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“ WHATSOEVER IS BROUGHT UPON THER, TAKE CHEERFULLY AND
BE PATIENT.” “IF YE DO WELL AND SUFFER, YE TAKE IT PATIENTLY." "TRIBULATION WORKETH PATIENCE." "woe UNTO YOU THAT HAVE LOST PATIENCE: AND WHAT WILL YE DO WHEN THE LORD SHALL VISIT you?”
As the child grows older, and is able to understand what is said, he should be taught that, by endeavouring as much as he can to bear in quiet submission any pains that may seize him, and by shewing a wila lingness to take any remedy prescribed by his mother or the doctor, he will actually lessen those pains ; if we can prevail upon him to make the experiment once, which a spoiled child will never do, but which a well trained one will not demur to, he will be induced to try twice ; especially if the mother, or those about him, endeavour to cheer him when it is safe so to do, by any encouragement, diversion, little tale, or other amusement, as a reward for his most laudable exertions. There is, however, a great difference in childrens' natures; even, perhaps, if such a thing were. possible, as that two children, twins for instance, could be brought up to have the same treatment in every respect! to have the same words addressed to them at the same time, under the influence of the same feelings; to see the same actions done with the same views, and to know no variation whatever; even
were such a phenomenon beheld, as two beings formed by education in the same mould, their natures would yet, perhaps, be so widely different, that the one should be found to bear pain with resignation and patience, the other, having had the same advantages of precept and example, should take it in a different manner, and yet not a disgraceful one either. The one may be calm, quiet, gentle ; the other silent, dejected, melancholy, retiring, averse from any social intercourse. Surely the last will not deserve the names of rebellious, repining, irritable, fretful, which we bestow on the impatient ? Both are submissive in their way. The serene soul, after his steady, quiet, even tenour; the high spirited after his manner of bearing, which is with more dejection than the easy tempered. Each endures after his own peculiar bias or character, and this it is impossible to controul. The habits, manners, principles and knowledge, education can command with undisputed sway. The bias, bent, turn of character, is impressed by Providence. We may stifle, but no human art can, perhaps, ever entirely extinguish or destroy it. Some children, consequently, of the same family, are observed to suffer almost a martyrdom in their infancy, and to do so with a patience and cheerfulness truly admirable ; whilst others are altogether as refractory upon the slightest indispositions; and so fretful and capricious, or, as it is called, humoursome, on their recovery, as to be torments to every one. In considering, however, the merit of the children first alluded to, we may sometimes find that they have been gifted by nature with a happiness of temperament which is not easily discomposed; and we may always recollect that all children appear to us to suffer more than they actually do. In the pity and sympathy we give a sick child, we associate the idea of mental suffering, of hopes and fears, of which he can have none. He has not, like grown persons, the evils of imagination to brood over and distract him, or to aggravate his bodily complaints; he has no fancies at work, and his imagination is wholly at rest as to probabilities on the matter. Perhaps, when we have thus divided off from the casual illness of childhood all sympathetic disease of the soul, we have left only that which may be borne with tolerable calmness ; if to the comparative lightness of the evil we superadd a disposition happily biassed, and to this blessing that also of good training from infancy, under a good mother, all these circumstances in a child's favour will help to secure the virtue of patience to him without any difficulty, and we may add, too, or any great merit of his own. Such a child, when he does recover, will mend with astonishing rapidity ; indeed, most children who are spared seem to leap from illness to health with scarcely an intermediate step. And, above all, may this be observed in such children, as it has been just noticed, whose habits and disposition are both in their favour.
But enough has, perhaps, been said on the subject of sickness, which, as it is the first evil of childhood, and the embitterer of every enjoyment, must be the first subject for endurance, and one for which patience should betimes be prepared. I therefore proceed to the second sort of evil which a child has to bear, in the crosses, contrarieties, provocation, opposition, or disappointments, arising from a thousand causes not to be controlled, or through himself, or those about him. This may seem a list of trifles ; but they are sufficiently wearing, in the day and day of existence, if they are constantly grinding on the rough surface of an irritable and bad temper. Where the temper is smooth and even, many of the smaller evils glide by and are not felt; whilst the weightier ones, which assault human nature in her weakest points, make, their impression, but are prevented from overwhelming in their force by the hand of Patience, which upholds all it touches.
It is impossible, and, were it otherwise, it would perhaps be superfluous, to try at enumerating what cannot be numbered, but of which every person has every day an example before his eyes : the petty vexations and crosses of life. Children no more than ourselves are exempt from them in their way : for as trifles please at that age, so are the evils but trifles which assault them under the form of daily troubles ; evils which are found most essentially to require the aid of that virtue which is now under consideration. A child sees his maid with her bonnet ready to go out; in an agitation of delight he springs forward to accompany her. The maid is going to take a very long walk; is perhaps not to return till evening, or the following morning. The child is brought back by his mother ; his wishes are crossed; he must submit; if he know not how, he must be taught. Another child is promised a toy, or an object, when his mother has finished a piece of work on which she is engaged and
can have time to look for it; or she has promised, when such a business is concluded, to take him out to walk: he must consequently wait. This he at first does patiently enough. In the mean time, a friend comes to pay a visit ; or the father of the child comes to speak with his wife ; or the servant waits for particular orders; or a thousand matters may be urged likely to cause a delay. What is to be done ? Are the whole economy and establishment of a household to be overthrown for a child of two years old ? It would be folly to suppose it. He must wait, and have patience. His mother will say, “ You see, my dear, how I am hindered, and am not yet ready to attend to you, or to get what you want; be good, and wait quietly, and amuse yourself as well as you can with this or that, and I will not forget my promise.” It is well for the child that he is thus occasionally tried : he must meet with contradictions as a man, and if he then bear them well, it can only be by having learned to do so as a child.
Another little one has just built up a house of cards ; or a pyramid of wooden blocks ; or laden his wheelbarrow full of stones and weeds from his little garden; just as he is exulting in his own performances, and his eye is brightened in joy to shew the labours of his hands, a window is suddenly and incautiously opened, and the cards are blown down; or somebody pushes inadvertently against the pyramid, and scatters it far and wide; or a wicked little wight of a sister, brother, cousin, or playfellow, runs against the barrow of stones, and throws them for a frolic all over the path. Again, we inquire, what is to be done? Are