Изображения страниц

steamer, every bar of a tavern is provided, by the zeal of these indefatigable benefactors of the soul, with an authorized version of the New Testament. Thus, on entering his lonely chamber, the traveller is led by distraction to open the book, which shall speak to him of his immortal destinies; he finds a friend beside his pillow, watching over and guarding his leisure hours, to elevate and sanctify his thoughts.

"Then follow Societies for Religious Missions, to every grade of society at home, to every country abroad; the supplementary contingent of the church, more extensive in its operations than that church itself, as embracing the numerous dissident sects, which enlarge and recruit their capabilities by voluntary subsidies amongst themselves.


'Then the Society for the Abolition of Slavery, which, already victorious in England and France, pursues throughout the universe that anti-social


"And then come the associations for the suppression of wretched lodginghouses, alike insalubrious and unclean, and for the erection in their stead of those vast working-men's settlements which rise, the stately barracks of labour, in all the populous thoroughfares of London, provided, at a price almost inconceivably small, with every requirement of a dwelling-air, light, fire, gas, water laid on in each apartment, and a drain to carry away dust and sweepings beside the hearth of every tenant. These lodgings are not given rent-free, but, built from the benevolent subscriptions of the rich, they are offered to the working man with such conditions of salubrity, moral advantage, and low rent, as commence by working a change in his ordinary impressions and habits of life, and conclude by inspiring him with a sentiment of dignity and self-respect, which is the natural predisposition to the other moral virtues.

“But I should never have done,' resumed my guide, closing finally the book, with a justifiable emotion of Christian loftiness, 'were I to attempt to give you in detail the immense catalogue of institutions which we have to survey. Follow me through these divers localities, and enter with me some of the chief of those novel monuments, the tributary offerings of wealth to want, which arise from our civilization, newly re-baptized in the waters of charity. Hospitals, schools, prisons, public libraries, baths and wash-houses, lodgings for artizans, pension offices and asylums, loan societies, servants' homes, infirmaries, temples, chapels, refuges for outcast children by day, for homeless men at night, and places for the gratuitous distribution of the aliments of life to the famishing. Behold, observe, and be gladdened by the contemplation of a concurrent movement of assistance towards the people, the like of which has, perhaps, never yet been manifested by any aristocracy in the world.'


I followed him, and the daylight gave place to innumerable gas illuminations in the outskirts and suburbs of London, ere we had half achieved the review of these new monuments of Conservative Britannic Socialism, the consolatory statistics of which we were occupied in collecting.

"On stepping into the carriage to regain my domicile, I expressed to my guide, with genuine and heartfelt enthusiasm, my astonishment and admiration at what I had beheld.

"We shall be saved,' he exclaimed, clasping my hand with pious joy, we

shall be saved, rest assured, if we stedfastly pursue these paths. Honesty is the best policy; public virtue is the first of all the forces of a state. When you shall behold a society correcting its own defects, and employed in diffusing blessings of every description amongst a people-hope for that society. When you shall behold a society, whether "bourgeoise" or aristocratic, hardening itself, shutting itself up more and more within its own narrow selfishness, be it that it has thousands of " gendarmes" and thousands of jailers for its defence-despair for that society, for God will have ceased to inspire it!'"

[The remainder of the Essay having relation to matters almost exclusively political, and chiefly affecting the politics of the author's own nation, here we terminate these extracts.]


"Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, thou hast perfected praise.”

How delightful is real piety, when seen among the poorer classes! There is a sweet simplicity about it, a freedom from all ostentation and pretence. How often do we find that God hath " hid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes!"


I was never more impressed with this truth, than when walking one day through a rural part of Kent. On coming to a gate, a little ragged boy, perhaps about eight years of age, threw it open for me. I was much struck with his very delicate appearance, as well as with the singularly interesting expression of his countenance; and turning a little out of the lane, I sat down on a stile, whence I could command an extensive view of the beautiful scenery by which I was surrounded. I invited the little fellow to sit down beside me, and we soon got into conversation. He told me that he had just recovered from a second attack of rheumatic fever, which had obliged him to leave the school he had been in the habit of attending; that his father was very poor, and was often unable to procure the necessaries of life for his eight children; while his mother was in too delicate a state of health to do anything towards their support. He went on to tell me, how that before his illness he had gone with his father into the fields, and added, “But I'm too weak to dig now, so sits on this gate, and when the gentlefolks come by, they drops me a halfpenny." I offered him a biscuit, for which he seemed very thankful. I asked him what he had eaten before that morning, and his reply was very touching: "Father had to pay all the money he brought home on Saturday for the rent, and we have had nothing to eat but some carrots, yesterday and to-day, and I can't eat them."

I then spoke to my little starving friend, of Him who, "though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor;" and I can never forget how delightedly he looked into my face, and said, "Father read this morning about Jesus having no victuals to eat, and about his being thirsty, and a woman would not give him any water; and Father told us, that Jesus was poor that he might know how to pity us."

