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during the hours of cessation from the work of the house. To these causes should be added the too common practice of giving to domestic servants the whole, or a part of the Lord's-day for recreation.
This picture is a dark one. And its darkness is increased by the consideration that however carefully the purses and property of masters and mistresses may be kept away from them, the children of the family cannot, and that the opinions and habits of these children must be to a considerable extent formed by their language and conduct. Nor is the darkness of the picture in any measure relieved by the additional consideration that these individuals are in future years to be the wives of the husbands and the mothers of the sons and daughters of our land.
This being the case, the important question is, How is the state of domestic servants to be improved?
Whatever remedies may be applied, will not, even though applied immediately, produce their full effect till the present generation, and perhaps the following also, shall have passed away. This, however, is no reason for delay; some of these appliances must be brought to bear in early life upon those who are likely to become domestic servants, and some of them upon those who are domestic servants already; and that both classes of remedies must have reference both to the time when they are in place, and to the time when they leave it, either to return to the abodes of their relatives or to enter upon the superintendence of households of their own. What may be called the preliminary class of remedies cannot be exclusively applied to those who are likely to enter upon domestic service (for in early life these individuals do not stand apart and by themselves), with the exception of the introduction of improvement in the education of the female children of the working classes. By far the greater number of the preliminary remedies are of general application, and fitted to benefit the masses of our population as a whole. And one of them which I would specify as a sample of the rest is the coming of the godly and moral and influential of the upper classes of society much more frequently, and to a much greater extent than is the case at present, into contact with the lower, for the purpose of promoting their physical and moral and religious welfare. But the
remedies deserving particular attention are those which should be applied when the females of the families of the working classes are at service. Their masters and mistresses should then feel that they have taken under their roofs individuals belonging to other families, whose interests for time and eternity are to be promoted as well as their own, and that the parents of these families have committed their beloved daughters to their care. Servants should never be made to feel that they are mere appendages of the family or household, but they should be treated and led to consider themselves as belonging to it. They should never be treated like machines or like animals, solely with a view to the quantity of work they must do. They should never, except in very bad cases, that is, when they deserve for misconduct to be turned out of the house, be led to believe that their integrity is suspected, or that they are too closely watched, which is done when there is too much of the locking of presses, and the keeping of keys, and the putting of inquisitorial questions. Domestic servants, while kept in their proper place, should be permitted to feel that they are at home; that in the persons of their masters and mistresses they have kind as well as faithful friends; and that, in the preservation of the peace and promotion of the comfort and advancement of the interests of the household, their own credit, and honour, and character are at stake. No dreadful distance between their masters and mistresses and them should be created, so as to keep them from applying for advice, or making known, in a respectful way, either pleasures or pains. And last of all, there should be, on the part of heads of families, acts of kindness and generosity, and considerate benevolence, done heartily, and carefully, and constantly. Why should much be done in a house, both during the week and on Sabbath, to promote the education of its children, and nothing be done in it to remedy the defects of the education of its servants? Why should picture books and toys and simple tales be found in profusion in the nursery and parlour, and nothing fitted for pastime or profit be found in the kitchen? Why should amusement alternate with learning and labour upstairs; whilst below, it is without intermission, "Work, work, work?" Why should the father and mother, in anxiety for the present and future happiness of sons and daughters, open the Book of
God, that the words of eternal life may
heads of the household downwards, through older sons and daughters, and little children, to her, who, behind the scenes, provides for the comfort of all, there should be found connecting links, not easily disjoined, giving all to feel that through life they are the givers and receivers of mutual benefit, and that their wish and prayer and endeavour should be, that at last, through the merits of the Great Redeemer, not one of them shall want a high, and holy, and happy place among the 'good and faithful.'
"I am, dear Madam, yours, &c. "December 9, 1851."
