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as I have been presenting, whether all, who look with a kindly eve on the improvement of their race, will not feel and express an interest in our Chapels for the Poor? It is well known that the room in Friend street no longer answering its purpose, a larger and more convenient building is rising in Pitts street. Many have already given generous, noble aid in the work. Still we must ask for, and in some way obtain more help. We will make no long exhortation,-preach no Charity-sermon to the public sympathies, but simply ask all those who love our work, if they will not do something to cheer and help it on.*
The old philosophers spent days and nights in weary search after the elixir which should transmute the baser metals into gold. But, let us thank God! we can use a nobler art and alchemy,and change our gold into treasure for the undying soul! Let it not canker in our coffers, while such a use awaits and implores it!—What! shall we be wealthy in this world, and not care to be ‘rich towards God?
I have already finished my account of the influence exerted by this Ministry upon the Poor. And as I glance back over what has been said, there arises in my mind a painful sense of the inadequary of the representation, and of the danger there is that many persons will do the subject a practical injustice on account of the injustice and faintness of my descriptions. I would, howeyer, pray such to remember that the very nature of the work makes it absolutely impossible to set forth its whole truth in words. The architect can disclose to the eye every exquisite arrangement of his edifice, and the mechanist open each secret spring and power of his engine. But the spiritual builder has no such advantage. The materials and the results of his action are, for the most part, invisible. He can tell ages and numbers, diseases and cures, the scenes of vice and the places of reformation,—but, as regards the real vitality of his work, he feels that, in giving all his statistics, he is but speaking a dead language. And he knows that, from all the more thrilling scenes in
* See Circular at the end.
which he is placed, from all the stronger spiritual experiences he is engaged in exciting and sustaining, all language, living or dead, must fall back in despair. I know that every faithful minister in our regular congregations, if nobody else, will feel the force of this apology for my not having given a stronger account of our work among the Poor. And I do not see why all should not feel it who are at all alive to any of the spiritual relations of our common humanity. What faithful husband, for instance would feel able to show the world the full beauty of that spiritual creation he has wrought out in the soul of his wife, or the entire loveliness of the images which, from qualities in her heart, are mirrored in his own breast?
And another reason, why I have been unable to present the portrait of our work full and life-like, is that I have been obliged to confine myself to the two formal modes in which the Ministry puts forth its strength, Visiting and Preaching. These are, indeed, the great modes, and include, in one sense, all the rest. But as every one must be aware, who knows the real experience of human life in any of its departments, there are thousands of indirect modes of influence, which are suggested by emergencies, which supersede all customary rules, though of course they are consistent with, and commanded by, the great laws of spiritual effort, and which act with vastly more efficiency in particular cases than the long-used, worn styles of procedure. These if they exist, must appear somewhat of course in the notices published of our ministrations, and aid in giving them what life they possess :--but it would be an endless task to present them in full. Yet their omission manifestly weakens the testimony that might fairly be brought to show the goodness of our work.
And there is yet a third reason for the feebleness with which the idea of the Ministry has, in these communications been conveyed. I have considered its influence entirely in the spiritual point of view,--and very little in the social point of view. I have considered its effect upon the Poor as inmortal beings, and not as a portion of the body politic. Nor is it without a valid reason, that this course has been pursued, pasmuch as any creature's relation to his eternal, individual fate, is infinitely more momentous than his relation to the present structure of society. Still some may think the omission of the bearing of the Ministry on this last point is a serious defect. And I have not the smallest doubt that a full discussion of the topic would have given to very many a far higher and more controlling idea in their own minds of the work we are accomplishing. And I must acknowledge my own conviction of the absolute importance of this point, though, compared with the other, it sinks into inferiority. Nor has its investigation been hitherto avoided from any fear that it would present any unfavorable evi-dence as to the results which the Ministry is bringing about, On the contrary it would fill higher the mass of evidence for the rich benefits of this Ministry, and would present commanding arguments to many minds not easily otherwise touched.
I have been giving reasons and apologies for the weak. ness of the account I have presented of the influence exerted by the Ministry at large upon the Poor. And some, I have full faith, will think me justified in so doing. Yet,-such are the contradictions of this jarring world, no doubt others will wonder that I should venture upon such a course of remark, and will think a course of re. mark directly opposite would have been more becoming. They imagine that the accounts given are faulty, because of exaggerution, and not because of weak and inadequate statements. Their perpetual complaint, as their eye has run over the cases, has been of extravagance and ercess, rather than of a too cautious sobriety. And it may be really puzzling to them that the confession of sin should run so counter to their prepared accusation.
I freely admit, nay, I expressly maintain, that the importance of perfect truth upon all subjects cannot be too inuch insisted on. The attainment in all things, of the truth, is an object second only in importance to the right spiritual application of the truth already possessed. Thus admitting and maintaining its importance, I should hope to be never knowingly guilty of its violation. But it is no more important for one man to tell the truth calmly, than for another to inquire calmly and unexcitedly whether the truth has been told. And after all, is truth
always - such a sober-suited matron,'-walking with even pace, pale cheek, unkindled eye, and uttering all her words with feeble breath, in one long-drawn monotone? Does she never quicken her pace, and brighten her cheek, and send forth flashes from her eye,--and lift up her voice like a trumpet? Alas-for that man's life and hope before whom she has never stood in such an aspect! The fact is, this talk about high-coloring has with many, got to be an actual cant. And pray, are there no high colors in nature as well as faint ones? May not high colors sometimes be true and faint ones sometimes false? May one not fall below the truth, as well as go beyond it? Is truth such a weak, small thing that every soul can at once embrace it in its full proportions? Must we not all expand our minds to embrace it more fully, and present it more largely and persuasively to our brethren? Shall any of us dare to take off its edge, because it is sharp, and crumble down its prominence because it is bold and piercing?
Still, I agree there is a danger on the other hand, of the kind we are warned against. But it is the danger of turning aside from the truth into the world of imagination, rather than of exaggerating its extent and importance. When actually in the sphere of reality, we can hardly look too far ahead or gaze too wide around. Let us, then, be careful, in all our own statements, and all our criticisms upon the statements of others, to keep within this sphere."
INFLUENCE ON THE RICH.';;
- Having finished, for the present, the account of the in. fluence exerted by the Ministry at Large upon the Poor, I proceed, according to the plan laid down in the second article, to consider its influence upon the Rich. This subject really demands, and, I trust, may, in some way receive, a much fuller discussion. I feel my own acquaintance with it to be, as yet, very imperfect. What I shall say I would neither put, nor have received, in the way of bold assertion.
ence as that of this Ministry ? And I may properly premise here, that, in speaking, in this or any other connec. tion, of the influence of the Ministry at large, I do not speak simply of the persons actually in this Ministry. I speak also of any who have been in it before,-and I speak moreover of those who may be reasonably expected to discharge its duties, and convey its mercies, in future. I speak of it in its idea, -its true, full idea-admitting that a particular person may, in a particular thing, act unworthily of this idea. Where it had its birth, who has nourished its tender growth, who has dressed it in richer hues, or enlarged it into nobler proportions, is not to the present purpose. Looking at the idea itself, and referring it to God, the great Giver, I will speak out in free, proud joy. I will confidently ask, if the Rich do not need its influence, if they have not deep in ward interest in its fair development,-its perfect incarnation.
Every class has its dangerous tendencies and its besetting sins. The Rich are apt, in their abundant prosperity, to neglect the poor and humble, to be blind to the dignity and hope of universal humanity, and fix their own souls on the interests of the outward and temporal. This must be allowed. And yet, I by no means sympathize with the strain of remark upon the Rich, sometimes adopted, and which is becoming more familiar to our ears ; as if the world's great sins lay always at their door--or as if they were bound by their favorable circumstances to peculiar Virtue and Purity.
It has often been said, and truly, that extreme poverty is the cause or occasion of guilt. This is the sentiment of De Gerando. And it is well expressed in the Introduction to his work. 'Great poverty, it will readily be admitted by all who know any thing of it, is not, indeed, a small trial. It is a cause even of a great amount of vice and of crime. This is most true. But is it not equally true, I would ask, on the other hand, that great wealth is frequently the cause or occasion of vice and crime? is not its tendency in this direction as strong, and as much