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As they ebb, may they leave us as little children, trusting in the Father of mercies, and accepting His unspeakable gift.” The philosopher shrank from the glitter and stare of the great northern meeting; and after appearing at one or two of the sections, took the earliest opportunity of departing from the granite city as quietly as he had entered it. During his brief stay the present writer had the privilege of meeting him, along with several of his eminent confréres, in private, and cherishes the impression left by the gravity and simplicity of his character, the unobtrusiveness of his conversation, the gentleness of his manners, the radiant kindliness of his smile, and the quiet and cheery laughter with which he rallied a youthful physicist—who has since made himself an illustrious name by his electrical applications-on a theory he had been expounding on the same day, accounting for the heat of the sun being maintained by fuel obtained from the asteroids. A lady present sung him one of Burns's songs, which pleased him greatly; and followed it up with a sacred composition descriptive of the felicity of the heavenly state. “Ah!" he remarked, in an earnest undertone, “ if we could only get people to believe that!”
Michael Faraday was born at Newington Butts, in 1791. His father was a blacksmith, and had at one time been in indigent circumstances, the family having been so pinched as to require parochial aid in a certain contingency. In the noon of his fame Faraday referred to his humble origin without being ashamed of it, and equally without the pride that apes humility. Seeking repose and health in Switzerland in 1841, and while expatiating, as was his wont, in such noble aspects of nature as met him at Interlaken, he stumbles upon a prosaic fact at that charming place:—“ Clout-nail making goes on here rather considerably, and is a very neat and pretty operation to observe. I love a smith's shop and everything relating to smithery. My father was a smith.” Young Faraday being fond of books, his parents got him a situation in the shop of a bookseller and bookbinder in London, where he commenced his career as a newsboy, delivering papers to his master's customers. This was at the age of 13; and he remained in the same situation for eight years, during the chief part of the time binding books. He wrote, six-and-forty years afterwards, when asked wbether it were true that he derived his first taste for chemistry and physics by reading Mrs. Marcet's Conversations on Chemistry,—"It was in those books, (which he bound,) in the hours after work, that I found the beginning of my philosophy. There were two that especially helped me—the Encyclopædia Britannica, from which I gained my first notions of electricity; and Mrs. Marcets Chemistry,
which gave me my foundation in that science. Do not suppose (he adds) that I was a very deep thinker, or was marked as a precocious person. I was a very lively, imaginative person, and could believe in the Arabian Nights as easily as in the Encyclopædia; but facts were important to me, and saved me. I could trust a fact, and always cross-examined an assertion. So when I questioned Mrs. Marcet's book by such little experiments as I could find means to perform, and found it true to the facts as I could understand them, I felt that I had got hold of an anchor in chemical knowledge, and clung fast to it.” The first quality to be observed in the progress of the young student's self-education is industry, shewn by his diligent improvement of his spare hours after work, by reading the books that were passing through his hands. This was combined with the love of truth and strong conscientiousness; qualities which not only characterized his intercourse with the world from boyhood to old age, but which accompanied and directed him in all those experimental investigations in chemistry and physics which ultimately exalted him above all his contemporaries. He conceived a dislike to trade, which he thought “vicious and selfish;” and having been taken to the Royal Institution to hear some of Sir Humphrey Davy's lectures on chemistry, he wrote notes of what he heard, illustrated them by his own drawings, and transmitting the manuscript to the lecturer, expressed a desire to be employed in the service of science, which, he imagined, "made its pursuers amiable and liberal!” Sir Humphrey received the application with indulgent kindness, and soon after offered him the situation of assistant in the laboratory of the Institution; at the same time,” says Faraday," he still advised me not to give up the prospects I had before me, telling me that science was a barsh mistress, and, in a pecuniary point of view, but poorly rewarding those who devoted themselves to her service. He smiled at my notions of the superior moral feelings of philosophic men, and said that he would leave me to the experience of a few years to set me right on that matter.” Faraday entered upon the duties of his new situation in 1813, and in the same year went to the Continent with Sir H. Davy, as his assistant in experiments and writing. He returned in 1815, and resumed operations in the Royal Institution, where he first laboured for several years as assistant, employing his spare hours in private investigations; was then promoted to the principal office, and by his discoveries and lectures raised the Institution to a high state of prosperity; and only resigned his connection with it in 1865, two years before his death.
The Life and Letters of Faraday, in two volumes, by Dr. Bence
Jones, bas been published this year, having been preceded by a volume from the pen of Dr. Tyndall, entitled, Faraday as a Discoverer. Apart from the profound discoveries of this great and good man, there are some interesting facts connected with his self-training for the business of his life, and traits of character of such an instructive description as cannot but be useful when brought under the notice of young men; and to these we shall return in next number.
SABBATH SCHOOL CONVENTION AT DUMFRIES. On the eve of our going to press, we have been favoured with a copy of the Programme of the Sabbath School Convention, to be opened at Dumfries on the 22nd of September, and which we have been obliged to transfer to the Cover. The arrangements, it will be seen, promise au interesting meeting. The Directors of the Glasgow Sabbath School Union have appointed twelve delegates to represent the Union on the occasion.
THE FUTURE OF RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION.
