Page images
PDF
EPUB

Then it makes a hole in the dead caterpil- think that David means to say in that verse lar's side and rolls itself out.

that a boy or girl who loves God has thoughts Now, dear children, I do think this is a in the mind like deep roots, and has words most striking lesson. That deadly, and at on the tongue, and conduct every day, like first little thing, may well represent sin. And pretty graceful palm-leaves ; and has sweet

then see how exactly it all teaches what the fruit in what he thinks and says, like the text teaches, and indeed how it explains the palm dates. The Jews used to have a time text. It was the caterpillar's evil desire that of rejoicing called “the feast of palms," and led it into danger. So you see how the they still keep this feast, even in London. caterpillar and James both teach the same lesson. “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own evil desire and enticed. And evil desire, when it conceives, brings forth sin, and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death."

JOHN CROFTS.

[graphic]

FOURTH EVENING.
Opening hymn: "Lord, a Little Band and Lowly;” Lesson:
Mark 1. 46–52. Closing hymn: “All Praise (in some
versions “Glory") " to Thee, my God, this Night.”

I was walking quite alone on the bank of the River Nile in Egypt, some hundreds of miles away from where it runs into the sea. Suddenly I heard shouts behind me on the

Fig. 1. sunny plain, and these came from three men | Then they leave their common rooms and live running fast after me. “Perhaps they are for some days under green bowers in their robbers,” I thought, so I waited quietly under court yards to remind them of God's gooda tall palm-tree until they came near, and I ness long ago. Once when Jesus was coming held my loaded gun.

to Jerusalem the people “ took branches The men rushed up close, then they all of palm-trees,” and you will see what they knelt down on the sand, and then I found did with them if you turn to the 12th two of them were leading a poor fellow who chapter of St. John and find the verse for was perfectly blind, but they brought him to yourselves. We hear about palm branches me to be cured of blindness because I was to be used when Jesus will come back in “ an Englishman."

glory to meet those men and women and Poor creatures! they did not know that boys and girls who love Him now. Can only God can give sight to the blind. Jesus, you find the verse about this in the Book of who was a man, could cure the blind, because the Revelation in 7th chapter ? See how it Jesus was also God.

tells us that we shall carry palm branches. Will you look at what David says about People who were conquerors and who got this in Psalm cxlvi.? Then turn to the victory used to do that. Little boys and eleventh chapter of St. Matthew, and see girls, who are very weak, can still have victory what the Lord Jesus says about the blind. through Jesus, "who giveth us the victory,"

Well, I was under a palm-tree. Now a as St. Paul tells you in ist Corinthians 15th palm-tree has a very tall stem growing up, chapter ; and will you find the verse ? It is and very long roots growing down. See a long way on in that chapter. how pretty it looks even in our picture (Fig. 1). David says more about the righteous" in

David, who was once a shepherd boy, that verse you have read in the ninety-second wrote a most beautiful verse about the palm- Psalm, “He shall spread abroad like a cedar tree. It is in Psalm xcii., and will you now in Lebanus." read it? He says the righteous shall “flourish Look at our picture No. 2, which shows a like the palm-tree.” Now the palm-tree has cedar on Mount Lebanon. It has not one beautiful leaves all the year round, and it tall trunk, like the palm-tree, but it has has very sweet fruit, called “ dates," some of many spreading branches. The cedar does which we can buy in England.

not grow in the sandy plain, but it clings to The palm grows in the sandy desert, but the rugged rock on the lofty mountains, with its long roots go down below the hot, dry strong crooked roots to hold it fast, so that sand, into the cool waters underneath. I it can stand in terrible blasts of wind and

snowstorms; and the more the wind blows the Nile the river branches out into seven the more the roots hold to the firm rock. streams, and all of them used to run into the

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

was

Fig. 2.

sea, so it was called “ The Seven-mouthed Once that great cedar was only a little Nile,” and the river itself is still called a shrub, but it grew taller, broader

, and “sea” by the Arabs. The picture above stronger ; just as young little Christian boys shows this, where the streams spread like a and girls will grow in grace if they are rooted tongue."

