« FöregåendeFortsätt »
ful feeling or habit, “Ah, sir,' she replied, that's where it is.' Without atteinpting to extort from her a more particular acknowledgment, she was urged to a full and unreserved confession before God, and to ask of him the will and power to give up every thing that was wrong, and sincerely and earnestly to seek his mercy through the Saviour ; the remarks were listened to with attention, though little more was said by her. As there was a very young infant to nurse, she was prevented from attending a place of worship; she confessed that she had not been in the habit of going to church regularly, though she had gone occasionally. Her husband never did; indeed it afterwards appeared that his habits and infidelity were the great obstacles to her attendance. On another visit, when the woman was more communicative, she mentioned that some time back a book was lent her, (for she could read ;) the subject of which was, • The sin against the Holy Ghost,' the reading of it caused her great alarm, it left the impression on her mind that she had been guilty of this unpardonable sin, and for two years she suffered most dreadfully in her mind in consequence ; the recollection only of what she had gone through, seemed to thrill her with horror. At last a relative who attended a Wesleyan chapel persuaded her to go with her to a classmeeting, she did so, and was encouraged to open her mind to some one there, and the result was that her conscience was relieved, from the conviction of this particular guilt. Here she seems to have stayed, a general sense of sin remaining, which had not however brought her to the Saviour, but yet enough to prevent her being at ease. As soon as her infant would allow her, she was induced to prevail upon her husband to permit her to come out once or twice to a place of worship on a Sunday evening, but his indifference or oppo. sition has kept her from continuing it. The visitor always found in him a greater backwardness to enter into conversation, than even in her case ; without being positively uncivil, or intending to be so, there was a sullenness of manner which repelled every attempt at conversation, and quietly negatived all arguments to induce him to attend a place of worship, and even when he was suffering under a violent spasmodic attack, which had nearly ended fatally, he seemed but little disposed to serious reflections. One Sunday afternoon, on finding him at home, a more earnest attempt was made to awaken his feelings, but he frankly expressed a total indifference. The fact is, sir,' said the wife, it is little use talking to him about the Bible, for he wont believe in it.' The writer addressed him therefore on this point, and inquired the reasons for his unbelief. He could say little about it, except that he believed some parts ; something was said about books, but it then appeared he could not read ; some common objections were adverted to, and their weakness pointed out to him, he listened, but whether he was much interested, was not clear. It was then remarked that infidelity had more to do with the heart and our natural love of sin, than with the knowledge, or strength of any arguments against the truth of the scriptures; that in those instances of infidelity which had come under the visitor's knowledge, the unbelief evidently arose from a cherishing and cleaving to habits, which it was felt that the scriptures condemned. The wife looked significantly at the husband and then at the writer, evidently expressing her sense that this was his case. In answer to some observations partly addressed to her, she replied, “Oh, I have no doubt at all about it.'. No,' it was remarked, there are proofs upon proofs that the Bible is all that it is declared to be, but a simple minded person does not need all this to satisfy him. Such a person feels and acknowledges that the Word of God speaks to the heart and feelings as no book of man's writing could, and therefore cannot help yielding their belief. The wife afterwards told the visitor, that her husband, like the generality of weavers, was a bird-fancier, and mostly employed his time on Sundays with his companions in their common pursuit; that this kept her in the house, as the silk could never be left safely in the looms, unless the door was well fastened. She also mentioned that the change which had taken place in one of his companions, had had a great influence upon him; it was 90 complete that he did not know what to think of it. This case will afterwards be mentioned more particularly.
Socialism appears never to have gained any real hold amongst the weavers. It has passed away, leaving only its slime behind it. Its appeal to the sinful passions of men, it has generally been obliged to mask; and those who might be disposed to listen to it upon this ground, did not need the mask, or understand the motive for using it. Neither could these people respond to any call upon them to unite in an attempt to regenerate society, and to make a 'new moral world. They will listen to any scheme that would seem to promise any increase of wages, or bring them any immediate advantage, but they appear to be incapable of entering into anything prospective. The nature of their employment and their mingled vices and distresses, have produced a complete apathy of feeling on every point; they seem alive to little else than the immediate cravings of nature. There are few active ideas to lay hold of on any subject. The great amount of charity that has been distributed amongst them at various times, and the mode in wbich it has generally been distributed, has greatly contributed to this state of feeling, and tended to make them a dependant, depressed, and improvident race. Of course there are many pleasing exceptions, especially where there is any true piety, but the influence of bad habits, even then, may sometimes be seen. The writer was struck by meeting the daughter of one of the more respectable amongst them going to teach her class at the Sunday-school, in a good silk gown and bonnet, and handsome shawl, who the week before had been applying for some of the relief, then in distribution, because she was then out of work, and had had but little for some weeks past. Does not the distribution of charity generally, and of that in connection with religious visitation especially, need a complete revolution ? And yet there seems little hope that this either will or can be speedily effected.
