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She would have said more, apparently, but at that instant there was a heavy footfall on the stair, and the entrance of Mr. Damer effectually stopped their conversation. Maude rose as he came in, and would have retired; but Emmeline laid her hand on her arm to prevent her going. Mr. Damer went up to look at his child, and her sister held the lamp, so that the rays streamed full on the sweet but deathlike countenance.
"Ah! I see she is better to-night," said Mr. Damer, hastily letting the curtain fall again, and turning away as if with a determination that it must be so. He had been so long accustomed to consult his own pleasure only, that he could not bear to think he might be thwarted in any of his wishes.
Surely you are late to-night, papa?" said Miss Damer; "have you only just returned?"
"Yes; I was detained at M- on account of a riot there has been to-day, got up by those vile Chartist fellows. They turned out quite a strong body, and we held a meeting, to decide on the propriety of sending for the military, which I am happy to say we have done. I sincerely hope they will shoot some dozen of them; it is the first thing that will settle them."
"Is there a prospect of any further disturbance, then ?" said Emmeline.
"Yes; it seems there is quite a conspiracy going on to effect a grand demonstration at the close of the month. They talk some intolerable nonsense about a new era of liberty which is to commence with the year; and unless energetic measures are taken, they will rouse a most dangerous excitement, to say the least of it. They are led by a man named King; an uncommonly clever rascal he is, too, who has gained unbounded influence over some hot-headed young men from among the tradespeople; and I believe a 'strike' at the great cotton-mill is to be their first coup d'état. The foreman is said to be one of their ringleaders. I should not wonder if they ended by burning it down to the ground; but they had better take care what they are about, or they will peril their own necks, I can tell them. Treason and incendiarism are no joke, and I do believe we shall find, that to hang a few of them will be the only remedy."
"Poor creatures," said Miss Damer, relapsing into her usual air of indifference; "it seems strange they cannot keep quiet."
"Well, my dear, good night; take care of Angela. I really wish the child were up, and running about again. I have an excessive dislike to an illness in the house."
Mr. Damer said this as if it were a taste peculiar to himself, and that he was decidedly ill-used in not having it gratified. But as he left the room, Miss Damer turned to Maude.
"Why, how you tremble, and you are so pale!-what is the matter? I am afraid I have kept you sitting up too late. Do
go to bed now, as quick as you can. Mamma is coming to sleep here to-night, so I shall not stay myself."
Maude was thankful for the permission to leave the room. She was indeed trembling-trembling for the brother that appeared to have flung soul and body alike into such fearful danger. Every word Mr. Damer had spoken seemed to pierce her very heart. He had even directly alluded to Henry as one of the ringleaders of this seditious band. What would become of him?
-where was it all to end? But speedily she checked the unfaithful questioning? The remembrance of S. Alban's and its teaching was never long absent from her mind. She knelt down, and submitted herself; the Will of her LORD would be done, and that Will must be her desire.
A FEW HINTS TO LAYMEN
ON VISITING THE POOR AND NEEDY IN THEIR OWN ABODES.
"Pure religion and undefiled before GoD and the FATHER is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from he world."-S. James i. 27.
THE following few suggestions are put forth in the hope that a larger and complete work on this important duty may be undertaken by more competent hands.
All Christian duties performed tend to a growth in grace, and none more so than the one here recommended, and described in this text of holy Scripture. We have chosen the above as a motto. Visiting the poor and needy will be one of the greatest helps towards keeping oneself unspotted from the world and pure in heart. In this, as in all other duties, let God's honour and glory be our first motive, and His blessing will surely follow. We can think of no higher inducement to this labour of love, than the remembrance that we are thereby treading in the footsteps of the Great Exemplar, Whose life on earth was spent in going in and out among publicans, sinners, and the sick, afflicted, and poor, doing good to their souls and bodies.
Remember that you will have much opportunity afforded you of strengthening the hands of your pastor, therefore set an example of deference to his authority and calling, to all you visit, and where any question arises of Church doctrine or discipline, let them see you humbly following the counsel of the Church, and of those set over you and them in the LORD.
Let your bearing be quite easy, and free from any patronizing or inquisitive manner; show by a kind of homely tone that you are only seeking their good.
Always sit down when they ask you, as they will be almost sure to do.
Make it a rule to take your hat off on entering their dwellings; show that you respect them and their homes, and you will seldom meet with disrespect from them.
Do not make a succession of questions in finding out their state and occupation; show that you are interested in them, and an account of themselves and families will follow by degrees.
Where there are children be sure to notice them, and ask about their baptism and education, and progress; what schools they attend; call them to you and talk kindly with them; in this way you may give many practical lessons to the parents through the children; for instance, ask them what prayers they know by heart, and if they say them on their knees morning and evening; you will thus be reminding the parent at the same time, and too many entirely neglect this great duty, who yet keep their children to it.
Lead the children to learn a short Collect or a few verses of the Psalms against your next visit, and keep up this practice; you will find it most useful, specially applying your teaching to the Church Services.
Where the children are in situations and occupied, give them advice suited to their calling, and ask them about it, and remind them of the necessity of still keeping up their Church learning with the view of Confirmation.
