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men inflamed with any other passion, even voluptuousness, the most impure and inveterate, are sometimes enlightened and reformed by the ministry of religion, or the sober and deliberate judgment of inanhood and experience. But who will say that such a wretch as I have described, in the extremity of selfishness, was ever corrected by any ordinary resource or expedient? Who will say that he is at any time vulnerable by reproach, or, I had almost added, even convertible by grace! No; through every stage and revolution of life he remains invariably the same; or, if any difference, it is only this, that as he advances into the shade of a long evening, he clings closer and closer to the object of his idolatry : and while every other passion lies dead and blasted in bis heart, his desire for more pelf increases with renewed eagerness, and he holds by a sinking world with an agonizing grasp, till he drops into the earth with the increased curses of wretchedness on his head, without the tribute of a tear from child or parent, or any inscription on his memory; but that he lived to counteract the distributive justice of Providence, and died without hope or title to a blessed immortality.
ADVICE TO PARENTS. If our insensibility to the pressing claims of the rising generation proceed from our corruption, that corruption 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. 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." Remember 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 beMeye, he 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 des plorable 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 cultare. so, what would be
useful in forming 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 tranquillity 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 humour 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 reprehend, they do it in words of wormwood and gall. When 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 mollify, 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. HMce 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 controul.
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 sovereigu authority over our