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The chapel itself forms a complete contrast with the rest of the building. It is more light and cheerful, and tends to convey the impression that when the transgressor has been brought to delight in the instructions given therein out of God's Word, the transition from darkness to light which takes place in the mind is as real as that which takes place in the transition from a prison cell to the prison chapel. Here, too, are fewer emblems of prison restraint— bars and bolts are absent; everything seems to say, that if the gospel be received by faith into the heart, it bursts the bands of sin and imparts true liberty.
The chapel service having begun, it is conducted throughout in a manner that would reflect credit on a congregation of the most spiritual worshippers. Amongst this congregation we could point out several who afford hope their's is more than lip service. Listen to that voice which, in musical tones, leads others in the responses and in the psalmody, and now and then breaks into an harmonious chord. It is that of a young woman whose manner betokens reverence and sincerity. She has lately professed to feel the error of her ways, and has applied for admission to an asylum for penitent females. We pronounce no opinion as to the real motive which has prompted her to do so, except that we know it is not for the sake of worldly gain; we can only pray that she may at last sit down in the asylum of the redeemed above, with her who once stood at "the Master's" feet and bathed them with her tears. They who know the character of such persons, will understand that it requires no ordinary measure of self-denial and fortitude to take the step she is about to take. As the chapel service proceeds, solemnity marks the devotional part of it throughout. The psalm or hymn being sung, all stand in silence till prayer is offered before the sermon; after which, the text is referred to by those who can read. Now you begin to distinguish those who appear to "hear and understand,” from the rest of their fellow-worshippers; they are so anxious to hear all that is said, the least noise disconcerts them. Others again show that their minds are beyond the precincts of the chapel, probably absorbed in those “revellings and such like," in which they live when at liberty. These are generally young persons who have just entered on the path of vice, which at first seems strewed with flowers to tempt them on, until they are confirmed therein. Here and there you see a few who are evidently restless and inattentivethey are Irish and Roman Catholics who are not sufficiently acquainted with English to follow the preacher in his discourse. There are, however, occasional instances even amongst these, when the Gospel "tells" on their conscience and heart. 66 "I did not think such beautiful things were in the Bible,” is not unfrequently the remark of some who never heard the Bible read before. As the sermon is being delivered, if its subject is simple and faithful, calculated to probe conscience, and at the same time pour in" the oil and wine" of the promises, to comfort the broken-hearted, you see increased attention; and should the subject of the sermon bear on the history of some wandering prodigal, whose case has its counterpart in many instances in this congregation, you will soon be able to single them out from all beside. As the chaplain refers to the common incidents in such a history, or speaks of the pain and sorrow the prodigal often causes in the family circle-or tells of a dying mother, some of whose last moments were spent in agonizing prayer for her "poor outcast child," then you see how conscience applies the word; the faces of many are covered with their hands, and their sobbing not unfrequently is loud and long-continued. Truth has told
on their feelings, and may touch their hearts. The Holy Spirit often teaches the poor and unlearned, through their feelings, rather than their intellect; but whether it be through head or heart, if sinners are turned from the error of their ways, herein we do rejoice.
It may be said, however, tears are not always the sign of genuine repentance, and therefore, although the chapel scene just described may not be one of fancy, yet it does not amount to what the apostle describes as the evidence
of true repentance in 2 Cor. vii. 10, 11; and we may be asked, if we can find any such sorrow amongst our chapel congregation. We must first vindicate these poor people from the imputation of insincerity, which the inquiry insinuates. Their circumstances and habits of life place them beyond the charge of hypocrisy in the manifestation of that apparent penitence we have witnessed. No inducement could be held out to them, of a temporal nature, sufficiently strong to act as a bribe, to tempt them away from the path of vice they have been pursuing. They are all gaining more by the wages of sin than the authorities of a prison could offer, to persuade them to forsake the error of their ways. The most that could be done for a male would be to procure him admission into a reformatory institution, where his sincerity would be tested, at the outset, by fourteen days bread and water, and solitary lodging. And for a female, the inducement held out to every professed penitent, is one or two years probation in some asylum, previous to being employed as a domestic servant. These possess few attractions for persons who have been their own masters and mistresses for years, and have been accustomed to live in sloth, intemperance, and exciting company. The charge of mere excitement, or insincerity, in that burst of feeling not unfrequently heard in the prison chapel, does not lie against those who manifest it. No, these poor people have feeling-conscience is not quite seared—and when such motives as the Gospel supplies to " persuade men," are brought to bear on them, when, not merely the terrors of the law, but the persuasion and hope of the Gospel are declared, the word ever proves quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Yes, these poor people have feeling, and often exhibit it in a touching and delicate manner; not a few of them have become trophies of Divine grace, through the preaching of "the truth as it is in Jesus," and have risen again to respectability and usefulness in society.
