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There are many ladies found in Edinburgh, who manifest a deep interest in the welfare of the Medical Mission, and who aid its operations as only true womanly natures can aid such endeavours. These visitors devote much of their time and substance to the interest of the poor, and one or another of their number may frequently be seen among the congregation at the Cowgate dispensary. While that little table bell is ringing the patients into the consulting room, one of these effective pleaders will sometimes remain in the inner chamber, “ to place before them a Triune Jehovah—a Heavenly Father who cannot look upon sin.” Is not this a thankless oflice ? No; but it is work requiring the tact and patience of cultured womanliness. How should the Irish be treated ? As Romanists, the Irish would be glad to dispense with gospel teaching. The best things one can say to them, they call Protestantism; and Protestantism they account defiling heresy. Talk to them about Christ, and they will answer, “Oh, the Virgin will intercede for us !". Thus the speaker must preserve her own self-respect, and must do this without awakening the superstitious bigotry of her rude constituents. Besides the Irish, however, other characters are present, whom we can regard more lovingly. Rags, dirt, and vice, have not quite destroyed hope regarding them. They begin to see, or think they do, something attractive in the cross. On hearing the name of Christ, they will look up and say, “Ay, he is the one to save us.” To kindle any interest in the minds of such people, is at least encouraging, but while pleased at one symptom of success, perhaps the lady has her ardour damped when one shows peevishness at having time occupied by prayer. “I've got no time for prayer !” “No time for prayer? No time for prayer ?" cries the visitor ; “One day you will have to find time for death !" Some too, manifest an impatience common to rude natures, and so provoke a reprimand from the more peaceably inclined; 6.9., “ Can't you be quiet. If you don't want to listen to the lady, we do.” A few choice spirits who sometimes.appear, and evince a genuine interest in what is said, probably find their way into one of the Cowgate mission churches. “A friend of mine," said one of this class, "heard you the other day talking about these things here, and when she came home, she told the whole of it to us." “Go and do likewise,” replies the lady. Then there is a little girl sitting on the bench, whose love of Bible stories appears to inspire her relatives with excusable pride; for the mother whispers confidentially to her instructor, “She will tell it all over again to-night !” There are many winning traits also found in some of the people here congregated ; traits showing that even the Cowgate cannot totally destroy the heart's susceptibility of good impressions. How do we know this? Because more than once, when the little table bell of the adjoining room has uttered its quick summons, unbidden tears have dimmed the eyes of patients little accustomed to weep. Wives, in whose hearts one might have supposed the last flicker of feminine generosity had died out long ago, have shown their appreciation of the word spoken in season. Gaunt, powerful men, too, in whose hard, vice-marred features you might look in vain for what you would take to be sympathy, have uttered such words as "Good-bye, Ma'am, I won't forget what you have been telling us."
We hope that our readers will now perceive the value in general of
medical missions in crowded towns; and we hope they will learn to regard with favour the parent society at Edinburgh, which so admirably serres as a training institution. Into the innermost dens of sin-stricken districts the agents penetrate, and with the Bible and their healing art for passports, find welcome everywhere. Many, ignorant of the gospel or of morality, are brought into light and liberty, and frequently succour is carried to the destitute or the reduced by misfortune during the most trying season of life. We give an instance of every-day work from the diary of a Manchester visitor :
"I had a patient lately, whose education and intelligence were very much beyond the common run of workiug people. Whenever I essayed to speak to him of Jesus, he was dissatisfied. He often used to say, * Well, I don't think the same as you, we shall not agree upon that point.' His principles were evidently sceptical, and, at times, he would hardly listen to me. The end was approaching. I asked the Lord, many times, how to reach his heart. God answered in a way I did not expect. The patient was confined to his bed, and could hardly breathe, not having strength to expectorate. One very bitter day, he looked blue with the cold. On leaving him, I said, 'You look cold. Yes, he replied, 'I am. I turned down the bed-quilt, and found only a very thin covering beneath. On passing down stairs, the children's bed-room door was open, and evidently the bed-clothing on the cots was very poor. On questioning the wife, I ascertained, that some had been taken from the children's bed to cover the patient. A pair of blankets were sent in. At my next visit, there was a decided change in his manner of speech. After a few words I left him, telling him to look at the fourth chapter of John's Gospel, a few verses of which I quoted. 'The next time I called, to my great joy, I found he had asked his wife to read to him out of the blessed Book. We had now, for the first time after four months' intercourse, prayer together. This poor sinner, at last, saw the wondrous and mysterious love of God in Christ. On referring to his previous state of mind, he said, “The way the Gospel has Been presented to me, is very different to what I have experienced in times gone by. You see, I now understand what the Saviour meant in that passage of Matthew's Gospel, ‘I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in : naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me.' Having to be out of town for a day, I went to see him before leaving, I told him it was probably the last time we should meet on earth. "Well, doctor,' he replied, 'we shall meet in heaven, before Him who died for us. The next day I received a hurried message that he was dying, and that he wished me to pray with him, and bid him farewell. On entering the room, he held out his thin hand, grasped mine, and with difficulty I released it. His wife raised him up, and we bowed in prayer, and, again, did this afflicted one strive to pray. His hand was held out again, and he expressed his hope to meet me in the presence of his Saviour. Less than ten minutes after leaving his bedside, his soul passed away. I asked his wife what seemed to have impressed him so suddenly. Well, doctor,' she replied, I think it was the
' blankets. He was completely broken down after that.””
