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ruption has its chief source in the very education we have received. If the people are victims, because absolutely untutored, so are we, because the stress in our education is not laid where it ought to be. Nothing indeed is usually omitted that can fit the youth of both sexes to play a part in the world; the one to climb by their talents; the other to triumph in the wretched circles of vanity by the grace of manners. But a deep and indelible sense of their duty to God, a fixed horror of vice, and noble disdain of folly, where is the parent who thinks sufficiently of inspiring? But admitting that some pains are employed on this head, of what use can they be, if, from their infrequency and langour, they are considered by children rather as a debt paid to custom and routine, than a thing of serious and awful necessity ? How shall the superficial tincture of religion and virtue hold against the rising passions of youth No; when the season of their hurricane comes, what lies merely on the surface of the heart, will be torn up and swept away like chaff before the winds. . No; if impressions penetrate not to the very bottom of the soul, are not united with our very being, never shall man resist, for any time, the power of the enemy within, or of the world without. The evidence of this is on every side of us. Besides, of what use are instructions, even assiduously and fervently conveyed, without unceasing vigilance to cut off all danger of corruption? We know, that to relax in this particular but a moment, is sometimes fatal. Remember that our Saviour scarce slumbered when the tempest arose to overwhelm the vessel that bore his disciples. Remember the counsel of the Wise Man, “Never lose sight of what you value, and are in danger of losing.” Re member the fate of the unfortunate Dinah, “who went out without being accompanied.” What tears the compliance of a moment cost the afflicted Jacob, and what torrents of blood were shed to repair the injury he received. Indefatigable attention then to this point is indispensably necessary. But who at this day, make it a rule never to admit their children

to improper intercourse ? How often, on the contrary, are they permitted to pass warm from the lesson of piety and virtue into circles of pleasure and dissipation, where every thing they hear and see tends to enervate the mind and corrupt the heart? It will easily, I believe, be admitted, that the world possesses the secret of making perfect proselytes to vice without giving any direct lessons on the subject; and that many a youth may be thought a saint at home, who is known among his associates as a libertine of the very first hope; and who secretly laughs at the imbecility of his parents, who could rely on theory, and overlook the force of example. I cannot omit reprobating on this head the too familiar intercourse to which children are admitted with servants. For to say nothing of the coarse and grovelling habits they must consequently imbibe; nothing of those arrogant, and supercilious notions that are necessarily contracted from being flattered and fawned on; the great' danger is, that as servants, in general, have not been blessed with the advantage of education, and are under no sort of restraint, but what arises merely from the dread of dismission, they will often utter language, and betray principles, that sink deep into the recollection of young minds, and naturally produce the most deplorable effects. I would remind parents, how infinite are the qualities necessary to succeed in seducing, I may say, the understanding and the hearts of children to the knowledge and love of virtue. There should be tenderness to engage their affection; bounty to attract their confidence; gravity to draw their respect; authority to hold them in submission; affability to render their dependence amiable; severity that has nothing revolting; compliance that has nothing base; mildness that knows how to forgive; firmness that can punish and repress; wisdom that can sometimes dissemble, and seem ignorant of what it sees; deep attention to discover their ruling passions; attention, if possible, still more deep, to counteract them, and yet conceal the discovery; in fine, almost as many forms of proceeding as there are children to educate; for as every plant requires not the same kind of culture, so, what would be useful in formitg 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 representation? 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 impatience, 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 rerehend, they do it in words of wormwood and gall. hen 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 to 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


conduct of parents, of a nature the very opposite; namely, that of loving their children too much, or, more properly speaking, to their ruin. “He that spareth 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 untoward 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 too 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 familiarity and affection; nay, frequently listen with smiles and complacency to the history of the most scandalous freaks and excesses : Great God, with what justice shall such children, at the close of an unhappy life, descending perhaps into the grave covered with abominations, and despairing of futurity, 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 greaterregard for one child than another. Did such a distinction arise from a difference in their deserts, it might be justified, 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 debasement 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 manifest 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

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