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bad, and quite unfit to be placed with perfect hearts in heaven, for the wicked thing cannot make itself good, just as the harp could not put itself in tune, nor could your school-room clock make itself right if the works were out of order; but it must be repaired by one who understands a clock. And so with your heart-God is the only one who understands it, and he alone can renew it, and change it, and make it right and good.
I knew a boy who used to wonder at the outside of the Crystal Palace, but when he saw the wonders within it, he said they were a hundred times more
Now if we cannot understand how a grain of wheat is changed into a green plant, it would be much more wonderful if we could explain what is done by God to change the heart.
Nobody can tell you how this change is worked, but it must take place if the soul is to live for ever with God, and it is certain that people are much happier after this change than before it.
Perhaps you will say, Why then do not everybody have their hearts put right?" and I will answer you by a story.
A lad called Henry lived in a wretched town, where he had no good friends and was very miserable. Some one told him that his own father's house was only a few miles distant, and that his father, who had lost him when a baby, would be delighted to see him again, and to make him comfortable and happy ; so off set Henry, and began to climb the steep hill which lay behind the town, but he could not see his father's house, and he came back disappointed.
Again he started, and found the road very rough, and though he walked much higher up on the hill, he saw only more of the wretched village he wished to leave, and began to think he had been deceived about the happy home which others had told him of.
At last, being determined to escape from his miserable fate, Henry struggled to the very top of the hill, and suddenly a new and beauteous country opened before his eyes, and there to be sure, in the distance, he saw his pleasant home.
The mountain had concealed all this from him until then, and our own sinfulness is the mountain which must be got over before we can see God as a father, and heaven as a home.
So that the first part of this change of heart is to see and know how sad a state we are in, and to be eager to escape from it. Then the poor sinner longs to have that happiness which God's people so often tell him they enjoy.
But sin, like a heavy mountain, keeps the mind from seeing God, and the troubled conscience at first sees only more and more of the desperate wickedness of the heart.
A boy's guilt must be completely removed before he can enjoy the happy sight of his glorious home in heaven; and Jesus has removed this mountain out of the way of every sinner who simply believes that he has done so. Quite a new set of things will appear at once before him, like the view from a mountain top.
The lad Henry soon began to get nearer to his home, though sometimes a cloud hid it from his sight; but he knew that it was there, behind the cloud, and he often wondered how he could have lived so long near to his home, and yet a wretched wanderer. I am sure I wonder why boys will keep putting off the time when they are to begin their journey to heaven; but it is because they do not believe in their very hearts that heaven is better than earth, and they listen to the devil rather than to God.
I wish all the children in our schools to be miserable in their sins, and to feel sure that Christ died to save them, and is ready to welcome them to himself; for if the heart is to be "put in tune," faith in Jesus Christ must first be there, and then the Holy Spirit will begin a work which he never stops until the soul, and thoughts, and everything, are fit for an eternal life with God. The new heart is never perfect in this world; a battle begins in the mind the moment we believe, and the struggle continues until we die.
Once I was on the top of a very lofty mountain, and on one side I could see the desert I had left, while on the other appeared beautiful green plains, which I wished to journey to. But I sat upon a horse which wanted to return to the dreary country behind, and it was very difficult to force him to go to the far better land where he had never been before.
Half of your mind sometimes drags you back to sin, when the rest, the better part, tells you to go forward to holiness, and this is the struggle which will last until death.
Pray to have your hearts changed, so that each day another part of them may be "put in tune," and may the Holy Spirit support you in your strivings against sin, and at last bring you to a glorious home above.
AMERICAN RAGGED SCHOOLS.
Ir is gratifying to know that our brethren in America are beginning to see the necessity of imitating the efforts now made in London for the reclamation of their neglected children. The following paragraphs are extracted from one of their Sunday School publications :
"Look at the catalogue of criminals and outcasts of society. In most cases they are the grown-up, ignorant, neglected children. The mind is a blot or a blank, and the heart foul with folly or corruption, which might have been, with proper care and culture, the beautiful fountain sending forth " pure waters." What a multitude of just such minds now surround us, pleading through the gladsome eye of childhood for care, and education, and moral culture, to save them from ruin.
