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I have said that it would please me to see floating in the air, like flakes of snow, and flowing through the alleys and courts of Westminster, Southwark, and the City, like a flood, short, pithy, practical papers. The other day I lighted on a paragraph on the subject of ejaculatory prayers, in " Fuller's Good Thoughts," that blended excellently with this suggestion. The words of Fuller are:—
"The principal use of ejaculations is against the fiery darts of the devil. Our adversary injects (how he doth it, God knows that he doth it, we know) bad notions into our hearts, and that we may be as nimble with our antidotes as he with poison, such prayers are proper and necessary. In hard havens, so choked up with the envious sands that great ships drawing many feet water cannot come near, lighter and lesser pinnaces may freely and safely arrive. When we are time-bound, place-bound, or person-bound, so that we cannot compose ourselves to make a long, solemn prayer, this is the right instant for ejaculations, whether orally uttered, or only poured forth inwardly in the heart."
Should any one of Fuller's mind, having ability and inclination, favour the crowded alleys of the metropolis with an occasional shower of ejaculatory prayers, on slips of paper, I think that he would be “ up, and doing” to a good purpose.
It may not, perhaps, be so generally known as it deserves to be, that the late Adam Clarke, mindful of the haste with which travellers frequently hurry forwards on their journey, had printed to a great extent the following Collect from the Church of England Liturgy, for their express benefit:
"O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day, defend us in the same with thy mighty power; and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all our doings may be ordered by thy governance, to do always that is righteous in thy sight, through Jesus Christ our
Were this prayer offered up in sincerity, every day of the year, by every inhabitant of the great City, old and young, rich and poor, it might be a means of effecting great good; and he that would cause a free distribution of copies of this prayer, would be "up and doing" in a good cause.
When we read of the horrid tragedy of the Black Hole at Calcutta, we regard it as a thing too monstrous to have a parallel; and though the distance of the stage on which it was performed, and the remoteness of the period when it took place, considerably blunt our sensibilities, we yet reflect upon it with mingled horror and indignation; but how little do thousands imagine that so near an approach has been made to this Black Hole in many localities, by the densely-crowded lodging-houses of the metropolis. Were not the demoralising scenes in these pest-houses of suffering and crime well attested, hardly could they be credited. Much has been done by way of reformation, but much more remains to be effected, so that "up, and be doing," is not a motto to be disregarded.
There is one way in which we should all be " up, and doing,” and that is in trying, looking up for help, to mend ourselves, that we may be more ready for every "good word and work." Welcome, then, every providence of God, that will bring about this desirable end, even if it be affliction itself.
Welcome that axe,
Though sharp its edge may be,
WHY ARE RAGGED SCHOOLS SUCCESSFUL?
In a series of sound and well written "small books on great subjects," lately published, we are gratified to find that the Ragged School movement has been honoured with a volume* and a place. Professedly, they were neither sages nor philosophers who originated the Ragged School movement, but simple men, actuated by noble motives. But it often happens in matters of circumstantial origin, that small efforts are destined to become great ones because founded on sound principles, even although the originators were theoretically ignorant of their abstract nature. We believe that few, if any, of the active supporters of the Ragged Schools have had time, or perhaps the ability, to look at the philosophical side of the question; nor did they feel it necessary. Their primary question was not, "What saith philosophy ?" but "What saith the Scriptures?" and having found a satisfactory answer to this great question, they were willing to take it for granted that true philosophy was also on their side. The accomplished writer of this "small book" shows they were correct. His chapter on the reasons of their success (which we now transcribe) will repay a most attentive perusal. We earnestly commend it to the serious consideration, not only of all teachers, but also of those ministers who often spend their strength for nought, from having-as it appears to us-so seriously departed in their preaching from "the simplicity that is in Christ:"
"The details of the last chapter can hardly leave any doubt as to the fact, that the benefits derived from these schools have been both great and lasting. No accidental whim could influence so many human beings of different dispositions, breeding, and locality, during several years; and we must come to the conclusion that some great spring of human nature has been touched, which had not been reached before, at least not in this age. Once, only once before, within strictly historical times, have we seen an influence exerted as powerful and effectual; it was when Christ, and his immediate successors in the work, preached holiness and brotherly love to the world, and rich and poor abandoned all factitious distinctions, and met before God as equals. The slaves of Greece and Rome were as profligate as, and more brutalized, for the most part, than the so-named 'Dangerous Classes' of modern Europe, but from among them was selected many a martyr, whose constancy the persecutors thought to overcome the more readily because of his degraded condition-courage being considered as the privilege of freedom. The ennobling tendency of Christianity disappointed their calculations, and slave and master frequently shared one fate, as they had shared one baptism.
