Page images

pursuing opposite directions around the world, have been until recently separated from each other by the Pacific Ocean. There are now about twenty-five hundred Anglo-Saxons living on these islands, and nearly fifteen hundred industrious painstaking Chinamen. It is thought that the taro patches of the Hawaiians are to become the rice-fields of the Chinese, for which they are exactly adapted, and that before many years have gone by Chinamen will be the cultivators of all the exuberant soil of Polynesia, aided by the capital and enterprise of white men.


A Waif aud Stray Party at " The Edinburgh Castle." ONE Saturday evening some little time since we visited Dr. Barnardo's great coffee palace and Gospel mission hall, when we found the place was the scene of one of those novel gatherings which at once surprise, please, and yet sadden the beholder. By special invitation upwards of six hundred boys of the waif and stray class, and who are broadly denominated “homeless," were brought together, the attractive forces being represented by an unlimited supply of tea, cake, and bread and butter. Those of the Doctor's friends who entered the hall about six o'clock found the preparations in a forward state. No tables were spread in the ordinary way; but the boys occupied the forms, and the reigning din seemed to have in it something of the merriment of youth. At the end of the room were piles of mugs, with a number of large white jugs, while on the platform was a mountain of provisions, each portion being enclosed in a confectioner's bag. “We give it 'em in bags to save confusion, yer see,” an attendant was good enough to explain ; and it was generally understood that when one bag was emptied another would be served out. Just when all things are in readiness for the repast to commence a band of musicians enter the room, and though these make more noise than would be tolerated at State dinner-party, their performance pleases the youngsters, who now perforce remain silent because of the sheer impossibility of hearing one another speak. The music ceases, the bags are handed round, and are clutched by the boys with a wolf-like eagerness which is painful to behold. The distribution of food even seems to generate a kind of confusion until some such words of authority are heard rising above the roar, 3—“Steady there! steady!” When each bag is opened its treasures are found to consist of a couple of slices of bread and butter and a large lump of cake. The mugs follow; they are filled, they are emptied, and again replenished from the huge jugs which stand in readiness ; but still, when the question is asked, “Boys, have you room for any more ? ” the answer comes in one great shout of “Yes, sir !” and this is followed by loud acclamations as if some very important resolution had been carried. But even a lodging-house appetite must yield in time, and at length the boys are filled, warmed, and comforted, until their general hilarity again oversteps the bounds of propriety. They are ready to play any kind of harmless practical joke. Yonder we hear the “pop” of a bursting bag, and one cannot walk up and down among them without becoming the victim of some well-meant piece of impudence. Dr. Barnardo




himself like a veteran chief appears to be the only officer in charge capable of restoring order. The attendants who lately served out the viands and tea are dispersed over the room ; and on given conditions each lad will receive two oranges at the conclusion of the meeting. By such means, and by such means alone, it is found possible to put an end to the Babel of noise to prepare the way for the singing of one or two of Mr. Sankey's hymns.

The audience is a genuine street-boy crowd of various sorts and sizes, and the majority are of the lowest class—that really dangerous class which if caught and reformed in youth represent a saving of crime, and an expenditure of prison discipline that can hardly be imagined, much less calculated. There are boys there who, from early childhood, have, like young wild animals, made the streets their hunting-ground. Knowing nothing of either parental affection or of home enjoyment, their notions of life's successes and reverses are wholly associated with “luck," and the opposite of luck. If they can earn sufficient to obtain a meal in the morning, and to pay threepence for a bed at night, they retire to the lodging-house kitchen with a contentment which does them credit ; but if “ down in luck” they will "sleep out,” or in sheer desperation they will steal, and so revenge themselves on society for the hardships they endure.

These are the boys that one encounters at every turn in a great city like London. They are seen at the railway stations standing ready to close our cab-door, or to pester us with cigar lights at three boxes a penny. Sometimes they will do a little trading in the song-book or newspaper business ; or in their rags, which show a contrast to the coloured uniform of the properly organised brigades, they will embark in the shoe-blacking profession. At any rate they are the City Arabs whom Dr. Barnardo seeks to save from a fate more to be dreaded than death itself—a course of crime and of Stateinflicted penalties which entail suffering without correcting the disease.

