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practicer of the same sins which his father had loved. He became unhappy in proportion to his guilt. The iniquity of the father descended to the sun. He fol. lowed the same course of idleness and profligacy as closely as his features followed those of his father in expression. If this, sir, had been the only case where the character and the iniquity of the father had become the son's over again, it would overturn your attempt to be wiser or more amiable than Omnipo. tence. But
know of cases all around you, and they are all over the earth, where children take after their fathers in their vices, and of course suffer as their father suffered, in proportion to their guilt.
We will consider this case, when I have placed before you one of an opposite character. Mr. T. whom you knew, was not poor; he possessed a valuable tract of land, and did not refuse to plough it. He earned his bread from day to day, although the sweat dropped from his brow whilst obtaining it. He had no time to go to the horse-race, for he would not neglect his harvest. You know how comfortable and quiet was all around him. He had the confidence of his relatives and friends. He seemed to be very happy. His sons all took after him. When not in the school-house, he had them in the field. They now work as hard as he did, and begin to be as much respected. The father's character and his
have descended to them. You know very well that the father could have taught them idleness as easily as he taught them industry, and God would not have prevented it. There are singular cases of exception to be seen in the process of every common plan, but they prove nothing. God has
promised seed time and harvest, and we have it. A few unseasonable weeks, or a failure of harvest, does not disapprove the assertion that we have harvest. Win. ter is a cold season, and a warm day in January does not disprove that truth. Summer is a warm season, and a cold day in June does not falsify the declaration, That father could have taught his sons habits of mirth and revelry, as easily as he taught them months of toil, and God would not have interfered. By refusing to interpose coercively, he visits the evils of the fathers upon their offspring. If that man who was punished at W-n circuit court for stealing, (his father was notoriously dishonest, and all his neighbours knew it) if that man had spoken as follows to the jury and to the judge, what would have been their reply? " Fellowcitizens, I cannot see how I am to blame for stealing, for my father did so before me. I always loved it, and I always practised it. My father always preferred taking his neighbour's property, to work, and I have only copied him. I cannot be to blame, for I was reared to dishonesty.”
You know that the judge would not tell the jury to acquit, because he had shown his father to be also guilty, and to be the cause of his son's unloveliness.
The murderer never is excused even if his father practised it in his sight, so as to make him a murderer in heart from his earliest day. The iniquitous charac. ter of the father going down to the son, and acting it. self out there again, does not become more lovely be. cause it was a garment worn before.
Neither God nor man excuses it. God has warned parents in the hear ing of heaven, earth and hell, that this descent will take place, and the features of the soul be visited
as certainly as the features of the body. I knew the father, who, in habits of filthy debauch, had acquired disease, which descended to his children, and they were born with feeble, unsound frames, incapable of meeting the hardships of life, and suffering with every morning's sun. Why do you not pretend to have too high an opinion of your Creator to believe that diseases are visited to the third and fourth generation? Go and tell physicians that you do not believe them, when they as. sert that many diseases are hereditary, because you have a more exalted view of your Maker than to suppose he would make things thus. Poor, innocent child, groan. ing there on account of the father's licentious and de. testable indulgences. You might speak very patheti. cally and very zealously, and at last not be either as wise, or as benevolent as the Creator, who has made things thus. But to go back again to moral disease, to that iniquity which does descend: when you know there are ten thousand cases all around you, where the son is more inclined to copy his father's vicious habits than to follow virtue; when you know that all who fall into evil practices, suffer for their character more or less ; and this visiting of the iniquity upon the children, God has never altered since he said he would not; why be trying to be wise, and to look lofty, and to disbelieve that which you have seen every day of your
life when you mingled with society?
The deist confessed that he had known idle fathers rear idle children, and that men dislike them for their worthlessness.
He confessed that he had known evil tempered, jeal. ous, or envious parents have families that felt as they did, and were considered unlovely and hateful, in pro.
portion to the amount of malignity which they had co. pied of their parents. He confessed that it did not ex cuse the criminal in any court of justice on earth, to say that the murder, or the adultery, or whatever the crime might be, was copied of father or mother, who had acted it out before them. Finally, he confessed that if a father had succeeded in training a son in vice and hateful crime, so that this blackness of soul and mon. strous deformity caused the suffering of its possessor for fifty years in this life, and then brought him to perish on a gibbet, perhaps it might forbid his joy in the next existence. On the same principle that if I may not take many thousand pounds unfairly, I may not take a single penny; on this principle, if a certain amount of unloveliness acquired in a given way, may detract from the happiness, or cause the suffering of any one for half a century, it may do so much longer, for aught we know.
Now, reader, in the next chapter we have a certain application of this truth to make, which will prevent our misunderstanding each other when we look to gether on the Ruins of Empires.
THE SUBJECT CONTINUED.
There was a man living on the shores of Lake Erie, who taught his children that adultery might offend God, but fornication was not amiss in any way. a false religion. His children believed it and suffered
for it. His sons looked with entire indifference upon the ruin of their sisters. They would bargain for the prostitution of any female relative, if money were to be realized by the traffic. All the family were brought down near the level of brutes by such false tenets, for other parts of character soon corresponded, and they suffered from their father's teaching, and that greatly, whether we think it proper or not, that they should have been left thus far under his influence.
Reader, the Bible shows that you can teach your children a false religion, and succeed equally well, if you try. We know this is true from observation, be: cause not one in the whole nation or tribe to which the man mentioned belonged, ever failed, or found any difficulty in training his family to the sin he practised.
There was a man at the foot of an Asiatic mountain, who taught his children that God was sometimes pleas. ed with the sacrifice of a child, nay, that often nothing short of this would answer.
In process of time his daughter had a little son, whom she loved, but she stran. gled him. The mother suffered, and the child suffered. The iniquity belonging to the false tenets of this false religion descended, and was felt to the third and fourth generation. The Bible says that we may teach our families tenets equally iniquitous if we try. Observa. tion teaches the same, because a hundred families living around this man taught as he did, and none failed to rear their children in their own likeness. The God of hea. ven says, reader, that if we teach our children thus, he will let it take its course; and we believe he will, for he has in every nation, since the world was made, visited the fathers' teaching in this way to distant genera. tions.