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The Lessons of the Street.

A LECTURE

BY THE

REV. WILLIAM LANDELS.

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THE LESSONS OF THE STREET.

I MUST Commence this Lecture with a word or two of explanation. I fear it will not do justice either to the subject or to the audience. My apology is that, owing to engagements unusually Lumerous, I have not been able to give that time to its preparation which its importance demands. It may not be out of place to mention, that my engagement, in the first instance, was for an evening five weeks hence; but owing to a disappointment which, at the eleventh hour, brought to a standstill the arrangements for the Course, and threatened seriously to incommode your Secretary, unhappily for myself, I was induced by his too powerful pleading to change the evening, thus leaving only a few weeks, during which, owing to other duties, I could not snatch as many days, as I ought to have had months, for preparation. Whether or not this apology be deemed sufficient, I can at least say, that the change was by no means an agreeable one to me, and being made exclusively for your sakes, I may hope to be excused should its consequences prove somewhat unpleasant, and that if I cannot entertain you sufficiently to induce you to hear me for myself, you will be patient and courteous enough to hear me for my cause, and be silent that you may hear.

My embarrassment has been increased from the subject

proving more unwieldy in its dimensions than I originally anticipated. Having seen the title used by an American preacher, and fancying that our streets would furnish abundant material for such a lecture, I hastily selected it, without any definite conception of the work to which I was committing myself. Scarcely had I begun to look at the streets, however, when I saw reason to question the prudence of the choice. The lessons to be learned there are so manifold and so important, that were I to say all that might be said with profit, daylight to-morrow morning would not witness the conclusion of our task; a much larger than your annual volume would not suffice to contain the whole. Accordingly I found that if the lecture were to answer to its title it must either be swollen to an enor mous extent, or constitute a mere catalogue of facts uncommented on, and of lessons unenforced. As the one course would not be thought desirable, and the other would not be tolerated, the only remaining alternative was to select from among "the lessons of the streets," as many of those which have a special bearing on young men as might be handled in reasonable space.

To economize our time for this purpose I pass by, without notice, many striking and significant facts which you may find chronicled in books on this subject, and also many important lessons which, had I leisure and strength, I should like to enforce through another medium.

My subject, I fear, will not prove very entertaining; for, though it does not lack interest, its interest is not of the entertaining kind. It is far too sombre and too saddening for that. It contains little or nothing fitted to excite laughter, not a little which might move you to tears. If you have come to be amused, you will certainly go away disappointed; but if, as becometh the members of a Young Men's Christian Association, you can listen to that which

describes danger and suggests duty, I am presumptuous enough to hope that the evening will not be altogether lost.

I

LESSONS RELATING TO BUSINESS.

There are no lessons of the street, perhaps, which concern you more than those which relate to your daily avocations-the various pursuits in which most of you are engaged. It cannot be denied that in this aspect of our streets there is much that is pleasing in itself, and in which London will compare favourably with every other capital in the world. No intelligent foreigner can walk through this city without perceiving that we are not only an intensely busy, but also a commercially prosperous people. The constant streams which jostle past you in Cheapside or on London-bridge; some with the self-complacent air of men who know they have a good balance at the bank; some with an anxious look, as if from the consciousness of impending ruin, which they are doing their utmost to ward off as long as they may; some worn and jaded, as if the battle of life had proved too much for their strength; some with the absorbed look of men who are attempting to solve some difficult problem, and have no interest in the passers-by; some with the eager gaze of men who are intently pursuing some coveted good; some with the averted glance which excites suspicions of dishonesty; but all busy, and all appearing to have some purpose in life;-these streams of busy men give one the impression that life here is no trifling thing, and that only by intense activity and earnest wrestling in the strife of competition is it possible to live at all. Then turning from the streams of men, you see in the shops which line the streets, in the massive warehouses

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