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that is, the signal success with which many Sons of Scots Clergymen have been blessed, in filling with honour several of the important departments of society. As I have not myself the honour of belonging to that class, I can speak with more freedom on this topic than some other of my brethren. Not to mention the well-known and distinguished names of several who at present possess, with much dignity, stations in the church, and chairs in the universities, and some now gone, who will be long remembered, as having done no small honour by their literary productions, to this part of the island; let me desire you to look round on the most respectable stations of busy life, and to consider how many of those who now make a high figure at the bar, some on the bench, many in the commercial, the military, and the naval professions, were born and bred under the humble roof of a minister. Nor is this success to be ascribed to any favourable coincidence of circumstances at this time more than any other. It is the natural result of the manner in which they were brought up. Educated in good principles, and formed to sober manners, by pious and virtuous parents, they enter on the world less tainted than others by fashionable vices and follies. By the situation of their parents they were inured, from their earliest youth, to temperance and habits of application. They come forward, not altogether ignorant and unlettered, like the children of the meaner classes of men, but with the foundations of good education and useful knowledge. At the same time, they see and know that it is not to fortune and to friends, but to their own industry and exertions, they must trust for future success; and that only accord
ing to the opinion entertained of their merit, they can hope to be patronized by others. Hence it comes to pass that young persons of this description often advance themselves more quickly, and act their part more successfully, than others who, from their birth and fortune, have enjoyed the benefits of a more improved and ornamented education; but whose opulence sometimes supersedes labour, encourages indolence, and perhaps fosters dissipation and love of pleasure.
These are considerations which tend to bespeak public favour in behalf of the institution which I now recommend. Consider, my friends, that by befriending and assisting it, you contribute to bring forward a new race, who, like those of the same rank that have gone before them, may come, in their day, to be beneficial to their country and to the world. It must not be forgotten, that assistance to bring them forward becomes now more necessary than it was to the former race, in consequence of the great additional expense which is well known now to attend every part of education. By seasonable generosity, on this occasion, you may be ripening in secret the seeds of future genius; you may be bringing forward to maturity those young plants which shall flourish hereafter in the land; and which may perhaps attain such strength, and rise to such a height, as to protect others under their shade.
To the honour of the present age, it must be acknowledged not to be deficient in a spirit of humanity. Frequent instances both of public and private beneficence come forth on every proper occasion. In this city, many a noble monument
appears of charitable foundations and institutions; some destined to educate the children of the needy; others to furnish maintenance for the poor, to provide for the aged, or to receive and relieve the sick and the distressed. By their means much timely succour is given, and many a distress is mitigated. The institution for the sake of which we are now assembled, partaking of the same benevolent spirit with the others, reaches to a more respectable class of men, and aims at a more extensive object. Its purpose is, to prevent those evils which would arise to the public, from the children of worthy parents being left to languish in that hopeless indigence which throws them first as a burden on society, and may afterwards render them a dangerous nuisance to it. Instead of this, it aims at bringing them into such a state as affords a reasonable prospect of their proving useful members of the community, and perhaps of their ranking among its ornaments and supports.
So good a design Providence has already begun to favour, and we hope will continue to bless. After we are laid in the dust, the generation that succeeds us may experience its happy effects. They who now contribute by their generosity to carry it forward, will, in the mean time, enjoy the satisfaction of having adopted the benevolent spirit of the Christian religion; they will enjoy the satisfaction of having imitated, as they could, that compassion of our heavenly Father, which, in so affecting a manner, is expressed by the words of the text; words which I hope will continue to dwell, with a lasting and tender impression, on all our hearts; Leave your fatherless children; I will preserve them alive; and let your widows trust in me.
On HOPES and DISAPPOINTMENTS.
PROVERBS, X. 28.
The hope of the Righteous shall be gladness; but the expectation of the Wicked shall perish.
ATTACHMENT to futurity has a remarkable
influence on the operations of the human mind. The present, whatever it be, seldom engages our attention so much as what is to come. Remembrance of the past may sometimes occupy our thoughts; but what for the most part fills them, is the anticipation of the future. The present is apt to be considered as an evanescent scene, just about to pass away; and in the midst of wishes and desires, of hopes and fears, which all respect futurity, we may be said to dwell. As on these the life of man is so much suspended, it becomes a very material part both of wisdom and of duty to attend to any regulations by which they may be properly conducted. For if expectations and hopes on one hand, and fears and alarms on the other, are suffered to arise with groundless precipitancy, and to acquire an undue ascendant, it is evident that they will produce much delusion in conduct, and often will engender much vice and guilt. As there is a hope of the Righteous which shall be gladness, so there is an expectation of the Wicked which shall perish. The anticipations of the former, con
ducted by prudence, and regulated by piety, mislead him not from his duty, and afford him satisfaction in the end. While the expectations of the latter, arising from fantastic imaginary prospects, delude him for a while with vanity, and terminate in misery. It will therefore be an useful subject of meditation, to consider, in a few instances, of what we may, and of what we may not, reasonably expect from the world, when we look forward to what is most likely to happen in the ordinary course of human affairs.
I. WE are not to expect the uninterrupted continuance of any measure of health, prosperity, or comfort, which we now enjoy. There is the greater reason for beginning with this admonition, as there is a strong propensity in human nature to imagine that what we at present possess, is always to remain. When no warnings of any approaching change appear, we are all inclined to look forward to futurity with a smile; and to indulge the hope that to-morrow shall be as this day, and even more abundantly. Hence, in the lives of thoughtless men, there breaks forth so much folly and presumption, so much pride and levity, and often so much impiety and contempt of religion. What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? Or what profit shall we have, if we pray unto him? Our mountain stands strong; and shall never be moved.
On the lot of some men Providence is pleased to bestow a longer continuance of prosperity than on that of others. But as the term of that continuance is hidden from us, all flattering and confident expectations are without foundation. At one period or another, it is certain that the calm is to be troubled,