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from their duty. When they should employ their eyes on their book or their work, they will be gazing at every thing besides their task; they must rise often to the window to see what passes abroad, when their business lies within.
This volatile humour, if not gently altered and wisely corrected in early years, will have an unhappy influence to hinder them for ever from attaining any great excellence in whatsoever business they undertake. Children should be taught therefore to call in their wandering thoughts, and bind them to the work in hand, till they have gone through it and finished it. Yet this sort of wandering folly should not be chastised severely in young children, vor should it be subdued with violence, by too close and rigorous a confinement to many long hours of labour or study in that early and tender part of life ; such a conduct might break. or overwhelm an active and sprightly genius, and destroy all those seeds of curiosity which promise well for maturer years; but proper and agreeable methods should be used to persuade and incline the young learner to attend to his present employment. It is far better to fix the thoughts to duty by allurement than by severity ; but some way or other it ought to be endeavoured, at least in a good degree.
This fixedness of the mind and active powers, is not only of great service to attain useful knowledge, or to learn any
business in common life, but it is of considerable advantage in religion, in attendance on divine worship, either prayer, preaching or meditation ; where the mind is subject to a thousand distractions, for want of being taught to fix the attention in younger years.
Persons who have well learned the art of governing their thoughts, can pursue a train of thinking while they walk through the streets of London, nor will the noise and burry of that busy place, break the thread of their meditations. A happy attainment this, and a felicity which but few arrive at !
2. Children should be also instructed to govern their inclinations and wishes, and to determine their wills and their choice of things, not by humour and wild fancy, but by the dictates of reason. Some persons, even in their mature years, can give no other account why they choose and determine to do this or that, but because they have a fancy for it, and they will do it. I will because I will, serves instead of all other reasons. And in the same manner they manage their refusal or dislike of any thing. I hate to do this ihing; I will not go to this place, nor do that work ; I am resolved, against it ; and all from mere humour. This is a conduct very uubecoming a reasonable creature ; and this folly should be corrected betimes, in our early parts of life, since God has given us understanding and reason to be the guide of our resolutions, and to direct our choice and all our actions.
3. Appetite is another thing which should be put under strict government, and children should be taught betimes to restrain it. That of the taste is the first thing that gets the ascendant in our younger years, and a guard should be set upon it early. What an unbecoming thing is it for children to be craving after every dish that comes to a table ? and that they will geoerally do, if they have never been taught to bridle their craving. They must eat of all the pickles and sauces and high seasoned meats, and gorge themselves with a medley of inconsistent dainties; and without any restraint, lest little master should be froward, or lest little miss should grow out of humour with her dinner. Howy often do they make a foul inroad on their health by excess of eating, being tempted farther than nature requires by every luscious bit which is within their sight? how frequently doth this indulgence vitiate their stomach, ruin their constitution, weaken the springs of nature, and destroy the powers of animal life betimes?! how many graves are filled, and fuveral vaults crowded with little carcases which have been brought to untimely death by the foolish fondness of a parent or a vurse, giving ihe young creatures leave to eat any thing they desire ? or if they happen by strength of constitution to survive tbis pestilence, how often do they grow up to young gluttons, and place their happiness in the satisfaction of the taste they are deaf to all the rules of virtue and abstinence all their lives, because they were never taught to deny themselves when they were young. Dit is a mean and shameful thing to be a slave to our iaste, and to let this brutal appetite subdue reason and govern the man. But if appetites 'must be gratified in the child, they will grow strong in the years of youth, and a thousand to one but they over-power the man also..
Let but fond parents humour their little offspring, and indulge their children to sip wine frequently, and they will generally grow up to the love of it long before nature needs it; and by this means they will imagine drams are daily necessary for their support, by ibat time they are arrived at the age of man or
Thus nature is soon burnt up, and life pays for the deadly draught. The foundation of much gluttony and drunkenness, of many diseases that arise from intemperance, and of many an untimely death, is laid in the nursery.
An excess of niceness in pleasing the palate, is a foolish and dangerous humour, which should never be encouraged by parents since the plainest food is the most healthful for all persons, but especially for children, and in this respect they should be under the conduct of their elders, and not always choose for themselves. 'This conduct and discipline will train them up to virtue and selfdenial, to temperance and frugality, to a relish of plain and wholesome food to the pleasures of active health, and to a firm and chearful old age.
The indulgence of a nice appetite in children, is not only the reason why they are so often sick, but at the same time it makes them so humourous and squeamish, that they can scarcely be persuaded to swallow a medicine which is necessary for their recovery. What a long, tedious and tiresome business is it to wait on some children whole hours together, while all the soft persuasions and flatteries of a mother cannot prevail with them to take a nauseous spoonful, or a bitter bolus, though their life may seem to depeod on it ? They bave been taught to make an idol of their taste, and even in the view and peril of death, they can bardly be persuaded to affront their idol, and displease their palate with a draught, or even a pill, which disgusts it.
There are other appetites (if I may so call them) beside that of the taste, which children are ready to indulge too far, if not limited and corrected by the wisdom of their parents. Their eyes are never satisfied with seeing, nor their ears with hearing. Some young persons cannot hear of a fine show but they must needs sec it ; nor can they be told of a concert of music, but they must needs hear it, though it creates an expence beyond their circumstances, and may endanger their health or ibeir virtue.
