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way in a charity which promises so much good; especially when I consider he is a man of such extensive charity in other cases.
I think, said the General, you will not fail to succeed ; and for my own part, I will make every exertion in my powe er to forward it; and should our means of doing good, be but small at the beginning, and should we not live to see it far advanced, it will be a satisfaction to leave an institution behind us, which promises lasting good to posterity. When such institutions are undertaken and conducted with right views, the good which will likely result from them, can hardly be calculated. God is pleased to bless means, and though the glory is his, of all the good done on the earth, yet he graciously owns the instruments, and often rewards them seven fold into their own bosoms ; while the blessings of those ready to perish, come upon them.
AFTER the above conversation ended, Mr. P. invited bis friends, first to view his house, and other buildings, and then to take a walk over his farm. He then conducted them into the several apartments of his house, opening the closets, and shewing the furniture and conveniences. This view afforded matter of strict observation to Charles; by which he was led to notice the nice arrangement of every thing he saw. Dirt seemed a stranger to every apartment, and every arti. cle of furniture ; and the whole indicated the oversight of an understanding and prudent wife ; and that she did not fold her hands, and leave her household concerns to the management of servants. It is true, they had servants in the family, with whose labor she did not interfere ; but she so directed the whole, as to evince her care and taste, and to prevent that waste and disorder, which might have been occasioned by her neglect. It was not enough for her, that the parlor was kept in a cleanly state, and to confine strangers there, lest the dirt and disorder of every other room might offend them. Mr. P. shewed them the whole with an air of satisfaction, which evinced bis conviction of the capacity of
his wife, for the execution of the affairs of her house and family ; but without any of that pride or noisy praise, which is offensive to the ear of modest sensibility.
In viewing his barns and out-houses, his own care and taste were not less discernable. Every thing was in a state of good repair, and placed in proper order. And on going over the farm, they noticed that the walls and fences were in such a state, that the grain and meadows were secure from the ravages of swine, sheep, and cattle ; and these were all enclosed on fruitful pastures, thriving and antic as the mountain deer.
After having spent several hours in this delightful walk, they came in, with a good appetite for dinner. They were soon called to sit down to a well spread table. The furniture of the table was not superfluous, but such as became a wealthy Christian farmer. The victuals were neatly served up, and gave evidence of having passed under the hand of a good cook. There was no costly and unnecssary variety, no ragoo, to tempt the appetite to luxury, engender chronic diseases, and render life miserable by incurable complaints. As the whole family accustomed themselves to exercise, they had no need of the inventions of luxury to aid a weak appe-. tite, and force off the effects of a criminal indolence.
When dinner was over, they retired for the enjoyment of a little more familiar and friendly conversation. They were no sooner seated, than Charles began respecting the former conversation, and asked why they did not include females, also, in their proposed scheme of an asylum. Are they not as great sufferers, and have they not as much need of protection as male orphans ?
Mr. P. replied, there is already an asylum for females. A number of respectable ladies had seen and felt, that destitute female orphans, are, of all human beings, those who excite the strongest interest in the feelings, and have the greatest claim on the active virtue of the benevolent. An extensive and permanent system, which provides for their present relief and protection, is conducive to their future usefulness and respectability, and may issue in their everlasting happi
They were sensible that notwithstanding casual charities may have their use, yet they must be far more limited and inefficient. It was not enough to answer their views, for them to be fed and clothed; their condition called also for instruction and protection. The two former could be but
partially done, while they were left to roam at large, and the latter must be entirely neglected, unless some system of instruction and guardianship were adopted, and means obtained for its support. They were urged to these considerations the more powerfully, from a knowledge that the morals of several bad been already ruined; who, in all probability, might have been ornaments of society, if some system had been in operation, by which they could bave been secured from the temptations which overcame them. Others were exposed to the same temptations, and there was little reason to hope they would be resisted. The thought of seeing so many of their own sex swallowed up in infamy and ruin, when it was in their power to alleviate, if not prevent their misery, was too much for their humane and christian minds to endure, without, at least, making some noble efforts for the establishment of means, adequate to carry into effect their charitable desires.
It commenced in 1800, by the solicitations, and under the direction of madam
Subscription papers were circulated, a hundred subscribers obtained, and a meeting called by private notifications. At this meeting a plan for organizing the society was adopted, a first and second directress, a secretary, a treasurer, and board of twelve managers, were elected from the subscribers.
