« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Trifling as this suggestion may appear to some, I am persuaded no man will think it so who knows the habits of our labouring classes in our villages and smaller towns. I should be glad to see an order issued from Somerset-house, requiring such a circular to be published in every union. If the commissioners do not insist upon its being done, the guardians are perfectly free to do it for themselves; and, if they are slow to take such a step on the plea that their business is, not to invite applications, but to consider them, and decide upon them, then indiriduals may exercise their privilege of informing their neighbours as much as they please, and may do privately and unofficially what it were better to have done by the presiding authorities in each district.
II. The matter of relief in sickness is another which requires consi. deration, though the difficulties which surround it are of a much more serious kind than those I have adverted to already. The old plan was very bad, Lut the new one does not seem to me altogether satisfactory. The parish doctor farming all the poor, (not the paupers only, but all the poor of a parish,) the whole of the labouring classes dependent to this extent on public charity,--the partial discouragement thereby afforded to benefit clubs,—the temptation, when relief had once been accepted in this form, to go on, and not scruple about asking it in others,—all this was undoubtedly very prejudicial to the habits and character of the poor. On the other hand, there seems something harsh in the sudden withdrawment of what they looked upon so much as their own. The principle of the bill, that the able-bodied shall have no out-door relief, does not lead us to the conclusion that the sick shall not be supplied with necessaries. When a doctor is applied for by a poor man, who never asked, and never wished for relief till his strength was gone, and labour was impossible, the answer will hardly appear to him a satisfactory one, that he is not a pauper, and therefore he must not have the pauper's privilege. He will say, “ I want but one thing from youand you tell me, I must have two or none. My credit would support me for a little while, or the earnings of my family would just suffice, if God should speedily restore me ; but I am afraid to employ a doctor, not knowing when I shall be able to repay him; and if I send for him, perhaps he will not trust me.”
The remedy here undoubtedly is the formation of medical clubs. But these have not sprung up so fast as we were led to anticipate. Something seems wanting either in the way of official recommendation, or of private activity and benevolence. As it is, I fear the contrast between the present times and past ones must give rise to many a bitter and angry feeling in the breast of the poor, hard-working man, in those hours of sickness when his burden is heaviest and his heart is saddest. Individual charity will do something; and the kindness of medical men, as a body, towards the humbler classes is worthy of all praise, or rather, beyond all praise; it is generous, persevering, and unostentatious; blazoned forth in no subscription-lists, unknown save to those who follow them in their visits of mercy, rewarded only by the testimony of their own consciences, and the blessings of the poor. But still the law, I think, pinches here, and if the pressure could be relieved, I should like it still better than I do.
Practically, I am told, the rule of refusing medical relief to all but paupers is not strictly enforced ; but that is the theory of the new
system. The poor have been extensively told that they are not to have the parish doctor as they used to do. Most of them, therefore, do not think of applying for that boon; and if some do, and succeed in getting it, there is the old evil of partiality. Rigidly all ought to be dealt with alike; and in common justice, each man is entitled to know what he may expect.
III. One other point I must advert to, namely, the allowance afforded to the aged, to persons, I mean, past work, and wholly supported by the parish. Here, I must own, I have been somewhat disappointed. We heard so much of the difference to be made between the helpless and the able-bodied; it was so loudly and perseveringly proclaimed that, under the old system, the strong had often had more than they were entitled to, and the weak less; it was so ostentatiously stated, that the object of the new enactment would be to reclaim the rate from those who abused it for those who needed it,—that I expected something more for the old people than they have generally got. I am aware that the fault, if there be one, lies not with the law or with the Commissioners, but with the different Boards, who were competent to order relief at their discretion for the aged and impotent poor. I can speak only of those which have fallen under my notice; and it may be that others have adopted a more liberal scale. But I feel strongly that it would have been both politic and just to have gone a little higher than those have done of which I have happened to hear. In some parishes, undoubtedly, this class is better off than it formerly was ; but in others they are somewhat worse. Now, I think it should have been a rule without exception, that aged people, who had received relief as being past work, when the new law came into operation, should not suffer by it. The highest allowance should have been continued to them while they survived, and if an equality were necessary throughout an union, those receiving less should have been brought up to their level. The whole stress of the argument for the change lay upon the abuses of the old law as practised in favour of the able-bodied. Every thing said and done implied that no injury would be inflicted upon the weak. To have been a little more liberal in that quarter would have proved the sincerity of the Reformers, would have gone far to remove the prejudices of benevolent persons against the change, and would have greatly promoted the smooth and satisfactory working of the measure.
We ought to have been enabled to reply to those who speak of the new law as harsh and oppressive, by pointing to the class who really need relief, and saying, “ These, you see, are not robbed ; if any thing, they are better cared for than ever. The strong are driven to labour, as they ought to be ; they have too long been eating the bread of idleness; the rate-payer has been plundered, and their own character degraded. But there is no hardship practised upon the aged; their comforts are not less. We do not grudge assistance to those who want it; only to those who are injured by it. Our first object is not to save the rates, but to save the poor. Try our motives by the effect of the new law upon those whom Providence has disabled and cast upon us for help ; if we are liberal to them, then judge us fairly, and allow that it may be a sense of duty, not avarice and cruelty, that makes us strict in our dealings with others.” I should have been glad, very glad, if this answer could have been given to the objector every where. The reduction of rates generally has been so considerable, that a trilling increase for such an object could well be afforded. Guardians ought to be pressed on this subject by friends and neighbours, by rate-payers who elect them, and by clergymen, whose business it is to admonish them. Nay, more, if a niggardly allowance to the aged be as general as I suppose it is, then the Commissioners or Parliament ought to interfere.
