Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

by the best and most pleasing motive, and may rely always with entire confidence on your good intentions towards him.

But still it may not be advisable to make him too sensible of his

power,

left he should be tempted to abuse it. When you have suffered him upon a few trials to carry off the victory, against all reason, merely by his importunity; innocent and harmless as you think him, he will feel his own importance, and with a wanton frowardness have recourse to it continually; imperious in his illegitimate authority; a tyrant, as well as an usurper. Till at last, not wholly without cause, though with prodigious ingratitude, he may impute to you all the calamities that follow; upbraiding you with your excess of tenderness, and lamenting in his greatest misery, not so much his own obstinate ungovernable passions, as the weak and fatal condescension of you, who should have ruled him.

But

But though restraint and discipline be absolutely necessary for all young persons without exception, yet the same discipline will not be proper for all. It is to be accommodated in the degree, and duration, to their disposition, age, sex, and other confiderations. All the hardships and refusals they are obliged to submit to, not only must be necessary for some good end, but should appear to be so, if pofsible, to themselves. Ruled they must be, or they are ruined; but it should be by reason. Paffion must shew itself with an ill grace, and ill effect, in the cultiva. tion of morals; which consists so very nuch in the restraint and government of the passions.

Correction is a part of discipline, and comes under the same rules. Solomon

has expressed the necessity of it in strong Prov. xiii. terms: He that spareth the rod, hateth his displeasure; it will be with moderation, with temper, after the ineffectual use of other applications, and with a real, and an apparent unwillingness.

fon. But though you have recourse sometimes even to this token of your

dil.

24.

[ocr errors]

As passion is improper in the government of children, so is partiality. It is observed of some parents, that they divide their kindness with a very unequal hand, treating their children with a groundless and disagreeable distinction : insomuch that of the one parent it is become almost a proverbial saying, that the worst son is the favourite. It will not however follow, that he has the best usage: Indulgence may not prove so. But this censure of the partiality of the mother is perhaps rather severe: for if to an equal stock of original affection for all her sons, you add, what is so nearly akin to love, pity, of which profligate children will be often the proper objects; and fear, which they will always excite; what wonder that the sensation is quickened; and such tokens VOL. II. L

of

of tenderness discovered, as are only to be drawn forth by calamities and danger?

The maintenance of children is to be. suited to the station they are likely to appear in, and the abilities of the parents. There is a fault both in the excess and defect; and the consequences of either, may

be bad. Yet the rich, methinks, should not be excused from some good degree of bodily exercise, if their consti. tution will bear it; nor the poorest left utterly without all learning, if their capacity will receive it.

I must not omit, that the fear of God, and some instruction in the Christian Religion, a regard to truth and honesty, and a habit of diligence, are indispensably necessary to all, even the poorest children; and I could add, I doubt, that they are very little taught them.

For the distribution of your substance

you

[ocr errors]

you are not to be called to account too strictly: What you have to leave behind you, is not to be demanded even by your children as a debt; that part especially, which is of your own acquisition. You will consider however the customs, as well as laws of your country; what will be generally thought right, and what yourfelves shall be likely to approve at your last hour, that your own heart may not then condemn you.

[ocr errors]

Yet is it not intended to counsel you to an immediate and final dispofal of what you have, even to your children: It is one thing to arrange, and another to alienate. This latter is not generally thought advisable.

Gratitude is not found so strong a principle, as expectation. And the parent, that would be sure of his children's obedience, must not only have been

kind to them, but keep it in his power to be so ftill. The wise fon of Sirach is uncommonly earnest upon L 2

very

this

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »