OF THE SISTERHOOD OF THE HOLY COMMUNION, NOW AT
ST. LUKE'S HOSPITAL.
BY T. WHITTAKER, 8 BIBLE HOUSE,
THE following pages are an answer to the actual questions of a friend, who, herself long practised in the ministries of Christian love, is anxious to see some way of enlisting the more earnest of our unmarried women to co-operate in such labors with better system and efficiency than has hitherto, to any extent, been found among us.
The publication of this reply to her letter has been somewhat hastened by a request from Bishop Potter, of Pennsylvania, for a contribution on the subject to a volume which he is compiling from different sources, "as preparatory to a more thorough and a wider organization of woman's Christian work."
Written under the pressure of a multiplicity of engrossing cares, these thoughts have been thrown together more hurriedly than might be desired, but however deficient in other respects, as the [iii/iv] result of almost twenty years of personal interest and endeavor in the direction to which they point, it is hoped that they may convey to some hearts a conviction both of the possibility and the privilege of the kind of service for which they plead.
Reference is made in this little work to the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion--so called from the parish under whose pastor it originated but now virtually the Sisterhood of St. Luke's Hospital, this institution being its present home and working-place. For the benefit of some who may be looking towards this field of labor with a desire to take part in it, and of others sympathizing with the design of the Community, an Appendix is added, containing extracts from its Principles of Association and Rules, with some other kindred matter.
Any one desiring more particular information can obtain it by applying at the Hospital.
ST. LUKE'S HOSPITAL, Nov. 1, 1864.
MY DEAR FRIEND--
A brief absence from my usual duties affords the opportunity I have so long desired for answering, at some length, the various thoughts and questions contained in your letter, on the organization of the voluntary labors of Christian women.
You say that you have thrown out these questions "in the hope that they will elicit from me some hints which may guide those who are groping after light, how best to systematize and employ the services of such of our sex as desire to give a larger portion of their time to the Lord who bought them." I do not know how well qualified I am to be of use in this way, but your especial interest in the subject makes it very agreeable to me to sit down for a talk with you of things which might be, if the unmarried female communicants of our Church were ready, in any number, to give themselves to the service of charity as a vocation.
Would that the companying together of Christian women, in the way we are thinking of, and for [5/6] the purpose of carrying on the different charitable institutions among us, were not still so much in the future. Look at your own experience in this regard. You are making your initiation in a field of unquestioned usefulness and excellence, one too which pre-eminently demands the sisterly co-operation and devotion of refined and intelligent women. Now how many of such women have come to your assistance during the year that has passed? I do not mean as transient helpers and sympathizers, doing just so much as is easy, convenient, or agreeable; but how many, giving their time and energies unreservedly and ungrudgingly, can you count upon to share your toils and your cares? Perhaps, scarce one. And why? Is it not because our Christianity is of sq low an order, because we are so entangled with the world, so uninstructed, not only in the spirit of sacrifice, but in the spirit of gospel brotherhood, so used to loving our neighbors a little, and ourselves very much, and so content with just getting to Heaven, not perceiving that "there ate many gains and many losses in Christ, over and above that unappreciable one of the soul?"
In thus speaking, I am not forgetting the excellent women who, in our age, as in all others of the Church, are found here and there, in singleness [6/7] of heart, going about doing good. But these are often matrons, with households of their own, and are Always the few, not the many; not the numbers we are thinking of, who gathered into societies as ministering sisters, deaconesses, lady-nurses, or whatever else they may call themselves, are to be the life and soul of our different hospitals and asylums, and the best security against the deterioration of such institutions into mere machines of charity.
You say that many earnest minds in our Church are turning inquiringly to a consideration of the systematic employment of devout women, in labors of this kind. I wish I could think this were so, to any extent, likely to lead to practical results; but I do not. In your immediate neighborhood, and in connection with the inception of the new hospital work there, I can understand that a certain sort of interest has been excited; but elsewhere, and throughout the Church at large, we hear of little of the kind. On the contrary, I think that, in some respects, the present is a period very adverse to the formation of such communities. The war-spirit, which we all, more or less, breathe, is directly opposed to the discipline and order indispensable to the least restricted and most simple of these organizations; and the luxury and extravagance all around us, increasing rather than [7/8] diminishing under the calamities of the land, are wholly hardening in their general effect; while the strange unfeminine attire, to which our eyes are growing but too accustomed, both evinces and induces a state of public sentiment greatly at variance with the meek and lowly virtues of the life we are considering, not to speak of other antagonist influences, which your own mind will readily suggest, as essentially damaging to the higher developments of Christian faith and obedience.
But, I allow, there is another and a less discouraging view to be taken of these Very evils; one which, by turning them upon themselves, so to speak, may make them actually conducive to the ends which they seem ready to subvert; and, perhaps, it is thus that God's good providence will solve some of the sorrowful problems of our day. I mean, for example, that the very excess and extravagance of the times may act upon certain minds with a repulsion which will drive them far beyond the line of that moderate, compromising Christianity, which they once made their boundary, into those stricter spheres of Christian love and duty where there are no reservations for selfish indulgence, and no entanglements of worldly aims.
We may look for sisters, too, from among the multitude of women whose hearts the sword is daily making desolate; some of these will soon [8/9] forget their losses in new delights, but others, of greater depth of nature, with whom to love once is to love for ever, will be able to find a solace for their griefs only in sharing and consoling the griefs of others.
And, further, we may believe that many a single woman of culture and leisure who, before this terrible war broke out, was wont to spend her time, for the most part, in idleness and self-indulgence, having tasted in her ministrations to the sick and wounded of our armies the sweets of usefulness and self-sacrifice, will shrink from returning to her former empty life, and that the generous patriotism which led her to make the wards of a military hospital a familiar haunt, might be converted, under good teaching and proper leadership, into hearty zeal for the work before us. Think of the numbers of such who, at the present time, at large cost of ease and comfort, are ministering to our soldiers in every direction; and when they are no longer needed for this service, what would be more natural than that they should accept kindred employment in the way we are supposing? "The happiest life," says Dr. Chalmers, "is that which has the fullest occupation with the highest aim." Having once proved the truth of this, they will not readily resign themselves again to the vapid-ness of doing nothing.
