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A large number of children belonging to the school attended her funeral; they stood silently round the dark grave while the clergyman was repeating "dust to dust, and ashes to ashes ;" and many of them sighed deeply when they heard the rough stones falling down upon her little coffin, and some began to wish they had been better children, and as ready to go to heaven as she.
When the burial service was ended, a little boy struck up the following hymn, in which the others affectingly joined :
"Death has been here, and borne away
And never can return," etc.
But while they were thus singing over her new-made grave, she was singing sweeter songs in a happier land, where "there is no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away."
NORTH ST. SCHOOLS, BETHNAL GREEN.—
ALTHOUGH these schools have not yet become so popular as some of their more fortunate contemporaries, yet we know of scarcely any instance where, at a similar expense, so much moral and spiritual good has been effected. The district in which they are situated is contiguous to North Street, Bethnal Green, and consists of courts, lanes, alleys, yards, and narrow streets, almost innumerable; these are inhabited by costermongers, men of all work, and very many idlers. It is one of those metropolitan colonies in which practical heathenism forms a chief feature, and where iniquity, in varied forms, is seldom disposed to seek a hiding place. Three ragged schools have been established in this moral wilderness, and their operations carried on, amid many difficulties, with exemplary zeal.
children-even the young ones-have undergone a moral and physical improvement; parents have felt the influence; new affections and better principles begin to regulate their homes; gangs of juvenile rogues and thieves have been broken up; many wayward youths have been morally reformed, six of whom have been savingly converted unto God, and several girls have become partakers of the same privileges, and others have died, leaving behind them hopeful testimonies. The neighbourhood generally has become outwardly improved, a fact to which we lately heard two respectable Jews bear earnest testimony. For a considerable time, (and even now,) the financial responsibilities weighed heavily upon the teach
But they are poor-having no money to give if they do justice to themselves; nor have they time-so incessant are their labours-to supplicate the assistance of others. A few devoted ladies, living at a distance, have kindly befriended them, but their necessities require many more. Two of these schools are held in small rooms, where twice the number of children are often assembled to that which the limited space can properly accommodate. The health of several teachers has suffered in consequence. Nor is it possible to remedy the evil but by the erection of a new school-room, and which in that neighbourhood can be accomplished at a very small cost. It will be seen from our correspondence page, that, with the view of raising a fund for this purpose, a sale is to be held in Crosby Hall in the month of April. We can assure our readers that they cannot employ their needles, nor devote their spare ornaments to a better purpose, than in assisting those patient and successful labourers, (who give all their leisure time,) in the erection of a plain and commodious
building, where many poor neglected children may be taught their duty to God, and be made willing subjects of our "universal King."
UNION MEWS RAGGED SCHOOL. THE seventh Annual Meeting of this school was held at the Hanover Square Rooms, on Monday evening, January 20th. The chair was taken by the Right Hon. Lord Dudley Coutts Stuart, M.P. Prayer having been offered by the Rev. Dr. Beaumont, his Lordship stated that but few words were needed to recommend the objects which those benevolent and pious persons had in view who made it their business and their pleasure to seek out poor, unfortunate, neglected children, and to bring them to hear and be taught-to honour the word of God; and that these institutions deserved to be fostered and supported by every Christian, philanthropist, and statesman.
The Secretary then read the Report, which stated that the income of the school had enabled the Committee to establish a shoemakers' class in addition to a tailors', and to effect much good in the management of the school, but it had not yet enabled them to open an Infant or Day School both, which are much needed. The attendance on Sunday has averaged for the six summer months 81; for the six winter months 145; average for the year 113; namely, 70 boys and 43 girls. The number placed on the books after an attendance of three Sundays was 270: of these 110 could read with various degrees of proficiency, 146 were able to read imperfectly, and 114 could not read at all. The total number that have passed through the school during the year is 636, of which 169 only attended once. The average attendance for the week evenings has been 33 boys and 37 girls, total 70. The admission to the Week-evening School is dependent on the children's good conduct on the Sundays. The Industrial Classes have executed work in a very satisfactory manner. One boy has been sent out as an emigrant. The Report, after soliciting the aid of teachers for this school, concluded by requesting the prayers of all, that our heavenly Father would prosper these and all similar institutions.
