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salvation of others ; they must be persuaded Ser M. that the supporting, and encouraging, and XVII

. promoting the interest of it, is one of the most acceptable works to God which they can do. It must be a great comfort to them to see numbers of poor children, who but for their, bounty would have had no religion at all, come duly and orderly to church ; to appear there in decent cloathing; and with an awful and reverent behaviour, such as becomes the house of God; to hear them join in our prayers and praises to God, and shew as much attention and devotion as can be expected from their tender years.

This, God knows, is sadly overlooked and neglected by parents of a higher rank in their children ; who for want of being used from the first to a constant attendance upon the service of God, and to the joining with devotion in the publick worship, for the rest of their lives come to church to lean, or gaze, or make their bows and compliments to one another, even in the midst of the most exalted parts of divine service; or for any other purpose rather than to say their prayers with zeal and fervency, or bear a part in singing the praises of God.

I must not omit here that what is given upon this occasion, is for healing those rents and divifions which are made in the church, and a most effectual means of promoting peace and unity among christians. As too many who fet up for learning and refinement do run into infidelity; so on the other hand, ignorance is

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Ser M. the mother of enthusasm; and this begets a XVII. race of berepes and schisms, which are in a

great degree prevented by instructing children not in the words only, but in the sense and meaning of the church catechism; making them acquainted with it's doctrines, and principles, and liturgy; and creating in them a reverence for all things and persons dedicated to the more immediate service of God. This cver after prevents in them that indifferency to their own religion, and lukewarmness so expressly condemned in the church of Laodicea, and which is fo fatally prevailing in our own : 0! may God avert any farther parallel in the judgment likewise threatened, Rev. iii. 16. for that prevailing hypocrisy. This will keep them from being tosed to and fro', and carried about with every wind of doctrine ; and from

any affectation of that shameful halting between two opinions so much in vogue and fashion: So that they will walk uprightly, without a constant turn of the head, and a lide look ever towards separate and contrary communions. This will lay a foundation for that peace and unity, that brotherly love and chrislian charity in the next generation, which is so notoriously wanting in this ; for these poor children will have this advantage over those of persons of greater fortune and quality, that they will grow up without any

fea. foning of party prejudice, and prepossession. 4. In the last place, it is worth considering great the secular advantages

of

how many

many and

of so well placed and prudent a charity are to SER M. the state. It is contributing to the common XVII. good and benefit of mankind. It is not only for the instruction of children in divine knowledge, for the salvation of their souls; but to learn them such things as shall first qualify them for it, and then to bind them out to trades or callings. This renders them useful to themselves and to the commonwealth ; this rescues them from contracting such inveterate habits of idleness at first, which they can never after wear off; and puts them upon getting their living by an honest industry. This will considerably lessen that great multitude of vagrant and wandering beggars which upbraid us to God and the world, and daily multiply, to the disgrace, as well as curse of the na

and unless the further growth of them be prevented by charity-schools, and wholesome laws' for that purpose, may be the means of bringing down judgments upon us.

This will be found the most effectual means of converting the Irish Papists of this kingdom; a work which hath been too long neglected, and the omiffion hath met with its punishments in those rebellions and massacres they have been hurried on to, by a savage nature, and more savage and bloody principles. Experience hath shewn that all other means without this are like to prove ineffectual; the present generation have no more even of a bad religion than their giving up their senses and their reafon, which makes it almost impossible D 3

for

tion;

Ser m.for them ever to embrace the true one ; but a é XVII. general and united endeavour of setting up

these schools for their children through the

nation, before they have their eyes put out, and are grown up meer ideots in christianity, could not but have a great effect in a little time; and is the more likely to meet with a blessing and success, because of its being performed by methods of charity.

By seasoning so many children with an early sense of religion, and taking them off from a whole life of idleness and want, how many immoralities do we hinder, which they would otherwise be guilty of, and what a flood of iniquity do we ftem ? How many cheats and thefts

, and whoredoms, and robberies, and murders, will be effectually prevented, which experience shews us it is not in the power of humane laws to restrain ? All which, though committed by the lowest rank of people, yet come into a general account with God, and are added to that mass of fin which ripens a nation for divine vengeance. How

many

will by this means be relieved not only from ignorance, and cold, and nakedness, ; but from publick shame, and prison, and exemplary and untimely deaths ? And is any thing more common, than for such as are brought to this, in their last dying words at the place of execution, to lay all their wickedness and misery upon the want of fome care and instruction in their childhood ?

What

What need I say more? Whatever is given SER.M. on this occasion is for reforming the world, as XVII. far as lies in each of us, and laying up a store in both of temporal and spiritual blessings for posterity. It is for making many, who would otherwise never come to any sense either of natural or revealed religion, good christians, and good members of the commonwealth ; good parents, and good children, ; good masters and mistresses, and good servants; and in short, good in every relation of life. It is not only for redeeming multitudes from present fin and misery, who would be otherwise trained

up

and exercised from their infancy in all kind of villany; but enabling them to convey the many blessings they receive, to those who come after them; and they again will transmit them farther downward; which is doing good through many generations: And thus a man may be the instrument of unspeakable good to persons who shall be born long after he is dead; be has dispersed abroad, be bas given to the poor, bis righteousness, even in this sense, remaineth for ever,

If it should come into any man's heart to think that these are great things indeed in imagination and theory, but may prove little in the real effects and consequences of the intended charity; and that if they could be sure of the event, they would spare no cost, but contribute with great freedom and alacrity. Then let me ask them, how far do they think this poor widow's farthing could go in the re.

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