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the agents of our benevolent societies, as well as other benevolent individuals, know where to apply for the information, by which they may be most effectually secured against the impositions to which they are now constantly exposed. I verily believe, that the money which such a ministry would save to the city, would be far greater than the amount of all the salaries required for its proper maintenance.
I do not wish to give an undue importance to this office, or to claim for it talents which may be better appropriated to another service. But when I think of the number of the poor anong us,-of whom I doubt not whether there are at least three thousand families which require this ministry; when I consider what I know of their moral wants, of their various difficulties and sufferings, and of the direct objects and claims of our religion concerning them; and when I think of the amount of good that may be done among them by an able and faithful ministry, which shall be devoted to their improvement; and of the increase of christian virtue to which I believe that it may be subservient among the rich, as well as among the poor; I do not think that I deceive myself, or that I may mislead others, in the demands that I would make for it. I have referred, on a former occasion, to the very great difference between the condition of the poor in cities, and the poor
of those of our country towns, in which every family is under the care of a faithful minister. The difference is indeed much less between the city poor, and the poor of large villages, some of whom, like the poor in cities, are unknown to the ministers of those villages as a part of their flock. But it is of great importance
that it should be understood, that while a city like our own presents the spectacle of concentrated wealth, and activity, and enterprise, and may possess a watchful and energetic government, and to a casual observer may suggest in its stately temples, its schools, its athenæum, its market house, its spacious and comfortable habitations, its commerce, its mechanic arts, and the general appearance of its laborers, that here is combined all that can secure the order and happiness of a city life,—that this very city at the same time contains many thousands of poor, of whose condition and wants no adequate conception can be formed, but by visiting them in their homes; and that if they are either to be brought under the influences of our religion, or are to be judiciously advised or assisted in their difficulties and wants, it must be by those, who will become intimately acquainted with them in their homes. It is in vain to say, let them unite themselves with our religious societies, and come under the pastoral care of their ministers. Many of them will not, who yet may be checked, and improved, and perhaps saved from temporal and spiritual ruin, by the services of a minister whom they will respect, and who will not be discouraged from endeavors for their salvation. And there are many who cannot go to church in the day.
There are many very poor, but well disposed widows, who have the charge of young children whom they cannot leave ; and many who have not the attire in which they can go out on Sunday. And there are many wives, whose husbands, instead of supporting their families, are alternately their burden and their scourge ; and by whom Sunday is made to their family the most wretched day of the week. And even of
a large number, who worship now in one, and now in another of our congregations, changing their church more than once a year, in their removals from one section of the city to another, it is still true, that they are, and, without the ministry I would obtain, will continue to be, without a pastor ; for they are not long enough in any society, to be known to its minister; nor, except in cases of extreme illness, or of a funeral, are they visited by any of the ministers of our churches.
I am greatly sorry, indeed, to be obliged to speak of what I think to be the qualifications for this office ; but I know not how I can otherwise obtain for it the support, which I think will be required, and justly too, by men who are competent to its duties. But I would as willingly see in it a man of feeble nerves, as one of a feeble intellect, and a dull próser from house to house ; except, indeed, in the consolatory assurance which I should have respecting the former, that he would soon abandon the service. I doubt not, indeed, that the time will come, when the importance of this ministry will be felt, and when this office will be established, in all the cities of christendom; for it is by this means only that the claims of our religion for the poor can be answered, and its objects respecting them accomplished. The call of the gospel is not more distinct for the ministry of our churches, than it is for this service. And if I could be so happy as to see it well begun among us, by the ordination of one or two, who will bring to the work the physical and mental powers which it requires, and who will do for a few years, what I am sure is practicable in it, I should have as little fear for its perpetuity, as I should for the ministration from our pulpits.
In giving to you a report, which you will probably publish, I am desirous that it shall be as short as I can make it, consistently with my feelings in relation to the objects to which I wish to call the attention of the public. These are, the appointment of coadjutors with me in this service; and, my own provision with the means of assisting and relieving the suffering poor. I have said as little as I am willing to say for the first object. And in view of the second, I would offer a few statements, of the actual condition of the poor among us.
There is a great diversity in the characters and conditions, the wants and sufferings, of this portion of our community. A few examples with which I am supplied by a recurrence to my records, are all that will be given under each of the divisions of them which I shall notice.
1. There are virtuous widows, who are able to do but little for the support of their families. They are broken by infirmities, and they have young children who must be fed and clothed, and whom they are very desirous of keeping at school. Some of them have also young children who require their constant care at home. Let us look in upon some of them.
One of this class is so feeble, that she can do but little work of any kind, and is principally dependent on the eldest of three daughters who live with her. This daughter, who is a very faithful child, earns one dollar and seventyfive cents, and sometimes two dollars a week, when she is constantly supplied with work by the tailors who employ. her. Her two sisters are kept at school. Lut even when they are at home, as they are in the winter, they can do but little for the support of th:
family. Sometimes, however, work is not to be obtained; and sometimes it is so much interrupted by sickness, that the weekly income then also necessarily fails.-Another has four children. The eldest is a fine lad, who has just begun his career as a sailor, and promises to be the future support of the family. The mother is a washerwoman, and with the extremest difficulty can pay the rent, and give bread to her children. She is sometimes obliged to keep her young children from school, because she cannot supply them with clothes and books. If one of her children is sick, she can of course earn nothing; and if she is herself confined by sickness, it is easy to conceive what must be her own, and the wants and sufferings of her family.-And another has also four children, the eldest of whom is about ten years old; and the youngest, now an infant, was born three months after the death of its father. Her constitution is so delicate, that she is utterly incapable of hard labor; and with her needle, and the charge of her children, she can earn but seventyfive cents a week. Each of these,-and there are others like them
are very deserving families. I found them, as indeed I found all to whom I shall refer you, without a pastor. And ought they not to have one ? Ought they not to be more closely linked, than they have been, by the sympathies of our religion, with the more favored classes of society about them ?
2. There are virtuous husbands and wives, who are incapable of making entire provision for their families.
In one family, which I visit, of this class of the poor, both the husband and the wife are suffering from a disease, which is probably incurable. I have known them