The meeting was then addressed by the Rev. Henry Hughes, Wm. Locke, Esq., Honorary Secretary to the Ragged School Union, the Rev. Foster Rogers, Dr. Beaumont, Mr. Browing, Joseph Payne, Esq., Rev. R. Redpath, and T. Sherrar, Esq.
A donation of £5 was announced from Lord Dudley Stuart. The amount collected was £6. 98. 2d.
PROPOSED UNION FOR PRAYER AMONG THE TEACHERS AND SUPPORTERS OF RAGGED SCHOOLS.
THE children among whom the Ragged School teacher has to labour are, from every appearance, the least likely to yield a satisfactory return for expended energies. Were mere physical improvement all that was sought or hoped for, the difficulties would not be so great; but the hope of reforming morally a class of beings nurtured in the midst of vice from earliest infancy, and still surrounded by circumstances opposed to every principle of rectitude, appeared at one time, to the "wisdom of this world," to be the "perfection of folly." The most effectual means such wisdom ever devised for the disposal of this material, was to gather up its rankest portions, and export them to distant colonies, where they formed new seed-plots of anarchy and crime. It was the Christianity of our country which devised " a more excellent way." Christian sympathy first asked the question, "Can these dry bones live ?" and Christian faith speedily supplied the answer, "All things are possible to him that believeth." We disguise not the fact, therefore, that our work is decidedly and essentially a religious one; and whatever means may be used as auxiliaries to it, they can no more do the work itself, than the soil can mature the grain without the aid of rain and sunshine. The fruits we have gathered are perhaps few, considering the extent of the field; but there is a richness, a hopefulness, and beauty, about some of them, which "the Lord of the harvest" alone could impart by his renewing Spirit. Nothing but the transforming power of the grace of God could ever effect so great a change as that exemplified in the "convert" mentioned in our last. What earthly power could have so completely changed the current of that youth's affections, and made him hate the sins he formerly loved, and love the purity and practices which he had all his life been taught to abhor? What could kindle up that tenderness and love that now glows in a heart once so hard and obdurate, producing such strong commiseration for those who are now in the very condition in which he himself once gloried? What could make him bear with patience the brutal treatment of a drunken father, and that chiefly for the sake of a poor unhappy mother, for whose sufferings he had once as little sympathy as his abandoned parent? An expression we once heard him use will best answer the question. When speaking of the wicked practices of his father, he said, "I do not think he will ever be much better until the grace of God changes his heart, as it has done mine." This change of heart, then, is the great end and aim which we must ever keep in view with regard to the children of our schools, for it is only when "the grace of God that bringeth salvation" hath "appeared unto them," they can ever be led truly and permanently to "deny unrighteousness and worldly lusts, and live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world."
Our teachers, therefore, require not merely to possess intelligence and sympathy, but specially to be men of faith and prayer. They require
not only to be "living epistles," so simple and transparent as to be easily "known and read" by rough and untutored minds, but they need often to go to Him who is the source of every blessing, and beseech him to impart to their instructions "the Spirit and the life." We believe that the truth of this is felt and acted upon by every faithful labourer in the work; but in the bustle and haste connected with multiplied and increasing labours, the impression is apt to lose its legitimate hold. Doubtless, the most prayerful Christians are generally the most active; but in every department of Christian labour, there is a strong tendency for the mind to become engrossed with the mere external machinerybecome satisfied with its extent and supplies—and thus allow to fall in the background, the prominent and essential objects and the source of blessing. Hence, the usual observations we hear in reference to sermons are generally a sort of criticisms on the powers and eloquence of the preacher, more than of the impressions they have made on the conscience or their effects upon the heart. In like manner, we are apt to become satisfied with the state of our schools if the attendance is good, the teachers numerous, and the funds prosperous; thus forgetting that all this may exist and please the outward eye, while we may have a name to live and yet be dead.
Never was there a time when spheres of usefulness were so numerous as now, or when so many professing Christians were found willing to occupy them. The machinery is extensive, and in many cases it is being worked with diligence and zeal, but it is humbling to think of the small success with which those efforts are attended. We are doing little more than staying the advances of the enemy-scarcely even that. Our sanctuaries are often attended by formal and careless worshippers, on whom the preaching of the Gospel seems to exert but little power; and many of those who have "professed a good profession," have neither zeal nor "jealousy" for the cause or the honour of their God. The masses of our working population are either living in a sort of decent heathenism, the victims of an advancing infidelity, or have sunk down into a state of sottish depravity, the living disseminators of their own wickedness. This latter class is increased by a large intermixture of Irish immigrants, whose wretched appearance, idle habits, and vacant unmeaning countenances, show the effects of a gross superstition and cunning priestcraft, which is now advancing upon us with aggressive steps. Large numbers of the children of our lowest poor are swarming in our courts and alleys, thick as the frogs of Egypt, and not one step in advance of their parents, except in benighted ignorance and precocious vice. It is only a small portion of Christians who yet see it their duty to put forth their influence or exertions on behalf of these young ones; and hence those who do engage in the work are often overwhelmed by a sense of its greatness, and of their own insufficiency. It is evident that we require, not merely an extension of our present agencies, but more especially an increased intensity and life-giving power to accompany those now at work. What a change would be effected, even upon the world, if the evangelistic agencies at work in London were visited with one year (and especially this one) of Pentecostal blessings! The princes from afar would thus be brought to see the exhibition of a Saviour's love, and return with the glad tidings to their distant sons; and the little wanderers in our lanes and alleys would learn to sing "Hosannah in
the highest" with the understanding and the heart; our Ragged Schools would become little Bethels, each holding its jubilee; and that "righteousness which exalteth a nation," would flow down our streets like a stream, sending forth its heaven-born blessings through all the kingdoms of the earth! An earnest of this might, at least, be obtained if those of us who engage in the work bore a closer resemblance to the labourers of Pentecostal days; but we want much of their purity, faith, intensity of purpose, and singleness of aim. We undo much of what we are doing, and often accomplish in a perfunctory manner that which should be done "heartily, as unto the Lord."
Taking into serious consideration such facts as those to which we have made very cursory allusion, it will be seen how much reason there is for increased, believing, and united prayer, and not more so by any class of Christians than those connected with Ragged Schools. Although seeking the welfare of a helpless class, lying at the very bottom of our social scale, yet there are none whose interests are exposed to greater peril from the changes that may occur among the other portions; nor is there any department of Christian enterprise where the labourer requires more grace and strength for himself, or where he needs to look with more longing expectancy for the blessing of Almighty God.
It is, therefore, with no ordinary pleasure we lay before our readers the substance of a resolution unanimously adopted at a meeting of delegates from the London Ragged Schools, held in the Field Lane schoolroom on the 19th of March. Deeply convinced of their need of Divine aid it was there agreed, that on Sabbath, the 13th of April next, they would unite, and ask others, especially their supporters and friends, to unite with them, in seeking "by prayer and supplication" the blessing of God to descend upon their labours, and upon all kindred institutions— and on the morning and evening of each day till the end of the following Sabbath, the 20th of the month, they would continue their united supplications, that God by his Spirit may sustain, quicken, and animate those now engaged in the work that he may induce many professors who are "standing all the day idle" to come to their aid that he may pour out his Spirit upon the children and their parents, and make them partakers of his grace-that many of those "little ones" who are still wallowing in misery may yet be brought in to partake of like merciesthat they may be preserved from the numerous and peculiar temptations to which they may be exposed during the approaching summer-and that many may yet grow up trees of righteousness, bearing fruit to His glory.