A young man was committed two or three times to a metropolitan prison in 1849-50. He had passed through many adversities, and fallen into many sins. He was at one time on the verge of Socialism, and again on the brink of despair as to his temporal prospects. In the prison chapel his conscience was aroused to a sense of sin, his heart touched with godly sorrow, his understanding enlightened to perceive the spirituality of Divine things; in a word, his experience became that of the Psalmist in Psalm xix. 7-9. He proved the genuineness of the change wrought in his heart by his after conduct, and is now usefully and honourably engaged in endeavouring, under the guidance of a clergyman, to lead his fellow-sinners to the knowledge of that Saviour by whose grace "he now is what he is."
Another of that congregation just described, the mother of a large family, was committed to the same prison, for several months, in 1851. The following is an extract from a letter she wrote to the chaplain within the last few days:-"Believe me, Sir, I do feel grateful to you as the instrument of opening these blind eyes. Kind Sir, what I now write is the truth. Last night I began reading to my children, my husband took his hat and walked out, he will not hear me, he calls me a hypocrite and laughs at me, therefore you can comfort me, and relieve my unhappy mind."
Another, who has been nearly a year in prison, has recently observed, "I feel now in going to chapel as I used in going to the play, or out for a holiday. I have more pleasure every time I go; I feel happiest there. I often lie and think of the sermon and texts, which are as angels from God to teach me.' A man who was in the same prison in 1849, came to see the chaplain one day, and observed, "I wished not to go to chapel when I first came into prison, and when there, scarcely noticed what passed for some time; till one day you explained to us the history of the Ethiopian eunuch and his meeting with Philip. You observed, This prison may seem a desert place to some of you; you may have come in neither expecting nor wishing to meet with a Philip
to explain and enforce on your thoughts the things pertaining to salvation; but God often leads the blind by a way they know not, and may bring some of you to reflection, repentance, and salvation, through Christ, while you are within these walls.' Those words, sir, were for me. A mother's prayers are at last answered for me, and though she is far away I am longing to see her, to tell her her prayers have not been in vain for the prodigal son." What motive could induce these people to act as related? They had nothing to gain from those to whom the statement was made except the best advice the Lord might enable them to afford. But the fact is, we see in these cases the power of Divine grace and love, to do that in them, which all the punishment in the world could never effect; in other words, we see here the way the Spirit of God works in bringing men "from darkness into light," etc., and when effects like these are wrought in criminal cases, we have the best qualification or predisposition for benefiting by those philanthropic systems which supply the opportunity of future honesty, by affording them industrial education. The Gospel is indeed the cement which gives the only stability to all human systems for ameliorating the condition of the perishing and dangerous classes of society. We agree with the observation of a Government Inspector of Prisons, who, when laying the foundation stone of a prison chapel, addressed the assembled convicts thus :—“ I chiefly expect success from the moral and religious instruction to be communicated to you in this sacred edifice;" and we admire the spiritual sagacity of his Royal Highness Prince Albert, who manifested his benevolent feelings towards the inmates of the said prison, by presenting a Bible for the use of the chapel, on the first page of which were the following words written by the prince, "Presented to the Chapel of the Convicts at Portland, as a token of interest, and in hope of their amendment.-Albert." Let the truths of that word be preached "without addition and without reserve," and we shall ever see its power to raise and reform the fallen, "confirmed by signs following," and in the " great day," when the dead, small and great, shall stand at the tribunal of the Lord, we shall, doubtless, find many there, who first learned, in the prison chapel, to offer up the prayer, "Lord remember me."