 And here I cannot help wishing that our bishops and pastors would speak more directly to us women, on these points than they do. It is customary to urge men to the work of the ministry, missions, etc., and should not holy arguments be sometimes addressed to us, also, to stir us up to something in the Christian life more distinct and impressive than that now common to us? Yet when do we hear a word from the pulpit to this effect? We women have a little faith, we have warm affections and pure impulses, we have heads and hands; why not show us that we are not living up to our vocation, not turning to good account the powers we are indued with, that communicants though we be, we are frittering away our lives, "spending our money for that which is not bread, and our labor for that which satisfieth not;" or, at the best, allowing ourselves to be dwarfed and cramped into the niches of custom and worldly conformity, when we might be developing, by healthful exercise in pure Christian air, toward perfect stature in Christ?
Our reverend teachers must forgive me if I seem to speak undutifully. I do not mean to be presumptuous, but I do feel that, if they would set these things forth, as they know how to do, and if all would pray earnestly for the outpouring of larger grace upon us, there would be some hope [10/11] of an answer to that almost audible groan of yours, when, after relating to me your rescue of the unhappy child from its wretched, drunken mother, you cry out, "What can we women do?"
It is not without strong reason that I attach importance to preaching of this kind; for it was a sermon, delivered now nearly twenty years ago, which gave the first impulse to the formation of the community to which I belong. [By the Rev. Dr. Muhlenberg, July, 1845.] The faithful words entered "as a nail in a sure place," and from them sprang, in due time, the first Protestant Sisterhood in this country.
You would like me to go somewhat into detail as to the growth and progress of this Sisterhood, with the order and efficiency of which yon wore so pleased in your late visit to oar hospital; but, besides that it would take up too much time, I doubt if it would profit much to give you the history of our years of pioneering, of the prejudices which had to be surmounted, the absurd stories to be lived down, of the mistakes and disappointments which faith and prayer had to rekindle into new hopes and endeavors. It will be readily understood that such things were inseparable from so altogether new an undertaking, one, too, so foreign to the spirit of our age and the temper of this nation, and, at that time, also, exciting by its [11/12] very name alarms of Romanizing; which now would be only laughed at.
I need hardly tell you, either, that the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion, thus originating, has grown up, and continues to work on, under a peculiar conjuncture of favoring circumstances not likely to reproduce themselves elsewhere, and that therefore it is not calculated to serve, altogether, as a precedent for another institution.
Still it is true, as you say, that we have made experiences, in all these years, which cannot but be valuable to others as well as ourselves, and it is upon these experiences I am going to draw forth my replies to your further questions. We were formally organized into a Sisterhood in the year 1852, and from that date forward there has always been a company of us, larger or smaller, living together, and working by rule, first in the Parish School, among the parish poor, in the Church Dispensary and the Church Infirmary, and, of late years, in St. Luke's Hospital.
You ask me, "What are the advantages of such organization, or combination, over the ordinary system of ministration among the poor?"
In answering you, let me turn to a paper I have in hand, containing a summary of the work of one of those years preceding our transfer to St. Luke's Hospital--the year 1856. It is an account of our [12/13] stewardship rendered to those who had made us their almoners that year. Our company at this time consisted of three full Sisters, two probationary ones, and two associate, or non-resident Sisters. We were living in the house built for us adjoining the Church of the Holy Communion, and which was also the Dispensary, and had hired the house next to it, and made to communicate with it, for the Infirmary and School.
The work accomplished was as follows: In the Infirmary (seventeen beds), eighty patients, principally incurables; no hired nurse. Out-patients of the Dispensary, over fourteen hundred; medicine, sick diet, and nursing at their homes, as needed. In the Parish School, seventy children taught every day, and in part clothed; one hired teacher. Poor families cared for, one hundred and fifty; one hundred of whom belonged to the Church of the Holy Communion, and were regularly visited accordingly.
And now, tell me, how many of our communicants, living in the ordinary way, and acting under the ordinary parochial system, would it have required to accomplish the same amount of good? I think it is not affirming too much to say that combination of this sort multiplies a woman's usefulness sevenfold, to say nothing of the greater thoroughness in working, which must belong to [13/14] those who make such service their day's business, and not the adjunct of a dozen other and, perhaps, conflicting engagements. But on this point you ought to question some of the poor widows and children who have been cared for by Sisters.
Then look at the advantages, personally, to those thus associated; the strength which comes from congenial companionship, the comfort and encouragement of mutual sympathy and support, the benefit of united prayer, and other means and opportunities of growth in grace, naturally flowing from such union in work for Christ's sake. The maxim of the wise man that "two are better than one." holds eminently true of this kind of fellowship.
Your next question, my dear friend, is one so incongruous with any idea I ever entertained of the associations before us, that I should pass it by in silence, if it were not that it represents a false notion only too common amongst us, and which, I dare say, has come often enough under your own observation to prompt the inquiry.
You say, "Is it necessary for the members of such associations to live together, or would there be more life and elasticity if they gave a certain number of hours to their work, and then returned to the recreations and indulgences of home?"
As well ask, "Should a mother live with her [14/15] children or not?" For unless there be in our Sisterhoods a living, loving recognition of relationship in Christ--familyship in Him--unless, not in sentiment, but in very deed, these associations can give themselves to their poor brothers and sisters, making common cause with their wrongs, bearing their burdens, soothing their sicknesses, even as they would those of their own "flesh and blood," as we phrase it, then it would be better to be without them altogether, and not deceive ourselves with the semblance of a grace we have not.
But let us, as serving to illustrate our subject in general, look a little at this question, which is no question. Let us see something of the effect produced on the work given them to do by a band of true Sisters, or Deaconesses, living together, and living where their work is; if a hospital, in that; if an orphanage, with their orphans; if parochial work, in the parish dispensary and school-house; if a Magdalene house, with their penitents, and so on. Let us suppose the work in the present case to be a hospital; for where could a good woman, practised in the wants of sickness, and skilled in the art of comfort, better bestow her powers than by the beds of some of the sufferers there? Who more needs her judicious interference, her gentle championship, her tender hand, and her soothing voice, than that poor lonely [15/16] brother, sick in mind as well as body, helpless to take his own part, and with none other to plead for him? Suppose, then, a body of women having the opportunity of ministrations such as these, the hospital is their home, they make the cause of its inmates their own, exercising a protecting power over them even when not in immediate attendance, they have a refining and regulating influence on the whole household, inducing gentleness and consideration, in place of the wonted roughness and indifference. The necessary hired attendants are both restrained and encouraged by their presence, and are elevated into a better class than that commonly found in hospitals, by the fact of their working so immediately under ladies. An intelligent economy is practised in the use of all the appliances of sickness. They dispense the medicines, and have, at all hours, a systematic oversight of the small but important details of nourishment; critical cases are watched by changing guard among themselves; emergencies met; and the dying hour soothed, come when it may, by day or night.
