Imatges de pàgina
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his creatures, Let them be informed, that this world and all the creatures that are therein, are the workmanship of his hands; let them be taught, that he rules over the system of nature by his universal providence ; that he gives us all things we enjoy; preserves us in life, or can remove us by death, according to the good pleasure of his will. Let them be persuaded, that as they thus depend upon God for life, and breath, and all things; it is reasonable to acknowledge him in all their ways, that he may direct their steps. Let them be instructed, that God looketh down from heaven, and beholds the ways of the children of men ; is well pleased with them, when they walk uprightly, but that “ his face is set against those who do evil;" that therefore if they would secure his favour, they must live in his fear and keep his commandments. Let them be reminded, that there is another state of happiness and misery to which the souls of men are consigned after their dissolution from the Lody, according as their actions in this life have been virtuous or vicious; and, that as none of us know how soon we may be called to give an account of our conduct, it is therefore necessary to spend every day in such a manner as we would wish, if we knew that this night our souls would be required of us.—Let them also be informed of the degeneracy of human nature, which appears in these violent tempers and impetuous passions that swell their breasts, and lead them to the commission of many acts of wickedness.-Let them be acquainted with the provision made in the gospel, for saving them from the consequences of sin, by the mediation of Christ, if they will believe in his name and obey the gospel. Let them be taught, that the great design of Christianity is to encourage men to return to their duty, when they have deviated from it, by proclaiming a pardon to every penitent transgressor, if he endeavours to walk in newness of life. -Let them be persuaded, that to fear God and keep his commandments, is the whole duty and interest of man; and that they should know betimes the Lord God of their fathers, and serve him with a perfect heart and a willing mind ; " for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and under, standeth all the imaginations of the thoughts; if they seek him, he will be found of them; but if they forsake him, he will cast them off for ever.”

As they must soon be sent into the world to act their part in society; it is necessary to teach them the several duties which they must hereafter practise in their intercourse with their fellow-creatures. Since they are at present under your own superintendence, and are daily engaged in the society of their equals ; now is the time to habituate them to such tempers as will be found conducive to their own satisfaction, and that of those with whom they are connected. For this purpose, let parents maintain that authority over their children, which is requisite to ensure a ready, and willing obedience. Never let them dispute your commands; but shew them that your will is preferable to theirs; that you know what is conducive to their advantage, and that you never order any thing but what is intended to promote it. When they are thus persuaded, that you are better able to judge than themselves respecting the propriety of their behaviour; they will implicitly obey, and submit with filial affection. But if they should be suffered to call in question your authority, and refuse subjection to your injunctions; they will acquire a habit of disobedience, which will be vexatious to yourselves, and the bane of their prosperity in future life. Let their subordination, then, be established at home; and, when they enter into the world, they will render that submission and respect which are required in the stations which they may hereafter occupy.--Teach them also to entertain kindness and good will to those of their associates, with whom they have daily intercourse. Our nature prompts us to social intimacy, and we feel ourselves happy in the company of our equals. But rivalship of interests, and opposition of sentiments soon inspire us with hostile dispositions to those with whom we have formed the strictest friendship. Such ungenerous feelings should be discouraged in the breasts of children ; they should be taught “ to love one another with pure hearts fervently;" to cherish the benevolent affections to their little partners, and dwell toge

ther like brethren in unity. Such a habit of friendly regard will continue to influence their conduct, when they afterwards join the society of their equals in maturer years.But, there is a caution necessary to be observed, respecting the companions of children; that they be free from any vicious habits; amiable in their tempers, and irreproachable in their manners. No parent would wish his son to associate with others, who would lead him astray from the path of rectitude. Let therefore the virtuous youth be taught to abhor , the vices of the profligate ; let him be instructed to avoid intimacy with such dangerous associates, and frequent only the company of the well. disposed.