Now look at the verse near the in the “Rock of Ages ;” and “that rock was end of the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, and Christ” (1. Cor. x. 4).

read what God said He would do about this Dear young readers, try to be like the

tongue,” and this River Nile, called then cedar, “rooted and grounded” in Him, while “ the Egyptian Sea," as the Egyptians call it you are like the palm-tree, with sweet fruit in even now. Much of the prophecy has already life and victory after death.

come quite true. For now, instead of seven Now let us go back to the River Nile streams running into the Mediterranean Sea, again. I have walked by it hundreds of there are only two, and a railway bridge miles, and sailed on it in large vessels and in crosses the Nile, so that men now " go over steamboats, and I have skimmed over its the river dry shod ;” and perhaps the new wonderful waters quite alone in my little railway now open there may be the “highcanoe.

way” which is spoken of in the last verse of The greatest traveller in Africa was the the chapter. good, loving, brave Doctor Livingstone, who Try and find out a verse in the third chap

once a poor ragged boy in a cotton ter of Exodus where the Israelites walked factory, but afterwards he was for many years through the sea on dry land, and another a good missionary of Jesus Christ in Africa, verse in the third chapter of Joshua, which where at last he died.

tells how they marched dry through a river This wonderful River Nile rises in the forty years afterwards. middle of Africa, and for the last twelve You know that our Lord Jesus was once hundred miles of its course it flows on to the in Egypt when He was very young, and you sea without any other stream running into it. can read about it in Matthew ii. 12—21; So the sun dries it up, and it is smaller near and I hope to tell you in my next paper about the end.

the town in Egypt where our Saviour lived. Pharaoh and the Egyptians in the days Like Moses living in Egypt, Jesus lived in of Moses lived in that “tongue” of the river a sinful world, and, like Moses, He leads us shown in our picture No. 3. One of the out of sin, and gives us God's law and God's huge pointed stones which the ancient comfort in the wilderness of this world. Like Egyptians carved and set up in their temples Joshua, Jesus leads us through death (as the is now being brought from Africa in a ship river Jordan), and He will take all His flock to London. It is called “Cleopatra's Needle.” and all His little “ lambs” into the "holy I saw it last on the sea-shore in Egypt, and land” of heaven, the land of promise, where perhaps Moses himself looked on that very He lives now, and where He will be our stone, for it is the oldest obelisk in Egypt. king in everlasting glory. About two hundred miles from the end of

JOHN MACGREGOR.

THE CHURCH CONGRESS.

OUR MONTHLY SURVEY. 1.-HOME NOTES.

and mutual toleration between different schools of thought within the Church,” “ The readjustments, if

any, desirable in the relations between Church and A MONG the numerous assemblies which meet for State,” and “ The mutual relations of the Church and

conference and discussion upon various important Nonconformity at various periods of the nineteenth subjects, at this season of the year, the Church Con- century.” It would be untrue to say that the spirit gress necessarily holds a prominent place, and must manifested by all present, and the views propounded attract a large share of attention. The gathering on all points, were unexceptionable, but there was a took place this year at Croydon, under the presidency great deal of honest outspokenness on all sides. of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the sittings Those present generally seemed to feel the need of extended over four days, commencing on October 9th. seeking for points of sympathy and union, and this The principal meetings were attended by a very large feeling was not lost in the expression of the most body of the clergy, and by a great number of ladies divergent opinions. We were sorry, however, to and gentlemen, including very many eminent and notice that the subject of “ the relations of the Church well-known persons, and representing in some degree

and Nonconformity” brought out the weakest and the chief schools of thought which find a common

worst side of the Congress proceedings. Allusions home in the Established Church. It was clear to an

to the work and claims of the Liberation Society, and observer, however, that the High Church party were