Now how much--the question is almost an idle one, still I will ask it--how much of all this would be possible by an association of ladies, attending a certain number of hours, and then returning to their homes? How skillful soever their nursing, the patients do but miss them the more in [16/17] the longer intervals of intermission; and how vigorous soever their administration, while at their post, it is certain that a very different state of things will exist as soon as the hour comes when it is known that "the ladies have gone home;" and this, without supposing any great depravity in the hired nurses, or any thing more than the common infirmity of our nature, which, wearying under a very trying work, falls short in duty when no longer incited and upheld by the presence and sympathy of superior minds.
In speaking of hospital ministrations, I observe that you let fall a word or two which conveys the idea that a lady's chief value there consists in her immediate religious teaching. Now I feel sure that, if these ladies are the women we are imagining, far more good is done by them while performing their duties as nurses, than by more direct instruction; not to speak of the quantity of bad nursing there is in such places, and the absolute necessity that exists of some change in that regard. I believe that the intelligent nurse, while ministering to the relief of the suffering body, learns much of the temper and ailments of the soul, and that by a word here and there, as opportunity offers, and by the sweet force of her active Christian kindness and self-sacrifice, she is far more likely to be of use to her patient, spiritually, [17/18] than another woman coming solely as a spiritual healer.
So far as my experience extends, it is only one woman out of a great many who is calculated to be very useful in a hospital in simply a spiritual capacity.
I revert to this, because a large number of our fully-at-leisure fellow-communicants are abundantly ready to satisfy conscience by an hour or two's religions reading in a hospital, who would wholly grudge any surrender of their time and ease to the labor of systematic nursing there.
Again, of this same systematic nursing, any thing else than living where it has to be done would be quite as unprofitable to the Sisters as to their work.
In the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion provision was at one time made for the admission, of course as a subordinate arm of the service, of associate, or non-resident Sisters, who gave, as you propose, a certain number of hours a day, and then returned to their home. The experiment was fully tried, and, after a few years, was laid aside as a failure. It proved as unsatisfactory to the associate as to her companions. Her heart seeking to be in two places, was at rest in neither, and sometimes heart and conscience, would stand at issue; so that, more than once has such a one said, [18/19] in speaking of her embarrassments, "It would be easier for me to be a United Sister." Doubtless it would, for in this sense, also, it is true that we cannot "serve two masters." A woman's heart is not formed to entertain, at the same time, two engrossing objects of interest; either her work must be first, or society first, and if she tries to have it otherwise, she will often, as I have said, find herself painfully divided between the opposing claims.
No; there must be sacrifice. That which costs nothing is worth nothing; and if a woman would be a true, earnest, whole-hearted worker for the Lord, in the way we are supposing, she must separate herself, at least for the period of her engagement, from many things both dear and delightful. Nor shall she be without her reward in so doing, the reward of a freedom of mind and peace of soul which will shed over all her paths some ray of heavenly sunshine.
"Then," you say, "there must be an entire withdrawal from social ties." No; only such a regulation of our intercourse with relatives and friends as shall make it the recreation, not the governing business of the day. And, I would add, that a proper provision for such intercourse, as a recreation, and for regular out-door exercise, should be made in all such associations.
And now you ask, "Shall an engagement in a [19/20] Sisterhood of this kind be for life, or for a term of years?"
This is a very important question, and according as it is answered, one way or the other, educes two almost different ideas.
The one--association for life--comprehends the unreserved, unqualifying surrender of permanent bodies of devout women for the rest of their days to the service of their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ. They live together, by rule and under' ecclesiastical government, and though unbound by vows of any kind, virtually hold themselves as not at liberty to withdraw, except at an imperative call of duty elsewhere.
The other--association for a term of years--is the offer of a certain portion of life, three years let us say, to the undivided service of charity, in Order to conduce to a more systematic and efficient working of our different institutions of Christian benevolence than could be accomplished under the usual parochial arrangements.
If you had asked me several years ago which of these plans of association I would recommend, I should have answered you, unhesitatingly, "the association for life." I was younger and more sanguine then, and captivated by the idea of a life of entire self-consecration, I thought that many, were they shown it, would fly to embrace it. Not [20/21] that I was in love with any picture of cloistered sanctity, the meritorious devotions and self-righteous austerities that mark the Romish system: No; but I had visions of blessed companies of true evangelical sisters, living together after the pattern of the first believers; of one heart and one mind in counting all things loss for Christ, declining the ties of an earthly union in order to "follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth;" in fellowship with Him laying healing hands on every form of human grief and wrong, making the "solitary places glad, and the wilderness to rejoice and blossom as the rose," and desiring nothing above or beyond this save the glory of His reappearing.
And is not this a lovely vision?--too lovely, I wot, for our day and generation. For, supposing that Sisterhoods like this are congenial to the Christianity of these times, and hence practicable, which is to be doubted, it is quite certain that our Church is not prepared to direct and provide for them; nay, it may well be, that we all have need of a second Pentecost ere we could, either as members or directors of such societies, be ready for what they include.
Individual witnesses of this sort to the power of His grace, one here and another there, the Lord always has had, and always will have; but, as an [21/22] age, it will not be claimed that such are found among us in large numbers, and as these bands of ministering women are to be drawn from our ordinary congregations, the projected associations must be for a term of years.
And here, since you have asked me to suggest a plan upon which to form these Sisterhoods, so to call them, let me give you as succinctly as I may, some idea of what I have in my mind.
1. The Association or Sisterhood would have its home in the institution employing it, the hospital, orphan house, or whatever it is, being its proper abode and training-place. The initiation of these societies i» facilitated by thus doing away with the necessity and difficulty of providing special houses; Obviously any institution expecting to be so worked, must appropriate suitable accommodations for the workers.
2. No amount of funds is requisite for such a society. The Sisters would have their board, lodging and washing under the roof of the charity they serve (but of whose pecuniary affairs they had best have no management), and as a rule, they would look for nothing beside. In this way is removed another point sometimes presented as an obstacle.
