Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

Fourthly, parents ought in order to the exercise of a proper government in their families, to exercise a due government over them. selves, I mean, over their own tempers ; so as never to be transported with an undue warmth, but let their resentment be proportioned to the nature of the offence. It is the great fault of some parents to suffer their anger to rise to a high degree against a child for some trifling accident, while they will let disobedience, sauciness, insolence, lying, or taking the name of God in vain, which are crimes of great turpitude, and should never escape punishment, pass unnoticed and unregarded. Now such injudicious conduct in parents has a direct tendency to spoil the tempers of children, and to weaken, if not destroy, the parent's authority, and consequently to injure and ruin the morals of their children. If parents discover anger, it should be at nothing but sin ; and that is to be' angry, and not sin.

Fifthly, parents, who wish to maintain their authority in their families, must of all things be cautious in their promises and threatenings, and be punctual in both. One great object with a parent must be, to possess himself of the full confidence of his children by his fidelity and strict adherence to truth ; and therefore he must never deceive a child by promising it a favour which he does not mean to bestow, or by threatening it with a punishment which in case of disobedience, he does not mean to inflict. I repeat it, that parents ought to be cautious never to promise any thing to their children, but as a reward of duty and obedience, and to promise nothing as a favor, but what they tan and do mean to grant, if the condition of the promise on the child's part is complied with. And, on the other hand, a parent ought never (be the crime ever so great) to threaten to punish a child by a mode which he may not inflict. To illustrate this matter, I beg the reader's patience while I relate a fact which fell under my own observation. My little boy about five years of age, being at play with a neighbor's boy about six years of age, this neighbor's child, having been guilty of some transgression, the mother threatened him in language to this effect : 6 Sirrah, I'll knock your brains out, that I will." Upon hearing this, my little boy came home exceedingly terrified, and with tears in his eyes addressed himself to his mamma, saying, "Ma, S. S. is to have his brains knocked out." To which she replied, “Dear child, what do you talk about? I hope nothing so dreadful will happen to him;" to which he answered, “But Ma, his mother told him, that she would knock his brains out;" and this idea seemed to possess the child's mind so fully, that he could not be persuaded to think that his neighbor would falsify her word; for he had no conception of a person saying what was not meant to be done ; for he had never noticed such conduct before, and therefore he firmly expected the sad catastrophe to follow. However, the next morning my little boy saw his play-fellow in the full possession of all his brains; at which sight he came to express his surprise, saying, "Ma, S. S. has not got his brains knocked out!" To which it was replied, “ No, no, child, his mother did not mean any such thing ; that would have been a shocking thing indeed to knock her child's brains out!" To this he again replied, “But Ma, she said she would; I heard her say she would ;” and added, “ neighbor S. has told a sad story; has she not, Ma?". Well, this passed off, and in the space of two or three days, this neighbor S. came to my house, and at that instant my children were diverting themselves at play with each other, and making too much noise to suit me; upon which I ordered them to be silent, and take themselves to their seats, which was immediately done. At this my neighbor signified surprise to see my children so governable, and expressed a wish that her children were in such order; to which I answered, that, if she adopted my mode of management, she might obtain her wish ; and added that I have laid down one short rule, which I invariably abide by; it is this, I will be obeyed; and all my children understand that this is the law of my house, so that they are seldom disposed to dispute the point with me; but you will observe, that I never enforce this law by threatening them to knock their brains out, &c. The severest punishment which my children are ever threatened with, is the rod, and that instrument is seldom used; because, as before observed, my children know the law of my house, and therefore readily conform to it.

Another thing I beg leave to observe, and that is, that parents should never discover a partial regard to one child more than another; because there are several evils likely to arise out of this absurd conduct in a parent, such as the following. In the first place, it may be naturally expected that the favorite will become the object of envy and hatred to the other children; and it is ten to one but that the fondling will be indulged and humoured to a criminal degree; its miscarriages and faults overlooked, or thought to be virtues; till at length it will, instead of being a comfort and a credit, become a cross and a curse to the family as it grows up,

and be itself ruined; for it is grown up to a proverb, that fondlings are generally unfortunate.

Add to this, that this unreasonable partiality will tend te discourage the other children, so that they will be indifferent whether they

please or offend, and will not be emulous to excel, because they will despair of obtaining the affections and confidence of their parents, if they endeavour ever so much after it'; and thus instead of peace; order, and harmony subsisting, which are the comfort and credit of society, nothing but anarchy, mutual hatred and confusion, can be expected to prevail in such ill-fated and ill-govérned families.

One thing more I beg leave to observe, and that is, that parents, who by the law of God and nature, are constituted both preceptors and governors of their children, ought to teach by example as well as by precept. They ought to set the example, therefore of denying ungodlmess and worldly lusts, and of living soberly, righteously, and godly; for where this is not the case, the best instructions, and the best maxims and rules for the government of families will have no weight, but the end of all will surely be defeated. How justly might it be retorted on such unqualified instructors and governors, when they are pretending to be reformers, " Physician heal thyself!!! only set us the example, and we will follow it! į » And I intreat that it may be observed, that both parents, that is, both father and mother should unite their exertions in the same good work of instruction and government, and never oppose each other therein. parents ! I beseech you to consider the importance of the trust which is committed to you ;" consider the importance of the work itself, and the good or ill effects which a wise or unwise conduct may have upon your children, and on your children's children, and on those of future generations. Learn to despise and abhor those opinions of weak or wicked men, which make light of family instruction, and family religion and government; consider them as subversive of all order and morality in society; and let the awful example of the righteous displeasure of God against Eli and his house ever be before your eyes : 1 Sam. iï. xiv. “I have told him," saith the Lord, “ that I will judge his house for ever, for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves viłe, and he restrained them not." And let the character which the Lord gave of Abraham animate you to your duty, and determine your conduct, Gen. xviii. 19. “I know him, that he will command his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, &c.

