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Our Work as Beggars.
WO pairs of Sisters have lately been upon begging expedi tions in different parts of England, impelled to make the exertion by the consideration of the very heavy building liabilities we are incurring at the present time.
The walls of our Homes, both at Kilburn and Broadstairs, are growing, but our funds are diminishing, so what can we do but appeal both directly and indirectly to those who have the power to help us through our difficulties?
Two of our 'beggars' pleaded the good cause in the West of England, and were able to bring back a welcome addition of 50% to the Orphanage Extension Fund.
The weariness and hardness of going about soliciting help was to a great measure lightened by the extreme kindness of which they were the objects.
Many were the expedients of self-denying and ingenious generosity which were brought to light by the Sisters' visits :
In one house the children, having taken a card for the Convalescent Home, were quite at a loss how to fill it, till a bright idea suddenly occurred to them. They made a collection of most of their favourite toys, ' all that were not broken,' the contents of their dolls' houses, &c., wrapped them in paper, and buried them deep in a bran-pie, which was placed in the hall-all visitors to the house being asked to take a threepenny dip !
The plan succeeded admirably. The servants, especially, were delighted to take their chance of a prize-the old gardener being allowed several dips, as it was 'so long before he could find anything that was of use to him.' At the time of the Sisters' visit, the cost of a dip into the bran-pie had been reduced to one penny, because all the most valuable articles had disappeared.
Surely the self-denial that has been called out in many children by means of these gift
cards must draw down an abundant blessing on the zealous little collectors themselves!
In one small town in the West of England no less than 27. 12s. 6d. was collected, the contributions varying from sixpence to five shillings, in less than two hours, by houseto-house visiting among the tradespeople.
Those who have tried this way of collecting alms well know what a hopeless and disappointing task it usually is; but in this instance, to their surprise, the Sisters did not meet with one refusal-Church-people and Dissenters all willingly giving what they could.
This was in great measure owing to the good work carried on in that part of the town by the earnest and zealous missionpriest and his wife. The latter accompanied the Sisters on their round, and pleaded their cause with unwearied zeal.
In the same town there lives a young woman whose time is wholly occupied in waiting on her sick parents, yet she never loses an opportunity of obtaining a fresh subscription to her collecting card. She has made the needs of the Convalescent Home so well known, that many even of her dissenting friends, when they meet her in the street, will volunteer to add something to her card. In this manner she has actually succeeded in collecting upwards of 7. in a short time.
Not only in towns, but also in villages, many were found doing all in their power to help on our work of charity. One very poor bed-ridden woman deserves special notice. She keeps a box for the Convalescent Home, into which every visitor is expected to drop at least a halfpenny, and by this means, when her little box was opened, the sum of 5s. 9d. was found therein.
At T the same kind friend, who always welcomes the Sisters on these expeditions, received them most hospitably, insisted that they should make her house their home while they were in the neighbourhood, and loaded them on their departure with useful and valuable presents of soap, apples, beans, tea, flowers, &c. Truly she is one who uses every opportunity of holding
out a helping hand to those who are labouring in the same cause with herself, though in a different portion of CHRIST's Vineyard.
Who would expect to find, at the back of a shop of very modest pretensions, in a country town, an unused storehouse fitted up like a little chapel, the rafters coloured, and texts painted upon them, religious pictures on the walls, &c. &c.? This warehouse has been set apart by this good woman for some years, to be used, as she says, 'for any religious purpose.' At present it is filled to overflowing every Sunday afternoon with a Bible class for young men, conducted by one of the clergy of the place; and the pains these young fellows take to adorn and beautify the little Mission Room, in their leisure hours, show how greatly they appreciate her offering. Would that others might be stirred up by this example to go and do likewise!
One of the greatest encouragements which the Sisters experience, on these expeditions, is the sympathy shown by all classes for the work in which they are engaged. We would again and again impress upon our well-wishers, that they cannot render us a greater service, than by making known as widely as possible what we are trying to do for the poor, the suffering, the homeless, and the destitute.
The second pair of Sisters chose Hertfordshire as the scene of their labours. They were fortunate enough to find a friend willing to house them for the first two nights, and met with a cordial response from most of those they first called upon. Some rebuffs are to be occasionally expected, and these were administered by two or three persons who commented upon the bad practice of soliciting alms, and the necessity of keeping to a resolution they had made-never to give in response to a personal application.
