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gument is to the Poliçety as of religit, p. 15), a
is always tending to a philosophical level proportionate to certain advances in wealth, population, and social needs. To preach personal repentance, and to seek the lost sheep, one by one, would be quite superfluous, if it is admitted that, as there must always be a certain amount of vice, we may as well allow the present victims and instruments of corruption to exist, as to vacate places which are sure to be at once occupied by others. If this argument is good for anything, it is fatal, not only to Reformatories, but to the Police itself, it denies the duties and responsibilities as much of society as of religion.
The Association, in its own words (Report, p. 15), announces as its principle, while it leaves the Houses of Refuge unfettered * to adopt that system of management which may be deemed in
each case most convenient, to aid those Penitentiaries only • which are superintended by self-devoted women, under the
guidance, as to spiritual matters, of a clergyman of the Church • of England.' A distinction is here drawn with wisdom and caution. The Houses of Refuge are planned for the first filtration; it would be too much to demand of them the steady organization and discipline of a Home. Refuge conveys one idea; Penitence another: the one is merely to flee for life from the cities of the plain, the other is to spend that life in the tents of Abraham. It were perhaps hardly possible to establish sisterhoods for those just reeking from corruption; a loving reception and a peaceful home is all that can be offered. To teach and to train and to reclaim are higher aims, and must be pursued elsewhere and with more delicate instruments than are needed for the first rougher reception-wards of the Spiritual Hospital. But we must express our decided conviction that little or nothing can be expected of permanent good in reclaiming fallen women except under the auspices of devoted women, themselves ministering to sisters with that tact and sympathy and affection of which only women are capable; ministering, moreover, in the name and in the spirit of Him whose emphatically it was to bind up the broken-hearted, and to reclaim the prodigal and the wanton. We do not say that all who enter a Penitentiary will quit it entirely safe or perfectly reformed, but we do say that though without Penitentiaries and their Christian discipline, many, as in the ordinary Magdalen Hospitals and Refuges, may become respectable servants, and even decent members of society; yet, humanly speaking, where there is only the hired service of paid officials, the active matrons and respectable nurses of ordinary Hospital practice--the punctual chaplain with his Bibleclass and Family prayers—the nobler Christian work, the spiritual conversion of fallen women, is all but impossible. The evil is too deep to be touched by this slight healing. How deep that
evil is we prefer to say in the touching and overpowering language of the Bishop of Oxford's anniversary Sermon :
For, first, how truly “lost" are those for whom we would labour ! lost in every way; first, and chiefly in the degradation of their own moral and spiritual being. Whether it was from the mere instinct of the Church, or whether from direct traditional teaching, we know not, but the early Christian writers distinctly identify with this course of life, that indwelling of seven devils from which the mercy of the Lord set free Mary of Magdala; and I know not why we should doubt that such possessions abound now amongst ourselves, except it be that we continually shrink back from the awful truth of the closeness of good and evil spirits to us, even in this our present state. For we see amongst ourselves beyond all doubt very much the same outward appearances as those pictured by the Evangelists. We have forms of sickness common amongst ourselves, which we describe by the very words in which they describe certain classes of these demoniacal possessions. Amongst us, as amongst them, persons proclaim of themselves that evil spirits have taken up their abode within them. Moreover, whilst we receive it as undoubtedly true, that the possessions recorded in the Evangelists were real and actual occupations of the soul and body of those miserable victims by the powers of evil, we read in contemporary history of nothing which would lead us to suppose that anything then occurred which presented itself as unusual to the ordinary eye. Probably at the most what then happened was nothing more than that the direct meeting of the Christ with the working of these fearful spiritual enemies of man forced them to manifest their hidden and not unusual presence ; and thus compelled them to foreshow to all the people of Christ the malignant subtlety and most close presence of those spirits of evil, with whom, more than even with flesh and blood, they in His strength should have to wrestle. Certainly it exactly accords with the mysterious hints which St. Paul drops, both as to the connexion of the body of the regenerate man with his spiritual life, and as to the peculiar provocation of God's Spirit, and the clinging closeness to his own personality, of sins of this class, to suppose that some special and peculiar abandoument to the power of the enemy is the consequence of wilful and habitual impurity. · I need but remind you, without dwelling further on them, of such awful intimations as these :-“Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.”] “Koow ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of a harlot? God forbid! . . Flee fornication, every sin ;” that is plainly, every other sin “that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." "What? know ve not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost ?”?.“If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy." 3
• And then further,--and as though interpreting these awful hints of God's word,-how many appearances are there in such lost ones of the presence of strange and even supernatural wickedness. To say nothing now of the cruelty and iniquity of every kind, which seems oftentimes, during the continuance of their life of crime, to liken them in manifested character to what we read in Scripture of the spirits of evil, those who have watched over the recovery of such can tell us much of a like working, even in the course of that restoration. They can speak of the fierceness and duration of their temptations, and that mainly of temptations which seem not directly connected with their special sins-of their dark, suspicious, irritable, unbridled, 11 Cor. vi. 13. ? Ibid. vi. 18, 19.
