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/ / No. 532. 

THE 

W R K H O U S E N U R S E. 



A MONG the numerous objects of poverty and afflic- 
"'^* tlon which come under the notice of the Christian 
visitor, how frequently are those persons to oe met with 
who have the name of God continually upon their lips ; 
who, without hesitation, say, '' We have had no other 
friend to help us in our trouble but God, and if he had 
not helped us I know not what would have become ot 
us." Yet how painful is it on further inquiry to discover, 
that these were merely commonplace assertions, in- 
stead of being in truth the utterance of a g^rateful heart I 
So far from being able to relate what God had done 
for them, or had even promised to them, how sad is it 
to find them totally ignorant of that God whose holy 
name they had taken upon their lips, and whom they 
had thus ventured to call their Friend ! Nay, more, to 
liud by their own confession that they were living in tiie 
entire neglect of all those means of grace, by which 
alone they could ever know any thing of God. 

It is, indeed, a certain truth that God is the Friend of 
all mankind, in that *^ He maketh his sun to rise on 
the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just 
and on the unjust,'' Matt. v. 45; but how awful is it 
to contemplate the multitudes who, while they live in the 

THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY ; INSTITUTED 1799: 
5G, PATERNOSTER ROW, AND 65, ST. PAUl's CHURCHYARD. 



2 Nc. W2.— THE WORKHOUSE NURSE. 

enjoyment of these, liis common mercies, do yet nevei 
raise one thought to him, in "'hom they live and move 
and have their being, and by whose bounty they are fed 
from day to day. Such persons do not at all answer the 
description of the people to whom ^^ God is a very pre- 
sent help in trouble," Psa. xlvi. 1 . God is indeed the help 
and the protector of all who put their trust in him, and 

'' is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call 
upon him in truth/' Psa. cxlv. 18. He forgetteth not the 
cry of the afflicted, nor the sighing of the needy, Psa. ix. 
12 ; xii. 5. He says to liis people, " Call upon me in the 
day of trouble : I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify 
me." ^Lud, " Whoso offereth praifee glorifieth me/' etc., 
Psa. 1. 15, 23. With all the tenderness of a lovin<y 
Father does God look down upon his children and his 
people, Psa. ciii. 13. He will never leave them nor for- 
sake them. But the solemn question is. Who are his 
people ? and who are they whom God will acknowledge 
as his friends? It is said of Abraham, that he was the 
friend of God ; and our Lord has also been pleased to 
say, ^' Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I com- 
mand you," John xv. 14 ; and again, '' My mother and 
my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and 
do it/' Luke viii. 21. But where is it said that those are 
his friends, and the objects of his special care, who never 
think upon his name, who day by day call not upon 
him in prayer, who keep not the sabbath as an holy day, 

hough he has commanded them so to do, saying, 

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy," Exod. 

XX. 8. How can they be his people who nev;r read 



NO. 53*^.— THE WORKHOUSE NURSE, 3 

their Bible; though Christ has said, ''Search the Scrips 
tures ; for in them ye think ye have eternal hfe : and they 
are they which testify of me V Jolin v. 39 ; who neglect 
the house of God, so as never to worship him in public, 
nor hear his word ; how then can they do it ? 

Oh i how awful is it, in a Christian country, to see mul- 
titudes livinsf in far g^reater negrlect of the Lord who 
made them, and in whom they profess to believe as their 
Saviour, than the poor ignorant benighted heathen does 
of his dumb idol, which cannot save, for '' it can neither 
kill nor make alive." How can it be expected that God 
should pour down his blessing on a people who never 
ask his blessing, who nevjr seek his favour, who never 
feel his love ; who have eaten their daily food without 
ever giving thanks to Him who bestowed it — to Him who 
has not only provided for the manifold wants of the 
body, but has far more richly provided for the wants of 
the never-dying sout? The body must soon perish; the 
soul can never die. '' What shall a man ""ive in exchangre 
for his soul?" Matt. xvi. 26, 27- Can any one form a 
just idea of the value of the immortal soul, when we are 
told by Christ himself that '' God so loved the worlds 
that he gave his only -begotten Son, that whosoever be- 
lieveth in him should not perish, but have everlasting 
life," John iii. 16. '* And this is life eternal, that they 
might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, 
whom thou hast sent," John xvii. 3. 

