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you but a very inadequate idea of it. Taking
LETTER VIII. in all circumstances, it was astonishing, and almost miraculous, that any of us survived to DEAR SIR,—Ttie tenth (that is in the prerelate the story. We had immediate re- sent style, the twenty-first) March, is a course to the pumps; but the water increased day much to be remembered by me, and I against our efforts. Some of us were set to have never suffered it to pass wholly unbaling in another part of the vessel ; that is, noticed since the year 1748. On that day to lade it out with buckets and pails. We the Lord sent from on high, and deliver. had but eleven or twelve people to sustain ed me out of the deep waters. I continued this service; and, notwithstanding all we at the pump from three in the morning till could do, she was full, or very near it: and near noon, and then I could do no more. I then, with a common cargo, she must have went and lay down upon my bed, uncertain sunk of course; but we had a great quantity and almost indifferent, whether I should rise of bees' wax and wood on board, which were again. In an hour's time I was called, and specifically lighter than the water; and as it not being able to pump, I went to the helm, pleased God that we received this shock in and steered the ship till midnight, excepting the very crisis of the gale, towards morning a small interval for refreshment. I had we were enabled to employ some means for here leisure and convenient opportunity for our safety, which succeeded beyond hope. reflection. I began to think of my former In about an hour's time, the day began to religious professions; the extraordinary turns break, and the wind abated. We expended in my life; the calls, warnings, and delivermost of our clothes and bedding to stop the ances I had met with; the licentious course 'eaks (though the weather was exceedingly of my conversation, particularly my unparalcold, especially to us, who had so lately left leled effrontery in making the gospel his a hot climate ;) over these we nailed pieces tory (which I could not now be sure was of boards, and at last perceived the water false, though I was not yet assured it was abate. At the beginning of this hurry, I was true) the constant subject of profane ridilittle affected. I pumped hard, and endea- cule. I thought, allowing the scripture voured to animate myself and companions : premises, there never was nor could be such I told one of them, that in a few days, this a sinner as myself; and then, comparing distress would serve us to talk of over a glass the advantages I had broken through, of wine; but he being a less hardened sinner concluded, at first, that my sins were too than myself, replied, with tears, "No; it is great to be forgiven. The scripture likewise too late now.” About nine o'clock, being seemed to say the same; for I had formerly almost spent with cold and labour, I went to been well acquainted with the Bible, and speak with the captain, who was busied else- many passages, upon this occasion, returned where, and just as I was returning from him, upon my memory, particularly those awful I said almost without any meaning, “ If this passages, Prov. i. 24–31. Heb. vi. 4, 6, and will not do the Lord have mercy upon us." 2 Pet. ii. 20, which seemed so exactly to suit This (though spoken with little reflection) my case and character, as to bring with them was the first desire I had breathed for mercy a presumptive proof of a divine original. for the space of many years. I was instantly Thus, as I have said, I waited with fear and struck with my own words; and, as Jehu impatience to receive my inevitable doom. said once, “what hast thou to do with peace!" | Yet, though I had thoughts of this kind, they so it directly occurred, “What mercy can were exceeding faint and disproportionate. there be for me?" I was obliged to return It was not till long after (perhaps several to the pump, and there I continued till noon, years,) till I had gained some clear views of almost every passing wave breaking over the infinite righteousness and grace of Christ my head; but we made ourselves fast with Jesus, my Lord, that I had a deep and strong ropes, that we might not be washed away. apprehension of my state by nature and pracIndeed, I expected that every time the ves- tice; and, perhaps, till then, I could not have sel descended in the sea, she would rise no borne the sight. So wonderfully does the Lord more; and though I dreaded death now, and proportion the discoveries of sin and grace; my heart foreboded the worst, if the scrip- for he knows our frame, and that if he was to tures, which I had long since opposed, were put forth the greatness of his power, a poor inderd true; yet still I was but half con- sinner would be instantly overwhelmed, and vinced, and remained for a space of time in crushed as a moth. But to return: when I a sullen frame, a mixture of despair and im- saw, beyond all probability, there was still patience. I thought, if the Christian religion hope of respite, and heard, about six in the was true, I could not be forgiven; and was, evening, that the ship was freed from water, therefore, expecting, and almost, at times, there arose a gleam of hope. I thought I wishing, to know the worst of it.-I am saw the hand of God displayed in our favour; your's, &c.
