« ПредишнаНапред »
Perilous, in this respect, is the moral condition of that class of men, whose professional business of disputing, and whose fame and renown, depend upon success in gaining their causes, just or unjust.
“ An indiscriminate defence of right and wrong, contracts the understanding, while it corrupts the heart." This short sentence of the celebrated Junius, is deserving of the serious attention of young men of ingenuous dispositions, who have recently entered, or are about entering, upon the profession of the law. One, accustomed to argue indiscriminately for and against truth and right, and whose main road to distinction lies in his talent 6 to make the worse appear the better reason;"-needs, of all men, to keep a careful watch over his moral frame.
Theological disputes, are of a nature that would seem to secure them from the aberations incidental to those of wordly men. The theologian stands upon hallowed ground. Truth, Divine Truth, is his pole-star. The inspired volume is his directory ; of which he must not wittingly misconstrue any part for the sake of gaining his argument, nor even though he might gain by it the whole world. His case is similar to that of the Persian judges, who were made to interpret the laws of the realm with ropes about their necks, as indicative of the punishment that awaited them if found guilty of any wilful misinterpretation. And besides, as truth must be his sole aim, so his manner of defending it must be consonant to the spirit of Him who was 5 meek and lowly in heart”—who,“ when he was reviled, reviled not again.” Wherefore, in that sacred department, if any where, it might be expected that disputes would be conducted with the utmost fairness, and with exemplary benignity of temper. Would it were always so!
bt The man who, in controversy, pays a strict regard to truth and candor, gives clear evidence of the excellence of his understanding and the uprightness of his heart; whereas sophistry and quibble, rancorous invective and scurrilous abuse, warrant a suspicion of the advocate, however righteous be his cause."
Of overdoing in governing children. As nothing more clearly evidences the weak of a legislature than a strong propensity to megnpiy laws beyond what real and absolute need requires, so also is it in regard to domestic government. In families, as well as in larger communities, there often is too much Law. A few rules are necessary for the government of children, and but a few. These should be too plain to be misunderstood ; too reasonable to admit of any dispute or doubt; and too important to be violated or neglected. They should be engraven early upon the memories of the children, and enforced, when need requires, with steady and inflexible firmness ;-and, by and by, they will grow into habits. Submission and obedience will become natural and spontaneous.
Children managed in this manner from infancy, and by parents too, whose examples comport with their rules and injunctions, and whose exercise of authority carries along with it evident marks of tender affection; -children reared up under this steady, mild, and yet firm discipline, soon become tractable, except in extraordinary instances of perverseness. They feel the yoke to be easy, and are withheld from acts of disobe?
dience, more out of filial love and respect, than from the dread of chastisement. Hence it is that, in some houses, family government goes on with singular regularity, though so silent as to be scarcely perceived. There is no violent scolding ; no boisterous threats ; no fierce looks. Both the father and the mother, are so mild and even in temper and behaviour, that they seem scarcely to display any authority at all ; and yet their children are orderly, submissive, and dutiful, in a very uncommon degree. A single word, or a mere glance of the eye, from either the one or the other, they mind more than the children of some families do the pelting of hard blows.
Neither is it the only advantage of this method of family Ingjernment, that it accomplishes its object the most effectually, and with the least trouble ;-there is another of equal, if not greater moment. Children thus managed are led to delight in the company and conversation of their parents, and to receive counsel readily from their lips : and when they come of age to act for themselves, the transition from the state of subjection to that of personal independence is easy, and scarcely perceivable. They don't feel like emancipa. ted slaves. They are not intoxicated with liberty, but enjoy it soberly ; still looking back, with mixed emotions of respect and love, to the salutary discipline they had been under, and still accustoming themselves to consult their parents and to receive their advice with deference.
Nothing indeed is more clear, than that the simplest government is the best for children; and yet this plain matter of fact is often overlooked, and that too, by some, of excellent minds and hearts. Many parents, of good sense and great moral worth, fearful of failing in their duty by not governing enough, run into the
opposite extreme They maintain a reservedness, a distance, a stateliness toward their children, who hardly dare to speak in their presence, and much less to manifest before them any symptoms of the gaiety of their youthy hearts. They encumber them with a mula titude of regulations ; they tire them with long lessons of stern monition ; they disgust and alienate them with a superabundance of sharp reproof; they treat their little levities as if they were heinous crimes. Instead of drawing them with “ the cords of love,” they bind them fast with cords that are galling and painful
This mistaken, though well intentioned, manner of family government, is very apt to draw after it several unhappy consequences. Children so brought up, how much soever they fear their parents, do rarely love them very much. However much they respect their virtues, they seldom yield them the warm affections of their hearts. Of some, it breaks the spirits, and renders them unenterprizing, tame and servile, in all the succeeding periods of their lives. Others, who have more native
of mind and stiffness of heart, it makes.exceedingly restless : and whenever these can get aside from parental inspection, they are particularly rude and extravagant in their conduct. With lon-, ging eyes they look forward to the day of emancipation from parental authority, as to a jubilee : and when the wished for time has come, they are like calves let loose from their stalls. The transition is so great and 50 sudden, that it wilders them; and it often happens that their ruin is involyed in the first use they make of their freedom.
They are wide of the true mark in family government, who make a mighty bustle about it. In their laudable attempts to excel in that way, they spoil alt by overdoing.
The nation from which we derive our language has been distinguished, above perhaps all others, for steady persevering industry: and several English old sayings, or proverbs, correspond with this prominent feature of national character. One of these ancient sayings of English origin, is, “ Never to put off till to-morrow what may be done to day.” On the contrary, sluggishness and procrastination, are national attributes of the Spaniards, who, though acting with great spirit and vig. our whenever roused to action, continue slothful and dilatory at all other times. Nor is it a little remarkable, that there is a Spanish proverb directly of opposite meaning to the English one just now mentioned. Laborde, in his View of Spain, affirms it to be a Spanish proverbial maxim, “ That one should never do to-day what may be put off till to-morrow.”
Whether it be owing to nature, or to education and habit, or from whatever cause else it may spring, there is, in this goodly country, a prevailing disposition to follow the last of these two opposite maxims; though we all are ready to admit the reasonableness of its con. trast. No infatuation is more deplorable, nor et more general, the whole christianized world over, than the vain hope that leads us to put off from day to day the great work which must be done, or ourselves be for. ever undone. But I am now to speak not of the com. mon and most depiorable infatuation which relates to the concerns of immortality, but of that which concerns our temporal interests. Of the fatal error of the fore mer, the Holy Volume and the Pulpit give solemn