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AND FRIEND OF THE
SONS OF TOIL
A VISIT TO THE HAGGERSTONE COAL-HEAVERS.
“Haggerstone,” cries an old Londoner, “why, I never saw so much drunkenness in any place in my life as I have seen there.
Stop, friend! what you say may be a true picture of what Haggerstone once was, but there is a happy change in a portion of that noted locality. Many of the men who were once apparently hopeless characters, the husbands of heart-broken wives, the fathers of ragged and wretched children, and the constant visitants of police courts, are now sober and industrious characters; some of them are men who are “doing well” not only for this life, but for the next, and who may now be seen on the Sabbath, accompanying their well-dressed families to the House of God.
A few weeks ago we saw an interesting group of the Haggerstone Coal-heavers, to whom a lady had just given a copy of our little paper. Their courtesy and smiling faces showed that they appreciated an act of kindness, and the paper was evidently no stranger to them. An opportunity for conversation was speedily afforded, and we soon found that one of the group was a kind of Captain, or Generalissimo, in the moral reformation already referred to. We subsequently visited some of the group at their homes, and there saw and heard sufficient to convince the most sceptical that there is no place in our country, however deeply it may be sunk by intemperance, that may not be raised in the scale of sobriety and morals when proper means are adopted.
Wait until our next Number, and you shall have in the testimonies of some of the Haggerstone “Notables,” an account of how this is to be done, and we trust that the experience of these hard-working sons of toil will not be given without some good resulting therefrom, both to employers and employed.
FOUR WELL KNOWN CHARACTERS IN HAGGERSTONE, LONDON
From A Photograph by A. COLLINS London School of Photography
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THE BRITISH WORKMAN.
Continued from, page 70.
REV. JOHN BROWN,
An eminent and learned minster at Haddington, was born in Perthshire, in 1722; his childhood and youth were spent as a poor herdboy.
When a lad, he once approached a church door on communion Sunday, and said, “I want to get in,” but the door keeper, seeing his ragged condition, denied his request. “But you must let me in,” said he, as the tears ran down his cheeks. Being admitted, divine grace softened his heart, and seeds of living truth were sown; he experienced an ardent desire for knowledge, and by his own intense application to study, became acquainted with the French, Italian, German, Arabic, Persian, Syriac, and Ethiopic languages, as well as the Greek and Hebrew. Notwithstanding his great attainments in knowledge, it is said he was never under the tuition of a master but for about a month. In summer, he rose between four and five in the morning, in winter at six; and prosecuted his studies till eight in the evening. He died in the year 1787. He wrote several works, but his Dictionary of the Bible, and Self-Interpreting Bible, which have passed through several editions, are most generally admired.
Was born in a village near Padua, in 1451, and being the son of parents in humble life, was at first employed in keeping sheep. It was observed that, instead of watching over his flock, he amused himself with drawing; and he was placed with a painter, who, being delighted with his ease and taste in work, and with his gentle and agreeable conduct in society, adopted him for his son, and made him his heir. At the age of 17, Mantegna was employed to paint the altar of St. Sophia, in Padua, and the four evangelists. James Bellini, who admired his talents, gave him his daughter in marriage. Mantegna painted for the Duke of Mantua, the Triumph of Caesar, which is the chef d’oeuvre of this painter, and which was purchased by King Charles, for £80,000; it has been engraved in chiaro-scuro, in nine plates. From respect to his extraordinary merit, the duke made him knight of his order. The invention of engraving prints with the graver is commonly ascribed to Mantegna, who died at Mantua, in 1517.
A shepherd, acquired by his own industry such ability in composition, and such a knowledge of the heavenly bodies, as to be appointed assistant observer at the observatory of Sherburn Castle.
Or La Ramée, a celebrated French philosopher, of the sixteenth century, though of noble descent, was employed in his youth in tending sheep. His grandfather lost all his property by the ravages of war, and gained a livelihood by making and selling charcoal, and the father of Peter was too poor to give his son any education. Impelled, however, by an ardent thirst for knowledge, he went to seek instruction at Paris, from which city he was twice compelled to depart by poverty. Once more he returned, and was engaged as a servant at the college of Navarre. In this situation, after spending the day in attendance upon his master, he devoted his evenings to study. By his industry, talents, and perseverance he ultimately raised himself to the honourable post of a professorship in the college of France!
An ingenious painter, sculptor, and architect of Florence, was in early life employed as a shepherd. He was born in 1276, his father being a peasant; and whilst tending sheep in the fields, was found by Cimabue drawing a sheep on a piece of slate; the artist was so struck with the performance that he asked Giotto’s father to intrust his son to him. He took him to Florence, where he instructed him in painting (in ‘distemper or fresco, oil painting not being then discovered). He soon surpassed his master, and acquired such a reputation that Benedict IX. sent a person to Tuscany, to make a report of his talents, and bring a design from each of the Florentine artists. He afterwards sent for him to Rome, where, besides painting many pictures, he made a ship of mosaic, which is over the portico at the entrance of St. Peter’s Church, and still known by the name of Giotto’s vessel. In 1334, he undertook the famous tower of Santa Maria del Fiore, at Florence, for which he was made a citizen, and rewarded with a pension. Among the men of genius with ‘ whom he was intimate, he could number Dante and Petrarch as his particular friends, and Dante mentions him in his poems. He died in 1336.
