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and wants of the individual. I do not say it would be perfectly easy for a man with only his hands to depend upon — especially a young man — to secure a home of his own ; but, without waiting for a class of men whom it is to be hoped God in his own good time will raise up, who shall assist the young and deserving in securing homes, or, more hopelessly still, waiting until legislation shall recognize and provide for this general want, is there not a great deal spent by the laborer and the mechanic and the clerk uselessly, which if laid by every year would make the owning a home not the impossible thing it is held 2 And might not the young merchant, instead of giving in to the idea that he cannot withdraw enough from his capital to buy him a home, or that the money spent on a home is lying idle, learn that the best, the surest, even the best-paying investment he could make, would be in a home, which, though he suffer himself to be too busy to enjoy, would be a place of happiness for his wife and children 2 In the flush of your success you may call your money idle which is not busy in the market, but how many a man in the panics of these past years has had cause to bless God that he had a home of his own, – no hired house, but a home of his own, to go to for rest and refreshing, a dear asylum from uncertainty and care 2 and though the ruthless blast has not always spared the hearth-stone, and the keenest pang has been when for the last time the foot crossed the threshold, who that has a heart but has thanked God that he had at least once had a home 2 Subtract the knowledge and experience of a home that he can call his own from a man's life, and you have subtracted one of the most exquisite pleasures vouchsafed the human heart, — a pleasure cheaply purchased at the cost of any personal sacrifice. No man needs to own his house more than the hard working-man of moderate means. No one more needs this and every influence of home. One reason assigned for the want of thrift, the low pleasures of the working-man, is the character of the place he lives in, and the fact that the bar, or saloon, or billiard-room will give him cleanliness and comfort his home lacks. It will very soon break down the ambition of an otherwise very worthy man, if he find his home wanting in the cheaper means or appearance of comfort which the places of resort afford, – means or appearances which a large class of tenements do not afford. His own home, – small, but speaking within and without of his care and love, – that is the great safeguard of the man and the family of moderate means. To it, when the day is done, he goes with joy, upon it and its comfort he willingly lays out a portion of his wages. It smiles, in return, as another man's house never can ; it rebukes, in his wandering, as only his own home could. It is an anchor by which he holds amid the tossing temptations of life, – a place of refuge and of love, whose charms, whose solid, pure delights, prevail against all that pleasure offers or appetite suggests.
Another reason which should operate strongly in favor of every man's owning his house is, that so only can any thing like permanence of residence be secured. This want of permanence is one of the crying sins of the age. It prevents that local attachment which is one of the strongest and purest sentiments of the human breast. No wandering horde of the desert is more restless, unsettled than we. Westrike our tents, and flit at any moment, the great ambition of some seeming to be to see how many houses they can reside in. All this is fatal to the home. It breaks up any thing like continuity of life; it prevents fixedness of habit, and so fixedness of purpose. You are always getting ready to live in a new place, never living. Your past is a shifting scene, and your future only prospective change. It makes life a hunt after houses, and its chief end the altering of carpets and putting up of bedsteads, and has introduced the omnipresent furniture-wagon, that melancholy fact in modern civilization, so suggestive of outraged household affections, — that unnatural institution of a people who have ceased to regard permanency of abode among the cardinal virtues. The heart cannot be brought again to its right tone, or the life grow rich in home affections, till we shall fall back upon the wisdom of our fathers, who thought a good deal of owning their homes, – till we shall do something toward securing for our children memories as pleasant as those which form so large a part of our past. To how many of us is the old place — humble though it be — the Mecca of our memories, to which our affections make perpetual, involuntary pilgrimage 2 Was it no sacrifice of our fathers that gave to us this boon, and shall we sacrifice nothing to secure it to our children 2 Now what are the essentials to be kept in mind in building a home 2 I put at the head of the requisites of a house its fitness for domestic purposes. The house is a place to be used by a family for work, for comfort, for sickness, and for health. It is a place to be constantly and variously used. It should be primarily adapted to home wants. There should be a fitness in all its parts to the great ends of home. It need not be large, it need not be costly, but it must be convenient, adapted to the means and the position of the builder, — no way encumbering, but every way helping him. Is this so in general 2 Is it with regard to the purposes of use, fitness, that houses are built 2 If you will take the wide range of farm-house, cottage, suburban and city residences, owned or rented, I think you will find that they are built either without plan, or to suit a lot, or to gratify a whim, or to bring most income, or to make a show. I think that some one else has remarked that man is the only animal who, in the construction of a home, has ventured to disregard the great law of fitness. He has builded for every purpose but that of utility. The cell of the bee, the nest of the bird, the burrow of the fox, the web of the spider, are exactly suited to the wants of the inhabitants. Each builder knows what he requires, and at once, with the utmost economy and ingenuity, sets himself to his task. Instinct does no less for man, and the home of the savage, the wigwam of the Indian, the hut of the Esquimaux, the tent of the Arab, are just what the condition of the occupant demands. The house is the type of the civilization of the inhabitants. It is only as you come to the more advanced stages that there is a departure from this law of fitness, an intrusion of other things into the idea of a home. When wisdom and culture supplant instinct, when the intellect asserts and attains its mastery over the animal, when society is formed and convention rules, the house begins to lose the simpler, more natural characteristics of fitness and use, the advancing man content only when he has grafted on some whim, or followed some fashion, or made some display, converting his home, not into a reflection of