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has its own peculiar aggravations; but to these the vast numbers of the destitute has, thank God, already attracted attention and relief. Not one word would I say to damp the zeal of those whose especial efforts have been addressed to the relief of this necessity. I would only desire to call attention to another, and if a less obtrusive, a no less real call for Christian charity.
No one who has not become practically acquainted with them can duly estimate the deep trials which dry up the spiritual life of the poor families who are gathered into the remoter hamlets of our agricultural parishes. Here too often the poor do literally grow up uncared for, and unknown. Afar, in most cases, from all the softening influences of occasional intercourse with more educated neighbours, they become coarse and hard not only in outward manners but in character and habits. Commonly the poorest of the poor are thrust into these outskirts of civilization; their children are rarely found in our schools ; their girls grow up without the restraining, elevating influences which flow to all from the consciousness of being observed by those above them in habits and education; their young men are not led by any secondary
influences to place a restraint on those sensual appetites which by their coarse indulgence so eminently brutalize the whole character, whilst the elder people seem, for the most part, drowned in the impenetrable apathy of hardened ignorance. The one remedy for this evil is to plant the presence of a truly Christian pastor amongst them. By ministering to them, the gospel of Christ's grace, and the ordinances of the church, this reaches their wants in the more direct manner; and incidentally it has the same effect, by planting amongst them one, who, by a sympathy with all their temporal wants and afflictions, opens their hearts to the softening influences of kindly intercourse with the educated and comparatively polished.
This we may do with far more certainty amongst these outlying hamlets than in our busy towns. In these it is too often long before a new church is filled, even when it is built. But the residence of a true pastor in a wild rural district is felt at once, and they who lend their aid to this work are healing the springs of society. It is their especial blessing that they plant a living principle of good for succeeding generations. Amidst the recurring temptations, wants, trials and sufferings, amongst the depressing and depraving incidents, in which our common life is so prolific, and to which our fallen nature is so much exposed; there is ever at work in the presence of the church's ministrations, a correcting, strengthening, comforting, exalting, purifying influence, which through God's grace will in generation after generation lay hold upon one and another, and raise them to the true life of Christ's redeemed children. Long after we have been gathered to our graves, and even when our very names have passed away, the fruits of our self denial may thus be ripening for man's salvation, and God's glory.
To join in one such work all those are earnestly invited into whose hands these pages may fall : and especially all those who are or have been Members of the University or inhabitants of the City of Oxford. A population situated like those which have been above described, is gathered at the extremity of the Parish of Headington, about its quarries; and it is proposed, God willing, to build there a Church and Parsonage-house. Upon all Members of the University of Oxford, this district has, alas, some especial claims. With every possible attention to its moral habits the presence
of an University must probably expose the surrounding villages to some peculiar temptations. This population has been long cursed by the neighbourhood of Oxford vice, which has found in the secluded character of the hamlet, and in the consequent lack of the rebuke of observation, too fit a scene for its evil deeds. May God grant that it may now be blessed by the Christian charity of Oxford. May those to whom God has given grace to feel for their brethren feel that its nearness to them constitutes a claim on their attention ; may they, if any such should read these
whose consciences tell them that either here or elsewhere they have helped to increase the corrupting influence of our University, feel that by allowing them to aid this design God has graciously given them a special opportunity for undoing something of their evil work, and receiving back again from His good hand even the very “Years which the locust hath eaten."
I am, Sir,
S. OXON. CUDDESDON PALACE,
Nov. 1, 1847.