Page images




but I get no other comfort than that which is afforded by the detail of their own sufferings from the same causes ; and in fact, I believe, if we knew the secrets of other families, there are few that are not suffering in the same way, or preparing suffering for the future, by their bad method of bringing up their children.

The fact is, I said, that the love of a child to its parent has not the same instinctive origin with that of the parent towards his child. It must arise either from high moral feeling, or from a religious principle; the one serves beautifully for a present purpose of time, the other for the eternal purpose of time and eternity. Both are to be cultivated, though the dispositions are from God; and that cultivation should commence from the first, whilst the children hang dependent upon the parent, and before they can reflect for themselves on the necessity and duty of it : and the superiority of the religious training to that of the moral is such, as to lay the deep charge of guilt on the head of that parent who does not so consult for the good of his child as to adopt that which is of God. These things account for the estrangement of children from their parents; and that while the parent's heart yearns with perpetual anxiety after the child, the child can forget the parent who fostered it in its earliest years.

The heart of the parent is naturally always going after the child, but the child's heart is, alas ! too often going away from the parent. How necessary, then, is it, that the

parent should lose no time or opportunity to lead the affections of their children, first, by grace towards the Lord, and then in Him to themselves.

Oh, it would be happy indeed, if our children loved us as we love them!

May I draw your attention to this once more. They are not likely to love you as you do them; but if you will seek the true Spirit of Love in the Holy Ghost, and love them with the love that is of God, then you may indulge a hope that they shall love you as you do them, even in the Lord.

What shall we do?

Begin anew; relinquish all the false principles you have hitherto acted upon; explain to them why; pray, read, and teach, taking the counsel of God, seeking the grace of Jesus, and the enlightening and strengthening influence of the Holy Ghost.

But how can I draw my children in ?

Such a revolution in your house and in your plans will attract their attention. The example of your

love and obedience to God will operate on them; and they will, perhaps, submit to the sway of that King whom you show them that you have placed on the throne of your heart. At least, these are the means : Trust to the Lord, be consistent, and steady ; and wait for the blessing

I rose to go, and with a heavy sigh Mrs. Graham gave me her hand, whilst Mrs. Evans politely wished me good morning.

I arrived at Joblin's cottage just as he had finished his dinner. Hannah was nursing the baby attentively, and the mother was putting'

all away.

He got up from his seat to receive me, and offered me a chair.

I will lose no time, my friend, in telling my errand :-it is to talk with you on the bringing up of your children, and to press the necessity of training them up according to God's word.

Sir, it's all my desire ; if they are but the children of God, I'm happy about all else.

May I ask, Do you endeavor to do it, as well as desire it ?

I do, Sir ; but I've sad hindrance.—I've my work to mind; and when I'm away, I'm forced to leave 'em to their mother, and she grieves me sore in this, that we're not of one mind; and she don't see, nor I can't make her see, how needful it is that we be agreed; so as fast as I gets a hold o' the children, she undoes it all again. I'm sure I'm clean beat; and my heart's sad and sore many a time, to think on't: for I know the end of unruly children,--that God's curse must come on 'em. It's hard, Sir, to think of bringing children into the world to see 'em run headlong to destruction.

It is, indeed; but what's the reason your wife don't see what is best ?

I know not, he said, with a sigh; but she frets and frets, and teazes and teazes: the children can never please her; either they do nought, or

they don't do right. She scolds from morning to night, and yet never makes 'em do aught as she'd have 'em; and they're all unhappy together; and it makes me miserable. If they're to be thrashed, I'm to thrash 'em : and then, when I'd make 'em do, she won't have 'em touched ; and though the children would do aught I tell 'em, she never gets 'em to mind her.

This is a sad evil.

Yes, it is, Sir; and makes me so that I've no pleasure in my home. The children are always crying, or else they're saucy; and she goes maunder, maunder, -grumble, grumble, fretting and tearing, day in, and day out.

I wish I could engage you to think, I said, turning to the mother, of the necessity of changing these bad habits. Do endeavor to be of one mind with your husband, and resolutely brin up your children in the fear and love of God, and in obedience to you.

I wish I could make 'em obedient; John knows that's all I want. I complain only because they won't do as I'd have 'em. I tell you what I suspect ; first, that

you never think of God in this matter,-you neither desire to make your children serve Him, nor do so yourself ;-and next, that you are exceedingly indolent, and do not like the trouble of training them in the right way.

I don't know, Sir; but I'm sure I beat 'em oft myself, and tell 'em what to do.

But you beat them, I suspect, not so much

[ocr errors]

for their own fault as for your own vexation, when you can bear no longer : and, after all, I dare såy, do not make them do the thing you contend about. And when children get into that habit of disobedience, they do not care for the beating, in comparison with the wicked pleasure of having their own way.

What makes Hannah nurse the child now so well ?

O, because her father's here; she knows he will have it done as he says.

And therefore she obeys. But, Hannah, how much happier it would be if you always obeyed both father and mother, because the Lord has ordered you to do so. Why, my child, do you not lay it to heart, that it is written in the word of the Lord, “ Honor thy father and thy mother.I do not doubt you see the fault of your mother, because you take advantage of it; but if you

would remember your own duty, and for the Į honor you bear your mother, would obey her

desires, counting the wishes of your mother equal to commands, you would soon find how much happier you would be, and how it would tend to improve your mother's temper and man

Will you promise me to try one thing ?
She was attentive, but did not reply.
Will you promise me to try, when your

mother says, I wishand,

Hannuh" to consider it the same thing as if she ordered you with the same authority as your father. It is your duty to obey your mother as well as father : Will you try?

[ocr errors]


do now,

« PreviousContinue »