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HUMANE MOVEMENTS.

It seems hardly possible that we can be mistaken in the belief that a meliorated and blander humanity than has ever generally prevailed, is springing up and spreading around us. The evidence of this is seen in the infrequency of wars, in the increased attention to, and provision for, the children of misfortune and sorrow, and even for the fallen and degraded victims of their own lawless passions. Blessed be God, that our eyes see and our ears hear these evidences, and that we find reason to hope that the end is not yet ; that man is learning to love his fellow man, and beginning to regard with a befitting pity those whom Providence has seen pro. per 10 afflict or to depress.

The distinguishing, the characteristic temper in society towards its afflicted, and especially towards its offending members, has been that of indifference or severity. In all ages and countries this has been the case, and thus suffering has been doubled where it should have been divided, and exasperated where it should have been mollified and allayed, and thus the great and benevolent design of affliction—the good both of the sufferer and of society—has been frustrated. It is only when we can weep with those who weep, that either we or they reap the full advantage which the plan of Provi. dence contemplates for us, and which prescribes that where one member suffers all the members shall suffer with it as the condition of their own improvement and happiness. The benevolent sympathies and affections were designed to fulfil the double office of blessing him who gives and him who takes. They were intended as channels not of communication only, but of reception. Among our mental pleasures few are so exquisite as those which result from the exercise of benevolent sympathies. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” This is the testimony of our own experience, as well as of Holy Scripture. The happiest men, beyond comparison, in this world, are not those who are acquiring the most, or who possess the most, but those who with a wise and discriminating benevolence are doing most for their less favored fel. low-men. Such men as these have within them living wells of joy, that gush up most copiously when the world is most parched and withered around them, and every child of sorrow that knocks at their gate wakes angels and songs within

Strange it is that men generally should move counter to such obvious and homely, but glad.

dening truths as these. The love of happiness is strong, and it is universal. Why then are there so sew Howards in the ample tield of forlorn wretchedness which is ever spreading itself out before us? Why then bas the discovery of methods of relieving the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the insane, been delayed till the world was six thousand years old, and the million. footed procession of suffering, sorrowing mortals, marching to the sad beating of their own hearts, had finished their pilgrimage in tears and darkness?

Above all should it be noted with wonder that the Christian church should have learned so slowly the great lesson of love to man of its Divine Master, and followed at such a distance his blessed example We have often thought with amazement and shame upon the glaring inconsistency between the Master and his disciples by profession. Consider for a moment the mass of living wretchedness, of unrelieved poverty, of unrepented crime, of unpitied griefs, of blasted hopes, of shattered intellect, of broken hearts, that are palpitating and quivering like a mangled limb; consider that we are constantly surrounded with such objects, and where is Christianity, with its eye of pity and its law of love? Oh! it is humiliating to think that down into that world of troubled, sorrowing mind, and writhing sensibilities, the professors and lightbearers of the Gospel have thrown so few of its melting beams. Of transcendent mysteries, this is not the least, that of those who hold to a religion that is comprehended in one burning word, one transporting principle, Love,which is not a theory, but a Divine passion, and whose hopes all rest on the doctrine of pity and forgiveness, so few practically and heartily pity, forgive and love the erring and the wretched of the family of man. Oh, it was not so when, eighteen hundred years ago, Pity, habited as a man, and leaning upon a pilgrim's staff, set out from the brow of Nazareth for the hill of Cal. vary, pacing with tearful eye and wearied foot the roads of Judea and the streets of Jerusalem. No bruised reed was broken, no smoking flax quenched, no heart wrung with anguish by his mission except his own, when he cried, “ My God, my God, why bast thou forsaken me?" and the last act of his life, upon the cross and amid his death-pangs, was the utterance, with livid and quivering lips, of a prayer for the guilty, even his own murderers and tormentors.

Christianity is the spirit of Jesus, and nothing

HUMANE MOVEMENTS.

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else is. To be a Christian is to be like Christ. Can anything be plainer ? The birth of a Christian, therefore, is the advent of a Saviour, in a modified sense, we grant, yet truly, else what means that Scripture, “ If any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his ?” and a hundred other inspired oracles. And hence our wonder at the apathy to suffering and sorrow of the mass of Christians, self-called, and so-called by a generous courtesy. It is a plain case that such persons have deceived themselves or totally misconceived the spirit of the religion they profess. How any one can misconceive the Scriptures on this subject is indeed a mystery, “ Pure religion, and undefiled before God the Father,” says the Apostle, “is to visit the wi. dow and the fatherless in their affliction.” In other words, the religion of the Gospel is pre. eminently a principle of humanity; and our love to God whom we have not seen, is a hypocritical pretence if not attested by practical philanthropy towards our brother whom we have seen. And yet we have known many who were loud in their profession of religion, and of benevolence, too, when the objects were the heathen, and their names and donations were to appear in the public prints, who would be the last to stir a finger in behalf of the squalid wretchedness immediately around them. We have known ladies to be active officers of mis. sionary societies, and yet who would grind down their poor seamstress to the lowest farthing, and perhaps delay payment after ber labor was done, when it was absolutely needed to buy fuel, or bread, or medicine for a famishing or sick parent. We have known great sympathy to be expressed for slavery abroad, by men who made all their own dependents slaves, body and soul, and then grudged them the paltry pittance they had engaged to pay for their services. And we have known hundreds upon hundreds of reputable professors of religion, who probably had never, in the whole course of their lives, made an earnest, self-sacrificing effort for the relief of distressed humanity, and who never appear to have dreamed that any person on earth or elsewhere, was, or could be their brother, except born of the same mother. Others there are, claiming uppermost seats in the synagogue, whose religious cravings would be mainly satisfied with knowing what the

