The storm is yet fresh in
our memories which wrecked the Royal Charter, strewing her rich treasures
from the Australian shores upon the sands of England, and sinking into
their "dark and wandering grave" those priceless human treasures, for
whose anticipated return hundreds of hearts were beating and bounding with
welcomes of love—welcomes which were doomed to die down into the silence
of unceasing sorrow, until the day when the sea shall give up her dead.
Many a lighter craft on
that rock-bound coast, nor there alone, shared the fate of the
full-freighted ship. Many a fishing-boat never made port again. Many a
brave sailor never gladdened from that night the longing heart of wife or
Like an hospital after the
day of battle, the harbour of an English sea-port, in the neighbourhood of
which I was then visiting valued friends, was crowded with disabled
vessels from various quarters; and frequently a foreign tongue was heard
along that thickly-peopled quay.
Such an opportunity as this
of sending far and wide messages of peace, was not to be lost.
Cards of prayer, and little
books, were heartily welcomed by the sailors, and conversation on subjects
of eternal importance was eagerly sought. The captain of a large American
barque courteously and cordially offered the deck of his ship for a
Scripture-reading. And the superintendent of police, with the hearty and
earnest sympathy of a genial nature and a Christian soul, made it known
along the lines of ships which filled the harbour.
When the appointed hour
arrived, the captains and crews of almost ail the vessels there had
assembled on deck, and on the pier alongside the ship. Foreigners, with
their interpreters, mingled with the crowd of English and American
sailors. A policeman set a tune for the hymn, beginning—
"Come, let us join our
With angels round the throne,"
in which strong, manly
voices joined with feeling and fervour; and then, reverently, with
uplifted caps, the seamen listened to prayer for the presence and mighty
working of God's Holy Spirit.
We then read together the
glorious story of Paul and Silas, with unwashen stripes, and feet fast in
the stocks, in their dreary dungeon, singing with such brave glad voices
songs of praise unto their God, that "the prisoners heard them." And we
read of the wonderful conversion of their Philippian jailer; how his
brutal nature softened into kindly tenderness— "washing their stripes,"
and making his house a home for them; and how his coward spirit—that
inseparable companion of a cruel heart—which would have taken refuge in
suicide from the dreaded vengeance of the magistrates, gathered courage in
a moment to confess Christ crucified, and be "baptized, he and all his,
straightway." And all this on the simple reception of the inspired answer
of the apostle to the great life-question, "What must I do to be saved?"
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."
A few of the most
remarkable accounts of the revivals in America, in the North of Ireland,
and in parts of Scotland, were listened to with deep interest; and, as the
parting prayer was concluded, many a weather-beaten face that had been
hidden was raised up wet with tears.
One by one they quietly
approached us to receive a little book and card of prayer. A boy, with
sunburnt flaxen hair, flung back from a face of truth and feeling, said to
the policeman, "Tell the lady I'm not a sailor-man; but I have a soul I
wish to get saved. / want to get to heaven."
God bless that earnest
child! [A little American cabin-boy.] and keep him by His power through
faith unto salvation.
Just then the setting sun
shed over the sky a rose-crimson glory, tinting the ships, and lighting up
the mass of upturned human faces, in a manner which caused the words to
spring to my lips, O Sun of righteousness shine into every darkened heart
"Brightness of the Father's
Light up every dark recess
Of the heart's ungodliness."
During the following week,
whilst I was deprived of the use of my voice by an attack of sore throat,
daily letters reached me from the harbour, entreating for another
Scripture-reading, and describing the eagerness with which men were asking
of each other the jailer's question, "What must I do to be saved"
The following letter was
then written, and a printed copy of it was offered to every sailor in the
harbour, and was kindly welcomed:—
November 16, 1850.
Dear Friend, —As I am
prevented by illness from meeting you, at all events this week, for
another reading of the Word of God; and possibly may never meet you again;
I cannot be happy without writing to beseech you solemnly to ask the
question we read together on Sunday afternoon, " What MUST I DO TO BE
Do not rest until God has
enabled you to receive into your heart the great and only answer, "Believe
on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved!" [Acts xvi. 31.]
Saved—from the wrath to come. Saved— from the worm that dieth not, and the
fire that never shall be quenched. [Mark ix. 44.] Saved—from the
bottomless pit, in which the lost will be for ever and for ever descending
lower. Saved—from outer darkness, where shall be weeping and gnashing of
teeth. [Matt. xxii. 13.] Saved—from the tyranny of Satan and his evil
ones, who now seek to entice you into sin in order that they may get you
into their power to torment you for ever. Saved—for heaven. Saved—for
holiness, for happiness, for life, light, and glory. Saved—not for a time,
but for ever. Saved— to dwell with angels and archangels, and with all the
company of the redeemed. Saved—to be made a king and a priest unto your
God. [Rev. i. 6.] Saved—to dwell for ever in the presence of your
Redeemer; and "in His presence is fulness of joy." Saved—to sit with Him
on His throne, when He comes in glory to reign over the earth.
That day is coming soon.
"The coming of the Lord draweth nigh," [James v. 8.] when He shall come to
take vengeance on His enemies, and to he admired in all them that believe.
Oh! are you ready? Ready,
at the sound of the trumpet, to be caught up to meet the King of Glory in
the air; to meet Him, not with shame and dread, but with joy and triumph.
