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if they have earned enough for their masters, they have a supper; but I am sadly afraid that too often the poor Italian boy goes supperless to bed if he has had a bad day's work, and has no money to give to his master. Poor fellows! I have met with them everywhere, sometimes even by the sea-side, where I have seen them dancing and capering about, and all for a stray halfpenny now and then; and how I have pitied them!
But I must tell you what I pity them for most. It is bad enough to see them spend their days in idling about the streets; but it is far worse to know that very few, if any, of them can read, and that none of them are allowed to read, if they could, the Word of God-that Bible which happy English children have given to them by kind ministers, and parents; and teachers. I must tell you, that where these boys come from all the people are Roman Catholics, and, instead of wor
shipping God as we do in England, and obeying Him as He has commanded in His holy Word, they bow down to images and pictures, and worship the Virgin Mary, with other dead men and women, whom they call saints. We know that God has said, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve;" but these poor Italian boys are taught to pray to and worship all sorts of dead people, who can neither see, nor hear, nor help them. They are taught, too, that they may play about on God's holy day, if they have only been to chapel, or, as they call it, to mass. And what do you think this mass is, that poor Italian boys are taught to go and see? It is just this. The priest takes a little round cake in his hands, and says a few words in Latin over it, and then some boys ring a little bell, when all the people fall down and worship it, because the priest says that the
little cake is changed into the body and blood of Christ. But if you and I look at it, or if we taste it, we shall find that it is still a cake made of flour and water. But the poor Italian boy is told that this cake is his Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for poor sinners! O, how we ought to pity and pray for them, and try to teach them far better things than their priests tell them!
Some of my readers may not know that in Italy, the place where these boys come from, they have no Bibles to read, for the Pope and the priests will not allow their booksellers to sell them; and if English Christians were to try and give them away to the poor Italians, the Pope would be very angry, and punish the kind givers, and the priests would take away the books. But you will wonder why those who call themselves the ministers of God should prevent their people from reading His holy Word. It
is not very strange, when we think that that holy book quite condemns the Church and priests of Rome, and that if the poor Italian boys had the Bible, and were taught to read it, they would soon find out that God says one thing and the priests quite a different thing. I will just give one instance. You know in the Bible, the second commandment says, that we are not to make images, and bow down and worship them, but in Italian catechisms the priests altogether leave out this commandment, and we know the reason why; for their churches are full of images and pictures, before which the poor ignorant people fall down and worship. They tell us that they have these images and pictures of Christ on the cross, and of the people they call Saints, to make them think of those who are their mediators, and who are, as they think, praying for them in heaven; but we know that God has forbidden us to
have such things, because He knew that we should very soon worship the images and pictures instead of the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Oh! whenever English children see a poor Italian boy showing his white mice or playing his organ, how happy ought they to be that they are not only allowed, but are taught to read God's own word, and are taken to a church where they are taught to pray in their own language to God, their heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, who is the only Saviour and Redeemer of us all. If we can do nothing else, we can pray that God would open the blind eyes of all who are called Roman Catholics, and that they may refuse any more to bow down and pray in Latin to those who cannot hear, or answer, or do anything for them. But we may get some tracts written in Italian, and we may ask these poor boys if they can read; and if so, who knows what