« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
esteem or reputation in the world. The first time he is found in' a lye, it should rather to be wondered at, as a monstrous thing in him, than reproved as an ordinary fault. “If that keeps him not from relapsing, the next time he must be sharply rebuked, and fall into the state of great displeasure of his father and mother, and all about him, who take notice of it. And if this way work not the cure, you must come to blows; for, after he has been thus warned, a premeditated lye must al. ways be looked upon as obstinacy, and never be permitted to escape unpunished. $ 192. Children, afraid to have their faults
Excuses. seen in their naked colours, will, like the rest of the sons of Adam, be apt to make excuses. This is a fault usually bordering upon, and leading to untruth, and is not to be indulged in them ; but yet it ought to be cured rather with shame than roughness. If therefore, when a child is questioned for any thing, his first answer be an excuse, warn him soberly to tell the truth; and then, if he persists to shuffle it off with a falsehood, he must be chastised ; but, if he directly confess, you must commend his ingenuity, and pardon the fault, be it what it will; and pardon it so, that you never so much as reproach him with it, or mention it to him again: for, if you would have him in love with ingenuity, and by-a constant practice make it habitual to him, you must take care that it never procure him the least inconvenience; but, on the contrary, his own .confession, bringing always with it perfect impunity, should be, besides, encouraged by some marks of approbation. If his excuse be such at any time, that you cannot prove it to have any falsehood in it, let it pass for true, and be sure not to show any suspicion of it. Let him keep up his reputation with you as high as is possible; for, when once he finds he has lost that, you have lost a great and your best hold upon him. There'fore let him not think he bas the character of a lyar with you, as long as you can avoid it without flattering him in it. Thus some slips in truth may be overlooked. But, after he has once been corrected for a lye, you must be sure never after to pardon it in him,
whenever you find, .and take notice to him, that he is guilty of it: for it being a fault, which he has been forbid, and may, unless he be wilful, avoid, the repeating of it is perfect perverseness, and must have the chastisement due to that offence.
§ 133. This is what I have thought, concerning the general method of educating a young gentleman; which, though I am apt to suppose may have some influence on the whole course of his education, yet I am far from imagining it contains all those particulars which his growing years, or peculiar temper, may require. But this being premised in general, we shall, in the next place, descend to a more particular consideration of the several parts of his education.
§ 134. That which every gentleman (that takes any care of his education desires for his son, besides the estate he leaves him, is contained (I suppose) in these four things, virtue, wisdom, breeding, and learning. I will not trouble myself whether these names do not some of them sometimes stand for the same thing, or really include one another. It serves my turn here to follow the popular use of these words, which, I presume, is clear enough to make me be understood, and I hope there will be no difficulty to comprehend my meaning.
§ 135. I place virtue as the first and most necessary of those endowments that belong to a man or a gentleman, as absolutely requisite to make him valued and beloved by others, acceptable or tolerable to himself. Without that, I think, he will be happy neither in this, nor the other world.
$ 136. As the foundation of this, there God.
ought very early to be imprinted on his mind a true notion of God, as of the independent supreme Being, Author, and Maker of all things, from whom we receive all our good, who loves us, and gives us all things : and, consequent to this, instil into him a love and reverence of this supreme Being. This is enough to begin with, without going to explain this matter any farther, for fear, lest by talking too early to him of spirits, and being unseasopąbly forward to make
him understand the incomprehensible nature of that infinite Being, his head be either filled with false, or perplexed with unintelligible notions of him. Let him only be told upon occasion, that God made and governs all things, hears and sees every thing, and does all manner of good to those that love and obey him. You will find, that, being told of such a God, other thoughts will be apt to rise up fast enough in his mind about him; which, as you observe them to have any mistakes, you must set 'right. And I think it would be better, if men generally rested in such an idea of God, without being too curious in their notions about a Being, which all must acknowledge incomprehensible; whereby many, who have not strength and clearness of thought to distinguish between what they can, and what they cannot know, run themselves into superstition or atheism, making God like themselves, or (because they cannot comprehend any thing else) none at all. And I am apt to think the keeping children constantly morning and evening to acts of devotion to God, as to their Maker, Preserver, and Benefactor, in some plain and short form of prayer, suitable to their age and capacity, will be of much more use to them in religion, knowledge, and virtue, than to distract their thoughts with curious inquiries into his inscrutable essence and being.