The author of the recently issued clever little work, entitled “ Truth frae ’mang the Heather” (a Prize Essay on the Evidences of Christianity,) is a Shepherd, now tending his flocks on the hills of Dumfries-shire. This Prize Essay, which would have done credit to almost any University scholar in the land, scatters to the winds some of the arguments of modern sceptics.
THE SHEPHERD OF SALISBURY PLAIN.
Many of our readers are acquainted with that beautiful tract, “The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain.” The substance of this narrative is a correct account of David Saunders, of West Lavington, and the conversation represented as passing between the shepherd and a Mr. Johnson, really took place with Dr. Stonehouse, a neighbouring clergyman, who afterwards befriended the shepherd on many occasions.
“Yours is a troublesome life, friend,” said the doctor. “To be sure, sir,” replied the shepherd, “’tis not a very lazy life; but ’tis not nearly so toilsome as that which my Great Master led for my sake; and he had every state and condition of life at his choice, and chose a hard one, while I only submit to the lot that is appointed me.” “You are exposed to great cold and heat,” said the gentleman. “True, sir,” said the shepherd, “but then I am not exposed to great temptations; and so, throwing-one thing against another, God is pleased to contrive to make things more equal than we poor, ignorant, short-sighted creatures are apt to think. David was happier while he kept his father’s sheep, on such a plain as this, and singing some of his own psalms, perhaps, than ever he was after he became King of Israel.”
“You think, then,” said the gentleman, “that a laborious life is a happy one?”
“I do, sir; and more especially so, as it exposes a man to fewer sins than does an indolent life.”
In reference to the Bible, he said, “I believe there is no day for the last thirty years that I have not peeped into my Bible. If we can’t find time to read a chapter, I defy any man to say he can’t find time to read a verse; and a single text, well followed, and put in practice every day, would make no bad figure at the year’s end; three hundred and sixty – five texts, without the loss of a moment’s time, would make a pretty stock, a little golden treasury, as one may say, from new year’s day to new year’s day; and if children were brought up to it, they would come to look for their text as naturally as they do for their breakfast. I can say the greatest part of the Bible by heart.”
God blessed Saunders with an excellent wife and a numerous offspring; he had sixteen children, and twelve of them, at one time, were “like olive branches round his table.” It is not to be supposed that a poor shepherd with such a family, would be without difficulties, especially as his wife suffered much from sickness. His wages were but 6s. 3d. weekly, out of which, he was sometimes obliged to pay a boy for assistance; but when times of peculiar necessity occurred. Providence always raised him up a friend. In one of his letters in his old age, he thus writes:— “As for my part, I am but very poorly in body, having very sore legs, and cannot perform the business of my flock without help. As to the things of this world, I have but little share; but having my little cot to pray and praise God in, and a bed to rest on, I have just as much of this world as I desire. But my garment is worn out, and some of my Christian friends think they must put their mites together, and buy me one, or else I shall not be able to endure the cold in the winter; so I can say, * Good is the Lord ! He is still fulfilling his promise, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’”
Among the various callings of men, the name of shepherd holds a distinguished place, as a character in which the Redeemer of mankind has especially chosen to represent Himself, not only reminding us of the price He has paid for our ransom; when he says, the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep,” but through every variety of office, as a shepherd, carrying, leading, guiding, feeding, protecting, restraining; and finally, setting forth the judgment of the last day in the parable of the sheep and the goats.
This employment, so largely used as a figure throughout the Holy Scriptures, is the earliest spoken of after the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden, as the next thing we read of them is, that they had two sons, Cain and Abel, and Abel was a keeper of sheep. Here is also, not only the figure of the Shepherd, but another of no less beauty and value, even the Lamb for a sacrifice, for Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock an offering unto the Lord.
Thus early is the character of a shepherd introduced to our notice, and the subject is continually set before us in every possible point of view, by prophet after prophet, through succeeding ages, until an angel announces to the shepherds on the plains of Bethlehem the glad tidings of great joy, so long predicted and prefigured, “ Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
For twenty years Jacob kept the sheep of Laban, in Padanaram, a shepherd, so faithful and devoted to his work, that by day the drought consumed him, and -the frost by night, and sleep departed from his eyes. The sons of Jacob also, were all shepherds from their youth, and as such were introduced to Pharaoh, and settled in Goshen.
Moses, when he feared the consequences of having killed an Egyptian, fled into the land of Midian, and kept the sheep of Jethro, his father-in-law, forty years in the desert; not only a beautiful emblem of the Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, but remarkably prefiguring the forty years during which he guided Israel in the Wilderness, when “the Lord led his people like a dock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”
In after years, David kept his father’s sheep, and slew a lion and a bear, that came to rob the fold. And the Lord took him from the sheepfolds, and brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance. The lion may represent the great adversary – who goeth about seeking whom he may devour, and the bear the depravity of our evil nature. And thus David, the shepherd still further typifies the Everlasting Conqueror, when he comes against Goliath (in whom we see personified the lofty pride of human greatness, but before him who who had slain both the lion and the bear, this boasting Philistine became as one of them, because he had defied the armies of the living God.
