Incidents in Travel and Soul Winning – By Elmer & Julia Shelhamer

Chapter 3

Floating Cities

A great ocean liner is a marvel. For instance, we are now on the largest steamer in the world, the “Majestic” of the White Star Line. She has a displacement of 56,651 tons, is 956 feet long, 100 feet broad and 64 feet deep. The three large funnels (smokestacks) are 80 feet high and 24 feet wide, or broad enough to admit of a train of cars and plenty of room to spare. She burns 960 tons of oil per day in her 48 boilers, and has a speed of 24 knots per hour. She has a capacity for 4,000 passengers, prints a daily paper, has over 2,000 electric lights, swimming pools, cold storage, and other things to be found in an up-to-date city

.Some people wonder why we travel third class. My answer is, “Because I cannot get a fourth class.” Why try to appear rich and spend the Lord’s money to feed pride? Here is a sample of our breakfast menu, good enough for any person.


Grape Fruit

Compote of Figs

Oatmeal Porridge with Fresh Milk

Shredded Wheat

Breakfast Bran

Quaker Crackles

Heinz Rice Flakes


Fried Bass

Finnan Haddie in Cream

Minced Collops

Puree Potatoes

Bacon: Fried and Frizzled

Broiled American Ham

Fried Eggs

Turned Eggs

Boiled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs with Chopped Ham (to order)

White and Graham Rolls

Rye Bread

Rye Crisps

Currant Scones

Buckwheat Griddle Cakes with Maple Syrup





(11 a. m., Beef Tea or Broth)

But the sad thing is that these modern ships might properly be called, “Floating Hells”. For one or more reasons, godly people do not travel much abroad; or, if they do, for the time being they leave their religion at home. Of course many of the passengers are religious — in spots; they have a Christianity without Christ. They attend “Divine service” for thirty minutes on Sunday, read prayers made to order, say a “Holy Mass,” then the rest of the day drink, gamble, play cards and live generally for the devil. Frequently the purser or a chief officer conducts the service, and the next time you see him he is dancing with a half nude woman. Of course such a cheap religion will naturally have many deceived adherents. I confess it is hard for me to believe that they are sincere, and yet we find in Europe a reverence for sacred things not to be found in America.

I have just been up on deck for a walk and private prayer. My heart was made sick to see not one person reading the Bible or a profitable book, but the proud, the trifling, the passionate, the careless, useless creatures all killing time, and yet many of them vainly imagining they are on the way to Heaven: We try to let our light shine, hence have morning devotions every day from 9 :00 to 10 :00, but we do well if we get two percent to attend. It does not require long to find our crowd — “Birds of a feather will flock together.” We are soon spotted, and because we do not join in all their doings are dubbed, “narrow” and self-righteous; but Jesus Himself said that the way to Heaven is a narrow way.

Even some missionaries cannot with stand the ostracism, hence fall into the trap of Satan and mingle freely with worldlings, vainly thinking thereby to win them to Christ. But God’s route always has been and always will be separation.

I well remember traveling on ship board with an Anglican priest. At first I thought he was a Romanist, as they are so nearly alike. We walked the deck together and freely exchanged thoughts. I attended one of his early services and tried to be respectable. Later, I said, “Now since I have attended your service, will you not come to our morning devotion, at least once? I will be glad to have you take charge.” He replied, “Oh, no, I could not come to you, you must come to us, for, we are in the apostolic succession.” I said, “That is bigotry gone to seed. Are you going to Heaven? If so, you will find me there; and if we are to dwell together why can we not worship to here ?” But who can convince anyone who is given to arrogance and intolerance? This is the same cruel, conceited thing whether it be found in a priest or a Protestant I have found in some of the dear holiness people, who have never traveled, such a narrow vision that they did not dream that there are in the world many truly pious people who have never even heard of their little sectarian sect.

Let worldly minds the world pursue;

It has no charms for me;

Once, I admired its trifles too,

But grace hath set me free.

Its pleasures can no longer please

Nor happiness afford;

Far from my heart be joys like these,

Now I have seen the Lord.

As by the light of opening day

The stars are all concealed,

So earthly pleasures fade away

When Jesus is revealed.

Creatures no more divide my choice,

I bid them all depart;

His name, his love, his gracious voice

Have fixed my roving heart.

— J. Newton