Do not, I beseech you—do
not rest—do not give God any rest until you can say, as a gallant soldier
[Colonel Fordyce.] and Christian said, in the one moment between receiving
his death-wound and his soul passing into eternity, "I AM READY."
Stand, as he did, a man
acquitted before God. A man washed from every sin in the blood of a Divine
Redeemer, the God-man, Jesus Christ; and clothed in the spotless robe of
You may do so this day!
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." "For the
righteousness of God" (think of having that for your own!) "which is by
faith of Jesus Christ, is UNTO ALL AND UPON ALL THEM THAT BELIEVE." [Rom.
And shall a man who has
received such a free salvation be ungrateful and faithless to the Saviour
who bought it for Him with His own life blood? God forbid!
Henceforth, the life you
live in the flesh, may you live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved
you, and gave Himself for you. [Gal. ii. 20.] Henceforth LIVE!—for sin is
death. Be FREE!—for sin is slavery. "He is the freeman whom the truth
makes free : and all are slaves beside."
Remind your glorious
Saviour that He has ascended on high, and led captivity captive, and
received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious, also, that the Lord God
might dwell amongst them. [Ps. lxviii. 18.] Make that your claim. Say to
Him, "I have rebelled too long against Thee; give me now God the Holy
Spirit, to dwell in my sinful, weak, unhappy heart, to make it holy,
strong, and happy:—
"Come, Holy Spirit! heavenly
With all Thy quick'ning powers;
Come, shed abroad a Saviour's love,
And that shall kindle ours."
Pray earnestly for the
outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon your heart, upon your shipmates, upon
your friends and relations at home, upon your country, and upon the world.
Try to persuade your
companions to begin, at once, to read the Word of God, and unite in prayer
with you daily. If you can only persuade one, at first, begin with that
one to-day. I give you a prayer to commence with; you will soon add more
O God, our Father, wash us
from all our sins in our Saviours blood, and we shall be whiter than snow.
Create in us clean hearts, and fill us with the Holy Ghost that we may
never be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully to
fight under his banner against sin, the world, and the devil; remembering
the words of the great captain of our salvation, " to him that overcometh
will i grant to sit with me on my throne."
Give us the glorious joy of
knowing that our Redeemer loves us; and that our sins are forgiven us for
His name's sake. So that, wherever we may, we may serve the lord with
gladness, and enter into his presence with thanksgiving.
Make us wise to win many
souls to Jesus. Pour out Thy Holy Spirit on us, on all our shipmates and
friends, and on our country, and on the world.
be to our country "a wall
of fire hound about her, and the glory in the midst of her." We ask it
all, because jesus christ our saviour lived and died, and rose again, and
ever liveth to make: intercession for us. amen.
Now unto that Saviour who
walked on the waters, and made the storm a calm, I commend you ! In every
moment of danger, lift up the prayer to Him, "Lord, Save!"
And now, unto Him who is
able (also) to keep you from falling, and to present you (body and soul)
faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, I commend
you, by earnest prayer; and remain, your sincere friend, C------M------.
A few days afterwards, the
following answer was received:—
Royal Harbour, 21st
On board the American barque "Linden."
Madam,—I hope you will
pardon the liberty I have taken in addressing you. But there has been a
great desire, not on my part only, but on the part of nearly the whole of
the captains and crews of other vessels in this harbour, to return you our
most heartfelt and sincere thanks for your Christian consideration of us
on Sabbath afternoon, the 13th inst., in speaking to us from the deck of
my vessel in that most Christian manner. And I hope it will please God to
carry home the precious truths and warning to every sailor-man's heart
present; and may one and all be led to say (as many are saying) what the
poor jailer said, 'What shall I do to be saved?' I have every reason to
believe that the meeting was productive of great good. We were truly sorry
to hear you were so ill; but sincerely hope you are better. A great many
of the seafaring people express a great wish to hear your Christian
instruction again, and to thank you for the books and cards of prayer you
so liberally distributed amongst us, and also for those precious letters
which were given out to us by the inspector yesterday on board every
vessel in the harbour. Again thanking you for your kindness, believe me to
remain, your obedient servant,
One more opportunity was
granted to my earnest prayers for meeting those brave, kind sons of the
sea again, before the day when they and I must give account of our golden
hour for telling and hearing the glad tidings of "glory to God in the
highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men," through the birth and
life and death of the Man of Sorrows.
By the strong shake of the
hand at parting, by the low, broken voices, the earnest expressions of
contrition for sin, and of longing to find a Saviour, and peace and rest
in Him, and by the willing promises from some of the captains to begin
daily prayer-meetings with the reading of the Word of God amongst their
crews, we believe that the seed of eternal life, sown in weakness, shall
be raised in power, by the mighty working of that Lord and Giver of Life,
to whom it is "nothing to save (or to work), whether by many, or by them
that have no power."
Oh, that every reader of
this brief narrative of "bread cast upon the waters" would pray, "Let each
sailor who joined in prayer in that harbour become a temple of the living
English, Americans, and
foreigners alike, carried away with them, "afar off on the sea," as a
parting gift, a copy of the words of eternal life. And the promise of our
God holds good, "My word shall not return unto me void; but it shall
accomplish that which I please, and prosper in the thing whereto I sent