3. Each Sister would ordinarily have enough [22/23] means of her own, or through private friends, for her few personal expenses, which it would usually be desirable, should be the case for other than pecuniary reasons. But, sometimes, there would be valuable candidates for admission, who could not so provide for themselves. To meet this contingency, the institution using the Sisterhood might make it a part of its regular expenses to place statedly in the hands of an appointed treasurer a small sum toward a Sisters' of Deaconesses' Fund, out of which to supply this or any other accidental demand of the association. The fact that any Sister is so aided being known only to the Superintending Sister, and the holder of the fund.
4. The Elder, or Superintending Sister, would be the natural head and counsellor of the Community. She should direct the employments of the others, and be invested with enough control to secure efficient service, and to prevent any sudden ruptures and lapses in the work. She would also attend, on behalf of the Community, to any business transactions that might become necessary with the authorities of the institution they are engaged in.
5. The few rules of the society would have regard to the allotment of work, the hours of rest and recreation, becoming plainness of food and attire, and other domiciliary matters. They should be subscribed to by each associate on her admission [23/24] to full membership, and she should hold herself bound by them so long as she continues in the Community.
6. The prescribed term of service is three years, and this should be preceded by a probation, varying with circumstances, but never less than six months in duration. A short trial-visit might, with advantage, be made a preliminary of this probation. A candidate could be received as a probationer on the judgment of the Superintending Sister alone, but the vote of all the others would be necessary for admission to full membership. This prospect of a termination of their engagement, after three years, would go far with some to smoothen any discontent or weariness that might steal over them; and, in the same light, the petty grievances which will sometimes start up in the happiest community, instead of being magnified into seeds of disaffection, would pass for the trifles they are.
[The Kaiserswerth Deaconesses engage for fire years. Committing the two nations, three years, in our restless, hurrying country is, perhaps, as much as the longer period with them. In our original design of a life Community we differed from the Lutheran institution, which has proved itself the model for such associations in Europe; but experience has shown that the judgment of the founder, Pastor Fliedner, the pioneer of Protestant Sisterhood, was right. Some women are to be found ready to give up themselves for life, but not a number large enough to make any appreciable impression upon our Church.]
 7. At the end of the three years a Sister, if she desires, might renew her term of service, supposing that, as at first, she is accepted by the vote of the rest of the Community. It is to this provision that we must look for a deepening and widening of the work, and for a succession of well-qualified heads for other similar institutions. And in this way, commonly, when her engagement expired; the Sister would return to her own home; but sometimes, perhaps often, there would appear one of more tenacity of purpose, or of stronger faith and love, who is not willing to live as she had done before joining the association; she feels constrained to work on after the same manner. Such a one might, as we have seen, renew her term of service where she is, or she might carry out her wishes, and, at the same time, have the refreshment and benefit of a change of work, by joining some other Sisterhood, differently occupied, for a term of service with them; or if possessing administrative talent, and otherwise fit for headship, she might go forth and inaugurate a new society, which, in its turn, would send out, now and again, new centres for other organizations, and so might such associations be both multiplied and reproduced. 8. Supposing there should be several of these associations, engaged in so many different parishes, or institutions; they would be independent of each [25/26] other. There would be sisterly intercourse, and a mutual recognition of the Bishop of the Diocese as their bead, but no. corporate relation would exist between them. This is necessary in the improbability of any central organization, like that in Germany, to have which would need a second Fliedner.
9. By regular contributions from the several "Deaconesses' Funds" there might be supported, in each Diocese, one plain dwelling, or Deaconesses' house, for the temporary use of any Sister needing a little rest or retirement in sickness, who might not at the time have any other home; and. also for the entertainment, in their declining years, of such as may, exceptionally, grow old in the service.
The inquiry now naturally comes, how should one set about forming one of these associations, from which, according to the foregoing plan, others are to spring? Suppose a clergyman, projecting some new charity, determines to have a Sisterhood, what is the first step?
No clergyman can begin such a society, though he may, as has been urged, prepare the way for it by using his gift as a preacher; he may also foster and employ it after it has come into being, but he cannot create it. Nor can money make Sisterhoods, as some suppose who look upon them as so [26/27] many asylums for the unprovided, the world-worn, and the world-weary, instead of the households of fresh loving hearts, strong in all their powers to "serve the Lord with gladness," which they ought to be. Neither can conventions and committees begin associations of the kind; they may advocate them wisely and well, and do good by familiarizing us with the idea, and showing the necessity of embodying it in action, but they cannot originate this action.
With whom then can it begin? With some experienced, believing woman, roused to a deeper sense of her responsibilities as the handmaid of the Lord, and of force of character enough to inspire one or two others to aid her in carrying out her convictions. Such a one would soon find work of the right sort to her hand, and though she had at first but one companion, they two would form a nucleus around which others would gather, the leaven would go on leavening, and gradually there would be developed an effective Sisterhood.
This first, or principal Sister, you thus perceive, must form the heart of the association; she is the central pillar around whom the others are to rally, carrying out her directions, and deriving through her, in return, supplies, protection, and all needful provisions for their comfort. Referring again to the proposed term of engagement, the [27/28] question arises, shall her administration be limited to a period of three years? I answer, no. Because every year, as it adds to her experience, adds to her value both to the Community and to the work they may be engaged in, and she could not withdraw without much disturbance and loss to the whole. She must therefore continue to fill her place as long as she is wanted, or until she has trained a successor, or until, in the multiplication of such societies, another is found from among their ranks qualified to be her substitute.
And shall there not be a multiplication of such societies? Is the consecration of three years of unmarried life to so high an end too great a sacrifice to be expected of any number of women--of any number of communicants--who, by their very profession as such, acknowledge, from month to month, that they are "bought with a price," and therefore bound to glorify God in their bodies and spirits, which are His?" Are the more thoughtful among these satisfied that they are already doing their utmost to use all that they are and all that they have to the glory of God? Does conscience always sanction the expenditure of money, time, and talents to which the requirements of society lead them? Do they find in their present way of life full opportunity to act up to the gospel principle of fellowship in Christ? Can they know of an [28/29] opportunity of more earnest and efficient co-operation, in works of love and mercy than they have heretofore had, and be guiltless in turning away from it?
