Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 437
Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 437
the Christian Church. They are doing that which is better,—they are embracing its spirit; and they and we are the better for it.
  “The more I know of the Other Half,” writes a friend to me, “the more I feel the great gulf that is fixed between us, and the more profoundly I grieve that this is the best that Christian civilization has as yet been able to do toward a true social system.” Let my friend take heart. She herself has been busy in my sight all these years binding up the wounds. If that be the most a Christian civilization has been able to do for the neighbor till now, who shall say that it is not also the greatest? “This do and thou shalt live,” said the Lord of him who showed mercy. That was the mark of the brotherhood. No, the gulf is not widening. It is only that we have taken soundings and know it, and in the doing of it we have come to know one another. The rest we may confidently leave with Him who knows it all.
  God knows we waited long enough; and how close we were to one another all the while without knowing it! Two or three years ago at Christmas a clergyman, who lives out of town and has a houseful of children, asked me if I could not find for them a poor family in the city with children of about the same ages, whom they might visit and befriend. He worked every day in the office of a foreign mission in Fifth Avenue, and knew little of the life that



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