Chartism seems to have more attractions for these people than Socialism; it lays hold at once upon all gloomy feelings of discontent, encourages them to vent their feelings, and seems to promise a direct redress. These opinions will be expressed more freely at public meetings than to the visitor at their homes; they have a motive rather to disguise it to a respectable stranger. Still, indications are apparent in the portraits of such men as Frost, which may sometimes be seen in MAY, 1842.
their rooms. But a judicious visitor, of course avoids political collision, One of the Relief Fund Visitors, however, on going into one room, where there seemed evident want, and making his inquiries, was surprised by the character of the man's replies : · You seem to have no work,' said the visitor. ·No !' said the man, 'nor likely to get any.' • You would be glad of a little relief then, I suppose ?' *You may do as you like about that,' was the answer; • I have not asked for any, and don't mean to.' You are a curious fellow,' said the visitor, • I suppose you are a Cbartist.' "Yes, I am, and I mean to say, we are kept out of our own, and I shall not ask for what belongs to me.' Little good impression could be made upon such a man : but he was eventually relieved, as the visitor satisfactorily ascertained he stood in great need.
It is to be feared that Tee-total meetings at coffee-rooms have taken too much of a political, if not a more dangerous character: many of these are held on Sunday-evenings; but, as far as the reformation of drunkenness goes, they have certainly done good. How much useful instrumentality might be effectively and safely employed, were the Clergy of the Established Church to place themselves at the head of the District Visiting Societies in their several parishes.
Although in visiting with the Relief Tickets, there was as much to distress the mind in the moral state of people, as there was in their physical condition, yet there were some cases that yielded peculiar encouragements. In one house, in particular, the visitor was much struck by the feeling displayed after the first two or three visits : such a pleasure was expressed in receiving him, independent, in a great measure, apparently, of the relief afforded. Three families, in this house, had been induced to attend the evening service before mentioned, with the best things they could put on. On the third visit to the house, while the tickets were being filled up in one room, it was pleasing to hear one woman say to another, “I believe my husband has taken quite a turu: he's quite another man : he never went to any place of worship before in his life, and now he says he can't help going, and that he is determined to keep to it;' and the woman seemed so overjoyed, she did not know how to express her feelings further : they all appeared to share the feeling, and the visitor left the house with a shower of blessings ; and yet, as regards the temporal benefit, he had only been distributing the bounty of others. All this seemed so hearty, that it was hard to doubt the sincerity of the feeling, yet, only a little experience makes us cautious. But the best bopes, with regard to two at least, seem now fully confirmed. On a subsequent casual call, not with any relief, another woman said, with marked earnestness, “I am sure, Sir, you have brought a blessing into this house, things have gone better with us ever since you came into it.' With regard to both these last parties, husband and wife have kept their resolves, and continued their attendance on the Sunday-evening regularly for the last three months--the husband also attending in, the morning, as well as at a week-day meeting for prayer. A particular interest has, therefore, been felt in both these cases. On visiting for the purpose of conversation the first-named, it was most gratifying to hear the expression of their feelings. “I have led a very bad life,' said the husband, but I don't mean to lead that any more; those
children,' pointing to his two or three little ones, 'shan't be brought up as they have been. The wife eagerly interrupted him, with •No; I've got them into the Sunday-school, and they shall learn to read their Bibles; bless their little hearts, they shan't grow up as I have.' • Things have been a little better with me, the last week,' said the man, and I have managed to get myself a decent coat out of pledge to go out with on a Sunday morning, and I bought a good Bible for 8d., and I can now manage to learn to read a bit out of it.' He could not read before, but his anxiety to be acquainted with the word of God, had made him determine to try, and he had succeeded in overcoming every difficulty. It appeared that his parents had been well inclined, if not pious, and had endeavoured to lead him right, but he had broke through their restraints, and had gone to sea, where he served three years on board of a man of war; and, except the services which were always regularly held on board the ship, he had