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especially in the Netherlands, where the Protestant hospitals bore the beautiful name of God's houses, because it was felt that God was especially visiting their inmates to draw them more closely to himself. Such spiritual care, however, had now almost entirely ceased. Did not such abuses cry to heaven against us? Did not that terrible saying of our Lord apply to us, “I was sick, and ye visited me not ??” Looking upon the wars of 1813—15, he recalled to memory the many deeds of self-sacrifice performed by women in the military hospitals; and the pre-eminent qualifications which godly women have for the work of ministering to the suffering, combined with the fact that the early church had appointed deaconesses for such purposes, led him to the determination to institute an order of women who should be trained for the care of the sick, the destitute, and the criminal. His wife, he says, was not only of the same mind, but of greater courage.
“ But could our little Kaiserswerth be the right place for a Protestant deaconess house, for the training of Protestant deaconesses ; a place where the large majority of the population were Roman Catholics, where there could not even be sick persons enough to furnish a proper training school, and so poor that it could not undertake even partially to defray the great expenses of such an institution ?” Furthermore, he doubted his own fitness for a work needing so much experience. However, as none of his clerical brethren would undertake it, he secured the largest and finest house in the village, although he had no money in hand. This came in answer to prayer and work, and the first deaconess was soon after appointed. This was Gertrude Reichardt, the daughter of a medical man, and a young woman of tried Christian excellence. Opposition of various kinds was at first experienced, and it was feared that the end of the movement would be the setting up of nuns and convents in the Protestant church. As the institution became known, these fears were exchanged for expressions of sympathy, and those who doubted whether the scheme was practicable, gladly helped it forward, when they found how simply and effectively the work was carried on. The first sick patient proved to be a Roman Catholic maidservant, and others soon found their way to the hospital.
The work grew, money came in from rich and from poor, it received the favour and support of royalty, candidates for the office of deaconess presented themselves, and there was no lack of patients. New fields of labour frequently opened themselves, and indeed the work rapidly increased. In 1842 there were more than two hundred beds, generally full, and forty resident sisters, while others were employed elsewhere.
Briefly stated, the method of working is as follows. A board is appointed, by whom all matters of property are managed, the chaplain and the superintendent elected. Fliedner himself, however, actually governed the whole institution, and this he did with remarkable ability and success. The sisters have a vote in the election of the head matrons, and on the admission of new deaconesses. Candidates must be between eighteen and forty, of earnest religious character, possessed of right motives, cheerful in temperament, fairly educated, and of domestic habits. They have to undergo a period of probation and instruction, varying from six months to two years. “During the first year the sister receives board and lodging, but provides her own pocket-money
and clothes, except the caps, collars, and aprons, which are given her by the institution and mark her as one of its inmates. In the second year she also receives clothes and pocket-money. When she is considered by the inspector' and superintendent suitable for the office of deaconess, she is proposed at a meeting of the sisters, and when accepted, she is consecrated to her work by a short service in the chapel, followed by the Holy Communion. She takes no vow of any kind, but engages herself to the institution as deaconess for five years, at the end of which time she has the option of leaving or renewing her engage
The probationers do the house-work, men are employed in the male wards, the sisters take their meals together, meet for morning and evening worship, and for a quiet half hour of meditation in the afternoon. There are special meetings and services, when the sisters conser together on their work. There is no attempt at seclusion from the world, and the younger deaconesses sometimes leave the institution to marry. Three months' notice only is given, so that entire freedom is granted to all the members of the sisterhood.
A number of useful arrangements were made in connection with the institution ; an old mill was purchased for a granary and an ice-house, and baths were erected for the convalescent; separate wards were erected for patients suffering from infectious diseases, a dispensary, a bakehouse, farm buildings, and a variety of other details of the work were instituted, the money always coming in at the right moment. Sometimes pecuniary cares pressed rather heavily ; but in moments of urgency the money came. The whole history of the movement is full of interesting details, and had we space we might devote several pages to them. We can only add that the number of deaconesses has increased so greatly that in 1866 they amounted to four hundred and ninety-one. The majority were, of course, scattered throughout different parts of Germany, managing hospitals, poor houses, and schools, serving as matrons of prisons, and superintending in some places charitable institutions. And not in Germany alone are these sisters of mercy to be found. In Constantinople and Pesti, in Florence, in the United States, Jerusalem, Alexandria, and elsewhere, their services bave been required in orphanages, schools, and hospitals. In times of pestilence and war, their services have been in great request, and the demand for them has been greater than the institution could supply. And their work has been greatly owned and blessed of God.
