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"Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it."-PROV. xxii. 6.
EVERY question affecting the "Family," is of immense importance. The Family is the nursery of the State, of the Church, and of Heaven. On its well-being, therefore, mainly depends the well-being of man, for time and for eternity. Were it in the power of a "Socialist" to put his hand among the stars, and arrest them in their course; to destroy their central suns, and reorganize the structure of the heavens; he would not display such presumption and wickedness, or so mar the beauty, or disturb the joy of God's universe, than if he were to destroy on earth God's wise and loving appointment of the family! When Christ upon the cross was establishing the government of God, and the reign of holiness and peace on earth, we wonder not that His last command should have been, "Son, behold thy mother!" His reverence for the family relationship displayed in such an hour as this, is an impressive lesson to all who believe in Him.
It is with the earnest desire of purifying this well-spring of good, and of making this tree of life more fruitful, that I again submit to the kind consideration of parents chiefly, a few practical observations on Home Education. I have already endeavoured to explain what is implied in training a child; the end for which a child should be trained up,-that of glorifying God, that he might enjoy Him for ever; and how surely this end is one with his best earthly interests.
In my remarks upon training, I said, that its grand object was to form good habits. Allow me here briefly to specify some of those habits, the formation of which are of immense importance, because essential to the existence of a Christian character. These only I shall notice, Obedience, Self-Sacrifice, Industry and Perseverance, Truth and Honesty, and Reverence for God.
No. VII. VOL. I.-OCTOBER, 1819.
1. Obedience. By a rebellious self-will, an infant in the cradle gives the earliest signs of being a lineal descendant of fallen Adam. "My own way!" and not the way which we should go, is the motto upon man's treason banner. "Let me alone-give me my own way!" is the child's first petition to its parents, though only expressed by tears and fretfulness, when its self-will is thwarted. "My own way!" cries the rebellious young man, as in the pride of fancied independence, he spurns the control of all authority, and despises the laws of God and man. "My own way!" is the last prayer which rises from the heart of the hoary-headed sinner, as he totters on the brink of eternity, to the very last the slave of his own lawless desires, and rebellious will. Self-will in childhood is the leprous spot, which, unless cured by the reception of "the Spirit of Life, which is in Christ Jesus," will surely spread itself over, and consume the whole body. It is the spark which, unless extinguished by the fire of Divine love, will kindle itself to "everlasting burning." It is the birth of a demon, who, unless destroyed by the birth of a new man in Christ Jesus, will live for ever an enemy to the living God. For self-will is enmity to God. It desires to reign without Him, and would, if it could, hurl Him from His throne of supreme authority. It is hell begun! Parents! do not think lightly of, or trifle with, such evil as this. Earnestly contend against it. Pray God to master it. Let all the power of love and authority which He has given you be put forth to accomplish its destruction. Unless it is done in early, it cannot be done by you in riper years. If the tiger cannot be tamed or overcome when young, how shall you expect to subdue it when it has reached its strength? Habitually check, control, this wilful rebelliousness; and mould the infant mind
into obedient submission. Let the child grasping, absorbing selfishness, which be accustomed always to yield its will to would sacrifice to self the good and hapyours-at first, if necessary, simply piness of all. How early in life does because it is your will, until it is able this selfish spirit manifest itself! How to recognize God's will in yours; so that, soon do children whom it governs, become in after life, your children may be able to the little tyrants of parents, brothers, sissay, "We have had fathers of our flesh ters, and servants! Everybody and everywhich corrected us, and we gave them thing must minister to their amusement reverence, shall we not much rather be and pleasure; while they themselves, in in subjection to the Father of our spirits, their love of ease and slothful indulgence, and live?" Would you know what God "will not," as the phrase is, "put themthinks of a rebellious son? Hear His selves about" to please others;-" they commands regarding such, as they are cannot be troubled;" "they have somerecorded in the Old Testament:-" If a thing of their own to attend to," &c. man have a stubborn and rebellious son, "What else can you expect from the which will not obey the voice of his fa- child?" cries the indulgent parent, who ther, or the voice of his mother, and that, feeds this selfishness by a compliance when they have chastened him, will not with every wish. But the child, as he hearken unto them; then shall his father becomes older, becomes the very pest of and his mother lay hold upon him, and the household, and the petty tyrant of bring him out unto the elders of his city, the play-ground. What say the parents and unto the gate of his place: and they now? "Oh! you cannot put old heads But childhood shall say unto the elders of his city, This on young shoulders!" our son is stubborn and rebellious, he ripens to youth-the old evil exists, and will not obey our voice; he is a glutton shews itself in a thousand forms. The and a drunkard. And all the men of his shoulders, which have not carried the city shall stone him with stones, that yoke of self-sacrifice in youth, dislike the he die. So shalt thou put evil away Cross of Christ in advanced age. And from among you." (Deut. xxi. 18, 21.) now the complaint is heard from father Though God does not punish this evil now and mother, whose own happiness has, peras He did then-a far worse punishment haps, been sacrificed by their children: being in reserve-the evil is still the same They are gone from our control altoin His sight. See, then, that it is evil-gether; and, indeed, for some years our very evil itself,—and beware, lest, by your own disobedience to God's will, you bring upon yourselves such heavy punishments as He sent Eli, who, though God's High Priest, and, in the main, a religious man, nevertheless, through easiness of temper, permitted his children to have their own way; and while he trembled for the Ark of God, trembled not for the sins of his own household. "I have told him," said the Lord, "I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth, because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not." (1 Sam. iii. 14.)
