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their minds during childhood be engaged, till an intercourse with others gave an opportunity to the bias of nature or fancy to make way and declare itself.
“ Shew me," says the adage, “a man's company, and I will tell you what he is.” I would say, shew me the toys of a child under seven years of
age, toys which he himself has chosen, and I will tell you, not what is the real bias of that child's mind, and the direction of his taste, but what are the scenes and the objects with which he is most familiarized. There is a wide distinction between the formation of principle and that of taste, for pursuits of any kind. The formation of principle is independent of ourselves ; for the whole process belongs to infancy and childhood, and is the work of parents. At ten years
that work is done, and so firmly, as never by any human art to be completely undone. The principles remain bad at twenty, if they were left so at ten; but the practice may notwithstanding be improved, and these bad notions at the heart, by strength of reason, dread of censure, and dawning of religion on the soul* may be borne down by main strength, and kept in a great measure out of sight. But, if bad they are, bad they remain at the bottom : like an apple, fair outside, and unsound at the core. Even St. Paul, saint as he was, for the heroic exhausting struggles he made to kill the old man in him, declares that his spirit continually
* I say the dawning of religion ; for if a chilj be well grounded in principles and practice of piety, during first childhood, his general principles cannot, it is impossible they ever should be, other than generally good.
warreth against the flesh, and the good he would do he cannot, &c.; even he, saint as he was, for fighting, these dreadful battles, in which he would doubtless have been lost but for the grace of God, which was sent to his aid, even he corroborates this remark. For will any one say that St. John, who never sinned as did St. Paul, had the same horrors to feel, the same wars to wage, the same internal and dreadful combats, with Paul ? And whence arose the difference ? Simply, as I cannot but think, in this : that Paul's bad principles held firm in his heart, whilst the soul of the saint was changed, and his mind convinced and enlightened; but the heart was notwithstanding bad, and had incited to bad deeds up to manhood ;* bad and decayed it then was, and decayed and bad it remained, after the cause was even removed which produced the ruin. Hence the terrible conflicts of this distinguished apostle, which he has so faithfully and honestly recorded, for the encouragement of the evil-disposed to try the fight, and fight with hope of victory as he did, to the end.
* In many books for young persons, are bad principled youth described, who on a sudden, at all ages, change into good excellent people, without a struggle. Such stories are unualural as they are untrue. The internal struggles of a bad youth, or adult to climb up to goodness are, at first weak; tben as reasons impel him, eager, violent, tumultuous, and fierce. In almost every effort, the ground gives way, and he falls back to his old station. By persevering after a length of time, he makes some little pro-, gress, but in his greatest success, such a one stands unsteady, and is every instant in danger of falling. Alas, he has no foundation to rest on, and he maintains his ground but by art. He bas fought every inch of his way, and it requires all his vigilance not to be surprised and beaten off.
The principles, then, that are instilled into us in childhood, stand by us for ever ; but the tastes we acquire change with our years, profession and circumstances. In childhood we can eat what we are disgusted with in maturity. In adolescence we prefer studies and diversions, which yield no delight in after age. The fiction which, to peruse, robs the youth of his rest, is thought of in middle age only with contempt or indifference ; and that which afforded the child no amusement whatever, is now the solace and comfort of decrepitude. Taste, opinions, likings, dislikes, preferences and prejudice vary with years, fashions, and the complexion of the times. The child finds amusement with his rattle, the old man comfort in his wig; reverse the order and nothing could be more absurd : a child in a wig, an old man with a rattle ; and yet the time was when this very man was pleased with the toy, and the time will come, if he live, when the child shall be glad to shelter his bald head under a wig. Thus it is with matters of taste, opinion, and fashion. Not so with principle. “ Thank God for my dinner," says the child of two years, in whom a beginning of religious principle is to be fixed. “God be praised," says the old man of ninety, when he has finished his meal. The meaning is one and the same, the action is becoming to both. The remark of a good mother on a good child, thus : “I believe him, for he never told me in his life a falsehood," is but the same confidence in his integrity and truth which was paid to the celebrated Italian, who when several persons were examined upon oath, was enjoined to give his word only, with
this noble compliment, “ As for Petrarch, his bare word is sufficient." Truth in childhood is truth in old age; goodness in the light is goodness also when in the dark ; and real virtue, turn her which way we will, must be virtue for ever. The fact is, that all we have, and see, and know of good, has sprung from an unchangeable, eternal, allperfect source, and savours of heaven.
All that we have of tastes, fashions, prejudice, and opinion originate in necessity, art, contrivance, or self-interest, and savour of mean and grovelling dust. Tastes, therefore, live the life of a butterfly, and change their form as often ; but goodness, in the shape of principle, so remains and never dies.*
* Bad principles, in bad subjects, it may be argued, also remain. But in what way? Calní, steady, fixed, straight-forward, full of just confidence and hope ? Oh no! They remain, true to nothing but in their direction towards evil. They remain, as does the angel of darkness till the last day, restless, uneasy, distracting, torturing, reproaching. Still they do remain where they have introduced themselves, as the spirits did who entered into the house swept and garnished. It were to sully the purity of goodness, to compare such a tyrannical despotism to the mild and equitable, the peaceful and happy reign of good principles over the mind and affections,
INANIMATE OBJECTS, OR TOYS.
A MERRY HEART MAKETH A CHEERFUL COUNTENANCE" " WISE SON MAKETH A GLAD FATHER.'
LITTLE ONES REJOICE IN GLADNESS."
A TIME TO LAUGA, AND A TIME TO DANCE.'
I SHALL now attempt to arrange the sources of children's amusements under two heads : those of objects animate, and those inanimate ; and begin by considering the latter.
Of inanimate objects for amusement, or toys, some are pernicious, others dangerous. The dangerous kind are those whose use requires exertions beyond the strength of children. Such are all wind instruments, trumpets, whistles, Autes ; large heavy cricket and foot balls, &c. The pernicious, are those little cups, mugs, and vessels of all kinds, which are much bought for children, but which, being made of base and mixed metals, are often highly injurious to the little people who put into them, as they term, for cooking, apples, cakes, orange juice, or other ingredient, and then serve up among themselves for the meal ; unconsciously eating what is often the cause of pains, disorders, and debility; for the acid of fruit being poured into a cup made of copper, brass, lead, pewter bell metal, is sure to imbibe some of their hurtful qualities, and consequently cannot but be prejudicial to the tender bodies into which they are re