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The following copy of a note is all perhaps that is needful to be added
this matter :
“ LONDON CITY MISSION HOUSE,
“ London, March 20th, 1852.
“ MY DEAR MR. VANDERKISTE,
“You are quite at liberty to state explicitly that it was by our recommendation you made the work a narrative of personal labours, instead of a more general character.
" Very faithfully yours,
The wear and tear incidental to six years' labours, upon one of the very worst districts in London, in the midst of physical as well as moral contamination really indescribable, has appeared to render a recess desirable, which in the intervals of some visitation has been devoted to the publication of the present work.
Details of gross vulgarity I have omitted, and a mantle has been thrown over much vice. Some
few such details, however,—shorn of extreme grossness,,have necessarily been added. Could the subject and the district have been at all properly illustrated without any such details being given, they would gladly have been omitted altogether. It may be added, had the work not been intended strictly as a family book, it would have included various others of a much darker character.
The work of the Mission is a blessed work.
Its success has been very great. It has much yet to do—perhaps more than is thought by many.
May the Almighty Saviour, who has done so much for me, and for whom I have done so little, be pleased to make the book a blessing, and to shed abundantly of His Holy Spirit upon the soul of every reader. Amen.
London, April, 1852.
The following pages contain some details, selected from many more, of six years' labours in connection with the London City Mission. As an introduction to those details, it is purposed to furnish a few general particulars respecting the Society, and the mode in which its operations are carried on.
The London City Mission originated in the year 1835; its founder was a philanthropist in humble life, Mr. David Nasmith. The Rev. Dr. Campbell has well sustained the office of biographer to that eminent man.
The constitution of the Society is entirely unsectarian. Its Committee, Secretaries, and other officers, are selected from various denominations of Trinitarian Christians - Churchmen and Dissenters, and amongst its Missionaries are members of all Trinitarian denominations also, the ONE object contemplated by the Society being, not the propagation of any one particular form of Christian denominationalism, but the propagation simply of Christianity itself.
One law of the Mission is as follows:-" Every Missionary must avoid controversy upon the constitution and government of Christian churches, his great object being to teach the people on his district the way of salvation by Jesus Christ.”* Lest this regulation should be lost sight of, in the instructions to Missionaries t it is reiterated thus :
“Do not interfere with the peculiar tenets of any individual respecting Church government."
This rule is strictly enforced; but for that enforcement the City Mission, instead of being an exemplification, on a large and increasing scale, of the practicability of Christian union, would have probably proved quite ephemeral, and been numbered ere now amongst the existences of the past. The Society was established in the year 1835; the number of Missionaries employed during that year was four.
From that small beginning, by the good hand of the Lord its course has been one of undeviating prosperity. Year by year the number of its friends, and the amount of its funds, have gone on increasing. Its receipts for the past year were £23,053, and the number of Missionaries employed 245.
It is affecting, however, to remember that this is only just one-half the number which, from a very careful computation--not forgetting efforts made by other Societies-is found to be most urgently
*+ See Appendix to the Annual Reports of the Society.
needed, to bring the mass of Metropolitan heathenism under visitation.
As respects the character of the agents of the Society, the mass are men of simple and rudimental education. The Society, however, has always had a class of learned men. A Doctor of Divinity, a man of the commonest education, and a Graduate of Oxford or Cambridge, might have been seen sitting side by side at its domestic meetings.
In an official document,* published by the Mission some time since, the following passage
“ The Committee are anxious to engage only such persons as are thoroughly qualified for the work, feeling assured that, under God, the adaptation of the agency to the work to be accomplished is of the first importance. Among these Missionaries there have been, and still are, men of superior education; but the generality have had only the ordinary advantages of common schools. It is considered important, however, that every Missionary should be familiar with his Bible, well instructed in the evidences of religion, and capable of refuting the common objections adduced by sceptics and infidels; and it is also considered desirable that he be well read in the Romish controversy, and able, when necessary, to defend the truth against the various assailants he
meet with on his district. Sincere and humble piety, diligence, perseverance, a catholic