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aspiration of feeling, beautiful as it is affecting, which shines an illustrious gem in David's sublime compositions ; and reflects, through the ages which have passed since his inspired pen delineated the feelings of his bosom, the sincerity of his heart, and the genuineness of his affection.
Although we cannot, in this age of philosophy and refinement, point out a Damon and a Pythias, still we have reason to believe, that friendship is not altogether extinct. We have our philanthropic Howards in every town, who live in the hearts of the humble poor ; and we have too our generous Burkes, who can discern human excellence, and can snatch the remembrance of their virtues from the unworthy tomb; who can engrave their names with the pen of undying eloquence, on the monumental tablets of religion, and who are ever ready to chronicle their deeds of virtue.
This state of mind is confined to no distinct portion of the human race; it is allotted to no favoured portion of the world. The untutored Indian, the warlike American, and the injured African, feel this generous impulse of nature.
In peace or in war, in adverse seasons or in prosperity, it is the same. It shines brightest, where its aid is most needed ; fearing neither the threats of power, nor the insolence of scorn.
Contemning the trammels of caste, it unites the high and the lowly, the learned and the unlettered. It creates a bond of concord, by which the whole human race might be benefited; but, alas ! it is too often displaced by envy, ambition, and other kindred feelings, which scatter the seeds of discord among men. The votaries of ambition reject its influence as ungenial to their interests and appetites, and view as cold and insipid the warmth of affection, and the interchange of Charity :
. Ah! why will kings forget that they are men
From the cultivation of Friendship the greatest benefits have been derived. It has smoothed the ruggedness of man's changeful lot; it bas poured the balm of consolation into the wounded spirit; it has cheered the disconsolate feelings, and melancholy bodings of many a weary and dejected pilgrim ; it has healed the breach of interrupted felicity, and it has linked those together whom self-interest, or the influence of worldly concerns, might dissever. It casts the halo of cheerfulness around society, it engenders charity, and charity in its turn disseminates principles consistent with genuine religion, under the influence of which man may contemplate the happiness of a better world, and anticipate the enjoyment of a friendship perfected in heaven.
Nothing will show the advantages of friendship more than a contrast with the disadvantages which arise from the want of it. .
He who possesses the treasure of a real friend, one to whom he can upbosom his thoughts, disclose his anxieties, and open his cares; one to whom he can look for support in the day of trial, strength in the hour of temptation, and encouragement in the season of difficulty, possesses a jewel of intrinsic and inappreciable value. He has a
source to which he can fee for succour, an outlet to disburden his griefs, a companion to join in his songs of gratitude, and another heart in prayer. He who has no such possession, broods over the stagnant waters of his soul, with melancholic feelings : he cherishes the misfortunes and crosses of life in the shade of despondency, without a favouring gale :
"To sweep the furrowed lines of anxious thonght away.' He has no source of help, no outlet for sorrow; but he wends his weary footsteps over wastes of darkness, envying all-enviable from none.
From these considerations we must rank the happiness of friendship among the principal enjoyments of life; its indulgence bequeaths no remorse, its chain leaves no impressure. It is the Agnus Castus of the garden of the world; it blossoms in all seasons, and in every clime. It is the “ sacred, substantial, never-fading” fruitage of exalted virtue. It is even the tender tie between a christian and God; it raises man above the world, it points to heaven as its origin, the angels of light acknowledge its power, for it springs from the “ Father of light and life,” who is alone, “ a friend, that sticketh closer than a brother."
OUR POORER CLASSES.
Continued from page 195. This great London is apt to make us who live in it exceedingly egotistical; two millions as we are, a number that stretches to the very horizon of our view, we are tempted to feel and write as if we were all-all England, and even all the world at times. And thus publishing and writing in this London, we have headed these papers • Our Poorer Classes,' when it appears that of other masses of the poor, which are yet to be found in different parts of our country, we cannot pretend to any knowledge, beyond report; nor even to have explored more than one little portion of our own dense mass. Here then is a dilemma. Our title involves a pledge which we acknowledge ourselves at present unprepared to meet, while an apology is certainly due to our country friends, who do know from their own benevolent observations, that there are other poor than those we are prepared to speak about, and who have it in their power to report much concerning them. While therefore we entreat them to forgive our metropolitan-egotism; we venture further to crave their assistance in our dilemma by obliging us with the results of their observations, that the tacit-pledge of saying something about our poorer classes may be more truly fulfilled - but now to the little we can say.
There is no part of London which more strikingly exhibits the evils arising from improvident habits, than the weaving districts ; and the amount of charity which has been distributed, and the way in which it has been distributed, has certainly tended much to increase these evils. It is much to be regretted that the same feelings and energies have not been applied to the establishing and strengthening of Provident Funds. It is true that the wages with the most, are so low, that there is little at first sight to encourage hope of doing much this way; yet more might be done than is done ; and the effects arising from the success of every effort would yield increasing encouragement. The active and enlightened benevolence of the Queen Dowager, led her, in 1837, to suggest and to promote the establishment of one of those institutions for silk-weavers, and which bears her name. The plan of it is adapted to the nature of their employment, and the fluctuations to which their trade is subject. Every regular weaver may become a member by paying a small sum weekly, according to the following scale, taken from the last report :
Eight shillings. 2 Threepence
2 Five shillings, if one is out; thirteen
1. shillings, if both are out. 3 Fourpence-halfpenny 3 Four shillings, if one is out; nine
shillings, if two; sixteen shillings,
| if three are out. For a period of eight weeks ; and half the sums named for twelve weeks more, in
any one year. In addition to the above, a member, finding respectable sureties, may avail himself under any pressing emergency, of a loan not exceeding two pounds, free of interest.
The Report states that • That the number of weavers who have joined the Society has very considerably increased, a large amount of suffering and distress has been obviated ; and in many cases, whole families have been saved from the miseries and degradations of pauperism, and are now in possession of a home which, but for the ex. istence of this institution, must have been broken up, and themselves have become the inmates of a workhouse.'
The institution has been enabled to meet the excess of the claims over the payments, by means of a fund arising from the subscriptions which were raised for the relief of the weavers in 1836 and 7. An immediate improvement of trade, made the distribution of only part of these subscriptions necessary, and the residue was invested under trustees, as a fund for the Royal Adelaide Provident Institution. But this capital is now running very low, and unless aid is afforded, the operations of the institution must cease. It does not appear to be so generally supported and known as it deserves to be. The whole amount of families or individuals that have availed themselves of its advantages, within four years, is not more than 571, out of many thousands. Yet surely it is far better to administer help on such a system as this, which teaches and fosters the habits of providence and forethought; than to raise and administer the means of relief just at the time of pressing want, when those who undertake the distribution
can do so little to ascertain the character of the applicants, and who, when eager poverty stands appealing before them in wretched homes and miserable children, cannot withhold help, though they may see much to blame, and often more to suspect. T'here is too much labour to go through, in the mere distribution, to allow of full and needful inquiry into the various cases ; and when it is made, the most careful tind, afterwards, that they have been grossly deceived in many instances. In the late visitations amongst the weavers, many who had a little work in their looms took it out, calculating upon receiving more from the relief fund than they would have earned by work. But mingled with the weavers, and especially in the skirts of the districts, are numbers who are engaged in various employments, amongst whom Parochial Provident Funds might do much good.
