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'He that spareth his rod hateth his son but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes,' Prov. xiii. 24.
set to be taught, and are w ideas and impresh see who are early trained castly, or ordinarily, forLe shown that the far greater THERE are some theorists on education who argue have proved eminently pious strenuously for banishing punishment of every ... well trained in childhood kind, especially corporeal punishment. UnquesNel, Solomon, and Timothy are tionably, it is not to any thing of that nature that es of this. Failure in many cases those who are engaged in endeavouring to train ss, be traced to faults in the train-up children in the paths of religion, should look mounting to a radical and sinful want chiefly for success. On the contrary, punishcare, or prayerfulness, or consisting ment, in whatever form, ought always to be had at want of judgment and good manage- recourse to with reluctance, and ought to be There are cases, too, which, though they entirely avoided where it can safely be dispensed y at first sight appear exceptions to the rule, with. Whatever effect compulsion may have in in fact, proofs and illustrations of it. The forwarding the mere mechanical part of instrucapostle Paul, for example, was an enemy and tion, it can never succeed in producing true piety. persecutor of the Christians when first mentioned It is impossible to compel children to open their in scripture. He had received much religious hearts; their will may be gained, but it cannot instruction, however, in youth, for he was 'brought be forced. Gentleness and affection are the chief up at the feet of Gamaliel,' and 'profited in the means, under the divine blessing, of winning them Jewish religion above many of his equals in his to the love of Christ, and to the practice of own nation: and though no good effect of this Christian duty. And yet, gentleness and affecappeared for a considerable time, the knowledge tion must be accompanied with firmness and he had acquired in early life of the Old Testa- faithfulness; for, if the latter qualities be wanting, ment, was evidently of much service to him per- the former will degenerate into weakness, and sonally and officially, after his conversion. produce contempt.
Well would it be if all parents were conscientious in doing their utmost to instruct their children in the knowledge, and to bring them under the influence of the truth. Would to God that they always acted, in this respect, as those who are to give an account. In most cases, they would soon see the fruit of their labour. Nor, though they may have to wait long, let them be so discouraged as to desist. Let them persevere in labours, and prayers, and affectionate intreaties, and they have every encouragement to hope that their endeavours will not ultimately prove in vain. Augustine, who at last proved such an ornament and blessing to the church of Christ, was very obstinate and ungodly in his youthful years. His pious mother persevered in labours and prayers for him for nine years, apparently without any good effect. When she went, in agony, to a certain bishop, to beseech him to try what his interference could do, he could say nothing that would satisfy her, till at last, when she was pressing him with much weeping, he said, 'Go away, good woman: it is impossible that the child of such tears should perish.'
It is too much for self-conceited men to rise up against the wisdom and express commandment of the Lord, and utterly to condemn what he clearly teaches to be sometimes necessary. It is certainly much better if children can be well managed without the rod, or corporeal chastisement: but there are cases in which this cannot be, and there is no need for running from the one extreme of harshness into the other of the relaxation of all discipline. Natural depravity exists in all children; and where it produces a spirit of disobedience and obstinacy which cannot be otherwise overcome, measures ought to be adopted of greater or less severity, according to the strength of the evil to be met.
The scriptural authority for such discipline is express. He that spareth his rod,' forbears altogether to punish, or ceases till he carry the point, 'hateth his son,' that is, acts as if he hated him: if he hated him, and intended to injure him, he could not do him a greater injury than not to correct him, when his disobedience, and wickedness, and obstinacy required it. But he that loveth' his son ‘chasteneth him betimes,' begins the discipline very early. The salutary restraint should be commenced in infancy, and continued and thoroughly established in childhood. If the principle and habit of submission to authority, and
of the restraining of evil passions, be established | is especially so to pious, but to easy and indulgent very early, parents will find it easy afterwards to parents. The indulgence of the wayward inclinarule by argument and affection, and safe to treat tions of children, and neglecting to do all they can their children with the utmost confidence and ten-authoritatively to check them, are offences which derness. Too great indulgence is a great evil: it the Lord will severely chastise in his own people. leads to still more unreasonable and improper ex- It is true that the most judicious discipline may pectations, and entirely defeats the ends for which fail: but when scriptural means have been faithit is usually resorted to, namely, the ease of the fully employed and a failure ensues, the blame is parent; and the pleasing and the securing of the all on one side. affections of the child. If faults be not inquired into, or if they be passed over and allowed to be persevered in, lest a child should cry, or look sad; the bad consequences will soon appear. Better that a child should cry while it is salutary, than that his parents should weep in vain, in seeing his wickedness confirmed for life, and ruining his soul for eternity. Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying,' Prov. xix. 18. If he see that he can gain his object by a few tears, he will not be slack in availing himself of that means of extorting compliance. And then, if by such mistaken lenity, which is real cruelty, he get the mastery in childhood, it will seldom be practicable to reduce him to obedience afterwards, except by far greater severity than would have been necessary at first; a severity which may prove hurtful, and which at all events must be dangerous and painful.