thorn in the flesh was that troubled Paul; or where the soul of Lazarus was in the interval between his death and resurrection ; or with some other solution of equal importance.

But, as we said in the beginning, we do believe that a blander humanity is in progress. We see cheering signs that a spirit of mercisul interest in man is spreading and strengthening its hold on the public mind. The institutions for the blind, and for the deaf and dumb, seem to leave nothing to be done that is possible for their improvement. In houses of refuge for juvenile offenders, in milder legislation, in meli. orated systems of prison discipline, in the provision for, and treatment of, the insane, resulting in the restoration to reason and society of a vast proportion of those who were deemed shattered beyond recovery ; in these and various other ways, the spirit of humanity is existing in a very gratifying and efficient manner. Our prayer to the father of mercies is, that the spirit of true and enlightened philanthropy may continue steady in its course, and that its apostles may be multiplied many fold, till Howards and Frys and Dix's shall be found in every hovel of despair, and none shall be able to allege that either his body or his soul is uncared for.

This article has been suggested by a recent movement in this city in behalf of discharged convicts from our prisons, who, heretofore, hav. ing been thrown penniless and friendless upon the world, with a blasted character, have found it almost impossible, whatever their inclination, to return to a virtuous life. A society has been formed, to provide for their case, to encourage virtuous desires and purposes, and furnish those who are really reformed, with employment and means of an honest living, and an opportunity to regain their character and standing among their fellow-men. Hitherto, if a man was once a convict, he was always a convict. Either his situation was such when discharged that he was glad to escape back to his prison from the finger of scorn; or, unable to find employment, was forced to steal. Society has much to answer for on this account.

We rejoice in the present movement, and are glad to see the matter in the hands of gen. ilemen eminently fitted to carry it forward with energy and prudence.

SYMPATHY.

men.

At the battle of Zama, in the Jugurthine war, heart to heart, returned with ten-fold warmth to while the Romans were assaulting the town, the fountain whence it sprung? Who has not Jugurtha came upon them from behind. One witnessed such scenes? And who, while the party of the besiegers turned to meet the Numi- joy of others diffused itself over his own soul, dian army, while the other continued their efforts has not imperceptibly forgotten his sorrows and against the town. Sallust relates, that when- himself ? Avarice, in the midst of such a cir. ever the wearied besiegers were compelled for cle, is forgetful of its gold; good will gleams a little to relax their efforts, the defenders upon from the countenance of the misanthrope; and the walls were intent upon the combat beyond, the unwonted throbbings of his laden heart and watching the Numidian cavalry rushing on show that there is yet one cord left, to viand mingling with the Roman cohorts; they brate in unison with the feelings of his fellowmight be observed now exulting, now shuddering, as the contest went for Jugurtha or against Like the electric fluid, passion thrills and binn; and, just as though they could be heard lightens, and spreads itself from point to point, or seen, some shouted in encouragement, or in we know not how. It is this mysterious symcaution; or pointed with the hand, or made vio. pathy that gives enthusiasm its omnipotence; lent efforts with their bodies, as if throwing ja- that renders the fury of a mob incontrollable; velins or evading those thrown. Marius, who that makes the army of a courageous leader inhad charge of the assault, observing this, pur- vincible ; or that spreads a partial panic into one posely relaxed his efforts, till the defenders be- universal dismay. The flaming torch thrown came so wholly absorbed in the conflict beyond, on the barren sand, glimmers and expires; but that they had almost lost the town by a sudden let a spark fall unnoticed where there are mateattack, ere they bethought themselves of their rials to feed the fire, and the flame bursts forth own business or danger.

and rises, and sweeps along, till nothing but a It was the power of sympathy. It was the heap of smouldering ruins remains to show same power under which Jesus wept, as he came where stood the proudest works of man. with the sisters of Lazarus to his grave. Paul Like that torch glimmering on the sand, could brave dangers, tumults, tempests; no dan- would the heroes of the world have been; like ger could appal him; but when his friends fell that expiring torch would the eloquence of Deon his neck sorrowing that they could see his mosthenes have died away, and Philip never face no more, Paul cried out, “ What mean ye need have trembled, had not the soul of man to weep and break mine heart pas

been formed to respond in vivid feelings to the Sympathy is the CONTAGION OF FEELING. It enthusiasm of his fellow man. is confined to no one human emotion, but ex- The yeomanry of Thebes had bone and tends its power equally over all. The mirror is sinew; yet they bowed down tamely to the yoke not more faithful to reflect the object before it, of domineering masters. Epaminondas rose, than the heart of man is to answer all the com- and Thebes rose with him. Even slaves caught plicated and changing emotions of his fellow the flame ; and the world saw that the spirit of

one hero could make every field a Leuctra. A dry argument; a mere dry steam-engine