I began to pray; I could not utter the prayer Janurry 19, 1763.
of faith; I could not draw near to a recon
ciled God, and call him father : my prayer | had been beaten to pieces by the violent mowas like the cry of the ravens, which yet the tion of the ship: on the other hand, our live Lord does not disdain to hear. I now began stock, such as pigs, sheep, and poultry, had to think of that Jesus whom I had so often been washed overboard in the storm. In derided : I recollected the particulars of his effect, all the provisions we saved, except life and of his death; a death for sins not his the fish I have mentioned, and some food of own, but, as I remembered, for the sake of the pulse kind, which used to be given to those who, in their distress, should put their the hogs (and there was but little of this left,) trust in him. And now I chiefly wanted all our other provisions would have subsisted evidence. The comfortless principles of in- us but a week, at scanty allowance. The fidelity were deeply riveted, and I rather sails, too, were mostly blown away, so that wished than believed these things were real we advanced but slowly, even while the wind facts. You will please to observe, Sir, that was fair. We imagined ourselves about a I collect the strain of the reasonings and ex- hundred leagues from the land, but were in ercises of my mind in one view, but I do reality much further. Thus we proceeded not say that all this passed at one time. The with an alternate prevalence of hope and great question now was, how to obtain faith. fear. My leisure time was chiefly employI speak not of an appropriating faith, (of ed in reading and meditating on the scripwhich I then knew neither the nature nor ne- tures, and praying to the Lord for mercy and cessity,) but how I should gain an assurance instruction. that the scriptures were of divine inspiration, Things continued thus for four or five days, and a sufficient warrant for the exercise of or perhaps longer, till we were awakened trust and hope in God. One of the first helps one morning, by the joyful shout of the I received, (in consequence of a determina- watch upon deck, proclaiming the sight of tion to examine the New Testament more land. We were all soon raised at the sound. carefully,) was from Luke xi. 13. I had The dawning was uncommonly beautiful, and been sensible, that to profess faith in Jesus the light, (just strong enough to discover Christ, when in reality I did not believe his distant objects) presented us with a gladdenhistory, was no better than a mockery of the ing prospect: it seemed a mountainous coast, heart-searching God; but here I found a about twenty miles from us, terminating in Spirit spoken of, which was to be communi- a cape or point, and a little farther, two or cated to those who ask it. Upon this I rea- three small islands, or hummucks, as if just soned thus: If this book is true, the promise rising out of the water: the appearance and in this passage must be true likewise; I position seemed exactly answerable to our have need of that very Spirit, by which the hopes, resembling the north-west extremity whole was written, in order to understand it of Ireland, which we were steering for. We aright. He has engaged here to give that sincerely congratulated each other, making Spirit to those who ask. I must therefore no doubt, but that if the wind continued, we pray for it, and, if it is of God, he will make should be in safety and plenty the next day. good his own word. My purposes were The small remainder of our brandy (which strengthened by John vii
. 17. I concluded was reduced to little more than a pint) was, from thence, that though I could not say from by the captain's orders, distributed amongst my heart, that I believed the gospel, yet I us; he adding at the same time, “We shall would, for the present, take it for granted; soon have brandy enough.” We likewise and that, by studying it in this light, I should eat up the residue of our bread for joy of this be more and more confirmed in it. If what welcome siglit, and were in the condition of I am writing could be perused by our mo- men suddenly reprieved from death. While dern infidels, they would say, (for I too well we were thus alert, the mate with a graver know their manner,) that I was very de- tone than the rest, sunk our spirits by saying sirous to persuade myself into this opinion. that, “ he wished it might prove land at last.” I confess I was, and so would they be, if the If one of the common sailors had first said so, Lord should show them, as he was pleased I know not but the rest would have beat him to show me at that time, the absolute neces- for raising such an unreasonable doubt. It sity of some expedient to interpose between brought on, however, warm debates and disa righteous God and a sinful soul. Upon the putes whether it was land or no; but the gospel scheme I saw, at least, a peradventure case was soon unanswerably decided; for of hope, but on every other side I was sur- the day was advancing fast, and in a little rounded with black unfathomable despair. time, one of our fancied islands began to
