Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

it. For while in the voice of divine justice it denounces chastisement upon all sinners, according to their criminality, it also affirms that the merciful wisdom and loving-kindness of Him who is governor in all the earth are manifested in that chastisement, by so arranging it that it shall terminate in the reformation of its subjects. And as an illustration of its nature, the Saviour spoke of a wandering prodigal, who strayed from the house of his father, fell into sin, was punished, and was so subdued by it, that he returned home a repentant son.

President Wayland remarked, in an address to the Prison Discipline Society, that “it is in vain to punish men, unless you reform them.” The world is rising up to this noble fact. Multitudes of parents and teachers, in governing their children and scholars, now see and are practising the truth, that it is far better to administer the punishment which kindness dictates, than to administer the punishment which revenge suggests: cruel punish'ments, aiming at no other end than the infliction of pain, kindness unequivocally condemns. But those punishments whose object is to reform sinners, repress crime, encourage virtue, and preserve good order, kindness unequivocally approves; for kindness is an enemy to lawlessness, and a friend to all righteousness.

A LETTER FROM VAN DIEMEN'S LAND.

Through the kindness of the Rev. W. Weldon Champneys, Rector of Whitechapel, we are enabled to lay before our readers the following interesting communication :

TO THE CHILDREN OF THE WHITECHAPEL

SCHOOLS.

Van Diemen's Land, Port Cygnet,

August 31, 1847. MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS, -I suppose by this time you have nearly forgotten me, but I have not forgotten you, although four years have passed away since I bade farewell to my friends in happy old England ; during which time, alas ! what changes there have been in the world; and I dare say that you have not been exempt from them: for could I visit your school now, I should miss many with whose faces I was once familiar ; and no doubt, upon inquiry, I should be told such an one is gone, such an one is dead-and some whom I left little children being taught, I should see grown up young men and women-teaching in the same school the same holy truths which they were taught in their earlier years, filling up the places of those who are gone never to return.

Among your Teachers and Ministers, too, what changes

What a changing world it is! Every thing is passing away, and we are passing away toogoing fast down the stream of time into the great ocean of eternity. Let us then see that we have something to rest upon, more sure than the changing things of earth, more lasting than the universe, and which will exist when all this creation shall have been blotted out from existence; I mean the Rock of Ages, Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.”

I suppose that you would like to hear something of myself, where I am located, my duties, and my success.

Since I left England, I have crossed the great and wide sea for 16,000 miles, in a large man-of-war called

Anson,” and after having been four months on board, we landed at Hobart Town. This colony is just the opposite part of the globe to that in which you live. If you ask your Teachers they will show it you on the map. I will just observe, that day and night, as well as the seasons, are here reversed; when it is morning with you it is night with us, and when you are going to rest we are getting up; so with the seasons, at Christmas it is the height of our summer, &c. Well, when we came into this colony, we were first sent to a place called Brown's River, and after staying there a little while, the government thought proper to remove us to Bridgewater, afterwards to Port Esperance, then to Port Lymington, and again to this place. I can look out from here upon the broad ocean-on mountains whose tops seem to

the «

touch the clouds—while the beautiful flowers and shrubs literally scent the air nearly all the year round. Indeed, the whole country might be called an earthly paradise. But it is the scene of crimes-dark and awful crimes, even the names of which I pray God you may never know.

For a long time nearly all the prisoners from England and many other parts of the world were sent to this little island, so that you may suppose there must be a great number of wicked persons. During the time I have been here, I forget how many thousands have been under my instruction; many of these are doing well, and have, by good conduct, obtained comparative freedom, but others are still wearing their chains. Some I have committed to the grave in sure and certain hope of a better world hereafter, and others, I grieve to say it, have ended their days by the hand of the public executioner.

Last Saturday, a poor black man from India, named Vinglesary, was baptized at this station. He was transported for some offence, and was sent to Brown's River three years ago.

Then he was unable to speak a word of English; but for his benefit, and for the benefit of about thirty of his countrymen in the same condition as himself, I held a special service, which was interpreted to them by a man who understood their language. I also formed a school for them, but very soon they were removed from me and sent to another station. But poor Vinglesary having met with an accident and broken his leg, he was sent to an invalid station ; after a time the government sent all the poor invalids here--some blind, some lame, some without an arm, others without a leg-every one of them afflicted-among them was Vinglesary. For these unfortunates I had service, and preached every morning, and sometimes twice a day. The

poor black man I have mentioned very soon learned to read the Testament, which he always carried about with him, and read nearly the whole day. I could see by his conduct that some change had taken place in him; and I hoped that he had begun to love God. In a conversation with him, he expressed a desire for baptism, telling me he now no longer prayed to Juggernaut, as he formerly did, but to Jesus Christ. Feeling satisfied with him, I communicated his wish to the Archdeacon, who appointed a proper person to examine him, and the result was, as I before stated, that he was baptized, and at his own request took the name of Samuel.

Perhaps you would like to hear some remarks he has made to me at various times. “ I thank God, (said he in his broken English,) “I sent here; man no transport, God transport me. Stone no broke my leg, God broke my leg ; he send me here for good. You preach about ten virgins-five wise, five foolish. I see myself very foolish to worship things other men made. All heathen gods bad; Jesus Christ only good God.And again, *My heart black, very ; blacker than this,” meaning his flesh; “ sometimes very happy, because I love Jesus; then again miserable dark-my wicked heart.” This Scripture knowledge is wonderful, considering the short time he has been able to read ; he reads his Testament much. I believe he prays over it much; and the consequence is, he understands it. Go thou and do likewise.

At this station there are to be none but boys; already there are near upon an hundred, and there will be soon very many more. A great number are from London, and two or three from Whitechapel.

Could you see their dark cells, their degraded yellow dress, and hear the clanking of their chains, surely it would be a preventive against any of you committing those crimes for which these boys are torn from their parents and friends. Oh! let me beseech you to attend to the instruction which you are continually receiving. Some of these lads have been in a Sunday-school ; but they have neglected their Teacher's instruction, and have been placed in that degrading position which I have hinted at. But I am sorry to say that they are not cured of their evil propensities; many of them have been tried 50 or 60 different times, and are likely to be tried many more. Oh! beware of the beginnings of sin: evil habits when once formed are seldom corrected, and they grow upon us insensibly! Sin, if indulged in, has an awful tendency to harden the beart. Oh! then, my dear young friends, pray continually with sincerity: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

At some future time I shall write to you again, and give you some particulars of a number of very interesting cases which have come under my notice; in the meantime, believe me, My dear young friends, Your sincere friend,

P. Sisso,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »