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because God only can give the increase, that Paul and Apollos may spare their labour. It is one grand object to give the young probationer just and sober views of the world on which she is about to enter. Instead of making her bosom bound at the near prospect of emancipation from her instructors ; instead of teaching her young heart to dance with premature flutterings as the critical winter draws near in which she is to come out ; instead of raising a tumult in her busy imagination at the approach of her first grown up ball ; endeavour to convince her, that the world will not turn out to be that scene of unvarying and never-ending delights which she has perhaps been led to expect, not only from the sanguine temper and warm spirits natural to youth, but from the value she has seen put on those showy accomplishments which have too probably been fitting her for her exhibition in life. Teach her that this world is not a stage for the display of superficial talents, but for the strict and sober exercise of fortitude, temperance, meekness, faith, diligence, and self-denial; of her due performance of which Christian graces, angels will be spectators, and God the judge. Teach her that human life is not a splendid romance, spangled over with brilliant adventures, and enriched with extraordinary occurrences, and diversified with wonderful incidents ; lead her not to expect that it will abound with scenes which will call shining qualities and great powers into perpetual action ; and for which if she cquit herself well she will be rewarded with proportionate fame and certain commendation. But apprize her that human life is a true history, many passages of which will be dull, obscure, and uninteresting; some perhaps tragical; but that whatever gay incidents and pleasing scenes may be interspersed in the progress of the piece, yet finally “one event happeneth to all;” to all there is one awful and infallible catastrophe. Apprize her that the estimation which mankind forms of merit is not always just, nor its praise exactly proportioned to desert; that the world weighs actions in far different scales from “the balance of the sanctuary,” and estimates worth by a far different standard from that of the gospel : apprize her that while
her best intentions may be sometimes calumniated, and her best actions misrepresented, she will be liable to receive commendation on occasions wherein her conscience will tell her she has not deserved it. ( Do not however give her a gloomy and discouraging picture of the world, but rather seek to give her a just and sober view of the part she will have to act in it. And humble the impetuosity of hope, and cool the ardour of expectation, by explaining to her, that this part, even in her best estate, will probably consist in a succession of petty trials, and a round of quiet duties which, however well performed, though they will make little or no figure in the book of Fame, will prove of vast importance to her in that day when another “book is opened, and the judgment is set, and every one will be judged according to the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or bad.” o Say not that these just and sober views will cruelly wither her young hopes, and deaden the innocent satisfactions of life. It is not true. There is, happily, an active spring in the mind of youth which bounds with fresh vigour and uninjured elasticity from any such temporary depression. It is not meant that you should darken her prospect, so much as that you should enlighten her understanding to contemplate it. And though her feelings, tastes, and passions, will all be against you, if you set before her a faithful delineation of life, yet it will be something to get her judgment on your side. It is no unkind office to assist the short view of youth with the aids of long-sighted experience, to enable them to discover spots in the brightness of that life which dazzles them in prospect, though it is probable they will after all choose to believe their own eyes rather than the offered glass.
On female study, and initiation into knowledge.—Error of cultivatingthe imagination to the neglect of the judgment. Books of reasoning recommended.
As this little work by no means assumes the character
stance serves afterwards to furnish not only literary pleasures, but moral advantages: for the knowledge which is acquired by unwearied assiduity is lasting in the possession, and sweet to the possessor; both perhaps in proportion to the cost and labour of the acquisition. And though an able teacher ought to endeavour, by improving the communicating faculty in himself, (for many know what they cannot teach,) to soften every difficulty; yet in spite of the kindness and ability with which he will smooth every obstruction, it is probably among the wise institutions of Providence, that great difficulties should still remain. For education is but an initiation into that life of trial to which we are introduced on our entrance into this world. It is the first breaking in to that state of toil and labour to which we are born, and to which sin has made us liable ; and in this view of the subject the acquisition of learning may be converted to higher uses than such as are purely literary. Will it not be ascribed to a captious singularity if I
venture to remark that real knowledge and real piety,
though they may have gained in many instances, have
suffered in others from that profusion of little, amusing,
sentimental books with which the youthful library over
flows ; Abundance has its dangers as well as scarcity. In the first place may not the multiplicity of these alluring little works increase the natural reluctance to those more dry and uninteresting studies, of which, after all, the rudiments of every part of learning must consist : And, secondly, is there not some danger (though there are many honourable exceptions) that some of those engaging narratives may serve to infuse into the youthful heart a sort of spurious goodness, a confidence of virtue, a parade of charity And that the benevolent actions with the recital of which they abound, when they are not made to flow from any source but feeling, may tend to inspire a self complacency, a self gratulation, a “stand by, for I am holier than thou?” May they not help to infuse a love of popularity and an anxiety for praise, in the place of that simple and unostentatious rule of doing whatever good we do, because it is the will of God? The universal substitution of this principle would tend to purify the worldly morality of many a popular little story. And there are few dangers which good parents will more carefully guard against than that of giving their children a mere political piety ; that sort of religion which just goes to make people more respectable, and to stand well with the world; a religion which is to save appearances without inculcating realities.” There is a certain precocity of mind which is much helped on by these superficial modes of instruction; for frivolous reading will produce its correspondent effect, in much less time than books of solid instruction ; the imagination being liable to be worked upon, and the feelings to be set a-going, much faster than the understanding can be opened and the judgment enlightened. A talent for conversation should be the result of education, not its precursor; it is a golden fruit when suffered to ripen gradually on the tree of knowledge; but if forced in the hot-bed of a circulating library, it will turn out worthless and vapid in proportion as it was artificial and premature. Girls who have been accustomed to devour frivolous books, will converse and write with a far greater appearance of skill as to style and sentiment at twelve or fourteen years old, than those of a more advanced age who are under the discipline of severer studies; but the former having early attained to that low standard which has been held out to them, become stationary; while the latter, quietly progressing, are passing through just gradations to a higher strain of mind; and those who early begin with talking and writing like women, commonly end with thinking and acting like children. The swarms of Abridgments, Beauties, and Comfiendiums, which form too considerable a part of a young lady’s library, may be considered in many instances as an infallible receipt for making a superficial mind. The names of the renowned characters in history thus become fa
* An ingenious (and in many respects useful) French Treatise on Fducation, has too much encouraged this political piety : by considering religion as a thing of human convention, rather than of divine institution ; as a thing creditable, rather than commanded: by erecting the doctrine of expediency in the place of Christian simplicity; and wearing away the spirit of truth, by the substitution of occasional deceit, equivocation, subterfuge, and mental reservation.