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pline, rightly exercised, that depravity with which they are born will acquire a fatal ascendancy over them, by the time they arrive at the age of maturity. Correction, then, is necessary to subdue the self-will, and repress the rebellious spirits and headstrong passions of children; who ought, from their infancy; to be accustomed to obey and submit to the authority of their parents, which will be of the greatest advantage to thein throughout the whole of their lives.
“Let children be early taught to understand that their parents expect to be obeyed, when they give a positive command. Were this rule always enforced, much less severity, than is generally used in the bringing up of children, would be required. For, when they are capable of rightly using their reason and liberty, that authority which prudent correction has established may be frequently maintained by argument, reproof, expostulation, and commendation; whereas, too many leave their indulged children without any chastisenient, till age and habit have confirmed them in stubborn self-will, and then, by an unseasonable severity, complete their ruin.”
To prevent such deplorable consequences, begin very soon to chastise the faults of your children. Suffer them not to indulge perverse humours, violent passions, or wrong inclinations, without being firmly rebuked and punished. Do not allow them to be guilty of lying, stealing, or any other vice, without that due measure of correction which the offence calls for. Tell them, plainly, the heinous nature of these faults, and that you correct them for their good. Thus Solomon admonishes parents :
" Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul
spare for his crying.” And he cautions them not to withhold chastisement, when necessary, from a mistaken tenderness, which may prove fatal to the welfare of their children. “ He that spareth his rod, hateth his son ; but he that loveth him, chasteneth him betimes".
Yet parents should always bear in remembrance, that, if they desire their corrections to produce a salutary effect on the minds of their children, they must not punish them in anger, or from motives of 'caprice, or for very trivial matters; lest the correction should wear an aspect of undue severity, which would defeat its own intention. Parents must not only chastise their offspring in moderation and temper, but as seldom as possible, to avoid the mischiefs which unnecessary punishment may occasion. To this view of the subject the Apostle refers, when he says, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged." Let them not be irritated by unkind treatment, harsh language, austere manners, or by enforcing compliance with orders which are capricious and unreasonable. Nor let parents be always (as is the case with many) chiding their children without cause, nor blaming them without a sufficient reason; for such rigorous conduct only tends to sour and depress their spirits, and to raise in their breasts a flame of passionate "resentinent, which, in time, may so alienate' their affections, as to incline them even to despise and dread those whom they naturally wish to love.
Instead of such 'needless and cruel severity, parents are required to treat their beloved offspring with paternal tenderness, to speak kindly to them, to mix
• Prov. xix. 18. bib. xiii. 24. c Col.iii, 21.
with their authority over them every prudent mark of affection," and to use every method, as they grow up, to render their children easy and happy in their company, and confident of a favourable reception in every attempt to please them. This line of conduct greatly tends to keep them out of temptation, to improve their minds, and to make the parental authority of wisdom and love respectable and amiable in their eyes. And if, by such means, they can allure their children to choose them for companions, counsellors, and friends, in all their undertakings, a most important point will be carried.
4. Parents must take care to give their children an education suited to the station in which they are likely to be placed. As soon as reason begins to dawn, such things may be taught them as they are able to comprehend. They should early be accustomed to application and observation; and their minds be stored, as they become capable of it, with information on every subject which may conduce to make them useful to themselves and to society. When they are sufficiently old to benefit by the instructions of teachers, let them enjoy such a share of this great advantage, as the circumstances of their parents will adınit, or as may be necessary to qualify them to fill' up with credit the particular station in life to which Providence calls them.
The benefits of education camiot be sufficiently valued; but the neglect of it, as may be learnt from the occurrences of almost every day, is productive of muclı evil and sorrow. If the minds of youth remain uninstructed, and they are allowed to enter "upon a wicked world without a knowledge of God, of themselves, and of their duty to others, what can we look for, but those sinful tempers and detestable
vices, which not only render them nuisances and pests to the community, but obnoxious to the wrath of an incensed God?
Parents, with the blessing of God, and the labours of moral and religious instructors, might often save their children from disgrace, and an ignominious death; and themselves from the heart-rending thought, that the neglect of a right discipline and education has greatly contributed to the coinmission of those offences against God and man, which have ensured their present, if not their future ruina.
5. It is the bounden duty of parents to endeavour to make a suitable provision for their children, that they may be enabled to live comfortably in society, without being a burthen to others for support. “The Christian is not, indeed, allowed to seek great things for his fatnily, or to be desirous of advancing them much above his own rank in life: yet he will judge it best, if the Lord will, that they should not be depressed much below-it, at least by his fault ; for that condition in which men have been brought up, is generally safest for them.
6. Parents, besides preserving their children from idleness, self-indulgence, extravagance, and bad connexions, will early accustom them to habits of industry and activity, and such pursuits as are of a profitable tendency. The Jews always bring up their children to some suitable trade or profession, that, in case of misfortune, they may be able to acquire a subsistence, without being troublesome to the community to which they belong. Their example, in this respect, might be generally followed with the greatest advantage. Parents should not suffer their children to lead an indolent life, lest they should become inju
• Prov. xxii. 6.
rious to themselves and to others; but after making the best provision which they can for them, should enable them, by honest industry, or some liberal profession, to support themselves, and become useful members of society. Thus they might preserve their offspring from poverty, and from their being obliged to settle in a condition of life much beneath that in which they were born ; a cause frequently of much vexation to them through the remainder of their lives.
Much patience will be requisite, and many trials, must be encountered, in strictly adhering to this mode of disciplining children ; and the success may not, in every instance, answer expectation : still, a great deal more good may be effected by it, in regulating the affections and minds of
young persons, in prseerving their principles from contagion, and in qualifying them for usefully filling up the stations for which they are designed, than parents are apt to suppose. The benefits, therefore, both temporal and eternal, generally flowing from such a course of education, are so great, that they ought to stimulate those who have the welfare of their offspring at heart, to put it in practice, in order that they inay do what they can to make them a blessing in the age in which they live, and to render them subjects of Christ's everlasting kingdom.
LECTURE LV. ON THE DUTY OF PARENTS TO PROMOTE THE SPIRITUAL
WELFARE OF THEIR CHILDREN. Eph. vi. 4. Bring up your children in the nurture and admo
nition of the Lord. The connexion between Children and Parents is so near, that mere natural affection should prompt the