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Emm. Its system of nuns, for example, as is very well sketched in the SISTER OF MERCY.*
Ed. We have not time to ask you for the story itself: favour us with a brief critique.
Emm. As a story it is not at all improbable, but as the book is a small one, the events are necessarily crowded in very rapidly, and should be expanded within wider dimensions, in order to have proper effect. The scenes are drawn with ability and spirit, although not in every part of the work with quite the same power. The frontispiece places the Sister of Mercy, in her quaint costume, vividly before us. She is just opening the door of a wretched room, on an errand of kindness to a poor sufferer.
Mrs. M. We could surely have the same kindness without the dress and the vows.
Aug, I do not think we could in the case of these Sisters. I question whether they would care about their exercise of charity, were it not for their exalted conceptions of the angelic sweetness of single blessedness, and for the singularity of belonging to an order with a fine sounding title.
Mrs. M. You are rather hard upon these “Sisters ;" you must make allowance for a sincere but weak-minded piety, for a heart that runs away with the head, and for the gradual and powerful training under a false system of religious teaching.
Aug. From the memoir of a nun, we will now pass to a different piece of biography—THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A FIVE POUND NOTE. It forms the second volume of the “Run and Read Library,” a series which promises a constant supply of interesting and useful reading. Railways have given rise to a peculiar species of literature, and it is very desirable that this should be pervaded by a healthy and religious tone. Messrs. Clarke & Co's endeavours are in the right direction, and deserve support.
Mrs. M. By whom is this autobiography written ?
Aug. By Mrs. Webb, the authoress of “ Naomi ;” and this fact is, I am sure, sufficient recommendation of a story, which is well conceived and well written.
Ed. Ah, if a bank-note could really tell its history, it would present us with incidents of deep and solemn moment, such as no novelist could invent or equal. Would that a note had a tongue when it passed through the hands of some eager man, slaving for this world, and careless of the next! It might preach to him of money as a curse, as well as of money as a blessing.
Aug. If bank-notes cannot preach themselves, it is possible for us to preach, with them as our text.
• London : Houlston & Stoneman.
+ London : Clarke & Co.
Ed. You mean, I suppose, in such a way as Dr. Tweedie, preaches in this work of his, A LAMP TO THE PATH.* He thinks the pulpit has not sufficiently brought religion down to the common walks of life, and shown how it can mingle and ought to mingle with the acts of business, as well as with the acts of worship. He shows, with much earnestness and perspicuity, how this can be done ; how the Bible can enter, hallow, and control “the heart, the home, and the market-place.” He takes a cheerful glance at the present times, repudiating the croakings which assert that the former were better than these, and deriving from the auspices of public opinion as now pre valent, encouraging predictions for the events yet hidden in the future.
Mrs. M. Yet, I thought that very many Christians looked with fear and trembling on the moral characteristics of our age
Ed. Dr. Tweedie is not one of these. He feels that, “there never was an age when so much was done as in ours, to help forward the great cause of truth and the reclaiming of the world to God. We know that vice has been unmasked in most appalling forms; but that is because philanthropy has grappled with crime in its own dens, and dragged it into day light. We know that superstition is still trampling men, in myriads, into the dust, while the Word of God, and all that would elevate man from his deep degradation is hated and put down wherever superstition has the power ; but that is only because the systems which are antagonistic to the truth have been roused to more resolute efforts, by the earnestness of the friends of man. And we know that oppression, in many lands, is still goading multitudes to madness, immuring them in dungeons, or hurrying them to death ; but that is only because the oppressor instinctively feels that the tide is rising which must eventually sweep him from his place. The struggles now made, then, to perpetuate the reign of bondage, and doom men to mental and spiritual vassalage for some centuries more, are symptomatic of a waning not a waxing cause; and the philanthropist may accordingly rejoice.”
# London: Nelson.
వరం EALLY, London City
ought to be a most religious place. If Churches and Chapels and Ministers of religion could make it so, it must be a model of piety. While other parts of the kingdom are relapsing into heathenism for want of
Evangelical instruction, the City is positively crowded with Ecclesiastical
structures. In 1842, for a population of 54,702 “ within the walls,” there were 50,956 sittings. Very nearly as many sittings as persons !
Some of our readers may account for this remarkable amount of Church accommodation by the supposition that the inhabitants “within the walls have very greatly diminished in number, through so many residents moving to suburban homes. “Nobody lives in the City now.'
Is this the fact ? Let us look at it more closely.
In 1631 the population within the walls" 71,029. The Churches existing before the Great Fire were 97; of these, 34 that were burnt down were not rebuilt. There was about the same Church and Chapel accommodation 200 years ago, in proportion to the population, that there now is.
For upwards of two centuries, therefore, every man, woman and child " within the walls” could have gone, could now go, to a place of worship, all at the same time! And
500 of these citizens now possess a minister of religion to look after their welfare. What ample spiritual provision !
What then is the state of religion here? It might be expected to be very high. But it is not so. There are many parts of the metropolis where religion is in a more flourishing condition than in the small City parishes.
The Churches and Chapels are, with some exceptions, very badly attended. On the Sunday mornings of last December a census was taken by the London City Mission. The attendance was-Adults, 9,874; School Children, 3,093. There were only 12,967 present, although there was accommodation for nearly fifty-one thousand persons !
And, notwithstanding the smallness of the spheres of labour, no part of the metropolis is less under domiciliary visitation by ministers of religion. Many persons were found, during a late survey, who had
never seen a minister of any denomination within their doors. Yet, within the narrow compass, styled “the city within the walls” are four thousand poor families :-so especially needing pastoral visits.
Do they need such visits ? Here are facts. The Sunday census showed that only 1,283 poor persons occupied the free sittings in 59 Churches and 17 Chapels. There are 427 poor families that possess no copy of the Holy Scriptures. Close to the Bible Society's House there are 91 families destitute of a Bible. There are 290 shops open on Sunday, although less excuse can be made for this within the City than elsewhere. 249 public houses are also open on the Lord's Day, in addition. On one Sunday morning it was ascertained that 324,000 persons landed and embarked from steamers plying between Chelsea and London-bridge; and there are as many persons proceeding by steam vessels down the river below the bridges, from the piers within “the City.”
Then, as to education, although the great number of well endowed schools renders the educational character of the City poor, superior to that of London in general, much ignorance is yet found prevailing. In the ward of Farringdon Without, 318 children, above ten years of age, have just been found, who could not read. In Portsoken Ward, 532 adults could not read.
The foregoing remarks have chiefly borne upon the population within the walls," but it should not be forgotten that there is a large number, said to be “without the walls,” but still under civic jurisdiction, and really forming part of the City. The total number of persons in 1851 was 127,869. In the last ten years the City population has increased 4,306. This will correct the mistaken notion that the population is decreasing. It is true that the more wealthy tradesmen have removed their residences to the suburbs, to the great loss of the poor remaining behind. But the population does not diminish.