Page images
PDF
EPUB

think so, follow me and I will conduct you to the place where all that I have said, or shall say, exists in real life. Yes, I will conduct you to the dismal habitation, and you shall ask the daughter of sorrow, who dwells there, why her bosom throbs with sighs, and why her eyes are suffused with tears? And she will tell you, that her name is widow, that her only son languishes unprovided for, and that her hapless daughters have no bread.

Once she was cheerful ; once she had a partner, to whom she imparted her sorrows and with whom she reciprocated her joys. But her “ lover and her friend have been put far from her, and her acquaintance into utter darkness.” Again her domestic circle is invaded. The son of her hopes is closing his eyes in death : in addition to this, poverty, pinching poverty, oppresses her, and the cries of her famished orphans-cries which a helpless mother cannot relieve, pierce her heart—" Therefore is her countenance sad and therefore are her eyes red with weeping.”

Bereaved, recently, of the dear companion of my youth, surrounded by lisping infancy, * which needs and will long need a mother's fostering care, still affected by those mournful scenes which these sadt emblems revive before, me, I can with

* Mrs. Nott left behind her four little children, the oldest six years, and the youngest only three months old.

7 Alluding to the mournful drapery hung around the pew of the Author, by the Ladies, in testimony of their sespect, for his disceased partner.

peculiar sensibility plead the widow's and the orphan's cause. And can you whose generous hearts spontaneously overflow with sympathy to him who now addresses you, be insensible to the wants, and sighs, and sorrows of those in whose behalf he pleads ? No; you cannot. I feel a confidence that

you

will contribute, cheerfully and liberally, to relieve them.

Think not that liberal contributions will favor idleness or lead to beggary. We ask not alms for profuse or general distribution. We solicit a little only of that abundance which God has given you. And for what? To procure a staff for the old mana bit of bread for the widow, and a nurse to tend the infant, to soften the pillow and to close the eyes of the forsaken and dying mother! These are the purposes for which we solicit your charity and to which, we pledge ourselves, it will be sacredly applied ; I retract what I have said-you need not this pledge, for the partners of your bosoms will dispense it.

The members of this society, which is to be the depository of your bounty, spread as they are over every part of the city, have the poor immediately under their eye. In addition to this, their managers traverse its different wards, explore in person the habitations of the sick and the poor, and take the actual dimensions of their misery.

Thus situated, they can discriminate : they do discriminate. And though some few instances of unavoidable imposition may have occurred, I presume,

generally, and I speak from what I have seen, that the relief they have bestowed has been timely and apportioned with discretion.

If we withhold our support from this association, to what one shall we give it? Could any have been founded on better principles, or directed to nobler ends ? Sympathizing humanity, always amiable, appears

still more so when invested with the charms of female loveliness, Invested with these charms, it is displayed in this society; and a more lovely or commanding OBJECT never presented itself before

you. For what object could have been more lovely or commanding, in a city where party reigns, and where the bands of social intercourse in one sex, are by political controversy almost sundered, than an extensive as. semblage of disinterested females—an assemblage of mothers and daughters : of individuals of different habits and sentiments, both political and religious, uniting and harmoniously co-operating like a band of sisters, for the relief of human misery. Whose influence has been like the influence of the morning. At whose approach the horrors of poverty vanisli, and the countenance brightens which was overspread with sorrow. Whose kindness, the reviving sick acknowledge with gratitude, and on whose heads orphan infancy, delivered from wretchedness, and made happy by their bounty, heaps its blessings.

With what motives this association has been formed, God knows; and he also knows, that if with proper ones, the members will not lose their reyard.

Be this as it may, I rejoice at the rise and progress of an institution apparently so benevolent, so honorable to this city, and so conducive to the happiness of those who need our charity and our sympathy.Yes, I rejoice, that when visiting friendless and be. reaved families, when yearning with pity over their miseries, I can point them to a SOCIETY which spreads its arms to receive them, and from which they will receive prompt, if not adequate relief— I say prompt, for, by some strange embarrassment in the public funds allotted to the poor, too often the pittance intended to be bestowed, is delayed—and delayed and delayedtill the sufferer dies, and needs not charity, unless it be to procure a shroud to wrap him in.

But the design of this society is not merely the relief of misery, in the forms which have b en already mentioned. They have in view particularly, the education of the rising generation. Numbers, during the past year, who would otherwise have been utterly neglected, have through their munificence, been kept at school, where every attention has been paid both to their manners and their morals,

These are only the beginnings of their labors of love. They contemplate, and they ask your aid, to enable them, together with other objects, to erect a building, where poor and orphan female children, whose age and whose wants ought to recommend them to our sympathy, may be collected, instructed and nurtured for usefulness and piety, under their immediate care,

Some of

you
will

say, perhaps, The wants of the poor are numerous and perpetual. Be it so: And is not this a reason why your charity should be liberal and perpetual also ? Because there are many poor, will you leave them to languish and die ? Because their wants are numerous and claim much, do you resolve to bestow litile? Is this the resolution of the household of faith! Are these the feelings of hearts, softened by grace, and full of the hopes of immortality!

Al! my brethren, complain not of the number of the poor, or of their wants. Know you not who it was that said, The poor ye shall always have with you. Jesus, Master, I thank thee for this promise, that in the persons of the poor I may testify my respect for thee!

The poor we have said, particularly the pious poor, are the family of Jesus. And this know, if he de. mands your charity for their support it is not because he needs it. The treasures of the universe are his own and at his disposal. He can supply their wants in a thousand ways. Let him but speak, “And the earth shall bring forth salvation, the mountains drop down new wine, and the hills flow with milk !”- re. peat it therefore, though he demands your charities, he needs them not-Why then does he demand them? Because he loves you. He knows it is better to give than to receive. He furnishes you therefore with treasures then commands you to dispense those treasures among the miserable objects whom he

« PreviousContinue »