« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
who never join in the festivities of the soul, but keep one long fast, whose very songs describe this life as "a waste howling wilderness," and who tell God in their prayers "there is nothing worth living for." We are unwilling to believe in the existence of such disciples. We can hardly think it possible that the children of light find pleasure in the darkness of discontent, cultivate moroseness till it thickens into habit, are happiest when bitterly sarcastic or severely snappish, and move about amongst friends like irritated wasps in a group of romping children. Still, as the smallest insect belongs to the animal kingdom, however slight its powers and growth, so these unhappy men, who never look out of eyes twinkling with good cheer, may, after all, be disciples of Him who came that our joy might be full. Would that they knew how much they lose by their settled gloom! Even selfishness might tempt them to "be cheerful."
merry heart doeth good like a medicine." It is a tonic, and creates appetite, and makes "good digestion wait on appetite." It helps a man to make the best and most of himself in every one of his manifold relations. It developes force, purifies vision, and produces an excitement that is healthy and stimulating. The soul enlarges and expands under the influence of joy, as bodies do from heat. Not only does it lift the burden from the heart and conscience
so that the whole man moves freely, and with little or no friction, but it gives flexibility and suppleness to our energies. It gives spring to our nature. We can bear higher tension. Loftier degrees of power are called into play, and greater mental and spiritual force is exerted. Howard never could have done his work without such a companion. Paul found in his rejoicing heart solace and strength. Men never reach their best till they have mastered the whole gamut of joy, from the lowest note of cheerfulness to the highest of rapture. Till then there will be voiceless forces within them. "Godliness, with contentment, is great gain"-not without it. As some men do business without obtaining a fiftieth part of the profit gained by others, so some Christians may be godly and cheerless, and never "nett" the "great gains" that flow from joyful piety.
Brethren, let us be of good cheer in our divine service. God is happy, and seeks to impart His bliss to a world, that greatly needs it, making us the channels along which the refreshing waters may flow. Let us sing at our work. Filled with all the fulness of God's joy, our songs will make work easier and our burdens lighter. Duty is worthy of a song. Thy statutes have been my rejoicing in the house of my pilgrimage. At home, at school, in the world, in the church, let us ever serve God and be cheerful." J. CLIFFORD.
REVELATIONS OF LIFE IN LONDON.
To be out at night in London is to
plore London at night, especially to go alone into the very midst of dark places, needs a clear eye, a firm nerve, and great knowledge of the dangerous classes, in order to enable you to circumvent and overawe them. Both my vocation and desire to understand the real moral condition
of the people have led me to be much out at night, and I will narrate, in the simplest and frankest fashion, some things which may be seen in London during the hours from evening till morning.
How do all the people live? Some of them get their living in a curious manner. A poor family obtained theirs by keeping a donkey and cart, and when it was dark the father and children had to go out at night, and tear down the immense posters from the hoardings, and then sell them for waste paper. Many beggars never show their faces during the day. They are then "snoozing" in bed, smoking, playing at cards, drinking gin, and dozing over dirty newspapers. But when night comes on they swarm along Holborn, Regent Street, the Strand, and Piccadilly, and find that fools and their money are soon parted. If you see a widow with four children in neat white pinafores sitting on a doorstep, be sure she has a husband or two at home, and is really a very jolly sort of personage. Thieves are all over London at night, and steal watches, bacon and beef from shopstalls, whips out of gigs, flannel from drapers' shops, rare flowers from suburban gardens, poultry from henroosts, handkerchiefs by the score, money from the hands of children going for supper beer, and plate from gentlemen's kitchens-in fact, anything they can. One of these gentry picked my pocket one night of a favourite silk handkerchief, but I gave him such a hot chase through a crowd, that he threw it down at my feet, and I then allowed him to "slope away." You must be careful, however, how you chase a thief. Thieves hunt in twos and threes, and you may possibly be tripped up or lured into a passage, and if so, you will come out of the fray both hurt and dirty.
One evening I saw three young thieves following an elderly gentleman. He toddled on: they got
close to him. He turned into a gloomy cross street leading into Wellington Street, Strand. I quietly followed, and they, absorbed in their professional pursuit, did not see me. A young thief—" the wire"-picked his pocket very deftly of a small parcel, and turned round to walk off with it. "Give me that," I said.
