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their forefathers had to live through long frosts without making such an exhibition of themselves ? If our working ancestors could fight through worse trials, why has this generation of toilers failed ? We dare not say that Nature has been more unkind; for we have passed through several years with an almost perfect immunity from the terrible visitations of the Frost King; why then—if our forefathers made provision in every single summer for the long winter, which pretty surely followed-have our labourers failed in providing, during many good seasons, for one bad one? Is it because they are, on the whole, less largely remunerated for their labour ? Arc the average wages lower ? Are provision and clothing much more costly? Are the expenses, in the shape of rent and taxation, to which they are necessarily put, much ligher ? Or are they less provident in their habits ? less competent to deal with the money which they have at their disposal ? To my mind it appears perfectly clear that all good men are bound to devote their attention to the study of these questious. We may spend our breath and waste our time attending to the affairs of France, and be merely laughed at for our pains ; but here is a question of national concern, which cannot be studied without profit. And the man who shriuks from considering it, who falls back upon the idea that he will give his money to meet distress, and thereby honestly wipe his hands of the matter, is but deceiving himself upon a point of duty, and assisting to ruin his country, That nation succeeds the best whose citizens unanimously devote themselves to the task of slaying the evils of whose existence they have become conscious.
If a large body of working-men were suddenly called upon to account for all this misery, they would without hesitation refer it to the various forms of injustice under which their class labours--partly proceeding from bad government, and partly from the selfishness of employers. Happily, however, this would not be said without dissentient voices being heard, for a knowledge of other causes is possessed by many of those who toil. Still, the majority do not perceive any causes of their poverty beside injustice and cupidity; but, while recognising the evils of which they complain, and, to the best of my ability, denouncing them; I can see others also, which, flattering themselves, they entirely overlook. It is my firm conviction, a conviction resting upon observation and experience, that the working classes, estimated as a whole, do not over, but rather understate, the evils of which they justly complain. They are neither. wisely, justly, nor humane y treated; and were it not for their great patience and wonderful power of endurance, combined as these are with an all-controlling respect for the law, England would not have remained so quict within, so free from civil brawls, as she has been, while surrounding nations have been tossing on the sea of revolution. It is not that they have had no cause of complaint, but that they have patience coupled with the vain hope that quiet endurance will shame their governors into acting justly. Statesmen may indulgently flatter themselves that the millions are content with what has been done for them, and satisfied with the way in which they are governed; but he who knows their true state of feeling is otherwise persuaded.
But, granting that all which the working classes have answered lie true, admitting, as I admit, all their charges of injustice, still the question will have to be anstreres -- Why are the evils they complain of permitted to exist: --why does this class continue to suffer so much wrong? In their own hands they have the redeeming power-why is it unused? Simply because those means of cuve which are at their own disposal are put by them to such uses as arc calculated to decreass their power of resisting the injustice which cupidity and power decree them. They have many enemies, but none who possess power to inflict upon them a tithe of the harm they inflict upon themselves. There is no class in England strong enough to do them wrong when they have l'esolved not to endure it. Thus, while confessing their correctness when describing the wrongs inflicted upon them, I add thereunto, that the chief evil, which also gives power unto the others, lies in their own action; and, consequently, that, mainly, the cure must be wrought by themselves.
Is is not a remarkable fact that the clear inconic of thousands of petty traders falls below that of an equal number of mechanics ; and that, while the former are compelled to maintain a decent appearance and pay their wayhaving to meet
from which the mechanic is free--the latter, when it few weeks have to be tided over without working, are plunged into an appalling condition of destitution. Getting on the average, more than these little tradesmen, why do they need more assistance ? Clearly because they unwisely use the amount of their earnings. They take no thought for ihe morrow, and hence are punished under those inexorable law's which recognise nothing short of obedience, and which sentimental feeling cannot suspend.
