Section of Sermon by HV Noyes, January 11, 1880


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Section of Sermon by HV Noyes, January 11, 1880


Steamboats; Erie, Lake; Fire; Sacrifice; Christianity; Death; Sermons; Jesus Christ--Crucifixion--Sermons; God; Heaven; Bible


This is a section of a sermon written and preached by Henry. It is unique physically because it is written on paper much the same way the Noyes' family writes letters, whereas Henry's other sermons are written on large swathes of paper. The section begins by talking about John Maynard, the helmsman of the steamboat Erie who is heralded as dying a heroic death. Henry uses the death of Maynard as a comparison to the ultimate savior, Jesus Christ, and the sacrifice he made for humankind. He concludes by discussing how Christians must always be ready to glorify God, particularly when considering citizenship in heaven. He quotes passages from the Bible, including Matt 24:26 and 1st Revelations 3:10.


Noyes, Henry Varnum


Loose, The College of Wooster, Special Collections, Noyes Collection






Council on Library and Information Resources Hidden Special Collections Grant




eng (English)






Erie (Steamboat) fire, 1841

Text Item Type Metadata


Thanksgivings the comforted mother folds her
little one to her bosom and then down deep in
her memory writes the name of him who has
[u]saved[/u] her child. [u]Will she ever forget him[/u]?
A good many years ago a steamer
was crossing lake Erie with a large number of
passengers on board. She took fire, in the
night, and that fire could not be put out.
All the passengers gathered near the bow for the
fire was [?apt?], and so was the wheel house too
Women & children were shrieking in terror. Stron
men, who seldom prayed, on bended knees were
asking God for help. It was perfectly evident
to any one, that the only hope for the large
majority of those passengers was to [u]run
the ship ashore[/u]. But the fire was fast [?guiding?]
the wheel house and it was just as evident
that if the ship was to be run ashore [u]one
man must burn to death at the wheel[/u].
Could a man willing to do this be found?
On board was a noble christian [illegible] named
[u]John Maynard[/u]. He came forward and said
to the Captain "Its a [u]hard[/u] death to die but it
won"t last [u]very[/u] long, and my hopes for the
next world are bright. It is better that [u]one[/u]
should die than [u]many[/u]. [u]Run her ashore
Captain and I'll stand by the wheel."
"[u]Its hard[/u] to see you do it John," said
the captain, "but God bless you, [u]God
reward you[/u] for [u]we never can[/u]."
And then John walked behind that
linE of fire climbed up the steps and
laid his hands on the wheel. And now
the bow of the burning ship turns toward the
shore and steady and true she leaps over
the waves. Miles of deep water still lie

10 between her and the shore but on on
and still on she ploughs her rapid way
The minutes seem like ages. The passengers
are anxiously peering forward to see if they
can catch some glimpse of land. Every
minute is adding to their hopes. But
ever and [illegible] one and another
turns to cast a look of [u]helpless pity[/u]
to the poor man who is [u]standing by the
wheel[/u]. The hot smoke is blinding
him, his hair is singed, he is writhing
in pain, his hands are burning fast
to that hot iron wheel and yet [u]he
holds it steady + true[/u], and the ship still
keeps her course [u]straight for the shore[/u]. But
the flames are climbing higher + higher and
at last they hide [?him?] from sight.
Once more the Captain's voice is heard
"[u]Can you hold on three minutes longer[/u]
John? [u]If you can we are safe[/u]".
Once more down through the smoke and
the fire comes that clear manly voice
"[u]Aye Aye Sir. Put on all the steam
that you can Captain and God
help me I'll her through yet[/u]".
And he did [u]take her through[/u], until her
bow leaped high on the sand, and all
on board [u]but himself[/u] were [u]saved[/u].
The same shock that bedded the ship in
the sands, shook down the charred and
tottering wheel house, and it fell a
mass of fire and burning timbers
and [u]John Maynard[/u] went down into that
pit of fire and was seen and heard no more

