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herself, while about a third part of her two hundred thousand inhabitants refuse even to enter the places set apart for the worship of God. On this account do we sympathise with the misgivings of some in the face of abounding difficulties. Would any learn what these difficulties are ? Let them watch the faces and catch the conversation of an Edinburgh mob when aught exciting draws them together, and they will have a study of human nature as appalling as our empire can supply. A place like the Cowgate, where outcasts herd together in surprising numbers, is an intricate net-work of dens as closely packed as cells in a honeycomb! Stand for a minute in one of the closes and remember that a population as large as a moderate village dwell in that confined area! Nay, further; in the rooms approached by one flight of stairs between two and three hundred wretched beings have been found crowding together in shocking indecency, without a ray of hope either for this world or the next! The most common-place necessaries of life are never theirs ! They do not know what enjoyment means ! There are sinners here who have forgotten, or who never knew the difference between right and wrong! Virtue could not preserve her purity untarnished for an hour in their pestiferious haunts! As though prompted by the demon of despair these poor creatures seek to deaden the pain of their monotonous misery by swallowing the vile cheap whiskey which is sold at their very doors, and sold, perhaps, by their own heartless landlord, who feeds like a vampire on the degradation and final ruin of his helpless tenants and customers.
The Rev. John Pirie's mission church in the Cowgate now numbers nine hundred members, nearly a fourth part of whom, as just intimated, have been added during one year. It was agreeably surprising to find that so fine a mission station is fast becoming self-supporting ; for while we scarce comprehend how persons who possess “one half-crown to rub on the back of another” can live in so notorious a rookery, the pastors do not complain of any painful lack of money among the populace. . On the contrary, money must abound when more than thirty spirit shops are liberally supported in one street. Though it is not easy to say whence the money comes, it seems obvious that many persons of stations in life superior to the locality are content to live in the lowest parts of Edinburgh. Printers, compositors, and skilled workmen, whose families should be the pride of better homes, are found neighbouring with Scotch cadgers and Irish hodmen. Such is the varied constituency; and we honour the men who like Mr. Pirie in the Cowgate, and Mr. Tasker in the West-port, have taken up their position and are devoting time and talent to the highest service. This they do, not as evangelists merely, but as ordained pastors, qualified and selected for work peculiarly arduous. They are pastors too whose preaching powers -to judge from a sample we heard in the West-port church-might be coveted by the most wealthy churches of the city.
In the low parts of Edinburgh Old Town public-houses and pawnshops abound, and these appear to work in unison if we may judge from the number of pledges which whisky-slaves are constantly offering in their mad eagerness for stimulants. More than eighty spirit-shops may be counted during a walk from Holyrood to the castle, and many hundreds of others exist in the various districts of the city. We learned that as many as eleven thousand pledges have been taken at one pawning establishment in a single month in the beginning of the year, the articles including trinkets, books, clothing, and household furniture. We even heard of a Bible having been snatched from the pillow of a poor invalid to procure money for purchasing spirits! We heard further of a man, whose wife had so repeatedly pawned his Sabbath clothes in order to gratify her craving for drink, that, at length, to save his garments he resorted to the necessary but inconvenient expedient of changing the suit for another at a neighbour's each Sunday evening before returning home. In such an atmosphere childhood is contaminated before it can know the meaning of either virtue or sin. Even children learn to become drunkards, and unless they are rescued in time especially the girls--they pass swiftly onward to reinforce the ranks of crime and immorality.
In these lurking-places of sin the children must form the basis of our hopes for the future, and the crowded condition of the children's church leads us to anticipate reformation and renovation for these abodes of squalor and vice. It is easy to see at a glance that there are many rough gems among the Edinburgh Arabs. A vein of humour runs through their nature which may be either amusing or annoying, obliging those who know them best to tell us that they are characterised by "a matchless impudence.” They are, however, willing learners and eager readers, so that, considering the amount of trash they devour while lacking wholesome literary food, it will be well when the asked-for library is provided. Some of the children have curious histories-histories which show that philanthropic feeling can live even in the Cowgate. “It is years now since,” says Mr. Pirie, “visiting in one of the closes, I entered a humble abode, the dwelling-place of a poor but honest and hard-working family ; while I was conversing with the mother, a little girl entered the room, apparently from school, and commenced a meal which was awaiting her. I asked if this was her daughter, and the woman told me that she was not. The mother of that child had been å stranger and without an earthly home. In the house of that poor family the wanderer had sickened and died, and leaving the poor child without a friend on earth, this woman, out of the goodness of her own heart, spread her own wing over the little orphan, and for years had been unto her as her mother. Perhaps she did more than any of us all.”
