« PreviousContinue »
among the most solicitous for the moral and religious welfare of others. If Mr. Hatton and his friends can carry out their cherished design to found a home where these men may temporarily lodge until they can better their position, not a little good will be done. Many might be saved from a criminal career.
In addition to this house-to-house visitation by unpaid helpers, a Bible-woman is engaged among the poor women and girls of the neighbourhood. Her diary gives many details of her work, and indicates its failures and successes. Among profane and scoffing characters she has laboured; and permanent good has been done. The agencies at work for the social and religious benefit of the poor are multifarious. Chief of these is the soup-kitchen-an institution that flourishes on a large scale, for which separate appeals are made to the general public. Special precautions are used against imposture. friends, the Sunday-afternoon visitors, have been increasingly careful in their distribution of tickets for soup amongst the poor on their several districts, and have endeavoured, as far as possible, to guard against imposition and pauperism, by constant visitation and watchful enquiry into the circumstances and condition of those that are thus relieved. But I have no hesitation in affirming, that a vast amount of good has been done in rendering temporary help to hundreds of really deserving families, who have been suffering from long continued lack of honest employment and other circumstances over which they have no control. Several hundreds of tickets for bread, meat, coal, and grocery, principally in cases of sickness, have also been granted, with money gifts in exceptional cases, for the purchase of clothing, tools, stock-in-trade, &c.” There are also the usual free teas, and Christmas dinners, and summer excursions- all large concerns, and none unimportant. The summer holiday-rambles in the green fields, and the cheap trip to the sea-side, are occasions never to be forgotten among those who are doomed to dwell in the attics and cellars of this crowded district. We are pleased to observe that an earnest friend of the mission, Dr. Ellis, of Finsbury Place, without charge of any kind, gives medical advice and help to those who may be suffering from disease, and who are unable to obtain proper medical assistance. One such gentleman at each of the London mission halls, for the poorest of the poor, would be of great assistance to the deserving and afflicted. The growing popularity of the Penny Savings Bank is an encouraging sign of improvement in the social habits of St. Giles’s. £188 118. 9d., which, as Mr. Hatton observes, would have gone into the pockets of the publicans, were deposited last year in weekly instalments; and the result has been evidenced in cleaner and better attire, in improved homes, and in habits of frugality.
If any of our readers would witness a peculiarly gratifying scene, we would advise them to pay a visit to King-street Hall on a Sabbath evening. They should be present before the hour of seven has struck, or they might find some difficulty in securing comfortable accommodation, for empty seats are the rare exception. “If our Mission Hall,” says the last report, “was twice its present size, it would be readily filled at once from the neighbourhood, for never were the inhabitants of St. Giles's more willing to listen to the simple story of the cross than at present.” Would that this could be said of the classes above them, and of the fashionable sinners who are far better disposed towards the three-volume novel than towards the glorious gospel of the blessed God. St. Giles's, with its crowded mission halls, listening to the Word of truth as spoken by Mr. M'Cree and Mr. Hatton, reads a much-needed lesson to the inhabitants of much more reputable districts. If we mistake not, the appearance of King-street Hall, at the Wednesday evening's service, might put to the blush many Christian churches in the metropolis and elsewhere. Of the five hundred persons who crowd the building on the Sabbath evening, a large majority are respectable in appearance. It was not always so with them. Two, three, four years ago, many were ill-clad, and far from being as cleanly as they are now. But the gospel has changed their lives. Drink bas been surrendered. The public house is not patronised ; the pawnshop is not visited—the Penny Savings Bank is now their “uncle.” You see the change in their countenances, in the character of their attire; you might see it in their homes. They have risen in the scale of being. Some are even moved with the new conviction that they need not live in vain, and are attempting to do good to others. This indeed is "the Lord's work, and it is marvellous in our eyes."