[ocr errors]

CHARACTER OF GENERAL DE ZIETEN,

Concluded from page 169, T. THE severity which Zieten exerted in every thing that related to the service, he knew how to add proper indulgence, when

ever he perceiyed that the officer was still more jealous of his honour than prone to subordination. The case of M. de Romberg furnishes a poof of this. That officer, a man of eminent talents, and whom his country would have numbered among its best commanders, had not an early death interrupted his military career; was aide-de-camp-major to Zieten. One day, being charged by him with a commission of small importance, and sensible that it was confined to the mere delivery of a message, he employed a dragoon to execute it, and dispatched him for that purpose in the presence of the general, who, struck with the lesson, turned coolly towards him, and said, “ So, my good lieutenant ! it seems you are become a great man. On the same day, however he declared at table, in the presence of several officers, that Romberg had done well not to debase his rank ; that, for his own part, he liked to see a man properly jealous of his rights ; that a well-timed resistance indicated a good officer, and restrained the general within proper bounds, by hindering him from degrading his subalterns, as he acknowledged he had himself done that morning.

Although during the latter years of the war, Zieten had seldom met his regiment, he was never neglectful of any thing which he owed it in the capacity of its colonel. The internal and particular arrangement of the corps was his own work, and its exploits his récompence. Through the whole army, and even among the enemy, one general opinion prevailed with regard to the good order and bravery of the troops. Governed by ambition, by emulation, and incited by glory, the hussars of Zieten, whether officers or private soldiers, were ever anxious to emulate their commander ; who on his part carried the confidence he had in them to such a degree, as to imagine himself invincible at their head. Whenever it happened that he encamped in the midst of his regiment, he considered himself more secure than he could be in any other situation. It was then of little import to him, whether the enemy were near or at a distance ; after having visited the quarters, he would retire to his tent, and give himself up to rest. He was one day so slightly guarded, and lay so much exposed to a sudden attack, that an officer belonging to another regiment could not refrain from remarking the danger he was in. Zieten made him no other reply than, 65 Am I not in the midst of my hussars ?” The regiment caught the words ; and what was nothing more than a well-deserved eulogium, proved a further encouragement to them, and strengthened the bonds of affection and devotedness which attached them to their colonel. After peace was made, his officers and sold: iers flocked to Zieten as to their common father, to shew him the scars that graced their persons, and to remind him of the spots, and the honourable occasions on which they had gained them.

EXTRACT FROM À COPY OF A LETTER BY THE LATE DR. CONDER, ADDRESS

ED TO A YOUNG MINISTER, WHO HAD BEEN ONE OF HIS PUPILS, ON

THE EVENT OF HIS MARRIAGE. Rev. Son, alias Dear Son M

I REJOICE, at the favour, you have obtained of the Lord, in his giving the object of your wishes and choice into the arms of conjugal affection. 66 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.”.

-And, as ye are become by nature and law, as “one flesh," one in affection, one in interest, one in habitation, and one in spirit and pursuit through grace, as I trast,--so the comprehensive duty on your part, my dear Mis, that

you nourish and cherish her as your own flesh." Good manners forbid an address to a perfect stranger, and seem to check the freedom of claiming kindred in this case ; but a paternal benediction is at least an harmless thing ; and good wishes ought never to be out of fashion. Wherefore,

Dear Madam,--As you have been a Rebeckah in resolution, and a Ruth in your choice, I doubt not you will be a Sarah for respect and reverence : and, may the object of your

choice

prove a Moses for meekness, a Job for patience, à Solomon for wisdom, a Joshua for resolution, a David for zeal, an Abraham in faith, an Isaac in fear, a Jacob in prayer, and in tenderness and care towards his flock ! Yea, may he be a Timothy for studiousness, a Paul for labours, and a Peter for his abundant success! And,

Dear Sir;—As by information the Lord's gift to you has much of Rachel in her countenance, may she be a Leah for fruitfulness, an Abigail for prudence, a Martha for Housewifery, a Dorcas for public spiritedness, and a Mary for preferring “ the one thing needful !" And, like Zechariah and Elizabeth, may ye be long companions in a holy, heavenly, and conscientious walk before your God; and at last, heirs and partakers of the land of pure and never-ending felicity, in the presence of God and the Lamb forever! In fine, I wish you and your dear consort every prosperity of soul and body, and that the best of friends may dwell with you in your new habitation. May plenty be ever found in your pantry, frugality in your kitchen,-peace, piety and prudence in your parlour,-fervent devotion in your oratory, diligence and

« PoprzedniaDalej »