The wind was now moderate, but con- grow red, from the approach of the sun, tinued fair, and we were still drawing nearer which soon arose just under it. In a word, to our port. We began to recover from we had been prodigal of our bread and brandy our consternation, though we were greatly too hastily; our land was literally in nubibus, alarmed by our circumstances. We found nothing but clouds, and in half an hour more that, the water having floated all our move the whole appearance was dissipated. Seaables in the hold, all the casks of provision, men have often known deceptions of this
sort, but in our extremity we were loath to ed up to see the land, and were convinced be undeceived. However, we comforted that it was land indeed. We saw the island ourselves, that though we could not see the Tory, and the next day anchored in Lough land, yet we should soon, the wind hitherto Swilly, in Ireland ; this was the eighth of continuing fair; but, alas! we were deprived April, just four weeks after the damage was of this hope likewise. That very day, our sustained from the sea. When we came fair wind subsided into a calm, and the next into this port our very last victuals were morning the gales sprung up from the south- boiling in the pot; and before we had been east, directly against us, and continued so there two hours, the wind, which seemed to for more than a fortnight afterwards. The have been providentially restrained till we ship was so wrecked, that we were obliged were in a place of safety, began to blow with to keep the wind always on the broken side, great violence, so that if we had continued unless the weather was quite moderate : thus at sea that night in our shattered, enfeebled we were driven, by the wind fixing in that condition, we must, in all human appearquarter, still further from our port, to the ance, have gone to the bottom. About this northward of all Ireland, as far as the Lewis time I began to know that there is a God or western islands of Scotland, but a long that hears and answers prayer. How many way to the westward. In a word, our station times has he appeared for me since this was such as deprived us of any hope of being great deliverance !-yet, alas! how distrustrelieved by other vessels: it may, indeed, be ful and ungrateful is my heart unto this questioned, whether our ship was not the hour!—I am, dear sir, your obliged humble very first that had been in that part of the servant. ocean, at the same season of the year. January 19, 1763.
Provisions now began to grow very short; the half of a salted cod was a day's subsistence for twelve people; we had plenty of fresh water, but not a drop of stronger liquor;
LETTER IX. vo bread, hardly any clothes, and very cold weather. We had incessant labour with the DEAR SIR,—I have brought my history pumps, to keep the ship above water. Much down to the time of my arrival in Ireland, labour and little food, wasted us fast, and one 1748; but before I proceed, I would look man died under the hardship. Yet our suf- back a little, to give you some farther account ferings were light in comparison of our just of the state of my mind, and how far I was fears; we could not afford this bare allow- helped against inward difficulties, which beance much longer, but had a terrible pros- set me, at the time I had many outward pect of being either starved to death, or re- hardships to struggle with. The straits of duced to feed upon one another. Our ex- hunger, cold, weariness, and the fears of pectations grew darker every day, and I had sinking and starving, I shared in common à further trouble peculiar to myself. The with others; but besides these, I felt a heartcaptain, whose temper was quite soured by bitterness, which was properly my own; no distress, was hourly reproaching me (as I one on board, but myself, being impressed forinerly observed) as the sole cause of the with any sense of the hand of God in our calamity, and was confident that if I was danger and deliverance, at least not awakthrown overboard, and not otherwise, they ened to any concern for their souls. No tem. should be preserved from death. He did not poral dispensations can reach the heart, unintend to make the experiment, but continual less the Lord himself applies them. My repetition of this in my ears gave me much companions in danger were either quite ununeasiness, especially as my conscience se- affected, or soon forgot it all; but it was not conded his words. I thought it very probable, so with me: not that I was any wiser or betthat all that had befallen us was on my ac- ter than they, but because the Lord was count. I was, at last, found out by the power- pleased to vouchsafe me peculiar mercy, ful hand of God, and condemned in my own otherwise I was the most unlikely person in breast. However, proceeding in the method the ship to receive an impression, having I have described, we began to conceive hopes been often before quite stupid and hardened greater than all our fears, especially, when in the very face of great dangers, and alat the time we were ready to give up all for ways to this time had hardened my neck lost, and despair was taking place in every still more and more after every reproof