"This is a field for the noblest philanthropy, and who would not plant the first flowers in the garden of mind? It is a field, too, that will well reward all the care and pains bestowed, and who will not joy to see it filled with ripe clusters and rich blossoms of cultivated intellect-the moral nature also in harmony with the mind?
"Every day I see these brambles of children that might be set out, pruned, grafted, trained to become ornaments in the great parterre, that, if left to grow as they are, will be as the thorn bush piercing the hand of friendly care, and yielding no fruit but that which is poisonous or hurtful.
"Some of our best minds have come to light and unfolded under the fostering care of some benevolent heart, that has put forth the hand of Christian kindness, and rescued it from oblivion and degradation. How noble are such deeds! And who does not admire them?
"Let some plan be adopted, that none need be lost for the want of proper care. Sabbath schools do much, but cannot do everything. They need a care that follows them through the whole week. The Ragged Schools' of London are what we need here. When we read such accounts of the outcast children of Boston, of New York, and know they are in proportion everywhere the same, we cannot but feel that something must be done; and who shall begin? Delays are dangerous, especially on this subject. A few years only, and the ductile child is a hardened wretch, eager in the pursuit of crime, darkening the world with deeds of blood and disorder, causing tears to flow, and laying open the fountains of misery; while, if rightly trained, morally and intellectually, he might have been as a light to the world, blessing it with the influences of a bright and pure example.
"These thoughts are thrown out from a heart that feels deeply, warmly interested in the young deathless soul, and who daily sees ragged children in idleness, want, and ignorance, without the means to rescue them from their inevitable doom."
EDINBURGH UNITED INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS.
THIS Institution has been in operation for upwards of three years, and is situated in one of the lowest neighbourhoods of Edinburgh. The industrial department embraces a greater variety of occupations, and is carried out on a more extended scale than is usual in most other schools of a similar character. We extract the following from the last Report of the Committee :
"It is very gratifying to the Committee to be able to state that this Association, both as regards the principles on which it is founded, and its practical working, has lately received the marked approval of one of the leading organs of public opinion.
Founded on a basis of perfect toleration, and on an anxious desire to carry into practice the golden maxim of 'doing to others as we would be done by,' these schools continue to afford to the children attending them-what the Committee must ever deem of primary importance-a thorough course of instruction in the principles and duties of the Christian religion. This part of the education of the children is communicated by the clergymen and teachers of their own faith, and at the expense solely of their co-religionists, from separate funds specially devoted to that purpose. All the other instruction and benefits of the institution are afforded to the children in common, out of the aggregate contributions of its friends and supporters. Since the commencement of the Association in 1847, not the slightest dispute, not the smallest difficulty or embarrassment, has ever arisen from difference of creed.
"The number of children attending the school is at present 142. The greatest care is taken to prevent the admission of children of a class unsuitable to such institutions. No child is received without a rigid scrutiny of the circumstances of its parents, its claims for parochial relief, etc. During the last twelve months the average number of children has been 140, of whom about 15 have been supported by special contributions, and are not a burden on the general funds. The attendance of the pupils is very regular. It is only on extraordinary occasions, such as the occurrence of a general holiday, or the like, that there are any children absent, who are not satisfactorily accounted for. Their health is excellent; not a single death has occurred during the year.