At the meeting of these officers, on the 27th of the following October, they made choice of a governess for the children, who were then claimants of the promised charity. The number of subscribers was soon increased to three hundredi. In succeeding years the prosperity and usefulness of the institution continued to progress. It had an increasing number of friends, growing funds, and an augmented number of dea pendants. Success, almost beyond reasonable expectation, has crowned their efforts. Seventy-seven children have been admitted (1810) into the asylum. Of these, thirty eight have been bound by indenture to persons approved by the board, six have died, and thirty-three are now supported by the funds of the society ; saved from the most certain and distressing want, probable vice, and threatening destruction; they are acquiring those habits of neatness and industry, those rudiments of morality and religion, which may form them to become faithful and capable domestics, useful members of society, and humble christians.
Such benevolence, said Charles, in behalf of the most un
profected and exposed part of our species, is highly gratifying to the feeling heart. I should suppose this cannot be a solitary instance of benevolent institutions.
It is not, replied the General; there are many in, and about the metropolis, which do honor to the spirit of religion, by which many are evidently actuated. It is not, however, to be imagined, that all who aid such institutions, are possessed of the spirit of evangelical piety. But since piety may be supposed to have originated them, and is the main cause of their continuance, they ought to be viewed in a favorable light, whatever may be the motives of individuals, who contribute to their support. And notwithstanding such as act on wrong motives may miss of a gracious reward, yet this will not hinder the blessing of God on the truly pious, nor make the institutions themselves less beneficial to those, for whose benefit they have been raised. Some of them have for their object, the distribution of the scriptures among the poor, the distribution of religious tracts, and the spread of the gospel in the wildnerness, and among the heathen ; and others are intended to supply fuel, clothing, food, &c. to the necessitous.
No large town, or city on the continent, has a more extended and efficient charity by means of regular and established systems; and if these do not reach all cases, and relieve every distress, it is certain they greatly alleviate human wretchedness.
WHEN they were seated for further discourse, between the hours of tea and bed, the General observed to Charles, it will be a favorable opportunity, to bring forward our unfinished discourse on the subject of religious state establishments, les and hear Mr. P's opinion on that subject. Turning to him, he sail, from the candid and liberal remarks you have made on religion, and different christian denominations, I am led to conclude, that you possess such enlightened views, and charitable feelings, it would not be pleasing to see a state creed adopted and established by law, so as to put it in the power of the civil magistrate to persecute non-conformists.
I am decidedly against this, said Mr. P. for reasons too weighty to be easily shaken. Some of my brethren, as well as some of our ministers, are in favor of it, and think if a state creed were adopted, and men obliged to conform to it, it would prevent the divisions, and subdivisions in the church; that unqualified men would not be suffered to abuse the ministry, and regular ministers would not fail of a good support; all of which would tend to promote harmony and pure religion.
But I have sometimes queried, if a state creed is to be formed, what denomination shall be chosen for the model ? Or shall an entire new creed be formed; and will you renounce your former faith, and take up with one the legislature shall adopt? To this last question they never fail to answer in the negative; and it requires no great penetration to see, that such as wish for a state creed, wish at the same time, that theirs may be the standard. But I find some Calvinists and some Armenians, who are in favor of a state religion. Can the two parties agree which creed shall be adopted ? and which shall renounce theirs ? And suppose one adopted without the consent of the other party, what shall be done to make the other conform? Shall the Spanish inquisition, and papal persecution be revived among us for the purposes of uniformity ?
My brethren have sometimes thought hard of me, because I am so liberal to dissenters; and have even suspected my sincerity concerning religion; and when I have denied the right of legislators to make creeds, and the right of magistrates to enforce them by civil coercion, I have been charge ed with believing that rulers have nothing to do with religion. Yet I believe they have much to do with it. duty they owe to God, their subjects, and themselves, to pogsess and profess it. They ought to enforce it by examples of daily charity, gospel conversation, restraints on the abandoned and profligate, and in every way the spirit and precepts of the gospel dictate ; and not by persecuting and destroying the peaceable and upright.
But, General Americus, I should prefer hearing your opinion at large on this subject; because I think it probable, you have thought more extensively and systematically upon it than myself; having lived longer in the world, and read more of the history of the church. I will do myself the pleasure, said the General, of giviug
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