Abbildungen der Seite

communion and practical treatment, reclaim him to its reception and obedience.

To Children ignorant of paternal tenderness, exposed to every brutality of vice and passion, and, spiritually, walking among the tombs, it is opening the doors of the heaven they have just left, and fulfilling the promise, When thy father and Mother forsake thee, the Lord will take thee up.'

To the Aged it gives, in the body's growing weariness, that strength which triumphs over mortal decay. It is the medium of stirring voices from another sphere to those for whom this world's sounds are fast losing their interest. To the vision that grows ever more dim to world. ly sights, it reveals objects that rise in the distant horizon, and tower in a more imposing vastness, as the grave approaches. It would give these quick-departing messengers, the Aged, some tributes of kindness which they may bear into the region of all-abounding love and bliss.

It is visiting the Sick, and striving to change outward disease into inward health, and sorest pains into deepest joys. The poor sick woman's gratefulness for kindly attentions often makes herself happier, even while sick, than she would be if not sick at all. Who, that has suffered, does not know that even the distress of a severe convulsing malady may actually become a thrilling delight because of the gentle hand that supports the strained sweating head!

To the Intemperate it makes that last appeal not utterly hopeless, the appeal to their spiritual nature. It strives to bring out some flashes of the unquenchable flame within to pierce the heavy fumes ever circling in the drunkard's atmosphere and fast settling on his brain.

For all these classes, as well as for many not embraced in either of them,- for the young and the active, for the rejoicing and for the bereaved, for the vicious and for the

pure in heart,' it provides one place of Rest,-a Chapel of devotion. It invites to one shrine mounting purely up from the midst of pollution,--one baptismal fount for the washing away of sins,--one place of holy retirement from the world's dust and turmoil, a place peculiarly grateful to those for whom it is impossible to escape this dust

and turmoil during the week, for whom there is no access to rich parlors and splendid halls,—and it points out the path leading to one grave of departed worth which weary pilgrims may visit, -the Savior's Grave!

It hopes, not only to communicate benefits to the Poor, but also to act with kindly good influence upon the Rich. It would draw them from the worship of the Outward to a reverence of the Inward, and turn the eyes, wont to feast on golden glitter, to the prospect of unfading glory. And most unfeignedly does it rejoice to see many among the Rich coming forth to be our best living Teachers of truth and duty. The young woman leaves her well furnished room to visit in the filthy hovel. The splendid books in the library of her private boudoir delight her not so much as the sight of that one worn, blackened volume on the suffering widow's table. The mirth of her young gay companions cannot, for substance, equal the satisfaction of her daily sympathy with aged, sighing wretchedness. No pride is in her gait,-no affected condescension in her tone. She uses no summary rudeness of inquiry into the case, like the professed Operator. She is humble and gentle, and bears her heart ever full of faith and prayer. I do not fancy. I hardly do so much as describe. I state. I speak plain words of a real being. To such a being the world lies in debt!

The Ministry among the Poor asks others to join in this same blessed work. The Young, whose hearts are full of kind feeling, yet who find it difficult to conquer the force of custom, and who would not without being urged, have the courage perhaps to undertake any thing unusual,—these it entreats to consider their powers and duties. It prays that none will stay back from the fear of not being able to do much good. The fear itself, rightly used, is a qualification. The Minister of Christ in any department, who lives without caution or anxiety, is either doing nothing or doing harm. It does not ask those inclined to help to devote their whole time, or to go about with one loud, continuous exhortation from morning to night. A single hour a day may be of more worth than many,-a few words more precious than a long oration,-and sometimes perfect silence better than any words at all.

Another point I wished to take up in this concluding number, is the Ministry at large, in the wider, the whole meaning of the expression. My observations as I have already remarked, have been made, not in the complete sphere of this Ministry's operations, but, for the most part, in one of the two main sections. I trust, however, what I have said would not present a very untrue account of the whole work. I have spoken of the Chapel in Friend Street, (soon to be exchanged for the chapel buildin Pitts Street) and of the northern portion of the city connected with it. But it is well known there is another Chapel in Warren Street, which has long been working upon a large, compact population, through multiplied channels of influence. My own imperfect knowledge of its operation must excuse me from giving a detailed account. Nor is there particular need of so doing. Information res. pecting this Chapel has already reached the public in various ways, and, it is strongly to be hoped, will be communicated more and more largely.

