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BRITISH sailors, of whom it is computed there are nearly 200,000, deserve and demand the kindest sympathy of all their countrymen. To them, under Divine Providence, we owe much of our security, and many of our comforts as a nation. Yet they were formerly no less notorious for their wickedness than celebrated for their bravery. Many of them still are not less depraved than in past years, addicted to every species of vice and immorality. But, generally speaking, the character of British seamen is improving greatly, and not a few of them have become real Christians; intelligent, pious, and exemplarily correct in their morals, as well as spiritual and devotional in their disposition and habits.
Efforts the most noble and disinterested have been made by individuals and societies during the last fifteen years; and several Institutions have been formed to promote their general improvement and their eternal salvation. The "Port of London Society," the "Bethel Union," and the "British and Foreign Seamen and Soldiers' Friend Society," have been the means of endless blessings to those, among whom their labours have been exercised.
Admiral Lord Gambier, and his worthy relatives, with many other officers of the royal navy, have done themselves immortal honour by their active countenance of these Institutions. Several missionaries are employed among the sailors in the port of London, and other sea-ports of the kingdom. Preaching to the sailors on board their ships has been the means of eternal benefit to many. Bethel meetings for prayer are held on board those vessels whose captains are pious, or inclined to sanction the religious improvement of their men. One of the agents writes, "I frequently behold five, six, and even seven lanterns, the humble but significant symbols for divine worship;" and at these meetings, chiefly in the vessels of colliers, he says, "four, five, six, and more of the sailors engage in prayer." Pious ingenuity has contrived various plans for the permanent benefit of sailors; among which, besides the Naval and Military Bible Society," "Sailors' Maga
zines," ," "Ship Libraries," and Tracts of different kinds must not pass unnoticed. "A Mariner's Church," near the water, a "Floating Chapel," on the river Thames, and more recently by some zealous churchmen, an "Episcopal Church," have been fitted up for divine worship, by which means we believe great good has been done among seamen and watermen, and many officers have declared that their pious men are the best sailors.
Numerous anecdotes might be gin of the beneficial effects of religious instruction among both sailors and soldiers, but the following will perhaps be most interesting to our young readers.
THE YOUNG PRAYING SAILOR.-"Some time ago, in a dreadful gale of wind, in which a vessel called the Betsey was lost, and all hands perished except the master and carpenter, there was one of the ships whose master was often at the prayer-meetings, and his vessel was always open for these exercises. The gale was so severe, and the ship was so much injured by it, that she became almost a wreck, and quite ungovernable; the master gave up all for lost, as every human effort seemed in vain, and nothing but a watery grave awaited them. There were two little boys in this vessel, one cried very much, and said he should be drowned; the other said, 'Don't cry, Jack; I am not afraid,-- it is now eight o'clock, and they are praying for us on board some ships in the Thames; you know they always pray for us when we are at sea.' The captain heard the remark; it seemed to invigorate him; he and all hands used every exertion; and it pleased God to abate the severity of the gale, and in thirty-eight hours afterwards they were safely moored in the river, when they hoisted the signal flag for prayer, and had a meeting for praise and thanksgiving for their great deliverance. A friend who was on board at the time, and spoke to the lads, said to the one who made the above remark, Was it you, Dick, that cried during the gale, and was afraid of being drowned?' 'No, it was Jack: I was not afraid. Don't you always pray for our ship in Lon
THE prodigious magnitude of which Noah's Ark must have been constructed, has occasioned serious speculation and ingenious calculations. Infidels, as was natural to expect from them, have zealously laboured to discredit the account which has been given of it by Moses: but their attempts have only manifested their enmity and folly; while they have been the means of calling forth the talents of pious mathematicians, who have demonstrated the groundless nature of all their objections.