Another affecting instance of good done comes froin Glasgow:
" About the end of July, a poor woman came to the Hall for advice. I found she was labouring under a painful and deadly disease. At her own urgent request, I revealed to her her malady, spoke to, and prayed with her ere she went away. Being utterly unfit for exertion, I got her laid up in bed, and attended her at her own house. About a week after her visit, she thus spoke to me,— When you told me what was the matter with me, I thought I would have sunk through the floor, it was just as if the judge had put on the black cap, and passed sentence of death on me: I am not afraid to die now though. Are you not?' No, for if I die now my soul is saved.''But how do you know that?' * Because I believe in Jesus.' “And Jesus has delivered you from the fear of death ?' 'Yes.' •What led you to this state of mind ?' “The words I heard at the Hall, and especially the prayer you prayed over me, after I heard my sentence passed, took hold of me. I was in a terrible state of mind for some days, but I'm at peace now, for I'm trusting in Jesus, and my soul is safe. It is upwards of four months since this took place, and iho hope of glory is her portion still. One of the last days she was visited, it was observed to her, “You are getting very low down now. Yes,' she answered, “but I'm getting up, too. Truly, indeed had she drunk of the new wine of the kingdom. Early in December, she died in peace.”
* And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Medical missionaries copy the example of those who received Christ's command, and therefore merit the countenance and sympathy of all who long for the conversion of the world. To such we commend the workers and the work. The Medical Mission of Edinburgh is an immense blessing to the poorest districts of the city. It is a blessing elsewhere also. A harvest of souls is being reaped in other towns of the empire ; while from heathen climes, tidings of suffering alleviated and of Christian conquests won, gladdeu the hearts of those who look on from afar. It was a privilege to have an opportunity of inspecting the powerful philanthropic agency we have described. It will be a reward if our readers, having their interest and sympathy awakened, put their hand to the great work.*
BRAHAM paid tithes to Melchizedek. What then ? well done of him ; it does not follow therefore that I must pay
; tithes, no more than I am bound to imitate any other action of Abraham's. 'Tis ridiculous to say the tithes are God's part, and therefore the clergy must have them; why, so they are if the layman has them. 'Tis as if one of my Lady Kent's maids should be sweeping this room, and another of them should come and take away the broom, and tell for a reason why she should part with it, 'tis my lady's broom ; as if it were not my lady's broom, which of them soever had it.— From "Selden's Table Talk."
Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society. President: W. Brown, Esq., F.R.C.S. Vice-Presidents : Professor Ballour and the Rev. G. D. Cullen, A.M. Treasurer : R. Ormond, Esq., M.D., 43, Charlotte Square. Secretary: B. Bell, Esq., F.R.C.S., 8, Shandwick Place. Superintendent: The Rev. John Lowe, F.R.C.S., at the Students' Home, 56, George Square.
A Political Dissenter.
BY C. H. SPURGEON.
URING the last month it has been our lot to be abused both in
public and by letter as few men have been, for having in a few sentences expressed our belief that Cæsar had better mind his own things, and let the things of God alone. Many of the letters we have received are of such a character that they would disgrace the cause of Beelzebub himself. Certainly, the alliance of Church and State will never come to an end from want of bullies to defend it. A few communications have been courteous, and even rational, but by far the larger proportion have been simply an amalgam of abusive epithets and foolish bombast. We are by no means fond of such things, and yet so far from being depressed by them they have even caused us a little extra mirth. Our experience as to the effect of furious attacks has been somewhat similar to that of Luther, of whom Michelet has the following note: “ Being one day in very high spirits at table, ‘Be not scandalised,' he said, 'to see me so merry. I have just read a letter violently abusing me. Our affairs must be going on well, since the devil is
, storming so.'”
