« AnteriorContinuar »
COUNSEL TO CHILDREN.
Psalm xxxiv, 11.
COME, YE CHILDREN, HEARKEN
IN THE United States, are supposed to be above three millions of Children. These, in the course of nature, are to become the living agents in the destinies of the country. When grown, they are to step forward into active life, to sway in the senate, and to minister at the altar; to be learned advocates, and alert physicians; some to become magistrates, some guardians of the public revenue, some to decide between peace and war; others to be foreign merchants, others domestic planters, and nearly all to be members of parishes, and masters and mistresses of families yet unborn. How important is it then, that the minds of these children be early imbued with christian principles. We are not so anxious, that children should become what the world calls great, as that they should be good children, and become good men, like youthful Abel and Isaac, Joseph and Samuel, David and Josiah, and Timothy; and, above all, harmless and undefiled, like the holy child Jesus.
My young Brothers. When you walk down, and stand by the margin of a clear pool, and drop a pebble into its smooth surface, you behold the little rings of agitated water, circle after circle, spreading and spreading, wider and wider, from the moving centre, over the bosom of the before serene pool. In like manner, will each one if your lives are spared, become the centre of a
circle, and such will be your spreading influence over that circle. We wish that to be a good influence.
My young Sisters. When you walk out into the fields, in summer, you behold the flowers and the weeds springing around you; and you observe how far more beautiful and desirable is the fragrant flower, than the noisome weed. In like manner, will each one of you bloom into a lovely flower, or rise into an ungrateful weed, to choke the flowers. We wish you all to become roses of Sharon, and lilies of the valley.
Thus may Children learn a beautiful moral lesson from Nature. But lessons of a more direct, and peculiarly religious bias, must be taught from Revelation. The good Shepherd of the flock must not neglect to feed the lambs of the fold. Come then, ye Children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
1. While young, Please your Parents. obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honour thy father with thy heart, and forget not the sorrows of thy mother; how canst thou recompense them the things, that they have done for thee? You know not the debt of gratitude you owe to those, who have watched over your infant years with unabating solicitude; nor how much they have done for you, when you were not able to do any thing for yourselves. You know not how much care they have bestowed for your comfort; to clothe, to feed, and to shelter you; to send you to school; and to heal you in sickness. Your parents and guardians know, from age and experience, better than you can know, what will promote your good. To point out your duties, you must look to them; to fulfil these duties, they must look to you. If you are not obedient when young, it is almost certain, you will never be. Your habits of disobedience will become more fixed, and your young hearts will grow harder and harder, as you grow older. But it was once said, the eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it. Disappoint not then the hopes of your parents; but strive to repay their affec
tion, by a strict compliance with their will. Wound not their feelings by hesitancy, or distrust. If you ever have deceived them, seek to be forgiven, and do not so again. Think of the youthful Jesus, how he went down with his parents, and how long, and how cheerfully, he was subject unto them. And, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. So shall you make glad your parents' souls within them. They will shed tears of pious joy, at finding you the object of their desires. They will wear you next their heart. So shalt thou be as the son of the Most High, and he shall love thee, more than thy mother doth. 2. While young, Love your School. Youth is the
time, and the school is a place, for you to imbibe good principles. It is a great privilege to be allowed to go to school. The wisest men went to school, when little boys. And you should be thankful, that you have better schools in your day, than your parents had in their day. But without your own endeavours, books and teachers will avail nothing. Your teachers can but point out the path, your own feet must walk in it. Unless you will bow your own necks to drink of the life-giving stream, the fountain is opened in vain. You should never esteem it a task, but a pleasure; not a duty only, but a privilege; to learn, what will make you better children, and better men and Women. You cannot be young but once. Good images may now be impressed upon your yielding minds, as the motto of the signet is sealed upon the sealing-wax. Remember, that any useful truth learnt by, and for yourselves, is better than many learnt for you by others. And that the quantity is of less importance, than the quality of what you acquire. Burthen not the memory to the prejudice of the judgment. It is of little use for the tongue to utter, what the head does not comprehend. Ask not yourselves, how much you recollect, but how much you understand; and when you understand, how much you strive to practise it.