In a future number we hope to show what has been attempted in a similar direction in this country, and for this purpose we intend visiting one of the institutions that have a similar purpose in view.
Translated from the German.
* « Life of Pastor Fliedner, of Kaiserswerth.' By Catherine Winkworth. Editor's Preface, p. 10.
The Poor of St. Giles's.
impetus of late. Following in the wake of the older and larger societies, the various missionary efforts for the poor and degraded of London are yearly presenting the public with detailed reports of what is done for those who are “out of the way.” In the majority of instances, the first published report has been of humble pretensions, mostly consisting of a very brief but compendious statement of work that has been attempted, amidst great discouragement, but with an carnest desire for ultimate success. The publication of this report hus made the Christian public acquainted with the objects of the mission, and with the character of the agency employed; and money, solicited and unsolicited, has flowed into the needy and perhaps exhausted exchequer. As a result, more work has been attempted, more suitable premises hired, and greater help rendered to the deserving sick-poor. The next annual report has therefore a fuller tale to tell, and it is only fair to acknowledge that, as a rule, the tale is simply and fairly related. A discerning public at once sees that the money already given to the enterprise has been well and wisely laid ont. Scrupulous care has been taken of every pound, and the most critical could not fairly find fauit with the way in which the sums have been disbursed. The mission itself is assuming proportions greater than was originally contemplated, and not unnaturally there comes the fear—a fear which sometimes distresses the voluntary evangelist—lest the liberality of good men and women should not continue, and some at least of the healthy and growing branches of the work should, as a consequence, be lopped off. This fear incites the mind to try a vigorous appeal,--an appeal very dangerous to write, for the temptation to present the needs of the district and the character of the mission in too glowing colours is very strong. An effort is made to produce a telling report, and the effort leads to failure. The assumption of the literary style by those unaccustomed to the pen, is a fatal mistake; the unadorned facts given in a few words without flourish of trumpets, or notes of exclamation and admiration, constitute the best appeal which an honest evangelist can make to a liberal public.
A curious chapter might be written on the types of persons who most largely support individual missions. In it might figure very prominently the good but self-opinionated colonel or general who grows bilious at the sight of a white necktie, and dyspeptic at the mere mention of an ordained ministry, but becomes amiable at the thought of that self-constituted and self-contained chaos which includes the upper room where he joins other congenial and ungenial spirits in demonstrating to all who are within the pale how “deeply taught” he is in the prophetical writings. We like the spirit with which he gives to mission enterprises much better than either his amusingly ingenious theories and dogmatical interpretations of the apocalypse, or the manner in which he convinces all but his own admirers that theology is not his forte. Quite as prominently might figure in the said chapter, the large but useful denomination of spinsterdom. It has too long been the fashion to raise the smile at the expense of spinster aunts;
we thank God for them. With more time to devote to good purposes than godly mothers who must stay at home, "minding house," can have, they are energetic in various kinds of service, and not the least of these is that of assisting by their purse and their presence the mission works of the Church. Christians unattached, for reasons reasonable and unreasonable, help to swell up the subscribers' lists; while donors who give anonymously for self-protection, and persons who manifest their sectarian bias by contributing only to unsectarian institutions, are often warm-hearted supporters of this particular branch of Christian work.
The continuance of this patronage depends very largely upon the continuance of the annual reports. Annual public meetings are not helpful, and we hope they may not become fashionable among evangelistic institutions. Many subscribe after having visited the scene of operations to see for themselves that which has been achieved. Undoubtedly this is the wisest way; we would that it were universally adopted, not alone for the sake of withholding encouragement where it is ill-deserved, and where reports are "cooked," and the good done is slender, but also that personal, prayerful sympathy might be shown to the really worthy labourer, for this he needs no less than pecuniary help. This personal visitation in many cases is simply impossible, and reports, therefore, become a necessity. We fail to see the necessity, however, of such voluminous productions as are issued by some worthy brethren. By that mysterious literary process vulgarly known as “boiling down," all that is given in some reports of over one hundred pages might be put into twenty, and that with advantage both to readers and to the mission.
