Page images
PDF
EPUB

Prayer, or even private devotion afterwards. Have you never then observed, that “ we cannot, in retiring into our closets, change our natures as we do our clothes ? The disposition we carry thither will be likely to remain with us. We have no right to expect that a new temper will meet us at the door. We can only hope or fear that the spirit we bring thither will be cherished. It is not easy, rather it is not possible, to graft genuine devotion on a life of an opposite tendency; nor can we delight ourselves regularly, for a few stated moments, in that God whom we have not been serving during the day. We may indeed, to quiet our conscience, take up the employment of prayer, but cannot take up the state of mind which will make the employment beneficial to ourselves, or acceptable to God, if all the previous day we have been careless of ourselves, and unmindful of our Maker. They will not pray differently from the rest of the world, who do not live differently.” On the other hand, the consistent Christian Parent, from the morning itself, looks forward to the hours of business and household care. His very supplications have an immediate reference to these hours, intending, whatever he does, “to do all to the glory of God.”. He is not to be engaged in any pursuit, or even amusement, inconsistent with such an intention; and he is not going to any place of which he need be ashamed, when he comes to his knees in the evening. Remembering that “the wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way,” he, as it were, clears this

way before him as he goes; and thus, if in the

[merged small][ocr errors]

morning, the devotions of the Family were set forth as incense, at the close of the day, the lifting up of their hands is as the evening sacrifice. Presenting themselves and their supplications before that altar which alone sanctifieth both the giver and the gift, in the name of Jesus they resign themselves to God. « To Thee," they say,

66 To Thee our evening homage paid,

And daily faults confess'd,
We, confident thou art our guard,

Resign our powers to rest.
Thus, in thy service, love, and fear,

Let all our days be past;
Then shall we nor impatient wish,

Nor fearful dread the last.”

The advantages resulting from such morning and evening Family Devotion are incalculable. Here, however, I merely advert, for a moment, to its influence

upon Parental Government, and its vital connexion with Religious Education.

“ Children,” says Dr Dwight, “naturally regard a Parent with reverence; but they cannot fail to reverence a Parent, more or less, on account of his personal character. Wherever they have been accustomed to behold their Parent daily sustaining the office of a minister or servant of God, they necessarily associate with every idea which they form of his person and character, this solemn and important apprehension. Every image of this venerable relation presented to their minds, will include in it that of a divinely-appointed guardian of their spiritual concerns; a guide to their duty given them from above;

a venerated and beloved intercessor for their salva. tion.” An addition to Parental Authority, so efficacious, and of such inestimable value as this, it seems impossible to conceive.

Such Family Worship, too, as that to which we have referred, in all its parts, “is in truth a primary branch of Religious Education ; as that education is a primary source of religion to mankind. Without Family Worship, Religious Education must always prove essentially defective; and the instructions, the reproofs, and persuasives, be suspected at least, if not accounted, insincere."

Should, therefore, any Parent be remiss and irregular, or conduct such worship in a slovenly or irreverent manner, why should he, at other seasons, complain of the difficulty which he finds in governing, or reforming, or educating his Children? Is there not a cause ? Oh! instead of quieting himself with the idea, that they are so froward as to frustrate every effort, and discourage every hope, let him rather trace the whole to the absence of the divine favour and bless. ing, and this absence to his own misconduct; let him rather take shame and confusion to himself, and let him tremble lest the Almighty visit upon his posterity, the threatened reward of his own unheeding negligence and folly.

SECTION SEVENTH.

DOMESTIC EDUCATION, AS DISTINGUISHED

FROM PURCHASED TUITION; THE OBLIGATIONS TO WHICH ARE NOT ONLY INDIS PENSABLE, BUT UNTRANSFERRABLE.

Domestic Education, a term of extensive import-in its most im.

portant sense cannot be purchased nor its duties performed by substitute.-The Education of circumstances. The Education of the dispositions.

In the proper sense of the term, Education is a thing of great scope and extent; and within the doors of a household, it is of a far more important and extensive character, than any thing for which the Children can be sent to schools of any description whatever. It affords, however, matter at once for surprise and deep regret, to observe how much this superior department of Education, which no wealth can purchase, has been overlooked ; more especially since it is one in which the rich have little if any advantage over the poor. For Education, in its largest sense, as it is enjoined in the word of God, includes the training up of a Child-the bringing him up, or educating him, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; so that Education, in this sense, includes the whole process by which a human being is formed to be what he is, in principles, and habits, and cultivation of every kind. Now, whatever proportion of all this may be

in the power of Parents, a smaller still, and that which has much less influence in forming the character, can be directed or acquired by purchased tuition of any kind. Besides, it is, and must be, by far the most valuable part of Education which cannot, by any possibility, be purchased with money. This is one of those beautiful and benign arrangements of Infinite Wisdom, in which “ He regardeth not the rich more than the poor ;" since this species of Education “ cannot be gotten for gold, neither can silver be weighed for the price thereof.” Neither can this

parental department of Education, by any ingenuity of man, be transferred or undertaken by others; for it will be seen, after every vain expedient, that Parents will, and do, and must here educate their Children. In one word, as neither love, nor friendship, nor wealth, can turn the course of nature, so neither can they relieve Parents, whether rich or poor, from those obligations which God, and nature, and their interest too, alike demand and enjoin. Let not the reader search about for exceptions. Exceptions may and do exist; but such, after all, is the course of nature, or, in other words, the will of God.

Under these circumstances, let no Parent complain of his limited means of his other occupations or of any disadvantages in his situation,- let him only fix his eye with vigilance on that department of parental training, which is at once unpurchaseable and untransferrable. You engage for your Children, and with considerable anxiety, even the best masters in every department, and you do well, and nothing more than is incumbent ; but in the business of education, properly so called, they can do but little for you!

« PreviousContinue »