The million-peopled city
In A.D. 1851.
The Report for commences with the following general statement :-" I have free access to every part of the Hospital. No obstacle whatever is thrown in my way. My visits are thankfully received, with a very few exceptions. If there is
|one class of individuals more than another who demand our sympathy, they are the pensioners, who are tottering on the verge of eternity, and who are daily passing away into an eternal world. The vast majority, I have reason to fear, are unprepared for the solemn change. There are many, however, who are truly pious, of whom some owe the change to God's blessing on the efforts of the . A portion of these were once sunk deep in depravity, but they are now living exemplarily, and giving very practical evidence of the reality of the change which has been effected in them."|
Then follows a narration of particular cases of usefulness which had occurred during the year.
First, an old pensioner is referred to, who during the year had become a communicant at the . He had been long entirely ignorant of spiritual things. An attend- ance at the missionary's meeting, 3 years before, had first opened his understanding. The consistency of his conduct in the interim testifies to the impression made on his mind.
Then comes the case of a man who had been at sea 7 years, and in several skirmishes, although in no general engagement. At he had been laid up with yellow fever, which carried off thousands. To use his own words, "If I had died then, I should have gone direct to hell, for a greater drunkard could not have been." He had been in the Hospital 10 years, and had then attended the meetings of the missionary a year and a-half. Up to that time his habits of drinking had been continued; and he had generally a heavy score against him at the public-house. He is now a sober man, and the old scores have been long since cleared off. Nor is evidence wanting of the heart as well as the life having experienced a great change.
A narrative succeeds of a man of colour from , who had been 35 years at sea, and was in the battle of
|Navarino, as well as in other engagements, but had never hought of the mercy of God in preserving him in the midst of so many and imminent dangers, both in the days of battle and while crossing the mighty deep. At , shortly after an engagement, although he escaped the enemy's hand, he was smitten by an unseen power with a paralytic stroke, which deprived him of the use of one side. He was then sent home as unfit for further service, and after entering the Hospital, although so afflicted, he remained a rebel against God for nearly 6 months, and was frequently the worse for liquor. At length one of his cabin mates invited him to attend the meeting, when what he heard came home with Divine power to his heart. He at once abandoned his former companions, and for 2 years at that time he had been an altered man. He was to be constantly seen in the ward with his Bible before him, which before he never thought of reading. He subscribed his penny a-week towards the support of the missionary. He would put his hand on his breast, and say, in his own peculiar and characteristic phraseology, " The promises come in here with sweetness. It was the best day's work I ever did, when I came into . I had been overboard all my life before, but now, thank God, He has taken me into the life-boat."|
Next comes the case of a very aged pensioner of 84, who, until he attended the meetings two and a-half years before, considered that he was a very good man, who had never injured any one, and against whose character no one could bring a charge. He always attended his church, when able, and was wrapt up in his own self-righteousness. He has now long been'convinced that he is a very wicked sinner. For some period he was quite cast down with the conviction, and could scarcely be brought to entertain the belief that there was hope in the Gospel even for him. Having, how- ever, first deeplyhumbled him, God in his mercyhas now filled
|him with "joy and peace in believing." Confinement in the Infirmary had at length prevented his attendance at the meeting, but he had for a long time sent his shilling a-month for the benefit of the , in gratitude for its efforts on his behalf.|
Passing over the next two cases, that the reader may not be wearied, although they possess interest, we come to the case of a pensioner, who had been a marine for about 17 years, and had, on his discharge, worked on different railways as a navvy, but had at length entered the Hospital. The very day after his admission, the missionary met him by the Thames and presented him with a tract, entitled, "." He received it with almost the expression of a fiend, and began to pour forth a volley of abuse on the bishops, the clergy, and all ministers of the Gospel, calling them " a set of villains," "oppressors of the poor," &c., &c. All that the missionary said was treated with contempt. Eight months passed on before the missionary again spoke to him. He was then seated by the fire in his ward, with about 20 of his cabin mates. He was equally abusive as before, and told the missionary that he would not thus go about if he was not well paid for it. " The parsons," said he, "are all alike in this. It is nothing more than a money- getting system." The missionary immediately admitted that he was paid; appealed to him, if he would work without being paid for it; and asked him how it was possible for a missionary or a minister to live without food any more than himself. The missionary then proceeded to expose to him the folly of his course, and to assure him that, if he continued in it, it would certainly end in his eternal ruin. He only sneered at these remarks. On the following morning the missionary, while on his way to the meeting, happened, how- ever, to meet him again, and invited the old man to accom- pany him, telling him, that it was the best thing he could
|do with himself. He refused, but without abuse; and, to the missionary's surprise, he saw him enter the room soon after he had himself arrived. He listened with apparent attention to the Word of God and its exposition. And, not- withstanding the great ridicule to which an attendance at these meetings exposes the pensioners from their comrades, he has ever since daily attended them with regularity, both morning and evening. He stands firm against the laugh which is directed to him. He also daily studies the Bible for himself. He has left off both drunkenness and swearing, to both of which he was previously greatly addicted; and he has himself become a subscriber to the missionary's support. This case, as well as several others here referred to, has been carefully inquired into by parties well competent to form a judgment, and it appears most genuine and unmis- takeable.|
Again, passing over a case which, from the grossness of the sins described, would render it scarcely suitable to be here recorded, although this very circumstance renders the alteration effected the more remarkable, the Report concludes with the case of a pensioner, much younger than usual. He went to sea very young, and had been in the service only a year and a-half when he lost his leg. He was then dis- charged with a pension of 121. a-year, and worked at his trade as a tailor. After having been foreman in a tailoring establishment for some time, he was taken ill, and admitted into the infirmary of the Hospital. Here he had been 3 years, and it is not likely that he will ever leave. He is to be seen now with the Bible continually before him. How different this is to what it was, will appear from his own observation to the missionary: " Before I came here, I would as soon have taken a serpent into my hand as the Word of God, but now it is all my delight. I can now say, with David, 'Lord, how love I thy law; therein do I meditate
|day and night.' He is in the habit of receiving the Lord's Supper monthly from one of the College clergy, and appears to understand the nature of that sacrament, and to be a suitable person to partake of it. The missionary's instruc- tions have been especially useful to him.|