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kneel at her feet, hears them offer up a very short prayer to the God who made them, before they lie down to sleep ; which prayer might, and probably would have been neglected had not the parent been present? Every one is compelled to love such deeds of virtue, whether he choose to praise them or not, and above all when they are unaccompanied by any parade, in the presence of parents who, conscious of their own indifference in such matters, are irritated by comparisons of others with themselves. People, in general, are soon fatigued with details of which parental vanity, pride and fondness form the chief part. If mothers do their duty, let them do it unboasted, nor speak of it as a surprising matter before any one. They shall have a reward, but they must look at home for it, in their expectation of a wellordered, affectionate, and blooming race ; in the joy and confidence of their husbands, and in the esteem and respect which mankind are forced to bear a good and dignified matron.
Let us now return to the consideration of the infantine character.
“ ACQUAINT NOW THYSELF WITH HIM.”
Passion has two ways of discovering itself: by action, and by speech. Through them we may, therefore, very soon judge of a child's character, as childhood is unacquainted with the arts by which maturity contrives to smother the action, or to suppress the sentiment, so as to suit the particular occasion.
All the views of children are turned towards self. Şelf-preservation and self-gratification are their chief end; and this law is fixed and universal; for we see the first operating in England, when the nurse delivers the naked infant, which screams and clings around her, to the bather to plunge into a sea which appears destruction; and we find it in the same force among the modern Egyptian peasants, whose very little children, without an article of clothing, are seated on their mothers' shoulders, having not even a strap to secure them, whilst the mothers wash in the river, or perform other offices, and leave these little creatures to exert themselves for their own preservation : which, however, they do by a most strenuous grasp of the parent's head, and this is all they have to trust to.* - As children are thus earnest to preserve, so are they anxious to gratify themselves; and the more healthy, brisk and active they are, the more are they disposed to the exertion which is necessary to gain their object. The mind once roused to an object, cannot in a moment perhaps be withdrawn from it; neither can the animal spirits, once set in motion, be made to subside and be laid at rest by a command. Hence, when a child, impelled by cu
* See the representation of such scenes in Sir R. Ainslie's Collection.
riosity or desire; urges forward to accomplish a purpose which we have reason to disapprove, we attempt to hurry him from it, and we expect he should instantly stop short, drop' his views, and shake off the energies with which he had armed himself. This is scarcely possible. Most injudiciously we hasten with, sharpness to repeat our commands, and the consequences are such as we might calmly expect : irritation and vexation. These quicken the first impulse, and hurry the action. The spirits rise to immoderate anger, or to that which is vulgarly called, passion. The child proceeds according to the peculiar bias of his nature. If he is courageous, he dares on to the very end ; if he is disposed to be grave, he swells with disdain ; if the peculiar turn of his disposition be spiteful or malicious, he springs on the person who irritates him, and with blows as hard as his little hands can give, or with wounds as deep as his teeth can make, he shews his fury ; or, if this child be inclined to revenge, he waits in gloomy silence till the person offending has ceased to observe, and then he takes his opportunity of wreaking vengeance, however trifling it may be. Such is opposition, the origin of excess in the passions; and which is by turns the great check, and incitement, to good and bad deeds.
As I have thus traced up emotion to excesses of passion, which excesses, though ascribed to nature, are, for the most part, produced by ill-timed or hasty opposition to infant will, I must be allowed to offer some remarks upon the management of the passions or the formation of character in childhood.
The whole importance of infant character may be seen to consist in, II. Regulating the passions.
II. Securing morality, or the active virtues.
For the accomplishment of all these we require from childhood but one return, which is submission. Real docility brings every impulse to its aid; the mind, the will, the memory, the imagination, the heart, and the bodily powers; with these united, our most sanguine hopes may be realized.
Let us, then, consider the treatment of the child's character as far as regards his passions.
No sooner do we glance in this direction, than we perceive opposition continually acting and producing some new consequence. Now to oppose with effect with such effect as shall induce a child to desist from his purpose, and hold another; to convince him that he is wrong and that we are right; that it is his duty to obey and ours to exact; in short, to persuade him that it is fit his will and pleasure should wait but a signal to go along with ours ;-to oppose with such effect as this, demands so much attention, not towards the child only, but to ourselves, that it is indeed uncommon in practice, rare in the example, and arduous in the undertaking. Impossible, however, it is not : because many have succeeded.
Judgment, to set within a child's reach such objects as he may try for, and possess ; discrimination, to mark the right moment for opposing him when a chance circumstance has thrown improper things in his way, or excited him to a wrong pursuit ; forbear.
ance, and watchfulness of our own feelings and pas, sions, when opposition from us swells and vivifies the malignant seeds of human nature, which, otherwise, might have lain and been for ever smothered: these are what every mother requires who wishes to have absolute power over the will, the mind, and the heart of her child.
And, first, judgment,
It is, as I conceive, an act of cruelty to set a little child before a covered table ; to put him in a fine room; to walk with him in a flower garden, and not to let him touch one single article belonging to the three. Suppose the mother were previously to say, « Now upon this table, in this garden, or this room, is there any thing which would amuse my child ?" This question is soon answered, for a child is amused and pleased with every thing. All is to him new. . “ Will he not then desire to look closely upon the things which please him--to touch, to smell, to taste them?!! Yes, undoubtedly. “ And is it proper or convenient in this case that he sliould do so?” It is not; for the table is covered with fine china, or luxurious eatables; the room is decorated with costly and brittle materials ; the garden contains flowers which are rare and valuable. Then I ask, who would, merely to amuse the child's eye, lay before, or introduce him to these three temptations ? But it is a good plan to accustom children to see things which they must not have. The truth is, that good never yet grew, nor ever will, in real evil. It is good for children to be taught forbearance, but not by tantalizing them, which we do when, through mere idleness, thoughtlessness, or folly,