Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

VOL. XXXII. AUGUST, 1881. NO. 8.

Editorial Notes.

Since January, 1863 the GfARniAN has been published by the Publishing Concern of the Reformed Church, or which Dr. S. R. Fisher was the business mauager. From that time the business interests of our magazine have been in his charge! It is due to his memory, and, we feel confident, very pleasant to our readers to adorn this number of the Guardian with an ex

cellent likeness of one who, from its first number in 1850, to the day of his death served its interests with unabated zeal, and bestowed upon it the wealth of his sterling friendship.

Usually when an eminent public man dies, his departure is reported by the newspapers with suitable, and often very unsuitable, eulogies of his life and labors. Foreign and home papers have spoken in unmeasured terms of Benedek, the venerable Austrian Marshal, and of Beaconsfield, the great British statesman. Very little has the American press had to say about good Dr. J. B. Wichern, who albeit not a man of blood, achieved greater victories than either of these men. He died on April 7, in the 73d year of his age. Born in Hamburg, where his father practiced law, he saw much of the sin and sorrow usually found in large cities. Before he had completed his University studies, he felt himself called to works of charity and social reform. The prisons of Europe were then packed with criminals who were born in sin and trained in vice from their childhood. With a bleeding heart he wandered abo it among the neglected and lowly. He said: "About this time a little unknown child came to me in the open street, aud

with out-stretched hands, and begging face, and many tears, tried to kiss the hand that had never done it a benefit, aud cried, ' Come with me, come with me and see for yourself'.'" The memory of that child haunted him ever afterward. He must do something; he did do much for the waifs of Germany. The prisons cannot save them. They work at the wrong end. Begin with the child and you will not have the prisoner. How should he begin? He started and conducted a " free Sundayschool," with the hope of rescuing the perishing poor children here. Poor in money but rich in faith he later began his charitable work at an old dilapidated farm-house, three miles from Hamburg. Hither he brought the vagrant children of large cities. He grouped them together in families, with a capable person at the head of each. At first a plain, cheap house was built, chiefly by the vagrants ; then a second. Later more, until the institution has grown into quite a village, with all the belongings of a diversified home life. The whole is called the "Rauhe Haus"—the Rough House—from the coarse, unpolished original old farm-houss in which he began. Or more likely from Ruge, the name of the original owner, which later was changed into Rauhe—or "Rauhe Haus." To this reformatory Wichern devoted fifty years of his grand life. It has made his name the synonym of charitable reform.

People from all lands, have traversed continents and oceans to visit this wondirful fountain of healing. Brace says in his " Home Life in Germany:" "Trie friend of man searching anxiously for what man has done for his suffering fellows, may look far in both continents before he finds an institution so benevolent, so practical, and so truly Christian as the Hamburg Rough House." In due time the authorities of Prussia discovered his invaluable capacity and character. During many years he was a member of the Consistorialrath, and had the chief supervision of reformatory institutions and of the prisons of Prussia. For more than a quarter of a century he was the convener or chairman of its Home Missionary Board. But nearest his, heart always lay the mission and people of the"Kauhe Haus." Here was his home. Here he had seen many poor children of sip received and regenerated. Here he lived, here he died, and here he lies buried. And here, around his grave, and under the superintending guidance of his eon. whom he trained for this work, the Ran he Haus goes on glorifying God in the rescuing and educating of poor vagrant children, and preparing them for usefulness in this world, and for a blissful immortality in the world to come.

Wichern's life made itself felt, especially in this department, throughout the civilized world. Directly or indirectly he was instrumental in founding many kindred institutions. Through his public addresses and writings he called the attention of Europe to the deep and wide-spread social depravity of the laboring classes, and thereby started influences which led to the establishing of Homes which shall bless the world for centuries to come. Many of his scholars have been educated for this work, others are engaged in the ministry, or as teachers and mechanics in different parts of the world. He made it a point to teach all a trade or profession, whereby they could earn an honest livelihood and be useful to others. His memory will be gratefully cherished by thousands whom he helped to save, many of whom he had never seen in the flesh.

