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"I firmly trust that he has forgiven them, Kyle, for his dear Son's sake; for I believe you do feel towards him as a Saviour."
"I do, I do," he replied quickly. "And yet, sir," he continued, "sometimes I've strange misgivings all my worldly cares I can trust to him: I feel as if I could die almost as happy without knowing what's become of my child, as if she was nigh me now; for I know she's cared for; but my soul, sir-it doesn't always feel safe: sometimes I think I've trusted too much to Jesus Christ's mercy, and he won't forgive as much as I've hoped he will. Eh, sir, do tell me?"
"I will tell you, Kyle," I replied. "I would not deceive you even if I could. I had rather make you suffer agony now, than that you should have hopes which would fail you at the last. But, Kyle, it is impossible for you to have too much love for your Saviour, or too much confidence in his mercy: believe me, it is boundless; and his power is equally so he can, and he will, save to the uttermost all who go unto the Father through him, confessing and deploring their past sins, praying for forgiveness on account of them, and relying solely and unhesitatingly upon the love which prompted him to lay aside his glory, and die a shameful death."
"Thank ye, sir; thank ye," Kyle said softly. "Go on, please, sir."
But I refused to say more then, for I saw his strength was gone; so I bade him lie still, and not to resist the drowsiness which was creeping over him. His sleep was not so calm as it had been of late; and immediately he awoke, he said, Mr. Relton, I've been dreaming: I've seen Kitty; but I didn't know her till she spoke, she looked so strange and white. Sir, I mustn't think of her, must I?"
"Do not think of her as you saw her in your dream, Kyle; but think of her as she looked when she said good-bye to you."
"I will try, sir: she is in God's keeping: I hope he'll forgive me all the harm I've done her. Mr. Relton, if she ever comes back, will you tend her? And, if she frets about me, don't let her, sir. Tell her she has more to forgive me than I have to forgive her; and tell her I blessed her wil! you, sir? and say that, all the time I dared to give this world, I was thinking of her; and beg of her to bring up her little David well, and not as I brought her up, poor child! Poor child! 't was a cruel shame; and, sir, if she's a papist, will you talk to her? You will, won't you?
These sentences were uttered at intervals, and with difficulty; and I hastened to assure the poor man that, did she ever return, she should be my peculiar care, hoping that he would then be quiet. But feeling, I suppose, that his time was short, he determined to make the most of it; and he resolutely, but with extreme gentleness and deference, set aside all my reasons for his keeping silence.
"Will her boy be a papist, do you think,
"I hope not, Kyle: he was baptized a protestant, you know."
Can papists be saved, Mr. Relton ?"
"Indeed I hope and believe they may, as much as any other dissenter who looks to his Saviour for help and mercy."
"Thank God!" he exclaimed, reverently: "now will you please pray that I may see them both again, Mr. Relton-my Kitty and her little one-in heaven? Pray much, please sir: I've no words." I did as he desired. "Now for my wife; she's a good woman, sir; but trouble is given to harden the heart sometimes, sir; so pray she may be supported if great trouble comes of Kitty. Pray, sir, till you are weary: it does me more good than all besides."
In this way, during the last few visits which I paid to Kyle, he kept on begging me to pray with him; now for himself, now for his wife, now for the dear and missing ones; sometimes for all whom he had at any time offended, and not unfrequently for the whole parish. As earth faded from his sight, a glorious view of heaven seemed to be vouchsafed to him. But the last scene of mortal agony should be sacred: it is not well to draw aside the veil with which religious awe naturally shrouds the solemn spectacle. Kyle drew his last breath, supported in my arms. He died; and, by his own desire, the passer by his grave may there read the lesson which it took him a life-time to learn, but which on the bed of languishing and of death was ever present to his mind. On the simple cross which marks his resting place are inscribed the words, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted."