It should always be remembered that correction constitutes but a small part of parental government. That government includes the whole plan pursued to secure obedience, attention, and improvement, and to check all evil. It includes advice, praise, blame, reproof, expostulation, influence, rewards judiciously chosen, putting to shame, depriving of enjoyments and many other things. It should never be lost sight of that the good of the child is the great end to be aimed at. In order to be effectual, too, correction should always be accompanied with instruction, or tuition: indeed, the same word which in some texts is rendered correction,' is in others rendered 'instruction. Nor is it enough to form children to obedience and habits of application, and to impart to them varied knowledge; they should be disciplined to self-denial and the government of their passions. It is of much importance, also, that the system pursued be well balanced, of the same tenour, consistent with itself, unremitted, and steadily followed out. No pains should be spared, no labours should be grudged, where failure would be so grievous, and where success would be so important.
Eli was unquestionably a pious man; yet here was one great defect in his character, 1 Sam. ii. iii. iv. While his history is a warning to all, it
As it is the duty of parents to govern, and, if necessary, to correct, their children, so it is the duty of children to submit readily to such government and correction, and not by obstinacy to render very severe measures indispensable. Both parents and children may derive much instruction from the way in which our Heavenly Father corrects the members of his family. As the word of God illustrates the afflictive dispensations of providence by comparisons, drawn from parental discipline and corresponding filial duty among men, these comparisons plainly teach what the reciprocal conduct of parents and children ought to be in this respect. The Lord unites discipline with instruction. He has various means of carrying his point with the objects of his love; and one of these is the rod of his displeasure. Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee.' 'Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law.'
And, ye fathers, proroke not your children to
wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,' Eph, vi. 4.
Or the proneness of men to run into extremes, the parental management of children furnishes a frequent example. The wise man reminds parents of the necessity of maintaining discipline with a steady hand, and even declares that 'he that spareth his rod hateth his son, but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.' As, however, there is, on the one hand, an extreme of laxity, so there is, on the other, an extreme of severity, which should be guarded against with equal care. Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath.' Take care lest by an unkind, repulsive, overbearing, and tyrannical behaviour in general, and by rigorous, excessive, cruel, and unrelenting severity on some particular occasions, you entirely alienate their affections, and irritate them into feelings of dislike and indignation which may lurk
Moreover, if parents wish to bring up their children in the fear of the Lord, they must set them a good example. The force of example, either for good or for evil, is very great, even on grown-up persons; but it is especially great on young children. They are constantly seen imitat
secretly and sullenly in their hearts, and preju- | they should proceed, not only with firmness and dice them against yourselves and your instruc- faithfulness, but also with real and obvious affections, or even so exasperate them as to lead them tion. Whoever would be instrumental in winto break out in the language and actions of ning the hearts of the young to the Saviour, violent rage. It is true that such mismanage- cannot adopt a better model than that of the ment does not excuse the wickedness of children, apostle Paul: 'We were gentle among you,' said but it often awfully occasions it. When parents he, 'even as a nurse cherisheth her children; are constantly finding fault, and never commend so, being affectionately desirous of you, we were what is right, or speak in accents of encourage- willing to have imparted unto you, not the gosment; when they are in the habit of confounding pel of God only, but also our own souls, because the distinction between obstinately wilful faults, ye were dear unto us.' and mere thoughtless inadvertencies; their children are ready to think it is impossible to please them, and therefore needless to try, and are in danger of hating their company, and becoming altogether reckless of character and consequences. See examples, Gen. xxxi. 14; 1 Sam. xx. 30. When children are of a bold temper, such harshing others, (and especially those whom they love treatment irritates and hardens them. When, on the contrary, they are of a soft, timid, and very tender disposition, severity has the effect of breaking their spirits, crushing their energies, and filling them with terror and misery. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discour aged,' Col. iii. 21. How cruel to oppress a not very clever it may be, but gentle child, so as, at all events, to keep him in a state of constant alarm and misery in the meantime, and probably, to render him unfit to pass through the world with advantage, after his spirits have been so unreasonably and so unmercifully broken by a heavy yoke in the early years of life!
