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sometimes to play light airs and song tunes, and she used to tempt him to change them for hymn tunes, and say she would sing with him if he would join in the praises of God. All this time, she was not only teaching but endeavoring to practise ; and this little girl, from five to eight years old, so diligently pursued this course with her parents, that she seemed to make them her children, and to train them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The consequence is, the blessing of God upon the family, and the parents and child walking one way; they acknowledging with grateful hearts, the blessing of such a child, and the child looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
The lady again paused, and finding we were not willing to interrupt her, continued, I find almost invariably, when the children are simple and open in telling their parents what is proceeding in their own souls, and accompanying that confession with dutiful attention and an obedient spirit, that they win upon their parents at least to admire and approve them, and sometimes to follow them; though there are other instances where nothing can reconcile the parent to take any interest in their example. I have seen other children, who have been undutiful, headstrong,
, rebellious, so as to be the misery of their parents, become quite altered under the power of religion, and be the joy and comfort of home; and have had fathers and mothers come to tell me, with
tears of thankfulness, the blessing which they experience in their children's change of conduct.
You, doubtless, sometimes meet with ingratitude, both from children and parents ?
O yes, that is to be expected ; but I take comfort in reflecting, that at least they have been taught, and the seed sown may be seen to spring up hereafter. Only this day, I was told by the mother of one child who had been five years under the instruction of the school, that she owed me nothing ; that I never gave her any. thing; and that the child had never got anything by me yet. Poor people! I cannot help pitying their state, so blind to the great gain of early religious instruction ! Sometimes I have seen these very children brought to a death-bed, when all the instructions have come back to their souls with power, and taught them to whom to go; so it is God himself that giveth the increase !. But such parents are a melancholy hindrance to their children, when instead of seconding their instruction, they throw an unholy slight upon them; so that they fail to make application of the word of God, and desire not to do the will of God.
The writing lessons of the school-children seemed now over, and the movement made by them reminded us we should perhaps intrude by. staying longer. We therefore rose to go; and with sincere thanks for the kindness shown, ventured to ask if we might occasionally renew our visit. Permission was given, and we rather unwillingly took our leave.
As I was informed that many of my new friends were about to leave our neighborhood, the term of their visit being nearly concluded, I was desirous to render our next meeting as generally useful as I could; hoping to fix some principles in their minds which might serve as directing beacons for their way. They manifested their own desire by assembling sooner than usual, and I was happy to see Anna's father making one of the party.
He came up to me with a friendly air, and said, Mrs. Aston is so anxious to adopt your system of training up our child, that she absolutely refused to set me at liberty this evening; and as I find the subject of divisions in a family of such serious importance, I have felt it my duty to accompany her.
There was evidently a little feeling of pride, which induced him to assign a reason why he had again attended ; but knowing the human heart, and its natural difficulties in overcoming those feelings, I did not appear to notice it, only saying that I hoped they would always endeavor to be of one mind in every object which related to our duty to God.
Mrs, Graham said, I am sorry we are obliged to return home so soon; gladly would I have prolonged my visit, but the attentions required by the other branches of my family compel me to go. I hope, however, to take back with me much that I may find useful, and shall endeavor to profit and retain the recollection of what I have been permitted to hear. I am anxious for every minute direction, and would entreat you not to spare.
I would then beg to point out a very essential point : if it please God, that, by His grace, you determine upon adopting a better plan, and that a religious one, for your children's training, bear in mind that consistency should prevail throughout. There is no other way of convincing your children that you are governed by principle, and unless they see it the operating spring of all your duty, they will fail to believe it a true one ; and under the idea that it is adopted only as an expedient method to break them into submission, they will be tempted both to despise and to revolt from it.
Give me an idea of your full meaning by some example.
I will give as an example, the necessity of arranging and ordering your whole household according to the system, so that you shall give proof that your intention is, as far as your influence may extend, that you and your house shall serve the Lord. For this reason, be careful what acquaintance you cultivate; what conversations prevail in your association; and what servants
you select. It is an oversight which appears to me next to madness in some parents, that they pay no regard to the character of a servant, as respects their religious conduct. If they obtain a general testimony for honesty, cleanliness, and ability for their worldly calling, it seems all they require ; and whilst they would reject a servant for a defect in business, they never regard the greater defects which are too common in their principle of heart. If a servant is careless, breaks the furniture, spoils the paint and paper and carpets; if they fail to wait well, or to pay the outward respect demanded, they are instantly rebuked or dismissed : but if they fail to respect the souls of your children, or if they contaminate their minds with evil thoughts and words; if they break your rules, and spoil the obedience of your children,these are faults not noticed, not inquired into, not expected to produce any evil ; and many a child is taught in the nursery to throw away the instruction of its parents, and defilements are added to their natural sinfulness by the evil communications which come out of their mouth. Now I would subvert this system. I would, if you cannot get servants fully capable of all the mic nutiæ and niceities of their appointment, at least determine to have none but those who would be under the governing principle of religious conduct and obedience; for a want of this, I would dismiss them most certainly ; and if they tampered with the principles of my children, or wilfully suggested any evil to their mind, instantly