to the old question of the parish churchyards, seemed in the ascendant, and sentiments which expressed to fan up at once a very large amount of bitterness most emphatically the sacerdotal, or at least the and ill-feeling into a flame. It was well at any rate clerical, idea of the Church received the loudest that Mr. Thomas Hughes was present, although he measure of applause. On the other hand a reference was listened to with impatience, to warn the clergy by the Archbishop to the Church over which he pre- that many of them are making, in the opinion of the sides as "the Church of the Reformation” evoked country at large and of such staunch friends of the very emphatic tokens of dissent. The Archbishop's Established Church as the House of Lords, a great misaddress was a skilfully worded and at the same time take as to the Burials Bill question. But altogether kindly assertion of the comprehensiveness of the it is well that all subjects should be treated with frankChurch, which found a place for men so widely ness and fulness from all sides, and it is in the fact separated on many points as Keble, Arnold, and that Church congresses thus bring men face to face, Simeon. The temper manifested by the Congress and give them opportunities to speak out before each upon the whole, throughout its discussions, was very other their opposing convictions, and also to " proexcellent, being almost entirely free from that bitter voke one another to love and to good works,” that ness and heat which have too often stamped the pro- their value lies. Is it too much to hope that this free ceedings of this and similar assemblies with dishonour, discussion will eventually lead Episcopalians and nonThe programme of topics was quite a model of Episcopalians to understand each other better ?” arrangement and comprehensiveness. It included some eighteen or twenty different subjects for discussion in general or sectional meetings, and yet no Amongst the many good works which claim our subject appeared to be unduly hurried through, and attention and sympathy, those which are carried on very valuable observations were made on almost all. amidst the squalid courts and alleys of our great cities There was scarcely any of the desultory comment, always appeal to us with peculiar force. Life in such pro and con, which makes up a great deal of open places of abode certainly exists under disadvantages discussion generally, but a set of “readers,” who which few of us, more happily situated, can realise. were allowed twenty minutes, and of “ speakers,” The first conditions of truly wholesome living--space, who were allowed fifteen minutes, was appointed to light, and air, God's freest natural gifts to man-are deal with each question. The speakers were, in most wanting, wanting at any rate in anything like cases, men of generally acknowledged ability, and adequate abundance. The people pine in many vere chosen on the principle of allowing the fullest instances like plants kept in perpetual shade; cleanexpression to different classes of opinion and sym- liness and even decency are almost impossible ; and pathy. The excellence of this method for the pur- the fierce excitement of drink and the low attractions poses of the Congress was manifest in the result. of the gaudy, comfortless ginshop are sought as a The preparation of a programme on such a scheme, stimulus for the depressed and jaded system, and as a dealing with questions so numerous and important, refuge from the wretched rooms which cannot with must have been a work involving immense labour any propriety be called homes. Those who are and no little thoughtfulness and skill.

familiar with London know Drury Lane as a region The subjects which secured the largest audiences in which such courts and alleys still unhappily abound. were " Mohammedanism in relation to Christianity, The report of a mission which is being carried on there and the prospects of Missionary enterprise towards by Mr. Hambleton and several fellow workers has it,” “The best means of promoting united action been sent to us and we have read it with much interest.

VII. N.S.

LIGHT IN DARK PLACES.

5

We should like to bring this work under the notice of in duty we are bound to do; occasionally, as at readers having time for inquiring into its character more Christmas or in severe weather, clothing, a small fully and the disposition to help it by gifts of money or

loan, coals, grocery, and Christmas dinners to the in other ways. The mission premises, known as the extremely poor attendants, a service of this kind is “Workman's Hall,” are situated at 65 and 66, Drury Our successful penny banks and temperance societies

most acceptable, and does no harm to the recipients. Lan, W.C. Mr. Hambleton earnestly invites any have rendered the relief system almost unnecessary. who may be able to do so, to visit the place and see The people have now learnt self-respect and selfwhat is being done. Describing the state of things What is spent in kind is mostly in the shape of social

reliance, and give more money than they receive. in that densely crowded and miserable neighbour parties for the poor men's Bible-classes, who are hood, the report states that “there are nine thousand hardly accessible to any permanent religious influences families living in single rooms,” and that “two thou- without them. Ever since a hungry child told us she sand lodgers inhabit the wretched abodes called 'would rather have something to eat than all our jaw,' lodging-houses.” Of course police-inspection does we have somehow felt that a change in position something towards keeping down the mischief which would prompt us to make the same remark.” has a constant tendency to arise in such quarters ; but how much remains for the Christian philanthropist to