The pastoral office furnishes many of the most touching and beautiful figures and allusions for the psalmists and prophets, and Micah, one of the most pointed and vigorous writers among the latter, declares respecting himself, “ I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit; and the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.”
Carrying away the Lambs.—When the shepherds of large flocks of sheep cannot succeed in separating the dams from the rest, because their young ones are among them, they will carry away their lambs in their arms to a better pasture, and then the dams willingly follow. Ah!
“The Good Shepherd” has often to adopt the same method ! To separate his chosen ones from the rest of the world, he is compelled to carry away the lambs from the human flock in his warm bosom to heaven; and then, bereaved parents gladly follow. The poet has drawn a very beautiful and touching simile from this well-known practice of pastoral life.
“A shepherd long had sought in vain
To call a wandering sheep;
He strove to make its pathway plain
Through dangers thick and deep.
But yet the wanderer stood aloof,
And still resolved to come—
Nor would she ever hear reproof,
Or turn to seek her home.
At last the gentle shepherd took
Her little lamb from view!
The mother gazed with anguish’d look—
She turn’d—and followed too! ”
PRIZES FOR WORKING MEN.
Three Prizes, of £25, £15, and £10 each, will be given for the best three Essays on the following subject:
“The BRITISH WORKMAN, his Wife and Family,—their Social, Intellectual, and Religious Elevation; the Obstacles thereto, and the Means of removing them.” The subject is intended to embrace the Agricultural Labourer as well as the Artisan.
The competition is limited to Working Men exclusively.
The Essay to he written in a clear, intelligible hand, on blue-lined foolscap paper; not to exceed 50 pages in length, and must be sent not later than the 1st September next, to the Rev. A. L. Gordon, The Kill, Sydenham, Kent.
The Prize Essays to be the property of the donor.
DESTRUCTION OF YOUNG BIRDS.
The havoc that is made amongst the broods of young birds at this season all over this kingdom, but especially in the neighbourhood of populous towns, is truly melancholy. The wanton destruction of the helpless and innocent young ones is an evil feature in our youthful population, and a most striking evidence of that want of culture of the moral sensibilities in the working class, which is a disgrace to this nation. No one is accustomed to walk the fields at this time of the year, whose feelings are not tortured by the cruelty that is every where going on. Troops of boys and young men are traversing the fields in all directions, on Sundays and holidays, dragging out every nest they can find, from no motive but the indulgence of an idle and brutal recklessness. You meet them with nests full of downy, half-fledged creatures, that are gaping, and uttering continuous chirpings, or rather, sobs and sighs full of a sense of their misery, and which you know will only cease with their lives. Many are carried home, and stuffed with improper food till they perish; many are flung heedlessly away, are dashed on the ground, or are set upon a stone or a post to be thrown at; and all this outraging of nature in her sweetest season and solitudes, all this infliction of agonies on those young, tender things, just awoke to existence, and that would have filled field and forest with • music and rejoicing, are done with the most callous and thorough ignorance of wrong. It proceeds from the want of better teaching; from the want of that moral training which the children of our working class so much need; that necessary education, which consists not so much in reading and writing, as in the awakening of the moral sense, the exercise of the moral principles, and the humane sympathies, the inculcation of that religion which consists in “ doing justice, loving mercy,send, walking humbly before God.” Howitt’s Book of the Season.
Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean,
And the beauteous land.
And the little moments,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
So our little errors
Lead the soul away
From the paths of virtue,
Oft in sin to stray.
Little deeds of darkness,
Little words of love,
Make our earth an Eden,
Like the heaven above.
Little seeds of mercy.
Sown by youthful hands,
Grow to bless the nation,
Far in heathen lands.
NEVER SAY YOU CAN DO NOTHING.
What if the little rain should say.
So small a drop as I
Can ne’er refresh these thirsty fields;
I’ll tarry in the sky?
What if a shining ray of light
Should in its fountain stay.
Because its little light alone
Could not create a day?
Doth not each rain-drop help to form
The cool refreshing shower,
And every ray of light to warm
And beautify the flower?
Then you who have a Saviour found,
And tasted of his love,
Go tell poor sinners all around,
That they its power may prove.
PEGS FOR THOUGHTS.
Time is going, Time is going
Like a stream that’s always flowing.
Am I sowing, am I sowing,
And will the crop be worth the mowing?
Life is flying, Life is flying,
All creation groaning, crying.
Am I sighing, am I trying
That my death may be no dying?
When the mowing, when the mowing
Shall declare what’s been the sowing;
Oh, the tears, all overflowing,
Of those who wheat have not been growing!
When the dying, when the dying
Makes an end of all the trying;
Oh, the wailing and the crying,
If to Christ there’s been no flying!
But wheat, we know, shall garnered he;
No grain shall suffer harm or loss;
And if to Christ the sinner flee.
Eternal life is in His Cross.
