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ON SOME OF THE CAUSES OF
Mrs. HENDERSON sat alone at work one evening, when Mr. Henderson entered the parlour, having been taking a walk, as was his custom, to refresh himself after the labours of the day.
'I have been talking with George again,' said he, as he seated himself on the sofa,' and I am altogether out of patience with him.' Mr. Henderson looked disturbed; and his wife's countenance immediately manifested sympathetic emotions.
What has the poor boy been doing now?' she inquired in a tone of anxiety.
'I do not feel as if he were entitled to pity,' said Mr. Henderson. “He is wilful and perverse, and I am more angry than grieved with him.'
Whatever be his fault, my dear,' replied Mrs. Henderson mildly, 'young as he is, I think he is to be pitied; and the more wilful he is, the more I grieve for him, because I know he is only treasuring up future anguish for himself. What has he been doing?'
I hope you will not be troubled about it!' said Mr. Henderson. 'I shall be sorry that I said any thing to you concerning the matter.'
Dearest husband,' replied Mrs. Henderson, in a tone of affectionate expostulation, how can I fail to be distressed, when the two beings I love best in the world, are at variance? When my husband and my son have angry feelings between them, how is it possible I should not suffer with both?'
But I should suppose,' said Mr. Henderson, you would know your husband well enough to feel assured, that he also loves his son, as well as you do; and I should think you would have sufficient confidence in his judgment and affection, to believe he would not be angry without cause.'
' I did not intend to express any doubts of the justness of your disapprobation,' replied Mrs. Henderson in a subdued tone; “if I have done so, the anxiety of my mind must be my excuse for using inappropriate language. I had but one simple feeling of sorrow, that George has given you a new cause for complaint.'
Mr. Henderson made no reply to these explanatory remarks of his wife; and she again inquired, what their son had done to offend his father.
'He has not done any thing wrong, that I know of,' replied Mr. Henderson. "I do not mean to find fault with his conduct; but you know he has got his head full of deistical nonsense. And he is so wilful and headstrong, he thinks he knows more than any body ever did before; there is no arguing him out of his infidel notions. He will not listen to reason."
Mrs. Henderson sighed gently, and remained some time silent.
"It is in vain,' at length she said,'to attempt to reason against opinions that have been formed by feeling and association, without any reason to support them. I have long been watching the progress of George's char
aeter with great anxiety. I have seen the tendency to this state of mind from its commencement, and have done what I could under existing circumstances to counteract it. But though we cannot induce him to yield to argument, and thuugh you cannot alarm him by representing to him the dangers of his errors, yet I do indulge a hope, that, after a while, our anxiety will be relieved by a change in his sentiments, and a better state of mind.'
'I do not know what is to bring it about,' said Mr. Henderson.
'Perhaps we may be able,' replied his wife, “by gentle and judicious means, to induce him to examine the foundation of his own opinions, if he will not listen to ours. We must try to disengage his affections from the notions he has adopted; and after that, he will more easily perceive where the truth lies.'
'It appears a hopeless case to me,' said Mr. Henderson; 'this is the second time I have gone deeply into the subject with him, and pointed out his errors, his folly and his wickedness, as plainly as possible; yet he maintains his opinions as stoutly, and as pertinaciously, as if he had all the reason and truth on his side.'
' It might be better not to contend with him,' said Mrs. H.
How is it possible to help it, while he is so unpardonably perverse?' asked Mr. H.
* There are some circumstances to palliate his errors,' said Mrs. H., “and with young people we can hardly be too gentle, too forbearing. It is difficult to keep in mind the ardour of their feelings, and the smallness of their experience, and the consequent defects of their judgment; and yet, unless we do make all these allowances, we are in danger of confirming their false views, instead of giving them clearer and juster ones.'