$ 137. Having by gentle degrees, as you find him capable of it, settled such an idea of
Spirits. God in his mind, and taught him to pray to him, and praise him as the Author of his being, and of all the good he does or can enjoy, forbear any discourse of other spirits, till the mention of them coming in his way, upon occasion hereafter to be set down, and his reading the scripture-history, put him upon that inquiry.
$ 138. But even then, and always whilst he is young, be sure to preserve bis tender mind from all impressions and notions of spirits and goblins, or any fearful apprehensions in the dark. This he will be in danger of from the indiscretion of servants, whose usual method is to awe children, and keep them in sub
jection, by telling them of raw-head and bloody-bones, and such other names, as carry with them the ideas of something terrible and hurtful, which they have reason to be afraid of, when alone, especially in the dark. This must be carefully prevented; for though by this foolish way they may keep them from little faults, yet the remedy is much worse than the disease; and there are stamped upon their imaginations, ideas that follow them with terror and affrightment. Such bug-bear thoughts, once got into the tender minds of children, and being set on with a strong impression from the dread that accompanies such apprehensions, sink deep, and fasten themselves so, as not easily, if ever, to be got out again; and, whilst they are there, frequently haunt them with strangè visions, making children dastards when alone, and afraid of their shadows and darkness all their lives after. I have had those complain to me, when men, who had been thus used, when young; that, though their reason corrected the wrong ideas they had taken in, and they were satisfied that there was no cause to fear invisible beings more in the dark, than in the light; yet that these notions were apt still, upon any occasion, to start up first in their prepossessed fancies, and not to be removed without some pains. And, to let you see how lasting frightful images are, that take place in the mind early, I shall here tell you a pretty remarkable, but true story: there was in a town on the west a man of a disturbed brain, whom the boys used to teaze, when he came in their way: this fellow one day, seeing in the street one of those lads that used to vex him, stepped into a cutler's shop he was near, and there seizing on a naked sword, made after the boy, who, seeing him coming so armed, betook himself to his feet, and ran for his life, and by good luck had strength and heels enough to reach his father's house, before the madman could get up to him : the door was only latched; and, when he had the latch in his hand, he turned about his head to see how near his pursuer was, who was at the entrance of the porch, with his sword úp ready to striķe; and he had just time to get in and clap to the door, to avoid
the blow, which, though his body, escaped, his mind did not. This frightening idea made so deep an impression there, that it lasted many years, if not all his life after; for telling this story when he was a man, be said, that after that time till then, he never went in at that door (that he could remember) at any time, with. out looking back, whatever business he had in his head, or how little soever, before he came thither, he thought of this madman.
If children were let alone, they would be no more afraid in the dark, than in broad sun-shine; they would in their turns as much welcome the one for sleep, as the other to play in: there should be no distinction made to them, by any discourse, of more danger, or terrible things in the one than the other. But, if the folly of any one about them should do them this harm, and make them think there is any difference between being in the dark and winking, you must get it out of their minds as soon as you can; and let them know, that God, who made all things good for them, made the night, that they might sleep the better and the quieter; and that they being under his protection, there is nothing in the dark to hurt them.' What is to be known more of God and good spirits, is to be deferred till the time we shall hereafter mention; and of evil spirits, it will be well if you can keep him from wrong fancies about them, till he is ripe for that sort of knowledge. § 139. Having laid the foundations of virtue,
e Truth. in a true notion of a God, such as the creed wisely teaches, as far as his age is capable, and by accustoming him to pray to him; the next thing to be taken care of, is to keep him exactly to speaking of truth, and by all the ways imaginable inclining him
m Good-nature. to be good-natured. Let him know, that twenty faults are sooner to be forgiven, than the straining of truth, to cover any one by an excuse: and to teach him betimes to love and be good-natured to others, is to lay early the true foundation of an honest man; all injustice generally springing from too great love of ourselves, and too little of others,