The shepherds of the southern highlands of Scotland, from whom Hogg sprung, and amongst whom he passed the greater part of his life, form a class unique in Scotland, and unparalleled in the range of European society. They are thinly scattered over the country, and pass their days in solitude and seclusion; their cottages are often miles asunder, and, during the inclemency of winter, they may be debarred for months from social intercourse by the wreathing snow that chokes up their pathway, while even in summer their time is spent in lonely watchings on the hills; and their meetings are few, save when on the morning of the Sabbath they assemble at the church in the valley. Their sense of religion is fervent and unfeigned; the faith their fathers bled for has been cherished in its purity, and its rites have acquired no gloss or tinsel from the glittering but unsubstantial adornments of society. They have little of the polish, and none of the arts derivable from an intercourse with the world. Their interests, their pursuits, and their feelings are the same; they are like one widely-scattered but soul-united family, who participate in every emotion, and with whom every feeling is mutual; they are unmoved by the storms of mankind around them; politics and sectarianism are to them tales of a distant country; they have but one monarch to serve, and the same tolling of the village bell unites all in the worship of the protecting God. The rays of knowledge and of education which have glanced through these calm retreats, have taught them merely to investigate the manners of more remote districts, not to change their own. Their thirst for information is proportionate to the opportunity which their habits afford them of gratifying it; and their natural shrewdness has directed their taste to the most pure and useful channels. It is seldom that you can encounter a shepherd upon the hills that he is not busily occupied with a book, whilst his plaid thrown across his arm shelters the beams of the sun from the page over which he has lain down to ponder ; and every idea he is imbibing takes a tinge from the sublimity or beauty of the scenery by which he is surrounded. From this daily and uninterrupted stream of knowledge, these Scottish worthies derive an acquaintance with literature and the world unparalleled in any equally humble class of men in any country in Europe, and excelled by few even in the higher and well educated walks of life.
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THE BRITISH WORKMAN.
SKETCHES FROM REAL LIFE.
BY MRS. C. L. BALFOUR.
In this way two years of Patty’s life passed. Her mistress, from the time we have named, made an effort and paid regular wages—four pounds a year to this faithful servant. With this pound a quarter, Patty thought herself very rich, and she could not he content without doing something for her two little brothers, left to the tender mercies of their drunken father and grandmother. A school had been established near the foundry where her father-in-law, Toxy, worked, and Patty made use of one of her very few holy-days to go to the master and pay twopence a week for a month in advance, when there was a new difficulty—no shoes! The schoolmaster was so struck with Patty’s paying for her little brother’s schooling out of her small wages, that he mentioned the fact to Miss Maitland, a lady who took a great interest in the progress of the school.
Now Miss Maitland was not a person to trust to mere hearsay, so she inquired the address of Patty’s mistress, and one fine day when Mrs. Vineer and Patty, and the eldest little girl (all the other children being at the infant school) were busy grounding some Berlin work for a lady who chiefly lived to work worsted flowers, in walked Miss Maitland, and entered into conversation with Mrs. Vineer, keeping her eye on Patty, who having just once looked up was now stitching away most diligently. After making a purchase, Miss Maitland desired that Patty might bring it to her house next morning. Quite unconscious that she had been noticed, Patty took the parcel at the appointed time, and was leaving the door when the servant desired her to go into the parlour, and Miss Maitland said,
“I think your name is—-?”
“Then, are not the two boys, Ned and Frank Toxy, your brothers?” .
“Yes, Ma’am, they are my mothers children—my father-in-law’s name is Toxy.” “I hear your father’s name was Grant?” “Yes, ma’am, he was a Scotchman and was killed by a fall from a scaffold.”
“Was it at the building of Wrencham town hall?”
“Yes, Ma’am, I’ve heard my mother say so.”
“I remember the case well,” said Miss Maitland, and she might have added, for it was true, that she had given very liberally to the subscription for the widow and child—-a liberality which perhaps led to the wretched second marriage, by making the widows home sufficiently comfortable to excite a selfish offer from Toxy.
With a look of great compassion on her; benevolent face, Miss Maitland proceeded to question Patty, and learned from her the history of her life.
When she had concluded, Miss Maitland said, “You did not tell me that you have paid your little brother’s schooling.”
“No, Ma’am,” said Patty blushing, “it is so little I can do, and that little I fear wont help them, for”—-here she stopped, she feared to say they had no shoes, lest it should look like begging of the kind lady.
“I know what you would say,” rejoined Miss Maitland, “and I will see what can be done.”
A great flush of pleasure glowed on Patty’s face, and she was curtsying and moving to the door, when Miss Maitland added, “But you say nothing of yourself; are you happy in your place?” .
Had that question been asked during the first six months of Patty’s being there she must have said “no,”—but now that she knew she was helpful and valued, she was able to say “yes.”
“If you could get a better place would you leave?”
There was a wistful gleam in Patty’s eye, for she was industrious, and wanted to, prosper, but she answered, “I couldn’t leave my mistress while she’s in trouble, ma’am.”
“Very well, Patty, you may go now; I will see what can be done for your brothers.” For a moment Patty’s thanks were stopped, and she lingered irresolute.
“What is it ? ” said Miss Maitland. Do you regret having to stay?”
“Oh no, ma’am, it’s not about myself—but if I might be so bold, I would like to name a friend—the very kindest friend I ever had, and I have never been able to do anything for her, but write a little letter twice to her, and that’s no use, for she is blind. She told me all the good I know, and let me read the Bible to her, and many a time I should have given in when things went hard, but for Madam Dark’s sayings. Oh, if any kind lady would but go and talk with her and cheer her, I should be so glad.”