When at school, always appear neat in your persons, and your apparel, which is a virtue you owe to yourselves, and others. A bright face can best reflect a bright mind. And not only should you be, at all times, respectful and confiding towards your instructers; but you should also
be ever pleasant and obliging to your schoolmates. all evil speaking be put away from you. Say not, I will do so to him, as he hath done to me. A soft answer turn
eth away wrath. In short, you must never envy, nor
hate, nor be cruel to your playmates; you must never use bad words, nor tell tales, nor mimic each other's defects; you must never be quarrelsome, nor deceitful, nor idle; but you must be studious, and modest, and mannerly; and complaisant to every body. In these things, do not deprive your parents, and your teachers, of their pleasing anticipations, as your compliance is all the reward they ask of you. Your own reward, and you need wish for no other, will be your temporal, and eternal benefit. Then be not discouraged. You are toiling, not for others, but for yourselves. Learn even but one good thing on every day, and you will learn three hundred and sixty-five good things in the year. Thus, day by day, will you grow richer and richer; and no man can take such riches from you.
3. While young, Study your Bibles. The Bible, in some parts of it, is the oldest book in the world. It is not only the Word of God, but it is full of the most wonderful stories; such as will not only inform, but entertain you. These stories were all written by Holy Men for our instruction. They teach, how God took care of good men, and left bad men to suffer, in the days of old. In this Book, you will learn how the World was created, by the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters. you may read of Adam and Eve, the parents of all nations, who for disobedience were obliged to leave their happy garden, for a world of thorns and thistles. Of envious Cain, who rose up and killed his pious brother Abel, for which he was sent out to be a vagabond among men. good Enoch, who so walked with God on the earth, that he was early taken up alive into heaven. Of righteous Noah, riding safely in his ark over the drowning waters of an ungodly world. Of the tall Tower on the plain of Shinar, by which the impious builders hoped to be able to climb into heaven. Of good old Abraham, who was ordered to slay his only son for a sacrifice; and whose uplifted hand was stayed by an angel, when his faith was 19*
proved. Of Lot's worldly wife, who was turned into a pillar of salt, for looking back toward the burning Cities of the Plain, which she was warned not to do. Here you may read, the affecting story of youthful Joseph, with his coat of many colours; and of his successive trials, and temptations, and triumphs. Of the babe Moses, who was exposed by his own believing mother in a bulrush-ark, by the river's brink; and who, when grown, and destined to be the great deliverer of his brethren, was called to talk with God in the bush that burned, and was not consumed. Of haughty Pharaoh, and the ten plagues sent by God to turn his hardened heart. Of the stiff-neckedness, and forty years of wonders, of the Wanderers in the Wilderness. Of the dumb ass reproving blinded Balaam for beating her, when the opposing angel stood in the narrow path, between the walls of the vineyards. Of Samson, the strongest man that ever lived, but overcome by a harlot; and whose strength lay in his hair. Of the stripling David, who challenged and slew the great giant Goliath, with his simple sling, and a smooth pebble out of the brook; because he did it in the strength of the Lord. Of the frightful and frighted Witch of Endor, who was permitted to bring up the dead Samuel before the living Saul. Of handsome, but rebellious Absalom, who stole away the hearts of the people from his own doating father, the king; and afterwards, in his flight, was hung by his long and beautiful hair, as he rode under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his mule went from under him. Of king Solomon in all his glory, and the famous Queen of the South, who came a far journey to see his treasures; all of which he soon found to be but vanity. Here also may you read, of holy Elijah, who was taken up, in a chariot of fire, by a whirlwind into heaven. And of holy Elisha, who, when mocked by some little wicked children, had sent him by the Lord two she-bears out of the wood, which tare forty and two of them in pieces. Of mourning Jeremiah, who was drawn up unhurt, by cords put under his armholes, out of the dungeon in which he had sunk in the mire. And of praying Daniel, who was preserved untouched in the lions' den. Of the Three Servants of the Most High, who walked unsinged in the midst of the