Imatges de pàgina

dare not, or if you do not advise with these, but think proper to consult your own sense, only, the presumption lies against you. Without entering into the particulars, it is probable you are in the wrong. There are a great many instances of undutiful behaviour and blame. able disobedience to parents, for one on the other hand, where their authority is patiently submitted to, when it ought in reason to be rejected.

The case of all the most perplexing, as well as most frequent, is that of marriage. - If it be left to the discretion of every young man himself, as soon as ever he is of the legitimate age, (for till theni we can give no ear at all to his pretensions,) that discretion may but ill deserve the name. His judgment will be apt to follow the verdict of his inclinations; the Fancy will raise a number of impregnable arguments, yielding to nothing but Experience: and this will come too late to


be of use to him. - On the other hand, the reasons of convenience, interest, and advancement, by which parents are often determined, though considerable, do not seem to be decisive alone. Even the more important recommendations of character and temper, are yet hardly sufficient, except they receive some enforcement from the useful partiality of affection. This indeed may be excited, where it is not; and such amiable qualities are the most likely to excite it: it may also be extinguished, where it is; and will almost certainly for the want of them.

So that perhaps no general rule for this case will be binding in every instance. A kind Father will make great condescenfrons ; a prudent child will be cautious how far he proceeds in such connections, without the approbation of his parents; and He is an obedient son indeed, and a pattern of filial duty, who sets the remembrance of benefits past above the expecta14


tion of pleasure to come, prefers the comfort and satisfaction of those to whom he has owed so much, before his own most impetuous desires, and gives freely to his gratitude, the triumph over his love.

The other instances of duty to parents will not be difficult, either to understand, or indeed to practise. The obligation is more evident and indisputable, and the performance easy, and pleasant. A respectful, and obliging, and kind behaviour towards them upon all common occafions, and in the course of your ordinary concerns and conversation, as it is plainly right, so will it be agreeable to the dictates of your own heart. You see it is the least that can be due; and though you pay it, if it be with reluctance, it is fome discredit to you.

But there may be two occasions, which however widely different, yet both call for the greatest degrees of this ceremonious



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attention, and the most studied respect.
The one is, when some duty to God, or
your country, or some private interest,
plain, juft, and no less important, inter-
feres with your obedience.
then to soften the asperity of what you
do, by the gentlest words, and by all other
honest means. Condescend to request, if
that will help, even what is most your
own. Accept as a token of favour what
cannot be denied. Disapprove with great
civility, or silence. When it is impossible
to grant, it may yet not be necessary to
refuse. But the practice of this part

of your duty will hardly ever be called for, except perhaps sometimes in the case of a Parent's second marriage.

The other occasion, which, as I said, demands from you the greatest tokens of respect and tenderness in your behaviour to your parents, is when they labour under infirmities of body or mind, and in the time of their extreme old


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will then double all your tender assiduity: you will watch their wishes, prevent their desires, catch every precious opportunity to be grateful with an eager sweet attention; of which you will give them a thousand little inestimable proofs, which words cannot teach; and not to know, is criminal; which require no capacity but that of feeling, and are to be understood in the heart.

I do not condescend to mention, that they may be in want : they must not be fo, while you have any thing, though it were only firength to maintain them by

your labour.

But however affluent their fortunes, or liberal your supplies, they will always want, in that state of old age and infirmity, an indulgence and care, which wealth cannot procure; and which, if it could, lose all their value when they are purchased. They will look for tokens of


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