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TALKS WITH OUR GIRLS. 19
right royal service for God. But that is not all I meant to say. When I have been tempted to murmur at my own lot in life, I will tell you what has given me infinite comfort. I believe that God is my Father, and that He loves me with an infinitely wise and tender love. I believe, too, in His unlimited control over every circumstance of my life. Then, if this be so, the place where He has put us is just the place where we can serve Him best for the present. There are no difficulties in our path which He does not, for some wise end and loving purpose, permit. Try to realise this, dear child, for this firm confidence in God's personal, watchful interest in your life, will be to you a well-spring of continual comfort and joy.” “Then are we not to try and fit ourselves for any higher service, but just go on contentedly where we find ourselves?” “I did not say that. Cultivate, to the uttermost, every gift and talent you possess: find out what you are specially fitted for, and make the most of your capabilities. Our fitness for higher service is determined by the way in which we discharge the lower duties. ‘He that is faithful in that which is least, will be faithful also in much.” As in the world, so in God's kingdom, no man is appointed to a high position of trust and responsibility until he has first proved himself worthy of confidence in a lower sphere. You may learn, if you will, many precious lessons in discharging the lowly duties of home that shall serve you in good stead hereafter—lessons that you could not have learnt in any other way. Of all these the hardest, perhaps, is to wait.” “How are we always to know what is our proper work, auntie? Sometimes it seems difficult to see what we ought to be doing.” “Carlyle says, “Do the duty that lies nearest.' If we attend to the work that lies plainly in our path, God will open the way before us. ‘I do not ask to see the distant scene: one step's enough for me.’ Women often waste much time and energy in seeking far-off spheres of service, while their actual God-given work waits at their very door. Charles Dickens gives us an exaggerated picture in the character of Mrs. Jellaby, engrossed in serving the cause of the heathen abroad, and suffering her own children to grow up untrained and uncared-for at home. The caricature has a painful element of truth. God forbid that I should cast any imputation on those who serve Him in foreign lands. But this I do say: When God puts a girl into a family, He means her to serve Him at home, until He says, “Friend, come up higher,’ and lays some other work upon her.” “Thank you for the lesson,” said Ethel, “indeed I shall not forget it.” And I think she did not. After many years of quiet and happy usefulness at home, she had a larger door opened to her, and is now spending her time and energies among the poor of London. In her new sphere she continually finds the experience of her old home-life springing up and bearing fruit, and understands how the one was the needful preparation for the other. So, in the clearer light of expanding life, shall we all solve the mysteries which have puzzled us, and, looking back on the way by which we have been led, we shall joyfully exclaim, “He doeth all things well ?” MARIE COMPSTON.
TwFNTY years ago, the question of the churches was, “How shall we reach the masses?” Solemn and earnest men, according to their measure, met in debate; they talked and prayed, preached and printed. Still the problem was unsolved. They said, “Why are we not more inventive f" “Why do we abide by the old and worn-out forms?” Still the dreary mill-horse monotony reigned widely, relieved here and there by instances of daring singularity. Mr. SPURGEON was bold enough to “smash the models” and start on his own account, as if, somehow, he were a whole individual man, capable of thinking and planning for himself, and of working out, in sublime fearlessness, his own ideas. Sober and thoughtful men shook their heads, protested against his irreverence, talked about the “rocket” and the “stick,” soothed their respectable souls in their unprolific monotony, and doggedly kept to “the old paths.” Now the “Salvationists” are upon us. They, too, vote for “smashing models,” invent “terribly,” and shock all our traditional reverences, but certainly “reach the masses” with some part of the gospel, (and who is able to declare its marvellous fulness?) and seem to be saving some of them, at least from the public house, vile language, and viler habits, if not from much that is worse; and again we diligently study the “models;” carefully ascertain the length and shape and weight of the lever with which the early Christians quietly “turned the world upside down;” shake our heads about principles, report damaging details, and recur to the age-honoured simile of the “rocket and the stick.” Man is, indeed, a curious creature; and “past finding out !”
Now, AND THEN ; OR, A Dozen YEARS HENCE.
It is January, 1895, and “General” Booth, aged and worn, is seated in a large and comfortable “study,” refreshing himself, after the fashion of the famous pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, by reading the vehement denunciations and violent caricatures of his character, methods, and work. He is amused at the grotesque prophecies of his critics; and though gladdened that the “Army” has spread itself far and near, is effectively organized in every department, and winning solid and glorious victories in many lands, yet he cannot repress his anxieties as he recalls signs that the original enthusiasms are decaying, the splendid soldier-like “chivalry and dash” (that Robertson lamented his Church, the Church of England, would not endure,) are settling into prosaic routine. The captains are so busy with the soldiers they have enlisted that they have no time to work in the lowest stratum of English society, and the once noisy, irreverent, and persecuted “Army” bids fair, by the dawn of the new century, to be as quiet as the Quakers, decorous and dull as the Irvingites, and as “respectable” as the
, most frigid and dignified gathering of Baptists; that is to say, com
pletely qualified to enter into the category of recognized Christian churches.
Meanwhile a Conference of Christians is announced at the Central Christian Institute to discuss the great problem of the age, “How is the Church to carry the gospel to the lowest of our people?”
Man is indeed a curious creature I and there is very much of him in the “ways” of the Christian church 1 much that is past finding out.
IT is often said that the Established Church enjoys immense wealth. Its Archbishops, Bishops, and Deans, and many of its clergy, can dwell in palaces and fine mansions, and know no want. But many of the clergy are lamentably poor. Born gentlemen, educated at Oxford and Cambridge, and with refined tastes, many of them are almost paupers. There are six thousand curates with incomes which average only £130 per annum. There are also three thousand livings which do not average more than £150 yearly. An appeal for a “Foundation School” for providing “a free education and maintenance for the sons of poor clergymen” lies before us, and it certainly contains some sad revelations. The numerals refer to boys now in the school, and the following are extracts from the list:—
No. 540. The Father is Vicar of a poor and populous parish in the Diocese of Ripon. His income is £190, and he has eleven children dependent upon him. No. 553. The Father was a Vicar in the Diocese of Salisbury, but has died since his son became a candidate. The widow has no income, and she has three children dependent upon her. No. 556. The Father is a Curate in the Diocese of London. His income is £75, and he has nine children dependent upon him. No. 582. The Father is an Incumbent in the Diocese of St. David's. His income is £106, and he has eleven children dependent upon him. No. 583. The Father is a Vicar in the Diocese of Chichester. His income is £232, and he has eight children dependent upon him. He had much illness in his family last year, entailing great expense. No. 596. The Father is an Incumbent in the Diocese of Peterborough. His income is £233, and he has five children dependent upon him. No. 614. The Father is a Vicar in the Diocese of Oxford. His income is £245, and he has eight children dependent upon him. His parish being large and scattered, he has no time to spare for the education of his children. No. 627. The Father is a Curate in the Diocese of St. David's. His income is 4.94, and he has four children dependent upon him. No. 635. The Father is a Curate in the Diocese of St. Albans, and has been twenty-three years in Holy Orders. His income is £200, and he has five children dependent upon him. No. 641. The Father is a curate in the Diocese of Chester. His income is £136, he has four children dependent upon him, and his wife is an invalid. No. 648. The Father is an Incumbent in the Diocese of Worcester. His income is £152, and he has eight children dependent upon him, of whom four are boys. There are no available schools near. No. 650. The Father is a Curate of a large London parish in the Diocese of Rochester, and has been fifteen years in Holy Orders. His income is £81, and he has six children dependent upon him. His wife has been in very delicate health for more than two years. No. 662. The Father is a Curate in the Diocese of Manchester. His income is £121, and he has twelve children, nine of whom are entirely and one partly dependent upon him. No. 676. The Father was lately a Curate in the Diocese of London, but has at present only occasional Sunday duty, having been compelled to resign his curacy through repeated attacks of bronchitis and asthma. He also suffers from valvular disease of the heart. His income, part of which is given by his relatives, is £95, and he has five children dependent upon him.
We are sometimes told that “Dissenting teachers lust after the flesh pots of Egypt,” but, it would seem that it often happens there is not
22 WRITTEN VERSUS UNWRITTEN SERMONS.
much flesh in the pots. For my part I prefer to dwell with Nonconformist Israel, breathing the free air of the wilderness, eating of the sweet manna of spiritual freedom, drinking of the brook of Christian love by the way, following the pillar of cloud and fire as they may lead me, and calling no State the master of my soul. . . GEORGE W. M'CREE.
