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highwaymen, housebreakers, and prostiFrom this discipline of iniquity they are withdrawn by this Society, and placed under proper masters, to reclaim them from the principles instilled by their first tutors, to infuse the contrary principles of religion, and to instruct them in the mysteries of honest trades. The utility of the undertaking is so evident, that its merit would be injured by any attempt to set it forth in words: It conduces to the security of the person and property of the individual; it conduces to the public prosperity, by the diminution of vice and the increase of industry; and it is directed to the noblest purposes of humanity and religion.
Such are its ends: For the efficacy of its
plan, the appearance may answer for it.
here before you best
These are its first
fruits, these are they whom its first efforts have rescued from perdition. Wretched orphans! bereaved or deserted of your parents disowned by society refused as servants in the poorest families, as apprentices in the meanest trades -excluded from the public asylums of ignorance and
poverty! your infancy was nourished to not better expectation than to be cut down in the very morning of your days by the unrelenting stroke of public justice! By the mercy of God, working through these hist instruments, your benefactors, you are born again to happier hopes- you are acknowledged by society you are become, true denizens of your native land - you are qualified to live in this world with comfort and credit to yourselves and with advantage to your country · you are brought back to the great Shepherd's fold you are become children of God and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven!
Men and brethren! countrymen and fellow Christians! it is not for me, it is for your own feelings, to commend to your support and protection the interests of this Society this work and labour of love. Christ our Lord came into the world " to seek and to save that which was lost:" This Society, we trust, are humble imitators of his example labourers under Christ. To the extent of their ability, they' seek what was lost, and bring it to Christ
to be saved by him. Public liberality must supply the means of carrying the godly work to perfection. Buildings must be erected, where the children may be kept secure from any accidental interviews with their old connexions. To this purpose, so essential to the attainment of their object an object so important to the individual, the public, and to the church of God, the present funds of the Society are altogether unequal. But public liberality in this country will not forsake them; nor will the blessing of God forsake them, while they trust in him, and lose not sight of the first end of their institution.
Those illustrious persons who with a zeal so laudable condescend to direct the affairs of this charity" will suffer from their brother and fellow servant in the Lord" the word of exhortation. Remember, brethren, that piety is the only sure basis of even a moral life, that religious principle is the only groundwork of a permanent reformation; nor can any thing less powerful than the grace of God infused into the soul adicate evil principles instilled in child
hood, and evil habits contracted in that early part of life. Your own experience hath shown you with what success religious principle may be instilled into the most depraved mind, and with what efficacy the grace of God counteracts evil principles and evil habits; for you have found that "the situation of infant thieves is peculiarly adapted to dispose their minds to the reception of better habits." Remember therefore, that if you would be true to your own generous undertaking, religious instruction must be the first, not a secondary object of your institution. Nor must the masters of the different trades be suffered so severely to exact the children's labour as to defraud them of the hours that should be daily allotted to devotion, nor of some time in every week, which, besides the leisure of the Sundays, should be set apart for religious instruction. To educate the children to trades, is a wise, beneficial, necessary part of your institution: But you will remember, that the eternal interests of man far outweigh the secular; and the work of religion, although the learning of it require indeed a smaller
portion of our time, is of higher necessity than any trade. While your work is directed to these good ends, and conducted upon these godly principles, the blessing of God will assuredly crown your labours with success; nor shall we scruple to extend to you the benediction, in its first application peculiar to the commissioned preachers of righteousness, "Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, and send forth the feet of the ox and the ass."