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"things, with all its anomalies and its defects, still is the right system, and the only system.
It is the path pointed out by Providence for : ‘man. It is of the Lord; for we are comfort
able under it. We grow rich under it; we • keep rank and power under it: it suits us, 'pays us. What better proof that it is the 'perfect system of things, which cannot be 'amended ?'
Meanwhile we are sorry (for the English are a kind-hearted people) for the victims of our luxury and our neglect. Sorry for the thousands whom we let die every year by preventible diseases, because we are either too busy or too comfortable to save their lives. Sorry for the savages whom we exterminate, by no deliberate evil intent, but by the mere weight of our heavy footstep. Sorry for the thousands who are used up yearly in certain trades, in ministering to our comfort, even to our very luxuries and frivolities. Sorry for the Sheffield grinders, who go to work as to certain death; who count how many years they have left, and say, “A short life and a merry one. Let us eat
and drink, for to-morrow we die.' Sorry for the people whose lower jaws decay away in lucifermatch factories. Sorry for all the miseries and wrongs which this Children's Employment Commission has revealed. Sorry for the diseases of artificial flower-makers. Sorry for the boys working in glass-houses whole days and nights on end without rest, ‘labouring in the very fire, and wearying themselves with very vanity'Vanity, indeed, if after an amount of gallant toil which nothing but the indomitable courage of an Englishman could endure, they grow up animals and heathens. We are sorry for them all— as the giant is for the worm on which he treads. Alas! poor worm. But the giant must walk on. He is necessary to the universe, and the worm is not. So we are sorry—for half an hour; and glad too (for we are a kindhearted people) to hear that charitable persons or the government are going to do something towards alleviating these miseries. And then we return, too many of us, each to his own ambition, or to his own luxury, comforting ourselves with the thought, that we did not make the world, and we are not responsible for it.
How shall we conquer this temptation to laziness, selfishness, heartlessness? By faith in God, such as the prophet had. By faith in God as the eternal enemy of evil, the eternal helper of those who try to overcome evil with good; the eternal avenger of all the wrong which is done on earth. By faith in God, as not only our Father, our Saviour, our Redeemer, our Protector: but the Father, Saviour, Redeemer, Protector, and if need be, Avenger, of every human being. By faith in God, which believes that his infinite heart yearns over every human soul, even the basest and the worst ; that he wills that not one little one should perish, but that all should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.
We must believe that, if we wish that it should be true of us, that the just shall live by his faith. If we wish our faith to keep us just men, leading just lives, we must believe that God is just, and that he shows his justice by the only possible method—by doing justice, sooner or later, for all who are unjustly used.
If we lose that faith, we shall be in danger -in more than danger-of becoming unjust ourselves. As we fancy God to be, so shall we become ourselves. If we believe that God cares little for mankind, we shall care less and less for them ourselves. If we believe that God neglects them, we shall neglect them likewise.
And then the sense of justice-justice for its own sake, justice as the likeness and will of God will die out in us, and our souls will surely not live, but die.
For there will die out in our hearts just the most noble and Godlike feelings which God has put into them. The instinct of chivalry ; horror of cruelty and injustice; pity for the weak and ill-used; the longing to set right whatever is wrong; and what is even more important, the Spirit of godly fear, of wholesome terror of God's wrath, which makes us say, when we hear of any great and general sin among us, “If we do not do our best to
'set this right, then God, who does not make 'men like creeping things, will take the matter ' into his own hands, and punish us easy, luxu
rious people, for allowing such things to be done.'
And when a man loses that spirit of chivalry, he loses his own soul. For that spirit of chivalry, let worldlings say what they will, is the very spirit of our spirit, the salt which keeps our characters from utter decay -the very instinct which raises us above the selfishness of the brute. Yea, it is the Spirit of God himself. For what is the feeling of horror at wrong, of pity for the wronged, of burning desire to set wrong right, save the Spirit of the Father and the Son, the Spirit which brought down the Lord Jesus out of the highest heaven, to stoop, to serve, to suffer and to die, that he might seek and save that which was lost?
Some say that the age of chivalry is past; that the spirit of romance is dead. The age of chivalry is never past, as long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth, and a man or