There is also a school of children connected with the Bethel church, of which much has been told us, and in which much good has been done. The superintendent and his co-workers have wrought in a time and place of need with noble energy and sustained zeal. From their efforts much of spiritual power has been born. And, as spiritual power is ever a creative principle, ever producing nobler results than even this material universe in which we live, we may trust it will with them enlarge its borders, and fashion a new little world, full of beauty and grandeur, ever fresh with life and hope and immortal aspiration.

But these things are not all. Were my personal acquaintance more extensive and thorough, I could speak most warmly of the toils of many brethren, who labor, if not in so systematic and continuous a way as that already described, and if not with much display of their faithful exertions, yet with a love and power inferior to that of no persons whatsoever. I refer to those who differ from some of us in doctrinal belief, but are one with us in heart, who set us lofty examples of Christian faith, and whose quiet struggles would almost suggest the thought of the silent and resistless workings of the spirit of God. Let words of cheering go into their hearts. May He, who crowns all faithful effort, send down a blessing on their toils, and to their planting and watering give abundant increase.

Only one more point I wished to introduce in closing my remarks. My feeling of the importance of the Ministry at large is very strong. I have accordingly used strong language in its expression. And some readers may be disposed to put the question - How much by what you have said, do you, in a sober and large view of things, mean to imply? Do you imagine that this Minisistry is the perfect, all-powerful instrument to be used for human regeneration? Is it entirely pure and good, without stain or wrinkle? Does it work surely and safely in all things? And is it utterly impossible it should lead to harm? And is its working so mighty, that we may as well bethink ourselves of dispensing with the modes of action we have from ancient days been used to?

I by no means wish to imply all or any of these things. Men have known what is good already. Some noble deeds were done by our Fathers. A passing notice might not be too much to give to spiritual results wrought out before our eyes were open. No, I do not believe the world has gone all wrong until to-day. I do not believe any new plan, organization, or institution will or can, as by a wonder-working specific, give a perfect sanctity to hu-man nature, -or that there is any thing more than absurdity and weakness in dropping sentimental tears because the magic instrument was not discovered a few years sooner, so that we might now be living in the glory of the Millennium.

And as to dispensing with the great means that have been in action through the 'long train of ages,' the idea would be amusing from its very folly, were the subject less serious. That these means must be so varied in outward modes and applications as to correspond to varying modes and manifestations in social life I suppose none will deny. But let no man speak of their destruction who would be reputed wise, or even sound in his reason and not beside himself. Let us pray forbearing mercy, and

deprecate furious haste even in the work of change and reform. Show no Gothic rage, strike no Vandal blows, threaten not the lofty pinnacles pointing to the skies, tear not away the fine linen from the holy place, nor hew down the posts of cedar that hold up sacred instruments. Even in these things is embodied a soul of reverence. Send not back this soul to the skies whence it descended, by slaying its outward frame. While fire falls from Heav. en on new places of sacrifice, let the live coals still burn freshly as ever on ancient altars.

I said, thus let us pray. But let our entreaty be not in fear, but in faith. Let us never so distrust the power and love that work in and through the whole world, moudling it, as the potter's hand moulds the clay, to the purposes of an all-holy will, as to tremble for the permanence of what is right among us. Let us so believe in God as to know with an infinite sureness that the truly good and venerable we have received from the past will live, protected by an arm which mortal strength opposes, only to be laid prostrate-guarded by a shield whose lightnings can send blindness into all human vision.

But, be it remembered moreover, the same boundless Might, which will defend the good and venerable from injury in any possible violence of assault, is also pledged equally to the support and benediction of those who would relieve the good and venerable from the adhesion of dead matter, and purify it from every infused corruption. In all such the very spirit of God works, and through their weak toil fashions an immortal beauty. As their love of the soul is best, who would not merely dote upon and weakly fonale it, but give it medicines in its sickness, and treat with spiritual surgery the portions of it wounded, or inflamed, or tending to decay,-so those best love our good institutions, whose eye, like a mother's eye, catches the first system of disease in them, who have strength of solemn purpose to probe their wounds, to lop off their rotten organs and offending members. In this relieving, purifying, dissecting work, let us all labor faithfully and humbly. And let those who do labor faithfully and humbly be honored duly. Thus good results will thicken around us without tumult, precious fruits will ripen as gen

« ZurückWeiter »