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daughter, because the child is becoming a man or a woman. It is truly pitiable to see a boy or girl of fifteen, returning from school to sow the seeds of revolt in the domestic community, acting in opposition. to parental authority, till the too compliant father gives the reins of government into filial hands, or else by his conduct declares his children to be in a state of independence. I am not advising a contest for power; for where a child has been accustomed to obey, even from an infant, the yoke of obedience will always, at least generally, be light and easy ;

if not, and a rebellious temper should begin to show itself early, a judicious father should be on his guard, should suffer no encroachments on his prerogative, while at the same time the increased power of his authority, like the increased pressure of the atmosphere, should be felt without being seen, and this will make it irresistible.

Thirdly, Undue severity, in the other extreme, is as injurious as unlimited indulgence.

If injudicious fondness has slain its tens of thousands, unnecessary harshness has destroyed its thousands. By an authority which cannot err, we are told that the cords of love are the bands of a man.

There is a plastic power in love. The human mind is so constituted as to yield readily to the influence of kindness. Men are more easily led to their duty, than driven to it: a child, says an eastern proverb, may lead the elephant by a single hair.

You remember, and perhaps have often seen verified, the old apologue of the Sun, the Wind, and the Traveller. Love seems so essential an element of the parental character, that there is


something shockingly revolting, not only in a cruel, not only in an unkind, not only in a severe, but even in a cold-hearted father. Study the parental character as it is exhibited in that most exquisitely touching moral picture, the parable of the Prodigal Son. When a father governs entirely by cold, bare, uncovered authority; by mere commands, prohibitions and threats; by frowns untempered with smiles; when the friend is never blended with the legislator, nor authority modified with love; when his conduct produces only a servile fear in the hearts of his children, instead of a generous affection; when he is served from a dread of the effects of disobedience, rather than from a sense of the pleasure of obedience; when he is dreaded in the family circle as a frowning spectre, rather than hailed as the guardian angel of its joys; when even accidents raise a storm, and faults a hurricane of passion in his bosom; when offenders are driven to equivocation and lying, with the hope of averting by concealment those severe corrections which disclosure always entails ; when unnecessary interruptions are made to innocent enjoyments; when, in fact, nothing of the father, but every thing of the tyrant, is seen; can we expect religion to grow in such soil as this? Yes, as rationally as we may look for the tenderest hothouse plant to thrive amidst the rigours of eternal frost.

It is useless for such a father to teach religion; he chills the soul of his pupils; he hardens their hearts against impression; he prepares them to rush with eager haste to their ruin, as soon as they have thrown off the yoke


of their bondage; and to employ their liberty, as affording the means of unbridled gratification. Like a company of African slaves, they are first tortured by their thraldom, and by that very bondage, trained up to convert their emancipation into a means of destruction.

Let parents then, in all their conduct, blend the lawgiver and the friend, temper authority with kindness, and realize in their measure that representation of Deity which Dr. Watts has given us, where he says,

“ Sweet majesty and awful love,

Sit smiling on his brow.” In short, let them so act, that their children shall be conyinced that their law is holy, and their commandment is holy and just and good; and that to be so governed, is to be blessed.

Fourthly.--The inconsistent conduct of parents themselves, is a frequent and powerful obstacle to success in religious education.

Example has been affirmed to be omnipotent, and its power, like that of gravitation, is always in proportion to the nearness of the attracting body; what then must be the influence of parental example? Now as I am speaking of religious parents, it is of course assumed that they do exhibit, in some measure, the reality of religion: but may not the reality often be seen where much of the beauty of true godliness is obscured, just as the sun is beheld when his effulgence is quenched in a mist; or as a lovely prospect is seen through a haze, which, though it leave its extent uncovered, veils all its beauty. Religion may be seen in dim outline by the children in their parents' conduct, but it is attended with so many minor inconsist

encies, such a mist of imperfections, that it presents little to conciliate their regard or raise their esteem. There is so much worldlymindedness, so much conformity to fashionable follies, so much irregularity of domestic pieży, such frequent sallies of unchristian temper, such inconsolable grief and querulous complaint under the trials of life, such frequent animosities towards their fellow christians, observable in the conduct of their parents, that they see religion to the greatest possible disadvantage, and the consequence is that it either lowers their standard of piety, or inspires a disgust towards it altogether. Parents, as you would wish your instructions and admonitions to your children to be successful, enforce them by the power

of a holy example. It is not enough for you to be pious on the whole, but you should be wholly pious; not only to be real disciples, but eminent ones ; not only sincere christians, but consistent

Your standard of religion should be very high. To some parents I would give this advice, " Say less about religion to your chil

, dren, or else manifest more of its influence. Leave off family prayer, or else leave off family sins.” Beware how you act, for all your actions are seen at home. Never talk of religion but with reverence : be not forward to speak of the faults of your fellow christians, and when the subject is introduced, let it be in a spirit of charity towards the offender, and of decided abhorrence of the fault. Many parents have done irreparable injury to their children's minds by a proneness to find out, talk of, and almost rejoice over the inconsistencies of prosessing christians. Never cavil at or find fault


with the religious exercises of the minister you attend: but rather commend his discourses, in order that your children might listen to them with greater attention. Direct their views to the most eminent Christians, and point out to them the loveliness of exemplary piety. In short, seeing that your example may be expected so much to aid or frustrate your efforts for the conversion of your children, consider 6 what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness."

Fifthly.—Another obstacle to the success of religious intruction, is sometimes found in the wild conduct of an elder branch of the family, especially in the case of a dissipated son.

The elder branches of a family are found, in general, to have considerable influence over the rest, and oftentimes to give the tone of morals to the others: they are looked up to by their younger brothers and sisters; they bring companions, books, amusements into the house ; and thus form the character of their juniors. It is of great consequence, therefore, that parents should pay particular attention to their elder children; and if unhappily their habits should be decidedly unfriendly to the religious improvement of the rest, they should be removed if possible, from the family. One profligate son may lead all his brothers astray. I have seen this, in some cases, most painfully verified. A parent may feel unwilling to send from home an unpromising child, under the apprehension that he will grow worse and worse ; but kindness to him in this way, is cruelty to the others. Wickedness is contagious, especially when the diseased person is a brother.

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