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(To the Editor of the Christian Times.)

SIR,—For the last two weeks I have been staying in this fine city, and having had sufficient leisure, I have visited many of the public charitable institutions. Amongst many interesting incidents which have come under my observation is the following:—

When visiting one of the wards of the Melbourne Hospital a few days ago, I saw an aboriginal man lying on one of the cleanly and comfortable beds, which are so creditable to that excellent institution. A Testament and several other good books were lying on a box by his bedside. On conversing with the poor fellow, I found, to my great joy and surprise, that he could read well, and that he had a good knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and the plan of salvation.

He told me that he had been instructed by a lady residing at Brighton, Victoria (Mrs D——), and that his wife, who had also been instructed by that lady, had died some time ago in the full assurance of life eternal. He, in most feeling terms, deplored the ignorance and wretchedness of his poor uninstructed black brethren, and said “it was too bad for wicked white men to give them grog, and to teach them to swear. That they ought to teach them to read and to pray to Jesus. If God would let him get well again, he would go to them himself, and read to them and pray with them.” That “he often prayed for them.” He further told me that, some time before he came to the hospital, a poor white man who lived at Brighton was very ill. He knew nothing about

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Jesus; that he (the black) went to him many nights, and read and prayed with him, and that the white man said he believed in Jesus before he died.

About a fortnight ago I attended a union prayer meeting in the Protestant Hall, and was much delighted at hearing the rev. gentleman who presided on the occasion give a short narration of a recent tour he had taken to the Moravian aboriginal missions on the Murray River, with an interesting account of the baptism of a native named Nathaniel Pepper.

Instructing the aborigines is a work which has hitherto been sadly neglected, to the great shame of this Christian community. I rejoice that the good work is now being prosecuted with so much energy. Let us, then, whilst we pray for God's blessing on the labours of our Moravian brethren, try to second their efforts in every way in our power.

I am not a believer in the theory which I have often heard propounded, that “the aborigines are a degraded class, incapable of receiving religious instruction.” The divine command, “Preach the gospel to every creature,” must be obeyed; and He who gave that command has also promised to give His Holy Spirit to accompany His word.

   J. R. H.

   MELBOURNE, Oct. 10, 1860.

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