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beneath her outspread wings. Often have we seen them wandering from door to door,
“ While raging winds and dashing rain
Beat on their feeble frame,” Often have we seen it a case of reluctance and a matter of dispute amongst the members of the household, who should give the cold conducting hand to help them on their way along the pilgrimage of life's bleak wilderness. Often have we seen them wandering nameless and unknown, traversing the length and breadth of the land, without a voice to cheer, or a sight to charm them. It has been a common resource of the blind to betake themselves to the violin to earn a scanty subsistence. The “ blind fiddler” has become as familiar a word amongst our juvenile bands as that of Jack the Giant-killer or Robin Hood. On our streets they have been accustomed to stroll, torturing the catgut for melody to set off the must vulgar and vitiating songs ; thus' catering to the propensities of the lowest, and earning a livelihood by perpetuating the most immoral and vicious songs. For nobler ends, surely, they were created. Yes, it has been now demonstrated, that, under a proper tuition, they may be raised to intellectual greatness, and elevated to moral digpity ; that, by the proper exercise of those faculties which bave been given them, they may rise to eminence in science, and may attain, by industry, that independence which elevates alike the character and condition of man.
Some may be startled at the affirmation, that the blind are capable of exploring their way into the profundities of science, or of expatiating in the wide fields of literature, or of rambling on the lofty heights of poetic adventure :--but we would remind such, that Homer and Milton were poets, though blind, and poets, too, that the world has not been able to rival. In pbilosophy, Sanderson and Euler appear as “stars of the first magnitude.” “In mechanics," as a certain author has said, " the blind have gone to a considerable length, almost to surpass the bounds of probability, were the facts not supported by evidence of unquestionable authority. In the pursuit of knowledge, they have been very successful, and many of them have acquired the first literary honours that their own or foreign universities could bestow.
Of late, plentiful and pleasing proofs have been given of the aptitude of the blind to receive instruction, and to master and surmount all the obstacles that lie in their way on their road to the outskirts of science; but it is not our intention to enlarge upon this theme, as there is another which, to the Christian mind, must have infinitely more charme, and when it is considered that they are immortal beings, be, to all who are right-hearted, a thousand times more interesting. The blind are now enabled to read the Word of God. They are now instructed in those things which concern their eternal wel
fare. What a pleasing thought is this, that the oracles of divine truth are to them no longer a " spring shut up, and a fountain sealed ;” but a broad and a bright pathway to the realms of light, and life, and glory. It is a most delightful spectacle to behold the blind with the Gospel of St. John* open before them, reading there of “the Saviour and the friend of man,"_becoming conversant with the history of the meek and lowly Jesus ; tracing every step of the Messiah's progress through perils, persecution, and pain, from his birth in Bethlehem to his crucifixion on the cross : and it is consoling to think, that many of them have not only read of Jesus as the Saviour of sinners, but have received him as their Saviour, and have rejoiced in bim, as "all their salvation, and all their desire."
The blind have strong claims upon our tenderness, affection, and regard. They are bliad for our sakes. Why? That we may learn to estimate the blessings aright of which we see them deprived. They remind us of the Sovereignty of that God “ who ruleth in the armies of heaven, and doth bis will among the children of men;" and they are forcible monitors, to urge us on to the performance of duties corresponding with our privileges. When the blind man crosses our path, or attracts our observation, how powerfully should we be reminded of the blessings of sight which we possess, and of which he has been deprived by a wise and gracious providence. We are apt to be thoughtless of, and ungrateful for, blessings enjoyed, until we see our state depicted in those deprived of such benefits. We can see the morning dawn, and the evening darken: we can behold the glories of the meridian, and the splendour of midnight: the serenities of the cloudless summer sky, and the sublimity of the dark and gloomy face of winter : the ten thousand beauties of creation's face, and all the loveliness in which nature is arrayed. But, O how many are insensible to these charms ; how many are blind to the exhibitions of Deity in them all,-never recognizing nature as a great and glorious mirror of the King of heaven, in which we may behold bis perfections, and trace His “ wonder-working hand.” From this widespread and delightful volume the blind are debarred. They cannot see in the sun, the moon, and the stars, the splendour of day and the stillness of night, the band of an ever-present, all-preserving, and ever-presiding God. But, O, is it not cheering to think that we have it in our power to lead their minds to themes, where they can recognise a God of mercy and of love,--where they can contemplate.“ the beauty of of holiness," and be filled with "joy unspeakable and full of
* The Gospel of St, Joho is only yet printed in embossed type for the blind ; but Mr. Gall is bus ly employed in prep iring the other Scriptures, on the same plan.