COMMUNICATED BY THE REV. L. DURAND, SECRETARY OF LA SOCIETE
the numerous taverns, which offer a variety of sports for the public amusement; then begin drinking, noise, blasphemies, dancing continued far into the night; and it is very seldom that these boisterous pleasures do not end in brawls and fighting. I will not expose to you more of this sad picture, for you would then see in all their unveiled hideousness, impurity, fornication, concubinage, and adultery. Oh, that God may be pleased to lay hold in his compassion on this poor people, and to draw them out of the thick darkness which envelops them, and of the miry clay in which they are sunk!"
THE immorality of the manufacturing upon her adherents, the people repair to districts of Belgium is in general very great. It is there we find in the full extent of the terms, "the Gentiles who walk in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who being past feeling have given themselves over to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." One of our agents, who is placed in the centre of one of these districts, thus writes to us :-"The numerous population in the midst of which I reside, is for the most part affable, honest, and not wanting in intelligence; all understand French, and most persons speak it pretty correctly. As to the great evil so destructive in Belgium, and in many other countries-I mean the love of the world and of its pleasures, it prevails here much more deeply and extensively than in many other localities; the money which our manufacturing workmen were gaining by handsful a few years since, has left its traces, not in the increase of their comforts, and material well-being, but_in the extreme corruption of morals. The Lord's-days especially often present to us the most distressing scenes. After fulfilling in some sort the superstitious ceremonies which Rome has imposed
In such places as these, the work is indeed difficult! When faith fails, the servant of the Lord asks himself in all sadness, "Is it possible that the Gospel can have any effect upon these masses, so deeply buried in sin?" Let him but try, and he will find that "the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow."
Such is the further testimony given in the correspondence of the same agent. "In my last report, I spoke to you of mothers and wives who were exhorting their children and their husbands to frequent our religious assemblies, in the
hope of seeing them abandon their evil practices, as one and another of their neighbours had done; in many instances, these entreaties have prevailed; and some of these workmen and fathers of families, who were generally expected at home by their poor wives with trembling, for fear of ill-treatment, have had their consciences awakened by the calls of mercy addressed to them, and are now only really happy when they can repair to our worship, or pass the hours gained from their labour, with brethren in the faith, who read to them the Word of God. Literally, it is the wolf turned into a lamb! Changes like these cannot fail to be remarked, and to cause great astonishment."
We frequently meet with strange instances of the tactics of the priests. I need not say that they make war upon the holy Scriptures, wherever they can find copies of them. I myself saw one day, at Mons, a great number of Bibles which the priests had sold as waste paper, after having torn the pages here and there, in order that they might be no longer useable. They decry the Bible to their parishioners, when the latter seem to esteem it. A priest, having seen the Bible in a family, intreated as a favour to himself that they would burn So leprous a book," as they valued the salvation of their souls, and the safety of their house.
We very often learn that the Bibles circulated, and the tracts distributed, act upon one person and another, who, nevertheless, are not sufficiently emancipated to join themselves to us. In the Lord's field, if we must know how to sow, we must also know how to wait. There are many conversions, which, though wrought gradually and altogether unperceived by others, are not the less deep and sincere.
A man of L-, already aged, had procured the Bible. He read it at home, but without being fully set at liberty by it. He did not attend upon our worship, and yet showed a very remarkable degree of Christian firmness in his last moments. His family, which was Roman Catholic, sent for the Curate and his Vicar. "Ah!" said the old man, "it is the consolations of the Gospel I have need of it is the Protestant pastor that I wish to see; and moreover," added he, "I have a great desire to partake of the Lord's Supper with him before I die." The pastor went to visit him, and questioned
him as to his hopes. "I am but a poor sinner," said the old man; "but all my confidence is in my Saviour." He shed tears of joy when receiving the bread and wine. All present were visibly affected. The mortal remains of this man are now in the tomb; his soul, we have good reason to hope, has ascended to the abodes of peace. His constant prayer, before his death, was that God would be pleased to convert his family.
We commonly experience great difficulty in procuring in our various stations, rooms suitable for our worship. It was thus at Charleroi. The only place that could be found for a very long time for the purpose, was a hall, which had served as a Freemasons' Lodge. You will agree with me, I think, that the evil is not great, when the preaching of Christ's doctrine replaces, anywhere, the "doctrines of men." However, the folk at Charleroi felt the want of a larger meeting-house-where were they to find the 2,000l. required for building a chapel? The flock, being unable to raise more than a part of that sum, sent of their members to collect money in England, another in Holland and Germany. Thanks be unto God, the desired amount has been collected within 2001. or 300l.
The flock at Lize-Seraing is also obliged to build a chapel. About 500l. is needed, and like their brethren at Charleroi, they must make their appeal to the generosity of Christians abroad.
These two facts will at once give you to understand that the Society itself does nothing for the erection of buildings. It confines its aid to the payment of rental, when occasion requires.
If it be necessary to found churches, it is no less so to have schools. Our principle is that every Church ought to have its own school; but hitherto we have not been able to establish things entirely on this footing. We have, indeed, already nine schools, and God be praised, they occupy a blessed place in our field of labour. Their progress is good, although it may still admit of much improvement. We have reason to be well satisfied with our male and female teachers, whose religious and moral influence extends beneficially beyond the establishments which they conduct.
With regard to the Colportage, it is a branch of our labours which has been of the greatest utility, and a most efficient
instrument in the revival of religion in our land. Never has it appeared more necessary than now. We are convinced that God has blessed it already; and we venture to say, that, in the hands of colporteurs, truly pious, and capable of giving elementary instruction in the doctrines of salvation, in the numerous conversations they have occasion to hold, this means of action is acquiring a daily increasing importance.
It is invariably by means of the colportage that the ground is prepared, that the doors are opened for the preaching of the Gospel, and that we best ascertain the true spiritual condition of a country not yet directly evangelised. We have employed three colporteurs during the last year. One of them has continued to labour in Flanders, and especially in the city of Ghent, where his work appears to bear fruit; another in the province of Liege; and the third in Brabant and Hainault. Occasional visits have been made in the province of Namur.
Need we say that the number of our colporteurs is quite insufficient. were provided with funds, and could find colporteurs well qualified (which becomes more easy in proportion as the revival of religion progresses), we could give constant occupation to eight or ten at least. We are looking to the Lord, with prayers and supplications that He would give us the means of extending this branch of our operations.
It still remains for me to allude to one very essential establishment, already in the fourth year of its existence. I refer to our religious book-shop.
Two facts determined us to embark in this undertaking. In the first place, there was not a single Protestant bookshop in the whole kingdom; and secondly, we found no bookseller who would take the charge of our depôt and pay proper attention to the sale.
If a book-shop required more labour and imposed more of responsibility than a simple depôt, it promised, on the other hand, to answer better the requirements of our work. It is not going too far to say that it is here of very great
utility to the religious movement. By the sale itself, it attracts the public attention to the holy Scripture, and to religious books; and, thanks to the zeal of the person who is charged with the sale, a considerable number of buyers go there to seek information,-some elementary instruction, which on more than one occasion has been already productive of good. By the sales alone our book-shop is equivalent to several colporteurs.
You will not then be surprised when I tell you that we value it highly, and are quite resolved to maintain it, even at some sacrifice, until some person shall be led by religious zeal to set on foot a similar establishment, which shall render ours superfluous.
The expenditure of the Society during the past year (comprising fifteen months, viz., from the 1st April, 1850, to the 30th June, 1851), has amounted to about 2,6001.
Its receipts amounted to about 2,0941. ; deficiency, 5061.