2. Self-sacrifice.-Obedience might be included under this head, inasmuch as it is the sacrifice of our own will to a higher will; but I prefer to treat it separately. By self-sacrifice, I here chiefly mean, the habit of giving up of self for the good and happiness of others; as opposed to that
words have been as idle tales. They have given us great pain and annoyance. But the young people would have their own way; and what can we do now?" Now, indeed, very little! but what might you not have done, but for your own selfishness!
Parents, be warned in time! Begin soon. This habit of self-sacrifice is the soul of all that is good and great,-of all that is loveable and heroic. It is the Spirit of Christianity; for it is the Spirit of Christ, "who pleased not Himself." Let your children be trained up to consider the feelings, the happiness, the good, the rights of others. Let this principle extend to their treatment of even the lower animals. These creatures belong to God. We dare not use them, except consistently with the will of their Maker and possessor; they have their rights as well as we, and they are secured to them by the same
"He prayeth best who loveth best
All creatures, great and small; For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all."
3. Industry and perseverance.-The necessity of labour is a great blessing in our present state. It is good for fallen man, that he should eat his bread in the sweat of his brow. God has annexed labour to
He who "takes care of oxen," and who commanded that they should not be muzzled when treading out the corn,-He who designed the Sabbath as a day of rest for the labouring brute, as well as for the labouring man, the possession of all that is really worth He who, in sparing Nineveh, considered possessing. In temporal and in spiritual the "much cattle" which were in it,-He things it holds true, that "the hand of who feeds the wild beasts of the desert, the diligent maketh rich." The children and hears the ravens when they cry, and of the poor need not have enforced upon marks the sparrow when it falls;-that them this necessity of labour; they know loving God desires us to have a like mind that idleness will be immediately punwith Himself, and to protect the weakest ished by starvation and disgrace. The of His creatures with the arm of love, and rich require the lesson, perhaps, more not to sacrifice them to cruelty, or heart- than others; for they have greater less selfishness. Cultivate in your chil- temptations to idleness; and with them, dren habits of kindness and self-sacrifice, as with their poorer brethren, "idle days even to these. The boy or girl who is are the devil's busy ones;" for most of habitually cruel to a fly, may end in be- their vices and their misery arise out of ing habitually cruel to a father. Truly their idleness. How many young men, says the poet,in the upper ranks of society, would be saved from the extravagancies and follies which have embittered their life, had they been trained up only to some trade or profession; or felt their responsibility to God for the use they made of these great talents,-time, money, and influence! What blessings might such capital, if improved, bring to themselves and to society! What unspeakable enjoyment might they derive from the field of duty! Instead of seeking to "kill time," (which is all the while killing them!) they would redeem it, and gather treasures from it for life eternal. Let the rich, as well as the poor, then, train up their children to habits of industry. Let them be taught to improve their time; and not to labour merely to amuse themselves, but to amuse themselves in order to labour. I refer my readers for lessons upon industry, to the following passages from the book of Proverbs:— vi. 6-11; x. 4, 5; xii. 11, 24, 27; xiii. 4, 11, 22, 23; xiv. 23; xviii. 9; xix. 14, 15, 24; xx. 4, 21; xxi. 25, 26; xxii. 13, 29; xxiii. 21; xxiv. 30-34; xxvi. 13-16; xxvii. 23-27; xxviii. 19, 22; xxxi. 10-29.
By your words and example; by anecdote and history; by your smiles and rewards; by your favour and chastisement; by the fruits of their own experience; let them be taught to regard selfishness in every form as unworthy and sinful-and self-sacrifice in every form as beautiful and good. Let them be taught, that such sacrifice is the only real gain-that to give what is due to others, is to possess the richest inheritance ourselves-that to love ourselves, we must first love others-and that the more we are all this, the more shall we resemble the God of Love, who "spared not His own Sou," but gave Him a sacrifice for sinners, in order to make them partakers of His own character and joy,-the more shall we resemble that Saviour who gave His own life for us; who possessed, in perfection, that "love which seeketh not her own." And let me add, that this self-sacrificing spirit has hourly op. portunities, both of proving and improving itself, in the innumerable acts and varied scenes of household life. At the fireside, and in the so-called trifles which fill up daily life, may be cultivated the spirit, which is the very light and joy of earth and heaven!