Temper, disposition, opportunities, and the various kinds and degrees of misconduct in children, should be carefully studied, and judiciously met with corresponding treatment. Correction administered without discrimination, or distinction, is foolish, and must be injurious. What may be hardly enough to subdue one, may be absolute cruelty to another.
Having cautioned parents against excessive severity to their children, the apostle proceeds to exhort them positively to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord;' that is, carefully to train them in such a course of discipline and instruction united, as forms a religious education, and as is calculated to lead them to know, believe in, love, and obey the Lord Jesus Christ. There seems also to be here an allusion to that particular mode of instruction which is commonly called catechising, which is peculiarly adapted to children, and which is practically found to be of most excellent use.
If parents wish to succeed in interesting their children on the side of religion, and cordially attaching them to themselves and what is good,
and admire), in the actions and customs of common life. The same principle prevails in the formation of their religious and moral character; it operates with fatal influence in leading them into sin; and it would be equally powerful in leading them to holiness, were it not for their natural depravity, which renders a higher than any human influence necessary for bringing them into a state of salvation, and forming them to the divine image. Of how little avail, in most instances, is even good advice, when the example of those who give it leads in the opposite direction! How happy, however, the influence of a prudent, pious, consistent life! Children are much more observant of the conduct of their parents than many think, and often their good example is remembered, after all their advices are forgotten, and they are silent in the grave.
In addition to all this, parents should ever accompany the means they employ for the religious education of the children with earnest prayer to God. No discipline, or instruction, no means however wise, or persevering, can be sufficient of themselves, savingly to illuminate the mind, or to renew the heart. For this, which always ought to be the chief object at which they aim, they must look to the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit. Parents, therefore, should teach their children how to pray, and accustom them to the exercise of prayer. They should pray for them fully and earnestly, in secret. They should pray with them, one by one. They should pray with them all together, in family worship. So David 'returned to bless his household;' and Jacob blessed his sons, and thus prayed for his two grandsons, 'The angel who redeemed me from all evil bless the lads.' May the Lord guide Christian parents to the prudent, affection
ate, faithful, prayerful, and persevering discharge | acter, temper, and conduct, are wanting! Where of the duties of parental government and instruc- there is neither sincere attachment, nor good tion; and may he open the understandings and principle, where there is nothing but alienation, hearts of their offspring, giving them an humble distrust, suspicion, strife, hatred, confusion, and and teachable disposition, and creating a clean every evil work, what a complication of miseries is there! What wretchedness for life! and what heart, and renewing a right spirit within them. danger of making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience for ever!
'Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also lored the church, and gave himself for it, Eph. v. 25.
How intimate and endearing the conjugal relation! If things are as they ought to be, and as they often are, husband and wife are one in residence, in property, in feeling, in desire, in affection. They are to each other the most valued society; and absence only makes them more sensible of the strength of the chain that binds them together. They contrive and act together, for each other's advantage and happiness. They do all they can to ward off evil, and to secure good for each other. They mutually make known their secrets, and unbosom their cares. What is lost to the one, is lost to the other; and what is gained to the one, is gained to the other. Their hopes and fears, their joys and sorrows, their comforts and bereavements, are mutual. Each would willingly undergo pain to relieve the other. Their distresses are alleviated by each other's sympathy; and their enjoyments are doubled by the circumstance of their being shared with the object whose happiness is dearer to each party than its own. They commune together, and read together, and pray together, for their soul's eternal welfare; they take sweet counsel together, and go into the house of God in company. Nor is the attachment lessened by time, or change of circumstances; it rather grows according to the time it has existed; and the very inroads of age and of increasing infirmities only render it more certain and more tender. And then, with what affecting interest is this relation invested by the consideration that it is for life! 'What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.' A tie is formed by marriage which is only dissolved by the dissolution of one of the parties. When two thus join hands and hearts, on together they go, till death come in between them, and bid them part.
And how may these dreadful evils be evaded, and the opposite advantages secured in the married state? Plainly, by the conscientious disduties are mutual, though we are, at present, charge of its duties on both sides. Most of these concerned chiefly with conjugal duties as they relate to the husband. These duties are summed up in the one word 'love.' 'Husbands, love your wives.' This should include what is commonly called love. Such love, in the rational sense of decided preference and cordial attachment, (though not in any foolish and romantic sense), is necessary to the true happiness of the married state. But in addition to this, there should be Christian love, enlightened benevolence, a wishing well in every way. Now, one peculiar feature of Christian love is that it takes the soul into account, and desires to promote the spiritual and eternal welfare of its object. This love in the most extensive sense, once kindled, should be carefully cherished. Married persons should guard against whatever would destroy, or damp it. They should leave off strife before it be meddled with;' and, if any slight misunderstanding unhappily arise, they should not follow out keenly the cause of dispute, but should drop it, and be thoroughly reconciled, as soon as possible.
