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Beecher On The Chicago Fire

Beecher On The Chicago Fire image
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It has become a matter of remark with those that study the interior ot' history that ovents move in cycles, that certain ycars are years of riot or misrulo certain cyclcs in commercial matters, God's progross trampling down commercial affairs, so it seems as though thero are years of ;tt:tstropho long continued - apparently long Bdntinned ycars of want, and at last biinjr round years of fire. This certainly might almost be called a year of fiie in 1 li'; burningg that are taking place in the - of Michigan, in the destruction of town aftöf lo'.vn, burning of men, wctnen and Öhildrea by scores and hundreds; and, as though even this tvere not for the assuagpinunt and sympathy that occupies tho whole community if it ware not for the greater disaster that has taken placo at Chicago. NotUing can measuro that disaster so much as things which it dwarfa and beliLtlüs. Wo hear and reud of such a vil lage swept away, such a town gonc twenty or thirty persons all gone tdgethor, whole districts burnt, people flying to tho water, unable to find refugo elsewhere - we read it and pass on, scarcely dweil upon it that such things should be, or stop to measuro tho extent of the calamity. One of tho first things I have noticed as regards myself is my utter incapacity to take it in : it afïeets me as niountaina do. I have to live in the ncighborhood of them for a groat while before my eyes got accustomod to them. I have no way to lit to measure their vastness. 1 opent soino time tit Mont Blanc, and could uot take it in. I thought it small, and it was long time before I bogam to feel the unlimited grandeur of tho mountuin. It was so during tho war with many of tho battles. I could feel just so much and then I was full, and it is so with this disaster. We have just so much sympathy, and when that is expended all is over. Tho destruotion of a household by firo is about as much as one can take in, but whou we take in a wholo street of households then you feel that you have gone to the m iximum, but when it is a whole ward then you foei that it is no use, your niind will falter, and when you moasuru it by miles - miles upon miles - fivc miles in one direction with a breadth of a full mile- overything swept off clean in all that district, not a stiteh left, and tens of thousands, fifty, a hundred, two hundrod thousand people homeless, without clothes or focd or place of shelter, it becomps utterly immeasurablc ; we havo to think of it little by little. In tho mass tho magnitude of suffering cannot bc; c:timated. It is liko the sounds of the; mighty tropical storm. The ear cannot tako up so ïuuch sound, ït is not po_r8ibl . Xhiuulur upon thunder abovo couuts for nothing ; we cannot mensure it or tako it in, yt;t evory single individual in tbat mass in Chicago goes on sufferiug iu fear and desoSation. I quite admiro tho uprising I soe there. It shows t luit Chicago is not destroyod ; it is burnt down, but it will riso like the phcenix i'rom its ashos. The strong will take care of themselves, but oli for tho poor women and children, uud tho strangors who wère there, those who, while society was organized, had a píate and a function in it. In an instant they wero swept bare, and it is lor them that my heari goes up ; for them I believo that prayres will enter the ears of tho Lord God of Sabaoth. If there is a God, and if we have reeeived au intimation of his nature, hü will surely have sympathy and succor for tho poor and aiïiietod. Next to the groatnes3 of tho calamity is the atlinirableucss of the national sympathy. This whole nation has risen up as one man - tho northern part of it. I have not seen any account of the contribution of any Southern city. [Mr. Beccher evidcntly luis not reud the papers, or ho would ï'ücollcct that two Southern cities made early responsos. - Fl] I presume ther! are such, but I have secn none. All the Kbrth h;is risen up and taken that great city in its arms - almost adoptcd it, and it lies on the bosom of the nation as a child lies on its mother's breast. Bread, raiment, the various succor tlmt is roquiivd is contributed most generously froin the rising of tho sun to the going dov.' i th.Tcof. We fcnow no CathoJ Protestant, po Domocrat or liepublican. All that we know is men and women who suffer and are suffering, and the amount of tl;e charity of tho natiou is liko God's charity that sends the rain upon tho just and the unjust alike. It is sublime, and when you add to it that the great nation to tho north of us rises up and becomes a partnor in this great work, and thstt across tho water, in England, yea, and iu the Germán empire they are just as busy as we are here, it is grand, and it shows how great is the element of Christian sympathy that unitcs tho world, and how near mankind are to each othor. It is ono of the auspicious signs of tho times. There is but ono single danger in all this, that our symputhy will tako on a purely emotional form - that we shall give while the emotion is on, and then tiro of our labor. Suffering never gets tired ; hold out, never be tired. I trust that these enterprises which havo been begun will be continuous as long as there is any cmergency#.


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