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the consciousness of this perfect harmony produces that peace of God, which the world can neither give nor take away. If any one of our faculties stands out, and refuses its concurrence with the rest, we may be certain there is error somewhere, and that we have yet attained only a partial apprehension of truth. But when reason, in its calmest, clearest vision, and feeling, in its tenderest, holiest mood, distinctly point to one conclusion, which is uniformly corroborated by the experience of life and all these tendencies urge on the mind to a continual progress in wisdom and moral excellence-then we may feel perfect confidence that we are standing on solid ground, that we are abiding in the divine word, and that we shall be led on by it to fresh measures and wider views of religious truth: and this truth, as it takes increasing possession of our minds, will gradually free them from every passion, prejudice, and infirmity, which impedes the progress and is at variance with the perfection and happiness of our immortal natures.”
We trust that this truly valuable Sermon will not be suffered to lie forgotten, after the common fate of publications not large enough to stand alone; and especially that our Tract Societies will take it up, and offer it annually to the notice of our Churches,
S MEAD MEETING DOMESTIC MISSION SOCIETY.
Second Annual Report, presented to the General Annual Meeting, held
September 1st, 1841. A MINISTRY to the Poor being necessarily one of an unostentatious, almost indeed of a private character, the Committee of the Lewin's Mead Domestic Mission are glad the period has arrived when they can submit their proceedings to the subscribers at large ; and they trust it will appear to those who feel an interest in this work of Christian love, that it is not undeserving of their continued sympathy and support.
The Committee have had various subjects of consideration before them during the year, incidental to the appointment of a permanent Minister, and have held many meetings, some in conjunction with the Committee of the Working and Visiting Society. They will however, in the present Report, confine their remarks principally to those arrangements which are connected with the disposal of the funds of the Mission, and will leave it to their Minister to detail his labours and observations during the period of his service among the poor of his district.
The first duty that devolved upon the Committee, after the Annual Meeting in August 1840, was to carry into effect the resolution to invite the Rev. James Bayley, of Fleet, to undertake the situation of Minister to the Poor in connection with this society.” An invitation was sent to Mr. Bayley, and accepted by him, and he entered upon his duties at Michaelmas last.
The terms upon which Mr. B. agreed to undertake the office were, that he should receive a salary of £100 per annum, and the sum of £20 for the purpose of defraying the expenses of his removal from Lincolnshire, and with the understanding that either Mr. Bayley or the Committee should have the power of terminating the engagement on giving three months' notice on either side.
As past experience had shown it to be essential to the success of a Missionary that he should have the means of affording, to a moderate extent, pecuniary relief to the more pressing wants of the poor who came under his notice, while at the same time it was of undeniable importance that the objects of the Mission should not regard the purpose of the Institution to be that of alms-giving, it was arranged that Mr. Bayley should be empowered to disburse from the Poor's Purse the sum of seven shillings weekly, in addition to such articles of food and clothing as were sent to him by charitable individuals, to be distributed at his discretion, and that any deficiency in the Poor's Purse should be supplied from the general funds.
In consequence of the peculiar severity of the season at the beginning of the year, it was resolved that the sum appropriated for distribution by the Missionary, from the Poor's Purse and general fund, should be increased for a short period to ten shillings per week ; but it was found that Mr. Bayley did not consider it necessary to have recourse to this additional sum.
Much consideration having been given to the district most suitable for the Minister's exertions, that of Lewin's Mead was at length decided upon, in consequence of its vicinity to the Chapel, the destitute and depraved state of the neighbourhood, its being the residence of the parents of many of the children belonging to the schools, and as some poor
families resident there were known to the ladies of the Working and Visiting Society.
That the usefulness of a Domestic Minister has been increased, and an additional importance attached to his station, by his having some fixed place for conducting a public religious service, has been the experience of Missions in various parts; and the Committee was therefore anxious that Mr. Bayley should procure a room for the purpose of occasionally preaching there, as well as for other objects connected with his ministry. Such a room has been hired, and the Committee have pleasure in referring to Mr. Bayley's Report for an account of the use that has been made of it, as well as for a statement of the progress
and success of his labours generally, and for the observations his experience hitherto among
poor of this city has enabled him to make. From the Treasurer's Report it will be found that the state of the funds is satisfactory, and the Committee hope the Subscribers in general will agree with them in considering the past year's experience such as to induce them to “take
The Report of the Rev. J. Bayley. CHRISTIAN FRIENDS, It is now eleven months since I was invited by you to undertake the situation of Domestic Missionary. When you duly consider the nature of its duties and the district in which they have been exercised, you will be prepared to expect that much that is painful, and even loathsome to the feelings has been witnessed, and that the task of reformation is peculiarly arduous. In presenting this Report, I would premise that I have no tales of conversion to relate --no account of individuals reclaimed from a grossly immoral course, and made (what we could wish, and what it is our object to make them) moral and respectable members of society, and, in the best sense of the word, religious. My own experience is of such a kind as to make me regard with suspicion any such representations; and the instances of disappointment I have experienced within the short period I have been engaged in my present duty, makes me exceedingly jealous of any show of improvement by the morally degraded. The object at which we aim can be realised only by long and painful labour ; and after all our exertions we may be disappointed. But it does not therefore follow that no good has been done. Though we do not improve the character all we could wish, we nay improve it in a degree; or, at least, prevent it from being more degraded. Frequently the latter is all we can even hope to do with such means as a Missionary has at his command ; as nothing but a complete revolution in the circumstances of some can produce a reformation.