The materials of which the ark was made are mentioned by Moses. Noah was instructed to build it of gopher wood; and to "pitch it within and without with pitch." The timber is believed to have been of the cedar, or of the cypress tree: very strong, light, and durable wood, not easily subject to rottenness, or to decay through worms. The cypress abounded in Assyria, where the ark is supposed to have been made; and it was frequently used for ship-building, especially by Alexander the Great, by whom a fleet was built from the groves of cypress growing near to Babylon. The pitch was a kind of bitumen, a natural fat clay, found in abundance in the same country, and it is impenetrable by the worm or by water.
The dimensions and capacity of Noah's ark have been regarded by prejudiced unbelievers as a reason for their rejection of the writings of Moses. But a little calculation and reflection will show that the objection is founded in error. The form of the ark was an oblong square, with a flat bottom and a sloping roof, not suited for a distant voyage, but admirably adapted to float steadily upon the water. It was so contrived as to admit light and air on all sides, which is intimated by the general term window. It seems to have had another covering besides the roof, probably made of skins; which being thrown over, would hang before the window, to prevent the entrance of the rain. This Noah could easily remove, when he looked out and saw that the earth was dry.
The dimensions of the ark, as given by Moses, were 300 cubits in length, 50 cubits in breadth, and 30 cubits in height. Some learned men, who take the lowest computation, reckon the cubit at about 18 inches, by which the ark was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high; or nearly as long as St. Paul's cathedral in London, and about half the size of that immense building. By this measurement, Dr. Hale shows, that "it would be of 42,413 tons burthen; and as a first rate man-of-war is about 2,300 tons burthen, it would hold as much as eighteen of the largest ships now in use; and might carry 20,000 men with provisions for six months, besides the weight of 1,800 cannons, and all requisite military stores. Can any one, therefore, doubt of its being sufficient to contain eight persons, and about two hundred, or two hundred and fifty pairs of four-footed animals, a number to which, according to Buffon, all the various distinct species may be reduced? The fowls are to be added, and such insects and reptiles as cannot live in water, with provisions for twelve months."
But the Hebrew cubit is generally allowed to have
been equal to nearly 22 inches, which would show the length of the ark about 550 English feet, its breadth 91 feet, and its height 55 feet. Upon this scale Dr. Arbuthnot has computed the ark to have been 81,062 tons burthen; and as the largest East India merchant ships are reckoned at about 1,300 tons burthen, the ark of Noah must have had capacity equal to more than sixty of those surprising vessels.
The ark contained, besides the eight persons of Noah's family, one pair of each species of unclean animals, and seven pairs of each species of clean animals, with provisions for them all during a year. Moses describes the ark as divided into three stories, each of ten cubits, or about eighteen feet high; and it is allowed, as most probable, that the lowest story was for the beasts, the middle for the food, and the upper for the birds with Noah and his family; each story being divided into different apartments or "rooms." Josephus, the Jewish historian, reckons, with much reason, another under story, or convenient place, to receive the filth of the whole living creatures in the ark.
The learned and ingenious Bishop Wilkins computes all the carnivorous animals equivalent, as to the bulk of their bodies, and their requirement of food, to 27 wolves, and all the rest to 280 oxen. For the foriner he allows 1,825 sheep; and for the latter 109,300 cubits of hay, all of which might be contained in two of the stories, and much room to spare. As to the third story, no one can doubt that it would be sufficient for the fowls, with Noah and his family. Upon the whole, the Bishop remarks, that of the two, it appears much more difficult to assign a number and bulk of necessary things to answer the capacity of the ark, than to find sufficient room for the several species of animals already known. This he attributes to the imperfection of our list of animals, especially of those of the unknown regions of the earth; and he adds, that the most expert mathematicians of this day could not assign the proportions of a vessel better accommodated to the purpose than is here done. Hence he concludes, that the capacity of the ark, which has been made an objection against Scripture, ought to be esteemed a confirmation of its divine authority; since, in those ruder ages, men, being less versed in arts and philosophy, were more obnoxious to vulgar prejudices than at the present time: so that, had it been a human invention, it would have been contrived, according to those notions, and from a confused and general view of things, as much too large, as it has been represented by inconsiderate persons as too small. Beside the places requisite for the beasts and birds, and their provisions, there was room, therefore, sufficient for Noah's utensils, instruments of husbandry, and seeds for the ground after the Deluge: for which purposes he might spare room in the third story for thirty-six cabins; besides a kitchen, a hall, four chambers, and a space of forty-eight cubits in length for the convenience of exercise in walking.
