Puslapio vaizdai
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akin to high excellence; another which is akin to restless, jealous pride. The former has been yours. Guarding yourselves against the idea of receiving charity, you have said to those who are better off than yourselves, "We will accept gratefully the books you choose to give us, we will thank you for your sympathy." Now let me say, with all the conviction of my heart, I believe that you have the sympathy of the upper classes. I stand not here to be the special pleader for the rich, or the defender of the vices of those around me. In other places I have spoken, I trust I ever shall speak, in their presence, in no sycophantic tone in the discharge of my duty. But now, in your presence, not for them, but for you to hear, it is but plain truth to say there is a deep feeling for you amongst them.

In these latter times a convulsion has shaken Europe, before which many a strong man's house built upon the sand has gone down. There has been a sifting of the nations; and everything that had not the basis of reality to rest on has been shattered into shivers. Through all that terrible trial our own country has stood secure. The waves of revolution that thundered on distant shores, were only a feeble murmur here. The reason, politically speaking, of the difference is, that the upper classes in this country have hitherto

been the leaders in reform.

There are two ways

in which alteration may be effected. If it be done gradually from above, it is a reformation; if suddenly from below, it is a revolution. If the higher do the work God has given them to do, of elevating those below, you have a country working out her own national life securely; if, on the other hand, those below either tear down wantonly; or by the selfishness and blindness of those above are compelled to tear down such as are socially their superiors, then there comes a crisis which no country ever yet has passed through without verging upon ruin.

England's reforms hitherto have begun from above. There was a time when the barons of this country, sword in hand, wrung from the most profligate of our monarchs the Great Charter of English liberties. That Charter imparted a portion of the freedom it won to the boroughs and the tenants, mediately and immediately holding from the Crown. When the insincere Charles I. came to the throne, who stood foremost in the resistance to the exaction of ship-money? English gentleman by the side of an English peer. When his infatuated successor, with the blind arbitrariness of his race, untaught by all experience, began that system which ended in the expulsion of his family, the blood of freedom

An

which flowed upon the

an English nobleman.

scaffold, was the blood of When that great measure passed which gave so large an extension of the franchise, it was proposed by a nobleman in his place, with a voice choked with emotion, produced by the magnitude of the change he was effecting. Come down to our own times. Who have busied themselves in insuring for the labouring man better ventilation, personal and domestic cleanliness? Who are they that, session after session, fought the battle of the working man to abridge his hours of labour? Who, after long and patient investigation, brought before the country the hideous particulars of women labouring harnessed in the mines, and children young in years but grey-headed in depravity? A band of English gentlemen, at the head of whom was one who has surrounded the name of Ashley with a glory, in comparison with which the concentrated lustre of all the coronets and crowns in Europe is a tinselled gewgaw, and which will burn brightly when they have passed into nothingness.

Another instance still. Suffer me to remind you of the history of your own Institute. At the beginning of this year a person of this town, afflicted with a severe malady, fixed his thoughts on this question, how he should do good to the working classes of Brighton. You may under

stand much of a man's real interest in a subject by observing the direction that his thoughts take when they are left to act spontaneously. A man who forces himself to think upon a generous topic does well; but a man whose thoughts turn to it of their own accord, when all coercion is taken off, loves that cause in reality. It was my privilege to visit this person during his illness, in my pastoral capacity, as a member of my own congregation. I found one thought uppermost in his mind, "How shall I do good to the working classes?" And that which was at first merely dim and vague, took form and shape at last. It grew, till it became a living thing; and whatever interest there may be in the crowded room now before us, whatever may be the result of this movement in your own intellectual elevation, whatever may be the future effects of it upon the minds of the men of Brighton, is all owing to the energy of one Christian philanthropist, who excogitated his idea in the midst of solitude, and matured it in torture. And that man is of a class above your

own.

You have asked for sympathy. I say that you have it. I say not that the higher classes of this country have altogether understood the high destinies which they are called on to fulfil. I say not that they all, or any of them, do what they might.

Το say that would be to say what has been true of no country. There are nobles who see in their rank nothing of a higher call than that which gives them a miserable leadership in the world of fashion. There are landowners who see in the possession of their land nothing more divine than the means of wringing rents from their tenants, and furnishing covert for their game. There are wealthy persons who speak of the workman as if he were of a different order of beings from themselves. The day is fast coming when they will find that their whole life has been a lie. After that the longer night is near, which will shroud all such in the darkness of all good men's scorn. But it is false to history-false to experience-false to fact, to give this as the general description of the upper classes of this country.

We pass to the last thing on which I have to speak to you. There is an expression in this paper of a hope "bright in the hearts of the labouring men that better times are coming." The heart of every one responds to that. Who can look on this entangled web of human affairs in which evil struggles with good, good gradually and slowly disengaging itself, without having a hope within him that there are better times to come? Who can see this evil world full of envy and injustice, and be content to believe that things

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