He threw it down at my feet, and off he ran. I picked it up, and went to the elderly gentleman, and said:
"Here, sir, is your parcel. You have just had your pocket picked." "What! what !" roared he, I where are the thieves ?" "Oh, never mind them, sir," I said; you have got your property back. Good evening, sir;" and I went on my way. I am not clear whether he did not regard me as a penitent thief, and even feel inclined to give me in charge.
Broken-down persons, men and women formerly in good society, prosperous in business, and happy in domestic life, some of them even ministers of the gospel, are often found in the streets of London at night, without food, home, friend, or hope. Going through Bloomsbury Square one dark, foggy night, a big, shambling figure suddenly came out of the fog, and in a husky voice said: "If you please, sir, give me a penny; I want to get a bed.”
"What, Rawkins, is that you?" "Yes, sir; but I did not know it was you, sir."
"No, I dare say not. There's the money for your bed. Good night." "Good night, sir, and thank you;" and off went Rawkins-a betting man of low degree now, but formerly a commercial traveller in a good condition of life.
Passing along the east of London with a good man who was familiar with "Tiger Bay" and other places of notoriety which I wished to see, I said:
found drunk on the pavement yonder, and died in disgrace."
Alas! how are the mighty fallen. He opened new chapels, preached anniversary sermons, presided at committee meetings, and had his portrait published in a religious magazine; and yet, you see, he died a drunkard. He was one of those good men who do not think it necessary to sign the pledge.
Homeless people abound in London, and one of the most affecting spectacles known to us is a Night Refuge for the homeless. Recently, when exploring Golden Lane-a nest of thieves, costermongers, tramps, fallen women, and extremely poor people-I found myself in Playhouse Yard. An old theatre, where it is said Shakspeare played, has been converted into a refuge for homeless women. Lying, sitting, reclining, and crouching in wooden "bunks," with a brown leather counterpane over them, were about two hundred women. Down some stairs, in a kind of cock-pit, were twenty or thirty mothers with their children. What a sight were these poor women! Some were young, some old. Some hid their faces, and some stared hard at us. Many of them had bad coughs, and all looked thin, sad, and forsaken. It was an awful sight to see in the midst of churches, banks, and happy homes where no hunger comes, and no tear is ever left unThe scheme of the wiped away. Institution is very simple, and is thus described :
"It is the peculiar principle of this Charity to afford nightly shelter and assistance to those only who are really houseless and destitute, during inclement winter seasons, and the consequent suspension of out-door work. To fulfil this intention, it is provided that an Asylum shall be open and available at all hours of the night, without the need, ou the part of the applicant, of a Ticket, or any other passport but his or her own statement of helpless necessity.
"But in order to limit the relief to the really houseless, this has been confined to bread (in a sufficiency to sustain nature), a warm shelter, and the means of rest.
"By this restricted plan, little inducement is offered to individuals not actually homeless and destitute to avail themselves of the shelter for the sake of the food, which would doubtless occur were a more liberal scale adopted. And this would lead to the exclusion of numbers of the really houseless.
Such, then, is the general principle of the Institution, and such are the means employed. But in all cases of debility and inanition, from exhaustion or fatigue, appropriate restoratives, both in food and medicine, under medical superintendence, are applied to the relief of the sufferers, many of whom have thus been rescued from the grasp of death.
On the Sabbath, the inmates have the spiritual benefit of Divine Service; and, being permitted to remain within the Asylum throughout that day, have a dinner provided for them of bread and cheese."
Since the formation of the Society fifty years ago 2,064,875 houseless men and women-for both sexes are accommodated-have slept within the whitewashed walls of this old playhouse.
There are hundreds of homeless boys in London. I have found them sleeping in carts, on the landings of houses, in warm corners of the streets, in holes under stairs, on door steps, and, in fact, they sleep where they can. One boy slept for two months in an unfinished sewer! Hundreds of these boys have been rescued from hunger, crime, misery, and death, by the Boys' Refuge, Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields. The report, speaking of them, says:
In 1866, 177 boys were admitted; in 1867, 246; and last year the admissions rose to the unprecedented number of 369, or more than one a day.
They were admitted as follows:Sent from various Casual Wards and other Night Shelters
On the application of friends interested
Sent by Magistrates, being utterly
Brought by Boys' Beadle
Sent in by London City Missionaries,
Prison Chaplain, and Superintendent Re-admitted from Ship
3,363 articles repaired.