We may observe further, a vast multitude of persons must have been employed in building the ark under the direction of Noah, and also in furnishing its provisions; and few of them, it is probable, gave heed to the preacher's ministrations. How truly affecting the consideration, that great numbers of the workmen were disobedient to the prophet's doctrine, and unbelievers in the mission of Noah; and who, consequently, were excluded the ark and perished in their sins! But such has been the case in all ages of the church of God. Many, who have been instruments in building it up, have sacrificed all portion in its saving blessings, by their secret infidelity of heart, and their evident unholiness of life. Matt. vii, 22, 23.
STATISTICS OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE.
THE empire of Great Britain far surpasses every other in the world. It is sometimes said that "The sun never sets on the British dominions." Extravagant as this expression may appear to some persons, it will probably be admitted as correct, when it is considered that the subjects of the crown of Great Britain are more than 150,000,000, more than a sixth portion of the human family; dwelling, not only in Europe, but in Asia, Africa, America, and Australasia.
The United British Empire consists of the two large islands of Great Britain and Ireland, with other smaller islands in their vicinities; of extensive colonies in North and South America, in the West Indies, in Africa, and the East Indies; of New Holland, the largest island in the world, Van Dieman's Land, and other islands in the vast Pacific Ocean; and of the fortresses of Gibraltar and Malta in the Mediterranean.
By means of its powerful and unequalled navy, the British government is enabled to extend its authority over all seas; and in the language of poets, Britannia is justly called, "The Mistress of the Ocean," and "Queen of the Isles." Its territories, and the population depending upon the British government, equal or exceed any of the four great monarchies of antiquity.
Great Britain itself is an island, including the three distinct divisions and ancient kingdoms of England, Wales, and Scotland, now united under one government: it is about 550 miles long, and from 120 to 300 miles broad. Great Britain contains 65,000,000 of acres of land; of which there are 42,000,000 in England, 5,000,000 in Wales, and 18,000,000 in Scotland: but of these nearly 20,000,000 are still uncultivated.
Ireland in its greatest length is about 200 miles, and in its greatest breadth about 200; containing nearly 20,000,000 of acres, two-thirds of which are in cultivation. The population of both islands, according to the returns of 1831, is for
A fairer isle than Britain, never sun
Our native isle, where pure religion dwells." The United Empire possesses peculiar sources of transcendent wealth, in her inexhaustible mines of iron, copper, tin, lead, and coals; in her extensive inanufacture of woollens, cottons, linen, cutlery, hardware, jewellery, &c.; and in her unexampled com. merce, which is five times greater than that of any other nation, ancient or modern.
The present population of the British islands, is composed of descendants of the ancient Britons or Welch, the Irish, the Picts, the Romans, the Saxons, the Danes, the Normans, and those of various nations, who through a series of ages have settled in these islands, as a secure asylum. Britain is further distin
guished by its language above any other nation, as it contains the beauties of all those which have been esteemed as the most learned or polished. It is derived from the Welch, the Latin, the French, the German, the Italian, and the Greek; so that the English language is the most copious of any now spoken by mankind, and adapted to every species of literary composition, scientific, poetical, or theological.
Besides all these advantages essential to national greatness is public liberty: this arises preeminently from just views of religion, and liberty has increased with the advancement of scriptural knowledge. While, therefore, rational liberty secures to individuals the rights of property, it confers independence on the industrious. The representatives of the people in the Commons' House of Parliament, have the power of refusing money supplies to the government; and juries protect their fellow subjects from vexatious accusations, and illegal punishments: these two are the great supports of civil liberty. As long, therefore, as the House of Commons and juries are independent, and do their duty, under the blessing of Almighty God, the English must remain a free and a prosperous people.