One Sunday evening, a female helper was engaged in inviting strollers ‘and others to attend the service in the hall, when she observed a poor sailor just about to step into a low gin palace. She addressed him, and he stepped back from the entrance and listened, somewhat surprised that he should be spoken to at all. After considerable persuasion, he was induced, on the condition that she
gave him a penny for tobacco, to listen to the preacher at the hall. While there he felt exceedingly uncomfortable, and longed to get out of a place so little to his tastes. He stayed on however; but angrily vowed that he would never visit the building again ; and yet during the week his heart was sorrowful, and his mind filled with the gloomiest apprehensions of the future. What was to be done ? Next Sabbath evening should be spent at the gin palace. Nothing should prevent that. And yet something did prevent; for he was met by the district visitor on the road to the house of drink, and was again urged and urged repeatedly with argument after argument to hear once more the gospel. It was well he did attend the service, as the sequel will show. The following letter was written during the same night, and on Monday morning he had joined his ship. We give the letter verbatim et literatim :
“Mondy Morning 3 clok. Dere Sur,--Plese to exuse this i send, i ham of to morrow 5, But cant go till i tel you wat God as don for me by you and a Dere Woman that tocked me to your place too Sundays. Bles her she did beg me and i did say very Bad things to her i went the furst time to hav a game, But o Sur the way you spoke stopt me, i culd not say a word to upsit any Body, the woman kept her Eve on me Sharp. i hav bin a dridful Man for 55 years, i have gone in the Brod Way all my life, But i was stopd that nite, what i would give to have got out But Bless god he old me fast what a week i had you cant tel. the Dere Woman told me she wold pray for me and she must hav done so. i thout i wold slip ber Sunday but some thing said to me go the same way i was going to the bad house to drink and jone in at the Bad things, but i mit her and she tookd me in to your place. Bles the Lord, i can Say Sur, that i no and fele that my Savour died and Lives for me. O Sur i felt in a dredful Way but al in a momint i could se that my Sins wher put away and I culd joy. i wished i could se you at that time the Lord Bles you Both and her Dere Child to that gived me her Bible, it will be my frind and mate when i am on the Wide Sea. tis just 3 and i go at 5 to Liverpool to join ship we are bound for Valperrasa if the Lord in his mercy brings me Back i hope to see you both again. i will pray for you ever i Live plese Sur will you plese tel the dere Woman what as bin done for me, i will tel you. she wares glases and is in Black she dos sit rite up in front of you she told she did alway sit thare she as a litel girl and she gived me ber Beble and Litel Boke god bless you all. i hope to se you al again Do pray for me, my tiine is up, i could get no paper But this. tel the Woman to go on, thare are many more lik me, i no Sur they cant say no to her, she will Be Blesed for it. god Bless you all.
J. L." The conversion was sudden, and some doubts might, not unnaturally be raised as to its genuineness. This case, however, presents a warning to those who are suspicious of all such rapid changes. We have seen the manuscripts-almost unintelligible some of them are-of letters that be afterwards wrote to the lady who had been so very useful to him, and our space would not be unworthily occupied were we to quote from them. But enough. No more letters will the poor old sailor write. News has just arrived of his death-a death as sudden as was his conversion. The sailors and the captain on board speak highly of his conduct, and the genuineness of his piety was so noticeable that no one could fail to see it. His influence, it is believed, has been of lasting blessing to others on board the vessel; and his death, of an apoplectic fit, has been greatly mourned. Even an angel might envyif envy be possible in such a case—the usefulness of the woman who would not take “No” for an answer on that last Sabbath night that poor Jack spent in England.
The young men of our churches should profit by Mr. Hatton's example. Eleven years ago he was a member of Mr. Brock's church in Bloomsbury-no small privilege for a young man, he is to-day the pastor of a church which the Lord has gathered by his means. To Dr. Brock he owes not a little, and Bloomsbury with its pastor-may its pastor long survive in vigour !-need not be ashamed of the young man whom it encouraged, as it has encouraged many others, to labour for the Lord. How much does London need the earnest and intelligent services of zealous and gracious young men.
Why was Christ Tempted ?
HE reasons why our Saviour was tempted were not the same for which his them, and that they may not, after great revelations and consolations, be exalted above measure. Šo Paul. 2. To make them see that their strength is not of nor from themselves. 3. To purify and cleanse them. For none of all these reasons was our Saviour tempted : but, 1. That he might be touched with, and bear all our infirmities that were without sin. 2. That he might overcome Satan in all his ways, and vanquish him at every weapon. 3. That no man, be he never so holy, may think himself free, but expect and provide for temptation. 4. As for caution so for comfort, that no man may judge himself out of God's favour because he hath grievous temptations. 5. That he might show us by his example how to demean ourselves in, and how to overcome temptations. Thomas White, B.L.
Expositions of t\e Psalms.
BY C. H. SPURGEON.
TITLE.—To the Chief Musician. The leader of the choir, for the time-being, is charged with this song. It were well if the chief musicians of all our congregations estimated their duty at its due solemnity, for it is no mean thing to be called to lead the sacred song of God's people, and the responsibility is by no means light.
A Psalm of David.-His life was one of conflict, and very seldom does he finish a Psalm without mentioning his enemies, in this instance his thoughts are wholly occupied with prayer against them.
Division.- From 1-6 he describes the cruelty and craftiness of his foes, and from 7-10 he prophesies their overthrow.
from fear of the enemy. 2 Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity :
3 Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words :
4 That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not.
5 They encourage themselves in an evil matter : they commune of laying snares privily ; they say, Who shall see them?
6 They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep.
1. “ Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer." It often helps devotion if we are able to use the voice and speak audibly; but even mental prayer has a voice with God which he will bear. We do not read that Moses had spoken with his lips at the Red Sea, and yet the Lord said to him, “Why criest thou unto me?" Prayers which are unheard on earth may be among the best heard in heaven. It is our duty to note how constantly David turns to prayer; it is his battleaxe and weapon of war : he uses it under every pressure, whether of inward sin or outward wrath, foreign invasion or domestic rebellion. We shall act wisely if we make prayer to God our first and best trusted resource in every hour of need. “ Preserve my life from fear of the enemy." From harm and dread of barm protect me; or it may be read as an expression of his assurance that it would be so; “fronı fear of the foe thou wilt preserve me." With all our sacrifices of prayer we should offer the salt of faith.
2. “ Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked.” From their hidden snares hide me. Circumvent their counsels ; let their secrets be met by thy secret providence, their counsels of malice by thy counsels of love. the insurrection of the workers of iniquity." When their secret counsels break forth into clamorous tumults, be thou still my preserver. When they think evil, let thy divine thoughts defeat them; and when they do evil, let thy powerful justice overthrow them : in both cases let me be out of reach of their cruel hand, and even out of sight of their evil eye. It is a good thing to conquer malicious foes, but a better thing still to be screened from all conflict with them, by being hidden from the strife. The Lord knows how to give bis people peace, and when he wills to make quiet, he is more than a match for
all disturbers, and can defeat alike their deep-laid plots and their overt hostilities.
3. “ Who whet their tongue like a sword." Slander has ever been the master weapon of the good man's enemies, and great is the care of the malicious to use it effectively. As warriors grind their swords, to give them an edge which will cut deep and wound desperately, so do the unscrupulous invent false boods which shall be calculated to inflict pain, to stab the reputation, to kill the honour of the righteous. What is there which an evil tongue will not say ? What misery will it not labour to inflict ? “ And bend their bows to shoot their arrous, even bitter words." Far off they dart their calumnies, as archers shoot their poisoned arrows. They studiously and with force prepare their speech as bended bows, and then with cool, deliberate aim, they let fly the shaft which they have dipped in bitterness. To sting, to inflict anguish, to destroy, is their one design. Insult, sarcasm, taunting defiance, nicknaming, all these were practised among Orientals as a kind of art; and if in these Western regions, with more refined manners, we are less addicted to the use of rough abuse, it is yet to be feared that the less apparent venom of the tongue inflicts none the less poignant pain. However, in all cases let us fly to the Lord for help. David bad but the one resource of prayer against the twofold weapons of the wicked, for defence against sword or arrow be used the one defence of faith in God.
4. “ That they may shoot in secret at the perfect.” They lie in ambush, with bows ready bent to aim a coward's shaft at the upright man.
Sincere and upright conduct will not secure us from the assaults of slander. The devil shot at our Lord himself, and we may rest assured he has a fiery dart in reserve for us; he was absolutely perfect, we are only so in a relative sense, hence in us there is fuel for fiery darts to kindle on. Observe the meanness of malicious men; they will not accept fair combat, they shun the open field, and skulk in the bushes, lying in ambush against those who are not so acquainted with deceit as to suspect their treachery, and are too manly to imitate their despicable modes of warfare. Suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not.” To secrecy they add suddenness. They give their unsuspecting victim no chance of defending himself; they pounce on him like a wild beast leaping on its prey: They lay their plans so warily that they fear no detection. We have seen in daily life the arrow of calumny wounding its victim sorely; and yet we have not been able to discover the quarter from which the weapon was shot, nor to detect the hand which forged the arrowhead, or tinged it with the poison. Is it possible for justice to invent a punishment sufficiently severe to meet the case of the dastard who defiles my good name, and remains himself in concealment. An open liar is an angel compared with this demon. Vipers and cobras are harmless and amiable creatures compared wi such a reptile. The devil himself might blush at being the father of so base an offspring
5. “ They encourage themselves in an evil matter.” Good men are frequently discouraged, and not unfrequently discourage one another, but the children of darkness are wise in their generation and keep their spirits up, and each one has a cheering word to say to his fellow villain. Anything by which they can strengthen each other's hands in their one common design they resort to; their hearts are thoroughly in their black work. “ They commune of laying snares privily.” Laying their heads together they count and recount their various devices, so as to come at some new and masterly device. They know the benefit of co-operation, and are not sparing in it; they pour their experience into one common fund, they teach each other fresh methods. “ They say, Who shall see them.” So sedulously do they mask their attacks, that they defy discovery; their pitfalls are too well hidden, and themselves too carefully concealed to be found out. So they think, but they forget the all-seeing eye, and the all-discovering hand, which are ever close at hand. Great plots are usually laid bare. As in the Gunpowder Plot, there is usually a breakdown somewhere or other;