We add a few extracts from letters received from these begging-Sisters: 'Our next day's experience was not so chequered. Warm sympathy and liberal help was the result of our begging, and with light hearts we went
on to our next resting-place. This was at the house of a very kind friend, who, though unable to take us into her house, had secured a nice lodging, and lent us her horses to expedite our work. We found numbers of children interested in our undertakings. One little boy-quite of his own. accord-asked his mother to give the Sisters a shilling out of his purse. Three more little ones volunteered offerings of 25. each, which was a great deal for them to give, and at one town the children in the National School, after listening to what the Sisters were doing, agreed to collect some pence among themselves.
The matron of a small workhouse took a collecting-card, and her husband gave us 2s. 6d. The mistress of a little shop for stationery always has her subscription of 5s. ready for us.
At one place we were disappointed to find most people out, but after a long walk we met with a kind reception; and a welcome rest, some refreshment, and a generous donation put us quite into good heart again. Our hostess, too, contrived to spare us the long walk back to the station by sending us in her carriage.
When we look back and remember that we have been away ten days, and that we return with seventy pounds for the Building Fund, we feel how very grateful we should be to those good friends, who, for the love of GOD, have freely given to us for His poor friendless little ones. We did not have to pay for a single night's lodging, a meal, or a drive, and came back well and not overtired. Hardly any extra fatigue would our kind friends permit us to take, and it was clearly a pleasure to them thus to care for us.
As we go from place to place, we come across striking indications of the way in which the work of the Church is growing in all directions.
Here a large landowner has given up some great tithes which bis predecessors had enjoyed, because he felt that to retain them was to rob GOD of His own. There, a village church is found with its daily Eucharistic
service, its doors always open for private prayer, and its carefully kept burial-ground. A little farther on we find a little hamlet church undergoing restoration. In another village the rector's wife had an offering ready put by for us whenever we should call for it, and only regretted it was not more.
Yes; those who will take the trouble to mark the signs of the times may readily recognise God's protecting and guiding hand over us-raising our beloved Church into fuller life, and greater vigour and energy, than she has ever yet known, and making her more and more of a real power and influence for good in the land.
HE unpretending little paper written in memoriam of the Rev. S. W. O'Neill, in the October number of Our Work, seems to have found so much favour with the readers of that Magazine that it may, perhaps, be not unacceptable if we annex a few further details-supplied to us from various sources-concerning the life and death of that holy missionary.
Before doing so, however, may we just say-in answer to those correspondents who object that we have not done full justice to our friend, or to the life he led in Indiathat we made no pretension to giving an exhaustive account of either?
The brief notice which appeared last month referred to him merely in his character of a benefactor of the C. E. A., and virtual founder of one of its branches. Should anything like a detailed record of his life and labours be attempted in the future, it would no doubt be entrusted to worthier hands than ours.
Meanwhile, to those of our readers who knew and loved him, it may be a comfort to
know that God did not forsake His faithful servant in his extremity.
As soon as the illness assumed a serious aspect he was removed to an English cantonment, two or three miles distant, by an officer stationed there, who was a personal friend of his own; and one of his brothers in religion was sent for to minister to him. The latter seems to have been indeed a 'brother born for adversity,' and by these two friends he was tenderly nursed during the days of suffering that followed, until he sank calmly and peacefully to rest, fortified by the prayers and rites of the Church.
The following simple and touching account of his last hours appears in the Cowley Magazine for last month :
'After receiving his last Communion our hopes again revived; he was more conscious, and took his food (milk or beef-tea) better. He asked for a hymn-book, but his hands were too weak to turn over the pages for the hymn he wanted. I showed him the index. He pointed to 299-"Come let us join our cheerful songs." I read it to him. It formed part of his Eucharistic thanksgiving. So much did it please GOD to rest and refresh His servant on His day of rest, that when I had to preach at the church in the evening, in the absence of Mr. Lapsley, the chaplain, I told the people-who were throughout his sickness most kind in their attentions and inquiries, sending him flowers and nutritious food-that I hoped they might see his face again; but it was not to be so. Monday morning found him very much weaker, and we all felt that he could not live many days longer. He was, however, conscious the whole of the day.
666 Delicious," he exclaimed, and his face lighted up with pleasure as we placed before him a beautiful bunch of roses a kind friend sent him. A little later on in the morning he said, "I'm in such pain," and repeated the words, adding, "I am so sorry to give you so much trouble." Throughout the day, though often in much pain, he was quiet, collected, and cheerful. No word of murmur or complaint ever escaped his lips, nor was
his mind harassed by doubts or fears. While he felt the justice of Almighty GOD-" How justly punished for my sins, my God," he twice exclaimed-so also he relied on His mercy, with the full assurance of hope. He said, on Sunday evening, slowly and with great devotion, Psalm 31, one of the Compline Psalms: "In Thee, O LORD, have I put my trust." It was the longest devotion he was able to say aloud in his sicknessand he added, when he had recovered a little from the sustained effort, "I know that I shall soon die."