"During the past year, the progress of the children has been very satisfactory. Owing to the comparatively short time most of the pupils can remain at the school, the teachers are necessarily obliged to confine themselves to the more elementary parts of education, and consequently none of the classes can be expected to present the advanced appearance to be found in other seminaries differently situated. To make up for this disadvantage, the masters have always made it a primary object to direct the minds of the children to such branches as may be acquired in the shortest time, and be most beneficial in after life. It is satisfactory to know that this object has been attained, in a way far exceeding their most sanguine anticipations. This is shown by the pressing petitions they are continually receiving from the children who have attended, or are still at the school, for books to read at home. When the volumes are received, they are looked upon as a great prize, and are read with extraordinary avidity. Some of the children have been so fortunate as to be allowed to remain at the school till they have acquired a considerable proficiency in general attainments. Two of them have been accepted by the Government Inspectors for apprentice teachers in a seminary in Leith, a position to which they could never have aspired but for the benefits received here.
"Besides the daily instruction in religion, and reading the Holy Scriptures, which the whole of the pupils receive, they are all regularly taught reading, spelling, and are carefully examined on the sense of what they read. About thirty have made considerable progress in writing, and in the four compound rules of arithmetic; thirty-five have made some progress, but are not so far advanced in these branches. About seventy are being taught the outlines of English grammar and geography. It was thought that it might be of service for some of the more advanced scholars to know something of natural philosophy and the laws of matter, and, accordingly, one or two of the most forward classes are occasionally instructed in the elements of that science, and the application of the mechanical powers.
"In the Industrial department of the school, all the children are instructed to make and repair their own clothes. About forty, are steadily employed in acquiring a knowledge of the tailoring trade. The greater part of these are very expert in making up clothes for themselves and their companions, and also in all the ordinary sorts of slop-work. Boys, not more than three months in the house, and not above seven years of age, can sew a very good seam. The liberal donations of cloth, leather, and other raw materials, and even of old clothes, received from the friends of the institution, are of very great use, in clothing the children, and in teaching them the use of the needle.
"There are fourteen boys making very good progress in wright work and turning. Some of them display very great taste indeed for fancy work, such as reading-stands, egg-cups, camp-stools, tool and bell handles, children's carts, and a variety of other articles, which may be seen at the school, where they are on sale, along with more substantial productions of their industry, in the shape of bedsteads, tables, chairs, and other articles of furniture.
"Fifteen children have been sent to service, or put out to trades, in the course of the year. They are earning wages of from 3s. to 6s. per week. One of them, sent to the school from the Police Office, and who to all appearance was likely to lead a course of crime and misery, has £1. 10s. in the Savings Bank; another, a deformed boy, is now able, from his wages, to support himself and his mother. When he entered the school, about two years ago, the family were sunk in the depths of poverty.
"It is pleasing to notice that the children, thus placed in respectable situations, are generally quite above mixing with their former vicious associates, and, without exception, up to the present time have conducted themselves to the satisfaction of their employers. They are not lost sight of when they leave the institution, but every encouragement is given them to visit the school frequently, particularly on the Sunday evenings. In this way they are made to see that an interest continues to be felt in them, and they are encouraged to do nothing to discredit the school, or disappoint the hopes of their benefactors.
"During the past year, the average attendance of girls has been forty-six. Miss Allan, the sewing-mistress, states that she has every reason to be satisfied with the conduct and progress of the children under her charge. About twenty of them can make a shirt or frock well. The rest are not so far advanced, but they can sew neatly; and all of them, with the exception of a very few young creatures, can knit a stocking well and quickly. A number of the more advanced girls have been taught fancy sewing--the teacher making this a reward for good conduct, and proficiency in ordinary work. Several of them display great taste and neatness in this description of sewing, and it is found to be an admirable stimulus and encouragement to all the girls. The whole of the domestic labour necessary for carrying on the establishment is performed by the girls in turns, under the eye of the cook. They come thus to be fully instructed in keeping and cleaning a house, washing, cooking, etc."
