Philander Chase



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"Sermon Tenth" (Messina, on board "Guerriere") Convincing Sailors to follow the way of God for the reward of the afterlife. His main analogy argues that just as one would do their duty on a ship, so they should do their duty to God.




sermon, philander chase, Guerrier, voyage


Sermon Tenth

My Christian Friends —

If I could persuade you to listen to me for a few moments without considering it a hardship to do so, I should be very happy — But I should be more so, if I tho’t that any thing I could say to you has even a remote prospect of doing you any good. It is a hard task that, that I know — of endeavoring to lead those who not only acknowledge themselves bling but willing to be blind. Of endeavouring to persuade them not to commit sin, who are so enamoured with it that they are acknowledge they are willing to follow it wherever it may lead them —

How to address you now I hardly know because I do not know what virtues can set before you which will stand any chance of being useful to you who upon principle act so inconsistently — for instance how should I persuade a man to live a sober life who although he acknowledges that drinking undermines his health, hs reason and is every way pernicious to him — yet still professes himself willing to do anything for the man who will give him the means of getting intoxicated who will give him what he himself acknowledges to be the worst poson he could take — Thee would be but little hope of persuading such a man that such means are very far from. Affording him the happiness he anticipates. That very nature on which sailors I believe pride themselves so much — that careless and thoughtless livity, that fearless profanity, induces you to question the validity or truth of any things which may be said in order to do you good; in order to induce you to become wiser or better. If anything comes across you which you perceive would lead you to alter your course of life you immediately forget it by repeating some cant [sic] saying, or wearing a sailor’s oath. You think, in addition to the low pleasures which sin may afford, that it could be a very singular thing for the [?] of a man of war to have every respect for the laws of God — to endeavour to become more religious and better men — so included it would but there that is no proof but that it would be the best thing that would happen to you — What would you think of a ship in which the sailors sho’d join to all the bravery and hardihood which now distinguishes them a sense of their duty to God and a sincere desire of sensing — in a word sailors who should take more pride in being thought good men noth in their duty towards God and their ancestry, then they would in being thought a grog drinking crew, incapable of being kept sober but by constant fear of punishment.

If you can tell me how you would be in any worse situation in such a ship than you are now, I will acknowledge that I am wrong. It surely could not be any worse for yourselves: for in that situation you would observe everyone of your companions bearing his pact of the daily sabor and lightning oue another’s burdens by being kind and [condescending] to one another — Instead of using one another and quarreling [enough] one another there would be much satisfaction in thinking that all of you whose lots and situation are so mainly similar were all wishing well to one another and every man assisting instead of quarreling with his companion. There is no ship’s crew who are so happy as those whose content is such that their [efficens] can trust them who are constant in their attention to their duty and have [?] perseverance in doing what is required of them. Such men can be [trusted] and thereby much unnecessary [bent] be both to themselves and their [offices] is spaced: and when the usual of routine duty is over such men can have more indulgence; for this very reason that there is no fear of their abusing it — precisely as this case is with respect to what is your duty on board, such it is as it regards your duty to God — No man was ever more unhappy for [hearing] him — on the contrary you have no idea how much easier it is for them to do their duty who have a religious sense of it before them then for those who are obliged to be driven to it or because they will be punished for it unless they do — And more than all this, he who does his duty with a religious sense of what he owes to God has this one grand idea that he will most surely receive a reward in the world to come. He has a sure confidence, that in all the voyages, let the wind blow as it will, or danger be ever so near and so appalling - yet his happiness is sure and certain beyond the power of man take it from him —

And as for you my Christian Brethren the case the thus with you — you all know very well — that before you sail upon the [lover] on the wide ocean, if you be not well prepared for the voyage before you set out, if the ship be not in a fit condition, or your store and [supp’ent] insufficient — that the voyage will be dangerous to you and probably fatal — Why then can you not recollect that such is state as it respects your soul’s evaluations. Death will soon launch you for upon that eternity of which the sea is but a [?] and [?] — and you may depend that the wreck of you sould will most certainly follow if you have not taken care now while you are upon earth, to do your duty in laying such a [proper state] for this interminable voyage — in providing yourself with those things which constitute your safety when the wind and waves become tempestuous and [?] — or in laying up this as will be your support in a voyage which is the longest and most interesting of your lives — Now my Christian Brethren why can I not exhort you to lay up for yourselves a proper [stern] for this voyage beforehand — it was but a week or two since, when one of your members whom I buried this week stood among you, with as good prospect of living a long and useful life as any of you now have and yet now he has gone upon that voyage where we are all sooner or later bound — and where the only security we have or can have for safety is our having seriously endeavoured while we were in this world to do our duty: And my Christian Brethren, as the hour of death cannot be very far distant with any of us, even those of us who are to live the longest, let me seriously entreat you to live so as you will certainly in the hour of death wish you had done: live so that when the amount of your life comes to be drawn out you may receive the assurance that having been always henceforward in the way of your duty and and always avoided as much as possible the commission of sin, you are therefore entitled to an everlasting reward.

My Fellow Officers

A simple rule by which to govern our activities, so that hey may conform to the wise laws of Divine Providence is never to commit a deed which you would be ashamed to tell to your Maker in your daily Communion with him. It is too to [sic] remember the condition upon which you were received in the congregation of the flock of Christ or that condition upon the faithful performance of which, whatever your [tenets] may be you have only any title to be called a Christian — It is to [prepare] the faith of Christ crucified: and to fight [manfully under] his banner against sin the world and the devil and [?] Christ’s faithful soldier [?] to your life’s end —

How many of you have deserted or become which never failed to carry it votaries to victory — honor I do not know — But if you should acquire a habit of accounting all those activities sinful which you could not reconcile to the cause of Christ, and of accounting that as treason which did not [?] with his service, you may depend it would do you no harm — No man has more to hope for or [learn] to love than he who fights against a sinful world in order to rescue his own sad permits devouring grasp — And you may may [sic] depend that no men is more a coward than he who for fear of the world deserts to its service and leaves that of a crucified Savior, a merciful God, and a holy religion for its sake —

These to be sure are but figurative expressions — but they are not the less true — and they are not less applicable to you than to any others — If you can reconcile now your daily actions in the world to those here when you will be summoned from it, in a word if you can think of your present course of life with pleasure when you are dying you have good assurance that they will also be pleasant to you throughout eternity — The ancient warriors had a custom, whenever they saw the approach of death certain, if composing their garments that the might fall with decency — you cannot imitate their example better, than by arranging in such a [?], the furniture of your mind and comforting you conscious, so that when you fall you may not be subject to everlasting shame.

P. Chase


Apri 4. 1818


Sermon Tenth: Messina aboard the



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