In all their intercourse with yourselves and others, accustom your children to sincerity and truth in their declarations. Let no desire to conceal their faults, and to escape punishment ever be allowed so far to prevail, as to superinduce a tendency to prevarication ; but let a lie be odious in their estimation ; let them be taught, that if they are known to be capable of falsehood, no one will believe them, even in their most serious assertions; and that they will be held in universal detestation. Let them be informed, how much every one will value them, when they can depend upon their veracity; and that by adhering to truth, they will grow in favour with God and man. -It cannot be too soon recommended to them, to le just and honest in all their transactions; to take no undue advantage of the simplicity or ignorance of others; but to deal fairly and honourably with their fellows; and en. deavour to act by this equitable rule whatsoever they would, that others should do unto them; let them do so to others; " for this is the law and the prophets.” In like manner, let them be accustomed to feel pity for distress wherever it appears; not to indulge a spirit of inhumanity in treating any person with contempt ; nor any thing with cruelty for the gratification of their humours. Of equal importance, and no less amiable, is modesty, which should be inculcated on youth from their most tender years. Let them therefore be persuaded, that it is most unbecoining in the young to boast of their merits, and wish to be thought superior to others; that those with whom they compare themselves have perhaps more worth and less pride; and that whoever is ostentatious, generally meets with a cool reception, and many mortifications from the world ; that their talents will soon be appreciated when they come to be known; and that their characters will be more esteemed, the less careful they are to expose themselves to observation.

Another good quality which should be recommended to youth, is diligence. Let them be excited to assiduous application in the pursuit of those studies which they have undertaken, as the only means of acquiring a competent acquaintance with them; and they will perceive that thereby they will overcome all the difficulties which obstruct their progress. One who has learned the art of diligence, will not fail to attain distinction in any profession however arduous; whereas he who in youth has spent his time in habits of indolence, can never be brought to prosecute any undertaking, with that steadiness which is requisite to ensure success. If then you would have your offspring respectable in their future stations, accustom them to diligence; which will have a powerful influence in promoting their prosperity.- As a constant safe-guard to innocence, and an unblemished reputation, which are the greatest blessings of human life ; let children be taught to fear the reproaches of their conscience, and the disgrace attached to vicious conduct. So long as they stand in awe of that inward monitor which warns them what to do and what to avoid, they will not deviate far from the path of rectitude ; and so long as they are desirous to secure the good opinion of mankind, they will maintain some degree of consistency of conduct. Let parents therefore teach children to reverence themselves; to dread the disapprobation of the virtuous; and above all to fear that God, who cannot look upon sin but with detestation, and can cast them both soul and body into hell-fire.

Since children in general are impetuous in their passions, and ungovernable in their appetites; they must be urged to restrain these within the bounds of moderation. They must be taught to curb their desires of objects

beyond their reach, and which have perhaps no value but what is derived from the illusions of the fancy. They should learn that many things in the world are the superfluities of fortune, which do not render their possessor at all happier than he who wants them; and that Providence having denied us certain luxuries of life, designed that “ in whatever state we are, we should therewith be content.”—As they will be constantly meeting with provocations from others, which stir up the irritable feelings, they should be persuaded to restrain the passion of anger; which will perpetually interrupt the peace of their own minds, and produce violent enmities with those around them. They should be convinced from experience, how much more prudent it is to overlook the indiscretions of others as unworthy of notice, than suffer them to inflame us to a pitch of fury which deprives us of self-command; and from these considerations, let them forsake wrath, and fret not themselves in any wise to do evil.

As they will be apt to indulge sanguine expectations from the world, they should be warned that our hopes are often disappointed, and therefore they should not place their happiness in the prospect of what may never fall to their lot; and as they may fear impending disasters, their minds should be fortified against every casualty, by teaching them, that every event is directed by the superintendence of the Almighty, “who maketh all things to work together for good” to those who love and obey him. In short every passion which begins to exert itself in their youthful minds should be timely checked, by the disci. pline of reason, and by a constant representation of such considerations, as have a tendency to allay, and keep them within proper bounds. Thus, by such discipline as Jas now been recommended, may children be trained up in the way in which they should go. In order, therefore, that education may have its due effect on their minds, let us consider,

II. The proper manner of conducting it to beneficial purposes.

This includes many particulars, which should be all ob

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