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CHRISTIAN BENEFICENCE.

went copiously into the condition of East London, and urged a greater amount of dependence in reformatory institutions, and less reliance on prisons. He concluded by setting forth the utility of the means of cleanliness, and its mighty power in the moral elevation of the classes referred to. He gave many encouraging cases. Seventy or eighty boys, once thieves, had written from Australia, where they were living respectably as shepherds, and had sent remittances for the purpose of helping their friends to follow them.

“ The following extract from my journal is a sad example of the general habit of pawning. A little boy of twelve years old, awaiting his trial for felony, said, “I should not have been here now, if

my mother had been alive, but she died four months ago. I am here for stealing a pair of shoes. I pawned them. I have been used to go to the pawn-shop. I used to go almost every Monday morning with our suits (clothes,) my brother's and mine; we took 'em out again on Saturday nights, and put 'em in again on Monday mornings.'"Prison Report.

I indulge a sanguine hope that moral training, followed by the means of obtaining a decent livelihood, will so materially diminish the amount of crime, as to make it a rare exception, even amongst the lowest classes, instead of threatening, as it does now, to become the rule.—Lord Denman.

CHRISTIAN BENEFICENCE.

BY THE REV. E. A. LAWRENCE.

The spirit of Christian beneficence is distinguished from mere human kindness, which is neither universal in its extent, uniform in its operations, nor Christian in its principle. It is distinguished from natural pity, in that this arises from spontaneous sympathy, and does not take into account the praise or blameworthiness of its objects. It differs from generosity, which is not scrupulous to abide by the rules of justice, and has no end in the honour of God, or the highest welfare of man. It is unlike that desire of applause, which in the spirit of Pharisaism, often prompts to liberal donations, but only “to be seen of men.” Its bestowments are dissimilar to the grudging remittances made to purchase relief from the wearying importunity of persevering applicants. It is distinguished from the reluctant yielding of the crumbs which fall from the table of abundance, in order to pacify a clamorous conscience, and procure exemption from its upbraidings. It is the antagonist of that almsgiving which is relied on as the ground of justification before God, thus making salvation by grace superfluous and impossible.

Between all these and that beneficence which is truly Christian, there is a wide difference. Christian beneficence neither disowns the constitutional principles or emotions, nor takes its character from them. Incorporating into itself all the elements of joy and sorrow, pity and sympathy, honour and generosity, it constitutes a complex principle, above and beyond any one or all of them. Jesus was kind and sympathising, and compassionate, and generous. But He was something more than these. Purer motives urged Him—a higher impulse moved Him, a nobler spirit inspired Him. It was the impulse of love, whose spontaneous outgushings made His life an example of the most sublime beneficence.

Among the peculiar and positive elements of beneficence distinguishing it as Christian, is

1. An intelligent spirit. Whosoever would discharge the duties of life, must first know what they are. In nothing is this more manifest than in efforts to do good. As all álmsgiving is not from benevolence, so neither is it

CHRISTIAN BENEFICENCE.

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all beneficent. It is as essential to the latter, that it should be directed to a right end, as to the former that it should spring from a right principle. Nor does even a good motive in the donor necessarily secure to his deed the character of beneficence, unless it is well-directed; the action may be praiseworthy in its purpose, while, from want of knowledge, it may be disastrous in its effects. Under the incubus of ignorance, well-meaning men may multiply the ills which they would remove. Through unacquaintance with the condition of those whom they wish to benefit, or through ignorance of the proper remedial agencies or modes of applying them, they may diffuse the bane instead of the antidote, propagate darkness instead of disseminating light, and carry havoc and dismay where they intended only healing and consolation. And the more munificent is such ill-directed charity, the greater the waste, the more wide-spread the ruin.

Christian beneficence walks not forth blindfold amidst the world's mendicity and its mendacity, scattering alike to both. She wields not her full hands, as the Cyclops his huge limbs, at random. Her zeal is an enlightened ardour, never roaming in the dark, and never impatient of results that come only through the gradual operation of appropriate causes.

