Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

And, my friends, we must meet this danger at the threshold, or it will be too late. We must grapple with it now, and through the instrụmentality of institutions like this, or it will grow too strong for us. Who shall say how much of the peace and prosperity of our Commonwealth, or even of our whole Country, may depend upon those little groups of idle, profane, and ragged boys which we see on the sidewalks or at the corners of our streets, it may be on some holiday festival, or it may be disturbing the quiet of some Sabbath evening?

We are too apt to forget that these boys are to be the men of the future, and perhaps the masters of the future. But let us remember, too, that we may be their masters now.

Let us remember that we may exert influences upon them now, which shall control their conduct and their character long after we are gone down to our graves. If we will but call them in from their evil associations and vicious pursuits, if we will give them the means of useful and honorable employment, if we will teach them the rich rewards of a life of honesty and virtue and dili. gence, if we will open to them the word of life, and show them that godliness which has the promise of the life which is, as well as of that which is to come, - we shall have made them good citizens as well as good Christians, and shall have performed one of the highest duties of patriotism as well as of piety.

I think it was related of an old philosopher, that, on going into a school-house, and seeing a band of ill-mannered and illbehaved boys, instead of finding fault with the boys themselves, he inflicted a severe chastisement upon the master. This was rather a rough proceeding for a philosopher, but it was a forcible illustration of a true principle. If the boys in our land are illmannered and ill-behaved, it is the fault of their parents and teachers. It was only this very afternoon that the services of the sanctuary which I attended, were disturbed by the crash of a window, broken undoubtedly by one of those truant and troublesome boys which the Secretary has mentioned in his Report. My first feeling at this incident was one of indignation at the act of the boy, and of a wish that he might be caught and punished; but my second sober thought was one of pity for the boy, and of regret, I had almost said indignation, that there were not more of these Warren Street Chapels in our city, into which boys of this character might be brought, and where they might be trained up, under the magical influence of brother Barnard, or others like him, to be devout worshippers within the temple, instead of rude rioters without.

My friend who just addressed you, (Hon. James Savage,) has reminded us of the storm which has recently swept over our city. I believe I am correct in saying, that the experience of those who have lived longest among us can recall no equal, can “parallel no fellow," to that storm in violence. More than one of the proudest structures of human art have been prostrated in its path, and not a few of our fellow beings have perished on the sea and on the shore.*

I doubt not that as we felt the tempest raging around our dwellings, and as we perceived how powerless we were to avert its approach, to arrest its progress, or to disarm its fury, we realized, more vividly than almost ever before, the feebleness of man, the omnipotence of God; and we were ready to exclaim with the Psalmist, “except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” But let us not forget that there are storms to be witnessed and to be encountered, in our progress through life, of a far more fearful character. There are passions in the breast of every human being, which if suffered to swell and rage unchecked, may produce disasters a thousandfold more ruinous. But, thank Heaven, against these moral storms we may provide. If we will take but seasonable means, may reclaim those passions from their wild nature, and may put them under the guardianship of reason, of conscience, and of a daily sense of responsibility to God; and then we are secure. The blast of the tempest may dash down in a night the bestconstructed lights which human ingenuity can set up along our shores, and bury the poor mariners in the ruins; but if we will once kindle up the spark of conscience in the breast, it may defy the convulsions of the elements; if we will but once build up the great beacon of the Bible throughout our land, the rain will descend, the floods will come, the winds will blow and beat

we

$

* The storm of April 15 - 17, 1851, will long be memorable for the overthrow of the Light House on Minot's Ledge, in Boston Harbor, and for other disasters.

upon it in vain! It will stand secure and unharmed, a lamp to our feet and a lantern to our path through all the accidents of life, and will conduct us in safety to the haven where we would be hereafter.

Let us, then, cherish every institution like this, for giving the Gospel to the poor, and for implanting its precious seeds in the youthful mind; and let the best sympathy of our hearts, and the best succor of our hands, be with those who are engaged in so noble a work. For myself, I feel it a privilege to be here this evening. I thank my friends, the Directors of the Association, for the honor they have conferred upon me in calling me to the chair; and I once more express my most earnest wishes for the continued success and prosperity of this Institution.

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

A SPEECH DELIVERED AT THE ANNUAL CITY DINNER IN FANEUIL HALL,

JULY 4, 1851.

[In reply to the following toast :-" The Past Members of Congress" — Boston is justly proud of the list of those of the illustrious dead and of the respected and honored living who have represented her interests in the National Councils - may their enlarged patriotism and devotion to the Constitution be the guiding principles which shall ever animate their successors.")

I could not find it in my heart, Mr. Mayor,* to decline the kind request of your committee that I would be present here to-day and say a few words in reply to the sentiment which has just been proposed. I am greatly honored by being designated to respond to such a sentiment, and by thus being authorized to appropriate to myself some humble share of the compliment which it contains. It has been my fortune to serve the people of Boston, in the Congress of the United States, for a longer period, I believe, than any one who has represented them since the adoption of the Constitution. I do not forget, however, by whom I have been preceded. I do not forget that upon the list of my respected and illustrious predecessors, to which you have alluded, are contained the names of Otis and Eustis and Ames, among the dead; of Quincy and Gorham and Lawrence and Webster, among the living. As I remember these and other names, I am deeply sensible of my own deficiencies, both compárative and positive. But while I freely confess myself inferior to all who have preceded or followed me, in the ability and success of my services, I do not yield to any of them, either among the dead or the living, in the warmth of my attachment upon it in vain! It will stand secure and unharmed, a lamp to our feet and a lantern to our path through all the accidents of life, and will conduct us in safety to the haven where we would be hereafter.

* Hon. John P. Bigelow in the Chair.

Let us, then, cherish every institution like this, for giving the Gospel to the poor, and for implanting its precious seeds in the youthful mind; and let the best sympathy of our hearts, and the best succor of our hands, be with those who are engaged in so noble a work. For myself, I feel it a privilege to be here this evening. I thank my friends, the Directors of the Association, for the honor they have conferred upon me in calling me to the chair; and I once more express my most earnest wishes for the continued success and prosperity of this Institution.

« AnteriorContinuar »