The million-peopled city
In A.D. 1853.
The Report for states, that there are at this time about 200 Roman Catholics in , 3 Mor- monites, and 3 Jews, one of whom occasionally attends the Meeting; that the missionary has free access to every part of the Hospital; that the authorities place no obstacle in his way, and some of them countenance him, and appear glad to hear of the improvement of any of the men; that the pensioners generally receive him well, and even the
|most depraved acknowledge that he means well to them, and that (to use their own words), "it would be a good job if they were to take his advice."|
This Report relates to the happy death, during the year, of six of the pensioners, the change effected in whom had been referred to in the previous years. Is it not a matter for joy that these brave men are now, through such instru- mentality, as it may be not only hoped but believed, safe in glory for eternal ages ? They all gave good evidence to the last that the change effected in them during health was genuine and Divine.
Who shall say that the following case of benefit was not the fruit of a mother's prayers? A pensioner, who had lived 70 years, and who had been to sea during the war 12 years, having been pressed on board a man of war from , of which he was a native, was thus taken away from an aged mother, who was entirely dependent upon him for support. He gave her half his pay, as long as she lived. He wears a silver medal given him for services in the battle of . Both his parents were religious persons, members of the ; and he was the subject of many prayers on the part of both of them. At sea he appeared to have lost all his own early impressions of religion, under careful and pious training, and soon run into excesses of sin and folly. He was re- ceived into the Hospital eight months since, a sad drunkard at the verge of a long life. The missionary talked to him faithfully. He attended the daily meetings with regularity, and now, at this eleventh hour, his mother's prayers are answered. He has begun to lead a new life, at 70 years of age, and has been just admitted a communicant.
The next case recorded is that of a pensioner, who had been very many years at sea. For three years and a-half he had been on board one ship, and during that time
|he had never seen a , or heard one read. He had sunk very deep into depravity. For five years he had been in the Hospital, and had been often warned, but to no purpose. Drunkenness was his especial sin, and he used to say he could not help it, because he had so bad a wife; but was reminded that that made bad worse, and was adding fuel to the flame. For the last year he has been prevailed on regularly to attend the daily meetings, and he now gives every evi- dence of being a changed man. He long wanted to sub- scribe to the Society which sent the missionary, but he determined to give whatever he could spare to his wife, because, as he said, she was his wife, although a bad one. Lately, however, he has begun to spare his penny a-week. And it may be observed that both in his and in the other cases referred to, these contributions are, in the strictest sense of the term, free-will offerings, no one being ever asked to contribute.|
The three next cases being passed over, a case is recorded of a pensioner who had been altogether forty years at sea. For eleven years he had been in the Hospital, and during the six years that the missionary had been there, he had scarcely on any occasion seen him sober. But now he no longer drinks. His very countenance declares the change which has taken place in his habits. Putting his hand on his cheek, " You see," said he recently, " what a plump face I have got now, to what I had before. My attendance at your Meetings has made the difference." He had before drunk himself almost to a skeleton. He gives his twopence a-week subscription, as a mark of gratitude to the Society. May it not be hoped that the wonderful providence of God has preserved this old man's life through many dangers, that he may be made an heir of glory ? Once he was ship- wrecked on a desert island, where, when he was about perishing for want of water, a ship hove in sight. At
|another time he fell from the mast-head. And he had been in dangers often.|
Again passing over two interesting cases, we come to an old veteran, who had been in the battle of the with , and in with , fighting ashore to assist the troops. Like so many others, he entered the Hospital, careless and unconcerned about religion and his soul. The missionary has, however, been blessed to arouse him to a concern for the matters most important. He has even given up card-playing, of which he was before passionately fond. His attention is most marked to what he hears from the Word of God.
The last case recorded is that of a pensioner who, when first accosted, some ten months since, by the missionary, answered him, "Now, I don't want any of your coaxing. You won't get me over as you do some of them." At length, however, the missionary got from him the promise that he would come for once to the meeting. He kept his promise, and, what is more, he has ever since continued to attend, and appears to be deriving real profit from what he hears. Both he and the previous pensioner give their weekly con- tributions of gratitude for the efforts made on their behalf.
At so advanced a period of life, it is not, perhaps, very often the case that confirmed habits become changed; but these old pensioners present many remarkable exceptions to such a rule. How deeply interesting is it that men so old should become "new creatures in " in so many instances.