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almost as many forms of proceeding as there are chil. dren to educate; for as every plant requires not the same kind of culture, so, what would be useful in forming the mind of one child, would be dangerous, or even fatal in forming that of another. But where are the parents who would know themselves in this represen. tation? Sensible they may be of its justice, but such a tax on their time and attention, is found incompatible with their ordinary pursuits; incompatible with a life of pleasure ; of tranquility and repose. What is the consequence? Why in the little they may do to forward this great work, they fall into a thousand errors; being directed more by humor and inapatience, than by sound and serious reflection.
Some are even brutal to excess in the treatment of their children; converting an occupation in which tenderness and insinuation should take the lead, into a system of downright persecution. When called on to reprehend, they do it in words of wormwood and gall. When forced to approve, their manner is cold and discouraging. They neither do justice to the virtues, nor can forgive the weakness of youth. No entreaties can molify, no tears disarm them. Their families are the region of eternal tempests, where nothing is heard but the moans of the oppressed, and the bellow of the tyrant. The unhappy victims may be truly said to feed on the bread of tears and wretchedness. They consider their parents as the most cruel enemies; loathe and detest their precepts; and never can be induced lo consider that virtue amiable which is recommended in accents of terror, and enforced by insupportable authority.
Hence the most ardent longing for emancipation. Hence do the youth of one sex plunge early and openly into vice, more, perhaps, from rage against their persecutors, than from natural inclination; and those of the other, often at the tenderest age, fly into the arms of the first man who offers to be their deliverer; form unequal and inglorious matches; or become victims of a far more deplorable misfortune.
There may be, however, and often is, a defect in the conduci of parents, of a nature the very opposite ; name. ly, that of loving their children 100 much, or, more properly speaking, to their ruin. “He that sparelh the rod," saith the Wise Man, “hateth his son : but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” Dreadful are the consequences of that blind affection which will see no fault in a child, and suffer all the wintoward propensities of his nature to grow up and strengthen from the fear of afflicting them by control.
It is not uncommon to see such spoiled children, if I may use a received expression, treating even their 100 indulgent parents with habitual insolence and disrespect; starting into ungovernable sallies of rage at the slightest opposition to their will; become absolute pests, not only in their own families, but wherever they are admitted ; and betraying, on all occasions, such sinister propensities as should make parents tremble for their future happiness.
But what must we think, when, as they advance in years, their vices and irregularities are overlooked from the same principle? When parents are found to treat the most notorious profligacy with unabated fainiliarity and affection; nay, frequently listen with smiles and complacency to the history of ihe most scandalous freaks and excesses!
Great God, with what justice shail such children, at the close of an unhappy life, descending perhaps into the grave covered with abominations, and despairing of suturity, pour burning curses on the heads of those who might have prevented so dreadful a catastrophe, by loving them as they ought to have loved !
My friends, we are invested by nature and religion with a kind of sovereign authority over our children. Let us use it with tender reluctance on all occasions ; but when necessary, with inflexible justice. Nothing should stand between us and this most sacred duty.
Another capital error to which parents are liable, is, not so much the feeling, as the betraying, a greater regard for one child than another. Did such a distinction arise from a difference in their deserts, it might be jus.
tified, as going to promote a spirit of emulation in good conduct; but founded generally on pure caprice, or some quality merely extrinsic, and often too in favor of the most unworthy, I need not observe, that it is as opposite to reason, as it is irreconcilable with the principles of religion and the impartiality of nature; besides that it invariably goes to excite the worst passions in the breasts of children. For they who are forced into the shade, delivered over to the most mortifying neglect, to make room for the monopoly of one, will feel it to the quick; will burn with implacable hatred and resentment against the favorite ; and be impelled to despise, if not detest, the parent who is capable of such manifest injustice. Nor is it out of experience to say, that a strong and bitter recollection of that injustice is sometimes preserved far beyond the season of youth ; and that parents have looked in vain for that filial affection and duty which they once took no pains to foment, or rather labored indirectly to extinguish.
The last obstacle to success in this cause, and one absolutely insuperable, is the want of edifying deportment in parents. Where this is wanting, all other efforts are but solemn mockery. It is the strangest abuse of common sense, to suppose children will retain lessons of religion and virtue, whatever solemnity may be used to infix them, when they have hourly before their eyes so great a contradiction, as a dissipated or vicious example in the very person of their instructor. A debauched father may indeed compose a serious face, and speak to his son in sentences on his duty to God, and the de. basement of being mastered by his passions; or a woman of the world may read, for mere variety, a lecture to her daughter on the advantages of modesty, reserve and retirement. But what effect will either produce, but a manisest impatience of, or a suppressed contempt for such barefaced effrontery? But again, with what indignation shall we think of those who use no effort whatsoever to weaken the effect of their conduct; but train up their children openly and directly to vice and irreligion ; sporting in their presence with the most sa
cred things; holding language avowedly or transparently obscene; pressing on their hearts à most irritable sense of the slightest injury or insult; recommending, nay, consecrating the sanguinary rules of modern honor; implanting an ardent thirst of riches and exclusive ambition of human glory; just as if their object was to spare the devil, the world, and the flesh, the trouble of seducing them at a future day; as if, not content with being personally impious and abandoned, they would perpetuate their crimes and impiety in a guilty race; and, from the bottom of the tomb, continue to insul: heaven and earth in the persons of their children, when no longer in a capacity of doing so themselves ? If such parents tremble not at the thought of thy vengeance, O just and righteous God! what minister of iniquity can have cause to tremble? Let those who are parents among us reflect on this awful and too intelligible sentence, “their blood will I require at your hands," Their blood! If such be the language of God himself, dreadfully forewarning them, better, far better, they had never been born, than do the work of Satan in the very bosom of their families; and, contrary to the loud cry of nature, deliberately plunge their children in an abyss temporal and everlasting.
ELOQUENCE OF THE BAR.
THE CAUSE OF THE KING
It has fallen to my lot, either fortunately or unfortunately, as the event may be, to rise as counsel for my client on this most important and momentous occasion. I appear before you, my lordis, in consequence of a writ issued by his majesty, commanding that cause be shown to this, his court, why his subject has been deprived of his liberty, and upon the cause shown in obedience to this writ, it is my duty to address you on the most awful question, if awfulness be tò be judged by consequences and events, on which you have been ever called upon to decide. Sorry am I that the task has not been confided to more adequate powers ; but, feeble as they are, they will at least not shrink from it, I move you therefore, that Mr. Justice Johnson be released from illegal imprisonment.
I cannot but observe the sort of scenic preparation with which this sad drama is sought to be brought forward. In part I approve it ; in part it excites my disgust and indignation. I am glad to find that the attorney and solicitor generals, the natural and official prosecu. tors for the state, do not appear; and I infer from their absence, that his excellency the lord lieutenant, disclaims any personal concern in this execrable transaclion. I think it does him much honour; it is a conduct chat equally agrees with the dignity of his character, and the feelings of his heart. To his private virtues, whenever he is left to their influence, I willingly concur in