Were I asked to name the most potent source of the working man's misery, I should name his “ habit of drinking”--the waste of his money nipon that which is not bread, but which brings destitution, degradation, disease, and ruin upon him. Thomas Carlyle has powerfully said that “Gin “ is justly named the most authentic incarnation of the Infernal Principle in
our times ; too indisputable an incarnation ; Gin, the black throat into " which wretchedness of every sort, consummating itself by calling on delirium
to help it, whirls down; abdication of the power to think or resolve, as too painful now, on the part of men whose lot of all others would require
Thought and resolution ; liquid Madness sold at fourpence the quartern, " all the products of which are and must be, like its origin, mad, miserable, “ ruinous, and that only." There cannot be any other outcome for the toiler who pursues
this course; and in the tavern bill of England the labourer may read the cause of his political, social, and moral weakness.
It is to be recognised, however, that their small means are wasted in other ways, for, as a rule, there is little of good management in the mechanics' home, Beautiful and numerous exceptions are everywhere visible, which only the more conclusively establish the general charge. If George Brown can go out comfortably and warmly clad, feeling that he can return at any hour to find things smooth and cheerful, why should David Hodge, who, in the shop with Brown, earns the same wages, be unable to do the same? Brown, indeed, is frequently sneered at by his mates for being so “terribly steady, neither
drinking nor keeping St. Monday with the rest ;" but, as he, not without point, replies, he enjoys himself better in other ways; and if he were not very careful they would have no one to go to, in their hour of need, from whom to borrow a shilling. Obedient to the ordinance of Nature, he wisely uses his means ; why should his revilers be free, in sports and drinking, to waste theirs :--more so, especially, when they are sure to rob him if they pursue that course. They who lived the life of wild pleasure, and who earned the same as the honest, saving Brown, die as paupers in the workhouse, after having been kept there months or years at the expense of the more saving, and George was taxel towards keeping them. In their days of pleasure they bitterly cursed the rich for robbing the poor'; why, then, assist them in doing
it? If Brown was robbed by the rich, in the form of unjust taxation, is it not even a greater crime on the part of these inen that they help to rob him by means of the poor's-rate? If men will waste their means, then, when all is done, they had better make a hole in the Thames than stop to live on the labour of those who have earned no more, and have been taxed as unjustly as themselves.
(To be continued.)
SOUTH PLACE CHAPEL SUNDAY EVENING LECTURES,
RÝ P. W. PERFITT, Pur. D.
(Continued from p. 160.) But consistently with our knowledge of the condition of the Hebrews, we cannot believe the records relating to the treasure said to have been collected by David, and applied by Solomon, with considerable additions, to the building and its decorations. In our times, having the gold fields open, the amount of gold in daily use may be estimated as so vastly exceeding the amount beld in ancient days, as to render all comparisons perfectly absurd; but, if we believe the account given by the Chronicler,* David handed over to Solomon, as public money, being the savings of his reign, the sum of 100,000 talents of gold, and 1,000,000 talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight, for it was in abundance. Moreover, and as greatly complicating the matter, it is set forth that David gave a sum which belonged to him, not as King of Israel, but in his private capacity. The Chronicler in addition, states, that he had resolved to give of his own proper goods, "3,000 talents of gold, and 7,000 talents of refined silver, to overlay the *walls." † Then the chief men of Israel gave 5,000 talents, and 10,000 drams of gold, with 10,000 talents of silver, all of which were to be nsed in building up this glorious temple
Now, I doubt not, that people, generally speaking, read and hear of these immense sums without conceiving of their immensity-never once imagining themselves to be dealing with an amount of wealth such as no ancient nation possessed-never once thinking of taking a pencil and working out the mass into modern coin, and yet it is only by doing this that any clear perception of the truth can be arrived at. For instance, the Jewish talent is generally estimated by the best of Biblical authorities at 125 lbs. Troy, or 93 lbs. 12 ozs. Avoirdupois ; so that if we mould all the talents of gold into Troy pounds, they will weigh 13,500,052 lbs. Troy. And taking the silver in like manier, it will weigh 127,125,000 lbs. Troy.. This immense mass of gold, pure and "holy," with the siļver in like condition, we are to believe that before his death, David gave to Solomon for the temple, and not only gave it, but also marked out how it was to be used; as, for instance, how many pounds were for the tables, how many for the sacred candlesticks, &c., and all accurately weighed out for each set of objects. But this was only David's gift. Independently of it, Solomon had to gather of gold and silver the pious gifts from all quarters; and, judging from the accounts preserved by the Chronicler, he must have given as much as his father. What he gave, bowever, is involved in obscurity, and most probably the narrator intended us to understand that his wealth was mainly lavished in the payment of artificers, and in obtaining wood, so that what David gave was used for the temple itself in the way of decoration, and for providing the candle. sticks, with other necessaries.
