Page images

flowing. The hours for beginning the meetings were on their labours ; and while remembering the many very early-9 or even 8 A.M. One morning my host did great men who have occupied the pulpit of that münster not appear at our usual breakfast-hour of a quarter past from Oecolampadius downwards, one could feel that the 7, because he was at a conference of those connected purpose for which we were now gathered, was not unwith a missionary society which began at 6 A.M. ! worthy of the memories that linger round the old build.

Every evening, some friend of missions opened his or ing. her garden for an open-air assenıbly. There simple re- During the service several hymns were well sung by freshments were provided for all who chose to take them; the mission students. One was very touching, being a and then, under some large tree, mounted on a table, farewell to their brethren who were going forth to the clergymen and laymen gave addresses to those who work for which they themselves were training. All crowded round to listen. Generally there were addresses could listen intelligently to their singing, for every one in French and German going on at the same time in had received a paper at the door containing the different different parts of the garden ; while many meantime hymns that were to be sung. But excellent as was the walked about, or sat enjoying the society of friends from singing of the students, it was not half so impressive to a distance. One old lady, over eighty, and living quite me as the full swell of melody which rose from the vast alone, would not allow either age or infirmities to pre- multitude, when they sang well-known hynins to their vent her from entertaining the friends of the Lord, whom own tunes, with which all were acquainted. It took me she loved and desired to serve in his people.

back by its full deep sound to the Rhine falls, where I The culminating point of all was Thursday, July 4th, had been only a few days before, and where, while sitwhen, in the beautiful münster, ten young men, trained ting for hours watching the rushing waters, and listenin the Basle Mission House, were set apart for work in ing to their mighty voice, I seemed to hear the words of distant mission-fields. I had so often found that nothing Scripture, “I heard, as it were, the voice of a great but standing-room remained when I went half an hour multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the hefore the meetings began, that I took care to be at the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia; for the cathedral door before it was opened. But even in that Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” way, by the time I got in amid the waiting crowd every After the first hymn, the Director of the Mission Inseat in the nave was full. The chancel end of the build- stitute gave an excellent address both to the congrega. ing is raised above the nave some twelve or fifteen feet. tion and the young men to be set apart, also some details On each side of the communion-table, a broad set of of their fields of work. Christ, his work, his will, his steps leads up to this raised chancel. These steps were strength to work and live in, took their fitting place in all quickly occupied ; and I was happy enough to get a all that was said, along with earnest admonitions to place there, and congratulated myself on having been more prayer for outpouring of the Spirit. The state of unable to get a seat below, for from my elevated position the mission funds was, of course, taken into account; I could both see and hear all that passed much better and I was sorry to hear that the debt which has held than if I had been in the pews below. Most of those them down for some years had not yet been cleared off, around me were peasants, or of the lower classes in as they had hoped. It would indeed be a pity if a Basle. I found all most polite and obliging. My bad society which sends out such devoted men should have German no doubt at once betrayed my being a foreigner, to circumscribe its work for want of means. The Direcand perhaps made them more anxious to be kind to me. tor had himself been at one time engaged in mission During the long time I had to wait before the service work abroad, so could the better deal with the subject. began, I feasted my eyes on the scene before me. Another clergyman, an able and earnest man, followed;

The whole body of the large building lay before me, then two of the young men gave short addresses. It every seat full, every aisle and open place crammed with must have been a very trying thing for them thus to people either standing or sitting on camp-stools or even appear in the pulpit before such a multitude, but they chairs, which they had brought with them. The glare acquitted themselves well. There was no attempt at of the brilliant sunshine was softened by the beautiful learned disquisitions or fine oratory, but each told painted windows, and fell in streams of coloured light on simply how he had been led to devote himself to the the quaint costumes of the peasants, and white caps of work of the Lord ; and in both cases the example and the deaconesses, sprinkled among the more common- precept of godly parents had been made a blessing to place dresses. The organ-gallery, above the west door,

their sons.

