Page images

fore we find occupation for all who can work; and it requires much thought to contrive work for so many. Everything used in the establishment is made by the inmates. There are tailors, joiners, shoemakers, &c., &c. They break stones to mend the roads, work in the garden, &c., so that they are always usefully employed, and learn a great deal beneficial to themselves afterwards. I know much is said and written against the New Poor Laws, but, for my part, I consider it the most admirable and welldesigned plan that was ever devised. For the governor it is most laborious; the books require so much time and attention; and often I am so completely puzzled and confused, that I am obliged to go and work an hour in my garden before I can arrange them. But, notwithstanding, they are most excellent; and now I will show you over the establishment, and you shall then judge for yourselves of this alleged cruel system.'

"We were very much struck with the beautiful order and cleanliness, as well as the comfort which they enjoy; and constant occupation, the great secret of contentment, is always provided for them. There are printed cards put up in several parts, A place for everything, and everything in its place,' and this is truly the case; and it must be most beneficial to those who have never known anything but disorder, idleness, and misery, to feel the comfort which such a system produces; and it is to be hoped, that many, on returning to their own homes, will have reason to be thankful for what they have learnt here. The establishment combines everything-wards for the sick, the young and old in separate rooms, and there were four young girls all going off in consumption, they have comforts which the rich only can procure -whatever the doctors order, however expensive, they are authorized to get it for the patients. There is a Penitentiary also. Seven young women were there, and the governor said he had very great hopes that some of them were under religious impressions, and several had left and gone into families, and their letters

are most rejoicing, and give him great encouragement. The great thing is to get them out of the place they have lived in, otherwise their bad acquaintances soon draw them back into what they had been removed from, and situations are very difficult to obtain. There is a lying-in ward, where they are kept for a month, and provided with everything requisite for the mother and child, and after that time they can remain in the house with the others. There is a nursery for the children, schools for the elder children, in short, it is a perfect colony. A clergyman attends the sick, and has a service every Sunday; but every one is allowed to have the minister of whatever denomination he belongs to. We asked the governor if he had the satisfaction of knowing that some of the inmates had experienced the needful change since they had been under his care. "Oh, yes!' he replied, 'many. I have been here ten years, and have witnessed 180 deaths; and many have called me to their bedside and said, "Oh, sir! I never knew I had a soul till I saw you, and now I die in peace, believing in the Lord Jesus Christ;" and those four young girls you saw, I have reason to think, are all dying in the Lord; and one old woman of 104 years of age, has been brought to the foot of the cross since she turned her hundredth year. And there are many, many that I hope and trust are Christians, and I can indeed thank the Lord for his goodness, when I look back and think what this house was when I came to it. My wife and I sat down upon this sofa and wept, and I said, "We cannot possibly live in such a place." There was singing profane songs in one room, dancing in another, swearing, and every vice practised without restraint. After thinking over what was to be done, I went to them and said, "I have never in my life witnessed any thing like this before, nor do I intend ever to see it again. To-morrow morning at six o'clock (God willing) I shall meet you for prayers, and to beg the Lord will pardon the iniquities of this night." The bell was accordingly rung, and

ten persons came, and so we went on gradually increasing in numbers. I then said, "I have forbidden your singing profane songs, but I do not see why we should not sing the praises of God. To-morrow I will try to get some hymn-books, and we will begin." This attracted others, and so by degrees they all joined; and now we can all meet and worship together as a family. When I came here there was not a whole Bible in the house. The Bible Society heard of this, and sent us a packet. The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge sent us also a packet. The Tract Society sent tracts, and now each person has a Bible, and, what is more, I trust they feel the value of it.'

"The matron is a most kind person. She seems to take a motherly interest in all the inmates, and, her husband says, bears all their burdens. And yet, though we saw such kindness, such plentiful provision, for both their temporal and spiritual good, the nurses told us that the people are very ungrateful, and often very discontented; but she herself knew that they were so comfortable that she only wished thousands of the poor and destitute could have such blessings, but there are many who would

rather beg about the streets. or die in misery, than come here, such is the prejudice against the Union Houses. And if you advise a poor person in great distress to go into the House, they seem to consider you the most cruel and hard-hearted person imaginable, and void of all feeling of humanity. Would they see for themselves, and not take the prejudices of others, how thankfully would they accept the blessing so amply and liberally supplied for them, and what benefit they might derive from the excellent Christian instruction, and the habits of order and regularity required there. We had a friend from the Continent on a visit with us, who expressed the same opinion as we had done, pitying the poor, and thinking them hardly dealt with. We advised him to go and judge for himself; and on his return he said, he had not seen anything in England which had given him so much pleasure and satisfaction. He had imagined that the institutions abroad were very far superior, but he found he was quite mistaken, for he had never before seen anything so well arranged, and such very great attention pain to both the souls and bodies of the inmates. "L. H. P.