106 new mattresses and pillows made. 60 repaired.
19,200 bundles of firewood were cut, and made up and sold.
2,940 for the use of the Institution. Carpenters' work, making forms, desks, emigrant boxes, painting, whitewashing, and sundry works, value £129 16s. 11d." Surely this is making a good use of homeless boys, and better far than leaving them to become thieves, burglars, and murderers; for this would be the bitter fruit if no man cared for their bodies and souls.
Here I must pause, but we will not come home yet. The next paper will give some more scenes taken from London at night.
PUT TO THE TEST. A FACT FOR THE YOUNG.
HENRY THOMPSON, a youth of little more than twelve years of age, eager for knowledge of all kinds, and specially delighting in books, entered his father's library last Monday morning in quest of something to read. He had often been on that errand before, and always found a willing and wise friend in his father. Looking along the shelves, he at last came upon the title of a book that attracted his attention, and seemed to promise all that he desired. Taking it down, he carried it to its owner with a light heart, for he had never yet been refused when making such a request, and said, as he handed the book, "May I have this to read next, papa ?" Mr. Thomp
son looked at it, and remembering the character of its contents, he mused for a minute or two somewhat anxiously, and then said, "Not at present, Henry, save on one condition." "What is that, papa?" "That you only read the first part of it." With his wonder raised high, and his spirit slightly chafed, Henry instantly asked, "But why may I not read all of it, papa ?" "Simply because you are not yet able to understand it, and if you were to read the second and third parts now they would be much more likely to do you harm than good. You know that the meat which you can eat with pleasure, and which makes you strong and healthy, would not suit
your baby-sister at all; and so it is with this book, and therefore I can only let you have it on condition that you do not read more than the first part."
With his curiosity somewhat quieted by his father's earnest and convincing reasoning, Henry accepted the volume, and so allowed his character to be put to the test. It was indeed a trying time for him. He was going near to a precipice. Who could say he would not fall over the ledge, and be seriously hurt? The old proverb utters the oft-needed warning: "He who would not hear the bell, must not meddle with the rope." Don't you think tempting thoughts came trooping up to the gates of Henry's mind all eager for instant admittance? For somehow or other thoughts that point to evil rush upon us as quick as the lightning flashes across the heavens, and in numbers that we cannot count. "Why should I not just see what the other parts are about? I need not read them all through. Surely there would be no harm in a glance. Nobody would know. Father would not see me. I wonder why I am forbidden. How provoking it is to have the book in my hands, and not be able to read it."
But Henry Thompson was a bold, brave fellow, and had not been in the world twelve years for nothing
but to eat and play, and understood already that he must not give such thoughts any quarter. His father
had once told him that one touch of the rock might dash the vessel to pieces that was sailing along ever so gaily, and destroy the results of a long voyage, and he had not forgotten it. Away he went, therefore, and forthwith, before reading a page, or even a single line, securely fastened down the forbidden parts, as though they contained poison, and then read the remainder in peace, feeling all the happier because he had guarded himself against violating the confidence which had been placed in him.
Well done, my young friend! You have proved that you have something better than thousands of gold and silver, better than being great and famous, better even than school prizes and notable skill; you have the precious jewel of conscience, and you have learnt one of the simplest rules for keeping it pure and bright. Continue to take care of it. Hold it to be a priceless gift which one stumble may shatter; and should I meet you again in twelve years' time, I shall find you a good and useful man, with your name enrolled amongst those who have striven to "have always a conscience void of offence towards God and towards men." J. CLIFFORD.
THE IDEAL CHAPEL.
THE difference between an idea and an ideal is more easily illustrated than defined. An idea is the result of observation or perception, and is the impression produced by the most distinctly recognised features of the object under notice. To complete an ideal requires the co-operation of many ideas (some apparently foreign to the original idea) each of which is referred to some previous standard, an ideal measurement. Our ideas vary with the aspect under which we make our observations. The ideas of man as held
by the physiologist and by the moralist are widely different; but neither, however accurate, embraces either's ideal of man. Our ideas are precise or vague according to our powers of intellectual honesty and discrimination. Again, though the conditions under which nature presents itself vary but little from age to age, the external appli- . ances and the internal powers of observation vary with each observer. Hence, the ideas of men vary indefinitely, and the ideals, which are partly built upon these varying ideas, vary