2. The spirit of Christian beneficence is a diffusive spirit. The distinctions of home and foreign, far off and near, it knows only as different spheres for the occupancy of the same general agency, and for the achievement of the same lofty ends. Remoter guilt and misery affect the heart of the benevolent, if not as sensibly, yet with as really a moving power as do those more near. Moral wretchedness

makes its appeal as urgently from India as from Ireland, from the Celestial Empire as from Wisconsin. And yet, in his beneficent mission to the far distant, the benevolent man averts not his eye from sin and suffering at his own door. No one is more eagle-eyed to espy the mute signs of continuous want, or more ready to respond to the calls of charity at home, than he who, overstepping such narrow limits, carries the blessings of his bounty to the furthest verge of sin and woe.

The plea of charity at home has passed into a proverb, the significance of which seems often to be, hoarding all one gets, and getting all he can. It is sometimes only the sanctimonious garb of parsimony, put on to cover the shame of its nakedness—the formulary by which covetousness seeks baptism at the hands of the Christian priesthood—a broad phylactery worn by one who devours widows' houses. Charity begins at home. True, and where else should she begin? She is born at home, and she begins to act where and when she receives her birth. This is the order of nature. All vital principles work from the centre outwards. It is the order of providence also. But it is contrary both to nature and to providence, for charity to seek only her own, and allow her cultivated and fertile fields to do no more than supply their own wants, and replenish their own wastes.

He, therefore, who in Christian beneficence ends with the beginning, cannot be said to have begun at all. And he who bestows nothing to relieve the misery of which he only hears the description, will be likely to turn away from that of which his eye gives him the living picture; or if

, perchance, by some sudden antagonistical impulse, his iron-nerved grasp be tremulously relaxed, it is but to let slip a pittance much nearer the mockery of woe than its mitigation. He who thus contravenes the order of nature, of providence, and of the Word of God, gives no equivocal proof of being tight bound in the chains of icy selfishness. Covetousness has cast him into her iron cage,

and crushing out of him all humane and generous feelings, has contracted his aims to the narrow circle of his own selfish involutions. Doing good to his fellowmen is not his mission. He has lost the primal dignity of man. He has set himself aside from the human brotherhood, and his ear is bored in servitude to Mammon. He no less needs a mission of mercy from the abode of angels, to re-assert in him the power of conscience, and restore him to his lost human fellowship, than does the poor idolater who makes to himself a god of one

262

THE CHILDREN'S GALLERY.

piece of his wood, and warms himself at the fire kindled by the other. The one worships a god of wood—the other a god of gold.

The spirit of Christian beneficence neither halts nor hesitates at geographical boundaries. Contiguity of guilt and misery has the advantage only as affording opportunity for speedier relief. Hence, the faintest sigh of want, and the softest wail of sorrow, from whatever source they come, touch a responsive chord in the soul of the benevolent man, and vibrate there as the voice of God.

Thus diffusive is the spirit of Christian beneficence. Her field the world. Her own nature allows her no narrower limits as the sphere of her action, and the circle of the globe no wider one. With “ onward” for her motto, she shrinks from no region however rigorous, and from no clime, however sultry or remote. No barbarian is too rude, and no forms of error too venerable, for her assailment. No human condition is so degraded, and no misery so woful; no wretchedness is so appalling, and no terror so intimidating, as to check her flowing sympathy or daunt her adventurous courage. The arm of power may be raised to protect or to repel her; yet, with her eye upturned to the throne of the Eternal, and her hand fast hold of the cross, she goes forth to her work. See the illustration of her diffusive energy in the propagation of primitive Christianity, which in less than three centuries, she made the sole accredited religion of the civilised world. See her, too, in this age, planting her standard amid the snows of Greenland, and on the burning sands of India. She is unfurling the banner of the cross in every quarter of the globe. She is climbing the snow-clad sides of the Himalaya and the Andes, crossing the Rocky Mountains, and ranging the coasts of the Pacific, bearing in one hand the torch of truth, and pointing with the other to the Lamb of God. Nor will she rest till every son and daughter of Adam is blessed by the gospel, and the whole earth smile with the beauty and verdure of heaven.

