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question, at the present moment is not whether they shall be instructed, but what kind of instruction they shall receive. The work of cultivation has long been going on. New methods have been discovered of accelerating its progress. A sort of intellectual machinery has been applied, by which facilities are ob+ tained for pouring in instruction, with a ràpidity, and with a precision also, of which our forefathers had no conception. By these operations, the eyes of the young are opened, their ears are rendered quick to hear and understand, their curiosity is awakened, their appetite for knowledge excited, the things “to be desired to make them wisek” are eagerly sought, an inquisitive spirit is stirred up within them ;--and if we withhold our endeavours to give these propensities and these endowments a beneficial tendency, what is to be expected, but that the enemy will take advantage of the golden opportunity, and give it that direction which will suit his insidious purpose ? Under such circumstances, to retrograde is neither safe nor practicable. Perseverance is become necessary for selfdefence. The machine is even now in motion; and
upon the prudence and discretion
of the hand that guides it must the result
d Where, then, shall we find the medium between these extremes more happily secured, than in the Institutions which have grown out of our own venerable Church-Establishment;-whose charity assigns no limits to the work of Education but such as truth and consistency demand, and whose prudence suf fers it to extend no farther than to what utility and expediency will warrant. Of that judicious zeal which so happily prevails, at the present juncture, among its most distinguished members, the animating scene now before us affords a splendid and indisputable proof. The piety of our forefathers, who laid the foundations of these excellent Schools for training the infant Poor of this great Metropolis in the ways of pure Religion and Virtue, is now receiving an abundant recompense in the no less faithful exertions of their posterity to fulfil so laudable a purpose. They, indeed, when they first formed these excellent designs, could neither have foreseen nor imagined the full extent of evil, against which their successors would have to contend, in protecting the young and inexperienced from the dangers which would beset them. None but those who have passed through such scenes of disorganization, revolutionary confusion, impiety, and blasphemy, as have marked our own eventful times, could have fully appreciated the magnitude of the difficulties to be encountered. But they well knew, “ that the soul be without knowledge, it is “ not good.” They were also well aware, that the only knowledge which, to the soul, is really good, is that which is in unison with pure and sound Religion. Full of this per suasion, they regarded our venerable Church as a sure and safe guide to the infant's steps. To that guide they committed the precious charge. To the fidelity of her Pastors, to the efficacy of her sacred Ordinances, to the instruction of her Rituals, to the labours of Teachers trained in her doctrine and discipline, and, above all, to the Divine Blessing upon these means and instruments of good, they looked, with undoubting confidence, for the prosperous issue of their labours.
If we who labour in the same vineyard persevere in the path which these our predecessors have trodden before us, their confidence will not have been in vain. Inexcusable indeed will be our neglect, if, with such motives to urge us, and with such means as we possess, the work were to fail through want of due support. We shall have neither
inexperience nor inability to plead, in excuse for such failure. We see and feel the dangers that beset us, and we have powerful weapons to overcome them.
However numerous the host of adversaries, however perilous the warfare, our friends are many and active, our resources abundant, our forces commensurate to the dangers. And while there is a righteous Providence to direct the issue, who shall harbour the thought that Impiety and Irreligion are waging war against us upon equal terms?
Yet let our zeal be tempered with discretion, and our confidence with caution. These are inseparable from religious wisdom; and they are especially needful in the work of Education. The difference betwixt true and false Knowledge is not always marked by so broad and distinct a line of boundary, as to be obvious to an unpractised eye. Many a plausible opinion, many an unsubstantial theory, misleads the unwary and undiscerning by its promising aspect. The teacher, therefore, has need to be himself guided by more than his own individual judgment. Some public standard of collective wisdom is requisite, to give greater weight and certainty to his instructions than that of merely personal estimation. Every religious community may reasonably insist upon this, as an imperative obligation; an obligation, which will not be questioned by any but those who are indifferent to the truth, or have formed no fixed principles of belief.
Not only must that ge. neral knowledge of the Scriptures be required, which is the basis of all religious instruction but also some sufficient warrant for their right interpretation. What this security shall be can admit of no doubt in the mind of
any consistent member of our Church-Establishment. The teacher of youth can be at no loss for an efficient guide to his labours, while he adheres faithfully to the line marked out for him by our Creeds and Articles, and Book of Common Prayer. With the Scriptures in the one hand, and these in the other, he who materially errs in the work of Instruction, must labour under some incapacity or dist qualification which unfits him for the office he has undertaken. But, for his still fura ther aid, the venerable Society, under whose auspices these Schools were originally instituted, and are still patronized and conducted, has provided such ample stores of elementary treatises on Christian Faith and Practice, that even the humblest conductor of the Parochial School, under such guidance, can hardly deviate from the right path.