« EelmineJätka »
respectability and comfort; the good solid furniture ; the fine old clock, upright as its master, and ticking off the fleeting moments of time; and the Family Bible, evidencing that its holy contents are not there unknown. The shuttles are heard in the back loom shop; chubby and healthy-looking children in the front room; the good housewife and mother occupied with her domestic concerns, and the industrious father at his work. But I have likewise had the pain of witnessing the reverse of that picture ;—the consequences not of poverty alone, but of absence or disregard of all self-respect. This need not be. For comparative views-look to some of your streets and narrow courts, after your Nuisance Act Commissioners have so well drained and purified them; and estimate the advantages to health in being free from the horril stenches which too often polluted the atmosphere in various parts of this district. So important, indeed, is cleanliness, that our first physicians assert that 25 per cent. of deaths are prematurely caused by impure air and dirty habits, both personal and general. You have therefore much cause for thankfulness to those gentlemen who constitute your Sanitary Board, who kindly, benevolently, and perseveringly, under much annoyance and opposition, are exerting themselves to purify your dwellings, increase your comforts, and strengthen your health.
Another serious and costly evil with many, is a disregard of all religious duties, -and especially of those on the Sabbath-day. Few places have the degree of advantage we enjoy, of hearing and profiting on that day by (if we will) the excellent precepts and advice of inestimable worth, illustrated by example of equal value. There is no more mistaken idea of pleasure than that which leads a man to suppose he can, without disadvantage to himself, dispense with the duties of the Lord's-day. No one ever yet attained a happy position, who habitually profaned it. It should not, and need not, be a day
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 conscien. tious 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
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 le 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 crime 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