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power which God bas given the adult man over the infant man. It is a valuable observation in the new philosophy of the human head, that the upper story, the seat of all the moral sentiments, is left open 10 further development; and an entering school is thus submitted to the wise and benevolent discipline of those to whom its future destiny is most interesting. Whether there be any thing in this or not, certain it is that the moral susceptibilities of our nature are in infancy greatly subjected to the influence of moral culture—so much so, that theru have not been wan'ing persons of much intellectual vigor and enlarged views who have affirmed, and given reasons for it, that children, while Yet in the arms of the nurse, have the rudimental peculiarities of their future character cast and moulded by those who wait upon them,that the seeds of pride, contempt, envy, jealousy, deception, cupidity, fretfulness, malevolence, or their contraries, are, as early as the second or third year, deeply planted in the human soil-soon to take root ia it, and, unless greaily checked, will yield an abundant harvest.
The scriptures, indeed, without any theory upon the subject, com • mand us to begin early-"to bring up," or educate from infancy, “our children in the correction and instruction of the Lord.” This alone is enough to induce Christian parents to undertake betimes this great and good work.
I seldom see an infant earnestly look into its mother's face to ascertain what she means when she addresses it, that I am not impressed with the conviction that it has been deceived by that parent or some other nurse, and has learned to correct or interpret what is said by reading the countenance of the speaker.' This is a serious reflection upon those having committed to their care so precious a deposite from the great Father of all.
Few parents seem to have learned that, till deceived by themselves the confidence of children in their veracity is alınosi unbounded. So long as their own experience confirms the testimony of those around them, they repose unlimitted confidence in all their communications; but when they are once fairly deluded by misrepresentation, their confidence is broken forever. A mother says to her little son, “Do not drink that sweetened wine, my son, for it is bad; take this medicine, my child, for it is good.” Having already affixed other ideas to the words good and bad, and finding them in both cases misapplied, his confidence in her veracity, if not wholly destroyed, is greatly impaired. Had she told the truth-had she said, “This wine is pleasant to the taste, but afterwards is injurious to the stomach;' or, "This medicine is unpleasant to the taste, but it will prove beneficial to the system;' finding the first part true, he would naturally confide in the rest, and her object would ultimately have been more effectually secured. A thousand errors may be corrected by the moral of a single specification of this sort. We need not, therefore, multiply instances by way of exemplification.
We have frequently said, but never with sufficient emphasis, that there is no substitute for good and early family training. Schools and colleges cannot often act the part of fathers and mothers. Indeed, we have sometimes painfully observed that the consequences of bad family education are insuperable. Schools and seminaries cannot always overcome strong sinister influence.
Parents are too often satisfied with delivering good precepts and exhibiting good examples. They ask, “What more can
we do??? We answer, A great deal more. You must train your children to walk in the ways you approve. What reply would you make to a teacher of instrumental music who would thus accost you? Sir, I have clearly, emphatically, and repeatedly pronounced in the ears of your daughters the whole science of instrumental music; I have explained all its principles, and the peculiar powers, and laws, and sus. ceptibilities of the Piano. Besides, sir, I have exemplified these principles and laws to your family by playing before them in every instructive manner I could imagine, not only the whole elementary lessons, but all the fine pieces in the melodies of the Lyre; and yet, sir, I am sorry to inform you, not one of your family can play a single tune.'
Would you not immediately rejoin, «Why, sir, did you practise them? Did you make them apply their fingers and their ears to the instrument? In one word, sir, did you train them to the principles and examples which you delivered?'
So I respond to the father, who, lamenting the profligacy of a prodigal son, says_Why, sir, I taught him all the proverbs of Solomon, and gave him a thousand lectures; and, sir, I always set before him what we generally call a good example; and yet, sir, it has been all in vain-my hopes are gone-my fond expectations are all blighted—my spirits are broken within me, and I must abandon the objeci.'
But, my dear sir, you did not do what Solomon commanded you.He did not say, “Teach your son, nor Exemplify to your son the way which he should choose;' but he said, “Train up your son in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.' Training sons is much more laborious than teaching sons. Go to the Circus and see how those horses and dogs and various animals and their masters are trained, and learn there the parable of training. You must make your son do the things you teach him. You say, “My son, you see how industrious I am, and you must be industrious too. That will never do: you must make him mind some business diligently and accurately for so many hours in the day.
Did any one ever learn to read by listening to the definitions and precepts about the art of spelling and reading, or by listening to others reading ac ording to the best rules of that useful and elegant art? Has ever any one acquired the art of writing by reading or hearing the whole theory propounded and explained, or by seeing it exemplified by the hand of a master? In one word, what art is learned, what habits are acquired by listening 10 the words or looking to the actions of others?
And are moral habits and moral character to be acquired as an anomaly, as an exception from every other art and habit in the history of man? I know not why it is that our moral teachers, lecturers, and authors have so generally and so fatally overlooked this palpable defeet in the popular notions and systems of moral culture. Of one thing I am certain, that their success cannot equal their desires till they learn this important lesson, that the art of living well and the formation of virtuous habits are not exceptions to other arts and other habits, but are to be acquired and enjoyed as all other useful and ornamental arts and accomplishments are universally acquired.