But let me say a few words upon Perseverance.-This habit is an honouring of God's wisdom, for it honours those right means by which, according to His wise appointment, the right end can be alone attained. Men are prone to reach their
objects by short cuts. They would, if
which will make the life of godliness intolerable; and the patient, selfdenying exercises-the fighting, and running, and striving-of the Christian life impossible: train them early to the habit
of overcoming difficulties,—of never vainly seeking anything by a short cut of their own devising; but by the path, though long and steep, of God's planning;— of attending to the details, if they would grasp the results,-of being faithful in the least, in order to gain the much: in short, to use a familiar, but most expressive proverb, in everything as well as money, to "attend to the pence, and the pounds will take care of themselves.” In so doing, they only honour the wisdom of God.
4. Truth. It is unnecessary to dwell Our upon the importance of truth. Lord, speaking of the devil-"the deceiver"—says, (John viii. 44,) "he abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." Accordingly, among those who are excluded from the presence of God, we find mentioned, "whosoever maketh a lie," (Rev. xxii. 15:) while "all liars have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone," (Rev. xxi. 8.) A lie is therefore begotten of the devil. It is despised upon earth by all but the worthless.
It never was heard, and never can be found, in heaven. It can find a dwelling-place only with its first parent, in outer darkness!
Yet this dreadful thing is among the first fruits which are brought forth by the natural "heart, which is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." How prone are children "to love, and to make a lie !" And let this disposition be left unchecked or unchanged in them, how early in life may they become brazen-faced, unblushing liars! until, as age advances, the habit of deceit so hardens the heart, and blinds the conscience, that, as it is often remarked of such, "they hardly know when they speak untruly "-" they do not know they are deceiving;"" they are so deceived themselves, that they believe the lie!" There are few vices more common than this-none which more effectually bars the heart against the God of truth, and separates from the fellowship of all that are "in Him who is true;" and so seals the soul up to a sure destruction. What
language strong enough can I use against this false disposition--this spirit of all cunning, hypocrisy, cheating, and dishonesty, and enemy of all that is lovely and of good report-this disturber of all peace-this destroyer of all the bonds of friendship-this pest of life-this curse of society? It is the very child of hell. It came from it, and will return to it! Parents! cultivate in your children a deep reverence for truth, and a deep abhorrence of everything like deceit. Trace out, should it take weeks to do so, and hunt down to the very death, should it be with pains and tears, the very shadow of a lie! All pretence, sham, or double-dealing, -all equivocation and concealment,-whatever pertains to falsehood, do not tolerate. Let your children understand that you consider nothing more vile or base, nothingm ore criminal, than lying. Let the entrance of a lie in to the house be to the family as a sore affliction and disgrace. Whatever your children do or say, train them up, that they shall do it and say it truly. Do not praise any actions which are even in themselves apparently good, but which, you have sufficient reason to believe, are falsely done, from a motive, and for an end, different from what is professed. Again and again, I would beseech you to labour earnestly in training your children to habits of simple unadorned truth, transparent dealing, and open candour, in all their words and actions; so that they may hate and fear a lie as they would the father of it; and love the truth as they would love God, of whom it is. Your children may have neither learning, genius, rank, or riches; but, oh! for the sake of all that is honourable, good, and lovely, in time and eternity-let them have, what is better than these, the love of truth! Let them know, that it is better far to tell the truth, and die in consequence of doing so; than to live for ages in a palace and on a throne, by telling one lie! Nor are those advices needed only for the workingclasses. In every rank of life does this brood of Satan shew itself. There are lies which fashion licenses, as base in God's sight as their more vulgar relations:
insincere professions, false excuses, hollow pretences, promises never intended to be fulfilled:-in many such ways may the lying spirit manifest itself, as really as in the grosser form of what is termed "cool and deliberate lying." The liar may never be detected in this world,though he is generally better known than he suspects himself to be," but there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; neither hid that shall not be known. Therefore, whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness, shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets, shall be proclaimed on the house-tops." Then "all that speak lies shall not escape," but shall be cut off." Let our prayer be "Lord! Thou who desirest truth in the inward parts," who "hatest the false witness who speaketh lies," "lead us in truth," and "remove from us the way of lying!"
Inseparably connected with truth is honesty. They both stand and fall together. A false tongue will always have a false hand; and false words differ little from false coin. Parents are very apt to overlook little acts of dishonesty in their children; but let them remember, that it is not the value of what they may take from the press or from the parcel, which should concern them; but the value of their child's character. The dishonest clerk has generally learned his lessons as a dishonest child; and the faithless servant has often begun her faithlessness under her mother's roof. Parents of the working-classes! you can bestow unspeakable blessings upon society, by rearing up industrious, persevering, truthful, and honest servants! You alone can furnish such. Families, warehouses, counting-houses, railways, ships, colonies, and commerce"-the highest interests of the country-depend upon you, more than the world thinks, for their prosperity. In your house, the well-being and happiness of the nation is decided, as much as in the House of Lords, or House of Commons. Fulfil your high calling, and send forth from your dwelling honest, conscientious men and women!
5. Reverence for God.-As far as the child can receive it, let him be familiar