The duty of love especially requires on the part of the husband, as well as of the wife, faithfulness to the marriage vow. Let no man 'deal treacherously against the wife of his youth; she is his companion, and the wife of his covenant.'
Supposing husbands to be faithful and inwardly affectionate, their love should be manifested in their words and actions, in the whole way in which they treat their wives. Let not the head become a tyrant, and quarrel with his partner for every trifle, and deny her reasonable comforts, and abuse, or grieve her, by opprobrious or unkind language, and act so overbearing a part to her, as shall at all events, render her life unhappy, and as may even break her heart, and shorten her days. Where is he that is guilty of conduct so inhuman? Let him stand forward, if not to the As, however, this connection is productive of hiss and execration of the community, at least as so much happiness, where things are as they a beacon to others; and let the husband that canought to be, so, on the other hand, how great the not now bear even to think of such conduct misery which it occasions when the proper char-beware of all approaches to it.
This love requires that instead of acting with the same as not to require any separate considerabitterness and severity, the husband should treat tion. This is the case, for example, with the his wife with the greatest positive kindness, and duty of faithfulness to the marriage vow. The show her the most substantial, practical proofs of duty of love, too, is equally incumbent on the his high regard. He should attend to whatever wife, and it should be carefully cherished by her, is agreeable and serviceable to her, and calculated and should manifest itself in those peculiar forms to promote her external comfort; and he should which are called for by the place she occupies in above all, (as has been already noticed), be studi- the household. It is her duty, also, as well as ous to advance her spiritual good. His love his, to avoid all bitterness, and to be placid, should also appear in doing well-meant actions gentle, contented, forbearing, and kind, in temin a kind manner. And if he desire to make his per, language, and conduct. As it is his to show wife happy, he must be very circumspect in his her every practical proof of regard, so it is hers to conduct. He must be industrious, prudent, do all she can to make him comfortable and happy economical, temperate, pious. in his house at home. As it is his diligently to provide the means of support for his wife and family, so it is hers frequently to do more or less for the same objects, and always to economize these means in the domestic arrangements. In the great majority of cases, it is the duty of the wife, as mistress of the family, diligently, wisely, frugally, and charitably, to contrive, direct, superintend, and manage, the expenditure, the food, the clothing, and the general affairs of the household. She who does all this well is indeed a great treasure to her husband. Of such a ‘virtuous woman,' Solomon gives the following beautiful and instructive description: The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her. She will do him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hand to the needy. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.'
So intimate, so delightful, and so endearing is this relation, that it has no parallel in ordinary life. Its like is only to be found in the connection which subsists between Christ and his church. The love of the husband to the wife cannot, indeed, equal that of Christ to the church, nor can it in any degree be of the same kind in respect of meritorious and mediatorial nature; but there are some features in which it should be like it. It should resemble his in sincerity and tenderness, and in being ready to do and suffer any thing for the welfare of its object; and it should resemble his in its faithfulness and duration, for 'having loved his own, he loved them unto the end!' Happy pair, where such the enlightened and Christian love on the one side, and such the dutiful attachment on the other! Mutual blessings in this life, they are connected together by a tie stronger and more lasting than that of marriage, a tie which death itself cannot dissever, even the tie of grace which will be acknowledged in the world of spirits, where 'they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.'
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own hus-be
bands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the Saviour of the body,' Eph. v. 22, 23.
IMPORTANT to the prosperity and happiness of domestic life as is dutiful conduct on the part of the husband, dutiful conduct on the part of the wife is no less so. Unless the example and exertions of the former be met by those of the latter, the good effect will be entirely destroyed, or much weakened. Of the duties of the married state, as was noticed under the preceding article, many
quite mutual; and, indeed, some are so much
Peculiar, however, to one party in this relation, there is one duty, the idea of which, it is to feared, is not always agreeable to the natural pride and self-will of that party, but which cannot be denied by any conscientious and Christian woman, and that is the duty, on the part of the wife, of obedience, or submission to the will of her husband. Not to insist on the natural foundation laid for this in the superior strength and enterprise of the men—the word of God is quite explicit on the subject. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Saviour of the body. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands