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she neglect her duties to herself, to her own mind; but Edward's example had kindled in her heart a higher ambition than she had ever before felt. There was stirring in Amy's soul that feeling of discontent which is ever the first movement towards a higher degree of excellence than we have yet reached.
Amy had hitherto been in the habit of giving a portion of the money she had at her own disposal to those who had the care of the poor, to be employed by them for their benefit. She now resolved to be her own almoner, and to exercise that higher charity which bids us give our time, our thoughts, our active sympathy, to the poor. Amy soon found that this kept in exercise all the best faculties of her mind, and called upon her for continual sacrifices. She was obliged to practise the strictest economy, both of time and money, in order not to neglect any of her duties at home, and to have enough to give to the needy. In order to be a good adviser to the poor, she was obliged to think of all their circumstances and relative duties and rights. Religion became to her mind a more deep, and intense, and affecting reality than it had ever before been, when she was called upon to give consolation to those who, in the depths of human misery, and bereft of all outward comforts, had lost their faith, and cried out in the agony of their souls,
" Where now is my hope?” All this called upon Amy for constant and strenuous effort: she was often wearied, but never discouraged; disappointed, but not disheartened. She made mistakes, but she was patient with herself, as she was with others, and even from her errors extracted useful lessons; and she never allowed any difficulty or failure to disturb her faith or her good humor.
Mr. Weston had noticed that Amy was less interested than she had ever before been in parties and amusements; but he attributed it to Edward's absence. She soon had an opportunity of ascertaining how little sympathy or aid she might expect from him in her present pursuits.
“Father,” she said one morning at breakfast, “I want your assistance in a little plan that I have much at heart."
“What is it, my daughter ?”
“I know of a number of poor women, who cannot go out to labor for the support of their families, because they cannot leave their children; now I want to find a competent person, who will take the charge of these little children for a few hours of every day, instruct them, and make them happy. In order that the teacher of this infant school should be well paid, my funds must be considerably enlarged; and if you think it proper, I would like to have some aid from
"I have great doubts about such institutions, Amy.”
“What are your objections, father?”
“In the first place, I much doubt the expediency of teaching the poor; it makes then discontented.”
But, father, most of these are babies ; what they learn cannot harm them, if knowledge were ever so dangerous; the principal object is to enable their mothers to work for their support. You know not, dear father, what the
poor I have been among them, and I know what they endure."
“Let me tell you, Amy, that I do not approve of your going among the poor; you are in danger of taking some disease; it is not a proper employment for a young lady in your station of life. This duty, if it be one, should be left to those who are nearer their own level.”
“I should be sorry, father, to leave to the poor all the luxury of doing good. If you had been with me, sometimes when I have had the happiness to lessen some of their sorrows, you would not wonder that I take the pleasure I do in visiting them. O, father, I have witnessed such gentle patience under acute pain, such calm faith, such holy trust under the severest trials —”
“I always avoid such scenes," replied her father ; “Providence has taken care of me and mine, and I am grateful. I could not therefore be a good counsellor to the poor, and as my nerves are too weak to bear the sight of misery, I keep out of the way of such things.”
“But would it not be well, father, to save these little children from suffering, if we could ?”
“ Where are the fathers of these children ? Why do not their fathers support them ? ”
“Some of them are dead; some are worse than dead — vicious; others are absent; and others are incapacitated for labor by disease.'
“ You are meddling, Amy, with things out of the sphere of a young lady's walk of life; the wisest and best have agreed that the poor ought not to marry. All the cases you have stated are the necessary results of the present vicious state of things; it is only interfering with the wise designs of Providence, to attempt to prevent the natural consequences and legitimate punishment of what should never have existed. Poverty, my daughter, would die out, of itself, but for the mistaken efforts of benevolent enthusiasts. I make it a matter of conscience to do nothing towards perpetuating vice and misery; the public good requires it. I owe this to the station I hold in society.”
Amy still continued her hopeless appeal to her father's heart.
“ Did not Jesus, father, preach particularly to the poor?
Were not his instructions especially calculated to elevate the poor ?”
“So far from it, my daughter, that his instructions were, I think, intended to make them quiet and submissive under all the trials of life. Jesus was careful never to meddle with any of the existing relations of society ; even that most abject poverty where a man does not possess his own body - even slavery, wise and pious men think was sanctioned by the conduct and teachings of Jesus Christ.”
Mr. Weston had fairly talked himself into a conviction that he was the true, and Amy the mistaken philanthropist; and he actually felt an increase of self-satisfaction from the conversation. Amy shuddered at the cold-hearted sophistry of her father's arguments, and this utter perversion of the religion of Jesus. She tried to persuade herself he had blindly adopted these heartless views upon the authority of others. She would have attempted to vindicate Providence, and the friend and Savior of man from the false charge of approving of evils which are caused by the