AN advantage to the speaker who is not tied down to his manuscript is one that some persons at first blush may be disposed to deny to him. It nevertheless is one of which he always may and ought to avail himself; it is the opportunity he has to secure to himself a more lucid and exactly logical order of thought than is possible for the reader, unless he shall read what has been written again and again. Not one man in a thousand can make the order of all the thought of his discourse, at the first writing of it, to be precisely what he afterwards sees it ought to have been. The order of thought in the unwritten discourse may be modified and improved up to the very moment that delivery begins. And you can readily see why this may be so. Unwritten preaching, as we have before and distinctly said, is not to be regarded as the preaching of unpremeditated thought. On the contrary, all the thought is supposed to have been most carefully analyzed, and every part adjusted into a symmetrical whole. No man of well-disciplined intellect will be willing to go before an intelligent audience with an unwritten discourse, unless perfectly familiar with the line of thought he intends to pursue. He knows full well that his attention will be too much engrossed in the expression of his thought to admit of an instant of uncertainty at an given point as to what the thought should really be. All this he has settled beforehand. And he has settled it by repeatedly running through it, with minuteness of analysis, from beginning to end. Any want of connection is at once detected; any deficiency in logic is seen and set right. But he who has written can change only by writing again—a remedy not always at the preacher's command; hence the awkward devices of phraseology for holding together the disjointed thoughts of many a hastily written sermon, or the still more awkward turning forwards and backwards of the pages of the manuscript by the preacher in his clumsy attempts to re-adjust the order of what he had written. The truth is, that any clear thinker, who prepares himself to speak without writing, is compelled by the very necessities of the case, to give special attention to his thoughts, and the relation of those to one another. And, as between the written and the unwritten, among the same grade intellects the superiority in point of logic will be found with him who speaks without the manuscript.
MR. RICHARD PEDLEY.-The Lord Chancellor has appointed our friend, MR. RICHARD PEDLEY, of Crewe, along with two other gentlemen, to the office of magistrate, for the town of Crewe.
Whe élorifith Crutch.'
FRED has met with an accident. He has been run into by a sled, and his hip is severely injured. “I think you might change your mind,” said Yensie, (Fred's cousin); “but little man, I was thinking that without waiting to grow big and rich, you were making me very happy indeed. I think I love you better just as you are than I could possibly were you one bit different.”
“What, Ennie! crutch and all ? Ah, you have not seen this,” he went on sadly, taking the crutch in his white hands, those long, thin hands, whose extreme delicacy Yensie had noted in the first moment of her arrival. “You did not see this. O Yensie, how I hate it,” he went on bitterly, unconsciously assuming an older tone and manner. “It tells me all I have lost, of all I cannot be. Sometimes it seems to me it would have been so much better, so much easier to die,” and one thin hand dashed the tears from his eyes, as with the other he still held the despised symbol of his weakness.
Yensie's eyes were full of tears; but she bowed her head until her lips touched the hated crutch. “Poor littlecrutch 1” she said, “it may be, and doubtless is, God's messenger. See, I salute it, Fred 2 this is the way to greet what our Father sends.”
“Even when it is a crutch | 0 Yensie, you do not know what I have lost in gaining this. You don't know anything about it,” he wailed; pressing his face into her bosom, while he fought the hot tears back. “How can you know, without standing just where I do now. 0, I did so want to be a man, a true, brave man of whom you would be proud | You know you told me I grew so fast, I would make a tall man; and I was so glad; I thought when I got through school I would be big enough to go with you everywhere; and O, I did intend to be so good, and study hard, and make you proud of me; and now it is of no use, just no use at all; I may as well give up. You love me Yensie, and I know you would not make me lame or make me suffer; how can He if He loves me as you say?”
Yensie pressed him a little closer to herself. “Dear boy, dear boy,” she said, “we cannot measure God-love by our human standards. I am so weak, so human, I should spare you pain, perhaps, even knowing that in the end 'twould rob you of greater, richer again. Then, too, my knowledge is limited. Let us be satisfied with that He gives, and rejoice that Father knows. For since we are not to bring ourselves home, nor mark out our own path, we need know little of the way; one step at a time. The child never cares whether the road to the village is known to her or not, when father holds her hand; so we have only to walk were He bids, and not to determine where it leads; for the way is His, the guide Himself, and however crooked the path, we cannot stray under such guardianship; let us be contented.”
# # * # * * * *
There were no more words spoken for many minutes, then, suddenly, Fred lifted his head from her lap, where she had drawn it, and said, with peculiar emphasis, pointing to the crutch: “Yensie, it don't look
* From YENSIE WALTon By E. R. Graham Clarke.—Hodder and Stoughton,