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But it has been too little considered, of what unspeak. able benefit good family instruction is to parents themselves.
He that is teaching another, is teaching himself : and more especially is it so ih a moral point of view. Those attentions which parents employ in the moral and religious instruction of their offspring, have a powerful tendency toward guarding and strengthening their own moral and religious feelings and habits. Hardly can they, in serious earnest, dehort their children from vice without experiencing an increase of resolution to guard against it in their own lives: or earnestly inculcate up. on them the necessity of virtuous conduct, without acquiring an increase of desire and of carefulness to act virtuously themselves. They must needs be sensible that example bas more influence on the young mind than precept, and that their good precepts will be thrown away unless they be careful to exemplify them in their domestic life and habits. They cannot but be conscious that their own example has a most powerful and decided influence in training up their children to honour or disgrace, to happiness or misery : and consequently they have, in their children, a constant stimulation to a virtuous, respectable course of behaviour.
While your attention is daily employed in training up your
child in the way he should go, you are at the same time nurturing in yourself the things that are virtuous and lovely; you are ameliorating your own temper and disposition ; and are attaining a double security against aught, of word or act, that has the appearance of vice, or even of indecorum. So true is it, that your daily efforts to render your example worthy of the imitation of your child, are daily remunerated, richly remunerated, by the benefits resulting from it, to the
frame of your moral nature, independently of the ben: efits accruing to the child. Nor would it be hazarding too much to say, that the parents who had discharged the parental duties faithfully and discreetly, never yet failed of reaping, to themselves, an amount of profit far exceeding all the pains, even though the welfare of their children were altogether out of the question.
The scene of marriage was originally laid not a. mongst the thorns and thistles” of the curse, but in the blissful abodes of paradise. The first divine bene. diction was pronounced upon the conjugal union of man and woman : and in no wise is it evincive of the narrowness of superstition to indulge a religious belief, that virtuous marriage has, generally, in some respect or other, been crowned with the blessing of God, from the time it was first consummated in the Gardens up to the present day.
“ Domestic happiness, thou only bliss
Thou art the nurse of virtue.". A well chosen conjugal relation, tends to smooth the natural asperities of man, to soften his manners, to sweeten his temper, and to expand his heart. The bachelor thinks of himself ; the married man of his family. The former becomes the more selfish, by reason that he has none but self to look after and provide for; the latter, the more benevolent, for his having a wife and offspring dependant upon the daily kindnesses of his attentions. Having learnt first to shew kind. ness at home, he is the better disposed and qualified to extend the charities of life, to those about him in the circle of society. Other things being equal, the single circumstance of his having a family of his own, as it connects him more closely with society, so it renders
him a more feeling, a more beneficent, and a more estimable member of it. *
It is agreeable to the order of nature that we learn first to shew kindness at home, and to those near about us ; that we regard, in the first place, the little parcels of human beings with whom we are the most intimately connected our families, our near kindred, our neighbours and familiar acquaintances. The daily exercise of practical benevolence toward these, bas a tendency to expand our hearts, and to replenish them with humane sentiments towards the rest of our fellow beings. The braggart philosophers of modern time inverted this order of nature, and by means of that inversion, they made philanthropy to be a mere ideal phantom, instead of a practical principle. Under the pretence of embracing the whole human species alike in the bonds of affection, they left no room in their hearts for
individuals of that species--not even for those who were nearest them in blood, Rosseau, the apostle, if not the father, of this counterfeit philanthropy, turned his own infant children (all of spurious birth however)into a foundling hospital ; and never afterward, as it has been said, took the least notice of them, or so much as enquired about their welfare. Rosseau loved every body collectively, but nobody particularly : he was an enthusiastic friend of the human race considered as a whole ; but there was not perhaps any individual of that race, or scarcely one, that he would have put himself out of his way to serve.
* I would by no ineans be understood to mean here, or indeed any where, that there are not a great many very excellent ard highly respectable persons, of both sexes, unınar. ried, though arrived to a lale period of lite :-I say, of voth sexes; for the lidicule, which the coarse vulgarity of former ages, and even of the last age, was so perpetually casting upon the whole class of females termed Old Maids, was no less unjust and senseless, thau unwanly and brutal,
On the condition of old age-with directions for light
ening its burden.
We are naturally desirous of long life, and yet are unwilling to be old ; agedness being regarded by us as the most dreary period of our earthly existence, not only as it borders upon the grave, but also by reason of the grievous infirmities with which it is so commonly visited. It is affecting to contemplate the ruins of art, the once superb palaces and cities of antiquity lying in unsightly rubbish; it is more affecting still to contemplate the ruins of that curious workmanship of nature, the human body; and most affecting is it of all to contemplate the ruins of Mind.
In the life of the dean of St. Patrick's, Dr. Swift, the following anecdote is peculiarly affecting. That celebrated genius, for a considerable time had anticipated with anguish the calamity that befel him in the loss of his mental faculties. Not long before the calamity came upon him, he was riding out in the company number of ladies and gentlemen. On a sudden he put spurs to his horse, and rode forward till he was out of sight of his companions ; who, when they came up, found him, upon his knees, under an aged oak, whose upper branches were dry and sapless while the stock was yet green. Upon being questioned about the singularity of his conduct in that instance, he replied, he had been making his fervent supplications to God, that he himself might not, like the tree he was under, be withered at the top.
There is often a premature decay in mind. Ere the corruptible body stoops with age, the immortal part
shows evident signs of impairment. It not only grows forgetful, but feebler in intellect; and this not unfrequently happens to persons well-informed and of excellent intellectual faculties. In so far as it comes by the immediate act of God, or from contingencies which cannot be prevented nor foreseen, it is a calamity that we can only deplore with humble reverence of the righteous hand that inflicts it. But, in most cases, it is owing to preventible causes ; such as intemperate drinking, gluttony, debauchery, and the general train of kindred vices, which war against the whole man, and bring both the body and the mind to premature decay and ruin. But not to speak of the causes which are so well known and so generally acknowledged, I will mention one that has been little noticed-it is the habitual dereliction, or inaction, of our rational faculties.
Intellect often degenerates for want of exercise. Mental exercise is no less necessary for sustaining the faculties of the mind, than is corporeal exercise to the vigour and alertness of the body. Nothing so much strengthens the memory as the frequent employment of it, by which it gains strength as it were mechanically; whereas, on the other hand, habitual disuse never fails to abate its power. Also, our Reason, is a faculty, to which exercise gives developement, growth, and strength. We learn to reason by reasoning, as we learn to walk by walking. As one whose limbs have for a long time been confined and motionless, loses, in some degree, the power of walking, so one who suffers his faculty of reason to remain inactive, loses in some degree, the power of reasoning. Moreover, even Speech is lost by long disuse. Some who had, for several years, been in a condition of solitude and utter seclusion from the company of fellow beings, were, when first restored to society, unable to articulate their