With a view of really testing the sample of the juveniles before us we have a number of them called into an ante-room, where, free from disturbance, we can ask them a few questions. The first is a youth of sixteen, whose face is fuller and fresher than might be expected, and were he a little cleaner he would be a good-looking youth. His father is dead, his mother is in the workhouse ; and while seven Sundays in a Sabbath-school represent all the schooling he has ever received, he has set his heart on going to sea. The second who comes forward is a still more thoroughbred nomade of the Arab class. He has no better home than a common lodging-lair in Mint-street; for three years ago his parents told him "to take his hook," and of their present whereabouts he is totally in the dark. He earns his livelihood by doing casual jobs in the streets, and varies his tactics according to circumstances or pressing necessity. He earns ninepence or perhaps a shilling a day; but on one extraordinary occasion he actually bagged no less than four shillings and sixpence between sunrising and bed-time. With a halfpennyworth of dry tea, and a like quantity of butter, with a piece of bread, he can make a good breakfast, so that if his means are limited his wants are correspondingly small. Another comes forward whose father is dead, and whose mother never cared for him. Yet another says he has neither father

[ocr errors]

nor mother; and though he confesses that he has been a thief, he says he never stole anything from an employer. There is another who has lost one parent, and the other is a drunkard, so that he “sleeps out,” or at the lodging-house, according to his luck. The last we will mention is a real prison bird who “ thieves anythink," and on whom the influence of the rod and the cell has not been a corrective one. His father was a well-to-do tradesman who owned two shops; and from causes it is difficult to understand, the family has fallen into ruin. More desirous of working than of stealing, this boy was employed at Liverpool-street Station, where he met with an accident, and finally he was found in the street trying to sell his waistcoat for a piece of bread.

Such was the motley assembly to whom Dr. Barnardo spoke as a friend on New Year's night. Some of the lads in the room sorely needed help, and that help he was prepared to offer. Before the meeting concluded twentyeight of the most necessitous cases were selected for admission to the Home in Stepney-causeway, to which number must be added fourteen received during the previous week, twelve of these having been picked up in the streets by officers of the institution. Well may the Sword and Trovel liken this same Home to a lighthouse on the rocks where wrecks are frequent, and to a hospice on an Alpine pass where dangers are thickly strewn.


Missionary odork in Christian Homes. We send the Gospel to the heathen of Africa, Asia, and the islands of the Pacific, and this we call Foreign Missionary Work. We maintain, or help to maintain, the preaching of the Word in destitute portions of our own land, and this we denominate Home Missionary Labour. We send Christian teachers to Mexico, Spain, Italy and Austria, and this we style Missionary Work in nominally Christian lands. It seems to be necessary for the growth and health of the Church that it should have as many channels of activity as possible, that it should be constantly seeking out and occupying new fields for missionary activity.

There is one region, however, almost, if not quite, unoccupied at the present time, notwithstanding that so many centuries have passed since our Lord said :

“Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” This unoccupied territory is our own Christian homes.

Every community needs, and ought to be willing and anxious to receive good Christian persons of their own number, who should go about from house to house and proclaim to individuals, and sometimes, possibly, to families, the part of the Gospel that they most need to hear.

It is truly astonishing how much unchristian behaviour and conduct there is in the Church of Christ ; how much selfishness, complaining, fretfulness, lack of sympathy, churlishness, envy. The clothes a person wears, the house he lives in, the church he attends and of which he is a member, are no true index of his character. Many a mean volume has a costly binding, andvice versa. Let me. illustrate my meaning :


