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ber of religious tracts, suitable to the state of society there, to be loaned, re-loaned, and circulated from house to house, till they should have been read by every family in that neighbourhood.These little missionaries travel and preach where we cannot go; and, although in some instances they may have been abused, we have reason to believe, that, on the whole, they have done much good. When we have subsequently and unexpectedly called at some of the houses where they have been left, we have found them reading tracts previously obtained through our agency.
On and about the 9th day of April, Mr. Bingham and myself spent some time in visiting the people on the wharves the east side of Ann-stree:, towards the north part of the city. We found many poor and needy individuals and families in that direction ; conversed and prayed with some-reproved and admonished others, Some readily received and apparently enjoyed our conversation and prayers c!uring these visits. There are many poor people in that part of the city who need counsel, instruction and help.
My services were contioued at the Mission-house until the commencement of the fall vacation at the Theological Seminary, at Andover; when I was relieved from that service by the students from that lostitution; and Mr. Bingham and others. Mr. GAMBLE now supplies the morning congregation in that place regularly, which is increasing in numbers, attended with other indications of its stability and success.
On the 23d of April I visited Samuel Green, alias Mudge, in jail, under sentence of death. He appeared to be unusually hardened in sin. I asked him what were his views and feelings respecting bis state after death, which would probably take place very soon by an iguominous execution ? He replied with inych apparent indifference, the amount of which was that he had not much to hope for, or much to fear. I told him that it was a great thing to be in eternity !_and that he would soon be dead !-and that he who believed in Jesus Christ, though he were dead yet sball he live-and whosoever liveth and believeth in Christ shall never die, and put the question to him, “ Believest thou this ?” He appeared to be struck with the words, and asked where they could be found; I told him in the eleventh chapter of John. He immediately went, dragging his massy chains across the room ; took his Bible, found the place, turned down the leaf, and said he would look at it. Lexborted him to repent of his sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
On the 9th day of July a house was hired on a lease for one year, at a rent of two hundred and fifty dollars, with a view to change the use of the property and character of its occupants, situated at the corner of Southark and Gardner streets, and which for years had been one of the worst houses in the place, if not in the world. Our brother ROBERT Wilson is the lessee. The dance ball was immediataly partitioned off, and a part of it used as a religious Reading Room.
This is one of the most interesting and important establishments of the kind in the world. It seems to me that nothing could be hetter adapted to the suppression of vice and iniquity, which stalk
through the streets with brazen front at noonday, than the judicious management and diligent use of this properly. It comes directly to the point. And if rightly and perseveringly improved, must in the nature of things have a favourable effect upon the iniserable state of society in that part of the city.
The circumstances connected with our getting possession of this house were very remarkable.
After a Religious Reading Room had been the subject of conversation and prayer in the midst of a private circle of christian friends composed chiefly of our respected sisters in the truth, who belong to the Boston Female Society for Missionary purposes, it was mentioned by brother Bingham that there was a house at West Boston to be let, which would answer very well for such an estab. lishment. Accordingly, on the 27th of June we went into that part of the city in search of suitable accommodations for such an Institution. We were told this house had just been let for a dauce ball. In two minutes after, we met the owner and ascertained from him the fact that it was not actually engaged, but that he was then come up to close the conversation upon that subject with the applicant, who evidently would, and was at that moment waiting to obtain it, at almost any rent, for the purposes of a dance hall, and such scenes of iniquity as are usually connected with such places. We immediately interfered, and obtained the refusal of the house at a reduced rent. A subscription was drawn up and recommended by the Rev. MR. JENKS, stating our object, and application was made to several gentlemen in the city, who highly approved our design, and promptly covered almost the whole of the rent, by donation, on condition there should be a loss as we ex. pected there necessarily would be, in consequence of the degraded and miserable state of society with which it is surrounded Facts have verified our apprehensions. When we came to make application for respectable tenants, the local situation of the house was an insurmountable objection on the part of those who wanted to hire it. Several gentlemen who were pleased