It is proposed, that from eight to nine o'clock each morning, or earlier, (Psa. cxix. 147,) and, when convenient, the time between the same hours each evening, should be strictly set apart for private prayer. It is not proposed that friends should assemble in the schools on any of those days, (unless where found convenient,) except on Wednesday the 16th; but on the evening of that day, at eight o'clock, it is specially desired that the teachers and friends should meet in every local school, or, where distance will allow, those belonging to two or more schools should meet in one.
Without appearing to dictate regarding an exercise, the very spirit of which is the "Spirit of liberty," yet for the sake of unity of arrange
ment, as well as of purpose, the following hints are submitted, believing they may prove helpful to those who engage in the work:—
Sabbath, April 13th.-Prayer for the poor in general, both old and young-the poor of London in particular; the godly, the persecuted; the godless-the degraded-the homeless-the friendless-the ignorant -the outcast-the perishing. Let their true condition be laid before God, and his promises pleaded on their behalf. Prov. xxx. 9; Job xxiv. 4; Jer. v. 3, 4; Lam. ii. 19; Isa. xxix. 18, 19; Psa. lxxii. 2.
Monday, April 14th.- Confession of sins and short-comings of Churches, ministers, and of ourselves-in neglect of the poor, coldness of heart; want of liberality, sympathy, mercy; selfishness-grudging time and substance to God; worldliness-" seeking the praise of men more than the praise of God;" carelessness in performance of duty-unfaithfulness-want of love to the Saviour and perishing souls-labouring without asking or expecting a blessing-instability-formality-frivolity -unthankfulness-unwatchfulness. Seek contrition, humility, pardon, purity, favour. Ezek. xvi. 49; Amos v. 12; Matt. xvi. 24, 25; Jer. ix. 1-13; 2 Cor. ix. 6, 7; Hag. i. 3–9; Ezek. xxxvi. 25–31; Zech. xiii. 1.
Tuesday, April 15th.-Thanksgiving for mercies-for friends of the poor, missionaries, and visitors-for Ragged Schools, teachers, scholars, cheap Bibles. For good already done-crimes and sins prevented-the helpless and destitute befriended-outward reformations-spiritual benefits-conversions-happy deaths-children in heaven. Eph. v. 19, 20; 2 Cor. ii. 14; Rom. vi. 17; Matt. xi. 25, 26.
Wednesday, April 16th.-Morning exercises as formerly. In the evening, special meeting at eight o'clock in each Ragged School, unless where those belonging to two or more schools can meet in one. prayer for Ragged School children-for the careless and indifferent, that God may pour out his Spirit upon them, and convince them of sin, righteousness, and judgment-for the serious, that they may be converted, protected, sanctified, saved; for young converts, that they may be sustained under every trial, "established in the faith,' strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus," instruments of good, "living epistles" of the Lord Jesus, carrying the Gospel to their wretched haunts and homes. For the emigrants-those landed and those now on their way-that the good seed sown in their minds may bring forth fruit in distant lands. For the crowds of children in our lanes and alleys, still uncared-for— that they may be gathered in-rescued from the hand of the destroyer. For the parents of children-that their hearts may be opened to receive the truth, and that they may bring up their children for God. For all Ragged School children throughout the land, and those who are yet in need. John xvi. 7-11; Zech. xii. 10-14; Psa. lxxviii. 2-8; 1 Sam. iii. 13; Eph. vi. 4.
Thursday, April 17th.-Prayer for Ragged School teachers and Christian visitors that they may all be converted; not speaking of a Saviour they neither know nor love, of a pardon they have never obtained, a peace they do not enjoy, of a path on which they have not entered, of a Spirit which they grieve, that they may "be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus," not growing "weary in well-doing" but faithful unto death," ready for every good work," "instant in