestilence the of many a
smiling land-bad exhibited, to great measure unknown to them. the view of the confiding natives, The sun of the Sabbath generally the purity and the justice, the arises to their view from beneath kindness and forbearance of the the same waste of waters with tbe Gospel of peace !
light of a common day; and their Upon an average, about five thoughts and duties seem to merge thousand vessels of different de- in the single object of guiding tbeir scriptions, sail from the port of vessel through the deep. It bas London every year. These mea. been calculated that one half, or sure upwards of one million of two tbirds, of a sailor's life is thus tons, and appear to be navigated spent on the ocean: and that, of by about sixty-five thousand men. the remainder, one half is passBut as some vessels make two or ed in foreign harbours, where more voyages in the year, the sea- no Christian instruction can in men going annually from the port generał be obtained. Under these of London may be estimated at unfavourable circumstances, it is about forty-five thonsand. It would scarcely to be expected, that be, perhaps, an unwarrantable cal- during the fragment of his time culation to suppose that one lenth which he passes in bis own land, part of this number are possessed the means of instruction, even if of the word of Chod, without which offered to him, should be eagerly it can hardly be supposed that tbey embraced. In point of fact, they should be acquainted with the doc- are generally neglected; and for trines and duties of our holy religion. this neglect, those who are even But even on this estimate, not fewer slightly acquainted with the force than forty thousand of our seamen of habit, and the common princiwould séill remain in a state of la- ples of our nature, will not find it mentable destitution of the means difficult to account.
The seaman of religious knowledge, and conse- remains, therefore, for the most quently in a state of afflicting igno- part, as ignorant of the things Fance. The number of seamen, which accompany salvation, as if however, who sail from the port of the will of God had never been London', do not constitute à tbird revealed to man--and even the of the mercantile navy of Great hardships of a seafaring life, and Britain. The object of the pro- the thousand perils peculiarly inposed institution, therefore, is to cident to his profession, instead of provide Bibles for at least about awakening bis mind to serious re120,000 British seamen, now des. flection, too often produce in him, titute of tbem.
from the want of Christian instruc“And here let not the peculi. tion, a contrary effect, and lead arity of their situation, and of their bim to dedicate almost every momanner of life, be forgotten. Theyment of bis time, while on shore, to are necessarily deprived of many the most sordid, and debasing, and advantages of instruction enjoyed ruinous indulgences. by persons who live regularly on “ With respect to some of the shore. Once at sea, a seaman has disadvantages which bave been no choice of associates : he is fixed enumerated, it is obvious that we to bis shipmates, and thus for the cannot remove them : they belong most part secluded from any so- of necessity to a seafaring life.ciety but that of the profane and But then these evils are not withdissolute. The privilege of resort- out the means of alleviation: Sailors ing with their families to the house often have at sea much time for of God, to listen to his word, and reading. By the general diffusion of uniting with the congregation of of education, many of them are Christian worshippers in the ser- qualified thus to employ their time; vices of prayer and praise, is in a and the disposition either to read
for themselves, or to listen to for the seamen who are employed others, is very prevalent among in navigating our commercial mathem. Unhappily the few books rine. And should it succeed in to which they have access are often that object, it may be reasonably of the worst description. But may hoped, of numbers ainong them, not their leisure hours, and their that, through the blessing of its inclination for reading, be con- Divine Author, the Bible may beverted to a better account? Is it come their companion and guide impossible to give a more profita- through life ; their consolation and ble direction to their minds? Will support in every danger,-the they have no curiosity, if the means standard, as it were, under which be afforded, to learn something of they sail, the anchor by which they that God wbose path is in the great hold amid the storms of this world, waters, and whose wonders they and the compass to direct them to behold in the deep? Is there no. that haven where perils will no thing to interest them in the repre- longer beset their course, nor dissentation of their own state, and of turb their enjoyment of rest and the awful eternity to which they tranquillity for ever. are hastening! Will they turn a “ Nor is it unimportant, on the deaf ear to the history of their Re- present occasion, just to glance at deemer, to the hopes and promises, the various classes of the commuthe invitations and threatenings, nity who have a direct and perwbich involve their present peace sonal interest, exclusive of the paand everlasting welfare? is not ramount obligations attaching to the seaman, then, formed by the them as Christians, in thus prosame Hand with ourselves ? Is he viding for tbe moral wants of this not capable of being moved by the body of men. The owners of the same feelings and affections ? Does vast mercantile marine of Great the volume of Divine Truth appeal Britain, and the merchants, mapuso forcibly to all other men; and is facturers, and traders of
