Imatges de pÓgina
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Poor Laws, appear not to feel the slightest scruple in asking to be paid for the performance of their domestic duties, which the most brutal savages are in general willing to render gratuitously to their own kindred. Whenever a lad begins to earn wages, or to receive parish relief on his own account, although he may continue to lodge with his parents, he does not throw his money into the common purse and board with them, but buys his own loaf and piece of bacon, which he devours alone. The most disgraceful scenes arise from the mutual accusations of theft; and as the child knows he has been nurtured at the cost of the parish, he has no filial attachment to his parents.

Our pages will not suffice to enable us to give a thousandth part of the evidence abroad, proving that the evils that effect the manual-labouring class, are entirely to be attributed to the want of information among themselves, and among their superiors. The improvidence of the lower class of society is systematically fostered, if not in a great measure created, by the ignorance of the rich; through the channels of the relief system, on the one hand, and subscription charities and individual almsgiving on the other: this ignorance creates the necessity it relieves, but does not relieve all the necessity it creates. In many cases eleemosynary aid is the greatest evil that the rich can bestow upon their pauper brethren, and in the majority of instances it makes them wretched and keeps them so. We would ask, in simple illustration of this position, those who may have been instrumental in charitable distributions, if those whom they have relieved are in any degree improved in condition. If this kind of charity is persisted in, and is reduced, as in many instances it is, to a regular system, no amount whatever of charitable relief can be raised to meet the demands which will be made upon it. If there were millions instead of thousands to dispose of, there would be millions instead of thousands of applications. The root of this great evil is the profligate and brutish improvidencethe utter recklessness of the future, which characterises the class of which we write, and which is the result of improper education and the want of a habit which education has never been brought to infix. The peasant and the labourer must be taught to venerate himself as man. The paltry fear of over-educating the poor must be cast away in high places, when the consequence of under-educating them is written in such painful characters. The poor man must be made a thinking man; he must be purified in his taste, elevated in his understanding, and made capable of intellectual pleasures; he must learn to look upon the distinctions of society without envy, and must be taught to understand that they are open to him as well as to others, and to respect them for this reason. He must understand the structure of society, and not be left to form the conclusion that every thing is to be done by the government and nothing by himself. He must have the means of comparing his own actual condition, bad as it is, with the condition of labourer in former times; and taught to draw the inference that labour properly directed, and forethought and providence, will alone produce any further change in his favour. He must be taught, not only in childhood, but his education must be extended by means of mental and physical influences, through maturer years, with a view to the multiVOL. I.-Jan. 1835.

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plication of household comforts and mental pleasures. Every thing that can soften his rugged nature, that can exalt his views, with regard to himself as the creature of Gon-born for eternity, and at the same time humble him in self-estimation, must continually be brought before his mind; and it must be the constant care and duty of the rich and powerful to watch over him as over a wayward but yet promising child, vouchsafing him their first and best attentions, in the sure and certain hope of the seed, thus sown, being returned to them again, in an abundant harvest of good, extending to generations yet to come, and prospectively advancing the kingdom of GoD on earth.

CHRISTIAN PHILANTHROPY.

It is the peculiar effect of the Christian faith, that wherever its divine influence is felt, institutions are found to arise, in the spirit of its Holy Founder, and partaking of the benevolent character he bore upon earth. As it was his to heal the sick, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to give sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf; so it is the office of those who are anxious to tread in his paths, to perpetuate, though indeed in humble degree, the transcendent acts of his life. Thus arise our institutions for the relief of suffering humanity— our hospitals, our asylums, and our charities; and far more glorious are they than all the pageantry and pomp with which a nation invests her proudest achievements. The banners of victory, arranged in tattered majesty around the walls of the cathedral; the ambitious fane, rising above the clouds, in testimony of the master-mind of man; or the "storied urn and animated bust," that would give a double immortality; and seek to provide a memorial of all that is heroic, and all that is great in human nature, afford but mean evidence of a nation's glory, and are as evanescent as they are vain: but Christian institutions, Christian virtues, and Christian deeds, give a character and a value to the times that are, mould and fashion the times that shall be; and thus become the grand and incontestible tokens of a nation's real greatness, and make her looked upon with confidence at home, and with reverence from afar.

It is to the active spirit of Christian philanthropy, therefore, that we may attribute the exaltation of England as a nation. Short as she falls in her character as a Christian community, distant as she may yet be from the broad and perfect day of Christian truth, disfigured as she is by the deadly strife and fierce warrings of parties, and the bitter acrimony and unholy animosity of religious sects; yet within her secret bosom has yet remained, untouched by the canker of the one or the fierce worm-tooth of the other, a heavenly germ and principle of love, which has braved alike the dark winter of ignorance and superstition, and the hostile conflicts of nature's warring elements-which has, "in season and out of season," put forth its tender blossom in smiles upon the storm; and often, like the fabled halcyon, subdued and tranquillized the wave which threatened it with destruction.

Public institutions are the more striking manifestations of the peculiar modes of action of the principle of philanthropy; yet the feeling exists far deeper, and is manifesting itself more and more in situations hidden and remote from the common gaze. It is subtile and allpervading as the electric fluid, and not only excites human nature to a growth of perfection and beauty, but also affords the indestructible principle of renovation; and goes on repairing the waste, restoring the loss, and reproducing from its own vital powers those portions of the body Christian which have, in all ages, been lopped off in the strife of uncharitable zeal and the feuds of party differences

Wherever that vital principle exists, it diffuses a glow through its surrounding elements, and creates itself an atmosphere in which it shall fructify and live. As "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump," so does it diffuse itself through the otherwise inert mass of society,till it teems with vitality, and brings forth not only the bud of promise, but an abundant harvest of good deeds. Our Lord said that his kingdom was as a grain of mustard seed, small at first, but afterwards mighty and overshadowing; this equally applies to the rise and spread of divine love, that vital principle of the heart which constrains it to universal charity, and is daily in the extension of truth to the remotest ends of the earth. From the humblest individual-from the smallest companies of men-nay from the sole exertion at times of the lowliest and the weakest, have sprung the most extraordinary and most perfect changes witnessed in the world, as the little coral worm at the bottom of the sea throws up a formidable reef, often fatal to the proudest armaments. And why is this? because true philanthropy is built upon virtue, and stands upon truth

"Magna est veritas et prævalebit."

If we look abroad upon the world, what a small minority do we find impelled by philanthropic principles, and yet what mighty instruments have they been in raising the tone of public feeling, and in enlightening the understandings of the majority. It is true that reason the carped at, truth the disbelieved, and justice the inexpedient, have been in their voice; but i spite of these unworthy, disinterested, and obsolete abstract ons, they have gone forth "conquering and to conquer." They have taken as their motto, and hung round their necks as a charm and a talisman, the transcendent maxim of their Lord-" Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." They have abased self, and exalted nature, they have esteemed others greater than themselves. They have been impelled by high motives, and have looked to bright issues. They have made Charity the handmaid of Faith, and have looked upon her as the substance, while her sister has been the soul of their creed. They have identified religion with duty, and holiness has shone through their labours of love. Their bosoms have responded to heaven's voice, and the beating of their hearts has found an echo and an answer in the word of God. Archimides cried "give me a fulcrum, and I will move the world." They have deemed this fulcrum to

be philanthropy, and by it they have essayed to lift earth unto heaven; and in doing so have tossed down iniquity, shook the usurpers of God's authority in their palaces, and unrighteous kings upon their thrones.

And this has been done when mankind have been immerged in wrangling disputes, distracted by angry and peevish debates, and syllogistical reasonings about non-essential things, or contending for speculative doctrines; when they have been waging war, knee-deep in blood, in the lust of power-when the din of battle has made them deaf, and the glory of conquest has made them blind-when the voice of the charmer seemed to be unheard. and the sunbeam of benevolence apparently shone in vain. Yes, even then the spirit of Christian philanthropy was abroad, and her still small voice was heard, like the pipings of the redbreast, amid the pausings of the tempest: nor did it fail to reach the bosom of the mighty potentate in his councils; and its heavenly hand struck that untuned lyre the human heart, and brought out a brief note of that harmony, which the stars knew when they sang together at creation's dawn, and which the angels chaunted at the Redeemer's birth.

Thus is Christian philanthropy the soul of the moral world; it pervades and encompasses all things. It is the spirit of Divine love, passing through our spirits like light through a bedimmed but yet a precious gem, to the warming of human energy, and the fructification of good in all periods and in all climes. It is as universal in its actions as the sunbeams are; and wherever it falls, it imparts cheer, and melts away the icyness of man's chilled nature. It knows no distinction of hues, or of nations, or of tribes of men; but as God is the Father of all, so it feels that it is the brother of all; and climates and creeds, and customs and ceremonies, are as mere dust in its estimation, when it looks abroad on the great family of mankind; and the chequered differences that distress, and the bitter bickerings that wound, and the cruel acrimony that slays, makes it more loving and tender and compassionate, more considerate, gentle, and kind; for its captain is Concord, its herald Unity, and its watchword Peace.

Christian philanthropy is a sun that has no horizon, but is ever fixed in meridian splendour: it is as the vital air in which the disciple of Christ "lives, and moves, and has his being;" while its heart is lifted up like that of Moses in the mountain, its hands are at work like Joshua's in the valley. In all, and with all, and through all, Christ is its pattern, Christ is its rule, Christ is its stay. Treading onwards in faith, it never stumbles; partaking of heavenly hope as its strength, it never faints; and fixed on the rock of ages, it never fails. Like the sea of the Mediterranean, it always flows inwards upon man, and has no returning ebb; like the Pole star, it knows no change in the course of cycles or centuries.

And still has philanthropy a high and holy confidence, that her desires and her yearnings for her brother man, will meet with a joyous consummation. The world still lieth in darkness; it is hers to arouse her from the bed of death, and to cry "awake, awake, put

on thy strength Oh Zion, put on thy beautiful garments!" The shackles are already fallen from the body of the slave, the dawn of intelligence is bursting into a glorious sunshine

And jocund Day,

Stands tip-toe on the misty mountain's top.

Oh may it soon descend into our valleys! may it spread over the earth, the delights of joyfulness and peace, call forth the amaranthine blossoms of true piety and virtue, and ripen in our souls that precious fruit, brought daily by faith and holiness as an acceptable offering to the Lord!

CHRISTIAN UNION.

IN all the operations, as also in the constitution of nature, and in the various objects of science, a certain connection and union exists; from the disturbance of this nice balance and harmony, the phenomena of physical evil occur. As chemical affinities and combinations are indispensable for the preservation of the natural world, so are the affinities of social intercourse, the union of minds and hearts and affections in love, necessary for the perpetuity of the moral one. In the physical world, it is no uncommon thing to behold two noxious substances, producing by their union a third, positively beneficial, while the substances themselves are changed in the process from dangerous to harmless. In the moral world, we in like manner behold persons of opposite sentiments, and with acrimonious minds towards each other, by being brought into the sweet contact of social intercourse, neutralized in their individual acidities, while a result is formed beneficial alike to themselves and to mankind.

Thus the laws of nature, or of God in nature, and of God in revelation, seem to contain a visible and beautiful likeness. The harmony that prevails in one portion of the manifestations of the Divine will, is never contradicted in the other. Our researches continually afford us striking instances of the intimate relation of man to surrounding things; while our study of God's word would establish the relation between heavenly and earthly things; of the human soul with seraphic natures; of the union indissoluble between time and eternity-between mortal and immortal life.

This mutual relation of each to each, and all to all, and beautifully reciprocal harmony of things, is continually broken by the passions of man, and in no way more strikingly, than when he would build a fortress round himself, and entrench himself at all sides, and arm himself at all points, with the particular notions of his party and his sect. If he trusts by these, to make himself invulnerable to accidents from without, he will soon find that he has not taken the Christian's true panoply a pigmy straw may pierce through the most compact parts of his harness, and a mere down of gossamer may overthrow his proudest battlements, and lay his fond citadel, wherein he trusted, in the dust.

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The sincere Christian, when he would serve his Lord, must lay aside

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