My remarks have run to greater length than I intended, but the subject is a most important one ; to many of your clerical readers I hope it will be interesting ; and the present is the proper time for canvassing defects which may be remedied in the forthcoming Bill. I am, Sir, yours,
G. H. J. Rectory, March 14.
ON CHURCH EXTENSION. · SIR—Most of your readers are aware that the question of Church Extension is to be brought forward, in the House of Commons, after Easter. Sir Robert Inglis, than whom, whether as regards his exemplary private character, his consistent piety, or his devoted attachment to the Church, a fitter advocate could not be found, has signified his intention of asking for a grant of public money, to carry the blessings of religious instruction, as dispensed by the national church, among the millions of our fellow-subjects who “ are destroyed for lack of knowledge."
An object so truly christian and patriotic ought to recommend itself to every man, who believes that " righteousness exalteth a nation." But there are many who, from “evil will" at our “ Zion," will, no doubt, oppose this measure to the utmost; regardless, apparently, of the spiritual interests of the people, so that they may but thwart the purposes, and defeat the designs of the Church.
Under these circumstances, the friends of the Church must be "up : and doing.” The case is one which admits neither of indifference nor neutrality. Every parish ought to support, by petition, this effort to christianize our “ heathens at home.” The Clergy can easily explain to their people the distinct object of Sir R. I.'s motion, and show that it relates not to the aggrandizement of the Clergy, nor to the secular interests of the Church; but to the welfare, temporal and eternal, of multitudes who are now the prey of error in all its shapes, and of vice in all its deformity. The question is one in which the poor are specially concerned, and in favour of which they, when rightly informed, would be ready to petition. In fact, the matter affects every member of the community ; since it is an attempt to remove some of the reproach which the neglect of past generations has brought upon us, and to ward off those national judgments which unbelief and impiety are calculated to draw down upon our heads.
Let every man, then, who would deprecate the Divine displeasure, and benefit his brethren by opening to them the means of grace and salvation, hasten to exercise his constitutional privilege, and to petition the House of Commons in behalf of Church Extension.
SCOTT ON REGENERATION. SIR,-In an article in your present number, the reviewer maintains, in his own clear and distinct recollection, that Scott, the commentator, absolutely and decidedly asserts that in Regeneration a physical change takes place. As I am sure you would not willingly misrepresent the opinions of any writer, may I request your insertion of the following short extract from “ Scott's Essays;' and as he may be supposed to be the best expositor of his own sentiments, perhaps this may be allowed to convey the substance of what he really did maintain, until some better evidence be produced to the contrary. In his Essay on Regeneration, he says
No new faculties are communicated in this change ; but a new and heavenly direction is given to all those faculties, which the Creator had bestowed, but which sin had perverted. The capacity of understanding, believing, loving, and rejoicing, previously belonged to man's nature : but the capacity of understanding the real glory and excellency of heavenly things; of believing the humbling truths of revelation in an efficacious manner; of loving the holy beauty of the Divine character and image ; and of rejoicing in God's favour and service, belong to him, only as born of the Spirit. Regeneration may then be definedA change wrought by the power of the Holy Spirit in the understanding, will, and affections of a sinner, which is the commencement of a new kind of life, and which gives another direction to his judgment, desires, pursuits, and conduct."
FAIR PLAY. March 9.
TO MY BED.
This hallowed cloister, thought or done,
To meditate or gaze upon.
Of every deed of the day past;
Which must be reckoned for at last.
To soothe and make my slumber blest,
To trouble or amaze my rest.'
Here may Hope cheer me as I lie,
Prospective and in memory. ,
Within the cover of this bed,
This weary breast, this weary head.
SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. Tars Society has published an edition the New Testament for SIXPENCE. of the Bible for the use of schools, Some admirable tracts have recently bound in sheep, at EiGHTEEN-PENCE been added to the permanent catato members; and also an edition of logue.
SOCIETY FOR THE PROPAGATION OF THE GOSPEL. Tue Society has recently determined and Combaconum, while the circle has to assist in maintaining a Clergyman been greatly extended in the neighbourat Adelaide, South Australia. The hood both of Tanjore and Trichinopoly. Rev. James Farrell, who has been Attempts have been made, not without appointed to this duty, will sail in the expense, to establish separate missions course of a few weeks. Intelligence at Pulicat, thirty miles to the northhas been received of the arrival of the ward ; and, closer under our eye, at Rev. A. W. Street, appointed to the the old seat of Romanism, St. Thomé; junior professorship at Bishop's Col- while the operations under the Vepery lege, Calcutta.
mission have been extended to various MADRAS. — The Madras diocesan villages in a space stretchiug thirty secretary has recently sent home á miles westward. very gratifying report of the pro "The station at Vellore has been gress of religion and education in again supplied with a missionary in the that diocese. The following are ex- recently ordained deacon, the Rev. F. tracts :
H. A. Schmitz "Three missionaries, young, active, “On the feast of Epiphany the and zealous, are occupying the scenes Rev. Messrs. Kohlhoff and Keyne of former missionary exertion-Tinne were admitted to priest's orders, and velly, where, till recently, only one was catechistsGodfrey and Abishaganaden, employed. Entirely new stations have to deacon's orders. Mr. Godfrey is been formed at Madura, Dindigul, to be placed at Trichinopoly, which