Their spirit of self-distrust and humble rewas filled by the mission students. Many who could liance on the Lord's help gave one great hope that their not even find standing room below, or in the chancel, work would be blessed. Throughout the addresses one mounted to the clerestory-gallery, which goes qnite round thing especially pleased me, and that was the real way the münster, and looked down patiently during the in which things were looked at and stated. There was many hours that the service lasted, though, I am sure, no throwing a veil of romance over mission work. It they could not hear much.

was plainly set forth as an arduous, trying work, and It was a grand sight to see so many gathered to see one in which there might probably be much weariness, men set apart for God's work, and to pray for a blessing and much suffering and danger, to health and life. Even the hymn of farewell of the students took notice and for training Christian Schoolmasters at Beuggen, of the probability that some of those who were now

near Basle. going forth might either fall early on the field, or return A special train was provided to take the mission to their native land with broken health. But at the guests there, and a long and crowded train it was. I same time it was viewed as a happy ork, because it is accompanied my hostess, who, being a relative of the work for Christ; and all too little at its best, as a proof excellent man who founded the institution, and whose of gratitude to him who gave himself up even to the sons still direct it, had a special interest in this part of death for us.

Basle's Jahres fest. We went third-class, in order to After the young men had concluded their addresses, enjoy the singing of hymns which goes on in the large all who were to be set apart were ranged round the com- carriages all the way. munion-table for the solemnity. It was an overpowering The Beuggen Institution has its home in part of an old scene. Many a cheek, tanned by exposure to sun and conventual building, of which the chapel and priest's wind in field-work, was moistened by tears. Instead of house are still held by the Romish Church; for Beuggen standing, as they usually do at prayer, the whole vast is over the Basle frontier, in a Popish land, where it assembly knelt; while the Director of Missions, laying shines as a bright light. The large farm-shed was prehis hands in turn on the head of each of the kneeling pared with rough seats, and ornamented with wreaths candidates, set him apart for the Lord's work by earnest of evergreens. The seats were soon all full, and

many prayer, which in each case had reference to the especial stood outside, where they could hear pretty well, as one circumstances of the young man, and the field where he side of the shed was quite open. And in and out, was to work.

throngh all the services, swallows flew backwards and One had come to them from the Moravian brethren; forwards, and fed their young in the nests among the of that notice was taken as a token of the true unity of rafters. (Ps. lxxxiv. 3.) The children were gathered in Christ's Church. Another had gone through all the the centre, and round them the teachers who are being hardships of the late war in France, and the Lord was trained. On a little platform stood by turns the various thanked for not only preserving him through battle and speakers. At least all stood except the“ house father” sickness, but leading him to devote himself to Christ's and director of the institution, Herr Zeller. He, though Fork. One was going to the deadly coast of Africa, in the prime of life, is such a suffering invalid, that he avother to preach to the millions of China ; and over had to be wheeled in a chair to the platform and sit each an appropriate prayer for the especial blessings he while he delivered his address. In it there was no trace rould need tras uttered. One was only to be engaged of weakness; no one, while listening to his clear enunin secular work connected with one of the missions in ciation of gospel truth, could have supposed that he was Africa ; for him the needed grace was implored, that one whose nights are often spent in sleepless suffering. he might serve faithfully and uprightly in the work to But perhaps one should rather say that it is because he which he was called. This laying on of hands is not has thus suffered that he could speak so well of the ordination, it is only a setting apart for mission work : Christian as one who realized the old myth of science, ordination is a separate matter.

with her two faces, one looking back, the other forward; The service over, the assembly went forth, to meet for while feeling in his own soul the supporting power again in the garden of the Mission House, to receive of the cross of Christ, he must many a time look forward parting words of admonition and farewell. Then, and with longing heart to that day when the Lord shall rethroughout the different days' addresses, it was well kept turn to take his people to himself, no longer to suffer, before us that all we heard might only lead to religious but to reign with him. An interval in the speech-makexcitement and mental dissipation, unless accompanied ing was spent by all in eating pic-nic dinners under the is heart-searching and prayer. Another very marked trees in the half orchard, half garden, on the banks of feature throughout was the recognition of the need of the Rhine, which is large enough to give space for all. humiliation on the part of all-mission directors, com- Another special train, early in the afternoon, took all mittees, students, and people—for many and grave who wished back to Basle; but many lingered for partshortcomings, and especially for the want of more simple ing words and earnest communings with those whom faith, and a deeper spirit of prayer. Only one speech of they loved in the Lord, who were about to be scattered all I heard seemed to breathe a spirit of self-congratula- | again to their distant homes. tion as to what Switzerland had done and is doing for So ended my happy week in Basle. It has left a deep evangelizing France ; and that I heard at once con- impression on my mind of the living, earnest Chrisdemned, with the remark that Switzerland has little tianity that has its home there-a Christianity which right to set berself up as a lighthouse for other lands, finds so much happiness in serving the Lord that it does when in her midst is not only so much of Romish super- not need to seek for enjoyment in the poor vapid exstition, but of the, if possible, worse evil of rationalistic citements of the world's pleasures, which, alas ! are such Protestantism and absolute unbelief.