In walking through the poorer districts of this city, as well as in visiting and conversing with the poor, my mind has been much exercised both on the causes of their degradation, and the means by which they may be improved.
Poverty is one cause of the degradation of a portion of our fellowcreatures ; but not the only cause, nor the most general. Periodical loss of employment, and illness in the family of the industrious artizan, frequently operate to produce degradation and misery. I know a mechanic who, when employed, earns £1 per week; but during the past winter I found him in a state of destitution. On my suggesting to him the propriety of laying aside a portion of his wages when he was in work to meet his wants when “idle," he replied, “ My wages do not average through the year more than fourteen shillings per week.” This man is a mason, and during the past winter was out of employment nearly, if not quite, three months. Then, again, men in his situation are frequently obliged to lose days and half-days throughout the year, owing to the weather, which has been the case with him. Then a death or a birth in the family brings its innumerable little expenses, all tending to impoverish. This going on year after year (which is no improbable case), it is easy to perceive how a man may sink into hopeless poverty, and, through despair of improving his condition, become indifferent to the present and reckless of the future. Again, men who are neither idle nor immoral in their habits, may be frequently thrown out of employment owing to their being indifferent workmen. The frequently recurring depressions of trade will cause these to be oftener out of work than others, as masters regard expertness in workmen rather than moral character. I mention these things to check that sweeping condemnation of the poor, in which some are apt to indulge, who suppose that poverty is entirely the fault of the sufferer.
But though I admit poverty to be the cause of degradation in many instances, I do not in the majority of cases. Improvidence, idleness, and drunkenness have their many victims, and are the bane of the working classes. Let any one go through the poorer districts of this city, and see the beer-shops and public-houses that meet his sight at every turning, and then consider from whom the sums of money to support these are derived, and he will be at no loss to account for a considerable portion of the misery endured by the poor. Drunkenness, which by many, and that not merely amongst the poor, is scarcely thought a vice, is one of the most prolific sources of degradation. More than one with whom I have become acquainted have been led by it to crime, and suffered the punishments of the law. But where it does not carry its victims so far, it is the cause of unspeakable misery. Visiting a family one day, I found the mother making a garment for one of her children. “I am so glad,” said she, “that you came to see my husband! I am able now to get a few things for my children. I do hope he will continue to keep away from the public-house.” But habits once acquired are not easily broken. The excitement of the late election drew that husband into his old haunts,
to indulge his propensity for drink; and that mother's heart has again been wrung with grief.
Amongst the causes operating for the depravation of the poor, I am compelled to notice the condition of their dwellings. Some of these are dark, confined, dilapidated,—tending to diminish self-respect by creating indifference to cleanliness and domestic comforts, which it is almost impossible to secure in such abodes. Others, indeed, are large and airy-formerly seats of opulence—and might be made by industry comfortable dwellings; yet, from their size admitting a number of tenants (there being a family in each room), you may more easily conceive than I can describe, what effect is produced on their inmates. Some of these rooms are miserably furnished. A bed of shavings contained in some old bags sewed together, on which parents with one, two, or three children will huddle together for the night, with a single covering of some coarse cloth or rug, which in the morning is thrust up in a corner, and an old table, with a chair or two, complete the furniture. Others have broken bedsteads, with scarcely better beds; and in some rooms there are two and three of these for the accommodation of lodgers besides the family.
What can be done to improve and elevate this portion of our fellowcreatures ? Preaching will not do it, for they will not come to hear it; and occasionally visiting and talking to them is nearly as useless. Nor will merely supplying them with food and clothing, for this only tends to increase idleness and improvidence. Two things are essentially requisite,
-EMPLOYMENT and EDUCATION, and where these cannot be secured, the utmost efforts of charity will fail to improve the poor, if it does not degrade them still more. In confirmation of this view, I would here introduce the words of two individuals, in relation to this subject of relieving the poor without enabling them to provide for themselves. The Rev. J. Johns, of Liverpool, in alluding to the causes of the degradation of the poor of that town, says, “ I would briefly advert to the influence of over-numerous public charities upon the conduct and happiness of the lower working classes of this town. Having observed their general effects with as much attention as was in my power, I can rest upon no other conclusion than that, though at their first institution they may possibly do more good than evil, they usually issue, in proportion to the scale of their means and operations, in doing far more evil than good.” " Nothing, I fear, can take from them their natural tendency to propagate the
very evils they were intended to counteract. While they exist, there will always, I think, be one great source of dependency and degradation among the lower classes of the poor." Similar to this is the testimony of the Rev. J. Evans, in his history of Bristol, published in 1816. Speaking of the charities in connection with different churches, he says, “Of these and similar charities we think that they create the poverty which they were intended to relieve. They are bounties to indolence and to imprudence. If the wretchedness of poverty be ever annihilated, the poor themselves must combine for its extermination. They will combine for this object when they know that they must depend principally upon themselves ; when they have been taught to think and to compare ; when they have learned the necessity of foresight, and have