Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/96

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A MORE EXCELLENT WAY OF CHARITY.

gifts than for the quiet dignity of independence which is found in many humble people; more for the good tea than for any sermon or service. But how do the better ones feel it? Haven't your gifts absolutely tended to alienate them from churches and chapels? Do they not scorn them, and desire to be seen to benefit nothing by them? The application for help is nearly always made by the wife, and the respectable husband would no more make it than you or I would, in nine cases out of ten. Only notice what happens whenever the rule is that the man must come up to ask for help; they hardly ever come, but simply earn the needed amount. And among the women, too, the better ones hold aloof from anything that looks like bribery to come to a place of worship. I would ask any clergyman whether he does not think that the mixing of temporal gifts with spiritual teaching has not a direct tendency to lower the value of the teaching in the eyes of the recipient? Of old, when