I confess freely, that I would recommend the sight of uncommon things in nature or art, in government civil or military, to the curiosity of youth. If some strange wild beasts and birds are to be shown, if lions and eagles, ostriches and elephants, pelicans or rhinoceroses, are brought into our land, if an ingenious model of Solomon's temple, or some nice and admirable clockwork, engines, or moving pictures, &c. be made a spectacle to the ingenious; if a king be crowned, or a public triumph proceed through the streets; when an army is reviewed by a prince, when an ambassador makes a public entry, or when there is a public trial of criminals before a judge, I will readily allow these sights are worthy of the attendance of the younger parts of mankind; once at least, where it may be done with safety, and without too great hazard or expence. Most of these are things which are not often repeated, and it is fit that the curiosity of the eyes should be so far gratified, as to give people once in their lives an opportunity of knowing what these tbings are, that their minds may
be furnished with useful ideas of the world of nature or art, and with some notion of the great and uncommon scenes and appearances of the civil life. But for children to baunt every public spectacle, to attend with constancy every lord mayor's slow, to seize every opportunity of repeating these siglits, suffering nothing to escape then that may please their senses, and this too often without any regard to their religion, their virtue, or their health, this is a vanity which ought to be restrained by those
to whom God and nature hath committed the care of their instruction, and who have a just and natural authority over them. But of this and some other subjects a-kin to it, I may have occasion to speak more in the following parts of this discourse, when I professedly treat on the article of restraint.
Thus I have shown how the appetites and inclinations of children should be put under discipline, and bow they may be taught self-government in this respect.
4. The passions or affections are the last things which I shall mention; these appear very early in children to want a regulation and government. They love and hate too rashly, and with too much vehemence ; they grieve and rejoice too violently and on the sudden, and that for mere trifles; their hopes and fears, their desires and their aversions are presently raised to too bighi a pitch, and upon very slight and insufficient grounds. It becomes a wise parent to watch over these young emotions of their souls, and put in a word of prudent caution, as often as they observe these irregularities.
Let children be taught early, that the little things for which they are so zealous, for which they grieve or rejoice so impetuously, are not worthy of these affections of their souls; shew them the folly of being so fond of these trifles, and of vexing and growing fretful for the loss of them. Inform them what a happiness it is to have few desires and few aversions, for this will preserve them from a multitude of sorrows, and keep their temper always serene and calm : persuade them never to raise their hopes very high of things in this world, and then they will never meet with great disappointments. Teach them moderation in all these workings of their spirits; and inform them, that their passions should never be laid out thus on objects which do not deserve them, nor rise higher than the occasion requires.
Teach basbful and timorous children, that they need be ashamed of nothing but what is evil; that they should fear God in the first place, and serve him, and then they need not be afraid of men, or of any thing that threatens inischief to them; for the Almighty God will be their friend and defence. Engage their fear and their love in the first place on God, the most proper and supreme object of them; let their bope, their joys and their sorrows as soon as possible, be tinctured with religion : set their young affections at work on the most needful and important objects of thein in early life, and this will have a sweet and powerful influence on the better regulation of them with regard to all sensible things. Above all, let them know that they must govern their
anger, and let it not break out on every slight occasion. It is anger that is eminently called passion among children, and in the language of common life. This therefore should eminently have a constant guard set upon it. Shew them how uoreasonable and unmanly a thing it is to take fire at every little provocation : how honourable and glorious to forgive an injury; how much like God and like the best of men. Let them know wlrat Solomon would inform them, that the patient in spirit is belter than the proud in spirit : that he who is slow to anger, is better than the mighty: and he that ruleth his spirit, is better than he that takelh a city. Teach them to put away their little quarrels and resentments, and to forget and bury thein in love. Let them be put in mind, that though anger may happen to rise a little in a good man, yet it rests and abides only in the bosom of a fool : and therefore they should never grow sullen, nor let the sun go down upon their wrath.
The occasions of childish resentment, and the risings of anger, are ready to return often, and therefore they should often have such warnings given them and such instructions repeated. Tell them how lovely a thing it is to be meek and free from passion, and how much such children are beloved of all. Instruct them how inucli it tends to their own peace, to suffer nothing to ruffle and discompose them; and when their little hearts are ready to swell and grow big within them, and their wrath takes sudden fire, put in some pretty soft word to cure the return of this inward swelling, to quench the new flame that is kindling in their busom, and to assuage the rising storm. Teach them by degrees to get an habitual conquest over this disorder of nature in youth, and you will lay a foundation for their deliverance from a thousand mischiefs in the following years and events of life.
This shall suffice for the third head of instruction wbich re. lates to self-government: I have dwelt the longer upon it, because it is of so great and evident importance towards the ease and happiness of life, as well as so considerable a part of religion ; and men can bardly ever get so successful a victory over them- . selves, unless they begin when they are children. Sect. IV.-The common Arts of Reading and Writing.
THE nest thing that I shall mention as a matter of instruction for children, is the common arts of reading, spelling, and writing. Writing is almost a divine art, whereby thoughts may be cominunicated without a voice, and understood without bearing : to these I would add some small knowledge of arithmetic or accounts, as the practice of it is in a manner so universal in our age, that it dues almost necessarily belong to a tolerable education. The knowledge of letters, is one of the greatest blessings that ever God bestowed on the children of men :' by this means, mankind are enabled to preserve the memory of things done in their own times, and to lay up a richi treasure of knowledge for all succeeding generations.