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profit by them amidst the endearments and caresses in which only mothers can carry on sweet intercourse with the opening mind of infancy. The gentleness and patience of the female sex, and the concentrated love of the child at that early age, give her a peculiar power and ascendancy over his attention and heart; and enable her to instil lessons, which, like the dews of heaven, softly, but deeply, penetrate. Much of human happiness and holiness, under the blessing, and through the grace of God, depend upon the mother's affectionate cares at this important season.
From these seemingly small beginnings effects are produced of the highest importance, though the point from which they took their origin may have been lost sight of. The mother's lessons of piety and virtue may often, for a long while, be forgotten; in the hurry of business, in the easy course of pleasure and prosperity, our attention may be altogether diverted from them: but when sorrow and adversity overtake us, when “ fearfulness and trembling are come upon us, and horror hath overwhelmed us," and when we “ would hasten our escape from the stormy wind and tempest," then the memory of our mother's“ hope,” and of our mother's faith and
present itself to our mind. We turn to it as our safety and consolation. It is like the good anchor, hung by the thoughtful captain over the bows of the bark, before she launches out into the great ocean. While prosperous breezes and favouring currents waft her
easily on her course, the anchor may hang over the ship’s side unthought of, and scarcely seen by the crew within; but when adverse winds shall arise, the waves rage, and the breakers of destruction flash close at hand, then the use and the value of the anchor is remembered, and it becomes all in all. St. Paul himself makes special allusion to this importance of female superintendence and power in sowing the early seeds of grace, when he reminds Timothy of the piety of his grandmother Lois, and of his mother Eunice', and when he places record the blessings which Timothy himself (and through him the Church of Christ) reaped from this holy and early culture. “ But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned, and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ
2. As young persons advance in years and intellect, the great mysteries of our faith may be more completely unfolded to them—the awfulness of man's danger through the fall of Adam—the wonders of the scheme of redemption by Christ Jesus—the unity of the three Persons of the Godhead in Trinity-their offices in the work of man's salvationthe nature of Christ's Church, and the claims of that
2 Tim. i. 5.
2 Tim. iii. 14, 15.
branch of it under which they are especially enrolled. These and other topics must be laid before them, but gradually, and by such measures as parents and teachers judge best, according to the age, acquirements, and abilities of the child. “ In putting them,” says
says Baxter, “ upon the practice of religious duties, you must carry them on by degrees, and put them at first upon no more than they can bear, either upon the learning of doctrines too high and spiritual for them, or upon such duty for quality or quantity as is over-burdensome to them; for if you once turn their hearts against religion, and make it seem a slavery and a tedious life to them, you take the course to harden them against it. And therefore all children must not be used alike, as all stomachs must not be forced to eat alike. If
you force some to take so much as to become a surfeit, they will loathe that sort of meat as long as they live. I know that nature itself, as corrupt, hath already an enmity to holiness; and I know that this enmity is not to be indulged in children at all; but withal I know, that misrepresentations of religion, and imprudent education, is the way to increase it; and that enmity being in the heart, it is the change of the mind, and love, that is the overcoming of it, and not any such constraint as tendeth not to reconcile the mind by love. The whole skill of parents for the holy education of their children doth consist in this, to make them conceive of holiness as the most amiable and desirable life, which is
by representing it to them in words and practice, not only as most necessary, but also as most profitable, honourable, and delightful.”
But at a very early period may those graces and virtues, which are the fruits of a lively faith, and by which alone its life can be manifested to others, or distinguished even by ourselves, at a very early period, may these be taught and inculcated. The first growth of holiness and virtue may be cherished, the first buds of impiety and vice nipped and checked, by a careful and judicious parent. For to little purpose will a parent have set before his child the wonders and mercies of the Gospel, and the power of the spirit of grace, unless he shall have taught the child also, that the religion of Jesus is a religion of motives, and that, if it has any life in our breasts, it must excite us to action. If we be, indeed, grafted on to the true Vine, and derive from it the animating influence and power of the parent stock, we must “ bring forth much fruit." And what kind of fruit they should be, St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Galatians, tells us: “ The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." These are but the heads of duties innumerable to God and man, which the Gospel enforces and teaches us to perform, not by constraint, but willingly, upon motives ever active, and on principles, which render the ways to which it points, “ ways of pleasantness, and all its paths peace.”
It is not intended, nor indeed possible, here to enumerate all the duties and dispositions which a parent is called upon to cultivate in his children; but it may be desirable to glance at two or three, which are of great importance, and perhaps, too, often not sufficiently appreciated, nor attended to in due season.
Of these we may first name industry, and proper occupation of time. Idleness has been said to be “ the root of all evil.” And to whatsoever extent this proverbial saying may apply generally, it applies in a stronger degree to young persons. Unless they shall be taught early habits of industry, not only the occupation of their time, but the useful and holy occupation of it, they will both lay the foundation of failure and misery in their worldly course, and also present an opening for the great enemy of their souls to betray and ruin them. Parents are too often regardless of the connexion of idleness with crime, and of the dangerous power which the habit of it acquires over the youthful mind.
The next point I would touch upon in education, is attention to the establishment and encouragement of tenderness of heart and general benevolence. I need not now point out the necessity and excellence of true dispositions, but must advert to the faults which may be observed in the education of children, as very commonly allowed to counteract the formation and growth of them, and to strengthen propensities the very reverse. I may particularly