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ruin whose poverty is not the cause of their destruction, There is Sam Groves, who died last week, and whose family have gone into the workhouse. He was poor enough, certainly ;, but it was not his poverty which destroyed him, but his drunkenness. Many poor people come to destruction like him through strong drink; some, again, do so through laziness and want of industry; some through extravagance and want of thrift; some through dishonesty; some through falsehood; some through bad temper.
There is a great deal of preventible poverty on every side of us. They say that poverty is no disgrace; but that is not true of every kind of poverty. It is not true of poverty that is brought on a man by his own indolence, or intemperance, or wrongdoing. Such poverty is a disgrace, a very great disgrace.
But there is another kind of poverty besides this; there is poverty that cannot be prevented. Such poverty as is caused by sickness in families; by the death of the breadwinner in a household; by inability to labour through weakness, old age, or accident; and poverty that is caused by having to endure the oppression or fraud of others. Poverty arising from such causes is no disgrace, nay, sometimes it is a badge of honour; the evidence that a man would not stoop to do wrong in order to make gain.
There are two kinds of poverty, therefore; poverty which is a disgrace because a man can prevent it, and poverty which is no disgrace, but which comes in God's providence and has to be endured.
There are many hardworking, painstaking people, who do their uttermost to earn an honest livelihood, and yet always continue poor. They never make the least progress, never are able to get their heads above water, notwithstanding all. their care and thrift and industry.
I think it is specially to such people as these that the proverb applies.
There is my neighbour, Needles, the tailor, round the corner; he is one of this class. Not a more industrious
man lives in all the town than he, nor is there a more thrifty and managing woman anywhere than his wife. They have a large family of little children somewhat sickly, and none of them able, as yet, to do anything for their own support.
Day and night the tailor and his wife are at work. Heis at work long before me in the morning, and at night I can see the shadow of his hand as he stitches away, thrown on the blind of his room, after I have gone to bed. The poor fellow's health is failing under the strain ; he will soon break down altogether. Yet I daresay three or four shillings more a-week would enable them to fight their way through. In their case, as I can see clearly, the destruction of the poor is their poverty. The man needs a holiday; he cannot take it. He needs more and better food, and cannot get it. He needs rest, and that is impossible. Poverty keeps him always at work, and poverty will kill him.
But that is not the only way that poverty grinds people down and oppresses them. The poor are often in debt, and they are so far at the mercy of their creditors that they must often be content to take inferior goods and yet pay the dearest price. They have often to pay on their little debts an interest ten times greater than what the bank exacts from those that borrow money from it.
Money makes money, as people say, because traded with it brings in returns, and even if only placed in the bank it produces interest. A man with a certain amount of wealth cannot help becoming wealthier. His money increases of itself.
The very opposite is the case with the poor. They cannot adopt the best and thristiest ways of management because of their poverty. If an article is sold in the shop at the rate of one for sixpence and three for a shilling, they cannot take advantage of the gain in the latter case, because they can spare only the sixpence at a time, and thus on three articles there is a positive loss of sixpence. And this tells all round, for it is the same more or less with almost
everything, and when people fall behind and get into debt it is still worse.
Yes, the destruction of the poor is their poverty. It brings them down and keeps them down, so that none of their efforts can help them to get above it.
“Well, what is to be done, boys?” said Andrew, looking up and round at us after his long soliloquy, for though we had been listening to him all the time, he had up to this point taken little or no notice of us. 6. What is to be done?"
No answer appeared to be forthcoming on the part of any of us, whereupon Old Andrew himself made answer.
* This, I suppose, my lads, we must all try, as far as we can, to show those who have themselves to blame for being poor how they may better themselves. As for the others, those who are doing their best, and yet are crushed by poverty, we must try to encourage and help them. agree to that, all of you ?"
“Yes,” was our immediate reply.
“I have heard,” said Andrew, “ of a class of Roman Catholic nuns who call themselves the Little Sisters of the Poor. Why they call themselves little I can't tell, for they all seem of average size; but I want you, my boys, to be really the little brothers of the poor. You can do something to help them, young as you are, and let me tell you, lads, if you take to helping them, you will at the same time be doing much to help yourselves, and to ensure a blessing on yourselves. 'He that giveth to the poor lendeth unto the Lord,' so God's own book tells us. If we try to help the deserving poor we shall by our acts obtain a double blessing. There will be a blessing on the poor who are helped, and a blessing on those who help them.
They say the cobbler's wife is the worst shod.' I don't know about that, for, though I am a cobbler, I have no wife; but I am sure it is true enough, round the corner there, that the tailor's children are the worst clad.
“Now, boys, I notice that when there happens to come a
patch on one of your jackets, that jacket speedily disappears, because your parents are well off, and can afford to dress you in clothes that are not patched.
“What becomes of all your old and patched clothes after you are done with them? Made down for your little brothers, given away to poor people, or sold at the door, I suppose ? Well, I wish you boys to bring me enough old clothes to dress all these poor little children round the corner. You can't bring too many, for we will soon find out others who are in need.
“What say you boys, will you do it?"
There was a universal assent to Andrew's proposal; the result of which was that, on that day and the next, bundle after bundle was sent in to Old Andrew, till, as he declared, his stall looked like a broker's shop.
The old man knew of many besides his neighbour's children who stood in need of help, and he set us all to work to discover all through the town children that were in rags. Finding these out for ourselves, but in every case acting under good Old Andrew's advice, we came to take an interest in the various cases we discovered, and we find from experience that what he had said was true, that helpful kindness to the poor brings down. a double blessing.
Thus arose in our town, and continued as long as Old Andrew lived, our Grammar School Guild of the Little Brothers of the Poor.
Why should not kind Christian boy's everywhere do such work as this ? La am sure if Old Andrew were here to answer he would say,
“No reason why they should not, but every reason why they should."
R. R. T.
RAYER, like Jonathan's bow, returns not empty.
Never was faithful prayer lost at sea. No tradesman trades with such certainty as the praying
saint. Some prayers, indeed, have a longer voyage than others; but, then, they return with a richer lading at last.-Gurnall.
Meditation is the best beginning of prayer, and prayer is the best conclusion of meditation. When the Christian, like Daniel, hath first opened the windows of his soul by contemplation, then he may kneel down to prayer.Swinnock.
Let us cultivate the spirit of prayer, which is even better than the habit of prayer. There may be seeming prayei when there is little devotion. We should begin to pray before we kneel down ; and we should not cease when we
: . Prayer should be the key of the day, and the lock of the night. Devotion should be both the morning star and the evening star.-C. H. Spurgeon.
Above the anthems of the celestial choir, Jehovah hears our feeblest cry; and amid the glories of the upper sanctuary Christ's eye turns less on the glittering crowns His redeemed ones cast at His feet than on His people here,-fighting in the field of battle, weeping in this vale of tears. Therefore let us pray on, nor cease praying till we cease living.– Guthrie.
When sometimes God gives tardily, He commends His