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marvellous denunciations of the age, and they appear to survive his assaults, but they are utterly annihilated when simple faith comes into the field. Mrs. V. heard of a woman, a Mrs. R., who was a sort of female ogre, dealing in the shame of women and the licentiousness of men, who had been guilty of every crime with the exception of murder. It needed no small courage to face such a virago, and as the sequel proved, no small degree of tact to meet the difficulties of the situation.
“She went, and on the door being opened, told her at once she had come to speak to her about her soul.
**You must make short work of it, then, for it's washin'day,' Mrs. R. answered sharply.
“ So I will, if you will let me come in.'
“ The permission was surlily accorded, though with some surprise at her boldness, as it was long since any respectable person had crossed that threshold. But the woman remained hardened, and no impression could be made on her. However, Mrs. V. was not one to give up, and she went on patiently visiting her every day for a week, pleading with her, reading with her, and praying with her, but the woman remained apparently as hardened as ever. At the end of the week, as Mrs. V. was sitting tired out in her drawing room one evening, her servant announced that there was a woman waiting to see her. She longed to say she was too tired to see anyone, but resisting the temptation, she went down stairs, and there to her amazement stood Mrs. R., evidently in great distress of mind.
**Oh, ma'am,' she said, “I can't get your words out of my head, nor your coming so often after such a wretch as I am. I hope you'll excuse the liberty I take in calling, but I couldn't rest, indeed I couldn't.' Oh, what shall I do ? what shall I do?'
". Are you ready to give up your house and your bad life, Mrs. R., at any sacrifice ?' That is the first question.'
" · It's no use, ma’am, my being willing. I have my house on lease, and I know the man who owns it won't forgive me the rest of the lease, and it isn't nearly up, and I can't be better while I live in that house.'
"But will you give it all up, and turn to the Lord if I can get the house off your hands?'
""Oh, ma'am, that I would, for I am that miserable I don't know how to bear myself, and yet I doubt but I am too bad to be saved. I shall never have courage to go through with it.'
* Only you be willing to give up your bad life, and I'll p:omise to stand by you till it is done.'
Having poured forth her heart in prayer with her, that she might remain steadfast, Mrs. V. bade her good-night, and the woman left with a lighter heart.”
* The next day Mrs. V. went to the man who owned the house, a respectable butcher. She told him the whole history of the woman ; how impossible it would be for her to live a better life in the midst of her old surroundings; and concluded by entreating him to cancel the rest of the lease, reminding him of the disgraceful nature of the house in the hands of its present occupant.
** That's no concern of mine. The woman always pays her rent regular, and I am not going to lose a good tenant ; and as to the use she puts the house to, I say again, that is no concern of mine. One ain't responsible for all one's tenants do.'
Here comes in the grim giant of the law of supply and demand, and its twin brother, “business is business." But faith is a mighty giantkiller, and political economy gets handled after a very illogical, but withal terribly effective sort. *** Have you got any daughters ?' Mrs. V. asked.
Yes, two; but I don't see what that's got to do with it.' ** Would you like to see your daughters in that house of yours ?' **God forbid !' exclaimed the man, with some emotion. "" Then won't you help me to save other poor girls, some poor man's daughters from going there? It remains with you to put a stop to the whole thing, and be the means of saving the poor sinful woman into the bargain.'
" "I don't know anything about that ; I only know she is a good tenant, and I am not going to lose her.'
" Nothing would stir the man from this decision, in which his wife acquiesced ; and at last, with an overpowering sense of her own weakness to melt his hard heart Mrs. V. asked him and his wife to kneel down and pray with her that God would guide them as to what was best to be done in the matter. Well, he had no objection to do that if the lady wished ; so she knelt down and uttered an earnest cry that God would do what her words had no power to do, and incline their hearts to do what was right, and then took her leave, feeling sorely discouraged, knowing it would be impossible to save the woman with this insurmountable obstacle in
** Well,' she said to herself with a sigh,' 'I must leave it in his hands with whom nothing is impossible.'
Late that same evening there was a ring at the bell, and her servant came upstairs with a message that there was a butcher waiting to see her. He knew it was late, but he would not detain Mrs. V. more than a few minutes if she would just see him. She hastened downstairs, and there was her friend of the morning.
