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and years of labor wasted in any other method. I remember admiring much the advice given me, never to strike my children : it was added, Why treat them like animals, when you may address their reason ?
It all sounds very fine; but we may suspect the soundness of the principle, when it is in direct opposition to the Word of God. Prov. xxii. 15. “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” This one Scripture at once undermines the two false principles, and tells you of the foolishness of the child, and the necessity on that account for the rod of correction. At the same time, I admit the shame and cruelty of that practice you see in some, of continual correction of this sort. In such cases it generally proceeds from a brutal and passionate nature, giving way to inordinate anger and wanton tyranny. The fact, however, is, I believe, that children are partly animal and partly rational; and they require to be treated suitably to their composition ; above all remembering the immortal nature, formed for an eternal existence before the unveiled glory of God. Some system of correction must be adopted, however parents may flatter themselves; and if they avoid those prescribed in the Scripture, they are compelled to resort to some of their own devising,-such as protracted displeasure, fasting, confinment, disgrace; all of which, perhaps, tend more to injure the dispositions of the child than to improve them. My
opinion, after much experience, is, that the corrections should be prompt and short, that the child may understand it is the offence which calls for chastisement, and not itself that is obnoxious. Besides, there is much instruction conveyed to a child by the example thus exhibited of the principle upon which the correction is administered : and a sin which is palpably against the Lord himself, should be more rigorously marked than any of a nature relative to men. I have been ready to groan within myself when I have seen the hot and quick resentments expressed against any personal disrespect, whilst absolute sins against God have been overlooked, or slightly remarked upon. What a false estimate this is calculated to give them of the nature of offences ! And again, that irritable temper which some parents give way to, is most injurious, because it is obvious to the keen observation of a child, that it is selfish and unprincipled, and frequently altogether misplaced. That is a wise exhortation of the apostle's; "Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, lest they be discouraged;" Eph. vi. 4: for it is a consequence almost fatal to proper authority when the resentments of a child are awakened upon what he may esteem just grounds ; and thus the parent is put under the condemnation of the child.
I have sometimes thought that this severity belonged only, to the Old Testament times, and that the Gospel is milder in its treatment, as well as in its aspect.
Where the gospel graces of love, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faith,-have been the prevailing and peaceful foundations of instruction from earliest infancy, it is to be expected, as a blessed result, that the mildest forms of corection would probably be sufficient : but we must not forget the sinful nature, which is corrected by nothing but the effectual operation of God alone in the heart. Sin will ever revolt from the law of holiness and obedience; and sin it is which requires the strong corrective and the coercive system. Besides, we have the dealings of God with our souls illustrated by the example of human parental correction. That beautiful passage in Heb. xii. 6—10, should be laid up in the heart of every Christian parent and child ; and it corresponds with Deut. viii. 5,-"As a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord chasteneth thee;" — which proves the analogy of the dealings of the attentive parent with the dealings of God with our souls. But we may, perhaps, refer the further consideration of the subject to the elucidations which may be drawn forth from our young people themselves in the next room, as it so happens I had proposed to take into consideration this very point on which we find ourselves engaged.
It was soon agreed that we should join the juvenile party. We found all our interesting flock assembled, and in the agreeable engagement of listening to some of the wise counsels of old Thomas, whom Charles had taken care should be one with them, and had placed in the midst. He looked full of animation, and his dutiful little grand-daughter standing by with eyes sparkling with delight and intelligence, happy in seeing the happiness of her aged parent.
I am afraid, I said, my dear young friends, that I am scarcely so welcome as usual, for I shall interrupt the pleasure you are giving and receiving.
O no! they all answered ; and Henry again said,- It is to you we owe all the pleasure.
But, then, what will you say when you know my subject? The apostle, in 1 Cor. iv. 21, makes this appeal :" What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness ?”
I think, Henry said, you have sufficiently proved that love is the best and sweetest ; therefore, I say, love; and I believe all will join in that preference. Though, to speak the truth, he continued, during the time of my authority, I think I should have found the rod rather useful.
I was fearful, from the tone of Henry's voice, that he might impart an influence of lightness to this important subject ; and therefore replied, It is, however, of a nature so serious and sacred, that we must neither omit the consideration, nor throw off its application. Have you learnt, my dear young friends, that your nature is sinful, that it is an arduous duty devolved on your parents to train you up in the way you should go ; and have you not discovered the
perverseness of your own minds, which do, from sinful inclinations, prefer the crooked ways of self-will, to the straight and narrow path of obedience ?
Henry's volubility was at once arrested ; and I received no answer. Silence, however, spoke conviction.
When love fails to operate,-when duty fails to impel, -when the promise fails to persuade,when honor fails to act, when obedience fails to be rendered, what must be done ? Obedience must be enforced for the well-being of the child, and the comfort of the parent; and there is but one thing more to resort to. What must it be?
As I was not likely to receive an answer from any but such as were already instructed, I looked to Louisa, and she answered,
In Proverbs there are many: (xiii. 24.) “ He that spareth his rod hateth his son ; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." (xix. 18.) “ Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying."
Whilst Louisa was repeating these texts, Mary was engaged in turning to the places, and I saw her now open to a passage marked by herself, I