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of instruction is certain, if man can be made to listen to it. It is the more certain, because we are assured that the Divine mercy interests itself in the conversion of every individual sinner, just as the owner. of a large flock is solicitous for the recovery of a single stray; and because there is something in the doctrine of the gospel particularly adapted to work upon the feelings of a sinner, insomuch that publicans and harlots were found to be readier to enter into the kingdom of God than the scribes and Pharisees.
But here lies the great difficulty, that in seasons of a particular prevalence of iniquity, those who the most need instruction, being the most touched with the general infection, will be the last to seek it or to bear it. General public instruction at such times will never prove an effectual remedy for the evil: Means must be found of carrying reproof and admonition home to the refractory offender, who purposely absents himself from the assemblies where public instruction is provided for him, and
refuses the general invitation to the marriage-feast.
It is the singular praise of the charitable institution of which I am this day the advocate, that the founders of it have been the first in this country who have endeavoured to meet this difficulty, and to supply the necessary defects of general: instruction, by an immediate special application of the benefits of a sober godly education to those miserable outcasts of society the children of convicted criminals and of the profligate poor, accidentally picked up in the public streets of this metropolis, or industriously sought out in the lurking-holes of vagrant idleness and beggary, and the nightly haunts of prostitutes and ruffians. Such children had been too long indeed overlooked by the virtuous; but in no propriety of speech can it be said they had been neglected. Under the tuition of miscreants old and accomplished in the various arts of villany, they had been in training, by a studied plan of education, well contrived and well directed to its end, for the hopeful trades of pilferers, thieves,
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they are withdrawn by this Society, and placed under proper masters, to reclaim them from the principles instilled by their first tutors, to infuse the contrary principles of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 here before you best may answer for it. These are its firstfruits, 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 no 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 his 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 eradicate evil principles instilled in child