(Continued from page 79.) We have hastily sketched the work which may be required of our Sabbath schools among well-to-do children in the future, shewing that great numbers of them are growing up in almost total neglect of the concerns of their immortal souls. But we must now consider if it is not possible for the Church to do more in an official way for the children of its regular members and adherents. It would surely be a good thing if a quarter of an hour were set apart, during every sermon,
for direct appeal to the young of the congregation. Sermons, as a rule, are composed for grown-up people, perhaps for a critical congregation,—and would it be strange if in such compositions there were words and matter which fell like so much unmeaning sound upon the children's ears? With regard to sermon literature, it is well that for men and women there should be provideä“ strong meat.” Yet, let us not forget the “milk for babes.” The knowledge that parents and guardians were at the same time auditors, and would most probably catechise at home, could not but induce increased attention in hearing on the part of the young. The children being aware that they would be personally addressed, would naturally be solicitous to pick up what they could of general intelligence in the progress of the service, and be enabled more readily to perceive and apply remarks which might afterwards be directly addressed to them. Thus might pulpit administrations and home examination work iuto each other.
I shall now glance briefly at efforts on behalf of children dwelling in back courts, cellars, and hovels. There is an amount of labour and ability concentrated at present upon the reclaiming of our mission districts which does honour to the Church at large, and to the individuals concerned. The Church will do well to maintain and foster this spirit in the future. Seeking to recall the little waifs and strays, floating about in such numbers on the tide of city life, is surely a treading in Christ's own steps.
There will always be some diffidence and hesitation in labouring among well-clad and fed children, because, it may be presumed, they have other means and opportunities of learning the Gospel tidings; but there will, we are sure, be no abatement, but rather an increase of enthusiasm and moral devotion displayed in the working of the home heathen field. From the nature of the work, we do not expect that any radical change will overpass it in the future. Our little ragged subjects are too intensely ignorant to permit of much hope that we will ever get deeper with them in the Divine doctrines than broad statements of the essential doctrines of sin, substitution, justification, and sanctification, all by Christ's life and death; and imparting, if possible, a strong impression of the immortality of the soul of man. Yet what more is necessary, if we succeed by God's grace so far? It would most assuredly be comforting to have our little wards built up strongly, intellectually, in the faith. Yet simple, childlike trust is sometimes found to be stronger than all the assurance that knowledge gives. This is our hope, and should cheer us on our way. But while not anticipating many modifications in the present mode and appliances for evangelizing the masses, I do trust to see a greater manifestation of brotherly love among the workers, and less denominational and other jealousy. There ought to be more banding together of denominations of Christians in this our common assault upon the citadels of gross darkness. Here is a sphere for the “Union” spirit to work,-away from the heat of polemics and strife of parties ; and where such inducement to brotherly love exists, will it be said that the bond itself is awanting? It is not. I will point you to the Sabbath School Unions of our large cities, and shew you in these organizations, far from perfect, no doubt, but embracing within their bounds men and women of various denominations of Christians, all co-operating in the work of advancing the Kingdom. These Unions are worthy of countenance, and can be made means of great assistance to its members by the collection of information as to the progress of Sabbath school work, and by being the centre to which experiences flow. If properly supported, these would be, and I believe are, means of giving increased impetus to the work, and of placing facilities within reach of the less educated teachers. I consider these Unions, therefore, masonic brotherhoods of the bighest grade, of whose membership none need be ashamed, and from whose borders teachers may frequently draw encouragement in the oft-times weary, but ever noble toil.
D. M°C. (We have been under the necessity of curtailing this communication, in order to accommodate it to our limited space. Our correspondent's suggestion to the Churches to institute a junior pastorate for the young
the flock, we do not consider it necessary to print. He has sufficiently indicated how the pastoral care of the young may and ought to be overtaken by the existing ministry. This being done, all else may be left to Christian parents and Sabbath school teachers.—Ed.]
THE WAY HOME. [The author of the following interesting sketch kindly places it at our disposal: although printed for the use of one or two congregations in London, it has not previously been published. Several striking descriptions of home missionary experience in London have recently appeared from the same pen, and, we hope, will be given to the public in a collected form.] “ It doesn't look very promising,” remarked one open-air preacher to another, as they stood in a street in East London on the morning of the Lord's day
Many kinds of merchandise were there bought and sold, of which living animals, such as birds, rabbits, dogs, and guinea pigs, formed a large portion. Here was a lad covered with canaries in cages hung all over him; there, a man in a complete suit of horse-harness; there, another dragging a cart; and still another carrying fancy boxes-all kept in constant motion by the unremitting attention of the police, who refused to allow them to stand still for a minute.
“Not very promising," assented the other; “ but we will do our best, praying for our Master's help and blessing.” So saying, he took his stand in a convenient spot, and commenced reading his Bible. Tall
, handsome, and well-dressed, he soon attracted a crowd; and when the chapter ended, asked God's help and blessing in earnest prayer, amid the almost unbroken silence of the audience.
When he had concluded he stepped aside, and his companion stood forward, and commenced speaking to the people, who by this time had increased to an exceedingly large gathering.
In the full front of the audience stood a young woman, short almost to dwarfishness, and, from her bent form, plainly afflicted with spinal curvature. With rough good nature the men made way for her, and prevented the crowd from pressing upon her, thus enabling her to stand and listen attentively. She had a pleasant face, full, clear, brown eyes, and bright intellectual features. As the gifted and earnest preacher went on, she fixed her attention upon him, and so remained until he had ended.
Every one of you,” said the preacher, “will live for ever—as long as God himself lives, so long shall each one of us live to be punished or rewarded by Him; the dangerous gift of Immortality is upon us; we cannot, if we would, put it from us; and from this point of view—each of you regarding himself as immortal before God- I ask you to consider with me the price' that the Son of God has paid, once and for ever, for human redemption."