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alarms of heresy,—and that here, too, men will tie themselves to favourite names, and split hairs with all the refinement of scholastic subtlety, where their only object ought to be to promote "the glory "of God in the highest, and on earth 66 peace, good-will towards men!"
I will not insult your reason, my brethren, by entering into any such controversial discussions; nor do I conceive it necessary, especially after the persuasive and unanswerable eloquence which you have heard on a former part of this day, to prove to you, that when you educate the poor of your people, you are performing a work most consonant to the spirit of the Gospel. What greater or nobler charity, even in a temporal point of view, than to instruct them in those simple branches of knowledge, by which their industry may extend the sphere of its operations, by which they may
be rendered more able to gain an honest subsistence; or, perhaps, to ascend in the scale of society! How important, in every moral view, to give them some taste for intellectual exertion; to open to them some of those enjoyments of the understanding, which may raise them above mere sensual existence, and may make them feel the rank which they hold in the system of being! How contempt ible those apprehensions which look upon the improvement of the faculties and minds of the lower orders, as any infringement upon the privileges of the higher, or suppose that men will be less regular and orderly, when they have been reared to habits of thought and of industry, than when they are left to the dominion of brute passions, or will be less sensible of the advantages of political union and distinctions, when they can themselves reflect upon the necessary arrange
ments of society, than when their minds left are open to every impression which they may receive from the factious dema gogue!
I am ready to admit, my brethren, that, without attention to religious instruction, all other knowledge is at times productive of evil, but when we are giving way to the weakness of such alarms, let us call to mind, that "the Gospel is
preached to the poor;" that every plan of education for them is necessarily founded upon Religion; that the volume of the Scriptures is that which must, before all others, be put into their hands; and that the first rising of the pride of reason in their hearts will be checked by the sentiment of Christian humility!—There is no ground of alarm with respect to the instruction of the poor,give them education, you must, at the same time, give them the Gospel! Alas! it is a very dif
ferent order of men who, although possessed of the glad tidings of salvation, yet do not always seem, so readily, to feel their import. It is to the pride of rank, of riches, and of talents in the higher classes of society, that the greatest gift which was ever given to men is so often given in vain! The poor naturally cling to the precious boon; if they ever come to despise it, it is not from what they have learned, but from what they have seen it is not from knowing too much, but from imitating too closely, from giving their superiors credit for more information and wisdom than they in fact possess! This is in truth the chief advantage of the edu'cation of the poor: put it in their power to find Religion, and they will find it, find it, almost, for themselves, as it meets them, in the beautiful and tender simplicity of Scripture, where they are so often called by name, where promises are given them so
vast in extent, and so pure in principle; where they will trace the footsteps of Him who lived and died for them, and whose Sacred Voice, while it rebukes every turbulent or repining thought which may spring from the hardships of their condition, is ever with them to cheer them in their toils, and to applaud their humble Virtues.
But it is unnecessary, in this part of our land, to expatiate upon truths which are so well known. The steady, and wise, and religious character of the Scottish peasantry has long been proverbial; and it can be ascribed to nothing so much as to that system of useful and pious discipline which has descended to them from their Fathers. This system, however, could not be carried into effect in those situations in which it was most wanted, in Cities, where there are so many temptations to every species of vice and idleness; and it may