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srpt to forget the double duty whkln devolves upon us when we consider or rebuke error . We point out an abtise , &re indignant against thoge in whose hands it arose ; but is not error a more pitiable thing than the misery it occasions ? Have we any right to attack those who fall into it , in the spirit of vengfeanee , before we have tried that of reformation ? Have we any right to disregard the future aind eternal interests of any part of out fellow-crea- * tures , liowever sinning : ? Still more when , &s is frequently the case , men of
real worth advocate what appear to us injurious courses , we are bound to keep in mind their good as much as the good of those who are , we think , sufferers from the effects of their errors . This caution is more especially necessary for those who undertake the difficult task of pointing out the errors of benevolence . The records of human philanthropy do indeed display many humbling pages . We see -the benevolent hero of one age or country labouring to set up a system of th&rity which the good man of another
period or nation labours as earnestly to explode . We see human misery diminishing on one side of the globe ; we look on the other and find it increased by the very effort which had here diminished it . We hear a visionary boast of his own extraordinary success;—we look at the foundation upon which he has built , and find it to be mere personal influence which at day may overthrow . We have reason to suspect much mixture of pride , selfishness , vanity and ambition , in the minds of many who are called
charitable men . What then ? Hasty and irritable natures turn away in disgust , the indolent and indifferent congratulate themselves on their neutrality , and party-men , with a far worse spirit , rejoice in * he weaknesses of those to whom they are opposed . But the Christian , who has patiently studied his own heart and the hearts of others , and would fain obey the sacred precept to which we before referred , strives against these feelings . He will never trumpet forth his accusations , as if it were a pleasant thing to prove how frail and
mistaken human goodness often is . He will do it " not loudly , nor elate ;"he will respect all he can respect , love all that duty allows him to love . He will carefully endeavour to shew that good feeling as well as good sense is on his side of the question , and he will never leave it in doubt whether or no he have a soul capable of appreciating the value of those charitable impulses whose misdirection he laments . He will strive to fill the void which he has
made , and when he blocks up one channel through which the stream of human kindness has been accustomed to flow , he will , if possible , open another , that there may be no stagnation of the benevolent affections . It should be said , too , on the other hand , that Christian charity ought ever to court strict and severe inquiry . He is no true friend to his fellow-creatures who will not allow his plans to be looked into , who is not tharfkful to foes as well as friends when they point out the " spots in his feasts of charity . " If vice need rebuke , so also does defective and mistaken virtue ; and the more , because here a fortress of self-complacency has to be beaten down
before we can get at the subject of complaint . Nothing can be more mistaken than the kindness of those who would let humane errors escape without animadversion . "He is so good a man , would you doubt him ? " is the language of many tongues , and the thought of many hearts , respecting a projector of known benevolence and moral worth . To this we would answer : " Is he really so benevolent ? Then he will thank us for any labour we may bestow in proving and trying his chances of usefulness ; he cannot be so ignorant of the history of human charity as not to know that many miseries have arisen out of kind intentions to do good . If he be really desirous of
Thought * on Christian Chanty . 19
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1827, page 19, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1792/page/19/