Rev. W. I. Rainsford, D. D., of New York, preached last night at Appleton Chapel, from the text "Jesus had compassion for the multitude." He said: Pity is love that wants to do something for others, love anxious to sacrifice itself. Jesus had a great pity for the poor. He pitied first their hunger, second their ignorance, and third their lack of leaders.
Even in the time of Jesus hunger was a very real evil, but it is now a thousand times worse. There are in New York multitudes of men who can not get enough to feed their families. By starvation and poverty they are driven to desperation and when desperate the are dangerous to the community. To remedy the evil of their situation something must be done which no careless charity can do. Giving a man money that he has not earned only pushes him farther down the scale of manhood and makes the struggle to get up all the harder.
Again, the multitude is ignorant, and if Christ pitied and taught the ignorance of the people two thousand years ago, how would He feel in the terrible ignorance of New York? You ask, "Have they not public schools that will give them at least a saving conception of what an education is?" You think that the best schools are where they are most needed; but instead of this, as soon as the unlearned multitude comes to a neighborhood, the churches and schools forsake it. In the parts of New York where most is needed least is given.
Finally, Jesus pitied the multitude because they had no leader, and He lead then till he died. Never were leaders of men more needed than now. There is no nobler, no more satisfying work than that of helping and guiding mankind - men weary of all professions, however successful they may be; but there is no wearying of the feeling that you have helped some slipping soul to regain lost ground, or have even checked the slipping. This help must be the work of the young men. The older generation, with some bright exceptions, is deaf to any call for it. This call must come to the universities, with their intelligent, strong young men. Shall these beautiful temples of learning educate men to love the true and the beautiful and to know good and evil only for their own sakes, or for the sake of the whole world?
Now how did Jesus show his pity for the poor, their hunger, their ignorance, and their lack of leaders? He had no patent remedy, no ingenious social reform schemes. He said: "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into the harvest." That is the only way to save the poor. There must be laborers and the labor is for college men. Will Harvard stand forth to its own glory for truth and justice and pity for the poor, or will it to its everlasting shame shrink back and let the poor take care of themselves?