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Again, Consistency would be sacrificed should the rules prescribed and the practices sanctioned be at variance with the precepts and doctrines of Religion. To the question—“ What is thy duty towards God ?” the child replies, “My duty towards God is to believe in Him, to fear Him, and to love Him with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul, and with all my strength.” Here is expressed, in forcible language, the deepest feelings of reverence and love-motives to exertion the most pure and exalted, calculated to raise the fallen nature of man, to emancipate him from his present degradation and misery, to curb his passions, to call into exercise his higher faculties, and to enlist them in the service of his Maker.
In conformity with the grateful duties of
but what are all their benefits put together, compared to measures that will diminish the severity of toil, remove distress, and dispense the bounties of Providence upon principles of equity and justice ? Here, then, is a peaceful but powerful and irresistible mode of achieving a benign and glorious reform, one which the ministers of religion will benevolently and zealously advance. Can there be an object more worthy the simultaneous efforts of a great empire ? Can there be a more sacred duty for Christians of every denomination than that of raising a degraded people, and rescuing those innocent victims, young children, sacrificed to Mammon and to a barbarous policy, the disgrace of an enlightened age ?
religion, the following would be fully understood and undeviatingly adhered to as a sacred obligation :
THE CHILD BORN IN THIS COLONY MOST WEAK OR DEFICIENT, BODILY OR MENTALLY, SHALL BECOME AN OBJECT OF THE GREATEST SOLICITUDE AND ATTENTION.*
The same principle would be acted upon through all the gradations of weakness and of power, the more vigorous in body and mind assisting and advancing the weak and imbecile. Those of first-rate ability would soon be recognised, and their superiority tacitly acknowledged. Their conduct, regulated by the principle of love to God and man, would be responded to by the sympathies of the Colony, whose welfare was the chief object of all their exertions. Their own wishes would be anticipated, and more would be yielded spontaneously than they would be inclined to accept, and more than they would have gained had they stipulated for any other rewards than those which the Deity has annexed to welldoing, and which cannot be exceeded in solid advantages and permanent pleasure; those nearer to them in ability would also be more useful than others, but only so far as their moral feeling's
** Hoc maxime officii est, ut quisque maxime opis indigeat, ita ei potissimum opitulari.”— Cicero.
were commensurate with their intellectual powers or their superior skill. Descending in the scale, let us consider the condition of the more imbecile; being treated with uniform kindness and judgment, they would be more docile and more susceptible of improvement; looking up with gratitude to their protectors, the duties assigned to them would be cheerfully performed; what little talent they possessed would be improved and turned to the best account, while the more highly-gifted would themselves make greater progress by the habit of imparking knowledge.
As man, in the Divine Exemplar of Christianity, finds an unerring rule of life for his personal conduct, so has the great Apostle, in the description of a true church, furnished an unerring standard for the societies of men :
“That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it."
However difficult it may be for men, either individually or collectively, to attain a high degree of excellence, it would be altogether impossible without a corresponding elevation in end and aim. Hitherto we have travelled in a wrong direction, seeking and contending for wealth as the means of securing ephemeral objects; we are therefore unprepared, without previous discipline, to enter upon a nobler enterprise.
To attempt to amalgamate the different classes of society with their uncongenial feelings and habits, their conflicting interests and varied pursuits, would be altogether chimerical; we must therefore adopt some modified arrangements for one class only—the unemployed of the working class—and, avoiding those obstructions that have hitherto impeded the progress of moral improvement, endeavour to build up by degrees a more Christian community.
As none can be responsible for evils which have been the growth of ages, it may be expected that all of every sect and party will, by their intelligence or their wealth, assist the clergy and the ministers of different religious denominations, in providing a permanent relief for the destitute of their respective congregations, by promoting establishments similar to the Selfsupporting Institution described in the following Prospectus, which was drawn up at Exeter-Hall by a Committee on which were some distinguished Clergymen, and is here presented without any alteration; but when the Committee has been enlarged and strengthened, by the accession of those accustomed to employ and direct large bodies of men, it is proposed to revise the Prospectus. One important alteration, among others, has been suggested, and very generally approved, viz. :—That after a permanent provision has been made for the Church and for the Schools, the surplus should thenceforward be devoted to the repayment of the capital, and the inmates thereby raised into joint proprietors, since, by the time that object was effected, they would have acquired sufficient information and experience, with moral · and religious discipline, for the Institution to be Self-governed, as well as Self-supporting
It is of course competent to other Religious denominations to adopt the same economical arrangements, and it is hoped that none will be deterred from giving earnest attention to the general principle of Association for mutual aid, in consequence of any defect, real or supposed, in the Prospectus, but that in every district, meetings will be held by those who are struck with the numerous evils and unchristian tendency of competition, for the purpose of forming some modified plan more congenial with their own views of the exigencies of the times, more effectual as a remedy for the destitute and demoralised condition of the people, and better calculated to restore peace and order to their distracted country.