« FöregåendeFortsätt »
season and out of season," having love to Christ, love to souls-able patiently to "endure hardness, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ." For an increase of wisdom, prudence, holiness, zeal, faith, love, and all that can fit for "works of faith, labours of love, and patience of hope." Jer. vi. 14; Phil. ii. 20, 21; Col. i. 9-29; 2 Cor. xi 24-29; 2 Tim. ii. 3, 23-26.
Friday, April 18th. Special prayer for an increase of faithful, efficient, and pious teachers, such as will feel it "more blessed to give than to receive," whom the love of Christ constraineth to holy deeds and self-sacrifices. Prayer for the churches-that the careless may be awakened, professors aroused and quickened, especially those who are living for themselves, who have no care for the "poor and needy" that are perishing at their doors, who, although they have enough and to spare, give neither time nor means, and make no effort for the salvation of others; for those who ought to aid in Ragged School teaching, but do not-that they may be stirred up to a sense of duty, and induced to discharge it.-Psa. lxviii. 11; Isa. xl.; Psa. lxx. 21; Rev. iii. 2, 3, 15.
Saturday, April 19th.-Prayer for Ragged School committees, officers, supporters, and friends; for God's direction and guidance amid the duties and trials of the future, especially in view of the approaching summer; for protection, watchfulness, removal of hindrances, liberality, unity, and love. For the overthrow of Popery, infidelity, and all erroreverything that opposes the progress of the Gospel of peace. Jer. xlii. 2, 3; Isa. lxvi. 5; Psa. xxv. 8, 9; Rev. xviii. 1–24; Jude 8–19.
Sabbath, April 20th.-Thanks to God for his goodness to our country -for charitable institutions and means of grace-for the gift of his Son-for saving us for this prayer union-and for all his mercies. Renewed dedication to God and his service-fresh renunciation of self; resolution, as in His presence, to labour more through grace with a single eye to his glory, seeking pre-eminently the salvation of souls, 'giving God no rest until he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth." Isa. lxii. 7; Psa. cxxxv.; Psa. cxlv.; 2 Chron. v. 11-14; Rom. xii. 1, 2.
In addition to these arrangements, and subjects mentioned, there may be special meetings for prayer with the elder children in the schools, particularly on the evening of Sabbath the 20th, but in no case let such arrangements infringe upon the time that should be devoted to private prayer. Special mention should be made of particular cases, persons, places, and circumstances, best known to those who labour in their respective localities. Let nothing be forgotten, but in "everything, by prayer and supplication, let us make our wants known unto God." Nor should we forget to look for the blessing upon ourselves, our children, and our work in after days.
We feel assured that many of our friends, even at a distance, and those who cannot be personally engaged in the work of teaching, will be happy on all those days to join us. We have often thought that were they to devote a portion of their Sabbath afternoons and evenings to supplication and prayer for those tried and wearied labourers who are then toiling among the rough and restless children in the Ragged Schools, it would not only cheer and encourage their hearts, but bring down upon them special blessings from the Lord of life, (Ezek. xxxvi. 37.) We do trust, therefore, that not a few will remember us during this special season, and particularly on the evening of the 16th, when, in almost
every Ragged School in London, there will be found many anxious supplicants, wrestling with the Angel of the covenant, and pleading the promises of God on behalf of the perishing poor.
Who knows what blessings He may have in store for us, or what gardens of the Lord" our humble schools may yet become? What we need is the convincing, quickening, and converting Spirit. Through His aid, twelve poor unbefriended men once bade successful defiance to the ungodly opposition of the whole world. Is not the same power as sufficient for us?-the same arm as ready to help us, if we only cling to it? At present we are, perhaps, entering upon the last decisive conflict that truth shall ever wage with the kingdom of darkness; and if we for a time must sustain the struggle, we shall greatly need the "whole armour of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day," and which none can put upon us but Himself. At all events, our work is great, our duties solemn, our responsibilities weighty, our time short, and our strength weakness. Surely there is great reason for believing, earnest, persevering, and united prayer. "Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need," Heb. iv. 16.
