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hope to derive profit from their labour, or convenience from their subserviency to their selfish wishes. No words are necessary to show that such views, feelings, and conduct are contradictions to the parental character and duties alike. Equally hostile are they to the good of the child, and are calculated only to destroy all his tendencies towards becoming a useful man.
Persons who act in either of these modes, have never set before their eyes the true end of parental government, and have no conceptions of the real nature of that great duty to which they have been called by their Maker. A little attention to this subject would convince them, that all their government is to be administered under the controlling influence of kindness only, kindness, directed solely to the good of their children. They are indeed to reprove and to punish them; but this is to be done only for their good, and never to gratify the resentment, nor to promote the selfish purposes of the parent. It is to be done, because their faults are to be repressed, and because these are the proper means of repressing them; because it is necessary that the children should be sober, discreet, virtuous, and useful; and because these are the proper means of preparing them to become so. As such means only is all discipline to be used. In every other view the nature of discipline is subverted. Reproof becomes reproach, advice contumely, and correction an assault. Instead of rendering the child what he ought to be, the parent will in this way destroy all the worth which he at present possesses, and prevent that which he might acquire.
Among the modes of exhibiting kindness in governing our children, calmness and moderation in reproving and correcting are indispensable. He to whom this office falls, ought, more than in almost any other case, to be in perfect possession of himself. Every thing which he does or says ought to prove that he is so. His countenance ought then to be mild, his accent gentle, his words free from all unkindness, and his conduct such as to prove that he is compelled to this unwelcome office by duty only.
With this spirit, parents will naturally be led not to govern their children too much. Like certain Mohammedans, who estimate the degree of their devotion by the number of prayers which they utter, some persons suppose their duty of governing their children to be performed meritoriously, merely because they reprove and panish their children very often ; and accordingly make it their business to find fault-with them from morning to night, and to punish them from week to week. In this way both reproof and punishment lose all their power, and only serve to case-harden the child against his duty. Children are as easily injured by too much goverment, as by too little. Children ought always to be watched with attention and tenderness, but not to be harassed.
Another important office of kindness is to administer reproof and punishment privately. Children sometimes commit their faults before others, when the parent is present; and necessity may then demand that they should be reproved on the spot, and in the presence of those who witness the fault. Whenever this is not the case, it will, in almost every instance, be desirable to administer the proper discipline in private. In this case the child will feel that his character is saved; and will be solicitous, in future, to preserve his own character by good conduct. He will feel also, that he is treated kindly, and will be grateful for the kindness. His mind will be left free for the undivided exercise of veneration for his parent. The parent, at the same time, will enjoy the best possible opportunity for reproving him freely, largely, pungently, and solemnly; without that embarrassment which will necessarily arise from the presence of others. In the presence of others the child will feel bis pride wounded, his character sacrificed, and himself disgraced; and all this without any visible necessity. He will therefore be angry, stubborn, pert, and not improbably disposed to repeat his former faults, and to perpetrate others. These emotions, and these designs, he will, not unnaturally, disclose to his companions; and they, not less naturally, will enhance and encourage them. · Thus the whole force of the parental administration will always be weakened, and most frequently destroyed.
4. The government of Children should always be accompanied by proofs of its reasonableness and equity.
Many parents err through too much indulgence, and many through too little. Both extremes are unhappy, as well as unreasonable. Every child ought clearly to see that his parent's censures are not unkind, and that his indulgence is not foolish. To this end, he ought regularly, as soon as his capacity will admit, to be taught the reasons on which the
conduct of his parent, from time to time, is founded; not as a piece of respect to him, which he may demand; but as wisely directed information, which will be eminently useful to both parent and child. To the parent it will be useful, by establishing his character in the eyes of his child, as a ruler whose measures are all originated and directed by solid reasons and sound wisdom, steady equity and unfailing kindness; as a ruler, whose government is to be reverenced, whose commands are to be obeyed, and whose wishes are to be accorded with, from their reasonableness, as well as their authority ; from the benefit, as well as the duty of obeying ; and from the pleasure universally experienced in conforming to the will of such a ruler. In this case the parent is secured of the obedience of the child, when he is absent (as for the greater part of the time he must necessarily be,) no less than when he is present; and is assured also, that his obedience will be voluntary, and exact, and, on both these accounts, delightful. To the child this information will be highly advantageous, because it will early accustom him to obey from the reasonableness of obedience; and will insensibly lead him to examine, feel, and submit to predominating reasons; not only in cases of filial duty, but in all others. Thus he will habitually grow up to a general accordance with the dictates of reason, and the representations of conscience; will sustain a far more elevated and desirable character than a child governed by mere authority; and when absent, abroad, or arived at the years of self-direction, will be incomparably more safe. The family in this case will exhibit the delightful spectacle of rational beings, governed by rational beings; and not the humiliating one of slaves, struggling under the domination of a master.
