Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

WICBERN'S BOUGH HOUSE.

365

was

the purpose.

you are actually in the way which of the almost universal demoralization leads to the King's country, lying of that town. The churches were through the Valley of Humiliation. almost deserted, the Gospel was but a There are many roads through life in Dame, and the reckless and defiant much esteem with worldly-wise men; ungodliness of the people was fearful. but the way by this valley has an ill Wichern identified himself with the name with them; and yet it was evangelical movement that made and travelled by the King him- awakening to action after a slumber of self; and those who have been much nearly fifty years. He began to work in in the valley, say, that with all its the Sabbath-schools, to visit the poor, damps, strange as it may seem, it is and to acquaint himself with the habits incomparably salubrious; that there and feelings of the dregs of the people. is always a balmy, heavenly air in the

Bat Wichern soon found that valley, unspeakably refreshing to the the homes were so pervaded by sin single-hearted follower of the Lamb. and sinful influences, that he felt

Reader, do you believe it? What something must be done to take will you do about it? Will you be away the young from their daily life persuaded to visit it ? to make your before any real good could result. abode in it? Do you really crave the He consulted with some grave earnest indwelling of the Holy Ghost ? He

men, on the best means to accomplish loves this valley: it is His delight to

After deliberation, he dwell in it. Here He spreads the resolved to collect as many boys under daily, hourly banquet; fills the air with

one roof

as he could superintend; heavenly sights and sounds, and the

planning, that if they came voluntarily hearts of its inhabitants with love to

in large numbers, he would establish God and man. Is it not attractive ?

many households, he himself constituting the general father.

A touching incident occurred at this WICHERN'S ROUGH HOUSE.

time, which made him determine never It is a very cheering picture of the to rest until his scheme was carried present age that so many institutions out. As he was walking along the are rising up to rescue the lowest and streets of the city, he says, "A little unmost degraded from their haunts of known child came to me in the open vice and love of sin,—by giving them street, and with outstretched hands, and work to do, and by patiently instilling begging face, and many tears, tried moral and religious truths, “line to kiss the hand that had never done upon line," into their untutored minds. it a benefit, and cried, “Come with me, A desire to amend is aroused, and a come with me, and see for yourself."" healthy tone of feeling rises up sooner The child was eyer in his thoughts, than might be expected. Human and he could take no rest. nature will ever respond to the voice A meeting was held, in which his deep of love and pity; and it will usually be feeling and appeals stirred many hearts; the better for being trusted. We but there were no men of capital on think that it is greatly owing to this whom to rely, and it was a large scheme. principle of trust that so many boys They resolved to pray, to believe, to are reformed in our Ragged-schools. expect; and in a few weeks remarkable But it is not of our noble English answers were sent to their prayers. societies we are going to write. Money flowed in from unexpected Thirty years ago,

Immanuel quarters, and it was resolved at once Wichern, a young Clergyman, residing to begin. A little cottage, half in in Hamburg, had his soul deeply ruins, and a plot of ground, was given stirred within him on consideration by one of the gentlemen ; and it was WICHERN'S ROUGH HOUSE,

366

soon improved and rendered habitable. How it derived its name of " Das Rauhes Haus," is not certain; it bore it before the reformatory was thought of.

Now arose the question, would children come ? and many were ready to discourage the patient believing young Clergyman and his mother, who took up their abode under the thatched roof, gladly giving up all to live henceforth with juvenile sinners, rough and hardened. They entered the last day of October, and on the 8th of November three boys came, and when the year closed they had twelve. They varied in age from five to eighteen, and were all poor street-wanderers, and notorious for begging, theft, and for disbelief and contempt of all that was good and holy. They were very violent and shameless. They would eat raw meat, potato-parings, and tallow for greasing shoes. They knew all the scenes of dancing-booths and theatres, and their memories were stored with obscene ballads, and even clever parodies of the Bible. Here was an answer to prayer, enough to daunt any but a man whom God had called to that special purpose.

