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THE PASSIONS OF INFANCY.
sorry, will feel really so, and be heartily wearied with the struggle. He will intreat forgiveness, embrace his mother as she drops one more word of kind dispassionate advice, and hostility shall cease; the seeds of bad passion are for a time smothered, and in every succeeding and ineffectual effort for life, grow weaker. The experiment comes to be tried less and less frequently; and in the end, a full and complete triumph belongs to the nice art and wisdom of good education,
MORALITY OF CHILDHOOD,
TEACH THEM YOUR CHILDREN SPEAKING OF THEM WHEN THOU
SITTEST IN THY HOUSE, AND WHEN THOU WALKEST BY THE WAY, WHEN THOU LIEST DOWN, AND WHEN THOU RISEST UP."
It has been shewn, that the importance of the infant character will lie, first, in the regulating of its passions. This point has been considered in the foregoing pages, where I have endeavoured to prove that emotion, affection, and passion rise in the infant soul from its birth, and continue to develope themselves with its bodily powers. That these powerful agents are continually vacillating and branching to dangerous heights; and that to restrain, to curb, and to regulate them, demand, from the very tender age of several months, the most patient and unceasing care of the mother or guide.
It has also been asserted, that a mind actuated alone by the passions, even if they be of the noblest description, is yet in a state of the most imminent danger and hazard, having nothing whereon to rest for support but mere human reason ; and nothing to serve it in the stead of sound principle, and as a check to vice, but the dread and fear of man. Accordingly it has been, in all enlightened ages, considered necessary to give the active virtues : or, as we christians express it, a body of morality, to childhood. This, then, is for our second consideration.
The regular passions may be likened to a high narrow bridge thrown across a tremendous chasm. The din and clash of jarring elements, as the action of a world, confound our senses ; shadows in the form of balustrades and alcoves on either side tempt us to indulge, for enjoyment, or rest; when, in endeavouring to do so, we advance beyond the utmost verge of the lawful road, and fall headlong to destruction. How shall a man proceed? But if it be difficult to a man, how shall it be for a little child to walk safely on. wards ? Never. He absolutely never can, unless he have a guide. He has a right to many, and be it your care, anxious and watchful parents, as you love your offspring, to provide them.
Come ye virtues, in all the loveliness of never failing attraction, adorned by the graces, and displaying the calm preponderating influence of moral goodness and integrity, come; and be introduced by the mother to her child. Take his little hand within your own; some of
and others of you stand between him and the deceitful shadows of temptation.
How shall he clear the narrow road of the passions, if the virtues be not close to his side? How shall he avoid being distracted by the confusion and uproar of the tempted and the falling, if the virtues are not near enough to draw his attention to their whispers of instruction, warning, and peace ? and how shall be not tremble in the heat and obscurity of the atmosphere, if they are not by to encourage, to refresh, to enlighten, and to hold him to a moderate pace? The passions, unacompanied by the virtues, are terrible; the virtues alone, without one beam of the fire of passion, are silent and inactive, and of no benefit to man. Thus, then, let us join them; and they will act and react upon each other as a spring or a check, in grateful succession and to incalculable advantage.
As the regular passions, so are the virtues a numerous band. Like them, too, they are capable of being strained to excess, according to the subject. Passions are lawful ; drawn to excess they become criminal. The virtues are lovely : distorted to extremes, they approach to vice. Moderation seems the only safe and sure ground, and a middle course alone, to point to happiness. Fortunate indeed is that child who is directed to steer within it.
IN TRUTH AND
"I WILL DIRECT THEIR WORK IN TRUTH."
In considering the virtues, we shall find, like as are the passions, every principal one a generic name for many species ; in other words, each as a mistress over her respective family, whose members have all, more or less, affinity with or resemblance to their head. Thus from the great virtue mercy, arise humanity, benevolence, good-nature, lenity, compassion, pity, &c. From that of truth, will spring sincerity, candour, ingenuousness, integrity, probity, &c. &c.
Of the very considerable number of virtues, some may naturally be expected in their importance to rank high above the others. Accordingly we find three especially singled out by the sacred writers, as partaking of the very essence of religion. Of them it is not yet my business to speak. We are at present considering those virtues which we are to give to infancy as a check on its passions. There are also four other virtues distinguished by the sacred penmen; the last of which has been slightly adverted to. This is temperance ; and temperance, not as it restricts a little child's appetite, to the deprivation of that nourishment which his weak frame absolutely and often requires, but only to the administering to ex