5. The government of children should be self-consistent.
Every parent ought to possess himself of a scheme of governing his children, before he commences the practice. In this scheme the same things should be uniformly aimed at, the same things required, and the same things prohibited. The character of the parent also, as displayed in the execution of this scheme, should invariably be the same; and that should be the character formed of reason and principle only. In all the parent's measures the child should see, uniformly and irresistibly, that the parent hates vice above all things, and above all things loves virtue. This hatred to vice, and love to virtue, ought to appear to be inwrought in the very constitution of the parent's mind; to be inseparable from bis habitual views and feelings; and to be the first, the unvarying, and, as far as may be, the only movements of his soul, with respect to these great subjects. Of course, all his conduct ought to present the unquestionable proof, which practice and example furnish, that this is his real character.
In consequence of this consistency, children will uniformly expect the same parental opposition to their faults, and the same countenance to their virtuous conduct. Few motives will operate more powerfully than such expectations, either to persuade them to virtue, or to restrain them from sin. Fewer crimes will therefore be committed by them; and of course the parent will bave fewer transgressions to reprove or punish. In this manner a great part of the parent's labour will be prevented, and not a small part of his pain. Wbat remains to be done will be incomparably more pleasant. His encouragement to proceed will also be unspeakably greater. To see the efficacy of our endeavours is the most animating of all earthly inducements to continue them.
Besides, children will in this case regard their parents with far more veneration than in any other. Consistency of character is essential to all dignity. A changing man, even when not a faulty one, is almost necessarily regarded as a trifler. A man, on the contrary, exhibiting uniform views and principles, in a life uniformly directed by them, governed and governing by the same rules, and an unchanging regard to them, is always possessed of dignity; and, when seen to be steadily opposed to sin and folly, and attached to wisdom and virtue, is possessed of high dignity. This character seen in a parent will invariably engage the highest filial veneration.
When children become satisfied that the restraints and corrections which they experience from their parents spring only from a conviction that they are right and necessary, their consciences will almost always acquiesce. What is remarkable, and would, were it not common, be surprising, they love the parent who administers them, much more than him who neglects them. Between parental government conducted in this manner, and that which is passionate, desultory, and fraught with inconsistencies, the difference can scarcely be calculated. As a general conclusion of my observations concerning the education of children, I add, that all the efforts of the parent ought to be accompanied with daily prayer to God for his blessing. It is the indispensable duty of mankind to pray always, with all prayer.' Few, very few, are those employments in human life which so loudly call for the faithful performance of this duty as that which has been under discussion. Wisdom, patience, faithfulness, kindness, and constancy, are rarely demanded of man in any concern, either so unceasingly, or in so great a degree, as in this. All these qualifications are indispensable to our success; and we need them indispensably from the Father of lights,' who alone can furnish these and all other 'good gifts. If we possessed them all, we should equally need his blessing to give an efficacious and happy issue to our exertions. Both the qualifications and the blessing, , then, are to be asked of God, who giveth liberally unto all;' and who hath assured us, that' every one, who asketh, shall receive.' The parent who educates his children with the greatest care, and yet fails to invoke the blessing of God upon his labours, has done but half bis duty, and is entitled to no promise of success.
III. I shall now make a few observations concerning the settlement of children.
The parent's duty with respect to this subject will be principally concerned with the following things :
1. The choice of that business in which he is to spend principally his life.
In selecting this object, a parent is bound to regard the state of his own circumstances, the reasonable expectations of his child, his talents, his inclinations, the probability of his obtaining a competent subsistence, the prospect of his usefulness, and the security of his virtue. It will be easily seen, that all these are discretionary things ; to be judged of as well as we are able, and reducible to no precise general rule. Where children are not peculiarly froward, and parents not peculiarly prejudiced, the advantage of the child will, in ordinary cases, be sufficiently consulted. The principal difficulty here will usually be, to determine how far regard is to be had to his inclinations. A degree of indulgence is always to be given them. When they direct to a prudent and profitable