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the wrecks of his fortune, which would have furnished out a comfortable, nay, genteel subsistence, he is supported in a private madhouse.
The deserted maiden, unaccustomed to practise the virtue in question, and unable to bring herself to reflection, or examination of her loss, by the most cowardly and impious act plunges into a neighbouring river, and rushes headlong to eternity and destruction ; leaving behind her the very bride she so greatly envied, a prey to wretchedness and discord, with a husband she finds to be cruel as lie had been capricious.
I will single out one or two more of the thousand occasions of life in which this virtue is absolutely requisite. A young man in whose education no pains have been spared, and no care withheld, in order to fix good principles, is at length introduced into society, and forms one of an elegant and fashionable club of young gentlemen, whose good opinion he desires to gain. There, to his surprise, he may find the name and titles of Omnipotence annexed to trifes, nay, used on occasions worse than trifling, and Omnipotence himself appealed to, not always, it is true, in the intention of blaspheming, but in a wicked and daring manner. The youth at first shudders, and is then going to express his astonishment and horror ; but just as the gravity of his countenance declares his thoughts, he perceives a smile gathering on every lip around him, every eye winking on its neighbour, and the elbow of one jostling another. Now if a resolution to greatly venture, and the courage to do what he knows is right, should belong to him, he will dare to disapprove what is wrong, though he should be ridiculed for his rusticity; will have the undaunted firmness to withstand the blandishments of example, though he should be taxed with formality, or imbecility; and will have the courage to speak boldly, not rudely, for truth, even though the scorn and contempt of those who might befriend him should threaten him as consequences.
Again : a young, newly married lady, among other visitors, is gratified by one, in a lady of high rank and distinction. After much elegant discourse, the noble stranger begs the pleasure of the bride's company to an evening card party the following week. The young lady declares her readiness to wait upon her, adding that she has no engagements for that time. At length, on rising to take leave, the stranger, with a gracious smile, observes, she will send her a card for Sunday evening, and then moves away. What is done? With the fearful, and timid, and vain, a false shame restrains speech and action; principle calls out loudly and earnestly. The matter is debated ; resolution is made and unmade. One hour she will go, the next she will not. What will the world say, if she goes ? What will her well-judging friends think? But what, if she stay away, and should affront this high born acquaintance who has condescended to seek her friendship ? But the invitation arrives ; it ought to be answered ; still she delays. Cards on a Sunday ! she never in her life even saw them on that day, Sunday comes, and finds her in more doubt and irrésolution than ever; still however, the dress is ready, should she decide on going. At length her
husband hears the case debated aloud, and having put in his negative, a note of apology for non-attendance is dispatched, with an excuse that a cold, or any thing but what is really the truth, prevents her the bonour and pleasure, &c. A second invitation comes for a party on the like day; and this time, after another week of suspense and doubt, perplexity and fear, having entered the pale of vice, and passed the boundary of virtue by the falsehood, the combat is more feeble, and she actually contrives to gain over her husband to give her the permission desired, or she goes without it. And then, after passing an evening in a diversion which she trembles as she takes, and having received the embrace of her brilliant hostess, she returns home unhappy and spiritless, not daring to address the Being for protection whom she feels she has offended by profaning his sacred day. What does she next resolve on? Nothing. Such a character, with all the disposition in the world to goodness, is perpetually erring; and, in the end, is often transformed to one eminent for vice. Why, alas, had she not the boldness and the courage to avow, that Sunday deing a day she had been brought up to reverence, she dared not take those diversions, which on another she could find no objection to ? Because such a courage was never instilled into her, and made to form a grand feature in her character.
How necessary is it, then, that children should be formed betimes to the practice of a virtue, so essential, that those who have it not might almost as well be destitute of the others : since the absence of this one allows an entrance to fear, prejudice, and false
MORALITY OF CHILDHOOD.
shame, which, separate or united, will so operate as to throw all goodness into shade, and render it passive : nay, which shall go further, and make virtue even seem to blush for being virtue, and stand apparently confounded and abashed before folly, prejudice, and vice !
Whatever, therefore, of accident or ill befal our children, let us first begin by teaching them speedily to seek a remedy, and promptly and boldly to apply it ; and if the case admit of none, let us arm them with patience, resignation, and calmness.
And, on all occasions where interest and the world, duty and goodness are balanced, let us habituate them to the practice of instantly dividing off the one from the other, and of saying, though it be in presence of all the crowned heads of the earth, this is wrong, I neither will nor can have any of it ; the other is right, and by that, and that alone, will I abide.
RELIGION OF CHILDHOOD.
“ MY LORD AND MY GOD." "THE LIVING, THE LIVING, HE
SHALL PRAISE THEE AS I DO THIS DAY: THE FATHER TO THE CHILDREN SHALL MAKE KNOWN THY TRUTH." "IS HE NUMBERED AMONG THE CHILDREN OF GOD?".
Thus this great mass of virtues, called goodness, or morality, is, by example, precept, and habit, to be gradually made a part of the child's being. And now, when we have fairly piled up these treasures in the cabinet of the mind and heart, where, let us ask, is the key to lock up and secure them for ever? Suppose we have no key, how then ? May not a thief come in and steal the precious deposit ? Alas! there is a thief ever ready at hand to steal away all good, and moreover to slay, to kill and devour all he so cruelly robs. Let us then be on our guard; be watchful, ready, vigilant; and, above all, fasten the