The Children's Gallery.

appointed that I swore and raved like a THE GRATEFUL FATHER.

madman, using the most abusive and disThe father of a little girl, about seven gusting language, and the most horrid years of age, who attended a Ragged oaths. When my fury was a little abated, School, called one day and wished to see my little girl approached me, with the the teacher. He said that he wished to tears streaming from her eyes, and the thank the master and the gentlemen of Bible clasped between her hands. With the Committee for the instruction the a most imploring look, she said, “Oh little girl received, and the good that had father, do not swear so! Jesus says, resulted to himself and family. “For- 'Swear not at all.' Do not go to the pubmerly,” said he, “my Sabbaths were di- lic-house any more ; and you will have vided between the loom (he was a weaver] more money, and we shall have more of and the public-house. When they were everything without your working on the closed during the hours of public wor- Sunday." I felt the rebuke, and knew ship, I took care to provide myself with a it to be true, but my pride was good supply of beer, to drink while I was touched, to be rebuked by my own little at work. One Sabbath morning, having girl, that I drove her from me. drunk all my beer, I sent my little girl could not get rid of the text she quoted — for some more. She returned without it, Swear not at all.' It rung in my ears, stating that the public-house was closed, whether at work or in the tap-room, and she could not get in. I felt so dis- though I strore hard to shake it off.

SO

But I

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Still it was in my mind all the day. No under God, to your school. May he bless matter where I was, in doors or out, it you, and the other gentlemen, and all was ringing in my ears the first thing in Ragged Schools.” the morning and the last at night, Swear not at all. “I at last resolved to forsake the public;

THE SWEARER REPROVED. house and take my girl's advice. By SOME little children, belonging to a God's help I have been able to put the Ragged School, were sitting one day on resolve into practice, and things have the steps of a door, singing, as they often turned out just as she said. All the evils do, some of their little hymns. They and misery that follow the resorting to were suddenly surprised by a half-drunken such places have disappeared; for now man, who came up to them, and, uttering we live in peace and happiness, and I an oath, said, “Does your master teach have a blessed day of rest into the bar. you nothing but singing them foolish gain. As my child said, sir, so it is ; wë

hymns ?" “Yes," said a sharp little have more of comfort and of everything fellow, about six years of age, “he tells us without working on the Sabbath at all. it wicked to swear." “I now read my Bible, go to a place of

The
poor

worthless man seemed ashamed worship, and am about to join myself to of his conduct, and passed on without a Christian church. I owe all this, sir, saying another word.

Intelligence.

POPLAR RAGGED SCHOOLS.
The Second Annual Meeting of the Poplar and
Blackwall Ragged Schools was held on Friday
Evening, October 24th, in the Town Hall, Poplar,
Mr. G. F. Young, M.P., in the Chair. There was
a numerous and respectable attendance on the
occasion, Amongst those present were-the
Rev. G. F. Driffield, A.M.; Rev. R. Parnell, A.m.;
Rev. R. Robbins, M.A.; Rev. George Smith,
Rev. Mr. Stinson, Mr.J. Fuller, Mr. J. Bromley;
Mr. Phelps, etc.

The Chairman began by observing that during the last few years his name had been somewhat prominently before the public in connection with certain political and economic opinions, but however different the views entertained on these points might be, they were; on the present occasion, met on a question on which little or no variety of opinion was held. Not many would dispute the value and even the necessity of education, and although its diffusion had been impeded by the conflicting opinions of legislators as to the mode in which it should be imparted, scarcely one would be found to deny its vast importance in every point of view. But if from this or any other cause the diffusion of sound and healthy education was retarded, it was the more incumbent on the people themselves to see that its advantages were diffused as extensively as possible. Education was indispensable to all to the rich as well as the poor, but he should say to the

latter more especially. He at one time entertained the opinion that education should begin from above, and should descend gradually to the lower classes of society, but he was now convinced that the reverse of this was the true system, and that to educate a nation properly they must begin with the very lowest substratum of society, and educate thence upwards. (Hear, hear.) If he was right in that view, then he would ask where was it more necessary that it should be reduced to practice than in the district of Poplar? There was no class in society which demanded so much watchful attention as those wretched children who were exposed from their tenderest years to the most noxious influences, and who, if neglected, must grow up in ignorance and depravity and irreligion, and therefore a plague and a curse to society. It was at one period thought to be utterly impossible to reclaim these little wanderers—these wretched outcasts from society. But that impression was now happily removed, for much good in their behalf had been effected, and exactly in proportion to the efforts which had been made was the amount of benefit produced. He trusted that this would be a stimulus to them to increase their exertions, till they had abated an evil which was productive of such fearful consequences to the children themselves, and re-acted with the most calamitous results on the society which neglected its duty towards them. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. Fairbairns then read the Report, from

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time the children must not be neglected, and he trusted at least that the debt which had been contracted on their account, would be expunged by their exertions on this occasion.

