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that there is too much need of the lesson furnished in the following interesting passage:
“I cannot,” says the author, “omit to mention an incident, which (thanks to God!) made a very salutary impression on me many years ago. On entering the school-room of a Moravian family, I saw, amidst some appropriate inscriptions on the wall, intended as mementos to the children, the following one put by the teacher for her own use: "never correct in anger.' Much might be expected in a young family where the governess was so conscious of the importance of strict watchfulness over herself, as to record, in the face of her scholars, her own condemnation, if she should ever suffer herself to be led to exercise her authority in one of its most delicate and important functions, when disqualified by a want of temper from exercising it properly. Such self-attention could not be confined to a single point, but, having entered the system, would pervade its different parts. My expectations were not disappointed. A more estimable teacher; and better taught, better principled, more affectionate, more orderly, and more happy scholars I think I never saw. The excel lent instructress would find, in her own improvement, and in the gratification she could not fail to derive from the state of her scholars, and from their respect and love, a tenfold recompense for all her resolute self-scrutiny and self-denial. Let us follow her steps, and we may all humbly hope for a like reward."--pp. 139, 140.
But where shall we look for a school, or a family, answering the above description, in the government of which, instead of a proper regard to the above maxim, there is so much appearance of angry passion, so many scolding words, sour looks, and hasty blows, as to leave the impression on the minds of the children that no regard is had to their comfort or welfare!
In the eighth and ninth chapters, the following subjects are considered, viz. The attention that should be paid to children when not engaged in their lessons—their amusements—their behaviour to each other-quarrels among them-a domineering or a teasing spirit-selfishness and jealousy—conduct of the two sexes to each other—domestic effects in well and ill educated families contrasted—acquaintance with children of bad habits—and familiarity with servants-hardihood-moderate habits-artificial hardships-moderation favourable to elevation of character--the use of rules-preparation for prayer--self-examination-prayer-how long boys should be kept under domestic education-preparation for schools, &c.
vol. IV. No. I.-M
In addition to the foregoing, the volume before us contains an appendix of several valuable papers, from the Christian Observer for the years 1813 and 1817, on topics more briefly handled in the body of the work.
From this outline it will be apparent, that our author, at least in the range of his subjects, is eminently practical; and though some of these points have become so hackneyed, that to say any thing additional may seem like saying too much, and though on others we could have wished that the writer had given greater compass to his remarks; yet we apprehend no jeopardy of reputation in proffering the opinion, that whoever reads the book will find it throughout instructive and profitable.
In order to give those who may favour this article with a perusal, a still more intimate acquaintance with the character of the work under review; and, if possible, to induce such as are under the fearful responsibility of training up children for the Lord, to read it themselves, we will briefly notice some of what appear to us its prominent excellencies.
1. It is, in general, strictly evangelical. The religious sentiments which it inculcates, are those which all practical and experimental Christians believe and love. We say, in general; but this qualification is liable to a more extensive import than we design. The exceptions are few, and perhaps most of them rather apparent than real. The author is an Episcopalian—(though he ranks in the evangelical party)and may be supposed to entertain, and ought to be allowed to express, some views peculiar to the communion with which he is connected. He is not, however, guilty of the inconsistency of lavishing high encomiums on religion, and then, by his subsequent showing, working the conviction on our minds that he knew nothing about it.
2. One of the chief recommendations of this little volume is the spirit which it breathes and is adapted to diffuse. If "the wisdom that is from above is first
peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of many and good fruits” -if i'the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance," then, however harsh and censorious, however fiery and fierce the zeal that characterizes many in the age in which we live, the temper and spirit of the work before us is peculiarly Christian,
and cannot fail to command itself to those whose hearts are often fanned into holy fervour by the sweet influences of heaven.
The following brief extract, descriptive of domestic peace and harmony, will illustrate this particular, and at the same time show what every social scene would be, if thoroughly pervaded by the influence of that kind of religion which it is the object of this author to recommend.
“And can we pass on to other topics without reflecting for a few moments on the delightful spectacle of a young family living together in harmony that is seldom interrupted by contentions, overbearing conduct, rivalries, jealousies, or suspicions: a family in which contentment, love, generosity, mutual forbearance, and a spirit of mutual accommodation, founded on Christian princi. ples, are the prominent dispositions, and in which the performance of daily duties, and the promotion and participation of the general happiness, appear to be the leading occupation! Struck with the beauty of such a scene, one who was familiar with fami. ly discord exclaimed, Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! In such a family, adversity will seldom inflict a deep or lasting wound. Many sweet drops will find their way into the bitter cup; and in no long time tears will be succeeded by smiles, and a recollection of the trial may be attended, perhaps, with not more pain than pleasure.”. p. 162, 163.
3. It insists, with much force and frequency, on an early attention to the formation of character, and the cultivation of piety, in our offspring. It would have this work begun, as soon as the materials for such a formation-as soon as the elements of character-begin to appear. It would have us take the child to train for the Lord while it is yet on the mother's lap, before any adverse influence has been exerted to strengthen its inborn aversion to that which is good-it would have us become workers together with God in his ordination of praise out of the mouth of babes and sucklings. To this point, we fully agree with the author, in attaching great importance. Perhaps it is to a late beginning, rather than to any other one cause, that the frequent failure of success in the religious training of children, is attributable. The current of depraved passions and affections has become so strong, before it is attempted to be controlled, that every effort then proves unavailing
4. The reading of this treatise has revived and strengthened our conviction—and we think it must, the conviction of every one who reads it-that parents will almost certainly impress their own image on their children-that as in regard to the physical, so in regard to the moral man, the features of the parent will appear in the face of the child. The following passage will explain our meaning:
“The great Creator has ordained, that in early childhood, all the powers
and faculties of man shall be placed under the guid. ance, and in a very great degree under the forming hand of his parents. His feelings are as ready as his intellectual powers to take the impression that may be given them. How strong are the prejudices derived from parents in early youth! When pains are taken to produce a similarity, how clearly do we see the prominent features in the manners, habits, and feelings of parents reflected in their offspring! A little gipsey is an adult gipsey in miniature. I am told that among the Gentoos a like similarity is very apparent; and I have myself been struck by it among the Quakers—a sect whom I by no means mention to dishonour. Why, may not the parent inquire, should not that which produces such striking effects among them and other classes of men, and often promotes feelings and habits adverse to good sense and propriety, to good order or to true religion, be employed in favour of the best interests of man and the glory of God? To suffer it to lie idle, is folly and sin. But in fact it will not be absolutely idle. One thing or another children will always be catching from their parents; and through the corrupt bias of human nature, they will be far more likely to catch the evil than the good: and even in copy. ing what is innocent, if not positively good, in parents, they will be very apt to give it some turn, or associate it with some quality, which may make it subservient to evil. No one, then, can doubt the deep responsibility of every parent to make a good use of his power over the dispositions and affections of his offspring. And since in exercising that power, nothing will be so operative as his own example, how earnest should he be, that the light which shines in him may be the true light of the Gospel, purified as much as may be from every thing that may obscure or defile it!”—p. 42–44.
Of this treatise and its author, the Rev. Mr. Gallaudet, in the Preliminary Essay with which he has favoured the present edition, thus speaks—and we quote a paragraph of some length, not only because it well expresses what we should otherwise wish to say ourselves, but because Mr. G. is so favourably known to the public on the subject of education, that his recommendation can hardly fail of effect.
“ This volume, containing A Practical View of Christian Education in its early stages, by Thomas Babington, Esq., is one of the best treatises on the subject, in our language. Its author was, not long since, if he is not still, a member of the British Parliament, and also extensively engaged in commercial transactions in the city of London. His sentiments, therefore, repugnant, as they doubtless will be, to the feelings of those who entertain vague and low views of Christian faith and practice, are not to be attributed to the narrowness of his sphere of observation or of duty; to his want of expansion of mind or refinement of feeling; to his secluded habits and ignorance of the world; or to a contracted and illiberal estimate of the doctrines and requisitions of the gospel. Nor is he a mere theorist, descanting on what might be best, and leaving plain, practical parents, to smile at the uselessness of his speculations. He has himself brought up a very numerous family of children, to whose education he has devoted his time and atten. tion with an assiduity and frequency that very few men, engaged in public life, and the transactions of an extensive business, have been able to bestow upon such an object. What he says, therefore, is to be received as coming from one whose own education, of the most liberał and accomplished kind; whose situation in society, affording him the best opportunities of an enlarged acquaintance with human nature and the every day duties of life; and whose personal experience in reducing his principles to practice, or rather, in deducing his principles from practice; all conspire to give great weight to his opinions and advice, among all parents who regard, as they ought, not merely the temporal, but the eternal, welfare of their offspring.”—p. 4, 5.
When we consider, moreover, the nature of the subject, and the peculiarly Christian character of this treatise, and reflect how little demand is made, in this age, not to say by the great mass of men, but even by the Church of God, for reading of so sober a sort, it must be regarded as an additional recommendation--and a recommendation, too, which but few books on any subject receive—that it has already passed through eleven editions, though it has been published, if we mistake not, but about as many years.
But as our object in this article is not to make a book, but to recommend one that is already made, we must not prolong our remarks. And now in conclusion, deeply sensible as we are of the importance of the religious education of the rising race, and especially at a time when the arrangements of divine Providence, and the signs of the times, seem to demand a generation prepared for the service of the Lord, we are desirous,