The hermit Peter ran from province to proeffort of logic—what is it? The orator must vince; Europe caught his phrenzied feeling, and have a heart; he must feel, or he will never her millions moved onward to the Holy Land. touch the springs of feeling that lie ready to

Tell sounded the war-cry through the moungush up in the hearts of the hearers.

tains of Switzerland, and the home of his fathers was free.

And what else than the same conta. “ Ut ridentibus arrident, ita fentibus adfient gion of feeling roused our fathers at once, in Humani vultus ; si vis me flere, dolendum est

the Revolution, from Maine to Georgia ? Primum ipsi tibi.”

There is a language of feeling, and it is uni.

versal. It is not the complicated machinery of Who has not witnessed, in a group around words alone, communicating motion to the heart the family fire-side, or in a circle of youthful through the medium of his intellect, that makes friends, how the pleasure that beamed in the

man acquainted with the emotions of those countenance of one lighted up a general smile around him ; a glance speaks to the soul. Man of joy; while the gladness that thrilled from

needs no “ window in his breast;" the brow of

man.

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anger, the look of defiance, the smile of complacency, the eye, the arm, the tone, all declare the movements of his heart. Those around him see and understand, and ere they are aware, their own hearts glow with the same vivid emotions.

Man is a social being. The joys and sorrows of others are naturally his own. He sees a stranger in distress, and if he is still true to nature, he does not wait to ask whether his sympathy is deserved ; the

cry of anguish or the tale of distress is heard, and it is enough. The guilty outlaw suffers not un pitied and alone. The sword of justice never falls but a thousand cords are sundered. The finger of scorn is never raised, but its image, reflected and multiplied, points a thousand ways.

Imagination gives life to inanimate creation, and as the face of nature changes, the feelings of man change with it.

" When heaven and earth, as if contending, vie To raise his being and serene his soul; Can man forbear to join the general smile Of Nature ? Can fierce passions vex his soul When every gale is peace, and every grove Is melody?"

Let it be that season when the storms and frosts of winter are over ; when the earth is in its verdure, and the heavens are calm; let it be the morning of the Day of Rest, when not a murmur disturbs the solemn stillness : at such a time let man walk forth, and if the sympathies of his nature are not dead, if he has a heart that is not utterly debased and lost to feeling—then will he participate in the general calm of nature, and while he joins the song of grateful praise which all things around him seem to utter, no obtruding care will disturb the serenity of his soul.

Change the scene. Let it be at eventide-let the heavy cloud that rises in the West darken the setting sun—let the heavens gather blackness—let the stillness that precedes the storm be broken by the rushing wind that roars through the distant forest, and sweeps along the dusty earth-then let the lightnings break forth, and the thunders peal; and who does not feel that exulting tumult in his soul, which proves that the heart of man can sympathize with nature in the tempest, as well as in the sunshine calm ?

Let imagination present before us the scenes of other climes and of other ages, and we can

sympathize with the dead. Homer selt the fury of the combat no less than his hordes on the plains of Troy; else Homer and his hordes had long since been forgotten. It is sympathy that causes the deep interest with which we read the history of other times. We see men-we recognize the passions and emotions of men ; and the more faithfully those emotions are delineated, the stronger is our sympathy and the more intense our interest. But single out some event in the dim iwilight of history--such as the building of the Tower of Babel, or the expedition of the Argonauts—and we feel little more than when we hear that the leaves of the forest are falling.

Man sympathizes with his former self. The joys of his youth revive when he visits the home of his childhood; and when memory recalls the occurrences of former days, he for a moment forgets the sad reflection that those days are gone for ever.

Such is sympathy; connecting man with man in all the emotions which the countenance can express, which the tongue can describe, or which the heart can feel ; forming a mysterious communication between inanimate creation and man; and giving an influence over his character and happiness, to all the living with whom he has intercourse; to all the dead of whom he reads in story; to all his own recollections of the past, and even to his anticipations of the future.

Its influence over the opinions, the temper, the character-how national sentiment and na. tional spirit are affected by it; how this gives to the national character a cast of courage or of cowardice ; of meanness or of honor; of such things our hearts do not now allow us 10 speak.

One obvious remark, which we leave our readers to fill out and to ponder, is the influence exerted upon youth, and upon age too, by the character of associates. We become naturally assimilated to the character of those with whom we associate, and especially of those whom we love. It is an old truth that “ A man is known by the company he keeps." Smiling and eventempered parents are known by the open front and happy countenances of their children. Look at the next company you meet on board a steamboat, and even if all are strangers it will scarcely be difficult to distinguish those who have been trained in a school of kindness and good temper.

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