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In the afternoon, the people assemble for recital of Scripture. Many come into the hospital, to converse with me about their souls. Oh, how does God overrule evil for good, and make even the wrath of man to praise him ; although man's sin is still man's sin; man's wrath still man's wrath ; for which he must give an account unto Him who shall in righteousness judge the world by Jesus Christ.-Acts xvii. 31.
There is an appearance of general concern about salvation amongst the people. A very few only seem hardened in iniquity, and even these are marvellously restrained from outward improprieties. The Spirit of grace and of supplication appears to be poured out upon many,
and an earnest desire to win souls to Christ. Several youths, almost mere boys, seem to have received the truth in the love of it, and are most strenuous in their endeavours to spread the gospel net, with great prudence and propriety; not presuming to teach those who are older than themselves, but giving useful information to our most experienced Christian men, respecting prisoners who are beginning to be anxious about their souls, or are held under some entanglement of the enemy, and whom these youths are most desirous to bring into contact with the truth. They act as a little body of piquets, whose watchful eyes guide the movements of our veterans in rescuing souls from the ranks of Satan.
Jan. 2nd.- Visit the people assembled in the prison, and instruct them on the fearful tendency of an arbitrary forgiveness of sin, or of such a forgiveness as
would have no respect to the requirements of law, the claims of justice, the principles of sound government, the best interests of the universe, or the character of Him who pardons. They are also shewn what are the essential elements of hell, and the essential elements of heaven.
In the evening, a cloud was brought over us all. Three of the youngest prisoners were found guilty of disobedience of orders. Disobedience to lawful authority being one of the most heinous and destructive crimes which any man can commit, the three unhappy offenders are placed before the assembled prisoners, and their sin, after presenting fervent prayers at the throne of Divine mercy, is made the subject of a serious and earnest address. All are fervently entreated to turn this act of disobedience—an act which was not repeated during the voyage—to the best possible account, and to learn from it the character and tendency of sin, and the necessity of absolute conversion to God. “Satan must be disappointed; he must lose his object, the lawful captives must be delivered. Christ Jesus the Lord must have his own. Let all his children amongst us devote this night to wrestling in the most earnest prayer to God for the promised outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us all, for the conversion of these three offenders, and of all amongst us who have not yet returned to the Lord by the belief of the gospel. We are to agonise in prayer, and, as it were, to travail in birth, like the apostle of the Gentiles, till we see Christ, the hope of glory, formed
in the heart of every fellow-sinner entrusted to our
The unconcealable appearance of impression on the minds and hearts of the people cannot be described : dead silence, sorrowful or averted countenances, and other symptoms of sadness of heart, mark the depth of their feelings. All retire to their berths for the night.
On the following day, (Jan. 3rd) I again earnestly exhorted the assembled people from last evening's painful but most instructive text. The night appears to have been in a great measure, if not entirely, spent in earnest prayer and heart-searching—by those, at least, who know and love the truth. The prisoners are examined on their knowledge of justification, sanctification, and the nature and extent of the redemption of Christ. Refer, for illustration, to a prisoner placed at the bar,—he is guilty or not guilty. If found guilty, he is condemned: if not guilty, he is discharged as innocent of the crime with which he was charged. All men are found guilty before God, and are therefore condemned-condemned to death! On what ground can any man be discharged? Not on the ground of his innocence, for he is convicted. He can be treated as righteous, and discharged from the bar, on the ground only of the obedience and death of his Divine Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ, relied on by faith; a faith which purifies the heart, and reforms the life,
Jan. 4th. All our meetings to-day were marked by peculiar solemnity. All who profess to be on the
Lord's side were exhorted to follow him fully—to beware of being ashamed of their Lord and his cross. Referred to Exod. xxxii. 26; Acts xix. 1-9, 20; Josh. xxiv. 14–28; 1 Kings xviii. 21, &c.; Acts xx. 7, v. 13; Eph. v. 11; 1 Cor. xiv. 25.
At our meeting in the afternoon, a solemn address was given on decision of Christian character ;* especially directed to those who seemed to have turned to the Lord.
* Mark viii. 38; Rom. i. 16; Acts xxvii. 23.
Death of Abraham Button-Brief account of A. J-, J. H-, A. D-,
J. J—, and others—Extracts from Journal continued-Resolution adopted by prisoners—Meetings for social prayer-Arrival at Hobart Town-Prisoners' address to the surgeon superintendent_Number of apparent conversions-Farewell address-Debarkation-Prisoners' letter.
The number of men who had been brought under conviction of sin, and whose inquiries after salvation had, to all appearance, issued in a believing reception of Christ, and in consistent and holy living, had now increased to eighty-one. These being assembled together in the prison, are, in the presence of their fellow-sufferers, briefly addressed, as now sustaining the character of professed followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. All are faithfully exhorted on the duties they owe to themselves, to their Christian brethren, to the people of the world, and more immediately to God and to his cause.
An opportunity is taken to speak again on the subject of temperance; the evils connected with the abuse, frequently even with the use of ardent spirits, and the fearful dangers attending drunkenness, especially in the colonies. We explain the nature of the usual temperance pledge—“We agree to abstain from the use