[written for the Dispatch.]
our ocean home.
the Sabbath on the Atlantic.
The grand saloon was crowded — not a seal without its occupant.
Even the space between the tables was filled to the uttermost, and many stood in corners, giving their reverend attention to the man of God, who then rose to address them.
Met from "all the ends of the earth"--sojourners in California
, bringing home their gold; visitants of China
, with their curiously-wrought treasures; scarcely a State of our great Union that had not its representative; returning emigrants; successful merchants about to revisit the land of their youth; seekers of pleasure, of health and of wealth; the volatile French woman and home loving son of the British Isles
; the Spaniard, Italian
and metaphysical German
; the sea-faring Captain
, who had traversed the globe; the ship's company and steerage passengers — all assembled, without reference to rank, or wealth, or beauty — each, as he could find a seat, crowded into that one apartment to invoke the blessing of the one God of us all.
Nothing was there in those words addressed to us that could wound or offend the religion of any man. Looking to the God of the Bible
, and the great truths of Christianity, avoiding isms
we were led to invoke the blessing, to praise the attributes of the God of Nature, the Saviour of the world.
We were led to look upon each other as companions, one family for the time being, abiding in one home, that home a ship on the vast Atlantic
, sharing the same dangers, protected by one God, redeemed by one Christ
, daily assembling to partake of his abundance, to share his blessing, equally recipients of His care and preservation, met from all parts of the earth to be redispersed again never more in this world to reassemble and unite in praise to the one great Being who ordered our path on the pathless waves.
And then a prayer was offered; how feeling, how devout, that some at least might meet to recognize each other in the life where partings shall be no more.
And then there arose from that one spot on the boundless ocean one harmonious choir of voices, as the three hundred worshippers joined in the Doxology to the tune of the good "Old Hundreth"psalm, previous to separating each to his own allotted pleasure or business, to re-unite no more forever !
The influence of that Sunday service might be seen through the week, might extend through the life of many.
The haughty were seen to relax, the bigot to become more tolerant.
We felt ourselves, as the good minister pronounced us one family, each member owing to the other a duty of kindness, cordiality, sympathy and sufferance; and many were heard to declare that the recollections of that trip, and that community, would remain among the pleasantest reminiscences of their lives. C. C. H.