The Resolution was carried, as was also a vote of thanks to the Chairman. A collection was then made in support of the school.

was SO.

GRAVESEND.

which it appeared that the expenditure exceeded the income in the last year by £30.

The Rev. Mr. Stinson moved the adoption of the Report. There was a great deal of speculation abroad at the present time respecting education, but he trusted that on the present occasion he was addressing a practical meeting, and that they would show by their works and conduct that it

The children who attended Ragged Schools were surrounded by circumstances which must inevitably make them ignorant, vicious, and infidel, unless they were cared for by an institution like the present. The work they had to do was practicable, and he had great pleasure in informing them that many of the children in the schools were likely to be made good members of society, and even religious persons. As patriots and as Christians they should support the institution, for education was calculated to make good citizens and Christian men.

Mr. Gent, of the Ragged School Union, seconded the Resolution. The institution of Ragged Schools had been, under Providence, the means of doing a great deal of good in ameliorating the social, moral, industrial, and religious condition of the unfortunate children who attended them. He was glad to inform them that at their last Report they had 100 schools in existence, having 1,000 voluntary, in addition to 180 stipendiary teachers, and 10,000 scholars. He should be glad, however, if it had been otherwise, and if in their Report of next year they could say that the number of scholars had diminished, because it would indicate that the evil they struggled against was abating. But they must not stop in their efforts as long as it existed.

The Rev. George Smith moved the next Resolution, returning thanks to Divine Providence for the measure of success which had been vouchsafed to the Ragged Schools of Poplar and Blackwall, and pledging the meeting to increased efforts for their maintenance. The Rev. gentleman urged on the meeting with great feeling the claims of the Ragged Schools to public support.

Rev. Mr. Robbins, of Trinity Episcopal Church, seconded the Resolution. It had been estimated by the chaplain to the Bath prison that each of these wretched children who was neglected and allowed to grow up in crime cost the state £200. Mr. Rushton, the late police magistrate of Liverpool, calculated that there were 2,000 of these young criminals sent out yearly to prey upon society, and that their yearly cost to the state was between £200,000 and £300,000. How much better would it not be if something of this sum was appropriated to the diffusion of sound moral and religious instruction amongst these wretched children. (Hear, hear.) Of 16,000 persons who were taken up in London for drunkenness, he regretted to say that 7,000 were females. It was the example presented by wretched and criminal parents of this description that gave them so many young children to wretchedness and crime. He trusted that something would be done to put down the receivers of stolen goods, who were the real source of the mischief.

But in the mean

We are glad to find that an effort is at length being made to establish a Ragged School in Gravesend. The following extracts from a circular just issued, will show how far it is in progress :

“Perhaps there never was a period more remarkable than the present for the zeal and activity of the enemies of religion. Popery with all its insidiousness, Infidelity with all its boldness, and Mormonism with all its absurdity, seem leagued together for the destruction of scriptural truth. Surely under these circumstances, an attitude of defence becomes every individual who bears the name of Christ. For whatever may be urged as the duty of the legislature, one thing is certain, viz., the obligation of Protestants to disseminate among the teeming masses of the country, the blessing of education and the light of the gospel, as means of resistance more to be relied on than the denunciations of the pulpit, or the decisions of the parliament.

“It was this conviction which originated the Ragged School movement in the metropolis a few years ago, and it has already extended to several provincial towns. The success which has accompanied it, and its peculiar adaptation to those for whose benefit it was devised, is well-known and acknowledged.

“ Upon the supposition that Gravesend contains its own proportion (and that no small number) of this class, it has been thought desirable by many that the system should be tried here.

A building suitable for the experiment, situated in the Old Main, has been secured for the present, in which it is proposed to instruct in the great truths of religion and the simple elements of secular knowledge, as many of the poorer class of children, more especially the ragged and neglected, as can be persuaded to attend.

“It will of course be necessary to raise a moderate fund to carry out the design, and public aid is solicited. The week evening instruction will consist of the first rudiments of education, such as reading, writing, and arithmetic,-and the Sabbath instruction, of plain expositions and the reading of God's word. The whole movement therefore is obviously far removed from mere sectarian interest, and one in which it is presumed all Protestants may join,- forgetting their denominational differences in an effort to elevato and enlighten a portion of that class, upon which depends, in no small degree, the safety and well. being of society."

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