*** Well, ma'am,' he said, after you was gone my wife and I talked over that little business you came about, and we said it would break our hearts to see one of our girls go wrong, and we don't want another man's to go to the bad neither ; and the long and short of it is we have made up our mind to forgive the woman the rest of the lease ; it is a great loss to us as the house has got a bad name, and mayn't let at once again ; but still, as you say, it is no more than what's right.'
“God be praised !'exclaimed Mrs. V., · This is an answer to my prayers. May God bless you for your decision with his own blessing, which maketh rich and addeth no sorrow to it. Now the poor woman can be saved if she is really in earnest, which I feel sure she is.' Early the next day Mrs. V. secured a small apartment in a respectable locality, put a few plants in the window to make it look bright and pleasant, drove off to Mrs. R.'s house, and fetched her away with what necessaries she needed, and herself locked up the house and took possession of the key. She then wrote off to her friend Mrs.- at B-, told her all the remarkable circumstances of the case, and asked her whether she would take two small rooms for Mrs. R., and put her in the way of getting her own living by washing, and herself and her Scripture reader undertake to see after her spiritually. On Mrs.senting to do this, Mrs. V. herself saw to the sale of Mrs. R.'s furniture to the best advantage, which realised a small sum in hand, and set her free from all fear of want; and less than a week saw her and her charge standing on the Brighton platform, ready to start for B - Seeing Mrs. V. about to take her seat in a secondclass carriage by her side, she exclaimed, 'Oh, ma'am, you are not going to let people see you travelling with me? Everyone knows me as one of the worst characters in Brighton ; I am not fit to be seen with you.'
“ Nay,' said Mrs. V., taking her seat by her side, My Master was not ashamed to be seen sitting side by side with publicans and sinners ; why should a sinner like me be ashamed ?
“Mrs. V. never left her till she had seen her comfortably settled, with kind Christian hearts to see after her and care for her. In temporal things she wanted for nothing, as she was soon able to earn her own living ; but except for the daily visits of Mrs. and her Scripture reader, the deep waters must have flowed over her head. For months she passed through the most terrible distress of mind—a sense of sin which at one time seemed to threaten her reason. Truly she might say through those months of mental darkness, 'Neither sun nor star appeared in many days, and much tempest lay on her, and all hope that she would be saved seemed taken away from her.' But at last the tempest-tossed soul reached the waveless harbour of that love which is deeper than our deepest sin, deeper than our deepest fall-deeper even than our despair of ourselves ; and she realised that for her, too, it was written that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin, and that the vilest coming to him, shall in no wise be cast out.'
“For some ten years past Mrs. R. has been known as one of the godliest women in the place where she lives, her house being always open for prayer meetings and Bible readings.
“A great change had passed, too, over our friend the butcher. From the day of Mrs. V 's visit to him he shut his shop on the Sunday, established family prayer, and he and his family became regular attendants at a place of worship. And when Mrs. R. came to Brighton the winter before last, he insisted on her coming to stay
with them. 'She does so strengthen us,' he said. During her stay at Brighton she went to the Home, and spoke to the girls of the anguish of a life of sin, of all she had suffered before she could feel herself forgiven, and the blessedness of serving God. All who knew her, and who knew what she once was, could only exclaim, • What hath God wrought !' and feel that the gospel is indeed the power of God unto salvation—that it, and it ALONE, could change that woman, who was a sinner.' drunkard, blasphemer, liar, profligate, and destroyer of souls, into a virtuous woman, full of good works, her whole life lifted up and hid with Christ in God.
