Insomuch as we have more practical experience of life than other men, by so much are we bound to help their inexperience, and share our talents with them. But if we believe they are our brothers, and that One is our Father, even the God who will come to judge us hereafter for all the deeds that we have done in the body, then must we constitute, in some such imperfect way as is open to us, the parental office. We must be willing to receive the outpourings of our struggling fellow men, to listen to the long-buried secret that has troubled the human heart, and to welcome instead of repelling those who would obey the Apostolic precept: "To confess their sins one to another." Let not that word confession scandalise any. Confession of the most open sort; confession on the public platform before the presence of all the man's former associates in sin has long been one of the most potent weapons by which the Salvation Army has won its victories. That confession we have long imposed on all our converts, and it is the only confession which seems to us to be a condition of Salvation. But this suggestion is of a different kind. It is not imposed as a means of grace. It is not put forward as a preliminary to the absolution which no one can pronounce but our Lord Himself. It is merely a response on our part to one of the deepest needs and secret longings of the actual men and women who are meeting us daily in our work. Why should they be left to brood in misery over their secret sin, when a plain straightforward talk with a man or woman selected for his or her sympathetic common-sense and spiritual experience might take the weight off their shoulders which is crushing them into dull despair?
Not for absolution, but for sympathy and direction, do I propose to establish my Advice Bureau in definite form, for in practice it has been in existence for some time, and wonderful things have been done in the direction on which I contemplate it working. I have no pleasure in inventing these departments. They all entail hard work and no end of anxiety. But if we are to represent the love of God to men, we must minister to all the wants and needs of the human heart. Nor is it only in affairs of the heart that this Advice Bureau will be of service. It will be quite as useful in affairs of the head. As I conceive it, the Advice Bureau will be THE POOR MANS LAWYER AND THE POOR MANS TRIBUNE.
There are no means in London, so far as my knowledge goes, by which the poor and needy can obtain any legal assistance in the varied oppressions and difficulties from which they must, in consequence of their poverty and associations, be continually suffering.
While the "well-to-do" classes can fall back upon skilful friends for direction, or avail themselves of the learning and experience of the legal profession, the poor man has literally no one qualified to counsel him on such matters. In cases of sickness he can apply to the parish doctor or the great hospital, and receive an odd word or two of advice, with a bottle of physic which may or may not be of service. But if his circumstances are sick, out of order, in danger of carrying him to utter destitution, or to prison, or to the Union, he has no one to appeal to who has the willingness or the ability to help him.
Now, we want to create a Court of Counsel or Appeal, to which anyone suffering from imposition having to do with person, liberty, or property, or anything else of sufficient importance, can apply, and obtain not only advice, but practical assistance.
Among others for whom this Court would be devised is the shamefully-neglected class of Widows, of whom in the East of London there are 6,000, mostly in very destitute circumstances. In the whole of London there cannot be less than 20,000, and in England and Wales it is estimated there are 100,000, fifty thousand of whom are probably poor and friendless.
The treatment these poor people by the nation is a crying scandal. Take the case of the average widow, even when left in comfortable circumstances. She will often be launched into a sea of perplexity, although able to avail herself of the best advice. But think of the multitudes of poor women, who, when they close their husbands' eyes, lose the only friend who knows anything; about their circumstances. There may be a trifle of money or a struggling business or a little income connected with property or some other possession, all needing immediate attention, and that of a skilful sort, in order to enable the poor creature to weather the storm and avoid the vortex of utter destitution.
All we have said applies equally to orphans and friendless people generally. Nothing, however, short of a national institution could meet the necessities of all such cases. But we can do something, and in matters already referred to, such as involve loss of property, malicious prosecution, criminal and otherwise, we can render substantial assistance.
fowls, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, and cattle; the order
a flood, and very different from the continuous f-r-r-r-r
A long murmur greeted their ears. It was the beating of
with pines and cedars, and the Albatross was over the
golden dragon. Max pulled the keys from his pocket, and
to breathe. Tom Turner and one of the men were in the bow.