« AnteriorContinuar »
they themselves are transported into a new world of improvement and delight.
How differently, under these circumstances, are they viewed by their friends ? Now, they can correspond with them by writing, and converse with them by signs. Now, their society, instead of being shunned, has become inexpressibly interesting: Whilst their own countenances, lighted up with intelligence, and beaming with joy, discover the enraptured feelings of their hearts, O, how must parental tenderness rejoice in such a scene ! There have been instances in this very Institution, in which, on witnessing the favourable change in the children, and especially their attempts to articulate, the most rugged dispositions have been melted into tears.
Bat these advantages, important as they are, sink into insignificance when compared to such as they derive from a knowledge of the word of God; that word, is the word of eternal life.
It cannot be communicated to them in the ordinary way. If the eye could not be substituted for the ear, in teaching them the nature and the power of letters, they would remain eternal strangers to God's truth, revealed to us in the Scriptures.
A deprivation like this is one of the greatest that human nature can endure. To live without hope and without God in the world -to pass through it like beasts without reflection, or like the benighted traveller, without star-light or even candle-light to guide him in the way—to be ignorant of all that can open up the mysteries of eternity, shed light upon affliction, or radiance upon the grave ;-language is too poor to express the dreariness of such a state, the depth of such calamity. Those, and those only, who know the value of heavenly truth, and have felt its sacred influence upon their hearts, can form a just estimate of such a loss.
It was the prophecy of an ancient bard of Israel, that at the coming of Messiah the tongue of the Dumb should sing. That prophecy was fulfilled in the miracles of Jesus; and is it not fulfilling in our day, in the preparation that is making for the millennial glory? · Does not the language of Heaven in Providence appear to indicate, that from that latter day glory, not even the Deaf and Dumb shall be excluded? And when we see the eagerness they discover, not only to be initiated in the first rudiments of Christianity, but also to prosecute their inquiries in divine knowledge, who can turn away from them with indifference, or withhold from them the heavenly boon?
It is our honour, fellow-citizens, to be co-workers with God in this matter, and if we engage in it from proper motives, we shall in no wise lose our reward.
To see immortal beings raised by our exertions, from a state of mental vacuity to a condition of high intellectual cultivationfrom a state of joyless and abject mental poverty, to the exercise
and enjoyment of the best faculties and feelings of our naturefrom ignorance of God, of themselves, of futurity, and of duty, to perhaps a saving acquaintance with them all, is calculated, especially when we look forward to 'our future meeting with them at ihe bar of God, to afford pleasure the most refined, the most exalted.
And this pleasure is exceedingly enhanced, when we consider, that in aiding them, we not only subserve the cause of humanity in their particular case, but also the cause of our God, and of posterity unborn.
We shall now introduce these unfortunate children to your notice. You will judge for yourselves of their improvement, and of the importance of the institution by which they are cherished. Their presentment on this occasion, is the strongest appeal. we have to offer to the understanding, and to the hearts of this assembly.
For the Christian Herald. SOCIETY FOR SUPPORTING THE GOSPEL AMONG THE POOR. Mr. Editor-1 was much gratified lately by a perusal of the Report for the year 1819, of the stated preacher of the Society for Supporting the Gospel among the Poor of this city, which was published in a late number of the Christian Herald.
Since that publication, the circular letter of the Trustees has appeared in several of the daily newspapers, and I presume will be published in the Herald.
Among the numerous religious societies of our city, this appears to me to be deserving of particular notice and liberal
patronage. The facts stated in the simple, but affecting and interesting report of the faithful preacher, and the earnest appeal of the Trustees, are calculated to excite such notice, and I sincerely hope will induce such patronage.
Although the object of this institution is truly benevolent, and its sphere of usefulness is of the most interesting nature; although proofs of its success in very numerous instances of conversion, are to be found in its annals; still it has been permitted to experience a lanientable desertion in the zeal for forming new and perhaps more popular institutions. The labours of its aged but active and indefatigable minister, have been pursued with an ardour and intelligence which abundantly qualify him for his station, during a period of nearly eight years. The poor and distressed objects of his ministrations can bear ample testimony to his kindness, his zeal, and his fidelity to their eternal interests; and in that day when all shall be assembled in the presence of the searcher of hearts, I trust many will be found as children whom God has given to him.
The account of his weekly services, published in the circular,
exhibits an amount of labour which almost any but himself would shrink from undertaking. But I hope he will go on in the strength of his Master, prosecuting his laborious but important vocation, and reap the rich reward of his Master's blessing. The Trustees have not "detailed the causes of their embarrassment," deeming It" unnecessary.” It is true that the general causes are well known ; but one exists, to which I have already advertedthe zeal for establishing new institutions. This is a society pursuing its course quietly and without display ; seldom attracting the public eve, as its labours are chiefly employed in “ the cell of the criminal, the apartments of the diseased and the dying, the abodes of the poor and the destitute.” Thus shut in from public observation, but little of its effects are visible abroad, while many a penitent heart is led to the dispenser of pardon, many a sorrowing spirit is consoled—many an aged believer in Christ, whom poverty may have driven to the Almshouse, enjoys the delightful privileges of still hearing the gospel preached, still having a Christian ininister with whom to converse on the great things of eternal life, and the minds of those hapless children whose lot is cast there, are trained for future piety and usefulness. Were all these important facts apparent to the public, I think it is impossible that such an institution would be suffered to languish in this community, where every thing pious and benevolent is so liberally patronised. It is to aid in making them more apparent that I have presumed to write this communication, and to call the attention of the Christian public to the wants of the society.