As one of the visitors of a benevolent society, I was 
employed to convey relief to a poor woman during her 
confinement. I found S. W. poor indeed as it regarded 



4 K^632. — THE WORKHOUSE NURSE. 

the things of this life ; but I had every reason to beheve 
she was one of the happy few who are rich in faith 
towards God, and consequently heirs of that kingdom 
which he has promised to all who love him. 

Only those who have experienced it, can form an 
idea how cheering and dehghtful it is to find, amidst 
the abodes of poverty, wretchedness, and misery, here 
and there one who really does know, and love, and 
faithfully try to serve, that almighty gracious Friend, 
who says to the least of his children, and to the poorest 
. of his servants, *^ I will never leave thee, nor forsake 
thee," Heb. xiii. 5. 

Had this poor woman told me that God was and 
had been her friend in her time of trouble, I could 
readily have believed it. because I found her life and 
conduct answering to the description of those whom he 
condescends to call his '* friends.'* She had his word 
in her possession. She read her Bible daily, with 
earnest prayer for the Holy Spirit to enlighten her mind, 
so as to understand it. She had family prayer ; that 
is, night and morning she prayed with her children, 
besides teaching them to pray to God themselves. She 
and her husband were constant m their attendance at 
the house of God on the sabbath day ; and if any of 
the little ones were ill, or confined at home, the parents 
would take it by turns to remain with them, so that 
neither of them was ever absent from the house of 
God the w^hole of the day. 

At the chapel where S. W. attended there was service 
one day during the week ; and I was told, that if ever 



N«. 532.-— THE WORIvIIOUSE NUKSE. 3 

she happened to have a clay's work on the same clay 
as this service was held, she always rose two hour&^ 
earlier in the morning, that she might finish her work in. 
time to attend her chapel in the evening ; so as not to> 
lose the opportunity of seeking God in the sanctuary, 
and of hearing that word which imparted comfort and 
support to her soul under the trials of life. That she 
was really poor as it respects earthly riches, was evident 
by her being obliged to apply to the parish for a nurse 
from the workhouse, to be with her during the first few 
days of her illness; and not only so, but the kind- 
hearted nurse who was sent, more than once shared- 
with S. VV. the little pittance that she had brought 
each day from the house for her own dinner. 

The husband had ill health, and for weeks together 
could not earn more than eight or nine shillings per 
week, which afforded a bare subsistence for a family of 
six in number ; and he, being by trade a smith, re- 
quired strengthening food. Yet not a murmur ever 
escaped their lips; on the contrary, with thankfuhiess- 
have I heard him declare, " God has always fulfilled' 
to us his promise, * Bread shall be given him ; his- 
waters shall be sure,' " Isa.xxxiii. 16. And they were* 
contented, being enabled by faith to look forward foi? 
higher mercies and richer blessings in the world to come; 

I found S. W. residing in a large and more commo- 
dious room than the poor generally obtain, but it was in 
a stable-yard gallery, where the penthouse projected so 
far over the window, as to exclude the light to that 
degree that it was almos/: impossible for any one to see 



O N**. 532. — THE WORKHOUSE NUK.SK. 

to read, excepting close to the window, especially at tha 
season of the year in which I paid my first visit, it being 
the latter end of November. I regretted exceedingly 
being thus prevented reading the word of God to her, 
and endeavoured, as well as I could, to supply the defi- 
ciency, by repeating from memory different portions of 
the Scripture, and among many others that of Luke xi. 
9 — 13, '^ If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts 
unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly 
Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him ?'* 
" And I say unto you. Ask, and it shall be given you ; 
seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and it shall be opened 
unto you." The poor humble nurse had retired to an 
obscure corner of the room immediately on my entrance, 
and remained there during the whole period of my visit, as 
still and as quiet as possible, I well remember her tall 
tliin figure ; but there was not sufficient light for me to dis- 
cern her features at the distance she sat, and I concluded 
my visit without any other notice of her, or even thought 
of her, than the usual salutation on my entrance, and a 
farewell on my leaving the room. ^* My thoughts are 
not your thoughts, neither arc your ways my ways 
saith the Lord," Isa. Iv. 8 ; and thus it proved in the 
case of this poor woman: although unnoticed by the 
visitor, unheeded by a fellow creature, the eye of One 
rested on her, '' unto whom all hearts are open, all 
desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid." 
She was not forgotten of her God : he, in liis mercy and 
in his love, remembered her for good. 
. It was about eiorhteen months after this visit, wliile I 



