Page images

is the substratum of philanthropy, the brightest star in the Christian's diadem. It spurns the scrofula of 'green-eyed jealousy, the canker of tormenting envy, the tortures of burning malice, the typhoid of foaming revenge. It is an impartial mirror, set in the frame of love, resting on equity and justice. It is the foundation and cap stone of the climax of all the Christian graces—without it, our religion is like a body without a soul-our friendships, shadows of a shadow-our alms, the offsprings of pride, or, what is more detestable, the offerings of hypocrisy—our humanity, a mere iceberg on the ocean of time--we are unfit to discharge the duties of life, and derange the design of our creation. Was this Heaven-born, soul-cheering principle, the mainspring of human action, the all pervading motive-power, that impelled mankind in their onward course to eternity, the polar star to guide them through this world of sin and wo—the ills that flesh is heir to, would be softened in its melting sun beams, a new and blissful era would dawn auspiciously upon our race, and Satan would become a bankrupt for want of busi

Wars and rumors of wars would cease-envy, jealousy, and revenge; would hide their diminished heads-falsehood, slander, and persecution would be unknown-sectarian walls, in matters of religion, would crumble in dust—the household of faith would become, what it should be—one united, harmonious family in Christ-infidelity, vice, and immorality would recede, and happiness, before unknown, would become the crowning glory of man. Pure and undefiled religion would then be honored and glorified—primitive Christianity would stand forth, divested of the inventions of men, in all the majesty of its native loveliness


[ocr errors]

-the victories of the cross would be rapidly achieved --and the bright day be ushered in, when Jesus shall rule, King of nations, as he now does King of saints.


INFANTS, of all the animal creation, when ushered into this world, are more helpless, and remain so longer than the young of any of the brute creation. The wisdom of God, in this, as in all his economy, is conspicuous. Nothing binds so firmly the union of hearts, as the increasing love of parents to their children, enhanced by the arduous and protracted care, necessary to sustain and bring them up. The mother, who is worthy of that endearing name, finds a new impetus to urge her on to the fulfilment of every duty, imposed by her marriage vows. The father, if not transformed from a man to a brute, feels, more deeply, his obligations as a protector, and nobly discharges them. A social compact is thus formed, and becomes

. one of the links of the great chain that forms a society, which increases to a state, and finally to a nation. The great length of time it requires, to prepare children to act and do for themselves, enlarges and strengthens this link, and operates as the most powerful incentive to maintain good government. Hence, not only the advantage, but the absolute necessity of the marriage institution. Let this become obsolete, the waves of destruction would roll over us like a mighty flood. Its abuse, by some miscreant wretches, demons in human shape, is no argument against it. The intrinsic value of religion is not reduced, because the devil gets into a church. It is the keystone of social order—properly entered into and properly used, it is the desideratum of human happiness, and nothing refines this happiness so much, as a well regulated and skilfully cultivated juvenile nursery. Here, the scion is reared that makes the tree-be it crooked or straight.

As the mental powers of children are developed, and often when yet at the breast, certain traits in their dispositions are plainly seen. To be enabled to treat them properly, all their propensities must be well understood. The father is the king over this little community, but generally imposes upon his QUEEN, the duties of juvenile government, which is the first and important duty in the nursery. Laws must be enacted-few in number at the commencement—simple, plain, reasonable, and absolute. Too much governing and legislation, injure children, as well as our commonwealth. To govern properly, you must always govern yourself. Let your own examples enforce the precepts you inculcate. To train up a child in the right way, you must walk in the right way yourself. Children are close ob

The great secret in juvenile government, in the nursery and in the school, is, to gain and retain their love. This inspires respect, and these, more than any other thing, will induce obedience. Tenderness and firmness are the fulcrum and lever with which to operate. Anger should be manifested never—displeasure and tender regret, whenever the child violates any known rule of discipline. Rare and perverse is the disposition, that requires the rod, Solomon to the contrary, notwithstanding. Obedience, based on fear, and not on esteem and respect, makes a slave, and mars the native loveliness of the image of a son, daughter, or pupil. Harsh scolding language, and frequent hard blows, create the former-kindness, reason, and a uniform firmness, improve the latter. Children have good memories-excessive severity is never forgotten; it may so dry up the fountain of love, that its gushing waters will never again flow clear and free. It has often rendered desperate, but has rarely softened a morose disposition. It has sometimes prostrated the energies of a child, but never gives them a healthy vigor. Too much pruning endangers a shrub, more than the shade of a dense forest. Dr. Cotton Mather made it a rule, never to resort to corporeal punishment, except for atrocious wrongs, or minor faults, obstinately persisted in. And when the rod must be used, by reasoning mildly with the offender, you may generally convince the child of the atrocity of the offence, the justness of the punishment, and the tender regard you have for his good, and thus preserve his esteem-in no other way can it be done. If he is naturally bad, improper punishment will make him worse. No unnecessary restraints or unreasonable tasks, should be imposed on children. In this way, their mental and physical powers may be crippled. Make their obedience passive, their hearts cheerful, and their actions free. Never excite them by unnecessary crosses and vexation, merely to exercise your authority. Blame them cautiously for errors, and commend them liberally for good conduct. Correct all faults the moment they appear; weeds grow more rapidly than the esculent plant, each hour of neglect retards the growth of the latter, and increases the labor of destroying the former. Beware of partiality. It is an incubus upon good government, and is as quickly perceived, and more keenly felt by children, than by adults. If one child is less amiable,



docile, and gifted, than another in the same family neglect will increase these qualities fearfully. A favorite child among children, is made unhappy by mistaken favoritism-arousing in the others one of the basest passions—envy,—which makes the latter worse and the former miserable. The merits of the favorite may justify the feelings of preference, indulged by the parents, but this feeling should be judiciously suppressed, at least, until the children arrive at their majority ; and by some discreet fathers, is first exhibited in their wills.

The education of children should commence in the nursery, and the mother should be the teacher. I speak not of book learning, which is a mere adjunct. {mpressions, deep and lasting, are imprinted on the mind of the young child, before it learns a letter.

The infant, long before it can articulate a word, is impressed with things that please the eye and the taste, and by indulgence, may contract a habit, lasting as life. An infant may be fed on food, poisoned with alcoholic liquors, and imbibe an artificial taste, that may doom the man to a drunkard's grave, perhaps to a drunkard's hell. Imitation is early developed; the first oral lessons that are understood, are seldom eradicated-and nave a great influence on the formation of character. The first lines of a hymn, the first simple prayers, lisped by the child, as it learns them from the lips of a pious mother, are remembered through life, and have often led to early piety, and laid the foundation of greatness, based on goodness. Early scenes of terror, shame, joy, and violent indignation, are seldom eradicated from the mind. Frightful bugbear stories of ghosts, hobgoblins, and witches, are never forgotten,

« PreviousContinue »