Any person acquainted with the poor localities of other cities will pronounce the Edinburgh Cowgate to be as vile a collection of dens as can be found in the empire. The pastors who have spent some of their best days here can testify to the “almost savage degradation,” which everywhere confronts one; and which, notwithstanding the success of the mission churches compels the Evangelists in their fits of despondency to shed tears of despair and to regard their territory as “a God-forsaken soil.” No nation should boast of its civilisation while such plague-spots remain. “When death cuts off a member of the family,"
„. * See Mr. Pirie's timely pamphlet, “The Lapsed; and Suggestions as to the best Means of Raising Them." (Edinburgh, John Maclaren.)
says Dr. Begg, speaking of these localities, “how dreadful to think of all the rest being forced to eat and sleep beside the dead body! We drag a dead horse out of the stable of the living ; but here such a separation is impossible. How can we wonder that human nature, in such circumstances, is found at the lowest point of degradation, defying the ordinary modes of cure, and spreading moral as well as physical evil like a pestilence ! A decent man comes from the country, driven, perhaps, by want of work. He is obliged to live in one of these wretched abodes. Let us suppose that he has been accustomed to the decencies of society, or even that he is a true Christian. How dreadful to have his children, like Lot in Sodom, exposed to the sound of blasphemy, and the example of every form of wickedness! There society is corrupted to its very core. City missionaries go their rounds in despair. Oceans of soup and floods of water are lavished in vain. The managers of infirmaries, the keepers of prisons, the masters of charity workhouses, stand aghast at a tide flowing from such a corrupted mass, and which, instead of being driven back, is continually rising, like the prophetic waters, and threatening to sweep all that is sound and healthy in the community away.”
"As we pass along in the mizzling rain the heavy flights of stone stairs look as they had been made privy to suffering and shame as well as to deeds of sin, dark and horrible, which will remain untold till the last day! Besides being dark and filthy, the passages are a common receptacle for the refuse of the rooms. “Think now," says our missionary, “of a family of nine, ten, and sometimes twelve, and in not a few instances, more than one such family, doomed to dweil day and night, to eat, drink, lie down, sleep, and rise up, and perform all their domestic duties in an apartment smaller than an ordinary dressing closet!" Sometimes a clean room is discovered, and when found, is as refreshing to the visitor as an oasis to travellers in the desert. But none can, with impunity, live clean and moral lives in this dreadful place; and those who try to do so will tell the evangelist with troubled looks of the annoyances which spring from the drunken revelries of profligate neighbours. Be you as orderly as you will, you cannot have either peace or repose at pleasure in the Cowgate; for as if purposely designed to reduce all its inhabitants to one level of ruin, the house-partitions are so slight that the foul conversation spoken in one room can be plainly heard in another. Many a life has been wrecked here beyond hope of recovery! It is a region which awakens at once our pity, sorrow, and indignation—a very devils' acre, where having planted their standard and marshalled their hosts, the demons Crime and Despair successfully defy and resist the menaces and assaults of Christian Scotland.
Such was the Edinburgh Cowgate in the month of January, 1873. A more "graphic" delineation of its miseries and characters might have been attempted had such been our design: we have preferred keeping to unvarnished simple truth for the sake of stimulating those who are working, and encouraging others to aid the good cause who have as yet held aloof. Whence has the broad torrent of evil, of which we have been speaking, its spring ? Was there ever an infernal conclave held to select a subtle agent to subject and hold this seemingly-doomed
place in captivity? If so, the demon WHISKEY must have stood up to demand a commission—"Send me !” Drunkenness is the master curse of the Scotch capital, and will continue so while the city harbours eight hundred public houses, or one to each two hundred of the population! “Fancy,” again says our missionary, “thirty-one spirit shops -some of them in threes continuously-in a small street like the Cowgate, over against its two Protestant churches, and the revenues of each of the spirit shops that of the church perhaps three times over!” We might stand unnerved and helpless in the presence of such enormous evils did not faith find reassurance in the grand fact that the battle is not ours, but God's. In the meantime, will our readers take to heart the above sombre facts, seeing we hope soon again to share their confidence over a chronicle of life in the Canongate.
