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comes who thinks otherwise? We have no security as in the chapels, that conversion work will go on, and living souls be fed and encouraged. Very few churches have such a work as the Lord is doing here!"
This, indeed, was the sad part of working in the Church of England then. Even still, there is much discouragement on this head; and too many living souls, who would not willingly go, are driven away from their own Church, to seek teaching in other communions; but they cannot take their children and servants to witness priestly ceremonials, or to hear sacramental, as opposed to spiritual teaching; neither can they conscientiously give countenance to these things, by going themselves.
However, I endeavoured to pacify the people by begging them to be thankful for present privileges, and to trust God to lead them for the future.
It is an awful thing to see and know that people come for bread, and get a stone; for fish, and they get a serpent; and for an egg, they are offered a scorpion (Luke xi. 11, 12). Exceedingly trying it is to be frowned upon by clerical brethren in the presence of Dissenters, who, to say the least, do know the difference between life and death. In one church we have the service elaborately rendered, and the sermon is nothing; in another the sermon is everything, and the service most slovenly; and, too often, souls remain unawakened, and perishing on all sides.
The Work Continued.
HILE I was at Hayle, I had so much to do among the people, and so many meetings, that I seldom had leisure to go out for preaching elsewhere; nor do I remember that I had many invitations to do so. Occasionally I went to preach at Penzance, where a good work was steadily progressing at St. Paul's Church; but otherwise, I seldom left my pulpit.
Everything was now going on in a way which satisfied me, after all my tossings to and fro. I was surrounded with a happy people, who were living and working for the Lord. All the week they were busy, and also on the watch for souls. On Sunday they came regularly to church, with an intelligent idea of worship, and joined heartily in the services of the day. At eight o'clock in the morning they assembled in large numbers for the Holy Communion; then we had the usual morning and evening services in the church, concluding with a prayer meeting. In the afternoon we had something else. There was the Sunday school for some of our workers; tract distribution for others: many went out to preach in the villages; and others went
with me either to the sands, the common, or on board some ship, for an evangelistic service. The day of rest was not one of inactivity, but of useful and happy occupation for the Lord. Many a former Sabbath-breaker, now changed and rejoicing in God, was amongst us, delighting in the Christian privilege of working for the Master. It was a day that many of them looked forward to and spent with intense delight; and on Monday evening we met to tell what we had seen and heard of the Lord's goodness to ourselves and others.
Whenever the good ship "Cornwall" was in harbour, it was expected there would be a preaching on "board of her," under the well-known Bethel flag. The mate of this vessel had been a terribly wicked man, and a most daring blasphemer. It pleased God to convert his soul in a remarkable manner; and now nothing would do but he must work for God.
One Sunday, when he was at Cardiff, he heard that a vessel which had left that port on the previous Friday morning had gone down with all hands. He was greatly grieved about this; for one of the seamen of the vessel was in former times a friend and companion of his. He had prayed for his soul, but hitherto without any success, and this added to his grief. To his amazement, he saw his friend standing on the quay. "Hallo!" he said, "I am glad to see you. How is it you are here? Have you heard that your vessel has gone down with all hands? "
"Has she, indeed!" he exclaimed, bursting out into tears; "then it is all my fault, for I let her go shorthanded. After we set sail I had words with the captain, so he dismissed me, and I came back in the pilot boat. It is all my fault!"
"This is the third time, then, that the Lord has given you your life,” said Sam. "You had better call on Him to
THE BETHEL FLAG.
have mercy on your soul." So saying, he fell on his knees, and began to pray for him. His companion soon followed, crying aloud for mercy. Though a crowd of people quickly assembled and stood round, he took no heed, but continued his supplication until he obtained mercy, and could praise God.
Seeing that some of the bystanders were looking anxious, Sam invited them on board his ship and had a meeting, at which he told them how the Lord had saved his soul. Having received much encouragement that day, he determined, if possible, that he would get a Bethel flag, and hold services whenever and wherever he could.
On his arrival at Hayle from Cardiff, he went at once to see the wife of the owner of the ship, knowing that she took a great interest in the welfare of sailors. He told her his plans, and made his request for a Bethel flag, which this lady kindly and generously gave him permission to get.
On obtaining it, Sam came and asked me if I would preach at the first hoisting of it. This I consented to do, and on the following Sunday afternoon we had a large concourse of people on board, and also on the quay alongside. I gave out the hymn
"O God of Bethel, by whose hand
While I was giving it out, Sam ran his flag up to the masthead in the shape of a ball. So it remained while we were singing; and during the prayer which followed; and when I gave out my text (Gen. xxviii. 19), called the name of that place Bethel," Sam pulled the halyard, and the flag, some eighteen or twenty feet long, flew out in all its grandeur. Before the sermon was finished, some of the people began to cry for mercy, and dear Sam was in an ecstasy of delight, and rejoiced aloud. Thus his
flag was inaugurated with blessing from on high, and "Many is the time since," said Sam, "when souls have been blessed under it, both at Cardiff and at Hayle."
I have said nothing about the infidels I had to work amongst when I first came to this place. Some of them raged and opposed themselves against us for a tine, but one by one the ringleaders of their party were brought to God, and eventually their club dwindled away. The history concerning some I have already published in tracts; but there is one case I feel I must insert here, for besides being a remarkable history, there is much teaching in it.
It is the story of a man who professed to be an infidel, and used to speak very freely of things which he said he did not believe. For instance, he boasted that he did not believe in God or the Bible, Christ or devil, heaven or hell; though I must say he seemed to believe in himself very considerably. It was very difficult to deal with a man who took his stand upon nothing but negatives. He was well known among his neighbours, dreaded by some and quite a mystery to others. He was continually to be seen about with a gun, especially on Sundays, when he was not ashamed to be thus desecrating God's holy day; on the contrary, he rather prided himself in not "shifting" his working-day clothes, when other people were dressed in their best.
It was sad to see a man of such intelligence and capacity defying public respect and opinion, and trampling upon every sense of right and propriety. There is generally a reason, if we can only discover it, why people outrage public opinion, and break out of the stream and path of their fellow-men.
One Sunday evening, however, after a day spent as usual, in idling about and shooting little birds, our friend John was observed by a woman standing outside a church,