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ance than which nothing can be more opposite ; these proceeding from the Christian principle of self-denial, the other from self-indulgence.
In this connexion may I be permitted to remark on the practice at the tables of many families, when the children are at home for the holidays ; every delicacy is forced upon them, with the tempting remark, “that “they cannot have this or that dainty at school ;” and they are indulged in irregular hours for the same motive, “ because they cannot have that indulgence at school.” Thus the natural seeds of idleness, sensuality, and sloth, are at once cherished, by converting the periodical visit at home into a season of intemperance, late hours, and exemption from study ; so that children are habituated, at an age when lasting associations are formed in the mind, to connect the idea of study with that of hard. ship, of happiness with gluttony, and of pleasure with loitering, feasting, or sleeping. Would it not be better to make them combine the delightful idea of home, with the gratification of the social affections, the fondness of maternal love, the kindness and warmth and confidence of the sweet domestic attachments,
And all the charities Of father, son, and brother? I will venture to say, that those listless and vacant days, when the thoughts have no precise object; when the imagination has nothing to shape; when industry has no definite pursuit ; when the mind and the body have no exercise, and the ingenuity no acquisition either to anticipate or to enjoy, are the longest, the dullest, and the least happy, which children of spirit and genius ever pass.
Yes! it is a few short but keen and lively intervals of animated pleasure, snatched from between the successive labours and duties of a busy day, looked forward to with hope, enjoyed with taste, and recollect. ed without remorse, which, both to men and to children, yield the truest portions of enjoyment. Osnatch your offspring from adding to the number of those objects of
supreme commiseration, who seek their happiness in do. ing nothing ! Life is but a short day ; but it is a work. ing day. Activity may lead to evil; but inactivity cannot be led to good.
Young ladies should also be accustomed to set apart a fixed portion of their time, as sacred to the poor,* whether in relieving, instructing, or working for them; and the performance of this duty must not be left to the event of contingent circumstances, or the operation of accidental impressions ; but it must be established in. to a principle, and wrought into a habit. A specific portion of time must be allotted to it, on which no common engagement must be allowed to entrench. This will help to furnish a powerful remedy for that selfishness whose strong holds, the truth cannot be too often repeated, it is the grand business of Christian education perpetually to attack. If we were but aware how much better it makes ourselves to wish to see others better, and to assist in making them so, we should find that the good done would be of as much importance by the habit it would induce in our own minds, as by its benefi. cial effects on others. +
* It would be a noble employment and well becoming the tender. ness of their sex, if ladies were to consider the superintendance of the poor as their immediate office. They are peculiarly fitted for it; for from their own habits of life they are more intimately ac. quainted with domestic wants than the other sex; and in certain instances of sickness and suffering peculiar to themselves, they should be expected to have more sympathy; and they have obviously more leisure. There is a certain religious society, distinguished by the simplicity of their dress, manners, and language, whose poor are perhaps better taken care of than any other; and one reason may be, that they are immediately under the inspection of the women.
+ In addition to the instruction of the individual poor, and the superintendance of charity schools, ladies might be highly useful in assisting the parochial clergy in the adoption of that excellent plan for the instruction of the ignorant suggested by the Bishop of Durham in his last admirable charge to his clergy. It is with pleasure the author is enabled to add that the scheme has actually been adopted with good effect in that extensive diocese.
In what relates to pecuniary bounty, it will be requiring of children a very small sacrifice, if you teach them merely to give that money to the poor which properly belongs to the parent; this sort of charity commonly subtracts little from their own pleasures, especially when what they have bestowed is immediately made up to them, as a reward for their little fit of generosity. They will, on this plan, soon learn to give not only for praise but for profit. The sacrifice of an orange to a little girl, or a feather to a great one, give en at the expense of their own gratification, would be a better lesson of charity on its right ground, than a con. siderable sum of money to be presently replaced by the parent. And it would be habituating them early to combine two ideas which ought never to be separated, charity and self-denial.
