Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

“ The great and leading position which Dr. Chalmers advances is ihis, that the same moral regimen which, under the parochial and ecclesiastical system of Scotland, has been set up, and with so much effect, in her country parishes, may, by a few simple and attainable processes, be introduced into the most crowded of her cities, and with as signal and conspicuous an effect on the whole habit and character of their population.

" The first essential step towards the assimilation of the power and influence of religion, and the character of its ministers, over the population of large towns, to that exercised in country parishes, is a numerous and well-appointed agency. By dividing his parish into small manageable districts and assigning one or more of his friends in some capacity or other to each of themand vesting them with such a right either of superintendence or of inquiry, as will always be found to be gratefully met by the population--and so raising as it were a ready intermedium of communication between himself and the inhabitants of his parish, a clergyman may at length attain an assimilation in point of result to a country parish, though not in the means by which he arrived at it. He can in his own person maintain at least a pretty close and habitual intercourse with the more remarkable cases; and as for the moral charm of cordial and Christian acquaintanceship, he can spread it abroad by deputation over that portion of the city which has been assigned to him. In this way an influence long unfelt in towns, may be speedily restored to them, and they know nothing of this department of our nature, who are blind to the truth of the position--that out of the simple elements of attention, and advice, and civility, and good-will, conveyed through the tenements of the poor, by men a little more elevated in rank than themselves, a far more purifying and even more gracious operation can be made to descend upon them, than ever will be achieved by any other of the ministrations of charity.

“Such arrangements as these are peculiarly fitted to repair the disadvantages under which a city, purely commercial, necessarily labours. in all such cities there is a mighty and unfilled interposed between the high and the low, in consequence of which they are mutually blind to the real cordialities and attractions which belong to each other, and a resentful feeling is apt to be fostered, either of disdain or defiance. To destroy all such unhappy feelings of animosity or repugnance, no better plan can be devised, than to multiply the agents of Christianity, whose delight it may be to go forth among the people, on no other errand than of pure good will, and with no other ministrations than those of respect and tenderness."

With the following beautiful paragraph, from the first number of the reverend Doctor's work, we shall close our extracts for the present.

5. There is one lesson that we need not teach, for experience

space

[ocr errors]

has already taught it, and that is, the kindly influence which the mere presence of a human being has upon bis fellows. Let the attention you bestow upon another be the genuine emanation of good will—and there is only one thing more to make it irresistible. The readiest way of finding access to a man's heart, is to go to his house--and there to perform the deed of kindness, or to acquit yourself of the wonted and the looked-for acknowledgment. "By putting yourself under the roof of a poor neighbour, you in a manner put yourself under his protection you render him for the time your superior--you throw your reception on his generosity, and be assured that it is a confidence which will almost never fail you. If Christianity be the errand on which you move, it will open for you the door of every family ; and even the profane and the profligate will come to recognise the worth of that principle which prompts the unwearied assiduity of your services. By every circuit which you make amongst them, you will attain a higher vantage-ground of moral and spiritual influenceand in spite of all that has been said of the ferocity of a city population, be assured that, in your rounds of visitation, you will meet with none of it, even among the lowest receptacles of human worthlessness. This is the home-walk in which you earn, if not a proud, at least a peaceful popularity-the popularity of the heart -the greetings of men who, touched even by your cheapest and easiest services of kindness, have nothing to give but their wishes of kindness back again ; but in giving these have crowned your pious attentions with the only popularity that is worth the aspiring after--the popularity that is won in the bosom of families, and at the side of death-beds."

Jntelligence,

ENGLAND. MERCHANT SEAMEN'S AUXILIARY BIBLE SOCIETY. By the second report of this society it appears, that during the period of fifteen months, ending the 8th of May, 1020 vessels, containing 17,421 seamen, have been visited by the society's agent at Gravesend. Of this number of men, 15,039 are reported to be able to read.

Six hundred and ninety copies of the Scriptures have been sold for the use of seamen in the foreign trade, and 757 Bibles, and 2093 Testaments, have been distributed gratuitously.

From February 1818 to May 1820, 789 of the vessels visited, containing 7803 seamen, would have proceeded to sea, many of them on long and perilous voyages, without a leaf of the Sacred Scriptures, but for the well timed bounty of this society.