. I countenance, we saw the wind coine about can see no reason why the Lord singled me to the very point we wished it, so as best to out for mercy, but this, “ that so it seemed suit that broken part of the ship which must good to him;" unless it was to show, by one be kept out of the water, and to blow so gent- astonishing instance, that with him “nothing ly as our few remaining sails could bear; and is impossible.” thus it continued without any observable al There were no persons on board to whom teration or increase, though at an unsettled I could open myself with freedom, concerning time of the year, till we once more were call- the state of my soul, none from whom I could
ask advice. As to books, I had a New Tes- | and comfort, was a mystery of which I had tainent, Stanhope, already mentioned, and a as yet no knowledge. I acknowledged the volume of bishop Beveridge's sermons, one of Lord's mercy in pardoning what was past, but which, upon our Lord's passion, affected me depended chiefly upon my own resolution to inuch. in perusing the New Testament, I do better for the time to come. I had no chriswas struck with several passages, particular- tian friend or faithful minister to advise me, ly that of the fig-tree, Luke xiii. The case that my strength was no more than my righteor St. Paul, 1 Tim. i. but particularly the ousness; and though I soon began to inquire proligal, Luke xv. a case, I thought, that for serious books, yet, not having spiritual dishad never been so nearly exemplified, as by . cernment, I frequently made a wrong choice, myself; and then the goodness of the father and I was not brought in the way of evanin receiving, nay, in running to meet such a gelical preaching or conversation (except a son, and this intended only to illustrate the few times when I heard but understood not) Lord's goodness to returning sinners,—this for six years after this period. Those things gained upon me. I continued much in the Lord was pleased to discover to me graprayer; I saw that the Lord had interposed dually. I learnt them here a little and there so far to save me, and I hoped he would do a little, by my own painful experience, at a more. The outward circumstances helped distance from the common means and ordiin this place to make me still more serious nances, and in the midst of the same course and earnest in crying to him, who alone could of evil company and bad examples I had been relieve me; and sometimes I thought I could conversant with for some time. From this pebe content to die, even for want of food, so I riod I could no more make a mock at sin, or jest might but die a believer. Thus far I was with holy things; I no more questioned the answered, that before we arrived in Ireland, truth of scripture, or lost a sense of the I had a satisfactory evidence in my own mind rebukes of conscience. Therefore I consider of the truth of the gospel, as considered in this as the beginning of my return to God, itself, and its exact suitableness to answer or rather of his return to me; but I cannot all my needs. I saw that, by the way they consider myself to have been a believer (in are pointed out, God might declare not his the full sense of the word) till a considerable mercy only, but his justice also, in the par- time afterwards. don of sin on the account of the obedience I have told you that, in the time of our disand sufferings of Jesus Christ. My judgment, tress, we had fresh water in abundance; this at that time, embraced the sublime doctrine was a considerable relief to us, especially as of “God manifest in the flesh, reconciling our spare diet was mostly salt fish, without the world to himself." I had no idea of those bread. We drank plentifully, and were not systems which allow the Saviour no higher afraid of wanting water; yet our stock of honour than that of an upper servant, or, at the this likewise was much nearer to an end inost, a demi-god. I stood in need of an Al- than we expected; we supposed that we had mighty Saviour, and such a one I found de- six large butts of water on board, and it was scribed in the New Testament. Thus far well that we were safe arrived in Ireland, tie Lord had wrought a marvellous thing: before we discovered that five of them were I was no longer an infidel; I heartily re- empty, having been removed out of their nounced my former profaneness, and I had places and stove by the violent agitation, when taken up some right notions, was seriously the ship was full of water. If we had found disposed, and sincerely touched with a sense this out while we were at sea, it would have of the undeserved mercy I had received, in be- greatly heightened our distress, as we must my brought safe through so many dangers. I have drank more sparingly. was sorry for my misspent life, and purposed While the ship was refitting at Lough an immediate reformation : I was quite freed Swilly, I repaired to Londonderry. I lodged from the habit of swearing, which seemed at an exceeding good house, where I was to have been deeply rooted in me, as a treated with much kindness, and soon resecond nature. Thus, to all appearance, I cruited my health and strength. I was now was a new man.