a snare to even true Christians in Scotland. Friday, July 5th, was a very bright happy day, the Nor is it only in the far-distant mission-field that the annual festival of the Institution for Homeless Children living Christians of Basle take an interest and find their


work. Home is by no means neglected; home-missions sound doctrine, and good singing, I felt it sad that the are equally dear to them, and the work of reconimending Word of God should have so small a part in the serthe gospel to the hearts of their own country-people is vices. No one takes a Bible to church,—there is no earnestly pursued. Education being compulsory, all Bible-reading except the verse or more of the text. In can read, all are taught the Bible, all pass through an every large congregation there must be those who do examination for confirmation, which secures their being not read the Bible at home, and for them preaching. well acquainted with Bible truth; so that there is however good, can never replace the simple unadulterliterally almost none of the crass ignorance that is so ated Word. Sermons may be most excellent, and effecterrible among the teening populations of our large tual for conversion, but they may also be but “Bible cities. Of course, that does not mean that all are Chris- and water," or worse; and to provide against such cases tiaus in more than name-very far from it; but such a it is surely well to make it imperative that some of foundation of Christian knowledge is certainly a good God's Word should always be read in church. The foundation to work on; and Basle abounds in excellent other thing that pained me in Basle, was to see shops institutions for the benefit of the souls of her people. wide open, without any shame or attempt at concealAs to temporal things, though there is no poor-rate, yet ment, on the Lord's-day. I know not who is in faut every poor man knows where he may apply for aid if it in the matter, but certainly in a professedly Christian is really needed. The funds so applied are partly raised and Protestant town, it is not as it should be that by voluntary contributions, partly by the fees paid for Sunday trading should thus go on unhindered and anbecoming freedmen of the city, &c. One thing that rebuked. especially struck me was the clean, confortable look It was with great regret that I said farewell to my both of houses and people. I passed through many kind entertainers, and to their comfortable quaint oli : narrow, steep old streets, that reminded me of the house, where, in my room overlooking the rapid Rhine, closes of the Old Town of Edinburgh, but how favour- I could look across to other old-fashioned houses, each ably they contrasted with these! Neither eyes nor a picture in itself, could watch the wood-rafts shooting nose were offended by abounding impurity; and instead the arches of the bridge, or the storks in their nests of dirty disorderly gossiping men and women, loitering high above the houses, while blackbirds sang in the idly about their untidy doors, all were well but coarsely trees that grow in the little terrace garden that alone clad, and busily and contentedly employed in often separated me from the river. hard toil. During the week I was in Basle, and going It was an abode of love and peace, where the daily about constantly in both rich and poor quarters of the prayer before meals was no mere form, but there was town, I did not meet one drunk person. That is a real desire that the Lord Jesus would himself come enough to account for the comfortable look of the among us as an honoured guest; and there was trati people, for they are poorer, not richer, than our work- in the words which first met my eyes as I ascended the ing classes. Though wages are higher than formerly, stairs, “As for me and my house, we will serve the they still do not reach to what is usual among us, while Lord.” the means of life are much increased in price, and I He who gives a rich reward even a cup of coll was astonished to hear what high rents even poor water, given for his sake, will not neglect to repay houses brought.

them for all their love and kindness to one of whom Amid all that pleased me in Basle, there were one or they knew nothing, but that she too loved their Loris two things that left an opposite impression.

and desired to hear how his work was prospering in th. In the churches, amid so much of excellent preaching, / hands of his servants.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

As a

[ocr errors]

ANALS which contribute directly to are both required in the same country.

the fertilization of the soil, constitute general rule, drainage is required in one quarter a work of human art still more im- of the earth, and irrigation in another. In our

portant, as a means of utilizing the own country, for example, the chief difficulty of earth, than those which have been constructed the cultivator lies in having too much water on for the purposes of navigation or of generating his ground ; in our Eastern possessions, it lies in mechanical power. Of artificial canalization, with having too little. Here, accordingly, human art

