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How hard for parents to manage their own authority with so much gentleness, and to regulate the liberties of their children with so wise a discipline, as to fall into neither extreme, nor give unhappy occasion for censure! though I have spoken my opinion freely, that it is safer to err on the side of restraint, than of excessive indulgence.

Antigone had an excellent mother, but she died young : Antigone with her elder sister, from their very infancy, were placed under a grand-mother's care. The good old gentlewoman trained them up precisely in the forms in which she herself was educated, when the modes of breeding had (it must be confessed) too much narrowness and austerity. She gave them all the good instructions she had received from her ancestors, and would scarcely ever suffer them to be out of her sight. She saw the eldest well married at five and twenty, and settled in a course of virtue and religion : she found her zeal and pious care attended with success in several of ber posterity, and she departed this

life in peace.

But unhappy Antigone took a different turn: she was let loose into the world with all her possessions and powers in her own hand; and falling into vain company, she got such a taste. of unbounded liberty and modish vices, that she could never reflect

upon

the method of her own education without angry remarks or ridicule. When she came to huve children of her own, she still retained the resentinent which she had conceived at the conduct of her grandmother, and therefore she resolved that her daughters should be bred up in the other extreme.

“ In my younger times (said she) we were kept hard to the labour of the needle, and spent six hours a-day at it, as though I were to get my bread by my finger ends; but a little of that business shall serve these children, for their father has left them good fortunes of their own.

“ We were not suffered to read any thing but the bible and sermon-books ; but I shall teach mine politer lessons out of plays and romances, that they may be acquainted with the world betimes.

“ My eldest sister was scarcely ever allowed to speak in company till she was married, and it was a tiresome length of years before that day came. The old proverb rao thus, That a maiden must be seen and not heard: but I hope my little daughters will not be dumb.

“ We were always confined to dwell at home, unless some extraordinary occasion called us abroad, perhaps once in a month or twice in a summer. We were taught to play the good housewife in the kitchen and the pastry, and were well instructed in the conduct of the broom and duster ; but we knew noihing of the mode of the court, and the diversious of the towa. I should be ashamed to see these young creatures that are under my care, so aukward in company at fourteen, as I was at four and twenty.”

And thus Antigone brought up her young family of daughiters agreeable to her own loose notions ; for she had formed her sentiments of education merely froin the aversion she bad conceived to the way of her elders, and chose the very reverse of their conduct for her rule, because their piety and wisdom had a little alloy of rigour and stiffness attending it. The young things under their mother's eye, could manage the tea-table at ten years old, when they could bardly read a chapter in the New Testament. At fourteen they learned the airs of the world; they gad abroad at their pleasure, and will hardly suffer Antigone to direct them or go with them, they despise the old woman betimes, for they can visit without her attendance, and prattle abundantly without her prompting.

She led or sent them to the playhouse twice or thrice a week, where a great part of their natural modesty is worů off and forgotten : modesty, the guard of useful virtue! they can talk love stories out of Cleopatra : they are well practised already in the arts of scandal, and for want of better furniture of mind, emptiness, and impertinence, ribands and fashions, gay gentlemen and wanton sons, ever dwell upon their tongues. They have been taught so little to set a guard upon themselves, that their virtue is much suspected. But (be that as it will) they are seized and married before sixteen, being tempted away to bind themselves for life, to a laced coat and a fashionable wig. Thus children set up at once to govern a family; but so ignorant in all those concerps, that, from the garret to the kitchen, the whole house is entirely ruled by the humour of the servants, because the young mistress knows not how to instruct or correct them. There is neither religion nor prudence among them, at home or abroad. Thus thay make haste to ruin and misery in this world, without thought or hope of the world to come and the heaven or the hell that await us there. Antigone sees her own mistake too late ; and though she has not so just a scnse and horror of their loose and profane life as would become ber years, yet she is vexed to see herself neglected so soon, and scorned by her own children; but she confesses, with a sigh, that she has led them the way, by laughing so often at her good old grandmother.

How much wiser is Phronissa in the education that she gives her daughters, who maintains a happy medium between the severity of the last age, and the wild licence of this! She mavages her conduct towards them with such an adınirable felicity, that though she confioes them within the sacred limits of virtue

and religion, yet they have not a wish beyond the liberties which they daily enjoy.

Phronissa, when her daughters were little children, used to spend some hours daily in the nursery, and taught the young creatures to recite many a pretty passage out of the bible, before they were capable of reading it themselves ; yet at six years old they read the scriptures with ease, and then they rejoiced to find the same stories in Genesis and in the gospels which their mother had taught them before. As their years advanced, they were admitted into the best conversation, and had such books put into their hands, as might acquaint thein with the rules of prudence and piety in an easy and familiar way: the reading the lives of eminent persons who were examples of this kind, was one of the daily methods she used, at once to instruct and entertain them. By such means, and others which she wisely adapted to their advancing age, they had all the knowledge bestowed upon them that could be supposed proper for women, and that might render their character honourable and useful in the world.

As for plays and romances, they were ever bred up in a just apprehension of the danger and mischief of them : Collier's View of the Stage was early put into their closets, that they might learn there the hideous immorality and profaneness of the English coinedies; and by the way, he forbids us to hope from our tragical poets a much safer entertainment. There they might read enough to forbid their attendances on the playhouse, and see the poison exposed, without danger of the infection. The servants that waited on them, aud the books that were left within their reach, were such as never corrupted their minds with impure words or images.