From the remarks which follow we most emphatically exempt certain honourable clergymen who love a man none the less for being outspoken, and do not require silence as the price of their friendship. Some such we know and hononr. They are men of a noble stamp; fair antagonists when they must oppose, and brethren in Christ even then. Would God there were more such, and then the exasperations which now embitter discussion would give place to mutual concessions, or at worst to courteous arguments.
Among the charges hurled at us is one which our accusers evidently regard as a very serious one. They call us “ a Political Dissenter," and seem as if they had delivered themselves of a terrible epithet, whose very sound would annihilate us. It is a curious fact that neither the sound nor the sense of those awful words has impressed us with fear, or moved us to repentance. Politics, if they are honest, are by no means sinful, or the office of a legislator would be fatal to the soul, and Dissenters, if they dissent from error, are commendable individuals: as, therefore, neither the “political” nor the “ dissenter” is necessarily bad, the mixture of two good or indifferent things can scarcely be intolerably evil. One would imagine from the mouthing which our opponents give to the words, that a political Dissenter must be a peculiarly ferocious kind of tiger, a specially venomous viper, or perhaps a griffin, dragon, or “monster dire, of shape most horrible;' but as far as we can make out the meaning of the words, he is only a Dissenter who demands his natural civil rights, a Nonconformist who longs for that religious equality before the law which impartial justice should award to every citizen. A Dissenter who is godly and humble, and knows his duty to his betters, and walks in a lowly and reverential manner to them, is never political; he is styled pious, and held up to admiration at meetings of the Church
Defence Association, though at other places, seeing that with all his piety he is still a Dissenter, he is duly snubbed by the same parish priests who so much admire him. If a Dissenter would have a good report of those within the Established pale he must toady to all rectors, vicars, and curates-he must “ bless God for raising up such a bulwark for our Protestant liberties as the Church of England as by law established,” or at least he must be contentedly silent under his wrongs, and never open his mouth to obtain his rights. Cease to be a man, and you will be a pious Dissenter; but speak out and show the slightest independence of mind, and you will be an odious political Dissenter. Be thankful for the toleration which you enjoy, and eat your humble pie in a corner, and the rector will condescend to meet you at the Bible Society's meetings; but dare to call your soul your own and you shall be put into the black books, among those dreadful emissaries of Mr. Miall. Piety in the clerical mind is pretty generally synonymous with subservience to their reverences, but we hope that without being utterly impious we may question the correctness of their judgment. Some of the most prayerful, spiritual, and Christ-like men we have ever met with, were as fully convinced of the evils of the present establishment, and as earnest for separation between Church and State, as ever we can be. They were saints, and yet political Dissenters: they lived near to God, and enjoyed daily fellowship with heaven, and yet, like the apostle Paul, they valued their civil rights, and spoke out when they saw them invaded. As names and forms of departed worthies rise before us, men of whom the world was not worthy, who were the political Dissenters of their day, we feel reassured, and are by no means disposed to change our company. The men who judged the piety of our predecessors, as they now judge ours, must be little acquainted with what piety means if they separate it from courage and independence. Their endorsement of our piety we never asked, and if they gave it we should begin to suspect our own position before God. Far from us be the cringing, cowardly sycophancy which makes the poor dissenting minister the patronised minion of the aristocratic rector; equally far from us be the obsequious silence which gains custom for the Nonconformist tradesman who sells his conscience as well as his wares. If these be pious, may we be clear of such piety. To us let it happen to speak the truth and bow the knee to no man, if this be what is meant by being political.
It is easy to throw stones at others, but glass houses should whisper caution. if it be so terrible an evil for a Dissenter to be political, what must be the condition of a political Churchman? Yet every clergyman is just that, since he is the employée of a political church, or rather he is commissioned by the political authorities to attend to the national religion; he is therefore a political Churchman ex officio. Moreover, if it be a serious injury to the piety of a Dissenting minister to attend a meeting of the Liberation Society once in a year, is there no loss of grace in attending a Church Defence Association ? Mr. Spurgeon speaks about a score sentences in a sermon upon Cæsar and his proper sphere, and this is so detrimental to his soul's prosperity that he receives letters by the score from excessively gracious Churchmen who are in agonies over his spiritual declension. This is very kind, and