with the house, and would have taken it at the full amount of rent, if it had been situated in a good neighbourhood, declined engaging it solely on that account; and one person who actually did agree to remove into it with his family, was prevented, and gave it up for the same reason. Ohe important fact which ought to be known, is fully established by the efforts which have been unsuccessfully made to let this house, viz: The owners of houses in Southark-street and its iminediate vicinity, where they bring enormous rents, must suffer in their property from the dreadful state of society there, unless they facilitate by the use of their interest, the practice of the most abominable iniquity and awful scenes of pollution and misery. Christians, friends, and citizens of Boston! What shall we say to these things? What can we say to these things at the bar of the Judge of the universe, if we do not incessantly cry against the abominations of the land, and through fear, endeavour to save some, pulling them out of the fire. Soon after the house was secured and reading room opened, the Rev. John GAMBLE, a Presbyterian
Minister from Ireland, arrived with his family at our city and removed into it, a part of which he still occupies. How remarkable, my brethren, are the providences of God in regard to this whole undertaking. No sooner had the house been obtained in answer to prayer, but the Lord places a Minister of the Gospel, through the influence of that property in the midst of a neighbourhood emphatically denominated the place where Satan's seat is. I have never suspected myself of enthusiasm on any subject, but I must acknow!. edge that I do not recollect when my mind has been so much affected, and feelings interested in any providential occurrence as the obtaining of this house, and the establishment there of a Religious Reading Room. I felt a travel of soul, a weight of care and responsibility that was unutterable! Yet I was supported in the hope and encouraged by the belief that God would in some way or other succeed our efforts to bring about a change in the use of that property, and cause his people to dwell there who would diffuse a beneficial influence around the place. And were it possible and proper for me to relate all the exercises of my mind, and describe all the circumstances attending the occupancy of this property, I am persuaded you would say the finger of God has pointed out to us the use of this house; the hand of God hath secured it to us; and the arm of the Lord will yet be seen and powerfully felt in the beneficial results of these labours.
But the most important question yet remains to be discussed, viz: What has been, and what is likely to be the moral influence of these proceedings upon the people in that vicinity ? I answer precisely the same as might be expected upon any people sunk in ignorance, vice and misery. The same measures are to be used with this part of society here, as ought to be used for the instruction and conversion of the heathen in Asia or Africa. And the same results are to be looked for. The only important difference between the heathen here and the heathen there is, that greater will be the condemnation of these than of those ; if these reject the gospel and die in a state of impenitence and unbelief; and greater is the responsibility of christians on the part of unbelievers here, than it can be on account of the heathen in foreign countries. We must not only pray for a revival of religion in the conversion of sinners, but we must do something towards the work before we can expect the Lord will hear our prayers and bless the labour of our hands. It is not merely in proportion to the frequency or fervency of our prayers, but in proportion to our works combined with our prayers, and a humble dependence on the grace of God to succeed the labour of our hands, that he makes us really, if not apparently successful in building up his cause and promoting the gospel of his Grace in the world. These principles have been illustrated in the Reading Room at West Boston, so far as we have practised upon them. Go among the people there and you will find enough to do, and see enough to satisfy you that your labour is not in vain in the
A few extracts from my Journal will confirm the correctness and show the importance of these remarks.
On the 21st March Mr. Bingham and myself laboured in the A. M. among the people at West Boston, conversed with a Mr. , who told us he had kept one of those houses for twenty years, but that he was sick of it and agoing to leave that course of life. Mr. B. exhorted him to prepare to meet his God.' The old man appeared hardened in sin ; yet uneasy and dissatisfied with his man. ner of life. We gave him a Christian Almanack, which was well received, and our reproofs and exhortations treated even by such a man with attention and respect.
March 26. Found much satisfaction in collecting the people together in the stores at West Boston, and reading tracts and short sermons to them.
April 2. Mr. B. and myself spent some time in conversation at Mrs. — who is, with her husband, a professor of religion.Met Mr. - there who owns a large property in that neighbourhood. He conversed freely and friendly with us and promised us ev. ery facility in his power to further the objects of our labour. Prayed during the interview.
