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D 2 "A 154) DEDICATION. ORAR moting this important interest, than cultivating the understanding of the poor, sowing the seeds of Religion early in their hearts, and cherishing a spirit of virtue and industry among them. The most able philosophers and lawgivers have always considered the education of youth, as the most certain fource of national welfare; and formerly, in some countries, the children were removed from the care of their own parents, and brought up under a regular discipline established at the public expence.
. The many wife and pious institutions for this purpofe, which have been planted and now flourish amongst us, bear some resemblance to this excellerit pattern, and are happily calculated not only for the temporal relief, but for the eternal benefit of our fellow creatures: and I look, with pleasure, upon You, GENTLEMEN, who, from a real regard to the general good, stand forth as the Governors and Trustees of these charities, and kindly superintend these labours of love. Be animated with that zeal which becomes your station, and be the Guardian's of the souls of the poor as well as of their bodies. It is in your power permit me to say, it is your province, it is your duty to appoint proper offcers and masters, and to inspect their conduct: to prescribe the methods of instruction, and put useful books into their hands; that fo the growing generation may be formed to piety, trained to the love and practice of all social duties, and fitted for the
different employments to which it fall please God to call them.
Objections indeed have been raised by fome speculative men against these institutions; but the principle, which at any time restrains us from spreading useful knowledge and genuine virtue among the poor, is not less impolitic than irreligious. Ignorance is generally accompanied by obstinacy, and creates a fierceness of manners, and an impatience of controul, highly injurious to Government, and productive of the most flagrant crimes; but pure Religion has a powerful tendency to civilize the mind; in proportion as it makes a progress in the hearts of men, it foftens their natural roughness, and transforms them into new creatures;
it inspires sentiments of mutual benevolence, and promotes the general interest of society, teaching them to adorn every station of life with the practice of those virtues which are suited to it, and making them good citizens, good servants, good hufbands, and good fathers.
History is one of the best repositories of useful knowledge and instruction for both the moral and political world; but Sacred History is very different from profane, and infinite. ly superior to it. The former relates only human and temporal events; but the latter opens an intercourse between Heaven and Earth, and reveals the History of Divine Providence. The former regards only the fate of particular nations, circumscribed within narrow bounds, and transmitted by partial writers, in an imperfect, perhaps a fabulous manner ; but the latter, which is written by heavenly inspiration, and is therefore Truth itself, gives an account of the beginning of the World, and the original of Man, and explains the great design and end of his creation : it also extends our view beyond this transitory world, and points out the way to another and better, that new Heaven and neza Earth, wherein dwelleth Righteoufness.