Decision for the Right
W E were driving round a corner when a butcher met us with his
W cart. We were on our right side, but, fearing that he would run into us, we pulled across the other way and took the wrong side, while. at that very moment, he moved in the same direction, and being on his right, faced us still. We then as suddenly pulled back to get right again, and the obliging butcher, at the same moment, turned to his wrong side and still confronted us. It seemed as if we should continuo facing each other for the next hour; we therefore resolved to take our own proper position and go on, whether we smashed up or no ; the butcher also came to the same resolution, and we passed each other at once in the easiest possible manner. Now, it was very amiable on the part of each of us to be willing to vield, but firmness would have been a greater kindness. Had we proceeded in our own lawful way our neighbour would have known what to do, and, adapting himself to the circumstances, would have found means of getting the road clear for us : we, however, abandoned the rule of the road-mutual understanding was at an end-and we were both puzzled.
Let the Christian learn hence that, for the comfort of all concerned, it is best for him to carry out his principles without deviation. Amiable worldlings will try to adapt themselves to our habits, but if We are readily put out of our proper course, and forbear from doing right through the fear of men, they will not know how to act towards us, and the dangers of collision will be increased a hundred-fold. Yield no principle, concede no point which involves gin, then those about you will know where to find you, and will either let you alone altogether, or else will admire your consistency and follow your example. Obstinacy about whims and fancies is one thing, but firmness in matters of right and religion is quite another. The first is to be avoided, the second to he cultivated.
Exposition of the Psalms.
BY C. H. SPURGEON.
PSALM LXXXIV. TITLE AND SUBJECT.—To the chief musician upon Gittith. A Psalm for the sons of Korah. This Psalm well deserred to be committed to the noblest of the sons of song. No music could be too sweet for its theme, or too exquisite in sound to match the beauty of its language. Sweeter than the joy of the wine press (for that is said to be the meaning of the word rendered upon Gittith), is the joy of the holy assemblies of the Lord's house; not even the favoured children of grace, who are like the sons of Korah, can hare a richer subject for song than Zion's sacred festivals.
It matters little when this Psalm was written, or by whom ; for our part it exhales to us a Davidic perfume, it smells of the mountain heather and the lone places of the wilderness, where King David must have often lodged during his many wars. This sacred ode is one of the choicest of the collection; it has a mild radiance about it, entitling it to be called The Pearl of Psalms. If the trentythird be the most popular, the one-hundred-and-third the most joyful, the onehundred-and-nineteenth the most deeply experimental, the fifty-first the most plaintive, this is one of the most sweet of the Psalms of Peace.
Pilgrimages to the tabernacle were a great feature of Jewish life. In our ox# country, pilgrimage to the shrine of Thomas of Canterbury, and our Ladye of Walsingham, were so general as to affect the entire population, cause the formation of roads, the erection and maintenance of hostelries, and the creation of a special literature; this may help us to understand the influence of pilgrimage upon the ancient Israelites. Families journeyed together, making bands which gren at each halting place; they camped in sunny glades, sang in unison along the roads, toiled together over the hill and through the slough, and as they went along, stored up happy memories which would never be forgotten. One who was debarred the holy company of the pilgrims, and the decout worship of the congregation, would find in this Psalm fit expression for his mournful spirit..
DIVISION.- We will make our pauses where the poet or the musician placed them, namely, at the Selahs.
M 2 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
3 Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.
4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.
1. “How amiable," or, How lovely! He does not tell us how lovely they were, because he could not. His expressions show us that his feelings were inexpressible. Lovely to the memory, to the mind, to the heart, to the eye, to the whole soul, are the assemblies of the saints. Earth contains no sight so refreshing to us as the gathering of believers for worship. Those are sorry saints who see nothing amiable in the services of the Lord's house. “Are thy tabernacles." The tabernacle had been pitched in several places, and moreover, was divided into several courts and portions; hence, probably, the plural number is here used. It was all and altogether lovely to David. Outer court, or inner court, he loved every portion of it. Every cord and curtain was dear to him. Even when at a distance, he rejoiced to remember the sacred tent where