From the report of the society's agent at Gravesend, we shall inake the following extracts, reserving our remarks on this sub

as

ject, so intimately connected with the interests of our own seamen, for a future page of our work.

“ No. 25.-A poor black man bought a Bible, and, when paying for it, said, I have too much neglected this book ; I shall attend to it for the time to come.'"

“No. 269.- The Captain told me he commanded the Swift when I supplied that vessel, and observed, “The alteration which was effected in my crew, as it respects their manners, would tonish any one-they became quite different beings.""

“ No. 284.- We have got a Bible aft-the crew have none;' said the mate; 'much pains are used to mend the manners of our seamen--it will be a work of time, but better late than never.',

Ah!' said a young man, who was sitting in the cabin, there is that in the Bible calculated to make a man happy in any condition. I am sure it is so, because I have found it so.'"

“No. 303.-The pilot, a very steady kind of a man, came to me, and said, “Sir, do you recollect supplying a French brig at the time I was her pilot? You gave them a French Testament, which they read, and read aloud, alternately, from Gravesend to the Downs, where I left her, and left them reading.""

“ No. 410.--This is a fine new Scotch ship, in good order, with an excellent crew. Here I found 28 Bibles amongst 36 men. I was well received by the chief officer and the Captain's wife. She appeared very sensible and pious. She gave me a pleasing account of the Bible society in Aberdeen, and of the excellent order of the last ship her husband commanded, the great good done amongst the crew by means of Bible instruction ; to use her own words, she said, “Some of the seamen went to sea lions, and came home lambs.'"

“ No. 477.- This ship bad 188 convicts on board, and one box of Scriptures for their use. There were also 33 soldiers on board ; several desired to purchase pocket Bibles of me, and made known their wishes to their officer, who very much applauded them. I sold eight Bibles and three Testaments among them, and never have I witnessed before such an ardent desire after the Scriptures as I saw in most of those soldiers who purchased."

“No. 559.-'I am glad to see you, sir," said the Captain, an honest Scotchman. Have you any Bibles among the crew ?' I asked :

-Yes,' he replied, we have as many Bibles as we can read, and no more ; that is—one Bible for each man, and it would be a great shame to be without.' I observed, “You appear in good order, Captain.'—Ah,' he replied, they are obedient and well-disposed lads.''

“No. 693.—1 supplied this fine brig with one Bible and two Testaments. The Captain, who is a Lieutenant in the navy, called at my office, and said, 'You must excuse me, sir, not receiving the books you left on board, upon the terms expressed in VOL. VII.

3 X

has already taught it, and that is, the kindly influence which the mere presence of a human being has upon his fellows. Let the attention you bestow upon another be the genuine emanation of good will—and there is only one thing more to make it irresistible. The readiest way of finding access to a man's heart, is to go to his house--and there to perform the deed of kindness, or to acquit yourself of the wonted and the looked for acknowledgment. By putting yourself under the roof of a poor neighbour, you in a manner put yourself under his protection—you render him for the time your superior---you throw your reception on his generosity, and be assured that it is a confidence which will al most never fail you. If Christianity be the errand on which you move, it will open for you the door of every family; and even the profane and the profligate will come to recognise the worth of that principle which prompts the unwearied assiduity of your services. By every circuit which you make amongst them, you will attain a higher vantage-ground of moral and spiritual influenceand in spite of all that has been said of the ferocity of a city population, be assured that, in your rounds of visitation, you will meet with none of it, even among the lowest receptacles of human worthlessness. This is the home-walk in which you earn, if not proud, at least a peaceful popularity—the popularity of --the greetings of men who, touched even by your easiest services of kindness, have nothing to give of kindness back again; but in giving these pious attentions with the only popularity th ing after—the popularity that is won in the at the side of death-beds."

[graphic]

ENG MERCHANT SEAMEN'S By the second report of thi period of fifteen months, end containing 17,421 seamen agent at Gravesend. Or ed to be able to read.

Six hundred and nine for the use of seamen 2093 Testaments, have

From February 181 containing 7803 seame them on long and peri Scriptures, but for the

From the report of make the following e

[graphic]

y way through Eden,

this great city, which, den ; but now, tbrough woa 316

« AnteriorContinuar »