« ПретходнаНастави »
page of his present work. Conscious at the same time of not only unavoidable desultoriness, growing out of afflictions already named, but also mental inability to do that justice which the importance of the subject demands; and should he fail to meet the expectations of his readers, or in judgment hold contrary views with them, he trusts he may at least lead to correct suggestions on the part of others, which, in no small degree, will remunerate him for both time and trouble.
P. S. The author assures his numerous readers, that for their already extended liberality as subscribers, language is inadequate to express his gratitude for the same.
PARENTS AND CHILDREN.
THE assembling and organizing ourselves into societies for the purpose of devising ways and means whereby spiritual bread may be scattered over lands now shrouded in heathenish darkness, ignorance, and superstition; and the dispensation of alms to to the poor and needy of our own land, are among the highest acknowledged privileges of a Christian community, yet the proverb (though old) is not less trite which says, "Charity commences at home;" and authority as high as Heaven itself declares that he who does not provide for his own household has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
A declaration so pregnant with admonition, and direct from the archives of Heaven, would naturally seem to lead a reflecting parent or guardian to inquire what provisions are intended whereby an elevation can be secured above that of the rank of an infidel. Does it mean the mere providing of a shelter and raiment to protect our children from cold and pelting storms, or wholesome food to nourish and sustain their physical powers? If so, then indeed man stands no higher in his boasted scale of creation than the brute, which does the same for its offspring through channels of instinct. And while I am ready to admit that all these corporeal provisions are required at the hands of the parent or guardian, still I believe something higher and nobler is embraced. The culture of the mind, the power and seat of thought-the soul of man, a spark of God himself, who, wonderfully condescending to dwell in man, as a diamond in the quarry, commands him to drag forth and improve this hidden intellectual treasure, with the same imperativeness and clearness as he does the cultivation of the earth at the hands of the husbandmen.
In the first place, education is a very comprehensive term. It includes the whole course of Physical, Moral, Religious and Scientific instruction and discipline.
Its power is exerted on the body as well as the mind; in other words, the whole individual must be trained, in order that every part may be duly benefited and every faculty of mind and body fully developed.
Physical education consists in that system of corporeal discipline by which the powers of the body are brought to perfection, and its faculties fully exhibited, and by which we acquire vigor and health, with a constitution. suited to active business of life. This is best encouraged by the study of Anatomy and Physiology, or those laws which treat of the structure and functions which characterize living beings.
These principles are best promoted, particularly in early life, by a proper system of diet, a free indulgence in the unrestrained sports and innocent amusements of childhood, thereby establishing in the constitution, as a solid and permanent foundation, those immutable principles of Temperance and Truth on which we may with safety build our hopes of future happiness and health; bidding defiance, while earthly existence shall last, to those storms and tempests which so frequently arise on the ocean of life, and by which so many of the thoughtless and ignorant are doomed to perish. And although I intend to reserve for following pages many of the duties of parents and guardians, still I deem it proper here to say, that youth is the fit time to encourage exercise and tempe
The constitution is much injured by improper restraint in the healthful and cheerful exercise of the limbs in the open air, at this stage of life. All nature teaches us that a large portion of the time of youth should be sacredly set apart, in the ways and manners already here suggested, for the more effectual purpose of giving elasticity and buoyancy to the muscular system, to strengthen and consolidate the body, that the mind, as the individual approximates to manhood, may assume that tone and dignity of character, together with amiableness of disposition, as will enable him or her to enter upon their respective duties in a manner worthy of the Being who created them,
and the high station which they occupy in the immensity of his works.
Moral education must also be commenced very early in life. That system of instruction and discipline which gives us a sensitive knowledge of the distinction between right and wrong, which erects in the mind a sacred regard for the immutable principles of Truth, Justice, and Moral Integrity, and which erects in the soul a strong fortification against irregular and vicious habits, can never be successfully commenced if the individual is old enough to be brought under the influence of our higher seminaries. The foundation of the moral character must be laid under the inspection of the watchful parent. The affectionate yet keen eye of the mother must detect in the cradle what needs restraint, and discover the various developments of the disposition; and it is at this stage of life that she is to adopt such measures, and by mature deliberation lay down such a system of rules and regulations to guide her in training her offspring, as will have a tendency to check the first dawnings of evil, and give a proper direction to the early buddings of their young and tender minds. And this system should be constantly and rigidly adhered to, as you value their well being in time and in eternity.
Do not suffer yourselves to be turned aside from the path of duty by the false notion that the natural affection existing between parent and child forbids such a system of training and discipline.
None but the ignorant and foolish can subscribe to such doctrines; and speaking of discipline, I wish to be understood as including subordination, without which order (heaven's first law) can never be maintained, so as to properly unite the many and varied links that form the great chain of a useful and virtuous education, and admitted by the wisest of all ages as constituting and forming within the man a second nature, from the fact that mind is intimately connected with matter, and susceptible of being shaped, formed, or moulded almost in the same manner as a potter controls his lump of clay.
A celebrated physiologist, in speaking of early impressions upon the mind of the child, declares that those received when only three years old are the most permanent
and lasting, and for each of which, indentations or visible lines, are discoverable on the inside of the cranium.
That certain fissures or furrows are discernible on the human skull, as just named, is an undeniable fact; but whether we are prepared or not to subscribe to this doctrine, as based on sound physiological principles, one fact is certain, that impressions early made upon the mind are. never erased or obliterated in after life, where nature has been left free and undisturbed in all her physical and mental functions.
It is true affection that first prompts us to teach our little ones obedience, to watch over them with care and anxiety, and as far as we can prevent the sowing in their minds those seeds, the future growth of which may sap the foundation of their happiness not only in this life but that which is to come.
The wise man said, "Correct thy son and he will give rest to thy soul;" it should also be remembered, that "whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth," "scourgeth every son whom he receiveth," and if this work is effectually accomplished, we cannot commence too soon to correct the evil propensities which begin to develope themselves in infancy, and implant in their place those principles which when once rooted, will abide with them through life.
And if there is anything which the philanthropist should most ardently desire and devoutly pray for, that is so closely connected with the welfare and happiness of his beloved country it is this; that the time may soon arrive when the eyes of all parents shall be opened to see the importance of this subject, and seeing, may feel it their duty to commence and train up their children in the way they should go. Then shall we have taken one important step towards banishing from our land that fiend Ingratitude, which is more hideous, when it shows itself in a child, than the sea monster.
With regard to religious instructions, it may perhaps be thought superfluous by some for me here to enter into an exposition of my views on this subject, as there are so many religious sects, all differing from one another in their opinion in regard to religious instructions and training, especially as the remarks which I have already made on this subject of moral education were intended as a general