'As Monday morning drew on, his pain increased, but his countenance was beautiful, and his eyes seemed to tell us that the veil of the visible was already being drawn on one side, and he looked on the invisible. He begged us to lift him up. We did so as gently as we could, but the movement occasioned such an agony of suffering that his frame quivered under it. I thought the end had come, and we (Major Carey, Brother Beale, and myself) knelt down, and I began the Commendatory prayers. It seemed to me like that shock when the Cross, with the Sacred Body nailed on it, was allowed to drop into the hole prepared to receive it. He recovered himself a little, and remained conscious, but suffering. The doctor now came -he was throughout most kind and attentive, coming three or four times a day—and gave him a draught. This gave him some relief. Very shortly after he breathed his last as we knelt round him reciting the beautiful prayer for the departure of a soul-"Go forth, O Christian soul, from this world, in the Name of the Father who created thee; in the Name of the Son who redeemed thee; in the Name of GOD the Holy Ghost Who hath sanctified thee. . . . May the bright host of Angels meet thee; may the glorious company of the Apostles greet thee; the noble army of Martyrs welcome thee; and the great multitude which no man can number encompass thee. . . . Mayst thou behold thy Redeemer face to face, and ever standing in the joy of His presence, drink of the fount of life eternal, and enjoy the beatific vision for evermore. Amen."
'There is no undertaker in Indore, but we got a coffin somewhat roughly made of mango wood and lined with linen, without adornment of any kind save the plain cross on the top. For a pall we used a white sheet, and placed over it a cross and wreath of flowers which some loving hand had made and sent
'It was meet that soldiers should carry him who had so often preached to soldiers, and was so brave a soldier of the Cross himself, to the church and grave. The gentlemen and ladies who form the choir of the Station Church sang a hymn. After the lesson, I gave a short address to the people, who nearly all came, together with many natives, and then the soldiers again took up their precious burden, and we moved in slow procession to the distant cemetery. Here the last prayers were said, and loving hands piled up on the coffin the tokens of their affection and of their belief in the immortality of the soul, in the form of wreaths and crosses of flowers.'
Another priest of the Society of S. John the Evangelist calls attention to the fact that, in leaving England, F. O'Neill underwent the keen trial of separation not only from an aged mother but from a dearly loved sister, whom cancer had marked for its own. He observes, further, that the heat of Indore was extreme, and the plague of insects well-nigh intolerable.
On the other hand, he demurs to the term 'dreadful' as applied to the daily life led by the missionary at Indore, and points out that its extreme hardness and loneliness were mitigated by sundry surroundings, such as the society of a holy, native priest, the vicinity of the simple, industrious Mussulmans amongst whom he lived, and who were preferable as neighbours to many of our godless countrymen, &c. The writer thinks, too, that the description of his mode of life was rather highly coloured by his English visitor, insomuch as his hut was made not of clay but of unburnt brick, his food was the native curry, not rice, and so on.
It may be so. Casual visitors can but record their own impressions. And, when
all is said, such details seem to us rather insignificant. The sacrifice of bodily ease and comfort would never be the Crux in the life of a man of Father O'Neill's stamp.
But whatever may have been the exact nature of the cross laid upon him, whatever its precise weight and sharpness, upon one point there can be no doubt, and this is that it was bravely and patiently borne by this. good soldier and servant of JESUS CHRIST, and only laid down when, at the command of that beloved Master, he entered into the joy of the LORD.'
What Others are Doing.
Under this heading we desire to introduce our readers to a variety of charitable and religious work which is being carried on for GOD in different parts of the world. It will be distinctly a record of work -charitable, philanthropic, and missionary-and we wish it to be understood that we by no commit ourselves to any approval of the religious views and opinions held by those who do such work. In this particular, great scope will be allowed, and we trust that our readers will understand and appreciate our motives. We shall gladly welcome interesting accounts written by those engaged themselves in charitable and missionary work. Mere begging appeals are not admissible.
THE PUPIL TEACHERS' HOME, CHRIST CHURCH, S. LEONARDSON-SEA.
OME years ago the incumbent of Christ Church, finding that he could not get a sufficient supply of competent pupilteachers for the flourishing girls' and infants' schools of his district, in S. Leonards, resolved to employ teachers from a distance.
There were, however, two serious disadvantages connected with this plan; one was that their salaries, though enough to keep them had they been living with their own families, were not sufficient to provide them