Page images
PDF
EPUB

as

selves, 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,

it
were,
clears this

way

before him as he goes; and thus, if in the 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 sanctifietlı both the giver and the gift, in the name of Jesus they resign themselves to God “ To Thee,” they say,

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 connection with Religious Education.

* More's Practical Piety.

“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 divinelyappointed guardian of their spiritual concerns; a guide to their duty given them from above; a venerated and beloved intercessor for their salvation.” 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 favor and blessing, 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 INDISPENSABLE, BUT
UN TRANSFERABLE.

[ocr errors]

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 anything 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.

can

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"
not 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 interests 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 untransferable. 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!

Addressing myself, therefore, especially to Parents, I would say-Placed by the all-wise providence of Heaven in such a peculiar situation, it will be well for you to keep

especially in view, what may be denominated, the Education of circumstances, and the Education of the dispositions.

I. THE EDUCATION OF CIRCUMSTANCES.—Let purchased tuition be carried up to the very highest perfection, and let neither money nor wisdom be spared in reaching this height, of such vital importance in the training of Children, is that department to which I now refer, that it can, and, if neglected, will, undermine and undo the whole, as well as render many efforts in educating the disposition altogether abortive. Suffer me to explain my meaning.

In the laudable anxiety of their hearts, two Parents, with a family of infants playing around their feet, are heard to say—“Oh! what will—what can best educate these dear Children ?" I reply-Look to yourselves and your circumstances. Maxims and documents are good in themselves, and especially good for the regulation of your conduct and your behavior towards them; but with regard to your Children, you have yet often to remark, that many maxims are good, precisely till they are tried, or applied, and no longer. In the hands of many Parents they will teach the Children to talk, and very often little more. I do not mean to assert, that sentiments inculcated have no influence; far from it; they have much, though not the most; but still, after all, it is the sentiments you let drop occasionally—it is the conversation they overhear, when playing in the corner of the room, which has more effect than many things which are addressed to them directly in the tone of exhortation. Besides, as to maxims, ever remember, that between those which you bring forward for their use, and those by which you direct your own conduct, Children have almost an intuitive discernment;

« PreviousContinue »