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a revolution in the morals of the pauper population. For do not let us imagine, even among the lowest and most degraded classes, that they are depraved, to the degree in which we find them, from any natural predilection for vice above the better conditioned. No! We see them in this state of melancholy degradation, only because little or no attempt has been made to reclaim them to virtue ; because they are brought up in the most profligate habits; because, in short, education has not enlightened their understandings and purified their hearts. Place yourselves in their situation, you whose feelings have been elevated by the refinements of life, whose minds have been strengthened, and whose hearts chastened by instructionbring the miseries of their condition home to your own bosoms. Ask yourselves what your condition would have probably been, had your lot been similarly cast;—and when you consider that had it so chanced, you might have been as bad as the worst among your degraded fellow creatures that education has done for you what, with God's blessing upon your charities, it may do for them ;---will you-can you refuse to contribute liberally this day towards ameliorating that wretched state of spiritual bereavement into which so many of your poor neighbours are still plunged? Do not persuade yourselves that the most destitute of the poorer classes take pleasure in seeing their children outcasts from all decent intercourse, and the slaves of iniquity. They are by no means backwardnay, they for the most part take a pride in seeing their children taught; and the hopes of having them thus made respectable members of society, will induce the parents to prepare them for a more orderly behaviour than if they had no prospects of any such advantage arising to them. Whilst they know that nothing but sobriety of conduct can continue to their offspring the benefits of instruction, they will correct their growing propensities to ill, and thus naturally direct their habits into a train of improvement. But on the other hand, where they see no immediate advantages likely to result to their children from any rational system of domestic discipline which they, as parents, may employ, (and certainly no moral advantages can be derived to them, while poverty, ignorance, and its proximate evil, vicious example, unite to counteract its efficacy,) they will be little likely to exercise such discipline, but will leave their children to the influence of their mischievous propensities with that indifference which uncultured minds will almost invariably be found to entertain when rendered callous by misery, and from which all hopes of an improved condition in this world are utterly banished.
We cannot surely imagine that poor and needy parents, even however demoralized, can be happier in the vices than in the virtues of their children. The fact really is, that they commonly allow them to sink into vice, because they do not properly know how to direct their minds to virtue, having themselves no practical knowledge of its spiritualizing efficacy. But where they find that schools are established for the instruction of their offspring in religion and morals, as well as in useful knowledge, there are few parents so depraved as not to avail themselves of such advantages for the sake of bettering the future condition of those who are still dear to them under every aspect of their misery
Having endeavoured to impress you with a feeling of the vast advantages likely to result from extending the benefits of education to the poorer
classes, I shall now descend for a moment from generals to particulars, and direct your attention to that individual charity for which I stand here to supplicate your support. It is the national school of this district,* which educates 431 children, of whom 40 boys and 30 girls are clothed ; of this number some are now before you in that clothing which the benevolence of many here present has contributed to besto:v upon them. Suffer me to remind you that the poor children for whom it has become my duty to solicit your bounties, will be shortly cast upon
* All Souls, St. Marylebone.
the world to shift for themselves. Their means of doing this must entirely depend upon the bias given to their minds in early life. They will become wretched or relatively happy, in proportion as their principles are now directed to good or to evil. With you it remains in some measure to fix the probabilities of their future condition. By you they may be assisted in their elevation to virtue ; by you they may
be rescued from the dominion of vice. lect to assist in reclaiming them from ignorance and error, will be virtually to encourage their miseries and to abet their vices.
However weary you may feel of the frequent appeals made to you in behalf of the distressed, it is to be recollected that upon such occasions you are only reminded of duties enjoined by your God, who now looks down upon you from the throne of his mercy, before which you have this day knelt in supplication and in prayer; and it is but reasonable to feel, that if you expect His blessings, you should extend such as it is in your power to bestow, to those who so sadly need them. Let us then “ increase and abound in love one towards another, and towards all men,” as our blessed Saviour has shewn by many“ infallible proofs” that He did towards us; who gave up his most precious life “a ransom for all,” and by whose kind providence, in “ enduing us with the grace of his Holy Spirit,” we who were “ sometimes darkness are now become light in the Lord.”
If, in this address, I have appealed somewhat strongly to your feelings, let me not be charged with having endeavoured to render your judgments the dupes of your sensibility. I have only attempted to make your sensibility an advocate to your judgments in support of the charity whose claims to your benevolence I have been deputed to urge. The mere assent of the judgment, uninfluenced by any inward emotions, will never rouse us into actions in which our own ostensible interests are not positively improved, if the mind be not acted upon by the virtuous impulses of the heart. By the bland sympathies of our nature, the happiest effects of our judgments, in cases like the present, are practically shown and beneficially directed. The mere knowledge of our duty will not render its performance valid, if the heart be neutral; and our sensibilities will ever be found to be our best guides to benevolence. To conclude, then, I leave in your hands those young suppliants, who seek through me to become beneficiaries of your bounties. I commit them confidently to your compassion and to your benevolence ; and may God of His infinite
mercy grant that I shall not have pleaded nor you have heard in vain.