Holy confidence in God wears the aspect of simplicity, but is in reality the highest wisdom. The Lord gives to his servants a kind of inspiration, by which they are led to right methods, and are enabled to avoid the blunders of mere routine. No one teaches birds to build nests, yet they never make such lamentable mistakes as our highly educated constructors of the navy; the instinctive wisdom of love is often a gleam of the divine intelligence, and its dictates are infinitely superior to the laborious arrangements of learned theorists. It needs great wisdom to gather in fallen women from the streets, but it must require far more to manage them when you have placed them in the house. We admire the principles of Mrs. V.'s home, they seem to be rational rather than fancisul, adapted to real human nature, and not sublime attempts at a fictitious ideal. Very properly is it said,
“ In the first place, I suppose we are all agreed that hard work must always be one great agency for the reformation of character. But what work ? Surely not plain needlework alone, which forms the sole employment in so many Penitentiaries -a quiet sedentary occupation, which more than any other allows the mind to brood
Here you have a fountain of corruption within, low thoughts, low pleasures, low desires, low aims, low memories ; yet the first thing that is done in many so-called Reformatories is deliberately to turn the mind in upon itself, before it has had time to be in some measure purified by its new and better surroundings, and by more wholesome habits of thought. At the Brighton Home, on the contrary, a girl at once goes to the wash-tub. She finds herself
face to face with other girls, splashing and clattering and pounding going on all round her ; and she has to exert that physical strength which in itself works off so much that is unhealthy in the mind, and leaves freither leisure nor inclination for self-brooding. So great is the eril of sedentary occupation, at any rate just at first, that in Germany field labour and garden work is hal recourse to, even in female penitentiaries, rather than needlework.
This is common sense, and that is a sort of sense by no means common with religious people. If anything be wanted in this world, it is a method of making certain earnest people reasonable. If an amalgam of zeal and knowledge could be readily procured it would be far more precious than gold, and would be the one thing needful for the mass of would-be philanthropists.
Other equally sensible plans are mentioned, but our eye lingers on the page where our author remarks
“I think Mrs. V.'s success has been owing pre-eminently to her treating them with human tenderness, human care, and human consideration. She does not look upon them as a mass of bad, raw material, to be put into a machine called an institution, for the purpose of being worked up into some better and more serviceable shape. You cannot thus make moral shoddy of that humanity, with all its infinite capabilities for good or evil, for which the Son of God was contented to die to redeem it to God. How truly has Frederick Robertson said, an infinite being comes before us, with a whole eternity wrapped up in his mind and soul, and we proceed to classify him, put a label upon him, as we would on a jar, saying this is rice, that is jelly, and this is pomatum, and then we think we have saved ourselves the trouble of taking off the cover.'
“God bids us.consider the poor ;' but is not that about the last thing we do? We preach to them, we talk at them, we Bible-class and religious-meeting them, we give them food and coals, and blankets, and clothing, and tracts, everything but simple human consideration and human fellowship, which would enable us to enter into their sorrows and difficulties as our own, and treat them with the delicate tact and tenderness of our equals, and be more intent on loving and feeling for them than on preaching and talking at them. Now Mrs. V. emphatically considers her poor outcasts, dealing, as far as she can, individually with each one, in the spirit of him in whose eyes no amount of sin and degradation ever forfeited the right to personal consideration, and who, while redeeming the race, always dealt with the individual heart and conscience-he who did not think it beneath him to ask a favour at the hands of the sinful woman of Samaria to place her at her ease, and raise her self-respect, who showed a knowledge of and interest in all the facts of her own personal history, who frankly and ungrudgingly recognised the good that still remained in the midst of degradation, In that saidst thou truly :' sensual she was, but no liar. It is in this spirit of large human-hearted tenderness and interest, that Mrs. V. endeavours to deal with her girls, getting at the facts of each one's history, talking and praying, so far as her strength will allow, with each one alone ; feeling for the sins, and sorrows, and difficulties of each one separately. She knows all about the father who won't relent or forgive, and has never answered bis girl's last letter, expressing sorrow for the past. She knows all about the mother, early lost, and the miserable unshielded home, or the stepmother, who first made things uncomfortable. She knows about the little sister who is giddy and gay, and is often a source of tenderest solicitude to the one who has tasted the bitter fruits of sin. She knows about the respectable young man who had never given the girl up, and promises that if she conducts herself well, she shall be married from the institution, and she herself shall be at the wedding.
