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My friend, captain W- ? was blessed with a pious daughter, who, on the father's quitting home to command this ship, had put up Burder's Village Sermons in his trunk, with the hope, and doubtless the prayer, that they might not go forth in vain. The hope, as it respected the poor thoughtless father, was not realized. I knew him well: I saw him die. He quitted this world in much the same state as I think I myself should have done, had I departed at the hospital. There were neither bonds, neither were there any hopes in his death. But, although these little volumes lay unread by him for whom they were intended, the providence of God directed me to them, and commissioned them to dispel a portion of mental darkness, and to show me that God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him, might not perish, but have everlasting life! Amazed and confounded at my former ignorance, I blessed the Lord that he had not called me hence in my heathen creed, for I now saw there must be a peace-maker to stand between offending man and an offended God. Yet there was a strange veil still over my eyes. For, notwithstanding I read the two volumes attentively, and also turned often to the Bible, I continued ignorant of many essential truths. The depravity of the human heart, the necessity of regeneration, and the insufficiency of man to will or perform, were doctrines I saw no more of than an heathen; and as to the offices and work of the Holy Ghost, as a convincing, comforting, teaching, and sanctifying Spirit, I might be truly said not to know any thing of the matter. Confused and limited as my knowledge of Christianity was, I soon became proud of it, and even considered it as the faith spoken of in the scripture and treated of in the sermons I had read. But, alas! it little purified my heart, or wrought by love. Indeed, with the exception of having left off swearing, and ceased to ridicule religion, my practice was as bad as before; and, as conscience did its work more faithfully, my life was only more wretched. Sinning, and vowing against committing sin, repenting and transgressing, and transgressing and repenting, made up the whole round of my days and months, during the three years I was abroad. My companions thought me happy; I knew myself to be miserable."
The ship E- was put out of commission, and Aliquis "joined the D-, to offend still more, and to receive yet greater mercies." In this last vessel, he found a large and gay society of young men,
eager in pursuit of naval fame and
"Thus far all was esteemed by man; and yet all was abomination to God. He was not in all or any of my thoughts as the chief good; the glory of his name was not my motive of action; nor was his word my rule of conduct. But amidst all the dan gers and mercies, the bustle and delusive smiles with which I was surrounded, I was far from being happy. The Lord did not suffer my conscience to become wholly callous, and every day I did more than sufficient to wound its feelings and raise its voice. Nothing short of the preventing mercies of God, kept me from destroying myself and others in my paroxysms of anger and passion. Once I so nearly brought on an apoplectic fit, as to turn giddy, become speechless, stagger, and almost fall on the deck; and often has this unworthy hand levelled a poor offending fellow mortal at my feet on a trifling occasion. No marvel then, that, when I retreated to my cabin, I was wretched in the review of my conduct." "While these conflicts were passing within my mind, and while I was sinning on deck and repenting below, making resolutions and breaking them faster and faster, the Lord sent me one very striking personal call to turn and consider the madness of my ways. Having anchored off the coast of Suffolk, a party went on shore to shoot wild fowl. We had returned to the beach, waiting the arrival of the boat. The roar of noisy mirth had ceased, and I was at length become thoughtful; for I had greatly sinned against light and conscience that day. I was pacing the shore thirty or forty yards from the main body of my companions, one of them levelled his peae; I noticed him, and thought his aim was well adjusted for my head, if he had any design to shoot me. Scarcely had the thought crossed my mind before he fired; when, feeling my hat jerk, I took it off, and, to my surprise found the contents of his piece had entered the crown, right in front; passed over the scalp of the head, and escaped through the back part of the hat! It appeared, on inquiry, that he had loaded with a pebble
stone, the size of a musket-ball, which he foolishly supposed would fly to dust as soon as it escaped the barrel of the piece. When I saw how near I had been to the eternal world, I could not but say, 'This is surely the voice of God;' and under this impression I sat silent in the boat during the greater part of our way to the ship, a circumstance which one of my companions observed, and began to rally me on it, asking whether the thought of having been nearly shot had tied up my tongue. And now, does the reader imagine I honestly confessed the truth? No! for, although I trembled at the recollection of the eye and hand of Omnipotence being so evidently about me, yet I trembled more at the prospect of human ridicule, and rather than endure the laugh of man for standing in awe of God, I ventured on another act of known sin, and positively denie that any such thought occupied my mind."
Not long after Aliquis was removed to the ship E from the D-, "she was lost and more than five hundred souls perished in her." "On returning to England the Chad to undergo some repai which enabled him to be more on shore than formerly. He spent his time, at first in "gallanting ladies to shops and morning visits," in "sitting down to wine parties, or mixing in the card-room, the assembly, or the ball;" just as our naval officers in general do; but twice conscience made him steal away to attend "morning service, at a fashionable chapel of ease:" but, adds he, "I neither understood nor felt what I heard. Little, indeed, did I then know of doctrines;. but I was vexed to find nothing about Christ in the preacher's discourses." On the third Sabbath of his being on shore, however, Divine Providence sen him to " Old Stoke church, just as the congregation were going in."
"I followed them, and saw, and heard, and felt what I little expected. To behold a minister address his audience, not from the pages of a formal, cold, moral essay, but from the Bible with that seriousness, which bespoke him really in earnest and with that affection, which showed that he indeed felt for their eternal peace: to behold all this in a minister of the Established Church, was to me (par
don me, my clerical reader) as new as it was unexpected: nor was the subject-matter less new than the manner in which it
was delivered-I may truly say by this servant of Christ, as the Athenians did by the great apostle, 'He brought strange things to my ears,' drawing a picture of man as a helpless undone creature, possessing a nature totally corrupt, and desperately wicked. I began to see the source of that evil, So often had found breaking through the restraints, resolutions and vows with which I had endeavoured to bind it. Hitherto I had esteemed myself capable of doing great things; nor had all my failures swept away my vain conceits of a good heart and inherent strength. But now the word was commissioned to lings. I was told, and I axe at the root of all such vain boastings. felt I could neither think nor act of myself in any way pleasing to God, but that all my sufficiency must be derived from above. In short, a few sermons tore all my false props from under me, and I saw myself, poor, and blind, and wretched, and miserable, and naked.' But I was not left here; I was directed to the Lord Jesus as the great High Priest, whose fulness abounded, to the supplying all the wants of his church and people. What a display of those wants, and of the mercy and goodness of a covenant God to supply them, did I hear, in an enlargement on Psalm lv. 22: Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." No longer surprised at my having broken through so many resolutions and vows of amendment, I stood amazed at the folly of having even made one in my own strength. I now understood, both doctrinally and experimentally, that it is not our willing or running, but that it is of God, who showeth mercy, and who worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleaSure."
After the word of God had wrought powerfully in the mind of our author, he visited this Christian minister of Old Stoke church; and through a divine blessing on his public and private ministrations, grew in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. From this time he evinced, by his general deportment, that he was born of God; and soon began to seek the spiritual welfare of his naval companions. He endured "cruel mockings," but the Lord gave him courage and perseverance. From officiating as chaplain of his