NO. r):Vi. — THE WORKHOUSE NUKSE. 1 

was residing for a i'ew months by th^ sea-side, that I 
received, to my great surprise, a letter from S. W., for 
I knew not how she had obtained my address. She began 
by making an apology for the liberty she had taken in 
writing to me, yet felt confident that I would excuse it 
when I knew the cause. The letter then went on to state 
that she had just returned from the infirmary, where she 
had witnessed the triumphant departure (for she could 
not call it the death) of the poor woman who had nursed 
her in her last confinement ; and she had in consequoaice 
felt it her duty to write to me, because the peace, and 
joy, and consolation experienced by this poor nurse in 
her last moments were connected with my first visit to 
S. W. She had listened with attention to the diffei-ent 
portions of the sacred Scripture which had been repeated, 
and God was pleased to impress that part out of the Gos- 
pel of St. Luke so strongly on her mind that she could 
not get rid of it. Night and day the words, " Ask, and it 
sliall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find," etc., sounded 
in her ears, and she could get no rest until she came to 
S. W., requesting her to find them for her in the word 
of God. Tliis was done; and upon her return home she 
got a Bible belonging to the ward, and sought them out 
for herself. From this time she read and searched the 
Scriptures daily, with earnest prayer for the teaching of 
the Holy Spirit ; and eveiy one who knew her bore testi- 
mony to the consistency of her conduct during the period 
that her life was spared. She became each day more 
contented and cheerful, so as for it to be observed by 
those around her; and she did not hesitate to confess from 



8 N°. 532. — THE WORKHOUSE NURSE. 

what source she derived all her comfort ; and in the hour 
of her departure, she entreated and exhorted all those who 
stood around her bed to read the w^ord of God for them- 
sekes, that they might obtain tlie same heavenly conso- 
lation that she enjoyed, through the knowledge of Christ 
Jesus, as her Lord and Saviour. 

Her illness was of very short duration, but she retained 
her senses to the last ; and such was the happy state of 
her mind, such peace and joy did tliis humble Christian 
experience in her last hour, that her soul took its flight 
from earth while she w^as singing the praises of God ; leav- 
ins: those who stood around her lost in astonishment at a 
scene so unusual, especially in a workhouse. From the 
time that the sound of the gospel reached her ear, and the 
truth touched her heart, she had earnestly turned to God 
in prayer, and he in his mercy answered her, and enabled 
her to depart from earth and enter heaven with praise. 

Upon my return to London I called on S. W., and 
inquired if she could give me any particulars of the 
former part of this poor nurse's life. She informed me 
that while she was nursing her, she had mentioned, that in 
early life she was blessed wiih a pious mother, who had 
taught her to fear and love God, and to read liis holy 
word. At twelve years of ac^e she was obli«^ed to leave 
her parents' roof, and go out to service, never more to 
enjoy the sweet privilege of a mother's watchful eye, 
instruction, and pious counsel. And it appeared that 
the mother w^as too poor to give her child a Bible when 
she was leaving home. 

She went into a family who kept no other servant 



N». 532.— THE WORKHOUSE NURSE. 9 

besides herself; from this she passed on to another of 
the same description, the master and mistress of which 
sometimes went to church themselves, but they never 
allowed their poor servant any part of tlie sabbath to 
worship God in public. Thus, from the time that she 
had left her mother's roof, had she passed the whole of 
her life, without ever having once entered the house of 
God ; and without ever having heard the sound of the 
gospel, until the day that she listened to the precious 
promises of Christ Jesus our Lord, as they fell from the 
lips of a stranger. " Ask, and it shall be given you ; 
seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened 
unto you.*' She heard, and at once obeyed ; she searched 
the nord of God, she asked for the Holy Spirit, she 
believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as her Almighty 
Saviour ; and he permitted her happy ransomed soul 
to beain, on earth, that sonof of thanksg^ivino^ which in 
heaven shall never end. As Paul and Silas made the 
prison walls to resound with the praises of their God, 
Acts xvi. 25, so did this humble believer make the 
walls of a workhouse to echo with the praises of her 
Redeemer. It was faith in Christ that sustained the 
soul of the great apostle of the Gentiles ; and it was the 
same vital, animating principle, that filled the heart of 
an obscure individual in ? poor-house with joy and 
gladness. *' This is the victory that overcometh the 
worldj even our faith,'' 1 John v. 4. Faith m Christ 
enables the soul to rejoice amidst persecution and impri- 
sonment ; to triumph over poverty, sickness, and even 
death itself. On the wings of faith the hapfy spirit, 



