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PROVERBs xxii. 6. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old be will not depart from it.
I take the earliest opportunity of ad- SERM. dressing myself to you on a subject in which I am much interested, and which, I ám well convinced, will conduce very greatly to the good of our parish, if those of you, who are able, will give me your assistance. The subject which I mean, is the institution of a Sunday school. For some years past they have been very general all over the kingdom, and if they are
SERM, carried on with the zeal, with which they m u have been taken up, there is every reason
to hope for the most beneficial effects from them. There has not yet been time to experience, in any very considerable degree, what these effects are, because few of the children, who have been educated at these schools, are arrived at an age of maturity; but, before many years are past, there is great ground to expect, that we shall have the lower orders of people much more informed, — much more religious, — much more honest, sober, industrious, and orderly, than but too many of them are at present.
I know no greater' objects of compassion than the children of those parents, who are unable to give them an education, -unable themselves to instruct them, or to pay for their being instructed by others, in their duty towards God, their neighbour, and themselves. I know no objects who
are more deserving of your charity --none SERM.
XXI. on whom you can lay it out with a probability of doing so great a degree of good! It is allowed to be of the utmost importance to season very early the minds of young people with religion--with honesty
with sobriety; when this has been done, it rarely happens but, sooner or later, the good effects of it are seen; the seeds, thus early sown,' will perhaps, in some, lie buried for a time, smothered by the heat and inconsiderateness of youth, but they usually break out and flourish at one period of life or other. —" Train up a child in the “ way he should go, and when he is old he “ will not depart from it.” Instances, I fear, at present are too numerous of young persons who, from the ignorance, negligence, or poverty, of their parents, are ut. terly unacquainted with the manner in which they should serve God; entirely thoughtless of a life after this; altogether Line X3 . untaught
SERM. untaught in the obligation of doing to their
neighbour, as they would wish their neighbour to do unto them; and quite uninformed how much it is their duty and interest to live temperately, soberly, and chastely. Either from the fall of Adam, or from some inherent depravity,'it is but too manifest that mankind have a tendency to what is evil. As the ground, when left to itself, yields abundantly hurtful and unprofitable weeds, while care and labour are required to make it produce corn and useful vegetables ; so the human heart is spontaneously fertile of follies, vices, and idleness, but seldom, if ever, brings forth the good fruits of piety, virtue, and industry, without the culture of a sober education. Now if this natural propensity towards evil be permitted to grow up unmitigated and unbroken, if it be suffered to acquire the additional strength of early and long custom, what hopes can there be that it will ever be
subdued? Experience gives us reason to SERM.
XXI. fear that consequences the most dreadful will ensue. Witness the oaths and the curses with which the ears of the well-disposed are so frequently shocked as they pass along the streets! witness the drunkenness and debauchery which so generally prevail ! witness the multitude of unhappy abandoned females, who infest and dishonour every part of our kingdom, and seduce and corrupt our youth! witness the frequent attacks of desperate and unprincipled want, both on property and life! witness, lastly, the number of miserable wretches who are yearly expiating these enormities, some by imprisonment, some by transportation, not a few by death. Of these and similar violations of order, decency, morality, and religion, it may be asserted, without apprehension of contro. versy, that the prime source and origin is the want of a sober education: the chief X4