April 6. An interesting day in our labours at the west part of the city.
16. Had much interesting conversation with Mr. ---, who said he was a mason by trade. He declined having prayers in his house, on account of the place being unsuitable for such an exer: cise. At the same time he observed that he approved highly of the preaching of the gospel, in the Mission house, and was willing to subscribe three or four dollars for the support of the minister. I asked him if he expected to pay his ministerial subscription by the fruits of an house unsuitable for prayer; and reasoned with him upon the absurdity and wickedness of his conduct. He evidently felt remorse of conscience. I endeavoured to show him the inconsistency of his principles and character; that sin involved its votaries in a thousand difficulties, and that my advice to him was, he had better extricate bimself from his present situation as soon as possible. He said it was wrong, but there always had been and always would be such houses kept. I replied, that if it were wrong, let who would keep them, I hoped that he and I should keep clear of them.
He said you are right gentlemen. I will leave this place. I believe the resolution was formed under the influence of that conversation and soon carried into effect.
July 22. Attended at the Reading Room. Ten or twelve persons present at different times during the exercises there. Read with some apparent good effect, a part of the 6th and 7th Chap. ters of the Book of Proverbs, also a passage in the iii. of Titus ; made some remarks upon the description the apostle there gives of our state as sinners-foolish-disobedient-deceived, &c.--as applicable to the state of society there, particularly so and then directed their attention to the love and kindness of God our Savpour in the gospel of his mercy and grace, with some apparent good effect.
July 24. Found one young woman waiting at the door of the Reading Room, as I went to open it, this morning. She discovered an aoxious state of mind. The place has been well attended to. day with inquirers, if not after the way of life and salvation, at least, how they may escape the state of sin and misery in which they are there involved.
27. Attended daily the Reading Room through the week. Had much interesting conversation with the poor and wretched who came frequently into the place.
Aug. 5. Eight persons attended for an hour or more to the reading of the scriptures and other religious exercises. The state of society here is most awful. Robbery and fighting among men and women are very common, both day and night. There is certainly a great door opened here for usefulness, and it might be an effectual one, if the people of God would step in and improve it.
23. Two young men were induced by conversation in the Reading Room to leave that neighbourhood, and I hope from the apparent effect it had upon their minds will leave that kind of society forever.-One week seven were induced to take a similar course : And many individuals from time to time bave been persuaded away in a manner calculated to prevent their return, and to do them permanent good.
Sept. 5. This establishment has not been without opposition from its enemies. This evening a very serious disturbance occurred. Stones or hard substances were thrown, several times, with great violence against the house One of these was directed at the people in the Room through the window. The Rev. Mr. GamBLE was sitting on the seat just by the place where the stone struck, It came with great force-broke three squares of glass; but as a kind providence directed, it struck the bar of the sash and fell to the ground. Had it gone one inch higher or lower it must have struck our Brother directly on the back of his head, and the consequences would have been very serious, and perhaps fatal to his life. What a remarkable preservation ! An enemy was permitted to throw the stone, but he had no power to guide it. Uoerring guodoess preserved the life of our Brother.
On the 24th and 25th of Oct. the Reading Room exhibited a very pleasing and interesting scene. It was found that many persons in the neighbourhood were destitute of Bibles. A supply was pro. cured ; and the Rev. Messrs. Jenks, RossitER, BINGHAM and myself, attended the distribution of them from that place.
The poor and needy were collected together, and during the two days, ninety-one Bibles and Testaments, a donation chiefly from the Massachusetts Bible Society, were given to the ignorant and wretched inhabitants of that vicinity. These pleasing services were attended with prayer, exhortation, and much appropriate advice and interesting conversation with the grateful recipients.
The Reading Room has, also, been a mean of facilitating the efforts which are making to improve the condition of the coloured people in the city. On the 8th of Nov. a society was formed, after sundry previous meetings, in the Reading Room, called the Wilberforce Society, the object of which is to encourage and as