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English societies. They have not, for the most part, built new houses. They have aided in the purchase of older houses, but they have not materially added to the number of workmen's dwellings. This has arisen mainly from their not having had affiliated to them, as in England, land-societies for the purchase of suitable sites. Until something is done in this direction, there is little prospect of a great extension of workmen's houses. One thing further we must say. There has been talk enough and to spare on this subject. It is high time that we took for our motto,—“ not words but deeds."
Next after their Christian good, no subject concerns the welfare of the working classes more closely than this. As cleanliness is next to godliness, so wholesome houses come next to that divine remedy for all that sin has brought into our world, that stands alone, and unrivalled among the blessings offered to man. Without the possession of that remedy, even the best of houses is but a paltry and miserable thing. While we plead thus strongly for “the earthly house of the tabernacle,” we must add one earnest counsel to every reader to make sure of “ the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
“ Closer, closer, let us knit
Hearts and hands together;
In the wildest weather;
Heart Melodies for Working People.
“It is a sad thing for a man,” Mr. Helps remarks, " to pass the working part of his day with an unkind, exacting master; but still, if the workman returns at evening to a home that is his own, there is a sense of coming joy and freedom that may support him through the weary hours of labour.”l Undoubtedly there is, if the home be a happy one; if the scene which in returning his fancy pictures be—not a filthy room in utter confusion, a wife out of temper, and squalling rebels of children, but “the bonny blithe blink o his ain fireside," throwing its glow on a room neat and tidy, and a family whose chief enjoyment is to welcome “father" home. With such a prospect awaiting him at the close of each working day; with the entire day of
1 Claims of Labour.
rest spent with such a family; with an endless life, moreover, in the distance, of whose enjoyments these peaceful hours are but the shadow, the lot of the working man, however hard in other ways, would have enjoyments for which peers and princes often sigh in vain.
The sunshine of such homes radiates, moreover, far beyond their own limits. Happy homes are among the chief causes of a prosperous country. At least, it is very certain that no country can prosper without them. God leaves communities to settle for themselves a great many things connected with their government and social arrangements, and gives his blessing with one form nearly as readily as with another. But the family constitution is a divine and indispensable arrangement, and cannot be cut and carved upon at pleasure. Suppose for a moment that it were altogether set aside, as some wise Socialists have proposed,—that there were no mar-, riage between parents, and that the children, instead of being reared in families, were trained in hospitals and barracks, not under parents, but public officers; suppose this beau idéal of centralization in full operation, what a glorious chaos we should speedily have! It is parents, in the first instance, that God has made responsible for training children ; and in proportion as parents attend to this duty, the com
inunity will be prosperous and happy. Beyond all doubt it is to parental neglect, or to the want of proper parental nurture, that by far the larger share of the grosser crimes, as well as the smaller irregularities of the present day, is to be attributed. The number of youthful criminals is one of the most appalling signs of our times. The number of children under restraint in reformatories is very great. It is well known that in London many thousand children are trained to be thieves. Another very large class of young offenders are those degraded females who live upon the wages of iniquity. Such multitudes of youthful criminals could not exist, but for the neglect of parental duties, or at least the absence of parental care. Many of them are orphans, no doubt, the children of the work-house or of the street, who have never known a happy home. But more are the children of wicked parents, whose homes are so . wretched, and whose tempers are so furious, that the children fly from them in horror. There is no doubt, too, that a large share of the other irregularities and vices of the day—intemperance, waste, vanity, violence of temper, and the like—are due to the same cause. Could we but get an efficient system of Christian family training made universal, how glorious would be the change ; how little need would remain for police, and prisons, and penitentiaries, and
Magdalene asylums, and penal settlements, and hulks and scaffolds !
It is a remarkable fact that the countries in Europe where there is most disorder, are those in which the family constitution is least attended to. We refer to such countries as France, Ireland, and Spain. Home is a word hardly understood in Paris. It is not improbable that the cold-blooded atrocities that make one shudder in reading the accounts of the first French Revolution, were largely due to the early loosening of family ties, to the violence done to nature's method of making men “kindly affectioned one to another.” If there be one symptom more than another fitted to create alarm for the destinies of our own country, it is the wide-spread evil of parental neglect. Whether it is right to represent it as an increasing evil, we do not know; men are very apt to think that certain evils are increasing when it is they that are bestowing increased attention upon them. Perhaps it is the increased density of the population that makes the evil bulk more largely now than formerly. But whether it be increasing or not, there is enough of it to create much anxiety. In that awful state of darkness and corruption into which the world had sunk before the coming of Christ, the “turning of the hearts of the fathers to the children, and of the children to the