* Thomas Carlylk wrote a hand not unlike Sanscrit. The printers who could decipher his copy must have possessed mental qualities little inferior to himself. How any one, wholly ignorant of the man who wrote it, could make T. (Jarlyle out of the name lying before us we can not divine. The illegibility of Thaddeus Stevens' hand-writing was proverbial, and that of Horace Greeley

used to be compared to the tracks produced by a fly which had just escaped out of an inkstand, and daubed the paper by dragging its heavy inky feet over it. But judging from Carlyle's autograph we take him to be without a peer as a scrawler among men of note. An expert thus describes his hand-writing: "Eccentric and spiteful-looking little flourishes dart about his manuscript in various odd ways. Some are intended to represent the ' i' dot, though far removed from the parent stem, while others, commenced as a cro;s to the 't' suddenly recoil in an absurd fashion, as if attempting a caligraptiical somersault, and in so doing, occasionally cancel the entire word whence they sprang. Some letters slope one way and some another; sdme are- halt, maimed, or crippled; while many are unequal in height, form.Btyle, and everything else."

Our English cousins, like the most of ordinary mortals, excel in discovering motes in trte eyes of people of other nations, whilst they are blind to the beams in their own eyes. An influential English journal says that John B. Gough speaks in a sort of nasal tone; indeed it is of the opinion that the nasal twang is a natural defect among American speakers. Our readers will agree with us that few public speakers are more free from this twang than Gough. "Were we disposed to go mote-hunting among the average class of public speakers in England, we could readily show how unwise it is for them to throw stones at oth< r paople while they are living in glass houses. Persons who have attended the meetings of Parliament, and the services of Anglican churches must remember how, even their great statesmen, hawk, hem and haw in their utterance, however faultless aud weighty their composition may be. And in the profession of no country have we found the nasal twang so prevalent as in the pulpit of Great Britain. Hymns, prayers, sermons and announcements are all read in one and the same key, and in the same monotonous, whining, singsoDg tone of voice. Even so great an authority as their own Gladstone, says: "An effective cultivation of the great office of preaching is perhaps the most crying want of the Church of England, and vocal expression and articulation are an important and essential part of it." We grant that in America, too, we might profit by the lesson of the great premier. Many a well-disciplined and richly-furnished mind fails to impress others simply for want of a pleasing expression. A clear and distinct articulation, a well-modulated voice, modulated to suitably express the various sentiments spoken, will enable a man of ordinary scholarship, like Gough, to 8way_> large audience at will. In very few colleges of this country are students taught to read and speak well. Whilst it is well enough to teach them a knowledge of the dead languages, they ought by all means be taught the correct and instructive use of the living languages— especially of the unrivalled German and English tongues.

When God's people in Old Testament times withheld the customary tithes and offerings the prophets called it robbery. What shall we call the withholding of suitable offerings to God under the New Testament dispensation? A certain Bishop of the Episcopal Church recently complained that many congregations will spend $100 forflowers at their Easter service, whilst their Easter offering for the cause of Christ amounts to a few paltry dollars. How many wealthy persons who claim to be Christians would be glad to escape from giving a dollar to God, and in the end only do give it at best because it is screwed out of them through stormy appeals. Some people withhold what is due to God because they are not making as much money as formerly, or have lost a little in some investment. Like a certain man who said he had laid up two shillings, one for himself and one for the Lord; but that the one he had intended for the Lord had been lost in an unfortunate speculation.

Bible beneficence is a habit; it must be cultivated. It is not safe to leave the amount and the time to chance or random impulses. With calm and prayerful deliberation we must decide how much it would be proper for us to give to God as His faithful stewards. If

a certain amount or proportion a year is to be given, it is best to apportion that among the weeks and months, and pay it in installments. By this plan the matter is kept before our minds during the year, and helps to cultivate an interest in, and a sympathy with the objects to which we contribute.

A missionary declined to receive from a Karen a rupee for a whole year, instead of the pice a week which the other native Christians were giving. To be sure, fifty-two pice would not make a rupee, and the treasury would be fuller if the rupee were accepted. But the donor would not be as much blessed. "Don't you know,'' said the missionary, "that a door-hinge, if opened only once a year, soon comes to creaking. Open often, no creaking; give often, no croaking."

One-fourth of the income of the Basle Mission, which sustains 115 missionaries in India, Africa and China, and has gathered 13,245 church members, is derived from a penny a week, contributed by 120,000 persons. These collections were begun in 1855, and have amounted to SI. 150,145. In 1879 they were $53,000.

An Eminent American divine, when a young man, was introduced to Patrick Henry. The Virginia patriot took him kindly by the hand and said: "Be sure, ray son, and remember that the best men always make themselves." By which he meant to say that personal exertion, and solid, manly work alone assure permanent success. That with the best parents, best fortune, best teachers young people must in the end fail without earnest, persevering work. The teacher can tell you how and what to study, but you yourself, and not he, must do the studying. The harder you work the stronger you will get to do the work. The oak or pine standing in an exposed place, grows in strength and toughness of fibre from resisting the storms that sweep over it. The more determinately and faithfully you perform your duty the stronger you get to do it. Success is not the result of intuition or of inspiration, but of toil. The great impromptu effirts of Webster were only seemingly so. Many thought that his debate with Hayne in the United States Senate was purely impromptu. He bad carefully investigated the whole subject of the public lands several years before for another purpose. His preparation was never needed for what it was intended. He eaid: "I had my notes tucked away in a pigeon hole, and when Hayne made that attack upon me and upon New England, I was already posted, and only had to take down my notes and refresh my memory. In other words, if Hayne had tried to make a speech to fit my notes, he could not have hit it better. No man is inspired with the occasion. I never was."

Dr. Johnson once said to a fine gentleman just returned from Italy, and who, like many tourists of our own day, seemed to pride himself in having "done" Italy, without learning anything about it: "Sir, some men will learn more in the Hampstead stage than others in the tour of Europe." Many observant people learn more in and around their own little home than others by travelling over half the globe. Good Matthias Claudius touches off the quibbling wiseacres of his day in his inimitable, quaint style, as follows: "Philosophers say that philosophy alone can tell us whether there be a God, and who He is, and without it, no one can have a thought of God. It is true, this is only the opinion of the masters of learning. No one can truthfully charge me with being a philosopher; but I never walk tnrough a forest without thoughtfully meditating as to who makes the trees grow, and then I feel soft yet distinct impressions of an unknown Presence, and I will wager that I then think of God, with joyful reverence and awe."

Especially in this season of the year the kind and skilful band of our heavenly Father scatters thousands of specimens of His divine handiwork around us, which in their wondrous perfection of form, and varied beauty, far excel anything that the genius of man, and the great masters in art have produced. Yet ho-v many move about blindly through this world crowded with the beautiful works of God around them,

without the slightest perception of their excellence.

"godliness is profitable unto all things." Years ago an aged couple lived near London. They enjoyed a calm, comfortable evening of life. The old lady, being somewhat worldly, when asked by a certain minister for a thankoffering to the cause of Christ, pretended that they had, in a temporal point of view, lost by leading a religious life. "Have we not, Thomas?'' she asked, turning to her husband. After a long and solemn pause, the old man replied: "Yes, Mary, we have lost a deal by our religion. I have lost a deal by my religion. Before I got religion I had an old slouched hat, a patched old coat, and mended shoes and stockings; but I have lost them long ago. And, Mary, you know that, poor as I was, I had a habit of getting drunk, and quarrelling with you ; and that you know I lost. And then I had a burdened conscience and a wicked heart; and then I had ten thousand guilty feelings and tears ; but all are lost, completely lost, and like a millstone cast into the deepest sea. Aud, Mary, you have been a loser too, though not so great a loser as myself. Before we got religion, Mary, you had got a washing-tray, in which you washed tor a living ; and God Almighty blessed your industry; but since we got religion you have lost your washing-tray. And you had got a gown and bonnet, much the worse for the wear, though they were all you had to wear, but you have lost them long ago. And you had many an aching heart concerning me, at times, but those you happily have lost. And I could even wish that you had lost as much as I have lost, and even more, for what we lose by our religion, Mary, will be our eternal gain." After this sermon, the two old people gratefully pressed a rich gift into the minister's hand.

"Oh, if I only could have back my boys, With their lost gloves and books for me to find,

Their scattered playthings and their pleasant noise!

I sit here in splendor, growing blind, With hollow hands that backward reach and ache

For the sweet trouble which the children make." —From Scribntr's Monthly, yanuary, 1SS1.

« AnteriorContinuar »