. a view to fertility, there are two branches, which is employed chiefly in relieving the soil of its stand to each other in an interesting reciprocal re- surplus humidity ; there, in moistening the lation. The one is a process for drawing the water scorched ground. off, and the other a process for spreading water on These two systenis, in their nature, use, and rethe land. We resort to the first where the mois- ciprocal relations, are analogous to the apparatus ture is redundant; to the second, where the mois- by which the circulation of the blood is maintained ture is defective : the one is drainage, the other in animated bodies. The veins correspond to irrigation. Neither often nor to a great extent canals for drainage, the arteries to canals for irri


gation. The veins, like the drains in our damp Our speculations on canalization with a view to fields under our dropping skies, begin in a multi- fertility should begin, like charity, at home; and tude of small separate ducts, which receive the therefore we must first speak of the process most used moisture, and draw it off by converging used and most needed in our humid fatherland, channels to its great central reservoir : the ar- by which the farmers relieve their fields of their teries, like the canals for irrigation in India, start surplus moisture. in one vast aorta from the source, and branch off DRAINAGE is a useful, rather than a fine art. into an infinitude of diminishing rivulets, through Within our own generation it has made rapid prowhich the life-sap is distributed to all the surface. gress,

and now we are indebted to it for a very Precisely such are the twin-systems of drainage large proportion of our agricultural produce. The and irrigation, by which the art and industry of man loss of its drains would produce a famine in the have already greatly increased the productive power land. We cannot get on without water, and yet of the earth, and may yet increase it much more. we cannot get on with it. The soil welcome

Divine wisdom has adapted the earth to man water as a visitor, but not as a permanent resident by the defects which are left in nature, as well as Like that inhospitable Englishman who comby the amazing abundance of her supplies. In plained that his house was full of his wife's first the abundance, provision is made for satisfying cousins, and wished they were “once removed, our wants; in the deficiency, provision is made the land longs to be delivered from its near relafor the healthy exercise of our faculties. If the tive the water, and grows sour if the departure is crust of the globe had consisted of matter capable, accidentally delayed. without any preparatory process, of being used as Modern travellers, if they keep their eyes opel. the food of man, it would have been, for the may observe here and there, close by a rural railhuman race, a less eligible residence. This would way station where the soil is composed of clay, a be a jolly world for a savage, indeed, if he had huge pile of short red tubes ready to be convered nothing more to do than go to the corner of bis along the line, and distributed among the farmers. hut in the morning, and dig a spadeful of food The articles are precisely like macaroni manufacfor the day; but only savages would have occu- tured on a large scale, and dyed red. They are pied such a world. The higher faculties, never composed, however, not of flour, but of clas,

. stimulated, would never have been developed. They are not food; but they are the producers of Our Father in heaven has planned more wisely food. Look, reader, to the next heap of drainfor his children. He has made us fellow-workers tiles that you see piled up near a station, and with himself, in extracting our food from the if you are of a contemplative turn of mind, earth; and the partnership elevates our kind. reverently raise your hat as you pass ; and thick In some regions of the globe, the soil and climate that, in a few years, out of these hard tubes a are so benignant, that abundant food for man and heap of wholesome food as great will spring beast grows almost spontaneously; but there the These clay pipes are better than bread ; they are human occupants do not advance beyond the bread-makers. There is poetry in that pile first rudiments of civilization. The combined There is life in the coarse, red clay pipes, condefects and redundancies of the farm occupy and structed for the purpose of carrying unnecessary exercise in the highest measure the faculties of the water out of the soil : reverence them. farmer. The human race attain the highest degree But there is death in those smooth, white clay of perfection neither under the tropics nor within pipes, which are constructed and used for the purthe polar circle. In the one case, labour is scarcely pose of conveying unnecessary smoke into human needed; in the other, it would not avail. Both bodies : do not reverence them, but loathe ther, extremes tend to generate a savage idleness. It and fling them away.

The red pipes, laid in the is in the moderate, middle regions—where you can ground, draw off the morbid moisture, and leave get no food without labour, but plenty with it- the field waving all over with yellow grain ; the that the human faculties, moral and physical, at- white pipes introduced into the mouths of grof. tain their full stature.

ing lads drain away the juices of life, leavira

« PreviousContinue »