3 Ibid. iii. 17. NO. LXXXI.--N.S.
rebellious, or greedy, or childish tempers-of their half-consciousness of being the victims of some evil power which for the time subdues utterly their will—of the well-nigh deadly struggles of the reluctantly departing devils.'-''p. 8, 9.
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To unbought services alone can we look with anything like confidence for relieving this moral convulsion : holy women alone can minister with success to those suffering sisters, into whom such a legion of devils have forced their abode.
And, again, in the case of Penitentiaries, the Association restricts its aid to those which are under the guidance, in spiritual matters, of a clergyman of the Church of England.' As we have reason to believe, this rule has been partially misunderstood. It has been thought that this rule inıplied the system of direction, either as regarded the sisters or the penitents. Such is not the case. The Church-of-England principle of the voluntariness of confession is strictly adhered to. It were all but inconceivable that an asylum for these outcasts could be carried on for a single day without confession on the part of the penitents. True repentance, in this case at least, seems unattainable without confession. The examination, undertaken by the committees of the ordinary penitentiaries, is nothing less than a testimony to the absolute necessity of the principle of confession. And the Church, in dealing with her own returning daughters, can but prescribe her own remedies; and in the very front of these stands confession. The case supposed, the very entrance into a penitentiary, the abandonment of guilty, helpless self to the care, spiritual as well as temporal, of others, which is implied in the mere entrance into a Church penitentiary, is precisely that which embodies the Church's own case of those who cannot, by the ordinary means of self-examination and penal satisfaction, 'quiet their own conscience, but require further comfort and counsel.' And as regards the sisters intrusted with a work so full of difficulties, it is inconceivable but that they must feel the want, in their own case, of spiritual advice and experienced aid in the details of their labours. They would, therefore, naturally fall into intimate spiritual relations with the clerical head of the penitentiary. But this neither need be, nor is it, identical with the technical system of direction. The sisters have, and are encouraged to have, much individual responsibility; and though it is of the nature of sisterhoods, cut off, as their members must needs be, from other opportunities of profitable experience, to trust more to their own spiritual guide than would be needful for persons living in society, yet neither is confession made compulsory upon them, nor are they required to expect or seek .direction in all the details either of their own inner life, or of their dealings with the penitent.
It may perhaps be objected that, after all, the great difficulty is in reaching these poor creatures. It might be enough to say that the multiplication of Houses of Refuge would be their best advertisement. Street wanderers would soon know of the fact of a home, even were there ten or twenty open day and night in the metropolis. But more than this can be done. Our friend and fellow-labourer, Mr. Armstrong, spoke thus in the “Quarterly Review ;'
• It may seem somewhat wild to speak of going out to fetch wanderers home, when so many of those who have already risen up like the prodigal, and are at the very door of the home of penitents, have none to lead them in; but we cannot entirely put out of sight the duty of searching for the lost sheep in the wilderness. It is not enough to wait for the returning wanderers. There is a sort of missionary machinery required, by which especially the beginners in this vicious life might be pleaded with.'