“Madam Dark! is that her real name?“
“I think not, but she’s known by that at Wrencham Workhouse.”
“Well, Patty, perhaps some lady may find out this good friend of yours.”
With a lightened heart Patty returned home, and was, of course, questioned as to her stay. Mrs. Vineer evidently had some fear that Patty, who was now really a most valuable servant, would be asked to leave her, and though she was now most kindly treated, yet the poor wife and mother was not quite able to think of Patty’s interests rather than her own; so she was uneasy, and began to fret as she thought of her children, and of their father who had so cruelly deserted them.
Patty was not without a suspicion of the reason of this being the cause of her mistress’s increased lowness of spirits. So after the eldest girl had read the nightly chapter in the Bible, and the children had repeated their simple prayers, and gone to rest, as Patty and her mistress worked together, the former, after two or three little coughs to clear her voice, said tremulously, “Please don’t be angry, ma’am—but have I done anything to-day that vexes you.”
“No, Patty, no—-but the lady has been talking to you, and you’ll be like the rest, you’ll be wanting to go. Nobody’ll stay with a sorrowful creature like me.”
“Oh! please, mistress, don’t say that, pray don’t, it hurts me—I’ll stay, ma’am, and thankful, while—”
“While I want you?” said Mrs. Vineer eagerly.
Patty hesitated a moment, and then said, “While Jane, ma’am, is too young to help you much.”
“Oh, Patty, then you don’t say you’ll stay as long as I want you? Jane is a good child, but she’ll never be exactly like you—I can’t expect it.”
Patty opened her eyes very wide at this remark, and after a moment said gravely, “Little Miss Jane will be a deal better and cleverer than me, ma’am, because she’s better taught at school; and for a mother, a child can do what a servant never can, for she can be a comfort like, as well as a worker. And so when she’s able with her needle, and can mind the other children, and help in the shop, then I think I ought to go, for I have two little brothers, and I must try to get on so as to help them.”
“Well! I must say, Patty, you’ve done enough —you got Tom off, and you’re patching up your clothes every way to pinch out the pence for the schooling, and that for the children of a man who ill used you, and put you in the workhouse.”
“Yes,” said Patty, with a sigh, “he’s a bad man, and that’s why I must help the poor things, they’re my mother’s children.”
There was no replying to this, and so from that night it was understood that Patty should stay until the eldest daughter could take her place, and then she should be at liberty to better herself.
This engagement was most liberally fulfilled, for full two years Patty continued her humbly recompensed toils. Only by great care could she contrive to keep herself in shoes, decent coarse garments, and pay her brother’s schooling.
Meanwhile she had improved in appearance, though her shoulder was awry; she was of the middle height, with a mild open countenance, and look of great neatness and respectability; to this her personal cleanliness and entire freedom from all love of finery contributed. Her mistress’s little business had so far prospered that it kept the family in a humble decent way, and the eldest girl being now much older than Patty was when she first came, and much better instructed in all that pertained to the routine of housework, the faithful servant thought herself at liberty to try to get a more profitable place. It was likely that this place might have been postponed, for Patty and the family loved each other with a love made strong by sorrow, but a great calamity visited the neighbourhood, and called forth our humble heroine to energies in a way that none had anticipated—the town of Blackport was visited by cholera!
(To be continued in the next number.)
Pay your debts, so that others may pay theirs.
Quarrel with no man, and then no man will quarrel with you.
Send your children regularly to school, and look in now and then yourself to see what they are doing there.
Keep your children in at night, for the evening air is bad for them.
Feed your mind as well as your body, for it, you know, must go into the scales at last.
Never either praise or dispraise yourself, your actions do this sufficiently.
Never reproach a man with the faults of relatives.
HOW TO SILENCE AN INFIDEL.
“I AM an infidel,” said Claudius Buchanan, after his return from a visit to the principal countries of Europe, when in conversation with an old Highlander, “I am an infidel, and have seen the absurdity of all those nostrums my good old father used to teach me in the north; and can you,” added he, “seriously believe that the Bible is a revelation from the Supreme Being?” “I do.” “And pray tell me what may be your reasons?” “Claude,” said the good old Highlander, “I know nothing whatever about what learned men call the external evidences of revelation, but I will tell you why I believe it to be from God. I have a most depraved and sinful nature, and, do what I will, I find I cannot make myself holy; my friends cannot for me; nor do I think all the angels in heaven could. One thing alone does it; the reading and believing what I read in that blessed book—that does it. Now, as I know that God must be holy, and a lover of holiness, and as I believe that that book is the only thing in the world that produces and promotes holiness, I conclude it is from God, and that He is the author of it.” This was an argument that had never suggested itself to Buchanan’s mind, and which he had no means whatever of meeting. He afterwards became a most learned, useful, and indefatigable Christian minister.
THE INFIDEL RECLAIMED.