There are imploring reasons for pressing these questions. There is a beseeching necessity for some more thorough way of succoring our distressed brethren in Christ than any yet produced by the easy Christianity around ns. In worldly matters it is a maxim that "the demand creates the supply;" why should not this be also true of matters pertaining to the heavenly kingdom? Perhaps if the urgent need there is of better service in our parishes and the various eleemosynary institutions around us were more generally known, there would be a corresponding movement to meet the demand.
We have alluded to hospitals, but look at our orphanages and asylums for the aged and friendless. Even when managed as well as they could be under the present system, what a chilliness and dreariness for the most part pervades them; what n dearth of the genial warmth and sunshine which can only come with the abiding there of those who will take these lowly ones wholly to their hearts for Christ's sake, and make the happiness of such households identical with their own. I have visited houses for destitute children where every thing was [29/30] in as good order as the best hired matron could make it (though, alas I not always can as much as this be said), but even then, at the best, it was easy for an observing eye to see the want of motherly sympathy here, of sisterly kindness there, of the solicitude one has for one's own in another case. And, again, in a house for the aged, as neat and nice externally as could be desired, a very little talk with some of the inmates sufficed to show the need, there also, of another element in its life. "We want paycifying, dear!" reiterated one of the old women, after telling me of a quarrel which had arisen between some of them, and which the matron took no interest in settling, ""We want paycifying!" Yes, I thought, the peace-breathing presence of the especial handmaids of the Prince of Peace. Oh, how much good might not one or two such women do in these houses I How, in their hands, would the cold mechanism become instinct with living spirit, and dull routine continually spring into fresh animated service I Apart, too, from the intrinsic virtue of a Sister's influence, there is an extrinsic but very helpful effect produced by the fact of such persons working without hire. The advice, direction, or restriction which would be received with jealousy or suspicion at the mouth of an ordinary matron, coming from a ministering Sister, is felt to be [30/31] right and good, and is acquiesced in accordingly. But these thoughts open the door to a subject too wide for the limits of this letter. The plea here adduced for voluntary service in our institutions is obviously the very gentlest; it lies only on the threshold of that grave theme, the Uncharitableness of our Charities. How I wish some pen of weight and power would take up that theme!
And now I must draw to a close. If my subject is not exhausted, my leisure for further discussion of it is, and, it may well be, that your patience is exhausted also. You will smile, perhaps, at the fondness which, in complying with your request for an outline of a plan of association, has gone as much into detail as though, to use the speech of the day, recruits were just at hand, waiting to be mustered in. I smile myself in thinking of it. Nevertheless it was thus that I could most readily convey my meaning, and you will forgive, I know, any unavoidable appearance of egotism or dictation.
I need scarcely say that I have not intended to lay down or exemplify the sole plan upon which associations of the kind might be formed, but to offer my thoughts of what I conceive to be the best and most practicable one as things are with us. To other minds other methods will suggest themselves, and it would be both interesting and [31/32] profitable, I think, to bring together for comparison as many different ones as could be obtained.
Oh, why can we not, in one way or another, have such an arm of strength and blessing throughout our Church? What is it that is mainly lacking? Is it not a few women to take the lead, as I have indicated; women in whom the gifts of nature, education, and social position combine with the endowments of grace to give them influence over others of their sex? Alas! when will the words, "Sell that thou hast and follow me," fall upon hearing ears?
THE members of the Community are of two classes, United Sisters and Probationers.
The United Sisters are those who, after a satisfactory probation, are elected full members of the society.
The Probationary Sisters are those under training for full membership, and are not ordinarily under twenty-one nor over forty years of age.
The vote of all the United Sisters is necessary to full membership.
The probationary term is never less than six months, and may be prolonged at discretion.
The services of the Sisters are gratuitous, but they have their board and lodging free of expense.
 The term of engagement for a United Sister is three years, renewable, if desired, at the expiration of the same, by the vote of the other Sisters, as at first.
The government of the Community devolves upon one of the United Sisters, known as the First Sister, to whom the others are expected to yield a cheerful obedience in all things pertaining to the ordering of the Community, and the work given it to do.
No Sister, whether United or Probationary, can have any matrimonial engagement, nor receive any visits calculated to lead thereto, during her connection with the Sisterhood.
The Sisters are required to conform exactly to the appointed order of the day.
They dress alike, and as plainly and inexpensively as possible.
The visits of relatives and friends can be received by the Sisters only in their hours of recreation. No visits are expected on Sundays.
 The Sisters have daily an allotted time for recreation, and during the summer months a vacation each of four weeks.
The First Sister has the discretionary power of dispensing with the observance of the rules. She directs the employments of the Sisters, both United and Probationary, in the hours allotted, and exercises a mother's care as to their health and comfort.
The Probationary Sister is expected to perform cheerfully the work given her to do, and, in a docile spirit, to receive the direction of any Sister" under whose instruction she may be placed.
1. Have I, on waking, thought first of God, and lifted up my heart to Him in praise and thanksgiving?
 2. Have I prayed for renewed grace and forgiveness, for fresh love, humility, and wisdom to enable me to do my duty for our Saviour Christ's sake?
3. Have I omitted to mention in my prayers those committed to my care, the Sisters, all who dwell with me, my relations, my spiritual pastor, and others whom I am bound so to remember?
4. Do I ask that I may, all the day, do every thing as in God's sight, seeking the approbation of my Saviour, and not to please men?
5. Do I rise punctually, and dress quickly, with due regard to propriety and neatness, but without ministering to vanity?
6. Do I in silence collect my thoughts and prepare for the united morning devotions? Have I been unnecessarily absent from these? Do I join in them with my whole heart, and seek to make them profitable to myself?
7. Do I take care that the ward of which I have charge is aired and arranged at the proper time?
8. Have I listened attentively to the direction of the physician, and observed punctually his orders as to medicine, diet, etc., using no remedies not prescribed or sanctioned by him?
 9. Am I careful to inform him of the patient's state, and, when necessary, of the particular effect of the medicines administered?
10. In attending to the bodily wants of the sick, have I done so kindly and faithfully? Do I see that their clothing, diet, etc., are sufficient and of the right kind; and when this is not the case, do I at once give information to the superintending Sister?
11. Have I been prudent and careful in rising the various provisions and appliances of the Hospital, remembering that the institution is supported by charity?