Wichern's theory was, not to punish hastily, or to use severity ; but to win them over by " loving them.” He had known most of them before, in visiting them at home, or in prison; and, doubtless, they felt he loved them, or they would scarcely have come of their own accord. When they were first told that the past was to be forgotten, that they were never to be reminded of their evil ways, but that he was to be their loving father, and his mother their mother, they were speechless with amazement and incredulity. Erelong, however, they believed in their new-found happiness, and began to unfold to the influence of gentleness and goodness. They would gather round Wichern at night and talk over the day ; bring him the first-blown flowers; and on one occasion decked his room with flowers,

The first Christmas a boy ran away, and was met at the fair, and persuaded to return. When he arrived, the others were singing Christmas-hymns round the good mother. The elder boys proposed he should be punished, and suggested some severe treatment. But one stood out and begged forgiveness, and all the lads joined at once, and held out their hands to the wanderer. His heart was melted; he was trusted ever after, and never betrayed the trust. Several others ran off, so inveterate was their desire for a vagabond life; but they always returned ashamed. At length they yielded to the gentle controlling influence of home-life, and home-duties, and home-pleasures. They were most especially moved by singing: it would awaken the tenderest emotions, and they would sing hymns under the trees for hours.

The Bible was taught as a history, The picture of Christ in the Gospels, as He is represented in all the scenes of His life, excited the boys to the highest degree. They longed to tell the Biblehistories to others. They felt their power in their own experience, and yielded erelong to their transforming influence. It is interesting to know that the whole of the twelve boys found in the Rough House at the close of the first year became good and useful members of society.

It was indispensable to find out-door and in-door employment for the boys : and to get them to work, at first, was a difficulty. It was thus surmounted : The Rough House was surrounded by a bank six feet high, overgrown with shrubs and brushwood. It was proposed that this should be levelled; that, as it was a house of love, there were to be no bolts, bars, or ramparts to constrain them to abide. The idea took possession of them; and, by one scheme or another, the spirit of working was implanted; and busy and skilful the lads became year by year. The inmates began to multiply; and an

[blocks in formation]

some

earnest request was made that girls love of Christ lighting up their zeal for might be received. The boys deter- the outcasts. Wichern kept to his first mined to build a dwelling for them. principle, to ask of uone but God the A house for twelve, a chapel and wash- means of support; and prayer after house were soon erected. Wichern had prayer was answered; promise after proa sister to superintend them. Alas! it mise fulfilled ; difficulty after difficulty was found that the girls were more overcome, in ways so surprising and unmanageable than had been the boys; delightful, that we can only wonder they were deplorably vicious and pro- and believe that “whatsoever things,” fane; but, within a year, all gave proof according to the will of God, are of the power of the word of God saveone. “asked in prayer, believing, shall”

A printing-press was set up. The be "received." first sheet struck off was the Twenty- A kind of brotherhood has grown third Psalm. During the last sixteen up under the shadow of the Rough years it has done wonderful work. The House. Wichern, his mother, and boys print every month thousands of sister, needed helpers; and a young those Fliegende Blätter, that have Swiss was the first to cast in his lot borne such holy and blessed messages with them. Other helpers followed ; throughout Germany,

and thus has resulted a wonderful In course of time the applicants forad- brotherhood of Christian workers who mission became so numerous, that twenty have devoted themselves to separate houses grew up; the patch branch of home-mission work. While of garden spread out into fifty acres; they remain they live among the chiland thetwelve boys were multiplied into dren, carrying

carrying out the original four hundred and fifty-two, with one scheme of a father to each family of hundred and thirty girls. Thousands of boys. It is impossible, within our previsiters from every country visit it. scribed limits, to give an idea of the Kings and Queens, Archdukes and work doing in schools, workhouses, Archduchesses, have been found among and prisons, by those who have gone the children earnestly asking how out to labour for Christ as city Missuch results have been brought about. sionaries and as colporteurs.

The Rough House issues a capital Dr. Wichern still lives; the devoted paper, with a monthly circulation of mother has gone to her heavenly rest; six thousand : it has established a but she has been succeeded in her religious book-shop at Hamburg, and loving work by“ the young mother," year by year it sends forth men and the wife of Dr. Wichern. women, who, but for its influence, might have been occupants of prisons. They are found filling offices in the

THE MINISTRY. church, the army, the mercantile SOME would, says an eminent man, world.

