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HINTS, DOMESTIC SKETCHES, CONVERSATIONS, AND LETTERS.
HINTS ON HIS son's EDUCATION.
Make religion the first thing; including the knowledge of God and the Gospel, great reverence to them, amiableness of disposition; then, the opening of the mind; then, human knowledge. And endeavour always to impress it on his mind, that human knowledge is only good as it subserves the ends of God.
Let him be taught that he learns to read, in order that some day he may read the Bible. Not to let any one admire how forward he is, not even to please yourself.
Do not let him read the Bible till he can read quite well. Do not let him learn any thing out of the Bible, till he can in some degree understand it. Do not let him use any prayer that he cannot understand ; and make him say
it very distinctly and slowly.
In teaching to read, I would not let the child read the same lesson over and over; first, because it wearies him; and, secondly, because he gets it partly by heart before you are aware, and there is then an end of reading. He knows what the word is, not from itself, but its place and contents. Give him a new lesson every time; but let the same words occur very often.
There are very few fables fit to tell children; the moral is so worldly. I should not fear the telling them that beasts and trees can speak, because you can easily make them understand why you do this. But take an example in the fable of the Fox and the Crow: which is the worse, the liar or the deceived? Yet, the liar is rewarded, and the crow punished by the loss of her cheese. A grown person understands that you do not mean to recommend lying, but to discommend vanity; but how should a child ?
Do not make a show of him in any of his learning, especially his religious. You give him a wrong motive thereby, and one that is most difficult to eradicate. Promise him a bit of barleysugar if he read well, and you do no harm. Invite him to get up a lesson well for his grandmama to hear, and you do much towards engendering a most dangerous taste, that of display.
Cannot the motive of emulation be done without? May we not pray and hope for the blessing of God upon an education conducted upon godly motives? I teach you to read, that you may hereafter read the Bible; I endeavour to give you this learning, that you may hereafter serve God by it. O God! call my children even from their childhood!
Do not pray God to make your children His, and all the time educate them as if they were to be the world's.
A single eye is the grand thing in education, as in every thing else. There is some little thing a parent would have, besides eternal life, for his child. There should not be. And if there be one, there will soon be another.
Do not let a child know any thing of mythology, till you have rooted and grounded him in the Christian faith ; and then, not as elegances, but as abominations, which must be known, defiling though they be, that they may be fought against. It is easy to make such a selection from the Latin and Greek authors as shall need no Pantheon in the explanation.
Make a child useful in God's work as soon as you can; at least, as a hewer of wood or drawer of water; in making clothes for the poor, teaching a child to read, &c. &c.; and this must be looked on as a business, and a very important
Even in your child's religious knowledge, remember that you may have your reward without your child's being saved,,if your end and aim has been the applause of men, the bravo of the religious world.
Endeavour to give him a great command over his own thoughts; shutting out some, and steadily fixing on others. How useful may this be hereafter, in a religious point of view !
Nothing can be more unwise than the system of Rousseau. The tutor is to be always at play with the pupil (and seemingly with the same interest), in order to impart knowledge to him ! What! is the child to be taught, and taught by a lie too, that the end for which his tutor and he came into the world is, play? No; teach him he is a child, and therefore must be indulged with the pleasures of a child, and, out of kindness, you condescend to take a share in them ; but he must learn-what? to be a man?-(so far the Edgeworths go)—no, to be a Christian.
Arithmetic is a child's logic: teach him its principles thoroughly ; but have as little to do with money in it as may be.
S. Paul's advice should never be out of mind ; Provoke not your children to wrath. Before the words of reproof are out of your mouth, recollect yourself. Are you about to reprove for the child's good ? No other motive is allowable. Reproof on any other motive provokes to wrath : it is better even not to reprove at all, than so.
Look at your child's love to you, his fear to offend you, eager desire to be near you. Think of your heavenly Father, and your feelings towards Him.
Do you instruct your child in religion, in the hope and expectation of converting his soul; or only because it is your duty, which you must perform?
A child is often fretful, and there is the trial of your own temper: then, beware, you may be fretful in return, and scold and slap: this will do the child harm. You may send it out of the way to maids and nurses; this will do the same thing :
they will, in all probability, be fretful and scold, and do the child harm. You would choose to be as much as possible with it, if its body were ill; why not when its soul is? But how to treat it? With kindness, but not with indulgence; with punishment, but not with anger; with nothing exciting, with nothing provoking ; with such reasoning as its age will bear, especially religious; and with prayer.
When an accident happens between you and your child, do not scold the child : in all probability the fault was yours; and if it was his, you look so much like a partner in it, that he finds it very hard to bear the blame.
Nothing is more common, but nothing more contrary to the Gospel, than to estimate a child's fault by the mischief done. • You have been very careless!”
But the breaking of a glass worth twenty guineas does not add to his carelessness, though it may serve to convince him of it. You have, in a violent passion, thrown a knife at another; but the wounding, or not wounding him, makes no difference in the sin. This consideration acts two ways : to mitigate punishment, that would often be too heavy, if we suffered ourselves to look at the mischief done; and, to increase our sense of the sin, and with it the punishment, when no mischief is done.
A child should be kept going on in learning, or the mind languishes. If he has read a book through, do not put him (by way of lesson) to read it over again : it will be easier, instead of harder. If he can read fluently, he must have