"The warmth of Christian feeling cooled as abstruser dogmata were brought forward; the heart is little influenced by what puzzles the comprehension; and when the belief of abstract doctrines began to be considered as essential to salvation, the understanding was too frequently so busied with their definition, that the simple rules of the early Christian teachers were neglected. With controversy came uncharitableness, and very soon, from loving, the Christians changed to hating one another. The ruling sect, under the plea of caring for the salvation of the ignorant, punished all who attempted to preach any doctrine but the one established by edict; and every fresh sect made it more difficult to unite the family of Christ into anything like fellowship. Listen to us,' says one party, 'we have the keys of heaven, and can give you free entrance there. All those who do not enter with us will most probably perish everlastingly.' The denunciations are retaliated: the Dissenter asserts that the clergy of the Establishment do not preach the Gospel; the clergyman marks with severe reprobation all schismatics and heretics; a simple man listens to one and the other, and finds so little that is attractive in either, that he probably remains in a state of indifference, and sleeps while these uncivil epithets are bandied to and fro; saying, perhaps, as a naval officer once told the writer, It is not my business to understand these theological points. I look to my own affairs, and they must settle theirs.'
"Was it then to found a theological faculty that Christ taught and died? Was it to set apart an ecclesiastical body zealous for abstract dogmata? Surely not. It was to the poor and the needy, the weary and heavy-laden, that the good tidings were to be
* Philosophy of Ragged Schools. London: William Pickering, 1851.
announced; what had they to do with abstruse discussions as to the mode in which grace is communicated? It was enough for them that they asked and received it; that courage came with the occasion, and that the heart felt the proffered peace. Holiness before a God of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; brotherly affection to all; integrity, and a strict fulfilment of all domestic duties these were the characteristics of a Christian; and many an one who had never heard of abstruser doctrines, lived and died happily by following the simple rule of 'Do unto others as ye would they should do unto you,' and imitating the example of their meek and holy Master. Alas! how many can we suppose would be saved, if a strictly logical definition of all the doctrines of one church or sect were requisite to the process? And if any can be saved without this, why not all? The scholar may exercise his ingenuity; that, to many, is a pleasant occupation; but let him be content to leave to the simple-minded the simple precepts of the first preachers of the Gospel.
"Such would be the reasoning of a conscientious man approaching the subject without any previous prejudice; but the best have the prejudices of education, at least, hanging about them; for what has been taught us as essential is not easily thrown aside, even though our better reason should be convinced that it ought to be so; and I will not undertake to say, that the worthy persons who have so cordially united in the work of the Ragged Schools, have entirely discarded theirs; but here accident has done what perhaps reason would not have effected so easily; for persons of all sects having seen at once the desirableness of the work, saw also the difficulty of it if any sectarian differences were allowed to be put forward. They loved the souls of these children better than their own opinion on a few disputed points; and, by a kind of tacit agreement, Wesleyans, Baptists, Independents, etc., joined with members of the Established Church, both high and low, in the room in B- Street, to teach the fundamental doctrines of Christianity without touching at all on more difficult tenets; and the children saw that Christianity was indeed an all-embracing system, since those who parted in their places of worship, met in their charities, acted by the same rules, won love by the same kindness.*
"Nor is it to the children alone that this really accidental circumstance has been useful. To the teachers themselves, thus compelled to make the distinction as to what part of the doctrines currently taught among persons of their persuasion is really essential to salvation, it has been of great service, by opening their minds to more enlarged views, and showing how possible it is to be true servants of Christ notwithstanding differences of phrase, or even contrariety of opinion upon what they have now been compelled to feel are non-essentials. The Churchman, the Independent, the Wesleyan, the Baptist, who have met in fellowship to teach the same Gospel to the poor and destitute, can hardly hereafter stand aloof from each other, as aliens from the household of Christ. They must feel that they are servants of the same Master, though acting in different capacities, and all, from their natural imperfection, falling short, in some way, of perfect service, though striving to the best of their judgment and knowledge. Who art thou that judgest another's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth; yea, he shall be holden up, for God is able to make them stand.'