"July 22nd, 1845."




From Dr. Bonavia, Catechist.-" At our service to-day, I read and addressed the people from the 18th chapter of Matthew. While applying verses 11, 12, and 13, to the conversion of the sinner, and showing that pardon can be obtained only through the blood of Jesus, three women and a man by their tears excited similar emotion in myself and others, and we wept together for our sins. The three women, aged fifty-eight, seventy, and seventy-two, with the husband of the

last, aged sixty-two, give the most satisfactory proof of having been taught by the Spirit of truth to discover the errors in which they were brought up. They live in different parts of the island, and indefatigably attend from a distance to hear the word of God.

"A remarkable circumstance occurred to-day. Returning into the room in which we had been holding our service, some minutes afterwards, I observed a man in tears kneeling in a corner. On my enquiring the reason of this, he declared that he was

weeping at the thought that he had passed sixty years of his life without knowing how to love and serve God, and keep his commandments, and because in his necessities he had never made use of the name of Christ, referring me to the 13th, 14th, and 15th verses of the 14th chapter of St. John, which I had been reading, but, added he, As I was ignorant of the way, because no one showed it me, I hope to find mercy for my great error.' This is truly wonderful, and we may exclaim that the word of God is indeed quick and powerful, and pierces like a two-edged sword to the dividing of the joints and marrow.

66 After prayer and a hymn at our accustomed meeting, I read and commented on the entire 17th chapter of St. John. As soon as I had finished, a person, who came to our service for the first time, said to the others, 'Never did I hear words so beautiful and consolatory as those of to-day. I have been especially comforted in hearing the Gospel in my own tongue.'

[ocr errors]

From H. Innes, Esq.-" It gives me pleasure to say, that Dr. Bonavia is going on very satisfactorily. I am happy to perceive in him a consistency and subdued firmness which assures me of the progress of grace in his soul, the best security of his fitness to promote, instrumentally, the kingdom of God in that of others.'

stood, the bells were ringing to call the people, or the monks, to worship, or for some other purpose, continually. When Dr. H. recently stated, that they were ringing from morning to evening, he might have added, with perfect truth, from the beginning to the end of the year; and it is really no small comfort to find a home beyond the reach of them.

[ocr errors]

As you pass along the streets, you see at every corner, almost, some image, with an inscription offering this or that indulgence, for a pater noster, or an ave Maria, said to the image. Over the doors of all the churches you see inscribed in large letters PLENARY INDULGENCE FOR THE LIVING AND THE DEAD." Individuals are employed to pass along the streets, at particular times, with a little box to receive the collections, who sing at the doors of the houses, or ask as they pass along, "What will you give to pay for masses for the poor souls in purgatory?" and here you will see a poor woman dropping a little something into the box, and there a little boy, and there a poor man, &c., &c.; and that the people may not forget or neglect the matter, there are images and pictures on the walls of the churches in all directions, representing souls in purgatory, writhing in agony, surrounded by flames, and in the posture of earnest supplication for relief.

Malta.-I arrived at Malta in March, and there saw the genuine nature and legitimate effect of Papacy; for that little island is one of the most affectionate and obedient daughters of the Pope. The number of ecclesiastics in the island is about one to every fifty or one hundred of the people. On my first arrival there, I was greatly struck, at receiving on board the ship a card from a taverner, stating that his establishment was situated where its inmates would not be annoyed by the ringing of bells. What, thought I, can this man be an infidel! I soon, however, under


THE Greek Church believe that baptism by water regenerates the soul. The baptism is performed in this way. Some water is prepared, sufficient for the purpose, when the priest puts salt into it, and reads the prescribed prayers over it, when the Holy Ghost is supposed to descend into it. He then takes the child, perfectly naked, and immerses it three times, saying, "The servant of the Lord is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." This child is then regarded as having all his original sin washed away, and as being made holy, because he has been bap

tized, literally, as they suppose, in the Holy Ghost.

When they are assembled for public worship, and are engaged in prayers, it is not uncommon to see them whispering and laughing with each other, particularly the women, who are secluded from the rest of the assembly by a kind of lattice work. But the moment that the priest begins to read the Gospels, although they are read in the original tongue, which very few of them understand, they are all perfectly still, and stand, gently leaning forward, supposing that some invisible and indescribable influence comes forth with the words read, and enters into the tops of their heads and thence goes down into their hearts.