debe alone, by some law of creation, scription whose property is conor by some hard condition of his fided to the hazards of the deep, or lot, to be regarded as excluded from whose prosperity is connected with the common range of his Maker's foreign commerce, together with bounty, and as inaccessible to the their numerous dependants, and influence of his word and Spirit? the insurers of the almust increWith the evidence before us of dible amount of merchandise and Pitcairn's Island---an island far shipping intrusted to the care of removed from European civiliza- British seamen, are all deeply intion where the descendants of a terested in using their utinost exerBritish seaman who was happily tions that those seamen should be possessed of a Bible, trained, by raised from the degradation of their means of that blessed book, in the present acknowledged-state of igfear and love of God, are now ex- norance and profligacy, improvi.. hibiting an example of piety which dence and insubordination, and might well put even Britain to the that they should be taught princiblusb ;-with such an example be- ples calculated to render them fore us, can we doubt for one mo- pious, sober, and intelligent, faithment that the word of God is still ful to their trust, and obedient to capable, under every variety of their superiors. 12910 circumstance and situation, of an- :66. The masters and mates of swering the high and epnobling merchant ships, and all passengers purposes for which it was given to by sea, with all persons related to mankind ?
them, or dependent upon them ; * “ That sacred volume, it is the together with the parents and object of this Address to provide friends of the numerous youths
who in this commercial island are him void, but it shall accomplish educating for a seafaring life, must that which he pleases, and it shall all likewise feel; that their personal prosper in the thing whereto he comfort, as well as their interest, is sends it.' Isa. lv." deeply involved in the character of
To all such persons it We have understood that at a must be a point of incalculable meeling of merchants, ship.owners, moment, that instead of being law- and others, connected with the coinless and profligate, they should be merce of the port of London, held orderly and moral.
at the Jerusalem Coffee-house, on “ Nor can this be considered the 30th December, 1817, for the as a matter of indifference to any purpose of considering the best one of the inhabitants of Great
for eflecting the above Britain whose comforts or enjoy- object; William T. Money, Esq. inents are in any measure increased M. P., in the Chair: it was unani. by the imported produce of other mously resolved, That it is expecountries, or by the exportation of dient that an Auxiliary Bible Soour own commodities.
ciety be forthwith formed, to be “ On all these classes of persons,
named “ The Merchant-Seamen's therefore, even if they should be Auxiliary Bible Society, for supunaffected by higher considera- plying British Merchant Ships will tions, might be urged the powerful the Holy Scriptures ;"—and that a motive of self-interest, for co-ope- public meeting be called for this rating in the plan which is now purpose on Thursday, the 29th Japroposed for their adoption. But nuary, 1818, at twelve o'clock prethe present appeal addresses itself cisely, (by permission of the Right to nobler principles. It calls on Honourable the Lord Mayor,) at Christians of every name; on all the Egyptian Hall, Mansion House. who prosess attachment to the Scriptures as a communication of the will of God; on all who, in obedience to their Saviour's com
HIBERNIAN SOCIETY. mand, pray to their Father which The following extracts contain inis in Heaven,
telligence received from Ireland • Hallowed be Thy name! since the general meeting in May Thy kingdom come!
last, and the publication of the Thy will be done on earth as it last annual Report. is in Heaven!'
At that time the number of to come forward on this most im- schools was 347; of children eduportant occasion. All are invited cated therein, 27,776. to unite heartily in this labour of Mr. B-the Society's prinmercy, in humble dependence on cipal agent in Ireland, mentions that gracious Power who alone can several instances of violent hosgive effect to his word, and make tility to the Society's schools, it subservient to his own glory, and on the part of some of the Cas the eternal salvation of those who tholic priests ; the effects of which receive it ;-being assured, that were severely felt, by the withas the rain cometb down and drawing of some of the children; the snow from heaven, and re- but adds, that most of them have turneth not thither, but watereth gradually returned to the schools. the eartb, and maketh it bring The renewal of bostilities, on the forth and bud, that it may give part of the popish clergy, may no seed to the sower, and bread to doubt be attributed to the late bull the eater; so shall be the word of the of the pope against the Bible SoLord which goeth forth out of his ciety, as it has given the pretext mouth; it shall not return unto to indulge their irreconcilable