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Fest is open to the sky. The birds are chanting their vesper hymn; and tiniest insects buzz through the air, dancing with enjoyment. At length, the son has run his race; and sinking behind the hills, tinges with gold the fleecy clouds. The busy hum of day is hushed. The flowers have closed their petals, and are fast asleep. The birds are gone to roost, with no anxious thoughts of to-morrow's food. The moon is gently rising in all her queen-like beauty. No sounds are heard save the echo of the distant reapers, merrily shouting "Harvest Home." The stars, one by one, come blushing forth; and family by family they are gathering with still and holy air into the house of God," and seem to be breathing benedictions upon sin-stained man. Oh! "the inusic of that stillness!"-night's tingling silence, which speaks more eloquently than any words of the goodness of that God who giveth us all things richly to enjoy
Now, this man I am speaking of, has an eye to see, and a heart to feel all this beauty. He can find spiritual meanings in everything around. In the language of our great dramatic bard, he “Finds tongues in trees, - books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, -and good in everything.” Therefore I would urge you, working-men, not to neglect the cultivation of your intellect. There never was a day in the world's history when workingInen had such facilities for acquiring knowledge as the present. There are Mechanics’ Institutions, People's Colleges, Working-men's Colleges, and Free Libraries, on every hand. Don't tell me that you are too poor-that you cannot buy books, and have not the means for acquiring knowledge. I know better. You may get all Cowper's poems for 9d., Bacon's Essays for 10d. All Milton's Poems for 15d. ; indeed you may purchase most of the great buks England has produced, for less money than you spend in beer and tobacco in one year. What you want is a fixed determination to leave off going to the public-house, and to spend your leisure time in the improvement of your inind. You must in this department be working-men. Remember, there are no royal roads to learning. In the sweat of your brain you must eat intellectual bread. No pains, no gains; no sweat, no sweet; no mill, no meal. Then, I conjure you to buy up your leisure moments, in order to develope, and to strengthen, and improve that mind which God has given to you.
But now let me take higher ground still. Man has a higher life than either of those we have mentioned;—that is, a spiritual life. He is destined for immortality. And we are placed in this world by the Almighty, to be educated for another world. This life is our seed-time for eternity. And as it needs energy and determination for a man to make advancement materially and intellectually,--so also it does for a man to advance spiritually. We have to work out our own salvation ;-to work while it is day,—for the night is coming on when we cannot work. Now, I tell you, working-men, that this is the hardest work of all. The Christian race is not to be run by men half-asleep. The fight of faith will only be successfully fought by men who are thoroughly in earnest.
But probably, I have many before me who stand aloof from religious teaching and influences. You seldom or never attend a place of worship. You have but a poor opinion of men of the class to which I belong. And many of you indulge, more or less, in a loose scepticism. Suffer me to say a word to you. I know too much about doubt myself, to indulge in the language of scorn or reproach when addressing sincere doubters. I can still look upon the scars of wounds received when wrestling with the demon of doubt. I am not unacquainted with the difficulties that perplex your mind. But I ask
for a moment to leave those difficulties, and forget the lives of those professing Christians who are so unlike Christ. I ask you for a moment to look at Christianity as embodied in the life of Christ. Think of the fact that Christ was a poor man—that he was a labouring man—that he was a working man. Read His teachings, and see if you find the least trace of that mammon worship which you profess to hate so much. Did He not always treat man as man? He paid no honour to wealth and splendour. But He ever honoured humanity, even when fallen and degraded. Do you wonder that the "common people”-as they are called-heard Him gladly? Do you wonder that the poor, the wretched, the disappointed, the doubting, the undone, gathered round Him, and tearfully marvelled at His loving words? Do you wonder that loving mothers brought their sweet babes, that He might put His hands upon them, and bless them? Oh! I don't wonder. Talk of the people's friend!—where is he? Talk of the large-hearted philanthropist !- where is he? Talk of the world's reformer! — where is he? Where will you find him but in the God-man, Jesus Christ?
I know that some of you working-men are longing for the political and social regeneration of society. I share your longing. But I tell you, that you have not got the necessary instrument to work out this change. I prophesy that all your schemes of Socialism, Chartism, and Secularism will fail, -utterly fail
. It is only as Christ's teaching and laws are obeyed, that your object will be realised. Christianity says—*We that are strong ought to bear the burthens of the weak.” You know what the world has ever said, and ever will say, until it is Christianized—“We that are strong ought to make the weak bear our burthens." Christianity says—“He that is greatest among you, shall be servant of all.” The world says—“He that is greatest among you; shall do nothing at all, and have everybody to wait upon him." The principle of the world is selfishness; the principle of Christ is benevolence. The world says—“Look to number one—it is every man for himself.” But Christ says—“You must look to number two as well as number one; and you must love your neighbour as yourself.” But you are ready to tell me, that many Christians don't practise Christ's teachings. Alas! my brother, it is too true! I know it: I told you it was no very easy thing to be a Christian. It is vastly easier to become a good mechanic, a good cotton spinner, or a good merchanty-than to become a good Christian. However, you must not condemn Christianity on account of the imperfections of its professors. That is unfair. If I were to condemn the people's charter because some Chartists have burnt down mills and factories, you would say that is not fair. You must judge the charter on its own merits. So I say of Christianity. You have been looking at it through a false medium, and therefore your impressions are erroneous. What a very imperfect idea a man would have of the sun, who had only looked at it through a Manchester fog! And just so it is with men who look at the Sun of Righteousness through the imperfections of professing Christians. My brother, I beseech you go and study Christianity in the life of Christ, and you will soon say—"LORD, I BELIEVE !”
And now, I have done. I commend the subject to your thoughtful consideration. As working-men you have many difficulties to meet-many hardships to bear. But
forth like stalwart men, resolving in the strength of God to do your duty. And while you labour for the bread that perisheth, I beseech you not to forget that intellectual and spiritual bread, the value of which is above rubies.
MACHINIST AND TOOL MAKER, MANCHESTER
Britain, I do so with much diffidence, because I know
BY MR. GEORGE GENT,
Association, Manchester, 1858. ]
speaking of the mechanical trades of Great
present position with that of some sixty