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adequate attention be employed to the forming of the judgment ; to the framing such a sound constitution of mind as shall supply the power of directing all the faculties of the understanding, and all the qualities of the heart, to keep their proper places and due bounds, to observe their just proportions, and maintain their right station, relation, order, and dependence.
For instance, while the young person's mind is trained to those habits of attention and industry which we have been recommending, great care must be used that her judgment be so enlightened as to enable her to form sound notions with regard to what is really worthy her attentive pursuit, without which discriminating power, application would only be actively misemployed, and ardour and industry would but serve to lead her more widely from the right road of Truth. Without a correct judgment she would be wasting her activity on what was frivolous, or exhausting it on what was mischievous. Without that ardour and activity we have been recommending, she might only be “ weaving spiders' webs;” with it, if destitute of judgment, she would be “ hatching cockatrices' eggs.”
Again, if the judgment be not well informed as to the nature and true ends of temperance, the illinstructed mind might be led into a superstitious reliance on the merits of self-denial; and resting in the letter of a few outward observances, without any consideration of the spirit of this Christian virtue, might be led to infer that the kingdom of heaven was the abstinence from “ meat and drink,” and “not peace, and righteousness, and joy in the Holy Ghost."
The same well-ordered judgment will also be l'equired in superintending and regulating the habit of economy; for extravagance being rather a relative than a positive term, the true art of regulating expense is not to proportion it to the fashion, or to the opinion or practice of others, but to our own station and our own circumstances. Aristippus being accused of extravagance by one who was not rich, because he had given six crowns for a small fish, said to him, “ Why, what would you have given ?” — “Twelve pence," answered the other. — “Then,” replied Aristippus, “our economy is equal; for six crowns are no more to me than twelve pence are to you.”
It is the more important to enlighten the judgment in this point, because so predominant is the control of custom and fashion, that men of unfixed principle are driven to borrow other people's judgment of them before they can venture to determine whether they themselves are rich or happy. These vain slaves to human opinion do not so often say, How ought I to act ? or, What ought I to spend ? as, What does the world think I ought to do? What do others think I ought to spend ?
There is also a perpetual call for the interference of the judgment in settling the true notion of what meekness is, before we can adopt the practice without falling into error. We must apprise those on whose minds we are inculcating this amiable virtue,
ON THE EARLY FORMING OF HABITS.
of the broad line of distinction between Christian meekness and that well-bred tone and gentle manner which passes current for it in the world. We must teach them, also, to distinguish between an humble opinion of our own ability to judge, and a servile dereliction of truth and principle, in order to purchase the poor praise of indiscriminate compliance and yielding softness. We must lead them to distinguish accurately between honesty and obstinacy, between perseverance and perverseness, between firmness and prejudice. We must convince them that it is not meekness, but baseness, when, through a dishonest dread of offending the prosperous, or displeasing the powerful, we forbear to recommend, or refuse to support, those whom it is our duty to recommend or to support. That it is selfishness and not meekness, when, through fear of forfeiting any portion of our reputation, or risking our own favour with others, we refuse to bear our testimony to suspected worth or discredited virtue. *
* To this criminal timidity, Madame de Maintenon, a woman of parts and piety, sacrificed the ingenious and amiable Racine; whom, while she had taste enough to admire, she had not the generosity to defend, when the royal favour was withdrawn from him. A still darker cloud hangs over her fame, on account of the selfish neutrality she maintained in not interposing her good offices between the resentments of the King and the sufferings of the Huguenots. It is a heavy aggravation of her fault, that she herself had been educated in the faith of these persecuted people.
FILIAL OBEDIENCE NOT THE CHARACTER OF THE
AGE. — A COMPARISON WITH THE PRECEDING AGE IN THIS RESPECT. THOSE WHO CULTIVATE THE MIND ADVISED TO STUDY THE NATURE OF THE
Among the real improvements of modern times, and they are not a few, it is to be feared that the growth of filial obedience cannot be included. Who can forbear observing, and regretting in a variety of instances, that not only sons but daughters have adopted something of that spirit of independence, and disdain of control, which characterise the times? And is it not too generally obvious that domestic manners are not slightly tinctured with the prevailing hue of public principles ? The rights of man have been discussed, till we are somewhat wearied with the discussion. To these have been opposed, as the next stage in the progress of illumination, and with more presumption than prudence, the rights of woman. It follows, according to the natural progression of human things, that the next influx of that irradiation which our enlighteners are pouring in upon us will illuminate the world with grave descants on the rights of youth, the rights of children, the rights of babies!
This revolutionary spirit in families suggests the remark, that among the faults with which it has been too much the fashion of recent times to load the memory of the incomparable Milton, one of the charges brought against his private character (for with his political character we have here nothing to do) has been, that he was so severe a father as to have compelled his daughters, after he was blind, to read aloud to him, for his sole pleasure, Greek and Latin authors of which they did not understand a word. But this, is in fact, nothing more than an instance of the strict domestic régulations of the age in which Milton lived ; and should not be brought forward as a proof of the severity of his individual temper. Nor, indeed, in any case should it ever be considered as a hardship for an affectionate child to amuse an afflicted parent, even though it should be attended with a heavier sacrifice of her own pleasure than that produced in the present instance.*
* In spite of this too prevailing spirit, and at a time when, by an inverted state of society, sacrifices of ease and pleasure are rather exacted by children from parents, than required of parents from children, numberless instances might be adduced of filial affection truly honourable to the present period. And the author records with pleasure, that she has seen amiable young ladies of high rank conducting the steps of a blind but illustrious parent with true filial fondness; and has often contemplated, in another family, the interesting attentions of daughters who were both hands and eyes to an infirm and nearly blind father. It is but justice to repeat that