12. Have I performed my duty without noise or display? Have I been obliging, patient, cheerful, and watchful, as becomes one who serves the sick for the Lord's sake?
13. Have I been just and equal in my treatment of the patients, ministering to them without partiality?
14. In reading and talking to the sick have I tried to point them to the love of God in chastising them (Heb. xii. 5-12); showing them that He allows us to suffer in the flesh that we may cease from sin (1 Pet. iv. 1); that He makes whole that we may sin no more (John v. 14); that the works [37/38] of God may be made manifest in us (John ix. 1-3); that God may be glorified thereby? (John xi. 4.)
15. Have I procured for my patients a sufficiency of spiritual food--e. g. of religious books, and above all, the Bible, and have I tried to direct them so that they might read profitably?
16. Have I sought diligently to cheer and help them by talking, reading, and praying with them, as opportunity offered?
17. Have I named to the clergyman any especially needing his assistance, and, when he desired it, informed him of the state of their minds?
18. Have I considered my patients as placed in Christ's school, and, when necessary, warned and exhorted them to listen to God's call to repentance?
19. Have I striven to promote in them resignation to God's will, teaching them to cast all their anxieties upon Him?
20. Have I checked too much talk about worldly things, especially arguments on politics and public affairs?
21. Have I been careful by no means to dispute with the sick about religion, nor to allow them to dispute with one another?
22. Have I endeavored to cultivate mutual kindness and good will between the different sick ones entrusted to me?
 23. If engaged with the sick children have I tried to train their hearts and souls aright, nourishing and cherishing them as the lambs of Christ's flock?
Concerning my Conduct to the Sisters, to the Superiors of the House, and Others.
24. Have I endeavored to show sincere love to those living with me, especially to the Sisters, that we may be of one mind in the Lord? In any dispute that has arisen, have I allowed "the sun to go down upon my wrath," or sought Christian reconciliation before going to rest?
25. Have I always been obedient to the Sisters immediately set over me, as well as to the other superiors of the house, with child-like submission, without murmuring, according to the admonition of St. Paul? (Phil. ii. 14.) Have I allowed any feelings of bitterness, or anger, or dislike to arise in my mind toward those who have blamed me? Or if such arose, did I quickly recognize their sinfulness, and strive to overcome them by confessing them to the Lord, and-beseeching Him to give me a kind and affectionate heart?
26. If any of the duties imposed upon me seemed loo difficult or unsuited to me, did I mention this privately 'to the superintending Sister, or did I complain to the others, and judge her uncharitably?
27. Have I concealed from the superiors of the [39/40] institution any thing which conscientiously, or by the rules of the house, I was bound immediately to tell them, whether it related to myself, to others, or to the Hospital?
28. If other Sisters have been placed with me that I might direct them or receive assistance from them, have I always treated them with kindness, meekness, and humility, as our Saviour teaches us by His example (John: xiii. 2-16), and by His word? (Mark x. 42-45; Matt. vii. 12.) If it has been my duty to find fault or reprove, have I done so in a spirit of holy love, as privately and kindly as possible, both in words and manner?
20. Has the fear of man, or the desire to please man, kept me silent when I ought to have rebuked or admonished?
30. In my work have I looked upon my own things instead of on those of others? Have I Bought to lay the difficult and disagreeable duties upon others instead of doing them, when I could, myself, as a servant of the Sisters, for Jesus' sake?
31. Have I kept my tongue in check, eschewing all frivolous and useless gossiping, both with the Sisters, patients, doctors, and all others residing in the house, and avoiding an unsuitable intimacy with the two last classes of persons?
32. Have I shown a partial love toward some Sisters, and on the contrary, repelled others?
 33. Have I, during the time of my service in this part of the Lord's vineyard, endeavored always to maintain a serious, dignified, and reserved behavior, becoming a Deaconess of the Lord?
Concerning the Training of my own Soul, and my Improvement in the Duties of my Office.
34. Do I accustom myself daily to hold communion with the Lord at other times besides the fixed hours of prayer?
35. Do I diligently read the Holy Scriptures, that they may be profitable to me for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness?
36. Have I been led to acknowledge my sinfulness by the remembrance of the Redeemer crucified for me, and do I earnestly pray for forgiveness through Him?
37. Do I endeavor to prove myself a disciple of the Lord Jesus by a constant endeavor to become lowly in my own eyes, by firmly renouncing the world and its pleasures, by purifying myself from all pollutions of the flesh and the spirit, and especially from my besetting sins, by a daily advancing in holiness and the fear of God, and by bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit?
38. Have I diligently thought on my baptismal vows, and on their renewal in Confirmation and [41/42] Holy Communion? Have I embraced the opportunities I have had of receiving the Holy Communion, preparing myself for it by diligent prayer and self-examination, and by meditation upon the love of Christ?
39. Do I try to enrich my mind with Christian knowledge, and other information useful and profitable for my office? Do I take advantage of all the means of improvement open to me in the different departments of Sisters' work?
40. Have I neglected to take proper care of my "bodily health by exercise in the open air at the appointed times, and by observing the rules as to meals and rest?
41. Have I sought to be faithful in that which is least, obeying all the prescribed rules, for the Lord's sake, however unimportant they may seem, that no loss or injury may occur to the Sisterhood through my fault?
42. Have I at all times, whether actively employed in the duties of my office or not, behaved as the Lord's servant, giving offense to none, but rather seeking to please all for their good.
43. When not permitted to see the fruits of my labor, have I grown desponding and listless in my work, instead of hoping even against hope, and remembering that the sower must wait patiently for the blessing that gives the increase?
 44. When allowed to see the good seed spring up in the hearts of any among whom I labor, do I give all the glory to God, acknowledging myself an unprofitable servant?
45. Do I daily endeavor to give tip my will entirely to God, "forgetting those things which are behind," even all my once favorite thoughts and wishes, that they may not disturb me in my chosen service, nor hinder me in pressing forward to the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus?
46. Is it my desire to be dead indeed unto the world, and to walk by faith, having my life hid with Christ in God?
47. Am I conscious that my aim in thought and deed is to advance the glory of God in the salvation of men?
TOGETHER let us bless the Lord,
Together magnify His name,
Who moves our hearts with sweet accord,
Union in His dear cross to claim.
Sisters in Christ! All-holy tie,
Fruit of His own electing love,
The fellowship and lineage high,
Of sainted companies above.