The wealth of the United Kingdom of Great Britain is prodigious, corresponding with the favoured circumstances of its industrious inhabitants. Private property is estimated at.. Public property. Colonial property..
.£.2,570,000,000 100,000,000 140,000,000
Mortgaged for repayment of the national debt,about 810,000,000 Balance £.2,000,000,000
From this brief view of the distinguished eminence of the British Empire, we learn several most important and interesting lessons.
First, That the four seasons of the year are experienced on the same day in the various parts of the British dominions.
Secondly, That the territory of the whole British empire equals in square miles the greatest empires of antiquity.
Thirdly, That in consequence of the universal diffusion of the British empire, all the natural productions of the earth, and all the industrious ingenuity of the whole human race, contribute to the wealth, luxury, and gratification of the inhabitants of Britain.
Fourthly, That Great Britain possesses the means of increasing or diminishing the prosperity and happiness of all nations; and that the whole human race depend in a great degree upon British wisdom, benevolence, and activity.
Fifthly, That the greatness and importance of the English nation arise from the influence of public liberty, independent representatives in the parliament, and trial by honest juries.
Sixthly, That the ascendancy of Great Britain in a great degree arises from the intelligence of her people, and that this is chiefly produced by the liberty of the press, which, though in many instances highly pernicious through abuse, is yet an inestimable blessing.
Seventhly, That the intelligence, liberty, industry, wealth, and national influence of Great Britain, arise directly or remotely from the possession of the Divine Revelation in the Holy Scriptures. These, while they make provision for mankind, as fallen guilty creatures, proclaiming forgiveness, a future life, and the resurrection to eternal glory through an Almighty Saviour, authoritatively teach and enforce the obligation of every personal and social duty, enjoin the cultivation of universal knowledge (much of which itself supplies), and the pursuit of liberty as essentials of religion; and requires the most enlarged benevolence to all the family of man, irrespective of clime or kindred.
"God hath distributed variety of gifts and graces in different degrees amongst His people. The improvement of these gifts and graces to the glory of God, and our mutual edification, is the very scope and end of communion. Every man hath his proper gift of God, and the gifts and graces of all are this way made useful and beneficial. Job was exemplary for plainness and patience: Moses for faithfulness and meekness: Josiah for tenderness, and a melting spirit. Athanasius was prudent and active: Basil heavenly and of a sweet spirit: Chrysostom laborious, and without affectation: Ambrose resolved and grave. One hath quickness of parts, but not so solid a judgment: another is solid, but not ready and quick. One hath a good wit; another a better memory; a third excels them both in utterance. One is zealous, but ungrounded; another well principled, but timorous. One is wary and prudent; another open and plain-hearted. One is trembling and melting; another cheerful and full of comfort. Now the end and use of church-fellowship is to make a rich improvement unto all by a regular use and exercise of the gifts and graces found in every one. One must impart his light, and another his warmth. The eye (viz. the knowing man) cannot say to the hand (viz. the active man) I have no need of thee. Unspeakable are the benefits resulting from spiritual and orderly communion; but whatever the benefits be, they are all cut off by schisms and dissensions; for as faith is the grace by which we receive all from God, so love is the grace by which we share and divide the comfort of all among ourselves. The excellent things of the Spirit are lodged in earthen vessels, which death will shortly break, and then we have no more benefit by them; but these jars and divisions render saints, as it were, dead one to another whilst they are alive. Ah! how lovely, how sweet and desirable it is to live in the communion of such saints as are described, Mal. iii, 16. To hear them freely and humbly open their hearts and experiences to one another! After this manner, some say, the art of medicine was found out. As any one met with an herb, and discovered the virtue of it by any accident, he was to post it up; and so the physician's skill was perfected by a collection of those posted experiments. But, woe to us! we are ready to post up each other's failings and infirmities, to the shame and reproach of religion; and to furnish our common enemies with matter of contempt and scorn against us all."
INFLUENCE OF THE GOSPEL.
