« PreviousContinue »
and our sensibility is awakened in proportion to the distance we go, and the dearness of the objects from whom we part. While we continue near them, some charm steals through the soul, and renders us somewhat insensible to the painful separation we are about to experience; but when we are obliged to say farewell, we become deeply sensible of the real value of what we leave behind. It is then sorrow finds its way to the bosom, and it is then that we feel a secret and melancholy pleasure in its indulgence.
How much all our best feelings are called into exercise, when we first leave our native land, for foreign climes, that person only can tell, who has been called to the task. Ere he returns, how numerous are the changes that may occur, and how much may inter
vene, to deprive him of all the pleasures and delights of home. Like Job, he may have to endure the total destruction of that fabric, on which all his earthly hopes rested; but happy, thrice happy will he be, if he can humbly say, “ God is my refuge, and my fortress; in him will I trust."
A Christian, but especially a Christian Sailor, has always a great advantage over the world. The latter is called to meet a variety of trials, and exposed to numerous dangers; but he commits his soul into 6 the hands of 'a faithful Creator,” and, in doing so, feels a peace of mind “passing all understanding” The hand which preserves, and the still small whisper of that voice which encourages, the world knows nothing of; but faith realizes the interposition of an all-seeing, and faithful God,
therefore, amidst all, the Christian Sailor is contented, and happy.
When he leaves his fond home, he feels that he is a stranger and foreigner here : and separated from wife, children, and the dearest earthly connections, he submissively bows to the task; assured, that whether calamities assail, or death deprives, all things will work for his present and eternal good. Devoted to a kind and great Master, his affections are not inordinately placed on things below, but fixed on those which are above, and he makes it his great object to seek the inheritance which God “ hath promised to all them that love him.” In the courts above, he is confident that he will enjoy an everlasting home, purchased by Sovereign grace, and perpetuated by infinite love. There he will participate the society of “ the spirits of just men made perfect,” and, to crown all, there he will for ever live, and reign, with his glorious, and triumphant Lord.
This is the experience, and these are the joyful feelings, which animate the humble Christian Sailor, when the proud Ship swells her bosom to the gale, and he leaves home and friends far behind. It is then he says,
“ Let cares like a wild deluge come
And storms of sorrow fall;
My God, my heaven, my all.”
It is not so with unconverted Sailors: a sad indifference occupies their breasts; and of their homes and friends it may truly be said, “out of sight, out of mind.” Let me not, however, be misunderstood, as I would not state this of all. To the praise of some, they carry abroad a lively affection for their friends, and a warm attachment for their native land, which distance does not lessen, nor time nor place remove. But this is only the case with a few. With the majority, the love of change; the force of novelty; the hope of gain; or the prospect of advancement, are the chief springs with their souls. This is the food on which they live : while the favour of God, the blessedness of present peace and eternal happiness, are wholly disregarded. They leave their homes without pain, and return without rapture.