SOCIAL ASPECTS OF GREAT CRIMES. deal with can be imagined. Mr. Hambleton's work It is a very suggestive fact that for more than a appears to be comprehensive in its scope and intelli- week during the past month the daily newspapers gently adapted to the circumstances of the case. devoted more space to the report and discussion of Besides religious services, Bible-classes, and a Sunday a trial for murder, alleged to have been committed school, we find mention made of popular lectures, a

in the neighbourhood of London, than to the record logic class, children's meetings, youths' improvement of the fearful war between Russia and Turkey, or of and recreative classes, and temperance meetings, and the desolation and suffering caused by the famine in of a library of sixteen hundred volumes, and a savings India. The case of the four persons, two young men bank. There is also a “band of mercy,” for inculcat- and two young women, believed to have been impliing and promoting kindness to dumb animals; and cated in bringing about, by cruelty and starvation, we are particularly pleased to notice that “the mis- the death of the wife of one of the young men, sion of flowers” is recognised. Two thousand bed. seemed to excite for the moment greater attention ding-out plants have been supplied to the mission by than the horrible carnage of fiercely-contested battleHer Majesty's Commissioners of Woods and Forests, fields, or than the progress of a calamity which affects for distribution among the inhabitants of the district, the lives of millions. The fact is, that war and famine and many of these may be seen growing in the are too colossal in their proportions, too vast in the windows of those dingy lanes and streets. Mr. Ham- scale of their disastrous effects, for ordinary imagina. bleton notes that wherever flowers are cultivated in tions to realise, when the scenes of suffering are disthese homes of the poor, the people are “of the tant. The death by starvation of a single person in better sort.” This accords with our own observation, our own streets startles us, at least for a time, more which has led us more than once in these pages to than the news of a province decimated by the failure draw attention to the usefulness of efforts of this of successive harvests; one ghastly crime committed kind. Flowers seem to bring with them, even into at our own doors shocks the majority perhaps more the humblest cottage or the most squalid room, some painfully than the tidings of a conflict in which hunthing of brightness, of beauty, and of hope ; and the dreds or even thousands have been slain in ordinary encouragement of their cultivation may fitly and warfare. The difference is not wholly unreasonable; wisely be made part of a mission intended to serve for the preservation of social virtue, the maintenance the highest ends. The object of the Drury Lane of social order, the purity and efficiency of the ad. mission seems to be to set in operation as many ministration of justice, the vindication of law, the useful agencies of all kinds as possible, and so by all public rebuke of iniquity, the assertion of the sacredmeans to save some. The sad condition into which ness of human life—all these are matters which come men and women may fall and poor little children be immediately home to all of us, and which must be born, even in the midst of the greatest centre of jealously watched over by the community at large. Christian civilisation in the world, is a dark stain No doubt a good deal of morbid curiosity is aroused upon our social system, and gives glimpses of the by the details of a great crime, and a good deal of possibilities of human nature in some respects more bad taste, as well as want of high principle, is shown startling and dreadful than heathenism can afford. by some portions of the press in gratifying it. It is Those labouring faithfully and earnestly to remove offensive to find the columns of the newspaper which this reproach and to meet this terrible need, deserve lies upon the breakfast-table, and which comes into the sympathy and aid of Christian people everywhere. the hands of all the members of the family, filled The following observations which we find in the with revolting and minute accounts of the facts which report are worthy of attention :

are brought to light in criminal procedure. And yet We discourage as much as possible systematic it is well to remember that one of the safeguards of relief; indeed, the pauperising taint is completely justice in this country is the publicity given to the stamped out. In cases of illness, or sudden misfor. transactions of our courts; and it shows a want of từne that we personally know, we of course help, as thoughtful reflection to inveigh too lightly and sweepingly against the part which newspapers take in support. Happily, too, the fingers of women, and of securing this publicity. The saddest thing is that even little children, can be employed in this light crime should be so common, and that thus the mate. labour; all that is required in order to fulfil a task rials for these extended reports should be so abun- which will yield a very profitable return is a certain dant. In the case to which we have referred, the destness of hand which women and children often sentence of death which had been pronounced upon possess in a higher degree than men. And so, from the four prisoners has been commuted, chiefly it year to year, when the mellow light of September appears on the ground of medical testimony, which gently floods the fields with beauty, thousands of men, was not forthcoming at the trial, to the effect that women, and children, from dark streets and dingy the immediate cause of death was disease of the houses in London, especially in the East End, hasten brain. The most anxious care has been expended away by train to find some three or four weeks of upon the matter by the Home Secretary and the occupation and enjoyment in the hop gardens of Kent. judges who advised with him; and the revision of It is a famous treat for the little ones and a rand the original sentence, while it shows that there are time of enjoyment for the elder ones. Indeed the points which need consideration in the method of hop-picking excursion occupies much the same place our criminal procedure, will we suppose be accepted in the domestic arrangements of these poor people as by the country generally as adequately meeting the the trip to the seaside or the continent occupies in legal requirements of the case. That all the convicts the plans of the wealthier classes, and when the