As the dear little fellow spoke, I could not but feel how perfect must be the sympathy of our compassionate Saviour; and how every little sorrow and


[ocr errors]

99 66


privation his people are called to endure must touch his heart of love. I said, Then your father reads the Bible to you? Yes, every morning before he goes to work, and then he says prayers with us." What a rich blessing would rest on the poor of our land, if, in every household, there was thus an altar for God! How light it would make the privations of poverty appear, if a Father's hand were thus recognised! But, to return to my little ragged friend, for whom I was beginning to feel a true affection-I remarked, that he seemed very happy, and said, "You have a great deal to make you very happy, but I dare say you feel unhappy sometimes, as most children do?" Yes, Ma'am, I do very often," he replied. And what makes you unhappy?" I nquired. After some hesitation, he said, (hanging down his head,) “ I can't help crying whenever I think of breaking mother's pitcher—I did'nt like to tell her about it." " Why not?" I asked; "I hope you were not tempted to tell a lie about it." He burst into tears, and said, with much emotion, “Yes I did, and father flogged me for it. I never told a lie since." If all parents thus dealt with their children when the first lie was told, and were in the habit of setting bright examples before them of truthfulness and honesty, how much fewer would be the number of our "juvenile delinquents." After a little more conversation, I was led to believe that this dear child was indeed taught of God. I was especially struck with the effect produced upon his mind by the surrounding scenery, when I directed his attention to it, remembering the lessons of holy wisdom our Saviour drew from the works of nature. But I have not room here to repeat all my little friend said. One thing, however, I will not omit. He told me that his mother did not think he would live long; but she had not concealed it from her child, as many a foolish parent would have done. The thought of an early death seemed to give him no sorrow or anxiety. I asked what he thought would become of him if he died? and he replied, "Father says, if I loves Jesus, I shall be happy in heaven." No one who had seen the dear boy's face at that moment could have doubted that he really loved Jesus-and surely Jesus, beholding him, had loved him.

What an encouragement is such an instance of early piety to all Sabbath and "Ragged School" teachers, but especially to parents, on the force of whose influence for good or evil over their children, we can scarcely calculate. One act of deception, practised by a parent in the presence of a child, may ruin that child's character for life.

As a teacher of the young, this conversation with the little boy made me feel that I had only half believed the gracious promise, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy."

And is not the soul of every child as precious as that of my little friend? thought I; then why am I—why are teachers of the young-so cold and halfhearted? Dear Christian friends, it is high time that we were roused to feel our responsibility; and should personal assistance in this great work of bringing infants to Jesus be out of our power, how binding is the obligation to assist with our prayers, and with our money, the cause of Sabbath and of "Ragged Schools!"

F. D.


Ir is now seven years since the Ragged School Union was formed; and the Committee (especially those of them who assisted at its formation) look back with great thankfulness to the rapid progress it has made, and view the success with which God has honoured their efforts as an encouragement to further exertions. Although the receipts for the past year are less than the preceding one, yet the number of schools, teachers, and children, is still on the increase, and in other respects the Society will be found in a most flourishing and satisfactory condition.

The following table will show the rapid increase of the Society, from its commencement in 1845 to 1850:

[blocks in formation]

The increase on the number of schools, teachers, and children, has not been so great as in former years; the Committee did not anticipate that it would, for it is to be expected that as the low districts become supplied with schools, and Christian visitation proceeds, and the City Missionary and Scripture Reader labour to raise the masses to a better condition, the necessity for Ragged Schools will not be so great, as the children will become fitted for a better class of schools, where the parents will pay for their instruction. The increase during the past year is as follows:

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

There is a slight decrease in the number of voluntary teachers, viz., 51, the number being now 1,341, instead of 1,392 as last year. Nor will this be matter of surprise, if it is remembered, that the greater number are also Sunday School teachers, who devote most of the time at their disposal on the Lord'sday to their own Sabbath Schools, and therefore find it difficult to devote their evenings to the more arduous work of Ragged School instruction.



During the year, 3 girls and 81 boys have been enabled to emigrate, through the united efforts of the Union and the local schools. Of these, 53 have gone to South Australia and 31 to America. This makes the total number sent out under the auspices of the Union to be 307. For this purpose the Committee have expended above £600 during the past year. The cost of each Emigrant to Australia is now reduced to £15, including a suitable outfit. This saving has been chiefly effected by transmitting the emigrants via Liverpool, instead of as formerly from London. The accounts received from the youths, and also from parties resident in the Colonies, continue to be of the most satisfactory character.

The subject of a new Refuge for boys and girls has occupied a large share of the attention of the Committee during the past year, (for results of which see former Magazines.)

The Grotto Passage School continues to receive destitute boys, where they are trained to industrial habits. The annual amount expended by the Committee of that school, in its various departments, is upwards of £700.

In connection with the Field Lane School, there has lately been established a nightly Refuge for one hundred destitute persons. This has been done through the liberality of a lady, who, in the various departments of Ragged School labour, has expended upwards of £600 yearly.

The Industrial Classes continue to increase in number and efficiency. The mothers of the children have, in many districts, become enlisted in the cause of industry and domestic economy. This has been effected chiefly through the meetings, held weekly in the school-rooms, where they have an opportunity of making or repairing their own or their children's clothes, while at the same time they receive religious instruction.

The Shoe-Black Society, lately established for employing boys from the Ragged Schools to clean gentlemen's boots and shoes in the streets, is another manifestation of industry, and shows that it is not so much a disinclination to work, as the inability to obtain it, that prevents many of those poor children from occupying positions of respectability and usefulness.

The Committee regret to state, that while the expenditure of the Society is nearly the same as last year, the income is considerably less. They have, therefore, been obliged to draw from the Deposit Fund to the amount of £500 to meet current expenses. They trust, however, that the liberality of their friends and supporters will enable them to replace this amount during the ensuing year. They acknowledge with gratitude the receipt of £105 from the Corporation of the City of London; £100 from the Company of Goldsmiths; and also fifty guineas from a mercantile house in the City, (Messrs. Groucock, Copestake, and Moore,) whose example, they trust, will be followed by other merchants and bankers, very few of whom have ever rendered any assistance.

In conclusion, the Committee would not only read their duty in the miseries and misfortunes they seek to remove, but in the signs of the times they would also see a call to increased efforts; and while multitudes are assembled to witness the Exhibition of our national industry and skill, we may also show to the nations of the earth, that we do not forget the unfortunate children in our streets-that we value their happiness, especially their eternal welfare, more than all the wealth we ever drew from the Indies, or the gold ever dug from the mines of Peru.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »