« 上一頁繼續 »
which have lately appeared in our public journals. They concur in the most affecting statements of the wretchedness that prevails, and place beyond the slightest doubt the melancholy fact, that thousands are in want of the common necessaries of life, and that their children are famishe ing before their eyes. One report informs us that the people are emaciated, that with some the natural love of life itself has been subdued, and that others have been excited by the cravings of hunger to plunder for provisions. The old and the young, the vigorous and the infirm, are alike drooping under the burden of their sorrows. In a town * containing between twenty and thirty thousand inhabitants, it is said the distress is so great that “ypwards of one-third of the population have nothing to do, and the unemployed live entirely upon soup, which consists of three-fourths barley and one-fourth rice, sweetened with treacle and seasoned with spices, and which costs rather less than one penny per quart." An eye witness has de. clared, in the most solemn manner, his conscientious con. viction, that, “ without some friendly and decisive interfer: ence, devastation, bloodshed, and ruin will speedily be extended from one side of the kingdom to the other." The poor weavers have been obliged to give up their houses ; and are now without a home. They have no cheerful table around which to gather with their little ones :--they have po pillow on which to rest their weary beads and forget their cares :-so hopeless is their situation that, unless extraordinary and prompt efforts are made in their behalt, they will perish in the streets. If you turn away from their cries, or even if you pause and deliberate, their doom will be sealed,—they will be beyond the reach of your compassion:
“For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care ;
Or climb his knees, the envied kiss to share." +
But I check myself. It has hitherto pleased God to shelter our own neighbourhood from the fury of the storm ;
and, iny brethren, I will no longer harrow up your feelings
After all that you have heard, I earnestly exhort you to come forward in support of your poorer brethren, who, but for your timely assistance, must languish and expire in the horrors of famine and disease. I call upon you who know not what hunger is, who “ have bread enough and to spare," to sympathize with your fellow-men who feed only on wretchedness, and are compelled to draiv the cup of woe. -! I confidently call on every one whose bosom is alive to the feelings of humanity, to contribute “ of his abundance," or even from the limited resources of his poverty, to the relief of those who, except for your disinterested and generous. help, can see no mitigation and no end of their sufferings, but in the appalling prospect of a most miserable and frightful death. I address myself equally to the indigent and the wealthy; and I beseech you, by all that is good and great and heavenly, to mingle your tears of pity, to offer a joint oblation upon the altar of piety and love, and to convert, if possible, the moan of complaint into the song of thankfulness and joy! I cannot conceive a question more strongly put, or more tenderly enforced, than that of the apostle, “If thou seest thv brother have need, and shuttest up thy bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in thee?"'* '.
Nor let any one be deterred from exertion in so pious a work, by the idea that wbat can be done by this assembly for the relief of the sufferers, will be trifling and useless. Our blessed Saviour assures us, that the widow's mite was estimable in the eye of a heart-searching God, on account of the kind disposition with which it was bestowed. I trust also that from springs, separately considered, scauty and insignificant, will be formed a reservoir of charity, in some degree commensurate with tbe exigencies of the distressed. I rejoice to observe that the cause for which I am pleading, is patronized by the Sovereign with a inunificence that will be remembered when the meteor glories of this transitory state shall have vanished away, and that it is most liberally supported by persons of all political parties and of all religious denominations.
It is when I behold in my countrymen such exercises of their high and philanthropic spirit,-it is when I witness the extent and perseverance of their labours for the improvement and happiness of their fellow-creatures, - it is when I reflect on their institutions for diffusing the most important knowledge among the humbler classes of the community, on their zeal in assuaging the horrors of persecu-e tion, in holding forth the word of saving truth to every nation and to every clime under the canopy of heaven,-it is when I see this energy of benevolence on whichever side
I look, that I “thank God and take courage:" it is then that “with all her faults,” I am proud of the land in which we live. Well might the enlightened individual * wbo had spent the greater part of his life in visiting distant countries-countries where freedom and independence are names that have never been pronounced-well might be apostrophize his native shores, as the blessed asylum of all that is worth possessing upon earth. Well might he hail the island in which he drew his first breath, as the sanctuary of religion and of liberty for the whole habitable globe. Well might he exclaim, “O England ! the dwelling-place of filial piety and parental love and counubial bliss,—the cradle of genius, the temple of charity, the school of sages, the refuge of the oppressed, I. “Where'er I roami, whatever realms to see,
My heart, untravell’d, fondly turns to thee!'” Shew then, iny friends, at this time, by the overflowings . of tenderness and mercy, that you are Britons;- shew that
you are Christians;-shew that you are men. And inay your prayers and your alms come up as a memorial before
Church of England and Churches of America. It is amusing in one sense, but disgusting in another, to see the professions made by candidates at the present Election of attacheut to the Established Church. Tuese are thrown out to conciliate the clergy, and to prevent the mob from charging these candidates with good-wili to the Roman Catholics. If necessary, the same gentlemen would profess hatred of the meeting-house, or would abjure any doctrine or system which popular dislike should prescribe..
There is no subject upon which our public men are generally so sensitive as the Church. This is owing partly to the remains of the old prejudice that it is requisite that a man should stand well with the Church in order to be safe at last, partly to the strength of the ecclesiastical body, who are able to run down, or at least to cry dowu, any obnoxious statesman or candidate for parliament, and partly and principally to the interest that so large a proportion of our aristocracy and gentry and upper merchants and tradesmen have in church property as a provision for some member or members of their families. The whole
mob at Ephesus shouted “Great is Diana !" but the shrinemakers for the goddess raised the cry and kept it up.
How different are matters in the United States of America ! There the Church never dictates to the State : no religious, or rather irreligious watch-word embroils politia cal feelings; every man's own church is the only established church. There religion exists without tithes, and sects abound without persecution or confusion. There churches are like schools, different lessons are taught in them, and the scholars have different methods of repeating the same lesson, but the end of all is one and the same, viz. useful instruction.
The coptrast between England and the United States of America, was forcibly impressed upon us the other day, on seeing a letter from the latter country, in which the writer says that the Unitarian Church at Washington is well supported that the PRESIDENT of the United States is a constant attendant, having a pew lined with scarlet velvet, and his name upon it—that the Secretary of IVar has also a pew and regularly attends-and that the minister of the Unitarian Church; Mr. Little, an Englishnan, well. known to some of our readers, holds an office which does not interfere with his church duties, and is treated by the President with marked attention and great kindness. After reading this, we could not help imagining the bubbub that would be raised throughout the kingdom, and the cry of danger to the Constitution that would resound through every city, town and village, if his Majesty and my Lord Liverpool were seen every Sunday at Essex-Street Chapel, and the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen at Finsbury Chapel, and Mr. Fox were made the King's private secretary.!
Could men really live were this to take place ?
Even som(startle not, good reader!) for we see by the experience of America, that the President can well and truly instruct the American ministers how to treat with Mr. Cauning, and can send a satisfactory message to Con. gress, though he joins in Mr. Little's prayers to the Father only; and that the war-minister can do his duty in keep ing up the requisite military establishment on the Indian frontier, and in providing for tbe defence of the country in any future war, though he hears that gentleman's weekly discourses, in which Christianity is represented as a reatonable doctrine, and good morals are enforced as an essential part of true religion.