10 N«. 532.— THE WORKHOUSE NURSE. 

released from its earthly tabernacle, soars aloft, snakes 
off' the dust of earth, and enters heaven with songs of joy. 
Oh, what a change ! Where is the imagination that can 
fully realize the sudden transition ? In one moment to 
exchange the sick ward of an infirmary, for mansions of 
eternal glory. One minute to be surrounded with com- 
panions suffering under the pressure of poverty, sick- 
ness, sin, and miseiy, and the next minute to be admitted 
Into the presence of Christ, encircled with a host of ran 
somed spirits before the throne, and uniting with them in 
their song of joy and victory : '' Unto him that loved 
us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and 
hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; 
to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen," 
Rev.i.5, 6. '' The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he 
bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out 
of the dust, to make them inherit glory," 1 Sam. ii. 7, 8. 
My dear reader, do you feel anxious to enjoy the same 
peace and comfort in a dyuig hour? Then seek to obtain 
like precious faith, i ollovv the example of this poor 
w^oman. She listened with attention to the word of 
God, and lost no time in obeying the command of her 
Lord. She was poor and needy — you and I are the 
same : let us then go in faith and prayer to the same 
Almighty Friend, who has all power in heaven and in 
earth, and who saj% '^ Him that cometh to me I 
will in no wise cast out," John vi. 37. In Him, there 
is an infinite fulness to pardon all our sins, and to sup- 
ply all our wants. Let us seek, day by day, to be en* 
riched out of the plenitude of his grace, and to be filled 



NO. 532.— THE WORKHOUSE NURSE. 11 

with that Holy Sph'lt, who is the seal and earnest of the 
exceedhig riches of his glory. 

Is there not, in the case of this poor nurse, much en- 
couragement for pious mothers to sow the seed of Divine 
truth in the minds of their children as early as possible, 
while they have the opportunity ; not knowing how soon 
they may be taken from their children, or the children 
from them, never to see each other again until they meet 
at the bar of God ? Happy are those parents who, with 
affectionate kindness, have taught their little ones to read 
the word of God ; who have trained them up in the love 
and fear of the Lord ; who have sown the seed in faith 
and prayer, and, it may be, with many tears ! Should 
such parents not be spared on earth to see the fruit or 
their labour, yet we are told, '' They that sow in tears 
shall reap in joy," Psa. cxxvi. 5. In heaven, the mother 
shall see that her labour was not in vain in the Lord. 
There shall the parent who sowed the seed, and the 
cJiild who reaped the blessing, rejoice together. 

There is another class who, by the perusal of this 
little narrative, may be reminded of tlieir deep respon- 
sibility to God — those who have servants under their 
care, but appear to forget '' that the poorest servant in a 
family has a soul to be saved — a soul more precious to 
him, or to her, than aught beside on earth." 

Dear reader, if you and I live in a Christian coun- 
try, and have been baptized into the name of Christ, 
oh let us not live as do the heathen who know not God, 
If we believe, w^e shall love and obey Him who died to 
save our souls, who shed his blood to ransom us from 



12 NO. 532.— THE WORKHOUSE NURSE. 

death. Wherever there is vital iaith, there will be love 
and obedience. May you and I count it our highest 
honour and delight to serve that gracious Lord and Mas- 
ter, who, in his infinite condescension, says, *' Where I 
am, there shall also my servant be," John xii. 26. Oh 1 
who can describe the unspeakable happiness of that soul 
which, as it enters heaven, shall be welcomed widi tliose 
blessed words, '' Well done, thou good and faithful ser- 
vant : enter thou into the joy of thy Lord !" Matt. xxv.21. 
^' Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from 
among the heathen, to give ihanks unto thy holy name, 
and to triumph in thy praise," Psa, cvi. 47. 



THE FRIEND IN NEED. 

One there is, above all others, 

Well deserves the name of Friend! 
His is love beyond a brother's, 
Costly, free, and knows no end : 
They who once his kindness prove 
Find it everlasting love. 

Which of all our friends to save us 
Could or would have shed liis blood Y 

But our Saviour died to have us 

Pardoned, and brought iiigli to God. 
This was boundless love indeed I 

Jesus is a Friend in need. 
•I 

i Oh ! for grace our hearts to soften ; 

I Teach us, Lord, at length to love : 

j We, alas ! forget too often, 

\ What a Friend we have above ; 

i But when home our souls are brougnt 

We will love thee iis we ought. 



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