As our annual budget amounts to about 2,0867., it is 2,0867. that we shall require to receive from the liberality of Christians within the space of twelve months. Our flock, as is the case generally with all the flocks gathered by Christian proselytism in the Catholic countries of the Continent, are as yet far from being able to provide for themselves. Still less, then, can we ask of them at present to support a work of evangelization. Therefore it is we are glad to turn our eyes towards our brethren in Germany, and towards those also in Holland; but we do not forget our brethren in England. To them especially I wish to say, through the medium of your Journal, "Brethren, aid us in the evangelization of a country which lies so near to your own. Does it not rejoice your heart to know that there are in Belgium men who labour with devotedness and fidelity to publish abroad those truths which are so dear to you? In the name, then, of Protestantism—nay, rather, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both yours and ours, do not forget us.'
THE DEPUTATIONS OF LAST SUMMER TO THE PRESBYTERIES.
London, December 15, 1851. MY DEAR SIRS,-I resume my pen, to give your readers some further account of the Deputations which went out last summer to the Presbyteries of the Church; and as I wish to include in this letter our visits to the four Presbyteries of Berwick, Northumberland, Newcastle, and Cumberland, which occupied as many weeks, and included a very large number of congregations, I must avoid entering too much into details, and confine myself to the chief points.
The Deputation to the Presbytery of Berwick consisted of Mr. M'Hinch and myself; and we began our work within its bounds at Belford, on the evening of Tuesday, the 29th of July; on the 30th, we held a Meeting in Hide Hill Church, Berwick; on on the 31st, we attended examinations of the congregational schools connected with that Church, and with the Church at Tweedmouth, and addressed a Meeting at Norham in the evening; and on the following day, after proceeding to Crookham, and attending the examination of the congregational school there, we held a Meeting at Etal in the evening. We regretted that time did not permit us to visit the other congregations of the Presbytery at North Sunderland, Lowick, and Ancroft Moor. The most of the Meetings which assembled to receive us were very good, and amply rewarded us for our efforts in addressing them, by the attention and interest with which they listened to the statements which we laid before them. The schools also we found to be in a very efficient state,―well taught and well attended. At Belford, we found the people still assembling in their temporary place of worship, but keeping well together, and animated by a good spirit. Their new church was well advanced, and has since been completed and opened. We were exceedingly pleased with its design. With its well-built walls and modest spire, it has quite a superior and respectable appearance, and will no doubt challenge for itself a good status in the country-side.
The Presbytery of Northumberland
came next to hand; and to enable us to overtake within a moderate time, its numerous and wide-lying churches, we were reinforced by the addition of Mr. Lewis, of Dudley, to the Deputation. On Saturday, August 2, we proceeded to the different stations, where we were respectively to preach on the following day,-Mr. Lewis, to Harbottle; Mr. M'Hinch, toward Long Framlington; and myself to Glanton. After preaching at Harbottle in the morning, and addressing the people on the schemes of the Church, Mr. Lewis went down the Coquet ten miles to Thropton, where he held an early evening service of the same twofold character. Mr. M'Hinch, some ten or twelve miles further down the stream, did the same duty at Framlington in the morning, and at Felton in the evening; -while my own share of the labour was to preach at Branton in the morning, and at Glanton in the evening, and to assist in the communion service in the latter church, in the afternoon. And a pleasant labour it was. The congregations both at Branton and Glanton were excellent, the former consisting chiefly of Presbyterians of the hills, the latter of Presbyterians of the plain; but it was equally pleasant to preach to the shepherds from the Cheviots, and to the husbandmen from the Vale of Whittingham, for they were both equally attentive to the Word,-and both, to all appearance, equally intelligent. On the following evening, there was a great gathering at Glanton. Mr. Lennie's own people came well out, and were reinforced by a considerable sprinkling of friends from Branton; and to meet them, all the members of the Deputation drew together, backed by Mr. Anderson of Morpeth, Mr. Gillespie of Framlington, the Messrs. Blythe of Branton, and Mr. Walker of Alnwick. Mr. Anderson, of London, our General Secretary, was also forward. was quite a field-day, and with the minister of Glanton at his post to marshal the host, in his own unique way, and to bring up every man to his position in the most advantageous manner, everything was favourable to an effective and successful demonstration. The Meeting was kept up to a late hour with unabated interest, and the whole position and Mission and