As an antidote to selfishness, as well as pride and in. dolence, they should also very early be taught to perform all the little offices in their power for theniselves ; not to be insolently calling for servants where there is no real occasion ; above all, they should be accustomed to consider the domectics' hours of meals and rest as almost sacred, and the golden rule should be practically and uniformly enforced, even on so trilling an occasion as ringing a bell through mere wantonness, or self love, or pride.
To check the growth of inconsiderateness, young la. dies should early be taught to discharge their little debts with punctuality. They should be made sensible of the cruelty of obliging trades- people to call often for the money due to them; and of hindering and detaining those whose time is the source of their subsistence, under pretence of some frivolous engagement, which ought to be made to bend to the comfort and advantage of others. They should conscientiously allow sufficient time for the execution of their orders; and with a Christian circumspection, be careful not to drive work-people, by needless hurry, into losing their rest, or breaking the Sabbath. I have known a lady give her gown to a mantua-maker on the Saturday night, to whom she
would not for the world say in so many words, “ You “must work through the whole of Sunday," while she was virtually compelling her to do so, by an injunction to bring the gown home finished on the Monday morn. ing, on pain of her displeasure. To these hardships numbers are continually driven by good-natured but inconsiderate employers. As these petty exactions of inconsideration furnish also a constant aliment to selfish. ness, let not a desire to counteract them be considered as leading to too minute details ; nothing is too friv. olous for animadversion, which tends to fix a bad hab. it in the superior, or to wound the feelings of the dependant.
Would it not be turning those political doctrines, which are now so warmly agitating, to a truly moral account, and give the best practical answer to the popular declamations on the inequality of human conditions, were the rich carefully to instruct their children to sof. ten that inevitable inequality by the mildness and ten. derness of their behaviour to their inferiors? This dis. pensation of God, which excites so many murmurs, would, were it thus practically improved, tend to estaba lish the glory of that Being who is now so often reviled for his injustice ; for God himself is covertly attacked in many of the invectives against laws and governments, and the disproportion of ranks.
This dispensation, thus properly improved, would at once call into exercise the generosity, kindness, and for. bearance of the superior; and the patience, resignation, and gratitude of the inferior : and thus, while we were vindicating the ways of Providence, we should be ac. complishing his plan, by bringing into action those virtues of both classes which would have had little exercise had there been no inequality in fortune. Those who are so zealously contending for the privileges of rank and power, should never lose sight of the religious duties and considerate virtues which the possession of these im. poses on themselves; duties and virtues which should ever be inseparable from those privileges. As the infe. rior classes have little real right to complain of laws, in
this respect let the great be watchful to give them as little cause to complain of manners: by carefully train. ing up their children to supply by individual kindness those cases of hardship which laws cannot reach: by such means every lesson of politics inay be converted into a lesson of piety; and a spirit of condescending love might win over some, whom a spirit of invective will only inflame.
It can never be too often repeated, that one of the great objects of education is the forming of habits. Among the instances of negligence into which even re. ligiously disposed parents and teachers are apt to fall, one is, that they are not sufficieptly attentive in finding interesting employment for the Sunday. They do not make a scruple of sometimes allowing their children to fill up the intervals of public worship with their ordina. ry employments and common school exercises. They are not aware that they are thus training their offspring to an early and a systematic profanation of the Sabbath by this habit; for to children, their tasks are their busi. ness; to them a French or Latin exercise is as serious an occupation as the exercise of a trade or profession is to a man; and if they are allowed to think the one right now, they will not be brought hereafter to think that the other is wrong ; for the opinions and practices fixed at this early season are not easily altered. By this oversight even the friends of religion may be con. tributing eventually to that abolition of the Sabbath, so devoutedly wished by its enemies, as the desired prelim
inary to the destruction of whatever is most dear to • Christians. What obstruction would it offer to the gen.
eral progress of youth, if all their Sunday exercises (which, with reading, composing, transcribing, and getting by heart, might be extended to an entertaining va. riety) were adapted to the peculiar nature of the day? It is not meant to impose on them such rigorous study as shall convert the day they should be taught to love into a day of burdens and hardships, or to abridge their innocent enjoyments ; but it is intended merely to suggest that there should be a marked distinction in the nature of their employments and studies ; for on the ob.