Page images


can answer


nity ; and labors to inculcate ideas suited to the station she expects her to fill. This is true,-is it not?

O yes, quite true, certainly, proceeded from every mouth. If I ask how early this begins, you, perhaps,

I believe it will be generally acknowledged to be from the cradle, and, I Ι would add, before they are cradled, before they breathe the air of the world into which they are about to enter. I think it, though a pleasing sight, yet an affecting one, when I see a mother making her preparations for her expected offspring. With what extreme interest she prepares all its little habiliments; how she delights to ornament them by every execution of the needle ; how she contemplates them; how she imagines them filled with the little body; pictures its head in the little cap, and its arms in the little sleeves; till she almost realizes its presence, and in the fondest feelings anticipates its life.

All this, you know, said Mrs. Bennet, is quite natural, and as it ought to be.

Quite natural; and so much as it ought to be, that the animals will not yield the superiority to you in this respect, God himself having endowed them with the same instinctive fondness for their progeny, and the same careful desire to provide for them. The dens of the beasts,-the nests of the birds,--their labor and self-denial for their provision, all display the wonderful wisdom of God, and are a lively specimen of, perhaps, the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

purest natural affection : but, let it be remembered, these fulfil the whole of their duty, they are creatures with nothing but natural life : for man's transgressions they are become subject to death, and in consequence perish; they have no other duty than to protect and bring up their young, uniil they are able to care for themselves. That this is the whole of their outy, is shown by the wisdom of God having ordained that thenceforward they are loosed from any sense of natural ties; the parent's care ceaseth, and the dependance of their offspring also ceaseth, knowing each other no longer in this connexion of nature.

What do you mean to convey to us by this reference to the animal creation ?

That however you may please yourself with the notion of superior love to your children by this expression and display of care, you cannot boast of more than what the inferior creatures evince; and if we put you in comparison, you fall greatly short, for they perform their whole duty ; but if you go no further than this, you leave the principal part of your's undone.

What is that principal part ?

I wish parents would reflect upon the nature of their offspring, -that their component parts are body, ul, and spirit,--that the body is mortal for sin, and that the soul is immortal from the breath of God,--that the body, therefore, should be subject to the interests of the soul, for, by the deeds of the body, shall it be judged. Therefore, the first and principal part of your duty is,

to promote the safety of the soul, and to endeavor to make provision for that as the grand object and end of all your solicitude. The final wellbeing of the body is dependent on the well-being of the soul; and let parents who buyast their love, remember how fatally they will fail to prove it, if they neglect this pre-eminent evidence of having taught them whom to fear, even Him who hath power to cast both body and soul into hell.

Mrs. Evans, who seemed exceedingly uneasy at this turn in the conversation, rather abruptly broke the thread, by saying, I think we have wandered from the subject, which, if I mistake not, was the obedience of children, and not the duty of parents.

My dear madam, it is with the distinct view of the original subject that I have thus diverged a little into the duty of parents, in order to show how intimately they are connected, and what a prepartion may be made by the parent towards the great object of the fifth commandment of God :—and I believe we may learn much from considering one peculiarity in the commandment, which is, that whilst there is one commandment especially directed to children, there is not one specifically named as belonging to parents. We should, therefore, remember, that to each it is binding. The age has nothing to do with it, it belongs to all, of whatever age or station, to honor their father and mother: and the preceding commandments, directing our individual duty to God, if attended to by the seniors, will

be the best security for their being blessed to their children. “ I am a jealous God," saith the Lord, visiting the sin of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my Commandments.A lively interest in God in your own bosoms, would lead you to fear His wrath on your children, and to covet his mercy for them. I would be understood to contend for this one thing, that the parent's care for his children should begin in devotion to God, and surely I should ask no unreasonable thing, that it should begin as early at least as the preparation for the body. It is always judged a condemning proof against unnatural women who have been suspected of murdering their own offspring, when it has been proved that they made no preparation for its reception by a provision of clothes, &c.; and what shall we say of those parents (and alas ! how many such there are) who seem to leave, without care, their own children to the murderer of souls, having made no preparation to put it into the safe keeping of the God and Saviour of sinners, through an interest in the blood of Jesus.

But how is this to be done?

By dedication of yourself to God,- by bending the suppliant knee at the throne of grace, imploring for the child about to be born into this wicked world, a preparation of grace,-by beseeching the Lord to take it into His gracious charge, to instruct you in wisdom and holiness, to train up the child in the way it should go. To aspire to its being an heir of heaven, and imploring the riches of Christ to prepare and adorn it in a readiness for the glorious privilege, coveting nothing earthly, but earnestly wrestling for heavenly blessings. Making the everlasting salvation of your children your intense desire, and proving it to be so by the care, example, education, and direction of them, when born and given into your arms. Whilst hanging on the breast, let them, as it were, draw in the internal sigh of your bosom for pardoning mercy and sanctifying grace; and provide for them, as they grow


whatever instruction or holy helps may tend to fix their minds on the high destination of the children of God; enriching their souls with the Word of God, and teaching them to pray for the enlightening grace of the Holy Ghost.

Really, my dear sir, Mrs. Evans again interrupted, you appal me by your language, but yet I confess, you interest me ;-only it is any thing but amusement.

If it be profitable, we can lay by amusement, for a little, without much loss.

I should like to know if any mother has ever done thus ?

I have the unspeakable pleasure of knowing some who have ; few indeed; but I have watched the case for many years, and know its blessed results : but we can turn immediately to some

« PreviousContinue »