never before attended public worship since liis youth. He stated that he had an uncle, a dissenting minister, at Reading, and that most of his family friends were religious people, and that he had been round to some of them, who were as surprised as they were pleased at the change they found in him. Altogether, there appeared the best reason to hope, that the man had indeed become a new character, there only seemed need to caution him against self-confidence, and trusting too much to the present state of his feelings; but he is humbly persevering, and has found, in various little trying circumstances, the best checks to any undue elation of mind. In endeavouring to form a little Sunday-school in a neighbouring district, it was thought he might be able to assist, in a way that would be useful to himself. He willingly assented, and is rendering more valuable assistance than could have been expected. His altered conduct has been marked, not only by friends, but as much by his former companions ; and it is this man that was referred to in the account of the other weaver, whom it was remarked had been somewhat staggered by the change in one of his associates, Nor has this been observed, without offering both opposition and ridicule to the man; but he was firm with those who came to entice him, and said, they should never tempt him again. There seems united to much generous warmth, and kindly feeling, much firmness and perseverance, and the disposition of the wife seems as affectionate as his own. He has latterly induced an unhappy sister, who bas been a very depraved character, having been once transported, to accompany him on Sunday, being anxious to recover her, and he evinces a desire to do good as well as to get good. So decided and pleasing a case affords more than ample encouragement to a little perseverance in seeking the best welfare of others. In fact, how utterly disproportionate is such a blessed result to any amount of effort that could ever be used. Those know not how much happiness they lose, who sit down and do nothing, or content themselves with doing but a little.
J. A. W
CHRIST CHURCH, STREATHAM, SURREY.
We contemplate this rather remarkable work with mingled feelings of pleasure and apprehension. We can well understand the motives which have impelled the architect, Mr. Wild, to such an experiment, We are aware that his enthusiastic views of gothic, or rather ecclesiastical architecture, are such as often to fill him with impatient emotions at the constant struggle which is now going on in our church and parochial committees, between a spirit of economy on one hand, reinforced by the arguments derived from want of funds, and a growing desire on the other, to make our houses of worship in some measure worthy of their high destination. From the conflict of these two principles, we constantly see produced, either good and elevated designs, spoiled in the execution, by paring down and dispensing with essential features; or the substitution of a cheap and tawdry “ carpenter's gothic,” recommended solely by its shewiness and its small expence. Sbrinking alike from both of these miserable shifts, Mr. Wild has made an effort to select from among the various styles of architecture which obtain on the continent, a specimen which might admit of being carried into effect at a moderate cost, and yet without losing its ecclesiastical character. To a great extent he has succeeded. The church, of which an engraving is herewith given, is greatly superior to every other substitute for Gothic, or proper Ecclesiastical, that we have seen. It is 'a church, -not an amphibious erection, which might be a music-hall, or sessions-house, or “ hall of science.” It is, too, a favourable and successful attempt at naturalizing a new class of ecclesiastical buildings among us.
Still, however, it is open to some objections. In itself it is greatly inferior to a good Gothic church. But, further, it is a dangerous example to set before young architects. · Mr. Wild has effected his object with his usual skill and good taste. But great would be the risk of him who should attempt to imitate ; except, indeed, he made a servile copy. A few alterations would suffice to lower this style. into intolerable absurdities. We protest, therefore, against any such attempts; aud we beg no church-building committee to adopt this style of architecture, except they first resolve to take Mr. Wild as their architect.
The consecration of this church took place at the commencement of the present year.
The number of sittings in it is 1200. The cost of the building was originally proposed to be limited to £4000, but in the execution, it has naturally swelled, until it has reached £6000. The denomination of the “ style" is still, we apprehend, uncertain. It has been called Moorish, Byzantine, Arabian, &c, but we incline to think that it may more justly claim the title of “ Italian” than that Palladian modifi. cation which has so long monopolized that title in England.