These words seem to have kindled Lieutenant Blackmore, an earnest person connected with a House of Refuge called the London Female Dormitory. It is, as we learn from a tract called . London by Moonlight, this gentleman's practice to traverse the streets by night with the express object of making known his Home to abandoned women. In this tract he narrates the particulars of one such excursion. We select one or two incidents :
When we came to the bottom of Holborn Hill, I was accosted by an interesting young girl, dressed in a superior style. I gave her a note. She said, “What is this for ?" I replied, “To invite you to a happy home, until you can get into a situation suited to your ability." On inquiry, I found that she had no father, mother, nor any friend in London. Turning round to the gentleman who accompanied me, she asked, " Is he come out for the same purpose as yourself?” “Yes," I replied, " and I am expecting two other friends directly. We mean what we say. Our wish is to do you good." She was struck with astonishment. “Four gentlemen come out to seek after poor friendless girls! It is very good of you; I will call, with thanks." Degraded as she was, I shook hands with her, and we parted.'--P. 2.
Opposite St. Paul's my companion called me to him. A very genteel young woman had accosted him. She had been, it appeared, a governess. With tears in her eyes, and a voice full of emotion, she said, “O sir! I will consent to live upon bread and water if you will rescue me from this loathsome life." My friend was quite overcome with feelings of sorrow and compassion on her behalf, and begged me to receive her when she called, offering, if the benevolent fund of the Dormitory was exhausted when she came, as it sometimes is, to pay for her support until she was otherwise provided for.'-P.3.
Lieutenant Blackmore concludes :
• As the result of this evening's mission, about TWENTY unhappy females, desirous of being reformed, called at the Dormitory, and were sheltered in it, or placed in other institutions of a similar kind. Only those who have seen the misery endured by these unhappy objects, and who know their willingness, nay, their eagerness to be rescued, can bave any adequate conception of the immense amount of good which an agency of this kind can effect.'--P.7,
It is then possible to establish even a mission to these poor outcasts! We do not say that Mr. Blackmore's practice can in many cases be imitated; or that anything like an indiscriminate appeal to all street-walkers is likely to be productive of good, especially if undertaken by individuals. But on all sides we find testimonies to the willingness of these outcasts to quit, if possible, their lives of misery and sin. The Church might, and, if its work is to go out into the highways and compel them to come in, must, at least attempt not only to receive, but to invite sinners. We must go out to meet them at least half way. Mr. Blackmore shows that it can be done: it is for the Church, through its authorities, to say how it ought to be done. But we cannot but feel that, if grave and sober men, invested with authority and properly commissioned for the work, were to make this attempt, it is one which would be signally blessed. There is no class of sinners more open to such appeals than that of our female wanderers.
It would, we believe, be superfluous to say anything in this place on the duties incumbent on us and on our readers as regards this most important and most neglected part of the Church's work. We have been thus particular in describing the history and constitution of the Church Penitentiary Association, not only for its own sake—not only for the objects which it contemplatesbut for the sake of others. To reclaim sinners is the work of all; to reclaim this class of sinners is a work of especial blessedness. It seems to combine all the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. In ministering to fallen women, we may at once visit the sick; literally as well as typically feed the hungry, and give drink to the thirsty ; we clothe the naked; we give a home to the homeless; we minister to the prisoners of procuresses and houses of infamy; and last of all, as the records of penitentiaries show, we bury the dead, and the guilty hideous past, and present to newness of life and amended character those whom Satan had bound seven years. To all, the appeal to help in this good work addresses itself, and to all personally : from those who have themselves fallen, is due a trespass-offering—from those who have been reserved by grace from carnal sin, a thank-offering. And if we might venture to urge a special appeal to our clerical readers, it would be in the shape of a request that, as they must have many opportunities of being acquainted with those who have been partakers in sin, and who in after years, perhaps, have, as fathers and husbands, been reserved for better things, they would use such occasions to warn their friends that the account is still open between them and Divine Justice. They are in outward peace; but their partners in sin have been absorbed in the great whirling pit of destruction. But from our male peni