 Workers with Christ! All-holy toil,
Easy, through Him, when most severe;
Cares shall not daunt, nor sin shall soil,
So that we always feel Him near.
Earth shall hot lure. No! Saviour God,
Our steps shall on Thy will attend;
Gladly we go where Thou hast trod--
Thy glory all our aim and end.
Thou all our portion and delight,
Thy love the brightness of our days,
We faint and feeble, Thou our might,
Our weakness turning to Thy praise.
Yea, we will praise with all Heaven's host,
Together magnify again,
Thee, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
God, our own God, Amen, Amen.
Prayer for Union with Christ.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who art the true vine, and Thy disciples the branches, grant, if I be indeed a living branch, that I may bring forth more fruit! I mourn before Thee my past unfruitfulness, my selfish ease, my compliances with the world, my divided affections, the unreality of my life, as one professing to be united to Thee. Oh! renew me [44/45] with the quickening power of Thy spirit; revive me with Thy grace; give me henceforth to abide in Thee; gather up my thoughts, my purposes, my desires unto Thyself. Let me have no aim out of Thee. Enable me so to order my life as shall best help me to union and communion with Thee. Let me, in very deed, take up my cross daily and follow Thee--Thee, my Lord and my God, my meek and lowly Master, my suffering Redeemer, who didst not please Thyself, but wentest about doing good. Let me never more live unto myself. Let Thy love within me show forth itself in love to all around me, to all whom Thou hast vouchsafed to call Thy brethren. As Thou hast prayed for us that we may be one, even as Thou and the Father are one, grant me to know something of this Divine fellowship. Thou hast bidden us to love one another, even as Thou hast loved us. Lord, kindle then in me some beginnings of this love that passeth knowledge. Lord, teach me and I will learn. Lord, draw me to Thy cross by the cords of Thy love, which reach even unto Thy throne in glory. Hear me for Thine own mercies' sake, O blessed Saviour, who art with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
 An Act of Private Devotion. [From "Dally Offices of Prayer," etc., Clewer Sisterhood, England.]
O Almighty God, my Father, I offer unto Thee myself, and all that I am and have, all my powers and faculties, and all my labors which this day, or at any time, I may undertake, in the remembrance of the labors and sufferings which Thy only-begotten Son, my Saviour, bore for me, to redeem me from eternal woe, and to bring me unto Thee; for I am Thine, O my God, Thine only, the work of Thy hands, Thy creature, and I am bought with the price of the most precious blood of Thy dear Son.
Through Thy grace, and in Thy strength and mercy, O Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I offer myself unto Thee, in humble acknowledgment of that infinite debt I owe unto Thee, in thanksgiving for the love wherewith Thou lovest me from all eternity, and for the innumerable benefits which Thou hast bestowed on me from the beginning of my life unto this hour, and dost still continue unto me, unworthy as I am of-the least of all Thy mercies unto me, and in hopes of my everlasting salvation and perfect glory and bliss in Thy heavenly kingdom, through the merits of my blessed Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
 Look favorably on me, I beseech Thee, and bless me with Thy continual help and guidance while I give myself to this work, for Thy glory, and for the sake of these poor souls, the sheep of Thy pasture, whom Thou Thyself hast sought, and found, and gathered in, and committed to our charge. Give me, even me, O gracious Lord God, all needful strength to serve Thee here in the way into which Thy providence has guided me. Remove utterly from me whatever in me may hinder the good work which Thou hast given, us to do, or be a stumbling-block in another's way. Subdue in me all tempers, and thoughts which are yet un-chastened; all impatience, all selfishness, all self-will. Kindle in my soul the fire of Thy divine love. Give me the grace of holy obedience unto Thee above all, and for Thy sake, to those who are set over me, and unfailing kindness and gentleness to all my Sisters. May I do all that lieth in me to live peaceably with all. Quicken in me every good, pure, and holy thought, and keep me lowly in my own eyes, ever ready to submit myself, and to take the lowest place, in honor preferring others. Make me to live and to walk in the blessed paths of humility, which Thou, O my Lord and Saviour, didst tread for me, that I may be meek and long-suffering, forbearing and forgiving, and so may find rest unto my soul, and follow Thee. Give me grace [47/48] also to be patient and gentle in all my ways toward those whom Thou hast committed to our charge, that I may be ever ready to bear with their infirmities, and feel for their sorrows, and pity them, even as Thou, O Father, hast borne with them, and still bearest with them; so give me grace to imitate Thy love, and be never weary of doing good even to the unthankful or the evil; and may I remember that in ministering to them, even to the least of them, Thou, O blessed Jesus, most mercifully receivest it as done unto Thyself.
And now, in full faith and trust in Thy unceasing goodness, O my God, I commit myself unto Thee. Direct and order me in all things, according to Thy divine will and pleasure, to the praise of Thy holy name. Perfect in me that which is wanting. Conform me in all things to the perfect pattern of Thy love, O blessed Jesus. O Lord God I am Thine, and I bless Thee that Thou hast given me this work to do for Thee, and I would ever be Thine, to live and to die in serving Thee; and into Thy hands I commit myself, to make me to be what Thou wouldst have me to be, and to do what Thou wouldst have me to do only be Thou ever with me, to cleanse and to renew, to teach, to rule, and to comfort me, till I at last come unto Thee, to dwell with Thee, in the mercies and merits of my ever blessed Saviour, and through, the [48/49] indwelling and sanctification. of the Blessed Spirit, the Comforter, to whom, with the Father and the Son, in the unity of the ever-blessed and glorious Godhead, be all honor, and thanksgiving, and praise, for ever and ever. Amen.
"COME, FOLLOW ME."
THINE Handmaid, Saviour! can it be?
Such honor dost Thou put on me?
To wait on Thee, do Thy commands,
The works once hallowed by Thy hands?
Daily Thy mercy paths to go,
Bearing Thy balm for every woe,
Thy sick and weary ones to cheer,
Bid them Thy words of pity hear--
Parting with earth Thy cross to bear,
Content Thy poverty to share,
Rich in Thy love, Thou blessed Lord,
This life to me dost Thou accord?
Oh, marvelous grace--yea, even so!
The call I heard--'twas Thine, I know,
"Come, follow me"--the Heavenly voice,
How could it but constrain my choice?