Two gentlemen, one day called on a person whom they solicited to become a subscriber to the Bible Society. “No,” exclaimed he with derision, “I’ll never give money to extend the circulation of a book filled with contradictions and lies.” This language much affected them, and on enquiry they found that he was a follower of Paine the infidel. Having a tract with them, written in defence of divine revelation, they requested permission to leave it; and as they laid it upon the table he looked at it with a smile of contempt. A short time afterwards they ventured to call again, and were agreeably surprised to find a large family Bible lying on the table where they had placed the tract. As soon as the man whom they had formerly conversed with came forward, he thus addressed them: “Gentlemen, the tract which you left me I read, and am obliged to you for it. By the blessing of God it has gained a complete triumph in my mind over the writing of Paine. You shall witness the destruction of his trash.”
He then with much earnestness took the books and cast them into the fire; “So,” said he, “may all blasphemous publications burn! Then turning to the Bible and placing his hand on it he exclaimed, “This was my father’s; long has it been neglected; but now I will read it myself, I will teach my children to read it, I will recommend my neighbours to attend to its contents, and you shall add my name to the list of subscribers of your society.”
It is the characteristic of a wise man to act on determinate principles; and of a good man, to be assured that they are conformable to rectitude and virtue.
COLUMNS FOR HUSBANDS AND WIVES.
[The following hints have been sent to us by a lady who has long taken a lively interest in promoting the domestic comfort of the Working Classes. Ed.
COMMON THINGS FOR EVERYDAY USE!
Proverbs iii. 6, 9, 11, 17, 27.
Get up early, and bless God who has kept you from death and danger. Get up betimes and you will master your daily work! Lie in bed and your work will master you!
Husband, help your wife in her morning preparations, especially if there be young children. Wife, study the comfort and the temper of your husband. Let no cross words pass between you; kind words only cost the same breath!
In winter time sweep your room at night, and lay your fire ready for lighting, it will save time and temper in the morning, but especially on Saturday, that your Sabbath may be respected. Give your children bread and milk, or porridge for breakfast, instead of bread and butter and tea, it will do them more good and save one-third of the expense.
Bake at home if you want to have six loaves of wholesome bread instead of five. — Save your coals by mixing ashes and slack together, and putting them at the back of your fire. Remember that one teaspoonful of powdered alum will purify four gallons of water, stir it in and let it settle.
Have a deep tin dish in the house in which you can make a rice pudding, hot-pot, or pie, it will save you many a shilling in crockery.
Meat will go much further stewed if with vegetables, or made into soup, or Irish stew (“lob-scouse”), instead; of roasted, baked, or boiled.
Suppose you are very poor, and have only sixpence for dinner, what will you do? You had better buy a pound of rice at 3d., wash it well, add a quart of milk at 2d., and a quarter of a pound of sugar, 1d., put it into your tin dish and bake it, you will, soon have a warm and comfortable dinner, which you will enjoy more than a better dinner not paid for!
Try hard to keep God’s rule “Owe no man anything.”
A clear conscience will enable you to bear many little privations. “Try to make the best of everybody—of everything that happens to you, and of everything you have!
When you buy a gown for yourself, or frocks for your children, buy also enough for an extra breadth, apron or pinafore, that they may wash together, and mend without looking patched.
Buy fents of calico for lining, &c., they are much cheaper and equally good.
When you buy a coat or trousers, get them damped first, and they wont spot with rain. Ask the tailor for some of the cuttings to be kept for mending.
Have a rag-bag in your room to put in all stray bits, they will often be handy tor mending, and your room will look tidy.
When you buy soap, buy a few pounds at once, cut it up to harden, it will last you much longer. Candles also improve by keeping, so also do shoes and boots.
Have a pincushion, with a pocket at one end, and hang it near your fire-place, with a couple of threaded needles in it, a few pins, and in the pocket your thimble, scissors, buttons, and tape; by this plan many a button and string will be sewn on which would otherwise be neglected.
Have you many children? then you have many different tempers to deal with; and must try your best to deal truly and gently with them. Beware of the hasty slap, the cross look, the loud talking, the passionate temper. Patience and kindness will almost always prevail with man, woman, or child, only try it, that’s all!
Keep down with all your might the love of “dressing out fine” on Sundays and holidays, and guard your dear children from this snare of the devil. By this self-indulgence he catches tens of thousands, and gently leads them on to ruin. By this means many a good husband and father is almost broken hearted, many a promising wife and daughter is brought to destruction! .
Resolve never to buy clothes till you can pay for them.
Do your best to enter some respectable club. Strive to make a beginning in the Savings’ Bank; even two shillings once lodged there will induce you to go again and again.
Be much in your own house and little in your neighbours’, yet be always ready to do them a good turn in a pleasant manner; civility is very cheap, “costs nothing and buys everything.” Begin to-day.
Wife! be very neat and clean in your own dress and appearance, get your dirty work done before your husband comes home; always welcome him with a kind word and a cheerful fire, and he will not leave you for other company, or for the ale-house. Husband! value and encourage your wife’s endeavours. Love works wonders!
Husband and Wife! avoid little sins, avoid the first steps in evil. Beware of bad companions, and struggle hard against the first debt, the first glass, the first quarrel, the first lie, the first breaking of your word!
Honour the Sabbath, and attend public worship, it will bring you a blessing. Make a great effort to send your children to school, both Sunday and week-day.
