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opportunities, which may lead to painful consequences.
Many solid Christian people feel so deeply that the libraries are flooded with trifling and insipid would-be religious stories, full of vague and unsound theology, that the evil must speedily be corrected
There is a degree of sensibility in the Americans, in all matters of taste, which often calls forth admiration, and which mingles with occasions of sorrow as well as of joy. At times, perhaps, the tasteful might with advantage be restrained, lest it occupy the room of some more precious thing.
One simple example of what is meant, may be exhibited without a breach of delicacy. A gentleman, past the meridian of life, with manners and countenance beaming with benevolence, enters a room where he is hailed by the children with loving welcomes. But especially the little girl, who is his pupil, places herself on his knee, and twines her fingers through his half hoary hair.
The mother, with grateful expression, relates that he is the teacher, and most beloved by all his class, in school and out. The gentleman mentions how many years he has kept a Sabbath-class of children at the age reckoned most liable to distressing deaths, and how he never had a death amongst them, but kept them on till ready to be promoted to a higher class. It was remarked “ that this was happy for him, and for parents; yet, sometimes the removal of a schoolmate by death, impressed the young mortals with a new and important view of the eternal world.” “You would not wish for a death for the purpose of giving the children such a lesson ?” inquired the mother. “Surely not; but, at the moment, I remember a large school in silence, and many in deep emotion, when the children, by their own motion, selected a hymn, and recited it after the death of one of their number, the effect of which remains with some to this day. The poem began thus :
Death has been here, and borne away
A sister from our side.
As young as we-she died.'
Well, madam," said the excellent man, with his loving, smiling countenance, "we have not been so many years united, without opportunity to send the lesson of mortality home to the heart. We lost à beloved lady, one of our teachers, some time ago. She was very dear to her own pupils, and they sincerely mourned her; and I led my own little train to the funeral, dressed in white; and when we came up the centre aisle, in a double column, they divided, and passed up each side of the coffin, and each laid a bunch of roses upon it. They then seated themselves on each side of the wide pulpit stairs, which they nearly filled."
It was easy to say, for it is true, that the scene must have been touching and pretty, but there was a want of fitness. It would have been touching and pretty at a wedding or a baptism. It was not so easy not to say, “ Were you not sacrificing the solemn to the picturesque, and diverting thought from the judgment-throne and the world of glory, on behalf of the merely graceful and beautiful ?”.
“THE BOYS' MEETING.”
In every crowded community there is a circle which, from profligacy, ignorance, or poverty in the parents, falls below the educational degree; and if that circle is to be taught at all, it must be led and raised by the hand of Christian benevolence. New York has a crowd of such persons who linger about the docks half employed, because intemperate—not to mention the newly-arrived and desolate-looking emigrants ; and is quite as able to furnish out a few “ragged schools” as are the Trongate of Glasgow, and the Cowgate of Edinburgh.
I am not sure that, with the exception of that of Mr Pease at the Five Points, any such week-day gathering of forlorn creatures has been made. Several Sabbath ragged-schools, however, have been assembled by means of the energy of individual compassion. Intelligent and spirited young Christian men have permeated the throng, and coaxed them within the sound of instruction. By what ingenious devices they influenced the wild little denizens I am not aware-perhaps by some such as the poor shoemaker, John Pounds, on Plymouth dock used, whose pot of hot potatoes on a cold day used to furnish a bribe by which the boys were drawn within the circle of instruction. The good youths must have had many a fruitless or at least disappointing stroll on the docks and around Hudson and Greenwich Streets, before they assembled the nucleus of what are now very flourishing schools.
And here we find gathered “the stepchildren of nature and fortune, the outcast, the benighted, the brutalised, and the homeless.” Surely here we shall find Horace Greeley and some of his brave three thousand, toiling with might and main to raise the motley crowd to the level of the common school. They may be there, but I did not hear of them. Well, but the children are assembled. What shall we call them? There's much in a name ! Though every knee and elbow testifies that it is a ragged gathering, though every mop-head unconscious of a comb, and many a shirtless neck buttoned round by the collar of a coat big enough for father, proves that they are uncared for, yet “it is not right to have it thus set down.”—Ragged school indeed! Which of all those four hundred tatterdemalions would enter your door, in spite of the temptation of a dry seat and warm stove, if you give it such an opprobrious name. Benevolence is ingenious. It will not be balked by any obstacle that can be managed ; and so, to publish itself in