Does any one desire that his son shall be of a generous and benevolent spirit and character? Let him accustom him to perform acts of this kind from his earliest capability of action. Let him be often sent on errands of mercy and employed in acts of beneficence. Take him with you while visiting and relieving the miseries and misfortunes of the sick and the aflicted. When you are pouring the wine and the oil of your consolation into the wounds and bruises of the lacerated and distressed, let him carry the vessel, and let him assist you in the performance of the benevolent service. When you feed the hungry and clothe the naked, let him assist in carrying the provision and in putting on the raiment. An habitual attendance on these delightful duties, at a proper age and in favorable circumstances, will as generally and as certainly secure to him those dispositions and habits as practice in any of the necessary arts and callings of life will secure to him ease. and despatch in the performance of such duties and services.
Would you make your son a chur), selfish, and unfeeling? The way is easy:- Accustom him to horde up and pocket every thing he can acquire; never let him hear you condole with the afflicted; nor let him witness a tear of sympathy, or see you perform a generous deed to any of the sons of affliction and penury. The work is done. He will early choose to walk in your steps, and may probably improve upon all
examples. It is true as any other proverb, “As the twig is bent the tree's inclined;" and it is much easier to bend the tender twig than to straighten the crooked oak on whose extended boughs the storms of many winters have spent their fury. Then train up your children early in the paths in which you would have them to tread; for when they are old they will not depart from them.
Mexico, September 20. My dear Friend,
I have to thank you for your kind letter of the 12th inst., and for the frankness with which you have replied to my inquiries.Nevertheless, I should but poorly imitate your candor, did I not confess that the views you have presented have rather increased my difficulties than removed them.
You say that "the source of the Christian's joy lies not within, bat without him," and counsel me to "ook off to Christ.” Ah! my dear E., could I indeed turn away my thoughts from all within, and fix them upon Christ alone; could I forget myself in him, and become indifferent to the state of my own heart, I can easily conceive that I should then be released from sorrows. In him there is no weakness; no sin; no imperfection. To consider him is to dwell upon a beauty, a purity, an exaltation of character so transcendant that I am filled with wonder, adoration, and love: but, alas! it is in perceiving that he is 80 lofty, I observe that I am so low; it is in contemplating his perfections, I notice my own deficiencies; it is in view of his spotless purity, I discover my unworthiness. Will you regard this as weakness? And is it strength to forget that we are weak? Is it purity to be ignorant of our guilt; or perfection to remember no more that we are frail? Have I been mistaken in supposing that the state of the heart and the affections is the chief concern? Is religion without, and not within? Is an awakened conscience nothing but morbid sensibility? And are we authorized to dismiss all care and anxiety in regard to the sanctity and perfection of our own character? Have I misunderstood you? Your remarks certainly present religion to me in a new light, but I frankly confess it seems to me to be derived from earth rather than from heaven. It appears to me that this were to accommodate religion
* A delay in the receipt of these letters obliges us to refer the reader to vol. V. page 289, for the preceding ones.ED.
to ourselves rather than to accommodate ourselves to religion; and to obtain a deceitful peace, an imaginary security, by closing our eyes upon our danger. If for a moment I fancy myself thus attempting to seek relief, something within me seems to whisper: "Be not tempted to forego the discipline of the heart-the issues of life are there. Resist not the Spirit who strives to win your souls to God; nor exchange a godly sorrow for any outward confidence, or any inward peace proffered by insensibility.'
It has been hy day and night my prayer that my heart inight be renewed—that I might be blessed with some sweet evidence that my name is written in heaven. Is it from the ability to appropriate or apply Christ's salvation that this assurance is to be derived? If it be, from what source is this ability? Do we already possess it of our. selves? For my part, I have thought that it must be given to us of God that it must be wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit. It is this for which I have longed-an evangelical faith-a realizing senso of union to Christ, and of an abiding interest in his salvation, arising from the regenerating and renovating influence of the Holy Spirit upon the heart.
Now it may be, my dear E., that I have misconceived the tenor of your remarks, and that your greater confidence arises from a superior proficieucy in spiritual knowledge and a higher degree of spiritual enjoyment than that to which I have been enabled to attain. It cannot indeed, I think, be otherwise, when I remember that heart-felt piety, that spiritnal sensibility; that elevated devotional feeling which, when in your society, awakened in my soul responsive emotions, and kindled afresh the flame of divine love; and I cannot but realize the more the darkness by which I am oppressed, when I thus find myself but dazzled and blinded by the light which you have so kindly endeavored to shed upon my pa!h.-In hopes of soon hearing from you again, I am truly yours,
Tasco, October 2.
E, to R. Ir would never do for me, my dear R., here in this delicious climate of the Tierras Templadas, or Temperate Regions, to enter into a controversy with you who dwell in the city of Mexico, which, I believe, signifies in the Aztec or Mexican tongue, "The habitation of the god of War." I am here in the midst of a multitude of fruit-trees, and a thousand rich and luxuriant, and, to me, novel productions of a vege. tation which is never suspended for a moment. The periodical rains have ceased, and I am fanned by the expiring sighs of los Nortes, which