Reader, before closing this part of my tale, I must give you one word of caution; for I fear you may have drawn wrong inferences from the facts upon which it is founded. I have said that Kyle's repentance was sincere-it was so; and that, though offered so late, I believe it to have been accepted by the God of all mercy. Now from this statement you may be led to suppose that it is safe (or at least that I think so) to leave caring for the one thing needful until you are laid upon a bed of sickness or of death! Far, very far from this, is my meaning, and the true state of the case. There have been, there are, cases of genuine death-bed repentance; but they are rare: they are the exception, not the rule. O, do not risk your all upon a chance, upon the nice calculation of probabilities! Often, sickness takes such a form as to render speech and thought alike impossible: how can repentance be begun then? Not unfrequently death strikes down his victim in the thronged highway, at the receipt of custom, or in the scene of frivolous pleasure; and what then? The sinner has not time even to say, "The Lord have mercy upon me!" and, believe me, no mercy will be shown by the just and holy God, who has himself declared he will by no means clear the guilty. But, even where a long illness is vouchsafed to the thoughtless one, and his senses endure to the end, who would risk the probability of being in his case? How awful is the straggle between the body's weakness and the burning desire" to find out God," and be reconciled unto him! How thorny is the pillow of one on whom the conviction has just dawned that death is a reality, and eternity no dream; that he must live through the latter; and that by his own conduct he has rendered the other the beginning of endless woe
and torture! O, the writhings of those in case so piteous are indescribable! nor can they be imagined except by those who have either experienced or beheld them. To have to behold bodily pain, when acute, is bad enough; but, when added to that are mental agony and the gnawings of bitter remorse, the heart sickens and turns away from witnessing such suffering. But another has expressed my thoughts on this subject far better than I can; and I will, therefore, transcribe his words:
"Delay not, sinner, till the hour of pain
To seek repentance: pain is absolute, Exacting all the body and the brain,
Humanity's stern king from head to foot.
How canst thou pray while fevered arrows shoct Through this torn targe? while every bone doth ache, And the seared mind raves up and down her cell Restless, and begging rest for mercy's sake?
Add not to death the bitter fears of hell:
"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." This should be the plain, the avowed, the sted fast resolution of every one who bears rule in a house; of every master of a household; of every father, of every mother of a family. When God ordains that any one should be the master or the mistress of a household, he likewise ordains that they should take care of those who are under their authority, and should look upon them as committed to their special charge. In like manner, when he is pleased to grant any one the blessing of being a father or a mother, he links this blessing with the duty of taking care of the children, of bringing them up, of providing for them. Now these duties, whether of parents toward their children, or of masters and mistresses toward their servants, so far as relates merely to earthly things, cannot well be grossly neglected; and few do so neglect them. Even those who have no higher principle for their conduct, those who merely wear the harness of custom, and are driven along by the lash of selfinterest, will take care of their children and of their servants; will see that they have a roof over their heads, that they are duly fed and clothed; nay, will wish, and even try, in a manner, to make them cleanly and orderly and sober and honest and industrious. All this is right: all this is a part of a Christian master's, of a Christian parent's duty; but it is not the whole of that duty, nor the highest part of it. The reason, too, why most people fail so lamentably in the discharge of this part is, because they cut it off from the remainder, and try to discharge it by itself. Cut a bunch of grapes off from the vine: will it ripen? You may hold it before the fire till you scorch it: but it has no living juice in it; and, when it is cut off from the vine, none can flow into it. Or should it be already ripe, it will soon shrivel, or grow mouldy; or some accident
* From Hare's Sermons:
will mash it. The master and mistress of a household, the father and mother of a family, have not only the low, earth-born, downward-looking duty of providing for the temporal well-being of those committed to their charge: they have also the high, glorious, heaven-sprung, heaven-seeking duty of providing for their spiritual well-being. This duty of helping the helpless onward along their road to heaven is indeed a glorious one. It is a privilege we ought to prize and to be thankful for. It is a privilege we ought to rejoice in, even as a candle rejoices in the privilege of being allowed to give light, and lifts up its bright flame on high, and gladly wastes its own life in fulfilling its noble duty of standing in the stead of the sun. So too should all we, whom Christ has appointed to stand in his stead-so should we, poor candles as we are, whom he has chosen to keep up his light among such as would otherwise be sitting in darkness-so should we rejoice that we are permitted to give light, and gladly spend our lives in doing so, burning clearly and steadily until we have burnt away. Glorious, however, as this duty is, it is a duty for which we shall have to give account; and we may not neglect it, or cast it aside, except at our grievous peril. We shall have to give account, not only for our own souls, but also, more or less, for the souls of those whom God has committed to our charge.
Let this then be your watchword, my brethren, every one of you, who have any souls in any way dependent upon you, and entrusted to your management and care; let this be your watchword, and the rule of your life: "As for me and my house, I will serve the Lord." It is not enough for you to say, "As for me, I will serve the Lord." A grape never stands alone: it is always part of a cluster. In truth, no one can feel any hearty desire to serve the Lord himself, without being at the same time anxious that others also, that his friends and neighbours-above all, that the members of his own household should bear their part in this godly service. And one of the ways in which it behoves you to provide that your house shall serve the Lord, is by setting up his worship in your house; by taking care that you and your whole house join day by day in serving him with prayer and thanksgiving and praise.
Some among you may, perhaps, tell me that you cannot well manage to gather your families together of a morning. Be it so. It would not take up much time indeed. After a few days' trial, you would probably find that you met together for prayers just as easily and as naturally as for meals; and, when you had spent a few minutes in prayer, and had called down God's blessing on your labour, how differently, with how much lighter heart, would you go forth to your labour, instead of going forth as you do now, with no other thought than that of the wearisome burden of the day! Or, if the father of the family goes out too early, the mother may gather her children together, and offer up a prayer in the midst of them, before she sends them to school. Of an evening too, at any rate, you have plenty of time on your hands. Every evening, before you lie down to take your rest beneath the shelter of the same roof, before you close your eyes and fold up your thoughts in sleep, you may kneel down together, and pray to
God to shelter you and yours with the over-
"As for me
God forbid that I should be one of those who look upon salvation as limited to the members of any particular branch of the catholic church: much rather would I say that God's church is formed of the true believers from every quarter, no matter what may be their sect or nation, who are "born, not of blood (i. e., not of any one particular race), nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man ;" and that all such persons, if they only believe rightly the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, are possessed of a saving knowledge, and are true and lively "members of the household of faith." But then, while we utterly deny that uncharitable, though prevalent doctrine, which confines the salvation of sinners within the pale of what is miscalled “the church;" while, after the example of our heavenly Master, we extend the hand of charity to every fellowcreature; and while, as commanded by the apostle in the text, we regard those especially who are "members of the household of faith,” it is, I think, incumbent on us to regard even in a more especial manner those who happen fully to agree with us, and who may stand in need of the exercise of mutual love. We, who are now assembled in this house of God, are at least professing members of a pure apostolic church; we rest our hopes of salvation upon the promises of holy scripture, as our only rule of faith: we consider ourselves to be bound by the commands of God: we see him set before our eyes as the very essence of benevolence: we hear him commanding us to do towards others as he has done towards us; and therefore surely, if urgent want appeals, not merely from our fellow-creatures, but from our fellow-worshippers in the sanctuary of God, it behoves all, who have the good things of this world, to lend a helping hand to those who are in need. I know, indeed, that some will say that among such claimants on our bounty are to be found many worthless individuals: I know it; and I wish not to, nor could I, deny it.
But I would have all such objectors to bear well in mind that even so has it been from the beginning. Let them remember that even in the little company of the chosen twelve a traitor could be found; that the infant church at Jerusalem had an Ananias; that the church in Samaria had a Simon Magus; and that St. Paul was disturbed by a Demas, a Hymeneus, -men who had the form of godliness, but denied its power.
THE CLAIMS OF POOR PROTESTANTS*. The Association for the Relief of distressed My friends, I am here this day to solicit your supProtestants is, as I have said, a valuable instituport for a valuable institution--the Association for the Relief of distressed Protestants; and Ition; and, were it necessary, or did time permit, I could give you proofs which have come under may therefore very suitably give a brief explanation of the concluding words of my text-"espemy own observation. Placed, as you are aware, cially unto them who are of the household of in a very large and populous district, I have faith." many opportunities of relieving poor parishioners through the agency of this society: I have had ample means of witnessing the very seasonable relief received, by means of a loan, by many an honest and industrious, but distressed fellowprotestant; and therefore (to say no more many higher reasons) I am encouraged to lay its claims upon the same grounds on which I have laid the claims of one very similar-on the return which we are in duty bound to make for what has been done already, and in anticipation of what Am I to be disapmay yet be done for us. pointed in my expectations? The protestant
We have seen the paramount importance of guarding against delay: we have seen also the strict obligation, under which we lie, of doing good, temporally and spiritually, unto all men; and we further see that some are to be in a more especial manner the objects of our concern. Who, then, are the "members of the houshold of
From a sermon lately preached (on Gal. vi. 10) by the
rev. B. H. Blacker, M.A., St. Mary's, Donnybrook, in the royal chapel of St. Matthew, Kingsend, in the parish of Donnybrook.
orphan has doubtless a very strong claim upon the sympathy and aid of the protestant community; but so likewise has the protestant parent who is involved in unavoidable distress, and whom a grant or a loan may be the means of bettering, or at least of replacing in his former station.
A few words more respecting the claims of this society upon the many whom I see here, before I conclude. The new and more extended system of legal provision for the poor may perhaps have influenced some to consider that voluntary charity is uncalled for under present circumstances. But to this argument I would simply reply that, whatever form of compulsory relief the legislature of our country may devise, it ought not to affect the question as regards our poor protestant brethren; because this society, having been established for the purpose of promoting the interests and of bettering the condition of that class amongst us, who are poor in this world's goods, seeks to exemplify in a sincere, though perhaps feeble manner, our love towards the brethren. Bound to them by every religious tie, we ought to feel it to be a privilege to assist them. And how can any human legislation do away with God's command to do good, "especially unto them who are of the household of faith"? Let me also observe, however unnecessary it may be, that the best guarantees are given by the society for the proper disbursement of the funds entrusted to its care. Nothing is given indiscriminately, nor without examining, as far as possible, the particular circumstances connected with each case; nothing on individual responsibility; above all, nothing by routine, or as a mere matter of course; and seldom is a grant made, except with a view to permanent relief. While, with regard to the operations of the loan fund, which is one of the most useful branches of the work of the association at all times, but especially during a period of public calamity, and which, in consequence of the impossibility of making grants (nearly two hundred applications being at present unanswered) has shown itself to be a most valuable auxiliary of practical relief, I need say but little. Very many have been enabled to take advantage of this mode of relief, the number having amounted in the past year to 484, and the sum of money to 1,8201.; and I have no doubt whatever that this loan fund has been a great means, under the divine blessing, of averting a large amount of calamity from our protestant poor. Some few indeed there are, whom nothing (humanly speaking) could improve; but these, I am happy to say, are exceptions to the general rule*.
Finally, my dear brethren, while I beseech you as lovers of God, as lovers of men, and as "members of the household of faith," to come forward and aid us to the best of your ability (and no more could be expected), I would urge you to mark well the motive that influences you in what you do. The believer gives with the true, the only true object in view-the glory of God, and the good, the everlasting good, of his fellowDo you now and always follow his example; for on such terms would I wish to receive your charity. Give liberally, and "not * See "The Eleventh Annual Report of the [Dublin]
Association for the Relief of distressed Protestants, for the year 1847," which has here been quoted.
grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver;" but above all things, for your own sakes, against that day when God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil;" above all things, for your own sakes look well to the motive, that in the end you may each hear the gladdening salutation sounding in your ears: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant : enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
THE FIRST RAGGED-SCHOOL*.
MANY years ago-perhaps nearly seventy-there was a poor boy in Portsmouth who met with a sad accident, which disabled him for life. His name was John Pounds; and his father was a sawyer in the royal dock-yard. John was about fifteen when he became a cripple; and he most probably felt very sorrowful when he thought of the future, and feared that he should never be able to work for his living. But this very accident was the means of his doing a great deal of good, because it gave him the time and the opportunity to benefit others. John could not follow his father's trade; so he learned to mend shoes, and became a cobbler. During the greater part of his life he resided in a small weather-boarded dwelling, where he might be seen every day carrying on his humble occupation.
John was very fond of rearing singing-birds and parrots, which he trained with such skill and kindness that they lived harmoniously together with his cats and Guinea-pigs; and he would often sit with a canary perched upon one shoulder and a cat upon the other.
Poor as he was, and entirely dependent upon the hard labour of his hands, he adopted a little crippled nephew, whom he educated and cared for as if he had been his own son, and afterwards established him comfortably in life. It was having the charge of this little boy that gave rise to his school. He thought, while teaching the child his lessons, (that he would learn better if he had a companion of his own age; so he obtained onethe son of a wretchedly poor mother; then another, and another, was added; and he found so much pleasure in his employment, and did, through it, so much good, that in the end the number of his scholars amounted to forty, including about a dozen little girls.