The remaining portions of our Prison Scenes are soon described. The hospital room and the discharge might be lengthened out so as to show the general issue of a criminal's career in its true and painful aspect. We might deal largely in illustration under these heads. It is only requisite to observe that the career of the inmates of the prison is one of intemperance and vice of various kinds and degrees, terminating for the most part in a painful death-bed and an early grave. These peculiar vices, especially in females, induce consumption and other diseases, which, as medical men affirm, make the average course of their victims about five years, when they disappear from this earthly scene entirely. Were it practicable to introduce some of those who have not yet started in "the way of the ungodly" to our hospital room, they might learn lessons of wisdom to deter them from taking one step in that way.
We once met with the case of a young woman who, when under the parental roof, would not listen to parental advice and warnings, and as the consequence soon became the victim of her own folly and waywardness. She listened to the voice of the flatterer, and sacrificed her character at the solicitation of one who, while professing attachment, proved himself wanting in respect for her. As might be expected in all such instances, coldness and desertion soon ensued. She then abandoned herself to intemperance and profligacy, was repeatedly committed to prison for disorderly conduct, refused every overture of assistance to forsake the way of the transgressor, and by hard drinking and exposure to all kinds of weather, brought on disease of the chest, which terminated in a galloping consumption.
The more evident it became to others that she was rapidly hastening to the tomb, the less was she herself inclined to believe those who told her so, or attend to the advice not to procrastinate the hour of repentance and application to the mercy seat of Christ for pardon. "Oh! it's only a little cold, I will soon be well," was her answer to every warning. At length she was committed to prison for a month or six weeks for drunkenness. A few days after her admission she was removed to the hospital-room, and was daily visited by the doctor and chaplain. Her real state of body and mind was faithfully disclosed to her, and yet she clung to life, nor would be persuaded she was dying till the hand of the last enemy was upon her. Then she became harassed with painful reflections, which crowded into her mind. The recollection of her filial misconduct, and her former contempt for religious counsel, etc., seemed to make her uneasy, but did not drive her to the throne of grace. With a view to subdue this impenitence, she was reminded of the time when a father or mother, or a Sunday School teacher was wont to tell her of Christ, and tears would flow as associations like these were recalled to view; but in a moment she appeared again as though some secret influence stole over the mind to repel all that was said with a view to lead her to Christ. The very avenues of the mind seemed now and then shut up, and all that she could do was to make an ineffectual effort to express her wants by signs, and when her arm was too feeble to convey her wishes by signs, she would exhibit irascibility if she was misunderstood. For a moment the flickering lamp of life was resuscitated, and as the chaplain approached her bedside to whisper something about "the sinner's friend," and His power to save even in the eleventh hour, the rekindled flame was suddenly extinguished, and the spirit returned to God who gave it. The rest of the scene was also painful. The parents whose peace she had disturbed, had already preceded her into eternity. No friend or relative could be found to pay the last tokens of respect to her mortal remains, which were therefore removed to the dead-room, and in the silence of night handed over to sɔme parish or prison undertaker to be interred the next day, unpitied, and unknown, by those who laid her with the clods of the valley, and without anyone to say, alas! my sister! Surely the way of transgressors is hard!
