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BAND OF HOPE RECORD.

92

THE QUALIFICATIONS OF A GOOD CONDUCTOR.*

By the Rev. G. W. McCREE, Hon. Sec. to the Band of Hope Union. The architect, painter, vocalist, and poet, who aspires to achieve high and lasting fame, sets before his mind a lofty ideal, and this he earnestly seeks to realize in his productions and life. Excellence does not exist without culture. Fame is not an accident. Usefulness is the result of perception, discipline, thought, practice, and prayer. To be a good conductor of a Band of Hope requires all these. Whoever resolves to excel in this department of benevolent labour, must prepare himself to cultivate his natural abilities, and, if he will only do his best——if he will only determine to improve daily—if he will only do or die-he will inevitably prove "a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.”

It is quite evident that the good conductor will not be found in any man who does not keep himself clean. He should be familiar with the sponge, and the bath, and the towel. Coming, as many of our excellent fellow-workers do, from the forge and the bench, it is important that all our Temperance Halls should have a convenient lavatory, that the stains of toil might be removed before any proceedings are commenced.

A dirty conductor is a nuisance : a clean, tidy, decently-dressed conductor is worth his weight in “Brown Windsor.”

The good conductor has popular vocal powers. He can sing. He does not growl, and call his growling "a Band of Hope Melody”; he does not roar, and call his roaring a splendid effort; he does not shut his eyes, open wide his mouth, press his elbows into his ribs, and having screamed something to the tune of “Oh! Susannah," sit down expecting a loud encore, but he sings modestly, gladly, sweetly, and leads his little ones in their hymns of praise, with his own soul filled with music, joy, and love.

And he is careful what he sings. He never introduces anything vulgar, coarse, doubtful. His songs are like refined silver, as harmless' as the lark's anthem to the bright and morning star. Knowing that "sensation songs," and "comic songs,” and “character songs,” are seldom pure and elevating compositions, he never introduces them to his Band of Hope,

• Read at the Band of Hope Conversazione, Freemasons' Hall.

but carefully shuns them, and teaches his children to abstain from them. The “Hymns and Melodies for Bands of Hope,” and the “ Recitations and Dialogues for Bands of Hope,” issued by the Band of Hope Union, and the melodies published in The Band of Hope Record, will, I think, greatly help anyone who wishes to act wisely in this important matter. No harm, but much good, would result from every child being taught to sing such a beautiful melody as this :KIND WORDS, SWEET THOUGHTS, AND NEVER DYING SOULS.

Kind words can never die,

Cherished and blessed ;
God knows how deep they lie,

Stored in the breast;
Like childhood's simple rhymes,
Told o'er a thousand times,
Age, in all years and climes,

Distant and near.
Sweet thoughts can never die,

Though, like the flowers,
Their brightest hues may fly

In wintry hours;
But when the gentle dew
Gives them their charms anew,
With many an added hue,

They bloom again.
Our souls can never die,

Though in the tomb,
We may all have to lie,

Wrapt in its gloom ;
What though the flesh decay,
Souls pass in peace away,
Live through eternal day,

With Christ above.* The good conductor endeavours to maintain perfect order in his Band of Hope. He comes in time to the place of meeting, and sees that every child occupies its proper place. His children are not left to kick at the door, to run all over the neighbourhood, to fight, to steal apples from stalls, and to annoy some woodenlegged pensioner with the slang question, “How 's your poor feet?” because he is not there in time, aye, before time. During the meeting of the children he keeps them busy, happy, and in order, by a succession of wise and pleasant engagements. Does a boy crack a nut? The conductor's eye is

upon Does a naughty girl put out her tongue? He rebukes her with an uplifted finger. No disorder is allowed. Method,

• See Band of Hope Record, for June, 1862.

him.

firmness, moral force, and tender love govern the little folk, and make them as gentle as pet doves, as amenable to discipline as a royal guard, and as pleasant to the eye as a garden of flowers.

You will always find the good conductor careful to attend to the convenience of deputations. If he knows a gentleman is coming to speak to his children, he will keep a place for him, and will see that he has time for his address. Should his Band of Hope not meet on an evening when a deputation is appointed, he will promptly inform the speaker, and thus save him the trouble of a useless journey. Great complaints have reached me of the remissness of some conductors in relation to this matter ; and I beg of them to reform, and do better in future. Our model man is studious. He does not lack effort to fill his mind with various knowledge. He will not fail to study every phase of temperance principles, and whatever he learns he will teach. Anecdote, poetry, facts culled from public journals, the great lessons of Scripture, fables, proverbs, and allegories, personal experiences, the biographies of the brave and pure, the events of the day, and, in short, all things new and old will be made by him to contribute to the instruction and delight of his children. Maps, pictures, natural objects, diagrams of the human system, dissolving views, flowers, music, song, recitation, milk and buns, and a sail on the river, or a frolic in a green field, will all be employed to link together, as in a chain of gold, -temperance, virtue, knowledge, and happiness.