Others are artisans, sailors, make the Minister a student; some a colonists, men and women servants. visiting Pastor ; some a public speaker. Some have become heads of families, Undoubtedly, the same rule cannot be training their children up in goodness applied to all. Different modes of and truth.

labour are appropriate to different Kindred institutions have sprung up men, and to different conditions of throughout Germany. Indeed it has be- society. Still, the great idea of the come impossible to calculate the blessed Christian Minister is plain. He is to results that have arisen from the en- be a teacher; and, in order that he trance of that devoted son and mother may teach, he must learn. His pecuinto that little thatched cottage, that liar work is to quicken the community October night, thirty years ago, with the by the promulgation of exalting truth, MY BELOVED IS MINE, AND I AM AIS."-SCRIPTURE SCENES.

368

The acquisition of this truth, and the clear, powerful expression of it, are then, his chief labours; and these imply most solitary thought. He is to be a thinker. To this severe toil his life is to be mainly given.

If you have never realized the ides before, try to get it into your mind, and have a purpose. See that it is worthy of your energy and zeal, then live for it. Seek grace and strength to pursue it, and persevere in it until the Master calls you.

“MY BELOVED IS MINE, AND

I AM HIS."

FROM THE GERMAN OP JOHANN SCHEFFLER

"We love Him, because He first loved us." (1 John iv. 19.) LOVED One! who, by grace, hast wrought

me

LIVE FOR A PURPOSE. God had an object in creating 118. Every man and woman should seek to know and try to accomplish that end. Paul was no sooner converted than he asked, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?"

Early press it on the minds of your children, engrave it on your own hearts. A purpose. There is a purpose which God had in view in giving me a place here. What can it be? How can I perform it ?

We must glorify Him here. Our bodies, our souls are His, to be used in honouring Him. This will require active usefulness. We must try to be useful. Do not be drones. Do not be destructive, in principle or practice. If you cannot be salt, saying by your influence those that you come in contact with, do not be a nuisance, defiling and corrupting.

Try to realize every day that you have something to do for God, the souls of men, your own soul, for eternity. Be in earnest about it. “How am I straitened till it be accomplished !" was the language of the Saviour. By constantly, daily urging on in any work, we can do an amount which we would not believe. Do not wait for opportunities. Seek them. If you cannot do what you would, do what you can.

Do not regulate your duty by your success, or the object of your aim ; and do not be discouraged because you do not succeed in your wishes. It might do you injury to accomplish what you want, and defeat what God would have you do. God will use your endeavour to do His own will and purpose, which will be far better; and if you could only see a little further, it is the very thing you would like to see done. As God overrules all the actions of wicked men, and accomplishes undesigned good, 80 we may confidently hope and believe that He will use the actions of those who seek to do IIis will, more certainly to do good.

Somewhat to Thy likeness pure; Loved One! who, in mercy, sought me,

Lost and wretched, blind and poor; Loved One ! hear me vow, this day, To be Thino eternally. Loved One! who endured such anguish,

Who for man so toiled and bled ; Loved One! who by death did vanquish

All my foes, and in my stead;
Loved One! hear me vow, this day,
To be Thine eternally.
Loved One! who art now bestowing

Light and knowledge, truth and grace ; Loved One! who Thyself art showing

As the sinner's hiding-place;
Loved One! hear me vow, this day,
To be Thine eternally,
Loved One! who for ever loves me,

Still for me in heaven prays;
Loved One! who my freedom gives me,

And the mighty ransom pays; Loved One! hear me vow, this day, To be Thine eternally. Loved One! who, erelong, wilt wake me

From the grave, where I shall lie; Loved One! who, erelong, wilt make me

Sharer of Thy bliss on high; Loved One! hear me vow, this day, To be Thine eternally.

Scripture Scenes.

SHECHEM. This is a town in central Palestino, in Samaria, among the

mountains of Ephraim, in the narrow valley between the mountains of Ebal and Gerizim, and

[merged small][merged small][graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors]

consequently within the tribe of Ephraim. It was a very ancient place, and appears It is in north latitude 32° 17', east to have arisen as a town in the interval longitude 35° 20', being thirty-four miles between the arrival of Abraham in north of Jerusalem, and seven miles south Palestine and the return of Jacob from of Samaria.

Padan-aram, for it is mentioned only as Vol. VIII.- Second Series.

2 B

« AnteriorContinuar »