glory." We cannot remove the deep and death-like film that covers their sight, and thus open their eyes to the beauties of the rising sun, when the eyelids of the morn beam with beauty, and nature, arrayed in loveliness, starts from her dewo besprinkled couch, fresh, fragrant, and joyful : but we can be the instruments, in the hands of Providence, of leading them to look on Him who is the sun of righteousness, scattering before his
eams the mists of ignorance and the shadows of spiritual death. We cannot radiate their eyes, or raise their looks to the starry host of night, spangling the sky and sparkling from their lofty spheres: but we can assist in turning theic admiring gaze to him who is “the bright and the morn. ing star.”
We cannot unfold to them the variegated scenery of nature, or charm them with the view of “ violet sweet and daisy fair :" but we can tell them of One whom they can contemplate, who is “the rose of Sharon and the lily of the vale." We cannot shew them the beauties of the “human face di. vine :" but we can point out to them One “fairer than the sons of men.'
Though their whole life, as far as light and external beauty are concerned, is but like a long, dark, and moonless night; yet a mental illumination can be imparted to them, extending not only to the ample fields of science, but forward to a bright and cloudless world, where they shall “ see even as they are seen, and know even as they are known”-to a land of light and loveliness, where the first day that shall beam upon them, full of the radiance of immortality, shall discover to their admiring gaze the celestial scenery of the glorious dwelling. place of seraphim and saint, around the eternal throne of God and of the Lamb.
Claiming a sanctuary within the arms of the same benevolence, and awakening the same sympathies within our bosoms, are the deaf and dumb; nay, their condition is more destitute and deplorable still. Society has thrown them off from her kindliness and compassion to a still greater distance. At them the great tie of humanity, that ought to link the species together, seems to have been broken, and the tear that so readily seemed to flow at sights of suffering and scenes of distress, rolls not down the cheek, nor glistens in the eye, as the mute suppliant bends before us. We do not mean to include all within the sphere of this observation, but it bas been applicable, in times past, to far too many. Often have the deaf and dumb been compelled to earn a scanty subsistence by becoming " fortune-tellers,” by working on the credulity of the ignorant, and sheltering themselves beneath the gloom of superstition, and on that account have been looked upon by many as a species of mysterious beings, who held converse with the unseen spirits of another world, and were conversant with things far beyond the ken of other mortals. Often have we seen the playful group of joyous and juvenile urchins bush their vociferous mirth, and stand " like statues still," as the “ Dummie" has passed by, deeming that destiny was in bis frown, and fate in his word. We have seen the mute spaewife eyeing, with keen portentous gaze, her magie cup, while the anxious circle of her votaries in breathless silence waited her prediction. We bave felt our joints tremble, and our hair, stand erect as we stood before her, deeming, as we stole a glance of the portentous cup, that some familiar spirit was lurking amidst the dregs it contained, and as her unearthly look gave symptoms of some awful “shock of fate," we have trembled as if a voice from the world of spirits had burst on
The idea used to be very prevalent among the lower classes of society, that there was something nie,” as the Scotch people say, about them, and, consequently, though they were regarded with awe and astonishment, they were alienated from that sympathy which their condition ought to bave excited. But now we rejoice to think, they also are about being brought back to their rightful status amongst the children of infirmity and distress. No longer left to roam unbefriended and uncared for, charity is spreading her mantle over them, and whilst sympathy and benefi. cence are erecting a fabric to shelter them, and enlaying it with all the endearments and associatious of a peaceful home, genius and talent are labouring to open up for them a pathway