What would not thou passengers have given
to reward him had it been in their power?
Do you suppose they [u]could ever forget
that[/u] Saviour.
But you + I my friends have a
Saviour who has done infinitely more for
us than this noble man did for those
passengers. In respect to physical pain
he has suffered a far more lingering and,
I suppose, a far more painful death. An
you and I cannot penetrate or understand the
mystery of that deep agony of soul that make him
sweat as it were great drops of blood falling
down on the ground. And all this to save us
from the burning dEsolation of sin, and the
eternal pain which is brings. "Greater love
hath, no man ^[?than?] [?this?] that a man lay down
his life for his friends". "But God com-
mandeth his love toward us in that while we
were yet sinners Christ died for us." It is
not strange then that thise who "convers-
ation is in heaven" rejouice in the [illegible]
of sometimes seeing their Saviour as he is, of
seeing him come again, not as before, in
[?humiliation?], in suffering and in shame,
but in clouds of heavenly glory, with throngs
of attending angels, to gather his ransomed
ones from the four corners of the earth, and
take them home to dwell with him forever in the
Kingdom of God.
These are some of the [u]facts[/u] Either
stated or suggested by the text. [u]What influence
should such facts have upon our lives[/u]?
A citizen in any government has
duties to perform as well as privileges to
enjoy. The government which protects him ex-
pects him to [u]obey its laws[/u]. In fact the protec-
tion is, in great measure conditions on

such obedience. So those, whose citizenship is
in heaven, are expected to live as becometh
the citizens of such a kingdom: and
this not alone as a principle of duty but from
feelings of abounding gratitude and love
"Ye are bought with a price therefore
glorify God in your body, and in your
spirit which are God's." Christ says to
his disciples "If ye [u]keep my commandments[/u]
ye shall abide in my love" Keeping God's
commandments involves two things viz the
putting away of sin, and the faithful perform-
ance of duty. Paul urges both in the verses
which follow the text in the Epostle to the
Philippians and in a very similar passage
in the Epistle to the Colossians. (See Col 3- chapter)
"Set your affections on things above, not on things
on the earth. When Christ who is our life shall ap-
pear, then shall ye also appear with him in
glory. Mistify [u]therefore[/u] your members which
are upon the Earth: fornication, uncleanness,
[?inordinate?] affection, evil concupiscence which
is idolatry. For which things sake the wrath
of God cometh on the children of disobedience;
But now ye also put off all these, anger,
wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication
out of your mouth. Lie not one to another
seeing that ye have put off the old man
with his deeds, and have put on the new
man, which is [?renewed?] in knowledge after
the image of him that created him. Put
on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and
beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, [?humbleness?]
of mind, meekness, long suffering: Forbearing
are another, if any man have a quarrel
against any: even as Christ forgave you, so

also do ye. And above all these things
put on charity, which is the lord of
The [u]text[/u] + the passage connected
with it is also followed by a [u]therefore[/u],
and this therefore is followed by some
practical exhortations. These exhortations
are as follows "So stand fast in the
Lord my dearly beloved. Rejoice in
the Lord always: and again I say Rejoice.
Let your moderation be known unto all [?these?]
The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing: but
in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requestsbe
made known unto God. And the peace of
God which passeth understanding, shall
keep your hearts and minds through
Christ Jesus. Finally brethren, whatsoever
things are true, whatsoever things are
honest, whatsoever things are just, what-
soever things are pure, whatsoever things
are lovely, whatsoever things are of good
report. if there be any virtue, and if there
be any praise think on these things. Those
things which ye have both learned, and
received, and heard, and seen me [u]do[/u]:
and the God of peace shall be with you.
But in the second place a
good citizen not only [u]obeys the laws[/u]
of his country, but is also very jealous
of her honor, and always ready to do
anything that he can to promote her
welfare. God has so constituted us
that next, in the human heart, to
the ties of kindred and home are the
ties that bind one to his native land