But we must turn from this subject to notice, in conclusion, "the discharge, or the outcast's prospects." Painful as the scene just described is, the discharge of some friendless one from the only home she has known for a long time is, if possible, more distressing to witness. We have known some who have allowed the time to pass by for going into some asylum, until debility, or some four or five years beyond the usual age for admission to an asylum, have excluded them from such places. They have discovered their error when too late. The prison authorities have then had no means of helping them except by a trifling pecuniary assistance, which it is dangerous to give lest it should be spent in drink. The day of discharge arrives, and the prison is left with regret and sorrow. We have known such outcasts to sit down outside the prison gate, and cry bitterly at the prospect before them-"thrown on the world" again, without a friend, or a penny, and with a heart as yet unchanged. Unable to work, and disgusted in some degree with their former mode of life, they have sought admission at their parish workhouse. But it is harder to gain admittance there than to the prison. Their pale face, tottering step, and earnest appeal, are rejected in no gentle terms. A window is broken, they are recommitted to prison, and when next discharged prefer going back to sin rather than encounter "the workhouse people again,' The strength of their constitution is gone, they try to excite themselves by drink, and the next thing we hear of one of these is, "she was exhausted and worn through want, dropped in the street, was carried to the workhouse in the last extremity of life, and the door which was closed against the impor
tunity of the tongue on a former occasion, is opened at the sound of the rattles in the throat,' and the equivocal hospitality of the house' is afforded when it is too late." Such are the outcast's prospects in many instances when leaving prison. Others there are who have "friends to meet them at the gate," with a bribe in their hand to induce them to go back to their former ways. But we must now conclude our subject, and we do so in the words we commenced with, namely, "That it may please Thee to shew Thy pity upon all prisoners and captives."
MANCHESTER AND ITS JUVENILE REFUGE.
Ir was a dull, dark evening in October. It was nearly eight o'clock as I wended my way towards St. John's, along Deansgate. It was a busy scene. Swarms of rude women and rough-looking men pushing in and out of the numberless public-houses and beer-shops, ("wine-vaults" they are called there, but they are mere "gin palaces" or drinking shops,) groups of idle boys and girls hanging round the windows of the ever-recurring pork-shops, sweet-shops, and picture-shops. Over-grown girls, without bonnets or shawls, bare-headed and bare-shouldered, hanging on the arms of half-tipsy soldiers ; sauntering about, and ever and anon jostling the decent factory girl or operative as they 'homeward plod their weary way," after their daily toil. It was a heart-sickening scene, and spoke loudly of man's depravity and God's long-suffering mercy. On all sides what tendencies to evil and inducements to crime-what temptations to vice, especially to the young!
Many of the streets leading out of Deansgate are the very lowest in Manchester, infested by thieves, pickpockets, vagrants, tramps, and bad characters of all kinds. I walked through several of them; they did not strike upon me as being so dilapidated, rickety, filthy, and foul as Westminster. They had mostly a narrow pavement, tolerably clean, and windows but the sombre dulness of their narrow streets, without very little broken; shops to enliven them; the closed shutters or drawn blinds; the suspicious looks of the inmates who peeped from dark doorways on the passer-by, and the rude invitation from some immodest female to walk in,-told of deeds of darkness and of filthiness, that made one shudder, and feel glad to escape from such a hateful neighbourhood. I was told that the police could almost always there find whom they wanted. Any young man who, tempted to rob his master's till in order to treat some girl to the play or the tea-gardens, absents himself from his place-or any young girl, drawn away into sin from the family where she has hitherto borne a good character, and whom a kindhearted mistress still hopes to reclaim—are almost sure to be found in this locality.
But we must pursue our way towards the point of our destination-and that is the Juvenile Refuge in St. John's Parade. Its situation is good, being open in front, and a corner house, with two fronts and two entrances, but it has a very small yard, not enough for the children to play in, and they are compelled to make up for this by using the cellars, or basement, as a sort of covered play-ground and washing place. Above that, on ground floor, there are a committee-room, a dining-room, a sitting-room, (for master and mistress,) two kitchens, and two lobbies. On the first floor, a school-room, bristleroom, sewing-room, bag-room, shoe-room, and small joiners' shop. On top floor, three or four bed-rooms and a printing-room. The rent for the whole is only £55 a year. The staff consists of the indefatigable Mr. and Mrs. Bryan and two servants. Three boys and one girl sleep on the premises and assist in household work. One lady pays for two of these at the rate of 1s. 3d. a week each. They have as yet no regular dormitory, and all the other scholars go home every day, being mostly able to find a home though