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CHARITY

AND

CHARITIES

679 against charity and the community. But in part at least as its superior and its organizer. Fasting was parted from prayer it was successful. It helped to conceal the failure to find and almsgiving. It was “a tiling not of its own proper nature good as the love of father or mother or neighbour, but according a remedy. to its end.” Almsgiving also as a “ work ” disappears, and with it a whole series of inducements that from the standpoint of the Part VI.—After the Heformation. pecuniary and material supply of relief had long been active. It During the Reformation, which extended, it should was no wonder that the preachers advocated it in vain, and reproached their hearers with their diminished bounty to the poor; be understood, from the middle of the 14th century the old personal incentive had gone, and could only gradually be to the reign of James I., the groundwork of superseded by the spontaneous activity of personal religion very The the theory of charity was being recast. The slowly wedding itself to true views of social duty and purpose. 1 enance, once so closely related to almsgiving, passes out of sight. ^ionTheory system and the narrow theory on which Ghanty, the love of God and our neighbour, had two offices, it was of charity, it had come to depend were discredited. The said, to cherish good and harmless men,” and “to correct and recoil is startling. To a very large extent punish vice without regard to persons.” Correction as a means of charitable administration had been in the hands of men discipline takes the place of penance, and it becomes judicial, reguand women who, as an indispensable condition to their latmg and controlling church member.-hip by the authority of the participation in it, took the vows of obedience, chastity, church, a congregation, minister, or elder; or dealing with laziness or ill - doing through the municipality or state, in and “wilful” poverty. Now this was all entirely set connexion with what now first appear, not prisons, but houses of aside. It was felt (see Homilies on Faith and Good correction. Works, Ac., a.d. 1547) that socially and morally the The religious life was to be democratic—not in religious method had been a failure. The vow of obedience, it bodies, but in the whole people; and in a new sense—in was argued, led to a general disregard of the duties of relation to family and social life — it was to be moral. civic and family life. Those who bound themselves by it That was the significance of the Reformation for charity. were outside the state and did not serve it. In regard to Consistently with this movement of religious activity chastity the Homily states the common opinion : “ How towards a complete fulfilment of the duties of civic life, the profession of chastity was kept, it is more honesty to the older classical social theory, fostered by the pass over in silence and let the world judge of what is well Renaissance, assumed a new influence—the oran/za known.” As to wilful poverty, the regulars, it is urged, great conception of the state as a community tion of were not poor, but rich, for they were in possession of much bound together by charity and friendship, municipal wealth. Their property, it is true, was held in communi, “We be not born to ourselves,” it was said, reUefand not personally, but nevertheless it was practically “ but partly to the use of our country, of our parents, of our theirs, and they used it for their personal enjoyment; and kinsfolk, and partly of our friends and neighbours; and “for all their riches they might never help father nor therefore all good virtues are grafted on us naturally, mother, nor others that were indeed very needy and poor, whose effects be to do good to others, when it showeth without the license of their father abbot ” or other head. forth the image of God in man, whose property is ever This was the negative position. The positive was found to do good to others” (Lamond, p. 14). Economic theory in the doctrine of justification—the central point in the also changed. Instead of the mediaeval opinion of the discussions of the time, a plant from the garden of St “theologian or social preacher,” that “trade could only be Augustine. Justification was the personal conviction of a defended on the ground that honestly conducted it made lively (or living) faith, and was defined as “ a true trust no profit” (Green, ii. 71), we have a recognition of the adand confidence of the mercy of God through our Lord vantages resulting from exchange, and individual interests, Jesus Christ, and a stedfast hope of all good things to be it is argued, are not necessarily inconsistent with those of received at His hands.” Without this justification there the state, but are, on the contrary, a source of solid good could be no good works. They were the signs of a lively to the whole community. faith and grew out of it. Apart from it, what seemed to Municipal laws for the suppression of the mendicity of the be “good works” were of the nature of sin, phantom acts and the organization of relief on behalf of the infirm productive of nothing, “ birds that were lost, unreal.” So able-bodied were common in England and on the Continent (Colmar, 1362 ; were the works of pagans and heretics. The relation of Nuremberg, 1478 ; Strasburg, 1523 ; London, 1514). Yives almsgiving to religion was thus entirely altered. The (Ehrle, Beitriige zur Geschichte und Reform der Armenpflege, p. 26), personal reward here or hereafter to the actor was a Spaniard, who had been at the court of Henry VIII., in a book translated into several languages and widely read, seems to have eliminated. The deed was good only in the same sense in summed up the thought of the time in regard to the managewhich the doer was good ; it had in itself no merit. This ment of the poor. He divided them into three classes : those in was a great gain, quite apart from any question as to the hospitals and poor-houses, the public homeless beggars, and the sufficiency or insufficiency of the Protestant scheme of poor at home. He would have a census taken of the number of each class in the town, and information obtained as to the causes salvation. The deed, it was realized, was only the outcome of their distress. Then he would establish a central organization of the doer, the expression of himself, what he was as a of relief under the magistrates. Work was to be supplied for all, whole, neither better nor worse. Logically this led to the while begging was strictly forbidden. Non-settled poor who were discipline of the intelligence and the emotions, and un- able-bodied were to be sent to their homes. Able-bodied settled poor who knew no craft were to be put on some public work—the doubtedly “justification” to very many was only consistent undeserving set to hard labour. For others work was to be with such discipline and implied it. Thus under a new found, or theybeing were to be assisted to become self-supporting. The guise the old position of charity reasserted itself. But hospitals provided with medical advice and necessaries were to be classified to meet the needs of the sick, the blind, and there were other differences. lunatics. The poor living at home were to work with a view to The relation of charity to prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and their self-support. What they earned, if insufficient, might be penance was altered. The prayerful contemplation of the Christ supplemented. If a citizen found a case of distress he was not to is preserved in the mysticism of Protestantism ; but it is dis- help it, but to send it for inquiry to the magistrate. Children sociated from the “historic Christ,” from the fervent idealization were to be taught. Private relief was to be obtained from the of whom St Francis drew his inspiration and his active charitable rich. The funds of endowed charities were to be the chief impulse. The tradition did not die out, however. It remained source of income ; if more was wanted, bequests and church with many, notably with George Herbert, of whom it made, not collections would suffice. The scheme was put in force in Ypres unlike St Francis, a poet as well as a practical parish priest; but in 1524. The Sorbonne approved it, and similar plans were the absence of it indicated in much post-Reformation endeavour a adopted in Paris and elsewhere. It is in outline the scheme of want, if not of devotion, yet of intensity of feeling which may in London municipal charity promoted by Edward VI., by which the part account for the fact that sectarianism in relief has since poor were classified, St Bartholomew’s and St Thomas’s hospitals proved itself stronger than charity, instead of yielding to charity appropriated for the sick, Christ’s hospital for the children