So strong indeed is this patriotic feeling
in [--the--] most citizens of civilized countries
at least, that they feel an insult offered
to their country almost as [--though--] [?an?]
personal insult offered to themselves. And
so it is with him whose "citizenship is
in heaven." All his sympathies are with
his [u]government[/u]. He is very jealous of the
honor of his king: he is sensitive to any
insult offered to him, and is anxious
to do anything in his power for the
establishment of his kingdom against all
opposers. Always and everywhere the
earnest christian is ready, as it is some-
times tensely expressed, to [u]stand up for
Jesus[/u]". He is not [u]ashamed[/u] of the
gospel of Christ for he knows that "it
is the power of God unto salvation to
every one that believeth". And he knows
too that every one thus saved is one more
brought in from the ranks of the enemy
to swear allegiance to his king. And
hence it is his constant care, by his
speech, by his acts, by the wealth that
God may have given him, by his whole
manner of life to bring others also into
the kingdom, so to live that others seeing
his good works may glorify his Father in
heaven. And he ponders with never
failing delight those ancient prophecies
which reveal to him that the kingdoms
of this world shall at last become the
kingdoms of our Lord + of his Christ.
Finally if our conversation
our [u]citizenship[/u] is in heaven, our minds

will be set on heavenly [--things--] rather
than earthly things. Our treasures are in heaven
many of our friends, who have gone before, are
already in heaven; our own eternal home is to
be in heaven, [u]and our hearts will be there
also[/u]." For when your treasure is there will
your heart be also." But that which more
than all else will draw us towards heaven
as true as the magnest is drawn to the
pole, is the thought that we have a Saviour
there, a Saviour whom we are longing to
see a Saviour whom we are [u]expecting[/u] to
see - "From whence we look for a Saviour
the Lord Jesus Christ." The practical effect
of such an expectation will be to lead
us to endeavor to be prepared to rejoice
in that coming whenever it shall take
place. We know that it will be sudden
and that no man knows its time.
Matt 24:26 "But of that day and hour
knoweth no man, no not the angels of
heaven but my Father only". (1st Rev 3:10)
"But the day of the Lord will come as a
thief in the night: in the which the heavens
shall pass away with a great noise, and
the elements shall meet with fervent heat?
Nevertheless we

According to his promise, look for new
heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth
righteousness. Wherefore beloved, seeing that ye
look for such things be diligent that ye
may be found of him in peace, without
spot and blameless." [u]So found[/u], we shall
rejoice to meet our Saviour whenever he
comes whether at death or at the final
consummation of all things. We shall each
one be able to adopt for ourselves the language
of the beautiful hymn, written by that sweet
singer in Israel, P.P Bliss; of all the more
tender interest to us, when we know that
it was written only a short time before
its Author, in the blinding snow-storm of
a bleak winter night, went down in the
train so fearfully wrecked, and burned
three years ago, at Ashtabulabridge, and
was never seen again. In the darkness
of that Winter storm his Saviour met him
and took him home. We too would join
in his song of trust.
"I know not the [u]hour[/u], when my Lord will come
To take me away to His own dear home
"But I know that His presence will lighten the gloom
"And that will be [u]glory[/u] for me
"I know not the song that the angels sing
"I know not the sound of the harp's glad ring
"But I know there'll be mention of [u]Jesus[/u] our [u]king[/u]
"And that will be music for me
"I know not the form of my mansion fair
"I know not the name that I then shall bear
"But I know that my [u]Saviour[/u] will [u]welcome me there[/u]
"And that will be [u]heaven[/u] for me
Preached at
Canton Jan 11th 1880 HV Noyes

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Noyes, Henry Varnum, “Section of Sermon by HV Noyes, January 11, 1880,” Letters from Harriet Noyes: Missionaries and Women's Education in Nineteenth Century China, accessed February 29, 2024,

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