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It is still the custom in these seas to tow the boats along after the ship, and this gives much trouble when the waves are high, ver. 16. The vessel being much sha. ken by the storm, they undergirded it, ver. 17. that is, they passed a strong rope or cable round the ship, to pie. vent it from falling to pieces; this is sometimes done at the present day. One of the Spanish ships sent out against Lord Anson was so much damaged by a storm, that a cable was fastened round it in six places. Some persons have been much puzzled about the four anchors cast out of the stern, but Pocock tells us it is not unusual for the Egyptian saiques, or trading vessels, to carry anchors at their stern, which they cast out by the help of their boat, ver. 29, 30. or it may have been an anchor with four points or flukes, which is used in some vessels in those countries. The loosing of the rudder band, ver. 40. is explained by the well known fact that the ancient vessels were steered by two large broad oars, one on each side. These were fastened by bands or cords to the sides of the ship. They probably had been tied up when the vessel was allowed to drive, ver. 17. but were loosed again to direct the ship’s course, when they hoisted the sail and steered towards the shore. These explanations remove many difficulties which sailors have felt respecting the account of Paul's voyage, because they did not consider the great difference between ancient and modern ships.
We may also notice two places in which ships are mentioned in the Old Testament. We read that Jonah had
gone down into the sides of the ship, and was fast asleep, Jonah i. 5. This was the cabin ; probably the bed places were along the sides, as now is often the case; but Jonah soon learned that no one can hide himself from God, or long enjoy repose when disobeying his commands. The prophet Ezekiel gives us the fullest account of an ancient ship, and describes one of the largest and most complete; seech. xxvii. To this noble vessel he compares the city of Tyre, which existed and flourished by its trade and commerce. We may here notice that “ the walls round about, verse 11. were stages projecting from the sides of the ships, upon which,
as is shown on ancient medals, the soldiers hung their shields and stood to fight. The towers were high places upon the forecastle. The cut on the opposite page represents an ancient galley under sail, and those on the next page represent the inside cut open lengthways and across the centre. These cuts will explain much that is said, Ezek. xxvii. where Tyre is compared to a ship.
In the passages mentioned are one or two other points to notice. When the men in Jonah's ship were in dan. ger and afraid, “every man cried unto his god,” ver. 5. Persons who have been on board ships with a crew of Roman catholic sailors during a storm, describe similar
The affrightened sailors are then calling upon different saints to protect and save them.
We also read, Acts xxviii. 11. that the ship in which Paul sailed from Malta to Syracuse, had for its sign, Castor and Pollux. These were two idols worshipped by the heathens, by whose name the ship was called, and to whose care it was committed ; and it doubtless had images of these gods, as was usual in ancient ships. The Roman catholics have, in this respect, very closely imitated the heathens. Their ships are called by the names of Saints, as San Isidore, San Juan, Santa Teresa, &c. and sometimes are dedicated to different images of the virgin Mary. In one trading company, not only all the vessels were committed to her care, but she was allowed a share in the profits ! A regular proportion of the money gained, was given to the friars and clergy be. longing to certain churches and convents, who were paid for worshipping her. On board these vessels an image of the virgin, or the patron saint, is generally set up, and lamps kept burning before it, and on particular occasions various ceremonies are performed. It is said to reflect upon these idolatries, and it is not less so to think of the profaneness too common on board our own ships ; but we rejoice at the improvement which has taken place of late years, and trust that, by the divine blessing, sailors will become praying men. Much good has been done by the distribution of tracts among them.
Of the representations of an ancient galley or ship, on pages
107 and 108.
A The keel, or lowest part of the vessel.
name of the vessel. .
ship. D The mast. E The oars, which in this instance were in three row8, one
above the other.'
The authenticity of these delineations are beyond dispute, as they are from representations in the ruins of Herculaneum. See also the rowing gallies on the next page.