It pains and grieves me to say what I am obliged in truth to say, respecting the character of the priesthood. Generally they have no education. Not one of them understands the liturgy which he reads; or can take a passage from the Septuagint and give it a correct translation into the modern tongue. To show how they are introduced to office, I will state a case that came under my own observation. The individual was a cook, and he wished to become a priest. The first thing was to let his beard grow, and his hair become long, and to learn to chant the liturgy. This done, he went to the bishop for ordination. As usual, when addressing the patri

arch, he said, "May it please your holiness, I have come to be ordained." The bishop replied, "Very well, my son; you must pay me two thousand piastres." The cook was poor, and said he could not. "But," said the bishop, "I have purchased my office, and have so many thousands (naming them) to pay the Sultan; how shall I do it?" The cook asked if the forefathers did so, and if it were not simony to require such payment for induction to office. "Yes," said he, "but what shall I do?" The bishop at length agreed to ordain him for five hundred piastres, instead of two thousand. By the aid of a sister, he paid it, was ordained, and went to take charge of a small parish as a Christian pastor. The priests are often called to exorcise evil spirits. Nervous persons suppose themselves often to be possessed of evil spirits, and they get the priest to read certain prayers over them, and often the poor creatures imagine they are delivered from them. Every year the high patriarch of Constantinople reads a solemn anathema in the Greek church, of all other churches. The Archbishop of Canterbury, if he were to go there, would have to go into the water in which the Holy Ghost is, and be re-baptized, or he, as much as any other, would be regarded as still an unregenerate man, and dead in trespasses and sins.


THE Directors have received the most gratifying intelligence from China, as to the unexpected and enlarged facilities afforded by a recent edict of the Emperor, for the propagation of the Gospel in that vast empire. At no former period in the history of the Society has any event occurred demanding more exalted gratitude, or involving higher responsibilities; and the following intelligence will doubtless be read by all the friends of Missions with thrilling interest. the work of the Churches in every


other part of the heathen world been already completed, the claims of this vast empire, and the facilities for responding to them, would be sufficient at the present juncture to engross the whole of their resources. By an enlightened act of His Imperial Majesty, China is become a land of religious freedom-the profession of Christianity by its myriads is no longer proscribed. Our importunate supplications, continued through years of anxious watching and eager hope, have at length reached the ear of the

Lord of Hosts, and are answeredanswered to an extent beyond our most sanguine expectations. It is not possible that an event could occur more calculated to animate the heart of Christian love, and impel it to the highest exercises of zeal and generosity. He, who turneth as he will the hearts of the children of men, and by whose power this wondrous change has been wrought, now looks from heaven to see how his people will meet the crisis. May they be enabled to act worthy of the solemn and momentous occasion which his gracious providence has brought to pass!

It will be observed, that, although European Missionaries are, by the terms of the Edict, restricted, in their direct Christian labours, to the Five Commercial Cities, yet in those cities they have free access to many hundred thousands of the people; while, by means of well-trained Native Evangelists, and the distribution of religious tracts, they may extend the knowledge of salvation through the length and breadth of that vast empire. It will be seen, also, by our letters from Shanghae, that, for several miles around that populous city, our Missionaries have had access to the numerous towns and villages without the slightest hindrance, where they have found the people peaceable and well disposed. Individuals, also,

from the interior, have made long journeys to obtain from our brethren instruction in the knowledge of the true God, and the way of salvation, concerning whom they entertain good hope.

It cannot but be an occasion of humiliation to Protestant Christians that this act of Imperial favour towards the Chinese Christians was obtained, at the instance of the Ambassador of France, on behalf of the converts to Popery, rather than by any interference of our own Government in favour of a purer and more Scriptural faith; but we trust the zeal and ardour exhibited by the advocates of Romanism will serve as an additional stimulus to our Churches to send forth their faithful messengers in numbers somewhat proportionate to the magnitude of the object, and with that promptitude which the urgency of the occasion demands.

Indistinct reports of this signal event reached England several weeks since; but, until authentic communications arrived, the Directors felt it would be premature to present any official statement on the subject. The delay is amply compensated, since the intelligence now communicated may be received by our friends throughout the country with entire confidence and satisfaction.-From the Report of the London Missionary Society.




"Nov. 1844.-I thank God the work is prospering here beyond my most sanguine hopes. Nineteen Romanists have come out within the last six months, now regularly attending public worship. We want help. All the assistance I have is my own schoolmaster, who devotes all his leisure time to furthering the great cause. We want pecuniary aid—not

for bribes, but to relieve the poor, wretched converts from that persecution which invariably follows. I do believe that there is nowhere in the world such a promising field as Epresents at this moment; and the recert conversion of the Rev. George M'Namara, at Achill, lately Roman Catholic priest in this parish, adds a still more cheering fact, for he was and is a man to whom the people of this place were devotedly attached.”

It is requested that Advertisements intended for insertion on the wrapper of the Christian Guardian, may be sent to Messrs. Seeley, Burnside, and Seeley's, or to the Printer, not later than the 20th of the month preceding.

« PreviousContinue »