Billeder på siden
[blocks in formation]


Several books have been written for the use of Seamen; but the number is by no means so great as to supersede the necessity, or utility, of publishing more: and, it is hoped, that this Volume will be in some degree acceptable to the public, particularly to that valu. able class of British subjects, for whose spiritual benefit it is principally designed. Some parts of the Book of Jonah bave already been illustrated, with the same view, by pious and excellent writers; the author's plan, however, will not be found to coincide with their's. He has discoursed on the whole Book, and that not in a series of Sermons, but in expository Lectures ;-a mode of illustrating scripture perhaps more interesting, both to seamen and to readers in general.

The author has the pleasure of knowing, that it is the laodable practice of some Masters of ships, to read a discourse to the crew, every Lord's day, during their voyages : and it would be well if all Masters would adopt the same method of doing good. The want of an adequate supply of appropriate sermons, for that purpose, was one consideration that induced the author to publish these Lectores, with the two Discourses annexed to them. In reading any of the Discourses, on such occasions, some passages addressed to the relations of Seamen, may be omitted.

To render the Volume more useful, a few Prayers and Hymns, adapted for social or public worship at sea, are subjoined. The former are original, if that term can be applied to compositions in which scripture language is so copiously introduced. The latter are almost all selected froin approved authors. The Prayers, though intended for social worship, may be used in secret devotion, by changing plural words into singular, wherever the sense so requires.

The Lord's Prayer may be added at the close of them, by such as think it their duty to use it.

Whitby, March 16, 1819.


Since the First Edition of these Lectures appeared, the author has been frequently requested to publish atother, in a smaller form, and at a lower price, that the Volume might obtain more general circulation, and be productive of more extensive good. With such friendly requests he is now complying ; both because the former Edition is nearly out of print, and because he has liad pleasing assurances of its success in the great object for which it was designed the spiritul benefit of Seamen. A remarkable instance of this kind has been recently published, in a Tract, entitled The Infidel SAILOR CONVERTED, by the Reverend Thomas Jackson, a respectable Primitive Methodist Preacher, lately stationed at Whitby, and now at North Shields. More than one Edition of this Tract has already been called for, and it is also copied into the Sailor's Magazine, for September, 1831. The facts of the case have been fully authenticated, and were well known to Mr. Jackson, before he had any acquaintance with the author. The narrative' affords such pleasing illustrations of the mysteries of a wise and gracious Providence, the power of the Divine word, and the efficacy of fervent, persevering, prayer; and is in other respects so well calculated to instruct and to edity, that no apology need be made for inserting it nearly entire

After a few preliminary remarks on the ways of Divine Providence, Mr Jackson thus proceeds :

“ The young man whose miraculous conversiou we are about to relate, and whom we shall, for convenience, call Jack, was born of parents decidedly pious-parents wbo devoted their only ebild to the Lord, and said, with Hannab, "As long as he liveth, he shall be lent unto the Lord.” When the germ of intellect began to unfold itself, they commenced their parental instructions. They were mindful to nip in the bud the first shoots of obstinacy and passion, and instil and cherish amiable sentiments and habits; they taught him diligently the way of the Lord, and talked to him of the commandments of God, ~ when they sat in their house, and when they walked by the way, when they lay down, and when they rose up.

At eight years of age, Jack indicated a serious turn of mind. This favourable omen raised the hopes of his parents į many


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

times they looked forward with joyful expectations to the period, when their son would not only "rock the cradle of decliping age,!!

but be a father in Israel, and a useful member of society, But, é alas! alas ! in a short time, to all human appearance, their bopes

were blighted, and their expectations cut off ; for, at fifteen, their son associated with two youths of deiştical priuciples, who

soon placed in the hands of their new companion, some of their a favourite publications; and, at seventeen, Jack was a deist, He

threw off all parental restraints, and forgot all filial obligations, The entreaties, reproofs, directions, tears, and groans of his pag rents, were apparently abortive. “ He hated instruction, and his heart despised reproof." He resolved in bis miod to be a sailor; and early one morning, prodigal like, he left his father's house, taking with him ten poupds from a private drawer. He wandered to Hull, and engaged with a captaju for four years,

During this perjod, bis strong and ardent passions were eplişte ed, with prodigious effect, in the service of Satan. His irreligion

was open and fearless; it was a resistless current, bearing every I thing along with it: soon, indeed, did it sweep away the ramparts

of a religious education, and all the restraints it had imposed upop him; till, at last, but little was lelt to lope, and every thing to fear respecting him. No one conld bave appeared at a greater distance from the kingdom of God.