Extracted from Dr. Malcom's Report on the General Prison for Scotland, 1850, just newly published.
"J. M., aged eleven years.-This poor boy died of the effects of starvation and neglect, which he had suffered almost all his life-time. I scarcely believe he had ever had a regular meal excepting in prisons, and when out at large he usually slept in stairs or pig-styes, as he had no settled home to go to. Everything was done here to invigorate the system, but he was too far gone, and could not rally. He was never in a state to be removed from the prison, and it would have been cruel to have sent him out, as he had no home.'
The governor, (Captain Stewart,) in his Report of Deaths in Prison, speaking of the same boy, states, "Means were used to ascertain the residence of his friends that they might remove the body for interment if they wished to do so, but without success.'
Yes, "poor boy," as thy big-hearted physician calls thee, thou indeed "had no home on earth. But in thy Father's house are many mansions. We know not even thy name, and perhaps thyself knew little else beside; but thy name may be in heavenly record. The above few, simple, but significant lines, are all thy earthly biography, serving at once for thy memorial and thy epitaph. The fruit, perhaps, of some parental crime or neglect, thou wert thrown on earth, as it were a thing of no worth. In thy emaciated and spectral frame there was, however, the pearl of great price. No man cared for thee, neither for thy jewel nor its tiny casket. The gnawings of hunger prompted thee to put forth thy skeleton hands, and snatch the tempting food, and society, who ought to have given thee bread, gave thee a stone.* Instead of being sent to
*We understand the poor boy was finally convicted of breaking into a house, opening therein a lock-fast place, and taking therefrom a small quantity of oatmeal, aggravated by two previous convictions of similar thefts. So true is it that hunger breaks through stone walls. For this offence of the stomach rather than of the head or the heart, this child was tried by a jury of fifteen men, and sentenced to fifteen months' imprisonment in the government prison for Scotland. The judge, doubtless, was influenced by his humanity in providing for him the only adequate asylum at his command for this destitute outcast-but which, in the end, proved his grave. How certainly
school, thou found thyself, from thy cradle to thy coffin, an infant prisoner. What a mockery on justice-an insult to law-a slander on our common Christianity! A child, homeless, friendless, breadless; the denizen of the stair, and the associate of swine, by ermined judges in the majesty of law adjudged a criminal, who yet never had been told of crime nor justice, far less of love and charity, to die within the state prison of the land. Whilst foreign hosts are about to do homage to the exhibition of a world's industry, may they and we not drop a tear over this national exhibition of criminal neglect. What! a fellow immortal living and dying amidst wealth, and yet who never tasted a meal, or pillowed his head outside a prison wall; at last fed by a nation when too late, giving in measure of punishment tenfold more than what might have sufficed to have reared its victim in honest industry, and spared an untimely grave!
"Poor boy!" so oft in prison, some Christian chaplain we hope and believe has spoken, and you with faith have heard of Him who, like thyself, had nowhere to lay his head. If so, then dark and dismal as has been thy brief career, it may have been the portal to a glorious eternity. The " 'poor boy,' thus rich in faith, may now, released from bondage, be in the full enjoyment of the purchased inheritance of the saints. His case, however, is but the type or unit of a numerous class in all our large towns.
How long are the Dives section of society to sit in purple, and to feast sumptuously every day, and the juvenile Lazarus to sit shivering in sleepless starvation at his gate? Are prisons to be the only asylums of the children of the homeless poor, and the prison diet the only provision made between them and the verdict of "death by starvation?" When much is given, much shall be required. Pity, then, the houseless, friendless poor, and seek at once to feed their souls and their bodies too. Bring them unto Jesus, and let the sinful-wretched with the sinful-affluent be found sitting together at the feet of their common Saviour, God-all clothed and fed, and in their right minds, giving glory unto "the Lord our righteousness." 15th March, 1851.