There are more energies to be developed amongst all our poor for the improvement of their condition, than they themselves are aware of, or than we usually imagine. The first difficulty is to convince them of this, and to rouse those, who have been tong accustomed to depend upon the feelings and energies of others, to put forth and ex. ercise their own. The case which was detailed at the conclusion of the last paper, affords a proof of what the comparatively helpless can do, when impelled by a new and strong motive. The new religious feeling which was kindled in that man's mind, moved him to seize the first possibility of improving his clothing, and to provide himself with a Bible. The writer was struck with another little proof of what the poor can do, when they will exert themselves. On calling at one . room a few weeks back, the mother of a young and numerous family began by expressing her thankfulness that her eldest girl, a child about nine or ten years of age, had just yot herself a place. She mentioned that she had sent the girl out, as usual, to pick up the pins from the sweepings of the linen drapers' shops, for that saves me a farthing.' she said. While engaged in this way, one morning, the master of the shop came to the door, when the child bethought herself of asking if he wanted a little girl, she was asked if she could wind, and on her answering yes, was told that she might come there and they would give her some employment; she joyfully skipped home to tell of her application and success, and has succeeded in keeping her situation, and getting her wages increased.
This family lives in the same house as the man before referred to, and the husband and wife have been spoken of, as having been led with him to attend public worship. The man had wholly neglected this, since his marriage, living quite an ungodly life ; but there is now much improvement every way, both in him and his wife,-a regard for the Sabbath, and anxiety about their children's improvement, and all seems to arise from a real change of feeling. The writer was particularly pleased in observing this in one of the first conversations he had with the man shortly after he had commenced his attendance on the Sunday evening. He remarked, • I seem to see things now in quite a different way, and all I wonder at is, that I never saw them so before ; I don't know what I can have been about. He is of a very inquiring mind, and reads much. He has many pious relatives and friends, and speaks of his mother as having been so also : his father seems to have been a backslider. It is to be remarked of both these latter cases, that
they have had those belonging to them who have been the servants of God, and who doubtless have offered many prayers at different times for them, and that the two most decided and encouraging instances of good done by means of the relief visitation, should be such, seems to afford an encouraging proof of God's regarding and answering prayer, and of his will to bless those, sooner or later, who have been the subjects of the anxious efforts of such friends.
But the grace and mercy of the Lord are often strikingly illustrated, in instances where there has been a total ignorance of God, or of his gospel. One of the first visits which the writer made in Bethnal Green, presented a case of this kind. He had been calling at several rooms in one of the worst streets, which is principally inhabited by hucksters, and such persons ; when an elderly female came up, and asked him to visit a poor woman who had been lying for some time ill of the dropsy, and who could not read, and had long been wishing for some one to call upon her. The informant stated, that she read to her as well as she could, but being herself very ignorant, could not do much. The visitor went up, and found the poor woman in a clean and tidy room, lying in much pain, but suffering more from distress of mind. It seemed quite to relieve her to see that some one had, at last, come to speak to her, to whom she might open her mind respect. ing her fears and feelings. She expressed the deepest sense of her sinfulness, and her doubts that God could ever forgive her, she had so long neglected him, and joined with those who did evil. She was directed to look to Jesus Christ as one able and willing to save all who came unto God through him, and as having mercy for the very worst. It was hard to tell at first, as it is in most of such cases, whether her fears were caused by her feeling herself near death, or whether it was really the Holy Spirit's conviction of sin; the visitor in such cases feels a painful difficulty between the danger of encouraging false hope, and, on the other hand, of discouraging really humble supplicants for mercy. For even where there is reason to doubt the character of the alarms of conscience,
'Tis a cruel task
There soon, however, appeared good reason to believe that there was, in this case, a real sense of sin. The poor woman drank in eagerly the truths of Scripture, as they were read and explained to her, and seemed to join earnestly in the prayer that was offered. On being asked what had been the first means of exciting her present feelings and desires for religious instruction; she stated that some month's ago, before she was taken ill, a person came into the street to preach, with one or two others, and that she was led to go to the window, and notice him, from hearing the people in the street abusing and ill-treating him. Although an ungodly woman, she was angry at seeing him thus used, and was led to take the more notice, and listen to what he said. Hearing that he had a prayer-meeting in the neigbbouring street, she said to a young neighbour, who had come to the window with her; • Let us go in the evening, and