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gives a signal blessing; but those, who will not employ such efforts, have no ground to expect any blessing. They may rather look with awful apprehension to the curses every where denounced in the word of God against those who have mercies placed within their reach, but will not accept them in the appointed way.

CHAP. II.

The Period from early Infancy to the Learning to read Faulty Course commonly pursued-A very early Attention to Tempers and Habits recommended-Religion how to be instilled—Parental Example.

THE years which precede manhood are naturally

divided into several periods. The first is, from early infancy to the time when the child begins to read. The next is, from that time to the time of going (if a boy) to school, or to a private tutor; and, if a girl, to the age of ten or twelve. On the present occasion, my remarks will be confined to these incipient but highly important stages in education.

The period of infancy is generally suffered to slide away with little or no attention to the work of education. The child is supposed to be in a kind of irrational state, which will scarcely admit of moral discipline, and its parents seem to think only of its health and amusement. If it wants any thing, its wish must be gratified; if it cries, it is to be quieted by indulgence; or if this cannot be effected, attempts are frequently made to cheat it into a belief that the desired object has suddenly vanished. If it has been hurt, the immediate cause of its misfortune, whether animate or inanimate, is not seldom to be beaten, and the child itself is encouraged to join

in inflicting the punishment. Things proceed in this way nearly till the time when the child can talk, and often much longer; and when this system is changed for another; still it gives way very slowly, and in many cases some remains of it may be discerned for years after the child is allowed to be capable of instruction. What is the true character and tendency of this course of proceeding? It unquestionably fosters those seeds of evil which abound in our nature. Is man naturally self-indulgent? What then must be the effect of a studied system of indulgence? Is he impatient, and passionate, and vindictive ? How greatly must these dispositions be cherished; by not only permitting but encouraging their gratification! Is he disposed, when in pursuit of favourite objects, to be little scrupulous with respect to violations of plain-dealing truth? The artifices to which nurses and female relations resort would almost create such a disposition, were it not originally in his bosom. With what eyes then must the Almighty look upon such a course of proceeding! It would be trifling with my readers to pursue this topic any farther.

But now we proceed to the important inquiry, What system of management ought to be substituted in the place of that which has been described? All persons who do not think that a plea of necessity (a very unfounded plea, however, in the present case) may be urged in favour of the practice of positive

evil, must allow, that every thing should be avoided by mothers and nurses, which has a tendency to cherish and bring into activity that depraved nature which, if there be any truth in Scripture, or any reliance can be placed on experience, we all bring into the world with us. They will grant, therefore, that Nanny, or the cat, or the chair, are not to be

* The natural perversion of the human heart, or the predominance of its propensities to evil, rather than to good, is, by many at the present day, not only denied, but on the contrary they contend, that its prevailing tendency is towards virtue's side. In support of this opinion it is said, that "virtue is uni"versally approved, and vice detested;" and that, "were it "not for bad example, and had education, children would not be so generally prone to evil, as we now find them." But it may be said in answer, that were it not for good example and good education, children and men would doubtless be much worse than they now are.

To decide correctly on this subject, we should inquire, what would be the result, were children permitted to grow up without any salutary instruction, restraint, or admonition; or which course of instruction w. 'd be attended with the greatest success; that which inculcates moderate indulgence, obedience to parents, repentance for sin, the love and spiritual worship of God, and all the self-denying and disinterested duties of the Gospel; or that which inculcates self-indulgence, disobedience, hardness of heart, and contempt of God, and all his commandments?

Viewing the subject in this light, no one can doubt, what the natural tendency of the human heart is.

beaten because they happen to have displeased the child. But must not we confine ourselves to mere abstinence from fostering evils? Is it not visionary and chimerical to attempt to check bad tempers and habits, and to lay a foundation for good ones? Or if an attempt of this kind be not altogether hopeless, is it not at least unnecessary to make it at so early a period, when little success can be expected : and most advisable to defer it till the reason of the child is further advanced, and its ability to submit to discipline is greater? My experience gives me a view of parental duty very different from that to which these questions would lead. The Almighty Creator very soon begins to unfold in man those intellectual and moral faculties which are destined, when rightly employed, to qualify him for the highest services and enjoyments through the ages of eternity. In a few weeks after its birth, a child's reason begins to dawn; and with the first dawn of reason ought to commence the moral culture which may be best suited to counteract the evils of its nature, and to prepare the way for that radical change, that new birth, promised in baptism, and the darling object of the hopes of every parent who looks on the covenants in that holy rite, not as forms but as realities. Let me appeal to every mother who delights to view her infant as it lies in her arms, whether it does not soon begin to read "the human face divine," to recognise her smile, and to shew itself sensible of her

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