Imatges de pÓgina

Ecclus this head. Hear me, O ye great men of the Xxxiii. 18, &c. people, and hearken with your ears, ye rulers

of the congregation. What is it, that he would introduce with so much folemnity; commanding those in authority, and teaching the teachers of mankind ? Give not thy fon, and wife, thy brother, and friend, power over thee while thou liveft: and give not thy goods to another ; left it repent thee, and thou intreat for the same again. As long as thou livest, and haft breath in thee, give not thy self over to any.

Yet there is an errour on the other fide. As liberality without measure may be imprudent, extreme parsimony would be cruel. Too great a depression of those whom you must advance at your death, will spoil both the grace and value of your gift; making your heirs unhappy, first in the tedious expectation, and then

in the aukward poffeffion of a fortune they were never taught to use, or to enjoy.


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Nor sons alone, but daughters, by such ill-judged oeconomy, have been greatly injured; and have taken a dangerous revenge. They cannot indeed be justified; but neither are you excusable. And you should remember, that as you are joined in the blame, you will find yourselves certainly to partake in the confequences, whatever they be. Besides the dishonour, the distress will always reach you. Your happiness is involved in their's: You fail on the fame bottom. And whatever you acquire, or keep, you may appear splendid, and be called fortunate : but you will never be happy, while you have children that are miserable and infamous.

But if, on the contrary, by your attention, and encouragement, by a suitable education, and a constant kindness tempered, or rather heightened by discretion, you can, with God's blessing, make them good; in the first place, you will do them L 3


the greatest service that is possible; se.

condly, you will discharge your own conscience, and acquit yourselves faithfully of the great trust reposed in you by Providence; and lastly, you will reap your reward in their merit, and feel the comfort of all their happiness, both in this world, and that which is to come. Besides the many instances of gratitude and affection to be expected from such children, which may prove to be useful, and will always be pleasing; you will participate of all their welfare, reflected, were,

into your own bofom; as your kindness laid the foundation of their felicity, the influence is reciprocal; and their virtues, and those of their children

after them, will to you be matter of conProv. xvii. stant and growing satisfaction. Children's 6, children are the crown of old men: and the

glory of children are their fathers.

as it

There is yet one thing more you are to provide for your children; which must


not be overlooked; itself one of the most efficacious means of doing them service; and such as may be properly joined with every other instance of your attention and tenderness: I mean the silent but persuafive admonition of your own virtuous life, and good example. With what face, or with what success, can any one reprimand his family for irregularities, which he commits; or exhort to virtues, that he only talks of? Parents, we see, have an additional reason to be religious and exemplary, over and above the motives that are common to all christians. They cannot do themselves mischief, without great hazard to those whom they have brought into the world. Testify your affection for your children, in the most important instance both to yourselves, and them. Go before them in every thing that is good : Instruct, and lead them too, in the way to heaven. Though poor, you will give them a noble fortune, if you teach them to be good chriftians. L 4


Your example may be better to them, than any estate. But what amends will you make them, by all the kindness you can shew, or the possessions you may provide, if it should be owing to you, that they are cut off at last from the inheritance of the saints in light, and condemned to have their portion for ever, where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth?


« AnteriorContinua »