Page images

as the victim of his father's improper passion, than as the object of a just and necessary correction. To prevent such consequences, it is the part of true wisdom to follow the gentler suggestions of nature; and to keep always rather within than beyond the bounds of rigorous justice.

[ocr errors]

You are no doubt anxious, my christian friends, to establish your children in circumstances of worldly competence and respectability. This is a natural, a laudable, a religious desire. An honest independence is one of the greatest blessings of existence. It enables a man to walk amidst his fellows, of whatever rank, with a firm step, a manly aspect, and a tranquil heart. It affords him the means of moderate, rational, and decent enjoyment, both in his individual and social capacity; and, what is still more, it enables him to taste the luxury of doing good.' But, let it ever be remembered, that even this valuable independence should never be purchased by sacrifices or exertions, which would raise a blush upon the cheek, or excite a pang in the heart. If you can exalt your children to affluence and station by honorable means, whilst you impress those sound principles of religion and morality, which will enable them to enjoy and to improve the blessings of their lot, you become not merely the benefactors of your families, but also of your kind. If, however, it be your sole object to confer affluence upon them for its own sake, without any attention to the dispositions and virtues which would render it a source of personal and public advantage, you would more consult their substantial interest and happiness by placing them in the humblest


condition of honest industry. I solemnly declare that I would rather bequeath to my child the honorable inheritance of good principles and a good name, than 'millions of silver and gold' with an ungoverned spirit, or a corrupted heart. We all know the uncertainty of reputation, and fortune, and power. We farther know that were they even permanent in their own nature, they have not the capacity of conferring virtue or happiness. On the contrary, they have a natural tendency to render the heart presumptuous, to inflame the passions, and to foster crime. Neither can they ward off the stroke of disease, nor the shafts of calamity. In the gloomy hour of dissolution, when the heart sinks, and the spirits fail, and there is no pleasure in life,' they cannot afford one gleam of hope, or one moment of consolation. Under such circumstances, how different is the lot of him, who has been educated with sound principles of piety and morality! With regard to all his true interests, he is entirely independent of world; and even in the

the chances and changes of the last solemn hour, the light of a good conscience and the staff of christian hope cheer and sustain his spirit, as he journeys' through the valley of the shadow of death,' to a better country and a Father's home.

In conclusion, christian parents, if you desire that your children should be duly guided by your instructions, show them in all things the sincerity and value of your precepts, by their happy influence upon your own 'lives and conversation.' Example is the most agreeable and the most powerful instructer. As they learn your language, copy your manners, and acquire your

habits of thinking upon ordinary subjects, so will they become imbued with your christian temper and princi ples. But, remember, if you walk not worthy of the high vocation wherewith you are called,' your example must be destructive, and you can no longer be objects of affection or respect. Do not force your children to err against nature. No child can love a tyrant, a sensualist, a despiser of religion, or a neglecter of parental duties. Walk in the midst of your families, in the constant exercise of kindness tempered with firmness, of piety without austerity, of holiness adorned by cheerfulness, and you cannot fail, in the virtues and happiness of your children, to reap an abundant harvest of joy and peace.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]


« PreviousContinue »