« AnteriorContinuar »
allude to minor acts of cruelty, especially to insects and animals. Parents are too often in the habit of allowing these to pass without reproof or notice. Thus the foundation is frequently laid of merciless and savage inclinations in after life, or at least of thoughtless brutality of heart, which displays itself in injuring the persons, or wounding the feelings, of others. Akin to these acts are rude and discourteous manners. Parents are apt to overlook the real nature and tendency of these. They confound true courtesy with a frivolous nicety in matters of ceremony. But real courtesy is founded on kindness of heart, a desire to do what is pleasing, and to avoid what is displeasing, to others. And a young person, from being sometimes led to suppose that roughness is frankness, (which is by no means the case,) acquires a habit of rudeness, not caring whose feelings he hurts. A gentle and benevolent heart will never give pain unnecessarily, and will always consider it a duty to please, where it can be done without a sacrifice of principle. Parents should cherish such a disposition; for more of human happiness, and more of the formation of a child's character, depend upon it than, on a hasty view, we are prone to imagine.
Another principle, which it should be the especial object of education to engraft in the hearts of children, and which is so little regarded, is the love of truth. An inflexible reverence of this should be carefully instilled. Every evasion of it should be rebuked, and particularly that species of lying which we call prevaricating,—that is, using words which are true in one sense, but not true in the sense in which we expect them to be understood. This paltry artifice has all the guilt of a direct lie, and a double portion of its cowardice and baseness. All trickery, double dealing, and dissimulation, however sportive, in children, should be checked at once; for from these beginnings grows up the habit of lying and deception.
But on all these three subjects I shall have occasion to discourse generally, and not in their especial application to youth. One more principle I will mention, to establish which in youth education should be directed, namely, self-denial. This may be painful at first, both for the teacher to enforce, and for the learner to receive. Hence arises often the weak and dangerous indulgence of parents, and a reluctance to enter upon the disagreeable task. But it is one of the most important habits which a young person can acquire. It may at first be laborious, but at last it will bring peace and joy to both the parent and child. It was among the visions of the infidel school of France, that children were to be left to the unrestrained influence of a corrupt nature. The following exposure of this mad vision of human conceit opposed to Divine wisdom, I quote from Bishop Horne's Sermons, and thus conclude:
Upon this principle it is, and because the depravity of our nature begins to show itself very early in operation, that children, as they cannot be made to understand the necessity of denying themselves, unless we would see them spoiled and ruined, must be denied by others who are about them, their parents or governors. Systems of education, however differing in other respects, all centered here, till some years ago, upon the continent, arose a genius, brilliant as a comet, but, like that, eccentric and portentous, who surprised the world, by advancing, in substance and effect, the following propositions :— That no kind of habits ought to be impressed on children; that you ought never to teach them obedience as a duty; that you should leave them to the natural consequences of their own actions, and that, when reason comes to exert itself in a maturer state, all will be right.' Should the experiment ever be tried in England, the event will only verify what has been predicted, in a beautiful apostrophe to the pupil of this new philosopher, by an elegant writer of our own :- EMILIUS ! how I tremble for thee, while I see thee exposed to the care of thy too ingenious tutor! Fortunate wilt thou be, if thou reachest the end of thy fifth year! Nay, rather fortunate wilt thou be, if those accidents which must inevitably attend thy situation, deprive thee of a life destined to future misery, from the ills of body and of mind, contracted through this early and continued indulgence of thy infant caprices! I see thee wilful to thy parents, domineering in the nursery; surfeiting on meats, bursting with liquids; inflaming thy body with noxious humours, thy mind with unquiet positions; running headlong into dangers which thou canst not foresee, and habits which thou canst not eradicate; mischievous to others, but fatal to thyself.'
“ In things of higher and more important concern, which respect not time but eternity, we are all in a situation too nearly resembling that of • EMILIUS, unless placed under the discipline of a better tutor. That tutor must be religion.”
BAPTISM AS CONNECTED WITH CONFIRMATION.
GRANT, O Lord, that as we are baptized into the death of thy blessed Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, so by continual mortifying our corrupt affections we may be buried with him; and that through the grave, and gate of death, we may pass to our joyful resurrection ; for His merits, who died, and was buried, and rose again for us, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
MATT. xxviii. 19.
GO YE, THEREFORE, AND TEACH ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST.
In the preceding Sermon on the education of children, I mentioned the duty of parents to enter them into the Church of Christ by Baptism, and in due time to bring them to Confirmation. And as it was announced that Confirmation would be one of the subjects to be discussed in the course of our plan of Family Sermons, the present will be as convenient a place for treating of it as we can