The children whom he thus gathered around him were some of the worst, as well as the poorest, he could meet with; for he felt that they stood in most need of instruction. He would frequently follow miserable-looking boys in the street, and offer them the bribe of a roasted potato if they would come to his school.
His humble workshop was a good-sized room; and in the midst of it John used to sit mending his shoes and attending at the same time to the studies of his pupils. He was a very pleasant and cheerful teacher, and tried to amuse as well as instruct his rough scholars, that he might induce them to come again. He very soon acquired great influence over them; and the ragged_and dirty boys became both tidy and tractable. They
* From "The Church of England Sunday Scholar's Maga zine." London: Whittemore.
were taught to read and write, and also to mend their shoes; and when they were ill, John always visited them, and did all he could for them. Many hundred persons, now living usefully and creditably in the world, owe, by the blessing of God, the whole formation of their character to him. John Pounds died suddenly, on New Year'sday, 1839, at the age of seventy-two. The children wept sadly on hearing of their loss, and for a long time were overwhelmed with sorrow and dismay. They, indeed, had lost a friend and benefactor, whose place could not easily be supplied. Who can calculate the good which has been accomplished by the means of ragged schools? Numbers of poor children, whose outward wretchedness was but a true type of the misery within, have by them been reclaimed from the paths of sin and temptation, and rendered a blessing instead of a curse to society. Those forsaken and degraded little ones have been taught to "remember their Creator in the days of their youth," and to love that Saviour who died for them, and who
invites the most sinful to come to him.
was agreeable to his Maker's will; and every action of his life was an acceptable service. He knew what was required of him, and how to perform it in a manner that would be approved. But how different is the case now! Sin has entered into the world; and the divine anger has been provoked; and, the understanding being darkened, we cannot discover of ourselves how to draw near to an offended God with acceptance, or what services will find favour in his sight. Convinced of our guilt, and feeling the rebukes of our own consciences, we may trembling ask: "Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the Most High God?" what services shall I offer to him? what honour shall I pay him? But it is all in vain: we shall be in darkness still. No light can burst through the thick cloud of ignorance that sin has spread over the human mind: And who that reads the history of John Pounds we cannot by "searching find out the Alwill say that any are too poor or too insignificant mighty," his character, his ways, or his manto be useful? Think of the great good which the ner of dealing with his fallen creatures. He poor lame cobbler effected! The mender of shoes himself must tell us how we are to draw near was the instructor of the ignorant, the guide of the wayward and neglected, and the friend of the to him, and how we must serve him. distressed. Look at his daily toils and his self- this he has done. In his holy word we are denying labours, and learn a lesson of industry informed that "through Christ we have and usefulness. The humblest individual may access by one Spirit unto the Father;" that benefit others, if he is only willing and anxious to he is the true and living way, by which sinDo not forget this, my dear children.ners can approach an offended God; that in Many kind actions can be performed without him God is "reconciling the world unto himmoney; many noble deeds have been done by self, not imputing their trespasses unto them." But are we reconciled? Are the blessings of the new covenant ours? sins forgiven, peace established, the soul renewed unto holiness, and a title to heaven secured? If so, there must surely be required some expressions of our gratitude, some services denoting It cannot be doubted an obedient spirit. that, if through the abundant grace and mercy of God we have been made " a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people," it is that we may show forth
very poor people.
How much better it is to be useful than rich! John Pounds was more highly honoured in being the founder of ragged schools than if he had accumulated a large fortune. The great object of life is to glorify God, and to do good to our fellowcreatures. Let us strive to keep that object constantly in view. "The night cometh, when no man can work." Happy will it be for each of us, if our lives will bear the simple but important testimony, "She hath done what she could."
THE PROPRIETY OF MUSIC AND SINGING the praises of him who hath called us "out of
IN PUBLIC WORSHIP:
darkness into his marvellous light."
To show forth, then, the praises of God is our duty; and the various ways of doing it we may collect from the holy scriptures. God has not left us in ignorance, ignorant as we are in ourselves, how we may render to him acceptable praise and honour.
There are services appointed and religious ordinances ordained by him which directly set forth his perfections, and show the honour due unto his name. To advance his kingdom and promote the salvation of immortal souls, he has been pleased to appoint certain times and certain places for the worship of himself and the preaching of his word. The sabbath was consecrated immediately after the creation, even before man had sinned, and di