A SLAVE in one of the islands of the West Indies, who had originally come from Africa, having been brought under the influence of religious instruction, became singularly valuable to his owner, on account of his integrity and general good conduct. So much so, that his master raised him to a situation of some consequence in the management of his estate. His owner, on one occasion, wishing to purchase twenty additional slaves, employed him to make the selection, giving him instructions to choose those who were strong and likely to make good workmen. The man went to the slave market, and commenced his scrutiny. He had not long surveyed the multitude offered for sale, before he fixed his eye intently upon one old and decrepid slave, and told his master that he must be one. The master appeared greatly surprised at his choice, and remonstrated against it. The poor fellow begged that he might be indulged; when the dealer remarked, that if they were
about to buy twenty, he would give them the old man into the bargain. The purchase was accordingly made, and the slaves were conducted to the plantation of their new master: but upon none did the selector bestow half the attention and care he did upon the poor old decrepid African. He took him to his own habitation, and laid him upon his own bed, he fed him at his own table, and gave him drink out of his own cup; when he was cold, he carried him into the sunshine; and when he was hot, he placed him under the shade of the cocoa nut trees. Astonished at the attention this confidential slave bestowed upon a fellow-slave, his master interrogated him upon the subject. He said, could not take so intense an interest in the old man, but for some special reason: he is a relation of yours, perhaps your father?" 'No, Massa," answered the poor fellow, "he no my fader!" "He is then an elder brother?" "No, Massa, he no my broder!" "Then he is an uncle, or some other relation?" "No, Massa, he no be of my kindred at all, nor even my friend! "Then," asked the master, on what account does he excite your interest?" "He my enemy, Massa," replied the slave; "he sold me to the slave-dealer; and my Bible tell me, when my enemy hunger, feed him; and when he thirst, give him drink."-Missionary Intelligence.
THE PASS OF UPSALLATA (S. AMERICA). "It is impossible to convey an adequate idea of the solitary grandeur of those immeasurable ridges, whose peaky summits seem to pierce the firmament. The wearisome, and almost never-ending, ascents and descents along the course of rumbling torrents, so far beneath as to be, though within hearing, not always within sight, impart a character of loneliness not common to mountain barriers, when enlivened by a few scattered human habitations. In the Cordillera it is a pleasure to meet even the stag-like gaze of the guanaco, and equally a relief to look at the condor, as, with unfluttering wing, it floats almost movelessly above, bearing the same relative proportion to the eagle of Europe that his native Andes do to the Alps. The snow in some of the highest table-lands is difficult to pass, because it dissolves in such a manner as to leave an irregular surface, like fields of sugar-loaves of different sizes. Mules frequently sink to the girth, and surmount these obstructions with great toil. The strange noises made by gusts of wind in the reverberating valleys sound to the ear of the timorous guide like moans; and he does not fail to recount long stories of travellers that have perished, and whose souls he supposes still haunt the vicinity of their unburied remains." -Memoirs of General Miller.
THE PIGEON OF THE EAST.
But high she shoots through air and light,
Where nothing earthly bounds her flight,
So grant me, God, from every stain
To steer my course to thee!
My soul, as home she springs: Thy sunshine on her joyful way, Thy freedom on her wings.
FLOWERS AND FRUITS.
FLOWERS and Fruits in all their luxuriant loveliness cover the whole face of nature at this welcome season. Britain's varying climate is not indeed the most favourable to the perfection of flowers: but admirers of these loveliest ornaments of creation have no need to seek the emperor of Persia's celebrated garden at Negauristan, to enjoy their enchanting beauty and delightful fragrance. Our own gardens present them to us in the hardy snowdrop, the timid crocus, the smiling primrose, the modest violet, the splendid auricula, the gaudy tulip, the fair anemone, the gay carnation, the bold ranunculus, the delicate lily, and the brilliant rose, in "Infinite numbers, delicacies, smells,
With hues on hues beyond expression, paint The breath of Nature, and her endless bloom." Sir Robert Ker Porter represents the rose especially as the glory of Negaurista, which abounds with the most beautiful trees. He speaks of two plants full fourteen feet high, laden with thousands of flowers, in every degree of expansion, and of a bloom and delicacy of scent, that imbued the whole atmosphere with the most exquisite perfume. Probably ours are neither so fragrant nor so beautiful; but we have seen in the royal gardens at Kew, more than a hundred varieties of the rose, perhaps little less lovely than those of Persia.
