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require more time, by embracing a wider range than is commonly taken. In some respects, I know, a student may be too well fitted, but there are studies, particularly those which require thought and invention, on which I should think he might bestow a year or two, without much danger. Perhaps the better way, however, in most cases would be, to reserve a considerable portion of time between the ages of twelve and sixteen, for manual labor. Nothing is so likely to give the lad a good constitution, and make him willing to study, as being obliged to wipe the sweat from his own brow through the long summer months, and to learn a little from his own experience, how much toil it costs to carry him through college.
Another topic on which I had intended to enlarge, is the education of indigent pious youth, for the gospel ministry. And I was the more desirous of stating my views somewhat at length, on account of the benevolent origin and leading design of this Institution. But I must not trespass longer on your patience, than just to glance at the subject. A new era in the history of the American church
begun, by means of those efforts which are now in successful operation, to educate the pious poor, and prepare them for the holy ministry. Hundreds of young men of promising talents, are at this moment members of our academies and Colleges, who but for the hand of christian charity would have remained in their native obscurity; and thousands more will assuredly be assisted by the same bounty to acquire a competent education for the sacred office. This, certainly, is one of the animating signs of the times in which it is our privilege to live. Why were not education societies thought of, fifty or 'a hundred years ago ? They might be reckoned among
the glories of any age. But experience has already proved, that no ordinary judgment and discretion are necessary, in selecting talents and piety from the shop and the field-in the distribution of hard earned charity and in the general superintendence of a long list of beneficiaries. It is not every pious youth, who has talents for the pastoral office, or the missionary service. Some, no doubt, are very devoted christians and very desirous of becoming preachers too, whom no pains or expense could ever qualify for the desk. Such may think it hard to be rejected; but there ought to be firmness and independence enough, to follow the dictates of an enlightened judgment in an affair of so much importance. It can be no advantage to any young man, to be taken from the sphere in which God designed he should act, and placed in one which he can never fill: and most certainly, we have no right to waste the sacred deposits of charity, upon well ascertained imbecility, or dullness, though allied to the purest motives. Nor in my opinion would it be wise, even if funds were ever so ample, to recal our industrious, indigent young men from the plow, or to bid them lay down their tools, and then carry them through all the stages of education, without requiring any thing more of them, than a diligent attention to their studies. The change would, in the first place, greatly endanger their health. Active and laborious habits cannot be exchanged at once, for the sedentariness of the school room, with either comfort or safety: and why should not the beneficiary make his needful exercise, and contribute if he can towards his own support?
Besides ; to excuse him for several years from all labor and hardship, would, in a great measure, disqualify him for the very service in which it must be the duty of
many to engage. We want young men for the ministry: who are inured to self-denial, and who will be ready to
endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ,' whereever he may send them. We want soldiers for this holy war, who will cheerfully march to the frontiers, and pitch their tents in the interminable forests of the west and south. We want missionaries to go forth and gatbei congregations from the cabins of the wilderness, and to carry the Gospel to far distant pagan millions. Now what is the best way, to prepare indigent piety for these arduous and self-denying labors ? Certainly not to remove it from the straw cot, and pillow it upon down.Certainly not to excuse the young man from all concern about his own support. On the contrary, he ought to be distinctly informed, when he lays down the hoe and the broad axe, that he is to help himself as far as he can, and to expect no more charitable aid, than his necessities may absolutely require. That youth is not worthy of being assisted by the late and early earnings of pious indigence, nor even by the bounty of christian affluence, who is not willing to endure privations, and to make every reasonable exertion to help himself.
Moreover, entire reliance upon charity, during several years of the forming age, can hardly fail to impair, if it does not destroy, that independence of mind, which is essential in every high and difficult enterprise. If such a state of dependence is not quite synonymous with servility, it is too much to expect from it, that free and independent developement of talents and designs, which gives the brightest promise of future usefulness. The best intentioned patrons of indigent merit, are sometimes capricious; and who in the midst of conflicting caprices, and earnestly desirous of pleasing every body, can act
like himself? Better, therefore, to struggle and fare bard through every stage of education, than for the sake of being wholly supported, to run the hazard of acquiring a tame neutrality of character, which none can confide in or respect.
I hope that in speaking thus freely, I shall not be thought indifferent to the comfort of those pious youth, on whom the hopes of the church are now fixed. Let them receive all needful assistance. Few, probably, are in danger of being injured by receiving too much, while owing to the scantiness of our charities, many are subjected to very great embarrassments.
In the struggles and discouragements of this latter class, I feel, and trust I always shall feel a lively interest. Haud ignarus mali miseris succurere disco.
But if I am not mistaken, the views which I have ventured to express on this highly important and delicate subject, accord with the sentiments which are now generally entertained, by the enlightened friends of charitable education ; and they afford a sufficient answer to a popular objection against the system. We are charged with demanding the widow's mite, and the poor servant girl's wages, to support a host of healthy young men in ease and idleness. This is untrue.
We demand nothing. We are anxious, indeed, to increase the number of well educated ministers by bringing forward the pious poor, and are not ashamed to ask the christian public to assist
But we require the beneficiaries to be saving, and to rely on their own earnings as far as their health and circumstances will allow. All we ask is, that when they have done what they can, they may be helped forward by the hand of charity.
These I take to have been the views of the benevo,
lent founders of this Institution. They intended to help those, who are willing to help themselves. Wbile, therefore, the indolent and the extravagant will be scrupulously rejected, tbe deserving poor of every denomination, who have respectable talents, and desire to consecrate them to God in the ministry, will be cheerfully patronized. The funds of the Institution, indeed, will not enable the Trustees to do all they could wish ; but they rely on the further aid of that christian benevolence which is enabling them to do so much. And here, let me just remark, that I think poor young men of good talents, who are not counted pious, have been too little regarded in the benevolent plans of this remarkable age. Why should they not be educated, with the hope that God will change their hearts, and make them eminently useful? And why should not funds be raised to assist them ? Who can tell how much they might do, to bless the state, the church, and the world?
In looking round, this day, from the spot where we now stand ; in thinking of the past and then of the future, what emotions of gratitude and hope fill the benevolent mind! Whence these walls, built in troublous times —these goodly edifices, which greet the eye and gladden the heart from afar ? Whence this youthful band of bretbren, dwelling together in unity, improving their minds by an elevated course of study, and so many of them walking, as we trust, in the ways of pleasantness, and in the paths of peace ?' Whence all that our eyes now see and our ears hear? Verily God hath heard the prayer of his servants, and blessed the work of their hands. Hitherto, may they say, hath the Lord helped us! And will he frown all that is before us into ruins and