to the temple of science; and Religion is ready to enrich them with the brightest of her hopes. Surely they are legitimate objects of compassion and care. They cannot lift their voice in social prayer, nor feel their hearts swell, as the melody of praise ascends to heaven: they cannot, in tender and touching strains, unbosom their sorrows, por embody their feelings “in thoughts that breathe and words that burn:” they are not charmed by the poet's lay, nor cheered by the minstrel's song: from them is shut out the melody of the groves, and the music of the streams : neither the thunder-peal.nor the whispering zephyr reaches their sense: the roar of the dashing cataract, and the hum of the busy bee, are all alike to them. It is cheering to know, that many of them have been made acquainted with the existence of God, the depravity of humanity, and the consequent necessity of a Saviour; yea, through the blessing of the Most High on the exertions of men, have been led to “ lay hold on the hope set before them in the Gospel.” This must be gratifying intelligence to every truly Christian and pious mind.' We enter not upon the question, how far the divine spirit, without the aid of man's instrumentality, might operate on their minds; but tbis we know, that since it is in the power of man to make known the great and gracious truths of salvation to the deaf and dumb, an awful responsibility attaches to our case, if we wilfully neglect this solemn and sympatbetic duty. Since the asylums for the deaf and dumb, and the blind, have been erected, we see evidently a pleasing change effected upon their inmates; we see them there gathered, as it were, into one family; associated together in the bands of brotherhood and affection; taught to sympathise with each other's woes; animated to be emulous of excellence, but not envious of success; stimulated to become competitors in doing good, but not contentious about fame. We see them taught to earn their daily bread, and, surely, the very consciousness of this independence must have a strong moral effect upon their habits. This we perceive to be a very prominent recommendation of these Asylums, that they are self-supporting institutions. In them, none eat the bread of idleness, unless some other infirmity or disease be superadded. These Asylums are converted into manufactories. Industry dwells there. Almost every trade has its representative amongst them. The following is a list of articles manufactured in the Glasgow Asylumn for the blind, and exhibited for sale :- Baskets of various kinds, door mats, twines, mattresses, hair-friction gloves, curl. ed hair for upholsterers, hearth and door rugs, table rugs, fringed rugs for parlour doors, articles of needle-work, reticules, silk purses, &c., stockings and pansoufles, small nets, &c., sacks, &c. &c.
At the annual examination of the inmates of the Glasgow Asylum, in 1835, the report states,-“ Mr. Alston now introduced to the meeting a genteel looking young woman, who labours under the complicated deprivation of hearing, speech, and sight. This poor girl, whose singular circumstances excited the deepest interest among the company, perused a passage with her fingers, in one of Mr. Gall's elementary works, which she had the double method of communicating either by the finger alphabet of the deaf and dumb, or by writing on a slate or board, the latter of which she did in a fair, legible hand. In answer to a question put to her, she announced the gratifying information, I am very happy in the Blind Asylum, where I have been for ten days. Here was, indeed, a noble triumph of art,—the effects of a well applied perseverance, the results of a discovery of far more value to the world than the discovery of a North West Passage will ever be, though millions more may be lavished on the profitless project. The pupils were examined on Geography, and acquitted themselves to admiration. Mr. Alston mentioned that the blind astronomers could talk as learnedly about the comet as those who had the use of their eyes. We ourselves have seen some who were adepts in Arithmetic, and actual prodigies in Mathematics. But the science is yet in its infancy. We witness but the buddings of a system which promises fair ; we see but the dawnings of an auspicious morn promising the brightness of a clear and cloudless day,