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There are thirteen thousand poor families in the various wards, “ within and without the walls." Of these, 2,293 are without Bibles.
The total attendance at public worship of the 127,869 comprised within the civic boundaries, last December, was as follows: Ministers officiating
135 Clerks, Organists, Pew-openers, &c.
521 In Pews
14,605 In Free Seats
2,105 School Children
23,389 This, it will be observed, is not one person in five.
The London City Mission have just issued a special appeal for the thirteen thousand poor families within the City, and are trying to establish a City Auxiliary. They have twelve Missionaries now at work; fourteen more are required, and then the whole of these families will be under religious visitation. Probably many other families will, after some time, be found by these Missionaries, accessible to their visits.
These masses of poor' plead very strongly to those who make their wealth in the City. We trust they will no longer plead in vain.
W. M. W.
NOT A POET.
I AM a little maiden
Who fain would touch the lyre;
Bring discord from the wire.
There's music in my heart;
About this magic art.
I'm told that joyous spirits,
Untouched by grief or care, In mystery so holy
Are all too light to share. My heart is very gladsome ;
But there's a corner deep, Where many a shadow nestles,
And future sorrows sleep.
I hope they'll not awaken,
As yet, for many a year ; There's not on earth a jewel
That's worth one grief-born tear. Long may the harp be silent,
If sorrow's touch alone, Upon the chord descending,
Has power to wake its tone.
I'd never be a poet,
My bounding heart to hush And lay down at the altar
For sorrow's foot to crush. Ah, no! I'll gather sunshine
For coming evening hours ; And while the spring-time lingers
I'll garner up its flowers.
I fain would learn the music
Of those who dwell in heaven; For woe-tuned harp was never
To seraph fingers given. But I will strive no longer
To waste my heart-felt mirth ; I will mind me that the gifted
Are the stricken ones of earth.
THE IMPERFECT BIBLES :
A PEEP AT MY DISTRICT.
I am a collector, dear reader, for the Bible Society; and in the course of my weekly rounds, I meet, as you may readily believe, with a variety of different characters. Some of my subscribers are very poor; while others are very well off; some entrust me with a penny or twopence, towards the purchase of a Bible for themselves; while others give me the same, or larger sums, towards procuring Bibles for other people.
But there is one strange circumstance, observable alike in the dwellings of rich and poor, which has struck me very much lately; and I mention it in the hope of ascertaining whether it be a peculiarity of the neighbourhood in which I reside, or whether it exist in other, as highly-favoured localities. It is this : there are so many imperfect Bibles in use among the families which I visit. Some only want a few verses ; others seem to be deficient in whole chapters; but nearly all are more or less minus the sacred contents. And yet their owners are quite unconscious of their loss, or else quite comfortable under it.
Do you doubt the truthfulness of my statements, dear reader? then just listen while I describe to you some of the scenes which I witnessed, and relate some of the remarks which I heard during my last calls.
The first house at which I stopped was Farmer Hilton's. The farmer is a stout, sturdy-looking man, with gray, straggling locks of hair, and broad cheeks as brightly tinged with red as his own apples ; quite one of the old school. He is a hard-working, honest, upright, and, I believe, Christian man; but his natural firmness is very apt to run into obstinacy; so that when he takes a thing into his head, it is the hardest
task in the world to get it out again. His habits are hospitable, and his manners friendly towards those who are deserving; but woe to the unfortunate neighbour who in any way incurs his displeasure ; for it is about as easy to mollify Farmer Hilton, as to melt the hard rock on the sea-shore. “A warm friend and a bitter enemy,” is his maxim. Where he found it, I don't know, but I am sure he never came across it in his well read Bible. What! does Farmer Hilton read the Bible? To be sure he does, night and morning; week-day and Sunday; and he gives me sixpence a week out of his little leathern purse-ah, and gives it freely too-to help to increase the circulation of God's Word among men.
The door being half-open, I was just going in for the said sixpence, when the farmer's voice, raised to its loudest pitch, fell rather unpleasantly on my ear, and I paused a moment.
“I tell you what, wife, it's of no use to talk to me any more about it. I won't see him, nor have anything more to do with him, and that's enough. He's an ungrateful, unprincipled fellow.”
Ralph, Ralph, he is our son," said the pleading tones of his gentle-hearted wife.
“Do you think I don't know that, and regret it deeply, too? To think that a child of mine should bring such disgrace on our family! I wash my hands clean of him; he may go where he likes; he shan't oome here."
“But you will forgive him, Ralph."
“I will not, Martha ; I have forgiven him too often already.”
“He is so very, very sorry, almost heart-broken, poor boy," murmured the wife.
“Sorry! I dare say he is, that he has no more money to spend."
Another voice was heard; it was that of his favourite daughter Mary.
Father, you forget the letter he sent yesterday, so humble, so penitent."
“Hold your tongue, child, it's no business of your's. It's easy enough to write a few penitent sentences when there is anything to be gained by it. Yes, I dare say he would like to come here as usual to our family party ; but he's mistaken if he thinks I'm weak enough to consent to that. Some things I can forgive, and have forgiven, but I'm not going to forgive his conduct this time; it was too bad, too barefaced.”
Such texts as these came into my mind, dear reader, as I listened to the farmer's emphatic language: “ Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven." “If ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” “How oft shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him ? till seven times ? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times, but, until seventy times seven.' cluding that they were missing in Farmer Hilton's Bible? Had they been there, he must have seen them, and had he seen them he must, as a Christian man, have believed that they were binding as a rule of duty upon him. No, no, it was impossible that he could be in possession of such messages from on high, and yet so plainly disobey them; and his Bible must therefore be an imperfect copy:
But what a pity it was, that the very part which seemed the most needed, should be the part wanting!
Another place where I called was Mrs. Coleman's. The servant showed me into the parlour, and just as I went in, a pale-looking, thinly-clad young woman was turning to come out. It was Esther Watson, whose husband is laid up through a fall from some scaffolding, and whose three little children have also to be. provided for by her efforts.
“I am very sorry,”. Mrs. Coleman was saying, “that I can't afford to give you anything, but our calls really are so many just now. I hope you will what