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MISSING LINK MAGAZINE,
Bible Work at Home and Abroad.
OUR COUNCIL OF FRIENDS FOR 1878.
The Right Hon. the EARL OF SHAFTESBURY, K.G.
The Hon. ARTHUR Kinnaird, M.P.
The LADY CAIRNS.
The LADY ARCHIBALD.
The Hon. Mrs. A. KINNAIRD.
The Hon. Miss CANNING.
The DOWAGER COUNTESS OF GAINS- The Rev. Dr. DYKES.
The Rev. Dr. PATERSON.
The Rev. W. ARTHUR.
The Right Rev. The BISHOP of B. RANYARD, Esq.
Hon. Secretary, and General Superintendent of the Bible-women and Bible
We are very glad to place at the head of our article, which aims to introduce itself to old and new readers in the opening year, the names long known and prized of most of those who have permitted us to use them from the beginning of the Mission in 1857. The remainder have gone to their rest, and we welcome one or two others in their stead. Twenty years have rolled away, VOL. XIV. NO. 1
and every agency for good or evil seems advancing continually at increased and railroad speed. Meanwhile, the Bible has never before been studied, commented upon, and exalted, contested, hated, or beloved, as at the present moment. It has lost none of its power over the quickened ear and softened heart.
It seems that the rising generation will all be readers. The State has laid hold of the thousands of children who had escaped all other educational efforts, and were running to ruin at street corners, beginning with "pitch-and-toss," and often ending as convicts and degraded exiles. Oh! that its next step could be to lessen the number of spirit and beer shops, and increase the facilities for the purchase of cheap and nourishing food. There is hope in the new furore for Coffee Palaces. Our kindly "daughters of consolation," the BIBLE-WOMEN and NURSES, who are daily proving their power to persuade their poor friends towards all that is best for them, still quietly pursue their way, scattering daily the good seed of the Kingdom, and reaping as well as sowing; and God certainly blesses their attempts to brighten and purify the dark corners of the city, because His own key has been taken to open the doors.
We have, alas! to record in this opening month more than one terrible warning against the sin of drunkenness, dragging on its victims to suicide, in spite of all attempts to save them, but we could continually tell of numbers rescued ere it is too late; and we can, with a clear conscience, entreat our friends, new and old, still to supply us with the means of sustaining these BIBLE MISSIONS in both of their departments.
It is to the contributions of the next three months (January, February, and March) that we must look for the measure of the fresh work we may organise, and the number of suitable agents that we may accept. The BIBLE-WOMEN NURSES have earned their welcome, and all who know the service they render, love and hail their comforting presence in the poor homes. The public sympathy has provided for the moderate salary of their trained service last year 4,0007., and we think it only needs to be known that for the first two months of our new era there is a comparative decrease in receipts for their department, of 2327., and the deficiency will soon be repaired.
"I have had your receipt this morning for the 1d. a-week subscriptions to the Bible-women's Fund in London, and as it may interest you to know how it has been collected I must remind you that many years ago, you wrote a letter in the MISSING LINK MAGAZINE,' suggesting that people should give even 1d. a-week subscription to the Bible-women's fund, and urging subscribers to try among their friends to make such collections. Since then, by this method, I have sent you every year regularly from 67. to 87. It is not all collected here, many of my friends send it to me from afar. I keep it in the savings bank through the year as I collect it, and so get a little interest on the money, and still to me the Magazine keeps up all its old interest.
"Believe me, very truly yours,
"M. C. V. H—.
THE DEMON OF STRONG DRINK.
"I am so glad to tell you that the present year has been the happiest I have spent in the Bible-work. God has graciously heard and answered prayer. Our Mothers' Meeting is better attended than ever, and a work of grace is going on in the hearts of many of the women: this cheers me. Several during the year have died happily; others are still rejoicing in the Lord.
"Our greatest foe here is the demon of strong drink. Oh! the sad havoc he can make. One poor woman, who had been a slave to intemperance for many years, came to our Mothers' Meeting, and I don't think we ever sang a hymn or offered a prayer but the tears would roll down her cheeks, so penitent did she appear; and for some months she kept from excessive drinking.
"During this period I visited her frequently, and often listened
to her sad tale of the past. She told me she had left her home and little ones for weeks together, often returning for a few minutes, while her husband was at work, to take all that she could sell or pledge: sometimes she would watch for the children, and take the boots off their feet to pledge. And oh! her grief and remorse for all this would be distressing to witness. And then I would plead with her to give up the drink altogether, telling her if she did not, I was afraid things would be as bad with her yet again. And at this she would shudder; but still said 'No' to all my persuasions.
"Thus she went on for some time, when, calling one morning, her little boy said, 'Mother's gone away from us again.' And so these dear children were left without a mother's care for more than two months. Sometimes she would be seen lying about the streets almost starving, but ashamed to return home. One Sunday, while in this wretched condition, she wandered into Mr. Whitmore's church, in Drury Lane; and he, after hearing her strange story, persuaded her once more to seek her husband's forgiveness. This she did; and he, as on many former occasions, forgave her, and took her in. And I sought her again, still urging her to abandon that which had again brought her so low.
"Now she was willing, and signed the pledge-her eldest son doing the same for his mother's sake; and then they had a sober mother and happy home. A cleaner and kinder mother was not to be found. She attended God's house, and was constantly singing His praises, especially the hymn,
'Jesus loves me.'
"She bought a Bible, and although only a poor scholar, she loved to read it. Her husband would be days teaching her a text to say at the Meeting. I had a Cottage Meeting next to her house, and a more regular and anxious attendant was not there. It did us all good to see, and hear her sing.
"Thus time passed on until one fatal morning she went to see a friend who was dying, and was there persuaded to have a glass, and after refusing for some time at last yielded to the tempter. And what seems the most remarkable thing in this case is, that the very night she broke the pledge she appeared to me in a
dream, drunk; and as I looked at her in sorrow and surprise, she said, 'Yes, I have been having a good go in to-day.' And in my dream I thought I tried to speak words of hope and help to her yet once more, but she replied, 'It's no use. I'm sinking lower and lower;' and I immediately awoke, glad to find it was only a dream.
"On the following Friday, at a public-house door, I found her exactly as I dreamed, with just the same look. I got her home, and stayed two hours with her, cooking the dinner, making beds, giving her some tea, amidst her entreaties for drink. And, oh! her looks I never shall forget.
"She offered money to her eldest girl, 14 years of age, who is half an idiot, to fetch some beer. She replied, 'I won't. Mrs. J is making some tea.' She then said, 'I'll go to but what I'll have it,' and then rose to fetch it herself. I said, 'If you go I must leave.' She then sat down, the tea being ready, and had some, saying after all it was better than beer.
"I left her, begging her to stay at home till I came in the evening, as I had to attend one of our Meetings, little thinking that was the last time I should ever see her till we meet at the bar of God. But, oh! it was. For she left soon after, never to return; and a fortnight from that day she broke the pledge, she drowned herself in a pond on C- Common. Thus the demon of drink gained another victim. It fills me with sorrow to think of it; whilst I am writing these lines I tremble; but, thank God, there are some who are being snatched from Satan's grasp.
"May this serve for a warning.
We too almost tremble to print this awful story, lest it should dishearten any who are trying to save the drunkard from himself or herself; but we know that CHRIST has power to deliver from the insane thirst for this poison, and is doing it in a thousand instances. May our Bible-women seek this year more than ever, by example and influence, to wean their Mothers from strong drink.
We have, alas! to add to that sorrowful tale a similar one in a letter from the Dormitory House, Parker Street.