At the expiration of bis service, Jack had become a confirmed infidel. After spending some time in Hull, he determined to visit Liverpool. Accordingly he commenced his journey, and altbough he travelled withju thirty miles of his father's house, he turned pot aside to tarry for a night! On his arrival at Liverpool, bo engaged with a captain who was bound for New York. In a short time they set sail; and not many days elapsed before Jack was called upon to witness a scene, which, of all others, was to him the most unpleasant.

The captain and mate, who were truly pious, were accustomed to call together, on the Sabbath day, as many of the men as could be spared, for the purpose of religious worship, which consisted of singing, reading, and praying. This procedure, Jack hesitated not to denominate nonsense. He cursed and swore bitterly, and many a bundred times he wished himself on shore. The captain told him, that one regulation of the ship was, to fine for every oath. At this remark, Jack found himself annoyed, and, with a heavy oath, declared that he might fiue his blood and bones if he liked ; he would do his work as a man, but he would have his own way; observing, at the same time, that he had left home because of such noosense, and be never intended to be plagued and pestered with it abroad. The captain caught ong sentence which dropped from the lips of Jack,-He had left home because of such nonsense : this begat in bis mind a peculiar fecl, ing towards the thoughtless and impenitent youth.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Through the good providence of God, they got safe to New York. Jack had declared many times he would leave the ship. But although be resolved and re-resolved, be never could muster courage and power to go. There was a loadstone in that ship, to which Jack was a stranger-there was a prevalency in the faithful prayers of his parents, with which he was not acquainted.

The time came when they had to return to old England ; and Jack was in bis place. On their return, about the second Sabbath, Jack attended the religious services of the day, in a manner he had not been wont to do. During the remainder of the week, he evinced great concern of mind, and on the following Sabbath, he was fully convinced of the error of bis way, while the captain was reading the third Lecture of the Rev. George Young's “ Lectures on the Book of Jonah," entitled “Jonah's guilt detected ; ” especially the following paragraph :-"In numerous instances, the effects of sin fall not on the sinner alone, but on all who are connected with bim. Ungodly parents often entail misery and shame on their offspring ; and, on the other hand, the crimes of children frequently bring down the grey hairs of their parents with sorrow to the grave.

In like manner, how often do we see wicked husbands, brothers, or friends, embittering the lives of their relations, or brioging them to ruin by their vicious courses ! How baneful are the effects of sin ! how wide the bavoc which it causes, and the sorrows which it spreads, in families, societies, or states ! We cannot abhor too much, that abominable thing, so hateful to God, and so ruinous

Let us hasten to escape from this worst of enemies, by believing in that divine Saviour, who came to put away sin by the sacrifice of bimself';' and 'who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." is

It was then that the light of heaven struck the sipner with deep conviction. He was awakened to a sense of bis real state. The depravity of his nature, and the evils that had towed from that corrupt fountain, were laid open to his view. He retired apart and wept. O how gentle and tender are the methods by which God often reclaims the prodigal from his wanderings in a lar country!

It was not by the terrors of judgment, that the subject of this parrative was induced to lay down the weapons of his rebellion, which be had so long wielded against the Majesty of Heaven; but rather, by the still small voice of mercy, overcoming the aversions of a heart wholly set upon the perishable objects of time and sense. The emo:ious struggling withir, could no longer be concealed. Inward conviction of sin led to its external abandonnent. "The change which took place in the moral habits of Jack, induced the captain to interrogate bim in reference to his

to mar.

« ForrigeFortsæt »