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shall be no longer,” and, at the sound of his majestic voice, the term of measured duration ceases and expires, and eternity comes rolling on to fill up all the scene with its boundless, changeless immensity,—when all the pomps, and pleasures, and cares, and vanities, to which the now undone immortal had sacrificed in prodigal idolatry the inestimable days and years of life, “have vanished like à cloud,” and have left him helpless and hopeless amidst the everlasting waste, peopled only with giant-woes-how gladly would he not give the wealth of worlds, if that wealth were his, to be permitted to live over again a single day, with the same means of
in his reach which he had once so foolishly misimproved,—with the same offers of salvation in his choice which he had once so fatally neglected! Alas! alas ! it may not be. To him the period when time might be purchased and redeemed is past for ever. To him, but O praised be God ! my brethren, not to you. See then that ye follow not his steps, lest ye share erelong his doom. “ Seek the Lord while he may be found,-call ye upon him while he is near.” “ Behold, now is the accepted time: Behold, now is the day of salvation.”
ECCLESIASTES, vii. 12.—“ Wisdom is a defence, and money is a
defence : but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it."
In appearing before you to advocate the claims of the charitable institution known by the name of the House of Industry,* it is proper, first of all, to inform you
of a fact which the mere name of the Society might not suggest,—that it is an institution having for its primary object to confer the blessings of a sound and religious education on the otherwise destitute and neglected young. The purpose originally contemplated in the formation of the Society, as its designation indicates, was to provide employment for indigent females who were unable to find it for themselves, to afford them the means and opportunity of maintaining themselves in some degree of decency and comfort by the produce of their own honest industry, and so to protect them from the
• The title of an Edinburgh institution on behalf of which the Author preached in that city. --Ev.
fearful temptations which it is the principal misery of abject poverty that it brings along with it to save them from the horrible alternative of want upon the one hand, of vice and crime upon the other. To promote this, the original object of the foundation, and by the original means, is still the object of distinct attention in its existing arrangements. A considerable number of individuals are still employed under its roof in practising the arts of female industry, and, while thus providing for their temporal maintenance, enjoy at the same time the most important moral and spiritual advantages, in the opportunities of religious instruction and daily devotion there secured to them. But still, as I have already intimated, this department, though at first contemplated as that which the institution of the House of Industry was exclusively to fill, has, in the progress of its history, come to occupy a very subordinate place among the plans by which our Society seeks to be the instrument of advancing the best interests of those who are the objects of its benevolent regard. By far the most prominent and striking feature in its present scheme of operations, is afforded by the means of education which it vides for those who must otherwise have been allowed to grow up in the thickest and haziest gloom of ignorance. Within the last five years, a regular day-school has been added to the establishment, which, in the mode of its management, has afforded
complete satisfaction to the directors, and in which, at this time, about seventy girls of various ages are receiving judicious and effective instruction in the most useful parts of human knowledge, and in the fundamental truths and duties of Christian religion ; and while it has thus provided for the instruction of the destitute and forsaken young during those years and at that stage of mental development at which alone, till very recently, scholastic education was considered appropriate or even possible, it has adopted, with the most remarkable and gratifying success, that precious invention of which, among other improvements in the art of education, our age has seen, if not the theory first unfolded, yet the practice first exemplified,—the institution, I mean, of Infant Schools,-an invention which, I am persuaded, none of you, who either considers the principles on which it rests, or observes the way in which it works, will refuse to admit is calculated to prove of the very highest value to the rising generation, in respect both of the habits which, by means of it, children may, from the earliest dawn of reason, be made to learn, and of those which they may be prevented from learning. The truth of this statement any one of you may judge of from personal observation when you please, by visiting the Infant School under the care of this institution, attended from day to day by no less than ninety little ones, -in the care of whose opening minds and budding affections, all who take an interest in that most important of all cultures, the culture of the human soul, will delight to perceive how the young idea is taught to shoot, and the tender twig is bent with gentle but powerful influence in those directions which promise hereafter the richest profusion of hopeful blossom and precious fruit. Nor are even these all the ways in which this institution links itself with the cause of education. For within the last three years, the plan of the Infant School connected with it has been extended to the admission of young women to be trained to the practice of this peculiar species of tuition,--an opportunity of which advantage has been already taken by upwards of thirty individuals, many of whom are now conducting schools in various parts of the country, so that the benefits conferred upon the rising generation by the instrumentality of this Society are not confined to the city where it has its local situation, but are thence diffused, as from a centre to a remote circumference, over the towns and parishes of the land.
It is plain, therefore, that the principal claim which the House of Industry, as at present constituted and administered, can advance to your patronage and support, must be founded on its services in the way of furnishing a sound and Christian education for the forlorn and destitute children of the poor. This is the direction in which your charity in