THE CHARITIES OF LONDON IN 1850.
FROM THE FRENCH OF M. A. DE LAMARTINE.
(Continued from page 6.)
"As we proceeded on our walk, which led beneath the trees of Hyde Park, my friend began the recapitulation of all that has been done under the inspiration of God during the last quarter of a century, by the government, by religious and political societies, or by private benevolence, for freedom, for gradual class elevation, for the spread of justice, instruction, and morals, for the solace and succour of the people of London, throughout England, and in her colonial possessions. It was like perusing the articles of that treaty of peace and union between the classes, which must be regarded as the ultimate issue of all our agitations and of all our debates.
"We walked on in the shadow cast by miles upon miles of palatial residences, which it is difficult adequately to describe, and which elicited from us admiring exclamations at every portal. Proceeding from the end of Oxford Street to Kensington Terrace, we went round the interior forests which lie at the west of the capital, to find again similar palaces at the north, extending does crime exact tribute from those who refuse to sacrifice with free will at the shrine of Christian charity! How like the Scripture record of pinching want-" As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it and die."
out of sight up to Pall Mall and Regent Street-Grecian, Roman, Gothic, Venetian, and Genoese elevations-pinnacled, balustraded, battlemented, carved-with balconies of brick, of stone, or of marble, wrought like lace in delicate tracery and perforations, or massive in character as antique sepulchres, and where the stone seemed to have obeyed with magic facility all the caprices of the architect's pencil, or the possessor's imagination. Some, like domestic bijoux, of proportions limited to the requirements of a simple competence, enjoying in repose the fruits of a graceful leisure; others, huge in dimension, gigantic in height and breadth, as those feudal dwellings of the Middle Ages still extant in Rome, and looking meet for the habitation of the Borgias, the Borghese, or the Chigi, with their army of followers and retainers; all, large or small, festooned with climbing plants, interlacing the sculptures of their Moorish balconies, and having baskets of living flowers, as if the very walls and the interior apartments vegetated with vernal bloom; all resting upon a background of mossy turf, with whose velvet green the carpets of Smyrna could not vie; all flanked by large oaks,* their arms extended towards the dwelling of their friend, the man of the north; all fronted by a railing of bronze or a marble balustrade, inclosing a forecourt of verdant shrubbery, reaching to the foot of the hall steps, and shutting out the dust and turmoil of the street from the noiseless abodes of refinement; all with windows wherein sparkled the purest plate-glass, in lieu of the kind ordinarily employed, set in slender frames of gilt bronze, and reflecting, like waves of crystal, the pale and infrequent splendours of a northern sun.
"I was thunderstruck at the mass of riches, of sleeping capital, of expended revenues represented by these innumerable palaces, and by the furniture, yet more incalculable, with which the interiors are adorned, in rich hangings, in marbles, in bronzes, in rare woods, in carpets from the Asian loom, in pictures, in mirrors, in statues. I appeared to behold, as in a vision, the embodiment of limitless capital; I walked on in silence, vainly endeavouring to compute to myself the millions upon millions, say rather the milliards, figured to the calculator by the structures only which have been raised in London during the past five-and-twenty years. Imagination refused the task.
Turning, at length, to my guide, I said, 'It is a city of princes and rulers of the earth! But yet, voluminous as may be the contents of your book, what an amount of beneficence must it not enumerate, in order that the balance should be re-adjusted between so much luxury on the one hand and so much want on the other-between the vastness of the splendour and the vastness of the distress ?'
"Placing his forefinger on his lip and smiling, he replied to me but three words, Labour is wealth.' 'Wait,' he added, after you have been through the regions of luxury, I will conduct you to the workshops of labour; you shall behold the wealth that produces, after having gazed upon the wealth that enjoys.'
