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In nature, from the broad majestic oak
Were it at all necessary, I ought to have extended this section to various other subjects : such, for example, as those of Patience and Submission–Temper and Fortitude-the baneful Evils arising from Va, nity and Affectation—the Companions with whom your Children come in contact and the imperious necessity of you, as Parents, making careful selection; for if Christians themselves are in-imminent danger from “evil communications which corrupt even good manners,” what shall we say of Children whose prin ciples are not yet fixed-whose manners are not yet formed?
Not, however, wishing to extend the subject farther than what seemed necessary for the object in view, I would rather refer to such works as the Practical View of Education, by Mr Babbington-the anonymous author of “ Hints for the Improvement of Early Education and Nursery Discipline"—the Parental Duties, by Mr Braidwood-Domestic Religion, by Mr Innes—and the various publications by the amiable family of the Taylors —a family which
* These poetical quotations, I hope the reader well knows, are taken from Cowper, -one of those few poets whose writings will probably be quoted, even in the days when“ one song shall em. ploy all nations,” and the knowledge of the Lord shall have covered the earth, as the waters do the sea.
has, as a Family, done more for Domestic Education, in the proper sense of the terms, than perhaps any other in Great Britain.
In conclusion, may I now presume that the reader is fully convinced, that a Parent stands on ground peculiar to himself-far above that of any mere teacher, and that his responsibility, both to God and to his Family, extends correspondingly?-He is to teach, it is true, but he is also to repeat, repeat, repeat with patience, and even pleasure. Here a little, there a little ; as he rises up, as he lies down; as he sits in the house, or walks by the way: he or she it is who is to recall-explain—rectify-illustrate-enforce many things many times, or many times the same thing: he it is who is appointed to be the prompter of his Children--the instigator to good only: he it is, as has been said, who looks not to the infantile mind, as to an empty vessel, into which knowledge only is to be poured. The mind of his Child he would rather compare, in one sense, to the Bee in the first period of its existence, which is fed by the labours of others; but, ere long, as he expects, this little mind will rise, and lift its wings in vigorous employment, to collect sweets from every field or flower.
To Christian Parents extent of that authority which has been con
ferred by God—the power of affirmation or testimony lodged in the Parent's hands alone—the signal blessing, promised from above, upon their exertions.–To the Ministers of Christ-power. ful aid afforded to them by the Domestic Constitution, without either invading the peculiarity of their office, or relieving them from the assiduous discharge of any of its duties the interesting aspect of the primitive Church in relation to Families—the beauty and value of Christianity when possessed by Children—those Families where the Domestic Constitution ought to be seen, in all its beauty and its moral power.
TO CHRISTIAN PARENTS.
The character with which, as Parents, you have been invested, were it duly considered, is, of itself, suffi. cient to induce frequent reflection on that constitution of things, at the head of which you stand. You may not, however, have observed before, that in the very constitution of a Family, there is involved so much of solemn and sacred duty ;-solemn, inasmuch as the authority conferred upon you, approaches nearer to absolute authority, than that of any other which man can lawfully sustain ;—and sacred, inasmuch as this authority has not only been conferred upon you by God, but to Him, for the exercise or neglect of it, you are at last to render an account.
· Solemnity of mind, I admit, is not natural, and often not welcome, to man; but as no disposition of mind is more favourable for the accomplishment of duty, surely you will not object to the means of promoting it?-Contemplate then, at least occasionally, the extent of your authority as a Parent. This will not only evince the truth of all that has been advanced, so far as that is consonant with Scripture, but it will solemnize and prepare your mind for the various duties imposed upon you. Say to yourself,“ Although the extent of my dominion is the smallest upon earth, why is the authority given me the most extensive out of heaven? Within my own family, there is no one who can, none who should dispute this with me; and of those around my dwelling, from the highest authority in the state to my next door neighbour, there is no one disposed to interfere. Above myself, upon earth, there is none; and to myself I sometimes feel as though, in this matter, I were only next under God.” True, as it regards mankind in general, whatever be your station, low or high, as Parents, unquestionably, you are next under Godeven that God whose name is “ Jealous” and “ the Father of Mercies.” An office-bearer in the kingdom of God, the Minister of Christ, who has to watch for souls, stands on more serious ground; but with this one exception-a position more solemn than yours, as it regards relative duty, I confess I am unable to conceive. · The extent of your authority, however, is not the only consideration, which is calculated to increase in you solemnity of mind. By whom was this authority lodged in you, and for what end was it so deposited ? No human power, however extensive, can be absolute: nor was there ever conferred by God any authority on man, but upon conditions expressed or implied ; and if much is implied in your very character as Parents, certainly also, in the Word of God, much has been expressed, in direct reference to that authority with which he has clothed you.
To the word of God, therefore, would I most earnestly and affectionately commend you; and should this attempt only induce you to use it, with greater care, as your invariable and habitual Family-book, my end is gained. The Scriptures alone, be assured, at once properly and perfectly can instruct you, into the real character and full extent of this connexion between Father and Child. They alone, without mistake, impartially and fully explain the obligations of either party; and they alone furnish motives sufficiently powerful to secure the regular, and even de lightful performance of all that is incumbent: they alone strikingly paint to you, without exaggeration, instances of failure, whether of bad or even good men, ending in exquisite misery to themselves, and in the recorded displeasure of God himself; as well as instances of remarkable success, ending in blessings to unborn generations.
Thus, after all, you observe the advantages conferred upon you, as far as monition and encouragement go, are equal to all your responsibility, great, confessedly, as that responsibility is. Nor is even this all: there are two considerations to which, in concluding this volume, I would invite your particular attention, as involving the most powerful encouragements which can be conceived. They are encourage