I understand from one of the Trustees, that since the publication of their circular, several small donations have been received. This is well, and I hope they will receive many more.—But there is more efficient aid required, which I hope they will also obtain -I mean by annual subscriptions. Their list of yearly contributors is exceedingly diminished, and although donations may tend to their temporary relief, I know that without very important additions are made to the society, it must fall. I do not think their circular is sufficiently importunate on this point, as I have lately inspected their subscription book. I therefore hope that there are many benevolent Christians in this highly privileged city, who without waiting to be specially called upon, will volunteer an annual subscription to aid in continuing this important work.
A Member of The Society.
From the Sailor's Magazine.
BETHEL FLAG. A friend, who attends the prayer meetings in the Upper Pool, has communicated the following pleasing circumstance:
“Last Tuesday night, Captain M— was requested to give out a verse or two of a hymn, and then pray. He came to the table, and said, “My dear friends, I bless God that ever the
Bethel Flag was hoisted at the mast-head of the N-D—" He then repeated the words, and said, “ Never since that night, have I heard an oath on board of her, and I have some reasons to hope, that the Lord has begun the work of his grace in the hearts of some of my people. I am getting very old, and must soon enter into eternity.--Let us now pray for a blessing on the attempts to do good to the souls of seamen.” He then poured out his soul, in the most affectionate manner, frequently interrupted by the tears which ran down his weather-beaten countenance, especially when praying for the crew of the N-D—
MEETINGS IN THE LOWER POOL.
Our sailor's prayer meetings proceed with the utmost energy and unusual success.-The spirit of prayer continues to enlarge and expand the heart, and instances frequently are occurring of hardened sinners being converted by Almighty grace.
Five seamen had engaged in prayer on board the Ariel of Shields, when a very young lad, the cabin boy, took the hymn book of his own accord, and gave out “O for a thousand tongues to praise.”—After singing, he bowed his knees, and prayed with such fervour and humility, that every person was melted. The lad cried to the Lord to pardon bis sins, give him a new heart, bless the meeting, teach his father and mother to pray, and his little brothers and sisters. He entreated also, that God would strengthen his captain, to set a good example before him and the ship's company. -The lad had scarcely finished, when a Captain of a ship in the foreign trade (who had been invited with his wife on board the Ariel by the Captain,) begun in much distress of mind, saying, “ Lord, save me, a wicked sinner; have mercy on me, a poor prodigal.-Five and twenty years I have been ploughing the great deep, and never prayed before. Lord, thou hast often saved me from shipwreck and the devouring seas, and what have I been doing never to thank Thee before! Oh save me, Lord Jesus; my sins are more than the sand on the sea shore! I will praise the Lord, I ever came to this meeting to-night. What do I feel! what do I see! every heart broken before God, at this unexpected visit from the Majesty of heaven.” His poor wife was deeply affected.
THE SAILOR'S TREASURE, A ship in distress last winter, somewhere near the Swin, was observed by a Barking fisherman, who immediately went to assist and relieve the crew, whom they took on board their smack. On her going down, (for she sank,) one of her crew jumped on board, rushed into the cabin at the risk of his life, to fetch something he had forgotten, but great was their surprise when they found this precious treasure was-a Bible !
THE CHRISTIAN AND CIVIC ECONOMY OF LARGE TOWNS. There is a great deal of philanthropy afloat in this our day. At no period, perhaps, in the history of the human mind, did a desire of doing good so earnest, meet with a spirit of inquiry so eager, after the best and likeliest methods of carrying the desire into accomplishment. And never was there a greater quantity of thought embarked on those speculations which, whether with Christian or merely economical writers, have the one common object of promoting the worth and comfort of our species.
It must be confessed, that much of this benevolence, and more particularly when it aims at some fulfilment, by a combination of many individuals, is rendered abortive for want of a proper direction. Were the misleading causes to which philanthropy is exposed, where it operates among a crowded assemblage of human beings, fully understood, then yould it cease to be a paradox,-why there should either be a steady progress of wretchedness in our land, in the midst of charitable institutions, or a steady progress of profligacy in the midst of its churches, and charity and sabbath schools.
Thus, with this favourable estimate of modern philanthropy, and this acknowledgment, that it needs a better direction, does the eminent Dr. CHALMERS introduce his excellent work on the “ Christian and civic economy of large towns," or the comparative habitudes of a city and a country population.
On a former occasion, (p. 365) we gave extracts from another production of the same reverend author, in which he insists on the necessity of a more frequent intercourse between the higher and the lower classes of society, by a wide and generous system of ecclesiastical accommodation, that the rich and the poor might sit in company together in the house of God; and by assigning to each of his order a manageable district, where he might be able to cultivate a ministerial influence among all its families, and give an unbewildered attention to the office of dealing with the hearts and principles of the thousands around him.
An obliging friend, to whom we are indebted for many facilities in the prosecution of our labours, has put into our hands the first three numbers of Dr. Chalmers' new work, the successive chapters of which he intends to publish in quarterly numbers.
Our object will be to glean from his pages what may apply as well to New York and Philadelphia, as to Edinburgh and Glasgow, extracting both from Blackwood's abridgement and from the work itself, as may best suit our purpose.
“ The subject,” says Blackwood, " is one of mighty importance, and we have no doubt that broad lights will be streamed upon it from his powerful and original mind, lifting up into general knowledge truths that have long been lost sight of even by the