This institution was established by some of the supporters of the "Original Ragged Schools," (instituted by the Rev. Dr. Guthrie,) who objected to the system of religious teaching there adopted, where the children of Papists and Protestants were alike instructed from the "authorised version of the Holy Scriptures." The system now adopted by the objecting party-as will be seen from the above extract-is to divide the religious instruction of the school into two sections, wherein Roman Catholic children are taught from books and by teachers of their own persuasion, and those belonging to Protestant parents by instructors of the Protestant faith. It is not our intention to enter into the arguments advanced by the respective parties during the long and severe discussion to which the subject gave rise, nor do we for a moment depreciate the valuable contribution rendered by the Committee of the "United Industrial School" to the cause of suffering humanity; but we feel it to be our duty plainly to state, that we practically and decidedly differ from them on the subject of religious instruction. One of the fundamental rules of our Society is, that the free and unrestricted use of the Word of God shall be observed in every school connected with it, and every day's experience convinces us of the importance of such an arrangement. So long as one great object of our labours is the conversion of the souls of our children to God, Papist as well as Protestant, we must insist upon the unmodified use of that Word that "maketh wise unto salvation."
OUR readers will be gratified to learn that efforts have been made for the establishment of Ragged Schools in different parts of Ireland during the last two years. The following letter, sent to the Earl of Shaftesbury by a gentleman in Cork, will show, to some extent, how much they are needed in many parts of that unhappy country :
"MY LORD,-Having been requested to act as Secretary to a Committee for the establishment (if practicable) of Ragged Industrial Schools in Cork, I am forced to trouble your Lordship for a reference to information on those operations in London which have the benefit of your Lordship's patronage. I have had from my friend Dr. Bell, of Edinburgh, such proof of the success attained there, as to stimulate the exertions of those patriotically disposed
elsewhere; even without the alarming necessity for some check to juvenile delinquency indicated by the inclosed statement, which is largely composed of cases of youthful offenders.
The figures speak loudly enough of the disease, but are dismally silent as to any cure.
Considerable as they seem, those commitments give an insufficient estimate of the extent of crime in and about Cork, as from unwillingness of country people to prosecute, many petty depredations escape without any punishment; while, on the other hand, windows are broken in view of the police-stations, by parties desirous of being committed and fed in jail.
Pity, however, is to be mingled with indignation in respect of many fine children, who are orphans from the effects of famine and pestilence; and perhaps even more for the offspring of dissolute parents, from whose contamination it would be a mercy to rescue them.
I fear I have unwarrantably trespassed on your Lordship's time, but I cannot avoid adding the expression of a hope, that at some time or other the legislature may furnish funds with no grudging hand to the institutions in question, as objects of national importance, and especially wanted in such a part of the kingdom as this, where it is vain to expect to raise local funds at all adequate to the object, even at the sacrifice in such schools of the Bible as the foundation of its operations—a sacrifice which I, for one, would never consent to make.
"I have the honour to be, etc., H. B."
Commitments to the Bridewell of the City of Cork for ten years:—
Post Mark, Stoke Newington, "August 9th, 1851.
SIR, I have waited, with some degree of anxiety, for some steps to be taken by the Huntsworth Mews Ragged School Committee, in reference to the attack made on the school by a Romish priest. Surely, in this land of boasted religious liberty, such an outrage will not be tamely submitted to by Englishmen of the 19th century. But my object in addressing you is simply to suggest a plan, by which the Bibles, etc., may be secured to their possessors in fact by the arm of the law. Let each Bible have plainly written in the first page This Bible is the property of the Committee of the Ragged School,' and it will be out of the power of the priest to destroy them, without incurring the penalty of wantonly destroying another's property. Of course the children of Romish parents could not, and would not prosecute any dignitary of their church who seized their books, but surely a Committee of Protestants could interpose if the books were their property. The Bibles might still be lent to the children for any length of time; indeed, they might be theirs all but in name. I mention this plan, because it was found successful in another Ragged School, in preventing pawnbrokers receiving the clothing and books given to the children. The clothes were marked Ragged School,' and the pawnbrokers dared not receive them. With many apologies, "I am, Sir, yours faithfully, S. M. S.”