Page images
PDF
EPUB

ness.

of gloom and dulness, but one of hope and cheerful

For the natural repose of body and mind, it is a day of rest; but it may be a day of much mental enjoyment and gratification, arising from a heartfelt sense of thanksgiving and gratitude. I can only feebly advocate the duty owing to that day. But if only from considerations of policy,—of ordinary comfort and pleasure,—I recommend you to devote some portion of it to hearing and reading God's Holy Word. A short time allotted to that purpose cannot be more profitably passed; for some few words, like good seed scattered here and there, would take root, and would counteract in your nature some evil influence, or some erroneous propensity; and would make you wiser and better than before. Do not, then, let that day pass without attending some place of worship. I believe you would act most wisely in coming to our venerable old Church, because I know you would find there sound, pure, and healthy doctrine : but, having profound respect for all conscientious motives, I will merely advise you to go to such place of worship as your conscience, and not your prejudices, leads you to. You would find the habit of attendance another inducement to cleanliness and neatness;

for would not like to appear there in dirty and disordered garments.

On the management of your household affairs and expenditure of money, allow me to make some suggestions. A man in business cannot withstand the convulsions of commerce, or the mutability of fortune, unless he have a capital to support him under any pressure of adversity. Nor more can your labour, unless employed remuneratively, yield you more than the bare necessaries of life; and you are subject to periodical distress, and want of employment. Unless, therefore, in the days of your prosperity—that is, full work-you lay up some store for the days of adversity—that is, no work—your comforts, your happiness, are wrecked upon the barren

you

and desolate rocks of poverty; and you have to endure the humiliation of seeking relief from those who have been more provident than yourselves. Protect yourselves, then, as much as lies in your power, against so lamentable a result.

“For age and want, save while you may;

No morning sun lasts the whole day.” I will presently propose a plan which will be easy for you to adopt, and which, if adopted, will not only shield you from want, but may ensure you plenty and respectability. Another and great economy would result, if you abstain from frequent visits to the alehouse. Total abstinence I think, in most instances, a mistake: but temperance is certainly a profitable virtue. I can see no harm in taking, if you can afford it, as much as cheers yet not inebriates :-the error is in the excess. Sir F. F. Kelly says—if that degrading vice, intemperance, could he removed from society, an amount of innocence, and virtue, and general happiness would follow, such as no man can at present foresee. Four-fifths of erime results from intemperance. I have from the Bench seen most lamentable instances-young men blighting their career in their very first step in independent life; young women lost to all virtue; married men with haggard looks of poverty and dissipation, cruelly imposing upon their innocent wives and children the weight and consequences of their own misconduct; wives even, utterly depraved, and therefore doubly disgusting; the confirmed profligate, the hardened villain, the ever-cunning thief :all brought to disgrace through the influence of strong drinks. Beware, then, of the first indulgence beyond moderation. It is easier to suppress the first desire, than to gratify all that follow it. Parents especially -let me urgently entreat you to set such an example in your children, that you may delight to see them follow it. Do your best to educate them; remember that "as the twig is bent, so is the tree inclined;"' and that their future advancement and happiness in their career, will depend much upon the extent and nature of the education you cause to be given them.

The small cost of education is now within the reach of almost all of you; and its expenditure is true economy,--for the sooner and the better will your children be able to support themselves. But whatever the education be, let it be religious as well as moral; let your children understand that they have duties of more consequence even than their duties to their neighbour. As a class of society you do not sufficiently comprehend or appreciate the real value of education. I know that your bodily and mental energies are absorbed in the natural desire to obtain your daily bread: I know that the cares of work press so heavily upon you, that it is really difficult for you to estimate the value of any occupation which does not make a speedy return for the labour you expend on it. But education, though it may not yield monetary profit for some years, will in time give abundance in proportion to the attention it has received. And although you, of all classes, can the least afford the cost, yet it is of as much importance to you as to any other class of society.

My own opinion is, that you have special claims upon the Government for aid and assistance in the education of your children; and that you are well entitled to the protection and the care of the State, and of the wealthy classes who are enjoying the profits of the labour of past ages. Ignorance is the parent flower of crime. Root out that parasitical weed, which chokes the growth of all good seed, and then thousands of such as now become criminals and inmates of our reformatories and gaols, because the better portions of their nature have been stifled and undeveloped, will feel the light of intelligence,-the fear and the love of God, -the power of knowledge, and the soothing comfort of religion influencing

all their actions. Not a single child should be allowed to run about our streets or highways destitute of mental culture; for the powers of the mind as well as of the body will increase in strength, and if not trained to virtue and to innocence, will extend to vice and crime. I think, then, the State should, in its parental character, charge itself with the education of all children whose parents are not able to discharge that duty; and to such as are partly able, it should afford its fostering and helping aid; and to such as would be unwilling to educate their offspring, it should say–Unnatural parents! we will take your children from you, and educate them; we will not recognise you as good citizens; we will treat you as insolvents, liable always to pay the debt we incur on your account.

I know that the difficulty in the way of establishing a general system of education, is the solution of the problem—" How to combine a religious and secular education.” It is engaging the earnest attention of many eminently good men: and I hope a satisfactory result may soon follow. You may, however, accomplish much by your own efforts, and with the opportunities afforded you; I can testify to what I know of the teaching under this roof; and I trust equally good may be had elsewhere. For having at times been present when the Government Inspector has examined the various classes, and having myself examined one or two,–I can declare not only my own, but the Inspector's extreme satisfaction with the knowledge and intelligence displayed by the pupils, who thereby reflect so much and so well-deserved merit upon their master, Mr. Wheeler. I hope the Rector will pardon me for saying in his presence, that such pleasing results could not but follow the thoughtful and constant care he evinces for the wellbeing of his flock.

The hearts of the young are susceptible to all kind emotions, and the impressions then made are lasting

through life. Teach them to be kindly affectioned to each other; to honour you-(and give them good reason)-as their parents; to be influenced by their conscience in the trifling relations of life; to bear in mind that an all-seeing eye notices all their actions, and for which they must one day give an account. Teach them to do unto others as they would be done unto, and you will then have done much for their happiness here and hereafter.

Mothers !--- with you rests the most important duty; for it is by you that the kind affections should be first roused and made habitual,—the early sentiment of piety awakened and rightly directed,--the sense of duty and moral responsibility unfolded and rendered practical. Impress upon your daughters especially, that love of virtue and self-respect, which if acquired, will guard them against dangers they are so peculiarly exposed to. Do not encourage that love of dress and finery so unbecoming to their position, for it only engenders vanity, extravagance, and envy. Make your homes in every way as comfortable to your husbands and your children, as your circumstances will permit.

Young people !-acquire knowledge while you are young. Do not lose valuable time in idly and unprofitably sauntering away hours every day, as many I regret to say, do.

Avoid all rudeness of speech and conduct. Discontinue all filthy and profane language in your pastimes among yourselves, which you indulge in more, I believe, from habit, than from wickedness. Seek the society of the well-behaved and the industrious. Always endeavour to improve, and you will succeed.

will succeed. Respect your employers : do not suppose they wish to oppress you such is not their interest; but should you, then seek others more honourably disposed(you will find plenty); and you will have no great difficulty in obtaining good employment, with a fair day's wage for a fair

day's labour, provided you seek

any so maltreat

« EelmineJätka »