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the world. It is not by vulgar people and servants only that she will be told of her being pretty. She will be hearing it not only from gay ladies, but from grave men; she will be hearing it from the whole world around her. The antidote to the present danger is not now to be searched for ; it must be already operating ; it must have been provided for in the foundation laid in the general principle she had been imbibing, before this particular temptation of beauty came in question. And this general principle is an habitual indifference to flattery. She must have learnt not to be intoxicated by the praise of the world. She must have learnt to estimate things by their intrinsic worth, rather than by the world’s estimation- Speak to her with particular kindness and commendation of plain but amiable girls; mention with compassion such as are handsome but ill-educated ; speak casually of some who were once thought pretty, but have ceased to be good ; make use of the shortness and uncertainty of beauty, as strong additional reasons for making that which is little valuable in itself, still less valuable. As it is a new idea which is always dangerous, you may thus break the force of this danger by allowing her an early introduction to this inevitable knowledge, which would become more interesting, and of course more perilous by every additional year ; and if you can guard against that fatal error of letting her see that she is more loved on account of her beauty, her familiarity with the idea may be less than its novelty afterwards would prove. But the great and constant danger to which young persons in the higher walks of life are exposed, is the prevailing turn and spirit of general conversation. Even the children of better families, who are well instructed when at their studies, are yet at other times continually beholding the world set up in the highest and most advantageous point of view. Seeing the world ! knowing the world ! standing well with the world ! making a figure in the world ! is spoken of as including the whole sum and substance of human advantages. They hear their education almost exclusively alluded to with reference to the figure it will enable them to make in the world. In almost all companies, * all that the world.admires 2
spoken of with admiration ; rank flattered, fame covet
ed, power sought, beauty idolized, money considered as
tician; for how can they be said to know it, who go on.
to love it, to value it, to be led captive by its allurements, to give their soul in exchange for its lying promises? But while so false an estimate is often made in fashionable society of the real value of things; that is, while Christianity does not furnish the standard, and human opinion does : while the multiplying our desires is considered as a symptom of elegance, though to subdue them is made the grand criterion of religion; while moderation is beheld as indicating a poorness of spirit, though to that very poverty of spirit the highest promise of the
gospel is assigned; while worldly wisdom is enjoined by
worldly friends, in contradiction to that assertion, “that the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God;” while
the praise of man is to be sought in opposition to that assurance, that “the fear of man worketh a snare :” while these things are so, and that they are so in a good degree who will deny 2 may we not venture to affirm that a Christian education, though not an impossible, is yet a very difficult work :
Filial obedience not the character of the age.—A comparison with the preceding age in this respect.—Those jocultivate the mind advised
to study the nature of the soil—Unpromising children often make strong characters—Teachers too apt to devote their pains almost exclusively to children of parts.
AMONG the real improvements of modern times, and they are not a few, it is to be feared that the growth of filial obedience cannot be included. Who can forbear observing and regretting, in a variety of instances, that not only sons but daughters have adopted something of that spirit of independence, and disdain of control, which characterize the times : And is it not obvious that domestic manners are not slightly tinctured with the hue of public principles: The rights of man have been discussed, lili we are somewhat wearied with the discussion. To these have been opposed, with more presumption than prudence, the rights of woman. It follows, according to the natural progression of human things, that the next stage of that irradiation which our enlighteners are pouring in upon us will produce grave descants on the rights of children. This revolutionary spirit in families suggests the remark, that among the faults with which it has been too much the fashion of recent times to load the memory of the incomparable Miiton, one of the charges brought against his private character (for with his political character we have here nothing to do) has been, that he was so severe a father as to have compelled his daughters, aster he was blind, to read aloud to him, for his sole pleasure, Greek and Latin authors of which they did not,
understand a word. But this is in fact nothing more thair an instance of the strict domestic regulations of the age in which Milton lived; and should not be brought forward as a proof of the severity of his individual temper. Nor indeed in any case should it ever be considered as an hardship for an affectionate child to amuse an afflicted parent, though it should be attended with a heavier sacrifice of her own pleasure than in the present instance.” Is the author then inculcating the harsh doctrine of parental austerity ? By no means. " It drives the gentle spirit to artifice, and the rugged to despair. It generates deceit and cunning, the most hopeless and hateful in the whole catalogue of female failings. Ungoverned anger in the teacher, and inability to discriminate between venial errors and premeditated offence, though they may lead a timid creature to hide wrong tempers, or to conceal bad actions, will not help her to subdue the one or correct the other. Severity will drive terrified children to seek, not for reformation, but for impunity. A readiness to forgive them promotes frankness. And we should, above all things, encourage them to be frank, in order too come at their faults. They have not more faults for being' open, they only discover more. * * Discipline, however, is not cruelty, and restraint is not severity. We must strengthen the feeble, while we repel the bold. The cultivator of the human mind must, like the gardener, study diversities of soil. The skilful labourer knows that even where the surface is not particularly promising, there is often a rough strong ground which will amply repay the trouble of breaking it up; yet we are often most taken with the soft surface, though it conceal a shallow depth, because it promises present: reward and little trouble. But strong and pertinacious
" In spite of this too prevailing spirit, numberless instances might be adduced of filial affection truly honourable to the present period. And the author records with pleasure, that she has seen amiable young ladies of high rank conducting the steps of a blind but illustrious parent with true filial fondness ; and has often contemplated, in another family, the interesting attentions of daughters who were both hands and eyes to an infirm and nearly blind father. It is but justice to add, that these examples are not taken from that middle rank of life which Milton fillcd, but frosa the daughters of the highest officers in the state. -
tempers, of which perhaps obstinacy is the leading vice, under skilful management often turn out steady and sterling characters; while from softer clay a firm and vigorous virtue is but seldom produced. But these revolutions in character cannot be effected by mere education. Plutarch has observed, that the medical science would never be brought to perfection till poisons should be converted into physic. What our late improvers in natural science have done in the medical world, by converting the most deadly ingredients into instruments of life and health, Christianity with a sort of divine Alchymy has effected in the moral world, by that transmutation which makes those passions which have been working for sin become active in the cause of religion. The violent temper of Saul of Tarsus, which was “exceedingly mad” against the saints of God, did God see fit to convert into that burning zeal which enabled Paul the Apostle to labour so unremittingly for the conversion of the gentile world. Christianity indeed does not so much give us new affections or faculties, as give a new direction to those we already have. She changes that sorrow of the worlf which worketh death, into “godly sorrow which worketh repentance.” She changes our anger against the persons we dislike, into hatred of their sins. “The fear of man which worketh a snare,” she transmutes into “that fear of God which worketh salvation.” That religion does not extinguish the passions, but alters their object, the animated expressions of the servid Apostle confirm—“Yea, what fearfulness 5 yea, what clearing of yourselves ; yea, what indignation ; yea, what fear ; yea, what vehement desire 5 yea, what zeal ; yea, what revenge ’’” Thus, by some of the most troublesome passions of our nature being converted by the blessing of God on a religious education to the side of virtue, a double purpose is effected. Because, if I may be allowed to change the metaphor, it is the character of the passions never to observe a neutrality. If they are no longer rebels, they become auxiliaries; and a foe subdued is an ally obtain
* 2 Corinthiang vii. 11.