When young lads have left school and are beginning to earn money, they are then most tempted to be independent of all control both at home and in religion.
Strive to interest them in amusing studies, such as history, geography, or Church music, vocal and instrumental, helping them with it as if by way of recreation, and using them as links to retain them in steady habits of attendance at Church, &c. Make them think of themselves as members of the one great Christian family, and not as they are then so apt to do, as independent members, having no one to care for but themselves.
The Church Services and Seasons, Saints' Days, &c., will form subjects of deep interest, if introduced carefully; thus suggest a course of reading the Daily Lessons and Psalms, and adding the Collects for Feasts and Fasts to their usual prayers. Inculcate strict attendance at Church as often as possible, and on all Festivals.
Give them high thoughts of their Christian calling, and treat them so as to let them feel themselves placed above the vices with which they are surrounded as members of CHRIST.
In reading to the sick and aged, make choice of the Psalms and Lessons for the day, and draw their attention thereby to the beautiful harmony in the Services for the Christian Seasons.
Take occasion to explain the meaning of the Church Kalendar in their Prayer Books, and its practical use.
Never give Bibles to those you have not known for some time, unless you feel assured they will make a good use of them. You would be sorry to see it sold in a week or two, and yet this is too common. It is not the Bibles given away, but the Bibles carefully and humbly read, that do good.
In Bibles and Prayer Books be sure to teach them the value of them, by making them pay a part of the money in small portions. Add to it as you please, but do not give it all to them.
There are few poor people who cannot save something; teach them that they are not exempt from the duty of offering to GoD of their little; show them how that this is a standing rule of God's providence throughout the whole Bible, and that it will surely bring a blessing on the rest; help them in this also, as in buying Prayer Books, &c.
As, for instance, in offerings at baptisms, marriages, churchings, funerals, &c., help them; but do not let them think themselves exempt from doing their part. This will apply only to those on whom you can depend.
The notion also that their poverty excludes them from the duty of paying their debts is sadly prevalent, especially if they owe it to one better off than themselves. You will find them speak as if this were taken for granted; this is a growing evil, and clearly dishonest. Never hear of such things without remonstrating.
With regard to lending money to the poor, you must be very careful; never lend it but to the tried and well principled; to them it is a great help in time of need; but it is anything but a kindness to the doubtful.
When you lend it have an understanding when and in what portions it is to be repaid, and for their sakes keep them up to the time; be sure to ask for it; it is no kindness to forget it. If you remit it, let it be when they have shown, by paying part, that they wish to be strictly honest.
In all disputes, give your advice to the best of your power; but refer to your parish Priest all difficult cases, such as unbaptized adults, men and women living together unmarried, &c.
Never allow them to talk much of their neighbours to you; and if you can avoid it, never ask them for information as to their neighbours.
But as the poor can sometimes help each other much more effectually than we can help them, make good use of those you can depend on, as agents in acts of kindness and assistance to their afflicted neighbours.
In cases of sickness, great age, and infirmity, be sure to be constant in your visits, and kind in manner; help them in all ways to the utmost of your power; use the best books you can get in reading to them and praying with them; not forgetting to let your
pastor know of all sick cases, furnishing him with particulars. Use such books as the following:
Sutton's Learn to Die, Kettlewell's Guide to the Penitent, Tayler's Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell, Seven Penitential Psalms, Patrick on Prayer, Sanderson's Christian Contentment, Kennaway's Comfort for the afflicted, Companion for Sick Room, &c., Devotions for Sick Room, &c., Instructions for Afflicted Christians, Taylor's Life of our LORD, Neale's Hymns for Sick, Williams' Life of Suckling, Neale's Readings for Aged, Sermons for the People, Sickness, its Trials and Blessings, &c., &c.
Have great regard to cleanliness in rooms and persons, and never be deceived by a bad outside, and relieve as a rule the bare room and outwardly wretched appearance. To keep the place neat and tidy and furniture for use often requires the hardest struggle, and even pinching for necessaries. Do not lay it down as a rule that because everything appears comfortable, therefore the family is in no want; it is often quite the contrary.
Insist very much on neatness and tidiness of rooms, and reward it where your directions are attended to by approbation, and by some present of a sheet Kalendar, or Scripture print, to hang up on the walls.
The gifts of clothes, or adding to their savings for them, will be a safe way of relieving those you have known for some time.
With mechanics and workmen, be sure to take an interest in the details of their work, which they will be pleased to explain to you; it will afford you many opportunities of inculcating sound notions on the relation of rich and poor, master and servant, and you can show the fallacy of any equality, except as members of God's one great family.
You will find sad ignorance on the first principles of our Faith, but speak of them plainly and in a straightforward way, taking them as they are contained in Holy Scripture, and interpreted by the Book of Common Prayer.
In your visits you will, and probably must be, sometimes deceived and imposed upon, but be not disheartened. Remember that one sheep was worth our LORD's search, and that in searching for that one, you may have to go among wolves; it were better to be deceived in many, than that one deserving poor should go without help. G. W.
BEHOLD the valley in the moonlight sleeping,
A goodly scene for eyes bedimmed with weeping,
Ere wearied eyelids on the pillow close.
She said "I know the land is very fair
But ah! my childhood's footfall never bounded there."