a serious professor, went twice a day to the But though I cannot doubt that this prayers at church, and determined to receive change, so far as it prevailed, was wrought the sacrament the next opportunity. A few by the Spirit and power of God, yet still I days before, I signified my intention to the was greatly deficient in many respects. I minister, as the rubric directs; but I found was in some degree affected with a sense of this practice was grown obsolete. At length my more enormous sins, but I was little the day came; I arose very early, was very aware of the innate evils of my heart. I I had particular and earnest in my private devotion; no apprehension of the spirituality and extent and, with the greatest solemnity, engaged of the law of God; the hidden life of a chris- myself to be the Lord's for ever, and only his. tian, as it consists in communion with God by This was not a formal, but a sincere surJesus Christ, and a continual dependence on render, under a warm sense of mercies rehirn for hourly supplies of wisdom, strength, I cently received; and yet, for want of a better
knowledge of myself and the subtilty of have served me effectually, if the Lord had Satan's temptations, I was seduced to forget not met with me on my way home, as I have the vows of God that were upon me. Upon related. Till then I was like the man possessthe whole, though my views of the gospel ed with the legion. No arguments, no persalvation were very indistinct, I experienced suasion, no views of interest, no remema peace and satisfaction in the ordinance that brance of the past, or regard to the future, day, to which I had been hitherto a perfect could have constrained ine within the bounds stranger.
of common prudence. But now I was in The next day I was abroad with the mayor some measure restored to my senses. My of the city and some other gentlemen a-shoot- friend immediately offered me the command ing; I climbed up a steep bank, and pulling of a ship; but, upon mature consideration, I my fowling-piece after me, as I held it in a declined it for the present. I had been hithperpendicular direction, it went off so near erto always unsettled and careless, and theremy face, as to burn away the corner of my fore thought I had better make another voyage hat. Thus, when we think ourselves in the first, and learn to obey, and acquire a farther greatest safety, we are no less exposed to insight and experience in business, before I danger than when all the elements seem con- ventured to undertake such a charge. The spiring to destroy us. The divine providence, mate of the vessel I came home in, was prewhich is sufficient to deliver us in our utmost ferred to the command of a new ship, and I extremity, is equally necessary to our preser- engaged to go in the station of mate with vation in the most peaceful situation. him. I made a short visit to London, &c.
During our stay in Ireland I wrote home. which did not fully answer my views. I had The vessel I was in had not been heard of' but one opportunity of seeing Mrs. N*****, for eighteen months, and was given up for of which I availed myself very little, for I lost long before. My father had no more was always exceeding awkward in pleading expectation of hearing that I was alive, but my own cause, viva voce. But after my rehe received my letter a few days before he turn to L I put the question in such left London. He was just going out governor a manner, by letter, that she could not avoid of York Fort, in Hudson's bay, from whence (unless I had greatly mistaken her) coming he never returned. He sailed before I to some sort of an explanation. Her answer, arrived in England, or he had purposed to though penned with abundance of caution, take me with him; but God designing other- satisfied me; as I collected from it, that she wise, one hindrance or other delayed us in was free from any other engagement, and Ireland till it was too late. I received two not unwilling to wait the event of the voyage or three affectionate letters from him, but I I had undertaken. I should be ashamed to never had the pleasure of seeing him more. trouble you with these little details, if you had I had hopes, that in three years more I should not yourself desired me.--I am, your's, &c. have had an opportunity of asking his for January 20, 1763. giveness for the uneasiness my disobedience had given him; but the ship that was to have brought him home, came without him. According to the best accounts we received, he
LETTEK X. was seized with the cramp when bathing, and dr a little before her arrival in the DEAR SIR,- My connexions with sea affairs bay.—Excuse this digression.
have often led me to think, that the varieties My father, willing to contribute all in his observable in christian experience may be power to my satisfaction, paid a visit before properly illustrated from the circumstances his departure to my friends in Kent, and gave of a voyage. Imagine to yourself u number his consent to the union which had been so of vessels, at different times, and froin diflong talked of. Thus, when I returned to ferent places, bound to the same port; there
I found I had only the consent of are some things in which all these would one person to obtain : with her I as yet stood agree,—the compass steered by, the port in at as great an uncertainty as on the first day view, the general rules of navigation, both I saw her.
as to the management of the vessel and deI arrived at in the latter end of May, termining their astronomical observations, 1748, about the same day that my father sail- would be the same in all. In other respects ed from the Nore, but found the Lord had they would differ; perhaps no two of them provided me another father, in the gentle- would meet with the same distribution of man whose ship had brought me home. He winds and weather. Some we see set ont received me with great tenderness, and the with a prosperous gale; and, when they alstrongest expressions of friendship and assist- most think their passage secured, they are ance: yet not more than he has since made checked by adverse blasts ; and after endurgood; for to him, as the instrument of God's ing much hardship and danger, and frequent goodness, I owe my all. Yet it would not expectations of shipwreck, they just escape have been in the power, even of this friend, to and reach the desired haven. Others meet