were parties to a course of action utterly inhumane weather is fine probably is in many cases just as and immoral is perfectly clear, and it is deeply to fruitful a source of enjoyment; while the poor man

be regretted that anything should have occurred has the advantage of his rich neighbour in this, that to put this fact in the background, and to make the larger the family he takes with him, if his children

it appear as if the criminals were in peril of being are not mere infants, the larger may be the pocketful unjustly dealt with. It becomes none of us to of money which he brings back with him to London. speak hardly and harshly of those who have fallen There are families who manage to clear twenty pounds into sin. Each one who knows himself is conscious by their expedition. There is, however, a reverse of a share in the common sinfulness of humanity, and side to the picture. The accommodation provided of personal transgressions; and when we look upon for the lodging of the hop-pickers was some years the greatest criminals we may well recall the old | ago of the most miserable description, utterly inade. Puritan's often-quoted exclamation, • There goes quate for health and comfort as well as for decency. John Bradford, but for the grace of God!" The We are happy to know that a great improvement has career of these young people, who occupied a fairly taken place. Many of the owners of the hop-gardens respectable social position, and who went about look- bave been led to interest themselves in the welfare or ing and acting to all appearance very much like these annual visitors. Comfortable temporary buildhundreds of other people with whom we meet every ings have been in many instances erected, affording day, serves as a terrible warning of the slipperiness of separate lodging for men and women, and arrangethe path of vice and crime, and gives emphasis to ments for cooking. The clergy and ministers of the solemn warning, “Let him that thinketh he various districts, with excellent and kind-hearted standeth take heed lest he fall."

farmers and other residents, have taken an active part in this good work and in promoting in various other

ways the temporal and spiritual welfare of the people, The gathering of hops is one of the most picturesque and the Archbishop of Canterbury has lent to the sights which the field-labour of English farms can movement his valuable influence and assistance. It afford. The harvest field has certainly lost something is believed that the average condition of the hopof its romance and human interest, whatever it may pickers is now better in the hop-gardens than it is in have gained in productiveness, since the power of their own too often wretched homes in London. A steam has so largely supplanted the arm of the friend who has been staying in the midst of the hop labourer. . The ingathering of the fruits of the earth district this season, tells us that he has been much is so directly connected with the happiness and wel struck by what he has seen. There is a marked fare of men, that the snort, and scream, and whirl of improvement in the tone, conduct, and appearance of the engine seem sadly out of place as substitutes for many who have been at work there. Of course there the song of the reaper and the many signs of life and is much that is repulsive and melancholy still. Illgladness which accompany the presence of those who conditioned people who escape from London for a time come to gather in the gifts with which God has to country scenes and country air, do not always crowned the long toils and patient waiting of the change their character and manners for the better, any year. But, happily, we are disposed to say, the more than do those who are above them in the social application of machinery to the picking of hops scale, when they for a time escape from the restraints seems to be an impossibility, at any rate for the of their every-day surroundings. There is a good present. Those fragrant clusters can only be picked deal of drunkenness in the neighbourhood of the hopby the hand from the tall and graceful creepers on gardens, and some wretched victims of their own sin which they are found, and which twine themselves in and solly will squander in debauchery and excess the exquisite festoons upon the poles placed for their entire earnings of themselves and their families during

THE HOP HARVEST IN KENT.

« PreviousContinue »