You may think you can’t do all these things, nor can you without God’s grace, but that grace is promised, and His Spirit is ready if you will ask for it in the name of Jesus Christ. Only try, and you will find the joy and peace of serving God in the trifles of every-day life; read your Bible daily, and pray heartily; and that God may prosper you in soul and body, is the prayer of your sincere friend,
A young rose in the summer-time
Is beautiful to me;
And glorious the many stars
That glimmer on the sea;
But gentle words, and loving hearts,
And hands to clasp my own,
Are better than the brightest flowers,
Or stars that ever shone.
The sun may warm the grass to life,
And dew refresh the flower;
And eyes grow bright, and watch the light
Of autumn’s opening hour;
But words that breathe of tenderness.
And smiles we know are true.
Are warmer than the summer-time,
And brighter than the dew.
It is not much the world can give,
With all its subtle art;
And gold and gems are not the things
To satisfy the heart;
But, oh! if those who cluster round
The altar and the hearth,
Have gentle words and loving smiles,
How beautiful is earth !
C. D. Stewart.
Angry words are lightly spoken,
In a rash and thoughtless hour;
Brightest links of life are broken
By their deep insidious power.
Hearts inspired by warmest feeling,
Ne’er before by anger stirr’d.
Oft are rent past human healing
By a single angry word.
Poison—drops of care and sorrow,
Bitter poison-drops are they;
Weaving for the coming morrow.
Saddest memories of to-day.
Angry words! oh, let them never
From the tongue unbridled slip;
May the hearts best impulse ever
Check them, ere they soil the lip.
Love is much too pure and holy,
Friendship is too sacred far,
For a moment’s reckless folly
Thus to desolate and mar.
Angry words are lightly spoken;
Bitterest thoughts are rashly stirr’d ;
Brightest links of life are broken
By a single angry word.
WHAT WILL RUIN CHILDREN.
To have parents exercise partiality. This practice is lamentably prevalent. The first born or last, the only son or daughter, the beauty or wit of the household, is too commonly set apart—Joseph-like.
To be frequently put out of temper. A child ought to be spared, as far as possible, all just causes of irritation; and never to be punished for doing wrong, by taunts, cuffs, or ridicule.
To be suffered to go uncorrected to-day in the very thing for which chastisement was inflicted yesterday. With as much reason might a watch which should be wound back half the time, be expected to run well, as a child thus trained, to become possessed of an estimable character.
To be corrected for accidental faults with as much severity as though they were done intentionally.
The child who does ill when he meant to do well, merits pity, but not upbraiding. The disappointment of its young projector, attendant on the disastrous failure of any little enterprise, is of itself sufficient punishment, even where the result was brought about by carelessness. To add more is as cruel as it is hurtful.
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THE BRITISH WORKMAN.
“THE FATHER IN A HARSH MANNER SAID, ’DRINK.’”
One morning, about half past nine, a short time since, whilst passing through High Street, Whitechapel, I observed a joiner at work at the exterior of a public house. A boy, not eight years of age, apparently his son, was assisting him. As I approached I observed the man present to the boy a pewter pot containing beer, which the child recoiled from as though it were medicine. The father in a harsh manner said “Drink,” when the poor little fellow, with both fear and repugnance depicted in his countenance, reluctantly complied with his father’s command.
How frequently do parents, through mistaken kindness, cause their children to form intemperate habits. It is a melancholy fact, which parents cannot too well bear in mind, that some of the most abandoned and dissipated characters and hardened criminals have said, when referring to the early history of their downward career, “Drink has been my ruin, and the first glass I ever tasted was given me by my father!
[We beg to thank our esteemed correspondent for the above fact, and the clever pencil sketch which accompanied his communication. It is, indeed, a sad truth, which cannot be too deeply pondered by both parents and teachers of the young, that the seeds of intemperance are too often sown in childhood. We have now before us a letter from a minister of the gospel, who was recently called to visit the deathed of a young man, who had ruined his constitution by drink. That fearful disease, delirium tremens, had seized him. In the agonies of death he cursed his indulgent but now poor heart-broken mother. Almost the last words that he uttered with gnashing teeth were these, “My Mother gave me the first glass.” Ed. B.W.]
THE NATURAL BRIDGE;
OR, ONE NICHE THE HIGHEST.
By ELIHU BURRITT, The American Blacksmith.
The scene opens with a view of the great Natural Bridge in Virginia. There are three or four lads standing in the channel below, looking up with awe to that vast arch of unhewn rocks, which the Almighty bridged over those everlasting hutments “when the morning stars sang together.” The little piece of sky spanning those measureless piers, is full of stars, although it is mid-day. It is almost five hundred feet from where they stand, up those perpendicular bulwarks of limestone, to the key rock of that vast arch, which appears to them only of the size of a man’s hand. The silence of death is rendered more impressive by the little stream that falls from rock to rock down the channel.—The sun is darkened, and the boys have unconsciously uncovered their heads, as if standing in the presence chamber of the Majesty of the whole earth. At last, this feeling begins to wear away; they begin to look around them they and that others have been there before them. They see the names of hundreds cut in the limestone hutments. A new feeling comes over their young hearts, and their knives are in their hands in an instant.—“What man has done, man can do,” is their watchword, while they draw themselves up and carve their names a foot above those of a hundred full-grown men who have been there before them.
