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Abandoned Children in Christian Families.' The house is no permanent asylum, but merely an experimental residence for the children, “where their character, temper, and talents are examined during the few months, in order to discover which kind of family would suit them best. It would also occur that a child was on a sudden standing at the door of one of the members, asking bread and shelter ; and it often cost much trouble to get such a poor creature under roof, even for the ensuing night.” Therefore this small house was fitted up,
and thence the children are transferred to their proper homes in distinct Christian families.
Originally, the plan was the thought of one man, a certain pastor of the Reformed Church, named Bräm. For many a year he published the idea before it caught attention, though his arguments were such as these :-"As you are saved by love, so you should try to save others. As you have been kindly taken into the only protecting sheepfold, so you should take others under your hospitable roof. But perhaps with your best will, you cannot possibly open your door for the lost and neglected; perhaps your family circumstances put it out of the question. But there certainly are families which lack no requisite. Could you not assist in finding them out ? and if found, could you not encourage them by your kind addresses and liberal help to unite oue or two lost little lambs that are wandering outside in the wilderness to the happy fold inside ?”
Another German, whose name is a synonym for benevolence, Pastor Zeller, who himself founded an Orphan Asylum at Beuggen, had long before strongly advocated the placing of bereaved children in Christian families as the very best method of training. Commenting on this, M. de Liefde observes—"An establishment which contains from fifty to seventy children (and this surely is only a small one), however well managed, cannot help being unnatural in many respects. Nature seldom puts more than twelve children together in one house ; quite enough for a man and his wife to control, if due attention be given to the formation of the various characters, and the development of the various talents. The training of a band of children beyond that number cannot help assuming the character of wholesale education." The noble Immanuel Wichern felt this objection so forcibly, that his famous Rough House Institution is like a village of families; each homestead with its house-father and house-mother, and its twelve boys or girls, as the case may be. He considered that he could not otherwise do justice to those whom God had committed to his care, than by letting the principles of family life act upon cach individual.
But further than this would the good Pastors Zeller and Bräm copy Nature :-“The Christian family parlour is the best reformatory,” said the former. “The training of poor neglected children in families should be a Church concern,” said the latter. “The
farther the education of reasonable human beings is kept from artificiality, and the nearer it approaches nature, the more will it benefit society, which is an aggregate of families.” But in one case the establishment has an undeniable advantage over boarding in families,—that of children who have been neglected till habits of vice are formed; these require the drill and discipline of a reformatory, rather than the soft influences of a home. In one of his addresses, Pastor Bräm observes :
I have no objection to good establishments built by men; but let us not overlook the numerous establishments which God made long since : I mean the Christian
families, which are certainly in much greater number than is generally believed among the middle and lower classes of this country. There the orphans will find fathers and mothers who are prepared to receive them with loving hearts into a family home. And when we thus bring to light many a hidden family supplied with various talents and powers useful for the kingdom of Christ, shall we not have reason to praise God that we were enabled to turn them to profit for the good of souls ? Believers do not sufficiently know the rights and duties of their priesthood; and are not sufficiently conscious of their calling as missionaries of Christ to a lost world. Let us give them some mission work to do within the compass of their own residences let us give them one or two poor children to train up for God and His service,—and they will have an excellent opportunity of cultivating that missionary talent which should be found lacking in no Christian family.”
The writer knows of an instance in which a Christian man, childless, heard of the death of another man, leaving four orphan girls utterly unprovided for. He went home in the evening, as usual, with the thought big at his heart,-Could I not be a father to those fatherless ? He spoke to his wife: they were comfortable, well-to-do people ; they prayed to the Lord about the matter, and finally offered to take two of the children to educate and provide for. Those children proved the interest and blessing of their lives,—they acted the tenderest daughters' part; loving and beloved, they grew up into Christian women of the highest der, and have themselves rendered good service to the cause of Christ.
Such charity has generally a reward in the life that now is. “Some masters of families would, with tears in their eyes,
thank Pastor Bräm for the great blessing he had brought into their house, by enabling them to take a little one, in the name of Christ, under their family roof.” These, according to the arrangements of the German society, received payment proportioned to their means and requirements; though in the highest case the salary is too low to stimulate any covetous desires. A system of visiting by an inspector has also been organized, in addition to the utmost care bestowed on the selection of the home in the first instance. is not merely our intention to see the children provided with bread
and shelter, and instructed in some useful trade ; but we desire that they should obtain a Christian education in the bosom of believing and fit families,—that they should be led to the Lord, their only Saviour. We therefore not only look out for families at random, but for such as in sincerity can say, 'We will serve the Lord.” Judgment is formed by such indications as the training of the children of the house itself; the neatness and order of the rooms; and especially the character of the mother, which is found the most important consideration of all. Having thus chosen the homes, they are visited often by paid and unpaid agents of the society. Says the pastor, “We want to show that we cordially share the work. Where a number of such families are living at one place, we invite their respective heads to a meeting at which, in friendly mutual intercourse, each one's experiences and opinions relative to the training of the children are communicated and discussed." There is something superior to a mere official overseeing in this,-something to draw closer the bonds of Christian love.