But we will look at that sum again, 13,500,052 lbs. of gold, reduced into sovereigns, will form £648,002,496, and the 127,125,000 lbs. of silver, converted into our current coin, will make £381,375,000, or if, with Dr. Kitto, we com. * 1 Chron., xxii: 14,
* Ibid., xxix. 4.
bine the whole, we shall have £1,029,377,496, and as the same authority gays, "To accumulate such a sum during the 33 years of bis reign over the United
Kingdom, would have required David and his nobles to lay by £31,000,000 per annum : -a sum perfectly incredible for all such persons as feel themselves to be justified in permitting common sense to aid them in the matter. Dr. Kitto, in relation to this, quotes a passage from a work published in the year 1722, which is worthy of notice. The author says: "I have read a pam. pblet, printed about a year and a half before the peace of Utrecht was con "cluded, which (as it was said) was written by the command of Queen Anne's “ministry, that the subjects might be convinced of the necessity of a peace with "France, and among the powerful motives made use of in that pamphlet, one of " the strongest was, that the nation was fifty millions of pounds sterling in debt, "which the author affirmed was the eighth part of the value of the whole “ kingdom. If that be true, then there was much above three times the valne of " this kingdom laid out upon the temple of the Lord at Jerusalem, which was "built by Solomon, which is mnch above the value of two of the best kingdonis " in Europe."*
The comparison thus suggested may be pursued upon the more exact materials we now possess,
If the above statement be correct, the value of this kingdom, which probably means the value of the real property, las increased in a proportion scarcely less astonishing than that of the national debt. The debt which, at tifty millions, excited apprehension in Queen Anne's reign, is now £768,789,240, and has been more. But the property which, at the same time, was reckoned at four hundred millions (i.e., eight times fifty millions) is not about six times that amount--the estimated value, at twenty-five years' purchase, of the real property assessed under the property and income-tax being £2,382,112,425. Yet, of this immense sum, the money left by David for the temple would not be much less than one-half (say five-twelfths). It would exceed eight years' purchase of all the costly tillage of this country; and equal eleven years of the annual value of the real property in Great Britain. It would be equal to eleven and a balf years' value of all the leading manufactures of the realm, and to twenty years' value of all the exported produce and manufactures of the country. It would also absorb, for about the same period, all the public revenue of the United Kingdom.
The greatest difficulty connected with this subject, is connected with the absolute impossibility of any person adequately conceiving such an amount of wealth. The Sunday-School scholars are trained to speak of it with precisely the same freedom as they speak of nuts and oranges, and other objects, whose number is casily taken; and through becoming familiar with the amount as represented on paper, it seems to be believed that a true knowledge of the whole is obtained. But the truth is quite otherwise. There is not a man in England, who conceives the amount correctly, who would think of saying it had ever been collected into one city. When the Bank of England has £25,000,000 sterling in its coffers, the rate of interest will be so low that money will be a perfect drug in the market. It has never had any such sum in gold and silver in its possession, and is scarcely likely to have. Still, if in ali bistory there ever was a country into which the precious metals were more likely to flow than into others, it is our own, yet we do not hope to hear of such a sum being lodged in the Bank coffers ; and yet the amount named in the Chro. nicles is more than forty times as much as this, which even we, with all our chances, dare not hope to see concentrated.