An elegant writer observes, "The kitchen garden presents us with a new train of benefits. In its blooming ornaments, what unaffected beauty! in its culinary productions, what diversified riches! It ripens a multitude of nutrimental esculents, and almost an equal abundance of medicinal herbs; distributing refreshments to the healthy, and administering remedies to the sick. The orchard, all fair and ruddy, and bowing down beneath its own delicious burthen, gives us a fresh demonstration of the Creator's kindness; regales us, first, with all the delicacies of summer fruits, next, with the more lasting succession of autumnal dainties.
"What is nature but a series of wonders, and a fund of delights! That such a variety of fruits, so beautifully coloured, so elegantly shaped, and so charmingly flavoured, should arise from the earth! than which nothing is more insipid, sordid, and despicable. I am struck with pleasing astonishment at the cause of these fine effects, and no less surprised at the manner of bringing them into existence. I take a walk in my garden, or a turn through the orchard, in the month of December. There stand several logs of wood fastened to the ground. They are erect indeed, and shapely, but without either sense or motion. No human hand will touch them, no human aid will succour them: yet, in a little time, they are beautified with blossoms, they are covered with leaves, and at last are loaded with mellow treasures, with the downy peach and the polished plum; with the musky apricot and the juicy pear; with the cherry and its coral pendants, glowing through lattices of green;
Beneath her ample leaf, the luscious fig.'
"I have wondered at the structure of my watch; wondered more at the description of the silk mills; inost of all at the account of those prodigious engines invented by Archimedes. But what are all the inventions of all the geometricians and mechanics in the world, compared with these inconceivably nice automata of nature! These self-operating machines dispatch their business with a punctuality that never mistakes, with a dexterity that cannot be equalled. In spring, they clothe themselves with such unstudied, but exquisite finery, as far exceeds the embroidery of the needle, or the labours of the loom. In autumn, they present us with such a collation of sweetmeats, and such blandish
HAIL, SOURCE OF BEING! UNIVERSAL SOUL
Of heaven and earth! ESSENTIAL PRESENCE, hail!
Stands each attractive plant, and sucks, and swells
PROPORTION OF BRITISH EXPENDITURE FOR RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS.
OUR population exceeds twenty-four millions. The rental of our landed property is rated at sixty millions a year; the interest of our funded debt is thirty millions; and to these the untold profits of professional pursuits, merchandize, traffic, and labour, must be added, to show the total income of the inhabitants of this country. Our taxes on luxuries may also, in some measure, illustrate our means of voluntary expenditure, remembering that these taxes are but a limited proportion of the real sum which we pay for luxuries taxed. In 1830, the amount of the customs in the British isles on foreign articles imported, was twenty-one millions; the amount of the duties on British and foreign spirits, was upwards of eight millions; the taxes on carriages and horses for riding, raised above 700,0001.
Contrast, then, exertions in missions by Protestants of every land, with the manifested resources of this country. Our national rental and funded interest, the more independent part of our national annual income, exclusive of the profits of professions, merchandize, traffic, and labour, averages about seventy-five shillings a year for each individual of our twenty-four millions of inhabitants. The aggregate sum given to all the religious institutions put together, averaged but sixpence a year for each individual inhabitant of our country. The bare taxes on luxuries, or injurious indulgences, make us blush for our country, by showing us how totally disproportionate is our whole expenditure for missionary objects. The mere customs are thirtyfive times as much; the bare duties on British and foreign spirits are thirteen times as much as all Protestant Christians give to religious societies. The taxes on our carriages and riding horses exceed the whole annual income of all religious societies of Protestant nations! May we each gather a practical lesson-to give more to the cause of Christ than we do to rain pleasure; and not to be among those who are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.-Rev. E. Bickersteth.