A lady who resides in one of the most charming localities of England lives in a palatial mansion ; it is hers by inheritance, but she cannot sell nor in any way part with it; it is elegantly furnished-a great luxury, though a great care. She has a loving husband and lovely children ; she is an excellent housekeeper, an affectionate wife and mother, and a valuable member of society ; but just now her husband is hard pressed in business ; the times in his article of manufacture are bad; like many others, they are in financial straits. This lady professes to be a Christian, and undoubtedly is such ; but she is a thoroughly wretched woman. She is unsparing in her denunciation of all who have contributed to her perplexities, both the living and the dead. She takes little comfort in her home, her family, or her religion. She listens to the preaching of a faithful pastor from Sabbath to Sabbath, but her special case is not reached. How could it be ? What shall be done for her? What does she need? She needs the Gospel. It was meant for just such as she. She is one of the “ creatures” that our Lord referred to in the passage already quoted. Someone who knows all her trouble should go to her and tell her her Christian duty. She--for we will suppose the missionary to be one of her own sex-should preach to her not oratorically but conversationally, unsparingly but affectionately, the Gospel of Jesus. She should set before her the foolishness, the wrong, of her conduct. She should show her that this trouble was permitted by her Lord, not in anger but in compassion, and that compared with what it might have been, and what it may yet be, unless she receive it in a right spirit, it is very light. She should show how much better it was to lose house and fortune than husband or children-how much better to be without these even, than without a Saviour. And she hould by all means show her that by her oonduct she is casting a reproach upon her Master and His cause.

Take another case. In a town in another part of the country, there lives an elderly Christian lady, a widow, who has been a church-member for nearly half a century, but who for several years has not spoken to one of her sons --a man now in middle life, who lives but a few rods from her ; while the son, an estimable man, with a family of his own, never speaks to his mother. The reason for their alienation is that the son maintains that his father, being under his mother's influence, made an unfair distribution of his property

Now there is plainly need of missionary labour in those families. Some Christian man or woman of blameless life and earnest piety, should in very plain terms inform that mother and son that their conduct is a scandal to the Church and a stumbling-block to the impenitent; they should, if possible, be made to feel that the wealth of the Indies is of no account compared with domestic peace, parental and filial affection, and, more than all, noble Christian living.

Once more. There lives in a certain community in Christendom a man of wealth and intelligence, who has reached the autumn, if not the winter, of life. He has reared a large family, and his sons and daughters are held in respect and honour. As for him, although he was once a prominent member of the Church, and for years a deacon in it, some time since he put off the Gospel armour; he no longer supports the Gospel nor attends the prayer meeting ; and although he attends church not unfrequently, he invariably absents himself from the Lord's table, nor does he maintain family w

worship. His conduct is a grief to the church, of which he is still, nominally, a member, and a reproach to the cause of Christ. His excuse is the unchristian conduct of brother Christians. This man is severely let alone ; but it is evidently the duty of some Christian brother to take his case in hand ; to go to him, often if need be, and show him how fearfully he is wronging his Saviour, and to make him understand that no unkindness to him on the part of individuals is an excuse for his giving up the performance of Christian duties.

Is not now the time for the Churches, or for individual Christians to undertake this kind of missionary labour ? We are hoping and praying for a general outpouring of the Spirit of God; but are not the great hindrances to this within the Church ? It is said that there is no reason why our Churches may not be generally revived. There is none, if Christians will do their duty.

The missionary labour indicated in this article is more difficult of performance than that in heathen or papal lands. Who will undertake it?


Household Treasury.


On the east end of Long Island are two aged pilgrims who have been the parents of eleven children. Three are not, and one of the living eight is thought to be “just on the verge of heaven." They have hope that, after the separation of earth, they shall meet again, an unbroken family in heaven.

One of the sons has his home on the deep. He is now master of the whale-ship Lucy Ann of Greenport. His voyages have varied in length, from one to three or four years. In his last voyage, save one, he sailed around the world ; and in just one year from leaving home, returned with his ship full, and without having dropped anchor during the whole voyage. His visits have been necessarily short at home. His aged mother did not let them pass, without repeated admonitions respecting " the chief concern. He would turn all off by the reply, “O mother, we can't have religion at sea.

When he left home for the voyage above mentioned, the mother's heart was unusually anxious. In remembrance and prayer, she followed her beloved E., in his long and trackless way : and often (as she says) wag so burdened in spirit that it seemed to her she must die. In none of the former voyages had that son been the subject of such agonizing prayer.

When the ship had been gone a year, a neighbour, who also had a son in the same ship, came in to bring the news that she had been unsuccessful, and had gone to the North West coast. This was sad news to the parents. They set up till a late hour, talking of their loved one; and when they lay down, it was to think and pray. Two hours after midnight, the mother heard a footstep in the entry way. The door opened, and some one entered,

« PreviousContinue »