Such, however, are the sums, as recorded in the Chronicles; and, without im. puting any dishonourable motives to the writers, I feel perfectly secure of having your suffrages, when arguing that no sane man, who has given attention to the details of the subject, would venture to urge the possibility of any such accumulation having been accomplished by David. There was no profitable trade in David's time, there was no source of obtaining wealth, and hence the utter * Kitto's Daily Bible Illustrations, vol. iv. p. 64.
* Ibid. pp. 64-65,
absurdity of assuming that an overplus of £31,000,000 was annually stored up as an excess orer and above the expenditure. This, however, is a question of numbers; and, as I have frequently taken occasion to urge, we must not be too exacting in such natters, when dealing—as in this case-with old documents. The Biblical critics, as a mle, freely admit, not in their sermons, but in their learned discourses, that there must be some error in the numbers they would reduce them to at least £120,000,000 sterling The suggestion has been offered that it was not the IIebrew talent, but the Babylonian daric, the writer meant to
may have been so; but there is evidence to show that this “ daric was not known in the time of David.* To speak of the daric as pertaining to David's time, is much the same as talking of the florin in the reign of King Henry: Yet, even if that were meant, the objection would still lie that no such sum could have been used, for its entire sum would amount to about six hundred millions. A great reduction, but only like rcducing by littles on National Debt. Other writers have suggested that the Syriac talent was mcaut, and if so, the total would then amount to £120,000,000, which, although so much below the sum named by the Chronicler, is still fabulous in relation to the actual wealth of Israel.
It is curious the hunting up of old weights there has been, in order to lick this narrative into it shape somewhat more consistent with truth. When the critics come upon the words “ everlasting fire,” they will not permit any one to modify the terms, but, in other cases, where orthodoxy finds a difficulty it cannot hide, then every Lexicon is hunted through in order to find some language in which there is a word which can be pressed into doing them a service. For my part, I. would gladly pass over such a point by endorsing their views, were it not for the fact, that the details given of the ornamentation, are based upon the assumption that such an immense sum was really employed. For instance, we are informed that the gold used to overlay the innermost holy house, weighed 600 talents, which, in modern money, amounts to £3,600,000. The weight of the nails, all made of gold, was 50 shekels of gold, so that each nail was worth a fortune. Such a lavish use of the precions metal presupposes the presence of the impossible hulk stated to have been given by David to Solomon. And these details make the whole story to be so much of a piece, that we cannot fairly pass over the numbers as the crrors of a copyist. If they stood alone, we could do it; but as it is, we must insist upon the whole being taken together, to stand or fall. But how came it about that such marvellous stories were written? Simply from the cause I have suggested, the story was written in the days of adversity. And parallel instances are easily found in our old Saxon chroniclers, who, in the days of Norman despotism, loved to dwell upon the "ancient splendour' of the public edifices. They might as well have boasted of the ancient skill in working metals, or any other imaginary luxury or magnificence. They were but as other men, who always magnify the past in order to dwarf the present. Even in these enlightened days thousands of Englishmen are to be found, who, without a blush, will talk of the great size and age of our ancestors. They seem to imagine that the people who lived in the time of the Edwards were stouter and stronger, as well as, on the average, attaining a much greater age. We know, however, from the old armour, and from statistics, that nothing of the kind occurred. Men, to-day, on the average, are stouter, bigger men, and attain a greater age. So with the poor Hebrews, who saw only the ruins of their former Temple; distance of time lent enchantment to their view, and cnabled them to imagine things to have been far more glorions than they were. And it being so easy to set down on paper a few extra talents, there was nothing to hinder, and everything to induce them to do this; but before we accept their narratives, we should at least make snre of their truth.
* Horne's Introduc, vol. iii.
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