 My heart's free choice--yet bound by Thee,
Thrice welcome, sweet captivity,
My soul and all its powers to fill
With love of Thee and Thy dear will.
Lord, give but light to show the way,
Strength from Thyself to be my stay,
Grace, always, grace to feel Thee nigh--
Thine Handmaid, then, I live and die.
JESUS, I my cross have taken
All to leave and follow Thee;
Naked, poor, despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my all shalt be;
Perish every fond ambition,
All I've sought, or hoped, or known;
Yet how rich is my condition,
God and Heaven are still my own.
Let the world despise and leave me;
They have left my Saviour too;
Human hearts and looks deceive me;
Thou art not, like them, untrue.
And whilst Thou shalt smile upon me,
God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate, and friends may scorn me,
Show Thy face and all is bright.
 Go, then, earthly fame and treasure,
Come disaster, scorn, and pain,
In Thy service, pain is pleasure,
With Thy favor, loss is gain.
I have called Thee, Abba, Father;
I have set my heart on Thee;
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather,
All shall work for good to me.
Man may trouble and distress me,
'T will but drive me to Thy breast;
Life with trials hard may press me,
Heav'n will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh! 't is not in grief to harm me,
While Thy love is left to me;
Oh! 't were not in joy to charm me,
"Were that joy unmix'd with Thee.
Soul, then, know thy full salvation;
Rise o'er sin, and fear, and care;
Joy to find in ev'ry station
Something still to do, or bear.
Think what Spirit dwells within thee,
Think what Fathers' smiles are thine,
Think that Jesuss died to win thee,
Child of Heaven, canst thou repine?
Haste thee on from grace to glory,
Arm'd by faith, and wing'd by prayer,
Heaven's eternal day before thee,
God's own hand shall guide thee there.
 THE following is part of an Introduction, by the REV. DR. MUHLENBERG, prefixed to two letters on the same subject as the foregoing, by the same writer, more than twelve years ago:
"At once, then, let it be said, that while we do not underrate the good that is done by such orders as the Sisters of Charity in the Roman Communion, we desire to attempt no copying of them among ourselves. They are essentially Roman. To say nothing of their corruptions and errors of faith, their perpetual vows, their constrained celibacy, their unreserved submission to ecclesiastical rule, their subjection of the conscience to priestly guidance, their onerous rounds of ceremonies and devotions, the whole tenor of their exterior religious life, make them a homogeneous part of the system of that Church. They could exist nowhere else. There can be no imitations of them in a Protestant Church.
"'A Sisterhood' (the appellation is too good to be given up), as here contended for, is a very simple thing. It is a Community of Christian women, devoted to works of charity as the service of their lives. For the most part, they form a household of themselves; that being necessary in order to their mutual sympathy and encouragement, and to [53/54] their greater unity and efficiency in action. They are held together by identity of purpose, and accordance of will and feeling. Their one bond of union is simply the "Love of Christ constraining them." As long as that continues to be a constraining motive, cordially uniting the members, their society will last. In proportion as that languishes and fails, it will decline and dissolve of its own accord. In this respect, as well as in so many others, it differs from any of the charitable orders of the Roman Church. To whatever extent these latter are actuated by the genuine life of true charity, yet they all have another and independent life, derived from the system of which they are a component part, and which may be called their ecclesiastical life. Hence, they may continue to exist in virtue of the latter, while the former is no more. Though their proper vitality be gone, the force of the Church still acts upon them, impelling them on and keeping them in action. They may be in a state of moral apostacy--personal piety and virtue may be rare, or be entirely extinct in them; abuses and corruptions may be multiplying, nevertheless they live and prosper in their own way. They have lost none of their mere ecclesiastical vitality. They retain the imparted energy of "the Church." Now, Protestantism has no such power. That belongs to a consolidated Church. [54/55] Protestantism possesses not the art of keeping dead things alive. Orders of charity, should they come to pass among us, will be such really and actually as long as they last. They may not last long, but they will be what they profess to be as long as they do last. They will not survive their true and proper existence; they will derive no after being, no perfunctory and mechanical life from the Church. As the spontaneous product of charity, they will thrive just as the spirit of charity continues to be their indwelling spirit. Their corruption will lead to their dissolution. Having only one life, when they are dead they will die.
"Nothing, then, is to be feared from a truly evangelical Sisterhood. When it degenerates it will come to an end. It depends for its continuance wholly upon the continuance of the zeal which called it into being. The uniting principle among its members, is their common affection for the object which has brought them together, and which, by giving intenseness to their mutual affection as Sisters in Christ, tends to strengthen and confirm their social existence; but there is no constraint from without on the part of the Church, nor any from within in the form of religious vows, or promises to one another, to insure their perpetuity as a body, or to interfere with their freedom of conscience as individuals. While one in feeling and [55/56] action, each yet 'stands fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.' Not that they hold themselves ever ready to adjourn, or that they would be satisfied with an ephemeral existence. Each and all feel that they have entered upon a sacred service, which they are at liberty to quit, only at the demand of duty elsewhere. They naturally cherish their union. They look forward to its permanence in themselves, and their successors who may be called thereto. How it may be they do not know. They walk by Faith. As they trust their society has come to pass in the gracious ordering of God, so they believe it will be upheld by Him, as long as He has work for them to do, and it pleases Him to give them grace to do it. Handmaidens of the Lord, waiting upon His good pleasure, they are not anxious for the future, content to leave it in His hands.
"If it be asked how such a purely voluntary association can have any formal connection with the Church in her corporate capacity, the answer is, through the pastor or pastors of the congregation or several congregations to which the Sisters belong. As things now are, and are likely long to be, Sisterhoods can exist only under parochial charge.
"From the foregoing may be gathered the nature of the institution contemplated in the Church [56/57] of the Holy Communion--and, alas! little more than contemplated. As yet, the longing hopes of several years have been scantily realized. It is surprising how much has been said out of doors, what exaggerations of fancy there have been, of what has scarcely had an existence. A few hearts and hands are united--how few it is sad to think, considering the work on every side to be done. We do not despair of their being multiplied. Prejudice will not last for ever. In the meanwhile we can only pray and wait, knowing that if what we pray and wait for be for the honor of our Lord, and for the gathering in of his elect among those to whom we minister, He will bring it to pass. If not, it would be sin to desire it. In this confidence we rest."