“ This personal care and attention is shown in everything. I believe that it is the practice in many penitentiaries to have a generally loosely-fitting dress, tied in at the waist, and so made as to fit any one, and which therefore can be transferred from the goer out to the comer in. A girl who had been thus tied up in a penitential sack for nearly two years, on being admitted into Mrs. V.'s home was touched to tears, at being actually fitted for a dress, and a pair of stays, and care and pains being taken that she should look nice. Yet surely the contrary plan is to undo with our left hand what we are trying to do with our right, weakening the sense of personal respect and propriety, the strengthening of which must be one of the first steps towards reformation. In the same way care and taste is bestowed on the selection of the ribbons for their bonnets, that the colour should be becoming, the bonnet and cloak not too large or too small. So touched and taken are the girls with this little motherly care for their appearance, that after they have gone to service, they will often send Mrs. V. and the matrons little patterns of their dresses or ribbons they have chosen, to show how neatly they are trying to dress, and with what care they are choosing their colours.
If this sympathy be not the secret of success it lies very near it, and no one who possesses a large share of it is likely to fail if piety and good sense are combined therewith. Mrs. V. was evidently created for the task she has undertaken, and achieves what few others dare attempt; the pity is that in such a case there should be a bound put to her usefulness by the frequent lack of funds. One would have supposed that the thousands of wealthy persons who resort to Brighton would, upon hearing of the operations of such a heaven-sent instrumentality, have been delighted to furnish it with superabundant means. Few of us may be able to reclaim harlots, but most of us can give our quota towards the expenses of those who can. At our own doors we probably have such labourers, and we ought to help them. In London many of the Refuges are quite destitute of funds, for the great public subscriptions for the war have diverted the streams of benevolence to other lands. We have read the most piteous appeals of late, no: for new buildings, not for enlargements, but for money to buy the bare bread and milk to feed the girls in the refuge homes. It is certain that many women who are willing to reform cannot find a roof beneath which to be sheltered, because either the refuges are full or the funds do not permit of more being received. Think of a case like this—“A poor girl had been long possessed with an absorbing longing to escape from the misery and degradation of her life, and hearing that there was a Refuge at Gloucester, she found her way thither on foot. Unfortunately the Refuge was quite full, and she could not be received; but she was told there was one at Birmingham, where they would take her in. Thither, therefore, she tramped wearily, only to receive the same answer. Hearing that there was a penitentiary at Pentonville, she at once resumed her weary foot journey, and beat her way along the burning roads, with only sach food as she could get at workhouses that lay in the way, till she reached that place. Once again the same answer awaited her, and again the door of hope was shut in her face. Which of us would not have given ap in despair, and have felt that there was no way of escape left us ? But not she ; hearing that there was yet another Home at Brighton, she set off again, and at length knocked, half-fainting, at its door. It too was full and overflowing, every bed occupied, and two girls lying on the floor. But Mrs. V., like her Master, makes a rule of turning none away who knock for admission, and a friend at once came forward and offered to defray the expense of her being placed with a Christian woman till there should be a vacancy for her in the Home.” Surely there is wealth enough in Gloucester, Birmingham, and London to have provided a refuge for this poor daughter of Eve. Shame on our Christ. ianity, that those weary miles should have been trodden ere the poor wanderer could find a friend. Not one out of the fifty thousand of England's fallen daughters ought to find it hard to gain space for repentance, nor need they if all Christians were Christians indeed.
To the honoured woman whose life-work has thus been brought before as, and to all others, her sisters and likeminded workers, we offer words of sympathy and thoughts of admiration. God speed you, ye fair images of Jesus. May your spirits be refreshed by a consciousness of your Master's smile and by evident tokens that he is working with you.
Matthel Henry and the Borough of Hackney.
BY G. HOLDEN PIKE. HACK ACKNEY has been somewhat correctly styled the classic ground
of Nonconformity. Certain is it that, the town claims a notable if not a noble history. "Times have been when gay courtiers, attracted by gravelly soil and a salubrious atmosphere, have made a home of this quiet suburb. The inhabitants of other days knew what it was to entertain their sovereign in the person of Queen Elizabeth. No wonder if comfortable mansions with shrill-toned alarm-bells, and high gardenwalls, crystal wells, and a renowned sanctuary with a celebrated organ, tended to raise what is now a new borough into a fashionable suburb of London. In Paritan days Hackney rejoiced in the possession of a staid