This remark, however, does not apply to the reports issued by Mr. Hatton in connection with the work in St. Giles's.* The first consists of sixteen modest pages, and the second of thirty-two, the fourth attaining somewhat larger proportions. The growth of this
. enterprise is exceedingly interesting. We have before given a sketch of its origin, and of a visit paid to the hall in which the work is carried on.† Since then it has pleased God so abundantly to bless the services conducted by this earnest evangelist that the small church has become a large one, and instead of ninety members it now numbers nearly three hundred.
This is surprising progress, and none the less so when it is remembered how seemingly difficult it is to evangelise St. Giles's. Less difficult than is generally believed, it must be, or there are manifestly some extraordinary powers in the man who has been made so useful. Truth is, the secret is not far to seek. The man and the people suit each other.
A loving grasp of essential truth, a pleasing mode of address, a warm heart, and an earnest purpose, combined with business dexterity and unwearied perseverance, and a pursuance resolute and unfaltering of the one thing upon which the heart has been set, are qualifications by whomsoever possessed, that must be rewarded by spiritual success. It must not be supposed that by the “poor of St. Giles's” we necessarily intend the criminal classes. That there are many 'such, and that these are reached
Reports of Twelve Months' Christian Work amongst the Poor of St. Giles's, under the superintendence of Mr. George Hatton, 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870.
† See “ The Sword and the Trowel" vol., 1867, p. 392.
by the agencies put in operation is indisputable. But the majority are of the class recognised as “ down in luck.” Earning a scanty livelihood in a variety of ways unknown to the upper classes, with more children to keep than means will allow, their poverty when in work is sad, and in slack seasons it is distressing. Add to this the love of drink, which increases their misery and deepens their poverty, and you have all the elements for a picture of the loose and unsatisfactory lives which so many of the people of this district live. Among these persons the visitors, who average thirty-five each Sabbath, labour, visiting on that day 170 houses, containing 605 rooms, and there reading the Scriptures and conversing upon the need of salvation. How much the success of the work has been due to this house-to-house visitation cannot be told. Its necessity has been amply demonstrated, as also has been its feasibility “ The poor,” says the superintendent of this working band, "are invariably glad of the visit, receiving them in most cases very kindly, and many pleasing instances have come to light of the confidence placed by them in the friends who come to see them, thus showing that so far they have gained the love and esteem of the people, a most essential feature, without which no good can possibly be accomplished.” Instances are given of what a cheerful practical sympathy with such sorrowful and troubled ones can do for their relief. Not among the honest indigent folk alone are the visitors welcome and useful. Houses inhabited by degraded girls, and lodging-houses that shelter vagabonds and confirmed paupers and beggars, are visited for a like purpose. Eight years ago, the superintendent, Mr. Küster, tells us, when first he visited the kitchens of the low lodging-houses, the sights that met his eye were most sickening. "On entering, the men would be found either at card playing, dominoes, tossing, or fighting, and, in fact, engaged in anything and everything that was debauching and devilish. To be heard was almost an impossibility, and it appeared then almost to be hoping against hope to look for a change; but what seemed impossible with men has become possible with God, and after years of patient waiting, watching, and prayer, we have been permitted to see the gradually leavening effects of the gospel. Four of our brethren are regularly engaged in the work now, and are looked upon by the men as their real friends and advisers, and in any matter of difficulty or trouble they are consulted, and their advice is valued. The kitchens present an entirely changed aspect in many places ; some few of the men we may speak about with some measure of confidence, as children of God, with their light shining. Regularly the Scriptures are read and explained, a hymn sung, and prayer offered, and during the whole time the attention of the men is most marked, and we have reason to expect an ingathering of souls for Christ from these changed homes of the working men of the district.” A very great work of philanthropy may be done in connection with this department of Christian effort. Cases have not been few in which young men who, as apprentices, fell into paths of dishonesty, and were compelled to herd with men of deeper criminality in these dens, have received the necessary encouragement and help to commence life again reputably. Raised out of their degradation, they have sought with untiring energy to succeed as honest men; and those, when brought to a saving knowledge of the gospel, have been