The good conductor is a Christian. With a cordial and exalted and immoveable faith in the Creator of the universe, and in Him who made the awful curse of sin to pass away, he fails not in his highest duty to the children confided to his charge. You may trust him at all times. The most anxious mother may confide in his delicacy, honour, and tenderness. Her fair child-her daughter blooming into maidenhood, is safe -perfectly safe in his presence. If any of his children are sick, he visits them, prays with them, speaks of Jesus, and points them to heaven above. If they die, he hastens to see the

parents while their tears are flowing, and endeavours to lead them to the Healer of broken hearts. In his life, he exemplifies "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,” and “whatsoever things are of good report.” So beautiful is his character, that all love him, the children value his smiles more than “apples of gold, in pictures of

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silver,” his death is a local calamity, his grave becomes the resort of many a mourner, and his name shall not fade like the flowers of spring.

Such conductors we have: such conductors we need. barvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few ; pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.”

One word of appeal. Is there any one here who is not engaged in this good work of training the young in the paths of temperance? It is a pleasant and productive field of labour. Seek, then, some children, either rich or poor, and begin the blessed work. Be not afraid of the toil.

Their kisses, pure affections, and earnest prayers, will form a rich reward. Shall any child become a DRUNKARD, because you failed in benevolence, courage, and self-denial ? Shall many become drunkards, because you cared not to “haste to the rescue?” Remember! “It is not the will of your Father who is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”

HOW WE GOT ON AT WASHTON.

By W. BELL. Washton is a little village about two miles from Richmond, Yorkshire. About thirty years ago the Wesleyans used to preach there, but did not continue their labours. Religious services ceased to be held in the village, but the public house continued in full play, corrupting and demoralising the people. We might say they were • led captive by the devil, at his will." Drunkenness, profanity, and sabbath desecration abounded. If the soul of Paul was stirred, when he saw the people at Athens,“ wholly given to idolatry," the souls of goud men ought to have been stirred at the sight of this village. Many of the population never entered a place of worship, but spent their lives without God.

In September, 1859, however, the Ladies' Temperance Committee of Richmond engaged a Missionary, and amongst many other villages, Washion was named as needing his services. It was therefore put on the temperance plan, and on the 8th of December, 1859, the friends of temporance made their first visit. The Grammar School-Room was kindly lent for the meeting, by Mr. Waller, and long before the time the people seemed all excited ; at seven o'clock the place was crowded, and the chair taken by a staunch friend of the cause, Mr. Thomas Humble. On the platform were Messrs. T. Shaw, T. Harrison, J. Wise, myself, and others. No sooner had the meeting been opened, than the landlord of the public house entered the room, with a bottle and glass in his hand, and a pipe in his mouth, and asked the speakers to drink with him. But the spirit of the meeting looked against him, and he did not stay long. His wife then came, in a state of intoxication, and commenced 10 abuse us, and say many things as we should not like to repeat here, and what with her lecturing outside, and others lecturing inside, it was the most exciting meeting I ever attended A man had been made drunk, to annoy us, by putting an old hen down the chimney, the platform being klear the fire place, but in trying to climb to the top of the School-Room, he slipped his hold, and fell back into the mud, and thus he got paid off as he went on. Another man was to have had 5s. for opposing us, but he had gone to Richmond, got drunk there, and did not return in time, because he had lain down on the road, and was found next morning frozen to the ground. At the close of the meeting, thirty-eight persons signed the pledge, a society was formed, and Mr. John Harrison was appointed secretary. For many weeks the children of Washton might have been heard singing, “Throw down the bottle,” “ Bright water,” &c. Another meeting was held on the 27th of December, when we were favoured with the help of the Revs. T. Holme, A. P. Irvine, H. Oakley, and Messrs. Affleck and Shaw. At the close of the meeting, thirty-two persons signed, and amongst them the poor man who was frozen to the ground. lle was then only the shadow of a man. He was indeed a brand plucked from the fire, and although nearly three years have passed away, he looks very many years younger now, is enjoying good health, and doing well. He has several times taken the chair for us, at our temperance meetings. Not long ago he said, “Since I have signed the pledge, I have got plenty of chestnut horses, and several grey mares, and a good stable to put them in, as well as a good teetotal medal."* He still keeps faithful to his pledge, and is one of the most hearty ieetotallers I know.

Temperance meetings were now held once a month, and the people began to desire to have the gospel preached to them. The Wesleyans replaced the village on their planı, and soon had a hearty welcome, and a large congregation to preach to. The people at this time began to wish for a better place to hold their meetings in, and the committee, led on by their active secretary, held a bazaar, and cleared £50., and then commenced calling on their friends, who responded very heartily to their appeals. The next step was to get a suitable site of land, and they applied to the lord of the manor, but were refused. They next wrote to a lady, who owned some property in the village, and got a very favourable answer, but some one used his influence adversely, and a second letter came, telling the society they could not have it. However, there was a site left, for which the owner asked £25. As soon as it was known the tempefance people were about to buy it, some one again acted adversely, and offered three pounds more for it, but the proprietor said, “No, I will sell it to the teetotallers,” and he did so. Good comes out of evil, and so in this case, for on the very site, a first-rate quarry was found, from which stone was obtained to build the hall. On the 18th of June, 1861, the foundation stone was laid, by G. A. Robinson, Esq., of Reeth, and on the 19th of December it was opened, and is now a place in which we try to teach the people true temperance, and point them to the cross of Christ.

* Chestnut horses, sovereigns; grey mares, half crowns; good stables, new clothes ; teetotal medal, a fat pig.

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