Page images




MY DEAR CHILDREN, as, in some sort, you seem to


During the long term of years in which I have held an intimate and most interesting relation with one after another of you, at an important period in your lives, I have been led to discuss with you, from time to time, many topics not found in our school-books, but having an important bearing upon human life and destiny. You will remember how often I have told you that education, directed to the intellect only, could do but a small, and that not the most important, part of its work; and that, whatever advance you might make in your studies, I should not feel pleased or satisfied unless I perceived a correspondent moral and religious progress. I have also taught you that the body, too, should be carefully educated ; that its powers

should be drawn forth, and systematically strengthened by exercise ; that God's commandments, written on man's physical nature— as that, for instance, which requires the constant use and activity of every organ, as the only means by which it may be fully developed, and kept in order for the fulfilment of its proper office-is as much the Creator's law, as binding, as authoritative, as those written upon the tables of stone on Mount Sinai. Indeed, the thunders and lightnings that attended the promulgation of the latter, significant of the dread effects that would ensue upon disobedience, might, with equal fitness, be regarded as emblematic of the horrible punishment and suffering that follow disregard and violation of the laws, imprinted also by the finger of God upon our bodily frame.

Those of you, who have adopted this creed, and practised it, will have eagerly improved every faculty-every power bestowed upon you by your Creator—and if so, you have had no room for idleness; none for the demon ennui. Alas! that beings endowed with an immortal nature, with faculties capable of infinite development, with senses to discern the glorious beauties of God's wonderful works, and with hearts capable of beating in unison with the great heart of humanity, should ever complain that life is tedious, and that time moves on leaden wings.

We are placed in a world where we are surrounded with objects fitted to give full and interesting employment to all those faculties, so that, if we study, and are active to the end of a long life, we find ever more and more to be learned and to be done ; and the wisest, the most gifted, and the most industrious—those who accomplish most, and make the highest attainments, are ready to say with the great discoverer, Newton, that they have

gathered but a few pebbles on the shore of the great sea of knowledge.”

God has made this, our earthly abode, wondrously fair. Forces underneath its beautifully varied surface are perpetually elaborating fair flowers, and a green carpet with up-springing trees to cover it, while the very vapors which rise from it are made into graceful tent-coverings, that shield us from the sun, and gorgeous adornments for the sky over our heads—all effected by laws, the study alone of which might serye for life-long occupation, without any attempt to penetrate into nature's profounder secrets. On every side of us are human beings, the brethren of Jesus, and pronounced by by him our brethren, who need society, aid, or counsel, sympathy or instruction, or all these together, and yet, strange to say, life with many is dull and objectless, or filled up with the “vanity of vanities."

To many a young lady, the exhibition of a new dress at a party, and the distinction of

« PreviousContinue »