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inconsiderate people dream of, that the man is made in the nursery.
Yes - the intellectual, moral, spiritual, christian man. The wise one in his generation, as the bud expands—the heir of glory, as the blossom ripens and brings forth fruit unto life eternal. Many know this thoughtful, humane, believing people—and they have invented and are supporting Infant Schools.
I am not going to describe the process, much less to affirm extravagant things concerning them. But here, a mere child may be kept out of mischievous society at least, and by proper painstaking he may learn besides, what I have so much insisted on, to obey orders, or to do as he is bid at once; may get some right impressions moreover, and receive some truths—some, indeed, which many prophets and kings have desired to hear, and have not heard them—may acquire too some habits, and that, so that they shall become, as we speak, a second nature to him. And what then ? Must all be lost when he goes to work ? He will not lose his parents probably: God's eye, at all events, is him still. He has placed him in a christian country, and he has made the sabbath in his mercy for bis necessities. Six days he labours, and then there is the Sunday School (here as in other places) to take him up where the Infant School left him. There is the Church, and the catechist, I pre
sume, in the person of the parochial minister. There are the prayers also of that minister and of his school teachers, and of his parents, and of himself; and a good God to answer them, whose own mouth hath spoken it: “ Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God."* What lacks he yet? There is the Bible, and if he spells it out with difficulty, still he may read it, and “ suck the sweet and tender milk” at least, of which there is such store for babes.
And then, secondly, as to labour-his work, his daily task. I say, it just fills
the measure of his advantages. If there is a merciful text in Scripture, this is one: “ In the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat bread;" † and woe unto him that covets to eat it otherwise. Labour, if it be honest—if it be of our proper calling, keeps man out of ten thousand snares, keeps under his body, and brings it into subjection—not ignobly employs his faculties—hinders not his soul, as sloth does inevitably, from ascending up to God; whilst he may serve God as acceptably and as piously by means of it, as by prayer or almsgiving. Had Hophni and Phinehas been at the anvil or the plough, we had not heard, in all likelihood, of their profligacy, and the commonwealth of Israel had not suffered by their crimes. * Mark x. 14.
† Gen. ii. 19.
Then I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, come and help us zealously in the pious, the useful, the christian undertaking of training up the children of the poor in christian principles; and if they shall grow up better members of society, as fellow-members you shall share the gain. In their peace ye shall have peace, when the prospects for the future, which ye shall have opened to them, shall have made them content and satisfied with the present. And if they shall gather fruit unto life eternal by means of
your care, so shall ve; for “there is that scattereth and yet increaseth ;” and “ he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” *
* Prov. xi. 24, 25.
THE BENEFITS OF EARLY RELIGIOUS TRAIN
[Preached at Bilston for a School.]
DANIEL i. 8.
“ But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would
not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine that he drank; therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”
In the whole compass of Scripture history, we shall scarcely read of a more remarkable man than Daniel. So eminent was he even in very early life, for his wisdom, and faith, and piety, that the infallible Spirit of God has seen fit to record it in a very singular manner; and in his own lifetime, and even before he attained to middle age, to put
upon a level with the most eminent saints of God who had finished
their course in glory. When Ezekiel would describe the insolent presumption and self-conceit of the king of Tyrus, he expresses it by accusing him of pretending to be wiser than Daniel ; * and when God would show how impossible it was that any intercession should prevail with him to bestow grace upon a people who had filled up the measure of their sins, he declares, that though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in that land, their prayers for it should not be answered; † thus ranking Daniel, when perhaps he was scarcely thirty years old, with two of the very holiest men who had ever lived upon earth, and whose praise had been in the mouth of his church for ages. It may
be useful to look to the outset in life of this extraordinary man, as recorded in the text, and in the history connected with it. The great wisdom and unimpeachable integrity which he manifested afterwards in conducting the affairs of a mighty empire, and how he held fast his integrity, and persevered in his duty to God in defiance of the den of lions, is known to all of you, and need not therefore be now told at large. But if we notice the beginning of his course, we shall see at once what was the foundation of so much excellence and usefulness, and shall learn consequently how we ought to begin ourselves. * Ezek. xxviii. 3.
+ Ezek. xiv. 14, 20.