They are all satisfied with this feat of physical exertion, except one, whose example illustrates perfectly the forgotten truth, that there is no royal road to intellectual eminence. This ambitious youth sees a name just above his reach, a name that will be green in the memory of the world, when those of Alexander, Caesar, and Bonaparte, shall rot in oblivion, It was the name of Washington. Before he marched with Braddock to that fatal field, he had been there, and left his name a foot above all his predecessors. It was a glorious thought of the boy to write his name side by side with that of the great father of his country. He grasps his knife with a firmer hand; and, clinging to a little jutting crag, he cuts a gain into the limestone, about a foot above where he stands; he then reaches up, and cuts another for his hands. ’Tis a dangerous adventure; but as he puts his feet and hands into those gains, and draws himself up carefully to his full length, he finds himself a foot above every name chronicled in that mighty wall. While his companions are regarding him with concern and admiration, he cuts his name in rude capitals, large and deep, into that flinty album. His knife is still in his hand, and strength in his sinews, and a new created aspiration in his heart. Again he cuts another niche, and again he carves his name in larger capitals. This is not enough. Heedless of the entreaties of his companions, he cuts and climbs again. The gradations of his ascending scale grow wider apart. He measures his length at every gain he cuts. The voices of his friends wax weaker and weaker, till their words are finally lost on his ear. He now for the first time casts a look beneath him. Had that glance lasted a moment, that moment would have been his last. He clings with a convulsive shudder to his little niche in the rock. An awful abyss awaits his almost certain fall.—He is faint with severe exertion and trembling from the sudden view of the dreadful destruction to which he is exposed. His knife is worn half-way to the haft. He can hear the voices, but not the words, of his terror-stricken companions below. What a moment! What a meagre chance to escape destruction! There is no retracing his steps, it is impossible to put his hands into the same niche with his feet, and retain his slender hold a moment. His companions instantly perceive this new and fearful dilemma, and await his fall with emotions that “freeze their young blood.” He is too high, too faint, to ask for his father and mother, his brothers and sisters, to come and witness or avert his destruction. But one if his companions anticipates his desire, swift as the wind, he bounds down the channel, and the situation of the fated boy is told upon his father’s hearth-stone.
Minutes of almost eternal length roll on, and there are hundreds standing in that rocky channel, and hundreds on the bridge above, all holding their breath, and awaiting the fearful catastrophe. The poor boy hears the hum of new and numerous voices both above and below. He can just distinguish he tones of his father, who is shouting with all the energy of despair, “William! William! don’t look down! your mother, and Henry, and Harriet, are all here, praying for you! Don’t look down! Keep your eye towards the top!” The boy didn’t look down. His eye is fixed like a flint towards Heaven, and his young heart on Him who reigns there. He grasps again his knife. He cuts another niche, and another foot is added to the hundreds that remove him from the reach of human help from below.—How carefully he uses his wasting blade! How anxiously he selects the softest places in that vast pier! How he avoids every flinty grain! How he economises his physical powers! resting a moment at each gain he cuts. How every motion is watched from below! There stand his father, mother, brother, and sister, on the very spot, where, if he falls, he will not fall alone.
The sun is now half-way down the west; the lad has made fifty additional niches in that mighty wall; and now he finds himself directly under the middle of that vast arch of rocks, earth, and trees. He must cut his way in a new direction, to get from under this overhanging mountain. The inspiration of hope is dying in his bosom ; its vital heat is fed by the increasing shouts of hundreds perched upon cliffs and trees, and others who stand with ropes in their hands on the bridge above, or with ladders below. Fifty gains more must be cut before the longest rope :an reach him. His wasting blade strikes again into the limestone. The boy is emerges painfully, foot by foot, from under that lofty arch. Spliced ropes are ready in the lands of those who are leaning over the outer edge of the bridge. Two minutes more, and all will be over. That blade is worn to the last half inch. The boy’s head reels; his eyes are starting from their sockets. His last hope is dying in his heart; his life must hang upon the next gain he cuts. That niche is his last.—At the last faint gash he makes, his knife—his faithful knife— falls from his little nerveless hand, and ringing along the precipice, falls at his mother’s feet. An involuntary groan of despair runs like a death-knell through the channel below, and all is still as the grave. At the height of nearly three hundred feet, the devoted boy lifts his hopeless heart and closing eyes to commend his soul to God. ’Tis but a moment—there!—one foot swings off!—he is reeling—trembling —toppling over into eternity! Hark!—a shout falls on his ears from above! The man who is lying with half his length over the bridge, has caught a glimpse of the boy’s head and shoulders. Quick as thought, the noosed rope is within reach of the sinking youth. No one breathes. With a faint, convulsive effort, the swooning boy drops his arms into the noose. Darkness comes over him, and with the words God! and Mother! whispered on his lips just loud enough to be heard in heaven—the tightning rope lifts him out of his last shallow niche. Not a lip moves while he is dangling over that fearful abyss; but when a sturdy Virginian reaches down and draws up the lad, and holds him up in his arms before the tearful, breathless multitude, such shouting—such leaping and weeping for joy—never greeted the ear of a human being so recovered from the yawning gulf if eternity.
London: published on the first of every month, for the EDITOR, by Partridge & Co., 34, Paternoster Row; A.W. Bennett, 5, Bishopsgate Street Without; and W. Tweedie, 337, Strand.