"The deepest feeling, generally, in the minds of the very destitute, is a sense of the contrast between their own state and that of the affluent whose luxury strikes them at every turn. They complain of the supremacy of the few, by means of which they have monopolized the good things of this world, leaving only labour and want for the masses; and the natural consequence of this is, an antagonism between different ranks which destroys all Christian brotherhood between them. The greater the destitution, the bitterer is this feeling, till all kindly sympathy is lost, and a sharp enmity takes its place. These miserable and neglected wretches revenge themselves on society by preying upon it, and feel the sort of pride in a course of successful robbery which a wild Indian would do in a good hunting expedition-the danger does but give zest to the sport, while success procures abundance for the time being.
"When the duties of honesty and morality are preached to such as these, if drily taught, a suspicion naturally arises that self-interest is the motive of the preacher:
* "A teacher in one of the Ragged Schools had been severe in his conduct to several of the children ; one of them took an opportunity to ask another of the teachers 'if Mr. was a Christian?' 'Yes, doubtless.' And will he go to heaven?' 'I trust so.' 'Oh, then, I don't want to go to heaven, for I should not like to be where he is.' Let those who think religion can be enforced remember this.
robbery is an evil, and prosecution is expensive, and if men could be persuaded not to steal it would save the instructor's money and goods. It is very difficult to avoid making this impression when attempting to win attention to the lessons of religion; and, till this is removed, all our attempts to improve the heart will be futile. Probably it was this feeling which produced the scenes described at the opening of most of the Ragged Schools; but the teachers here calculated, and calculated wisely, on one great instinct in every human breast, that is, the weary longing for kindness from our fellow men, and the delight of finding it. These unhappy children had seldom known what it was, even from their parents; those who were not orphans, were many of them the children of thieves, or persons of that description, had early been trained to bring their small pilferings to the common stock, and were beaten if they returned empty handed. Perhaps in this the parent calculated ill, for a practice enforced by blows is never a favourite one; and the thief is no more made to love his profession by flogging, than a schoolboy is made to love his studies by the same process. They enter a room where persons, at least in easy circumstances, are found voluntarily to expose themselves to insult and ill-usage, and to respond only by gentle expostulations. These persons say to them, 'We have been taught by our Master, who was himself poor, to love all his brethren; we compassionate you, we wish to better your condition, will you yourselves join in the effort? The first feeling is perhaps incredulity, but the next is confidence in, and affection towards those who seem to have no earthly interest in what they are doing. "If a man love not his brother whom he hath seen, how shall he love God whom he hath not seen?' is the acute observation of the apostle Jolin; and it is only by awakening human affection for human virtues that the unenlightened are led to higher spirituality.* A hard unbelief in any Divine superintendence is the common state of mind among these children: they have never heard, they have never thought of it; and if they are told of a Father in heaven, they attach so little that is pleasant or loveable to that name that it is rather repulsive than otherwise: nothing therefore is available in such a case but the mere human instinct. Higher and holier thoughts may come hereafter; but, in the first instance, the teacher must be loved: nay, so necessary was it to accommodate the weakness of human faculties, and the strength of human instinct, that the last, best message of God to man was spoken through the lips of a man whom we might both love and imitate; and most of the earlier converts to his doctrine were more moved by the 'gracious words' of the Teacher, than the intrinsic excellence of the precept.
"It is not easy for those who have never seen it to form any conception of the fond affection with which these children regard their favourite teachers. In the Bstreet school, the girls put together their little savings in order to buy materials for the working a pair of slippers, and other trifles, for the gentleman teacher from whom they had all experienced so much kindness; and they brought the work, when finished, to the lady superintendent to present. Mr. offered to pay for it, but this they declined; he then asked the cost of the materials, that he might at least defray the expense, but this they refused to tell; and he was at last compelled to receive their present in order not to mortify them.