Some of the County Orphan Societies in Ireland are conducted on this principle, and it is found to work well and to facilitate the settlement of the children in life. Family ties are formed, family love engendered, and the orphan gains friends as he grows up. The system certainly looks more natural than any other. A miserable attempt at it was formerly made by Poor Boards, when children were positively farmed out to the lowest bidder. Perhaps for this reason it fell into disrepute for so long.
“The relation,” remarks Pastor Bräm, “ between us and the establishments is that between two roads to the same end. They are doing their hard work in their own way, according to the gifts God has vouchsafed to them; we are doing ours
our way, and much is left to be done by both of us."
LIFE'S MARCHING SONG.
E not ever vacillating,
Changing still from side
Fearing even to decide.
Scorn the narrow bigot's name ; Keep thy soul for ever brightened
By a high and noble name. Dare to venture on the ocean
Where men never sailed before ; Fear not to unfurl the banner
On the undiscovered shore.
Let not men's opinions daunt thee,
If they say what is not true;
They shall bear their judgment too.
Shun all indolent delay ;
Pay the debt of life to-day.
Hold it up to reason's light;
T is a common thing in this world of changes to find that men who have become rich or great through their own industry, or by some turn of what is called “ fortune,” have many poor relations; and if it happen, as
it sometimes does, that such relations are shunned and slighted, and by degrees the connexion entirely dropped, envy and ill-will are sure to mark the mention of that
prosperity which has broken old ties, and blotted out old recollections. Most of us are quick to feel a slight, or to prize a kindness from those who were once our equals, but are raised above us in the ranks of life; and it is pleasant to have "a friend at court,” who will bear our interests in mind, and neglect no opportunity for doing us good.
Such a friend, Himself once a poor working man, knowing hunger and thirst and weariness, wandered about in the world, not because He needed to do so, but because He would by experience understand want and sorrow, that He might never forget how sad they are, and know how best to relieve them when He should have the opportunity. Many who did not care about Him, only mocked at the wise and true things He said, and the holy life He led; for He told them that sin was the worst sorrow, and forgiveness of it the greatest happiness they could know. He had a mother and brothers who seemed anxious about His safety, and one day they sent a message through a crowd of people who thronged about Him, to say they were waiting to speak with Him. He did not go. The message seemed to give Him a new opportunity to speak home to hearts around Him; and standing there with looks of love and kindness, He asked, “Who is my
mother, and who are my brothers ? I tell you that whosoever will do the will of my Father, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Mark iii. 35).
Now “whosoever” is a wide, full, searching word, and will find out the members of the family wherever they are, and whatever their birth or station may
be. Say, honest son of toil, as you follow your plough, work at your bench, drive your cart, watch on the railway, work in the coal-pit, labour at the docks, pile goods in the warehouse, -are you a relation of the Son of God? Do you say you know not? doing His Father's will? Do you believe in Jesus as the Saviour of your soul, which is His Father's command, the root and ground of all other true obedience? If you do, with a humble childlike belief, you are a “brother” of Jesus (John xv. 14, xx. 17; Heb. ii. 11; Rom. viii. 29).
Tried daughter of home, as you tend your parents, or stand at the wash-tub, or guide your little ones, mending, stitching,
striving from morning till night to make the best of everything, are you trusting in God through Christ, and meekly doing His holy will? Then you are a “sister” of Jesus; His eye is upon you; and not the smallest of your efforts, nor the least of your cares, escapes the notice of the Friend that “ sticketh closer than a brother.";
Aged matron, watching with indulgent love the uprising of a third generation, the example and adviser of all around,-is your grey head “ a crown of glory » « found in the way of righteousness”? Do you wait in peaceful hope of the time when you will be missed from your place on earth, and fill the one prepared in heaven ? Then you are a "mother” of Jesus, and He delights in your relationship.
And now that, after His time of sorrow and hardship and death, Jesus is exalted to His Father's throne, and "all power is given. unto Him in heaven and earth," does the Princely Brother forget His poor relations"? Oh no; His heart is with them, His power is for them, and the more they come begging for blessings and favours the better pleased is He. He is making ready their home as beautiful as His own, and all that He has is theirs. Only let them be really of His believing family, and Jesus Christ can never forget or neglect His POOR RELATIONS.
CHRISTIAN CHARITY. S life advances, a more modest, a calmer, sweeter, more tolerant spirit begins to infuse itself into a man's mind. He begins to attach less and less
importance to the points which divide sects and
churches from each other, to think that few of them are worth a breach of charity-at any rate, to be convinced that it is not on these that the relation of the soul to God and eternity depends. Seeing in all
Churches men whose sweet and saintly lives breathe the very spirit of Christ, and of whom it is impossible to doubt that to Christ they are dear, shall he refuse to recognise those whom his Lord has received, or turn away with unchristian hardness and exclusiveness from men whom he may soon have to meet in heaven? No; whenever in the heat of party feeling, amid the weary strifes and rivalries of sects and churches, we are tempted to indulge the spirit of theological or ecclesiastical exclusiveness, or to feel for intellectual error the indignation and hostility that should be reserved for sin, there is one thought that may well bring us to a better mind. Let us recall to mind the good and holy men of different sects and churches who once were with us and are now in the presence of Christ, and ask whether the points