Long has Pbronissa known that domestic virtues are the business and the honour of her sex. Nature and history agree to assure her, that the conduct of the household is committed to the women, and the precepts and examples of scripture confirin it. She educated her dangliters therefore in constant acquaintance wi all family affairs, and they knew betimes what belonged to the provisions of the table, and the furniture of every room.

Though her circumstances were considerable in the workel, yet, by her own example, she made her children know, that a frequent visit to the kitchen was not beneath their state, nor the common menial allairs too mean for their notice ; that they might be able hereafter to manage their own house, and not be directed, imposed upon, and perhaps ridiculed by their own servan's.

They were initiated early in the science of the needle, and were bred up skillul in all the plain and flowery arts of it; but it was never made a task nor a toil to them, nor did they waste their hours in these nice and tedious works, which cost our fe. inale ancestors seven years of their life, and stitches without sumber. To render this exercise pleasant, one of them always enter: tained the company with some useful author, while the rest were at work ; every one had freedom and encouragement to start what question she pleased, and to make any remarks on the present subject ; that reading, working and conversation, might fill up the hour with variety and delight. Thus while their hands were making garments for themselves or for the poor, their minds were ebriched with treasures of human and divine knowledge.

At proper seasons the young ladies were instructed in the gayer accomplishments of their age : but they were taught to esteein the song and the dance, some of their meanest talents, because they are often forgotten in advanced years, and add but little to the virtue, the honour, or the happiuess of life.

Phronissa herself was sprightly and active, and she abhorred a slothful and lazy humour; therefore she constantly found out some inviting and agreeable employment for her daughters, that they might hate idleness as a mischievous vice, and be trained up to an active and useful life. Yet she perpetually insinuated the superior delights of the closet, and tempted them by all divine methods to the love of devout retirement. Whensoever she seemed to distinguish them by any peculiar favours, it was generally upon some new indication of early piety, or some young practice of self-denying virtue.

They were taught to receive visits in form, agreeable to the age; and though they knew the modes of dress sufficiently to secure them from any thing aukward or unfashionable, yet their minds were so well furnished with richer variety, that they had no need to run to those poor and trivial topics, to exclude silence and dulness from the drawing-room. They would not give such an affront to the understandings of the ladies their visitants, as to treat them with such meanness and impertinence ; therefore all this sort of conversation was reserved, almost entirely, for the minutes appointed to the milliner and the tire-woman.

JIere I must publish it to their honour, to provoke the sex to imitation, that though they comported with the fashion in all their ornaments, so far as the fashion was modest, and could approve itself to reason or religion, yet Phronissa would not suffer their younger judgments so far to be imposed on by custom, as that the mode should be entirely the measure of all decency to them. She knew there is such a thing as natural harmony and agreeableness ; in the beauties of colour and figure her delicacy of taste was exquisite; and where the mode run counter to nature, though she indulged her daugbters to follow it in some innocent instances, because she loved not to be remarkably singular in things of indifference, yet she took care always to teach them to distinguish gay folly and affected extravagance from natural decencies, both in furniture and in dress : Their rank in the world was eminent, but they never appeared the first, vor the highest in any new-fangle forms of attire. By her wise examples and instructions she had so formed their minds, as to be able to see garments more gaudy, and even more modisla than their own, without envy or wishes. They could bear to find a trimming set on a little awry, or the plait of a garment ilt disposed, without making the whole house aod the day uneasy, and the sun and leavens smile upon them in vain.

Phronissa taught them the happy art of managing a visit with some useful improvement of the bour, and without offence. If a word of scandal occurred in company, it was soon diverted or suppressed. The children were charged to speak well of their neighbours as far truth would admit, and to be silent as to any thing further : but when the poor or the deformed were mentioned in the discourse, the aged, the lame, or the blind, those objects were handled with the utmost tenderness; nothing could displease Phronissa more than to hear a jest thrown upon natural infirmities : she thought there was something sacred in misery, and il wus not to be touched with a rude hand. All reproach and satire of this kind was for ever banished where she came ; and if ever raillery was indulged, vice and wilful folly were the coustant subjects of it.

Persons of distinguished characters she always distinguished in her respect, and trained up her family to pay ihe same civilities. Whensoever she named her own parents it was with high veneration and love, and thereby she naturally led her children to give due honour to all their superior relatives.

Though it is the fashion of the age to laugh at the priesthood in all forms, and to teach every boy to scoff at a minister, Phronissa paid double honours to them who laboured in the word and doctrine, where their personal behaviour upheld the dignity of their office ; for she was persuaded St. Paul was a better dis rector than the gay gentlemen of the mode; 1 Tim. v. 17. Besides she wisely considered that a contempt of their persons would necessarily bring with it a contempt of all their ministrations ; and then she might carry her daughters to the church as much as she pleased, but preaching and praying, and all sacred things, would grow despicable and useless when they had first learned to make a jest of the preacher.

But are these young ladies always confined at home? Are they never suffered to see the world? Yes, and sometimes without the guard of a mother too; though Phronissa is so well beloved by her children, that they would very seldom choose to go without her. Their souls are inlaid betimes with the principles of virtue and prudence; these are their constant guard ; nor do they ever wish to make a visit where their mother was reason to suspect their safety.

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