"The sharpness of observation and promptitude which a life of thievery makes necessary, has the effect of developing the intellect at a very early age; and thus the bane carries its own antidote; for these uninstructed lads receive knowledge much more rapidly than the less excited brains of the children of steady parents will allow them to do. The B- street school, too, has had an accidental advantage; for Mr. the teacher to whose especial exertions a large share of its success is owing, having himself at one time doubted the truth of Christianity, and satisfied his own mind by rational argument, he has been able and willing to answer questions on this head, which perhaps many who have received what is called a more enlarged education would scarce trust themselves to grapple with. And here we come upon another great law of our nature; for the moment that a farther development of its powers is begun, the intellect claims its part, and those that were at first satisfied with the mere instinct of love, now feel that the understanding must be convinced ere they can be
*"'I say Mr. E-,' said one of the B- street boys, in speaking of Mr. (the gentleman already mentioned,) 'I should think he is better than God. He is too good for heaven.' The next step in this boy's mind would be that heaven consists in the being always with such persons; and then comes the hope of future bliss as the first rude incentive to spiritual thought."
quite at peace. It was this which in a very short time led the first Christians to engage with so much vehemence in controversies relative to the nature of God, the mode in which he was present in Christ, etc. It is a necessary phase of progress, and cannot be avoided but by that dead sleep of the intellectual part which would leave man a mere gregarious animal.
"We may now sum up the causes of success shortly as follows:
"1. The preaching the Gospel in its simplicity, unencumbered with abstract dogmata; the very form in which the apostles and first teachers of Christianity presented it to the uninstructed multitude.*
"2. The exemplification in the manners of the teachers of that law of love; thus winning the hearts of their scholars, and showing that what they teach to others they themselves believe also.
"3. The satisfying the intellect, as fast as it develops itself, no less than the instinctive affections; and thus engaging the whole man in the right course.
"Had a philosopher been set to discover the best mode of influencing man, he could have devised no better plan for, in the uninstructed, as in children, the natural instincts are strong, but the intellectual faculties weak: both therefore must be guided by instinct till reason gains strength. The social affections and the love of imitation are among the strongest of instincts, as we see in the animal world no less than among the human race: and thus the wish to please, and to resemble those we love, are the first motives to well-doing among such. As the higher faculties gain strength from the cultivation begun by the aid of the affections, they require something more; and then we must be ready to give A REASON for the hope that is in us;' and carry the mind forward to objects which have awakened curiosity, with the reverent, yet free inquiry which alone can bring conviction, because it alone can elicit truth.
"To him who has believed on the mere ipse dixit of a beloved parent, or a favourite teacher, the time will come when he will say to himself, 'Mohammedans, Jews, Pagans, all believe they are right because they have been so taught by their parents and spiritual guides -I have no more cause to know that I am right than they have ;'-and when this thought arises, if the proof be not ready, the intellect overpowers the affections, and, however painful the wrench, he discards the belief which cannot be demonstrated: or if that require too great an effort of courage, sinks into indifference, satisfying the eyes of men with outward forms, in which his understanding prevents his heart from any longer taking a share.
"Half the evils of our time have resulted from not duly understanding these laws of human nature; and, with the best intentions in the world, many of our religious teachers have nearly extinguished religion among us, by forcing dogmata on children, and on the uninstructed poor, who are in the condition of children, and need, therefore, to be led by their natural instincts and affections; and then requiring unreasoning submission and obedience from persons whose minds have been awakened by long intellectual culture. The first turn away from the cisterns which hold no water to comfort and refresh them, with parched lips and wearied hearts-what are dry dogmata to them? they understand nothing of these things: the second shrink from anything like thraldom of the intellect; too readily consider the call for unreasoning faith, a proof that the system will not stand the test of argument ; and fall into the state of the philosophic heathen of the higher orders, who thought it good policy to support the state religion for the sake of the people, but considered it as not worth their own thought. Were the plan reversed-were the poor and ignorant taught as Christ taught them, by moral apologues and short precepts, by ministering affectionately to their wants, and feeding them as babes, with the milk of the word, we should hardly now be complaining of danger from the lower orders: and had those whose intellectual culture made them long to fix their religious hopes on the basis of sound argument, been encouraged to prove all things, and hold fast that which is good,' many a corruption of the pure doctrine of Christ, many a superstition, and many a prejudice, which now are stumbling-blocks in the way of the man of science, would have been long ago removed.
"The teachers of the Ragged Schools have found true philosophy without looking for it :-let us not despise it now that it is found; but having learned the secret of their success, use it for the glory of God and the improvement of man's estate'— The pure in
"That 'we should love one another, even as God hath loved us.' heart shall see God,' etc."