But, while it enjoys,' replied I, 'is there not passing along the street a toiling, suffering population, which throws upon these walls-upon this opulence-that glance of envious hatred whose malign influence withers prosperity ?'
"Yes, and so our aristocracy have at last discerned; therefore they have sought to render their wealth innocent and their happiness solid.'
In what way?'
They first looked upon the people, then raised their looks to God, and thus they said, "Let us sacrifice at once to prudence, to justice, and to our Creator! Let us bestow the tithe of our thoughts and the tithe of our riches upon our brethren in distress-that their hearts may be appeased-that their miseries may no longer rise to Heaven in judgment against us-that thus, whilst we enjoy, they also may be growing in wealth, in enlightenment, and in moral
* Would not "Elms" be more correct ?-Lamartine, however, writes "Oaks."
elevation. Let us, like the Hebrew legislator under the olden dispensation, give to the people a jubilee! Let us console the failing, let us raise the forsaken; let us cause them to forgive, and even to love in us the possession of wealth, while, with liberal hand scattering its fruits around for them to gather up, and no more to pursue us with the cries of destitution. Let us do something let us do much-let us do ALL for the sake of that God who has done all for us!'
"And what have they done, this so blessedly inspired aristocracy, whom you thus cause to speak with the voice of your own soul?'
"What have they done-what have we all done-what are we in conjunction with them now doing-we, all of us, wealthy or of moderate means, large or small proprietors, fundholders, tradesmen, merchants, manufacturers, workmen themselves? Behold it here!' said he. But ere the book he held was entirely opened, he again closed the leaves.- First let us observe upon five or six great public acts, at once religious, political, and social, that have marked the course of this conservative Socialism, this Socialism from on high, in our country since you last visited it.'
"I know what you would say,' exclaimed I, interrupting him.
(Lamartine, then, taking the word out of his companion's mouth, proceeds in his own character and in glowing language, to describe and to analyse some of the great measures that have signalized the internal and external policy of Great Britain in recent years. I shall only allow myself to quote two out of the various examples he enumerates; the first, on account of the exquisite beauty of the eulogium, and also for its peculiar value as evidencing a just understanding of an act which too many of the writer's countrymen persist in perversely misinterpreting; the second, because of its stating, and stating in the best manner, the reasons which may be adduced in favour of penal transportation-reasons which, in our present day, and particularly among 'nous autres' emigrationists, are, perhaps, a little too apt to be overlooked.)
"You would," says Lamartine," speak of the emancipation of the slaves in your colonies, and of the five hundred millions voted by your parliament in a single sitting to purchase back to humanity its freedom before God! Ah! it was indeed well done! a thousand times well! More, far more than Socialism; there we behold the heroism of justice and charity! That act has caused to rain upon your isles blessings which can never cease! You dared to be philosophers whilst we would be but calculators on the question of the slavery of the blacks! True, we also have at last signed that declaration of the equality of souls! But it required a revolution, and a dictature of February to effect that in France. With you it required but Wilberforce and a parliamentary vote."
"You would speak, too, of your penal colonies, where, without pausing to reckon the millions of their cost, you banish along vast continents your social refuse; you purify them through labour, you regenerate them through the medium of the new atmosphere into which they are plunged; you give to them space, earth, the open sky; and you say to them, If you expiate your crimes and rid yourselves of your vices, your sons may make that name, repudiated in the mother-country, an honoured name in the land to which you go!' Behold, once more, true Socialism; your penal colonies are to you the sponge of society; they cleanse here-they fertilize elsewhere a virgin soil. All that we have hitherto done in the same direction has been but to establish a sort of barbarous imitation of the system-a dungeon for political criminals four thousand miles out at sea, instead of peopling with families a continent, which regenerates and multiplies the colonies sown upon its soil!' "No!' said my companion, stopping me, it is not of these great acts of government that I wish principally to discourse to you to-day; I recognise and bless their importance and their worth; they also are inspirations from God in the collective mind of a people, speaking through the organ of its