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destroy, such as mice, spiders, black-beetles, fies, with others which are styled vermin, should endure for a child's cruel pleasure a thousand deaths instead of one? Have they not bodies, and bloods and the sense of hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling? And is not each as perfect, in his way, as we are in ours? Are they not startled by noise, quickened by perception, and distressed by pain and injury? And ought not every mother to instil these ideas in her child's mind? Can she be so blind to consequence, as not to perceive that the cruel child makes the cruel man, and that the cruel man was never really great or good? Let the spider suck the fly which she has caught, and the cat spring on the mouse which rushęs past him; let both be dispatched, and the law of nature fulfilled. But never may, we see a little human hand tearing off the limbs of the wretched fly, or dạndling to and fro before the jaws of the cat the suffering mouse, whose flesh is lacerated by every claw, and whose little heart is nearly para, lyzed with horror.
In glancing over the foregoing pages, I am surprised to think how much space is occupied by one virtue. Of what importance this virtue must be, which influences the whole heart, and softens it to the best feelings, and most useful acts of a human creature, I have essayed to shew. May the labour not be in vain !
- BETTER HE THAT RULETH HIS SPIRIT THAN HE THAT TAKETX
A city.” “How SHALL WE ORDER THE CHILD, AND HOW SHALL WE DO UNTO HIM?" “ BOW DOWN HIS NECK WHILE HE IS YOUNG."
As are reins upon the neck of a fiery horse, so is this quiet, but most important virtue a check upon the impetuosity of the passions. The restlessness of man's nature under the curb of authority ; his dispo.' sition to run counter to laws; his impatience of controul, and wish for self-indulgence ; his dislike of opposition, and the turbulence and caprice of his will, all conduce to shew of what extreme importance it is that a check should be given the child as early as it is possible he can receive it; a check, which is to serve as a restraint to impulses, which, if indulged, would make him hateful as a man, and as a child, disgusting.
Superadded to these rebels of the heart, is the natural love of freedom ; which as its springs up in a noble, generous feeling, deserves, in its moderated state, a high respect and consideration, but which cannot be treated of in a work where children alone are considered.
Genuine forbearance is a nobler virtue than it is often supposed to be, because it works unseen, and
even its most triumphant success is not always apparent. He who practises this virtue most, boasts least of its power over his soul. What eye can look into that soul but his own, to observe the tyranny of his will, the violence of his passions, the wildness and strength of his desires ?. Who knows, but himself, what it costs him to shackle that will, and to break it into subjection to divine and human laws ? Who knows the impetuous, the alluring current, into which the full tide of passion would swell his ideas, inflate his wishes, and corrupt bis imagination ? No human being can appreciate the merit of him who, born with an active and restless soul, strong and fiery passions, sanguine hopes, and high ambition, yet holds every affection and every feeling, nay, every wish under command, and grapples with the daring and turbulent suggestions of his inward foes with the resolution and courage of an insulted lion. Tongue cannot tell what eye hath not seen. However, all have felt at one time or other, and severely too, what this virtue is; yet who shall say that its lessons are equally hard to unpractised age as tò well-trained childhood ?
They will not indeed bear a comparison. The les-, sons which Forbearance reads to a full formed human creature, who has known no other guide than his will, and has had no other object in view than self-indul. gence, must indeed be difficult beyond explanation. Still they may be learned. Happily, there is no virtue but is attainable in some degree ; and it is never too late while life is granted, to seek for improvement, or to forward reformation. But let us remember that every succeeding day adds strength to the
roots of the forest tree we would tear out of the earth; and the self-indulgence of a day adds another link to the chain of habit, which chain we ourselves must break ere we can hope to fix another and good one in its place.
The rebel will, then, of human nature must be yoked in infancy, and made to bend in submission to the authorities which nature has given it. These authorities are the parents; the parents give it laws, which are a body of moral precepts, enforced by their own practice first, and then by speech : and lastly, these laws are all shewn to point to one great end, the source and the centre of all goodness, all perfection, and all happiness.
What! an infant of perhaps only six months old to be taught Forbearance! Yes; and even of four months' existence! and this without departing a step from maternal affection. Affection! can that word be applied to a sentimental and idle mother, who humours and spoils her little child by false indulgence ; giving him all he desires and screams for, letting him kick and bite the maid, and abuse, as far as his little strength will allow, the domestic animals ; allowing him, if he is displeased with his food or playthings, to scatter the first all over the floor, and in a rage almost convulsive, to hurl the others at his mother or sister's head? Yet she who suffers all this calls herself an affectionate parent, and scruples not to boast of the tenderness of her maternal love, and, it is more than probable, of the anxiety she has that her child should be tractable and good! Who will believe her? Who does believe her? What blockhead but can
pierce through her veil of affectation, and perceive her deplorable folly and her unjustifiable indolence ? If she is questioned with a mock gravity, as to her plans and regulations, she will perhaps reply, “ that she has not herself made education a study, never having had any taste that way; but that she will take care to secure persons who have, a few years hence, when it will be quite time enough for her child to learn.”
To learn what? we may ask. To learn by heart from a book ? perhaps it may be time enough for this at five or six years of age. But is it time enough to begin good habit, good principle, and corresponding practice at that age ? In truth, the exertion the child is forced to, will be like that of the man who goes upon what is called the forlorn hope ; final success is almost impossible. And the escape of the child from utter ruin is almost as improbable, for who knows, but that the tutor and preceptress may possess anxiety for his morals and improvement, in the proportion that his own mother has not ceased to feel and so tenderly to boast of ever since his birth ?
But a mother has no taste, no liking: for what? For trouble. This is a very common case, for repose is generally preferred to exertion. But if she have no taste for trouble, has she any for her duty ? And is there any duty which does not require some exertion ? Besides, is the quelling of violent passions in infancy a matter of taste ? If it be, then the poorest beggar on earth may shew his taste in the efforts to mend his child, and controul his will. Moreover, a parent must look to a punishment in the next world, for